By PETE WALTON
The state has awarded a $500,000 parks grant to Neptune City.
The grant could enable the borough to buy the former Knights of Columbus property on West Sylvania Avenue and add it to the Holmes A. Adams Recreation Complex.
News of the state approval came shortly before the Borough Council met earlier this week.
A sign at the lot says the property is under contract. Borough Administrator Kevin A. Kane said he would contact the listing broker, Exit Realty, to find out the status of the transaction.
Mayor Andrew Wardell said previously that the prospective buyer would like to use the land for a purpose that is not in line with the borough’s zoning plan. The mayor said the listing agent indicated in the past that the owner would like to sell the site to the borough and that the asking price of $550,000 was flexible.
The mayor said the borough would not buy the property unless the state grant was received.
The property is approximately 0.64 acres, much of which is blacktopped for parking.
The state Department of Environmental Protection’s Urban Parks initiative allowed qualifying communities to apply for grants of up to $500,000 to acquire land or convert it to community uses.
Kane said 67 New Jersey towns applied for grants and 13 were awarded. Neptune City was the only Monmouth County community to receive a grant.
In other news from this week’s council meeting, the council approved a corrective action plan based on the 2020 municipal audit. Part of the plan included canceling the balances in an account called the “Other Trust Fund.” Chief Financial Officer William E. Antonides Jr. said there are “considerable amounts unidentified in the fund” and “uncertainty” about the nature of the balances.
“The Other Trust Fund was not accurately maintained by the borough from at least 2007 to 2015,” Antonides said in a report. “The current chief financial officer and tax collector attempted to analyze the aforementioned years in an attempt to reconcile the account. However, numerous records that would be needed to substantiate the balance are not available. The unidentified balances cannot reasonably be identified.”
Later in the meeting, by unanimous vote, the council canceled the unidentified balances by resolution.