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Asbury Park Taxpayers Should Get Break on Municipal Taxes This Year

  Asbury Park taxpayers will get a break their municipal tax rate this year but the exact amount is hard to determine due to a recent citywide property revaluation. “Regarding the tax rate, you are not looking at apples to apples this year because of the revaluation,” acting Chief Financial Officer Richard Gartz said. The budget was introduced at the City Council’s March 5 meeting and a public hearing will be scheduled in the future with possible amendments to the budget. The total $39,242,859 budget is down from last year’s $41,372,555 amount. Gartz said this is due to $1.4 million…

Building a better Asbury Park through redesign

  By DON STINE So many people turned out in Asbury Park March 4 to hear more about Rebuild by Design, a federally-funded competition seeking to design permanent solutions to minimize damage caused by future severe storms, that another presentation was added. A standing-room-only crowd packed the first 7 p.m. session in the main viewing room at the Showroom on Cookman Avenue. Tuesday’s presentations were to garner public comment about the program. “Community feedback is a major criteria,” said Alexis Taylor, a project manager for the design competition. Ten teams, from Connecticut to New Jersey, are part of the Rebuild…

Wesley Lake Will Be Dredged; Retaining Wall Repaired

  By DON STINE If the water in Wesley Lake looks very low at the western end, it is all for a good reason – the lake will be dredged soon. “Everything is taken care of (for the project),” said Neptune Township Committeeman Michael Brantley, who also chairs the Wesley Lake Commission. Under the proposal, both Wesley Lake, between Asbury Park and Ocean Grove, and Fletcher Lake, between Ocean Grove and Bradley Beach, will be dredged under a $1.4 million project. About 400 linear feet of retaining wall along the southerly side of Wesley Lake will be replaced and an…

Asbury Park Deputy Clerk Retires After 20 Years

  By DON STINE Asbury Park Deputy City Clerk Kiki Tomek (above; Facebook profile photo), who issued the first gay marriage license in the history of New Jersey, has retired from her job after 20 years. In what has been called “guerrilla clerkship,” on March 8, 2004, and for the next three days, Tomek processed applications for marriage licenses for same-sex couples in Asbury Park. Her action resulted in the first gay marriage in New Jersey. The action was short-lived, however, after the state Attorney General’s Office faxed a letter to city officials three hours later stating it would invalidate…

Tax Abatement Under Review in Asbury Park

  By DON STINE A controversial proposal to renew a five-year tax abatement plan in Asbury Park was tabled by the City Council at last week’s meeting but a vote is expected soon on the matter. First enacted about 10 years ago and renewed in 2008, the tax exemption ordinance allows city property owners to apply for tax abatements for improvements made to existing structures and new construction. The current ordinance expired at the end of last year. The tax abatement plan allows home improvements or new construction projects to receive a 30 percent reduction on property taxes over a…

City Official Outraged at $2 Million in Uncollected Funds

  By DON STINE At least $2 million in court fines, payments in place of taxes, and special event fees is owed to Asbury Park – money that should have been collected long ago, according to one city councilman. “The past administration did a terrible job collecting this money and every taxpayer suffers,” Councilman John Moor said at the Jan. 29 City Council meeting. Moor said the current council has “inherited major mistakes” regarding money owed to the city and, if it was collected last year, it could have been applied to the 2014 municipal budget. He estimates the money…

Well-Known Pastor Selected as Parade Grand Marshal

  The Asbury Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee has chosen Father Robert Kaeding, executive director of The Center in Asbury Park, as its first grand marshal for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Asbury Park. Father Bob, as he is affectionately known, is pastor of Precious Blood Parish in Monmouth Beach. In accepting the honor he said, “The Center has participated in the Belmar’s great St. Patrick’s Parade, but we were always hopeful that Asbury Park might have one of their own. We are thrilled to participate in our hometown. I’m honored to lead the parade this first year.”…

Asbury Park Downtown District, Church Nominated for Historic Registers

  By DON STINE Asbury Park’s downtown business district has been nominated to be placed on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places, as has the Trinity Church on Grand Avenue. The Asbury Park Commercial Historic District and Trinity Church, at 503 Grand Ave., will be considered by the New Jersey State Review Board for Historic Sites for nomination to the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places and a public meeting will be held in Asbury Park on Friday, Feb. 14 to discuss the downtown district’s application. A community meeting will be held at 3:30 p.m.…

The B Plot: At Sundance with The ShowRoom

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO Hours off a plane from the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Michael Sodano and Nancy Sabino, owners of The ShowRoom art house cinema in Asbury Park sat down with me to talk about some of the best and most creative filmmaking of 2014. Last year, they spot-on predicted “20 Feet from Stardom” would be one of the biggest indie hits. In 2012, they were all over “Searching for Sugar Man.” What’s in store for this year? Read on. TBP: There are more and more film festivals every year, why go to Sundance? Sabino: Sundance…

Parking Issue in Asbury Park

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO Images taken in December and January and obtained by The Coaster show Asbury Park’s Mayor Myra Campbell, while conducting city business, parked on the pedestrian walkway, near a standpipe (fire hydrant) and in front of an emergency exit for the Paramount Theater, Grand Arcade and Convention Hall. “I was given a parking placard by the city as a perk of my role as mayor to use when on official city business that permits me to park in out-of-the-ordinary places,” Campbell said. “Have I passed by open parking spaces to park (on the sidewalk)? Yes. This is…

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