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July 3 Fireworks

Ignoring Jim Bean and others’ requests to post-pone discussion of hot-button issues like the budget and the beachfront redevelopment to a date that would be more convenient to the citizenry, Mayor-in-a-Hurry Matt Doherty packed the agenda so full that the meeting on Wednesday lasted until 10:30 PM.  The way I see it is that if you wanted to have the maximum public input on two important and contentious issues, you wouldn’t schedule public hearings for them on the night of July 3.  Apparently the mayor sees it the same way.

The meeting got underway with the opening ceremonies including the introduction of Belmar’s first borough employee-of-the-month winner.  I don’t know if having an employee-of-the-month award is such a good idea.  We have a program like that for the warehouse workers at my office and there’s always a lot of grumbling about it being political.  If we can’t keep politics out of an auto parts warehouse, how are they going to keep it out of Borough Hall?  Anyway, it’s the hardworking taxpayer that makes all of it possible, so I suggest we have a taxpayer-of-the-month program instead.

Before the presentation of the new pavilions began, the mayor decided to make it political by going into a rant about some flyers that were distributed by some citizen activists encouraging people to attend.  I haven’t seen one of the flyers and had no prior knowledge that they were to be handed out but from what I understand they contained two inaccuracies which Doherty characterized as “completely misleading, deceptive and dishonest”.  The mayor should have shown some restraint when addressing these flyers that were created and distributed by concerned constituents.  He should not have attacked the authors but instead simply addressed the inaccuracies, which I am certain were unintentional, and actually one of the two was the borough’s fault.

I guess the flyer said something about Doherty re-scheduling the development hearing from July 10 to the inconvenient night of July 3.  So the mayor huffed and puffed that everyone knows the meetings are on the first and third Wednesdays, and not the second Wednesday, which would have been July 10.  But the mayor did recently cancel a scheduled July 17 meeting.  And for a period of time before that meeting was cancelled there was an apparent typo on the borough website that showed a meeting scheduled for July 10!  I’ve spoken to more than one person who saw it before they pulled it down.

Please read the following email exchanges:

On Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 2:52 PM, Jim Bean <> wrote:

Mayor, I see that there is a meeting scheduled for July 3rd and July 10th. If the budget is going to be voted on and the plans for the buildings on the boardwalk are going to be discussed and voted on at the July 3rd meeting, I am ask that you please cancel the July 3rd meeting and move everything to the July 10th meeting. I believe it is only fair for the voters to be given a chance to have their voices heard before these votes and the evening before a major summer holiday is not fair to the citizens ofBelmar when such important decisions are being made.
On Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 3:13 PM, Claudio, April <> wrote:

I had sent out an email a few weeks ago that the July 10th and August 21st meetings would be cancelled and we would only be meeting once a month.  So our meetings are only July 3rd and August 7th as of right now.

On Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 3:42 PM, Jim Bean <> wrote:
On the Belmar website calendar, there is still a meeting scheduled for July 10th.  Since it is still posted I suggest moving it.
From: “Claudio, April” <>
Date: June 27, 2013 3:51:43 PM EDT
To: Jim Bean <>
Subject: Re: July 3rd meeting.
 I removed it from the website. A notice was already sent to the newspapers cancelling those two meetings.
On Jul 2, 2013, at 3:34 PM, “Claudio, April” <> wrote:
 Just to clarify, there was never a meeting for July 10th. The second meeting would have been July 17th which is the one that was cancelled. The meetings are always the first and third Wednesday.  
On Tue, Jul 2, 2013 at 3:53 PM, Jim Bean <> wrote:
That’s understood, but on the website there was one for July 10. Didnt know what it was for. Mayor changes stuff all the time. Could of been another change
From: “Claudio, April” <>
Date: July 2, 2013 4:00:36 PM EDT
To: Jim Bean <>
Subject: Re: July 3rd meeting.
 I just think that was a typo and it should have been the 17th. I don’t know anything about a July 10th date. 
So how can the mayor say that the flyer was “completely misleading, deceptive and dishonest” with all this confusion about the now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t July 10 meeting date?
The other inaccuracy in the flyer was something about the buildings’ elevations and I am certain that it, too, was an honest mistake and not any sort of deception.  If the mayor was to bring up the flyer at all he should have just corrected the errors and not attacked the people involved in it who are only trying to be active citizens.
The presentation itself was similar to the one given on June 20.  They incorporated many of the suggestions given that night except for my idea of building beach lockers into the 5 feet of dead space created by the elevation of the buildings.  It would be a shame if several dozen families lost the opportunity to finally have a beach locker simply because the council didn’t like the source of the suggestion.  So I brought it up again Wednesday.  I also speculated that buildings over 40 feet high would put a sizable portion of the sand into the shade in the afternoons.  I don’t believe that had occurred to anybody.  Anyway, if you weren’t at the meeting I suggest you watch the videos of it I provided.
Also on the agenda was the budget presentation.  Again, I strongly suggest watching the video if you’re interested in it.
I am aware that some of the visual aids on the screen are a little hard to make out in the video, so I have provided digitally-enhanced versions of the most important ones here:
Projected Revenues:
Projected Expenditures:
The Beach Utility:
And, of course, the Debt Statement:


  1. mark wrote:

    Regarding beach lockers under the buildings…while this would be a good convenience and revenue-generator, we need to be careful. The space under the buildings must respect the ability to allow water to freely pass through. Obstructions (and contents) that may limit water flow can result in damage to the buildings or boardwalk. With adequate warning, maybe lockers can be removed in time, but we need to be sure having lockers underneath does not add risk of damage to structures above.

    Monday, July 8, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink
  2. admin wrote:

    Good point.

    Monday, July 8, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

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