Utilizing Zoom, the City of Long Branch held a meeting to answer questions on COVID-19 emailed in by city residents.
Mayor John Pallone presided over the session and on hand to help answer questions were City Administrator George Jackson, OEM Director Stan Dziuba, Chief of police Jason Roebuck, Director of the Health Department Sidney Johnston, Health inspector Teresa Giordano, Council president Bill Dangler, Long Branch Lt. Charles Shirley and City Attorney Louis Rainone.
Council president Bill Dangler asked city residents to remain inside and if they could not to please keep their social distance.
Mayor Pallone read emails and answered questions sent in by residents.
How is Long Branch helping small businesses be able pay rent?
“The economic and community development offices are available for small businesses on rent and small loans, and to answer questions about the stimulus checks you are expecting,” said Mayor Pallone. He added that there is a website that has a list of restaurants offering take out and delivery. Long Branch connects for business is offering online service.
Is it likely that the boardwalk, beaches and summer activities will be closed for the summer?
OEM Director Dziuba answered this question. “At this time we are moving forward on the assumption that we are going to have a summer season.”
The governor has announced that golf courses and state parks will be open on Saturday.
“We’re going ahead and doing our work on the beach front to get it ready for the season,” Dziuba said. But it’s difficult to get done and still practice social distancing. We want to keep our employees safe.”
He said that the sanitation department and DPW have been fantastic and they have not altered the pick up schedule at all.
How can we get tested?
Sid Johnson said there are walk in clinics in West Long Branch and in Eatontown and you would have to call to make an appointment. You can also be tested at PNC arts center for free.
Will summer short term rentals be allowed?
City administrator George Jackson explained that Long Branch was different than other towns that offer unlimited occupancies. This means rentals can be rerented a as many times as they want over the summer season for a day week or month. In Long Branch though A space could only be rented twice.
“People who own summer residencies can come to stay in their home,” Jackson said.
Does the city have masks to give to seniors?
“We would like to give masks to everyone but we are still in a severe shortage,” said the mayor.
Lieutenant Shirley said that the city is reserving masks for first responders, healthcare workers and long care facilities. “Seniors are most at risk,” he said, “and should remain inside.”
Is it fair that businesses have to pay property taxes if they are for bidden to operate?
City attorney Louis Rainone explained that property taxes are based on the value of the property and the City of Long Branch only has the ability to do what the state legislature allows them to do. “If the value of your property goes down you can apply it next year to your taxes, but it has nothing to do with how your business is doing.”
What restrictions will the town be enforcing to protect the elderly population residing in apartment buildings?
Health commissioner Sid Johnson said that most of those communities or condos are regulated by their management company or homeowners association, they are not regulated by the city.
Will public and hotel pools and beaches be allowed to open and will the pool at my complex be open?
Health inspector Teresa Giordano said that those openings will be according to the New Jersey Department of health and the governor will dictate when they will be opened.
What is being done to protect Uber and taxi drivers?
Lt. Shirley, head of the traffic division for Long Branch police said that while they preside over the taxis they do not have any say in Uber.
“We did call all the taxis in to check on the cleanliness,” Shirley said. “It’s the first time for that since we usually check them for safety.” He said that they have also talk to Uber About taking precautions.
Police Chief Jason Roebuck said that they are doing very well with the virus and making sure they have less contact with people, so there is an online portal for reporting a crime. “If you think it is serious call the police at 732-222-1000 or 911.” He said. Otherwise use the portal.
Why is there still some construction going on in Long Branch?
Attorney Rainone said that the governor has put out guidelines for essential construction. Work can continue on anything that’s healthcare related, related to schools or anything related to the pandemic and utility work.
Construction is allowed to go on anything that already has a contract for sale upon completion as with the condos and apartments being built on the ocean front.
What is open and what is closed on the oceanfront?
The boardwalk, roadway and bike paths are closed. The sidewalks are open and so are the beaches.
Are parks going to stay open?
Right now they are but for passive recreation like jogging or walking. All playgrounds are closed
Long Branch Municpal Court
The Long Branch court has received money to hold court by electronic devices. The equipment will be of no cost to LB taxpayers.
All schedules for meetings are listed on the website LB.org
Or if you have a question you can call the mayors office at 732-561-5645.
The library is closed right now to the public but you can still get movies books and magazines on their website
If you would like your question should be answered at the next meeting send it to [email protected]