Highlands…are you listening?

That three hour long council meeting in Atlantic Highlands was unusually long, what with the two hours of actually listening to the public voice their opinions on parking on Ocean Blvd. That part of the meeting made me think, once again, the differences between this town and Highlands, these two adjacent, and both charming and wonderful towns. A two hour public hearing? Letting everyone say what he wanted? Even let him talk a second time if he thought of something new or different? Courteous and polite, with words of thanks for having the hearing in the first place, polite discourse and exchange of ideas? Then putting off action to give the governing body time to review all the comments? All of this, even though not only this Chief of Police, but the one prior to this, to say nothing of the Parking Committee and its very investigative researcher and chairman, all recommended it? It would do Highlands voters well to listen in…and oh yes, actually see, all of the council members and see how a really excellent council meeting should be run. Then during the last hour of the meeting, this bipartisan elected body did so many more things. Read the news story about how one council-member called for a resolution to be removed for discussion because she said she doesn’t want to vote for anything political, then yep, she voted for it. And another council-member abstain rather take a stand either way, because he thought it had too many vagaries.” The bottom line is, all this council wanted to do, and did, was show the state Department of Healthy that here in Atlantic Highlands, elected officials care about their local businesses, will stand up for them any day, and will do anything they can as often as they can to protect and help this business and every other business in town. If that’s politics, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen it be so kind, pleasant and caring. So parking on Ocean Blvd. and helping local businesses aside, the Mayor and Council here also announced a town wide Yard Sale on May 15 and urged everyone to sign up for it before the May 1 deadline. This is an annual event that draws lots of folks into town, lets lots of families do great spring cleanings of their homes, provides maps of the homeowners who signed up, and there again, helps the local restaurants and cafes because shoppers like to take that break between visiting and scooping up all the goodies. They also announced what sounds like a really great musical event at the Yacht Harbor on July 31 featuring some really great local names in music, and the Recreation Committee will have lots more on that before summer. They explained why water on the west side of town has been brownish, but explained it isn’t pretty, but not sickening to drink, and even explained homeowners should just let water run from the lowest tap on their property, like the outside hookup for the garden hose, to clear the water. They also let folks know that disposable wipes have created a problem in the sewage system, and should be disposed of in the garbage rather than toilet when necessary, to save the town money and the DPW some extra work needed for repairs sewage lines. They let the folks know there will definitely be a public hearing on what’s going to be happening with marijuana in Atlantic Highlands, and that meeting will have to be held before Aug. 22. Just to be sure everyone knows about it so they can of course have another probably long public hearing, they will have more information, the time and date will be on the borough web page and they’ll keep reminding people to check the webpage for the date and time when it’s been set. The administrator, who always seems to be on the job and looking out for the taxpayers, said there’s another opportunity for grant applications coming up, and he’s already looking into it to see where Atlantic Highlands can save some money and get some things done at no cost by applying for one or several. There’s going to be a groundbreaking on April 27 at 21 Lincoln Ave once the closing goes through for a Habitat for Humanity home. All this. And more. In one hour. After a two hour public hearing. And if all that isn’t enough, one final suggestion to everyone. Keep checking the borough’s official page, AHNJ.com It’s updated all the time and crammed full of all this information. What a way to run a town. Highlands…are you listening?


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