Budget Preparation Started
In this three-dog-night January wind, one of the more engaging topics at a short Barnegat Light Borough Council meeting concerned whether the borough will change to allow a three-dog park – three dogs at time, per person, that is.
Folks who were away may not know that late last year, council enacted an ordinance limiting the number of canines at the borough’s 10th Street dog park to two at one time, per person. The reason was reports of a person, later identified as a breeder, unleashing up to 10 dogs: too many to keep control of, council agreed.
Now discussion is heading back in the other direction.
At the Jan. 9 monthly council’s caucus meeting, Councilwoman Dottie Reynolds, who chairs the beaches and parks committee, said she has gotten “requests to be more lenient on that.” She said she had mentioned it to Mayor Kirk Larson, who was unable to attend, and he said he didn’t object.
Councilwoman Mary Ellen Foley added that each July a woman with three small dogs brings them to the dog park “and creates a photo book every year of all the people who use the park; it’s a hard-cover book. It would be a shame to prohibit someone who has been making these books for five years.”
There is also at least one household with two dogs and a service dog, according to Foley. Municipal Clerk Brenda Kuhn said the highest number that anyone registered with the borough to get a key pass for the dog park gate was four.
So with that, no action was taken at the night’s meeting, and a final number of allowable dogs at one time was not settled upon. The park is used by borough residents at no charge and by outside residents at a fee; however, both must register with the borough to get a key pass. See the borough website, barnegatlight.org, for a review of details.
Two council members noted that they thought this subject had been settled before.
“Why did we pass this ordinance?” Councilman Ed Wellington rhetorically asked, referring to the newly established current restriction.
“We made an ordinance and now we’re changing it?” Councilman Sam Alloway said in agreement.
“We might have jumped the gun,” Reynolds answered. “We possibly overreacted too quick.”
After consulting quickly with Borough Attorney Terry Brady, council members agreed to look over the existing ordinance again for discussion next meeting toward a decision on a new version, making sure that any more changes are made at the same time.
Budget Talks In Season
Among other matters, council set the next budget workshop for Jan. 22 at 1:30 p.m.
An ordinance was introduced that would exceed the municipal budget appropriation limits and establish a cap bank for the 2019 year budget.
The Local Government Cap Law states that in the preparation of its annual budget, a municipality shall limit any increase to 2.5 percent over last year’s appropriations, unless authorized by an ordinance to increase it to 3.5 percent. The introduced ordinance would call for the 3.5 percent increase.
The extra 1 percent would equal $20,458.
The ordinance adds that if there is an amount left that is not used in final appropriations, the borough can retain that money for use in either of the next two succeeding years.
Foley’s water/sewer committee report updated that the number of unlocated residential water meter pits is down to seven in preparation for digital water meter reading. Personnel will do their best to locate those seven; if they cannot, the borough will put that work out to bid to either find them or create new pits, Foley said.
“That’s a lot better than we started at, 44,” remarked Council President Michael Spark. “We’re getting it down.”
Councilman Frank Mikuletzky reported after a meeting with Long Beach Township police that police discussed enforcing next summer against more bicyclists who “run the red lights” because, as he said, “somebody’s likely to get killed.”
Also, before the weekend snowstorm, it was noted that the ocean beachfront at 10th Street had an approximate 10-foot drop-off. The beachfront configuration can be affected by seasonal and weather conditions.
— Maria Scandale