To the Editor:

Over the last 12 months the Barnegat Township Committee has approved Bill Lists that range anywhere from $4M to $12.7M.  They have not provided back-up and details on the Township Committee Agenda published on the Barnegat Township website.  Most times, the Bill List is included within the Consent Agenda, comingled with many other resolutions.

I think the residents of Barnegat should have that information for every Bill List to see how and where their money is spent.  Additionally, I believe the Bill List should be a separate item and not included in the Consent Agenda.

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I have publicly & privately taken issue with this lack of transparency.

For the first time, the Clerk included the Bill List details on the electronically published Township Committee Agenda.  I wrote a letter to the Clerk and Committee thanking them for including that detail.  I also requested that it be continued for all future meetings.

As the public comment session was closed, there was no comment on my request.  Much later in the meeting, a Committeeperson commented on my letter and request, saying that the Committee always provided two paper copies of the Bill List at the back of the meeting room. 

Unintentionally, that comment displays a lack of respect for the residents of Barnegat & a lack of transparency.

Providing two paper copies of the Bill List at the back of the meeting room is hardly enough, because many more people attend the Township Committee Meetings. 

Secondly many people cannot attend the 10:00 AM meetings. Therefore, I question how interested residents would gain access to the two paper copies.

Finally, during the COVID-19 crisis, we cannot personally attend public meetings. Again, how are we to have access to the two paper copies?

I ask the Township Committee to always make the Bill List details available on the published Township Committee Agendas, the Committee Meeting minutes, and all archived Agendas.

Barnegat taxpayers should always have the Bill List detail available & published on the Township website so they can review how their Tax Dollars are being spent.

Respectfully submitted,

Charles Cunliffe