Inside Ocean County Government

Little Egg Harbor

OPINION: Little Egg Harbor Government is Dysfunctional

Gene Kobryn

I came away from last week’s Little Egg Harbor Township Committee meeting feeling both amazed and dismayed at what I saw.

The meeting started off rather cordial and routine township business was attended to, such as renewing liquor licenses, the hiring of a new township employee for the DPW and other matters. Things got a bit dodgy when the issue of committeemen John Kehm and the allegations of a significant tax break he received after his house was damaged by Sandy. I believe this was explained by the township lawyer as a “missed deadline” so unfortunately, a reassessment request could not be filed, since the deadline had passed.

As a citizen in this township, I know about the reassessment process, I had fought my assessment in early 2012. It didn’t come down as much as I wanted (does it ever?) By the time the next reassessment took place, there was a significant drop in my property value, but not in the taxes. I was one of the lucky ones, my taxes went down by $12.00 a quarter.

As Seniors Struggle To Pay, Are More Officials Getting Tax Breaks?

Some of our seniors and other homeowners who saw a significant increase in their property taxes, have already been struggling since the economy crashed, now find themselves looking for an extra job or having to uproot themselves and sell their homes because they just can’t afford such an increase. This is a big part of the problem here in Little Egg Harbor. We are paying a very high price and we feel that we should be getting transparency at the very least, from our elected officials. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come off this way to many citizens here in this town.

Nepotism Jobs For “Friends And Family” Of Politicians

Taxes are collected to maintain our township. Unfortunately we know too well, that that Little Egg Harbor Township is an employment program for friends and relatives, husbands and wives, of elected officials or other township employees, it is common knowledge. You can look for yourself here.

Furthermore, an article was written about the nepotism at the MUA, feel free to read it here. In the article, former MUA chairman Joseph Mezzina – who holds a lot of political sway in Little Egg Harbor – was quoted as saying that there is no need for a nepotism policy, despite the MUA having 3 sets of father-son employees. According to the MUA’s website, one of Mezzina’s relatives is still employed there despite him no longer being a commissioner.

When an issue like this occurs, the system is rigged. When an allegation of a township official getting a generous discount on his property taxes occurs, the next question would be: is he the only one?

I don’t know the answer to that, but one can only wonder.

Mayor Kobryn Treats Concerned Citizens Like Bad Children

When I listened to concerned citizens address their elected officials with questions, asking for transparency, I saw a very discouraging response. When the mayor decides to “give his opinion” and tell his constituency to “knock it off” not once, but twice, like naughty children who were annoying him, I was dismayed.

Mayor Gene Kobryn, who wants concerned citizens to "knock it off."

Mayor Gene Kobryn, who wants concerned citizens to “knock it off.”

I understand that some of these issues coming to light are embarrassing and difficult, that does not give any of these officials the right to act unprofessionally. As citizens of Little Egg Harbor, we have the right to question public servants. because that is what they are, public servants, serving the citizens of Little Egg Harbor, not the other way around. I don’t know if any of our officials are aware that Little Egg Harbor has a nickname; “Rotten Egg Harbor” the behavior of some of our township officials, only adds to the already depressed climate of beleaguered taxpaying citizens struggling to earn a living and raise families the best they can, they deserve better than this, they deserve courtesy and respect.

The taxpayers of Little Egg Harbor deserve honesty and transparency. I hope that the next meeting, our officials will take this under consideration.

Editor’s Note: Patricia Greenlee will occasionally be contributing updates and commentary on Little Egg Harbor government.

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