5 Things From The Highlands 8/20 Council Meeting


5There are MANY things going on in town. The following are just 5 Highlights, to see everything you’re going to have to watch the video:

To view the full meeting click here:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/highlands-meetings

I.  R – 14 – 145/146 Declarations of Clam Purification Appointments (All the terms ended May 31) Before assigning new appointees, the CP committee was supposed to provide a report. Which they to date have not. So technically there isn’t a full committee but they need a report from the full committee in order to re-appoint certain members of the committee.   For those that didn’t realize, the Borough of Highlands actually “owns” the clam purification plant in town and receives rent from the business that is there. Although, the lease was written a long time ago and very inexpensive. It was up for renewal in 2015. Whether it auto-renews at the same rate or we renegotiated the rental receivables is still up in the air because “we don’t have a report from the clam purification committee.”  And to be fair most of our committees don’t seem to meet regularly.  – End all be all , council pushed this back until September meeting.  I personally would rather see action than inaction here, there is potential increase in rental revenue at stake.  Even more irritating, there were 2 members of the Clam Purification Committee at the council meeting. (Francy & Nolan) No excuses on why no meetings and why no report and what the heck is going on.

II.  Finance Report (From CFO) An audit started last week & constant Reviewing of the Budget is occurring, preparing for delinquent 2013 taxes, CFO recommended considering online tax sale to save money. The 3/4 qtr sewer bills were mailed out and they were due on Aug 11 with a 30 day grace period.

III.   Bonding capacity is limited to 3 1/2% of the net town evaluation (What the town is worth), Right now we’re at capacity and we have $ 2 1/2 million away from our cap. The real concern (according to the new CFO, you know one of the highest paid NJ employee) is any new projects, i.e. new municipal building, a new police station, repairing the current crappy sewer system, repairing the community center, add any other project here could put us over our cap.  What is a bond, its kind of like a credit card and our limit is based on what the town is worth. So based on everything we’ve borrowed, we’re almost at our limit with only $2 1/2 million to spare.  (If this doesn’t scare you, it should)  Our CFO suggests that we need to re prioritize our projects. (You can listen to 35 min to 45 min mark)

IV.    Two Minute Rule was discussed in executive session, the following points were brought up there-

   a) There have been times were they go around the room more than once asking for public input. (Of course this was before they put the 2 min rule in play.)

   b) Sometimes in the past it was just informal and people just spoke out.

   c) Maybe if its less people, letting speaking longer is an option and if there is a ton of people the 2 minute rule will take effect.

       Net/net – the lawyer needs to do some investigation and they pushed off until September to make any decisions. (Shocker) Oh and by the way *we* as in the town tax payers have to pay for him to do this research. This should be a no brainer and a decision made, then move on. If you ask why? Look at point #3.

V. Also in the public portion it was brought up about the APP.com article stipulating that under current policy that predates Sandy, FEMA will credit disaster-stricken communities for the free labor that volunteer firefighters, first aid squad members as well as private individuals and volunteer groups provided, and for other “donated resources,” such as free meals, bottled water and cleaning supplies. Highlands has yet to collect the hours or a donated resource list or started the paperwork.

According to the council, “we have not missed out on this yet”, however, it wasn’t explained when the drop dead date for the application actually is and why this information needed to be submitted was not collected yet.