My name is Jim Bean, and I am running as an Independent for Belmar town council. Belmar’s finances are in a dire state even after a 21 percent tax hike was imposed this year. There are still major expenses yet to come including: $600,000 from improper bidding of the Lake Como outflow pipe (in addition to the lawsuits from the pump not working), the parking utility operated at a loss this year, and the looming Harmon “Salt” lawsuit for $10 million which just began depositions.

More tax hikes are coming and not small ones. Let me suggest voting for someone who realizes the situation we are in, and would demand not only financial accountability, but also fiscal responsibility. The current administration spent $1,500 on polo shirts, $2,538 on new floors for the mayor and business administrator’s office and $700 for a Keurig coffee machine with a water line hook-up. In a tax increase year, this is irresponsible use of our tax dollars. I would propose a number of fiscal changes that would benefit our bottom line.

First, no additional PILOT (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) deals unless property values stagnate. Belmar is on an upswing with property values. There is no reason a developer would need incentive to build. The program hurts the Belmar school system by unfairly taking property taxes away while adding more families with young children. As Belmar grows, school revenue is desperately needed.

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Second, Belmar has three new alcohol establishments: BeachHaus, 9th Ave Pier and Marina Grille. New Jersey has extended seasonal licenses, and we already have 10 existing bars. I propose making liquor license renewals fees proportional to the number of emergency responses to each establishment. Liquor license holders should help shoulder the increasing cost of these services. We don’t have an increased number of police specials because of the beach; we have them because of the bars. Legally, any special that works after beach hours cannot be charged to the beach utility, so the taxpayers pick it up. The alcohol establishments that are utilizing these emergency services will pay for these services.

Third, I’ll propose an ordinance to mandate the Belmar chief financial officer to publish quarterly revenue and appropriation reports so Belmar citizens can see first-hand, the town’s fiscal picture in real time. These reports show the borough's yearly fiscal status of budgeted vs actual spending and revenue by department. If this information was publicly available, we would not have been blindsided by a 21 percent tax increase. I have these reports and am more than willing to show and explain them to anyone interested.

On a personal note, I’m a decorated U.S. Marine with a bachelor of science degree in information systems. I am married, have two amazing boys, and have lived in Belmar for 21 years. I was a councilman from 2011-2014 and attempted to stop the disastrous policies of the past administration. I would like the chance to stand up for the taxpayer’s interest again. On November 5, please vote Team Bean.