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mayor & council

Mayor

Jay Coffey

Honorable Jay Coffey
Mayor, Borough of Oceanport
315 E. Main Street
Oceanport, NJ 07757

Tel: 732.222.8221
Fax: 732.222.0904

mayor@oceanportboro.com

Mayor's Message

January/February 2019

2018 is now in our rear-view mirror and the untraveled road that is 2019 is rushing towards us as Oceanport begins preparation for its 100th birthday in 2020. Oceanport has undergone a lot of changes over the past 99 years, but 2018 was especially transformative.

Monmouth Park Racetrack, Oceanport’s biggest taxpayer and employer, was teetering on the edge of irrelevancy prior to 2018. But, on June 14, 2018, Governor Phil Murphy placed the first legal sports bet in New Jersey at The Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill and Monmouth Park’s financial outlook changed much for the better. Then, on December 17, 2018, the New Jersey Senate unanimously approved a bill that would provide 50 million dollars’ worth of purse supplements to the thoroughbred horse industry over the next 5 years. While sports betting makes Monmouth Park, as a whole, more financially stable (pun intended), these purse subsidies specifically bolster New Jersey’s horse racing industry and make it possible for Monmouth Park to once again compete on equal footing with racetracks in surrounding states, all of which have long-standing subsidized purse structures. Monmouth Park Racetrack is THE most historic and most beautiful racetrack on the East Coast and these purse subsidies will allow for it to reclaim its premier racing venue status. Across the board, 2018 was a big win for Monmouth Park and Oceanport.

Great strides were also taken in 2018 regarding the redevelopment of the Oceanport section of Fort Monmouth. Indeed, we are at the point that there are only two areas in Oceanport left to be offered for sale: the McAfee Building (formerly the Army’s hi-tech site) and the 400 District (the land on Oceanport Avenue across from the main post). During 2018, FMERA entered into contracts for the sale of the Allison Hall Complex District (commercial & retail), Squier Hall (for use as a college baccalaureate completion site in conjunction with New Jersey City University), the Lodging District (180 plus residences by the same developer, Somerset, that reopened Bell Works) and the Dance Hall property (for use as a microbrewery, coffee house and multi-purpose event space). Most significantly, legislation was passed in August of 2018 allowing for four liquor licenses to be issued by the Borough of Oceanport to businesses locating within the boundaries of Oceanport’s section of the Fort. These four additional licenses must remain on the Fort Monmouth property until FMERA is dissolved, at which time the licenses may be transferred to anywhere in Oceanport. These licenses make the site more attractive to developers and will provide additional (and much needed!) revenue to the Borough when they are issued.

Last, but not least, the residents of Oceanport survived (some, admittedly, better than others) the Borough’s first real property tax revaluation in a decade. Going forward, there should be no reason for such a long delay between revaluations.

Notwithstanding all the above, there is a lot that has to be done in 2019. We’re hoping that the former site of the municipal building at the corner of Myrtle and Monmouth will be under construction this year and we’re certain that the rehabilitation of the new municipal complex will begin in 2019! Our governing body is also acutely aware that the flooding situation in town has grown worse and we are hoping that the installation of the storm sewer check valves in 2019 (as part of a 3-year program) will help mitigate street flooding. The painful, laborious process of developing and passing our 2019 municipal budget has begun and, as always, will force our elected and appointed officials to examine what it is that the Borough needs --- as opposed to what it wants --- so that we can remain, as our motto says, “A Great Place to Live.” Of course, as we all know, any place that has Buddy Brocklebank living in it is a great place to live and he’ll be at every meeting of the Governing Body in 2019 to ensure that it stays that way. Happy New Year!


Honorable Jay Coffey
Mayor, Oceanport Borough, NJ