These are the public comments made by the Brigantine Taxpayers Association on January 16, 2019, to the City Council of Brigantine.
1. Due to certain events in 2018 including a hearing in municipal court involving a private citizen and a City volunteer, Council and the solicitor became aware that an ordinance requiring continuous vetting and limits on volunteers in youth activities wasn’t being enforced, in fact was being ignored. It was said that “tightening up” of the requirements was needed. This is a serious issue of Council accountability and governmental liability, with serious consequences for the City and taxpayers if harm occurred to a youth while participating in a City-sponsored activity due to City negligence. What action has Council taken to ensure that its ordinance is being enforced fully, impartially and on an up-to-date basis?
2. In the online City Directory, each City official’s e-mail address is @brigantinebeachnj.com , except for that of Mayor Simpson. He has a gmail.com address, a private e-mail for public business. We ask that the Mayor use the official e-mail address to eliminate any public suspicion of mixing public and private business.
3. This morning on Don Williams’s program the County Executive again extolled the County’s long-time practice of changing auditors every 3 years. We’ve recommended this in the past as a best practice and recommend it to Council again. This shouldn’t be a partisan matter but one of competence, integrity and periodic change of oversight.
4. Mayor Simpson, your predecessor gave a State of the City address in February of the year. We recommend that you do the same as you see it. How do you see the City and its future, what are your goals and your proposals to achieve them? Such a presentation, particularly as a first- time mayor, will help you to govern and help property owners to know what to expect, and whether they agree or not.
5. Council just authorized 4 more dune maintenance permits, making a total of 10 such permits. We have supported and continue to share the following position of Councilman DeLucry in opposition to such permits. “These dunes are public property. I’ve yet to see a genuine public purpose for any of this. I’ve yet to hear any explanation of how we empower certain people who have no more ownership rights to the dunes than do I or my neighbors or anybody else who lives nowhere near the dunes to maintain the dunes for what amounts to a private benefit”. Some members of Council spoke in favor of the elimination of Council’s role in the approval process without a public hearing. But the dunes are public property. And, change in the ordinance requires a public hearing.