What are Their Priorities? ... Hard to Tell

The Highlands Mayor and Council gave even more examples tonight about how they really don’t care about the people of the town, what they think, what they need, what they might like. And the ironies during the meeting were just too many and too confusing to follow.

Praise to the one Highlands resident who cares enough about the town and what people think to at least video the meeting and put it live on Facebook. Irony number one!

There were more people watching the meeting live on Facebook then the two…or was it three people who actually showed up at the Community Center?

That was the extent of those in attendance at the meeting. They, and the five elected officials, and all the professionals who were paid to be there. Each of the councilmembers wore their masks, secure enough so their voices were muffled and of course because of the muffling by mask, you couldn’t understand everything going on, in spite of the Facebook video that was trying so hard to keep people informed.

That, and one of the councilwoman coughing and sneezing so much at one time the Mayor even asked if she was ok.

Then there is the absolute insolent and we-don’t-want-all-you-people-knowing-when- borough business -is -going-on attitude of the governing body. Or at the very least, the absolute perception of the people don’t need to know. This was municipal business going on, ordinances being introduced, ordinances being approved, tens of thousands of dollars being approved, minutes being approved, and resolutions being passed. But only THREE people were there for all this municipal business.

There was no ZOOM meeting, no action by the governing body to present municipal business on ZOOM so people could be informed, ask questions, and even have something to say at the two public hearings on two ordinances. But Monday night, there’s a meeting on the Skate Park, apparently the most important thing going on in town.

That meeting is on ZOOM!

Yes, people will be able to protect themselves from Covid, stay at home, but still be informed citizens.

On the skate park.

No other borough business tonight was apparently enough to get the same attention.

On top of that, Councilwoman Chelak had something to say about the Captains Cove Marina....

Doesn’t anyone see any conflict of interest here where an elected official with land adjoining this redevelopment area has any discussion on it?

Is she going to be able to vote on anything concerning the property next to her property?

Speaking of talking, the other new councilman Leo Cervantes, could not be accused of that tonight. Doesn’t he get a committee to work on or represent? He was the only one who did not have any kind of committee report.

Councilman Don Melnyk did have a report, profuse in his apologies for not being communicative enough. That’s what he said in his communications committee report.

Wouldn’t action be better than apology?

Wouldn’t letting the folks know the meetings now start at 7 p.m. have maybe gotten at least one or two other people to attend?

Wouldn’t being sure municipal business meetings other than a skate park be on ZOOM so everyone could attend be more a communications issue that needs to be corrected?

Then there is the question of that Adult Indoor Soccer event. Think about that. Meetings are not important enough to put on ZOOM, and Covid, as one council person said, is the word of the day.

Masks must be worn.

Kids are missing school because of testing positive.

But we’re having adult INDOOR SOCCER? is that a necessary recreation at this particular time?

Look for changes in that Bay Avenue Redevelopment plan. There have been some, the folks just don’t know them yet.

And it’s a shame not one council member attended….on ZOOM at that…..that Fort Hancock 21st Century committee meeting a couple of weeks ago. If it was important enough to quote a local newspaper’s report on the meeting…which was not thorough or complete…and if any proposed changes would impact Highlands that much…wouldn't you think it would be important enough to at least one representative of the borough to attend?

The same goes for the regionalization question with the school districts. That will be, as it should, a major issue in Sea Bright, Highlands and Atlantic Highlands this year, and should be put on the ballot for the people to decide. Let’s start getting accurate, complete and thorough information out about how it will impact everyone, taxpayer, teacher, board of education member and student alike, and let the people decide.

And is there nothing important enough happening with the bids, the plans, or anything concerning that $10 million borough hall on the hill? It didn’t even appear that its construction, financing, or whatever is happening with it is a priority for 2022 for the Mayor.

Many of us who love the borough and its people were happy Mayor Broullon called for a moment of silence at the start of the meeting to honor the three great losses the borough experienced this week.

Katherine Guenther was a wonderful woman, a gem, a proud, generous and most helpful summer resident for 74 years.

Dorothy Kovic was all of that and more throughout the year as a full time resident for more than 65 years, raising a wonderful family in town, who, with her and her late husband Mike, also contributed so much to town.

And who could say enough about former Councilman Tony Bucco, one of the last survivors of World War II, a big man in heart, dedication, hard work, and love for Highlands who also raised a wonderful family in the borough and made international headlines as a true patriot and a member of a Matawan family who contributed so much to the United States.

Thanks, Mayor, for the moment of silence. But each of them deserves so very much more.


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