Point Beach Open to Keeping Court in Boro

But Beach wants more money and a new security plan

Point Beach may be amenable to keeping its municipal court in Point Borough, but the Borough needs to sweeten the pot and solve a security staffing problem.

That was generally the sentiment of Point Beach Mayor Vincent Barrella who said on Wednesday that the current financial situation regarding the two towns paying administrative staff has to change.

"I don't think the current percentage works," he said, declining to specify dollar amounts and percentages because the towns are still negotiating and any agreement that's struck still needs to be approved by Superior Court Judge Vincent Grasso sitting in Toms River.

For many months, Point Beach officials had said they wanted their town's municipal court operations back in their own Borough Hall on New Jersey Avenue.

And to allow that, adding, at the time, that details still had to be worked out.

However, as residents waited and wondered what was happening with those "details," there was apparently a shift in the minds of municipal officials about leaving court where it is as municipal court staff indicated they would rather keep the Point Beach operation in Borough Hall on Bridge Avenue.

The Borough has a newer, larger facility that the court staff apparently prefers, Barrella said.

"It's a newer facility, it's probably a more efficient facility, and we'd like to accomodate their request," he said. "But we have to make sure it works for the taxpayers. And, speaking only for myself, the deal, as presently constituted, does not work financially or in terms of providing court security. So the ball is in the Borough's court right now."

That "ball" was tossed about in a closed session at the Tuesday night Borough Council meeting in Borough Hall on Bridge Avenue and information coming out of that discussion will be discussed with Beach officials, said Borough Administrator David Maffei.

Point Borough Municipal Attorney Jerry Dasti said after Tuesday night's meeting, that the Beach court operation will remain in the Borough, but that the Beach wants the Borough paying a higher percentage into court staff salaries.

Dasti said the towns are still negotiating and that he thinks the issue will be resolved by the next Borough Council meeting on Sept. 18. Beach Council meets on the same night.

Mayors in both towns only vote when there is a tie. The matter has been the subject of executive sessions in both towns and ongoing discussions between both borough administrators.

"This has been going on for a year and a half," said Borough Mayor William Schroeder after Tuesday night's Borough Council meeting.

The core issue with providing security is that Point Beach special police officers have no jurisdiction in Point Borough or any other municipality, as per state law, Barrella said.

So Point Beach has been sending either full-time uniformed officers or detectives to the Beach court sessions at Borough Hall on Bridge Avenue to provide security.

That is in addition to the Point Beach officers who must be at Borough Hall to testify in specific cases.

Having full-time police provide security, sometimes for many hours, cost Point Beach $20,000 last year alone, Point Beach Police Chief Kevin O'Hara has said.

When asked if Point Beach would be amenable to helping to pay for special police officers hired by Point Borough, Barrella said that's possible.

"But I'm not paying more than $13 an hour," he said, referring to the salary specials typically earn.

Vince Barrella September 10, 2012 at 08:53 PM
The only thing you have gotten right is that the 85/15 split was based on an estimate of the number of cases. Other than that you are engaging in creative fiction. I have been trying to save this deal for over a year, but I will not support a deal that does not provide a meaningful benefit to the Beach and which does not solve the security issues.
Spooner September 10, 2012 at 09:38 PM
A Resident- was addressing 'One who was there' ...but in responding to your comment: no there's nothing wrong with Beach employees involving themselves in Boro affairs. PBA and other unions are opposed to shared services...and heaven for bid you should use the word "consolation" ...and remember...it's a double edge sword. . .they(the unions) now become subject to being attacked and looked upon as not cooperating. . .fostering higher property taxes? ...as for your comment on police not being consulted...I lay blame it on the Mayor & Council there.
A Resident September 10, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Spooner, a Beach employee that is a Pt Boro resident. As a Pt Boro resident, they have every right to get involved in Pt Boro politics....regardless of where they are employed. Consolidation can be a good thing....sometimes.....so far there have been very few consolidations that have benefitted both sides.
A Palanchi September 11, 2012 at 11:32 AM
To Mr. Barrella: How much money has the Boro paid and what would they have to pay to make the arrangement mutually beneficial to both towns? Would the overtime that has been referred to in the article been incurred if your people were back in their own courthouse? Do you still have your courthouse available in the event this doesn't work out? Thank you and good luck to you. Unfortunately, you will need it.
Vince Barrella September 11, 2012 at 04:10 PM
In the 2012 budget we anticipated $38,000. The payments due in earlier years were netted against salary so I was not able to find the specific number. It is my understanding that the overtime would not have been incurred, but more importantly we would have our regular officers available to perform those tasks that are more appropriate given their expertise. The facility can be made available if need be. Finally, I cannot comment on what would be an appropriate financial solution going forward as we are still involved in negotiations. Hope this helps


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