Sea Bright Borough Council Tackles Property Reassessment and Public Safety Concerns

The Sea Bright Borough Council recently convened to address various issues facing the community, with a particular focus on property reassessments and their impact on residents, along with discussions surrounding public safety and emergency management. The meeting also featured a rigorous review of ongoing construction projects, the potential reclassification of insurance costs, and the introduction of new ordinances and public works initiatives.

The central topic of the meeting was the annual reassessment of properties in the borough. Borough assessor Tim Fossette detailed the assessment process and the county’s rejection of his assessment, which has led to a mandatory increase in the net valuation taxable. This decision has been met with concerns from the council members, who are particularly worried about the burden on Sea Bright residents. Mayor Brian P.

Fossette also acknowledged the ongoing market growth and the potential for further challenges, bringing attention to the high prices paid for downtown properties and the possible need to opt out of the assessment demonstration program due to these escalating values. The council scrutinized the county’s oversight of appeal settlements and the fairness of the assessment process, questioning the impact of outlier sales on property groups. Fossette noted that property owners could appeal their assessments, albeit at a cost.

Another pressing matter discussed was the progress on a demolition project set to begin within 30 to 60 days pending agreement finalization. Furthermore, plans for a viewing platform on Beach Street were outlined with the design expected to be ready shortly. The council also addressed concerns regarding the flooding issues along Ocean Avenue and engaged with the Department of Transportation to discuss potential solutions, emphasizing the complexities of infrastructure work.

Public safety was another key issue, with the council emphasizing the importance of emergency preparedness. The Emergency Management Coordinator outlined coordination processes and communication strategies for emergencies. The council also discussed the Fire Department’s increasing demand for services, based on their activity and response times over the past year.

The council deliberated on the potential reduction of insurance costs with a reclassification from a Class 3 to a Class 2 area, which could provide financial relief, especially for commercial properties near the beach. The First Aid Squad reported on their call volume, training initiatives, and a new equipment acquisition, including a Lucas machine and updated ambulance stretchers. Additionally, the new ambulance program initiated by the county sheriff’s department was discussed, with the council considering its benefits and potential impacts on existing emergency services.

The Public Works department updated the council on storm event responses, including snow cleanup and beach maintenance, and the challenges they face, such as unauthorized beach access through cut snow fences. The council considered warning letters and involving New Jersey Fish and Wildlife officials to enforce dune protection. They also addressed the need for a new affordable housing monitoring service and discussed the recommendation of CGP&H to ensure compliance with housing regulations.

The council took on the responsibility of aligning borough ordinances with the master plan, which had not been updated since its approval in 2017. There was confusion among members regarding the status of the updates, with members like Heather Gorman seeking clarity. Additionally, the continued use of Ocean Borough Court was confirmed due to recent improvements in ticket processing.

Heather Gorman led a discussion on relocating 12 boat trailers, considering the impact on parking and the potential need for paid parking solutions for employees. The council also reviewed a proposal to establish salary ranges for borough positions and discussed a public art installation proposal by artist Jay Alders, which received positive feedback for its design.

A proposed mural on the recreation center’s wall funded by beneficiary funds, not taxpayer dollars, was a divisive issue among the council. Mayor Kelly acknowledged the effort put into the mural but was not in favor of the design. The discussion included the mural’s funding source and the importance of prioritizing other necessary improvements within the building.

Lastly, the proposed e-bike ordinance raised concerns about age restrictions and the regulation of e-bikes on the splash pad. The council debated the potential risks and safety implications, with some members questioning the enforceability of the ordinance and the need for clear signage and measures to ensure compliance.

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.
Brian P. Kelly
City Council Officials:
Erwin Bieber, Samuel A. Catalano, Heather Gorman, William J. Keeler, John M. Lamia, Jr., Marc A. Leckstein, Esq.

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