This is in response to Mr. Cavise’s letter of October 12, 2011 in the Asbury Park Press (and AHHerald on October 3) concerning the Atlantic Highlands Harbor. I have sat back and tried to keep from responding but I must respond to set the record straight. I am the Chairman of the Atlantic Highlands Harbor Commission and have been for some 5 or more years and have been on the all volunteer Commission for over 15 years. Mr. Candidate states, “Borough pays for the facility…... Our taxes, not the harbor, fund the borough.” Well if he had done some research he would find that the Harbor returns approximately $1.1 Million dollars to the borough to offset the taxes including your taxes Mr. Candidate!! The Harbor has a budget in excess of $6 million dollars. The Harbor is a self liquidating Utility and therefore it has no effect on the borough on any debt that it incurs.
The Harbor provides recreational actives for the residents and many boat owners. Over the years the Commission put in a tennis court, playground, Skate Park, basketball court, boating slips and moorings for over 700 boats. Ferry service and good restaurants add to the current Harbor facilities. We work with the Atlantic Highlands Fire Department, Atlantic Highlands Arts Council, Atlantic Highlands First Aid, Senior Citizen groups, scouts and fishing tournaments groups to make the Harbor the finest in the state.
The Harbor is run by a combination of two council representatives – One Democrat, One Republican and 5 Members at large appointed by the Mayor & Council from the community including a former Mayor. The Harbor pays all of its own expenses, repairs, dredging, utilities, salaries, insurance, and if you look at the harbor as if it was a privately owned business the harbor returns about 20% profit to the town to offset taxes. I think that most business owners would love to experience a 20% profit.
So with your 40 years plus experience, exactly what experience do you offer? Have you ever worked in the Marine industry? Have you ever held elected office? Can you read and understand a borough or harbor budget? Have you ever been appointed to a board in all of the towns you lived in over your 40 plus years? Do you really believe that a “gift shop” in the harbor would best suit the customers in the harbor? Do you really think a gift shop is our answer and would make a difference in the harbor and in our town? I don’t believe that a gift shop would last more than one season. You mention empty storefronts on First Ave – do you know how many of those storefronts were gift shops at one time? Well it might be interesting for you to find out.