Council reviews storm; revaluation affected

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The mayor and City Council met Wednesday evening for their regularly scheduled council meeting. It was a sparsely attended meeting, as the island was dealing with a nor’easter, the first snow of the season, and for many, post-Sandy exhaustion.

The major part of the agenda dealt with a $1,800,000 bond ordinance (2012-29) that was scheduled for a public hearing and adoption. The purpose of the bond was to “fund revenue losses associated with the tax credits granted to taxpayers for (property tax appeals).” The state has authorized local municipalities to sell bonds for up to 75 percent of their shortfall due to the loss of ratables.

Council also passed two resolutions that authorized the financing of the ordinance.

Council approved the waiver and release of a deed restriction that had been placed on property held by Temple Beth Shalom on Lot 45 in Block 3902 (44th Street). The temple had requested that the restriction be lifted so that they might sell the property. It was understood that the temple would use the proceeds for its general operating fund.

The FEMA representatives scheduled to appear were unable to do so because of the nor’easter. They are scheduled to be in Brigantine on Friday at the Community Center. Residents can call (609) 264-7350 to confirm.

City manager Jennifer Blumenthal reported that the city has waived its dumpster permit process. Council debated the lifting of rental inspection permits and plumbing and electrical permits. Council authorized the city manager to waive permit fees at her discretion after she meets with her department heads and reviews the impact.

Blumenthal also mentioned that Gov. Chris Christie has issued an executive order (107) that identifies Sandy as a tropical storm as opposed to a hurricane. This will save homeowners on their insurance deductibles.

The DEP is issuing new guidelines for rebuilding that will impact residences with bulkheads, etc. Homeowners should contact the city engineer’s office for guidance.

A major point of discussion for council dealt with the havoc that Sandy has wrought on the current revaluation.

“Sandy has compromised our revaluation process,” said Blumenthal.

Properties that have been inspected may need to be reinspected. North-end properties that have been declared condemned will have changes in their revaluation. It is possible, if not probable, that the revaluation might be delayed a year until 2014 before it impacts the city tax base. It is also probable that property owners will appeal based on damage to their properties. Councilmen DeLucry and Pullella will join the mayor in reviewing the impact.

During public comment, the only real issue discussed had to deal with the confusing communication coming out of City Hall during the storm. The mayor and city manager confirmed that the city is developing a new website to allow real-time communication.

“Currently we use an outside contractor for our website, but recently decided to have Lt. Tim Reed from the Police Department develop a new site,” Blumenthal said.

Reed has been widely complimented for the police department’s website, Facebook page and the use of Nixle, reverse 911 and other updates to the city’s means of communication. The police department became the main portal for island updates during the storm.

The new city website will be able to be updated in real time, which Blumenthal said would allow immediate communication.

The next regularly scheduled meeting is 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5 in council chambers at City Hall. There is a possibility that there might be an emergency council meeting Wednesday, Nov. 21. The meeting agenda and supporting documents are available online at www.brigantinebeachnj.com prior to the meeting.

The Beachcomber News, as Brigantine’s official newspaper of record, publishes all city legal notices.

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