Friday, January 9, 2009

Council Meeting 1/7/09 - Pass Tax Abatement, Field Audience Tax Fears

Candidates for former councilmember James Keady's seat are heating up: Tossing their hats in the ring for consideration, at least so far, are Pam Lamberton, who serves on the Zoning Board of Adjustment and with nonprofit ArtsCap, and has run for council before, attorney Amy Quinn, and Asbury Park Education Association president*John Napolitani, a democrat who garnered 2344 votes in an unsuccessful bid for state assembly, against MaryPat Angelini and David Rible, in 2007. A former Interlaken resident, Napolitani now lives on Deal Lake Dr. City Clerk Steve Kay thought there were also more applications in his office. A councilmember said he expects the council to announce the replacement for the term, which expires in July, at the next meeting, January 21. All council seats are up for election in May. *Napolitani was incorrectly listed earlier on this site as an APBoE member. We thank the site visitor who pointed this out.

Note: Two of the three audio files it took to cover the roughly 90-minutes I recorded of the meeting had to be boosted in order to be heard. If you want to hear your elected officials conducting public meetings, I encourage you to ask them to use their microphones throughout the whole meeting, not just when they want to be sure to be heard.
Councilmembers present: John Loffredo, Ed Johnson and Mayor Kevin Sanders.

Recording One: Commerce director Tom Gilmour on events including the second Polar Bear plunge 1/31; also matters before the council, which includes Councilmember Ed Johnson's request to have the code enforcement official, who is Bill Gray, address the council and public in the next work session to clarify the process that is followed in enforcing code in the city, in order to "squash several rumors going around".
Recording Two: Public Comment
Ed Simon - the Keyman - wants to tap federal funding to put trolley tracks and cars back in place in the city. Payroll adopted, Resolutions Passed: including designating depositories including Wachovia and other banks, fixing deliquent tax interest rate at 8% up to $1500, 18% over that, plus 6% on year end balances over $10,000, and bad check fee at $25, city adopted a cash management plan, a tax abatement for the Design Center (if ready), budget transfers, etc.
Recording Three: Council Business, Ordinances
Rita Marano, Jerry Scarano question replacement ordinance granting 5-year tax rebates for individuals, certain commercial improvements and projects, and residential dwellings. It supersedes all other ordinances granting such exemptions. Initially, tax abatements were added to the waterfront redevelopment agreement to entice fast track developers, the first three developers to commit to building condos on the beachfront. But then downtown developers found that the tax advantage condo buyers were being offered on the waterfront threatened to discourage buyers of downtown condos from buying there. So the city extended an exemption to the downtown developers. You will hear City Manager Terry Reidy say the effect of the abatements so far is an 8-cent increase on the tax rate over five years - cumulatively, not per year. Reidy said what it is not yet clear is how much the city has gained in improved values, which will be realized via increased tax revenues as each owner's tax abatement expires. Councilmember John Loffredo's frustration at the questions regarding the abatement can be clearly heard at the end of this recording when he tells Scarano to "sit down".

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