Township Council Minutes
August 17, 2004
The Regular Public Meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council was called to Order at 9:20 pm, following the Workshop, by Council President Rattner.
OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS LAW ANNOUNCEMENT
According to the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate notice of this meeting has been given to the Mount Olive Chronicle. Notice has been posted at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive Township, New Jersey and notices were sent to those requesting the same.
ROLL CALL Present: Mr. Buell, Ms. Labow, Mr. Perkins, Mr. Guenther, Mr. Greenbaum,
Absent: Mr. Elms
ALSO PRESENT: Mayor De La Roche; Chief Ed Katona, Acting Business Administrator; Lisa Lashway,
Township Clerk; Sherry Jenkins, CFO; John Dorsey, Township Attorney.
President Rattner: Mr. Elms is still away on business and the other important people are still here. So, moving right along, now we come to the first public portion of the meeting. This is the time, when anyone from the public would like to address the Council on any issues, you will get a chance to discuss the resolutions or the ordinances that are on the agenda at the appropriate time and we do have another public portion at the end. Anybody from the public like to address the Council at this time? Ms. Reuther. Again, as I’ve done since I joined the Board of the Mount Olive Child Care and Learning Center back in 1995, and when I got back on the Council in 1997, I have excused myself and not participated in any discussions, in fact, it has been my policy not even to be in the room when it is being discussed, so I’ll pass the mallet over to Mr. Greenbaum and wish him well.
Mr. Greenbaum: The floor is all yours.
Gail Reuther, Executive Director at Mount Olive Child Care and Learning Center: I’m here this evening with Barbara Melveger, who is our Board President, as well as some other members of our Board of Trustees and parent….a couple of parents, actually; and I just wanted to just speak for a few minutes to clarify a few things about the Child Care Center and the uniqueness of the services and the distinction of this social service agency in Mount Olive Township, as well as speak for a few moments about some of the municipal support regarding facility, which has been given in the three other community based child care centers in this County. I also have some packets, which I would like to leave with you. I know that you are all familiar with the Child Care Center and we appreciate the support that you have given to the Center over the years, and I know that, you know, that’s been done because this organization is a unique organization as a public charity, a 501C3 Corporation, which is a registered charity which was started 28 years ago for the purpose of servicing the community as a public charity. We are different from other non-profit child care centers because we operate for the public good. There are a huge percentage of low-income families that can access the services and that are our greater priority. We are eligible for grant money from the State, from the County and other sources, because of the fact that we are a public charity that operates for the public good. Over the years that we’ve served the municipality, we have served approximately 5,000 children, age six weeks to 14 years, 350 at a time. One of the key services that was begun nine years ago, which is eligible, which is free for eligible families in this community is the community based Child Care….the community based Parent Education Program; 240 parents…at risk parents in the County, have been served through this program and 64% of them have been Mount Olive residents. This is a child abuse/neglect prevention program, which is….has been shown to be very effective in changing behaviors and attitudes and has been responsive to the societal problem of child abuse and neglect. Much of the support that you have given to the Child Care Center, over the nine years of this program, has been utilized to support the families….has always gone to Mount Olive residents. We also have the….we’re much more than child care, there are…in your packet, there are several letters from members of this community, who are highly regarded and recognizable names that recognize the organization as a social service community organization, including Dr. LaMonte, the Superintendent of Schools, Les Smith, Jr., who is the Executive Director of the ITC, and Ed, you, as Police Chief, your children attended the center and, in fact, we have a number of collaborative agreements, because collaboration and working with others in the community is what we do. The programs are affordable to all families, because of sliding fee scales, we’re always looking to how can we provide more services to the low-income families in Mount Olive Township. The collaborative agreements that we have with the Police Department, the Recreation Department, the Health Department, and we also have letters of support from MOMAC, allow us to provide programming and supports for families and children in all of our programs, which include the infant and toddler, the pre-school, and the school-age. In
Ms. Reuther(cont’d): addition to that, and I have some letters from…support from the wider community, from the Morris County District Office of DYFS, who testifies to the appreciation that they have for the fact that we offer this parent education program, recognizing that helping families change attitudes and behavior, helping them to break the cycle of child abuse is critical in this community and they endorse it and continually refer families to this. This program costs us well over a $1,000 a family, but has been shown to be successful. Also, there is a letter from the people in the County of Morris, the United Way of Morris County, that speaks to the fact that a tremendous amount of low-income families have been supported by the Mount Olive Child Care and Learning Center over the years, and without the services provided by this center, there would be working poor that would probably be on welfare. The other thing that I wanted to just speak briefly to is that I have….the last sheet, actually, in the packet, which I will leave, talks about how there….in Morris County there are four community based non-profit charitable child care centers that are organized like ours, centers that are registered charities, that are eligible to receive public funds and public support, and these include, in addition to Mount Olive Child Care and Learning Center, the Roxbury Day Care Center, the Jefferson Child Care and Education Center, and the Parsippany Child Day Care Center. I wanted you to know about the kinds of support that the other municipalities give to their respective child care centers. In Jefferson Township and in Parsippany, the municipality owns the building in which the child care centers are located, and each building is leased to the community based child care center for $1.00 a year. They have long-term leases, they always maintain the ownership of the building, as I said, and the municipalities assist with snow plowing, but other than that, pretty much the cost of utilities, custodial, and so-forth is the responsibility of the child care center. I know that there was interest, on the part of some of you in, you know, how…what are some of the things going on in some of the comparable child care centers, and as I said, there are only four community based child care centers in the County. In Roxbury Township, the municipality leases the land on which the Roxbury Day Care Center is located, for $1.00 a year and they have a fifty year lease. Again, the center is responsible for the costs, other than the garbage pickup. In Mount Olive Township, as you well know, the municipality has supported the Mount Olive Child Care and Learning Center through an annual donation and this has been….enabled us to support many low-income families who have been able to pay affordable child care in the child care programs, and, in addition, as I said earlier, to supporting the parent education program, and when you take the contribution, it amounts to 2% to 3% of our budget and breaks down to approximately $1.00 per resident, or $3.00 per household. So, again, you know, it’s a very very cost effective amount of money. So, Barbara, did you…..
Barbara Melveger: I just want to add a few words and then….
Mr. Greenbaum: Barbara, just state your name and address please.
Barbara Melveger, President of the Board of Trustees of Mount Olive Child Care and Learning Center: I just want to add one or two things, and that is with regard to the volunteer, and I have to stress this. The Board of Trustees is, and always has been, an all-volunteer Board of Trustees. These people, and you see a number of them sitting here tonight, volunteer many hours of their time to this organization. They receive no remuneration, they receive no benefit, other than the pleasure of serving on such a dynamic Board. I have been involved and have served for 28 years. I calculated roughly, just approximately, how many hours I probably have been involved in those 28 years, and it’s probably a conservative estimate, but we’re talking about 25,000 to 30,000 hours, 1,000 hours of just Board Meetings alone, assuming that they only take three hours, and many times they take much longer. Those people over there do much the same, I think that’s a very valid and very valuable service that they provide to this community, they’re all tax payers in this community and they are all very involved in this community. I think that, in the past, there has been some misconception about how the Board functions and what benefits they get. At our Board meetings, just as an aside, we have dinner, we all pay for those dinners, we don’t even get a cup of coffee for free, so it’s all volunteer all the way. I do want to point out one other thing with regard to the school age program, and that is right now the school age program is not costing the tax payer one red cent. With the mandates that are currently out there, with no child left behind and the Governor’s program for the after-school, what is it called….after three….NJ After Three, there is a big push, a very big push out there for after school programs. Were we to no longer exist and not be able to provide that program, the school system would have to do that, and I can….without even telling you, you can imagine what the increased costs to the taxpayer would be if they have to provide an after school…before and after school program. We provide them in all of the elementary schools and we also provide one in the Middle School. You might want to take a look at, one of these days, the kind of program that we provide in the Middle School, it’s called the Leaders Club, because you have to deal with an older group, you can’t call it child care, it’s all sorts of clubs and things that they can be involved with. All of these are part of collaboration with many of the agencies in town and I think that this is extremely important, it’s a vital service to this community, I would just like to remind you all that every one of our parents are taxpayers in this community as well, so I thank you very much for your time.
Mr. Greenbaum: Before you go, let me clarify the issues as I see them since you got up there to talk about what was discussed at the last meeting. I don’t think…I’m sure there is not a person up on this dais who doesn’t applaud the efforts and I could….probably, most definitely, everyone in the audience feels the same way, that the efforts of Mount Olive Child Care are great, beyond great, superb, and needed. The questions which were raised, in my mind, were legal issues. Number one, are there certain things that we, as a municipality, cannot do, based upon your legal organization? That’s a legal issue and it’s clearly yes or no. Secondly, I think the question was raised despite the fact that you guys do and provide such a great service for the community, is it something that municipal government should be involved in? Those really were the two questions that I got out of the comment, I don’t think there was a criticism of the job or the service that you provide, and I think everyone, you know, I would give you a standing ovation if it were appropriate at this point, but those were the issues.
Ms. Melveger: We don’t want that, we just want a place out of which to operate.
Mr. Greenbaum: I understand that, to be…personally, to the extent that, is it a business that we as a municipal government should be involved in, I say yes, personally. Is it…can we take action legally or not legally, that’s not my decision, that is a matter of law, and I have to abide by it. I’ll open it up to any other members of Council.
Ms. Melveger: May I just address that, if I might? I think that Mrs. Reuther did pretty much address the fact that, in every other community where the child care center is organized such as ours, those communities have found a legal way to do it. They lease it, happily, it’s been going on for years, it’s not a problem, so I think that I can, you know, honestly in my opinion, say yes and yes to both of your questions.
Mr. Greenbaum: I hope that’s the case. Any questions, any comments from the Board?
Ms. Labow: Right now you’re looking for what facility in town?
Ms. Melveger: Right now, we’re very interested in leasing the Library, when it becomes available. It’s centrally located, it’s near much of our sphere of operation, we can renovate it and use it rather quickly, which…and time is of the essence with us, we really are in a bind time wise, so that’s what we’re interested in.
Ms. Labow: And also, I just want to ask, as far as the schools go, because I know you use the classrooms, the cafeterias, and so-on and so-forth, does the Board of Education charge you for the use of that?
Ms. Melveger: No, because they asked us to come in and provide this program, because they know very well, if they had to do it, it would be at an enormous cost.
Ms. Labow: And the facility you’re at right now, the old Flanders School, what’s….do you pay a….
Ms. Melveger: Yes we do, $40,000 a year in rent, yes we do.
Mayor De La Roche: Yes, I just wanted to absolute the remarks by Mr. Greenbaum, I fully share his opinion on this particular issue and…but it truly does present legal problems and that’s what we’re looking at. It has nothing to do with the quality or the people, or any of that, we all applaud the services that is rendered by, you know, your school.
Ms. Melveger: I thank you very much for that and I think we’ve addressed how other townships do it, so I don’t think that there should be a legal issue. I think that that can be certainly dealt with rather effectively, with leasing.
Mr. Greenbaum: Any other Council questions? Anyone from the public who wants to address this issue?
Rich Escobar, Woodsedge Avenue, Budd Lake: I stopped by this evening, I think, just to let you hear from a resident, not somebody directly involved in this situation, how important this organization is to me and my family. We came in nineteen years ago, my son showed up about sixteen years ago, and initially we had many problems, it was a two family, two income family, finding a place to put my newborn, and like all of us, it’s hard to walk away from your brand new child in the hands of somebody who’s a friend of a friend of a friend. That went on for several years, we had little problems, we’d show up one day and the guy would be sick, the daughter would be sick, it was a real pain. We bumped into the Mount Olive Child Care and Learning Center and everything seemed to just be at ease. They were open all the time. They had a bus that took our child up to Mr. Escobar(cont’d): the kindergarten for the half days, it made things really really nice. I would go so far as to say that it was a lot easier to stay in Mount Olive, to build in Mount Olive, to make our lives in Mount Olive, because of this organization. We trusted them, their lights were on, the place was clean, it was a great organization, two children raised through it, both of them still in the school district, reasonably good kids. I came mostly just to ask you to think if there is any way in your hearts, that you can find the manipulation of the law, to help these people. I’m sure that there are others in this….in the town that feel the same way I do, it would be really nice of you. I know that you are trying, but I thought you’d like to hear it from a non-involved member, somebody who doesn’t have to decide, and someone who doesn’t depend on your side. Thanks a lot.
Mr. Greenbaum: Thank you. We’re running a late meeting tonight, so I’d like to not hear anything repetitive. We know that there are a number of people here who are in favor, Mr. Bonte, it’s your turn at the podium.
Richard Bonte, Budd Lake: Gail, Barbara, other members that are here, I commend the work that you have done in this community, I really do, I mean that and I understand what an important service this organization provides to the town, but there does come an issue that I do believe that the voters of this township are the only ones who should address, and that is the giving away, or leasing for $1.00 a year, which is basically a give-away, of public property, whether it be structures or land, to a non-governmental agency. You know I’ve made this opinion before, I want to state it again for the record tonight. I think this organization does a wonderful job and is most likely very necessary in the community, but I think the community needs to decide if we want to take some of our assets and donate them or go through some type of leasing arrangement, to a non-governmental agency. I don’t want this Council to investigate whether there is some way we can “manipulate the law” or do something that the public may not want done. I would ask every one of you to discuss with the Child Care Center what it is they’re looking for and put it on the ballot and let the residents of this township decide whether or not they want to release a building or public property for this purpose. I think that’s the right way to do it when we’re talking about public assets. It’s the only issue that I intend to address regarding this effort. Thank you.
Mr. Greenbaum: Thank you, anyone else from the audience? Any further comment from Council or the Mayor? Seeing none, we’ll open it up to other public comment, we’ll get Mr. Rattner back in here. Thank you. Is there anyone else who wants to address the public at the present time on any other issues, realizing that there is another public portion session at the end of the meeting?
Nelson Russell, Budd Lake: A couple of questions on the bill list. One on page 5, I see $1,032 for lodging for Captain Mark at the Periwinkle Inn. Is that an extended period of time, or is it for multiple people, or?
Mr. Katona: No, that was for his attendance at a conference. He extended his stay and expanded his room to invite his family. The difference between what we would normally pay and what was billed, he has paid and he has issued a check to the township for the balance.
Mr. Russell: Okay, thank you. On page 7, I see marriage fee at $1,175 to the State, I thought marriage licenses were township revenue, are they….do we have to pay the State to issue marriage licenses?
Ms. Jenkins: Yes, there is a $28 charge, $25 goes to the State, the other $3.00 the township keeps.
Mr. Russell: Thank you, and I see a concert on that same page for $150 for Paul Soblewski.
Mr. Katona: That was a public concert held at Flanders Park on June 24th.
Mr. Russell: And he attended it, or he gave the concert?
Mr. Katona: He gave the concert, he was the entertainment.
Mr. Russell: And the last one, over on page 19, I see two trees for Manor House Road taken down for $3,500. I just had two trees taken down with a high lift truck and down in sections, and everything else, it cost me $650. I’m wondering why it was so much to take down two trees.
Tim Quinn: Yes, the two trees are just two trees that are listed, he also cut down four other trees that day and did some assorted trimming throughout the neighborhood, I can get you exact locations of them if you desire.
Mr. Russell: Okay, I mean if there are more than the two trees….
Mr. Quinn: Yes, absolutely. Yes sir.
Ms. Jenkins: There’s only enough space in the computer to put that on….
President Rattner: Jim, you wanted to say something?
Mr. Buell: Can I ask you a question, Nelson? Who’s the guy who took your trees down?
Mr. Russell: J&R Tree Service on Crease Road.
President Rattner: Okay, anybody else from the public like to address at this time, you get one more chance at the end of the meeting. I’ll close the public portion.
PUBLIC HEARING – Silver Spring Manor Open Space Acquisition
President Rattner: Now I’ll open the public hearing. We have a public hearing tonight, it is the Silver Spring Manor Open Space Acquisition. Mr. Dorsey, do you want to say what we’re doing here?
Mr. Dorsey: Well, it is an acquisition that was recommended by the Morris County Open Space and by the Township’s Open Space Trust Fund. We have negotiated, over a long period of time, and it’s my understanding that we’ve come to a tentative agreement with Mr. Baum. I see Kathy Murphy here, she is probably better able to tell us the exact status of those negotiations.
Mrs. Murphy: This evening we have a tentative agreement for the purchase of the property known as Silver Spring Manor, which is not the restaurant, it’s the corn fields and the woods that surround it, of about 162 acres. I’m not announcing the price yet, it won’t be until we get the signed contract back from Mr. Baum, but part of it we do need to update our appraisals for Green Acres. We have proposed two appraisers, Krauzer and also Bob Cooper, so that we would conform to Green Acres standards, we need to update the appraisals, there were some that were taken about four years ago, and then once we get that done, we would like to move ahead on our contract, and, of course, the other issue is we need to have a public hearing to authorize the submission of our grant proposal to the Morris County Grant Application. So, if there is anybody who would like to address that, or have comment on that, we need to allow that to occur this evening.
President Rattner: Anybody from the public like to comment on the Silver Spring Manor Open Space Acquisition? Seeing none, I’ll close the public hearing.
Mrs. Murphy: Okay, this is all within the Highlands Preservation area, it would form an addition to a swatch of properties where we acquired a 95 acre conservation easement from Mrs. Devlin a couple of years ago. The Church of Light is going through farmland preservation application, then we have Silver Spring adjacent to that and we have another owner nearby, that’s also beginning to look into farmland preservation. So, if we’re able to accomplish that, it will be a contiguous piece of a number….several hundred acres, that we’ll be able to preserve, so we are very excited about this project and hope to bring it to a conclusion by the end of this year. Thank you.
Questions on Bill List?
President Rattner: Thank you. Okay, moving right along, questions on the Bill List?
Mr. Buell: I’ve asked my questions, I would just like to withhold one check that I….one check from being paid, but as I said, I think that’s later in the bill list.
President Rattner: Okay, does anybody else have any other questions on the bill list? I have one comment…one question. I ask that you look for, by the time we get to the bill list, check #46415 for JCP&L. It appears to me that we’re paying a statement amount and not an invoice amount, with the past due amount. So, I just want to make sure we’re not double paying. The other, and this is just a question, is we got a number of bills from two different electricians, that it appears that we’re having a lot of problems with the lights in the parking lot, because it looks like to change the bulbs and stuff, it’s very very expensive and we have thousands of dollars worth of bills on this month’s bill list. I was wondering is there a problem with the lights? I mean, each bill, that when they come to change light bulbs, tends to be over $1,000, so….I know that’s not a question on the invoice, I’m sure the work was done, it’s just that it’s very, it looks like very labor intensive and it’s not just the bulb, it’s also they’re putting in ballast igniters and it takes two electricians and a bucket truck.
Mr. Guenther: Just…a thought just occurred to me in relation to Nelson’s question and Timmy’s answer, do we have….is there a contract with Peterson, are they the only ones that do this work, just as a matter of general policy, how is their rate determined?
Ms. Jenkins: They’re on State contract,
Mr. Guenther: It’s a State contract?
Ms. Jenkins: Yes, it’s a State contract.
Mr. Guenther: Okay, so that gets awarded every year, is that correct?
Ms. Jenkins: Yes, usually every year.
Mr. Guenther: Is that so….do they…it’s under State contract, but they….so we put it out for bid? Or they are an approved vendor from the State?
Mr. Dorsey: They’re an approved vendor by the State.
Mr. Guenther: Okay, alright.
Mr. Dorsey: So, Timmy can call them any time.
Mr. Guenther: Okay. And the rates, how are they determined, how are they….what are they….is it by the hour?
Mr. Quinn: Depending what I have them do, if I have them do just a large area of trimming, it’s by the day, if it’s large tree removal, it’s by the size of the base of the tree, I think it’s about 16 inches from the ground up and that’s where we get our measurement and that’s the cost per tree.
Mr. Guenther: And there’s a schedule for that…how much…
Mr. Quinn: Yes, it’s all broken down.
Mr. Guenther: Okay, thanks.
President Rattner: You know, one thing is that the State contract isn’t always the best price, you know, but then you have a problem when you have the bid threshold, and to go that forward….however, there may be more than one person on the…or one company on the contract and I do have an example, I wasn’t going to bring it up, but I think it’s appropriate. We bought….we buy a lot of, obviously, printer supplies, because we produce a lot of reports and stuff like that. One of them I noticed on this bill list, from two different vendors – Village Office Supplies, which I guess is the State contract, and the other one that’s down around Bridgewater. We’re buying HP ink jets, and I noticed one #15, because that’s the one I buy at home, and the prices that they’re buying from them is about 20% higher than when I go into Staples, which is also on a State contract, and buy the same ones in a two pack, which they’re here. Here it comes to $33.176, that’s an interesting number, they take it to a thousand….you know, a tenth of a penny, but I believe I usually pay something like $54 for two so it comes to $27 and that’s their everyday price at Staples, and I would imagine if they had a State price. Now, we know, in the past, a few years ago with computer equipment, we noticed that sometimes the State contract, because they set the price at the beginning of the year on computers, was more money. You could go someplace else, but you couldn’t get that price, the State contract stated the price, so that may be one of the problems, but this is just something that I know what the item is, I buy the same one, and it’s interesting, I could buy it just off the street 20% less and I buy two cartridges once a year, but that’s just something we have. So, with that, anybody else have any other questions on that one bill, would be when we go over the bills.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETINGS
April 27, 2004 Present: Mr. Buell, Mrs. Labow, Mr. Elms, Mr. Guenther,
Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Rattner
Absent: Mr. Perkins
May 11, 2004 Present: Mr. Buell, Mr. Elms, Mr. Guenther, Ms. Labow, Mr. Perkins,
Absent: Mr. Greenbaum
May 25, 2004 Present: Mr. Buell, Mr. Elms, Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Guenther, Mrs. Labow,
Mr. Perkins and Mr. Rattner
July 27, 2004 CS Present: President Rattner, Mr. Perkins (excused himself from MOTPEA discussion), Mr. Guenther, Mr. Buell, Mr. Elms, Mrs. Labow, Mr. Greenbaum
Mr. Buell: I move approval of the minutes from April 27th, May 11th, May 25th and July 27th for Closed Session, 2004.
Mr. Guenther: Second.
President Rattner: Are there any corrections or comments on the minutes? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously, except Mr. Perkins abstained for April 27th
And Mr. Greenbaum abstained for May 11th
LETTERS FROM RESIDENTS
1. Letter received August 2, 2004, from Chris Bruno, Budd Lake regarding the relocation of the proposed DPW facility.
2. Three signed petitions received August 5, 2004, from AJ and Liz Russo, Santiago and Myna Riveron and Danny and Jamie Perez regarding NJDOT performs another survey of the Connelly Avenue @ Route 46 area, including an accurate assessment of the number of residents who need to access this road on a daily basis.
RESOLUTIONS, ORDINANCES, COORESPONDENCE OTHER TOWNS
3. Resolution received July 29, 2004, from the Borough of Madison regarding petitioning members of the Morris County Legislative Delegation to Introduce and Sponsor Legislation Transferring the Local Government Employer’s Share of PFRS and PERS Pension Retirement System Cost to the State Government so that it is Consistent with the Educational System Pension Program.
4. Resolution received July 30, 2004, from Township of Pequannock regarding Petitioning the Legislature to pass legislation transferring municipal costs of the pension expenses to State Government.
5. Letter received August 5, 2004, from Laddey, Clark & Ryan regarding Borough of Stanhope – New York Folding Box Co. Premises: 4 Waterloo Road, Block 106, Lot 1, Mount Olive Township. (Granting request for water allocation of 5,300 gallons per day).
6. Resolution received August 5, 2004, from Township of Monroe regarding implementing a State Sponsored Financial Aid Program for Military Reservists and National Guard members Deployed in the Global War on Terror (GWOT)
7. Resolution received August 10, 2004, from Borough of Tinton Falls, regarding the Governor and the State Legislature to implement a State sponsored financial aid program for the Military Reservists and National Guard members deployed in the Global War on Terror.
LEAGUE OF MUNICIPALITIES
8. Legislative Bulletin received July 29, 2004, from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding Bills that were enacted as Public Laws of 2004.
9. Letter received August 4, 2004, from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding Implementing the New Business Registration Requirements and Changes to the Municipal Cap Law.
10. Notice of Claim received July 30, 2004, regarding DWI; Claimant: Christine Franco.
11. Notice of Claim received August 9, 2004, regarding Toll Brothers, Inc, Toll N.J. II L.P, and Toll N.J. V, L.P.
COUNTY OF MORRIS
12. Letter received July 29, 2004, from Morris County Department of Planning, Development and Technology regarding Morris County Cross Acceptance Alert.
13. Letter received July 27, 2004, from State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Denial of a Freshwater Wetlands matrix Width Reduction Transition Area Waiver; Applicant: Pax Amicus Foundation / Block 2407; Lot 2 (23 Lake Shore Drive)
14. Letter received August 2, 2004, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Letter of Interpretation – Line Verification Applicant: Donald Storms; Project name: Trestle Plaza Block 5401: Lot:16 (313 Route 206 –Suite 10)
15. Letter received August 4, 2004, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Jason Babernitch, Notice of Violation.
16. Letter received August 5, 2004, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Former Kartar Corporation – Former Sunoco Service Station 341 Route 46.
17. Letter received August 5, 2004, from State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Public Notice In the Matter of Applied Wastewater Management, Inc. Application No. 5353 to divert water from four existing wells and six proposed wells in Mount Olive Township.
18. Registration Form and Information received August 6, 2004, from Opportunities and Perspectives regarding 3rd Annual Economic Development Conference.
19. Letter received August 10, 2004, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Freshwater Wetlands Application Pre-cancellation letter Applicant: Gary Forgey / Douglas Lessig Block 3305; Lot 28 (51 Center Street)
LETTERS FROM LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIVES / COORESPONDENCE RELATING TO
20. Fax received July 26, 2004, from Christopher Donnelly regarding News Release from Governor McGreevey (Governor Signs Legislation Supporting Drinking Water Protection and Infrastructure Improvements)
21. Letter received August 2, 2004, from Assemblywoman Myers regarding a request from each Municipality concerning the changes that will have to be made to the Master Plan when the Highlands Act is implemented.
22. Fax received August 4, 2004, from Assemblywoman Littell McHose regarding NJ after 3 Program.
23. E-mail received July 28, 2004, from Morris County Chamber regarding a Night of Baseball and Networking Hosted by the Young Professionals Committee.
24. E-mail received August 2, 2004, from the Democratic National Committee regarding membership Drive conducted by Grassroots Campaigns.
25. E-mail received August 6, 2004, from State of NJ regarding Governor James E. McGreevey’s Conference for Women.
26. Information received August 9, 2004, from The Vasa Order of America regarding Leif Erikson Festival.
27. Fax received July 23, 2004, from Comcast regarding WABC-DT / Launch Cancelled.
28. Fax received July 26, 2004, from Comcast regarding WABC-DT available on channel 216.
29. Letter received July 28, 2004, from Comcast regarding the addition of a Limited Basic Channel (Channel 216 WABC-DT News Channel)
30. Letter received July 28, 2004; from State of New Jersey, Board of Public Utilities regarding a Decision and Order / In the Matter of the Applications of Mt. Olive Villages Water Company, Inc. and Mt. Olive Villages Sewer Company, Inc. for approval of an amendment of Municipal Consent Franchises on an Emergent Basis.
31. Fax received July 29, 2004, from Comcast regarding MTV Suite Channel Changes.
President Rattner: Okay, correspondence – we have 31 items of correspondence, anybody like to comment on any of the items of correspondence?
Mr. Buell: Number two.
President Ratter: You didn’t raise your hand, Mr. Buell, it’s Mr. Guenther first.
Mr. Guenther: I want to complain….I’m sorry, comment on item one. I found it very interesting and I know certain opinions have been expressed up here about studying the building again and the possibility of preserving it and so forth. I think this particular writer represents another fairly large constituency in town that doesn’t agree with that and every time I drive by and I see the kids at that beach area with the snow fence around it as a buffer, and them using the beach and I can just kind of visualize if that building weren’t there and you could expand the beach area and really make it into something very attractive, I have a hard time not supporting that particular course of action.
President Rattner: Anything else, Mr. Guenther?
Mr. Guenther: No, that’s it.
Mr. Buell: Number two, it’s signed petitions from three residents of County Oaks Estates, I just don’t understand where these petitions are coming from.
President Rattner: Number two?
Mr. Buell: Yes, the letters, number two, three signed petitions or maybe…
President Rattner: Oh, I’m sorry, I’m in the wrong place. Go ahead.
Mr. Buell: Okay. I’m just wondering where these…these are coming. They’re petitioning us, as the Council, and it looks like they should be petitioning the Department of Transportation. I think we’re all fairly solid that we would love to have a light at the Connelly Avenue.
President Rattner: I think a resident came in and the Clerk actually has the answer to that. You found out where they originated?
Mrs. Lashway: They were sent out by the Township.
President Rattner: They were sent out by the Town….oh, Mr. Guenther, you want….
Mr. Guenther: Well, a couple of years…..maybe a year ago or so, I went around with someone else and actually solicited….and actually had petitions that we handed out. We enlisted one of the members of the community to help us with that. We went around and got probably about two thirds in one Saturday, and we asked him to finish up and somehow it kind of dropped through the cracks, I never….I followed up on it and wanted to know what happened with it. This might be the result of that. Okay, so there was…we wanted to show, and maybe take that then to the State and say look, a preponderance of citizens in this development, you know, look at this as a hazard and want something done about it.
President Rattner: Mayor, you want to comment on the purpose of sending out a petition…of sending out mailings, it wasn’t even bulk mailing, because one of the residents came in and didn’t know what to do with it, telling people, I don’t know how many were sent out, asking them to sign the petition, they sent it back to us, and what was the purpose and why are we spending this kind of money and why are we getting them back?
Mr. Katona: I don’t know, and speaking with the Mayor, we’re not aware that we sent out a bulk mailing.
President Rattner: Well, somebody better find out what’s going on. I mean, this is a Township envelope, a Township label, and not even the bulk rate but a regular thing, and why are we going to get this back? If I’m going to get another 800 or 600 postcards like we did with the Post Office….with the Library, I’m going to start getting awful tired of this, I mean, besides the Clerk having to put it there, but somebody from this Municipal Building, using our postage, if we don’t know, then we should have an investigation to find out who’s doing this.
Mr. Dorsey: Did you receive that?
President Rattner: A resident came back and gave it back to the Clerk, wanting to know what to do with it and where’s the proper person to deposit it with, because they signed it, somebody from Connelly Avenue….
Mr. Dorsey: Oh, I see, I see, it’s a Connelly Avenue…
Ms. Labow: What does it say, Steve?
President Rattner: You want to? I’ll let the Clerk read it.
Mrs. Lashway: Petition for traffic light at Connelly Avenue at Route 46 in Mount Olive Township. Background: Connelly Avenue and Route 46 is currently the only access road for the Country Oaks development. Country Oaks is a development of 173 homes, each with at least two cars, bringing the total number of cars entering and exiting Connelly to 346 on any given day, not to mention visitors, school buses and other vehicles. There is no alternate route to enter or exit this development. According to a traffic study performed in/performed by the NJDOT in early 2003 and the resulting report, there were 27 accidents at the Connelly Avenue, at the Route 46 intersection from January 1, 2000, to March 2, 2003. Further report, 15 of those accidents were cars turning from the westbound lane of Route 46 onto Connelly Avenue. Four of the 27 were…and four were of the type susceptible to correction by installation of a traffic signal at that site. Still, that is 19 accidents or 70% of the total number of accidents that are attributed to people trying to access Connelly Avenue from Route 46 West. Mount Olive Police records indicate that from March 2003 to July 30, 2004, there were an additional seven accidents, including a roll-over involving multiple vehicles. In reviewing the statistics in the November 5, 2003 letter of denial from the NJDOT, it appears that the DOT measured the traffic on an extremely light traffic day. Also, it measured only up until 6:00 pm when, in fact, the heaviest traffic can be 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm, along the stretch of Route 46 by Connelly Avenue. The NJDOT suggested that Mount Olive Township enforce a ban from left turns from Route 46 Westbound onto Connelly Avenue as a solution to the problem. That would mean that residents would have to continue an additional half mile to the Mount Olive Road jug handle to access the eastbound lane of Route 46 and a half mile back to Connelly Avenue. This is unacceptable to the 173 residents who reside in Country Oaks. We, the residents of Country Oaks, who use Connelly Avenue in Mount Olive as our main point of ingress/egress, are petitioning to have the NJDOT perform another survey of the Connelly Avenue at Route 46 area, including an accurate assessment of the number of residents who need to access this road on a daily basis. We are also requesting that the NJDOT send a representative to Mount Olive to meet with our local legislators to come to a reasonable solution of this matter, which is mutually beneficial to all and takes into the account the safety and welfare of the residents of Country Oaks. And then it’s signed by….
President Rattner: Well, don’t worry about the resident that signed it and it looks like the label was done from our Tax Department because it has the block and lot number on the mailing label.
Ms. Labow: Are there any initials at the bottom of the letter as to who typed it or anything?
Mr. Buell: No.
Mr. Dorsey: Could I have those?
President Rattner: We’ll make a copy, this is part of our record, right?
Mr. Guenther: With the right person investigating here.
Mrs. Lashway: I’ll give it to you tomorrow.
President Rattner: No, we’ll have to give you a copy, because we need the original for, you know, it was a received correspondence, that’s why it’s on here.
Mr. Greenbaum: There sure was a lot of Police data in there, Ed.
Mr. Katona: I didn’t do it.
President Rattner: Any other comments on the correspondence?
Mr. Perkins: Thank you, Mr. President. Item number 17, the letter received August 5, 2004, from State DEP, regarding the public notice for Applied Wastewater Management. I’ve had a chance to look through this, there is a meeting scheduled to be held here September 21st at 10:00 am. It looks like they’re looking at increasing the diversion from the wells…the four existing and six proposed wells in Mount Olive Township. I’m not privy to where their proposed wells would go, this is an investor owned public utility. I’m not sure why they would need to be adding to their diversion, since I’m not familiar with any new developments that they’ve been authorized to provide water to, so I would like to….if I can’t attend this, I would like an update from the Administration, hopefully they will have somebody here for that meeting.
Mrs. Lashway: I was informed by the DEP when they scheduled this meeting, that if there is no…if they have no indication that there will be public attending, they will cancel that meeting.
Mr. Guenther: Where is it being held?
Mr. Perkins: It’s being held here.
Mrs. Lashway: Here at Town Hall.
Mr. Perkins: Here at 10:00 on September 21st. Mayor, can you have somebody from the Water Department here?
Mrs. Lashway: You should make sure the DEP knows, because if nobody comments to them that they’re going to be at that meeting, they told me they will cancel the meeting.
Mr. Perkins: I will do my best to be here also, Mayor, but if we could get the Licensed Operator and the DPW Director here.
President Rattner: Mr. Perkins, if you can’t make it, let me know and we’ll make sure that we have a representative from the Council to hear what they’re saying, so they can bring it back.
Mr. Guenther: I’ll volunteer for that, if Mr. Perkins can’t make it.
President Rattner: Okay, then you’ll coordinate it with Mr. Perkins,
Mr. Perkins: Thank you, Mr. President.
President Rattner: And I can be a back up or…you know, a few people can come, it’s not just one, so… Okay, thank you, anything else?
Mr. Greenbaum: Number 11, notice of tort claim, Morris Chase, Toll Brothers.
Mr. Dorsey: Yes, they only want $164 million…$146 million.
Mr. Greenbaum: Is that what their number was?
President Rattner: What would that do to our experience rate?
Mr. Greenbaum: So, that’s outside of the lawsuit which has already been filed, they filed the Prerogative Writ action related to denial of their application. This is strictly seeking monetary damages.
Mr. Dorsey: And then a month ago, they filed an amended complaint to include the denial of the extension on Morris Chase and the Planning Board’s involved and the Township’s involved. Now, they’ve filed a notice of tort claim for money.
Mr. Greenbaum: Let me ask you a question, John, were any individuals named, personally?
Mr. Dorsey: No.
President Rattner: Boy, we’re really improving, I mean, these suits are getting bigger, we must be doing something right. When I first came on the Council in 1987, I was here about ten days when the Sheriff came and it was $15 million on the Hopler Tract, when we got sued, and that was something, because it was Bill Sohl and I just got elected, we got sworn in and three days later both our wives said we were quitting. That’s why our insurance rates are what they are and I think everybody knows the situation and what we’re trying to defend with that. Okay, is that it on correspondence?
ORDINANCES FOR PUBLIC HEARING
President Rattner: Okay, moving right along, we’ll move to ordinances for public hearing. I open to the public Ordinance #21-2004, entitled:
Ord. #21-2004 Ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the sale of a Portion of a Lot Known and Designated on the Tax Assessment maps as Lot 2, Block 2507. (Justine Weber)
President Rattner: Anybody from the public like to comment on this ordinance? This is the lot that we held the
auction for. Oh this is not the one? I’m sorry.
Mrs. Lashway: This is the one where the driveway is….
President Rattner: Oh, the driveway, okay, we have another one. Nobody wants to comment, I’ll close the public portion and ask Mr. Buell to move it.
Mr. Buell: I move for final passage of Odinance #21-2004.
Ms. Labow: Second.
President Rattner: Any discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Uanimously except Mr. Perkins voted No
President Rattner: Ordinance #21-2004 is passed on second reading and I hereby direct the Clerk to file the copy of the same to the Mayor and publish notice of adoption as required by law.
ORDINANCES FOR FIRST READING – (2nd Reading September 14, 2004)
President Rattner: Now we’ll go into the agenda changes, we have the addition of three ordinances, which are the introduction of the Capital Budget, so with that, the next item on the agenda is for first reading, is Ordinance #22-2004, entitled:
Ord. #22-2004 Bond Ordinance Providing for Various Improvements to the Water Utility in and by the Township of Mount Olive, in the County of Morris, New Jersey, Appropriating $55,000 Therefore and Authorizing the Issuance of $52,250 Bonds or Notes of the Township to Finance Part of the Cost Thereof.
Mr. Greenbaum: When’s the second hearing, Lisa?
Mrs. Lashway: September 14th.
Mr. Greenbaum: I move that Ordinance #22-2004 be introduced by title and passed on first reading and that a meeting be held on September 14th, 2004 at 7:30 pm at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive, New Jersey for public hearing, consideration of second reading and passage of said ordinance and the Clerk be directed to publish, post and make available said ordinance in accordance with the requirements of the law.
Mr. Guenther: Second.
President Rattner: Any discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Uanimously
President Rattner: Okay, the next item on the agenda for first reading is Ordinance #23-2004, entitled:
Ord. #23-2004 Bond Ordinance Providing for the Acquisition of Equipment for the Sanitation District in and by the Township of Mount Olive, in the County of Morris, New Jersey, Appropriating $506,000 Therefore and Authorizing the Issuance of $481,000 Bonds or Notes of the Township to Finance Part of the Cost Thereof.
Ms. Labow: I move that Ordinance #23-2004 be introduced by title and passed on first reading and that a meeting be held on September 14th, 2004 at 7:30 pm at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive, New Jersey for a public hearing and consideration of second reading and passage of said ordinance and that the Clerk be directed to publish, post and make available said ordinance in accordance with the requirements of law.
Mr. Buell: Second.
President Rattner: Any discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously, except Mr. Rattner voted No
President Rattner: Okay, the next item on the agenda for first reading is Ordinance #24-2004, entitled:
Ord. #24-2004 Bond Ordinance Providing for Various Capital Improvements of the Township of Mount Olive, in the County of Morris, New Jersey, Appropriating $1,321,580 Therefore and Authorizing the Issuance of $1,219,401 Bonds or Notes of the Township to Finance Part of the Cost Thereof.
Mr. Guenther: I move that Ordinance #24-2004 be introduced by titled, passed on first reading and that a meeting be held on September 14th, 2004 at 7:30 pm at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive, New Jersey for public hearing, consideration of second reading and passage of said ordinance and that the Clerk be directed to publish, post and make available said ordinance in accordance with the requirements of the law.
Mr. Perkins: Second.
President Rattner: Any discussion?
Ms. Labow: I just want to ask a general question on all three of these things. We put up a small….what is it 5% of the money and then we bond out for the rest?
President Rattner: Yes. We don’t have to, that’s what we’re doing.
Mr. Dorsey: It’s typical.
Ms. Labow: It’s typical, well, why are we doing that?
President Rattner: Because we don’t have the cash.
Ms. Labow: We don’t have the cash, so we’re bonding out. No, I understand that, it’s just that, there’s no other way to do it, right? We don’t have the cash, so you have to bond out for it.
President Rattner: Well, when you buy a car, you can pay cash for a car, or you can take out a car loan.
Ms. Labow: I know, I know but I guess we’re going into all this bond debt.
President Rattner: Well, that sounds familiar. Mr. Buell, you wanted to say something?
Mr. Buell: Yes, there are three items on this that were at the Budget hearings on February 21st and I think March 6th, were indicated that by the Department Heads, or by the Flanders Fire Department and the Budd Lake Fire Department that they did not…or would drop, and that’s the $63,000 for turnout gear and about $13,000 for pagers and for rope replacement at the Budd Lake Fire Department. I just wanted to make sure that the Council knew that these things are included in this $1,300,000.
President Rattner: Mr. Dorsey, I have a question. If this is the bond ordinance, if we make some minor tweaks, let’s say take out one item or something, you know, for something…a very small amount, would that substantially change the ordinance?
Mr. Dorsey: Yes. If you’re going to change the amount of the bonds, that’s a substantial change.
President Rattner: Okay, even if you reduced it by a little bit. Okay.
Mrs. Lashway: Well, you’re only introducing it, so, you can make amendments before you introduce it.
Ms. Labow: Before you approve it.
Mr. Dorsey: No, but she has to file the supplemental debt statement prior to tonight’s meeting. So, if you’re going to change it, you’re not going to introduce it tonight. I’m not saying not to change it, but if you’re going to change it, you’re not going to introduce it tonight, but I mean, why don’t you introduce it and adopt as it is and then omit an item and then you just take down the balance that’s not needed.
President Rattner: I thought that was more or less what I asked could we do.
Mr. Dorsey: But not if you change it….
President Rattner: Okay, no, I understand, okay.
Mr. Buell: Steve, also, we have not really, as a Council, fully understood this capital that is involved in this… not that we’re still talking about Ordinance #23-2004 in terms of the Sanitation equipment. I think there’s a need for us to have further meetings, either as a Council or as a committee with the Mayor and the Business Administrator about the items in this capital budget, because there is also some things I think that should be included in this, that are not.
President Rattner: Well, there’s a little bit of flexibility, because we didn’t go for all the money, you know, we have $1.5 million that we could go to, some of these items are going to go out to bid, and then we’ll probably have an opportunity to voice concerns there. The list that we discussed at the last meeting, I mean, the list is self-explanatory, either you agree with the items or you don’t, but I think a back hoe is a back hoe, you may have a personal opinion on whether we need it or whether it be turn-out gear, or the road paving, that type of thing, but I think the list…you know, there’s nothing real sophisticated on there, it’s whether you agree with it or not, there will be some time and there’s still a little bit that some things have to be added, there was that left in. I believe it says $1,321,000, the budget that we approved had $75,000 for capital, which you’re using the 5% down, would allow us, you know, $1.5 million. That means even if we bought everything that’s on the list, and we actually complete it, and each year we don’t buy everything, there’s still another $180,000 that if we had something that was really important, we would just amend….we would have another amendment to the ordinance, amending, you know, the list, that’s all. So, is there any other discussion, Mr. Guenther.
Mr. Guenther: I’m a little bit confused about the list. Subsequent to the presentation of the list at the last meeting, weren’t there some changes made to that?
President Rattner: No, there were some…no, there were comments and memos that went back and forth between me and the Mayor, I disagreed with the list. Last week I also said that I thought we had, you know, from the budget hearings, that Mr. Buell just spent the time to actually do the research, he didn’t go through all the hours it takes to get to each department, because we had notes that showed certain things that yes, if we have to and we had to prioritize, we could take certain things off, but this was the list that…it was getting late and the Council said that we wanted to go with this list, with the items that we checked off. I didn’t agree with it, but the Council in total said put it on, that we’re satisfied with it.
Mr. Guenther: But wasn’t there subsequently, the question of the fire truck for Flanders that was not on the list?
President Rattner: No, that was a clarification, after we had the meeting, the CFO just sent me an e-mail and just said we took the ambulance out, didn’t we, because we were talking back and forth, because we said, remember, we said that we took it out the year before, we put it off a year, so I thought we were committed and I sent back an e-mail and said no we kept that in and that is in here. I don’t think there was any…that was a clarification from the CFO.
Mr. Guenther: So, there’s no changes to the list.
President Rattner: The list that was there last week, is the list that you’re voting on tonight. So, yes, that was just a clarification that the CFO got back to me the next morning and we cleared it up right away, and you heard the same thing at the safety meeting, I believe. Any other discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously, except Mr. Rattner voted No
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.
CONSENT RESOLUTIONS – B. Guenther
Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing an Amendment to the Length of Service Award Program Annual Award Increase to Emergency Services Volunteers. *OFF*
1. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Use of Operating Funds Out of the Township Clerk Operating Budget to be Reimbursed Upon Adoption of a Capital Ordinance.
2. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Submission of an Application to the Morris County Open Space and Farmland Trust Regarding Silver Springs Manor.
3. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Contract with Landmark Appraisal, Robert Cooper, for Appraising the Silver Spring Property.
4. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Contract with Mathew Krauser for Appraising the Silver Spring Property.
5. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing Mayor Richard De La Roche to Sign Grant Agreement for Park Upgrade to Lou Nelson Park.
6. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Acceptance of a Proposal from Schoor DePalma to Do All Necessary Engineering and Related Services Relative to the Reconstruction of Sunset Drive.
7. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Declaring JJF, Inc. a/k/a Homesteads by JJF, Inc., in Default of its Obligation Under its Developer’s Agreement and Authorizing Enforcement of Performance Guarantees Pursuant to NJSA 40:55D-53.
8. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Petitioning the Members of the Morris County Legislative Delegation to Introduce and Sponsor Legislation Transferring the Local Government Employer’s Share of the PFRS and PERS Pension Retirement Systems to State Government so that it is Consistent with the Educational Pension System Program.
9. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Approving Professional Services Contract with Wachovia Insurance Services for the year 2004.
10. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Sale of Block 3504 Lot 2.
11. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Encumbering of Funds in the Turkey Brook Park Project Account for Forensic Engineering in the Amount of $62,000.
12. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Execution of a Developer’s Agreement (Preliminary and Final Site Plan Approval with Associated Variances and Design Waivers) Between the Township and Robbies, Inc.
13. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Execution of a Developer’s Agreement (Final Major Subdivision Approval) Between the Township and Rezamir Estates in Connection with Block 7000, Lot 64.
14. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Execution of a Developer’s Agreement (Amended Preliminary and Final Site Plan Approval) Between the Township and Wachovia Bank, NA.
15. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Releasing Performance Guarantees In Connection with the Subdivision Known as the Oakland Road Subdivision.
16. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Reducing the Performance Guarantees of Woodland Estates/Rand Homes.
President Rattner: Okay, Consent Resolution, Mr. Guenther. Also, I believe number one we agreed to take off from what was on the…that we discussed at the workshop, so it’s 2 through 17.
Mrs. Lashway: Well, I renumbered it, I didn’t number that one. If you’re looking at your new agenda….
President Rattner: Oh.
Mr. Guenther: In the revised agenda….you’re looking at your old one.
President Rattner: Oh, you knew it was going to come off.
Mr. Buell: Get on the right page, will you….
Ms. Labow: Yes, let’s pick on him.
President Rattner: Okay.
Mr. Guenther: Don’t we have to add to this, the…..
President Rattner: That’s non-consent, these are the consent resolutions, we have a few items on the non-consent.
Mr. Guenther: Okay, I got you. Do you want me to move it?
President Rattner: Yes, move 1 through 16 on the….
Mr. Guenther: You’re not asking anybody if they want any taken off?
President Rattner: Okay, anybody want anything off?
Mr. Greenbaum: I do.
President Rattner: Darn.
Mr. Greenbaum: Number 7. I have a comment on 5, I’ll take it off, unless I can just make a brief comment as part of the consent resolutions, because it does allow clarifying.
President Rattner: We’ll make you do it, so we eliminate discussion later, if you just want a clarification.
Mr. Greenbaum: No, I just wanted to congratulate the Administration…
President Rattner: Okay, we’ll let you do that now.
Mr. Greenbaum: I want to congratulate the Administration and Kathy on receiving that grant for Lou Nelson Park. I know it’s an extremely important piece of real estate for that portion of town and it’s a park which has been neglected in the past and I’m very happy that the Administration has moved the ball forward with regard to that issue and kudos to you.
President Rattner: Thank you. Mr. Perkins.
Mr. Perkins: Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to remove number sixteen – move it over to non-consent.
President Rattner: Okay, so we have number 7 and number 16 being removed, any others? Okay, now, Mr. Guenther.
Mr. Guenther: Okay, I hereby move the consent resolutions number 1 through 6, 8 through 15.
Mr. Buell: Second.
PUBLIC PORTION ON CONSENT RESOLUTIONS
President Rattner: Okay, we have a motion and a second. Anybody from the public like to address those items? Mr. Bonte.
Richard Bonte, Budd Lake: Thanks Rob, I wanted to be the first one to give my thanks to the Mayor on resolution number 5, you said everything I wanted to say. We can’t forget all the little parks in town, so thank you, Mr. Mayor. I had a comment/question on number 6, which is the engineering services for the reconstruction of Sunset Drive. Is the total amount of that job, including all the engineering and the reconstruction $140,000 or is it somewhat…is it higher than that?
Mr. Dorsey: It doesn’t include the construction. Oh, no wait a minute.
President Rattner: The $140,000 is the grant, not the cost of the construction.
Mr. Bonte: Yes, are there additional….
Ms. Jenkins: The ordinance was for $190,000. Yes, we authorized debt for $47,500.
Mr. Bonte: Okay.
President Rattner: Mr. Bonte, one of the things we do when….no I want to tell you what we do with grants, how it works is that a lot of times we knew how much it was going to cost and we had an estimate. When you look at the program we’re going after, I’m just saying why, because sometimes they’re different, some people want to know why we didn’t go for the whole amount. We know where the average, you know, where we have a good chance of getting it because the State likes giving out grants; so, at the time, we knew it was probably President Rattner(cont’d): going to be more, but we felt that for this grant program, our best chance is in the $125,000 to $150,000 range and that’s how we’ve done them in the past.
Mr. Bonte: Okay, so the total project cost is approximately $190,000. Alright, that’s all, I just wanted to….I was concerned about the relative percentage cost of the engineering fees to the $140,000, but you’ve answered my question. Thank you.
COUNCIL COMMENTS ON CONSENT RESOLUTIONS
President Rattner: Okay, thank you. Anybody else from the public like to address anything on there? Seeing none, is there any other discussion?
Mr. Guenther: I just want…I have a question in relation to the Sunset Drive reconstruction. I had sent an
e-mail, and I addressed this to the Mayor or the….Mr. Katona. I sent an e-mail to Mr. Ruggierio, there had been a, I don’t want to say complaint, but a statement, an e-mail sent to me by a resident of Sunset that claimed they had never been informed of this upcoming project. I never received an answer to that e-mail. I asked him to take it up…to answer me to find out, you know, what notification had to be given to the residents and I never received an answer. If someone could follow-up on that so….I think, you know, maybe we don’t notify them until we know when it’s going to be constructed, but I….I mean, this is a relatively new resident on Sunset and he might not have been aware of all the discussions that have been taking place for the last year or so, but I still think that in some formal way, the residents there should be informed as to what’s going on.
Mr. Katona: I don’t know the answer to that as we are, but I will find that out for you tomorrow.
Mr. Guenther: Okay, thank you.
President Rattner: Anything else? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
RESOLUTIONS NON CONSENT
President Rattner: Okay, now we’ll go to the non-consent resolutions number 7, Mr. Perkins.
7. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Declaring JJF, Inc. a/k/a Homesteads by JJF, Inc., in Default of its Obligation Under its Developer’s Agreement and Authorizing Enforcement of Performance Guarantees Pursuant to NJSA 40:55D-53.
Mr. Perkins: I move for adoption of resolution number 7.
Mr. Guenther: Second.
President Rattner: Anybody from the public like to address the Council on this resolution? Seeing none, I’ll close the public comment portion.
Mr. Greenbaum: Yes, no, I heard that Mr. Ruggierio actually went down and inspected what was going on at the site personally, and I think it’s important, because I’ve heard all different factual scenarios as to what is going on down there. I would like to delay passage of this resolution until Mr. Ruggierio comes back, so we can find out from him personally what’s going on and get a correct factual scenario as to what’s going on down in this particular portion of town.
Mr. Dorsey: Well, there’s no need to rush this resolution.
Ms. Labow: I just want to add one thing to this also, is in the e-mails that went back and forth that I had with Gene Buczynski, I was told that Owl Paving was supposed to do that.
Mr. Dorsey: Tilcon?
President Rattner: No, Tilcon.
Ms. Labow: I know, but originally it was going to be Owl and they were going….they said they’d be out there in two weeks after the agreed upon amount, so I don’t know what ever happened to them and now we’re at Tilcon?
Mr. Dorsey: That’s my understanding.
President Rattner: Well, I don’t know, we can’t pick the contractor.
Ms. Labow: We can’t…I know…I just….
Mr. Katona: The situation, as I understand it, is moving forward at that location. Mr. Ruggierio wishes to move forward with this, should any of the negotiations between Tilcon or whichever contractor is there, and is supposed to complete the project, does not. He believes that this will put us in a better position with more leverage against the contractor and the developer to fix it in a more rapid fashion.
Mr. Greenbaum: It’s been a lengthy period of time already, another week is not going to make much of a difference, is it Ed, to just get the factual scenario correct. I’m just concerned that, ultimately, by moving on this performance bond without really knowing the true facts of what’s gone down there and what is going on, that we’re going to open ourselves up to an additional lawsuit and I don’t see that delaying it a week makes much of a difference.
Mr. Quinn: I might be able to shed a little bit of light on this, we have a meeting down there 8:30 tomorrow morning with Tilcon, just to go over the pre-paving for that area, so we should have more answers tomorrow on when it should be done.
President Rattner: Wait, then if….then that goes back, if Mr. Greenbaum just asked to say to put it off because we were told, you know, this was put on because it was an action….in fact, I brought up the question during the workshop, because I know we’re past there, if we knew that we’re meeting, and a pre-construction meeting is always held, and if we’re moving ahead on our schedule, why would we do this and threaten them, usually, you know, when you do something like that, they make you stop and figure well, let them collect from the bonding company, I guess…
Mr. Greenbaum: I make a motion to table.
Ms. Labow: Second
Mr. Dorsey: It’s been moved and seconded to table it.
President Rattner: Okay, Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
16. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Reducing the Performance Guarantees of Woodland Estates/Rand Homes.
President Rattner: Resolution number 16, who hasn’t done one? Ms. Labow?
Ms. Labow: No, it wasn’t me, it was Mr. Perkins.
President Rattner: No, I know he took it off, I said who hasn’t done one. Mr. Perkins may have a problem with it, so I don’t want to make him move it.
Ms. Labow: Yes, but I’m going to…that’s my area, too, so I would rather not, because….
Mr. Guenther: Alright, I’ll move resolution number 16.
Mr. Buell: Second.
President Rattner: I don’t think, Ms. Labow, I don’t think that was the reason why Mr. Perkins wanted to discuss it further, that’s why he pulled it off, not because he lives in the area. Anybody from the public like to
President Rattner(cont’d): address resolution number 16, which is the reducing the performance guarantees of Woodland Estates? Seeing none, I’ll close the public portion. Mr. Perkins, you wanted it taken off, so you must have a concern.
Mr. Perkins: Yes, I have a concern. I saw Gene’s memo of July 15th and we’re basically looking at the satisfactory installation of the storm drains, the sanitary sewer and the curbing. Now, albeit, we’ve only had one tremendously heavy rain, which did overflow onto the streets and I’m not sure that the catch basins, you know, totally were working, but they should have been. I would defer a question to my colleague, Ms. Labow, and ask if any of the other neighbors had any complaints about any of the runoff from that development as of late. I have already heard from two.
Ms. Labow: Not that I’ve heard of lately in my own….it doesn’t seem to be better than what it was. It’s not worse than it was, and you’re right, there was only one rain since then.
Mr. Perkins: Considering, Mr. President, the tremendous amount of flooding that we’ve had there, meetings subsequently held with Councilman Greenbaum, myself, Ms. Labow, we had Mr. Buczynski out there, I’d like to defer this until I can get a little more clarification from Mr. Buczynski on why he feels we need to reduce this.
Mr. Dorsey: Make a motion to table this.
President Rattner: Why don’t we just vote it down?
Mrs. Lashway: Wait a minute, when it comes to bond reductions and the land use law and timeframes in 45 days, and if you’re going to vote it down, I think you want to table it, because if you’re going to vote it down, I think you have to put on record why you’re not complying with their request for the land use law.
Ms. Labow: They talked about this at the Planning Board meeting a couple of weeks ago, Rob, I think you weren’t there…
Mr. Greenbaum: I was not there.
Mrs. Lashway: I think you should table it.
Ms. Labow: You were not at that one, but the Mayor was there, but they did give an extensive reason why it was….
Mr. Perkins: I make a motion to table this.
Mr. Buell: Second.
President Rattner: Any other discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
16. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive to Submit Question of Constructing a Capital Improvement, Namely a Department of Public Works Garage and Facility to Referendum. (Draft 3)
17. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive to Submit Question of Constructing a Capital Improvement, Namely a Department of Public Works Garage and Facility to Referendum. (Steve Rattner’s Version)
18. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive to Submit Question of Constructing a Capital Improvement, Namely a Department of Public Works Garage and Facility to Referendum. (Draft 5)
President Rattner: Okay, now we come to resolutions 17, 18 and 19, they are all the same resolution to do the same thing, because this way, it’s like a Chinese restaurant, you know, we get to pick from either A or B and if you want to switch from B to A, it cost you $2.25 extra. This is the wording of the question to construct the Public Works facility. I guess we got three or four versions from the Administration, they were working on it, and I gave my opinion on what I thought was a clean one. Anyway, we…I don’t have a problem putting one question on about this, I think it’s needed. I made my thoughts known that this just backs us into a corner, that President Rattner(cont’d): if the people say no, and even if we really need something, we’re going to be pretty hard pressed to go against the voter’s wishes, but that being said, we have a choice of three questions. We have two that the Business Administrator said that he’d be happy with and we have the one that I thought made it as plain as possible, saying exactly what we were doing and why and then, as I brought up at the last meeting, I think what the real work for the Administration to do is they have to get out the public information and say why we need it, why, you know, what the cost savings and why we have to have it and what’s going to go forward, and that’s where we’re going to convince the people, just putting a question on the ballot that they’ll see the first time when they get their sample ballot, I don’t know if it’s going to convince many people. So, with that, does anybody have any comments on the different wording?
Mr. Buell: I like your version, but I would like to go to the, I guess it’s version 19. I like also the one sentence there, the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act will greatly increase the cost of this project, however, the cost, and I changed the word “can” to “may” be avoided if the project is approved by public votes.
President Rattner: Do we know what the additional costs are other than permitting?
Mr. Buell: Pardon.
President Rattner: Other than permitting, what are the additional costs? I mean, I had the problem…that was the question I asked.
Mr. Buell: That’s the reason why I say to change the word from can to may.
President Rattner: But I think if we put that out, we’re going to have to tell the people…explain to them, I have a problem, because if you read the Highlands Legislation, it doesn’t say that you can’t build, what they did is they really restricted how close you can be to water, the critical slopes, I believe mountain ridges, that type of thing. So, putting in a question, even may or something, then we go back and maybe it isn’t something, that’s why I liked it without.
Ms. Labow: He’s moving your resolution.
President Rattner: No, he wanted it with a change, he wanted to add, he was blending two of them now.
Mr. Guenther: The main issue of the Highlands Act is, you’re absolutely right, it doesn’t prohibit, it puts limitations, but it’s the land involved. First of all, they have 18 months to draw up a, this Council, to draw up a master plan. There are ninety days to name the Council, there is another period of time, if you go through with this, there is a domino effect of time frame, that amount probably close to two years or two and a half years, where, in effect, you have a building moratorium, you can’t do anything. That’s really, I think, that’s really the basic issue. Granted, there will be additional costs, but I don’t know how you explain that to the public, but, you know, I think that’s really the key issues, one of delay that we will probably not be able to get to even start the process for two years, and then the approval process, who knows how long it’s going to take or how cumbersome the DEP is going to make it.
President Rattner: But that’s why it’s very hard getting that into a question that’s understandable. That’s what I’m saying about the information that you have to get out. You know when you look at….when there’s a referendum, look at the schools or any other referendums, Green Acres, some of the others, there’s always information, what does it mean, what does it cost, you know, giving pictures so people can understand what they’re voting on, that’s where you do it, not trying to make a question really complex. The question is should we build this building? I think we’re muddying the water by starting to put things in by trying to defend the question, we can say that in there, we said that, I think I like mine, I said it’s the last component of something that we’ve always planned, it’s a geographic center, the facility in their current are undersized, expenses to maintain don’t meet, you know, OSHA and building codes, it affords protection. I think that’s really what we’re trying to do.
Mr. Dorsey: That’s in your resolution.
President Rattner: Well, I have to make sure there’s a consensus.
Ms. Labow: I want to know what the plan is from the Administration to sell this to the public.
President Rattner: Well, Mr. Ruggierio said, at the last meeting, that they hadn’t thought of that yet, so they hadn’t gone with that, otherwise, you know….it’s going to have to be done, because you have to get the information out if you want the people to vote for spending money.
Ms. Labow: Alright, let me ask another question. Since it’s non-binding and it goes on the ballot this November and the public votes no, since it’s non-binding, then we could still do it if we want, but it will take us two or three years with the Highlands?
President Rattner: No, I think as a practical matter, if the public votes no, are you going to turn around and say that the public is wrong? Why ask them the question, if you’re not going to take their advice? You’re putting it on the ballot asking the public should they do it.
Ms. Labow: But this is really critical, we need to have this building for several reasons, so it’s important that if it’s going to be on the ballot, then it’s done the right way. If it’s not going to be done the right way, then we have….what?
President Rattner: I don’t believe that’s happening, we don’t know what the actual rates, we don’t know if it’s going to be overturned, there’s a lot of different things that this public needs. When I talk to the people in DEP, if we tell them that it’s part of the reclamation of there, because we know that the ground’s polluted, it’s very close to the water, and if you say that we’re replacing that….it’s in a municipal complex, there’s still the 20% rule, they haven’t decided what that means that you’re allowed to expand up to 20%. Do they mean the buildings that we already have that have already been approved. There’s a lot of different issues that could be there. I’m just worried, if I go out to the public and then after we ask the public should we build it, and you give them the information, and then a couple of weeks later, then you go well, I know, but we really need it, so we’re going to do it anyway.
Ms. Labow: I know, that’s what I’m saying…so, how are we going to handle this, because it’s something that’s very crucial?
President Rattner: No, I’m saying…I’m willing to put it on, but let’s just make the question real simple and then with the information getting out, I’m not disagreeing with putting it on.
Ms. Labow: I just want it to be done right, because….
President Rattner: We have to do a good job in selling it to the public.
Ms. Labow: Right, that’s what I….so we need to have a plan, so everybody understands, not that I…I just want to address Mr. Bonte, I care what the public thinks, I just don’t want to fool them.
President Rattner: And we don’t know if this meets the qualification for being capital if it’s voluntary, because I think we’re talking schools, but anyway. Anybody else? What’s everybody’s preference on which one, you know mine, I wrote mine.
Ms. Labow: I like yours, Steve.
Mr. Guenther: Who drew up draft 5?
President Rattner: That’s Mr. Ruggierio.
Mr. Guenther: Oh, so he drew up both 3 and 5?
Mrs. Lashway: Yes. Mr. Ruggierio did 3 and 5.
President Rattner: Mr. Perkins, what’s your preference?
Mr. Perkins: I move number 18.
Ms. Labow: Can we ask the public, I mean, so….
President Rattner: That’s what we’re asking them to evaluate. We have to phrase the question.
Mr. Buell: Number 18.
Mr. Greenbaum: Number 18.
President Rattner: Okay, Mayor, do you have any, you know, I know we all have a different opinion. Do you think that putting more information in the question….
Mr. Dorsey: You can only put so much in.
President Rattner: I know, but that’s why I tried cutting it down, but you know, there’s a certain amount of leeway, it’s enough words so the Clerk checked, it will fit.
Mayor De La Roche: Well I think whatever gets the job done, is satisfactory to me. I don’t particularly care about the wording. The simpler the questions, the more likely the public is going to read it and the longer it is, the less chance they’re going to read it and vote favorably, so…
President Rattner: And then we can give….
Mayor De La Roche: I think it really always comes down to how you sell it to the public as opposed to what the question actually says.
President Rattner: So then, you like the most precise one?
Mayor De La Roche: That’s my personal opinion.
President Rattner: Okay, somebody want to move resolution #18, then we hear the public’s comment?
Mr. Perkins: I move for adoption of resolution #18 under non-consent.
Mr. Guenther: Second.
PUBLIC PORTION ON INDIVIDUAL RESOLUTIONS
President Rattner: Okay, now comments from the public? Mr. Bonte.
Richard Bonte, Budd Lake: Thank you, you all picked the right one. I mean putting in the question some of the reasons, especially regarding, you know, the law and having to do this by December 31st, is inappropriate, but I do take objection to the words non-binding. If you’re going to have a referendum, make it binding. We did have a non-binding referendum in this town once, in the 1980’s for the purchase of the land commonly referred to as the Tarn. The public overwhelmingly wanted to purchase it and the Council elected not to because it was a non-binding referendum. I don’t see any point to a non-binding referendum, and you might actually be challenged by the State if it’s not binding. When this December 31st day comes, they may say well, this was only advice, the public didn’t really commit. So, if you’re going to do it, and I understand why you have to do this, so if we’re going to do it, let’s do it. If the basis of the need for the facility exists, in other words, if every one of you truly believes that we need this facility, it is an integral part of the operation of this township, if you’re satisfied with that, then let’s put it to the voters and say do you want to do it, or don’t you. As far as trying to sell it to the public, I would like to be very careful how you do this, I personally would take offense to using public funds, public mailings and whatever, to sell this point to the public, okay? So, I don’t want to see a….I personally don’t want to see public newsletters, fliers, postage, whatever, being used to sell this point to the voters. You all have the tools that you can use to the newspapers and whatever to get your point across. I’m not opposed to what you’re doing here, but I think that government, itself, needs to be neutral once it puts a question to the voter, so I….and I think you should take the word non-binding out. Thank you.
President Rattner: Mr. Greenbaum, you wanted to respond to that.
Mr. Greenbaum: It’s not necessarily that I wanted to respond to Mr. Bonte, it was to state my position with regard to the referendum. I think it’s a horrible path to go down, horrible….outside of the Highlands Act, which no one really understands, or no rules have been promulgated against, and Planning Board is moving down the line of dealing with applications now, subject to the Highlands Legislation, not knowing what effect it’s ultimately going to have as we move forward. We, as elected officials, are put in a position to make decisions with regard to capital purchases and the referendum, really on what we do up here is the next election that we are all up for, and if we don’t do what the will of the public necessarily wants, we get voted out of office and I think it is a horrible, horrible path that if all of us up here agree that this is needed for Mount Olive, then that should be what is required, and to go down the road of a referendum, and I know it was part of your campaign promise, Mayor, along with the rest of the Democrats, to put all of these out to referendum. Personally, I find it Mr. Greenbaum(cont’d): to be bad government and that’s why I will not vote for any of these resolutions and I believe that we should just….if we are convinced as a group, as I’m sure we all are convinced as a…..all of us sitting up here agree that we need this garage for the reasons that are stated forth in the resolution, let’s move forward with it, let’s do it, and ultimately if we are wrong, and I can’t see how we’re wrong, there may be a public back cry that we’re spending money, but the town needs it, let’s do it and I don’t believe that the Highlands Legislation prevents us from doing it without referendum.
President Rattner: We’re still in the public session….we’re still in the public portion, Rob just wanted to respond about the referendum. Go ahead, we’re still in the public portion.
Ned McDonald: I agree with Mr. Greenbaum, I think that you’re going down a path here that where does it stop? If you get to the point that you’re going to have referendums on every major expenditure, this could go on forever, it could get very confusing and I just don’t think it’s the way to go for our governmental body to put everything out on referendum, you’re sort of abdicating your responsibility for making decisions. I think you should face the public and make the decision, if they don’t like it, in public comments…you have to take the advice of the public, but I don’t think you can just abdicate your responsibilities by doing this. If you do chose to put it out to referendum, I think it’s a real bad point to have that non-binding in there. It just looks a little bit sleazy that you would put something on for the public to vote on, but then say, well regardless of what you say, it doesn’t really count anyway. What’s the point of it, it’s just…..it looks deceptive, whether in fact it’s deceptive or not, I don’t think it looks good. I think that, again, you’re just abdicating your responsibility and trying to back-off from what your duties are. Thank you.
President Rattner: One thing, and I just want to clarify why we’re doing this, because I agree with you normally, I mean I generally agree with that concept and I said that, that we should just go ahead if we really need it and do it, just like Mr. Greenbaum said. What my concern was in June, when I actually read the Legislations, I don’t know why, but I did and I got it confirmed, section 30, which was new, it was put in right at the last minute, from the Environmental Committee and it went through their conference. Section 30, which is new, Section A, The following are exempt from the provisions of this Act: The Regional Master Plan, and it goes on and it says in regulation adopted by local government. Number 13, this means it’s exempt from anything….Highlands, the construction of public infrastructure project approved by public referendum prior to January 1, 2005, or a capital project approved by public referendum prior to January 1, 2005. So, what they said, and I have to agree about getting a question on, if we want to build it, because we don’t know if we can get around it. I’ve been given some words that maybe we could, but nobody knows what’s going on, as Mr. Greenbaum has said, the regulations won’t be out for eighteen months, but if this is one of the exceptions that’s in the Legislation, I don’t have a problem getting it on the ballot, so at least we have this, because if not, it may be that it says that we can’t at all, we don’t know if that’s the way it’s going to come out. I just wanted to say what….that’s the exact wording from the Legislation.
Mr. McDonald: So, if that’s the case then, you know, I…there may be a problem if it’s non-binding….will non-binding satisfy the letter of the law. Secondly, maybe you shouldn’t be trying to do this, you’re really trying to get around what appears to be the will of the State and the will of the people on this Highlands Legislation and I think if a member of the public was trying to build a shopping center, or something, you wouldn’t be looking favorably on somebody trying to squeeze in under the door, so to speak, on the Legislation. You would look at it on the other side, you would say well, the spirit of what has been set in law in New Jersey is that we’ll abide by the Highlands Legislation, and my feeling is that that is probably the way to go. It may be unfortunate, but we should be endorsing the Highlands Legislation.
President Rattner: The Mayor wanted to say something.
Mayor De La Roche: I just want to say that, obviously the Legislation that Mr. Rattner just read to you, was put in there for a reason and it’s to afford us an opportunity to do it this way, rather than wait two or three years while all our equipment is sitting out in the snow and we’re already in non-conformance. This is a thing that has been dragging on for many years, now we’re putting it out there so that, based on the exception, that’s put into the actual regulations and why would we want to wait two years to find out that, yes we could have done it, or no we can’t do it, we need it. It’s not just something that happened overnight, it has been going on for a number of years, but we do need it to protect our equipment. The State has their reasons for doing the Highlands Legislation, our reason is to protect the equipment, which is very expensive, as you know, right…and to protect the workers, to provide them a place to change, safety and all the rest of it. These are things that are necessary, we’re not doing it because of some campaign pledge, we’re doing it because that’s what is afforded to us at this time. We only have two choices, we can wait to find out whether we can build it or we can go this route in order to test it. So, we’re taking what we consider to be the most appropriate approach, which is to put
Mayor De La Roche(cont’d): it out to the public, which is provided to us as a result of the regulations, and make it non-binding, because it’s not a matter of whether we want it, it’s a matter that we have to have it, in my opinion.
Mr. McDonald: Well, then what…okay, then if we’re going to do it, I think it should be made binding. I think you should be honest enough with the public to say if you vote for it, we do it, if you vote against it, we don’t do it.
President Rattner: Okay, we’ve said that, we’re going over and over again and it’s getting late. Thank you. Anyway, Mr. Guenther.
Mr. Guenther: I just want to make one….I mean, Mr. McDonald made a point about this is the will of the State or all the people and I refute that. There was…part of the Legislation, there were very arbitrary decisions made as a designation of areas and we have an example of that in town, where this is purportedly to protect the water supply, yet the Flanders well fields, that whole area down there, is not even in the core area. So, I mean, there were a lot of….there was a lot of political dealing back and forth, so the world of people…..I put that in the question, I do agree, I will not vote for this unless it’s made binding.
Mr. Dorsey: Yes but you can’t make it binding. I think under the statues…..
Mr. Guenther: Why not?
Mr. Greenbaum: Yes you can.
President Rattner: Continue, Mr. Dorsey.
Mayor De La Roche: Well, what happened to this attorney’s advice we’re supposed to follow?
Mr. Dorsey: I think the Township Council can only put a question on it as non-binding. We did have an instance, I think that Mr. Bonte was involved in, which the Township adopted an ordinance and he then, under another statute, effectuated a binding referendum to reject the ordinance, but that….these are done under different statutes. My memory’s correct.
Mr. Buell: Why do we have to make it non-binding?
Mr. Dorsey: Because I think the statute only provides for the Council to put non-binding questions on the referendum. There is another statute, and Mr. Bonte is chuckling now, in which he organized a referendum which was binding, because the purpose of that referendum was to overturn an ordinance that was already adopted.
Ms. Labow: Now that just explained it better to me.
President Rattner: Okay, Mr. Bonte, you still want to mention something? Is there anybody else from the public who wants to get up after Mr. Bonte? I think this is the last thing we have on the agenda, so…
Mr. Greenbaum: I’d like to hear where Mr. Bonte got his law review…law degree from.
Mr. Bonte: First of all, Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Greenbaum, I agree with you 100%, the only reason that I would support this referendum…this is your job to do, this is not the voter’s job to do….the only reason that I would support the referendum is if, in fact, what Mr. Rattner read is true. If the law provides that we can do this prior to, we’re not circumventing anything, we’re just complying with the law that exists. So, I would support the referendum under that condition and that condition only. Otherwise, you’re correct, 100% correct. I do believe, Mr. Dorsey, that the….under the Faulkner Act, the municipal…the legislative branch has the option of putting either a binding or non-binding resolution on the ballot, and I believe you put a binding resolution on a couple of years ago when you did the LOSAP, I don’t believe that was a non-binding resolution question. So, I do believe, if my memory serves me correctly, then certainly I defer to you, but I would like to have that looked at again. I am very concerned about this being non-binding, because I think in the eyes of what goes on in Trenton, one could look at this and say, well, this was advice, it was not approval. A binding referendum is approval and direction, so I think we should go with binding.
President Rattner: Thank you, Mr. Bonte. The Mayor wants to say something, then I’ll go down for everybody, one time, each person gets one shot.
Mayor De La Roche: I just want to remind people, at the risk of sounding, well, let me just say this…right, I hate to think of how many budgets the Board of Education has put up that were knocked down by the public and later amended by either the State and/or other bodies, I mean, it’s a historic thing that goes on constantly, so I would have thought if the budget is knocked down by the voters of the town that paid for it, that that would be enough, but obviously there’s always this escape hatch and that’s basically what this is providing us and, you know, we need the building, so…and…just the same as all the public voted to knock down various budgets, Board of Education budgets, but the State still keeps it open where you can appeal to the Commissioner of Education and/or the Council, or whatever, and you can get it through and it has happened numerous times. I have represented many Boards of Education, I know how it goes, and it’s basically….I want to put it up as an analogy to you, it’s the thing here, this provides us an opportunity to get it through, because we need it.
President Rattner: Okay, we’ll come down….is there anyone else from the public? Close the public portion.
COUNCIL COMMENTS ON INDIVIDUAL RESOLUTIONS
President Rattner: I’ll take final comments on this question. Mr. Buell, did you have something else you wanted to say?
Mr. Buell: I…just that I’ve wrestled with this one. I agree with everything that Rob says, except the problem with that is it’s probably going to be three years before we could even start to design the thing and I think we have to have this thing, I think we have to get our trucks away from that lake and get them up here in a safe facility, and therefore, I’ve got to vote for it, for just that reason.
Ms. Labow: I also agree with what Rob said and I agree with what Steve read, the thing…what I don’t like is the non-binding part because it is something that we absolutely need to have for our equipment, for our workers and everything else, and if it’s the only way we can do it is to put it on the referendum, I think we all have to make sure the public understands why we’re doing it, and if it does have to be non-binding….I don’t like the non-binding part, because it still needs to be done, so I don’t like it if the public says no and then you do it anyway, that really bothers me.
President Rattner: That’s not going to happen.
Ms. Labow: I know, but it’s something that we need to have.
Mr. Guenther: I, in principle, agree with Mr. Greenbaum and everyone that the government should not be done by referendum but we are here elected to do the will of the public, but this is an exception and I suggest to Mr. Greenbaum, if he has a hard time reading the Highlands, understanding that particular clause, that it was his fellow attorneys who happened to write that, that maybe they get a little clearer in their language.
Mr. Perkins: We’ve discussed this DPW garage, through my tenure up here and I know it was discussed before I got up here and, unfortunately, Mr. Bonte and Mr. McDonald, what we’re looking at is, as Council President has read to you, this was like, okay, this is the only way you’re going to be able to proceed, I mean, you’ve been here long enough, you know how quick we make decisions up here to do things, if we miss this boat around, it could be missed out for another two years and, quite frankly, with the PEOSHA of violations and whatnot that we’ve seen and the condition of our equipment as it continues to deteriorate, as well as the building, the safety of the personnel, I like Mr….the Council President’s draft of this. I do agree with Mr. Greenbaum, that everything does not need to go out to binding referendums, I would like us to make the decision here, but as Mr. Guenther has also pointed out, this is the last course, we had no choice but to put this on. So, hopefully, you guys all understand that I’m a minority in this issue. If we didn’t have to do it this way, we surely wouldn’t.
President Rattner: Mr. Greenbaum, do you have anything else?
Mr. Greenbaum: Yes, I do. I could start my comments with something along the lines of the only reason we need Highlands Legislation is because of the over-zealous real estate brokers that we have….I won’t, but seriously, I’m not talking about….I think we all agree that government by referendum is not a good thing and the real central issue comes down to whether or not we need this in terms of the DPW garage and moving forward in light of the Highlands Act. My position is that the Highlands Act is very unclear and I don’t think Mr. Greenbaum(cont’d): that the State government is going to take a very critical look at a municipality such as us trying to put a DPW garage in an area such as we are trying to do. Now, I think the critical issue that we need to focus on is yes, we all agree that we need this building. The only way to insure that this building gets built is not to put it out to referendum, it’s to go through the process without the referendum, because if by chance the referendum fails, the project is done and then what do we do? We are done, we pushed it forward to try and get around the Highlands Legislation and now we have nothing, what do we do, as opposed to just going forward and dealing with the Highlands Legislation, if it takes another year, year and a half, two years, we’ve waited ten already, and you know what, we’ll deal with the situation. Let’s move forward and not put this out to referendum, I agree we need it, let’s do it and let’s be on with the decision making process.
President Rattner: Okay, we have the motion on the table….
Mrs. Lashway: And it’s seconded.
President Rattner: And seconded, we had our discussion, Roll Call.
Mr. Buell: Can I ask a question? We had several discussions about binding and non-binding….
Mr. Dorsey: Non-binding. That’s the way Mr. Ruggierio voted and I think that’s the only alternative we had.
Mr. Buell: Okay, I’ll…
President Rattner: Is there any way we can word the resolution saying we’ll have it binding unless you find, you know, before it goes to the Clerk, that it is not allowed by law and that you can make it conform, would that be….or would that be just knocked out on the technicality because we didn’t word it properly.
Mr. Dorsey: I don’t know what the County Clerk would do if you were to say this is a binding resolution. I don’t think that she would reject it, I don’t know that she scrutinizes the questions to see whether they’re legally correct or not, so you kind of have to take your chance, or you can pass it….pass one for binding and one for non-binding and see if she’ll put the binding one on, I don’t know what else to say.
President Rattner: We’ve gotten the advice from the Business Administrator who feels it should be non-binding, the attorney thinks this should be non-binding, they finally agree, I don’t want to rock the boat, and I think the Mayor actually may agree.
Mr. Buell: I’ll withdraw my question. Are we voting?
President Rattner: We’re voting.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously, except Ms. Labow and Mr. Greenbaum voted No
President Rattner: Okay, it passed.
Mrs. Lashway: Alright, 17 and 19 are off.
President Rattner: And then we have the non-consent that Mr. Dorsey wrote.
Mr. Dorsey: Okay, a resolution of the Mount Olive Township Council awarding a contract to Library Interiors Inc. in the amount of $107,510 for shelving and the installation of same for the new Mount Olive Municipal Library.
President Rattner: Assuming that it meets everybody approval, could somebody move it?
Mr. Guenther: I move it.
Mr. Perkins: Second.
President Rattner: Anybody from the public like to address this, this is what we discussed at the very beginning. Seeing none, I’ll close the public comment portion. Any comments from the Council? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
President Rattner: Okay, Motions. Raffle Applications, Ms. Labow.
1. Approval of Raffle Application #2047 for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church.
Ms. Labow moved for approval of the Raffle Applications and Mr. Perkins seconded the motion.
President Rattner: Okay. Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
President Rattner: Renewal of Peddler’s Permit, Mr. Guenther.
2. Approval of the Renewal of a Peddler’s Permit for Joe Verderese for Mobile Food Vending and for Joy Sparandera for door-to-door solicitation for computer services.
Mr. Guenther moved for approval of Renewal of a Peddler’s Permit and Mr. Perkins seconded the motion.
President Rattner: Any discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously, except Ms. Labow voted No
President Rattner: Bill List, Mr. Perkins.
3. Bill List.
Mr. Perkins moved for approval of the Bill List and Ms. Labow seconded the motion.
President Rattner: Okay, do we have an answer, do we have time to review, well, I have the one bill that I wanted reviewed and that was the JCP&L #46415.
Ms. Jenkins: I have it here Steve, and we paid what’s on the invoice so I’m not sure what the question is. If you want, I can show it to you.
President Rattner: There’s a balance, we’re paying the invoice amount then we’re paying a couple of months worth.
Ms. Jenkins: #46415, right? Well, then you’re looking at something different…..
President Rattner: It’s two different months. Here it is, you had the previous balance and didn’t pay it all, there’s a prior balance due, here’s your current charges, and then this amount, so $3,406.
Ms. Jenkins: Okay, so you’re looking at that sub-account….
President Rattner: I’m looking at, yes, here take this….here it is right here. Here’s all the stuff, it looks like you’re paying the statement amount, not the invoice amount….it’s two months worth. You’re paying the past due amount with the current amount.
Ms. Jenkins: I’m sure it’s because we didn’t get the other invoice, which is what Colleen’s paying.
President Rattner: We need something, we just don’t pay….there’s no comment….
Ms. Jenkins: You want backup for that…
President Rattner: Yes, before…then we’ll withhold that one, just until we have the backup, because we’re paying a statement, not an invoice.
Mrs. Lashway: Are you removing it?
President Rattner: Yes. Okay, Mr. Buell.
Mr. Buell: Yes, I would like to remove the check for invoice 1422, for $450. ING from the bill list until a report is issued and provided to the Council and to the public.
President Rattner: Yes, we were promised a report on that about a month ago, Mr. Ruggierio said he had a meeting on the 16th with Mr. Carroll, the attorney from the Board of Adjustment. After, when we didn’t hear a response, I did call Mr. Carroll, he said that Bill couldn’t make the meeting, that Catherine sent him some information, but he was never asked to take any action. So, with that, he wasn’t told what he was supposed to do with the information he got, so I guess you want it pulled off until we know what we paid for and why.
Mr. Buell: Absolutely.
President Rattner: Because Mr. Carroll wasn’t really sure, too, based on the very plain…the court decision, if that’s what it was supposed to evaluate whether that was in conformance, which he said was very plain, it was whether it was in the same spot or not in the same spot and there was something else that was on there.
Mr. Katona: The report was to be provided to Mr. Carroll for his review and to see that if the inspection, by the independent electrician, or the independent radio contractor, would verify whether the property in question was in compliance with the conditions or not in compliance with the conditions. Whether Mr. Ruggierio completely conveyed that to Mr. Carroll or not, I cannot attest to, but we do have a professional who has come out and provided service to this community. He has issued a report and it is in our possession, that we either have or will provide to the attorney for his review.
President Rattner: We were promised a report a month ago and we have been asking for it. Mr. Carroll also told me that the report doesn’t address the issue at hand, so we want to know what we paid for. He said the only thing he was involved with, and with the Board of Adjustment and then what went to court, was location…location, height, height they know was taken care of, then there was location. This addressed something different, so we want to make sure what it is that we got addressed. We were also supposed to get that report at the meeting, I guess, of the 27th, but I guess if he couldn’t make the meeting, he didn’t have it, and we haven’t gotten an update, and I know a few of us keep asking, and it was going to be forthcoming, and we haven’t got a forthcoming. I guess that is what’s coming up.
Mr. Greenbaum: Yes, I mean, it’s interesting, Ed, you’re dancing around the subject of the report, obviously you have the report, why hasn’t it been provided?
Mr. Katona: I don’t have the report. I have not seen the report.
Mr. Greenbaum: You don’t, but when I say you, I’m talking about…you’re in the place of the Administration. Obviously there was a report that was prepared and you have said that it was to be given to Mr. Carroll. I don’t care whether it’s given to Mr. Carroll, I’d like to see the report if we’re paying for it.
President Rattner: And, in fact, Mr. Ruggierio, at the beginning, had asked me whether that was coming out of the Council budget. I said we didn’t authorize any report, because he said he didn’t, he thought it came from us, we didn’t contract anybody, so it is a touchy subject. He asked if we could charge it…that we were paying for it and we didn’t understand what we were paying for.
Mr. Greenbaum: I would like to have the report by next meeting.
Mr. Katona: Well, I don’t know if that’s….if you’re asking Mr. Ruggierio to conduct an investigation, then if he is seeking additional legal advice, I think that seeing that report…at some point in time, you will be entitled to it, but shouldn’t you allow the professionals and shouldn’t Mr. Ruggierio issue that report himself, before you receive the report of this professional?
President Rattner: That’s right and it was promised almost a month ago and that’s what we have….
Mr. Katona: Well, then that’s a different issue than paying this vendor’s bill, I think is what’s before us.
Mr. Greenbaum: I’d like you to refer to Mr. Ruggierio that I would like that report by next meeting. Whatever response Mr. Ruggierio is going to give back as to why he is not giving it to me or giving it to me, that will be Mr. Ruggierio’s response. Thank you very much.
Mr. Katona: It certainly will.
Mr. Guenther: Well, that was essentially….and I also wanted to point out…I don’t think it was just a matter of the location of the tower, it was one of the use of the tower, and I would like to see what the scope of this investigation was, so I think we’re entitled to see the report where there really covered all the bases that were supposed to be covered. So I concur with Rob Greenbaum, that we’d like it as soon as possible.
President Rattner: And, Mr. Katona, if you are aware of the report, then you probably also know it’s probably dated at least sixty days ago, and if we’re asked to pay for something, and a report that we were going to get in the sixty days that it’s been received, we should’ve seen it by now, otherwise we don’t know….that’s why we’re reviewing the bill list, because we want to know what we’re paying for and that’s really what the issue is. I mean, we could get it on for next week, just held over until next week, that’s all.
Ms. Labow: Also, I would like to….and you’re saying that Mr. Ruggierio didn’t know who ordered it and he thought we ordered it, so how can we find out who ordered it?
President Rattner: It may have just been words, but he asked me if we would pay for it because it was our request that we hire somebody.
Mr. Katona: Wasn’t this an issue that was raised by Council whether there was a violation of a township ordinance or a condition of approval on a Zoning issue, and wasn’t Mr. Ruggierio asked to investigate that?
President Rattner: Yes and we haven’t been given that information that it’s been done, or what work has been done. He…it was promised to us, we haven’t gotten it, and then we start wondering why haven’t we gotten it. We’ve gotten a lot of reports we haven’t paid for because they weren’t done correctly.
Mr. Guenther: Well, the request was, Ed, for the Administration to do its job. We…it’s an enforcement issue, okay, so it’s….if they need to spend money to enforce what the decision was of the Board of Adjustment, that’s an Administration responsibility, so it wasn’t….we’re requesting them to do their job, that’s all. That was the request. We never requested an investigation, we didn’t….we just said find out for us if this…..now whatever he needed to do to get that done, that’s his business.
President Rattner: Yes, but, Mr. Guenther, that I don’t think is the real problem, the problem is that if they need it to do their work, they have a budget, they can go out and hire somebody for a couple dollars, that they’re allowed to do. We were promised a report, we were told we were going to get the report, this is going to happen at a meeting on….this was at the beginning of July, we were given a date when it was going to be resolved, we would get it after that. If we haven’t gotten it, we just want to see it, that’s all.
Mayor De La Roche: Well, when you spoke with Mr. Carroll, did he indicate to you when he received the information from Mr. Ruggierio?
President Rattner: I think he received it via….from Catherine…when he…it didn’t come there….but he wasn’t told what he was supposed to do with it, what he was expected….
Mayor De La Roche: Well, he’s the Board of Adjustment’s attorney. It was sent to him so he could evaluate whether, in fact, it complied with the orders, I believe. It was done in order to expedite it and to afford everybody who is in the loop the opportunity to comment on it and that….
President Rattner: And I agree with you and Mr. Carroll explained to me that what the Board of Adjustment, and what the lawsuit was about, was very narrow. This report did something different, the report was that if a facility comes down, you are allowed to….even if it’s not allowed, you are allowed to rebuild it in the same spot. It wasn’t built in the same spot, that’s what the court decision was about. He said he didn’t get involved and there was no court decision on the use.
Mayor De La Roche: My understanding of the issue was whether it was being improperly used and that was addressed by the expert that he hired in order to allay any fears that it was a political decision regarding a Council person, so that report was sent to the Board of Adjustments for them to evaluate, and I’m sure their attorney knows why we sent them, we didn’t just send it because we wanted to send out extra mail, it was sent out so he could evaluate it and express his opinion on it. I’m not really understanding why he’s not able to express his opinion on it, since that’s the sole reason that he’s there.
President Rattner: Well, if he wasn’t defined exactly what he was supposed to do, he doesn’t know what he’s supposed to look at. He just went back to the court decision and decisions what he was a participant in, but whatever, we have been promised and you know, you were sitting there when he said I’ll have a meeting with him, you’ll get it right after that, I just have to check with him, and then you’ll have it. It was a month ago, we still don’t have it. If the only way we’re going to get it,…..
Mayor De La Roche: No, the issue was not what happened many years ago, the issue was: is it being improperly used at this juncture and that…there was no reason to go back and check a prior decision, the reason was to see if it’s being used for services that it’s not supposed to be used for, and I believe the experts said it was not being done, and that’s all that was sent to Mr. Carroll to determine. I don’t know why he doesn’t understand that, but I’ll call him….I’ll try and call him, I’ll have Mr. Ruggierio call him, when he comes back, to find out what….
President Rattner: The real issues were being….we’re supposed to….we were going to get something and then we were going to pay for it. We haven’t gotten it, we’re wondering why we haven’t gotten it, it was promised to us a couple of times.
Mayor De La Roche: We haven’t gotten it because Mr. Carroll hasn’t commented on it apparently, and he’s had it for more than a month and this is the first time I heard this.
Mr. Greenbaum: Who made the decision, Mayor, to refer it to Mr. Carroll?
Mayor De La Roche: Mr. Ruggierio.
Mr. Greenbaum: Okay. I don’t know why it would be referred to Mr. Carroll, this is not a Board of Adjustment issue, this is a township issue and it should have gone to Mr. Dorsey’s office, in my opinion, for review.
President Rattner: If it’s zoning, it would be.
Mr. Greenbaum: No, if this is not someone coming before the Board of Adjustment on the zoning issue, there are all different kinds of attorneys in the township who deal with zoning issues; Michael Carroll is one, Ed Busack is another, Dorsey’s office is the third. When an issue is related to the Board of Adjustment, someone is coming in, by way of application, to get relief from our ordinances, it goes to the Board of Adjustment, Michael Patrick Carroll is the appropriate attorney to review any questions related to such applications. When a matter is going before the Planning Board, because it involves issues related to sub-divisions or developmental matters, it goes to the Planning Board and those issues are properly addressed by the Planning Board attorney. This is neither, this is not an application, this is a matter of whether or not our township ordinances have been violated, and if so, it should have been reviewed by Mr. Dorsey’s office to determine whether or not Mr. Elms violated our ordinances.
President Rattner: And I’m going to disagree with you.
Mr. Greenbaum: Okay.
Mayor De La Roche: And a question for someone to decide whether it’s a violation of a zoning ordinance, which would seem to be appropriate that Mr. Carroll would get it, not implying that Mr. Dorsey wouldn’t be able to give an answer also, that’s not the implication, the implication is that Mr. Carroll is a specialist in this field and there was no reason not to send it to him.
President Rattner: We’re spending a lot of time…all we’re doing is taking it off, we’re not voiding out the check, and we have another meeting next week, and we’ll just pay it. I mean, this is not unusual, we want more information on a bill, we’ve done it on million dollar bills, too, and spent less time.
Mayor De La Roche: No, I think the issue you’re raising had nothing to do with the amount of money, it had to do with whether the procedure was properly followed, that’s all, and I think what it was…Mr. Ruggierio was being over-compensating to be fair to everyone involved.
President Rattner: Mayor, I’m not disagreeing, we were promised a product, we don’t have the product, I’m not going to pay for something I didn’t get.
Mayor De La Roche: I understand that.
President Rattner: That’s all the issue is. Okay…
Mayor De La Roche: The issue is why it was delayed, that was the issue, I believe, not the fact whether or not it should have been done. It was delayed because Mr. Carroll is still holding it.
President Rattner: We’ve been waiting for a couple of months. Mr. Buell, you have anything else to say, or is that it?
Mr. Buell: No, I think I…..
President Rattner: Okay, so we’re taking those two things…you got the two check numbers off and hopefully we’ll get them back on next week.
Ms. Jenkins: Well, this one is an electric bill, so obviously…..
President Rattner: One’s the electric bill.
Ms. Jenkins: I’m going to get you the back up for the other portion of it, okay, and the other one we will take off for the Elm’s investigation.
Mrs. Lashway: Are you taking off the electric bill?
President Rattner: Yes.
Ms. Jenkins: But, you know, we don’t have to get approval for the electric bills, so how do you want to work that? Utility bills we don’t need approval for.
President Rattner: I’m taking it off, if you want to send it out, send it out; and if we find out it’s wrong, then we’re just going to jump up and down.
Ms. Jenkins: Okay, I just want to put that out there. Can we just not put utility bills on anymore, Steve?
President Rattner: No, because the utility bills are where we’ve been having all our problems in the last two months. You’re the one who wanted to put them all on to begin with.
Ms. Jenkins: I know.
President Rattner: Okay, so we’re taking those two off, we’ll get it off next week. Mr. Buell, we’re voting.
Mr. Buell: I would like to amend it to take it off, or is it taken off, or….
President Rattner: Yes, we’re taking…just withholding those two checks, that’s all we’re doing, and everything else is going to be paid for. Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously except Mr. Greenbaum voted No
President Rattner: Okay, so it got paid anyway. Okay, now we come to Administrative Matters.
Mayor De La Roche: Well, I just want to…I want to put something on the record. The Council, by taking number seven resolution the consent resolutions off, has, I feel, done a disservice to the people down in that district who have been waiting a very long time to have their sidewalks…their streets put in, and I don’t get…this was just a matter of developing more leverage, so that the contractor would actually do what he should have done a long, long, long, long, long time ago, so that’s what this is about. By shelving it, you’re giving him another opportunity to escape his bond and that’s what the bond is for is to get him to do the job if he doesn’t do it, so don’t agree with taking it off, but obviously it’s your option to do that, but I think the people in that area have been paid a disservice by not having their roads finally put in after they waited as long as they have.
President Rattner: Thank you, Mayor. Any old business?
Mr. Buell: It relates to the bill list, looking at the invoices, and this is no criticism of what’s been going on….I found out that the tax charges for New Jersey sales tax has been paid on almost all of our telephone and telephonic communications gears for many years, evidently. That just shows that we need to get control over our utilities and over our purchasing function, and I, you know, go back to the suggestion I made earlier in the year, that we look at a single provider of telephonic services, or wireless, or services for telephonic communications in this…for the town.
President Rattner: Well, we’re supposed to be exempt from all sales and use tax, every State but Arizona, which has a problem. The other comes up, what about occupancy tax and stuff like that, is the town exempt from that, because I noticed that on the hotel bills, too.
Mr. Dorsey: Well, I don’t think so.
President Rattner: Okay, because as a federal agency, I don’t pay…I got the same certificate from the State for a credit union.
Mr. Dorsey: I don’t know about that.
President Rattner: No, but we have to look at that, and Arizona is the only one who has a problem. There is an issue if you use your own credit card, because unless it comes under a voucher, if you use your own credit card, you have to pay the sales tax and you can’t get it reimbursed. If it’s supposedly from the holder of the certificate, the tax exempt certificate or the letter, then you don’t have to so we’ll have to look at that. Every little bit helps. Okay, any other old business?
Ms. Labow: I have two things, I just want to comment to Mayor De La Roche’s comment, and the only reason why I wanted that number 7 off, it didn’t make…..we just tabled it. Tomorrow morning the road department is going to be there, and it’s only for a week. So, that’s the only….I don’t think it’s really that big of a delay. The next thing I wanted to ask is several months back, we had passed the ordinance for the hotel tax, have…I wanted to know…are we getting any money for that and how’s that….
Ms. Jenkins: We get money wired in monthly, it’s usually about $4,000 or $5,000 a month, so…
Ms. Labow: Oh really. Wow…
Ms. Jenkins: Yes. So, you don’t see it on the reports that I give you because it’s…we don’t have a separate revenue set up in the budget, so it just comes in as unanticipated revenue.
Ms. Labow: Now that’s 1% for this year, when does it…and I know it’s a cap of 3%, so when does it get raised to 2%, or how does that work, I forget.
President Rattner: I think it was only the first year that we were only getting 1%, because that was a sweetener that the State put in to try to balance their budget for a one-shot deal, then we go up to 3%, I think.
Ms. Labow: And then when does it…but when does it go up to 3%?
President Rattner: After one year.
Ms. Labow: I know, but when did it start?
Ms. Jenkins: It’s either next year or the year after that, I’ll check with Jack for you.
Ms. Labow: Okay, thanks.
President Rattner: Anything else?
Ms. Labow: No, I’m done.
President Rattner: Any other old business? Any new business?
Mr. Perkins: Thank you, Mr. President. In some of the mailings, the packages that we had gotten in our box, we have a letter from Koze and O’Connor attorneys, referencing the matter of petition of New Jersey American Water Company for a tariff change, in that, what they’re doing is looking at a surcharge that’s come by way of the increases that they are being charged for their purchase order, as well as sewer down in Ocean Township. The unfortunate part, as it effects the rate payers and citizens of Mount Olive, is that anybody who receives water via the New Jersey American Water Company will be looking at a rate increase through no fault of their own, only because of different purveyors that they purchase water from in other areas of the State, that is a State wide tariff and I would ask if Mr. Dorsey’s office would be kind enough to compose a letter not unlike the last time I had asked him with the rate increase voicing our displeasure from the Council with passing on a sur-charge for water that they purchase from other purveyors, when all of their water is derived from well sources right here within our own township.
President Rattner: Any other new business? Good, your hand’s not up, Mr. Buell. Legal Matters.
Mr. Dorsey: Only, I have already reported to you that we completed the condemnation hearings before the commissions and I have told you the amount of the award, we assume that Mr. Lum will appeal that decision as well, and we just have to wait for the appeal.
President Rattner: Now we come to Council Reports.
Library Board Liaison Report
Ms. Labow: No…well, I just want to say a little bit for the Library. Saturday night the Kiwanis Club held a beefsteak dinner to raise funds for the children’s portion of the Library and it was very successful, I understand from the e-mails we got, right? I have to say that the meeting Wednesday night at the Library Board was really exciting and it was a little more in-depth and a little more detail of what we saw tonight and it is really, really exciting. I can’t wait for it to be finished, and I don’t think it’s going to open until the first week of December, but….that’s it. Sorry Rita.
Recreation Liaison Report
President Rattner: Mr. Elms is not here, nobody else has any report on that.
Board of Health Report
Mr. Guenther: Oh gosh, I think we had a meeting since our last meeting. I….it was fairly routine, but one other thing under the interest of the Board of Health that’s come up, is the continuing complaints we keep having at the Rosewood Ditch, a health concern, and it was in that vein that I actually looked at that….I had never looked at the ditch myself in detail and we met someone, Mike Henderson, from the Mosquito Control Commission there, Frank Wilpert was there as was Jim Buell and we….it’s a serious problem. I didn’t realize how serious it was until I looked at it and my conclusion of the whole thing is that it was a poor drainage design when they built the senior facility and when they built Flanders Crossing and I think that….it’s really exacerbated the problem that exists down there and what the solution is, I don’t know. We’ve been told…we keep hearing various stories as to….that the ditch was not meant to flow water away, in other words, it wasn’t pitched the right way in order to take the water away, that it was supposed to be meant to absorb. We had a resident tell us, he said that’s not true, they never put the proper basin that’s all clay soil and it doesn’t absorb anything and the proof of the pudding is you go there, there’s a lot of standing water. One of the things that I’m going to recommend is that the Administration…to the Road Department, they do…in the summer months when there’s heavy weed activity growth, that they accelerate their maintenance schedule, that they be in there once a month, because I know that Tim Quinn told me that he was in there several months ago, but it’s like a jungle in there now again. How much that contributes to the problem, I…you know, I don’t know, but certainly by clearing a lot of the growth out possibly, you know, some of the water drains off a little bit easier. I…and if….it will help the mosquito situation, but the Mosquito Control Commission is down there once a week, twice
Mr. Guenther(cont’d): a week, they’re constantly putting chemicals down trying to control the situation, but according to one of the residents we met, the mosquitoes…they have not been able to sit out on their patio without one of those mosquito zappers or, you know, swatting away, or just not even sitting out there, it’s a serious problem. We’re going to have to, I don’t know, we just have to find some kind of solution for it, but, that’s essentially it, on that.
Planning Board Report
Mr. Greenbaum: Thursday.
Board of Adjustment Liaison Report
Mr. Perkins: Thank you, Mr. President. Basically routine matters, except in the matter for Paragon Village, they went for a variance to convert the existing senior building over to a child care facility, only five of the members showed up, so Paragon Village had asked that it be pulled and rescheduled, so that has been rescheduled for a meeting on September 20th, 2004.
Open Space Committee Report
President Rattner: Mr. Elms is absent, I don’t think anybody else has a report.
Legislative Committee Report
President Rattner: Mr. Elms is not here.
Pride Committee Liaison Report
Ms. Labow: Nothing really to report, other than they’re working on the new Billboard and we have…and I said nothing to report, I just remembered…and the DOT is coming in with some….several trees they’re going to be planting in various areas in town and that was initiated through, I believe it was...got the ball rolling on that, so that’s really, really great…going to take advantage of some State tree programs.
Board of Education Liaison Report
President Rattner: The Board of Education hasn’t met since the last time we reported on it, well we had a special meeting, but….
Mr. Buell: We had a special meeting, but it was just personnel matters.
President Rattner: Yes, and we didn’t know until about the day that they called it, I guess.
Lake/Environmental Issues Committee
President Rattner: I don’t have anything.
Safety Committee Liaison
Mr. Guenther: There was a meeting. It was very interesting, it was a presentation about, you know, how homeland security is effecting what they have to do and there are a lot of activities going on in relation to that, it’s very interesting, so, the impact it has on Mount Olive and since we’re a key community with the central location that we have, our people will be major participants in anything that….any incident that happens.
President Rattner: Now we come to the final public portion.
Ned McDonald, Budd Lake: Just a couple questions on the bill list. Page 19, bagpipers for Memorial Day, explain what that is all about.
Mr. Katona: There are certain participants in the Memorial Day Parade who receive a stipend or are paid and this was one of them.
Mr. McDonald: Is that normal that we pay performers or musicians on Memorial Day? Is this something new or has this been going on….
Mr. Katona: I believe it’s been going on for some time. I know that there are some bands that are truly sought after and whoever wants those bands, whichever community, has to pay them to appear in their parade. This year, I don’t know who brought forth the bagpipers, but it was added to the parade and that’s where you’re seeing the bill.
Mr. McDonald: We can’t normally get volunteer groups to…bands or whatever, for Memorial Day?
Mr. Katona: We do have volunteer groups. I think we had the High School marching band this year and the Middle School band performed for us for free of charge. This type of specialty band, for bagpipers, there are few that are available and many of them are signed up for performing.
Mr. McDonald: But it’s something that…this isn’t something new, this has happened in previous years, we do this type of thing.
Mr. Katona: We have paid, or we may have paid, I don’t know….did we…
Mr. Perkins: Yes, we also pay the High School band.
Mr. McDonald: No, I understand the High School, but that’s a little different, I mean, supporting our High School band, but a professional group, or something, it seems a little bit…
Mr. Katona: Well, there is a budget for…to put on the parade, it is a public function and those people who organize it, have decided to include that, so…it’s anticipated and budgeted for.
Mr. McDonald: Alright, one other thing, page 5, telephone reimbursement for Mr. Ruggierio. Is Mr. Ruggierio issued a cell phone, a township cell phone?
President Rattner: No, he asked, when we hired him, he said listen, I have my own phone, I carry it and I don’t want to carry more, it’s $39.00 a month, you pay the same here, would we agree just to reimburse him for his telephone, he would take care of everything else with the telephone, just pay that set amount and we agreed, that was…he asked us for that and we agreed to that.
Mr. McDonald: Okay, very good, thank you very much.
Richard Bonte, Budd Lake: A couple of things, first of all, Paragon Village, I read about this in the papers that they were coming in for a variance for a child care center in the facility. If the Board of Adjustment does grant that, what are the tax implications? If you recall, they are paying….making a payment in lieu of taxes to the township, because it was a senior citizens facility, they came in here and sold the Council on the fact that they were going to have affordable rates for seniors. If you go to their website, they don’t have any affordable rates for seniors, that’s number one. Then now number two, if they’re putting in a child care facility, does that portion of the facility now become taxable like every other business in town? The Board of Adjustment, I think, needs to look at that.
Mr. Dorsey: I think the answer to that is that it will depend on whether or not the Township Council will adopt the kind of resolution they did for the assisted living facility. It wouldn’t automatically, certainly would not automatically become tax exempt.
Mr. Bonte: No, but right now, the building…I mean, if nobody tells this Council what’s happening, they go on their merry way for years making their payment in lieu of taxes and it never gets picked up.
Mr. Dorsey: No, it wouldn’t be this Council, it would be the Tax Assessor who would address that issue.
Mr. Bonte: Okay, well, I’m putting the Council on notice that that’s something you need to consider, because I don’t think they ever met the other part of their agreement, which was to provide affordable senior living in this town.
Mr. Guenther: I was on the Board of Adjustment at the time and well, it depends on what you call affordable, don’t forget everything is scaled according to what the income levels are in a certain part of the County, okay, but the reason they got that tax break, if you will – if you want to call it that, is because of the special financing they got from the State. It wasn’t something that they sold to the town, it was a condition of them….it was a win win situation for us and, in fact, that there wasn’t going to be an impact on the school system, and number two: whatever we collected, would stay strictly in our coffers and none of it went to the school. So, in that…but that was because of the kind of financing they got from the State.
Mr. Bonte: Actually it was the other way around, Bernie. They couldn’t get the financing unless we passed the legislation….
Mr. Guenther: I don’t believe that’s true, okay, I don’t believe that’s true.
Mr. Bonte: Well, we can check that, because I was here at the meetings, and part of the reasoning behind all of this was the affordable housing, and if you look at the rates they’re charging, you can stay in the Village Green for less.
Mr. Guenther: We’ll check it, but I…that’s my recollection.
Mr. Dorsey: You know, it wasn’t affordable housing, it was….
Mr. Bonte: Not, excuse me, not affordable housing, but affordable accommodations for….
Mr. Dorsey: COAH, COAH.
Mr. Bonte: Right, and $1,500 a month, in my estimation, is not an affordable level for a 200 square foot room and all you have to do is go to their web site. I don’t think they ever met what they promised both the State and this town in terms of that, but if they’re going to use this…part of this facility now for a money making venture, then we need to collect the appropriate taxes on that. Secondly, I do have to disagree with my colleague, Mr. McDonald, I don’t believe that we should be paying, and I stated this many years ago, the Mount Olive High School band to participate in a community function. They need to make sure that they’re there every year, gratis, so that they can convince this community to donate to them, that’s a give back to the community for how the community supports them. So, I don’t think that we should be paying township funds to have them participate. Then, finally, I would like to make a request to the Council to consider a resolution this evening and that would be to put a question on the ballot for this November…I understand that the Mount Olive Child Care Center is looking for a facility and the facility that they have in mind is the old Library, and I would like to ask the Council to consider putting that facility on the ballot and let the citizens of the town make a decision as to whether they want to donate a facility for this organization or not and put this issue to bed. Thank you.
President Rattner: Anybody else from the public? Seeing none, we’ll close the public portion and go to final Council comments.
Mr. Buell: None this evening.
Ms. Labow: I have a quick one. I just want to say that the Trail Blazing Program is moving along nicely and I want to officially thank Peter King, he had suggested to me to contact the SLAP program, see if we could get the crews out. I then called Marilyn Ryan and asked her how do I get in touch with the SLAP and she gave me the name and number of a contact, but then she graciously said since she knows them, she contacted them and on the 23rd and the 27th, we will have the SLAP program going out to do the trails and the only thing I have to do is to be there to supervise, so anybody wants to join in, they’re going to come from 9:00 am until 2:30 pm or 9:30 am to 2:00 pm. So, I’m really, really excited, we should get a lot of the trails done. Thank you.
Mr. Perkins: This month, August?
Ms. Labow: Yes. The 23rd and the 27th next week and then Marilyn also told me that I can have them in the Spring, too.
Mr. Perkins: Oh, you can have them all the time.
Ms. Labow: And, you know, I have to say….for everybody…so you know that we also have…the mulch that we’re using comes from the road crews, so this is like a…we’re getting our trails done and we’re getting people out there working and volunteering and it’s…the job’s getting done, it’s not costing us any money.
President Rattner: Thank you.
Mr. Guenther: I did forget to mention something under the Safety Liaison Committee, a very interesting program, this is of interest to everybody in town. The County has set up an emergency phone notification system, and that apparently we, as a town, can sign on to. It strictly works for Morris County, that in case of any kind of an emergency, not just terrorist related, they would have your phone number and they would notify you, for example, if something happens on Old Budd Lake Heights Road, okay, or Budd Lake Heights Road, both Nelson Russell and Richard Bonte will be informed via this automatic system. They tested it at the meeting, it’s unbelievable.
President Rattner: It’s the reverse 911?
Mr. Guenther: Exactly, it’s a reverse 911, that’s what it’s called.
President Rattner: Thank you, Mr. Guenther.
Mr. Perkins: Thank you, Mr. President. Just a couple fast comments, Mr. Greenbaum wanted to get out of here at 11:31, so…I told him I would speak slowly. The Paragon Village…we do plan on keeping on top of those, to find out exactly what’s going to happen, I most definitely want to be there that night, when the Zoning Board hears it. I want to thank Mr. Dorsey for helping me put together a letter referencing any rate increases that go out and, last but not least, even though I didn’t want to have to go to a binding referendum, or non-binding for the DPW building, I think we’ve made the right choice here that we need to go forward with that and get it moving, regardless of what happens. Thank you.
Mr. Greenbaum: I wanted to echo something that Mr. Bonte said, with regard to the referendum specifically and generally, that public funds should not be used with regard to the referendum. I have to tell you that when I reviewed the communicator, which was sent out by the Administration, I almost lost it, it was good for nothing except starting the fire on my deck, in my chimneya and I understand that there’s a newsletter going out with the next….chimneya…I understand….it’s rusted by the way…and I understand that the Administration is planning to send out an additional newsletter with the next tax bill, I think it’s….alright, that’s the e-mail I got. In any event, I think that all of those mass-mailings are propaganda. I thought they were propaganda when they were sent out by the Licitra administration, I know that he was criticized for sending out such things, and to see it continuing to happen is distressful.
President Rattner: Thank you, Mr. Greenbaum. I just have one comment that has to do with the paving at Jennies Lane. I can appreciate your comments, Mr. Mayor, but then I think you should talk to your staff and at least have everybody reading on this same sheet of music. After we discussed it, Mr. Quinn came up and said that we have scheduled a meeting with the contractor for the pre-construction meeting. If we’ve done that and they’re meeting our schedule, then why are we going to make a big deal about doing a lawsuit? If we set a schedule and it they’re keeping with that…we know that Tilcon had the contract, Tilcon is the one who had the scheduling problem, and listening to Mr. Greenbaum’s concern that if they’re cooperating and they’re doing what they’re supposed to, we could just end up with a lawsuit, and the only thing I can think of is because in a couple of hours, we’re going to read it on NJO. Just like, within hours of the last meeting, I was advised that it was on there that Mr. Rattner, if he’s so honest, why is he giving away town property saying how, at the meeting, that he’s giving away money. I had a business association and gave two vans to his friends, and I should be investigated for that and that came from the meeting which only ended a few hours before. I could look up here and I’m sure that nobody is up here now that I’m looking at, at least as far as Mr. Buell goes, reported that to the person who wrote it and I know who wrote it, and so…obviously some of these statements and some of the other ones that come up right after the meeting, is just for that type of comment. I don’t appreciate it, I’m not saying that you sent it out, but obviously there is only a very few people we know at midnight, at the last meeting, there weren’t many people here, so we can count who the people were here, and so were some of those comments, and some of the other comments that have come up, especially when it’s on there and we’re told I got all the tapes and we know who’s been asking for all the tapes of every meeting and then the person who boasted I have the tapes and that’s where I’m getting my information from. So, I think now we’ve made the direct link, I’m just asking you, as the…basically the head of your party, that you’re the one who said you want to cooperate, and you want to at least…we can have disagreements, we can agree to disagree, but some of these comments….and some of the comments…and this was within 12 hours of our meeting last President Rattner(cont’d): time, that were so distorted, and I really refuse to believe it was Lisa Lashway on there at night and that’s just where I want to leave it. We had a….I find some of the things have been so ridiculously distressing, there is there, I did pass around…you saw the class action suit, I know I passed it around to the Council of AOL, because a legal firm found legal grounds on getting the information out in California. There is also a case in New Jersey, and there has been a couple…and different things, as long as you can prove slander, you know, show that there is a good possibility of slander, that you have the right to go in and request the name of who’s been sending it, and I’ve already placed a call, they said that firm out in California is going to call me, I don’t know if the laws are the same, but at least how you go about it, because I’ll tell you that some of the things on here are slanderous and just hiding behind anonymity doesn’t cover you and I think the laws are changing and I’m going after it. I mean, when I’m accused, and I’ve taken such care anytime the Mount Olive Day Care Center comes up, especially called I have a business association with a private company and I should be investigated, that is slander even if you’re under the anonymous heading and that is not allowed and there may be recourse, I don’t know. I’m not going to spend a lot of time, but I’m just getting frustrated when it’s a direct line from here to be on-line within hours of going.
Mayor De La Roche: Who are you directing these remarks to, me? I have never…let me just see…why don’t we have a…take a vote of everybody on the Council, I have never, I repeat, never posted in my entire life. Now, why don’t we go down the list and see who posts on a regular basis, that’s on the Council.
President Rattner: I didn’t say…
Mayor De La Roche: No, but you’re…it’s an accusatory type of remark you’re making.
President Rattner: I didn’t say you did.
Mayor De La Roche: I have no responsibility for other people only to say that I personally have never ever posted any remarks regarding anything that ever happens. I have never, in my entire life, posted. Why don’t we go down the Council and find out who posts on a regular basis, because that would make everybody very happy and you, as the titular head of your party, ought to consider that, too.
President Rattner: You’re there, you said that you have it, you, at your meetings, say that you can control and everything else. You know exactly who some of these people are and where some of the information came from.
Mayor De La Roche: Control what, I have no idea what you’re talking about, control what? I just told you, I’m well known for the fact that I don’t go on the computer on a very very rare basis, and it’s usually the food channel, I go there to get a recipe. My only involvement with computers is to go to the food channel. Why don’t we go down the list and find out who posts, up here, on a regular basis and why don’t we really discuss the problem with Jennies Lane. We can discuss a whole bunch of…I’m willing to stay here all night if you want to discuss all these things.
Mr. Greenbaum: What’s the problem with Jennies Lane?
Mayor De La Roche: I don’t know. What is the problem? You’re the one who tabled it, what’s the problem with it? Could it be that there is somebody down there that you don’t personally like and…is that possible? You have said, and I believe you said it on these postings that Mr. Rattner brings up now.
Ms. Labow: It’s gone out there first thing in the morning.
Mr. Greenbaum: Well, I resent that comment, Mayor.
President Rattner: Well, if I finally find out who posts, and they’re going to have to say where they got the information and the township tapes, then we’ll find out exactly what’s going on.
Mayor De La Roche: Yes, I would wish that you, as the legislative body, would do an investigation of the entire situation, not just the people that talk about you, but how about attacks on the Mayor, who hasn’t attacked anyone, and I’m on the record for saying I have never posted. Is there anybody else here that can say that?
Mr. Greenbaum: I will tell you…
Mr. Guenther: What are you making the accusation that every one of us posts up there? That’s a scurrilous lie.
Mayor De La Roche: No, I didn’t say that, did I? I never said that you did, I said why don’t you go down the list and see who doesn’t.
Mr. Guenther: Yes you did, you made that insinuation.
President Rattner: Okay, move for adjournment.
Mr. Greenbaum: Wait, no, I would like to….
Mayor De La Roche: You have never posted?
Mr. Greenbaum: I didn’t say that.
President Rattner: Will somebody call the meeting…
Ms Labow: I move to adjourn.
President Rattner: Do we have a second?
Mr. Greenbaum: I have never….I have never…Mayor, I have never….Mayor, excuse me, Mayor….
President Rattner: All in favor?
Mr. Greenbaum: Excuse me, I have never posted except under my own name and I have never asked anyone else to post, can you say that as well?
The meeting was adjourned at 11:50 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 ___________________.
Lisa M. Lashway, Township Clerk