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A Fool’s Take

I considered asking to be part of the recently filed beach utility lawsuit but I thought that it might be problematic to blog about a suit that I was party to.  However I do support the suit and have some responses to the mayor’s comments in yesterday’s Coast Star article about it.

We begin:

Mayor Doherty called the lawsuit “completely frivolous” and “political nonsense.”

Where have I heard that before?

He said “only a fool” would sue the town they live in, but in this case, the plaintiffs are “politically motivated.”

People sue the towns they live in all the time.  If you break the law you should be sued.  It makes no difference where the person who is suing you lives.  Instead of attacking the motives of his adversaries and questioning their intelligence he should just answer their arguments.

Mayor Doherty said when Mr. Pringle was in office, he wanted to increase property taxes by hundreds of thousands of dollars for the taxpayers to subsidize the beach-goers.

“That’s not going to happen as long as I’m mayor,” he said.

I’m not really sure what he means by that – if Pringle wanted to raise taxes he could have raised them.  But it’s true, nobody should be forced to subsidize anybody.  So why is it OK for beach goers to subsidize property tax payers?  Beach goers should only pay for the cost of using the beach.  They should not be paying for the cost of Belmar being a resort town.  

You know, we derive a lot of benefit from being a resort town.  Consider that half the properties in town are summer homes.  The owners of these properties pay the full property tax but don’t use our schools and only use other services a few months out of the year.  And all the traffic is good for business.

Mayor Doherty said the borough’s chief financial officer is legally obligated to and always planned on reimbursing the beach utility from other funds the borough has, including water and sewer and the general fund. He also said the fund was used “because it had cash in it.”

Here he admits that what they did was illegal.  But if he did always plan to pay it back he sure kept it a secret.  Even if it were true, the beach utility is not there to make short term loans to the municipality.  Besides, the Birdsall debt was not a sudden, unexpected expense.  It’s been there for years.  Did they never plan to have money available to pay it?  Did they think they were going to get out of it completely?

“The fact that they are suing us over something we planned on doing anyway shows this is a frivolous lawsuit,” the mayor said. 

 Actually it proves the opposite.

Mayor Doherty said increasing the cost of parking from $1 to $2 was an idea of the public’s, as most people who park in that designated area are from out of town. He said the idea did not come from himself or the council, and when he heard what the public wanted, he “ran with it and passed an ordinance, and it’s going into effect this summer.”

“Their lawsuit completely ignores what the public in the Borough of Belmar wants,” he said.

Nobody in the public suggested doubling parking fees.  A few suggested raising it 25 cents or something.  That’s what they wanted.

And I guess public opinion wasn’t that important when the public didn’t want $7 million pavilions last year.

Mayor Doherty said the plaintiffs want to save the beach-goers over $700,000 (in Buy-a-Board money), instead of the taxpayers in town.  

“The beach utility is funded through monies primarily through people buying seasonal and daily badges,” the mayor said. “This money was not given to the beach utility like badge money … it was for beachfront improvements, and it did not exclude pavilions.”

 It was called “Buy a Board”, not “Buy a Beachfront Improvement”.  And the ads said it would “buy actual boards”.  

The mayor maintained that this is a politically motivated case — one he said “is a losing argument for them” —that only hurts the taxpayers.

 So the plaintiffs are politically motivated to do things that are bad for them politically.  Did it ever occur to this man that they might just be acting out of some sort of principle – like it’s not right to steal?

“Ken Pringle will continue to attempt to be relevant when he’s not,” the mayor said. “My other political opponents — while they can’t win an election, can always file a lawsuit.”

I’ll let Doherty have the last word.


  1. dizzy wrote:

    As a layman, observing and listening to this guy Doherty, I have concluded that Belmar’s mayor must have some kind of personality disorder. How the heck does he look at himself in the mirror? I suppose he does not have to be self-analytical, as he seems to have a crew of “yes, bossers” around him to affirm his thinking and actions. Anyone know a competent headshrinker? (For him, that is.)

    Friday, May 8, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink
  2. Resident wrote:

    If the mayor has a minute can he please give me some of that cash in the beach utility fund account. Just for a while maybe a couple of years I have some credit card debt and utility bills that are past due.

    Friday, May 8, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    It seems the democrats follow the Obama playbook. I will do what I want to do and if you don’t like it sue me!!!

    What a sad state we are in its all about me, and not what is in the best interest of the people.

    Friday, May 8, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink
  4. Huh? wrote:

    Has the NY media picked up on all this yet?

    Certainly seems the antics here are so unfortunately allegedly living up to the “Jersey” reputation of corruption

    Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 1:44 am | Permalink
  5. Resident too wrote:

    Looks to me like Doherty threw our CFO under the bus whe is he said our chief financial officer is legally obligated and always intended to pay back the money from other funds. Using it because it “because it had cash in it” I hope the other borough employees see the light and watch their back. Also if we are in such great shape as the mayor claims why didn’t we just use those other funds to begin with?

    Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 7:47 am | Permalink
  6. Resident wrote:

    Watch the video of the March 3 council meeting. At the end of the meeting Joy DeSanctis asks the mayor about the $925,000 payment and why the public was not made aware of the settlement. She asks what account the payment came from and he states the beach utility fund. She asks can we afford to take almost one million dollars from that account. He says yes. He never states that he is (ILLEGALLY) just taking the money from the beach utility fund as it has available cash and it will be paid back later. That was his opportunity to be forthright about the entire situation and that is why there is a lawsuit. He is backpedaling big time because he got caught. I am thankful there are residents that care about this town and watch the mayor’s excessive spending and misappropriations of the municipal accounts.

    Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 6:42 pm | Permalink
  7. Tulip wrote:

    3 cheers for Joy. She never quits. At
    Some point I would think they would give up. She won’t.

    Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

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