Skorka, Pederson & a Throne

Once again, cheers to Kim Skorka for managing to put the Highlands Council meeting live on Facebook Thursday night, when the Mayor and Council decided to hold their first meeting in person, shutting off virtual attendance at a meeting that involved a $10 million new borough hall, a couple of ordinances to make it easier to open a marijuana shop in town and a few more things all borough residents should really know about and get concerned over. Cheers also for that half dozen or so local residents who did get to speak up at that meeting at the Community Center and made so much sense during the public portion on the bonding ordinance. Their voices and hearts reached to at least two council members, Linda Mazzola and Kevin Martin, who said they were there to do the will of the people, not their own. Loved the Highlands Avenue resident and attorney who reminded the elected officials that “government works for the people,” and urged the council to listen to the people, and find another way. He made a lot of sense, and while he said it was his first time speaking out at a public meeting, it certainly is hoped he’ll be there again and again with his sensible thinking and great ideas. It’s also amazing when you think of it, that Mayor Broullon was not the only Mayor in the room, as she pointed out. The last two mayors were also present, and it speaks well for the interest, love, and dedication of both that even after they’ve been out of office, they still are there on the opposite side of the desk to ensure things are done right and in the manner the people want. Melissa Pedersen always seems to do a lot of homework and research before attending any meeting and Thursday was no exception. When she was told that the $10 million figures took the last year’s dramatic and sharp increase in building supply costs into consideration, she questioned how they could be so, since the $10 million figure hasn’t changed in three years and nobody could predict Covid, or many other things. She said nobody has a crystal ball, but the boro hall plans certainly seem to be short-sighted without enough research into alternate possibilities. She reminded council taxpayers have already had a pretty expensive year, what with council paying out $10,000 for a Welcome to Highlands sign, creating a new position not yet filled “as far as I know” for a confidential aide for the mayor and administrator, and hiring an administrator at a considerably higher salary that the last one. “You’re spending a hell of a lot of money” she told the Mayor and Council. It’s true, as many people have said, there are three or four ladies who speak out pretty consistently at council meetings, and taxpayers should thank them profusely for being so attentive, resourceful, and interested. Too many things can just slide by when people simply don’t care, don’t act, don’t even become informed. When the tax bills come in, it’s too late to complain. The time to question and have input is before funds are authorized, before things change. It still makes me wonder when the council gets to know everything that’s going on without executive sessions. How do you dream up seven new ordinances without any consideration in an executive session, let alone a public meeting? Do they even read them or simply pay the attorney to draw something up, pay newspapers to print them, then figure only the resourceful ladies, and at this last meeting, some very intelligent men as well, will know about it and maybe they can just get these things done before the folks find out what the heck is really happening? And while I think the Mayor is a charming lady, is working hard for what she feels is right for the town, and many other things, did anyone else notice how different her chair at the table is from the others? Most are straitlaced, professional looking and comfortable enough for a meeting, hers appears to be more a classic piece of furniture with a padded back and very pretty oval design. Kind of royal looking. One more thing. The possibility of a marijuana shop on Bay avenue is one thing, but can’t you just see the signs on the highway now if a marijuana shop opens on Route 36, as one ordinance introduce this week would permit. Something like “Get Your Pot Here! Last Stop before enjoying in on the Beach.” Wonder whether Sandy Hook rangers are gonna feel about that?