Unnecessary Spending

Oct 11, 2017

To the Editor:

Barely a week can go by without another effort by the Beach Haven mayor to find another way to spend tax money of residents.

The mayor recently announced that we are to pay for another park at the Beach Haven School. She also determined that the existing bond for the municipal building needed to be increased $500,000 to provide for potential cost increases. Since the additional anticipated costs were not provided, we cannot consider the need for the expense but know it will be spent. She also announced additional vehicles would be purchased for public works and the police department as well as road repairs. We can all agree that Beach Haven should repair borough streets, but before an opinion may be formed on the vehicle purchases, a visit to the municipal parking area is suggested.

The public works fleet includes nine pickup trucks, the majority of which have been purchased within the last five years with provisions for snow plowing. There are three huge tractors with plows and two small earth movers and a back hoe. The dump trucks were not available, so their number is not known, but they do have plowing capability. The five trash trucks, two with snow plow provisions, are also staged at the lot. This seems to be a considerable amount of trucks for a borough of about a mile in length with about 30 cross streets of less than a third of a mile on average.

You might also visit the recycling area where the plows are kept. The borough has stored no less than nine snow plows there for the last four years. Most of the plows are new and have never been on a vehicle. The mayor believes we need yet another truck with a snow plow. Where will it be placed? There is little room where the other plows are stored. A better question is why do we currently have so many plows and trucks ready to accept them.

The average annual total snow fall in Beach Haven is 8 inches. Over many years the average snow fall for December was 1 inch; January, 2 inches; February, 4 inches; and March, 1 inch. Sure, there were a few storms that exceeded the average amount, but does Beach Haven need a snow plow for every three streets? Does Beach Haven need yet another truck and plow?

The visit to the municipal lot was interesting. Did you know that the Beach Haven Police Department has six former military jeeps in the car fleet? While the argument can be made that the six cost Beach Haven little or no money, what needs do the jeeps fill? They have limited seating capacity, two at most, and will require considerable maintenance with a cloth top and the special equipment ordered by the military. Has anyone ever seen a former military police jeep on the streets of Beach Haven?

One might also consider the need for patrol cars that can seat six, and exceed 100 miles mph in a borough about a mile in length.

The new municipal building, new proposed taxes, snow plows and additional bonding for yet-to-be-realized additional costs might cause some to question whose interest is being served.

Howard Buerkle

Beach Haven

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