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At their recent public meeting, the Lakewood Township Committee used the fact that they continue to hold their meetings virtually to their advantage to be able to ignore public comments.

Perhaps this is because the public comments were regarding "complicated topics," such as taxes and traffic.

The Township Committee introduced their annual budget.

Avi Gordon of Central Avenue wrote in a comment asking why taxes continue to increase every year despite the fact there is more construction (i.e. more ratables), and by extension more taxpayers who move to town each year?

Mayor Coles and the Township Committee did not give any response.

Mr. Gordon also asked why traffic safety isn't taken into consideration as more and more construction is approved.

He also said "Lakewood has 3 pedestrians hit per week. That is not ok." Mayor Coles responded simply, "I could not agree with you more."

Mr. Gordon also asked why the Committee meetings continue to be held virtually.

Boruch Mandel of 7th Street commented regarding the proposed high rise buildings ordinance that such a change to the zoning ordinances should wait for the next Master Plan, which is adopted only after numerous public hearings.

Mr. Mandel also commented that he is upset that there was no public thank you from the Township to Arthur Lang for his years long legal efforts to bring proper funding for Lakewood.

Mayor Coles and the Township Committee simply read these public comments which were received via email and did not give any response.

Deputy Mayor Menashe Miller simply "responded" by reminding everyone about the upcoming Memorial Day parade.

Apparently the Township Committee is using the fact that they choose to continue to hold virtual meetings to be able to hide from "complicated" public comments, as this way they don't need to actually face the residents who they are ignoring.

As previously reported here on FAA News, the State Legislature has indicated that current law does not permit governing bodies to hold public meetings virtually, and there is a pending lawsuit against the Lakewood Township Committee regarding this issue.

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