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BU Lawsuit Lowdown

Some stuff you might want to know:

The suit brought on behalf of the beach utility was originally scheduled to be heard this week but was pushed to this coming Tuesday so new attorney Bill Northgrave could prepare to take over the case.  A decision is expected week after next.  It is being heard by Superior Court Judge Katie A. Gummer.

The outcome will be critical to the pavilion bond vote since the lawsuit, if successful, would deny the administration over 80% of the funds it planned to use to pay off the bond.  If that happens, and the voters know about it, the results of the referendum would probably be even more lopsided than last year.  The folks don’t want to pay for it.  They have other priorities.  If it’s free that’s one thing.  If we have to pay…..fuggetaboutit.

Here is the suit if you want to see it again:Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 4.16.50 AM

Here is what I know about the current status:

The list of bills from Partner Engineering has been sorted through and the two parties have agreed on which are to paid by the beach utility and which are the borough’s responsibility.  That issue is settled.

The complaint against the ordinance that doubled the parking fees is not settled.  The plaintiffs argue that the high cost discriminates against beach goers in favor of the residents and also that the extra revenue is not needed because the beach utility already collects enough revenue.  Traditionally the utility got 60% off the parking revenue and the borough 40%, however now with the new electronic meters we can determine what time of day each payment was made.  Since the idea is that the beach should get the revenues from when the beach is open and the town should get the revenues from when the beach is closed, we no longer have to guess what the proper allocation should be.  That will help clear at least that issue out of the way, but the high hourly rate is still an issue.

The Partner bills and the parking fees have nothing to do with the pavilion bond question.  But the other three issues in the suit are make or break for it.  The borough had argued that the case was not yet “ripe”, in other words that they can’t be sued until they actually start spending the money.  Judge Gummer ruled against the borough on that issue this week because once the borough is ready to start spending the money it will be too late to stop them.


The $727,000 in Buy-a-Board money is still out there.  From what I’ve heard, Gummer seemed skeptical that simply passing a rider saying they can spend the donations on things other than boards was sufficient grounds for using the money for building a pavilion with it instead.  If she decides that the funds were donated to buy “actual” boards like the promotions said, that money belongs to beach goers and should be put towards paying off the boardwalk construction bond.  That portion of money that was to be used for the pavilion bond debt would then have to be covered by the taxpayers.

The $484,000 insurance payment we received for the 10th Ave. pavilion is also an issue.  (Actually, it was $242,000 for the north wing of the building and $242,000 for the south wing.)  The building was rebuilt after the 1992 nor’easter with the entire project paid for by the beach utility.  The way the town’s bills are sorted and paid makes it not totally clear who was paying the insurance premiums on the property, but I don’t think it’s going to matter since it was the beach goers that paid the rebuilding cost.

Next and last is the FEMA bucks.

Here is what FEMA has committed to, at least as of last year.  The numbers may change, or may have already changed, but these are roughly the numbers the administration is using to get to its $4.1 million tax-free pavilion claim:Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 4.06.07 PM copy

The BU is claiming 100% of the FEMA money for the 8th Ave. pavilion (since it also paid for its rebuilding after the 1992 storm), 100% of both 10th Ave. pavilion buildings, and 60% of the 13th Ave. pavilion money. The 5th Ave. pavilion doesn’t need to be allocated because the new building will be used the same way as the old building.  That would leave the borough with a little under  $745,000 from FEMA.

Here’s something else I bet you didn’t know: In 2012 the state DEP issued a new regulation saying beach fees could not be used to pay for anything other than basic support amenities for the beach and specifically excludes “additional amenities such as cabanas, pools and restaurants.”  This means that the borough would have to pay to build any food concessions at any of the pavilions, including the 10th Ave. pavilion.  The only bright side is we would get to keep all rents we collect rather than have to split them with the beach utility.

My question is: if the borough ends up with no Buy-a-Board money, no insurance money and only a small percentage of the FEMA money…but still wins the referendum vote…will they build the pavilion anyway but at taxpayer expense?


  1. linlee wrote:

    Good question, Admin. Hmmm .. would rampant ego and ambition be mitigated by common sense and genuine concern for constituents financial well-being. You know, its Saturday night and I don’t want to dwell on depressing probabilities. Have a good holiday weekend everyone.

    Saturday, October 10, 2015 at 6:49 pm | Permalink
  2. Codenforcer wrote:

    Points taken. If there is a Yes win (highly unlikely for sure) we will have a lot of residents moving out of their houses for the summer with their furniture safe in storage and the guess what happens… Animal House redux.

    The whole town can be someone else’s oyster when that breakdown occurs. Who could afford the outrageous tax increases we will have to pay? After all, no one can rely on any campaign flyers, taxpayer’s paid letters from the borough, or blowhard rhetorical statements because they carry no weight. Just insignificant words, no substance. Narcissistic empty campaign strategies.

    Let the mayhem begin in your neighborhood.

    Saturday, October 10, 2015 at 8:56 pm | Permalink
  3. Voter wrote:

    I think the lawsuit decision could sanction the Borough regarding the parking fees lost due to arbitrary lack of correct payments to the BUF retroactively for years. Likewise with the interest accumulating from the non payment of the buy a board money to pay off the remaining boardwalk debt. It will be seriously problematic addressing the past accounting errors and financially devastating to taxpayers moving forward if the pavilions are built. We must know the amount it will cost taxpayers to build the pavilions. We just finished paying off the debt from rebuilding the pavilions lost in a hurricane in the early 1990’s.

    Saturday, October 10, 2015 at 9:57 pm | Permalink
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    READ every word carefully. Your decision making will be so clear. No smoke and mirrors here.

    Monday, October 12, 2015 at 7:53 am | Permalink

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