A Brigantine shore house priced at $309,975 in 2013 was only worth $282,475 in 2014. That’s a nasty drop of 9% according to a recent report in Philly Magazine.
Put that same house in Ventnor, Sea Isle City or Cape May, and the sales price would be up by at least 5%…..and potentially as high as 11%. So what gives?
Can it be the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy and the casino contraction of Atlantic City? That’s what Brigantine’s Mayor Guenther would like you to believe. Most Brigantine Realtors quietly disagree and will tell you an entirely different story.
‘Many South Jersey towns were hit just as hard, and some even harder than Brigantine’ said a veteran Realtor on Brigantine Island that wished to remain anonymous. ‘Those shore communities have already seen their Real Estate values get back to normal, why can’t Brigantine rebound too?’
PhillyMag: There’s a lot of new construction in Avalon, Stone Harbor, Sea Isle City , Ocean City, Margate. Bounce-back is strong. Average price per square foot of home sales in Avalon is $668, up more than 19%. The only towns that saw price decrease were Atlantic City and Brigantine.
Read more at Philly Magazine
Why are Atlantic City & Brigantine in the same boat? Some say extremely poor city management over the years, short-shortsightedness, stealth spending and an over-sized employee head count far too large for such a small town. Others sum it up by saying the deep seated and ultimately harmful culture of Nucky Johnson & Hap Farley still exists in Atlantic City and Brigantine.
Some point the finger at recent Brigantine retail & Real Estate busting moves by Guenther, Simpson, and most of City Council.
Ron Jaworski Golf wanted to turnaround the money-losing Links at Brigantine Golf Course. Headed by the former Eagles quarterback and current ESPN analyst, Ron Jaworski Golf was seen as a godsend by local residents desperate for a boost to their home values. While not a perfect deal, most on the island saw far more benefit in placing the Brigantine municipal golf course into the hands of someone with marketing prowess and well-known skills in turning around struggling golf courses.
After running JAWS out of town, some accusing him of not being trustworthy (SEE VIDEO BELOW), Mayor Guenther and Councilman Andy Simpson quickly made some moves. They allowed a Florida based LLC called Meadowbrook, run by Ron Jackson, to sub-contract out the cash-flow positive food and beverage concession.
This valuable city asset was virtually gifted to a hand chosen public city worker; Mike Morgan, owner of Mad Dog Morgans. Local business operators complained that public bids did not go out and they were effectively shut out of the bidding to run the golf course concession.
In an alleged back room deal, it was agreed to that close to $10,000 per month will be paid to Meadowbrook Golf for services that have yet to be identified. To date, Brigantine Taxpayers (mainly second homeowners with no voting rights) foot the bill for ‘Links at Brigantine Golf’ employee salaries, healthcare, club house utilities, landscaping, seed & fertilizer, new golf carts, building maintenance, etc.
With the new agreement, Brigantine taxpayers will not share in the upside profits of the Links Golf course, but will be liable for most repairs, payments, and expenses.
While that golf course sleight-of-hand was fairly high profile, active home buyers who decided to buy in Ventnor, Margate or Ocean City noted that Brigantine was far too risky for their taste.
‘I watch Brigantine City Council meetings from my home in Philadelphia’ said Tim Roberts, a management consultant in suburban Pennsylvania. ‘I can’t believe no one questions how all of that taxpayer money is spent.
Brigantine is certainly beautiful, but the constant hiring of $125K public employees and the bloated school system is just plain killing that town’.
Roberts noted that with the cancellation of the popular 4×4 Beach Parade, the Easter Egg Hunt, and the Shark Park playground shutdown, he just can’t justify to his wife & kids why they should buy a summer home in Brigantine. Empty storefronts, shuttered restaurants and highly-questionable and non-stop accounting issues inside Brigantine City Hall were also a big turn-off too, the father of three lamented.
And the hits just keep on coming. The Brigantine School board was pleased to hear that Brigantine taxpayers would support borrowing $5 million for various yet unknown school district improvements. Brigantine school board member & President of the Brigantine Republican Club, Jim Mackey, declined to comment on this issue.