As a courtesy to our SHPOA Members, we’re bringing you a summary of the March 1st, 2022 Stone Harbor Work Session and Council Meeting. Intended as summaries, these intentionally don’t have a lot of details and are not a substitute for the official Borough minutes.
2022 CFO Draft Budget Presentation
Borough CFO James Craft presented the latest draft of the budget for 2022.
In summary, the total budget for 2022 is $19.8 million, representing an increase of $432,000 over 2021, or 2.2%. The Borough’s tax rate in 2022 will be 29.1 cents, which is unchanged from the prior year. Salaries increased $420,000 with the most changes in:
Police Department: $193,000
Public Works: $150,000;
Guards/Beach Taggers: $36,000
Salary changes reflect the addition of a sergeant position in the Police Department, and wage increases generally.
Capital expenditures and debt funding increased by $328,000 over the prior year. General government other expenses increased $116,000, driven primarily from increases in group health insurance and sanitary landfill costs.
Current fund revenues increased $432,000:
Local revenues went up $313,000, reflecting revenues back to 2019 levels
Beach tag fees were up $300,000, reflecting increased tag cost to better cover Borough expenses to guard and maintain the beaches
Tax levy went up $153,000 due to increased property ratables (there is no increase in the property tax rate)
Other items decreased ($334,000) including a reduction in the use of Surplus funds and lower grant income
For greater detail, a copy of the presentation can be found on the main page of the Borough website (below is a link to the presentation):
Stockton 2021 Lagoon Survey
The Borough received an engineering report prepared by Stockton University Coastal Research Center regarding sediment conditions in the back bay lagoons and access channels. As background, the Borough last conducted lagoon dredging in late 2016/early 2017, resulting in the removal of 113,000 cubic yards; including 7,000 dredged from individual boat slips by property owners. Stockton has surveyed the 8 separate lagoons and access channels annually since the dredging; this is the 5th report. This report reflects on-water engineering inspections of these locations over a two-day period in January 2022. The post-dredging data from 2016 has been directly compared with the 2021 data. As reflected in the 2021 report, sediment increased by 9,300 cubic yards vs. the 2020 inspection. The report contains a chart showing the change in sediment annually since 2016/17, and reflects a fairly consistent pattern of accumulation in the range of 10,000-15,000 per annum. Total accumulation has increased by 45,000 yards since the last dredging. Stockton also identified and measured “hot spots” which are estimated to contain 8,400 cubic yards of sediment. Stockton concluded the hot spot sediment does not appear to trigger a need for a 2022 dredging permit as there are no critical shoals as well as plenty of room to avoid hot spot areas.
Borough Administrator, Robert (Bob) Smith, advised the Council that he will be meeting with Borough and Wetland Institute Officials to review and evaluate the report. Smith indicated the group is sensitive to the fact that dredging requires long-term planning, and they will be looking at the potential to secure necessary permits in advance to be ready when dredging is needed.
Building construction is proceeding on plan. Roofing, windows, and framing have been completed.
Outdoor Dining Ordinance
The Borough reviewed a proposed Outdoor Dining Ordinance in preparation for the introduction of the new Ordinance at a subsequent meeting. Outdoor dining rules were relaxed during the pandemic as indoor space was either closed or under space restrictions. The new Ordinance had been drafted prior to the pandemic, but the review and adoption were suspended. Over the last two years, the Borough and local restaurants have had time and experience to determine what works for both the businesses, nearby residential neighbors, and the impact on parking. The Ordinance was discussed in detail, in particular the restriction to outdoor tables seating no more than 6 patrons. Following a detailed review of the issue, the seating restriction was left in place as indoor restaurant space is no longer restricted, and can accommodate larger parties.
Public Works Director, Grant Russ, advised Council that 9 seasonal workers are returning to staff the summer trash schedule. Several openings remain however for seasonal and full-time employees. The Public Works Committee is working on plans to increase efficiency and service levels for trash collection in 2022’s summer season.
93rd Street Pump Station
Tom Thornton, an engineering contractor, advised bids are projected to go out in May 2022, with the contract to be awarded in July. The project should take 18 months to complete. The key to this timeline will require no undue delays in securing NJDEP and Army Corps permits.
Borough Council reviewed the proposed landscape irrigation ordinance, which becomes effective January 1, 2023, and which has a number of changes to current practices. Under the new ordinance:
irrigation would be allowed on even-numbered days for properties with an even-number address, while odd-numbered addresses will be allowed to water on odd-numbered days. This alternating program enables the Borough water pump stations to operate without undue stress throughout the Borough
grass, trees, and landscape beds located between the curb and sidewalk may be watered by systems using drip irrigation only
irrigation starts April 1 and ends no later than November 16. Watering is limited to once per day, from 3 a.m. to 9 a.m., for no longer than 30 minutes per zone within each system
flower boxes may be watered daily for no more than 10 minutes
new landscape installations may be irrigated on an increased basis during the first 21 days
The new ordinance was drafted with significant input from local landscape companies.
Ocean Wind Informational Forum
Geoff Woolery, SHPOA Sustainability Committee Chair, presented a proposal to hold an Ocean Wind forum to provide Stone Harbor residents, property owners, and interested parties information covering:
An overview of the NJ masterplan and the role of renewables
A status of the proposed Ocean Wind 1 and 2 projects,
An opportunity to ask questions and express concerns
Co-Hosts: SHPOA and Borough of Stone Harbor
Panel: Orsted (Ocean Wind developer), NJDEP (energy masterplan), and BOEM (U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management)
Format: 30-40 minute overview plus Q&A
Location: Stone Harbor Theater, and via Zoom
Date: May 21st (or possibly May 14th), depending on schedules
The Council endorsed the proposal without objection, and Geoff and SHPOA will work on finalizing the details. This forum should be of great interest to Stone Harbor as Ocean Wind 2 will be visible from our shoreline.
A number of resolutions were moved including:
Update to the Police Department Ordinance to add a Sargent position
Certification to end the Dune Vegetation Management Project
Refund Kieswetter rental registration fee
Approve proposal for engineering survey and preliminary design of the 80th St. Well House – pump station
Authorization to appoint Charles Jones as interim Director of Public Works effective April 1, 2022
Beach sweep date approved – April 9
Motions to approve:
a. Ocean View Condo meeting. (80th street)
b. Garden Club plant sale (96th St)
c. Gorelick wedding (86th) d. Stone Harbor Shiver (downtown)
To view documents from the meeting, please click here: https://stoneharbornj.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/March-01-2022.pdf
To view a video of the meeting, please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ao_yUTchUAg
To read past Stone Harbor Council Meeting summaries, please click here: https://www.stoneharborpoa.org/news/.