Tuckerton Raises Water and Sewer Rates, Municipal Taxes in 2019 Budget

Apr 03, 2019
Photo by: Pat Johnson Mayor Susan Marshall (left) gives a Proclamation declaring Library Week, April 7-13, to Tuckerton branch librarian Cindy Simerlink.

Tuckerton Borough Council raised the water and sewer rates and the tax rate as it introduced the 2019 budget during the April 1 municipal meeting. The municipal budget of $5,071,550 has a total amount to be raised by taxation of $3,054,665, a 3.8-cent increase that brings the municipal tax rate to 73.7 cents on $100 tax assessed value. For an average size home worth $214,195, expect an increase of $70.56 annually for a total of $1,570.

In addition, the water and sewer utility bill will go up $53.29 annually for the base amount allowance of 73,000 gallons.

Councilman John Schwartz said the increase in the water and sewer rates is needed because of the high amounts of saltwater intrusion into the system. There is a deficit of $351,739 in the utility account.

The borough’s assessed worth is $414,731,900, an increase of $7.5 million in assessed worth over 2018.

A second reading and public hearing on the budget that includes the water and sewer utility increases is set for April 15.

The borough received some good news: The state Department of Transportation awarded Tuckerton a $284,660 grant for repairs to Second Avenue.

And Schwartz announced that thanks to the efforts of the mayor and council, Administrator Jenny Gleghorn and the Tuckerton Waterways Commission, the borough has sent the permit application for lagoon dredging to the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection. The fee was $31,000.

Gleghorn said the application should not face any opposition since members of the DEP helped the borough extensively with the process.

But it also has to go to the Army Corps and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their approval, so the town is still in suspense until the piece of paper arrives. Once it is in borough hands, the town will go out to bid the project.

Tuckerton Beach Association President Peter Gioiello asked about the two other waterways projects: the shoreline protection project on Green Street and the increase of land at the end of Little Egg Harbor Boulevard.

The shoreline protection project for Green Street that consists of a concrete breakwater and some sand is through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation $2.1 million grant awarded in 2015. The contractor, Weeks Marine of Waretown, has just started to mobilize equipment at Iowa Court in Little Egg for its part of the project; work in Tuckerton should follow.

The holdup on the Little Egg Harbor Boulevard peninsula in Tuckerton Beach has been with one property owner who would not sign off on an easement for his partially submerged vacant lot. Mr. Zito has been served with papers of eminent domain taking of the property. The borough’s special council, Terry Brady, was still not able to come to an amicable decision with Zito, so the town will take the property for an easement and pay him an as yet undisclosed amount.

Once that paperwork is completed, the NJDEP will take over as lead agency as it is the DEP’s grant of approximately $400,000 that will be used to build up that important breakwater.

During the public comment period, John Zubriski brought two photos to the attention of the mayor and council that showed trucks parked along the South Green Street right-of-way in front of Sheltered Cove Marina and suggested they posed a safety risk to pedestrians. He decried the borough land use board’s decision to allow the owner to pay into a borough sidewalk fund rather than build the sidewalks.

Councilman Keith Vreeland said the way the zoning ordinance is written the applicant to the land use board has the option of giving money for the fund. The dedicated fund originated so sidewalks can be maintained in areas most needed rather than building “sidewalks to nowhere,” as seen in some other municipalities.

— Pat Johnson

patjohnson@thesandpaper.net

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