To the Editor:
I read with great interest the column by Lindsay Fuller, “Stop Whining for Gov’t Support to Prop Up Shaky Endeavors,” in last week’s SandPaper. As a township commissioner, I largely agree with Mr. Fuller’s arguments. There is certainly ample history documenting Surflight Theatre’s inability to remain solvent as an independent entity. I would, however, like to clarify the Long Beach Township position, which has been expressed at numerous public meetings.
At present there is a consortium of concerned individuals working with both Beach Haven and Long Beach Township to form a partnership to reopen Surflight. The township, however, has made it quite clear that we would only endorse such a partnership if there was unanimous support from the Beach Haven Council and written assurances that the township investment would be underwritten by the subsequent sale of the Surflight property at highest and best use if the entity became insolvent. To date we have not received those assurances but understand that the interested parties are working hard to get a plan in place.
The mayor and commissioners have frequently argued that we treat township money as our own, because as taxpayers this is indeed the case. We would be delighted to see Surflight reopened but also have a fiduciary responsibility to the residents of the township. It is this type of approach that has allowed us to maintain the town’s strong financial position while simultaneously keeping our tax rates low.
Joseph Lattanzi, commissioner
Long Beach Township