So… we’re back to raising the town as an option (Again)


ImageThe idea that just won’t die…  According to WNYC this morning  raising the town of Highlands is the ONLY hope of survival. Really, its our only hope?

According to WNYC, “[Mayor] Nolan and the Highland’s environmental commission is considering a big idea that locals hope will alleviate the extreme flooding that happened after Sandy. They are looking into raising the entire town up.”  “Town officials know it can be done.  Residents don’t doubt that.” (I’m a resident and I doubt that…. which residents exactly don’t doubt it?)

Again, citing Galveston, Texas and the 1900 flood, as proof positive raising the town is the “only hope”.   Ah-hem, Galveston had substantial flood damage in 2008 due to Hurricane Ike. They are now considering a coastal barrier (appropriately called the ‘Ike Dike’)  This project would be a dramatic enhancement of the existing Galveston Seawall, complete with floodgates, which would protect more of Galveston, the Bolivar Peninsula, the Galveston Bay Area, and Houston.  It would further be able to withstand ~10,000 year storms.

Storm barriers, storm barriers, where I have read about those?? Oh yeah here..
If Galveston, TX is considering Storm Barriers, maybe Highlands should also..

45 thoughts on “So… we’re back to raising the town as an option (Again)

  1. Jeff

    I’m not political, but I may run for mayor just to get rid of him and shut him up. What an embarrassment.

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  2. kbmejustme

    I do not understand why Highlands does not put out the ‘problem’ as a national competition, I am sure that there are some engineers out there somewhere who would have a really smart and cost effective resolution to this issue. Raising the town is just ludicrous and a complete delaying tactic. Also can anyone tell me where the town meeting schedules arei publicized and the agendas made available. How does one get items on the agendas??? The town belongs to the tax payers and I think it is time we took it back, not happy with the quality of care it is currently getting.

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    1. highlandsblog Post author

      Looking forward to seeing you there, I agree we need to take back the town. I think the town council and employees seem to forget that they work for us..

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    2. kbmejustme

      I concur. The website needs to be fixed up too – not easy to use at all.. Our town has so much potential, it really has everything – it is time for it to flourish. I would be delighted to volunteer to help be part of fixing it.

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    3. kbmejustme

      I desire not to disrespect a volunteer making the best effort they can, However, as the site is necessary for coordination in our town I would suggest we either invest some money OR, being that we are a township, approach Henry Hudson Highschool and see if the really smart kids that are in the computing class there would consider managing it as a class project, a rather nice and credible reference for them on their College Applications??

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    4. highlandsblog Post author

      (heavy sigh) Carla is actually paid.. (I don’t even think she was the cheapest vendor).. yeah.. and the fact you thought a HS student could do better says a lot.

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    5. RockemSockem

      Shoregraphx or whatever the name is gets paid by taxpayers for website. If they can’t do it right I’m sure there are lots of people who can.

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    6. kbmejustme

      Now I REALLY feel stupid. Are you joking? Carla is PAID for it and she was not the cheapest vendor?? Why did she get the work then ? I dont understand.. Please can you explain, I am sorry to be such a pain but I am really trying to understand.. Or are you joking???

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    7. highlandsblog Post author

      I’m not joking, I could be not remembering things correctly, so anybody else please jump in, I seem to remember she wasn’t the cheapest but she has been doing it for the last 11+ years (that I’ve been here) and she runs the BID, Why she keeps getting chosen when IMO her work speaks for itself is a really good question.

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    8. kbmejustme

      Thanks – this makes absolutely NO sense whatsoever, For the etortionate taxes that I am paying I consider this to be misuse of funds… As town taqx payers can we request an independent audit of ALL the town contracts I have a feeling that if we put a stop to apparently poor vendor selection we may get better services at a reduced cost… and to me that would seem to be a much superior way of sorting out the town budget than raising taxes..

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    9. kbmejustme

      It kinda goads me that the meeting is called the ‘Mayors Meeting’ shouldn’t it be the ‘Town Meeting’ spitting feathers here!! Just so irritated now.

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  3. Jen

    Ha. I almost choked on my coffee this morning as I was walking by the radio, just in time to hear “… Nolan, mayor…” and think OMFG NOW WHAT???

    This is not a viable option, Mr. Mayor. Please stop talking about it and making us all look like morons (see also: his comment about taxes).

    I’ll vote for a freaking mailbox for mayor this fall — even that would do a better job.

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    1. kbmejustme

      As cute as that article it is, it gives me happiness to read it. I firmly believe that this township should be run by a group of people whose best interests are in the interest of the town. We do not need a mayor, we need efficient management of the town!

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    2. Jen

      Um, yes, I do. I like NPR, especially in the morning when the other choices are all dumb jokes, laugh tracks, or constant traffic.

      I read newspapers too, unlike most of my demographic. 🙂

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    3. highlandsblog Post author

      Read newspapers? BB prefers to use newspapers rolled up and shake at the neighbor kids as they ride their bikes in front of his house. Although I hear he may be trading them in for water balloons to lob at the kids as they ride underneath his newly elevated house.

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    4. Broadway Bill

      Those are great suggestions! I’ll definitely add them to my list if I ever get back to my house.

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  4. RockemSockem

    it really is ridiculous he is wasting time and putting our property in peril with this nonsense. It would cost a fortune and so far haven’t seen us on one flood mitigation program. Not from Pallone and the last council meeting we are in second round of funds for loan and for 2 million and change and if I heard currently that’s already spent? For what?
    Other than putting the burdens on residents they simply don’t have a plan. Another hurricane season coming and if we get hit again because they haven’t even done the smallest steps to protect us they will be big fish in an empty town!

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    1. RockemSockem

      Just one more comment…every time a question is asked about flood mitigation by residents he defers to Dale but he doesn’t mind talking answering questions on radio stations.

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  5. Highlands Non-Partisan

    SG charges $650 a month while a full service company Zumu, who does Atl. Highlands as well as other municipalities charges $250. It was brought up numerous times to council, but as always fell on deaf ears and we were told by Becky, Chris, Frank, Rick and Anna that they are staying with Shoregrafx because they like Carla and Ken.

    Council, Mayor, HBP is all a joke and is only out for themselves.

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    1. Broadway Bill

      Here’s an idea…if everybody thinks Carla and the HBP is such a “joke”…I dare all of you to not support Clam Fest! Somehow whenever August rolls around….all is forgiven and forgotten!

      Somebody get me a beer while you’re up….

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    2. RockemSockem

      Honestly I think Carla seems to try create events to help town and grow business which we need and does take effort so I give her credit but that doesn’t mean in a town that is strapped for cash we should pay more for anything just because you like somebody. We are a town of taxpayers that expect best services we can get competitively priced not a charity for the council to give away our hard earned money.

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    3. Broadway Bill

      What business has Carla ever brought to town? I love a Christmas tree lighting as much as the next guy, but I’ve never understood how “bringing people to town” helps me. Clam Fest is FOUR days of people parking in front of my house and FOUR days of trying to figure out where to walk my dog!

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    4. RockemSockem

      Well if there is a parking problem people are in town spending money and having a local economy is great for any town. But I understand the parking issue needs to be addressed, maybe we should all chip in buy a lot of land for parking and make some dough.

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    5. RockemSockem

      Well if you want to live in an empty town with no commerce you should probably consider stop building and move. Local economy= business does good, more jobs, more taxes revenue goes to town to help service community. At least that is economics 101 but I will concede that maybe people in charge need to take this class.

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  6. Duncan McLeod

    OK let me say this as someone that used to make decisions regarding the town, and one by the way that was involved when the town was actually making some progress and getting better, this idea is nuts!!!!!!!!

    First of all If I was on council, I would not only be against this, I would be telling people that claim this could be done, even remotely economically, to shut their yap as they would be destroying the credibility of the entire governing body.

    Let me just make a couple of points.

    First, this isnt Beverly Hills, is there anything in town really worth raising(considering the enormous costs that would be involved)???

    Second, even it it was feasable, and financially doable, where would the money come from to do the project? The army corps of Engineers, (who Mayor Nolan says dont know what they are talking about) have recommended an entirely different plan. So, who is the government going to listen to when deciding to hand out large sums, in the tens of millions, Mayor Nolan, or the Army Corps!??? Lets be real here!

    Third, if the water table is indeed rising, as evidenced by the shrinking ice at he poles and such, would raising the town even be a long term solution?

    Fourth, How would this project even be physically possible? I mean really? Are you really going to lift every structure in town, and all the problems that intails, put feel of dirt under them, then lower the structures back on to that?

    For generations everyone living here has known that the ocean comes to visit from time to time, its a peril of living by the water. If you cant accept that, then you need to move farther from the water. Its that simple.

    For those out there that would say, “OK Mr. Wise guy know it all, what would be your plan” well get ready because here it is.

    My plan, which would be much more economically feasable, doable, and fix multiple problems at once is as follows.

    1) Raze the majority of the town to the ground. IE tear down virtually every structure in the downtown, that cannot be sheilded from flooding or it too low to the ground. (I would implement this plan immediately, before people bust their butts fixing the old, and lets face it mostly delapidated, small, and out dated homes, up and incurring all the costs. I say, let the government or whoever buy people out. This would have to be way cheaper than what Mayor Nolan proposes, and a lot of people would happily take a buy out to get out of here, and go elsewhere. Others would love a chance to start from scratch under better circumstances

    2) One the structures are gone, and before back filling the town, all the rotting infrastructure, ie sewers that are falling apart, and anything else should be entirely replaced and brought up to modern standards. The sewer system alone is a disaster waiting to happen, is falling aparts, and every day we are all billed for thousands of gallons of fresh water that is sent for treatment that has infiltrated into the system, and is not sewerage water.

    3) Once this is done, and a new plan for restructuring the town has been complete, perhaps using the towns own master plan which is regularly updated and reads like a work of fiction, then back filling can begin. The business district can be entirely re structured, residences moved off of bay ave, and utlilities like electric moved underground to make it nicer etc etc etc.

    4) Then the town can be back filled without any obstructions to the process which should make it easier and more economical in the long run. Perhaps even a board walk to encourage tourism etc could be built along the water from one end of the town to the other. Can you imagine the income that would draw to this town??

    5) Once the back filling has been completed new and modern structures, residences etc. could be constructed in a reasonable and logical manner in a way that makes sense for the area.

    6) As a nice additional touch I would probably rename the town as well, indicating to people everywhere that the town has been entirely rejuvenated. I would suggest something cute like “WaterWitch Cove” etc.

    The end result would be a solution to the problem, a completely new and rejuvenated community, new residences, new a vibrant business district, and with a boardwalk along the water, a way to attract tourists, a place to build new businesses, and ultimately this would solve the towns revenue problems. It would also solve all the infrastructure problems, and code violation situations as well. Not to mention what it would do for the reputation of the town!!!

    I think this makes a hell of a lot more sense that any of what is being proposed. Im sure that there are some that would say that this plan is ridiculous and undoable., but really in light of the other wacky plans we are hearing about.???

    Other than the costs involved, and the question of where the money is coming from, is this really that far fetched. At least this plan as the merits of taking care of an enormity of problems in one shot.

    The other option is to let the town fall apart to the ground, let business continue to close, let it continue to flood, and devolve into a slow spiral of death, until someone like the state is forced to step in and enforce a solution. Because that is where we are heading no matter how much happy talk gets thrown at everyone!!!

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    1. RockemSockem

      That would be great idea if happened before people poured money into fixing their homes or if you live on the hill.

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  7. Duncan McLeod

    As an additional comment regarding the Highalnds Website, and the Highlands Business Partnership let me say the following.

    The original Highlands website was a volunteer venture until Carla realized money could be made from it. Whenever there is a chance of the town possibility using someone else to do the site, usually after complaints from residents pointing out its un useability and lack of being updated timely, Carla will buddy up with whoever she has to so that the town council will re up Shore Graphxs’ contract to do it. They are in no way the cheapest or best way of doing a website!!! Not by a long shot!!!!

    Case in point, Carla and Becky Kane used to be moral enemies and Ms. Kane even voted to help kill the HBP for a year. After our girl Becky and the other democrats realized they were too inept to run the town events. Carla and Becky Kane (Democrat candidate for Mayor this year by the way) formed an unholy alliance. Basically Carla would support her, and our girl Becky would support the HBP, and let her keep the contract to do the towns website.

    Proof of this is Carlas open and blatant break with the Highlands Republicans to further her line her own wallet. All of her previous allies and friends were thrown under the buss! She will shamelessly do or climb up whoevers butt she has to to get what she wants. That is her history and it is undeniable.

    As far as the HBP goes, it had one main goal, BID, Improve the business district in Highlands!!!!. Can anyone really say that they business district improved one single bit in the over 10 years the HBP has been in existence? Yes there were some nice events. But those events were supposed to support and attract new business. It didnt work!

    What you have in Highlands now, is a political system that is not adversarial and is inbred and incestuous! Virtually no one is watching out for the taxpayers, watching costs, or anything else, because they all(this is members of both parties) have personal interests, personal ties, friends or family on the towns payroll, use of town owned vehicles we cant afford, or an endless list of other personal interests. No matter what is falsely claimed, the tax payers and residents come last. Its all about politics at this point!

    That is the truth of it, and why this town isnt going to improve. I would bet that soo it will become a disaster Im sure the entire state will soon be talking about. And the tax payers are going to pay dearly for all of it! Mark my words!

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  8. Highlands Non-Partisan

    Duncan, you are correct but did you know that not only does Shoregrafx make money from the town for doing the website but also from the HBP/BID ? That’s right, Shoegrafx charges the HBP hourly for making flyers for events, updating the HBP section of the town website and whatever Carla can find to charge it to the HBP,

    If there is a Clam Fest this year, keep an eye on what Carla, her family and close buddies get for FREE or is charged to the HBP. I remember one year that the volunteers were complaining about getting pizza and water from her for lunch while she and her family and friends dined on lobster rolls and beer. Heard she even stiffed a business one year and the business owner had to go after her for payment.

    It’s not about what is best for the town or how to improve it for her. It’s about where she can make a buck, get free stuff and make deals. Sometimes the benefits are better than a paycheck!

    With money so tight, shouldn’t the Mayor and council take a serious look into cutting money, save the tax payers $400 a MONTH by going with a real website developer?

    If Carla cared about the businesses in town, shouldn’t she send a message by having the council SUSPEND the BID TAX for the next year? I’m sure that any amount of money would help struggling businesses at this time and if she is the great volunteer that she portrays herself to be, then help the town and it’s businesses by doing HBP events and printed materials for FREE. My guess is that this will never happen.

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    1. kbmejustme

      It seems to me that the whole webite thing and HBP thing is just ONE element, and rather obvious example of the current council’s inability to manage a budget. HBP, I really think our township could do a little better about working with the National Park Service and the state to access the visitors to the part every year and create more business… I dont mean go in and insult the park personnel’s intelligence, I mean try and work WITH them… At this point the phrase ‘ couldnt organize a party in a brewery’ is springing to mind.. Can anyone give me 3 things that our Council Club are doing well?? There must be something..

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  9. Duncan McLeod

    KB,

    I can definately answer your question. 3 things the current council does well are the following:

    1) Playing the part of looking like they are in charge and in control of things, while in reality not having a clue. The mayor is particularly good at looking like he has things all under control.
    2) Spending money of stupid things like an enormous amount of vehicles(many used by friends and family members) we dont need, while the budget is a mess.

    3) Allowing certain special interests such as the HFD basically run the town and do whatever they want.

    I could go on, but you only asked for three things! 🙂

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    1. kbmejustme

      🙂 I am not convinced on number 1 – to be fair I watched some of the meeting videos and remained stunningly unconvinced!!! Apparently the mayor couldnt even coordinate a babysitter..

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