Barnegat Light Spring News: Beach Fees, Water Meters, Roads and Parks Work

Mar 21, 2018
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

The March 14 meeting of the Barnegat Light Borough Council brought updates on the pavilion, road paving, water meter installation for businesses, and free beach admission for veterans.

Let’s talk beaches first, due to wishful thinking at the blustery start of spring. The fee exemption for veterans was introduced in an ordinance. The borough already gave free passes to active-duty service members, but this fills the gap to add veterans.

Prices for other beach badges will remain the same in 2018, announced Councilwoman Dottie Reynolds. Daily badges will be $5 per day; weekly badges, $22; pre-season badges purchased on or before June 10, $30; seasonal badges, $40 per person. Adults 65 years or older, $12 with proof of age. Children under 12 years old, no fee. Persons who meet the disability requirements under Title II of the federal Social Security Act, no fee.

For badges sold on the beach, a $1 surcharge will be added to the above charges. The beach badge sales booth is located behind the post office on West 11th Street.

The amended beach badge ordinance spells out free admission for military service men and women and veterans. It had already been in the ordinance that no badges are needed for those in active Armed Forces or N.J. National Guard service and their spouse or dependent children over age 12. New this summer will be free beach admission for honorably discharged veterans of any of the U.S. armed forces. Also, there will be no fee for Gold Star Family members who have a Gold Star-designated driver’s license or ID card. The family is defined as spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, child, legal guardian or legal custodian of a member of the Armed Forces or National Guard who lost his/her life while on active duty.

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Erosion is active again on the oceanfront due to repeated winter storms, said Councilman Scott Sharpless.

“The beach that was building up is now nonexistent,” he said at the meeting, even before the latest northeast storm arrived a week later.

In other business, two alternates were approved for the zoning board: Barry Mescolotto, whose term will expire Dec. 31, 2018, and Kathryn Esposito, for a term to expire Dec. 31, 2019. They fill terms of  a regular board member and an alternate whose terms expired.

The current board now consists of: Kevin Wark, Lee Ann Oros, Nancy Spark, Kathleen Clark, Nancy Manookian, Virginia Fitzsimmons and Mark Finelli.

First reading of an ordinance would amend the zoning code to prohibit the sale, purchase, dispensing or cultivation of marijuana. The ordinance was introduced without further discussion, but after the meeting, council members said the wording would be on the record in the event of future legality at the state level. Second reading and a public hearing are upcoming next month.

The pavilion along Bayview Avenue between Sixth and Seventh streets is under roof and moving toward becoming a gathering place this summer. Electric was being installed last week, and decking is one of several steps to follow.

Parking will be created for approximately 24 vehicles.

“Within the next week or two, we’ll start grading to help get rid of some of that water in the field,” added Councilman Ed Wellington. Drainage was said to be more of a problem in the winter, before it dries up in the summer months.

Commemorative brick pavers will be available for purchase, at $50 each. Citizens can order a paver to be carved in honor of a living or deceased loved one.

Although water metering is not coming this year for residential customers, commercial properties are now in the midst of installation. Recently elected Councilwoman Mary Ellen Foley, who chairs the water and sewer committee as former chair Michael Spark now chairs revenue and finance, gave the update.

Sewer service for commercial and residential will still be the same price, but water meters will be read according to actual usage. Now and in the past, customers have been charged per spigot.

When the meters are in and working at commercial locations, “then we can compare actual usage to what has been billed in the recent past,” noted Foley.

For residential properties, “we’re not even touching you yet, for a while,” Spark said in answer to a question from the audience.

Added Mayor Kirk Larson, “Everything is staying the same for at least another year” regarding new “smart meter” installation outside of homes.

Readings will be done electronically by a remote process whose computers are located in Stafford Township. Foley visited and found that Stafford has “impressive programs – they handle 20,000 or 30,000 accounts and said it would take about 2½ minutes to record our data,” said Larson.

The excavation marked by a traffic barrier that drivers have gone around this winter on Central Avenue between 10th and 11th streets has now been paved. However, the paving process is not complete until the soil settles. Underneath is a repaired water line break.

Ed Sulecki, borough superintendent of public works, said the pipes broke at the joints, which are “old.” When one breaks, it can cause a chain of adjacent breaks. Central is a county road, so future upgrades will be up to the county.

Councilman Frank Mikuletzky reported that he and Sulecki attended an emergency management meeting regarding training at the municipal level. At the meeting there was a discussion about the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Lacey Township closing in September.

“They’re still going to be paying taxes; the plant will still exist. It’s not going to be producing power,” Mikuletzky said in response to a question from council about any immediate impact on the tax rate. Also, spent nuclear fuel rods will still be stored onsite. Emergency alert sirens will stay in place, borough officials were told.

The borough also went on the record in opposition to offshore drilling.

— Maria Scandale

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