Long Branch City Council Addresses Pier Village 3 Audit Delays and Sidewalk Removal Concerns

The Long Branch City Council’s recent meeting on December 13, 2023, focused significantly on Pier Village 3 audit delays, with members of the public expressing concern over the lack of transparency and accountability. In addition, a resident raised a issue regarding the unauthorized removal of her sidewalk by a contractor, which the council vowed to resolve.

A significant portion of the meeting was dominated by a detailed public query from resident Vinent Laor regarding the delay in audits for Pier Village phase three. Laor expressed frustration at the extension of the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) response date, questioning City Attorney, Mr. Martin, about the delay and the city’s handling of the Pier Village 3 redevelopment agreement. Despite a somewhat heated exchange, it was clarified that the audits were the responsibility of the urban renewal entities at Pier Village 3, not the council.

Laor also questioned the tax-exempt status of the Pier Village 3 parking garage, which Mr. Martin confirmed was due to its status as a pilot – a Payment in Lieu of Taxes. Despite the council’s responses, Laor expressed dissatisfaction with the perceived lack of transparency and financial accountability.

In another key issue, a resident, identified as Murphy, expressed dissatisfaction over the unauthorized removal of her sidewalk during a construction project. Murphy voiced her disappointment and frustration at the lack of communication and subsequent denial of responsibility by the contractor. Mayor John Pallone assured Murphy that the issue would be resolved in the spring and that the sidewalk would be replaced.

In other business, the council discussed the nearing completion of the Long Branch Fire and History Museum and the new Long Branch Senior Center, both slated to open in 2024. The council also reminded residents about the ongoing holiday home decorating contest and the upcoming Christmas toy giveaway.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

John Pallone
City Council Officials:
Rose Widdis, Dr. Mary Jane Celli, Bill Dangler, Mario Vieira, Dr. Anita Voogt

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