As a courtesy to our SHPOA Members, we’re bringing you a summary of each Stone Harbor Work Session and Council Meeting. Intended as summaries, these intentionally don’t have a lot of details and are not a substitute for the official Borough minutes.
Budgeting, flood management, and permits
Council member Jennifer Gensemer announced the formation of a standing committee to deal with budgeting and financial issues.
Construction Official Ray Poudrier, who also is overseeing flood management efforts, completed the annual Community Rating System (CRS) certification and recommends to the Federal Emergency Management Agency that Stone Harbor be returned to Class 5 status, subject to federal review. A lower CRS rating saves property owners money on their flood insurance policies. He noted that the Borough is seeking an even lower rating to Class 4.
Poudrier said that in January, the construction office plans to begin accepting digitized permits.
Pedestrian safety, water consumption, and more
Manny Parada, Borough Administrator, is working on a plan to make the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 96th Street safer for pedestrians. He also is negotiating labor agreements with the police and fire department unions.
Parada reviewed the revenues and costs incurred by the property purchased by the Borough to meet its Fair Share Housing requirements. So far, expenses have exceeded the value of the house, and the house could be razed.
Public Works employees are winterizing, which includes removing docks, installing fuel tanks, and prepping flower beds.
Solid waste outweighed recycling last month by a 4:1 ratio.
Water consumption is up this year at 205 million gallons compared last year’s usage which was 197 million gallons. Parada said he believes it is not so much a leakage issue as a consumption issue. If the Borough exceeds the state-mandated allocation, it will be fined.
Borough Engineer Marc DeBlasio said he has six active projects underway and helped in obtaining $1.2 million in grants. He said the pumping station project on Third Avenue is nearing completion.
Jim Craft, CFO, presented a 20-page preliminary budget for the following areas in 2024: Administration, Clerk’s Office, Elections Finance, Tax Collector, Tax Assessor, Zoning Board, Planning Board, Construction, Natural Resources, Tourism, Museum, and Water and Sewer.
This comprises about half the functions. A draft of the entire budget could be completed in January.
During the public comment section of the meeting, resident Charles Tomlinson asked why the Borough should be hiring a professional planner. The mayor explained the planner is to be a contractor and not an employee.
American Legion Commander Tom McCullough explained the mission of Post 331: support veterans on or from the island and maintain the post’s historic building with the help of generous donors, such as Home Depot.
Council member Gensemer said she is planning to create a “think tank” to generate ideas for revenue raising and savings to the Borough and taxpayers. Other Council member comments ranged from “looking inside for talent and skills” to developing more useful long-range planning to achieve better fiscal management.
Council approved a resolution for a meeting closed to the public to discuss the possible hiring of a Human Resources person and a professional planner. They approved the hiring of the Human Resources person but tabled the hiring of a professional planner.
To read legislation discussed at the meeting, please click this link: https://stoneharbornj.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/12.05.2023-Regular-Meeting-Agenda.pdf
To view a video of the meeting, please click this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Laj0CM2x9II
To read past Stone Harbor Council Meeting summaries, please click here: https://dev.stoneharborpoa.org/category/borough-meeting-summaries/
To watch recordings of past meetings, please click here: https://stoneharbornj.org/agendameetings/watch-mayor-and-council-meetings-online/