LACEY – The township committee passed a resolution to rescind their previous approval of a taxpayer-funded water line serving a private restaurant tied to MUA Chairman Jim Knoeller, following criticism from residents and an Ocean County Politics editorial blasting the expenditure of taxpayer dollars.
The deal, which has been a source of controversy in the southern Ocean County town, was rescinded with a vote of the township committee at the conclusion of last Thursday’s budget workshop meeting.
The resolution, provided in response to an Open Public Records Act request, cited a “change of circumstances” that sees the township no longer requiring the 8″ water main extension that was originally approved in 2018. The resolution did not go into detail as to what specific circumstances changed since the deal was questioned at the township committee meeting in January. Township attorney Lauren Staiger previously claimed that the deal was tied to litigation, but did not identify which case it related to. For now, the deal is off.
A township source who spoke off the record indicated that getting MUA Chairman Jim Knoeller’s name off the agreement was a priority. The source left the door open to the agreement potentially coming back at a later date with Knoeller’s name being replaced by LMUA Vice Chairman Frank Masciale if it were to come back.