We have learned and confirmed that a long-standing legal controversy has been decided in favor of Egg Harbor Township in the litigation that was brought by residents of the Seaview Harbor section (near Longport) of Egg Harbor Township.
Residents of Seaview Harbor have spent many years trying to leave egg Harbor Township and try to become part of immediately adjacent Longport.
In a unanimous decision, the New Jersey Appellate Division has affirmed the ruling of the Trial Court that the Township did not act arbitrarily or unreasonably in denying the Petition for Deannexation.
Unless the petitioners appeal this decision to the New Jersey Supreme Court, the matter is resolved.
Seaview Harbor is an integral part of Egg Harbor Township.
There is a lot of important background information surrounding this case.
There’s no better person to talk to about this with then former State Senator James J. “Sonny” McCullough, who was Mayor of Egg Harbor Township for more than 30 years.
Here’s a transcript of our interview with former Egg Harbor Township Mayor Sonny McCullough
“The tax company that we contacted to revalue EHT did a terrible job. They rushed through Seaview Harbor using Longport appraisal values, instead of using mainland appraisals.
This consequently triggered the movement to relocate to Longport. You cannot sell a house in Seaview Harbor for the same value that they do in Longport, that’s a fact.
Prior to myself, as president of the Seaview harbor civic association, I was responsible for having a beautiful marina built, which removed a lot of problems we were having with sand-filled lagoons, which meant residences could not use the boating they bought there for.
The marina added great value to EHT. Longport taxes are low because they have no schools, which is EHT‘s biggest problem. EHT municipal taxes are very low and have been traditionally only 17% of the total tax bill to the homeowners.
They used the lawsuit excuse that they did not get any services from the municipality, when the mayor lived there, the chairman of the planning board lived there, members of the zoning board live there, members of the municipal golf course lived there and the commissioner of the MUA also lived there.
EHT is a huge municipality and certain sections are broken up. You have to travel thru other municipalities to get to the mainland, Anchorage Point, West Atlantic City, Seaview Harbor, and Margate Boulevard.
The lawsuit cost EHT, I guesstimate...about $400,000, which is a penny and a half on the tax rate, also it probably cost the residents themselves of Seaview Harbor even more.
If the judicial decision had been with the residents of Seaview harbor (and Longport by the way ) sadly never declared that they would accept Seaview Harbor … and if they did, it would’ve cost the taxpayers of Longport 4 million dollars to repay the long-term debt that was owed to EHT, and it would’ve cost EHT a great deal in lost taxes.
It’s a sad conclusion for all involved. I had pleaded for years to my neighbors, please don’t try to sue the township in order to go to Longport … you will never win, it’s been proven historically throughout New Jersey,” said McCullough.
In the end, McCullough was proven to be right.
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