Still Undecided? Meet & Greet – Wednesday 7pm at Off the Hook.


What are you going to ask from your council choices?

How are you going to combat flooding? What have you done in the past?

How important is reducing taxes?  Did you vote for the new CFO? (aka one of the highest paid public employee in NJ)

31 comments

  1. I think the salient point about the upcoming election is that a vast majority if people voted for non partidan elections. This was a vote of NO CONFIDENCE to anyone presently on council. Nuff said!!!

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  2. The question Did you vote for the new CFO is unfair? As only 2 of the candidates had the opportunity to vote all of the others could easily say no and I wouldn’t but again not a fair assessment because they weren’t there.
    I realize that Doug is the “promoter” of the event and I think it is a good thing but hopefully it won’t be unfairly stacked against the other guys and gal. The candidates should present their backgrounds and what they hope to achieve if they are elected. Short and simple.

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    • My understanding this is a meet & greet that was opened up to anyone wanting to attend. Including other candidates. I’m sure others will be having similar meetings. I think the CFO question is valid. Many of the voters may not know which candidates voted for what. Maybe you don’t mind your tax dollars being spent foolishly, but I do.

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    • Maybe the better question to Francy and Kane is *why* did you vote for the CFO and why did you choose not to bid out the position?

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    • Some other potential Questions: And Why did you think it was a good idea *not* to have flood insurance? And how did getting a new fire truck get a higher priority than flood mitigation? Especially since flood mitigation was *shovel ready* and we didn’t have flood insurance on municipal properties like town hall. Speaking of which, what’s your plan for town hall? Are you not going to do anything and just let it sit there and rot till there isn’t an option but rebuild new? What are you going to do to reduce costs and increase ratables, short-term AND long-term?

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    • To Duncan’s point, don’t we already know their political backgrounds as they have been serving and failing as council members. They hope to achieve the same things every year; code enforcement, flood mitigation, etc. None of these things have changed over the years, why would we think they will do something this year? I look forward to the opportunity to ask these questions and find out what why they were accountable before. Unfortunately the other guys and gal have stacked it against themselves.

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  3. “Daddy,” a little girl asked her father, “do all fairy tales begin with ‘Once upon a time’? ”

    “No, sweetheart,” he answered. “Some begin with ‘If I am elected.

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  4. Doug has been vocal about what he feels the issues are. Kane and Francy sit on council so you can kind of figure out what they’re all about.

    I really hope that Colby, O’Neal and Urbansky show up for this. I don’t know much about their views on the issues.

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  5. Kane lost most of us when she supported the appointment of the new CFO at an hourly rate that prob is more than the Governor’s. She is completely out of touch with reality. Time for her to step down. We are trying to survive here!

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    • But hey, we have a new fire truck!

      No flood insurance in a FLOOD PLAIN, when we have a FLOOD PLAIN ADMINISTRATOR, when one of the borough buildings is waterfront property. The answer so far has been that “it wasn’t required.”

      Apparently neither is common sense.

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  6. Hey, Jen…no credit to our Council for the new fire truck. For that you can thank Congressman Pallone who backed a grant for $665,000. to upgrade our current trucks which were over 25 years old, thus ensuring the safety of our volunteer firemen and women as well as our citizens and their property. I really don’t know for sure, but I’m most positive that neither campaigning Council Members were aboard when the decision to forego flood insurance was made. I do think the question of insurance was weighed and given considerable thought. Perhaps, the Borough could not afford it? You know, that pesky old bugaboo…Taxes. I think that facts should be carefully check prior to accusation.

    Just wondering, Sue, how much, if any, money the tax payers would have saved had they gotten an outside person to fill the position of CFO?. None, the Council does have a budget to adhere to. Ergo, no extra expense to the taxpayer, and an experienced, long term Borough employee, no long hours of looking for a qualified replacement. These people, by the very nature of there jobs, work part time. To have a long term Borough employee qualify for the position, when we were in such turbulent times after the storm, was fortuitous. To use this as a political issue without facts and figures, is in my opinion like throwing mud at the fence. Let’s just see what sticks.

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    • Lucille, the Fire Truck actually cost $1,215,000, Pallone did put up $665k, where do you think the other $550,000 came from? I’ll give you a little hint O-12-17. So who should I thank for the 1/2 million balance, not including the ongoing insurance and maintenance? Its amazing how red tape and bureaucracy aren’t a problem with new fire trucks just flood mitigation & insurance.

      Regarding no extra expense on the CFO – technically Deblasio is less expensive than Pfeffer,(For the CFO position only, however, when you add in the Tax Collector salary and his assistants salaries he’s not less expensive) Also Pfeffer only had ONE other job, Deblasio has SEVEN. I would say lack of attention could potentially cost the town.

      The fact that you (or anybody for that matter) somehow think it was reasonable that Highlands, had no flood insurance is mind blowing. We weren’t even self-insured.

      Good luck with that twig.. I’m off to make a ham sandwich..

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    • Didn’t we also have to build a BRAND NEW FIREHOUSE because this BRAND NEW TRUCK didn’t fit in the Borough Hall bay? How much did that BRAND NEW FIREHOUSE cost the tax payers?

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    • Well, batcave, the approach you mentioned, throw mud at the fence and see what sticks, sure seems like the approach the council themselves has used in the past.

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  7. HB, shall we look at the logic of the situation? A Fire Company with out-dated apparatus. A grant for 665K. Can you imagine the hue and cry if this had been turned down? How many of the towns that received this grant turned it down? None. Imagine if the Borough had to replace the engines for the entire cost. Break down of equipment in the time of emergency could cost the lives of our volunteers, our residents, our property…to disparage an all volunteer fire department by tossing them into a political broo ha ha is not, in my mind, giving credence to the voters of Highlands.

    As to the CFO position, I believe we got a 3 for 1 deal for exactly the same cost…just log on to HOME and ask that question.

    As to flood insurance, no where did I say it was reasonable to not be covered. Fact: there was none. That is all the fact I know. Under whose administration this decision was made, I do not know. Under what circumstance this decision was made, I do not know. I choose to think that, under whoever’s administration the decision was made, to there were justifiable reasons.

    You got me with that “twig” thing, but I do think I will stick with tuna and a thin slice of onion. Too many ham sandwich jokes these days. It has become so passe’ don’t cha think??

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    • Is it too hard or too much to expect our governing body to reassess the insurance situation every year? I know I do.

      It’s a cop-out to say that our sitting council wasn’t involved in that decision. By deciding NOT to re-evaluate annually, especially after Irene hit, they made it.

      And now we’re all paying for that lack of a decision.

      Penny-wise and pound-foolish, that’s what this is.

      Just like it seems to be a big shock (SHOCK!!) that Highlands floods, and that we need to do something about it now. Had any of this been done previously, when the plans were made (shovel-ready, anyone?), a whole lot of people might not have lost most of their possessions.

      And our taxes are going up now, to pay for this procrastination, when we can least afford it. There’s always an outcry when taxes are raised. But now it’s just kicking people when they’re down, and chasing away some who have really tried to stay.

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  8. Well, Jen, I don’t believed I “copped out”. If I did, it was only to the extent of saying “I don’t know”. I guess all this ado about lack of flood insurance after the fact is somewhat akin to locking the barn door after the horse has been stolen. Why don’t we just try and find out why there was no flood insurance and then we will be able to have a more cogent conversation on the subject. Borough Hall was already here when I moved to town as was the First Aid Building The only public building built since is the Community Center. That was a span of quite a few years. If memory serves, this is the first time that lack of flood insurance has come up.

    As to the flooding, I know for a fact that Highlands has always flooded. It was after I purchased a home here, about 45 years ago, that I discovered there had been almost a foot of water in it from “Donna”. But that was only 2 houses from the beach. To put “shock” in its proper prospective let’s call it “Sandy”. It seemed to have “shocked” every municipality from Conn., NY and NJ. Even “Irene” and super storm ’92 didn’t prepare us.

    In order to have an intelligent conversation, one must know the facts otherwise all is in vain. In the immortal words of Mark Twain: “A half truth is the most cowardly of lies”.

    There have been a lot of administrations come and go in 45 years along with some insurmountable problems, among them money or lack thereof. No matter what our governing body does, it really comes down to damned if you do, damned if you don’t…..and, I don’t care who is on that governing body. But, for some, it sure makes for good politickin’

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    • “Why don’t we just try and find out why there was no flood insurance and then we will be able to have a more cogent conversation on the subject.”

      This is what I’m trying to do. No more, no less. No half truths, no politicking, and no secret agenda backing or attacking any specific candidate.

      The question has been asked and asked at council meetings and of council members. When they can be bothered to give an answer, which is not always, it is along the lines of, “It wasn’t required.”

      I’m pointing out that this is NOT a valid answer, and that saying “it was decided in the past, so it isn’t our fault” is, frankly, bullsh!t and a cop-out on the part of our council.

      It’s common sense and needs to be a part of the conversation for this election. I would like to hear from an actual candidate, especially those who have served in the past, but all we get so far is crickets.

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  9. Bottom line……NO ONE…..NO ONE….who is presently on council or has been in the past 10 years should be elected. Kane is all about the fire dept. Period!! These people have done nothing on council to advance the town. Nothing!!!

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  10. Unfortunately from my perspective of the meet and greet last night, it was a little chaotic and while the attitudes and names maybe different, the underlying problem was still the same. I dont think the candidates listened to the questions and concerns of the public there. It seemed a lot, “well I know best” talk without thoroughly understanding the peoples complaint. The people of the town have a stake here and are not really being represented because those in charge or wanting to be in charge are not really listening. The people of the town have ideas, aspirations of what the town can be like, and are trying to come up with solutions but if whoever the leadership is and continues the practice of saying, “No, we cant do that” or “its not feasible”, we will have no change. That was what was at the heart of the meet and greet last night in my honest opinion.

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  11. I thought the meet & greet was very helpful in helping me decide who to vote for.

    Sick&tired, while I may not agree with you 100%, I see your point. I appreciate that we want to bring new residents to town and I am all for making that a focus, but the current residents should be considered important too.

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    • Seven Stars, I think you may have misunderstood my point. I stated, I believe the people of this town are very important and that their voices should be considered more and they arent being heard. Of course we need new residents but the current residents have to start making the change we want in the town. My point is the leadership doesn’t listen and consider the people.

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    • I am sorry if I misunderstood what you wrote, Sick&tired. IMO the candidates tried to answer the questions posed as best they could. It can’t be easy to answer questions in that kind of forum.

      I think residents are trying to change things but Rome wasn’t built in a day. The fact that six people are running shows a heightened level of interest, at least. I am very interested to see the outcome of the election and see if people really vote for someone/something different.

      If you think the current crop of candidates won’t bring sufficient change if elected, what do you suggest in terms of making the average person’s voice heard? I’m just curious, as you seem to have thought this through, and maybe you have an idea I haven’t thought of (I found the questions posed as enlightening, if not more so, than some of the answers on Wed:).

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  12. STOP BEATING A DEAD HORSE CALLED FLOOD INSURANCE. THE PAST CAN’T BE CHANGED BUT THE FUTURE CAN, HOW ABOUT ADVISORY COMMITTEES STAFFED BY RESIDENTS WHO HAVE EXPERTISE IN THE AREAS OF CONCERN. THEIR RECOMMENDATIONS SHOULD BE PRESENTED TO THE PUBLIC AS WELL AS THE COUNCIL.

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    • Umm that’s been done and pretty much ignored. It’s not beating dead horse but about recognizing lack of responsibility. We can never move forward without recognizing and learning from past mistakes. It’s an election and knowing track records of candidates including not have insurance on munipal buildings in flood zone IS an important issue.

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  13. The CRS program (Community Rating System) for flood rates is now getting our town’s attention and focus. Dale Leubner the Floodplain Manager has submitted this application. Based on what I heard at a Council meeting we have a LONG way to go to reap the benefits of discounted rates on our insurance premiums. An Advisory Committee consisting of residents with expertise in that area would be a damn good idea. IF we can use the CRS criteria as priorities for what we implement as town projects … with defined action steps … we would be killing 2 birds with one stone. Lower rates for property owned in Highlands …. and (dare I say?)COMPLETION of projects that actually serve a purpose on several layers.

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