Friday, August 8, 2008

Notes from the Matawan Borough Council Meeting

"Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their government, for whenever things go so far wrong as to attract their notice, they can be relied on to set things right."
-Thomas Jefferson

Came across this quote on a website called, "We the People Reports" It is true today even more so than when it was originally said.

The Council meeting was extremely informative to both the Council and the public. The Agenda was lengthy but we will try to condense it. We did say try, right?

1st Privilege of the Floor - Habitat for Humanity of Western Monmouth spoke about their current project in Matawan on Broad Street. Currently a vacant lot where Dunkin' Donuts is on the corner. The Borough agreed to waive fees, when possible, to assist the organization.

Gravelly Brook Park - Residents of Villa Nova Place, whose property backs up to the Park, spoke at the meeting. Their complaint is the appearance of an organized soccer league with approximately 80-90 people from outside of NJ utilizing the Park, littering, being boisterous, parking in front of fire hydrants, and with no toilet facilities you can guess what else. These residents stated they have never had this problem in previous years and this has become a "quality of life" issue. Following discussions with the Council it was decided the Borough Attorney would look into restrictions and the legality of posting signs. It was finally decided to take the soccer nets down until this situation is resolved. More to follow as information becomes available.
A Broad Street resident had issues with a neighboring home renovation project. There were survey issues which the Borough Administrator, Fred Carr was instructed to handle. It is our understanding the situation is currently being remedied.

A property owner on Orchard St. who claimed that he was paying taxes on a Borough owned easement to his property, was looking for clarification. Mayor Bucellato immediately asked the Tax Assessor (who was in the bldg) to join the meeting and with the assistance of the Borough Attorney, James Aaron, Esq. the Assessor explained to the homeowner that he was not paying taxes on the easement. The easement increased the value of his property, thus his assessed value increased following the re-assessment.

Commentary - Kudos to the Mayor for promptly TCB (for those who don't remember Elvis, that means, Taking Care of Business.

2008 Budget - Approved and adopted to include the $200,000. given to Matawan in discretionary aid from Trenton. The amendment added the discretionary aid to the Budget. Currently Matawan is operating with medical deficit of $300,000. up from the $125,000 we started with at the beginning of 2008.

Commentary - Now that no additions can be made to the Budget, the majority Council will have to bond for all the projects they want prior to the election. So folks, either way, we are going to see larger tax increases continuing next year and the following years to pay for these projects, if passed. Well that is the downside. The upside is we will have the larger scale 2008 Road Program, a new Hook & Ladder truck, renovation/relocation of the Police Department, relocation of the Matawan Municipal Court, possibly restoration of Gravelly Brook Park.

We'd like to see some progress with the Transit Village and some tax relief in the years to come before we are all forced to sell our homes. Problem as we see it with the Redevelopment Committee, as we have stated before, is that Councilman Bunyon is well intentioned, but inexperienced. Councilman Cannon will be retiring to Florida and doesn't have a financial interest in Matawan. Cannon wasn't on the original Redevelopment Committee as he has often said. But that was before the Council involved in the Silver Oaks lawsuit was vindicated. Mayor Buccellato had stated at his swearing in that he wanted to form a Redevelopment Advisory Board made up of residents. Some professionals would be great. As the only person on Council with experience is the Mayor and he only votes when there is a tie. We would also like to see the Beacon Main Street Study implemented to some degree and a citizen's advisory committee established. Afterall, we did PAY for that report, why haven't we utilized it to date?

More to follow, we did preface this by saying it was a lengthy meeting....going to watch the Olympics!

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