Mt. Olive Township Council Minutes
August 22, 2000

Council Minutes August 22, 2000

The Regular meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council was called to Order at 7:30 pm by Council President Sohl.

According to the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate Notice of this meeting has been given to the Mount Olive Chronicle and the Morristown Daily Record. Notice has been posted at the entrance of the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mt. Olive, New Jersey, and notices were sent to those requesting the same.

ROLL CALL: Present: Mr. Guenther, Mrs. Kelly, Mr. Spino, Mr. Rattner, President Sohl

Absent: Mr. Heymann, Mr. Scapicchio

President Sohl: For the Record, Mr. Heymann is on vacation this week, and Mr. Scapicchio notified us today that he has a family engagement. I would also like to acknowledge the attendance of the Business Administrator, Sandy Kaplan; the Township Attorney, Bob Fisher; Deputy Township Clerk, Mary Eckel, and Director of Public Works, Bob Casey.

PRESENTATION: Bear Education and Resource Group of New Jersey Debbie DiPalma

President Sohl: First on our Agenda is a Presentation by the Bear Education and Resource Group of New Jersey. So, I would invite them up. And we have a Resolution on for later. So, if you want to address us now–you said about five minutes, Right? All right.

Mrs. Debbie DiPalma, Mt. Olive Township: Good evening, Mayor and Council, my name is Deborah DiPalma of Mt. Olive, New Jersey. I’m here on behalf of the Bear Education and Resource Group in regard to the proposed Bear Hunting Season. The Division of Fish & Wildlife has announced plans for a bear hunt for the first time in 30 years. I am requesting a resolution to ban the hunt for the following reasons:

1.) The current population of black bears in NJ is unknown. In 1996, the Division stated that the bear population was 625. The Black Bear Management Plan released in 1997 estimated that the bear population in the year 2001 would be 700. Also in 1997 Patricia McConnell reported in a news release that the black bear population is between 450 and 550 bears. In 1999 a biologist with the Division reported that there were between 550 and 600 bears. The Division now claims that there are 1,000 bears.

When I questioned a biologist about these figures, he stated that the figures are “hazy.” The state of NJ has “experts” putting out news releases with hazy information. The Division also does not know the number of breeding females. Doesn’t one need to know how many cubs might be born in future years? Can you confirm that any of the information you have received or are to receive from the Division is not hazy, incomplete or untrue?

On June 22, 1998 the Division issued two news releases. The first dealt with their financial woes and efforts to remain solvent through June 1999 due to a lack of license increase. The second dealt with the alleged rising of complaints against black bears. The hunting of an animal to fatten a paycheck is animal abuse.

Fatal hunting casualties in 1998 numbered 93 and non-fatal numbered 894. The state of NJ reports an average of 20 hunting accidents each year and 16 innocent citizens injured by hunters.

What would be the legal ramifications if a hunter killed someone in the Township if the Township voted to support the hunt?

The arrows that will be utilized in this hunt cause the bear to bleed internally and eventually bleed to death. The bears’ (cubs, mother bears) screams of agony and the writhing of their bodies while they drown in their own blood is the reality. How can anyone call this management? This is an atrocity.

A hunter has trespassed on our land twice. The first time was during deer season last year and the second time was during turkey season this year. He came directly on posted property, killed two animals that were on safe land, and then told me, “Leave me alone lady, you are bothering me.” This behavior and attitude toward a private landowner is appalling and obnoxious.

Harrison State Park restricted hunting for approximately 10 years. When the officials opened a deer-hunting season in the park, it was a disaster. Five people were shot, three people died and one brother killed his own brother. Over 10,000 hunters all vying for 175 bears is insane. Public safety, livestock and pets will be in jeopardy. Not one bear has hurt one person.

A recreational trophy hunt will in no way address complaints about unwelcome bears. The Division states it is not a trophy hunt. Then why is a local trophy company, Trophy Art L.L.C., presenting awards to hunters for the largest bear taken by bow, muzzleloader rifle and shotgun?

Many times these complaints simply voice concern about the proximity of bears to their homes and yards and wonder why the bears don’t stay in the woods. Understanding the basics of bear behavior can sum up the answers to these concerns and questions. In simplest terms, the day-to-day activities of bears are driven by two purposes, survival and reproduction. When conditions in suburbia help one or both of these purposes, the animals will be quick to capitalize. Survival depends on an adequate food supply as well as shelter for protection from the elements and predators. Successful reproduction for many species requires adding a den site to the food and shelter equation. Nature provides all these necessary elements but people frequently supplement the food, shelter and denning opportunities when an area is developed. As houses begin to appear in formally forested areas, for example, human provided food for wildlife such as roadside trash, household garbage, compost, gardens, fruit trees, bird seed, suet, lawn grubs, pet food and road kills actually enhance the food supply for adaptable species like the bears.

Bears do not respect our property boundaries, particularity when we make conditions for them so attractive on “our side” of the fence. What do we do? Eliminate all artificial food sources, take in bird feeders, enclose the compost pile, and secure trash in covered containers. Be a responsible pet owner. Reinforce the bears’ perception of you as a predator. If a bear appears in your backyard, scare them off with loud noises, bright lights and thrown objects.

It is possible you will hear from a group, The Bear Truth. This group is comprised of three to four women whose fear is spurious (bogus) as the Division has contracted them as spokeswomen for the hunt. The antics of these women demoralize the strong, courageous women of today. Ms. Dorla Brown claims a bear frightened two miniature horses and three days later the horses aborted foals. The American Miniature Horse Association has stated to me that this is totally foreign to them. This has never occurred to their knowledge and a veterinarian would be able to make a claim such as this. The Merck Veterinary Manual gives the most common cause of abortion to be infection. Ms. Brown does not offer the expert report of a veterinarian to prove her unauthentic claims. There are no vet bills produced nor any proof, i.e., pictures of aborted foals or a bear for that matter-Just allegations. Another women claims that a bear attacked her dog. Dogs absolutely hate bears. They are both very territorial animals. Dogs will defend their territory and bears will defend themselves from the dogs. As a pet owner in bear territory, one must be responsible. Yes God gave us control of animals but he also says not to abuse that control.

In the cases of bears eating rabbits or sheep, life consists of animals eating other animals. This group will most likely provide you with articles on bear attacks. I can provide you with hundreds of articles regarding dogs, coyotes, mountain lions, and wolves attacking and killing adults, children and livestock. This effort on their behalf proves nothing except that in life there is risk involves in everything we undertake. The coyote and mountain lion are hunted animals. Hunting these animals has not prevented the “something bad is going to happen” syndrome.

There is not one shred of scientific evidence that proves hunting prevents a wild animal from coming in contact with a human. There is not one shred of scientific evidence that proves hunting prevents a wild animal from killing another animal for food. Pennsylvania hunts black bears. The state has submitted to me their human-bear complaint logs from 1995 to the present. It is quite substantial. Hunting has not prevented contact. The state of New York will be providing me with their complaint logs some time this week.

The mere act of a bear walking through a backyard is no different than a skunk or raccoon or even a deer walking through that yard. But due to the Division’s incessant teaching of fear, the public is taught intolerance and unwarranted fear of a creature merely trying to survive.

Contrary to what the Division will tell you, we are pushing the bears out of their territory. Over-development of this state has gone unchecked for too long. The destruction of acres upon acres of forest land has caused an imbalance in nature. The black bears are being sentenced to death for eating birdseed, garbage and animals. There is no justification for this slaughter.

The Senate has passed the Black Bear Protection Bill by a 32 to 6 vote. The towns of Bloomingdale, Tewksbury, Montville, Oakland, Fredon. Ogdensburg, Emerson, Andover, Franklin, Riverdale, Ringwood, West Milford, Byram, Mahwah, Netcong, and the Environmental Commissions of Blairstown, Vernon and Hardyston have all passed resolutions banning this hunt. Contrary to what you will be told, the towns of Jefferson and Blairstown did not vote for this hunt, they abstained.

I urge you to be an example of truth, tolerance and strength and pass a resolution banning this hunt.

Thank you.

President Sohl: We have a Resolution on the non-consent portion of our meeting.

Mr. Steve Amber, Sierra Club: I’m the Outings Coordinator for New Jersey Sierra Club. I’ve been leading hikes in this State for 13 years. About 8,000 people have attended my hikes–over 200 hikes. With all our hikes, we really haven’t had any kind of problem with a bear. Maybe once in a while somebody loses some food because a bear comes upon their backpack when they left it unattended. But, in general, bears cause no harm, and are beautiful animals and people enjoy seeing them. Now, Sierra Club is a pro-hunting organization. We have about 665,000 members in the United States, 21,000 here in New Jersey. However, even though we’re pro-hunting in general, we are anti this bear hunt because–I’ll read from Bart Sensor, who’s the State Chairperson for our Wildlife Issues, as well as the National Chairperson for the Wildlife Committee. “We have reviewed the proposal to reinstitute a bear hunt in New Jersey. And to date we find it lacking in ecological or proven social justification. We also find it to be crafted in apparent ignorance of the potential negative environmental consequences that could follow its execution. In short, we fail to see sufficient amount of scientifically valid biological information, and the so must oppose its implementation at this time.” So, basically, Sierra Club is saying, we want to see a moratorium on the hunt, we want to see proper science and normal wildlife management methodology employed and then a determination made on real science and real logic. Thank you.

Mrs. Kelly: I would like to ask to move the Resolution at this time–since we had a presentation, I’d like to move on it right now.

President Sohl: All right. Let me open the Meeting to the Public with regard to this Resolution. Is there anyone who would like to address Resolution #15?

Mr. Bonte, Budd Lake Heights Road: As many of you are aware, I live in a section of Town that has rather large expansion of wooded areas, and then backs up to Allamuchy State Park. About a year and a half ago, I came around the side of my house, I heard some noise and my lights came on, and less than the distance between me and Mr. Kaplan, there was a bear in my driveway. It was a little frightening. I looked at the bear, the bear looked at me, and we both went the other day. What I would like you to do this evening, is pass this Resolution. Yes, it was a little scary, but I’m the intruder, not the bear. And I recognize that. I knew that when I built this house on this property 25 years ago. We’re all intruders in the wildlife’s home. We all have to live with that. We don’t like what’s happening to our shrubs or whatever, either plant shrubs that are compatible, cover them up, put our garbage away, and move back to the city. This is the animals’ home. We need to respect their lives and their need to live here. And if this Council should be doing anything in addition to passing this Resolution, should be doing everything that it can to restrict development in this Township so the animals do have a safe home and don’t bother the humans that have chosen to live in that environment, and possibly investigate the possibility if this bear hunt does become a reality, pass an Ordinance that will prohibit the hunting of bear within Mt. Olive Township. Thank you.

President Sohl: Anyone else from the Public?

15. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Opposing the Hunting and Killing of Black Bears in New Jersey.

Mrs. Kelly moved for approval of the Resolution and Mr. Guenther seconded the motion.

Mr. Spino: I will oppose the passage of this. First of all, I will say this is a little unfair–although I will take fault in not getting my mail and picking it up at an earlier time. Did anyone call any of the hunting groups in Town to tell them this might be on this evening? We do that all the time with other things. There is no representation of them here. Number Two, it’s been said tonight that it’s been 30 years since there was a bear hunt. The reason there was no hunt was because the population was down. The State is saying that the population is high enough now to have a bear hunt. To me, it has nothing to do–in my own opinion–with whether the bear threatens anyone. It’s an animal–and in the United States we have a privilege that a lot of countries don’t have. We’re able to hunt on land either by permission of the homeowner, or Public land. In most foreign countries, you can’t do that. I think it’s a matter of a hunter’s right–and they have rights to hunt bear. I just think it’s a simple right that they have. That I have. Again, I oppose this. If it were done in the true form of debate, we would have the hunters group represented, and I would feel better. Since they’re not here represented, I would be opposed to this legislation. I think hunting should be allowed. And, I think the Number One problem with most wildlife in New Jersey is development. I think if people join with the Towns and the Counties and contribute some big dollars to buy the land–and once it’s your land and you decide not to allow hunting on it, that’s up to you. But that’s not being done. Fish, Game, and Wildlife buy land with tax money that’s taken from hunters. For hunter’s equipment and everything else they use, to buy land. The hunters were the first real conservationalists.

Mrs. Kelly: Actually, the first Native Americans were.

Mr. Spino: And they were hunters, too.

Mr. Guenther: In response to Mr. Spino regarding other countries not permitting hunting. I’m from Europe, and Europeans–where a lot of us came from originally, our ancestors–were very good at exterminating almost the whole wildlife population by over hunting. So, I don’t think that’s a good example to use. I wholeheartedly support this. I think if they don’t have decent data as to how many bears there really are. In reference to Mr. Spino’s comment about having hunters here. It seems that the Fish, Game and Wildlife Bureau is recommending this. I don’t think there was a human cry from the hunters to have this hunt. I think the hunters will go along with it if it’s opened up, but I don’t think the hunters are straining at the bit to be able to hunt bear.

Mr. Rattner: I’m going to oppose the Resolution, also. I agree with Mr. Spino. We talk about a moratorium, I looked and it was a 30 year moratorium. Hunting bear was always allowed, I guess for the last 300 years. Because of the population there was a suspension of that hunting. That’s why they didn’t suspend the hunting of deer. It’s a recreational sport. I’m not a hunter, I couldn’t handle hunting, I couldn’t hurt any animal. But I’ve gone down to the restaurant right here in Byram and had rabbit, deer, duck. I’ve had other things in other parts of the world. I’ll eat it, I’ll wear it. I did hear about people trespassing, inappropriate hunting in inappropriate areas. Well, that’s what has to be enforced. That is dangerous, that is wrong, and there are laws against it today. Just like it is illegal for most honest people to carry a gun, but we hear how many millions of them are out there and you can read in the newspaper every day that human beings are getting killed, and we haven’t been able to do much. So, I think it’s really an enforcement item. I’m not supporting the hunt. If I could–because I think that Mt. Olive is too built up, I would say there is no place in Mt. Olive that you could safely go hunting because you’re too close to residents and active recreation. That is because of the area. I could support something like that if we could legally do it, and definitely on any land that the Township is purchasing we don’t allow, and we won’t allow any hunting. But as far as the State regulation, I’m not supporting it, I’m not saying it’s bad. I’m voting against the Resolution because the Resolution states that I strongly object to it, and I don’t.

President Sohl: I am going to support this Resolution I feel that the research is shoddy as to the need. It may well come to be at some point. I certainly hope it doesn’t. I hope we as people learn more on how to get along with those elements of nature that you cannot train, they’re just there. They’re a beautiful part of our landscape, luckily, and I’d like to see that continue for my kids, their kids, etc. Any other comments?

ROLL CALL: Passed by the majority: Mr. Guenther, Mrs. Kelly, Mr. Sohl voted YES

Mr. Spino and Mr. Rattner voted NO

ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS: NONE

LEGAL REPORTS: NONE

APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETINGS:

February 8, 2000 Present: Mr. Heymann, Mrs. Kelly, Mr. Spino, Mr. Rattner, President Sohl

Absent: Mr. Guenther, Mr. Scapicchio

July 11, 2000 Present: Mr. Guenther (8:05pm), Mr. Scapicchio, Mrs. Kelly, Mr. Spino, Mr. Rattner, President Sohl

Absent: Mr. Heymann

August 8, 2000 CS (Present: Mrs. Kelly, Mr. Spino, Mr. Rattner, Mr. Guenther, Mr. Scapicchio, Mr. Heymann; Absent: None)

Mr. Rattner moved for approval of the Minutes and Mrs. Kelly seconded the Motion.

ROLL CALL: Passed by the majority. Exceptions: Mr. Guenther and ABSTAINED on Feb. 8, 2000.

CORRESPONDENCE

Letters From Residents

1. Letter received August 8, 2000 from David Yourish RE: Traffic Congestion on Route 46.

2. Letter received August 14, 2000, from Richard and Karen Bonte to Governor Whitman RE: Requesting the State to purchase Crown Tower property for open space dedication.

3. Letter received August 15, 2000 from Earl O. Robinson RE: Drainage problem in the area of the homes at 179 - 183 Flanders-Netcong Road.

School Correspondence

Resolutions, Ordinances, Correspondence from other Towns

4. Resolution received August 7, 2000 from the Township of Hanover RE: Supporting the creation of a Conservation Action Fund,. Senate No. 5

League of Municipalities

DOT/DEP/Permits/LOIs

Correspondence from Organizations/Committees/Boards

1. Letter received August 7, 2000 from DEP RE: Permit issued to Commerce Bank/North for the construction and operation of a treatment works application (Flanders-Bartley Road).

2. Letter received August 7, 2000 from DEP RE: Permit issued to GPU Energy, Water Quality Certificate Freshwater Wetlands GP 1.

3. Minutes received August 14, 2000 from the Morris County Planning Board RE: Meetings held May 4, 2000, and June 1, 2000.

Correspondence Regarding Tort Claims/Verified Notice of Lien Claim/Petitions

Land Use/Development Matters

COAH

4. Newsletter received August 9, 2000 from COAH, July, 2000.

Correspondence from Cable Networks/Utilities

5. Minutes received August 7, 2000 from MSA, RE: July 5, 2000 meeting.

6. Notice received August 11, 2000 from NUI Elizabethtown Gas Company RE: Notice of Public Hearings.

7. Notice received August 11, 2000 from Verizon RE: Public and evidentiary Hearings.

Correspondence from Legislative Representatives

8. Fax received August 15, 2000 from Senator Robert Torricelli RE: In support of Governor Whitman’s request for a declaration of emergency so that immediate help can be provided to aid victims of storm/flooding.

9. Fax received August 16, 2000, from Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen RE: Disaster relief for Morris and Sussex Counties

Notices

10. Notice received August 15, 2000 from Courter, Kobert, Laufer & Cohen, RE: Application filed for preliminary major subdivision with the Township of Mount Olive Planning Board to permit the creation of 90 lots, Block 4400, Lots 86 & 108, Flanders-Netcong Road.

President Sohl stated that we had received 14 items of correspondence and asked Council if there were any comments on same.

ORDINANCES FOR PUBLIC HEARING

Ord. 28-2000 An Ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive Amending and Supplementing Chapter 113 Entitled “Ethics, Code Of” Of the Mount Olive Township Code.

President Sohl opened the Public Hearing on Ord. #28-2000

Mr. Stan Roedel, 23 Pine Grove Road: You’re proposing to repeal the Board of Ethics for the obvious reason that such issues should not be dealt with by residents of Mt. Olive in terms of other residents because of obvious conflict. Can you, in a nutshell, tell me what that “obvious conflict” is.

President Sohl: We as a Council wrote a letter to the paper which essentially outlined that. And, briefly, essentially, if I know you, if I’m being asked–let me draw a Court setting. If I’m asked to be a juror on a trial, and I know you, I’m disqualified. We think it’s better to go to an impartial Board. I’ll speak for myself.

Mr. Roedel: So is there anything unique to Mt. Olive Township–or does the Council as a whole think that the State’s provision allowing municipalities at their discretion to establish Township Boards of Ethics, is that wrong?

Mr. Guenther: Stan, I’ll phrase that a different way as an answer to you. Why should Mt. Olive be the only one in this area to have an ethics panel like this? In our research, we determined there is no other Town that has established a panel of this nature, and hasn’t seen a need for it. I’ve talked to a former Mayor from a neighboring community and they felt the same way as we do. The best way is to pass it on to people outside the Town that really are impartial.

Mr. Roedel: But the State does have that provision that enables Municipalities to create their own. I’m just wondering–is there something unique with Mt. Olive that you disagree with the State provision?

Mr. Guenther: Well, I’ll ask you another question. Is there something unique in Mt. Olive that we need an Ethics Board here? Versus any other surrounding Town that doesn’t have one?

Mr. Roedel: Let me go a little bit, and get into it. You mentioned research saying that no Township in Morris County has–

Mr. Guenther: I said the immediate area. I didn’t say every Town.

Mr. Roedel: Did your research come up with any Townships in the County that have their own Code of Ethics?

Mr. Guenther: I didn’t research that.

Mr. Roedel: There is no information on that? All right. The mechanism that the State provides to create the Township Code of Ethics, is first create a Board of Ethics and that Board generates this Code of Ethics. I don’t know how it happened to get to where we are, with both in place and never had Board of Ethics, But, what I’m getting at, since the Code of Ethics that we have in place is different than the General Code of Ethics that’s required by the State in lieu of a Township having a Board of Ethics, and that the State doesn’t provide the power to the Local Finance Board to enforce Municipal Codes of Ethics, it almost seems that you have to repeal the entire section or allow the Township Board of Ethics to stand.

President Sohl: I don’t know the legal answer to that. Bob?

Mr. Fisher: Well, the Statute leaves the discretion with the Governing Body. And this Governing Body, assuming this Ordinance ultimately passes, but, the manner in which the Ordinance has been amended, in the discussions that brought it to this point this Council felt that the decision making with regard to conflict of interest and ethics code considerations would be best made by objective reviewers of the fact and circumstances who were not connected with the Township in any way as elected officials or otherwise, and would not have any tendency to be tainted by personal knowledge of the individuals involved. You could debate it. I’m sure there are people who feel otherwise and there are some Towns that do have local boards. It’s purely a discretionary thing and that’s the way the Legislation was written at the State level.

Mr. Roedel: I don’t know if I conveyed my question. I’m aware of the mechanics and the logic of why the Council has given to repeal the Board. But the Township is setting like a legal precedent of repealing the Board and still having in place a Township Code. It almost seems they go hand in hand. If you have a Township Code, you should have a Township Board to enforce. Are you aware of any Townships that have Municipal Codes of Ethics, but no Boards of Ethics?

Mr. Fisher: I would say that there are. I wouldn’t go so far as to say a majority of Towns in Morris County because I have not researched it either. We have not been asked to do that. But many Towns have Local Code of Ethics Ordinances, yet do not have an Enforcement Board. And, as I’m sure you have researched, there is a State Statute which has a stated Code of Ethics. So, if someone has a complaint, anyone can file a complaint with the Administration, and/or the Council and it would simply then be referred to the State and reviewed and a determination would be made. This Council will make–if they pass this Ordinance–a judgement call that they would prefer to see it done at the State level. I’m not sure your point. Are you trying to say that if they just repeal this they’re doing something improper or illegal? The answer is, “No.”

Mr. Roedel: Can you name one Town in Morris County that has a Local Municipal Code without this–

Mr. Fisher: No. Not right off the top of my head. If you had submitted something in advance, we could have done a little research on it. We represent a number of municipalities in Morris County right now, and we have represented a number of municipalities in the past. I’m just talking from general knowledge. I do not have specifics to quote from this evening. If you would like to contact our office, we can explore it further I’m sure we could give you some examples.

Mr. Roedel: I’d be interested to know if, in fact, it’s a legal precedent that’s going to have problems flying. That’s my concern.

President Sohl: Is there anyone else who would like to address this issue?

Mr. Bob Elms, Smihtown Road, Budd Lake: Does anyone on the Council know why the Board was never been configured since this Ordinance has been in place since 1991?

President Sohl: All I can say, Bob–I was on the Council–I have a ten-year-old recollection of how it came about. I think Mrs. Swasey and one or two others were champions of it at the time, and that’s how it came to be. It was never–in post-‘91, there was never a Board appointed, as you well know. I suspect if the Council at the time had done so, with the prior Administration, we would have had even more fireworks in the papers.

Mr. Elms: But the Council passed an Ordinance, and that Ordinance was then never enforced by the Governing Body?

President Sohl: Well, it was never implemented. If that’s the right term. And I would say, “Yes. That’s correct.”

Mr. Spino: My recollection is, the Council never passed this with the idea of having a Board. That’s my recollection. I was here. And the fact that if there was a need that arose, and someone questioned it, that we could appoint a Board. Our feeling was–at least mine was, is that it would be better to go to Trenton because Trenton would look at it with a little different eye than local people might. And I’ve been told that that’s not a good thing because they would look at it, and even things that don’t need review would get reviewed. They would look for something just to look for something, just to find something. Nothing that would be wrong.

Mr. Elms: What we were trying to set up here, from what the old Ordinance said, my recollection of it was, was a local board where a citizen could come to–

Mr. Spino: No. That was never the goal–that I remember of this Ordinance. The Ordinance was to set up the Ethics–not the Board, the Ethics Code. The Ethics Code was the most important thing. You had a choice of setting up the Local Board, or sending those questions to Trenton.

Mr. Elms: The individual citizen had the right under the old Ordinance to go to the Local Ethics Board, or to go to Trenton.

Mr. Spino: Again, I’m telling you, we never wanted to set up a Board. We wanted the people–if they had a question, to go to Trenton because they had a fairer–

Mr. Elms: But you’re now getting rid of the Board.

Mr. Spino: I understand that. That’s what I’m saying. In my opinion, the Board was never there in the first place.

Mr. Elms: It was in the Ordinance–

Mr. Spino: I’m not saying–oh, never mind. I’m not going to argue with you.

President Sohl: Which is why we have an Ordinance to change it.

Mr. Elms: Earl, have you ever read the regulations on going to Trenton?

Mr. Spino: Yes.

Mr. Elms: It’s like 30 pages of Legalize that you need a lawyer to interpret. Going to a local board where you can sit down and say, “This is what my problem is.” Isn’t that much better for the citizens in Town?

Mr. Spino: Personally, I don’t think it is, because we would appoint the Board. How could–if there’s a question on our ethics, how could people feel they’re getting a fair Hearing at a Board we appoint?

Mr. Elms: Well, the Board has to be appointed at no more than three members of the Republican Party.

Mr. Spino: It doesn’t matter–

Mr. Elms: And it has to be three members from another party.

Mr. Spino: It doesn’t matter where they’re from , it’s that we appoint them.

Mr. Elms: And the Board, if they can’t resolve the matter has the obligation to send it to Trenton, using the right forms and using the 30 pages of knowledge that they, hopefully, would gain by being a Board. I’ll drop that for now. Does this change the Code at all? The Code of Ethics?

President Sohl: Not that I know of .

Mr. Spino: No.

Mr. Elms: Can the State Board enforce the Mt. Olive Code of Ethics? As I understand, our Code is more stringent than the State Code.

Mr. Spino: Ours is modeled after the State. There might be some slight differences.

Mr. Rattner: Back in ‘91, when this was put on, I believe the intent was that we wanted, in our Code to restate what we thought about the ethics, and we used basically what was in the State. I think we used the State Model, or exactly what the State said. We wanted it in our Code, so there was no question if somebody read our Code that this was acceptable or non-acceptable behavior or actions. How many people read all the State Statutes? Then you have to go into the right book, into the right section. We wanted a piece in our Code. It wasn’t required, but it was thought that we wanted it stated in our Code to reinforce what we felt was appropriate behavior.

Mr. Elms: You’re not answering my question.

Mr. Rattner: And I don’t think it’s more stringent than the State.

Mr. Elms: We have a Code of Ethics for the Township, which is not being changed by this. Can the State Board enforce that Code of Ethics if it’s more stringent than the State Code?

Mr. Rattner: It’s not more stringent than the State Code. We used the State requirements.

Mr. Elms: I’ll ask Mr. Fisher. If it is, can the State–

President Sohl: Can they render a judgement, is that what you’re saying?

Mr. Elms: Based on what our Code is.

President Sohl: That’s the first decision that has to be made.

Mr. Fisher: They can render a judgement, this Council can also render a judgement. If it’s a complaint about a Council member, they can censure that member, there are any number of remedies they can do. You have to be fact specific to say what would be done in a certain situation. If there’s a complaint, whether it’s the State Board or a Local Board of a conflict of interest, any number of courses of action can be taken. Including the one where the person acknowledges that they made a mistake, and they step down, or they disqualify themselves from a particular issue, or whatever the issue may be. To talk about these things generically and to paint a broad brush and say what will happen if a complaint is filed. I don’t know that one has ever been filed in Mt. Olive, either locally or at the State.

Mr. Elms: But that’s not what my question was. My question was, if we have a–

Mr. Fisher: Well my question to you is, what do you mean by “enforced?” People don’t necessarily go to jail. They might be prosecuted, the County Prosecutor might step in. It might be something as simple as a letter saying, “We think you’ve made an error in judgement. You should disqualify yourself on the vote.” And then it may be brought back to the Council. To talk in generalities about a Code of Ethics, or a Conflict of interest, or an alleged wrongdoing by a Council member, by a Mayor, by a municipal employee, whomever, we can be here all night, and you’re not going to get a resolution of it.

Mr. Elms: But that wasn’t what my question was. My question was, “If our Code is more stringent than the State Code, can the State Board of Ethics enforce ‘our’ Code over the State Code?”

Mr. Fisher: Again, I go back. What do you mean by “enforce.” What is the perception of what happens when these things go to the State? Do you think they come up here and sit in judgement, and make a ruling and take some action? Sometimes it’s nothing more than a letter back saying, “Yes, we think this is inappropriate.” It doesn’t even have to be a specific violation of the State or a Local. Anybody can file a complaint for anything.

Mr. Guenther: Let’s just assume our Code is more stringent than the State Code. Would the State Finance Board take our Code, put it in front of their faces, and analyze here versus the complaint that’s being filed, rather than using the “lighter” State Code?

Mr. Fisher: I have no idea what the State would do. This isn’t that common a thing. It would go down there and they would review it, and a letter would come back. If it’s that narrow an issue where it violated the Mt. Olive Code but it didn’t violate the State Code, they would probably say that and throw it back to the local level.

President Sohl: Is there anyone else?

Mr. Robert Greenbaum, 104 Crenshaw Drive, Mt. Olive Township: Let me start by saying that I believe that ethics in government is of the utmost importance. Without ethics in government, all decisions could be questioned, and I just wanted to make that clear before I started speaking in favor of this Ordinance. When the issue originally arose, I asked myself, what was the motivation on the part of the group which was opposed to this section of the ordinance being repealed, and what was the motivation of the Council in favor of this ordinance being repealed And I think the Council made their position very clear in the newspaper with regard to having an independent Body review the conflict of interest issues which arose in the Township. And I applaud that. I think that by repealing this particular section, in essence, you are making conflict of interest issues reviews in this Town stronger. Independence is the key. Especially where the local board would be appointed by the Council. Then, who is going to check to make sure the “appointments” don’t have a conflict when they’re deciding the conflict issues? It’s all too close, and I agree with everything that the Council said in the newspaper. Now, looking at it from the other side, what do I see with the people who are opposed to the repeal of this particular section? It’s political. It gives a forum to get issues into the newspaper. It gives a forum to raise issues, which, in my opinion become a waste of resources the Town. Namely the time that this Council and the people who are working to make this Township better. There are many issues in this Town that have to be dealt with. To spend time dealing with ethical issues that shouldn’t have been brought forth in the first place, or haven’t been given to the appropriate independent channels, is simply a waste of the Township’s resources. Now, again, I think it’s important that my position with regard to Township Ethics be understood. I believe they are important, and if there is an ethical issue which has to be addressed, it has to be addressed. But I believe that the independence of the group making decisions is of the utmost importance, and I am in favor of the repeal of this particular section. Thank you.

President Sohl: Thank you. Anyone else?

Mr. Jerry Roskoff, Budd Lake: We have Code without a Board. It’s like having a carriage without a horse. You’re not going to go any place. As far as the Editorial that was recently in the paper–I forget whether it was the Chronicle or the Daily Record. Apparently, the State Board doesn’t do–they’re not very effective. You’re telling me you can’t find 12 honest people in this County? That’s not saying much for this Township. And as far as the State is concerned, it sounds like you slanted it when you say, “immediate vicinity.” It’s just not right when you say “vicinity.” Just because Netcong doesn’t have it, what’s that got to do with us?

Mr. Guenther: I haven’t surveyed all 39 Towns in Morris County–

Mr. Roskoff: If you’re using data, you should be all inclusive.

Mr. Guenther: Let me ask you something, Jerry. You’re saying a Code of Ethics doesn’t have any teeth in it, or does not belong unless it has a Board of Ethics. Could you provide us with proof that whatever Town has a Code of Ethics also has a Board of Ethics. I’d like to see the evidence. If I could see the evidence that that’s true, maybe I’ll change me mind.

Mr. Roskoff: Are you saying in the State of New Jersey?

Mr. Guenther: No, let’s just take Morris County.

Mr. Roskoff: You have me–I can’t quote the source but I think I did see something that there are some areas of Morris County that have a Code and have a Board.

Mr. Guenther: I’d like to see that. But, the question you were asking, the way you were phrasing it–if I understood it correctly is that a Board of Ethics has to be tied in to the Code of Ethics. I don’t believe that to be the case, but you’re saying that the two go hand in hand. Let’s see the evidence.

Mr. Roskoff: This Council has been responsible year after year of passing and there has not been an action officer to make sure that the intent of the Resolutions have been carried out. And this is where you’re at right now. A previous Council passed this thing, nobody followed up. Years later, you sit there and you’re scratching your head. You don’t know what happened. Maybe you should also consider having some sort of an action officer so that when you pass a Resolution, you know if it’s carried out.

President Sohl: Jerry, I don’t want to sound over-simplistic, but the reality is, we are the legislative Body and the Mayor and the Administration, that’s their responsibility.

Mr. Roskoff: It’s called “checks and balances.”

President Sohl: That’s right.

Mr. Roskoff: So you have no check over the Resolutions that you pass?

President Sohl: We pass the Resolution, they enforce it. In some cases–in fact, in a recent case, we went to Court in order to make it happen.

Mr. Roskoff: In some cases, the Administration isn’t even involved. You pass the Board of Ethics, you pass a Code of Ethics. Did you expect the Administration to follow up on it?

Mr. Guenther: Of course. That’s what you pass the Ordinances for.

President Sohl: We’re going around–Jerry, we’re going around in circles. We have an Ordinance before us tonight to change that. Because nothing was done for nine years. We recognize that. I believe we’re taking the right course of action. Others can disagree with me. That’s what makes a discussion–

Mr. Roskoff: Well, I guess I’m a little resentful when I hear the word “politics” thrown in. I think people have a valid argument, and if somebody tries to muddy the waters by saying, “It’s a political issue.” It just leaves me cold.

President Sohl: For the last eight years, every decision I made was called “Political.”

Mr. Roskoff: Did you like it?

President Sohl: It comes with the territory. You either accept it, and move on.

Mr. Roskoff: I guess it’s time for me to move on.

Mr. Candura, 128 Crease Road: Earl, you made a comment before, rather than put words in your mouth, I’d like to hear them again. You said something about–if it did go to Trenton, to the Ethics Board, that they would actually dig deeper than the original intent? That’s your opinion, or something that you heard?

Mr. Spino: Yes. That’s what I’ve been told. Someone tried to persuade me to switch my vote because they thought it would be the easier way out–to have our own Board look at it, give it a “green light” and say, there’s no problem. Trenton looks deeper, with a finer tooth comb and looks for reasons–this is what I was told by people who were involved in the Government. Looks for reasons for problems where there are no problems. Not that they create them, but they look with a scantier view so that there seems to be a problem, and they will turn it back. That convinced me that that would be the better way to go.

Mr. Candura: I’d like to challenge that statement through my first hand experience. I sent a complaint down to the Finance Board and they sent it back to me saying it was “too vague” They sent me a 30-page legalize book, and they told me that I had to specifically go through the 30-page manual, find out exactly what my complaint was, write it up in an “Official Complaint Form” and sent it back. I, personally, would feel more comfortable if it was a Board of my neighbors, fellow residents in Mt. Olive that I could go and sit down with at a table and talk to, and tell them, “This, I feel, is a problem.” I think that that’s an easier way for John Q. Public, citizens of Mt. Olive to get their point across. It may be right, it may be wrong. But if it’s a resident’s opinion that there’s an ethical issue, they should be able to voice it to someone in their own Township.

Mr. Spino: You just gave me another reason to vote for this Legislation. When you’re going to defame someone, or say someone has an ethical problem with something, if you have a local board, you can do it without any proof. You can go as a friend and say, “Hey, look, that guy did this, and this, and this. I don’t have any proof. He just did it. I know he did it.” If you’re saying in Trenton that he has to have documentation of a problem, that’s even more convincing to me that it should be done that way. If you’re going to say someone has an ethical problem, don’t you think you should have some substantial data and documentation that that happened, and not just some person’s word of mouth?

Mr. Candura: Well, wouldn’t it be up to the Board to come back to the resident and say, “We examined your allegation and we find nothing.”

Mr. Spino: Oh, then what is your recourse then? “Well, these are political appointments. I don’t believe them. They’re just giving me a political answer.” That’s what we’re trying to get out of. If there’s a problem–and I don’t care who it is. If there’s an ethical problem, bring it up. Send it down there. If it’s out of our hands, in a sense we wouldn’t be on the Board–and when I say “out of our hands” meaning “local hands” and the decisions are made and that’s a problem–if you have an ethical problem, whether it’s a letter of rebuke or to take a vote over again without that person on Board, or to do whatever the State recommends, then you’re getting a real decision. Or, if the State says, “There is really no documentation that this happened.” Well, isn’t that a good answer, too? It might not be the answer you want, but it’s a good answer because it’s true. There’s no documentation that it happened.

Mr. Candura: By leaving the Ordinance the way it is now, you have the ability to appoint the Committee or not to. By repealing this, aren’t you actually insulting the people because “You’re not competent enough to sit and judge your peers.”

Mr. Spino: No, not at all. We were told, because it’s there, you have to have one. Well, I feel personally, it would be better for a person who has those problems, or feels there is someone who has ethical problems that they should bring it up, and bring it to someone with the documentation rather than we handle it.

Mr. Candura: I feel it’s too intimidating for a regular John Q. Public to go through the formal procedure of going to the Finance Board in Trenton, and I wish you would reconsider and not pass this Ordinance.

President Sohl: Anyone else?

Miss Jacqueline Candura, Crease Road: I also feel that, if you’re going to give up the Public’s right to have this Board, you’re also taking away positions that would get more Public involved. I know that Towns like to get people involved. This is something that would do that. And, we’ve never even tried this. Why haven’t we even tried this before we decide to give it away?

President Sohl: There was no call for it.

Mr. Spino: There was never really an intent for this Legislation to have a Board. It’s in there. This is not the first mistake we’ve made, and it won’t be the last mistake we’ve made. We’ve passed other legislation with things in it–usually, Mr. Bonte is the one that points it out to us. That’s what I would say this is. It’s something that was in the legislation that the Council never thought we would–

Miss Candura: Why not prevent a mistake. This seems like you’re giving away our right.

Mr. Spino: Well, in my opinion, we’re going to be doing that by allowing people to go to Trenton with their questions about ethics.

Miss Candura: Well, just my opinion, I feel you’re giving a right of the Public away.

Mr. Spino: Well, I liken it to–and a lot of people don’t agree with it, but, if you’re involved in the Township Government in a form, or you work for the Township Government, and you’re involved in a case where you have to go to the Municipal Court, there’s a change of venue. They send you to another Court because you’re involved, whether you’re a Councilman, or you work for the Township, you have a conflict going to the local Judge with that problem. So they send you to another Town to do that so the people on both sides get a fairer Hearing.

Miss Candura: But you said there hasn’t been any complaint that has been brought up.

Mr. Spino: The only one I’m aware of is the one that Mr. Candura said he brought up–that he said he sent to Trenton. In eight, nine years? That’s the only one that I know of. There might have been others. I don’t know.

Miss Candura: But, if there hasn’t been a complaint wouldn’t it make it even harder–to go to Trenton, because it’s not here?

Mr. Spino: No, because it’s done by mail.

Miss Candura: Exactly. It’s done by mail. If you’re talking to a person, I feel you get the whole story, more than in writing. I feel it would be resolved better, and more personal, and more understood.

Mr. Spino: Well, I don’t think it should be personal like that.

Miss Candura: Not necessarily personal like friend to friend. But, as a person to person, on the level. I talk to you, you talk to me, we have an understanding of the problem, we can come up with a reasonable solution. Instead of, “I have no idea who these people are, whatever. I can just do all this paperwork and get it over with.” That’s just my opinion. My personal feeling is, it hasn’t been researched enough to just throw it away. And that’s my opinion.

President Sohl: Anyone else?

Mr. Bonte: I didn’t plan on speaking on this, but I have several questions. First of all, why now?

Mr. Guenther: Because you brought it up.

Mr. Bonte: If I hadn’t brought it up, the Council would continue to be in violation of their own Statute.

President Sohl: Right. So we thank you for bringing it up.

Mr. Spino: Likewise, if you brought it up eight years ago, we would have done it eight years ago.

Mr. Bonte: Several of you were here when this was passed. I don’t remember what the vote was, but I’m sure it wasn’t four to three, because it sounded good at the time. If you pass this Ordinance–I don’t know if you had any intent at the time, but you should have. When the Council passes an Ordinance, that Ordinance establishes a Committee it should have been appointed. Why did this go on for nine years?

President Sohl: We’ve already told you, Rich, we don’t--I don’t know why it wasn’t. Is any one of us up here individually responsible for that happening? I doubt it.

Mr. Bonte: I think you’re all responsible. I can’t excuse a legislative Body that passes laws, and in this case, the law is specifically for them to enforce by the appointment of this Committee. I can’t excuse that. What’s the purpose of having a Legislative Body if these laws aren’t carried out? It doesn’t make any sense. Now, you all know me. I’ve been coming here for over nine years. I’ll take issue with anybody that says that I’m political. I’m not running for office, nor have run for office. I didn’t bring this to your attention because of politics. Things that I read in the newspaper and were confirmed by the Township Attorney and the Mayor, they’re not politically motivated. I don’t want any of your jobs, I don’t want his job, and I don’t want the Attorney’s job. It’s merely a finding of facts. So, I want the Record to be straight. There are no political issues here, and I’m not politically involved in this. With that, I’ll leave you to your vote.

Mr. Tom Casserly, Lozier Road, Budd Lake: I really don’t think you should vote for this. You have it in the Code, I don’t see any reason why it should be taken out of the Code. It hasn’t hurt anything in these eight years until now, as far as I can see. Just pushing this off is making it harder for everyone else that if something does come up, it makes it harder for each and every one of the people in Mt. Olive. It’s a whole lot easier to come before someone in the Town, even if it’s informal, to speak to somebody person to person, and not write letters to someone in Trenton, and you don’t even know if they’re just taking it and throwing it in the circular can. They open it up, stamp it, “Oh, look at this guy. We don’t know who this is. He’s probably got an axe to grind, so let’s not worry about it.” Mr. Spino says he thinks that they’re going to look at things harder down there. Well, as far as I’m concerned, if any of you ever had trouble with car registration, they don’t have too many brains working down there. I really think we could get 12 people in the Town that don’t have an axe to grind, can actually sit there and not be political about it, and try and look at things in a clear mind. I’m a Republican, and I’m very upset that you’re all just lining up, everybody says, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes...We’re going to get rid of it.” I just think if it ain’t broke, there’s no reason to fix it. I hasn’t hurt anything being in there for these eight years. I say, go the other way. Appoint the Board. Get the thing rolling. You put it in the Ordinance for a reason eight years ago. Now you’re saying that reason went away? I don’t know where it went. As far as I’m concerned, it’s still there. That’s all I have to say.

Mr. Tom Tarn, Crease Road, Budd Lake: I haven’t been to a Council meeting for a while, but I felt tonight was critical for me to be here for two reasons. This is the first one. In reading the articles in the newspapers, and having been here when the Ordinance was passed, and listening to discussions as to why the Ordinance was passed, and why the language was put in there to put together a Body within the Township to be able to deal with issues locally, before we had to go to the State–which is, you may as well go to Russia in terms of dealing with Trenton. I think we all know how the bureaucracy works down there. It doesn’t work well. My first impression is, we’re trying to take a step backwards–not quite back as far as the neanderthal age, but, it’s pretty close. The idea for the Ordinance to be self-policing, to be able to deal with our problems locally is the foundation of what we were trying to do back then. That reason still exists today. We’ve never even given it a chance. We have absolutely no idea that this is a bad ordinance or a good ordinance because we’ve never used it in its entirety. We’ve never appointed a Board, we’ve never had a problem. So, how do we know? We’ve already had one, maybe two examples of situations that could have gone before this Board this year. So, now what do we end up doing? We’re going to react to it, we’re going to take that part out of the Ordinance so that we don’t have to deal with it again. This is nuts. The law was put on the books for a specific reason. Give it a chance to work. In a couple of years from now, if it doesn’t work, then take it out. And I’ll be the first one to stand up here and say, “Take it out because it doesn’t work.” Just like I’m standing up here now saying, “Give it a fair chance.” You shouldn’t be voting this out of the Ordinance right now. You should be sitting there and saying, “Who are the five or six people that we can put on this and be able to act on these matters in a fair and impartial manner?” And let’s give it a try and see if it’s going to work. Thank you.

President Sohl: Is there anyone else who would like to address this Ordinance?

President Sohl closed the Public Hearing on Ord. #28-2000

Mr. Guenther moved for Adoption and Final Passage on Ord. #28-2000 and Mrs. Kelly seconded the motion.

Mr. Guenther: There were two comments that were made by the gentleman there and the young lady, which had me disturbed and precisely for that reason, I’m going to vote for it. They were saying instead of going through written procedures and written formal complaints, they want to have a verbal forum. Well, what’s to prevent anybody–somebody that doesn’t like the way I look at him, who is maybe not quite there, and just making scurrilous comments and allegations in front of this Board that have absolutely no foundation, verbally. That’s not right. There has to be some kind of written procedure. It can’t be verbal. Now, I’d like to make an alternate suggestion. If there is a feeling in the community that we want some sort of Board, how about going to a neighboring community--which I think would be impartial–of residents of that Town who would serve as a jury, if you will–if you want to call it that–of the complaints, make an Ethics Board–and maybe citizens from several surrounding Towns that have no immediate interest in the Township of Mt. Olive, and let them serve as an Ethics Panel.

Mrs. Kelly: I’m voting in favor of this because I know from my own personal experience 11 years ago as an Environmental Commissioner, I was concerned about something that the Council at that time was doing and that one of our employees was doing. I formed my own environmental group. During the Allamuchy land swap, when I began to vocalize my environmental concerns, this Council at that time had questioned, “You can’t do that. Where do you get the idea that you as an Environmental Commissioner can do that?” I said, “It’s in the State Enabling Legislation.” Come to find out, this Council had never adopted the State Enabling Legislation for the Environmental Commission, and it was Bill (Sohl) who brought it to the attention of the Council, and they had to adopt it so that I could continue doing what I was doing. Then I had to take an employee of this Township to the State Ethics Committee. It was very hard to find an Attorney to make the point who was not connected to anybody in this Town. And, as a result of my involvement, I ended up running for Council. That was 11 years ago and we didn’t have this legislation then. It is very hard to find an unbiased panel and somebody that is not connected with the very people that are going to appoint the panel. And that’s the reason I feel that it is best to go to the State from my own past experience. As a Council person, I also had to hire an Attorney for a situation, and it’s very hard to find an Attorney who is not connected to anybody else in the Town that is involved in the complaint that I had. It is important to have an unbiased person who is not going to rule in the favor of the people that appoint them. Thank you.

Mr. Rattner: I strongly support this, and I’m going to hit it from a different angle. One, when you hit somebody’s ethics, it’s a serious charge and accusing somebody can ruin them. And to say that there haven’t been any complaints is wrong because there have been. And I was the recipient of one of them. It was sent down to Trenton, after it was sent to the Prosecutor’s Office, and then it was tried to be peddled to the newspapers. What was the concern about my “conflict of interest” or “ethical breach” which could have affected me professionally because if the professional association found it, I would have been in big trouble–is, I questioned the finances

Mr. Rattner (cont’d): of the sewer project back in 1995 and 1996. Yes, a formal complaint was filed against me because I said I didn’t like the accounting, and I think one of the Auditors didn’t do an appropriate job. The Town Government filed the complaints. Would I have wanted that in front of this Town? Would I want that in front of a Local Board that I wouldn’t have been assured–because it was right after I got off the Council–it was interesting, I wasn’t even on the Council at the time and I was still being hit with going to the Ethics Board. I much rather would have it down in Trenton. I much rather have it at the Prosecutor’s Office in Morristown who would evaluate it and send it back, and call it exactly what it was. And when you hit somebody’s ethics, just by saying something is wrong, each one of you know that, on a personal basis, just something being said, or something being printed in the newspaper, that’s what people are going to remember. And to have something that isn’t well documented, whether it’s 30 pages or whether it’s six pages, I don’t care if it’s at a Local Board or at another Board, it has to be well documented. It can’t be because somebody got mad at you that week–and we keep throwing around politics and we know every once in a while if you’re trying to make your point, you may say things, or you may try doing things to get your point across. I feel a lot more comfortable where it will be evaluated by somebody who probably has no idea who I am, or what I really do, but will look at the documentation that’s supporting the charge. Not saying that “I think something is there.” That’s not what the Board is supposed to do. The Board should evaluate a specific action, a specific charge, or a specific conflict that can be documented. Not that–“Well to be more personal, we can talk across the table.” When you’re talking about somebody’s life, that would be inappropriate. That would be wrong. Both morally and probably legally. If that went further, and possibly at a local level, my family would probably never have to worry about bread for the rest of their lives because of the type of lawsuit that it could have got involved in. And, I think by having it down in Trenton–and there have been times when things went down to Trenton. The Chronicle from June 20, 1996–I have one heck of a filing system–“Councilman asks State to Answer Ethics Concerns” about another Council person. And it’s happened more than once. And I think if you’re going to have that, especially when you have the same people appoint–when you appoint people, you appoint people that, either you know, people that seem to have the same interests that you have in mind. Not that you’re trying to rig anything, but you feel comfortable with. You’re not going to appoint someone who you disagree with, or think is going to do a bad job. I wouldn’t feel comfortable-I’m going to appoint a Board, and then possibly have to go up in front of it? There may be a couple of my friends on it. I think it’s a lot better in Trenton. I think that’s where it’s appropriate, and I think if it is difficult, that’s probably where it should be. Because if you’re charging somebody with an ethical concern, you better be sure, you better have your facts, and you better have every “i” dotted and “t” crossed. Thank you.

President Sohl: Any one else on the Council? I’ll just add, while Councilman Scapicchio is not here tonight, he did indicate to me–and, as I indicated before, we wrote a letter jointly signed by the Council in response to an article in the paper–a letter to the Editor. I stand by that, as does Mr. Scapicchio. The reasons that have been elicited up here by my peers. The bottom line in terms of making ethical determinations is, you have to have as fair and impartial as you can. And that’s not going to happen on the Local level. For that reason, I will vote favorably for this. Any other discussion?

ROLL CALL: Passed unanimously

President Sohl declared Ord. #28-2000 as Passed on Second Reading.

ORDINANCES FOR FIRST READING (September26, 2000 Public Hearing Date)

Ord. #32-2000 An Ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive Making the Provisions of Subtitle One of Title 39 Various Traffic Regulations Applicable to the Sutton Plaza Shopping Center and Regulating the Use of Said Roadways, Streets, Driveways, and Parking Lots by Motor Vehicles.

Mr. Guenther moved that Ord. #32-2000 be introduced by title and passed on First Reading and that it be scheduled for Adoption after a Public Hearing on September 26, 2000 at 7:30 p.m. Mr. Rattner seconded the Motion.

ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously

Ord. #33-2000 An Ordinance of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Amending and Supplementing Section 4-55 Entitled “Recreation Advisory Committee” of the Mount Olive Code. (Adding two more members)

Mrs. Kelly moved that Ord. #33-2000 be introduced by title and passed on First Reading and that it be scheduled for Adoption after a Public Hearing on September 26, 2000 at 7:30 p.m. Mr. Rattner seconded the Motion.

ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously

Ord. #34-2000 Bond Ordinance Providing for Acquisition of Land for Open Space Preservation in and by the Township of Mount Olive, in the County of Morris, New Jersey, Appropriating $750,000 Therefor and Authorizing the Issuance of $750,000 Bonds or Notes of the Township to Finance Part of the Cost Thereof. (Smith Farm Park)

Mr. Spino moved that Ord. #34-2000 be introduced by title and passed on First Reading and that it be scheduled for Adoption after a Public Hearing on September 26, 2000 at 7:30 p.m. Mrs. Kelly seconded the Motion.

ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously

Ord. #35-2000 An Ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive Supplementing Chapter 245, Vehicles and Traffic, of the Revised General Ordinances of the Township. (Winter Parking Restrictions)

Mr. Rattner moved that Ord. #35-2000 be introduced by title and passed on First Reading and that it be scheduled for Adoption after a Public Hearing on September 26, 2000 at 7:30 p.m. Mrs. Kelly seconded the Motion.

ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously

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 which 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.

1. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Contract with GEO Concepts for the Upgrading of Hardware and Software and Installation of a Network Infrastructure ($15,000 installation of upgraded hardware).

2. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Transfer of the Water Testing Account from the General Trust Fund to the Water Utility Operating Fund and Authorizing the Cancellation of the Balance in the Water Testing Fund to Miscellaneous Revenue in the Current Fund. (Audit Recommendation)

3. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Cancellation of the Rehabilitation - Trust Fund Reserve. (Audit Recommendation)

4. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Dedication by Rider for Contributions - Mount Olive Senior Complex (Audit Recommendation)

5. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Dedication by Rider for Contributions - Mount Olive Park Complex.(Audit Recommendation)

6. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Cancellation of Old Outstanding Checks.

7. Resolution of the Township of Mount Olive, in the County of Morris, New Jersey, Making Application to the Local Finance Board Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:2-7(d). (Smith Farm Park)

8. A Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Opposing S-940/A-2371 Mining Industry Legislation.

9. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Prohibiting Parking on Certain Streets on September 15, 16 and 17, 2000. (St. Elizabeth’s Carnival)

10. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Establishing a Special Council Conference Meeting on Wednesday, September 6, 2000. (Turkey Brook Park Phase I Presentation by Olympus)

11. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Establishing September 12 & 26 and October 10 & 24, 2000, as Township Council Regular Public Meetings and Council Conference Meetings and Canceling the Conference Meetings Originally Scheduled for September 5 & 19 and October 3 & 17, 2000.

12. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Regarding the Acquisition of Block 6000, Lot 3 from Dennis Welpe. (Donation of property)

13. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Contract with American LaFrance Corporation. (Refurbishing Budd Lake Fire Dept. Aerial Ladder)

14. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Transfer of Fixed Capital Authorized and Uncompleted in the Sewer Utility Capital Fund to Fixed Capital Authorized and Completed. (Audit Recommendation)

Mr. Guenther moved for approval of the Consent Agenda and Mrs. Kelly seconded the motion.

PUBLIC PORTION ON CONSENT RESOLUTIONS

President Sohl: Is there anyone who would like to address any of the Consent Resolutions?

Mr. Roedel: On #7, you reference State Statute N.J.S.A. 40A:2-7(d). (Smith Farm Park)–in the Ordinance that you just passed on First Reading, Paragraph E, you reference that same Statute and “the Local Finance Board has hereto made a determination to this effect...” I’m not clear what’s going on here.

President Sohl: Sandy?

Mr. Kaplan: I believe the Municipality is requesting from the Local Finance Board to waive the 5% down payment of the Bond Ordinance.

Mr. Roedel: Right in the Ordinance you’re saying they’ve already done that.

Mr. Kaplan: The Ordinance was only introduced at this point. It is not adopted yet. I don’t think the Ordinance will be adopted until the Local Finance Board rules. It won’t be adopted until September 26. By that time, hopefully it will have been in front of the Local Finance Board and a decision will be made.

Mr. Rattner: And we’re confident it’s going to be approved.

Mr. Roedel: Okay.

President Sohl: Is there anyone else who wishes to address any of the Consent Resolutions?

Mr. Spino: I will be voting “No” on Resolution #11. I don’t think we should be lessening the number of meetings in September and October.

ROLL CALL: Passed by the majority; Exception: Mr. Spino voted NO on Resolution #11.

1. Bill List. ATTACHED

Mr. Spino moved for approval of the Bills and Mr. Rattner seconded the motion.

Mr. Rattner: Sandy, one thing I noticed, we have a lot of towing bills this month. I’m sure the fee we’re paying for towing isn’t excessive but we seemed to tow in a lot of vehicles. What happened this month?

Mr. Kaplan: I have no idea. I can check it out for you.

Mr. Rattner: Yes–and why I’m concerned as to how many vehicles get towed in, that relates to how good Fleet Maintenance

ROLL CALL: Passed unanimously

2. Approval of Raffle Application #954 for North Jersey Search & Rescue; Approval of Raffle Application #955 for Knights of Columbus Blessed Mother Seton Council #5410

Mrs. Kelly moved for approval of the Motions and Mr. Rattner seconded the motion.

ROLL CALL: Passed unanimously

COUNCIL REPORTS

Library Board Liaison Report

President Sohl: There was no Library Board Meeting in the month of August. The next one will be the second Wednesday of September.

Board of Health Report

Mr. Rattner: The only thing I have to report–the West Nile Virus is still very much in the news, and it’s actually getting closer. We have a couple of dead crows that were found in Mt. Olive, in fact one of the Board members actually found one. The State has done a very good job, we’ve actually been able to find her particular one on the report. So, they are tracking it. However, one thing that is not good news, the West Nile Virus has been discovered in Morris County for the first time in Morris County, in Montville.

President Sohl: In a person?

Mr. Rattner: In a bird. Not a person. I don’t think there is anybody in the State of New Jersey that has come down with it. When we talked about Sanitation a couple of weeks ago, one of the things I definitely think we should be looking at doing is, at least on a limited basis, maybe having a one time tire pick up because a lot of other Towns are doing it–because anything that can trap water–if people have tires in the back yard, or something like that, we should really encourage getting it out, and educating the people–if you have planters or anything with standing water, that’s where the mosquitoes are breeding. And it is getting serious. I think it was reported a couple of days ago–I heard about it about two weeks ago about the bird in Montville. So we know the West Nile Virus is getting closer, and I can imagine it’s only going to get worse as it goes along. I know the Morris County Mosquito Commission is doing one heck of a job, and they’ll respond to any concerns that you have. The Board did get a letter from some residents about one area that was talking about a flooding problem. One of the things the Health Department did do–because there was standing water, is also went to the County to make sure it’s put on their map. A couple of months ago we got a map from the County of all the spots in Mt. Olive that they’re monitoring. And this spot will be added to their map so the Mosquito Control Commission will look at it and take appropriate action.

Planning Board Report

Mr. Spino: We had a Planning Board Meeting, and we did move some matters along. We still have some very large applicants waiting to finish their presentations. We’re moving along. Some slowly–I don’t know whether that’s good or bad, but that’s the case since the Board is very busy. We’re going to have some extra meetings in the near future, also.

Open Space Committee Report

Mrs. Kelly: The Open Space Committee will be happy to hear that we passed the Resolution and the Ordinance regarding the Smithtown Tract.

Environmental Commission Report

Mrs. Kelly: I missed their meeting, but, today, I picked up the report that was done by Mr. Keller, who is the Environmentalist that was hired by the Planning Board. They worked on responding to that report, and I believe that the Council will receive copies of both of these reports.

Pride Committee Report

Mr. Guenther: We haven’t been meeting, but we did have a presentation by the new store in town “Home Goods” over in the old A&P. They presented us a check for $500 for beautification projects. We hope to have more of those. In the Fall–I see Ray (Perkins) was in the audience tonight but he left–we’re starting our meetings in September to make use of those funds for other projects in Town.

President Sohl: One thing you, perhaps could pass on to him–I’ve always thought–when I’ve seen signs–like we have coming in to Mt. Olive–“Welcome to Mt. Olive” you travel in some parts of the Country and they’ll have population numbers hanging below it. It kind of just adds an even more friendly flavor to it. At least it creates that impression in my mind. So, it might be something we could do.

Mr. Rattner: It would change everyday.

President Sohl: You round it out. When I was traveling Canada a couple of weeks ago, on Route 2, which is not a main highway, you’d come to a Town, there was a “welcome” sign, and a “population” sign, and it was obviously easy to change. Just a suggestion.

PUBLIC PORTION

President Sohl: I now open the meeting to the Public. Lew (Candura) it’s good to see you up and about. I understand you had a very serious accident.

Mr. Candura: Thank you very much. It’s real nice to be here. For the last several Council Meetings that I”ve been able to attend, myself, and Stand Roedel have been kind of battling back and forth with the Council over the sewer smell in the area that is known as the “sewer odor portion” of Mt. Olive. I kind of felt sorry for Stan because he kept telling me about the smell, and I got the impression at the last Council Meeting when I was here that you’re kind of saying like, “prove it” because nobody else is complaining. I took my own time and my own money to come down here to spend $29.50 to get a copy of the RBA Report. In the copy of the report it states that there is approximately 15 residents that RBA had contacted, and the residents had given RBA some kind of a status before the work was done as to what their problems were. Not knowing anybody else that was having the problems, I contacted those 15 people and asked them if they were still having the problems. They related to me that they were. And I said,”Why haven’t you been notifying the Council and various forms of Government, because the Council knows nothing about it.” They told me for the last four months that they have been doing it. That they have been notifying people in the Township. Whether it is specifically the Council or not, I don’t remember. But–is there anyone here with the odors? Okay. At this time I would like to relinquish the microphone to my neighbors and friends and let them explain to you some of the problems.

President Sohl: Before we do that, let’s go in an orderly process here. Sandy (Kaplan) has anybody indicated to you that–Mr. Candura–

Mr.Candura: Well, I would like them to–I didn’t make the complaints myself. I would rather you hear it from the residents that are having the problems.

President Sohl: All right. In the interest to trying to keep it focused, let’s continue with this issue. Sandy (Kaplan) if you could answer any questions posed by these folks? All right, is there anyone who would like to address the Council?

Mr. Ray Burns, 13 Pine Grove Road: I’ve notified the Sewer Department several times. I have to admit, they have come up. I spoke to an individual named Alan. He gave me his direct number. He said, “If you smell anything, give me a call.” But it’s intermittent. It’s not every day, it’s not every minute of the day. It can happen early in the morning, it can happen late at night. But there is an odor there. Depending on where you live on Pine Grove Road. On the north side, there’s a very bad odor there–on that sewer line, where Dogwood comes down to my road. In front of me, no, there’s not an odor, but the house next to me has a manhole, and there seems to be a problem there. I understand there were some kinds of chemicals put in to help the out? And they’re supposed to flushing? Is that right?

Mr. Kaplan: Yes.

Mr. Burns: What seems to be the problem, and why hasn’t that been rectified?

Mr. Kaplan: I don’t know. I haven’t received any complaints in my Office.

Mr. Burns: Yes, I was talking to the Director of the Sewer Department.

Mr. Kaplan: I’m the Administrator. I haven’t received any calls.

Mr. Burns: I left a message on your Voice-mail, any you sent Alan out. He works for your Department?

Mr. Kaplan: No–I think Mr. Casey may have–

President Sohl: Bob (Casey) you want to come up and sit in the “hot seat.”

Mr. Bob Casey, Director of DPW: I think you hit upon the problem. The difficulty that we’re having–if you read the RBA report closely, we’re trying to document the pattern–to find out when the smells are occurring, and that we can tie into our pump times, and identify what it is. But we haven’t found a pattern in any of the calls, and by the time the sewer guys get up there–

Mr. Burns: They come the next day. No problem. There’s no problem.

Mr. Casey: Yes, there’s no problem. There’s nothing there. We haven’t been able to identify what’s causing it because we can’t identify when it’s occurring. That’s what is causing the difficulty in terms of even looking at a chemical feed to the system, one of the issues we have to know is what are we trying to over come in the system to put the feed in. What type of a gas component are we trying to offset. We haven’t been able to identify enough–we have RBA in our contract ready to come up once we can tell them, “This is what it is. This is what we’re looking at. Come up and look specifically at that problem.” We can’t find it.

Mr. Burns: So the residents have contacted your office.

Mr. Casey: They’ve contacted the sewer plant, which is what they should be doing. By the time–when I talked to the sewer plant, you hit right on it, they go up there, there’s nothing.

President Sohl: Is there anyone else from that area who would like to address the Council?

Mrs. Ruth Gladu, 11 Pine Grove Road: I’m one of the ones that has complained to the Sewer Department, and they were very nice. Then I had a chance to talk to the Township Clerk, and she had filled me in on some of the things that went on in the Council Meetings. Then I called someone at the Sewer Plant, and asked what happened to the complaints. Did they stop there, or were they forwarded on to someone else? My husband had also called. He called the Health Department, he called the Water Department, and then he was finally put on Mr. Casey’s Voice-mail about five or six weeks ago, and never heard back from anyone. Mr. Rattner did come over, but he happened to come at a time when, of course, it wasn’t smelling. The worst times are early morning, like 7:00am when you step out of your door to go to work, sometimes it’s very bad. We don’t have a manhole in front of our house, so it’s not as bad. Then, probably between 7:00pm and 10:00pm, it’s very bad–we do walk the dog a lot, and no matter where you walk on Pine Grove, Toboggan, Dogwood–going down to Sandshore. We were there last evening, probably around 6:30pm and the smell was just over-powering. Now, Mr. Rattner has been very kind to say any time it smells we should call him at home. I realize we can call and leave a message on the sewer line, it never happens when you’re open.. And although it hasn’t been as bad this summer, I don’t think it’s anything the Sewer Department did, I think it’s just the weather cooperated with us.

Mr. Casey: I think you should know we have installed in those manholes, carbon filters. There was one that we missed–and when you called, we found that and installed that one, too. Since we haven’t had any calls–we’re trying to find a pattern. We need a pattern to try to find a mechanism to correct it. That’s the difficulty.

President Sohl: Bob, could we perhaps draft a letter to the residents in that area, that gives them the precise detail–a phone number to call and indicate–the smell is present, it’s at such-and-such a time, and such-and-such a date, in front of such-and-such a residence. So that we can help make sure that everybody is aware of the way we need to collect this data.

Mr. Casey: No problem.

Mr. Bob Elms: I don’t live in that area, but I came here and spent $30 to buy a copy of the RBA Report. It said that they had identified several serious design deficiencies. What are we doing to correct those deficiencies?

President Sohl: We’re working on the other steps first.

Mr. Casey: The issue is–and if you read that carefully, the question of design deficiencies, however, the design was within the accepted DEP standards. The issue that we’re looking at is if we can identify the pattern would be a chemical additive to basically, if it’s a bacteriological problem, to handle that back in the wet wells. The basic thrust seems to be that we’re dealing with a low-flow system because of the number of users in the system. We had a situation where the sewage is sitting possibly too long. Because first of all, it’s in that holding tank in some people’s property pumped into the system. So, it’s partially semi-septic when it goes into the system When it goes into the wet wells, if it has a long turnover in the wet wells, it’s going septic on it. Once we can identify that, we may end up going in and installing the chemical in the wet wells in order to counterbalance the bacteriological action that may be occurring. That’s what RBA is saying is the second step in the phase to do chemical injection.

Mr. Elms: But they also identified several areas in which the pitch of the sewer lines–the way that the water was held in some of these wet wells was improper.

Mr. Casey: “Improper” is the wrong term. Because they also indicated it met DEP standards. What they’re saying, if they were designing, they would have preferred greater pitch, they would have preferred a wet well design that may have changed the frequency of the pumpage. But, their report basically said it was within acceptable engineering standards under DEP rules.

Mr. Elms: Except that the wet wells are essentially septic tanks that are sitting there all day long.

Mr. Casey: The problem here is the same problem that you’re having in Roxbury, the same problem you’re having in Mt. Arlington. It is a combination of the flat grades and the fact that you have material going septic on private property before it’s pumped to us. Whenever you have a pump system, you have a situation–and one of the issues that we’re looking at, by the way, is if we can identify any of those smells which also happen to relate to those who have the enviropumps on their property. Because one of the issues that we’re concerned with, that the enviropump holds 30-40 gallons of sewage. If it’s sitting in that enviropump on top of the ground, that vents to air. It’s going septic there before it gets into our system. So w have to identify if, in fact, we’re dealing with that material coming into the system septic, that will tell the engineers more information that they would need for chemical injection.

Mr. Elms: You have several streets, like Hudson Street is all enviropumps. And there are no complaints up there.

Mr. Casey: I know. So it’s more than one issue. We don’t have an answer. We’ll be the first to tell you that’s what our problem is. We have not been able to identify the pattern to indicate exactly what the problem is. Keep calling so we can identify the pattern.

Resident: Why don’t you come in the morning and in the evening and inject it.

Mr. Casey: It’s not injecting at that point, it’s installing equipment within the pump station which will chemically inject according to the strength of the material coming in.

Mr. Gladu, 11 Pine Grove Road: Mr. Casey, before you took over, I, and a couple of my neighbors overheard an engineer who was assigned to the project admit that a line had been laid wrong. We went to the Town Council–there were several members on that Town Council, to the Mayor, it was bull-dozed in and accepted. You haven’t done a thing to fix it. I live on the corner of Toboggan. The water comes down so fast, it backs up to the right, on to Sandshore because it can’t make the turn. Now, when it starts to draw down and run down to the pump station, there’s not enough force to pull it out, so it sits there. It’s a four-year-old project. All you’re giving me is static. I’ve walked with your people. We’ve pulled manhole covers. We’ve seen it sitting there. About six weeks ago, one of your people was out there, and he’s laughing hysterically because he says no matter what we do, “I can pump every manhohle here it’s not going to change because the lines are flat.” This is your Department. Your own Department is telling the residents that the system is flat and it will never be cured until it’s changed on a pitch. How many more times do you want to come out? It’s been going on four years. Gentlemen, most of you were on the Town Council when this thing was voted on to be put in. While it was in process, you heard the residents yell, complain, and everything. I still don’t get any answers. Mr. Rattner, you ride up and down my street in your pick-up. You need to get out and walk. I appreciate your efforts, but you missed the point. Thank you.

President Sohl: Is there anyone else who would like to address the Council on this matter?

Mr. Abella, Pine Grove Road: I’m on the corner of Toboggan Hill and Pine Grove. I have a manhole in front of my house. For four years we’ve been putting up with the same problem. You can hear to water flowing. It doesn’t happen all the time I leave for work about 6:15am. It smells. I walk my dog about 8:30pm. It smells. It doesn’t smell around the whole block, by right in front of my house, it smells. If I go between my house and Sandshore there are two more manholes and it will smell. If I make a right hand turn and I go down towards Route 46, the manhole cover smells. There is definitely something wrong. We have called. My wife has called numerous times, a lot of the neighbors have called numerous times. Obviously, we haven’t established a patter yet. But I had someone come out and give me an appraisal of my house to establish a value, and it happened to be a bad day. And, he told me it was going to be a problem. It was that bad that it was going to affect the value of my house. I have two houses. I have one on Toboggan Hill Road, and one on Pine Grove Road. There’s a manhole cover in front of the one on Toboggan Hill where you constantly hear water running. It never stops. When I get to the one next to Pine Grove, I don’t hear the water flowing. The smell is worse. So, I don’t know if this stuff is coming out and heading towards Sandshore, it’s obviously supposed to head towards Route 46 because that’s where the pump house is.

Mr. Guenther: Could I make a suggestion? I know that it seems these are periods of non-working hours. Is there some way we could get somebody out there at 6:15am over a certain time–we’re saying between 6:00am and 7:00am–if we have to pay them over-time, we pay them over-time. Let’s get the pattern established–but, every day for a period–I’d say for at least a week. Does that make sense?

Mr. Rattner: Maybe we should contact RBA, we have the money in the Budget. They could spend a couple of hours during that week with the equipment they have so if they smell it, they could do an immediate test. Once you do the test, you have a chemical analysis of what it is and from that, they should be able to determine what caused it. And work backwards that way. Because if your guy goes up, he’s just going to agree, “Yes, there’s a smell.” And he’s going to tell the people that the pipe is flat, and nothing happens.

President Sohl: Thanks, Steve. Anyone else on this subject? Okay, another subject?

Mr. Jim Smith, Waterloo Valley Road: The bridge at the eastern end is closed so that forces us to drive around the long way. So, I’m here to ask the Township to pave from Saxton Falls Sand & Gravel to Kenny Road–I know that sounds like a big order, but, I think the timing is right because I think the sandpit will supply the material, and the paving plant will supply the paving. It’s in their best interest to do this job and it would be a great thing for the Township. I think if the bridge is damaged down there and it’s closed and the engineering outfit–and they inspected it last night, so they haven’t opened it. So that means the bridge may be out for a long time. That’s got to force us to drive through that dirt for I don’t know how long. Most of my neighbors down there have left their houses. They went off to live with relatives. I would ask the Council to send a police car down there once in a while. Those houses are sitting down there empty right now. My other alternative is to try to get a weight limit on that bridge. The bridge is plenty safe enough for vehicular traffic, cars and light trucks–

President Sohl: There are two bridges-there’s one at the far end–

Mr. Smith: That’s the one that’s closed. Kenny Road that bridge is all right–

President Sohl: That’s the new bridge they built a few years ago.

Mr. Smith: The one on the east end, near Hackettstown is closed, and I think it’s going to be closed for a long time. Because there’s a lot of bridges in the County have a higher priority.

Mr. Rattner: Sandy (Kaplan) we may have a rare opportunity–and thank you, Mr. Smith, for bringing it up. If the bridge is out and the traffic has to be re-routed does that qualify under the FEMA Funding?

Mr. Kaplan: I don’t know–I’ll find out.

Mr. Rattner: We may have–if the bridge is out, you can’t call that bombed-out area a road. Maybe there’s a possibility, and we’re willing to take a chance of putting in an application. According to what I read, we’ve been declared–and that’s still Morris County—it’s good it wasn’t on the other side of the bridge, because that’s Warren County, and they weren’t included–that the Federal Government would pay 75% of infrastructure costs, and the State has already said that they’ll come up with the other 25% on those types of things. Then, with the bridge, maybe we can talk to the County because that’s a County thing, don’t fix it too good, have a five-ton weight limit on it.

Mr. Smith: Brilliant idea. Absolutely brilliant. I love it.

President Sohl: That’s what he gets paid the big bucks for.

Mr. Rattner: But those are two things–as I said, it may be a rare opportunity, maybe we could do it there. And then if the DEP puts in a dock, you could have a resort area.

Mr. Smith: That’s all that I have. Thank you.

President Sohl: Thank you. Anyone else?

Mrs. Judy Godvin, 111 Lozier Road: A property owner that lives at 113 Lozier Road has been building a house for two years. And under the guise of building a house, we contend that he is also running a construction company. The trucks come in at 7:00am. They go “beep, beep, beep” turn around, come out loaded with construction material. Usually long pipe because he’s a sewer installer. He does not have a CO, although he does have a house–he has, as far as I know, cable television because the cable television people, when they came to put ours in, they asked about his. He has television, he has heat, he’s had inspections on both of his propane and his oil tank, and he’s paying taxes on empty land. The lights are on at night, and they go out–they don’t seem like security lights. I’ve been writing to the Council–I’ve been writing to Bill Sohl, I’ve been writing to the Mayor since November. In November, we had a Zoning person, and when I talked to her, she said, “Well, I told him that he could only have a one-ton truck there.” And, then after she left, I was in touch with Mr. McGroarty, he never did an inspection on the premises, although I think we gave him a lot of reason to do that. Instead, he parked his car about a quarter mile away and then he counted the trucks going in. Because of that two-hour period, he saw no trucks going out, he said they were working on the house. And I replied that if all the trucks and the men who had been coming in to that house over two years were actually working on the house, you could have had the Taj Mahal built. This is residential property. I have the Zoning Book, I can tell you, you cannot use a house or any part of a house if you don’t have a CO, and he does not have a CO. On Friday I went down to pay our taxes, I asked the Tax Assessor if he had been assessed yet, she said, “No.” I then went to the Construction Office and they said, “No, he did not have a CO yet.” He has–and I will show you–in the latest phone book a display ad for a construction company at 113 Lozier Road, and a phone number. There’s also in the latest phone book a personal–just his name, with 113 Lozier Road with a different phone number. So, unless those phones are ringing on a tree, he’s certainly using the building. We’ve gotten nowhere with this. No one has to take my word for it they can go down and see that he doesn’t have a CO, they can go down and see that he should not be conducting a construction company in a residential area. They can read my letters, I’d be happy to share them with anybody that I’ve written to–Mr. Licitra and Mr. Sohl. Mr. Licitra, in one of his letters said he was going to have a personal appointment with Mr. Bryn–that’s his name–whatever happened to that personal meeting that he had, I don’t know, but it certainly didn’t slow Mr. Bryn up at all. The trucks continue to come in in the morning, “beep, beep, beep” turn around and go out. It’s a residential area, and we don’t live in front of a construction yard. He also does snow plowing in the winter, he has a snow plow there. Also, it decreases the value of our property. Who wants to buy our house if we’re in front of a construction yard. This is the law. I’m not going to bother to read the Ordinances, the law is, he can’t do that. Nobody in this room has the ability to say that we’re going to make exceptions. So I’m bringing this before the Council because I’ve gotten nowhere with the people that I’ve written so far. And you don’t have to take my word for it, you can read the letters, you can come to our house, and you stand on our property and hear the “beep, beep, beep” in the morning, and you can see the trucks leave about twenty minutes later with long lengths of pipe. Just as a side note, this person bought the property–before he built the house, he was, at night, running construction debris and burying it. We went down before the Council at that time, along with some other neighbors, and I don’t know if he was fined our not, but he was made to dig up the construction material and not bury it. Also, our dog–we have wooded property next to his property, our dog came back one time when he was loose, he left our property and went on to his property and he was covered with human feces. We went out to see where it was–I can’t see a person doing that–but it was on Mr. Bryn’s property–there’s a stream that goes in to the Musconetcong. The stream is down and the banks are up, and people were defecating on the side of the bank and using paper towels for toilet paper, and it was on Mr. Bryn’s property I did call the Health Department on that and I don’t know what the consequences of that. But, I would like not to live in front of a construction company. We don’t think we have to.

Mr. Godvin, 111 Lozier Road: 113 Lozier Road is the property right behind me. I moved in this area 29 years ago and I thought it was a residential area. But, to my surprise, I’ve been in a heavy construction business for 40 years. So, I know a construction yard when I hear it, see it, and smell it, and what have you. That’s what we’ve got going back there. A small construction yard. How big it’s going to get? He’s got a lot of acres back there and I have no idea. What I would like to do is make a deal. Can I have the same deal he has? My company, I’m sure would like to have a construction yard up in north Jersey. We can move some Kamatsu and dozers and what have you, back hoes, cranes. They’d love to have it. And, then I can extend my house to the east, take me off the tax roll, and I’ll give you a call when I want you to grant the CO. God knows when. That’s the kind of deal you’ve got going, and I don’t particularly like it. What is the story as far as a CO is concerned? I would think if you’re in contract to build a house, there’s a time frame?

President Sohl: I don’t know–

Mr. Godvin: Is there a time limit where you have to go before?

President Sohl: Sandy (Kaplan) I don’t know what the requirement is in terms–I know on commercial construction, which usually takes a long time, there’s partial Assessments done at points in time. I don’t know that that occurs on a house at all–

Mr. Godvin: There is a time limit on commercial construction. They can put up buildings a lot faster than our friend in the back. He’s been working on that house for an awful long time. That’s all I have to say.

Mr. Tom Casserly, Lozier Road: I have to say the same thing–I live on Lozier Road too, I’d really hate to see something like this happen. It’s a nice road, it’s kind of twisty and turning. He has big trucks, he goes out my way all the time Pick up trucks loaded with pipes. There’s a Home Depot back there. A big truck comes in loaded with material, little trucks come in load up and go to whatever job they’re going to. The other question Jerry didn’t hit on, I’d like to understand how, if he doesn’t have a CO for the property, he’s got garbage out there every Tuesday morning. The Town is picking it up. How does that happen? If he’s paying taxes on unimproved land, do you still get to put your two containers out? I don’t know. Does anybody know?

President Sohl: You’re absolutely correct, because the only way they would be paying for that is if they were paying a separate Sanitation District Tax, which would not be levied on undeveloped property. That’s the first I heard of that.

Mr. Casserly: He’s recycling, too.

President Sohl: That’s a plus.

Mr. Guenther: I think that’s a typical case where the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Sanitation Department doesn’t know if he has a CO or not. They see the cans, they pick it up.

Mr. Godvin: Well, it’s been noted.

President Sohl: But Mr. Guenther is correct, the Sanitation Department would have no knowledge of when a CO is issued.

Mr. Godvin: I told them.

President Sohl: All right.

Mrs. Kelly: Can I say something? I know that this child used to ride my school bus and they requested a transfer and he is now getting picked up at that place. That’s another evidence that they are living there without a CO, and I really have a problem with that. I’m sorry. This is just unbelievable.

Mr. Bob Elms, Smithtown Road, Budd Lake: I have a slightly different problem with the sewer system. I think everybody got the “Blue Book” way back when. And it says in the Blue Book that we’re going to be assessed $7500 per EDU, and we’ll pay for this over a period of years at 3% interest. So, then I got this letter which is unsigned and undated that came with one of the first sewer bills this year that says, in essence, “Here’s your special assessment, and since I paid last year, my assessment is down to $7,019 and the interest on it is $214.10, which comes out to 3.05% interest, and it says the due date is 12/01/2000.” Okay, then I got another one in June that says “Due Date 12/01/2000, and the interest is $256.32" that’s 3.65% interest, when it isn’t even due yet. And, if we extrapolate that to when I would get a notice in December, I would be up to about 5% interest. What’s going on?

Mr. Casey: The June 12, bill was computed in error.

Mr. Godvin: I’d like to know what can be done about my problem?

Mr. Spino: If we can find out, if there is no CO and people are living there, then we can do something. What we can do, I don’t know, because I don’t know what the rules are. I know if you’re living in a home without a CO–

Mr. Godvin: Well, should we come back next week?

Mr. Spino: Well, the Administrator is going to come back to us.

Mr. Kaplan: Check with me hopefully by the end of the week, I should have an answer.

President Sohl: Notwithstanding the Business Address and the CO issue, it is not against the law in Mt. Olive Township to run a business from a private residence. Almost any kind of business.

Mr. Casey: If I might. I know that there has been discussions by Mr. McGroarty, and I know that one of the Attorneys has already been involved in it. They’re well aware of the Law, and I think the issue that the Administrator has to do is simply find out where this is at and force the issue legally. But, in terms of what’s going on, that’s a determination not by this Council, that will be made by the Zoning Officer, and the Prosecutor if it goes that far.

Mrs. Godvin: I have been to the Zoning Officer, I have been to the Construction Office, I have been to every person I can go to in this Town. And it says, “It is unlawful to use of any building or any part thereof.” So, if he’s using any part of that building, he doesn’t have to be living there, if he’s using any part according to this Ordinance, he cannot do it without a CO.

President Sohl: We will have the Administration look into this, and get a report. Anyone else?

Mrs. Toni Ayers: Do we have a Zoning Officer?

President Sohl: Yes, we do.

Mrs. Ayers: Good, write this down. 160 Sandshore Road. That house has been a thorn in my side for years. It’s been sold a couple of years ago. The guy that bought it was going to do wonders with it, and it’s still sitting there collecting rats, it’s a shack, and also, another one that’s becoming that way–I don’t know the number, but it’s down Sandshore Road, next to the Budd Lake Chapel Playground.

Mr. Spino: Yes, they had a fire there.

Mrs. Ayers: They’re not doing anything with that. Whoever owns 160 Sandshore Road right now, he needs a firecracker because that has gone on too long. Than you very much.

President Sohl: Anyone else?

Mr. Candura: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention–one of my friends had mentioned to me–the park off of Sandshore, Lou Nelson Park, the beer cans are so deep it’s hard to walk around the park, and they were wondering if anybody could be sent to kind of clean the park up? If that would be possibly, we would be grateful.

President Sohl: Anyone else from the Public?

Mrs. Deborah DiPalma, 182 Stephens State Park Road: Can someone explain to me the status of the Crown Tower development?

Mr. Spino: As it relates to what?

Mrs. DiPalma: Well, I just became aware of it through some newspaper articles, that some builder wants to come in and destroy that whole area.

Mr. Spino: A builder wants to build 117 houses on roughly 600 acres. The best advice I could give you is, come to a Planning Board Meeting you would get a better picture of it. I’m sure some people in the audience could fill you in, and I could fill you in, but I don’t want to go into it all right now. The next Public Meeting that they’re in front of the Planning Board is September 28.

Mrs. DiPalma: I can come on September 28th and I can speak?

Mr. Spino: The Planning Board process is different than the Council. The Developer has an expert and the Public can question anything that the Expert says, but it has to be limited to their testimony. There is a process toward the end, before the Planning Board takes a vote, where the Public can come up and say whatever they want about the Development. But, that’s done toward the end of the process. But you can come up and ask questions on whatever was presented at the meeting. That’s kind of a quick synopsis of the process.

President Sohl: Is there anyone else who would like to address the Council?

Mr. Robert Schwartz, 120 Lozier Road: I will confirm what these people have said regarding that property. I go out every morning and walk with my dog, and between two and four cars and vans enter this property every morning, and by 7:30am, the trucks are leaving this property. As you walk by in the morning, you can smell the diesel of the vehicles and the heavy equipment warming up. You can hear the beeping of the vehicles as they begin to back them up to get them on to the different pieces of equipment to remove them. There are maybe ten people coming in every day loading up equipment and leaving. And I must admit in the morning when they leave with their trucks loaded with equipment and loaded with materials, they do not obey the speed limit. They are whizzing down roads that are not meant for the kind of equipment they’re driving. So, you’re going to have a serious accident one of these days if something is not done. Now, do I understand, as you told Jerry (Godvin) this is going to be taken care of by the next meeting? By the next meeting we’ll have some answer.

President Sohl: We’ll get some answers by the end of the week. Is there anyone else from the Public?

COUNCIL COMMENTS

Mr. Guenther: I’m sorry to take up this time, but, the Zoning Officer in this Town, the enforcement is just horrible. We’re running into this all the time. The experience on the Board of Adjustment of things that–the whole issue of the quarry and that goes back, we had an Ordinance on the books that was never enforced. We must clamp down on this. This is getting to be–it really has to be a priority. If we have to hire someone else in addition to the Zoning Officer to do it, we have to do it. I believe–I don’t know, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it should be the Clerk’s responsibility, the Clerk’s Office’s responsibility to go through these Ordinances that we pass, the Ordinances and Resolutions and make sure that they’re implemented. That we do the implementation process of whatever we pass. It’s absurd for us to sit here and beat our gums and pass these things and not have them implemented. So, I would like to formally ask you to do that. If it is the Clerk’s responsibility. I don’t know if it is.

President Sohl: Well, we could certainly have the Clerk’s Office review the Ordinances for applicability.

Mr. Guenther: Once we pass them here, and she gets them, and somebody to review them, and say, “To implement them, we must do this, this and this.” And make a specific list, turn it over to the Administration to implement, turn it over to the Attorney to impalement. Whoever has to do it, to do it. Because we seem to have more of these things. Secondly, I’d like to comment about the maintenance of the parks. To me, it seems a shame that we had to resort to memorandums, we’re going back to memorandums between Administration and the Council here. Charlene had to send an e-mail pointing out to this problem that we mentioned here at Council Meetings many times. We never seem to get a resolution, whether it’s the Recreation Department’s responsibility, or the Road Department’s responsibility, we must get a handle on what we’re doing with Turkeybrook Park. And now we hear complaints about the beer cans piling up at Lou Nelson Park. What is happening with the other public property that we have? We’re spending funds to acquire more properties in Town as public lands? There has to be some kind of a program implemented to look after these public assets. That’s all I have to say.

President Sohl: I agree.

Mr. Guenther: I know everybody agrees, but nothing seems to get done. Maybe Sandy hasn’t had a chance to act on this–this e-mail was only sent four days ago. But this has been brought up many times before–before Sandy came on board. It needs to be addressed.

Mr. Rattner: Maybe we should have a workshop on public property–and let’s have a review. I’m sure some of them are taken care of very good, I get compliments on some of the baseball fields. Let’s just go property by property, and are we maintaining it. It may be that the Department isn’t big enough, if there’s a funding problem, that’s us. So, maybe we should plan that for a workshop and just discuss each property.

President Sohl: We can schedule that.

Mrs. Kelly: Mr. Elms had come up to me and asked about Tabaka Pond, the pond that is near Green Hills North. He said that there is a detention basin from the development behind that–Mt. Olive Meadows–that is not functioning properly, and it is draining directly into that pond and it is silting up. I know that that pond–it’s no longer a pond, it’s a cat-tail swamp because of this silt. The silt has been a problem ever since those homes have been built. If it’s because of a malfunctioning detention basin, that’s another inspection and enforcement issue that needs to be addressed. So, if you would please forward that on to the proper Department Heads.

President Sohl: All right. Any other Council Comments? All right, we’re going to adjourn this Public Meeting, and then go in to a workshop meeting.

Motion made for adjournment. All in Favor, None Opposed. The Meeting was adjourned at 10:35 pm.

______________________

William H. Sohl

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 September 12, 2000.

________________________

LISA M. LASHWAY

Mount Olive Township Clerk

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