Harvey Cedars Taxpayers Association

Keeping Harvey Cedars Taxpayers Informed!

August 2014 – Trustee Meeting Minutes

HCTA Trustee Meeting Minutes-Saturday, August 16, 2014

 

Present: P. Kunz, R. Danna, G. Gutchigian, B. Lehman, J. Loudon, K. Ries, M. Songer

Absent: D. Ragone

 

OLD BUSINESS:

 

Treasurer’s Report:

We have a balance of $20,372.29 in our Treasury.

 

3inHC:

Mike reported that he attended the Freeholder’s Meeting and spoke during the public portion of the meeting. Freeholder Kelly strongly stated that there is “no initiative” to change to three lanes and the County has made the final decision for Long Beach Boulevard, through HC, to remain four lanes. He repeated that the solution for increased pedestrian/bike lane width lies with Harvey Cedars to take property from Boulevard property owners through eminent domain. He repeated that first responders were against the three lane configuration but agreed with Mike that he had no evidence to back up his claim. Mike reported that the current county engineer is leaving his position and he has met his replacement. The resurfacing of Long Beach Boulevard is not scheduled yet and will not occur until 2015 or 2016.

 

School Taxes:

Bob presented a table with statistics showing enrollment, valuations and taxes for each town in the Regional District. A copy is attached.

 

 

NEW BUSINESS:

New HC proposed Fence Ordinance:

None of Trustees objected to the Ordinance.

 

Preparing for the Annual Meeting:

1. We need all hands at the Fire House at 8:00AM to set-up for the 10:00AM Annual Meeting. Everyone should remain after the meeting to break down the chairs and tables.

2. Since we are extending the current memberships through December 2015 we only need one table to         collect dues from new members, Barbara and Bob will man that table.

3. MaryLu Danna has volunteered to man a table to give out and collect surveys. Greg will assist her and help at the new member table if necessary.

4. Phil, Mike and Jim will greet attendees and direct new members to the sign-up table and paid members to the seating area.

5. Bob and Kathy will prepare membership lists and property owner lists for the greeters.

6. Jim will bring signs, cash box, clip boards and small bills for making change. Others volunteered pens for the membership and survey tables.

7. Mike will prepare the agenda for the Annual Meeting.

 

Officers for 2014/2015 (vote was unanimous):

President: Mike Songer

Vice President: Kathy Ries

Treasurer: Jim Loudon

Membership Committee: Bob Danna & Greg Gutchigian

 

It was decided that the host for each Trustee Meeting will prepare and issue an agenda prior to the meeting, preside over the meeting and prepare minutes of the meeting. Refreshments and snacks, if any, will be served after the meeting if time allows.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Jim Loudon

 

 

August 2013 Trustee Meeting Minutes

DATE: August 31, 2013

Trustees present:
M. Songer, S. Lewis, B.Lewis, J. Imperiale, J. Loudon, S. Ellman, P. Kunz, K. Ries,
B. Danna, J. Cadmus, B. Lehman.
Absent: none

Once opened to the public, participants are required to state name & address. Please line at microphone placed in aisle.
Phil acknowledged Mayor Oldham’s presence and thanked him for attending.

Introduction of Board of Trustees – P. Kunz
Phil Kunz – President
Kathy Ries – Vice President/Media
Jim Loudon – Treasurer (note that Jim is stepping down as treasurer) New co-Secretary w/ Susan Lewis
Saul Ellman – Membership
John Cadmus – New Treasurer
Barbara Lehman
Bryan Lewis

Reinstated Trustees: John Imperiale and Susan Lewis
New Trustees: Michael Songer and Bob Danna
Recognition-Former Trustee Bob Palestri resigned due to family matters.

REPORTS

Welcome New Members / Dues Renewal Date Adjustment – S. Ellman
The Trustees have decided to try out moving the dues to the Calender year. We will still accept them at the Annual Meeting; people paying at the meeting are paid up thru Dec 2014. Saul will send out a renewal letter in Nov/Dec.

Treasurer’s Report – J. Loudon
HCTA’s donations to Community projects.
– Post Sandy Landscaping Replanting at Sunset Park
Fire Company and Dog Day RaceSponsor

Taxes – J. Loudon -Address the increase in taxes.

Local Municipal Tax up 8.5%
The major items mentioned that at the meeting that increased the tax were an increase in employee health insurance costs, increase in pension contributions, emergency expenses related to Sandy and first principal payment for original beach replenishment. Town feels that 90% of Sandy money will come back from FEMA. Town has no control of pension and health insurance which is dictated by State of NJ. Until this year town has only been making interest payments on the replenishment. Attached is a handout explaining expenses and caps.

County Tax up 5.6%
The county had Sandy related expenses and a loss of ratable which increased the taxes for towns, like HC, which had minimal loss of ratable.

Regional School Tax up 46.9%
The large increase in Harvey Cedar’s regional school tax is due to an archaic formula the NJ Department of Education uses to proportion the taxable valuation (based on ratable) in each participating municipality. They proportion the taxable valuation each community is responsible for based upon the percentage of students in the regional school district vs the elementary school. In HC’s case this year we have 10 students in the elementary district and 15 in the regional district, so 60% of our taxable valuation goes to the regional district. Since the regional school budget, or portion paid by the LBI municipalities, is much higher than the elementary district slight increases in percentage of students in the regional district can dramatically increase the tax HC property owners pay to the regional district. Last year HC had 9 of 22 total students in the regional district about 41% compared to 60% this year. *NOTE The point was made that this is the overall method of distributing the tax burden between LBI and Stafford Twp that is the biggest problem-one that the HCTA will address in the coming year.

Beach Re-Cap – PHIL-Immediately following Sandy HC received 25,000 cubic yards of sand for critical areas. Complete beach rebuilding began in late May placing 1.5 million yards of sand on HC beaches. Today beach entrances and fencing installation continues. Dune grass planting will begin in the coming cooler months.

BLVD Safety – PHIL-On August 7th we had approximately 35 people travel by bus and another 20 or so met us at the Ocean County Freeholders meeting in Toms River. Freeholder Kelly still insists that the 3 lane change will not happen without the approval of Mayors Mancini and Larson. Kelly has suggested that the Borough acquire land along the BLVD in order to install sidewalks. Mancini’s concern is that first responders will not be able to quickly get through HC. He suggests adding more traffic lights and lowering the speed limit. This would not improve the pedestrian travel along the BLVD. We continue to pursue the 3 lane change because of the improved safety and the fact that it does not require acquiring any additional width.

Trustee Mike Songer has been diligently investigating other approaches to move the County forward. Mike provided an overview of the HCTA plans moving forward.

Update on what the HCTA has accomplished this past year- S. Lewis

1. Initiated and compiled Superstorm Sandy Daily Updates first month after the storm.

2. Organized “Community Cleanup Days/Workday Wednesday” to assist Borough after the storm. We had over 200 community members pitch in to assist cleaning up our town: whether walking behind the garbage truck to pick up/load debris, bringing their own trucks and families to work, sorting trash, collecting and turning in family photos that were found during pickup…

3. Started and monitored ‘Community Lost and Found’ Items page- related to Sandy on our website.

4. Sponsored/ Organized HTCA initiated Town-Wide Annual Yard Sale on Memorial Day Weekend.

5. Landscape Restoration at Sunset Park: Contracted/ helped design/ funded landscape restoration after Sandy. Jim Loudon: point person on this.

6. 3in HC: Spearheaded continued BLVD Safety push- Organized Bus to Freeholder Mtg/ Sandpaper Ads/interfaced with Borough/Legal exploration. Trustees Kunz, Songer, Imperiale, Lewis, Ellman, Loudon and Reis leads on this.

7. Advocate/Attend Meetings on HC Budget and continue to push for lower County and School Taxes.

8. Dog Day Race Sponsor, Promote Town Events/Activities (High Point fundraising Dinners/ Art Shows)

9. Represents Harvey Cedars at the JCT- Trustee Lehman is President of this organization. The HCTA feels we need to field another Representative for this group to represent HC due to the demands of Trustee Lehman’s role.

JCT Update/Schools – B. Lehman. $7.6 Million offered for Ship Bottom school property that also qualified for a $2M FEMA grant. LBIBOE voted this down.

Barbara encouraged HC homeowners to split their voter registration and help defeat practices, which are not in the best interest of the LBI taxpayers. She also encouraged people to write letters to the President of the LBIBOE and the Sandpaper. Links to addresses are found on the HCTA website at Harveycedarstax.org.

Annual Town-wide Yard Sale – K. Ries. The HCTA thought hard about conducting the HCTA Annual Yard Sale this year because of the storm. “ We decide to proceed in an attempt to promote ‘ Business as Usual’ in HC. Although the HCTA had half the average participants in this year’s yard sale, 1/3 of those participants were first time sellers and we truly feel our numbers will increase next year. In addition, the Trustees voted to make Annual Yard Sale Participation a benefit of membership. Participants must still register to be on the ‘ Treasure Map’, but no fee will be assessed if the seller is an HCTA member.

NEW BUSINESS

Ideas/discussion from the floor:
M. Quigley- Can the HCTS or Boro provide back racks at the beach entrances? 68th St in particular. Great Idea- we will look into this with the Boro, but there may be an issue regarding the location of the bike rack on 68th St since there is a house at the end of the street and the bike rack my be on private property which will not fly.

C. Stoner- dropping speed limit on BLVD is not such a bad idea to slow traffic through Boro and get people thinking.

Ed ?- Can we add more pedestrian crossing sings? Good idea. We will ask the Boro to request them from the Co.

J. Reddington- Will 2 lanes down to one lane cause backups? No because of the center turn lane and a graduated merge. Computer model added to highest traffic count with no big traffic jam.

B. Greber- HCBP needs more defibrillators-how about the HCTA contributing? Besides the lane configuration, how about spending some money on road-shoulder stencils, e.g., “Walk Against Traffic” “Bike With Traffic”? County will provide stencils if Public Works will do job. Mayor Oldham will look into, however, the County doesn’t want to “Identify the road shoulders as shoulders” said Mayor Oldham.

B. Kaplon- what about staggering life guard working hours: 10 to 5, and 11:30-6:30. There are not as many people on the beach at 10am as there are at 6:30pm.

L. Lagrano- An extra 29 seconds to get thru town is not terrible when we’re talking about safety. From May 15 to Oct 15 is when it is busiest on LBI, otherwise it is not an issue. Let’s educate the first responders.

E. Oxfeld- Stop the ice cream truck noise pollution! How about bells only and stop the recorded music- Can the Boro do something about this?

?- Can we start an Adopt-a-dune program to help plant dune grass and remove trash?

The Army Corp will be around to plant due grass when the weather cools. HCTA will look into this.

P. Max (?)- People need to register to vote here. HC pays a lot of taxes to Southern Regional. How much is it per student and how many students do we have enrolled? You can register to vote in Ocean Co if you live in NJ and own in HC. The HCTA has a link to voter registration and information on our website at Harveycedarstax.org. We pay over 200k per student per year to attend Southern Regional. We send 10 students to the elementary school and 15 students to the high school. NOTE: Being able to vote here may not help this issue, the only way to secede from the regional district is thru referendum. But, each municipality in the region must vote for withdrawal of any particular town and Stafford would never agree to any town on LBI leaving the regional district.

D. Meyers- the Pine trees are not natural to the island. Cut them down.

R.Moss- Post signs that direct pedestrians and bikers to walk according to laws, e.g., against traffic and bikers to ride with traffic.. Can we do T-shirts that people can wear show how you are to walk/bike on the BLVD? the HCTA is on it. We’ve registered as a (what is it Phil?) and will be applying for grant funding.

S. Koslowski- speaking of FEMA money- when HC gets it back, will we all get a tax break?

MEETING CLOSE

Formally Close Meeting – Phil Kunz (motion)
Kathy Ries- (second)
All – (yea)

Introduce Mayor for remarks and Moderated Q & A session- Phil Kunz

Jon Oldham Remarks: The Boro employees, neighbors and the HCTA all worked very well together to clean up after Sandy.

FEMA – money HC spent that should come back to HC- $500k on clean up. $300K was for dozers to move sand off the roads and put back at the beach. We expect to get 90% of it back and when we do it will go into the surplus fund so we do not have to raise future taxes. We continually did assessments: Did we have enough sand to protect homes and not be wasteful with our resources.

Adopt a dune is a good idea. We have to be careful that we are not on people’s property.

Harvey Cedars payments for easements- 100% reimbursement for a total 2 million cost, but we still have 500k sitting out there not paid back to us yet and we might have to pay the interest on that. Out of 11 cases, 9 have settled- 220k being the highest payment- these settlements were approved by the Army Corp and the State of NJ. A comment from the floor suggested that the Boro/Oldham should put the information on the current status of easement payments out to the public as it is very confusing where this stands.

BLVD Safety- Why aren’t the HC police warning or ticketing biker and pedestrian violators? The HCPD prefers to use positive reinforcement, especially with kids – e.g., riding with helmets, riding on the correct side of the street, etc. WE can only lower the speed limit a % of what it is now.

BL businesses truly believe people will not go up there and shop with the lane change. We all need to re-educate them. Tell them you are from Harvey Cedars and will continue to shop there is the land change goes thru.

False fire alarms- Boro considering billing other towns for this. We would be remiss if we did not consider it as we are all volunteer. But we would have some leeway as well, so we will look at it.

Harvey Cedars tax increase was significant. We send so few students. 20% of ratable money goes to the budget and that’s why our share of taxes went up. (It’s estimated LBI sends approx. 10% of the total number of students to the high school (258/2554) and we pay approx 79% of the total tax. HC cost / pupil = $211.8k.
We are talking to Attorney Vito Gagliardi- He did the North Haledon and Cape May cases- to fight the taxation formula. We are watching the Cape May case and this is a conversation at the Mayor level with other towns on the island. NOTE: FYI, looks like RiverDell school district is closest to a settlement. Also, handled by Gagliardi. An Admin Law Judge ruled in favor of Oradell. Recommended changing method of proportioning tax payment to 80% based on enrollment and 20% based on ratables phased in over 2 yrs. Final hurdle – decision by State Commissioner of Ed for or against. No timetable.

L. Bogart: Thanks to the HCTA for the awesome updates during the storm and to the town and employees and first responders for all their efforts.

August 2012 Trustee Meeting Minutes

HCTA Trustees Meeting Minutes Saturday, August 18, 2012

Kunz residence
Present: K Ries, S Ellman, B Lehman, B Lewis, P Kunz, J Loudon, J Cadmus, S Lewis, B Palestri
Absent: J Imperiale
Trustees  Susan Lewis and John Imperiale are stepping down from their Trustee positions. The HCTA Board thanks them for their service to our organization and welcomes to the group new Trustee, Bob Palestri.
President Kunz began the meeting with introductions and background of Bob Palestri.
BLVD SAFETY:
* Phil had initiated a petition in support of a safer BLVD online at Change.org. A short discussion commenced. There are no political affiliations with this group and the HCTA will possibly open an account to reach a broader audience.
* Gov. Christie has not responded to the letter the HCTA help Mayor Oldham to craft.  Saul will followup on this.
* Jim suggested planning a rally in support of a safer BLVD. Trustees liked this idea- Susan suggested piggy backing onto the Trustee meeting some how since many are in attendance- or How about LABOR Day weekend?  This was left open and not resolved. (NOTE: this is a good idea. Does anyone want to research and possibly do this the Sat morning  of Labor Day weekend? Invite press? Phil speak? Do we need a permit at the park? Paint signs? Can a couple of Trustee’s volunteer to take ownership of this and let’s get this together!!)
* Kathy said she has had  contact with Matthew Norris. He is with Tri State Transportation Campaign, and  conversations are about doing a Walkability Survey in HC.
* There were two accidents in HC this week involving bikers and walkers. Phil will contact Chief Preisser to get more info on these accidents.
* Saul suggested paying teens to walk the beach in LL and NB to collect signatures on our petition. Susan will followup with her daughter’s friends to see if they would be interested.
*We discussed the fact that there are only a few people attending the  Ocean Co Freeholders Meeting and then we went on to other business. John C proposes we get the date for the next meeting and invite all our members attending our annual meeting who have concerns about Boulevard safety join us at the next meeting.  John stated he would be willing to see a show of hands at the meeting of those who would be will to attend the next Freeholder’s Meeting…
ANNUAL MEETING:
* Meeting assignments were sent out this week.  Jobs are as follows:
Greeters: Kathy and Jim L, jr.
New member table: Saul and Jim L, Sr.
Member renew table: Barbara and Bob- A to J, John- K to Z.
Floater: Phil
Trustees meet at 8:30 for room set up and to fill and refridge water pitchers.Jon Oldham will me us to set up mike system, etc.
9:30-doors open
10:00 meeting starts
Donations will be made to the High Point Fire Dept for use of their space and to the HC Bible Conf. for use of their sound system.
Susan will give Jim all meeting supplies that she has.  Jim will purchase cash boxes for event and bring change, etc. Our Large sign was posted by Public works- BUT not on the sign board, It was placed on the fence at Public Works where it is hidden by cars. John C felt it is key to our meeting attendance to have the large sign placed on the sign board. For the past few years, our signs have been placed on the fence (for the Annual Yard Sale AND the Annual Meeting). Barbara and John both volunteered to address this with Diana at Public works and Daina at town hall.
TREASURER’S REPORT:
Jim sent a donation to the Harvey Cedars Activity Committee in support of the town’s Labor Day Fireworks show and a sponsorship check for the Dog Day race.
Since Saul sent out the membership recruitment letter, we have had 140 paid memberships come in. Our account now has over $16,000. in it and the Trustees will seek membership input at the Annual meeting as to how to disperse of some of this money. Note: We want to keep at least two years of operating expenses in the fund. If we get member suggestions at the Annual meting, we will ask those members to assist the Trustees in the research of the idea (costs, ability to institute, etc). The Trustees will then present this research at the next Trustee meeting and the Board will vote on  and proceed with these projects to better our town.
JCTA: Barbara answered Bob’s questions on Island consolidation of services and school funding- particularly Southern Regional High School District. Note: The Island pays for over 80% of that Districts budget throughout our taxes. It is important to note that Harvey Cedars again, reduced or kept even our tax liability. The majority of our increases come from the SRHSD or Ocean County. The Joint Taxpayers Council is mulling over the idea of hiring a lawyer to look at de-regionalizing the school district. Bob asked to attend the meeting with Barbara ( and John C) and was heartily welcomed. JCTA meetings are held the first Monday evening of every month at the Library in Ship Bottom.
Housekeeping:
* With Susan no longer on the HCTA Board, all Paypal membership info will be forwarded to Jim. All website comments will be forwarded to Kathy. Susan will still do some website content updating,  can post meeting notes if needed and send out the President’s Newletters, etc. BUT THE NOTE TAKER MUST SEND THEM!!
* The next HCTA Trustee meeting will be held on Friday, Sept 28 (Chowderfest Weekend) at 8pm at the Cadmus home.

July 2012 Trustee Meeting Minutes

Meeting held at Kunz residence July, 13, 2012.

Present: J Loudon, S Ellman, S Lewis, P Kunz, B Lehman

Absent: J Imperiale, K Ries, B Lewis, J Cadmus.

Phil updated us on BLVD Saftey. He has had many conversations with Mayor Oldham, at this point we are in a stalemate with no movement from the Ocean County Freeholders. We have been in touch with the Safe Roads group-more to come.

Jim updated us on our funds. The group present voted to donate $1000.00 to the HC Activities Committee. Presently, they are looking for support for the Labor Day fire works and do not have the funds in place at this time to support their effort. In the interest of community spirit and goodwill, the HCTA wants to support the work of this group. In addition, those present also voted again to be a sponsor of the Annual Dog Day Race.

It was agreed that Saul will put together the annual membership letter and have it sent out within the next month.

We discussed our efforts to contribute to the beautification of Harvey Cedars and the road blocks that have been thrown up. We have proposed sponsoring seasonal banners on the utility poles, purchasing and maintaining large pots of flowers at a few key intersections in the central business part of town, purchasing an information/upcoming events sign at the town entrance, etc. There has not seemed to be much interest in our efforts to contribute on the part of the Mayor/commissioners.

We will discuss logistics of the annual meeting at our next Trustees meeting. New Trustee candidates will be invited to that meeting. Susan Lewis submitted her resignation to President Phil Kunz effective in August.

Submitted by S Lewis

Meeting Minutes- May 2012

HCTA Trustees Meeting                                              Home of B. Lehman

5/4/12

Present: P Kunz, B Lewis, S Lewis, J Loudon, B Lehman             Absent: S Ellman, J Imperial, K Ries, J Cadmus

Membership: Jim moved to approve motion proposed by Saul to spend $1200.00 on a membership mailing. Saul felt this had better impact and communication that an email campaign. Those present approved. If he agrees, Saul will write the letter. Plus- it will include information from this meeting. Motion to approve by Jim. Seconded by Bryan with the caveat that the letter is approved by Phil prior to being sent. All voted to approve.

Annual Yard Sale: All is on track. Susan sent out a ‘save the date’ blast email after some server glitches. Kathy has update all info/forms Susan will send this weekend. J Cadmus committed to taking big sign to HC yard for posting, Jim will affix date sticker once sign is up. Phil and Bryan will hand out Treasure Maps/flags the morning of sale and Jim/ Phil/Bryan will pick up flags on Sat late afternoon. We agreed there would be one location for flag pick up: Leave by front door/porch.

Phil will print all Treasure maps- Kathy will compile and must get to him no later than 11am on Friday, May 25th.

JCTA: Barbara stated the Consolidated school budget is increasing by 6%. This includes the ‘step’ raise plus the 4.5% salary increase. What’s going on? The State cap is 2%. Barbara will pursue this at this weeks meeting. (exceptions include medical costs, etc.)The JCT wants better transparency and is proposing to send a letter to The Sandpaper to address these items, bring attention to this matter, discuss the marketing of the school and property for sale in Ship Bottom. They want the Island mayors to sign off on transparency, but believe they may have a conflict of interest being that their spouses are teachers in the district.

New Trustees: Susan will attempt to again make contact with those that submitted interest forms. Update to follow to Trustees.

BLVD Safety: Currently, the County is ‘boxing out’ the Blvd. This means they move earth and black top the area from the road to the utility poles where they can. Trustees notice they are ‘hop-scotching’ around. We have no info on this, but feel they are dealing with property issues. We find it amazing the amount of money the County has spent on traffic lights, utility poles and ‘boxing out’. Would it not be cheaper and safer to just re-paint the road in the suggested configuration and see how it works prior to the road re-surfacing? It’s safer and It’s Just Paint!

Barb L says Kirk Larson, mayor of B-light will not even conduct a dialogue with the JCTA. Maybe information on the NJ adopted Complete Streets program would help? The NJ DOT will do a presentation to Ocean County in the hopes the County adopts this program which sets standards for safe roadways. Matt Norris of the “Tri-State Transportation Campaign’ wants to speak to HC about conducting a ‘Citizens Walk-ability Survey’ to generate reportable information. Jon Oldham spoke with Phil and stated he wants to work with the HCTA to coordinate a positive msg/newsletter touting ‘Complete Streets’. Oldham confirmed to Phil that he has yet to send the HCTA written letter to the NJ DOT/GOV that he asked us to help craft. Phil pressed on the date that would go out. There was more discussion on the summer safety campaign with all present Trustees agreeing it would start Memorial Day weekend with a Letter to the Editor introducing the ‘Completes Streets program/standards and objectives. Susan will get information linked on the HCTA website and letters/news releases/ ads will be generated by Trustees and send for comment/feedback via email. First ideas are:

What is Complete Streets and how will it make HC Safer?

Complete Streets: Keeping Kids Safe

Complete Streets: Increasing Mobility For Older Americans

Two ads will follow a letter to the editor. A few Trustees volunteered to put together a ‘Concept Script’ for the mayor and commissioners so they have a concise, information packed statement for those that ask. The group agreed that we will try to work one to two weeks ahead of the paper.

The feral cat issue was discussed again. No new information at this time.

Submitted by Susan Lewis