First Storm of the Season Brings Flooding to Highlands


The first named storm of the year and flooding takes over down town. It wasn’t even tidal flooding it was ‘just too much rain at one time’ and Highlands sits below the highest point on the eastern seaboard flooding. (next to Wagner College)

33 comments

  1. How come EVERY storm now has a name? Years ago it was called rain or snow!

    And you call this flooding? Seriously? Didn’t they used to call this “High Tide?”

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  2. Here is the result of the town’s “drainage solution’ of a few years ago. Remember?? Phase 1 –to catch the runoff from the hill to Rt 36 and drain it to river under the bridge. Phase 2 –fix Huddy park and the mess down Waterwitch.
    Phase 3 – Bay Ave.. downtown and the pumping stations…
    Oh well, never got to Phase 3, did they??

    When asked at the town meeting if this would be addresses w/some of the Sandy monies, the answer was a definite NO –that this was a different problem… and, “Anyway, whatever gets done to fix things from Sandy will probably ‘fix” Bay Ave anyway”,
    BS!! Do these people ever drive down the street?

    It is getting worse — every big rainfall — esp when it’s hi tide (like it was last night at 8pm) results in flooding over the curb. (Last night was well over the curb- covering whole sidewalk by at leat 3″ by around 9:30).

    We pay TAXES, don’t we?? And that damn $145 per quarter fee for sewer??!!
    Are they kidding??
    Time to get a government who cares for the people who live here – not just for the special interests, or family members.

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  3. Since we are all talking about phases………… heres how it works in Highlands…… ready children?

    Phase 1: Collect taxes

    Phase 2: Promise to fix things.

    Phase 3: Dont fix things, but find ways to find jobs for friends and family, buy vehicles the borough cant afford, and spend whatever money the fire dept. wants. Like a new fire truck the town cant afford.

    Phase 4: Listen to the comlaints of tax payers and residents, pretend to be interested and sympathetic while telling them what they want to hear to get them off your back.

    Phase 5: Raise taxes

    Phase 6: Reduce borough services and tell everyone it has to be done to keep taxes that were just raised down.

    Phase 7: Get reelected

    Yep, thats pretty much it!

    I have another piece of advice for all living downtown. Get used to the flooding because is the 100 year history of the town it always has. Plus it looks like weather patterns are changing, so it will probably flood more. And I wouldnt count out having another big storm this year!

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    • Mmm …so how is that different from every other place in America?

      And besides…I was told by the one woman at Boro Hall (Before I bought my house) that Highlands doesn’t flood! Oddly enough, when I brought this up to her a few days after Sandy…her husband threated to break my jaw!

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  4. Before hurricane Irene, our then Mayor Anna Little had our faux engineer Dale keep records, data and pictures of the run off from Monmouth Hills so Highlands could go after Middletown to pay and fix the problem. When Frank and company came into power, he along side of Becky, Rick, and Chris decided it wasn’t worth Dale’s time and dropped the study.

    Then the Army Corp of Engineers came to town with a proposal that would have costed taxpayers very little. But Anna, Chris Francy, and Johnny U was vehemently against it because it would impede on their views and property.

    Then we had hurricane Irene. Chris Francy was frantically looking for the person with the key to the pump station by his house. Another pump station was down because we hadn’t ordered the needed parts and that left the Waterwitch pump station which had to be manned 24/7 by a borough employee to make sure it didn’t shut off.

    We have flappers on intake pipes that don’t work, so every time we get high water it comes through these pipes, up the drains and contributes to the flooding of our streets. Those flappers need to be fixed and someone needs to be responsible for closing them.

    So here we are. We have Frank and Becky who’s only solution is to raise the town. Chris Francy who wants to spend $5 MILLION of our taxes for a new pump station and the other two on council are just nodding their heads going along with whatever they are told.

    The Mayor and council has NOT secured any funding from the county, state, or federal. No one has any real solutions, just problems that can only be fixed by our property taxes being raised.

    We have very little ratables in our “business district” and we’re always told it’s because of the flooding. But I then look around to other communities like Sea Bright, Long Branch, Asbury Park, Belmar and so on who have a thriving business district along the waters edge and think to myself, it’s not the water/flooding, it’s those that have been in charge of our town for a decade plus and the continued dilapidated conditions of our pump stations, sewer system, intake pipelines, Bay Ave. and every property that is above code enforcement because they know someone.

    Remember, back in the 60’s we had a thriving Bay Ave. with a movie theater, bowling alley, drug store, and the very first Food Town. We had flooding then and the only thing that has changed since the glory days of Highlands are those that we have elected or have put themselves into a decision making position.

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    • Oh yeah….and those four lads from Liverpool kept the world’s toe’s a tapping! And bread was only a nickel! Things were so much better back before Watergate and Vietnam and the Kennedy Assassination!

      The only thing that has changed since the ’60’s are our elected officials….not cable television, the internet, smart phones, Facebook, Twitter and our choice of long distance phone carriers!

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  5. I dont think that there is any debating that Highlands was a much more vibrant communirty in previous decades. The lack of a plan going forward in the past decades combined with inept leadership have led things to be the way they are.

    If the leadership of the town isnt responsible for the direction it has gone, then who is?

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    • The global economy? The business leaders who sent all of the factories south and then overseas? The people in Washington who closed Ft. Hancock? The people who made it possible to do everything from the comfort of your home and made brick and mortar businesses obsolete?

      The greedy guys on Wall Street who made it almost impossible for the average person to own a home?

      Maybe it was the Highlands Business Partnership who has done such a great job of attracting new businesses to town?

      Maybe it was the airline industry for making it so easy for people to travel farther on vacation?

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  6. Oh another point. Many present and former council people have promised to do something about floodiing. If you look back on their campaign literature, Billy Ciazza, and Johnny Urbanksi promised to fix the flooding problem. In 9 years on council did they? Nope! But so did Chris Francy and Bckey Kane. If Kane is elected as mayor, do you think she will do it then? What are you kidding? Neither has Nolan, Thomas-Burton, the list goes on and on. All anyone ever hears is promises and grand schemes. Its a safer bet to count on the flooding then anything will ever be done about it.

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    • Okay…..so, umm…who do you suggest we vote for?

      Please tell me the name of the person who is running for mayor who WILL do something about flooding.

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    • And another point….

      Do you happen to have any of that old campaign literature handy? I was holding on to some of it, too, but….I seem to have misplaced a lot of things in my house lately.

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  7. Billy, Billy, Billy

    This is about the politics of a town that’s less than 1 sq. mile, who’s residents number under 5500, and the lack of thought and ingenuity by those that are running things.

    If you want to compare big bad corporate greed to federal greed, well I think that is a war of words you are not equipped to handle.

    The next time you are out walking your dog in your bath robe, look around. Stop by the borough gas pump, that is refilled with taxpayer dollars, and see who is filling up on free gas. Those vehicles that were bought with taxpayer money, insured with tax payer money, and fueled with taxpayer money, look to see who’s getting a free ride and where they are going. Look to see who has added a deck to their home without a permit, look to see who has replaced a roof without a permit, look to see who has had a dumpster in front of their home, pre-Sandy and pre-Irene, without a permit. Look to see who is dining and drinking at our restaurants for free or at a reduced cost. Look to see who is taking metal from our dump yard and turning it in for cash. Look to see where all of the money from Highlands Cares went, because no one knows for sure and no one is willing to produce a list. Businesses are attracted to Highlands because of the low rent, just like Sec. 8 people. Patrons don’t want to see thugs and drugs on street corners or in our parks.

    As far as voting for someone other than the same old retreads, only a person with a huge set of b*lls that will hold people accountable, stop the free perks that people have been so accustomed to, stop the nepotism that is so rampid, stop the I deserve mentality, and go line by line on our budget and cut what needs to be cut.

    But lets be real, those with a huge set doesn’t have the time and once again the taxpayers will be at the mercy of those that were elected by family and friends.

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    • Okay…number one…My bathrobe was last seen on top of my stove, next to my hot water heater, sitting out on the curb. It still amazes me that so many people here in town belong to the “Fashion Police!”

      Number Two – You are absolutely right about findind somebody with a “huge set of b***s to hold people accountable, etc… so in the meantime, all everybody is going to do is sit around and complain, right? Do you really think it’s different anywhere else?

      It’s really easy to sit here and complain about the status quo when I don’t see anybody else stepping up.

      I have already come to accept that the last thing this town needs is any suggestions from me so you guys can fight amongst yourself about who did or didn’t do what 10 years ago.

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  8. This is in respect to highlands non partisans remarks saying that i was vehemently opposed to the army corps wall project.To correct you I was totally for it spoke on public record and tried to push it ahead. In fact I was one of the first in highlands to provide the corp access to do their boring sample.I have raised my own bulkhead height to protect against flooding at a significant extra permitting cost and if the whole town had bulkheading at 30 inches more than current and had flood gates that were watertite irenes damage would have been minimal or non existent.I have been pushing these ideas for the last 15 years they are common sense.

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  9. Johnny U,
    Sorry that I had you confused with someone else, I meant no harm … I do remember there were 3 on council that opposed it …who was the third person?
    And what, if anything, can we do to force the hands of those in charge to use common sense?

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  10. Johnny U,

    Who do you think is drinking the cool aid you are handing out? Really? Seriously?

    OK here are the facts. While you and your buddy Crazy Ciazza were in office, you had democrat majorities on several occasions. In fact at times it was a 4 to 1 majority. That represents a “super majority”, meaning you could have financed any project you wanted to push forward. Town democrats like you had more than enough opportunity to do any projects or advance any ideas, construction etc. that you wanted without any opposition whatsoever!!!

    You were in office for 9 years!!! Other than taking credit for the firehouse, what if any projects did you advance? Now you want to tell everyone how “for” flood mitigation projects you were. Well, if you were so “for” these things how come they werent done???

    You and your party of local democrats have had control of the town council for several years. That is a fact. Also a fact is that anything you wanted to do to address flooding could have been undertaken.

    Isnt the real reason these issues were not addressed were because of the lack of vision, interest, and competence of yourself, and your buddies on the town council?

    Lets be real about this shall we! If you and the town democrats were really serious about addressing town flooding, what was stopping you from doing something about it, for 9 years???? What?

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    • Duncan,

      Do you really think party politics come into play in Highlands other than the Monmouth county Dems or GOP deciding who gets on the ticket? Seriously, this is NOT Trenton nor DC, party means so much less when you are dealing with 5000 people.

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    • lets see shore drive extension miller to bridge with parking lot, completing bike trail,repaving at least one street a year, renovation of community center,secured funding for the highland ave improvements sewer infrastructure improvements north downtown,skatepark,always maintained and dredged jones creek,negotiated change in employee health benefits that if wasnt done highlands would be bankrupt,replaced valley street flood pump, rebuilt north street flood pump,gazebo at miller beach bulkheads at foot of cornwall and jackson streets demo sewer plant and the firehouse although many do not agree with some of their policy or whatever it proved to be a good decsion u might not personally like or might not because i ran on the democratic ticket or whatever your hang up with me is and i really dont care but i worked harder than most past and present and if you no what to do than put your name onthe ballot no excuse

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  11. Carolyn

    Its totally relevent when talking about issues like this. The facts are, and the are undeniable, that the democrats have held the majority on the council for years. Their record has been unimpressive at best. Name one major project, town improvement, or other accomplishment advanced by them!

    You comments, with all due respect, are quite naive. The party in control are the ones that have the say on how things go. They set the agenda, appoint the town professionals, make appointments to town boards and so on, and almost all of the time fall upon party lines. IE The party in control will appoint those to board positions that are in the same party they are, and the professionals as well. Once again, all supported by the facts and the record.

    The controlling party are the ones responsible for what is done, or what is not done while they have control. Thats how it all works!

    Its nice to talk about bi partisanism etc etc etc. But if you are implying that that is the way it is in Highlands, then you have made my point even more for me. But why would the democrats in Highlands have to try to make friends with Republicans when they are in control? To get the one vote they dont have? Wake up!

    When you are in charge and in control, you are the responsible party, pure and simple!

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    • Duncan,

      Sorry, but when you switch you party from Dem to GOP then back to Dem then still get elected, what the hell does party matter? My point that you missed is our choices are limited by people who know nothing about this town (county political machine). The only “party” in Highlands that is relevant is the good old boy/gal network.

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  12. Carolyn,
    I couldn’t agree with you more. It is the “party” of the good old boy / gal club that has held the Highlands taxpayers hostage for years now. Unfortunately people are to busy working to stop, look around, connect the dots or get out to vote.

    What I find utterly amusing is that you’ll have partisan views on a certain issue and then they all come to an agreement, sometimes overnight. It makes me wonder what happens in executive session (which I believe should be held after council meetings so that the council can take the comments of citizens into consideration before any decision is made) or at the bar they go to after council meetings. I’m not naive to think that deals aren’t done in politics, but as a taxpayer in this tiny little town, I would love to know.

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  13. Johnny U,

    You are completely delusional, and as usual another councilperson taking credit for the efforts of people that came before you! I cant believe you really want people to believe you had the ideas or was in someway responisible for most of the things you mentioned! Seriously?

    The bike path and bayshore trail was planned way before you, and the bike path was merely paint on the street. I cant believe you want to take credit for the skateboard park which was completed before you or your buddies were in office!!!

    Not only that you have some nerve to take credit for anything to do with the new firehouse? You cant be serious? Did you have anything to do with securing the grant funding to bulid the thing? NO! That was done in the early 90’s. That project was years in the making, and you dont get credit for doing things just because you were breathing and at the council table when they were completed!

    The other things you mentioned were mere maintainance items. I guess we should be on our kness kissing your butt that you didnt let more things fall apart!!!

    Hey what about not maintaining the lights in Huddy park, or the bulkhead area/park on Recreation Pl?, or maintaining the paver stones on Bay Ave. or wooden light posts? How about not enforcing any propery codes or ordinances?

    So, to recap, Mr. Johnny U, yourself and your democrat compadres who had the majoriy of council for years want to take credit for projects done or planned previously to your even being on council, and doing maintainance projects? And thats what you did in 9 years on town council?

    How about you tell us about one major project you came up with the idea for, implemented and saw completed in almost a decade in office?

    Its not about having an issue with you or those in your party, its about keeping the record straight and telling the truth!

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    • They are the facts.Like them deny them.Thats the end of this conversation. You have just lost any credibility.

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