5 Things From Last Week’s Council Meeting

5 1.  T&M spoke about their work with FEMA and what was needed to start the work to repair the community center. They estimate the cost to just repair and waterproof  the building back to its pre-Sandy condition to be $800k, which they believe Highlands should be reimbursed up to 90% by FEMA. Side note, in Oct 2013, the costs to rebuild and waterproof the community center was quoted at $300k.

2. Tom Smith was voted in as Highlands new municipal Judge. Mr. Smith is a past president of the Monmouth Bar Association, former municipal prosecutor and the current public defender in Highlands as well as two other New Jersey municipalities.  Side note: there is now a resolution requisitioning a new Public Defender R-15-095

3. New Parking Rules are now on Portland Road. 0-15-16 was passed that amends Section 7-3.4, to allow parking on Portland Road between Highland Avenue and Hillside Avenue, with the exception of parking ten (10) feet from a fire hydrant, twenty-five (25) feet from an intersection and fifty (50) feet from a stop sign. Further, it prohibits parking on Portland Road at all times in those areas not designated above, with the exception of the east side of Portland Road at the area one hundred and twenty-four (124) feet south of the utility pole identified as BT40103hb to forty (40) feet north of the utility pole identified as B7224;

4.  Nancy O’Neil submitted her resignation from the construction office and it was accepted. The town is actively looking for a P/T replacement. Not being able to backfill the position immediately could slow down the permitting process for those residents trying to lift this spring/summer.  Interested applicants should submit an application and resume to the Borough Hall located at 42 Shore Drive, Highlands.

5. Speaking of procrastination, the council tabled the following to a future date: “R-15-91” A Resolution Authorizing RFP’s for Website Design & Hosting Services, “0-15-15” an Ordinance Prohibiting Certain Animals, “0-15-13” an Ordinance to Exceed Budget Appropriation Limits, and the rewording of “R-14-220” which requires disclaimers from all employees, agents, volunteers when posting on the Highlands NJ Facebook page as well as all other Social Media.

These are only 5 of the items discussed in April 1st council meeting. To view the whole meeting, please view online.

8 thoughts on “5 Things From Last Week’s Council Meeting

  1. barbara iannucci

    Who’s on first, What’s on second, I don’t know on third! So many fixes you just don’t know where to start. The Community center is a positive start that residents are willing and able to help pull off. I have been trying to contact SRO (Sandy Recovery Office) to no avail (number not in service!) to find out if FEMA funding caps off per municipality. I need a qualified answer to this question since it was raised at an old council meeting by our Boro Administrator that if Highlands uses the $$ for the Community Center they would jeopardize the amount of $$$ available for Town Hall. True or False?

    I am concerned about conflicts with our newly appointed judge, since he has been our prosecuting attorney for 16 years. This leaves our town open to the issue of conflict of a sitting judge to hear specific cases (causing a need for a backup). I do not see that as a wise choice. The appointment of other very competent candidates would have eliminated that scenario. Time will tell, as I was told by our council attorney Bruce Padula – who I am sure was a legal sounding board on which way the council should go for that appointment.


  2. Jen

    I have been told that the website RFP resolution will be done at the next meeting. There was a minor bureaucratic detail that needed to be fixed.


  3. barbara iannucci

    I need to make a correction for my first comment: Tom Smith was Highlands ‘Public Defender’ for 16 years … not prosecuting attorney. Same concerns re: conflicts remain however.


    1. NJView

      I am an attorney. I am not sure how being a public defender here, causes a conflict in becoming the judge. It may actually be more efficient- someone who already knows the in and outs of the borough. There are not many, (if any), criminal cases where he was formerly defending the accused and has to now ‘step aside’ in that person’s case. Such cases usually wrap up pretty quickly in one or two hearings.
      We used to have a judge who was a DUI defendant and had to step aside on all DUI’s for awhile and yet, he was still reappointed! Tom Smith is a generally nice person and for once, someone is on the bench who was not part of the “prosecution” side of the system. This was a good, quality choice, IMHO.


  4. duncan mccleod

    Regarding the ordinance prohibiting certain animals…. what is meant by “fowl”. Generally the word refers to wild or game birds, but can also possibly refer to ALL birds. As written it seems possible that residents could be fined for having pet birds such as canaries, finches parrots etc. Would this be true??


    1. Admin Post author

      I believe it was meant to refer to wild or game birds. However, there were people that wanted to explore having chickens, so it got postponed.


  5. NJView

    Why would this town even think to “prohibit” chickens- as long as roosters did not disturb the peace and conditions were sanitary.
    Cutting edge places such as Brooklyn etc, all are supporting local-source farming. Bees, chickens, are all part of that. Let’s move out of the stone age positive ordinances allowing this will be a small way to help attract more forward thinking people to this area- not turn them off.
    Who is pushing for an ‘anti chicken’ ordinance anyway-??
    Let’s face it, Highlands is not going to be Rumson anytime soon- it is smarter to follow the lead of alternative up and coming cities such as Brooklyn, Oakland, etc-affordbale housing, creative ways to do business (in homes) airBnB support for tourism alternatives, and yes, even people who want to raise a few chickens for fresh eggs.


  6. duncan mcleod

    Ok this is an easy question to answer. one of two possibilities 1) a buddy of someone on council has a grudge against a neighbor with one of the so called offending animals so strings were pulled. or 2) a back door way to prohibit animals not specifically mentioned in the proposed ordinance. Its a shame this council has to be baby sat by groups of concerned citizens. But they have a reputation for sneaking things by, and not listening to the public. Being a very long time resident of the town, I have NO idea of where the mentioned animals are a problem in the town.


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