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.”

BRICK WRESTLING CLUB REGISTRATION BEGINS OCTOBER 2

The Brick Wrestling Club is the newest youth sports program offered by the Brick Township Recreation Program. The BWC is open to Brick youth in grades K through 8. Registration for the first season of the BWC begins on October 2.

“Our community has a tradition of success on the wrestling mat. The Brick Wrestling Club will give the next generation of our high school wrestlers their start towards adding to that tradition. We are thrilled that this exciting program is now under the umbrella of our Recreation Department and are confident that it will be a success,” said Mayor John G. Ducey.

The head coach of the BWC will be Dan O’Cone. Coach O’Cone served as the Head Coach of the Brick Memorial High School Mustangs Wrestling Team from 2007-2013 and led them to a record of 147-32 in that time. His teams won 3 NJSIAA Group State Championships, 4 sectional championships and 2 Shore Conference Championships. Wrestlers on his teams won 32 district championships and 7 regional titles. He coached 11 NJSIAA individual state placewinners and 2 NJSIAA State Champions.

Coach O’Cone will be assisted by wrestling alumni from both Brick Memorial High School and Brick Township High School.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Coach O’Cone leading the Brick Wrestling Club. His accomplishments speak for themselves and to have a coach of his caliber is a great thing for our community,” said Mayor Ducey.

The BWC will have a travel team and a recreation team. The travel team will compete in the Jersey Shore League. Practices and home meets will be held at Veterans Memorial Middle School.

The season runs from November 7 (travel team) and November 27 (rec team) through February 2018.

Travel team fees are $130 per wrestler and include a BWC singlet to keep, sweatshirt and shorts. Recreation team fees are $110 per wrestler and include loaner singlet, sweatshirt and shorts.

Registration begins October 2. You can register in person at the Brick Township Recreation Office, Monday through Friday, 7:30am – 4pm or online at parksandrecreation.bricktownship.net. There will be a mandatory meeting for parents on Wednesday, November 1 at 6:30pm.

For more information call 732-262-1165.

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.

FIRST OF TWO POSTPONED SUMMERFEST CONCERTS TAKES PLACE ON AUGUST 23

The first of two rescheduled SummerFest 2017 Concerts will take place on Wednesday, August 23 and will feature Rubix Kube: The Galaxy’s Most Original 80’s Tribute.  The concert will begin approximately 7pm and will be followed by fireworks.

Their website states, “For over a decade, RUBIX KUBE has taken the universe by storm as the most original 80’s tribute band of all time! Its one-of-a-kind, ever-evolving and interactive “THE EIGHTIES STRIKE BACK Show” captivates public & private audiences of all ages…More than just a cover band, “THE EIGHTIES STRIKE BACK Show” is like the rad lovechild of a Rock concert and a Broadway musical…”

The Rubix Kube concert was originally scheduled for Thursday, July 6 but was postponed due to inclement weather.

The final concert will take place on Monday, August 28 and will feature The Amish Outlaws followed by fireworks.

Shuttle buses will be available for the two concerts.  Shuttle buses begin leaving from Midstreams Elementary School, Drum Point Elementary School and the Brick Township High School Parking lot at 5 p.m.  Return trips to the parking locations from Windward Beach begin at 9 p.m.  Any person under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

A food court and beer and wine garden for guests ages 21 and over will be available for each concert.

SummerFest 2017 is made possible by the generous support of corporate sponsors including presenting sponsor Pine Belt Motors.  Additional sponsors include Saker Shop Rites, Imac Insurance, Comcast, First Energy, JCP&L, MRC, CME Associates and more.

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.

AGREEMENT REACHED ON FUTURE OF FOODTOWN PROPERTY

Mayor John G. Ducey is proud to announce that the Township of Brick has reached an agreement on the future of the Foodtown Property.  The agreement divides the property into two parcels, with one slated to be  the future home of a privately developed and operated indoor recreation center and the other being for retail development.  This agreement ensures that no residential units will be built on the site.

“This is an exciting and momentous occasion.  The future of this property has been uncertain since the Township purchased it fourteen years ago,” said Mayor Ducey.  “By reaching this agreement, we are finally moving towards the ultimate goal of having this commercial property developed privately and generating tax revenues for the township.”

This agreement is the result of good-faith negotiations with M&M at Route 70, LLC, the firm that was chosen by the previous Council to redevelop the property.  Mayor Ducey terminated M&M’s agreement in late 2014.  M&M later sued the Township.  Following a court hearing, the sides entered negotiations and ultimately reached an agreement that was satisfactory to both sides.

The Township will receive $5 million for the sale of the property with the two developers paying $2.5 million each.  All of the costs for developing the site and constructing all improvements will be paid by the redevelopers and not by the township.  Mayor Ducey said that putting the property back on the tax rolls was a top priority for his administration.

The agreement divides the property into two parcels.  M&M will be designated as the redeveloper for the front parcel.  That will include three retail pads.  The second parcel will be developed as a privately-built and operated indoor recreation center by HFZ Brick, LLC.

“An indoor recreation center has been on this community’s wish list for a long time.  There have been close calls and broken promises on that front,” said Mayor Ducey.  “This agreement puts the town on course to finally have a recreation center.”

The recreation center will include indoor fields for soccer, lacrosse, flag football and other sports.  It will also include basketball courts as well as various rooms for birthday parties, dance and yoga studios and other activities based on residential input.

Having the property privately developed was a priority for Mayor Ducey.  “The Township should not be the in the real estate business and the property should never have been purchased.  It was not pristine land; it was a developed site.  The potential costs for the township to develop this site or create a park would create a substantial burden for taxpayers and that is not something I would do.”

The agreement also brings to halt the legal procedures that could have stalled movement on the site for years to come.  “It was important to reach an agreement and take the future of the property out of the hands of the courts,” said Mayor Ducey.  “Not only could this have taken years, it could have resulted in the courts approving something we did not want on the site, namely residential units.  As such I want to thank and commend everyone who worked to come to this agreement.”

Mayor Ducey sites the more than $20 million it cost to acquire and redevelop the Traders Cove property as an example of the high cost of redevelopment.  “For that amount of money, the Township could have created a recreation and community center on the Foodtown site years ago,” said Mayor Ducey.  “That was not the choice that was made.”

The Township Council will vote on the resolution authorizing the agreement at their May 23 meeting.  Upon its authorization, the agreement will take effect immediately.

The Foodtown property was purchased by the Township in 2003 to stop the construction of a home improvement store.