By Neil Schulman
Sea Bright — Two projects planned in the borough have stalled due to issues with the state.
At the Aug. 2 Borough Council meeting, Councilman John Lamia said that the Department of Transportation still has yet to issue permits for work on the streetscape project to improve the sidewalks and other aspects of the downtown.
Because Highway 36 is a state-owned road, the Department of Transportation must sign off on all plans affecting the street. Ironically, the agency holding it up is the NJ DOT; the bureau in the department which helped design the plans is separate from the one that issues the permits.
The money for the project is coming from a federal grant. It looks like due to the delays, it will expire before the work can start, but Lamia said Sea Bright has gotten an extension.
Work on some of the streets in the northern part of Sea Bright has also been delayed.
“Gov. Christie sort of stopped us there,” said Lamia. Last month, due to a lack of funds in the Transportation Trust Fund, Gov. Chris Christie ordered all non-essential state roadwork stopped.
Sea Bright had been planning about $200,000 worth of improvements there.
In a little over two months of operation, the parking meters have been collecting an average of more than $2,000 a day.
Councilman Charles Rooney reported that the meters, which went into effect on Memorial Day, had collected $140,000 in the first 65 days.
Rooney also noted that Sea Bright is now collecting rent money on the temporary cell phone tower that has gone up in the parking lot behind borough hall. It will continue to collect when the permanent one, which is waiting for environmental permits, is built.
Rooney said Sea Bright is currently collecting $34,000 a year from Verizon, which uses the tower to boost its signal in the area. If more companies were to sign on, Sea Bright could bring in as much as $85,000 a year, he said.
On Sept. 27, voters will be asked to approve bonds that would ask taxpayers to foot $5.1 million of a $12.9 million project for new municipal buildings. Sea Bright hopes these revenues will offset a good chunk of the tax increase.
Sea Wall work
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has announced it will soon start work on a $35 million project to expand and repair the sea wall in Sea Bright and neighbor Monmouth Beach.
Lamia said it will involve more than 129,000 tons of rocks.
Mayor Dina Long said the borough would be reaching out to all those who might be affected by the work, such are those who have stairs on the existing sea wall. The borough will have contacted them by fall.