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SENATE, No. 648

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2014 SESSION

 

Sponsored by:

Senator  MICHAEL J. DOHERTY

District 23 (Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren)

SYNOPSIS

Blocks beach fees in shore municipalities accepting certain government provided beach replenishment funding and dedicates two percent of taxable receipts under the sales and use tax collected in the shore municipalities to the shore municipalities.

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

AN ACT blocking beach fees in shore municipalities accepting certain government provided beach replenishment funding and dedicating two percent of taxable receipts under the sales and use tax collected in the shore municipalities to the shore municipalities, amending P.L.1955, c.49 and supplementing chapter 61 of Title 40 of the Revised Statutes.

BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

1.    Section 1 of P.L.1955, c.49 (C.40:61-22.20) is amended to read as follows:

1.    a. The governing body of any municipality bordering on the Atlantic Ocean, tidal water bays or rivers which owns or shall acquire, by any deed of dedication or otherwise, lands bordering on the ocean, tidal water bays or rivers, or easement rights therein, for a place of resort for public health and recreation and for other public purposes shall have the exclusive control, government and care thereof and of any boardwalk, bathing and recreational facilities, safeguards and equipment, now or hereafter constructed or provided thereon, and may, by ordinance, make and enforce rules and regulations for the government and policing of such lands, boardwalk, bathing facilities, safeguards and equipment; provided, that such power of control, government, care and policing shall not be construed in any manner to exclude or interfere with the operation of any State law or authority with respect to such lands, property and facilities. [Any] Except as provided in subsection d. of this section, any such municipality may, in order to provide funds to improve, maintain and police the same and to protect the same from erosion, encroachment and damage by sea or otherwise, and to provide facilities and safeguards for public bathing and recreation, including the employment of lifeguards, by ordinance, make and enforce rules and regulations for the government, use, maintenance and policing thereof and provide for the charging and collecting of reasonable fees for the registration of persons using said lands and bathing facilities, for access to the beach and bathing and recreational grounds so provided and for the use of the bathing and recreational facilities, but no such fees shall be charged or collected from children under the age of 12 years.

b.    A municipality may by ordinance provide that no fees, or reduced fees, shall be charged to:

(1)  persons 65 or more years of age;

(2)  persons who meet the disability criteria for disability benefits under Title II of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. s.401 et seq.);

(3)  persons in active military service in any of the Armed Forces of the United States and to their spouse or dependent children over the age of 12 years; and

(4)  persons who are active members of the New Jersey National Guard who have completed Initial Active Duty Training and to their spouse or dependent children over the age of 12 years. As used in this paragraph, “Initial Active Duty Training” means Basic Military Training, for members of the New Jersey Air National Guard, and Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training, for members of the New Jersey Army National Guard.

c.    A municipality providing for no fees or reduced fees pursuant to paragraph (3) or (4) of subsection b. of this section shall track, in a manner deemed appropriate by the governing body of the municipality, the number of persons who qualify under the provisions of those paragraphs.

d.    (1) On or after November 1, 2012, any municipality that accepts federal or State grants or aid for the purpose of replenishing storm-damaged beaches shall not adopt or enforce ordinances to collect fees pursuant to subsection a. of this section.

(2)  Every municipality that accepts federal or State grants or aid for the purpose of replenishing storm-damaged beaches shall be required to provide free public toilet facilities for persons using the beach during the period of time from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

(3)  If the Director of the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs determines that a municipality is not complying with the provisions of this subsection, the director shall not approve the budget of that municipality, as required by N.J.S.40A:4-78, until the budget is properly amended, and may subject the members of the governing body to the penalty provisions of section 52 of P.L.1947, c.151 (C.52:27BB-52).

(cf: P.L.2011, c.75, s.1)

2.    (New section)  a.  There is established in the General Fund a special fund to be known as “The Shore Municipalities’ Sales and Use Tax Collection Fund.”  An amount equal to the revenue derived from a tax rate imposed pursuant to the “Sales and Use Tax Act,” P.L.1966, c.30 (C.54:32B-1 et seq.), of two percent in shore municipalities shall be monthly credited from the General Fund to “The Shore Municipalities’ Sales and Use Tax Collection Fund.”

b.    (1)  For purposes of determining the amount of sales and use tax revenue attributable to the imposition of the sales and use tax in a shore municipality, the Director of the Division of Taxation shall base the determination on the place of business from which a unit of sales and use tax revenue is reported.

(2)  The director may provide for an alternative method of determining the amount of sales and use tax revenue attributable to the imposition of the sales and use tax in a shore municipality if a unit of sales and use tax revenue is attributable to the imposition of the sales and use tax upon a taxable transaction that:

(a)   is not associated with a place of business; or

(b)  is attributable to a line of business for which the place of business attribution method does not accurately reflect the origin of a unit of sales and use tax revenue.

c.    The Legislature shall annually appropriate all monies credited to “The Shore Municipalities’ Sales and Use Tax Collection Fund” for distribution to shore municipalities.  The Legislature’s annual appropriation of “The Shore Municipalities’ Sales and Use Tax Collection Fund” balance shall be distributed on a monthly basis wherein distributions of reported collections occur no later than the twentieth day of the month following the due date of the report.  The monthly distribution shall provide each shore municipality with an amount equal to the sales and use tax revenue deposited in “The Shore Municipalities’ Sales and Use Tax Collection Fund” that is attributable to the imposition of the sales and use tax in that shore municipality from the most recently reported sales and use tax period that precedes the date of distribution.  For purposes of determining the amount of the distribution for a shore municipality the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting shall rely on the Director of the Division of Taxation’s method of determining the amount of sales and use tax revenue attributable to the imposition of the sales and use tax in a shore municipality pursuant to subsection b. of this section.

d.    As used in this section:

“Shore municipalities” mean municipalities with governing bodies authorized to make and enforce rules and regulations by ordinance pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1955, c.49 (C.40:61-22.20), concerning municipal authority to regulate beaches.

3.    This act shall take effect immediately and section 2 shall apply to State fiscal years beginning on or after the date of enactment.

 

STATEMENT

 

This bill blocks beach fees in shore municipalities accepting certain government provided beach replenishment funding and dedicates two percent of taxable receipts collected under the sales and use tax in the shore municipalities to the shore municipalities of origin.  The purpose of this bill is twofold: (i) open beaches that are supported by public funding to the public; and (ii) to supplant shore municipalities beach fee revenue streams with sales and use tax revenue attributable to shore related commerce.

The bill prevents shore municipalities that accept federal or State aid to replenish beaches damaged by storms from collecting beach fees. The bill’s beach fee prohibition applies to fees imposed through the sale of beach tags or otherwise.  From a technical perspective, the bill blocks the enforceability and adoption of municipal beach fee ordinances.

The bill also requires shore municipalities that accept federal or State aid to replenish beaches damaged by storms to provide free restroom access for beach goers from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

The bill includes penalty provisions for municipalities that violate the restrictions on beach fees and restroom access.  The bill requires the Director of the Division of Local Government Services to disapprove of a municipal budget that violates the bill’s beach fee and restroom access requirements until revised accordingly.  The bill also grants the director discretionary authority to apply N.J.S.A.52:27BB-52 penalties to noncompliant municipal governing body members, which penalties include fines, jail time, and office forfeiture.

To supplant the loss of revenue from the beach fee prohibition, the bill calls upon the Legislature to annually appropriate two percent of the taxable receipts collected under the sales and use tax in shore municipalities back to those shore municipalities.  The bill establishes “The Shore Municipalities’ Sales and Use Tax Collection Fund,” which is where the two percent of the taxable receipts from shore municipalities is to be credited.  The bill calls for the distribution of funds to shore municipalities to occur on a monthly basis wherein distributions follow collections by one month.

The bill’s method of determining the municipality of origin associated with sales and use tax revenue is based on the registered place of business associated with a sales and use tax return report.  However, the bill does allow the Director of the Division of Taxation to devise other methods of determining the municipality of origin for sales and use tax revenue where the place of business method is inaccurate due to the absence of a place of business or the nature of the underlying line of business associated with the transaction.

The bill takes effect immediately, except that the provisions calling upon the Legislature to appropriate two percent of the taxable receipts collected under the sales and use tax in shore municipalities back to those shore municipalities applies to State fiscal years beginning on or after the date of enactment.

 

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So even if Judge Lawson allows us to use badge revenue to pay for most of the $7 million pavilion construction bond, it won’t do us any good if there’s no such thing as beach badges anymore.  We might be able to get the money from the proposed redirection of sales tax money, but maybe not.  Maybe Christie will just veto it.  We don’t know.

We should table the bond ordinance until we see where this goes.  Of course pulling the bond off the agenda of the next council meeting would be politically problematic.  And the scheduled April 25 meeting at which the bond was supposed to be passed has already been postponed until May 1 (a Thursday?!)

(So far this year four borough council meetings have been cancelled.)

Redevelopment Trial Was Today

Eyewitness account:

Dave:
I thought Ed and Kenny did a fine job this morning. Basically, they focused on “blight” as allowing a municipality to designate an area,and the most recent definition NJ Supreme Court in that case Galletin vs….. Boro redevelopment atty Bill Northgrave argued that blight still exists since the pavilions have not been rebuilt…………….Judge Lawson’s decision will be forthcoming.

*

Lawrence Lawson.  Great name for a judge.

Don’t Know About Agenda 21?

Well maybe you should because Belmar is in it!

Please Google it and read about it.  It’s not real good.

Basically, it’s a plan, in the name of “global sustainability”, to do away with national sovereignty, personal sovereignty, property rights, free markets and even representative democracy and have the U.N. decide everything for all of us.  It would eventually pretty much eliminate everything that makes America special including our Constitution.  Even many rational Democrats are strongly opposing it.

Agenda 21′s outreach to local governments is called the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, or ICLEI.   It is also called “Local Governments for Sustainability“.

Here is a link to their FAQ page where they try to debunk what they call “conspiracy theories circulated about ICLEI and Agenda 21″.  After reading it, I am actually more convinced than ever that the ICLEI and Agenda 21 are serious threats to our American way of life.

Ocean County reacted to this U.N. plot to control the world by passing a 2012 resolution condemning Agenda 21 in very strong terms.

Belmar reacted too.  We became one of only seven towns in New Jersey crazy enough to have joined the ICLEI.  (Not sure what year.)

New   Jersey

  • Belmar
  • Clifton
  • Eatontown
  • Hamilton
  • Maplewood
  • Marlboro
  • Newark

As a matter of fact, our borough clerk is listed as a contact on the ICLEI website for any towns thinking of joining in the fun:

Click here

 

You know some of us in town still believe in the traditional American values of individual liberty, property rights, personal responsibility and non-negotiable national sovereignty.  We would prefer Belmar not be a part of anybody’s progressive, one-world government dream.

17th

PolitickerNJ’s Labor Power List 2014

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It Was A Gala Night

Which is fine with me.  At my age I don’t think I can handle more than a gal-a-night!

You Can Read It In The Thursday Paper

Read All About It!

While most news junkies wait with anticipation for the Sunday papers, we inhabitants of Planet Belmar find Thursday to be the big news day.  Thursday, of course, is the day the Coast Star is published.

This week’s edition contained a few interesting stories that are probably more important than the smoking one which I’ve already written about.  (I wrote about that one first because I was in it.)

There’s three, actually, of particular interest to observers of Belmar’s governmental affairs.  Let’s have a look at them.

The big story is about the trio of lawsuits against the mayor’s beachfront plans.

Redevelopment lawsuit expected to be heard this coming Tuesday

Two other lawsuits pending rest on outcome of this lawsuit

BELMAR — Monmouth County Superior Court Assignment Judge Lawrence Lawson is expected to hear the case that will determine whether the borough’s designation of the beachfront as one in need of redevelopment is valid next week.

The court case stems from several lawsuits that were filed against the borough as it unveiled its plan to rebuild two of the four beachfront pavilions, all of which were damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

The lawsuits were filed by several residents in town, and all are being represented by Pringle Quinn Anzano. Former Belmar Mayor Ken Pringle is a partner in the firm.

The first lawsuit has to do with whether the borough’s designation of the beachfront, which is owned by the municipality, as one in need of redevelopment is a valid claim.

The second lawsuit seeks to compel the borough to comply with a petition filed on Sept. 18, 2013, with the borough, seeking to give Belmar voters an opportunity to vote via referendum on whether to incur the debt for the two new, planned pavilions at the beachfront.

The third lawsuit questions the legality of putting such debt solely on the beachfront utility, using flood insurance proceeds and increasing badge fees to pay for the pavilions.

The bond referendum and beach utility fund lawsuits will not be resolved until the lawsuit asserting whether the beachfront was lawfully designated as one in need of redevelopment is resolved, as the other two rest on that issue.

The issues could come to a close soon as the redevelopment lawsuit is expected to be heard on April 15 in Freehold.

Mr. Pringle said on Tuesday he is unsure of the scope of the court appearance and whether the judge is going to rule on the issue, or want to hear testimony………….

I’m not really sure why the suits about the funding of the 5th Ave and 10th Ave pavilions hinge on the outcome of the redevelopment lawsuit.  The issue regarding the use of beach revenues to construct what is being billed as a community center would be there regardless of the outcome of the redevelopment suit.  And I don’t believe the proposed $7 million (!) bond that “Let the Citizens Decide” is demanding a referendum on was taken out under redevelopment law.  The redevelopment issue is really about what’s going to happen at 8th and 13th Avenues and whether the town can legally claim the extraordinary powers it wants in directing what is done there and who gets to do it.  

If anyone can explain, please comment.

BTW, the second council meeting for April was supposed to take place this Tuesday, just a few hours after the court hearing.  That meeting has been cancelled.  This is the fourth month in a row that one of the two council meetings we’re supposed to have each month has been cancelled.  This is really starting to be a problem.  (I wonder if it’s even legal.)

Another big story is about the (non) investigation into the missing gift cards:

Gift card investigation ongoing

$9,050 in gift cards meant for Belmar Elem. still unaccounted for

BELMAR — Where more than $9,000 in gift cards meant for Belmar Elementary School [BES] families went is still a mystery, more than two months after Councilman Jim Bean first brought it to the borough’s attention.

Soon after Hurricane Sandy hit in October 2012, the Borough of Belmar purchased $20,000 worth of ShopRite gift cards with donations to dole out to residents in need — $17,000 of which was meant for Belmar Elementary School [BES] students and their families.

However, when Councilman Bean filed an Open Public Records Act [OPRA] request to see how many of the cards were given to BES, there was a discrepancy in how many cards the school said it received and how many the borough recorded as going to the school.

According to the OPRA requests, Belmar Elementary School received $7,950 in gift cards while the Borough of Belmar said it gave the school $17,000 in gift cards — figures Councilman Bean said he had both entities double or triple check………

……..The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office is currently investigating the matter with the help of the Belmar Police Department………

I donated $250 to the borough’s Pay-pal account on November 12, 2012.  At the time, I thought it was going to be used to help pay some of the town’s clean-up expenses.  Had I known it was going to be used to buy gift cards I never would have sent it in.  Anyway, about a week later then-administrator Bill Young bought the cards.  I think it’s safe to assume that half of my contribution is part of the nearly half of the gift cards that have gone missing.  

: (

The last story I want to talk about is the mayor’s plan to replace the old Seaport Redevelopment Plan with a new seaport redevelopment plan.

Advisory Committee created to discuss redevelopment plan

Intent is to scrap current plan, create new one that works for the town

BELMAR — In search of a new redevelopment plan that will work for the borough, an 11-member advisory committee has been created to brainstorm ideas for the new plan.

The creation of the committee was approved unanimously at a recent council meeting, and will consist of people in different professions, such as business owners, planning board members, engineers and developers, all of which can bring different ideas to the table.

Earlier this year, Mayor Matt Doherty announced the borough would be scrapping its current Seaport Redevelopment Plan, which was created in 2003, and replacing it with a new one………

 As you know, I’m against most government planning.  I think that as long as folks don’t plan to be a nuisance to their neighbors, they should plan themselves what they want to do with their own property.  

Aside from the moral problems inherent in government telling people what may be done with private property, government planning doesn’t work the majority of the time.  The old plan didn’t work and I doubt the new one will either.

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal provides us with just the latest example of government planning failing in spectacular fashion:

Newark’s Effort to Revive America’s Pastime Appears on Verge of Failure

Attending Baseball Games in City’s $34 Million Stadium Often Felt Like an Eerie Trip to Solitude

NEWARK—Attending baseball games in the gleaming, $34 million stadium built to fuel an urban revival here often felt like an eerie trip to solitude.

“I went to games and there might have been 40 or 50 people,” said Robert Swansen, 55 years old. “It was, like, mortifying. You’d be clapping and you’d be the only ones there.”

So it came as little surprise to the few die-hard fans that Newark’s effort to revive America’s pastime appears on the verge of failure. The Newark Bears’ latest owners plan to auction the naming rights, the 56-passenger bus, the John Deere tractors and even the beer taps later this month.

“It was just not possible to keep going,” said co-owner Danielle Dronet. “Newark just isn’t the kind of community where you can enjoy a game and walk around and have a drink or dinner after. We couldn’t make it work.”

That no professional baseball will be played inside Newark’s Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium leaves broader questions for Essex County and the city of Newark, which share more than $2 million in annual-debt obligations, according to county spokesman Anthony Puglisi. Taxpayers funded construction of the stadium………..

………Scott Rosner, a sports-business expert at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, said news of the auction “couldn’t have been what they were hoping for” when building the stadium.

Local Mayors For Marge?……Why?

From Wednesday’s Trentonian:

 

— Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson received an endorsement from 11 New Jersey mayors, including the city’s own George Muschal.

The list announced this week includes Matt Doherty of Belmar, Janice Kovach of Clinton, Cathleen M. Lewis of Lawrence, Pasquale Menna of Red Bank, Janice S. Mironov of East Windsor Township, Michael B. Ryan of Lake Como, Vanessa Sandom of Hopewell Township, Shing-Fu Hsueh of West Windsor, Bert Steinmann of Ewing and Barbara A. Wallace of Washington Township.

“I am honored to be recognized for the work that we’ve done over the last four years to make Trenton a better place, and this kind of support makes it easier to get cooperation from other municipalities to get difficult issues resolved.” Caldwell-Wilson said.

Ready?

The group called “Mayors for Marge” cited many achievements of the North Ward councilwoman, such as the Pre-Apprenticeship program that Caldwell-Wilson spearheaded with the Trenton Housing Authority and organized labor to provide Trenton residents with a pathway to employment in skilled trades, the press release states………

Meet The Author

I will be making a rare public appearance tonight from 6:30 to 8:00 at the Tasty Bean coffee shop in Belmar Plaza.  Doors open at 6:00.

I will be available to sign autographs, book contracts, and IOUs.

BTW, there will be a couple of other guys there too.  Their names are Jim Beam or Bean or something and Mike Seaboat.  Or is it Seebeck?  Something about council or mayor or something.

 

Steaming About Smoking

Coast Star is running a story about the dual proposals, one a local ordinance, the other a state initiative, to have an outright ban on smoking at public beaches.  Author Haley Behre was kind enough to call me for my opinion and reported my comments thusly:

……….The (state) fine would be not less than $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense.  (Can you believe that?  A thousand dollars?  For smoking a cigarette?)

The bill, which is currently pending in the Senate, was approved by the state assembly last month.

Belmar resident Dave Schneck, who is a longtime smoker, said he has only used the designated smoking area on Belmar’s beach once and he was hit by a volleyball.  (It hurt)

“For many adults my age who choose to smoke this has been a perfectly legal thing for us to do for a great majority of our lives,” so for “younger people who aren’t smokers, that don’t know what it’s like to be a smoker, have no understanding of it, no experience of it” to come along in a “capricious manner” and ban it “displays a total lack of empathy,” he said.

Having the ban will make smokers choose between going to the beach and smoking, Mr. Schneck said, adding that having smokers cross Ocean Avenue or stand in the road to smoke in the summer is dangerous.  (Would they be considered “smoking-related” deaths?)

“For me, if I can’t smoke on the beach I don’t even know if I want to go,” he said.

He also said the arguments that banning smoking reduces litter and second-hand smoke “don’t really hold any water,” because he sees more bottle caps than cigarette butts and some smokers, like himself, try to be courteous of those around him while smoking.

As for the ordinance amendment, Mr. Schneck said it “really has no bearing on me” because he smokes near the water, where he says the borough has no jurisdiction.

Lisa Ryan, spokesperson for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, said, “No state agency would enforce or regulate this proposed legislation. It’s a legal matter for the towns to figure out who have riparian lands [areas that are along water bodies]. It will be based on common law interpretations and statutory interpretations of their jurisdiction.”

Mr. Schneck also said he believes the statewide ban will pass because “90 percent of the people in our state government don’t understand freedom and couldn’t care less about freedom anyway.”

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 The good news is what Lisa Ryan of the DCA said.  So as long as Belmar continues to interpret their jurisdiction on riparian lands they way they currently do, I can stop complaining about this issue.  If not, and my watery sanctuary is taken away from me……………

Have Some Coffee With A Bean

And a Seebeck too.

The Bean/Seebeck campaign is having a party at the Tracy Tasty Bean and we’re all invited!

Here is their invitation:

 

Jim Bean has announced his candidacy for mayor of Belmar      

Mike Seebeck will be his running mate for council member

PLEASE JOIN US

 FRIDAY, APRIL 11TH - FROM 6PM TO 8PM

AT THE TASTY BEAN – 817 BELMAR PLAZA, BELMAR, NJ

AS WE CELEBRATE WITH JIM AND MIKE THE LAUNCH OF THEIR 2014 CAMPAIGN

BRING YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS!

LET’S TALK BELMAR OVER COFFEE AND SNACKS

THE TEAM TO TRUST