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Waldmiller Ends 5-Year Stint As
Leader Of Controversial SBTA
BY SUSAN USHEJl
Clete Waldmiller presided for the last time Saturday
at a meeting of the Sunset Beach Taxpayers Association
after five years at the helm of the often controversial or
As he had pledged two years ago, Waldmiller is retir
ing from the board of directors after six years. The for
mer IBM manager said he and his wife, Betty, plan to
enjoy retirement and grandparenting, and have several
trips scheduled for next year. "I'll be 70 in January. It's
iifiic iu mow uown a iittie bit," he said. "But I still plan
to stay involved in some fashion."
Waldmiller has helped steer the SBTA as it completed
legal action to block construction of a high-rise bridge to
the Sunset Beach island, forcing a full environmental
study by the state now under way, and to prove public
ownership of "Lot 1 -A," the oceanfront lot at the foot of
Sunset Boulevard and adjacent to the pier. The town of
Sunset Beach has developed the public access area with
motor vehicle and bicycle parking, a gazebo seating area
and a crossover to the beach.
His retirement comes as the SBTA contemplates legal
action a third time, to force the state to require a full en
vironmental impact statement concerning sewer system
development plans of the South Brunswick Water and
Sewer Authority. The state issued a
"Finding of no significant impact,"
which the SBTA is questioning. As
of Saturday an SBTA poll had re
ceived only 20 votes against pursu
ing legal action, but the deadline for
replies was still several days off, re
ported Minnie Hunt.
Under SBTA bylaws no response
to a mail polling of the membership
is counted as a "yes". If 33 percent
of the membership does not send in
"no" responses, the board will pursue legal action and
will ask the membership will to contribute to a special
legal fund, since dues cannot be used for that purpose.
"Is there no interest in this group in cleaning up our
waters?" asked resident property owner Carl Bazcmore.
"Are we interested only in stopping growth?" Fielding
his and other questions about the proposed sewer sys
tem, Hunt said the SBTA is concerned that runoff from
denser development supported by the proposed system
will do more harm than good to local waters. "We're not
against central sewer," she said. "We are against central
sewer without documented plans for a concurrent
stormwater runoff system. At this point we don't have
The approximately 85 members at the SBTA meeting
Saturday morning at the Sunset Beach Fire Station hon
ored Waldmiller with a standing ovation and a resolution
saluting his "genuine commitment to the real public
good" and the Waldmillers' support of the organization's
goais and objectives.
The SBTA Board of Directors will elect new officers
in January, said Secretary-Treasurer Minnie Hunt. At
Saturday's meeting the membership elected three board
members by acclamation, Joe Brandel, Warren Knapp Jr.
and Barry Lentz.
Poll Respondents Favor Secession
Lentz said of the 1,317 island property owners who
have responded to two mailings, 1,139 favor establish
ment of a separate island government, while on 178 op
pose it. "That's about as clear a statement of support as
you could expect, and more than we expected," he said.
The SBTA plans to cross-check the confidential re
sponses against new town tax rolls to make sure all re
spondents are property owners, then use the survey re
sults to seek special legislation to establish a separate
town ? a move the Sunset Beach Town Council opposes.
Advocates of secession say islanders' viewpoints aren't
given adequate consideration by the town, though their
property and accommodations taxes make up a large
portion of the town budget.
"When all is said and done, we lose," said one
unidentified tull-time resident Saturday during (he sewer
discussion. "Island residents don't have enough repre
sentation to offset the rest of the community."
If legislators challenge the validity of the results, said
Lentz, an independent auditor will be hired to validate
the results rather than break the confidentiality of the
At its Labor Day weekend the SBTA voted to explore
the possible split from the mainland at the request of is
land property owners, with Raymond Zetts heading the
committee. Surveys were mailed out in September and
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