Tuckerton to Gain 17 Acres of Passive Recreation Land on Creek

By Pat Johnson | Jul 03, 2019
Photo by: Pat Johnson Work continues on shoreline protection off South Green Street in Tuckerton Beach. Albert Marine dumps small rocks to create wave break.

Tuckerton — Tuckerton officials unanimously approved Ocean County’s plan to purchase 17 acres of upland and wetlands along Tuckerton Creek to use as passive recreation. Thomas Hartley, who originally hoped to build a home there but was unable to get approvals to develop the upland portion, owns the land. Councilman Keith Vreeland made the nomination to allow Ocean County to proceed with its plan to purchase the property on Monday, July 1, during the municipal meeting. On Tuesday, Ocean County spokeswoman Donna Flynn said the Ocean County freeholders had not yet approved the purchase.

Vreeland said the town would lose $5,500 a year in property taxes but would gain access to the creek for the public.

The creek frontage was bulkheaded about 10 years ago. There is a floating dock, but whether the dock is part of the purchase is unknown at this point. There is a dirt road to the creek from South Green Street.

Borough Attorney Christopher J. Connors said the Natural Lands Trust preserves land in its natural state, allowing passive recreation defined as activities such as bird watching, walking and perhaps kayaking. “There won’t be a park there, no swings or playground equipment,” he said.

Town to Adopt

Comcast Contract

Vreeland also introduced two ordinances Monday night. The first, Ordinance 6 of 2019, redefines what police agency can be used for traffic control within the borough, naming the Tuckerton Police Department as the agency. Councilman Ron Peterson said Officer Cahill had brought the issue to his attention. Tuckerton officers would benefit by earning additional money when construction and utility companies must hire traffic control officers.

The second ordinance recommends renewing Comcast’s contract to provide cable services in the borough for an additional three years. A Comcast representative was at the May 20 meeting. At that time, Robert Clifton, regional representative for Comcast, said the certificate of approval to allow Comcast to continue to maintain its cable system in the borough’s rights-of-way is “non-exclusive – any other cable company can use it.”

“What you can’t do is judge us on our rates or our channel line-up; that’s not within your purview,” he said.

Connors had prepared the contracts between the borough and Comcast and said the borough negotiated to get a grant of $8,500 and will continue to receive 2 percent of Comcast’s gross revenue within the borough. The company will also continue free services of one cable hookup for each municipal building and the elementary school.

There is a senior discount available for people who qualify and are already enrolled in the state’s PAAD (Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled) program. They can get a 10 percent discount off the basic service plan. The basic service plan is for those channels still operating over the air, such as CBS or PBS.

The two ordinances will have public hearings on July 15 before final adoption.

Connors also had prepared the contracts for a RFP request for proposals or bids for a communications monopole to be constructed in the public works yard. The borough would receive $30,000 a year for five years from a prospective company, plus half the rent from any additional tenants. Business Administrator Jenny Gleghorn will publish the bidding schedule in the town’s newspaper of record, the Asbury Park Press.

The borough council adopted a resolution authorizing application for a state Department of Transportation grant of $748,000 for the Kingfisher Road preservation project.

Council President Sam Colangelo noted that changes to recycling programs are already in the air as a result of shrinking markets for the products. “We used to get a recycling rebate from the county, but that was done away with,” he said. “But we also can’t recycle products that we used to. We used to be able to recycle anything with a single triangle on the bottom and everything went over to China, but they have stopped that. Some loads still go over but are diverted to Malaysia and come back to the U.S.”

Colangelo said the county is still accepting recyclables, but only if they are the right kind and are clean. “If you have a peanut butter jar and use 10 gallons of hot water and a bunch of paper towels to clean it, that defeats the purpose. Use your best judgment; it might have to go in the garbage.”

The borough is fortunate that it did not go to robotic garbage cans for recycling as the public works employees can presently see what is being put in recycling bins and can reject those that are not acceptable for county recycling. Colangelo suggested people go to the borough’s website, tuckertonborough.com, and study the section titled “Recycling Coach.”

Having to throw away objects that used to be recycled is going to add to the bulk weight of trash going to the landfill, and that means an increase in tipping fees, he said. “There are decisions being made (at the county level), and as I learn more, I’ll pass it on.”

The document shredding truck will be at Stafford Township public works on July 20 and in Tuckerton public works on July 27. Only individuals’ personal papers are accepted, not businesses’. The service is free.

The Tuckerton Volunteer Fire Co. responded to 11 calls for fire and rescue and eight calls for EMS in June. The police department responded to 306 calls for service in June, made 273 motor vehicle stops and wrote 93 summonses. It made 45 arrests of all types, said Police Chief Brian Olsen. “Most of the arrests were people passing through the borough. The town itself is very safe, and we want to keep it that way,” he said candidly.

There were 15 traffic accidents and 32 calls for EMS. (The borough is also serviced by a commercial ambulance company.)

Mayor Susan Marshall and the council accepted the resignation of Office of Emergency Manager Marilyn Kent with regrets. Kent and her husband are relocating to Florida. Kent was second in command under Harold Spedding (who is now deceased) during Superstorm Sandy.

Councilman John Schwartz said he had looked into the costs of livestreaming of borough meetings with the capacity for real-time participation from residents as requested by Tuckerton Beach resident Ann Marie Sweeney at the June 17 meeting.

Schwartz said he has experience with communications hookups as he worked for the phone company. “Livestreaming of council meetings is not as easy as it sounds. Software costs will be around $249, but the hardware for a tri-caster system is $39,995, a camera will cost between $2,999 and $6,999, and that adds up to $45,243, an amount that is over the bid threshold ($11,500 or more requires public bidding).  Every $40,000 that we spend is a penny on the tax rate.”

Schwartz said the technology would have to be integrated into the borough’s secure system and would require increasing the storage capacity of the servers, potentially costing more money, up to $65,000. “That’s not chump change,” he said.

The mayor thanked Schwartz for his investigation into the subject.

The installation of paintings done by members of the Pine Shores Art Association drew praise from the mayor and council. The paintings are for sale and will remain up through the summer, with another art exhibit perhaps in the fall.

“Stroll around the fine arts gallery when the borough hall is open, 9 to 4 p.m. weekdays,” she suggested.

Marshall also reminded the public the traditional speed garvey races are returning to Tuckerton, with the first race scheduled for Sunday, July 7, at 2 p.m. off South Green Street.

— Pat Johnson

patjohnson@thesandpaper.net

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