SEA ISLE CITY — It could soon be the most watched show in Sea Isle City: A 24-hour online livestream of flooding along one of the city’s most frequently inundated streets.
There are plans to mount a web camera on the public works building at 40th Street and Central Avenue in the next three to four weeks to let residents watch flooding there in real time.
The camera, which costs about $5,000, is funded through a grant from OceanFirst Bank to the New Jersey Coastal Coalition, a group of more than 20 municipalities that formed after Hurricane Sandy.
The goal: to let residents know when to keep cars parked in the driveway or what parts of the city to avoid, said Tom Quirk, executive director of the coalition.
“If you live in the area, the web cam will let you know to avoid this area,” Quirk said. “And if you own a summer home, the camera will give you an idea in real time of what’s happening in the city.”
The city recently released a flood mitigation study prepared by Egg Harbor Township-based Maser Consulting that recommended additional stormwater pump stations, placing check valves on outfall structures and building berms along streets in low-lying areas adjacent to salt marshes.
But the web cam will improve communications with residents about flooding, beyond the typical flooding text alert. A year-round livestream will be posted online for the public to view, but where it will be posted hasn’t been determined.
“Visuals are a tremendous tool,” said city spokeswoman Katherine Custer.
At Thursday’s high tide, a tiny tugboat named Bonnie pulled a red barge through Great Egg Harbor Bay.
The coalition hopes to eventually install cameras throughout Atlantic and Cape May counties. Web cams are already being used to track flooding in other parts of the U.S., such as San Diego County in California and along the Great Pee Dee River in Florence, South Carolina.
It’s one of a number of projects headed by the New Jersey Coastal Coalition. In Avalon and Longport, the group helped install flood sensors under more than two dozen storm drains to track flooding on a street-by-street basis.
Data gathered from the sensors will be used to give officials an idea of where the worst flooding occurs, and to target warnings to people living there.
“It’s all to warn people about the dangers of flooding,” said Quirk.
It’s a familiar story: Residents, sick of the cost of living, pick up and flee New Jersey.
Now, one moving company is saying it helped a higher percentage of people in New Jersey do just that than in any other state in 2018.
United Van Lines’ annual study of migration patterns among customers found that, of the more than 4,400 New Jersey residents who made an interstate move with the company last year, two-thirds left the state, rather than arrived here.
It doesn’t mean we’re shrinking: The state’s population grew 0.22 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by New Jersey Future, a nonprofit political advocacy group. And New Jersey remains the most densely populated state in the country.
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But it’s another data point in the long-running conversation about a slow exodus from the state. The Census Bureau found 61 percent of the state’s interstate moves were outbound last year, according to Michael Stoll, a professor and researcher at UCLA who worked with United Van Lines to analyze the survey.
New Jersey has been in the top 10 for outbound moves for the past 10 years, United Van Lines says, moving into first place this year.
“The cost of living in New Jersey, the highest-taxed state in the country … That’s the main reason why,” said Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson. “You can’t do anything about the weather, but you can most certainly do something about the property tax.”
The state’s population stalling has been a headline for years. New Jersey ranks 39th in population growth from 2010 to 2018, growing 1.33 percent in that time, according to New Jersey Future. The state grew 4.3 percent over the previous decade.
While many visitors may find it easier to navigate shore rentals with the recent growth of online platforms, city officials have run into issues with properties that create a “party-style” atmosphere, racking up noise complaints and code violations.
More than 34 percent of outbound customers last year told United Van Lines they were moving for a job. And more than 34 percent said they were leaving for retirement.
“Older folks are on fixed incomes, and consequently they need to stretch their dollars as far as they possibly can,” Levinson said.
Affecting many retirees’ decision to leave the state is the fact they can sell their home here and buy an equivalent home for less elsewhere with lower property taxes, said James Hughes, a professor at Rutgers University and dean emeritus of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.
Hughes said he’s been following the issue for 15 years.
Some experts say there is an issue with the study’s limited pool of responses. Stoll said people using a professional company to move are more likely to be professionals with higher incomes but called the study a “good approximation,” noting the company’s figure came within five points of the Census Bureau’s.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On his first day in Congress, U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-2nd, got the keys to his new office in the Cannon Building, started learning the elaborate tunnel route to the nearby Capitol Building, made a dramatic statement of independence on the House floor and spent an exhausting 14 hours at work.
Hughes said the United Van Lines study doesn’t account for people arriving in the state from abroad, and domestically, those who aren’t bringing as many personal items with them and aren’t in need of a moving company.
Regardless, the fact remains that corporations uproot from New Jersey in search of lower taxes and an affordable workforce, Hughes said. And workers follow suit.
“Another factor is New Jersey has had slow job growth and the like. Outside of New York City and Boston, most of the Northeast and Midwest also have experienced slower job growth,” Hughes said. “So economic opportunity really lies in the South and the West … and corporations tend to be moving to those destinations.”
For states with the largest inbound populations, Vermont ranked first. The rest are in the South and West. Hughes cited Mercedes-Benz’s decision in 2015 to move its U.S. headquarters from Montvale, Bergen County, to Georgia.
And those companies drawing workers away from New Jersey has an effect on the state’s coffers.
In a 2018 report, the New Jersey Business and Industry Association said, after researching census and tax return data, that the state lost $24.9 billion in adjusted gross income between 2004 and 2016.
After residents left, the “people (who) came in behind them, they did not make up the difference in that loss of money from the state of New Jersey,” said Michele Siekerka, president of the NJBIA.
“If you take that money and think about the void that it creates in our general fund and think about all the challenges we have in funding our priorities here in the state of New Jersey, you can understand why we have a budget crisis every year,” she said.
Among the other major losses to outbound migration, according to Siekerka, is millennials.
One million millennials migrated out of the state between 2007 and 2016, she said, and 58 percent were between 18 and 24 years old. Only 866,000 millennials moved here in that time, she said.
“We absolutely are losing that population,” she said.
It’s not all bad for New Jersey, though. Hughes said towns in New Jersey with access to commuter rail often attract older millennials in Philadelphia and New York City looking to start and raise a family.
“It’s hard to live in a shoe box if you have two kids,” Hughes said. “You need some outdoor space.”
NORTH WILDWOOD — Attorneys will meet at least one more time before Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam Jr. and Councilman Jeffree Fauntleroy II face trial in a November fight outside a casino nightclub.
A final pretrial conference has been scheduled for 2 p.m. Jan. 29 in North Wildwood Municipal Court in the case stemming from the fight Nov. 11 outside Haven nightclub at Golden Nugget Atlantic City.
Gilliam and Fauntleroy pleaded not guilty in December to simple assault and harassment charges.
Video footage released in November shows Gilliam exchanging punches with an unidentified individual and Fauntleroy tossing another man to the ground from behind.
NORTH WILDWOOD — Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam Jr. and Councilman Jeffree Fauntleroy II pleaded not guilty Tuesday to simple assault and harassment charges for their roles in a fight outside a casino nightclub last month.
A pretrial hearing teleconference was held Tuesday in front of Municipal Court Judge Louis J. Belasco at which the prosecutor on the case said he had not received any discovery from the attorneys representing Gilliam and Fauntleroy.
The case is being heard in Cape May County to avoid conflicts of interest in Atlantic County.
Ron Gelzunas, the municipal prosecutor for the city of Wildwood, was in the courtroom in person and represented the state.
Christopher St. John, the attorney representing Gilliam, and brothers Matthew and James J. Leonard Jr., the attorneys representing Fauntleroy, participated by phone during the hearing that lasted less than 10 minutes.
Inside Galloway Township’s Seaview Hotel and Golf Club for Stockton’s 2015 university weekend, Frank Gilliam Jr., an honored guest, was billed as having earned his master’s degree in social work from San Francisco State University.
Belasco set the pretrial hearing for counsel to agree on issues regarding delivery of discovery and the exchange of witness lists and to discuss a trial date, but the attorneys and the judge did not not cover anything beyond the discovery issues.
The Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office gave Gelzunas two 64-gigabyte thumb drives of digital material from Golden Nugget.
The idea was for the defense counsels to provide hard drives or blank thumb drives, so the material could be copied and given to the defense attorneys.
St. John said he had purchased a couple of thumb drives, which were being mailed out Tuesday to the Prosecutor’s Office.
Fauntleroy’s attorneys said they would send their thumb drives to the prosecutor Tuesday or Wednesday.
Gelzunas said he had not received any discovery from the defense.
Atlantic City At-Large Councilman Jeffree Fauntleroy II is scheduled to appear in a Cape May County municipal court Tuesday afternoon to enter a plea for his role in a fight outside a casino nightclub last month.
James Leonard said when videos are received from casinos, they are encrypted or protected in some way. Sometimes, there is a need for specific software to play them.
Leonard did not know whether that would be the issue here, but he had encountered that on other occasions.
“When you get video from the casinos, typically they will turn over a disc, which will contain not only the video, but it will contain the programs, the data for the programs and the encryptions to actually play the video,” said Matthew Leonard after the hearing. “Typically, Windows Media Player doesn’t work for any of this stuff.”
Matthew Leonard said it is possible this material could be burned or copied incorrectly.
“You don’t want to set it down for a trial just yet. You bring all your witnesses there, and we could end up going there and not having everything in order, or one of us has a video that doesn’t work,” Matthew Leonard said.
ATLANTIC CITY — One day after being involved in a fight outside a casino nightclub, Mayor Frank Gilliam Jr. filed campaign paperwork with the state for the 2021 Democratic primary. Three weeks to the day after the state received that paperwork, Gilliam’s home was raided by federal investigators.
During the teleconference, James Leonard suggested another pretrial conference could be held after all the discovery was reviewed and exchanged and before a trial date was set, so that all the parties could meet and discuss whether the matter was indeed going to trial.
St. John and Gelzunas agreed with James Leonard’s suggestion.
James Leonard said he had four matters scheduled for Atlantic City Municipal Court on that date, but he would accommodate the Jan. 29 meeting.
Matthew Leonard said he believes there will be a trial.
“All the parties that you see on the video are going to be subpoenaed to court to testify,” Matthew Leonard said.