BELMAR, NJ — First and foremost, we need to think smarter and streamline how Belmar conducts its business by upgrading our computer systems to institute online payment and document access: to make it possible to pay property taxes, water and sewer bills, purchase beach badges, apply for construction permits, mercantile and other licenses, certificates of occupancy, view minor police reports and any other items available. We need to bring Belmar into the 21st century. People are busy and need 24-hour access to these services. They shouldn't have to walk into borough hall to do their business.
The problem with flooding on Highway 35 is unacceptable. We must get our municipal and state engineers together to design a plan to correct this problem. Whether it will require bulk heading or storm drain expansion, the residents in that area should not have to pump their basements out every time there is heavy rain or the river overflows. There might not be an overnight solution, but we need to start on a clear path to remedy this longstanding problem.
Over the past eight years, the former mayor and council approved PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) programs for developers which helped stabilize municipal taxes but took valuable funding away from our school. The PILOT programs are in place for 30 years. With state aid being diminished to our school, we need to devise creative ways to stabilize school taxes, which we all pay, so we can ensure our children are getting a proper education.
The lawsuits and attorneys fees brought about by the actions of the former mayor, some members of the council and our current administration,need to stop. We cannot keep wasting our tax dollars in this fashion. We need to handle issues in the future through communication and take personalities out of the equation. All involved need to discuss the issues to determine the best solution and prevent these types of lawsuits.
I will ask for feedback from our residents concerning special events in Belmar. We need to see which events are advantageous to Belmar and which are causing too many problems, aggravation and expense. Some events may need to be downsized or their location changed. Other towns that don't have the influx of people that we do may need special events to encourage visitors to their towns, but Belmar is unique. It has beautiful beaches and a marina which bring thousands of visitors in the summer. This is something we need to take a serious look at.
Parking has become a major issue for many Belmar residents. It is very difficult now when family and friends come to visit to accommodate them with parking. It is time that we sit down with developers and major stakeholders to devise an acceptable plan to alleviate the parking problem. This will be a goal that hopefully can be accomplished within my four-year term.
The issue with our lifeguards this year was unacceptable. When I am elected, I will start immediately to recruit seasoned lifeguards. Belmar charges a fee to use its beaches from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Visitors to our beaches expect and deserve proper lifeguard protection. This could become a major liability issue if not addressed before next summer.
I want to reinstitute the Police Explorers Program so our young adults can experience firsthand the requirements for a career in the Police Department, Fire Department, EMS, First Aid Squad and all our emergency services.
I will meet with our chief of police to discuss the Community Policing Program. We will decide whether to expand it or bring it into a new direction. Residents should be able to talk with an officer who is familiar with their neighborhood.
The realization of these goals can only be brought about by your voting for me as your mayor, and Pat Wann and Jim McCracken as council members. Our team has the experience and the knowledge to start work on these issues immediately. Election day is November 6. Vote team Walsifer, Wann, McCracken to put Belmar back on track.