Highlands Borough Council makes me wonder

Go to one Highlands Council meeting and you have lots to wonder about. Go to several Highlands Council meetings and your wonderment will boggle your mind. Starting with some legalities, how long will the borough attorney sit there and listen to the Mayor announce there is a public hearing, not have a motion, second and vote to open a public hearing, then close the hearing without anything more than the mayor closing the meeting. Then when a vote is taken, how does the clerk know whether it’s to close the public hearing or pass the ordinance on its final reading? Six ordinances had public hearings last night, I wonder if the minutes show motions were made, seconded, and voted on to open and close them? I wonder if I missed hearing separate votes to pass the ordinances on final reading? Then there was the proposed ordinance to vacate a portion of road so the two very fine restaurants on either side of it could have it given to them, at no cost of course, so they would share and share alike for more space for beautification, enjoyments, tables, whatever. That public hearing lasted about an hour, with people with very intense feelings, both for and against, wanting to be heard. That hearing ... not sure if it’s a legal one, mind you … also brought up the question of who would pay for bulkhead repairs, but the mayor and new councilmembers…with only veteran council member Linda Mazzola voted against it…. passed it without bothering to get any kind of written agreement, deed restriction or contract first. That ordinance was introduced because it didn’t get approved last year when it was acted upon by the previous council, so there must be good reason to give away borough property, particularly waterfront borough property. Considering that, it also made me wonder during the public hearing…again, not sure of the legality of it, of yet another ordinance took five minutes, with all the council voting for it. The irony of it is the second one was about other waterfront property the borough does not own. But the borough will now not only pay rent for it but also give free access to the adjacent community center by the owners for their purposes. So if they have really owned that land all these years, and the lease was lost, I wonder if they have been paying taxes on it? But the borough is now going to pay them so borough residents can use it. I wonder if the owners pay taxes on it now? I wonder how many people know that original lease that is misplaced or something showed the houses also being owned jointly. I wonder why there were complaints about the length of the meeting, starting with an executive session at 6:30, and not ending til just after 11. I don’t wonder about why the meetings lasted so long. That’s what happens when you introduce six or seven ordinances and set all their public hearings for the same meeting. Of course, I’m still wondering about the beryllium question. So, the paper street where the owner dumped the soil with the beryllium in it was reportedly cleaned up. But has it really? Has the cleanup site been tested? Has the air or other soil around it been tested? Have any tests been done to see whether after the clean-up any beryllium is still floating around some place? I wonder why Linda Mazzola who certainly seems to listen to the people, has to ask the administrator for information? Shouldn’t she be included in everything that’s shared among council members? I also wonder why Ms Mazzola seems to be the only one who actually listens to people who call her. Happy she asks lots of questions then acts on what she learns. I wonder why someone takes on a volunteer job, then decides it’s too overwhelming to do alone, so it’s better to have the borough pay for someone to help out with it? If it’s too overwhelming, isn’t it better to step away from it and let someone who wants to do the job without costing the taxpayers anything extra do it?


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