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Ducey aims for fast start as Brick’s new mayor

 

Excerpted from  Nicholas Huba, AP Press, Jan 3, 2014


BRICK
    Mayor John Ducey is planning on getting his term off to a fast start.

Ducey, a Democrat, was sworn in by Judge James D. Clyne during the Township Council’s annual organization meeting Wednesday afternoon. During his first meeting as mayor, Ducey announced an aggressive 100-day plan aimed at making changes to the township.

“It’s something that will be done,” he said. “I know that we can all work together to make Brick Township the best it can be. A new Brick starts today.”

The Ducey’s plan includes the creation of new committees including a Teen Advisory Committee, as well as continuing the rebuilding process from superstorm Sandy and rescinding an executive order that barred township employees from speaking to members of the council. Ducey rescinded the order during the meeting.

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Democrats Sweep in Brick

From Brick Patch, November 6th,2013
by Denise Di Stephan and Colleen Platt
When John Ducey walked in the door at the Democratic headquarters at Knights of Columbus Hall on Cedarbridge Avenue in Brick this evening, he was met with applause and cheers. 

He told the crowd, “This is a great day for Brick. Brick is better off than it was just a few hours ago.”

Brick voters selected Democrat Ducey as mayor in the election today over Republican challenger Joseph Sangiovanni.

When asked why he thinks he won, Ducey told Patch, “I think the issues were on our side. [Sangiovanni] was part of the team that raised our taxes 61 percent over four years. He was part of the team that threatened our services such as police and public works. He was part of the team that hired friends and family to work in Town Hall. He wasted $1 million of Sandy relief money to give to his campaign contributors.”
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Watchdog report: Property taxes up 19% under Christie

 

BobJordan  APP,  March 15, 2013,

TRENTON —A sharp hike in net property taxes at the start of Gov. Chris Christie’s term has been softened, but New Jersey homeowners on average pay nearly $1,200 more than when Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corzine left office.

 Christie, who is up for re-election in November, currently stars in a new television campaign ad that includes the headline “Christie’s plan offers hope on property taxes.”APP.comHis plan has included overhauls of pensions and health benefits for public employees and a cap on local government taxes, but average net property taxes have risen 19 percent under Christie during his first three years in office. Corzine’s first three years showed an 11 percent increase, according to new data from the state Department of Community Affairs.

 The data do not include the expected impact on property taxes to offset millions of dollars in lost tax revenue in beachfront towns hit by superstorm Sandy.

Local municipalities (with populations of 4,000 or greater) with the highest net property tax hikes since Gov. Chris Christie took office in January 2010:

Monmouth County

Neptune City: 29.2 percent increase

Keansburg: 25.8 percent

Aberdeen: 22.2 percent

Ocean County

Manchester: 49.1 percent

Toms River: 36.8 percent

Berkeley: 30 percent

Source: state Department of Community Affairs

 The trend creates an opening for Christie’s likely November opponent, Democrat Barbara Buono. A Monmouth University poll released last month said 59 percent of registered voters think Christie deserves a second term. Read the full post »

FEMA warned Christie administration that AshBritt contract could jeopardize federal funding

By Jarrett Renshaw/The Star-LedgerThe Star-Ledger, 3/29/2013, updated 4/2/2013

TRENTON — The Federal Emergency Management Agency warned the Christie administration just days after Hurricane Sandy that its decision to award a no-bid contract to a politically connected firm to haul away debris could jeopardize maximum federal reimbursement for towns, The Star-Ledger has learned.

For months, Gov. Chris Christie has dismissed critics who said his decision to give the Florida-based AshBritt Inc. a contract could add costs for taxpayers in 53 New Jersey towns that employed the firm.

Christie and his staff also say FEMA all but endorsed the contract, which was “piggybacked,” or taken word for word, from a 2008 contract AshBritt had signed with Connecticut.

But a letter sent to Christie by U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) last month discloses the state was warned reimbursments could be at risk because of the contract.

“I am writing today because FEMA officials have informed my office that they warned the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General shortly after the storm that the “piggyback” contract utilized by the state for debris removal presents problems that could put federal reimbursement to local government at risk,” Lautenberg wrote in the Feb. 21 letter, obtained under the state’s Open Public Records Act.

 Lautenberg added: “I urge you to take all the necessary steps to ensure that current and future debris removal contracts are in full compliance with federal procurement regulations.”

FEMA strongly discourages the use of “piggybacked” contracts and subjects them to greater scrutiny, Lautenberg told Christie. As a result, he wrote, FEMA will determine whether AshBritt’s rates are reasonable and may penalize towns by cutting reimbursement if it finds the costs are out of step with the marketplace.

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Two paydays for AshBritt in some Sandy-damaged towns

Bob Jordan , AP Press, April 1, 2013

TRENTON —AshBritt’s founder had two paydays in some Shore towns as part of the waste-hauling firm’s $150 million state contract for cleanup after superstorm Sandy.

High prices charged by the politically connected Florida company have been under scrutiny from a state legislative panel investigating the storm cleanup. Critics of the contract said Monday that AshBritt’s subcontracting arrangement with County Waste Inc. —both are owned by AshBritt CEO Randal Perkins —raises new questions about whether taxpayers got a raw deal.

“The federal government wants to prevent conflicts or bias in the selection of vendors and subcontractors, and this raises serious concerns about the transparency of this operation,” said state Sen. Robert M. Gordon, D-Bergen, chairman of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee.

An Asbury Park Press review of municipal bills showed that AshBritt charged towns $21.25 per cubic yard to gather roadside debris and bring it to a collection site within 15 miles —nearly double the $11.70 asking price of another Florida company, Bergeron, and others.

Gordon’s panel grilled Perkins for four hours at a March 8 hearing. Perkins told members that AshBritt hired 100 subcontractors, but did not mention that he owned one of the companies.

Bills for County Waste Inc. for work in Ocean County top $200,000.

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