By David Madden

STRATHMERE, N. J. (CBS) – The lengthy battle over the future of Strathmere reached another critical juncture this week, with a New Jersey appellate court panel ruling against residential efforts to secede from Upper Township and become a part of Sea Isle City.

The tiny shore community may have less than 200-year-round residents, but the real estate represents 18% of the township’s tax base.

Upper Township mayor Richard Palombo says mainland residents couldn’t afford to take the hit if Strathmere were out of the equation.

“The individual households could realize a substantial amount of increase in their taxes and most of that’s based on school taxes,” said mayor Palombo.

The township committee denied a residential petition for secession four years ago, starting a legal fight that has seen that decision upheld by Superior Court, and now a three judge appeals panel, unanimously.

That means the New Jersey Supreme Court could decide not to hear what would be a final appeal, if it’s filed.

For his part, Palombo hopes he’s addressed Strathmere’s concerns over services and would like to see the dispute just go away.

Top Content On CBSPhilly

Watch & Listen LIVE