Sea Bright Council news Borough plans town hall to talk about school taxes

By Neil Schulman
Sea Bright — The borough is planning a town hall meeting to discuss what it is doing to address the high school taxes residents pay.

This year, Sea Bright’s share of the Shore Regional budget went up more than 50 percent, from $2.1 million to $3.3 million. The borough sends 31 students to the high school, a cost of $107,000 per pupil.

In 2016, the average home, assessed at $529,000, paid $6,913 in property taxes. This year, it’s $7,729.

“The major increase in your tax bill was driven by the regional school tax,” said Mayor Dina Long at the Sept. 5 Borough Council meeting. A little more than $700 of the $816 increase is from the school tax.

Long said that Sea Bright has filed a petition with the state Commissioner of Education. The borough is also asking residents to take part in contacting legislators.

“We’re hoping, with a letter writing campaign, to put pressure on people in Trenton,” Long said.

Sea Bright has also filed a suit against Shore Regional seeking to get them to change the funding formula. Negotiations with the Board of Education are continuing.

The borough is planning to hold a meeting in early October, with the attorneys representing Sea Bright present to explain the progress that has been made. It is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 4, pending availability of the experts.

Side street parking issues

In the summer, special parking rules go into effect on the side streets in Sea Bright. Church Street resident Chris Doxey said she’d like them to stay in effect all year round, since the situation has changed in recent years.

Because many people raised their houses following Superstorm Sandy, they had a chance to put in driveways, which eliminated about eight or nine parking spaces on her street, Doxey said.

The road is also heavily used by many people and groups who want to go to the church or other area businesses year round. Doxey said some of them have been asked to use the municipal lot a block away but still tie up the street.

“I even had a lady sleep in her car in front of our house,” Doxey said. She walked out one morning, and the woman in the car told her she slept there because of the high cost of renting a room in the area. “She said,‘Can you suggest a good place for breakfast?’”

The issue has been sent to the public safety committee to be reviewed.