SEA BRIGHT: Sworn in to new terms this year, Sea Bright's Councilmen John Lamia and Charles Rooney told Word On The Shore their goals for 2015 would include advocating for taxpayers in the midst of the borough's continued rebuilding due to Hurricane Sandy.
Lamia, who was appointed last year to fill the vacancy created by C. Read Murphy's resignation, was assigned to the beach committee of the council and worked to evaluate the beach fees for badges and lockers. He also reports on such matters as the equipment and staffing needed to maintain the beaches, such as Sea Bright's new beach rake. He also chairs the dune restoration committee.
"We have a lot of work to do on the beach," Lamia said, but added a new assignment to the grants committee will be a source of opportunity for the borough to find new grant sources and follow up with them.
"I've taken over grants, so I want to make sure we have a good tracking system," he said. "What did we apply for, where do we stand?"
Rooney said with so much activity required to rebuild Sea Bright, his goal is to be a watchful eye on spending.
"My goals are to just make sure we are spending the taxpayers' money properly," Rooney said. "There's a lot going on in the town and you don't want to make mistakes that are going to cost the taxpayers extra dollars -- that is my main concern."
In his first meeting with the council Jan. 3, Rooney asked the council to table its vote on selecting T&M Associates as the borough engineer, though the council approved the appointment in the end. Rooney said it was an example of stopping to ask and examine how the borough is spending its money.
"I'm not saying they are not doing a good job, I'm just saying we need to do some more research," Rooney said. Lamia agreed, with the pair casting the two no votes on the appointment.
Rooney will chair the public safety/education committee of the council, which helps compile the annual police budget. He also is the liaison to the new School Tax Reform Task Force, which will advocate for a better formula for the regional school tax.
Mayor Dina Long has said Sea Bright's portion of the tax burden is unfair, when doing the math of number of students from Sea Bright and proportion of the school taxes residents pay compared to the other towns that send students to Shore Regional. Rooney said he is on the council to support and work with the mayor and her vision for the borough.