The Neptune City Borough Council approved the introduction of a budget amendment, which included an additional $10,000 to the borough due to the increased amount of recycling tonnage received. The money will be used to upgrade the recycling facilities in town.
In addition, the council also introduced a resolution to appropriate $30,000 for the rehabilitation of the sewer lines. The Department of Public Works will be lining some of the existing sewer lines for preventative maintenance, the newest way to prevent future breakage.
“One break can easily exceed, not to mention all of the problems that come along with it, $30,000,” said Mayor Robert Brown. “It will hopefully be a continued capital improvement to our sewer authority over the years.”
The council also appropriated $200,000 for the cost of resurfacing of Poplar Place, Gray Place, and Forrest Street.
During council reports, Brown said that currently, 98 percent of Neptune City is developed and with properties that aren’t paying or are underutilized, it affects the property taxes for the town. Brown spoke about Key East Commons on the site of a former motel.
“The motel assessed at a value, fully occupied of $1.1 million,” said Brown. “At the end of the day what the parcel is on the tax role (completely occupied), it will have a $10 million assessed value. That’s where you make a difference in property tax in Neptune City.”
Brown noted that redevelopment does not take place overnight but takes time. He said,= the former Wonder Bread store is on track to become a Family Dollar with additional stores. A brand new office building across from Pete & Elda’s, which has also remained vacant for a few years, was recently sold to a new owner at auction. Brown said he has already met with the nwe owner who is “excited to get moving and get tenants in there.”
“We’re helping to bring more people into Neptune City, which will then use our resources in town,” said Brown. “Patronizing our local businesses, that’s what helps stimulate our own economy in Neptune City.”
Resident Jackie Vaman thanked the Mayor and Council during public comment after finding that her taxes had gone down this year.
“It does help,” she said.
Brown also spoke about the flooding Sept 10 along Route 35. During the storm, the area saw 5 inches of rain in 40 minutes. Some stores near the Stop & Shop shopping center were affected and nine vehicles were submerged during the storm.
“I’ve been pleading and fighting along with past mayors with the state of New Jersey to improve their infrastructure,” Brown said. “The only improvement was due to a 1982 incident where a child drowned and they put a real catch basin in and a grade on top of it.”
Brown said that the state will be coming in the fall to fix a collapsed state pipe on the corner of Route 35 and West Sylvania, which the state collapsed during a repair 8 months earlier. Brown said that he has another meeting with Senator Jennifer Beck to address the problem.
“It’s a constant battle with the state to rectify that problem and it’s not easy,” said Brown. “It’s a multi, multi-million dollar project to change those catch basins and fall out pipes because those pipes have to go to the river or to Sylvan Lake. We will continue to press them. The state has ignored it for many many years and again it all comes down to funding. Unfortunately they haven’t chosen 35 and 3rd but not for the lack of trying.”
During the storm, the fire department responded to 8 calls along with two serious first aid calls.
“I’ve been here six years,” said Neptune City Police Department Director Edward Kirschenbaum. “I’ve never seen rain like that. We were inundated.”