MAYOR AND COUNCIL HONOR POLICE DEPARTMENT FOR RECEIVING AWARD

Mayor John Ducey and the Township Council honored the Brick Township Police Department on receiving the 2017 New Jersey EMS Award for the town’s Blue HART Program at the December 5 Council Meeting. The award was given during the New Jersey Statewide Conference on EMS in November.

“This award is a testament to the dedication of our Police Department and EMS personnel in the fight against heroin and opioid addiction,” said Mayor Ducey. “They are on the front line of this crisis and every day they are out there working to save lives. This award is recognition of those efforts.”

The Blue HART (Heroin Addiction Recovery and Treatment) Program was started in January. Through this program, addicts and substance abusers who want help can present themselves at the Brick Township Police Department where they will be transported to a treatment evaluation facility without the threat of charges or incarceration.

Since the program began, over 200 addicts have been placed into treatment.

Fighting the opioid crisis has been a top priority of Mayor Ducey, the Township Council and the Police Department. In addition to the Blue HART Program, the township has taken several steps to combat the crisis. These include:

  • Reinstatement of BMAC (Brick Municipal Anti-Drug Coalition) and it has focused on educating the community about opioids.
  • Aggressive campaign to encourage and educate about the proper disposal of unused or unwanted prescription drugs.
  • Creation of an ordinance that holds landlords responsible for repeated criminal behavior of tenants.
  • Hiring a retired police officer to address code enforcement issues in problem areas of town.

According to the Brick Township Police Department, the township has seen a significant reduction in overdoses and deaths this year.

If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid or heroin addiction and would like to seek help through the HARP Program, visit the Brick Township Police Department on any Thursday. There is no fee for people who seek help through the HARP Program.

MAYOR SEEKS CITIZENS INTERESTED IN SERVING ON BOARDS AND COMMITTEES

Any citizen interested on serving as a member on one of the township’s various boards or committees should send an email with a resume and cover letter to Mayor John Ducey before or on Thursday, December 14.

“These boards not only play an important role in shaping our community, they offer citizens the opportunity to give back and help move Brick Township forward,” said Mayor Ducey. “I encourage any person interested in serving our community to send their resume to my office this week. Every person will be considered and we will make every effort to make sure everyone who would like to serve has the opportunity to do so.”

There are upcoming appointments available for the following boards/committees:

  • Environmental Commission – is responsible for the protection, development and use of natural resources, including water resources located within the township.
  • Brick Township Housing Authority – The Brick Housing Authority administers both a public housing and Section 8 housing voucher program.
  • Historic Preservation Commission – works to encourage the use, restoration and preservation of historic structures in Brick Township.
  • Sustainable Brick – works with the township staff to create and support policies, events and activities that support and encourage sustainability.
  • Board of Adjustment – primary function is to review and decide on applications for a variance.
  • Ethics Committee – receives and reviews ethical questions or complaints alleging that the conduct of any local government officer or employee serving the municipality is in conflict with the Code of Conduct, or applicable ethical standard.
  • Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority – The BTMUA is responsible for delivering clean, safe potable water and reliable sewage collection services to customers.

“Anyone interested in serving should send their resume with a cover letter by December 14 to make sure they are considered,” said Mayor Ducey.

Resumes and cover letters should be emailed to mayor@twp.brick.nj.us no later than 5pm on December 14. While efforts will be made to place citizens on requested boards, it will not be possible in all instances due to availability.

MAYOR DUCEY WINS AWARD FOR FACEBOOK LIVE SESSIONS

Mayor John G. Ducey is proud to announce that his Facebook Live initiative was awarded the Best Special/Innovative Media Award in the 2017 Municipal Public Information Contest sponsored by the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, Rutgers Center for Government Services and the New Jersey Municipal Management Association. The award was given at the New Jersey League of Municipalities Conference in Atlantic City.

Mayor John G. Ducey accepts the award at the NJ League of Municipalities Conference in Atlantic City.

“We have worked hard to create an open and transparent town hall. Using Facebook Live to hear directly from residents and engage them in a dialogue about Brick is a continuation of those efforts,” said Mayor Ducey. “It is an honor to be recognized for our efforts to keep the citizens informed and engaged.”

Brick Township’s award was for Class C Municipalities, which for the purpose of the contest are the 130 municipalities with more than 20,000 residents.

Facebook Live is a free live-streaming service offered by Facebook. It allows users to live-stream content. Mayor Ducey began using Facebook Live in December 2016 and since then has hosted 20 sessions. During each session, Mayor Ducey answers questions submitted during the broadcast by viewers.

“I would like to thank all the residents who watch the Facebook Live and ask questions. These sessions don’t work without you,” said Mayor Ducey.

Each session is archived and available for viewing on-demand. The videos of the sessions have been viewed over 59,000 times cumulatively.

This is the third time in four years that Brick Township has been named an award recipient in the contest. In 2014, the Township won the Best Special/Innovative Award for Talking Brick with Mayor Ducey and in 2016 the Township was awarded Best Web/Social Media.

The next Facebook Live with Mayor Ducey session will take place on Tuesday, November 21 at 11am. You do not have to be a Facebook user to watch however, if you would like to ask a question, you do have to be a registered Facebook user. Visit Brick Township’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BrickTwpNJGovernment to learn more or to view past sessions.

MAYOR DUCEY HONORS AWARD WINNING EMPLOYEES

Mayor John G. Ducey honored Municipal Engineer Elissa Commins and Engineering Division employee Russell Harris for their recently being named recipients of awards from the New Jersey Association of Floodplain Managers. Mayor Ducey honored them at the November 13, 2017 Council Meeting and proclaimed a day in each of their honor.

Elissa Commins received the organization’s 2017 Floodplain Management Leadership Award and Russell Harris was named recipient of their 2017 Outstanding Local Floodplain Management Official Award.

Elissa Commins (center) receives her proclamation from Mayor Ducey (r) and is joined by Council President Art Halloran.

“We are very fortunate to have Elissa and Russell on the township staff. They are hard-working, dedicated and knowledgeable employees and they are an asset to our community,” said Mayor Ducey. “They put in countless hours to help Brick Township get in the Community Rating System and we are thrilled that they were recognized for their efforts.”

Elissa and Russell were both instrumental in the township’s acceptance into the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System. The National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System was implemented in 1990 as a voluntary program for recognizing and encouraging community floodplain management activities exceeding the minimizing NFIP standards. Under the CRS, flood insurance premiums rates are discounted to required community actions that reduce flood damage to insurable properties, strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP and encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management.

Russell Harris (center) with his Mayoral Proclamation.

As part the township’s efforts to get accepted into the CRS, the Engineer Department staff – led by Elissa and Russell – contacted the owners of 665 non-compliant structures in Brick Township, hosted workshops to provide assistance on mitigation of non-compliant structures, and conducted field inspections to encourage compliance as required in order for the Township to be eligible for the Program.

Acceptance into the CRS means that residents who have to pay flood insurance will see discounts on their premiums. The cumulative savings is $657,914 with an average of $200 per policy.

In honor of their awards and in recognition of their dedication and exemplary work, Mayor Ducey proclaimed November 14, 2017 as Elissa Commins Day and November 15, 2017 as Russell Harris Day in the Township of Brick.

NEW TEEN CENTER OPENED IN BRICK TOWNSHIP

Mayor John G. Ducey will be joined by Township Council members, township officials and community members at the ribbon cutting of the Lounge 270 Teen Center in the Brick Township Civic Plaza on Thursday, November 2.

“One of my goals as Mayor was to create a place for the young people of our community to call their own.  Today, I am proud to say that we are doing just that,” said Mayor Ducey.  “The Lounge 270 Teen Center will provide a place for our teens to gather and spend time with their peers.”

Lounge 270 is the first municipally-run teen facility in Brick Township’s history.  The teen center will be open on Thursdays from 2pm – 10pm and there is no admission fee.  The lounge will be staffed by Recreation Staff members during these regular hours.

The lounge has furniture, computers, televisions, video game systems and more.  Mayor Ducey has sought input from young people through his Brick Youth initiative on what they wanted the lounge to be.

“I have been working with Brick Youth and Coordinator Colleen Kahl to learn from young people themselves what they want at Lounge 270 and in the community,” said Mayor Ducey.  “We will continue to engage our young people and let them help us make this a better community for teenagers.”

Lounge 270 was funded through a $20,000 grant awarded by the Ocean Partnership for Children.  Councilwoman Andrea Zapcic and Township Assistant Planner Tara Paxton were instrumental in the township’s receiving the grant.

Any young person wishing to visit Lounge 270 will be given a free membership card.  The card will be scanned upon entering and leaving the lounge.  Membership cards will be available at the lounge and at the Brick Township Recreation Department.

In addition to the regular Thursday hours, Lounge 270 will be open for special events for teens.  Scheduled events include the following:

  • Coffeehouse – Sunday, November 5, 7pm-9pm
  • French Fry Contest – Saturday, November 18, 7pm-9pm
  • Holiday Movie Marathon – Thursday, December 14, 2pm – 9pm
  • Holiday Karaoke Coffee House – Thursday, December 21, 7pm – 9pm
  • Winter Break Video Game Competition – Thursday, December 28, 2pm – 6pm
  • New Year New You Goal Setting – Saturday, January 6, 2pm – 4pm

Anyone who wishes to follow what’s happening at Lounge 270 and other news, events and programs for young people can follow the Brick Youth Facebook page (www.facebook.com/BrickYouth).

NEW HANK WALTONOWSKI PARK OPENED TO PUBLIC

Mayor Ducey, Council Members and citizens cutting the ribbon!

On Thursday, November 2, Mayor John G. Ducey, Township Council members and community members cut the ribbon to the renovated Hank Waltonowski Park and officially opened the park to the public. It was the fifth park improvement project completed during Mayor Ducey’s term.

“One of my favorite things about being Mayor is being able to make a positive impact on our community by improving public areas and parks. These improved parks make such a difference in their neighborhoods,” said Mayor Ducey. “When you can take a park that has been ignored for decades and create a safe, modern and beautiful park and playground, it changes the entire neighborhood. You can see it on the faces of the people enjoying the new parks. We have seen it repeatedly over the past four years and we are happy that we are finally able to open the renovated Hank Waltonowski Park.”

The Hank Waltonowski Park is located on Ashwood Road in the Birchwood Park residential development. The improved park includes two (2) basketball courts, a playground for ages 2-5, a playground for ages 5-12, a softball/baseball field, a gazebo and a walking trail. The park also has landscaping, benches, a retention basin and a bicycle rack. The entire park is ADA-compliant.

The cost of the renovation is $1,228,513. The winning bid was submitted by Precise Construction of Freehold. Precise Construction previously completed the Herberstville and Angela Hibbard Park renovations. CME Associates designed the park and are serving as the consulting engineers on the project. The Township has applied for Green Acres funding to offset the cost of this and other park projects.

The park was named in memory of Hank Waltonowski, a Brick Township Public Works employee who was killed in a work accident in 1996.

The next park scheduled to be improved is the Bernard J. Cooke Park in the Parkway Pines residential area. The renovation of Bayside and Cedar Bridge Manor parks are expected to follow. Previous renovation projects during Mayor Ducey’s term include the Windward Beach playgrounds, Herbertsville Park (formerly Colorado Park), Lake Riviera Park and Angela Hibbard Park.

BRICK TOWNSHIP TO FILE LAWSUIT AGAINST OPIOID MANUFACTURERS

Mayor John Ducey announced that the Township will be filing a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, based on the companies’ misrepresentations to medical providers and patients of the dangers of opioid painkillers. The Mayor has engaged the national law firm of Motley Rice, LLC to represent the Township in the lawsuit. Under the terms of the agreement, the law firm will not receive any payment from the Township but will instead take a percentage of any recovery from the drug manufacturers. The Township Council is expected to approve the agreement at its meeting on Tuesday.

“While we will continue our efforts to attack the heroin problem through treatment and aggressive law enforcement,” said Ducey, “we also will hold the manufacturers accountable for telling doctors and patients that opioids are not addictive. They know that’s not true.”

Ducey noted that drug overdoses in Brick have steadily increased, from 69 in 2014 to 212 in 2016. The number of overdoses so far this year is 92, which is significantly down from this same time last year. This is a direct result of the Police Department’s efforts on education, enforcement and rehabilitation through the Blue HARP (Heroin Addiction Response Program). The police have set up a drug enforcement unit to pursue dealers, while a community policing unit educates children and the public about the dangers of opioid use.

Ducey said, “We need to use every option at our disposal to fight this horrific battle. I am pleased that Motley Rice will bring its national legal expertise to our town, at no cost to our residents.”

Council President Arthur Halloran said, “The Council joins the mayor in this effort against the opioid manufacturers. These drugs have unfortunately destroyed many lives across our nation and right here in Brick.”

“We will continue this fight against heroin and opioid drugs for as long as it takes,” said Mayor Ducey. “This lawsuit is an important step in the effort to end this scourge.”

TOWNSHIP UNVEILS BOATERS LOUNGE AT TRADERS COVE

Mayor John G. Ducey was joined by Township Council members, dignitaries, boaters and residents at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly constructed boaters lounge at Traders Cove Marina and Park. The building will provide a facility for transient boat slip customers with showers, restrooms, a lounge and laundry facilities.

“This facility will enhance the appeal of Traders Cove to boaters and will offer them conveniences such as showers and laundry,” said Mayor Ducey. “It is our expectation that these transient boat slips will be filled with boats all season long for years to come.”

The boaters lounge facility provides restrooms for the public as well as a lounge, laundry facilities, restrooms and showers for transient boaters. The transient boater facilities will be accessible with key-codes that are provided to transient boater customers.

The cost of the transient boaters lounge facility was $1,396,960 and was funded in the 2013 Capital budget. The township has received a National Boating Infrastructure Grant in the amount of $807,501 for the transient boating component of Traders Cove including the installation of a transient boating dock, gangway and the building.

The building was designed by Barlo Associates. The construction was done by Wallace Contracting. Both firms are based in Brick Township.

The construction of the building was required due to grants that the township has received for Traders Cove since it was acquired. Traders Cove was purchased by the Township of Brick in 2005 to stop the development of high-density condominiums. The Township renovated the site and created a marina and park that were officially opened in 2013.

For information on Traders Cove including availability of transient boating slips, please call 732-920-7373.

MOODY’S AFFIRMS TOWNSHIP’S RATINGS

Mayor John G. Ducey is proud to announce that Moody’s Investors Services, Inc. has assigned a MIG 1 rating to the township’s $16.8 million Bond Anticipation Notes and an Aa2 rating to the township’s $24.8 million General Improvement Bonds, Series 2017. Moody’s has also affirmed the Aa2 rating on the township’s outstanding general obligation and guaranteed bonds.

“This is great news for the township and the taxpayers of Brick,” said Mayor Ducey. “It is an affirmation that the township’s fiscal health is strong and that our efforts to create a more fiscally responsible government are working.”

The MIG (Municipal Investment Grade) is used to rate US municipal bond anticipation notes of up to three years maturity.  MIG1 is the highest rating for short-term debt.  The designation “denotes superior credit quality.”  Moody’s Aa2 rating is assigned to obligors who are “judged to be of high quality and are subject to very low credit risk.”  It is their third highest rating on long-term debt.

Moody’s cited the township’s strong financial position, conservative budgeting and “ample liquidity and reserves” as factors in their rating assignments.

One of Mayor Ducey’s priorities has been to rebuild the township’s surplus. “Think of the surplus as your home’s savings account. You want a healthy saving to help in the event of unforeseen costs and to add financial stability to your home. We are operating under the same principle. We want the township to have a healthy savings account.”

Over the past three years, the township has used an average of 54.06% of available surplus, leaving an average surplus balance of $8,871,136. This year’s balance is $10,955,597.

Mayor Ducey cites the 2011 referendum as an example of what can happen when the township’s savings account is depleted. “In the three years prior to the 2011 referendum, the township used an average of 99.3% of available surplus to fund the budgets. There were no savings left to help stabilize the township.”

The strong ratings from Moody’s will help increase market access when issuing bonds and notes and will lead to lowered borrowing costs.

“These ratings help determine our borrowing costs when we issue bonds and notes for projects and operations. The better the rating, the lower the borrowing costs, which in the end means savings for our taxpayers,” said Mayor Ducey.

BUY IN BRICK PROGRAM WELCOMES NEW BUSINESSES

Mayor John G. Ducey is proud to announce the addition of three more businesses to the Buy In Brick Property Tax Rewards Card Program. The new businesses are Angelo’s Market, Patagonia’s BBQ and Custom Request. The addition of these businesses brings the total number of businesses currently participating in the program to 48.

“Buy In Brick is a win-win for the community. It gives residents the chance to lower the amount they pay in property taxes and encourages people to shop locally, which helps the small businesses in town,” said Mayor Ducey. “Adding businesses to the program gives residents even more opportunities to earn rebates and more incentive to support our local businesses.”

Angelo’s Market is located at 515 Brick Boulevard (in the location of the former Top Tomato). They are offering cardholders a rebate of 3% and will be accepting cards in the coming weeks.

Patagonia’s BBQ is family-owned and operated business located in the same plaza as Angelo’s Market. They specialize in Argentinian steaks and cuisine and offer a variety of meats, chicken and seafood as well as empanadas and other food. They are offering a rebate of 10% to cardholders.

Custom Request is a website-design firm located at 270 Drum Point Road. They specialize in social media, pay per call leads, search engine optimization and computer needs. They are offering a rebate of 20% on purchases over $100.

These businesses join recent additions Playa Bowls, Philly’s Cuts and Light Concept Nails.

The Buy In Brick Property Tax Rewards Program is an initiative started in 2014 by Mayor Ducey and the Township Council to provide residents with the opportunity to earn property tax credits by shopping and dining at local businesses. Residents can obtain a free Buy In Brick card that can be presented at participating businesses. When the card is used, a rebate is automatically applied to that person’s property taxes. The cumulative rebates earned throughout the year will be applied to the cardholder’s third quarter property taxes.

As of this spring, rebates have been applied to more than $1,600,000 in transactions with Buy In Brick cardholders resulting in more than $116,000 in property tax rebates.

For more information on Buy In Brick, including how to get a card, please call 732-451-4007 or visit the township website at www.bricktownship.net. If you are a Brick Township business owner and would like information on how to join the program and benefits of the program including advertising and promotion, please call 732-451-4007 or email dsirota@bricktownship.net.