Township Council Minutes
April 27, 2004
The Regular Public Meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council was called to Order at 8:30 pm by Council President Rattner following the Workshop.
ROLL CALL: Present: Mr. Buell, Mrs. Labow, Mr. Elms, Mr. Guenther,
Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Rattner
Absent: Mr. Perkins
ALSO PRESENT: Mayor De La Roche, William Ruggierio (Business Administrator Designee), Lisa Lashway (Township Clerk), Sherry Jenkins (CFO), John Dorsey (Township Attorney)
President Rattner: Okay, now we’ll go in, we’ve already done the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, we don’t have to worry about the Public Meetings Act, we’ve already done that. First thing we have on the agenda is something that we can always agree on. I believe the Mayor has a couple of Civic Service Awards to present.
Mayor De La Roche: Yes. As most of you will recall, Ms. Hamlin wrote an article regarding the EMT and how they were able to save a life of one of our residents. A woman had passed out from a gas leak and these two young EMT people risked their lives to go save this woman and I felt it appropriate, as does the entire Council, that we recognize such bravery and such concern for our fellow citizens, so I had hoped, and this is what we were planning to hand out a couple of commendations. I apologize, by the way, for the glasses – I forgot mine and my secretary loaned me her magnifiers – this is not my color. So, if I could go over here, I’ll read these to you and we’ll present them to the deserving young people.
I’m sure many of you will remember that on February 29th, it was a Sunday, the young people, as well as well as everyone else on duty at the time, I felt it appropriate to acknowledge the fact that they came on duty, they were returning to the station and they were told that there was a gas leak and that a woman was overcome, an elderly woman was lying on the floor at the rear of the house. Ms. Rastiello and Mr. Stewart quickly added mask from their packs to their protective fire fighting gear and entered the home that posed the first of several potential lethal situations. “When we had to undue the latch on the front door, I knew the metal striking metal would throw off a spark that could ignite the gas, Stewart said in an interview, but we did our job.” This shows the courage of these young people and I felt it should be acknowledged publicly, not just to the press, but to the Council and Mayor, so I have asked that we provide them with a Community Service Award and the first to Amy Rastiello. It simply says Community Service Award presented to Amy Rastiello in recognition of your dedication to the citizens of Mount Olive Township by the Mayor of Mount Olive, myself. Clapping…
And of course, the same thing applies certainly to Keith. Community Service Award presented to Keith Stewart in recognition of your dedication to the citizens of Mount Olive, Richard De La Roche, Mayor and again thank you for your service. Clapping…
I think it’s very important that we recognize these volunteers who constantly put themselves out to help us and to protect us and to protect our families and I felt it necessary to acknowledge this publicly, not just to these young people, but the entire EMT and all the volunteer services. So, I just want to give them as much recognition as we can and it is really a pleasure and an honor to me to be able to do this for you. Clapping…
President Rattner: Thank you Mayor. Okay, the next item we have on the agenda is the Public Hearing, which has been scheduled for the 2004 Budget – Mr. Buell, would you read the Resolution?
PUBLIC HEARING ON 2004 MUNICIPAL BUDGET
Mrs. Lashway: No first you’re opening up the Hearing. And after you close the Hearing, are we continuing the Hearing? Okay, we’re going to open up the Hearing, we’re going to continue it, then we’re going to do the Resolution. The Hearing is separate from this Resolution.
President Rattner: Does anybody from the audience want to comment on the Township Budget at this point. The budget is still a work in process, a final determination hasn’t been set, a budget was delivered to us, which we accepted but we have not finished the final budget. Is there anybody from the public who would like to address anything on the Municipal Budget? Seeing None, I will close the Public Portion, Public Hearing.
Mrs. Lashway: Are we closing it, I don’t know whether we’re actually closing it.
Mr. Dorsey: I think what Lisa is suggesting to you is that you may want to continue it until you put the budget in final form or do you just want to close the public hearing?
Township Clerk Lisa Lashway: Normally, you would continue it and then introduce amendments, but we don’t have amendments to introduce at this point.
President Rattner: If we introduce amendments, we would usually have a public session for the amendments, right?
Mr. Dorsey: If the amendments were such a nature, then we would have to have additional hearings on that, but it’s not a part of the same thing. So, they can close this hearing.
Mr. Ruggierio: I think the answer is, and Mr. Dorsey – correct me, that this hearing would be closed, but since we anticipate amendments which will probably require their own hearings, we open hearings with respect to those amendments and, at that point, you know, take public comment.
Mr. Dorsey: I’m not saying that’s wrong, but if you close this public hearing, I think you would then have to advertise for another public hearing, are you not? Unless the changes only amounted to 3%.
Mr. Ruggierio: Respectfully, John, I think that we’re going to have to do that anyway…
Mr. Dorsey: Okay, fine, just so everybody is aware of that.
Mr. Ruggierio: Because the amendments will compel that and we’ll have to tell the public what the Public Hearing is about.
President Rattner: Okay then, the Public Portion is closed.
Mr. Dorsey: Usually the amendments are less than 3%, so we don’t have to go through another Public Hearing, but apparently everybody seems to be in agreement, so close the public hearing.
President Rattner: I just did, thank you. Mr. Buell.
1. Resolution Re: Waiver of Reading in Full of the 2004 Budget.
Mr. Buell: I move the waiver of the reading in full of the 2004 Budget.
Mr. Guenther: Second.
President Rattner: Any discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
President Rattner: Next thing on the agenda – are there any questions to the Administration from the Bill List?
Ms. Labow: I have questions. I would like to know, on the bill list page 7, there is a $100 check made out to Mayor De La Roche from the Youth Advisory Fund. Can I have an explanation as to why we cut a check for $100 for Mayor De La Roche from the Youth Advisory Fund?
President Rattner: You’re asking questions now, so we’ll have the…you know, it gives them time, if they don’t have it right away, that’s fine, and it would be easier to answer all the questions together when we do the bill list at the end of the meeting. This just gives them time to look at it, so instead of looking for a reason for each one, just give them your list.
Ms. Labow: It says returned money deposited.
President Rattner: Okay, you told them where it is. Do you have any other items?
Ms. Labow: Yeah, well I wanted to see if they could answer that one right now.
President Rattner: This is just to give them an opportunity to check it and we’ll do it all together, I think that makes more sense.
Ms. Labow: The next question that I had was on page 9, I just actually want to make a point. The electric bill for the Municipal Building for one month was $6,957.60. The electric bill for the soccer restroom, I’m assuming the soccer and the baseball restrooms are together? No, there not – oh, that’s even worse. For the soccer restroom alone, it cost us $1,358 for the same month and I’m saying, if you look at the square footage of the little soccer restroom versus this whole building, I don’t know why it’s costing us so much money. That’s like a huge cost. So, I would like an explanation on that. The other thing I had was for the public fire hydrant service on page 10, $1,200 – we had two bills – is that for two different periods? Next question…the other thing I had on page 15 for Peterson & Sons Tree Service, they had $1,000 to take down…to clear three trees, do we have….is this something we have to bid out for because we never know how much…Oh, it’s a state contract, okay great – that answers that one. The other question I had was for the snow, for our snow crews…for our road crews, we had different storms. It seemed like an excessively large amount of money. I don’t have a problem paying for the food if they’re working after hours, but some of the bills seemed pretty high. When I looked up the vouchers on Sunday, we had breakfast one day, we had Two Chefs – they spent $140 on breakfast on 3/19. On 3/17, and 3/18 and also on 3/19 for lunch it was $53.53. On 3/17 and 3/18, it was $197.48 and $96.95, also at two chefs on 3/10 they spent $89.88. I just wonder what the procedure is.
Mr. Ruggierio: I don’t understand the question, but I’ll certainly…after the meeting I guess I’ll have to follow-up on the issues regarding the food, because I don’t know that I can answer it here.
Ms. Labow: Let me just look at my notes, one second. For the Applied Waste Water Management bill, oh no, that’s the wrong one. Hold on a second, I already asked you that one. The next one on the…there is one voucher that was for Smart UPS 500 VA RM 74W Transformer. I don’t have that page in front of me, so it was my notes are written down from the vouchers, it was from Scott’s office. It was for $2,640. Now on the voucher it said that it was for various computer purchases and there was only one item purchased. Is that like a category?
Ms. Jenkins: That’s how we set up the ordinance.
Ms. Labow: Okay, that’s what I really wanted to know on that one. One last thing, for Whispering Woods, why is that…was that bill…we only…the bill is for $5,076.96 and we only paid $1,018 and the other part of Whispering Woods was….
Mr. Ruggierio: I don’t know what you’re talking about. Are you talking about a check?
Ms. Labow: Yes, when I was looking at the vouchers. Do you want me to find it on the bill list? Sherry, do you know which one I’m talking about?
President Rattner: Can you show it to him?
Ms. Jenkins: I’m looking right now.
Ms. Labow: Well, there was another one for $4,937 and we only paid $2,058 of that and I was just wondering why we have these…why bills aren’t paid on time?
Ms. Jenkins: We only pay the current charges on the bills because a lot of times they apply the payments late. Okay, so…you…a lot…if you see a total that’s due and it’s $5,000, you’ll see in most cases we’re paying only the current charges. Because, we’ve already made a payment that they don’t have posted.
Ms. Labow: Okay, that’s what I thought, but I just wanted to make sure. I didn’t know if it was maybe some kind of….
President Rattner: Okay, Mr. Buell.
Mr. Buell: I’d just like to ask a question. It seems to me we are having some problems over at the Library. Are we going to discuss that later in this meeting, or….
President Rattner: I think we’re going to discuss what we have is any time we have a bill, and we have a bill on tonight, that the Library gives us an update and I would say that would be the appropriate time to ask them what questions you have, if you have a question and we try to…on this, President Rattner (cont’d): this is not a full status report, but it’s really the justification or why we are paying the bill, you know they’re progress payments, so we will have that…that’s on the agenda? Yes, we actually have it.
Mr. Buell: Then I withdraw my question until later.
President Rattner: Ms. Labow.
Ms. Labow: The $100 check that was made out to Mayor De La Roche, do you know what that was for?
President Rattner: We said we would…you know, as long as they had…
Mayor De La Roche: I could explain it if you want.
President Rattner: Go ahead, Mayor.
Mayor De La Roche: Mayor Licitra had established a policy with performing marriages…if he got contributions for performing those marriages that he would have them automatically put into a particular account. I felt it inappropriate to commingle the contributions that came when I performed a ceremony with those of Mayor Licitra. So what happened is the Secretary automatically put it into the account. He asked to withdraw it because I didn’t feel it was appropriate to be commingled.
Ms. Labow: The check was made out to you personally?
Mayor De La Roche: I believe it was, yes.
Ms. Labow: And can I ask what do you propose to do with that money?
Mayor De La Roche: I haven’t decided yet, that’s why it’s not being commingled with Mayor Licitra’s money.
Ms. Labow: Well, I would like to say that I understand that we do not have an ordinance on our books where a fee can be charged.
Mayor De La Roche: I think you misheard me, I said it was a contribution, not a fee.
Ms. Labow: That’s right, it’s a contribution and when it’s a contribution, I do believe it needs…that check was made out to Mount Olive Township….
President Rattner: Ms. Labow, can you hold on to some of those comments at least…there are other comments we are trying to move. You know, the people who are interested, will have it and then we can discuss it at the end of the meeting in more detail. Mr. Greenbaum.
Mr. Greenbaum: Just something I would like to ask of Sherry, which I don’t understand, the Mayor spoke about…Mayor Licitra having put money in the Youth Advisory Council. Does the Mayor have the ability to withdraw money or to spend any of that money at this point, or because of his determination of his office, does that cease?
Ms. Jenkins: We set up a dedicated trust fund that was for those specific donations. It was approved by the Council.
Mr. Greenbaum: So once the money is in the account, it’s in the account and no longer becomes Mayor Licitra’s money – that’s all I wanted to know. It’s in the Youth Advisory.
Ms. Jenkins: That’s where the Secretary deposited it, yes.
Mr. Greenbaum: Right, and once it’s in there, Mayor Licitra can’t determine where to spend it or to take money out from that account at this point in time.
Ms. Jenkins: The Resolution that we set up for the dedicated trust, you have to identify…there’s got to be a reason why you’re setting it up. We set it up specifically for donations for youth type activities.
Mr. Greenbaum: Right.
Ms. Jenkins: So, therefore, the expenses that are related to that would be obviously related to that purpose.
Mr. Greenbaum: Who has the right to determine how those moneys are spent?
Ms. Jenkins: Well, they need to be spent in accordance with the Resolution that was established.
Mr. Greenbaum: Right. Is that an administrative function, to spend the money in that account for related activities?
Ms. Jenkins: I would say so, yes. I have the Resolution right here.
President Rattner: Let’s hold that to the end. These are just questions on the bill list, we’ll discuss later. Does anybody else have any other comments on the bill list? I have one and, Mr. Ruggierio, I’m going to have to take you to task on this. To forewarn you, what I usually do is…what I try to do is that if I have any major comments I write a letter or something ahead of time, so there’s time…I say the ones that are critical let me know in advance…before the meeting, the ones that are just more informational, just get back to me on it. One of the things that’s been concerning me for a while is the number, regardless of what was just said a couple of minutes ago, of late charges that we’re paying. And, we’re paying a lot…you know, not a large amount in dollar items, we’re paying a lot in number. On the last bill list, I noticed at least six were late…very specific late charges. Some of them, very specifically approved to pay late charges, some of them were on invoices that were received (date stamped by the town) in January and it took two months to get paid. You wrote me a letter, and this is where I have to take you to task, “after a thorough review of all the bills on the bill list, I cannot find any late charges only some instances where,” and you list some companies where current bill shows a previous balance, which I understand that. The fact is a previous balance does not denote a late charge in the Township, I know that. In checking further, it is our understanding the balance shows because individual vendors internals process billings a backlog in their posting. That is real good, and out of maybe 200 vouchers that we had processed, you attached 4. One of the four, 25%, has a late charge identified and buried in there and it’s right there. Even what you gave me to show that there are no late charges, is on there. This week’s bill list, and I just have a copy, is NJ Natural Gas, it’s even got a signature to approve the late charges. We have late charges on an ongoing basis. It’s not something that’s a big dollar item, so we’re not paying hundreds of thousands or even probably hundreds all together, but we are paying a lot of late charges. My question to you was that it shouldn’t be in the material cost, it shouldn’t be in the cost of service because it then distorts how much we’re really paying. It should be just another accounting that there be finance charges and late fees. Things like that can happen. But to write a letter saying after a thorough review, there is none, I actually take the second paragraph where you’re saying I don’t know how to read an invoice, which I did take offense to, and then when you attach an attachment that you gave to every person on this Council to prove that I didn’t know what I was talking about, it just proved that you didn’t read the invoice that you were using as backup. That, to me, is unacceptable, it makes me wonder what is really going on in the office and I don’t like being treated in a demeaning way where you say that I should learn how to read (and that’s the way I took it) read an invoice. I don’t like that. I also got a comment that I know that the Clerk had to find it, we’ve had to process that is….we get the basket of vouchers, so we set it up so where Council Members, if they’re so inclined, to review the vouchers that we have to vote on, so we don’t have to do it at the meeting or get some background on it, that it’s left in the Council Chambers over the weekend so at our time, after when the people of us have jobs, can come in and review them. And I was told that the Clerk had to find them this week because they were on your desk…that you were actually going to take them out of the building and so-called take them home. Was that so we could not….
Mr. Ruggierio: I don’t know where you come up with this, Mr. Rattner, I mean, you’re repeating rumors that I…you know, that somebody told you, that somebody told the Clerk, I mean, I think it’s really not very fair. I mean, I’ll look at this voucher that you’re talking about, but I’ve been here sixty days, I’ve reviewed a lot of vouchers. I look specifically, as you might notice from my commentary, at almost every voucher. I read a lot of notes on these vouchers, I never saw any late charges.
President Rattner: Mr. Ruggierio, you can’t…and if you’re going to repeat that again, I’m saying read your own memo. Four invoices…
Mr. Ruggierio: I said I’m going to take a look, I don’t know why you feel insulted by….
President Rattner: I have it right here…because I didn’t read it right and there isn’t any on there and even your attachment has it on there. I am insulted.
Mr. Ruggierio: I don’t think you should be insulted.
President Rattner: And it was…it was late on Friday. They had to find the basket of vouchers, it wasn’t where it was supposed to be because I usually come in Sunday night, that is when I can find time in my schedule, because I think it’s important enough to at least review them, and I know, I’m not looking for every little mistake, because a mistake is going to happen when you process as many bills as a busy town as we do. But don’t say I gave it a thorough review and I couldn’t find any and I found eight in twenty five to thirty minutes that I reviewed the whole basket and you even attached one to give back to me. That means you didn’t give it a thorough review. Somebody must have wrote it for you and I understand how that happens and whoever did, I would go back and find out who did that because they weren’t doing you justice. Thank you and that’s what it is and this bill there is another late charge and I see that the acting department foreman actually circled it and approved it. So, to say that it doesn’t happen, we even have approval and it is buried in the material service cost. That’s what I want to put up, you write back a memo, I just suggest you have your facts right. Thank you. Is there any other comments on the bill list? If there are any questions, we can ask at the end of the meeting. Next we have our Public Portion that we’ll have now. This is our first Public Portion of the agenda. We do have a Public Portion for the actual specific Resolutions and individually on any Ordinances that we have a public hearing on and we will have another optional one at the end, but of course you don’t know how late that’s going to be. So, if anybody would like to address the Council at this time on any subject, please come up to the podium, state your name. Seeing none, I’ll close the public portion.
LETTERS FROM RESIDENTS
1. Letter received April 8, 2004, from John and Angela Presco regarding Lot 2, Block 3504 – Outlook Avenue / interest in purchasing property.
2. Letter received April 19, 2004, from Mark and Anne Wisnewski (10 Watson Way, Flanders) regarding Lights at Flanders Park.
3. E-mail received April 19, 2004, from Peter Coulter regarding lighting at Flanders Park.
4. E-mail received April 20, 2004, from Jane Dann regarding light at Flanders Park.
5. E-mail received April 21, 2004, from Rich and Helen Tavalare regarding lighting at Flanders Park.
RESOLUTIONS, ORDINANCES, CORRESPONDENCE FROM OTHER MUNICIPALITIES
6. Resolution received April 23, 2003, from the Town of Boonton regarding Highlands Water Protection Planning Act.
LEAGUE OF MUNICIPALITIES
7. E-mail received April 16, 2004, from New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding Analysis of S-1/A – 2635 “The Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act.”
8. Letter received April 20, 2004, from New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding State Local Property Tax Summit
9. Legislative Bulletin received April 20, 2004, from New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding Bills that were enacted as public laws of 2004.
10. Letter received April 23, 2004, from New Jersey State league of Municipalities regarding three different League Seminars on Registering Domestic Partnerships in New Jersey.
COUNTY OF MORRIS
11. E-mail received April 13, 2004, from Morris County Chamber of Commerce regarding “Young Professionals Happy Hour” Thursday April 29th.
12. E-mail received April 15, 2004, from Morris County Chamber of Commerce regarding Morris after Hours “Business Card Exchange” Monday, May 10th.
13. E-mail received April 19, 2004, from Morris County Chamber of Commerce regarding Annual Golf Classic and Cocktail Buffet Reception.
14. E-mail received April 21, 2004, from Morris County Chamber of Commerce regarding “Focus on the European Union.”
15. Letter received April 16, 2004, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Letter of Interpretation – Line Verification Applicant: Armico/Blue Atlas Nursery Block 4500; Lot 8 (155 Flanders Netcong Road)
16. Letter received April 19, 2004, from the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection regarding Letter of Interpretation – Line Verification Extension Applicant: Firetower, L.L.C. Clock 1400; Lots 21 & 26. (11 and 39 Budd Lake Heights Road)
17. Letter received April 19, 2004, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Letter of Interpretation – Line Verification Extension Applicant: Firetower L.L.C. Block 500; Lot 7 (43-63 Station Road, Budd Lake)
18. Letter received April 19, 2004, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Letter of Interpretation – Line Verification Extension Applicant: Firetower, LLC Block 1103, Lot 6 (10 Natalie Drive, Budd Lake)
19. Letter received April 20, 2004, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Nonpoint Pollution Control regarding R9-Tier A Municipal Stormwater General Permit NJDES: NJG0148326 / PI ID#: 197735 Mount Olive Township.
20. Letter received April 20, 2004, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection, Land Use Regulation Program regarding Letter of Interpretation - Line Verification Extension Applicant: Firetower, LLC Block 1300, Lot 29 (51 Station Road, Budd Lake)
21. Permit received April 21, 2004, from State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Permit for the Morris County Engineering Department / Department of Public Work, to grant permission to replace an existing 22.6’ wide 20’ span steel stringer bridge structure by a new 32.6’ wide, 20’ span concrete arch bridge for Manor House Road, crossing over South Branch Raritan River, Mount Olive.
22. Minutes received April 12, 2004, from the Musconetcong Sewerage Authority
regarding the March 3rd meeting.
23. Letter received April 12, 2004, from Comcast regarding Parental Control filters.
24. Fax received April 16, 2004, from Comcast regarding Channel package changes.
25. Notice of Public Hearings received April 22, 2004, from Elizabeth Gas.
26. Letter received April 23, 2004, from Jersey Central Power and Light regarding Annual Universal Service Fund Compliance Filing Jersey Central Power & Light Company.
27. Notice of Meadowlands State Fair received April 22, 2004, from Bennigan’s Grill and Tavern Re: Ticket info and dates.
President Rattner: And now we have correspondence, we have 27 items of correspondence. Does anybody have any comments on the correspondence? Mr. Elms.
Mr. Elms: Item number 1, we had a letter concerning this, is there something going to be done over that?
President Rattner: We scheduled that at a workshop. The Administration…because it came there…we got a recommendation, but when we got the letter from the Administration, we had a busy schedule, so with more stuff…the Administrator, when we got the list, didn’t ask to have that put on for tonight.
Mr. Elms: So, it’s going to be on the next workshop?
President Rattner: If it is requested. Because basically on their recommendation so it should be at their request. If they have everything tied up, so we can put that on. Anything else?
ORDINANCES FOR PUBLIC HEARING - None
ORDINANCES FOR FIRST READING – None
CONSENT RESOLUTIONS AGENDA:
Resolutions on the Consent Agenda List are considered to be routine and non-controversial by the Township Council and will be approved by one motion (one vote). There will be no separate discussion or debate on each of these resolutions except for the possibility of brief clarifying statements that may be offered. If one or more Council member requests, any individual resolution on the Consent Agenda may be removed from the Consent Agenda List and acted on separately.
President Rattner: The next item on the agenda is the Consent Resolution. These are updates that we consider to be routine and non-controversial and we would normally approve them by one vote, however, if any Council Member feels that there is something on there that should be discussed and voted on separately, we would take that off at this time. Does any Council Member like anything taken off and put on non-consent? Mr. Elms.
Mr. Elms: We don’t seem to have any Consent Resolution 1 – started numbering on two.
President Rattner: Number one Resolution was the Budget.
Mr. Elms: Okay, thank you.
2. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Approving Professional
Service Contract for the Township Consulting Engineer for the Year 2004.
3. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Contract with
the Municipal Prosecutor.
4. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Contract with
the Public Defender.
5. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Township to Reimburse the Business Administrator for Cellular Phone Usage.
6. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Grant Application to the New Jersey Historic Trust.
7. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Submission of a Tonnage Grant Application to the State of New Jersey.
8. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Accepting a Child Passenger Safety Education Grant.
9. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing Execution of a Grant Agreement (Local Library Aid).
10. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing Closing of a Portion of Sandshore Road on Saturday, September 18, 2004 for the 2004 Triathlon.
11. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Adopting a Form Required to be Used for the Filing of Notices of Tort Claims against Mount Olive Township in Accordance with the Provisions of the New Jersey Tort Claim Act, N.J.S.A. 59:8-6.
12. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Acceptance of the Return of One EDU Assigned to Lot 11, Block 3001 Lot 11.
13. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a “Deduct” Change Order # 6 for Mount Olive Library.
14. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Commending the Mount Olive Police Department on its 75th Anniversary.
President Rattner: Okay, seeing no requests to have anything pulled off the Consent Resolution, I will ask Ms. Labow to move.
Ms. Labow: I move 2 through 14.
Mr. Guenther: Second.
PUBLIC PORTION ON CONSENT RESOLUTIONS
President Rattner: Okay. Does anybody from the public want to address any of the Resolutions on the Consent Resolution?
Jane Israel, Mount Olive Public Library: I am asking about Resolution number 13 and, in fact, the copy that is over on the table had incorrect figures and I asked Sherry and she said that they have been corrected. Do you have…see this is a deduct and it says that it’s going to be credited, but the figures…the numbers that I am reading on here are adding. That’s all. So,….
President Rattner: Ms. Jenkins actually before said that there was something in the totals that was wrong, the deduct was right and it was a clerical error in something. Is that what…Ms. Israel is talking about?
Ms. Jenkins: When I got the packet and I reviewed it, I don’t know if it was late Friday or Monday morning, because we had just corrected the last one, I wanted to make sure that this was correct and I realized that the numbers that had been prepared were wrong, so I changed them at that time. And, I believe Christie gave the appropriate copy to Lisa at that point.
Mrs. Lashway: Can we just make sure that we have the correct Resolution, can you just verify what the numbers are supposed to be?
President Rattner: Based on the current resolution, Ms. Israel, what number do you think is wrong on here?
Ms. Israel: The $3,903,297.81 is the very last number in the now therefore be it resolved….it should be $3,902,544. We’re deducting $5,000, right?
Ms. Jenkins: We deducted it, but the total deduction comes to $3,903,297.81, that is the revised contract amount.
Mr. Dorsey: The Resolution chose the contract amount at being $3,908,315 and then the deduct of $5,000 brings it down to $5,018. I mean, frankly I got this, I thought, from Rita Hilbert at the Library Board.
Ms. Jenkins: If you want, I can go through each of the particulars going up to this to verify the numbers, if you would like to do that. We had an original award, which was $3,880,400.
Mr. Dorsey: You know, I’m not arguing, Sherry.
Ms. Jenkins: No, I’m just saying to clarify, because they’re coming up with something different than what I have.
Mr. Dorsey: Ms. Israel seemed to think that the Resolution that we have here added the deduct of $5,018 onto the prior amount of the contract. Well, as it is written, it deducts it.
Ms. Jenkins: The original Resolution that was prepared, I believe it was by Christie in Administration, did add the amount. I noticed that it was wrong, and I went and I changed it and you have that. The revised number is $3,903,297.81.
Mrs. Lashway: That’s the Resolution that Jane has.
President Rattner: Now the contract total that we have is $3,903,297.81. Do you think it should be a different number?
Ms. Israel: Well, I only did it by…not in my head, but…
Ms. Jenkins: Jane, we had the original contract award was $3,880,400. We had change orders one, two and three that were adopted on 11/25 that increased it $22,144.40, okay?
Ms. Israel: Right.
Ms. Jenkins: Change order four for the rock wasn’t approved. Then change order five, that was approved on 12/23 for $5,771.50 increase.
Ms. Israel: Okay.
Ms. Jenkins: That got us, the total contract up to this point, of $3,908,315.90.
Ms. Israel: Okay, you know what? I think that the change order…I had a figure wrong on the change orders, but anyway, you are deducting it – that’s a deduct and not an increase?
Ms. Jenkins: Yes.
Ms. Israel: Okay, thank you.
President Rattner: Okay, one thing I would like to…one of the last Resolutions we put on, and maybe we should have added it separately, and I would like to read this into the record in it’s entirety, and it’s the Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Commemorating the Mount Olive Police Department on it 75th Birthday.
WHEREAS, on May 8th, 2004, the Mount Olive Township Police Department will celebrate its 75th Anniversary, representing 75 years to the Township growth, not only in terms of personnel, but in the terms of every other aspect of Police activities, including the training of personnel, the communication system and equipment to fulfill its legal and statutory obligations in the 21st Century.
WHEREAS, the Mount Olive Police Department had a humble beginning, consisting of a one-man department in 1929, a single vehicle, a one-room facility for Police Headquarters, a radio system that essentially depended on citizens leaving messages with a telephone operator, little (if any) formal training for Police Officers, (snuck in there, huh, alright) other than training by the Police Chief and Police duties were performed with extremely limited equipment by today’s standards.
WHEREAS, the Police Department today is comprised of 51 Officers, a department with 30 vehicles, a modernized Police Department Headquarters, modernistic communication systems, as well as the most advanced computer system to deal with crime, which system is installed in each and every patrol vehicle.
WHEREAS, the Police Department hired its first Police Woman in 1947 and has continuously been staffed by Police Women with three currently serving, and
WHEREAS, the Police Department today is equipped with modern police equipment, including ballistic shields, sub-guns, assault rifles, and gas masks and all of the equipment needed to deal with the post-Colombine and post 9-11 America, and
WHEREAS, as perhaps more important than the evolution of the Police Department, beyond the physical equipping of the Police Department, is that the Officers today are not hired without college degrees, they are not entrusted with modern police equipment until they have successfully completed a six-month long training at certified police academy and a three-month long coaching program by a mentor within the Police Department.
WHEREAS, the Township of Mount Olive is extremely proud of the progress with which the Police Department has made over the years in terms, particularly, of its manpower, in terms of its ability to communicate with its citizens as well as its services as with all other police agencies in the County and the State of New Jersey. Instantaneously, thanks to the extraordinary job that Chief Edward Katona, Jr. has done to bring the Township Police Department and its Officers with the challenges of the 21st Century.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township of Mount Olive, that it wishes to extend its congratulations to the Mount Olive Police Department for services to the community and for its development in every facet of police work during the last 75 years, and the Council wishes to congratulate the Police Department on its total modernization of systems upon which police work is dependent and most importantly to congratulate the department on the extent to which it had modernized the requirements to become a Police Officer in the Township of Mount Olive and continues to evolve the technical and social skills of its Police Officers.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive wishes to commend Chief Edward W. Katona, Jr. for his contributions and contributions which the entire Police Department is making to the safety and welfare of the Township of Mount Olive, in a proud tradition of service that it has covered 75 years. Clapping…
President Rattner: I think why we wanted to read it is that this government, and I know that the residents of this Township, are very proud of the Police Department that we have. We’re still in the Public Session, Chief Katona is back there. For people who don’t know the Chief of Police, that’s the handsome guy with the facial hair. Is there anything you’d like to say? I read that, we got this late, but your anniversary is in just two weeks, is there anything you’d like to say about your department?
You know the system, Chief.
Chief Katona: Thank you, we’re really very flattered by the Resolution. On behalf of all the members of the Police Department, I wish to thank you. One person does not make all of the improvements that have happened, this is an effort that everyone who works for the Police Department has done an outstanding job for us. On May 8th, there will be an open house for the Police Department and we would like to invite the entire public to see it, see some displays of other Police Departments and other facets of Police Work at 1:00 pm. So, thank you very much. Clapping…
COUNCIL COMMENTS ON CONSENT RESOLUTIONS
President Rattner: Okay, we’re still in the Public Portion, is there anybody else from the public like to address the Council on these Resolutions? Seeing none, we will close the Public Portion. Any Council comments? Seeing none, Roll Call.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
President Rattner: Okay, now we are up to the Library Board Report.
Jane Israel, Mount Olive Public Library: The bill that you have on the bill list was originally certified by the architect for $65,939.30, but because of the missing HVAC units, we’re deducting for that and that is why the total is $30,552.48. And, I think that you all received a memo regarding that incident. The Library has retained a construction attorney, who is representing us in that matter. Oh, Mrs. Israel (cont’d): actually it’s not even something that we have to be concerned about because it’s between Blackstone and the contractor. And, I do have a letter from the architect, which I’m not sure whether that was sent to you, but he is saying that the construction schedule will not be impacted by the missing units and, as long as we get them in the next eight weeks and evidently they take about four weeks to fabricate, and it’s up to Blackstone Construction to make sure that we get them in time. Anyway, Jerry is going to give you an update on the rest of the project.
Jerry Sheard, Vice President: To start off with, you can see now, a lot of the things are starting to happen. If you look over at the Library, you will see the front masonry work is being done pretty good. We have a new sub-contractor…on the masonry work, they are doing a pretty good job and you’ll be seeing a lot more of it within the next couple weeks. The same with the roof, we hoped to have the roof completed by the end of this week, but due to a couple of days of rain and things, it will probably be some time next week. What we are anticipating right now, to have the major portion of the roof done. In conjunction with that, as of tomorrow, you can look on the Library website and we have taken some pictures of both the exterior and the interior and have put them on the website for the public to see, and we also have some pictures at the Library for you to look at. A couple other things that are going on, and you will see in the pictures, the tongue in groove decking, which we have talked about before, most of it’s getting in place now and will be done as we go along with the framing of the roof. Our electrical is going along pretty good now, particularly on the interior, with the roughing in of the electrical, plumbing is roughed in, sprinklers have gone as far as they can right now – that’s in place, of course you can’t see that, nobody will see it until you go climb up into the rafters, so that’s progressing along. We did have, I don’t know if the Council is aware of it, we found a slight leak in the fire hydrant that was installed and that turned out to be a gasket which had a little crack in it, it was a 15 cent gasket that had a crack in it and this week they took that out, replaced that, so that is corrected. We’ve had water on the sight all along. The rest of the thing, anticipated June 30th completion date, we’re still holding that, although realistically it’s probably going to be in July – the end of July, because of the weather we’ve had and some of the problems that the general contractor had with his subs. But, I don’t expect too much more than that. With that, I’m open to questions. One thing I would like to still remind everybody, it is not a Township site – that site belongs to the contractor and his insurance company. If anybody goes on there, has to make sure they go through the proper channels to get on there, because if anyone got hurt or anything, it is the contractor that’s responsible, not the Township. Of course, we would be brought into a lawsuit as anybody else would, but technically it is the contractors/builders risk insurance that covers anything that goes on in there, so he actually owns the site.
Mr. Guenther: Who pays for the construction attorney?
Mr. Sheard: The Library pays for the…the building…all we’ve done so far with that was contacting Bill Wallace. This was brought up at the Library Board of Trustees meeting and just for advice. Right now, he is not involved in too much because, as Jane said, it is between the two sub-contractor and the contractor, all the litigation. They had a meeting Friday, I don’t know what the result was, and I think they met again today, or were in contact today.
Mr. Guenther: Now, were these expenses provided for in the budget?
Mr. Sheard: No, we have to come up with that. Nobody anticipated that one.
Mr. Greenbaum: Jerry, I have heard a lot of rumors regarding the construction site of the Library, I don’t know if any of them are true and I’m not going to get into any of the specifics, because I don’t want to spread rumors that may or may not be true, but I am troubled by the number of rumors that I am hearing. And, it is my position, at this point, that it would be irresponsible of me to approve any additional invoices until I’ve had a chance to actually inspect the site, make a determination on my own that the work is progressing as we’ve been educated to do. Because we’re getting down to the end, and in terms of the amount of money which we have left to pay the contractor, and I think it would be prudent on my part, and I can’t speak for the rest of Council, but I can assume that they all agree that it’s time that we be brought into the loop before the rest of the money is expended. You’re feeling on that?
Mr. Sheard: Well, number one, you’ve been kept in the loop. I’ve been telling you about what’s been going on over there as much as possible. Number two is that the sign-off for anything that goes on there is our construction manager, the architect has to sign-off on it, and we sign-off on it before we send anything to you. So anything that’s there, I can guarantee had been properly done. As far as getting you on the site, as I said before, we will try to get you on there as soon as we feel it is safe to bring people. It’s a construction site – a construction site is a dangerous site and it is normally unsafe, Mr. Sheard (cont’d): I don’t care where you go, I mean, I go on them almost every day for different reasons. As far as trying to get you on there, as soon as the roof is completed, we can get the place cleaned up so it’s safe for you to go on there and the contractor says it’s possible for you to go on there – it’s his site, remember. Then, we’ll try to get you on there. Until then, I can’t force him to let you on.
Mr. Greenbaum: I understand that, but I don’t believe that that’s a reasonable position for the contractor to take. We are the ones who approve the bills, it’s in his interest….
Mr. Sheard: Well, they will be and, as soon as we get it done, we’ll clean it up.
Mr. Greenbaum: Again, I don’t believe that it’s prudent, at this time, to approve any additional bills in light of what I’m hearing. I’m not saying that they’re true, but I’m hearing about problems at the sight and I want to see firsthand.
Mr. Sheard: Well, I would like to know what problems you’ve had. We’ve had…this was Mr. Ruggierio, this inspector went over, that inspector, I have yet to see anything from the inspectors, neither has a construction manager, or whoever, it hadn’t been corrected normal. We’ve heard rumors that people from the Council, people from other places have gone over there and said oh it’s unsafe, they’re false. Any construction site, I can go through, and that’s my job, and I find violations, OSHA violations, or other things, but for this site, in the last month-month and a half has been pretty good.
Mr. Greenbaum: I believe you, Jerry, and I don’t put any credence into the rumors, except the fact that I’ve heard them.
Mr. Sheard: Well, I’ve heard them, too.
Mr. Greenbaum: And, you know what, where there is smoke, I hope there is no fire. It shouldn’t be a problem for the contractor to let us come on site to determine for…to take a look for ourselves what percentage of work is done.
Mr. Sheard: We have a meeting with him next Thursday and I’ll bring that up and I’ll let you know what he says.
Mr. Greenbaum: I appreciate that and I’m not saying that any of those rumors that I’ve heard are true, but I’ve heard rumors and…
Mr. Sheard: I know it and we’ve had it, but the people who…you know, rumors, I mean, I don’t know where they’re coming from, because technically they haven’t been on the site to look around and I have checked with our construction manager, and the construction company, and only the people that were there did not talk to either one of the major principles.
Mr. Ruggierio: What I wanted to say is that when I came here I guess that it concerned me that I should become conversant with what was going on with this Library project and very early in my time here, probably the first ten days, I did get an extensive review by Ms. Hilbert and the construction manager out at the site. I can’t account for why, whoever it was, this Council or previous public officials determined that the way they were going to run this job was the way it’s run, but you know, at this point, the Library Board has certain rules, and I’m sure you’ve all seen the letter from the….the thing that I would really like to emphasize three things: It is important to me to tell you that I have been satisfied, based on an extensive, you know, investigation and review with Ms. Hilbert and her professional. I have been satisfied that the job is, with the exception of some delays that occurred some time in the past, that the job is currently appropriately on schedule, that the job is being appropriately supervised, and, although I’m not going to give you legal advise, I would refer you to Mr. Dorsey for advice concerning what happens when we delay payments to contractors in such settings. You know, I told you before when I got here, the first week I got here I had to sign-off on a voucher. I hadn’t had that conversation with Ms. Hilbert and the professional at that point, and I thought it was important to sign-off on it based on the architect certification and I think this Council has to take the same position. And, of course, Mr. Dorsey, I would appreciate you assisting the Council in understanding that there are bad consequences that come from withholding payments, progress payments, to contractors. And let me say, finally, that all of this has…is not an endorsement at all of the idea that Council shouldn’t, under some supervised way, be able to look at the property and I’m not taking a position on that, I think they probably should.
Mr. Sheard: I will agree with Mr. Ruggierio on the accounts. Withholding a payment that is duly authorized and has been submitted duly by the contractor, does have some serious consequences in certain cases and it’s in accordance with the contracts.
President Rattner: Ms. Labow.
Ms. Labow: How many units were removed from the site? The HVAC?
Mr. Sheard: It was seven of them, but it doesn’t matter…regardless, we know how many that we had on site, they’re not there now, we counted that, and that’s how we know. How they were removed or anything else, that’s between the two contractors now.
Ms. Labow: What I would like to know is what’s the cost per unit?
Mr. Sheard: I have to divide it and then give it to you. I don’t have that right off hand, I can get it for you.
Ms. Labow: So, basically, what I understand is from this…our grant with the contractor…is that we only pay for items that are on site. So, how did you come up with the $30,000 – that you’re deducting from the bill?
Ms. Israel: No, we’re deducting $35,000.
Mr. Sheard: It’s $35,386.82.
Ms. Labow: So you divide that by seven and you will come up with the cost per unit.
Ms. Israel: And you have to also account for the retainage that has been…you know, we didn’t pay for the retainage. You know, we didn’t pay the entire thing, so this is just what we paid.
Mr. Sheard: Two percent.
Ms. Labow: Okay, when I was at the Library Board meeting last month, I asked Scott Ayers specifically how long would it take to get the HVAC units and he said, at that time, it would be about eight weeks. Now, we are coming into a season where a lot of school referendums were passed for all the State money that was given out, and that’s going to be a real hot-ticket item. Have you…has anybody actually got a true estimate on how long?
Mr. Sheard: The architect and the contractor both have been in touch with Trane and this is the figures we’ve gotten from them and they can do it within four weeks and we feel pretty good…confident.
Ms. Labow: How long does it take to ship them?
Mr. Sheard: I’m not sure…Trane can get it here, they said within four weeks.
Ms. Labow: The other question was on the roof right now, I mean, you guys were all ready…they were all ready to put those units up on the roof, so the areas on the roof, how you going to seal that?
Mr. Sheard: That’s been sealed. Let me give you why they were going to put them up. They wanted originally to put them up, the whole idea was that, and this is the contractor – not us, he wanted them here so he could put them up for temporary heat during the winter, now we don’t need it. So now, it’s nothing…
Ms. Labow: It has nothing to do with the duct work?
Mr. Sheard: No. The duct work…some of the duct work is in, some of it has got to be replaced because of the previous contractor, the same one that we are having trouble with…
Ms. Labow: Okay, because you also were putting up sheetrock, you’re going to need some kind of temperature control even for moisture and dampness and…
Mr. Sheard: Yes, they’re aware of that.
Ms. Labow: Okay, thank you.
President Rattner: Mr. Elms.
Mr. Elms: I would suggest that if anybody in the Town Council or the Administration hears of any kind of rumors, it should be passed to the Business Administrator or the Mayor and let him take it to our professional construction office and have him, or that construction office, contact Jerry or Jane or the…..
Mr. Sheard: As I said from the beginning, we’re available. I have yet to have anybody from the Council, from the Administration, other than Mr. Ruggierio, contact us regarding any concerns they have, except during the regular meeting. But, I understand, people have been talking to other people.
President Rattner: And Mr. Elms, I did do that. As soon as I heard, I even said to the person, because one of the people was from the Planning Board, who is the Mayor’s appointment, who gave me some of the supposedly bad news, another person from the Library Board, not a Council Member, and I asked…this is what I heard…you are sitting on the Library Board, get back to me that didn’t happen and that obviously causes problems.
Ms. Labow: I also passed on rumors I heard, too.
President Rattner: Okay, but we’re saying – we’re doing that so, Mr. Elms, that is happening and I think that letter was at least a week ago. One of the issues, and Mr. Greenbaum, yes, one of my stints I actually worked for Tischman in New York as a cost controller on a per diem basis. One of the things that I could look at and I can at least read the charts from the architect and from the construction official, and according to that, it looks like they are a little more than 50% done, you take, you know, a little less than 50% or just about that area you know, because of the retainage. Now, you’ve been working on that project I know for an extended point in time, that 50% includes materials delivered but not installed, because we went through that a couple of months ago, which is in the contract. If I look at that and I know what the completion date, your scheduled completion date and I won’t say it – I’ll let you say when the contract is supposed to be off site, but we’re working towards time and we’re supposed to be over 50% done, and yet we’re going to get it all done in the next ninety days. Now, I’ve been through the good, the bad and the ugly just in this town alone, the sewer project, this building, the senior center and a whole mess of other things, Turkey Brook is another one that comes to mind, and nobody is going to tell me that that building is going to be ready in ninety days – or roughly what you’re talking about.
Mr. Sheard: If you were listening to what I said to start with, the thirty June date is what was still looked at. I feel that it is going to be at least thirty more days after that and I feel, because once you get the building enclosed, a lot of work can get done and you would be surprised, I mean, you don’t see it…
President Rattner: Mr. Sheard, I did give you…I said ninety days, I didn’t say sixty, because ninety days would bring you to July.
Mr. Sheard: May, June and July.
President Rattner: That’s right, I went for the extra month, because we’re looking at May, June and July. It is there so…we have to be realistic, if it’s going to be late, it’s going to be late. We understand things like that happen, that’s not going to be done in ninety days. Mayor, you wanted to say something?
Mayor De La Roche: I just wanted to straighten out a perception that might be left with the public, that, you know, I haven’t asked for an update or anything like that. I sit on the Library Board, the last meeting I think went six hours, so I’m up to date on it, there is no need for me to ask for an update on it, so I think that….
Mr. Sheard: And I also sent you a memo since then regarding….
Mayor De La Roche: Well, that’s what I’m saying, the perception might have been that only Mr. Ruggierio is checking on it, but I sit on the Library Board and I sat there for five or six hours and we went from the overseer and heard all the problems, so I am aware of it.
Mr. Sheard: And I will keep you advised of anything that happens, as I have in the past and continue on.
President Rattner: Thank you. Anybody else have any questions? Now we have raffle applications. Mr. Elms, would you move the raffle applications?
Mr. Elms: I move for approval of the Raffle Application #2031, #2032 for the Foster Parents Association of Morris County and Raffle Application #2033 for the Mount Olive High School Band Association.
Mr. Guenther: Second.
President Rattner: Any discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
President Rattner: Okay, next we have the Bill List. Mr. Guenther, would you take the Bill List?
Mr. Guenther: I hereby move for approval of the Bill List.
Mr. Buell: Second.
President Rattner: We have any discussions? Also, at this point, any questions that were unanswered, by any Council Member would be appropriated at this time. Does anybody still have any questions? Not if you didn’t like the answer, but, I mean, the open question? Ms. Labow.
Ms. Labow: Can we say if we want something removed from the Bill List at this point?
President Rattner: Yes, this is the time to do that.
Ms. Labow: Page 7, I would like to remove the check for Mayor De La Roche for $100.
President Rattner: It’s a $100 check, has that check already been distributed?
Mayor De La Roche: I will try to explain it again. There was a donation made for the first marriage that I performed. Historically, apparently the Secretaries put it into Mr. Licitra’s account.
President Rattner: Mr. Licitra doesn’t have an account, that’s the first thing. There’s never been an account.
Mayor De La Roche: Alright, the account that he established for whatever donations he got from performing weddings. I did not feel it appropriate that the money be put in…or be commingled in a particular account that I did not know anything about at the time. This was back, I guess, in the first week or two of my tenure. But, again, I might have misspoken when Ms. Labow asked me…I don’t know if the check was made out to me, it’s not sent to me, it’s sent to the office and it’s handled by the Secretaries. So, what happened was, it’s automatically deposited into this account, I felt it inappropriate to commingle the funds, I asked her to take it out. That’s what precipitated the entire process of taking the money out of the account, and that’s what that $100 check is.
Mr. Ruggierio: I have two answers, yes, there are two answers that I don’t think I gave, that were asked by Ms. Labow, the first is the page 9 item – the electric bill contrasted with the other electric bill. That is an uninsulated building that is electrically heated. It’s cinderblock, you know, block out at Turkey Brook and I guess that accounts for this cost.
Ms. Labow: The point that I was trying to make is that we have a building that is so much huger and a little building costing a third and I’m assuming, and it could be a bad assumption, that the baseball restroom is probably costing the same amount of money. That’s not on this Bill List and I don’t know why. So, we’re looking at….
Mr. Ruggierio: I think your point is well taken and it is certainly something we should look at. I agree with you. The page 10 item that Ms. Labow asked about, these are two different time frames on the bills.
Ms. Labow: Yes, Sherry said that.
Mr. Ruggierio: And I’ll have to get back to you about the food for crews during the snow storms. I really don’t have enough information to answer you now.
Ms. Labow: Okay, that’s fine.
President Rattner: I just want to clarify one thing that since I’ve been here for so long, I guess I somehow remember these things, this Youth Council…this account that it just turned Mayor Licitra’s account, wasn’t…it was actually originated about sixteen years ago by a Mayor called Johnson. So I guess maybe we should call it the Johnson account. It was continued through the Schiess, so I guess we changed the name, which I didn’t know about, to the Schiess account and then it went to Licitra, but it was still a Township account. I’m not going to talk, you know, about exactly what that accounting is and I’m sure we’ll get some sort of Resolution on it, but just not knowing where the money went in January, which I can understand, because you don’t know, and things can happen, but it is now the end of April so we’re talking almost 120 days into this Administration and the refund check is out because I didn’t know where the money was going. I’m not really sure I understand that part, but it’s 120 days, I would think that somebody would know what it is, it’s not the Mayor’s account. What it was is that past Mayors have taken contributions received, for different functions or whatever that they put in, it started with Charlie Johnson. He used to have beach parties in the same thing. We have the teen scene now, it was really started that long ago when some of us were still teenagers.
Mayor De La Roche: Oh, I wasn’t…when I said Mayor Licitra’s account, I wasn’t….I didn’t go into the history of the account, I was told it was put into Mayor Licitra’s account and whatever account it was, I didn’t feel the funds should be commingled, so I don’t know who established the account, I don’t see a problem with it either way, I don’t know whether it was Johnson or Schiess or whoever else, I have no idea. I was told the money was put into an account established by Mayor Licitra. I don’t know…I don’t get into who establishes accounts, this happened in a prior Administration. I only used that to try and explain the process. I have no…it’s not meant in any way to be disparaging to Mayor Licitra or any other Mayor. I think I’ve shown him more respect than many others, so it has nothing to do with….
President Rattner: I’m sorry. I don’t disagree with you.
Mayor De La Roche: I know you don’t. I can understand you’re not disagreeing with me, so I’m just saying to you that that’s why I used his name, because that’s what I was told. So, it’s just an attempt to explain it. So, if you prefer, I’ll refer to it as Mr. Johnson’s account.
President Rattner: No, Mayor, we have a chart of accounts, your CFO can tell you, we have a chart of accounts probably approaching 500 accounts and sub-accounts, each one has a proper name with an account and each one means something and that’s the way we refer to it, we try not putting personalities on it. You must have repeated his name three or four times after you were corrected.
Mayor De La Roche: I publicly apologize to Mayor Licitra if I have offended him in any way or anybody else, I’m just trying to explain why I didn’t want funds commingled.
Ms. Labow: Yes, I would like to say that it’s called the Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive, authorizing a dedication by writer for donations for the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee. This particular fund was set up on September 16, 2003. With that said, I’d like to say that on Sunday, March 21st, I typed up a memo which I sent to Bill Ruggierio and Mayor De La Roche and in this memo I asked about matrimonial fees. I asked is there’s a set fee, if it is, who’s it set by, what’s the fee, does the Mayor get to keep the fee for his time or is there some sort of record or recordkeeping for tax purposes, if the Mayor chooses to donate it, where would the fee be donated, does this still count as income, if the Mayor has decided to donate the fee back to the community, what program or programs has the Mayor chosen to give this generous offer, are there any guidelines set via Ordinances for this Resolution, and my memo was never answered. Subsequently, I know that Mr. Ruggierio asked Peter King for a determination and, pretty much, the opinion was that we do not have an Ordinance on our books where a fee can be charged for matrimonial. It is a donation from whomever they chose to give it. It is my belief that this check for $100 was made out to the Township of Mount Olive, I feel it is very inappropriate for Mayor De La Roche to ask for this $100 back when the people made a donation to the Township.
Mayor De La Roche: I’ll explain it again, for the fourth time. I didn’t determine how it should be made out, all I asked was that the money be removed from the account and returned back to the office. I didn’t say how it should be made out. I don’t even know how it was originally made out. The money was sent to the office, the person who sets up the matrimonial, does the license, does all the requirements, sets up the ceremony, contacts the people, this is all handled by a person….
Ms. Labow: Excuse me, Mayor,
Mayor De La Roche: I merely go and perform the ceremony.
Ms. Labow: Excuse me, Mayor, you still keep avoiding the question. There is a $100 check on our Bill List that’s made out to Mayor Richard De La Roche for $100. Who asked for that check to be made out?
Mayor De La Roche: Excuse me.
Ms. Labow: Who asked for that $100?
Mayor De La Roche: I assume the Secretary asked if….let me try it again, the money was put into an account…the wrong account, to get money out, I said it should be taken out, it should not be commingled. So, that process, I was asked to take care of that…
Ms. Labow: Where did the money go?
Mayor De La Roche: Can I answer you…
President Rattner: Colleen, let him at least finish. One at a time.
Mayor De La Roche: I don’t know where the money went.
Mr. Ruggierio: You think that the Finance Department would have waited for us (meaning the Administration) to indicate what account to put that $100 into, and that was the purpose of the voucher. The only effect of this voucher would be to pull it out of what’s been called Mayor Licitra’s account, but I don’t remember the actual name, the Youth Advisory Committee account and allow for it to be deposited someplace of a similar nature that might be more consistent with what Mayor De La Roche wanted and I think that…so the answer is we don’t know where the money is going to be redeposited, but it will be in a Township account.
President Rattner: Mr. Ruggierio, just to clarify exactly what happened, because there is a paper trail, $100 was requested by Richard De La Roche, himself personally – which he signed and you signed in two places to approve, and it went to him directly. It wasn’t to move it into another account, because you would do a transfer or you would move it into an account. You don’t write a purchase order for claimant’s certification and declaration, that was for services rendered or services provided, that you had then signed and gave to him a $100. What exactly happened, was the Mayor requested $100 and you signed off and gave the Mayor $100. Now if he gave it back to the Town again, we should have a receipt someplace. But to come up with all these convoluted stories, I don’t know how it happened, but the voucher, the purchase order was signed by the Mayor and was signed twice by you in two different places to return money to the Mayor directly. The Mayor signed it and you signed it twice. That’s what happened.
Mr. Ruggierio: You’re exactly right and as I just confirmed with the Finance Director, that is an entirely appropriate procedure which has been used in other settings to allow for money to be redeposited into another account. I sign vouchers of that nature all the time, but I agree with you, there is a paper trail.
Ms. Labow: The question is, though, was the $100 for a marriage?
Mr. Ruggierio: The $100 was given by people, who got married, to the Mayor, or to the Mayor of the Town, I don’t know how the original check was made out, I’m sure we could find out.
President Rattner: Okay, you got your answer okay Colleen?
Ms. Labow: I still want it off the Bill List.
President Rattner: With our procedures to go here, checks under…the CFO would have to answer. I know our Ordinance basically says that it needs Council approval for checks over $2,500 with certain exceptions, which we passed last year to allow utility bills so they wouldn’t be late, and certain other things tax, refunds, things like that, anything under $2,500. Do you actually withhold them, or are those checks already gone?
Ms. Jenkins: What we try and do, if they’re reimbursements that go to particular employees and things like that, for money that they’ve paid out, we try not to wait for a Bill List for those particular types of things as I’m sure you can understand. This check was already cut, it is obviously well below the $2,500 threshold that’s established by Ordinance…
President Rattner: And you released it?
Ms. Jenkins: Yes.
President Rattner: That’s all I was asking. So, no withholding…you can’t withhold something that’s already gone, that’s all I’m bringing up, so that doesn’t serve any purpose. You can make a statement, which you’ve already made…
Ms. Labow: Okay, so, Mayor De La Roche got the check and cashed it?
President Rattner: I don’t know if he cashed it. You don’t know if he cashed it.
Ms. Labow: Well, that’s what I’m asking…
President Rattner: Okay, anyway, any other discussions on the Bill List? Mr. Greenbaum.
Mr. Greenbaum: I would like to remove the payment to the Blackstone Group for $30,552.48.
President Rattner: Does anybody else.
Mr. Elms: I didn’t hear what he said.
President Rattner: He said he would like to remove, we got a motion to remove the bill to Blackstone.
Mr. Elms: For what reason, Rob?
Mr. Greenbaum: For the reasons that I stated during the Library presentation, which was that I want to have an independent examination, not independent but I would like to examine the facility prior to making any additional payments.
President Rattner: Is there a second? It dies, due to the lack of a second. I think what we should do is on something like that is let them know that we want, before the next one, I mean, this is fairly small, we’re still holding about $2 Million, let’s not cause other problems that can mess up the works. Any other discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously with the exception, Mr. Greenbaum Voted No
ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS – OLD BUSINESS
President Rattner: Okay, now we come to Administrative Matters Old Business. We have three items, I would imagine some of the people are here for some of these subjects, the reason it was put on it’s in our tickler file because the Administration said they would give us an update. The Clerk checked on Friday, saying we were putting it on the agenda, not that we necessarily (at least it isn’t as late as I expected for the people who stayed) but the Administration didn’t object to us putting it on to give us update on the three items. So, we’ll go to the Administration, do you have an update on the Rosewood Ditch?
Mr. Ruggierio: I don’t have an update on the ditch other than to say that I have reviewed the file and I believe that we are in compliance at least with the information that I’ve read in the file. I know that there have been conflicting points of view about this ditch.
Mr. Buell: Can I make a statement, please?
President Rattner: If Mr. Ruggierio is done on that subject. I want to make sure, you know, one of the things, we could have differences of opinion, but we have to let somebody get their thought out. You’re finished, Mr. Ruggierio?
Mr. Ruggierio: I am.
President Rattner: Okay, Mr. Buell.
Mr. Buell: Yes, I have a letter here from Pattie & Warren Swan, they live at 42 Knollwood Avenue, I think all of you have a copy of it, and they say thank you very much for taking your time to talk about our concerns regarding the Rosewood Ditch that runs behind our home on Knollwood Avenue. We’ve been struggling with the maintenance of these issues for all of these years we have lived here, which has almost been eighteen years. This drainage ditch has become crucial ever since Flanders Crossing, the senior building and Flanders Park and the fields were built. Unfortunately, it has been a forgotten area that is extremely hard for the average homeowner to maintain. We fight a losing battle trying to keep the vegetation clear from the bottom of the ditch so that the water can flow. Many spots have silted in, trenches have been dug through the muck to keep the water channeled to flow again through, pools of stagnant water sit behind many homes on Knollwood and they are a great breeding ground for mosquitoes. This entire ditch needs to be part of a scheduled town maintenance, at least twice a year -
in the Spring and Fall. Some work has been done several weeks ago and that has helped, but this ditch needs to be part of someone’s responsibility to monitor periodically. I also know that, I don’t know whether they are here tonight, but the people who live at 34, 32, 28 also have very similar concerns about this ditch and so we need to have a scheduled maintenance program and a scheduled program to do something with this ditch. It is a very major concern to the people, particularly to the people at the upper end of Knollwood Avenue and the fact that we don’t have a plan and that we’ve done what we’re going to do is not a good enough answer.
President Rattner: Mr. Buell, some of these people are your friends…does anybody want, you know, just a comment.
Mr. Buell: Yes, they’re here tonight.
President Rattner: Just your comments, we’re not going to get back into…we’ll take your opinion, but that’s…you have to come up so we can get it here. I mean, you sat here for a couple hours, this way we won’t make you go to the end with the Public Portion.
Sharon Eilertsen, 44 Knollwood Road: I live next to the Swans. The main drainage from the detention pond comes right into my yard. It doesn’t drain properly, it’s always wet. Last year they came in to maintain and cut down brush, but they couldn’t pull it out because it was too wet and too mucky for the guys with the hip boots to bring it out. This year, they cut down trees and they took a lot of that garbage from the trees out, but there is still a lot. I invite anybody in this Township to come into my yard, don’t look at the pool that fell down this winter, but look at the ditch and you tell me you want to live there. The drainage is poor, there is a high risk from mosquitoes, we now have the sewer connection from the ball fields and it comes down into our area where one of the construction men took off one of the sewer caps and there were hundreds of dead mosquitoes there. Last year we came to a meeting by the Mosquito Committee, he asked us where we lived and we told him Rosewood Ditch, he knew where we lived. There is no easy accessibility, there’s more and more incidences of West Nile Virus, it is a major health concern, it is a major water run-off, it is a major mess and I have been coming to these meetings and talking about it for years – ever since it started. We were promised a lot and we haven’t gotten a lot, we really haven’t…we try to maintain but we can’t. It is always wet, it is always dirty, it is always disgusting.
Karen Fenichel, 14 Knollwood Road: My house also backs up to the Ditch. Mine isn’t quite as bad as Sharon’s, although in 1993 when they came through and they deepened the Ditch and they widened the Ditch, they tore down the trees that were abutting the Ditch. There were owls that were living in those trees at the time. I was away for the summer. Since the owls are gone, we have skunks, raccoons – I’ve had dead raccoons in my backyard, there have been rabbits, I mean, it’s just all kinds of rodents now that we never had when we first moved in. We were told, when they did the Ditch, that we were not allowed to go into the Ditch, we were not allowed to maintain the Ditch. When we bought our house, there was already a retaining wall that was already put in. When they deepened the Ditch, they have undermined the retaining wall and the retaining wall is falling down into the Ditch. There is poison ivy that grows there that there is no control over. There is brush, when they just came through and cut down, they left all the brush, which is blocking up the water flow. Last weekend I
Ms. Fenichel (cont’d): went on the other side of the ditch, that abuts the farmer’s property, and I just spread out wild flower seeds, hoping that at least I would have a nice view later in the summer instead of the dirt. The farmer was allowed to elevate the track for the horses, that has now increased the water run-off into the Ditch, which is directly behind my backyard. So, we’ve got ruts going down that I get to look at every day. I like the horses, but I don’t like the run-off. And there is just all kinds of trash in the Ditch – bottles, glass, and nobody comes in (maybe once every other year) to really clean it. To cut down the brush that was growing, just allows for further erosion of the dirt to wash down into the Ditch now. They really should put in some piping and bury it so that the trash isn’t allowed to go in there and I get my backyard back. Thank you.
Ms. Eilertsen: This has been going on for ten years or so. When this project started, our survey said our easement was 20 feet wide, it is now 27 feet wide and I pay tax for a swamp and it is supposed to be maintained.
President Rattner: One question, and I even got some calls a couple of years ago, I was there and then we had people go in and everybody is promising to fix it and I don’t know what the fix is other than a quarter of a million dollars to bury the whole thing, but one of the things…one of the people didn’t call me back to come back because he said that a few of the people on here dump their grass clippings and leaves in it….
Ms. Eilertsen: We told people that came and surveyed us for grass clippings to give those people summonses. Names were named, they never got summonses as far as I know.
President Rattner: Well, the point is it’s still happening because that’s not the only problem, but obviously it makes it worse, because you put something in there it backs the water up because the slope is so little.
Ms. Fenichel: Poison ivy grows and all the leaves grow, something has to be done.
Ms. Eilertsen: It’s terrible, I invite the Council to come and walk it. They put gates at the end to balance it for easy accessibility for cleaning, they’re overgrown, you can’t get in, there’s no accessibility and that’s what the Mosquito Council all said, there are gates but we can’t get our equipment in. It’s a mess, Mr. Rattner, come to my house.
President Rattner: No, I’ve been there and I’ve seen it, but, you know, we’re a legislative branch, and obviously this administration should be the first summer that they’re dealing with it, but we’ve had….
Ms. Eilertsen: I would like to see if there is a grant to put piping through, or some kind of monies. I would like somebody to look into that and then come back to us.
Mayor De La Roche: I just wanted to indicate that I have walked the Ditch, I have been through there and I agree 100% with what you said. It has been an ongoing problem over a number of Administrations. It is overgrown, my instructions were that they were to do the best they can to clean it. Of course, I got the same answer you got, that they can’t take the heavy equipment in there that’s required to clean it out. But I have been bitten by the mosquitoes, so I’m fully cognizant of what you are speaking about. I walked the entire Ditch with Mr. Elms and Mr. Buell and it is a bad situation and I understand that it’s an outlet for water running a good length of the entire Township, so, I don’t know, we’ll have to address this as best we can. I promise to look at it and see what we can do, but, like I say, it has been an ongoing problem over many Administrations and there are people who do not want it cleaned, there are people who do want it cleaned. It’s a matter of balancing, you know, balancing the parties who live there. Some people want it covered over, some people want it kept open. You could never please everybody, you have to appreciate that, I think, but I have been there, I have seen it and I consider it to be a serious problem because of the mosquitoes and I think I’ve said that on a number of public occasions, but we’ll try it again. We’ll see if we can get it cleaned up as best we can with the equipment we can use.
President Rattner: I’m sure this Council, I know I’ve been up here and I’ve heard it from a lot of administrations, you know, I’ve been down there, I’ve seen people….
Ms. Eilertsen: From Karen and I.
President Rattner: Periodically, yes. And that if the Mayor comes up with a proposal, I mean – you know, we’ll support it, we’ll find some funds. If he comes up with what he figures is a way that we can fix it, you know, without putting us way into debt, it has to be something that’s practical and it is a tough decision. I know there have been some attempts, I mean, there has been some good faith attempts that just didn’t work. Okay, Mr. Greenbaum and then Mr. Guenther.
Mr Greenbaum: I think it’s an abomination.
Ms. Eilertsen: Thank you. I was told by one person, there was so much vegetation back there and punks and swamp grass, I was told by the person from the Township “you do live on a swamp.”
Mr. Greenbaum: There is no question that something needs to be done back there, and cleaning it is not the solution, because you can never, you’re never going to clean it and resolve the problem. Cleaning it is better, in my mind, although I don’t live there, than no cleaning it, but it doesn’t resolve the problem. The problem is that the cost of fixing the problem, and I’m not saying that we shouldn’t spend it, is astronomical. Putting in the piping is the way to go.
Ms. Eilertsen: I agree.
Mr. Greenbaum: I agree with you. If there were grant funds available, wouldn’t that be a great thing if we could do it at somebody else’s dollar. I don’t know whether or not there are grant funds available for something like that, but certainly I’m sure that the Mayor could have Kathy Murphy look into, whether or not there are grant funds available for that type of project. Perhaps, at some point in time, we’re going to get an administration which is going to propose funding fixing that problem. I’m not sure that this is the year, but that’s up to the Mayor. I mean, this year you obviously know that we’re faced with a budget increase and I’m not sure that the Mayor is prepared to fund that at this point. But, if he were to put something like that on the table, we would certainly consider it. We’re, as Mr. Rattner said and I don’t know whether you got the wrong impression of what he was saying, we’re a legislative body. We appropriate funds when it’s brought to us in terms of a capital project that’s being proposed by the Administration. So, it would have to be the Mayor who has the responsibility of weighing all of the different needs of the Community and deciding which ones are of the utmost importance and saying this is one of the issues that I would like to deal with this year, and I know that the cost is probably somewhere in the – just off the top of my head, I heard - $750,000 to a million dollars to fix the problem. So, we’re not talking about insignificant dollars, but at some point in time, it has to be addressed. If it’s not this year, then it’s next year. If it’s not next year, then it has to be the year after. I would hope, at some point in time, we’re going to get a resolution to this issue because it has just lingered and lingered and lingered. In the meantime….
Ms. Eilertsen: Through three Administrations.
Mr. Greenbaum: Yes, I appreciate what you’re going through. I walked back there when I was running for office as well, and I have great sympathy for everyone who took me back and showed me what it looked like and, to be quite honest with you, I have to applaud the Mayor in terms of getting someone out there and trying to clean out the Ditch and doing what was feasibly possible at the time. And, I’m hoping that the Mayor’s going to come forward with a schedule in terms of maintaining that Ditch, throughout the course of the year and throughout the course of this Administration to at least minimize the problem that you’re facing and I’m hoping that the Mayor will ultimately find the money to move forward with actually resolving this issue. But, you know, like I said, there are a lot of issues and I’m not sure that this is, at this very moment, the priority of this Administration. But that’s a decision that the Mayor has to make based upon all of the different needs that are presented to him. But, I’m hoping that the Mayor can keep this clean, and that would be kudos on his part as far I’m concerned, because it won’t solve the problem, but it will minimize the impact that it’s having on everyone’s properties.
Ms. Eilertsen: Thank you. Unfortunately, there was a person who didn’t run for Council when that development first went in, and he said pipe it and that was fifty years ago, unfortunately they didn’t listen to him. Now, I invite anybody to come to my house, 44 Knollwood – second house in from Allison Avenue and look at my easement. Thank you.
Mr. Guenther: Just two things, and he stole most of my thunder I think, eventually. It sounds to me, being a recurring problem, we have to find a permanent solution down the line and we’re just going to have to look at it and, I think Rob is right, probably not this year, but I think we have to get serious about it. The second thing is I think what Mr. Buell is asking for, and every time this comes up it seems to me there is no regular schedule for doing this, in other words, whenever somebody screams Mr. Guenther (cont’d): and there is a complaint, then all of a sudden they send somebody in and something is done. But that’s not the way it should be done, it should be done on a regular schedule, every quarter/every half year, I don’t know how often it should be, that should be the determination of the professionals. But, I think in the very least, that would hopefully ameliorate the situation some.
Mr. Buell: I talked to Mark Henderson, who is the Mosquito Control guy who goes back in there and cleans up the Ditch and watches it and he indicates that the Mosquito Control Commission has a group of people who will go in and help clean up ditches, do work in ditches and things like that in order to ameliorate the problem. And I agree with Bernie, what we need is a plan. Telling the residents, and it isn’t just one or two people who want it piped, it’s every one of the residents – both on Knollwood and Bolton Avenues absolutely would say if you want to pipe it, that’s the way to go. That’s the only way to go from their standpoint, but I said what we really need is a planned consistent maintenance, at least at this point in time, until we can pipe it.
Mr. Ruggierio: Yes, I appreciate and understand and will certainly make a note of Council’s concerns about the need for regular maintenance and, to the extent that that’s not on a schedule, we will certainly look at it and, to the extent we can, address it. But, I do want the Council to be cognizant so that the residents don’t leave here with the wrong impression, that there is a study by Schoor DePalma that indicates that, with respect, even under less severe….it appears that the date of it, even under less severe wetlands laws that existed when this report was written, that they characterize it as being difficult if not impossible to obtain necessary permits to pipe or install a concrete flume. This analysis, if it was true when this report was written, is certainly true today. The description that was given of this property indicates that it is wetlands and that may account for what Mr. Greenbaum was saying about the enormous cost. I mean, I’m sure that working in wetlands, compensating for wetland, is incredibly expensive.
President Rattner: Mr. Ruggierio, I think the cost is because it is low lying and sloping. It is very, very small, that if you put in piping, where is the water going to go, because, if we put any type of pitch in it, it would be well within where it has to go to the outflow. But, that’s interesting, you know, what we’re hearing, and this is the way we have to look at it is a health problem, if it can be termed as health, and with West Nile and all this other stuff gets going around, that may be the one. Because, when there’s something like that with health, and I don’t think anybody disagrees with that, not only do you get some relief from some regulations, if it’s affecting the health in the existing area and naturally you could do new building, but secondly, sometimes there’s also money available if you can, you know, then you have to go in there and tell everybody how bad it is, as long as you’re not selling a house in the next year or two, it is good, but that may be one of the things we’d have to look at and maybe, you know, in coordination with the engineering and our environmentalist, exactly what it is and how it is regulated. We know it’s a real difficult situation.
Mr. Greenbaum: Given the date of this report, I think Council is entitled to another analysis of it, but honestly it indicates that these may even be head waters of some sort to a water course….
President Rattner: It is, but that’s one thing we should maybe look at.
Karen Luce, 8 Knollwood: I live at the other end down by Mountainview School. We got a letter from Mayor Schiess many years ago after they tore up the back of everybody’s yard, and he said that the Town was going to be planting something on the farmer’s side of the slope that would….we weren’t allowed to plant anything, that the Township would plant something so that trees and weeds wouldn’t grow and that we weren’t to dump anything in the Ditch. My neighbors, and the last couple of neighbors down at the end of the street, I know we don’t…none of us dump any of our grass clippings. Some people have newly moved into some of the homes there and I would suggest that maybe the Town send another letter to everybody just to let the new people know that they shouldn’t be dumping grass clippings, the majority of people I don’t think do. The Ditch is so unattractive that we ended up planting evergreen trees on our side so that we wouldn’t have to look at it. Thank you.
Mr. Elms: You have another problem that will crop up along there if you try to pipe that, because most of the houses along that road and using, in some way or another, the water from their downspouts and whatnot ends up in that Ditch.
President Rattner: Well, the road drains end up in the Ditch, too. That was by design.
Mr. Elms: But the backyard ones drain definitely towards the Ditch from what we saw. So, if you pipe it, then that water is going to have no place to go. And it does end up in a trout bearing stream, eventually.
President Rattner: But you can have piping and still water, I mean, that’s how they have, I mean, that’s just a plan.
Mr. Elms: You have to understand where that water is coming from, it’s coming from all the drains that go into the retention ponds from Flanders Crossing, from the Flanders Park, it goes into a big retention pond and then it heads down through that Ditch. So, it’s going to have running water most of the year.
Ms. Eilertsen: It shouldn’t. We were told, and I will go back to the podium. I went to the initial meeting when they first proposed putting Flanders Crossing up, I’m really upset now. We were told that it would drain with normal rain within 24 to 48 hours, and the bad rain, in a week. Do you know
how long it took to drain from the hurricane – five months, five months! That’s right! It’s always mucky, it’s always wet, it’s horrible and I pay taxes on land I can’t use. So, don’t tell me there’s not supposed….maybe there isn’t supposed to be water in there, but there is all the time, all the time!!!
Mr. Elms: Mr. Rattner, one last thing, could we put this back on the schedule sometime in the Fall to find out what Administration is doing?
President Rattner: We could…please put it on the tickler, but you know, right now we could put it on for tickler in the Fall if that’s what you want, but hopefully the Administration will come back in a shorter period of time at least saying what they’re doing. Now, there’s two things, one is short-term and that is probably the maintenance and making sure we can do as much as we can. The other is long-term, which is looking at funding sources, the problems, and actually what we can do from a practical standpoint, due to regulations, you know, the different ways we can go in there. Obviously, you know, we’ve dealt with the Mosquito Commission before, I’m not sure how much they’re a help, but sometimes the County Engineering, because any of that drainage goes in, if it just goes in anyplace to a County thing, then the County gets involved and there may be some issues. So, I think it’s two things: one is just an update before the Fall, just what we’re doing, you know, it’s being maintained, at least keeping it cleaned and the water that’s in there at least runs. There is a certain amount that we can do if it’s clean, it’s going to drain out quicker. And the other is look at the studies, look at what we have, make sure what the regulations are, maybe look at the health issue. I think that’s what we should be doing.
Mayor De La Roche: I just wanted to ask, you know, for your expertise, since you have been on the Council for a very long time, have there been other studies done on this going back ten/fifteen/twenty years?
President Rattner: Well the last one I know…you know we had that Schoor DePalma one, or whatever they were called at the time. We have the one now, the developer that’s where the trees….it wasn’t that the farmer, or whatever, the property that was planting the trees, it was that the developers at Flanders Crossing said that we’ll do it, because we’re going to be draining in there, we’ll improve the Ditch to take the water. You know, so they did it, but they can solve any problem, you know, every developer solves the worst problems.
Mayor De La Roche: Right, I understand.
President Rattner: But, you know, if we had something a while ago, it might not be relevant now, if we had the last one hopefully the one, the last one that the engineering firm did, wasn’t more than a decade ago and if there was other ones, they would at least reference that saying that they had that as a start.
Mayor De La Roche: Okay, thank you.
President Rattner: Okay, next one we have is the update on the Turkey Brook Park Berm Sunset Drive. We had a number of people up here that attended a meeting at 6:00, right – this is what the discussion was? Before we hear anybody from the public, I imagine some of the people are here for that, does anybody want to be a spokesman or say what they heard? Colleen…
Ms. Labow: I received an e-mail, I think we all received an e-mail, and I would like to read it.
President Rattner: Okay, first I just want to know what happened at the meeting. Let’s go there. We had what three or four people, I see, that went to the meeting.
Ms. Labow: Oh, I’m sorry.
Mr.Guenther: Essentially, it was agreed that the Administration, I think one member said he took copious notes, but he did take some notes and Mr. Ruggierio took some extensive notes on what the concerns were. They will come up with a program where they took the names of all the residents with phone numbers to make sure that whatever they propose has, let’s say, near unanimous agreement. I mean, there was some opinion that possibly a couple of the residents wouldn’t want a berm or wouldn’t want the trees, obviously they want to make sure that the vast majority of residents would agree with that. There is only a small…a portion of the back of it that really needs addressing. So, they will come up with a plan as to what they plan to do with that. Obviously, that will have a budgetary impact. The other issue was the Mayor offered to run some temporary snow fencing, obviously, that’s not a permanent solution, to at least address the area of the cut-through that was done for emergency purposes for the opening of Turkey Brook Park last week next to Mr. Reck’s property. And, in order to avoid people coming through there, because there are…when you go up there you can see that there is still…people are still cutting through it, despite the fact that the Parks and Recreation Department did make an effort to do some plantings to prevent that, but you can see people coming through on dirt bikes or walking through, and that’s just not acceptable. That, hopefully, the snow fencing will help. Also, there will be some signage proposed to make sure that the people curb their dogs, that they have them on a leash, have a pooper-scooper. They are not allowed to let them run loose, that’s also a major concern that a lot of people have commented on. There is also a picture that one resident brought that showed the overflow from one of the soccer fields on the maintenance road right into his backyard, of kids actually winding up playing in his backyard. Signage must be put up, a meeting will be arranged with the head of the Soccer Association or their Board, to sit with them and outline the concerns of the residents that possibly what they could do and I think it’s just one particular field where they would at least advise them to work, to cooperate and have the spectators be on the other side of the field. So, they’re not on the side of the field that backs directly to the backyards of the residents, because that’s where the problems seems to be…where you get the overflow of people and noise particularly. That’s more or less it, I think, you know…the Administration…we’ll work on something more permanent and to address those concerns. I might have missed something, so I’ll let Mr. Ruggierio take over.
Mr. Ruggierio: I think Mr. Guenther’s covered it.
Mayor De La Roche: Well, as I indicated, at the meeting I felt the most essential is that we protect the tot lot in the middle. We’re putting the snow fencing around that first, because when I went up there over the weekend, cars were parked all over the grass in the middle and, which I don’t understand that and I have to ask the public to try and cooperate with us because we’re trying to turn it into a beautiful park. There was plenty of parking space, but for whatever reason, people decided to drive onto the grass, because it’s closer to the fields, which I feel only can be prevented by some sort of a temporary barrier, which was the snow fence. And, certainly, we have to do something to protect the tots until we have appropriate barriers to keep cars from getting even near them. That, plus we have to look at the noise ordinance and make sure it is enforced because there was a rather large…a loud PA address system that was blaring, but it was by a non-township organization, and we’ll have to look at that and try and prevent it. People don’t want loud speakers up there, which I can understand, too. But, at the same time, there may be an occasion where it is necessary, but certainly the noise level has to be controlled and the traffic has to be controlled and people have to learn to cooperate because this park belongs to all of us. The trash doesn’t appear on its own; if it’s being littered, it’s people bringing it in because there was no facility up there to bring stuff in (I mean, to sell up there). So what’s happening is people are bringing it in and just discarding it wherever they chose to. So, if the public could help us with this situation, you know, let’s face it, we all want the children to play their sports, we want parents to enjoy it, but at the same time, we have to remember this is a public park and it is for the benefit of everyone. And, we hope that everybody will cooperate and try and keep it as clean and orderly as it can be.
President Rattner: Thank you Mayor. I think the issue we’re talking about is the berm that we want to address, because that will cut down some of the noise. Hopefully, it will correct some of the drainage, because if you look even at the pictures that are on the wall in the hallway of Turkey Brook, I think we show where we were putting in the tree-lines, because, you know, you put a little berm, you put some vegetation that’s going to absorb the sound. I also heard Mr. Guenther say about budgetary problems, my understanding is that there was still money in Turkey Brook, and since that was one of the things that was in the original design and it is something for the people on Sunset, when they came down, that we said that we would do. That was also before the redesign of Turkey Brook raised the fields higher than what was originally planned and it was never thought to be that high, because anything we can do to deflect the sound, we want to do and we should do. And some of the drainage President Rattner (cont’d): problems increased are with Turkey Brook that we wanted to address. At one point, I believe, last year we actually had waterfalls on that lower football field on the school property because the water was coming off so hard. So, I think that was really one of the things I…you take that one…it’s not unlike the Rosewood Ditch that we’ve been telling the people for so many years and a lot longer. With the Turkey Brook, it was in the plan, you could see the drawings, and we have the money. You know, we can’t use that in Flanders, otherwise maybe we might start thinking about something like that, but you just can’t.
Mayor De La Roche: No, what I had proposed was a temporary solution with the snow fences until the appropriate action is taken.
President Rattner: Oh, but that wouldn’t do anything with the drainage and the sound. It would be the people cutting through.
Mayor De La Roche: Not only that, but it keeps people from going on private property, it keeps spectators from going onto the areas that they shouldn’t be on, it keeps the cars from going on the areas they shouldn’t be on, it keeps litter out.
President Rattner: I was just going down to what was part of the project, which is still left to be done and we put it off, we know that, but it should be done.
Mr. Guenther: You just brought up an issue that we didn’t even discuss tonight at the meeting, which is a serious issue but hasn’t been discussed before, is that particular drainage problem on the back unfinished field, that is still a continuing situation. All you have to do is walk back there and see the erosion that has taken place, and how the water flows right down to the Chester Stephens Field. That’s something else, I think we talked about stabilizing those fields, and when I walk back there, I can see that the grading is not proper, there should be somehow a slight berm, not a large berm, to divert the water into the ditch that eventually goes down to the retention basin and that doesn’t occur now. There is a slope on that unfinished field that goes down and permits the water to come down and cause the erosion that takes the silt down across the extension of Sunset Drive down to that field.
Mayor De La Roche: Now, as you recall, I mentioned that the engineer is still on our payroll, so we’re going to address it with the person who helped design it and they would look at it and tell us what they recommend.
President Rattner: Okay Ms. Labow, at this point, don’t read your letter…
Ms. Labow: What I would like to ask of Mayor De La Roche if it comes to where we have special events and there is a loud thing, if there is any way that we could notify the residents when a special permit is given because the one woman, she made a really good point in that if she plans like a communion or a family picnic, and there’s going to be a PA system, they understand that there will be times. Is there any way to notify them so that they can arrange their family functions accordingly? I also think we should have more garbage cans set up and recycling cans. When I was up there Saturday and Sunday, I was picking up garbage all over the place and I also was cleaning, I actually went in to clean the ladies room, do we have anybody who cleans the restrooms on the weekend?
Mr. Lynch: Onsite right now Turkey Brook, we have approximately 40 garbage cans and recycling cans around the park. We have more on order. The restrooms – we prep Friday, before we leave. The first weekend the restrooms were open on the soccer side of the park, we had fully stocked the towels and the toilet paper. It was run out by 12:00, so we had to come in and restock. Those bathrooms are experiencing phenomenal amounts of use, I don’t know how we’re going to keep up with that on Saturday. Sunday morning, I know it was discussed in an earlier meeting, and I did, I believe I gave Councilman Greenbaum an answer that we were looking at possibly comp-time for my staff. I’ve been having one person in on Sunday mornings to take care of the bathroom after we prep them on Friday. Theoretically, they are good for Saturday. Sunday morning we’re coming in, we spent, I was there this weekend with one of my staff – we were there at 6:30 in the morning. The fields, there was garbage so bad it took two guys four hours to pick it up and get it presentable. So, there are garbage cans there, we are stocking the restrooms, I’ve accounted for that, I’ve factored it into my work schedule, compensatory time for my staff and I’m still getting the workload done for Public Works Buildings and Grounds Division. I just don’t know how to compensate for people basically being slobs up there.
Ms. Labow: Right, exactly – I know. The thing with the garbage cans, like one lady, she had a water bottle and she went to the garbage can and she goes “is this recyclable or garbage?” and she looked inside and it had both, so we don’t really have recyclable containers and garbage containers. It is just all everything.
Mr. Lynch: Most of the cans up there have been stickered, one of the favorite things is people commingle and the other thing is that people like to peel the stickers off. So, we’ve tried painting white for recycling and green for garbage and people commingle. We’ve ordered more garbage cans and, like I said, hopefully they’ll be in and we will move the garbage cans that we have, which are just 55 gallon drums, further back so there’s more garbage cans closer to the perimeter of the property,
hoping to abate some of the residents getting garbage. You know, it’s a phenomenal amount of garbage. Mr. Rattner raised a question earlier in the year about tonnage, we filled a dumpster this weekend, so garbage is going to go up. We have tremendous amounts and it’s not anyone dumping in the dumpsters, it’s that much garbage out of that facility. It’s going to be quite a facility to maintain.
Mr. Greenbaum: I am in favor of rectifying the problem related to Turkey Brook and the residents of Sunset Drive. This is an issue that I believe that we can deal with by way of putting in the berm if the Administration is so inclined. It is interesting that, in talking to someone, I don’t know whether or not it was at the supermarket or elsewhere, but they questioned me about spending $100,000 on bollards. If you don’t know what bollards are, bollards are those stakes that they drive into the ground to create an artificial fence so to speak, they kind of look like quarter telephone polls and they are driven into the ground and they are probably a couple feet high. I said well it’s important to have that, it’s a safety issue and I know that the Mayor is concerned about the safety issue, as am I, but then she said, “well one thing that Mount Olive has plenty of is rocks. Rocks don’t cost $100,000.” So, I’m wondering why we can’t use boulders, or small rocks, I’m certain that, you know, developers are looking to get rid of them to start with and would be more than happy to bring them over to Turkey Brook and maybe we can do the interior loop using native boulders, so we can save….this wasn’t my idea – I don’t want you to think this was my idea, but Jim obviously has an answer to it. But, you know what, it made a lot of sense to me, I have to tell you, that to spend an additional $100,000 where perhaps we could do it for nothing, makes sense to me.
Mayor De La Roche: This would have been a great idea before we were in a million dollar rock removal situation.
Mr. Lynch: We did discuss that at the Turkey Brook Development Committee. We’re not going to spend $100,000 on bollards around the inside of the loop road. As it turns out, the conduit is run around the inside of the loop road and we cannot put bollards within five feet of the conduit. All holes would have to be hand-dug. So, what we’ve done as part of the last meeting, which I believe a couple of you Council Members and the Mayor were at, we discussed an eight inch high asphalt curb with a small berm behind it. I don’t know if we can place that many rocks on top of the conduit (it’s only eighteen inches in the ground), I would have to ask the engineer, I don’t know the answer to that one. The answer, so far, was to put a curb in with a small dirt bank behind it and that, even with an SUV, would probably preclude anyone from trying to pull over it.
Mr. Greenbaum: What would the cost of that be?
Mr. Lynch: I just got a document from Schoor DePalma this morning, Mr. Greenbaum, I can provide you with that answer…I can get it to Mr. Ruggierio to provide you with that answer.
Mr. Greenbaum: I would imagine, based on the size of the inner loop, it would be a significant number.
Mr. Lynch: I know it was significantly smaller than the $100,000 for the bollards and it was going to be incorporated as part of the paving contract for the lots.
Mr. Greenbaum: What I would like to know, and I would also like to know whether or not the rock idea would work, we could save some dollars and use it in some other fashion perhaps to correct this problem, that would be a win win as far as I’m concerned.
Mr. Guenther: One thing I did forget to mention, I think that the consensus of the people from the neighborhood that were at the meeting was that, it went back to the original testimony given when the park was going in, that really events with loudspeakers…this is not the ideal place for them, that’s not why the park was created. The park was created to provide active and passive recreation, not the kind of activities with a lot of loudspeakers. The feeling really was that a policy should be put in, none of Mr. Guenther (cont’d): those activities, unless there is some great exception, and, you know, something that really overrides it that is for the benefit of the community, like Mount Olive Day, for example, then that would come to the Council or the Administration for approval to make sure that everybody’s protected.
Mr. Buell: Rob, I like your idea but I don’t think Jim would like it from the standpoint of Maintenance having to clip the grass around those rocks.
Mr. Lynch: It’s something we can look into.
Mayor De La Roche: We have to worry, again, about the hazards to the children with the loose rocks. It has to be secured somehow I would think.
Mr. Greenbaum: Not big boulders.
Ms. Labow: I just want to say, with the rocks, I like the idea, I like the way it looks, but I know from having boys that I think the idea is to secure safety for the children. If we put rocks around that loop, it’s going to be an irresistible urge for the children to climb on the rocks and they’re going to fall right off into the road, and there goes the idea of safety.
President Rattner: They also climb fences, too.
Ms. Labow: I know, but rocks are…..
Mr. Greenbaum: It sounds like they could cut back on the playground equipment.
President Rattner: Is there anybody here that wants to speak to the Sunset Drive issue?
Cindy Rec, 21 Sunset Drive: The purpose of the meeting tonight, we all showed up, was mainly because we understood you wanted to, the Mayor and the Council, work on developing the park and we understand the Development Committee Meeting next week was going to begin that and we wanted to put the berm high on that priority. I’m not so sure it is and I’m a little concerned. I didn’t walk away from that meeting thinking it is, so I would like an update on that please. I thought, Colleen, an email from you regarding the engineering. Do you have an update on that?
Ms. Labow: That would be Mr. Ruggierio. I don’t believe, maybe on the 20th, Mr. Ruggierio and Mr. Buczynski went out and I think, from what I understand from a memo, that they were going to wait until they talked to the residents to see what the residents actually want.
Mr. Ruggierio: I guess, I’m thinking that you must have maybe come to the meeting after I indicated this, but basically we did walk the site, we tried to determine the engineering feasibility of a berm which would slope down to that low area and I think it was determined to be feasible. The question that I felt needed to be discussed with the residents, and we will probably accomplish that tonight, were the two things that I said earlier in the meeting. What were the resident’s expectations concerning this berm and whatever else was going to go on it – landscaping or fence? Further than that, what were the expectations of the residents concerning what this berm was going to accomplish because I took away…I started the meeting perhaps in a negative way, saying I took away from my discussion with the engineer that there would still be noise, you know, and if the idea was that it would eliminate noise, that the berm would not be effective, but I think, what I sense from the residents tonight is that they realize that it’s not a perfect solution that there would not be the eradication of the noise but that it might be helpful and it’s the best we can do in terms of, you know, the noise reduction.
Ms. Labow: For privacy, though, that’s what….
Mr. Ruggierio: Well, I shouldn’t say it’s the best we can do, I think there was a suggestion by someone, I’m not sure if it was a consensus, that one of the soccer fields be, you know, moved or eliminated and that maybe tennis courts be put in it’s place and I haven’t really looked at that one.
Mr. Guenther: No, he said that that was the original plan, he always envisioned it. He was involved in that committee from the start, that was Bob Vazzana, that he had always envisioned that that area would be something like tennis courts and not have a bunch of, you know, I don’t mean to belittle the soccer program, but screaming kids running around on the soccer fields, so close to their home. But, I do want to address one point, Cindy, is regarding your concern about the priority. The Development Committee has nothing to do with this project. The Development Committee has to do with
Mr. Guenther (cont’d): developing the rest of the park. This, as Mr. Rattner pointed out before, there is money that’s left over in the Turkey Brook account and this is a whole separate issue. It does not involve the Development Committee at all.
Ms. Rec: Okay, then we misunderstood.
Mr. Guenther: I just wanted to make that very clear.
Mr. Buell: Let me just also…the berm at the Turkey Brook Park Development Committee two weeks ago was discussed, that’s the reason why Mr. Ruggierio went with the engineer to look at the
engineering possibilities, and also I think probably the drainage issue that sits behind your house, they also know it’s a high priority that that be something that be put in place for the residents of Sunset Drive. So, it is a high priority and I am certainly…it’s a high priority for me.
Ms. Rec: Does the drainage problem affect all the homes?
Mr. Buell: I’m not sure, I know it affects some of the homes. Some of the people on Sunset Drive have complained to me of the poor drainage behind their homes.
Ms. Rec: I mean with regard to the berm. I mean, behind me I have a parking lot and that’s why we wrote a letter back in July that, which I think started this whole thing. Then, with soccer starting, then every other neighbor filtered down with the noise, and so it’s been going on for almost a year now that we’re just trying to get the privacy that we were promised when this park was originally designed.
Ms. Labow: I’d like to know from the Administration, how long is it going to take before they get this berm put in place? I mean, what are your plans?
Mr. Ruggierio: Ms. Labow, I think that what we informed the residents about at the meeting was that we would need to have, you know, a longer term solution. We didn’t make any promises in connection with timing of this berm or anything else. We did say that we would take whatever immediate steps we could, but I’m not prepared to give a timetable at this point because if we say something, we would like to be honest about it.
Mr. Guenther: But you did agree to some sort of a plan that would be presented.
Mr. Ruggierio: Absolutely. Mr. Buczynski apparently, when he walked the site with me, had a concept in mind.
Mr. Labow: Okay, so is he going to draw up the plans for review?
Mr. Ruggierio: I’m going to speak to him about it, because at the time I discussed it with him, it was my impression that it might not really satisfy what the residents were trying to achieve and I hope you want me to look at these things in the way that I say, “well, if we’re going to spend a lot of money and we’re not going to achieve what the residents want to achieve”…and I wasn’t being negative with the residents, I just wanted them to understand that that’s the impression I had after I walked the site. Now, I’ll go back and speak to the engineer and try to come up with a…..
Ms. Labow: So surely you’d know…it would be this week that you’ll talk to him, you’ll have some kind of an answer by next week, no?
Mr. Ruggierio: I will certainly talk to him this week.
Ms. Rec: Just keep us up to date. I mean, I don’t want it to go another month – six months and then we’re here another year.
President Rattner: What I’ll ask the Clerk to do is that every meeting that we do schedule this on, we’ll do the same thing with the Rosewood Ditch, is that we will notice the residents that are directly involved. We ask that if we miss somebody, tell your neighbors. But we’ll just get the Tax Office to give us the labels for the people who, you know, border Turkey Brook, just like we’ll do the same thing for the Rosewood Ditch. So that, if we discuss anything, they don’t have to hear about it from word of mouth, so we will keep you advised.
Ms. Rec: On a side note, can I say something else? The path that was constructed along our property, it was discussed at the last meeting in November and agreed upon, that the Council was going to plant forsythia bushes along this path and give us back our privacy because it was supposed to be a temporary path. It is currently still being used and we have no bushes. I mean, which is, you know, the town knows it’s there so obviously they are going to use it. I don’t blame anyone for that, but nothing is being done to close this temporary path.
Dan Nelson, Flanders-Netcong Road: Two things, I think the…I’m in favor of the berm, I think the berm…a five or six foot berm would help with the noise and also a screen of evergreens. I think that would help those folks with the noise. I’d like to suggest you close the…turn off the water, and close the bathrooms in the winter season, when they are not being used. Save that money…both bathrooms on the soccer fields and the baseball fields, save that money and help out those poor folks over there by the Rosewood Ditch.
President Rattner: We’ve discussed that before. Okay anybody else want to discuss Turkey Brook?
Nelson Russell, Budd Lake: Just an idea for noise abatement of the berm, we do have a tree banking situation with the Planning Board….
Ms. Labow: There’s no money…
Mr. Russell: Excuse me….
Ms. Labow: I checked that right away, there’s no money, they haven’t put any money in there yet. That’s the first thing I looked at.
Mr. Russell: There is money coming in through Planning Board that should be used for…we’ve had people who have not been able to put all the trees back that they have taken down.
Ms. Labow: In some of the developments, they have actually waived it. No money has gone in there, it was the first thing we checked.
Mr. Greenbaum: As you know, Councilmen, from participating on the Planning Board, there were significant problems which the Ordinance as it was drafted and the application of the Ordinance in particular applications were significantly problematic. Those problems are being addressed at this point, so that at some future point there will be funds available for the very purpose which you’re discussing. But I don’t have any recollection, because of the problems with the ordinance as it was originally drafted, of any applications providing monies for the tree banking fund up until this point. So, I think Colleen is right. And Colleen has been very instrumental in terms of pushing along the revisions to the tree ordinance and the tree banking provisions and to start establishing a fund that can be used.
Mr. Russell: So there will be funds in the future?
Mr. Greenbaum: Hopefully, Colleen has been pushing that along. But there were problems and that is why the ordinance as it was drafted would have been extremely onerous and subject to challenge because of the way that it was drafted.
Mr. Elms: Maybe to solve Mrs. Rec’s problem, we could use some of Rob’s rocks to close off that entrance way. And the other thing that I think was looked at was that just putting up this berm without looking at the ramifications of it, could very well increase the run-off, the water run-off from that area. So we have to do an engineering study of what needs to be done there to solve several problems.
President Rattner: Well, what happened was that the berm was originally planned, but then the relocation of the fields, they didn’t do it, but it was always there and it should be still part…right, it needs additional engineering. But you’re absolutely right, and some of these drainage problems are caused by all that open area. Anything else on Turkey Brook? Okay, the last one…now we get to the park in the valley, an update on Flanders Park.
Mr. Ruggierio: Well, I have collected information, to the extent that it was available from this Musco Company that Mr. Masotti was speaking about when all those people were here about the fields. It does seem to me, in terms of…the Mayor has indicated, and I’m sure he can speak for himself on this, that he is very much in favor of these lights and the question would be how to accomplish this and I’ve got an inquiry out to two sources to see if there are off-the-shelf specifications. Apparently, each field Mr. Ruggierio (cont’d): that is regulation, can be fairly uniform and plugged into a computer program in terms of the lumens required to light the field and this yields a calculation as to how many lights and how strong those lights should be on each pole. It appears from the initial analysis that was done by this Musco Company, on their computer program, that we’re talking about six lights to light the field. I know that there will be potential resistance because I’ve seen the correspondence from residents in the area and it would be my thought that, you know, strict regulation of the timing of the lights would be implemented and probably would be, after a time, accepted by the residents.
Ms. Labow: How much is it?
Mr. Ruggierio: I only have, at this point, an analysis without electrical and labor of what I would say on the high side is $81,000 and on the low side could be as little as $67,000.
Mrs. Labow: That’s just to purchase them ….
President Rattner: Then, Mr. Ruggierio, then the estimates that we’re working with from a year or so ago are probably there. Because we said the labor was going to be just as much as the equipment, so if it’s near 70,000 or 80,000, we’re talking 150,000 to 160,000 because one of the big things is the engineering. Because, if you have things like that that high in, you have to have the proper base, based on the soil. But if we’re hoping to get is, okay, if we have…let’s say it’s $160,000 - $180,000 if we were going to go that route, then it was how are we going to fund it? There is supposed to be $52,000 available, the Baseball Association was supposed to get back to you and say how much money that they could raise or donate, and the rest is where are we going to get the other $100,000?
Mr. Ruggierio: Obviously that’s a big question and we need a little bit more time to get you an answer on that one, but I was hoping that I would have maybe a little better focus on the cost of this matter before tonight and I really don’t have it.
Mayor De La Roche: Just a moment before we do this, I can tell you that the correspondence and the reaction that I’ve gotten from Township residents is that overwhelmingly they seem to be in favor of the lights for the park. So, I mean, it’s substantially…it’s a huge ratio.
Ms. Labow: I’ve heard just the opposite. Most recently, I’ve been bombarded with people, even walking around Turkey Brook Park on Saturday, I had one person after another and they’re ready to come here in full force to fight against the lights.
Mayor De La Roche: Were you at the last meeting – the place was packed with people who were in favor of it, so, that’s what I’m saying. I’m only telling you what my correspondence says, I don’t know what your walk-around tells you, but when my correspondence is indicating it’s a huge, well, you know…and the money is earmarked, as far as I know for that, so that’s the reason. And Mr.
Masotti I think was the spokesperson, he had indicated that they were going to try and raise funds anyway they could to make this course effective. So, we’re waiting for a report from him.
Ms. Eilertsen: These lights shine even on the Rosewood Ditch, it impacts the people that live there because it shines in my bathroom. Are those lights not adequate enough, I’m not exactly sure where they’re supposed to go. But, where are we putting more lights?
Ms. Labow: The baseball field.
Ms. Eilertsen: The baseball field, and those lights that are currently there are not adequate enough to light the baseball field?
Mayor De La Roche: She’s referring to the basketball court lights.
Ms. Eilertsen: Yes, and that doesn’t reflect on the baseball field at all?
Mayor De La Roche: The complaint was, from the number of people who appeared here, was that baseball, on the average, is ending their games after three and a half innings, so they haven’t been able to complete many games because there is no adequate lighting. So, you know, the movement has been, among a number of people, to light the park for baseball so that the children could enjoy baseball as well as soccer, football, and all the rest of the sports.
Ms. Eilertsen: Thank you.
Marie Brown, 1 Mulligan Drive: The back of my house and my deck are right up to the park. I’ve been keeping a record since all this started, as to how much that field is being used. It’s not being used. It’s not being used that they’re playing games at night. As a matter of fact, today they started a game at 5:30 in the afternoon, why couldn’t they start it at 4:00? If it got dark, then it’s their fault for a game being late. But I’ve been keeping records. On Saturdays, last Saturday that field didn’t start getting used until 2:00 in the afternoon. They could have been playing all morning, they had the field scheduled for 8:00 in the morning. The weekend before that, they didn’t play at all on Sunday. They played a bunch of games that Saturday, there had to have been at least four that I kept record of and it did go until it got dark. Okay, one time, but during the week, it’s not getting used. There was one Monday night game, not even any practices during the week. It’s not getting utilized. I don’t see a reason for there to be lights and I don’t need it shining on my backyard when I want to sit out in the summer and enjoy my deck. Those lights, even the basketball courts, they don’t shine on my property, but I can watch what’s going on and at 10:00 when they go out at night, those kids are out there still hanging around in the parking lot. Their cars are speeding in and out there all the time, so now you’re going to add to that, by letting these people be on the fields until 10:00 at night, playing a game, having all that congestion and all those people and more kids. That’s hindering my value on my life in my community that I pay an awful lot of taxes for to live there. Lights for them to play, because we’re the only town that doesn’t have lights, isn’t enough reason when they’re not utilizing the field when it should be used. They’re not using it. Thank you.
Mayor De La Roche: I think that was their argument, I think that was their argument was that it was being underutilized because they could never finish a game. Oh, I understand what you’re saying, I’ll check it out. That was not the way it was proposed to us. If you were here last meeting, you would know that. No, no, I understand, no, I have no argument with what you said, I’m not disagreeing with you. I don’t know, I don’t know when they schedule their morning games or why they don’t schedule their morning games, I’m only indicating to you that it was proposed here, that it’s being under-utilized because of the lack of lighting.
President Rattner: Okay, I just want to acknowledge that gentleman at the podium, Councilman Rob Greenbaum, who, a couple of weeks ago, agreed to recluse himself from any consideration as a Council Member on the issue of Flanders Park. I would imagine you’re standing there, are you a citizen of Flanders?
Mr. Greenbaum: Today I am.
Robert Greenbaum, 104 Crenshaw Drive: The lights will not personally effect me. I believe, based upon my investigation, that there will not be glare coming into anyone’s house. I believe the situation which will occur, based upon going to Horseshoe Lake and seeing the lights at Roxbury, is that there will be an extreme illumination as there is any time that you have that type of lighting. Night will become day for the residents who surround that particular field. And, as I stand up here, I don’t stand up here just a resident of Flanders Crossing, I stand up here as a citizen of Mount Olive who is against lights anywhere in town. Light pollution has become a big issue. It is addressed all the time at Planning Board. It is a subject which is discussed at the Environmental Commission. This is light pollution. I would have the same exact opinion and I will have the same exact opinion when the soccer club comes and wants to light the fields at Turkey Brook, because the residents of Sunset Drive have been subjected to enough nuisance. The residents of Flanders Crossing have, and of the area surrounding…of Clover Hill, Knollwood Drive and the adjacent streets, have been subjected to the noise and the activity at the park. But, perhaps the biggest reason to not move forward with the lights is the cost and we all know, as we sit up here, that the estimate for the lights is going to be less than the actual cost to put the lights in. This is an expensive proposition and we…you, I should say, as individuals who make decisions on how to spend tax dollars, have to prioritize. As we were sitting here tonight, we spoke to the residents of Knollwood Drive about we don’t have the money to find the solution to fix the problem of the Rosewood Ditch and yet we sit here and we say, you know what, maybe we can find an extra $100,000 to put lights on a baseball field, which may or may not be utilized to its full capacity. It just doesn’t sound right to me and I am sure that each of you, as you deliberate on this issue, will keep that in mind. Finally, I just wanted to comment on something the Mayor said about the room being packed last time, I mean, it was very apparent what happened last time, none of us were fooled by the fact that the Baseball Club had a meeting and brought all of their people in here. Yes, I would say it’s true, that the Baseball Club would like to have the lights and I am sure that there are a number of other people who think that the lights would be a good idea, but to say that the overwhelming residents of the Township are in favor of the lights, I believe is untrue. And, by the same token, I would say probably that…to say that an overwhelming majority of the residents of the Town are against the lights is probably equally untrue. What I do believe, is that the majority, by
Mr. Greenbaum (cont’d): far, of the residents of this Township believe that we have an obligation to prioritize and to fix the problems of the Township before we move on with additional athletic endeavors. Thank you.
Mayor De La Roche: Just so the record is clear, I didn’t indicate that the majority of the Township residents were in favor of it. I indicated that the correspondence that I have received, indicates that.
Marie Horowitz, 7 Watson Way: I agree with Rob. I’m here as a homeowner, a parent and a real estate professional. The value of my home is going to go down and so will the homes of many of the houses in Flanders Crossing. I took the time to call an appraiser, who took the time to talk to me, and he let me know that, as an appraiser, he is trained that three to five percent of the value of our homes will go down because of those lights, especially being in a lot of people’s backyards. The houses that the value would go down would be along Crenshaw Drive, Watson Way, Crossings, Trevino, Mulligan, Player and Knollwood. I’m sorry. You know, when you’re talking about homes in Flanders Crossing, we’re over $500,000 – we’re between $520,000 and $530,000. Three to five percent is a lot of money out of my pocket, and many other people. This appraiser recommended that an impact study be done before any installation of lights…on behalf of the many homes that will be effected I am also requesting that an impact study be done, and in that study I want it included the traffic and safety effects on an already dangerous and busy street. You know, I watch this park very much, I go in and out all the time. I put my signs out on those streets, it’s dangerous. People park on Flanders Bartley Road, even though you put a parking lot right next to it, they don’t want to walk through the mud. Trust me, I’ve ruined many pairs of shoes going through that mud. They come into our development and they park their cars there and cross over. What makes me nervous, I don’t care that they come in and park over there, but what makes me very nervous is now you’re putting lights up there, now it’s going to be dark when these people are now crossing Flanders Bartley and going in to get their car, with little kids, because, you know, 13-14 year old kids who are playing baseball, have five and six year old brothers and sisters, and that makes me really nervous. And the foul balls that these kids go run out – yes I know you put a big net there, it needs to be fixed. These kids still have to run out there and get their foul ball. It is a dangerous, dangerous place to be thinking about putting lights. Another concern is it becoming a hangout and that makes me extremely nervous because I really don’t want it to become the next Dunkin Donuts across the street from my house. You know, it’s hard enough trying to keep an eye on everything, this is just going to add to everything and it’s going to take away from my enjoyment of my home and the enjoyment of my neighbors and their home. It’s a community thing, we have to look at it that way. I wouldn’t want it to be done to anyone else. I look at Sunset Drive and they need berms yes, give them…let them not ruin their enjoyment of their home. As a parent I, of course, always want the best for my children and the children of this community. We voted yes for the renovation of the High School, it will enhance the community and it’s future High School students; not through immediate gratification but through patience and endurance especially for those students and teachers who will be working in this school while this renovation is going on. Most of them will never even enjoy the new amenities that they just worked through. Unfortunately, just like our High School students will have to endure these renovations for the betterment of our community, these 140 children (and that’s only 140 children) out of 4,600 children that go to our Mount Olive schools. Those are the only ones that will benefit from this – 140, from these baseball fields. They’re going to have to endure playing on an unlit field in this community until we have proper funding and a proper place to put it where it will not affect other neighborhoods and their enjoyment and the value of their homes. Thank you for your time.
Ann Wisnewski, Flanders: Also not a professional speaker. I live in Flanders Crossing and the back of my house faces the Russ Nagel Field. I feel that lights here, where there are no trees – nothing to shield us from them, will just put us right in the spotlight. I have three children and they play soccer and they play baseball, I am pro-parks, I am pro-sports. I have no problem with the park during the day, the noise and traffic does not bother me, but that’s during the day. At the end of the day, you want to have night, you want to have peace and lights in this area will effect that enjoyment of our peace of our property. I’ve spoken to a lot of people living near the park in my search for people who feel the same as I do, and I was surprised to hear that there are concerns already with the basketball lights that are there. I don’t know how much you guys have heard that, but everyone was sure to tell me that “more lights? I already have a problem with the basketball lights” and those are further back, shorter, less wattage and not as close to the homes as these six eighty-foot towers (these are towers) will be. I’ve been struggling with this issue from both sides, I see the emotion, I hear the emotion from the other side who, thankfully aren’t here, so now I can speak without being afraid. There’s a lot of emotion on the other side of this issue, too. We don’t necessarily show it the same way, we’re more…just people who want to enjoy our homes and who are upset that this could happen to us. We’re just passionate about maintaining our quality of life, we want to protect our largest investment of our lives, which are our homes. I think the fellow left who was here, but there are people from Ms. Wisnewski (cont’d): Mount Olive Manor who are also not happy with this and who are the main people, one of the main people, who told me about their issues with the basketball lights. You know, I’ve been trying to understand this, I want to understand this, I don’t understand the need. I, like Marie, see the same thing she sees. I look out the back of my house and I see the field going unused on beautiful sunny Sundays. The day after opening day, not one game was played. I have seen the permits that they have for this field. Every day, 5:30 to 8:30 at night, weekend: Saturday 8:00 to 8:30, Sunday 12:00 to 8:30. There is absolutely no way that field is being used even close to that. The last nine days that were playable, it was used four times, four days; and, of those days – like Marie said, not even the whole entire day was it used. So, then you hear coaches saying “we have to beg for field time – there’s no field time.” This makes no sense to us, we try to understand the need, we don’t see the need. We understand the want, yes it’s cool to play under the lights, yes the other towns have lights, we don’t see the need, we see the want. I personally took my whole family to look at the lights in Palmer Park last Saturday night. They have only four light poles, not six, on their field. It’s their smaller field that’s lit, their Babe Ruth field is not lit yet. We stood where our house would be relative to that field, and frankly we were appalled that that could be what we would be looking at at our house. Some of the lights were shining down on the field, however, some of them were shining straight at us and I know that these lights…everyone will tell you they just shine down, there’s a glow on the field. It’s not true, you go there, you see it shining in your eyes. As we left the park, getting further and further away, we could still see the shadow of our car as we were leaving onto Bartley Road. So, there is illumination beyond the field, it’s not something that I think will be pleasant for the rural area that we live in now and it’s not the way that I, personally, want to live. So, that’s kind of where I’m coming from. There’s four light poles, we’re talking about six, we’re talking about some pretty high towers with no shielding to us and a final point that I want to make is that I don’t understand why this is an issue of lighting Russ Nagel Field. There are three fields in the town that the Babe Ruth League has permits for: Tinc Road, the High School and Russ Nagel. In the fall, I understand that the Middle School field will most likely be available, that will be four fields, okay? Why are we not talking about should we light a field and, if so, which field should it be? Which would be the least destructive to our residents? I don’t hear that, I hear “light Russ Nagel, light Russ Nagel”. I don’t think that’s the way to look at it, I think we need to be as least disruptive as possible and I think we need to look at, in the long term, is this where the lights would be? Why would we put something up for a shorter term need that we, as residents close to the park, would have to live with forever? Want is very easy to understand, need has to be proven with facts – not emotion. I don’t see the facts showing that these are needed. Unless we can maximize daytime play, perhaps then we can end this issue of there’s no field time. Sunday is a day…we can play on Sunday. You know, making us disrupted with lights is not the only solution. Forcing them to utilize this to its capacity, is also a solution. I don’t pretend to understand their schedules, I tried…my hardest is to get a copy of their schedules – to help me understand, I couldn’t get a copy of their schedules, so to me, looking at an empty park and then being asked for more money and disruptive lights, doesn’t make sense. Thank you.
President Rattner: Anybody else? I just ask that we not repeat the same thing, because we heard it and it’s getting late.
Ms. Fenichel: I promise I won’t repeat it. My children are no longer at home with me, they’ve both grown up. My youngest grew up through the entire baseball program in Mount Olive and I would support the lights, because there is not enough playing time and when your kids get older, you want them to be involved in organized activities in a controlled situation, learning good social skills and developing some moral character in team sports. There was not enough time for my…my son’s great, don’t misunderstand me, but they need more time. They get rained out, the older kids can stay up late and play. The parents are not available before 5:00, you are not going to find them there. They can’t support them and they’re not there for coaching, you’re not going to get umpires before 5:00 and that’s an issue. So that’s why they need lights. And, I back up to the lights, the lights are in my windows and the whole back of my house from the basketball fields, and I support the lights being there. Thank you.
Mr. Buell: Just, I would like, in your looking at this, if you could look at the possibility of talking to the High School or talking to the school system about lighting the High School, lighting the Middle School is another alternative to this. I would like to know if the cost of lighting the field for a game or for a season is.
President Rattner: You mean operating cost?
Mr. Buell: Yes. Because I think we’re not only talking about the capital cost, we’re talking about, I think, operating cost here because I’ve seen the light bills for the basketball court. I would also like to know, I know the Lutheran home, the senior residents, is about ready to build the second building, because they’ve talked about the sewer utilization, so I suspect that is going to be coming to the
Planning Board fairly shortly and I would like to know where that building is going to be sited? Because, if that is going to be the building that is going to be right off of right field from these lights at Russ Nagel Field and they are really going to be impacted, particularly if the people at the current residents are impacted.
Mr. Elms: This whole issue of the lights was discussed in the year 2000, which Mr. Greenbaum was involved in from the looks of the minutes of that meeting. There was also a petition with 24 names on it from Flanders Crossing, opposed to the lights. There was another petition submitted at that time, with 106 names approving or wishing to have the lights. One party was from Allison, one party was from Knollwood, one party was Mr. Buell’s next door neighbor and five of the signers of the 106 list admitted that they were from Flanders Crossing. So, I don’t understand why we’re discussing this again. I thought the decision was made at that time that the lights were going to be made a thing to complete. The money is there, the money is allocated for the lights, the money that was donated….
President Rattner: Mr. Ruggierio, didn’t you say you didn’t know where the money is coming from?
Mr. Elms: Now wait a minute, there was a donation for the light fund for lighting Russ Nagel Field and that was like $52,000 or $55,000. Okay, that’s there and it was allocated for the lights. You can’t spend it for anything else.
President Rattner: It wasn’t that it was an agreement, it wasn’t donated for that, if you look back in the records, we sold a piece of property, the Council said that it made sense for that area…since it came from that area, that we would put the lights…we could change it. It was voted down primarily, and I remember my vote, because we could not afford it and it didn’t seem like making much sense. At the time, I believe it was $170 to $180 to a quarter of a million dollars was the estimate we got to put up those lights at the field, when we’re starting Turkey Brook and that’s when we made the decision.
Mr. Elms: And I understand that we’re getting a new estimate on that. Mr. Masotti was working on an additional estimate. Please don’t interrupt me, Colleen. And the other thing that he provided was a schedule of games that showed that they had a need to complete the games and they needed the lights to do that.
President Rattner: We just went over the cost, Mr. Ruggierio said what he had and hadn’t heard about on the other part. I’m not saying the lights are good or bad, the big thing is still the funding and we don’t know where it is, we don’t have the money at this point, we’re going to have to adjust our priorities, I mean we have to do that with everything. And Mr. Ruggierio just got through with the cost to just say we have the money, is really disingenuous.
Mr. Guenther: I really don’t think it should be Mr. Masotti finding the estimates. I think it’s fine for Mr. Masotti to see where we might scratch up the money, I believe that was what he was set out to do, but I think if we’re going to get estimates that we’re going to hang our hats on and we’re going to pay for, I think it should be the Township doing the work, not Mr. Masotti.
Mayor De La Roche: Mr. Masotti is doing a lot of the ground work and the foot work in order to see what donations he can get, what contributions, you know, where he could raise the money, where he can achieve electrical work at a minimal cost through volunteers and other systems. Obviously, Administration is going to have to make the decision once it’s allocated, but at this juncture, he’s just doing a lot of the ground work because he’s so involved with the baseball and, you know, the league. So, I don’t think that’s unusual at all, because we have Mr. Heymann is very much involved with Turkey Brook and, among other volunteers…this town is noted, and I must compliment this township because I’ve never seen any other township, and I’ve represented a lot of townships, that has the volunteerism that this town has and I think it might be disingenuous to say that somebody shouldn’t do something because they’re all volunteers and they’re all trying to do what’s best for the town. Whether it comes to fruition, depends upon the circumstances at the time. If we have the money, yes. If the overwhelming, or whatever, you heard democracy in action…we have both sides, we have to weigh it and make a decision. But at this juncture, you know, it has been proposed, there are people working on it, and if we can successfully do it, without causing discomfort, or whatever, to someone, we will do it. Have I said something amusing?
President Rattner: No, I was just chatting with the Clerk, where we’re going to go next with this.
Mayor De La Roche: Okay, so we’re going to do what we can to accomplish what the purpose is for which we’re here and that is to service, as best we can, the community.
President Rattner: Does anybody else want to speak on this issue?
Ms. Labow: I just want to say really quickly that I don’t understand, Mr. Elms missed it, Mr. Ruggierio said between $67,000 on the low side and $83,000 on the high side, just for purchasing – right?
Mr. Ruggierio: That’s right and I’m not saying by that that Mr. Rattner’s figures are necessarily correct concerning the total cost. I know that Mr. Lynch did indicate at the last meeting when this was discussed there were issues at Turkey Brook that made it a little bit more expensive out there, but
I…certainly, you’re not going to put those lights up for, you know, $85,000… or $50,000, that’s right.
Mayor De La Roche: No, just what Mr. Masotti originally said.
Ms. Labow: And that’s what I think…..
Mr. Ruggierio: Well, I think Mr. Masotti was clear and to be fair to him, and he’s not here, he did say at the last meeting, that he was talking about equipment only when he gave that $50,000 number and also, to be fair to Mr. Masotti, he did call me and indicate that he wanted to make sure that he was dotting the I’s and crossing the t’s because he does want to beat the bushes and get some contributions. So I think that that component of it is out there, but I also agree that we need to come up with a number that we feel comfortable with. We’re not going to accept Mr. Masotti’s number.
President Rattner: Did you want to say something else, something that hasn’t been said before?
Ms. Wisnewski: Can I double dip? I do have a petition that I forgot to send in, who do I give that to?
President Rattner: Give it to the Clerk.
Ms. Wisnewski: One other thing I wanted to mention along the lines of who is doing the…getting the estimates. There are many different types of lights on the market. Just because we are trying to save money, I hope we’re not trying to get the lights that are the most offensive to the residents. I would ask that, when you are doing this, you look at operating costs and you look at fully shielded fixtures, which are available on the market today, and make sure that those are considered because those would be less disruptive. I don’t think there should be any lights, but I don’t think we should spend the least amount of money and get the most offensive lights. Thank you.
Mayor De La Roche: We were considering that, you know, we are looking for the ones that are least abusive of the residents, so that was a consideration from day one, so we are looking at that.
President Rattner: Okay, moving right along, we come to New Business. Anybody want to bring up any new business? It is a quarter after 11:00, not that I’m trying to influence anybody.
Mr. Buell: Oh, okay. Yes, I would like to ask the Administration a couple of questions. This morning, I get a call from a Reporter. The Reporter asked me a question, just knocked me off my chair. He asked me what’s going on with the negotiations at BASF? My answer to him was “I don’t know, what do you know?”
President Rattner: Mr. Buell, you can continue, but I’m going to ask the attorney to be very careful on what you say, because this is going to be litigated at some point.
Mr. King: Yes, it’s in the process of being litigated.
President Rattner: If you have general questions, I mean, it’s no secret that it’s out there. So, I’m just asking you to be careful with your comments and, at the same time, I’m asking Mr. King to be on his toes, and if he says stop, just stop.
Mr. Buell: Well, could I repeat what the Reporter is saying, since that’s in the public?
Mr. King: Well, I don’t know what the Reporter said.
Mr. Buell: Well, he said that Mr. Ruggierio, the Business Administrator, and Jack Marchione, the Mount Olive Tax Assessor, met with BASF.
Mr. King: I really wouldn’t go into what was discussed at that meeting.
Mr. Buell: You mean if that meeting really even happened.
Mr. King: Yes, I wouldn’t discuss any comments that were made by either the Administrator or the Tax Assessor.
Mr. Buell: Well, can I ask for an Executive Session so we can talk about this, because I think it’s very important, that, you know…if this is the strategy that we’re adopting in terms of this very important matter. After all, we’re holding up the entire Budget for 2004 over this particular issue, because we don’t know where we’re going until this particular issue is resolved. And I always thought the Legislatures were the people who set the policy in terms of the town, that the Administration may propose policy, but we’re the people who set the policy. And I think it’s time that I, at least as a Council Person, understand/know what the Administration is doing, because obviously something has happened and I didn’t know about it and I know that at least four other Council Members who didn’t know anything about it…..
Mr. King: I think it’s fair for you to ask the Council President to have an Executive Session.
President Rattner: I would ask that we do it at the next meeting
Mr. King: And then that will give a chance for the Administration to put together either some type of report or either verify or…you know, contradict what was allegedly said.
President Rattner: I think we need that and we also need people to hear what the history, I mean, we have negotiated with BASF for a long time, I know that Jack Marchione had discussions with them on potential levels of assessments last fall going into this spring and I think, if we’re going to have an Executive Session, we should have it with the right parties there and also give a little bit of time to decide what is going on. Just to come up cold, I’m not sure if both … at this time, whether we would really be paying attention.
Mr. Greenbaum: I think it should be done in open session.
Ms. Labow: I agree.
Mr. King: My concern is that if something was discussed that would tip the town’s hand, it would ultimately potentially hurt the town’s ability to deal with this legal issue.
Mr. Ruggierio: I have a suggestion on how we might negotiate these issues. I do think that the Council should be briefed about discussions that were had. I’m very proud of the way that this was handled and I certainly know the boundaries of Council’s role and the Administrator’s role, so I don’t think that any of those issues were disrupted. But what I would like to suggest, by way of a process, is to go along with what Mr. Rattner has said. I was of the hope that before we dealt with the Budget in a final sense, that Mr. Rattner and I would do what we talked about and get together and have a discussion. After that discussion, which I would hope could happen before the next Workshop, I will be more than happy to brief the Council in Executive Session. I would not brief the Council in open session despite anybody asking me to do it concerning the ….what occurred in connection with these visits. The last thing I would like to say is that I do think that it’s not correct to say that this is the BASF matter is the matter that’s holding up the Budget. We don’t expect to have a decision on extraordinary aid until June, I think I pointed that out to you before.
Mr. Greenbaum: I have several questions on this issue, without getting into the substance of the conversation which I understand is to be off limits and the purpose of an Executive Session, but…
President Rattner: You can’t, just….keep your trigger…Mr. King.
Mr. Greenbaum: Bill, my understanding is that you had a meeting with BASF, is that true?
Mr. Ruggierio: Yes, we had a meeting with the officials of BASF.
Mr. Greenbaum: Is it true that the meeting, on behalf of the township, it was you and Jack who went?
Mr. Ruggierio: No, it was a number of people from the township.
Mr. Greenbaum: Who else from the township went?
Mr. Ruggierio: Sherry Jenkins, our Finance Director, went.
Mr. Greenbaum: Was that it?
Mr. Ruggierio: The three of us represented Mount Olive.
Mr. Greenbaum: Did you have any discussions with John Dorsey prior to going to see BASF?
Mr. Ruggierio: I don’t believe I did.
Mr. Greenbaum: Did you have any discussion with Mr. Krauser prior to going to BASF?
Mr. Ruggierio: Yes, Mr. Marchione had discussion with Mr. Krauser.
Mr. Greenbaum: Okay, that’s all I have for now.
Mayor De La Roche: So far, we’ve listened to, you know, democracy in action and all the rest of it, but I just want you to know there are a lot of good things going on in town at the same time, which we never get a chance to talk about. Just since the last meeting, the baseball and softball teams have started their season. Turkey Brook has had a number of occasions up there. We have the cleaning the trails that Ms. Labow is spear-heading, on behalf of the Administration. We have had Earth Day, people have been out helping me clean up the parks and the streets and the roads. I met with the entire…the clergy representatives regarding their concerns and their issues, one of which happens to be down by Flanders Park, because the church there feeds seniors from across the street and he vans them back and forth because he’s afraid that they might be hurt. So they raised an issue about whether we could put speed bumps on the road, which I have brought to the Chief for him to consider. We met with the school administration in an attempt to get additional recreation for the Township, we spoke with the school administration regarding the access road for the new…the renovations to the High School and, of course, all the other things that we do. But, there are many things going on that, you know, we want to make sure that we also accentuate the positive, we also…there are a lot of things going on in town all positive – no negatives things. Everybody is interested in doing what’s best and I think that part of the thing here is that, you talk about new business, but there are a lot of things occurring that are for the benefit of the town that get lost in the shuffle when we have all these discussions about lights, and various other things. But there are hundreds, and maybe thousands, hundreds, very large amount of hundreds baseball, softball, soccer games, all of this is going on within the last few weeks, so I just want the public to know that there are a lot of things going on and, you know, keep that in mind. The issues that we discuss here are usually the ones that are controversial. But there are a lot things that are not controversial, things that we all agree on and those are the things that we….did I say something amusing?
President Rattner: No, I’m just saying those are the same comments I made in the past that give people confidence in their government.
Mayor De La Roche: Right, well that’s why I’m saying…, but there is no place on the agenda, that’s why I’m bringing it up now.
President Rattner: Mayor, you know, if you’ll recognize me I’ll talk to the Clerk, but when you talk to the Business Administrator and the CFO constantly sometimes during the meetings, you don’t seem to be bothered…you know, that doesn’t bother you. But if I talk to the Clerk, who’s actually setting what comes next, where’s everything, you know what her job is, too. It’s not that I’m trying to spend a lot of time with the attorney, unless something comes up, …..
Mayor De La Roche: I don’t think I asked you what you were speaking….. I asked you what you were laughing at.
President Rattner: You keep saying funny, I mean….
Mayor De La Roche: I asked you what…if I said something amusing….
President Rattner: No….
Mayor De La Roche: Because every time I looked over, you were laughing when I speak….
President Rattner: I’m not laughing, I’m talking….I’m too tired to laugh, but anyway…
Mayor De La Roche: Well, maybe you’re not aware of it.
President Rattner: I’m a happy person.
Mayor De La Roche: Okay, well, I just wanted to say that to the people so they understand that there are a lot of good things going on.
President Rattner: Then you’re right. Okay, any other new business? Thank you. Legal Matters?
Mr. Dorsey: No legal matters to report.
President Rattner: Ah great. Council Reports – hopefully the reports will be short and sweet.
Library Liaison Report – Ms. Labow, do you have anything else to add?
Ms. Labow: They covered it nicely.
President Rattner: Recreation Liaison Report – Mr. Elms?
Mr. Elms: Reported at the last Council Meeting.
President Rattner: Board of Health Report - Mr. Guenther.
Mr. Guenther: Last Council Meeting, we won’t meet for three months.
President Rattner: Planning Board Report - Mr. Greenbaum.
Mr. Greenbaum: Colleen covered it for me.
President Rattner: She covered the Planning Board?
Mr. Greenbaum: She went and sat in the audience…..
Ms. Labow: Because he was out of town.
President Rattner: Oh, was there anything you wanted to say that happened?
Ms. Labow: Basically, it was a regular meeting.
President Rattner: You said no, so that was it. Thank you very much for that detailed report. Board of Adjustment Liaison Report – Mr. Perkins is not here. Open Space Committee Report – Mr. Elms, we did have a discussion on some….
Mr. Elms: Yes, we took a…the open space committee took a tour of the Morris Canal over by BASF.
President Rattner: Anything on the Legislative Committee Report?
Mr. Elms: Yes, I have a few things, but in view of the hour, I will wait until the next meeting.
President Rattner: Thank you. Pride Committee Liaison Report – Ms. Labow, other than what we’ve seen in your memos.
Ms. Labow: Pride Committee is working very nicely.
President Rattner: Thank you. Board of Education Liaison Report – Mr. Buell.
Mr. Buell: They reorganized, Bruce Bott is the President, Larry McEntee remains the Vice President. They had a power meeting on the….they are beginning to developed…they’re beginning to develop the site plans for the High School itself and they’ve made a few changes.
President Rattner: Thank you. Lake/Environment Issues Committee – the….. for anybody who so inclined, the annual spring clean up of the lake is on May 15th. If anybody wants to participate….it starts about 9:00.
Mrs. Lashway: Or any time, anytime you show up, the more bodies the better.
Ms. Labow: That’s the same time we’re doing the Turkey Brook trailblazing.
President Rattner: Okay well we’re cleaning. I’ve been advised that it looks like this year there is an exceptional amount of large debris in the lake, railroad ties, stuff like that that have been seen floating around. Those are some of the things that we will be pulling out. The Sanitation Department always insists that we take it out. Some times we’ve had a volunteer from the Sanitation Department will bring, you know, the town will let them bring a truck so we can use it, sometimes we have to use the winch on the back to get some of the crap out of the lake. Safety Committee Liaison Report – Mr. Guenther.
Mr. Guenther: It meets tomorrow night, is that confirmed, Lisa?
Ms. Lashway: I’ve heard nothing more.
President Rattner: Okay, now we come to the final public portion of the meeting. Anybody from the public, I think anything that could be said or should be said, has been said for tonight maybe, but anyway, this is the final public portion. Seeing no other members of the public wishing to address the Council will just close that. And we’ll come down to the final Council Comments, Mr. Elms.
Mr. Elms: None.
Mr. Buell: None.
President Rattner: We’re on a roll. Ms. Labow.
Ms. Labow: I have some things I’d like to say, but I’m not going to because it’s so late, I’ll address it in a memo.
President Rattner: Thank you very much.
Mr. Guenther: None.
Mr. Greenbaum: I have two comments, Steve, I’ll be very brief.
Ms. Labow: Oh come on, that’s no fair, he took one of mine.
Mr. Greenbaum: In regard to Mr. Ruggierio’s comment with regard to the Budget, I believe the item that’s holding up the Budget at this point is that we’re still waiting for the Administration to give us what they propose to be the Budget for the year so we can start working on it, since they have disclaimed that the 16% increase Budget, which was previously given to us is not their Budget and that they, in fact, would like to decrease it. We still haven’t gotten that and we can’t work on the Budget until we get that That’s one issue. Secondly, I had written a memo to the Administration requesting, as a member of the Planning Board, that I be given permission to speak to department heads in place in the township relating to Planning Board issues. I know that other Planning Board members have the liberty to discuss issues related to Planning Board matters with township employees as they see fit. I Mr. Greenbaum (cont’d): indicated that I will certainly limit all of my discussions to items related to Planning Board applications. This is a pet peeve of mine that we’ve been denied information and that we have to go through this whole process. And it is particularly interesting, as I am a full member of the Planning Board. All members of the Planning Board have the right to speak to anybody in the township that they feel would give them information to be able to decide Planning Board matters. I have been denied that right. In response thereto, I had Mr. Dorsey draft an ordinance, which is “an ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive requiring the Mayor and the Administrator to obtain approval of the Township Council before consulting with the township’s consultants and it says: Whereas, in the township’s form of government, the Township Council is responsible for the expenditure of all funds and has the authority to allocate funds for various services and professionals, as may be engaged by the Township, and Whereas the Township Council is concerned that inordinately these could, without need, be run up by the Mayor and or Administrator indiscriminately consulting with various outside consultants. Now, therefore, be it ordained by the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive as follows: Section 1: The Mayor and Business Administrator should not consult with outside consultants i.e. those who are referred to as professionals, and are not township employees, without the approval of the President of the Township Council. Section 2: The ordinance shall take effect in accordance of the law.” Now, I say that this is as ridiculous an ordinance as the edict which prohibits us, decision makers of the township, from gaining information from township employees. They’re both equally ridiculous.
Mr. Ruggierio: How long did it take to draft the ridiculous ordinance?
Mr. Guenther: Probably as long as it took to respond to my memo, where you denied me my right to speak to the Planning Department.
Mr. Ruggierio: I respond to all your memos.
President Rattner: Okay, anything else, Mr. Greenbaum?
Mr. Greenbaum: No, that’s it.
President Rattner: I can’t finish that last one. So, I ask for adjournment.
The motion was made and seconded and the meeting was adjourned at 11:33 pm.
Steven W. Rattner, Council President
I, LISA M. LASHWAY, Township Clerk of the Township of Mount Olive do hereby certify that the foregoing Minutes is a true and correct copy of the Minutes approved at a legally convened meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council duly held on August 17, 2004.
Lisa M. Lashway, Township Clerk