Township Council Minutes
January 24, 2006
The Regular Public Meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council was called to Order at 7:30 pm by Council President Greenbaum with the Pledge of Allegiance.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE & MOMENT OF REFLECTION for those who protect our freedoms
OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT ANNOUNCEMENT
According to the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate notice of this meeting has been given to the Mount Olive Chronicle. Notice has been posted at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive Township, New Jersey and notices were sent to those requesting the same.
ROLL CALL Present: Mr. Buell, Mrs. Labow, Mr. Biondi, Mr. Rattner, Russ Tepper,
Mr. Perkins, Mr. Greenbaum
Also Present: Mayor De La Roche; John Dorsey, Township Attorney; Rick Prill, Business Administrator; Sherry Jenkins, CFO;
Lisa Lashway, Township Clerk
Swearing in of 2 new police officers by the Mayor: Michael Russell
President Greenbaum: I haven’t seen this many police officers since New Years Eve. We are a little bit out of order this evening and we are going to start with the swearing in of the two new police officers and the awards you have this evening.
Chief Katona: Thank you Mr. President. I think we will begin with the swearing in. We have one officer to be sworn in this evening. Michael Russell and his family, could you step forward please? Michael is one of our newest officers and he will be sworn in by our Mayor.
Michael Russell: I, Michael Russell, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of New Jersey; that I will bear true faith in allegiance to the same and to the Governments established in the United States and in this State, under the Authority of the people; and that will faithfully, and impartially and justly perform all the duties of the Police Officer according to the best of my ability. So help me God.
President Greenbaum: Officer Russell on behalf of the Township and the Township Council we want to congratulate you on what we know is a long and arduous process to become a police officer and we hope your efforts on behalf of the Township are long in duration and successful as the rest of the Police Department is. Thank you very much.
Mr. Russell: Thank you.
Police Awards: “Operation Bull Dog”
Arrest of Fugitive & Murderer
Chief Katona: Next, we are a little tardy in this. Mayor and Council has already made a recognition of Sergeant Craig Austenberg and Officer Tony Annecchiarico. Would you two step forward? Are both of you here? Oh, Tony is just here by himself. I have a little helper here tonight. In October 2005, Officer Anthony Annecchiarico and Sergeant Craig Austenberg traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana, to participate in a relief effort coordinated by the State of New Jersey designated as “Operation Lead”, Louisiana Emergency Assistance Deployment. This was in response to the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Our agency was asked to provide two of our best officers but all we could find was Tony. No, two of our best officers to serve on the New Jersey Task Force and we chose Craig and Tony, Annecchiarico and Austenberg. They left on Wednesday, September 28th, at 4:00 a.m. in the morning and returned on October 11th. They reported for duty as part of a long caravan of relief workers sent by New Jersey. You may have read that one column from New Jersey was stopped. It was not the one that Tony was in charge of. They spent their first night in a staging area in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which was designated as Camp Colorado. It was there where they were sworn in as Louisiana State Officers by an assistant Attorney General.
Chief Katona (Cont’d): The following morning on their first full 12 hour tour of duty they reported to a command post in Harahan Louisiana, where they were given their days assignments. Annecchiarico and Austenberg worked their patrols with two other officers, Chief Robert Tovo and Officer Mike Zacchini that’s not how it is spelled, of the Mountain Lakes Police Department. Chief Togo was the ranking officer in charge of the Morris County group and of the four man patrol team. During their down time the officers stayed on cots in the gymnasium in Bonnabel High School in Kenner, Louisiana, along with over 100 other Municipal and State Federal officers from New Jersey. Most of the Morris County contingent’s daily assignments were door-to-door residential search operations, targeting homes where emergency 911 calls were received but went unchecked due to the immense number of calls received during Katrina’s fury. They also performed security and patrol functions in areas designated solely to New Jersey police officers. This is a difficult duty to say the least and both officers worked their normal 12 hour shifts while in New Orleans but also logged some 87 hours of overtime in excess of their normal shift. As expected, these two dedicated officers represented Mount Olive well. This is evident in the comments forwarded by members of the Task Force and by the accolades forwarded by their supervisor while in Louisiana, Chief Tovo. Tony and Craig were positive and professional ambassadors, both for Mount Olive Township and the State of New Jersey, and their sacrifice and not only that but on a moments notice they had to leave their families here. Their unselfish service at this critical time in our Nation went and was completed without complaint. For their dedication and the professional assistance during this national disaster, Officer Annecchiarico is receiving the Exceptional Duty Award for his highly creditable accomplishment, bringing acclaim to himself and to this department and to this community. Tony, thank you very much. Our next award involves a narcotics operation which occurred in the County of Morris and in the Township of Mount Olive. The officers that were involved and I would ask them to come forward as I read their name, Sergeant John Walker, Detective Mike Patchunka, Detective Lieutenant Donald Gardner, Sergeant Pocquat, Officer Scott VanNess, Officer Kevin Hyland, Detective Michael Strada, Officer Amy Clymer, Officer Michael Cordileone, Detective Luis Sanchez. On November 19th 2005, more than 100 people were arrested in four counties during a massive sweep halting a large scale cocaine distribution ring run out of a Morris County restaurant. Among those arrested were two minor league baseball players, Violenny “Sandy” Marte of Flanders, formally of the Houston Astros farms system, Estenvison Ramirez of Randolph of the Chicago White Socks Organization and a daughter of a reputed mob figure Danielle DeMary who’s father is a soldier allegedly with the Lucchese crime family. The arrests took place in Morris, Sussex, Warren, and Essex County and were the culmination of a six month investigation, dubbed, “Operation Bull Dog” which was led, by the Morris County Prosecutor’s office. Early in the investigation, the Morris County Prosecutor’s office requested we assign a detective to the task force and specifically specified that they could use the help of someone that knows narcotics. Our selection was an easy one. That was Detective Sergeant Walker who is the most trained and most highly experienced narcotics investigator in the Mount Olive Police Department and probably the most acclaimed Detective in the County of Morris. John created the original Mount Olive Township Narcotics Bureau and has been involved in hundreds of investigations since then. On September 7, 2005, Sergeant Walker was assigned to the Morris County Prosecutor’s office to assist in this confidential investigation. Detective Sergeant John Walker served on the Task Force for nearly two and a half months, working in several rolls including following leads garnered as a result wire taps, conducting surveillances, identifying targets and perpetrators and supervising other Task Force members. Morris County Prosecutor Michael Rubbinaccio reports that this investigation resulted in the greatest number of arrests ever made in a single drug sweep in Morris County’s history. Approximately two weeks prior to the conclusion of Operation Bull Dog, Morris County Prosecutor’s office requested that we assign another narcotics specialist and we chose Detective Michael Patchunka who is also a narcotics expert with hundreds of investigations under his belt. He worked in a similar capacity as Sergeant Walker leading up to the arrests. At 3:00 a. m. on November 19th nearly 400 law enforcement officers from 31 agencies gathered at the Morris County Police Academy where they were briefed and then divided into arrest and search teams. Mount Olive Police Department was well represented at this substantial undertaking by Detective Lieutenant Don Gardner, Sergeant John Walker, Detective Michael Patchunka, and Sergeant Michael Pocquat, Officer Scott VanNess, Officer Kevin Hyland, Detective Michael Strada, Officer Amy Clymer, Officer Michael Cordileone, and Detective Luis Sanchez. These officers were selected by our staff because of their expertise but also because of their leadership and supervisory capabilities and that decision paid off. Present at the pre dawn briefing and remained throughout the entire day. Our officers were separated into smaller teams and each of the individuals you see standing before you played a key leadership roll in their individual units. At the day’s end over 120 people were arrested. Police seized large amounts of cash and drugs. Additionally, over 80 vehicles were seized and it was expected that at least another 20 will eventually be forfeited.
Chief Katona (Cont’d): Specifically in Mount Olive, 13 drug dealers were arrested. Several residences were searched, five cars were seized. Of those arrested, Sandy was charged with second degree distribution and faces up to 20 years in prison. All totaled the investigation netted individuals who ranged in age from 18 years old to 67 years old. The suspects were charged with a variety of crimes including a first degree charge of a leader of a drug trafficking network and second degree charges of employing a juvenile in a drug distribution network, third degree charges of conspiracy to possess, second and third degree charges of conspiracy with intent to distribute and third degree charges of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute. For their part in this historic arrest, Detective Sergeant John Walker will receive the Exceptional Duty Award for his highly credible accomplishment bringing public acclaim to himself and to his department. Detective Michael Patchunka will receive the Honorable Service Award for his noteworthy accomplishment. Detective Lieutenant Donald Gardner, Sergeant Michael Pocquat, Officer Scott VanNess, Officer Kevin Hyland, Detective Michael Strada, Officer Amy Clymer, Officer Michael Cordileone, Detective Luis Sanchez received the Grand Cordon. Their individual participation in this, as an operating unit, efforts led to the cited action. Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you very much and congratulations.
President Greenbaum: Ed, it is always appreciated when you bring these accomplishments to our attention and to the Township’s attention and we truly...you have one more? Okay.
Chief Katona: I am moving as fast as I can.
Mr. Rattner: When were you able to hire an assistant?
Chief Katona: It’s free. Somebody else is paying for this one. This next one is very important and it is highly credible and it represents, and as I read through the citation, I hope you will see that this thing started on the eve before Thanksgiving. It started about 11:00 in the morning and it ran from that Wednesday from about 11:00 and these people who will be identified, continued to work probably until about 11:00 on Saturday morning. There were a couple of breaks in there for sleep, there was some eating, but it was an all out sprint to make sure that this came to a successful conclusion very quickly and it was important to do that. We are going to speak about an individual who was arrested for murder. I would like to give the disclaimer, although he has been arrested and charged everyone is presumed innocent until they are convicted in a court of law. This is the murder investigation of Mr. Smiton and I would like to call forward Detective Lieutenant Donald Gardner, and Detective Michael Patchunka, Lieutenant Stephen Beecher, Detective Sergeant John Walker, Sergeant Michael Novak, Officer Robert Scholtz, Detective Pete Yagiello, Detective Mark Smith, Detective Jim Dunn, Detective Michael Strada, Detective Luis Sanchez, Officer Scott Price, Lieutenant John Glinko, Sergeant Craig Austenberg, Officer Laurie Shuren, Officer Mark Martini, Officer Michael Bazur, Officer Phil Ryan, Officer Mark Carlstrom, Officer Brian Braikovich, Officer Dave Turner and Dispatcher Dave Schoonover. November 23, 2005, was a Wednesday afternoon or a Wednesday the day prior to Thanksgiving. As everyone knows, everybody starts to get away from our jobs. We start to think of what we have to do for the next day and many of these ladies and gentlemen had something that they had to do, I am sure for the significant other that did not get done that evening. Detective Michael Patchunka received a call. In the Eagle Rock Village Apartments was discovered the decomposing body of a person initially reported to be a resident the resident, Joseph Gagnon. Lieutenant Steven Beecher, Sergeant Michael Novak, and Officer Scott Price arrived several minutes later. Even though the deceased was in advanced stage of decomposition, Detective Patchunka recognized quickly that the person was not the tenant but was in fact a female. In examining the scene further, Sergeant Novak located a spent shell casing on the floor of the apartment. An apparent gun shot wound was observed in the victims head and it appeared the victim was slumped over some memorabilia and an American flag. Because of these artifacts and the fact that is was the day before a major holiday, there was some initial consideration that this might be a suicide. However, without a weapon visible, Detective Lieutenant Gardner and Detective Patchunka surmised they might be investigating a homicide and as such, Lieutenant Gardner ordered a methodical processing of the scene. Without this, evidence would be lost. This is a critical decision. Lieutenant Beecher ordered the apartment secured for the eventual processing by crime scene technicians. During the initial canvass of the residents of adjoining apartments and through the follow up interviews of representatives of the apartment complex, information was gathered that led investigators to believe the victim may have been Ms. Annick Smiton, a resident from the nearby Hensyn Village Apartments. Lieutenant Beecher immediately directed units to that apartment in order to secure that apartment and Mr. Gagnon’s vehicle which was secreted behind the building, Gagnon was not present. Lieutenant Beecher then assured that officers were stationed at each of the three crime scenes, the Morris County Medical Examiners Office, of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and Morris County Sheriff’s Department Crime Scene Unit Criminal Investigations Division were summoned and responded.
Chief Katona (Cont’d): Early on in this investigation, on this Thanksgiving Eve, it was obvious that the Mount Olive Township Police Department would require the services of a number of officers who were previously planning a relaxing holiday with their families. The need for emergency personnel was quickly filled by several officers who interrupted their holiday to assist during this significant investigation. Additional Mount Olive detectives as well as Lieutenant Donald Gardner, the Commander of the Investigation Division, and Sergeant Walker, the Detective’s supervisor, were all called upon as well. Many roles were required and performed by members of the Mount Olive Township Police Department during the investigation. Detective Michael Patchunka was assigned as the primary investigator for our agency and the other Officers were assigned. Detective Sergeant Walker directed his investigator in all facets of the investigation as he floated from one crime scene to another through periodic returns to the command post. Several Officers assisted during the two day investigation by providing protection at the various crime scenes. When you watch crime scene on TV, it is all done
within the hour. This wasn’t. This was continually processed for probably the next... over the next 12 to 24 hours and during that time those crimes scenes had to be protected and secured. Officer Scott Price was assigned several tasks including protecting the initial scene. He was also the complainant on the homicide charge. Lieutenant John Glinko, Sergeant Craig Austenberg, Officers Laurie Shuren, Mark Martini, Mike Bazur, Mark Carlstrom, Brian Braikovich, and Dave Turner were also called in to help to preserve for scene security. Information discovered in the course of the interviews lead Lieutenant Gardner to dispatch Detective Patchunka, Detective Strada, and Detective Sanchez separately to various addresses in Connecticut and New York, and to some locations in New Jersey. As fresh information was garnered by a member of the investigation team at the scene or at headquarters, it was relayed to detectives in the field. Lieutenant Gardner redirected the detectives more than a few times and they logged hundreds of miles of travel that Thanksgiving Day and Thanksgiving Eve. It is important to know that we had determined, by this point in time, that there was an individual armed and believed dangerous at large and traveling through not only our community but other communities within our State and the State of New York and Connecticut. Certainly, we believe that there were other targets in this action and we believe that without stopping him and arresting him that other people were certainly in danger. A critical link to capturing Mr. Gagnon was the fact that he was known to make certain calls to different people from time to time. We worked very closely with the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and with the Verizon phone company to attempt where those calls were coming from as they were being made. As such, part of the Task Force that was hastily assembled was, redispatched over and over again to those locations where the source of the phone calls were coming. Detective Patchunka and Detective Sanchez had targeted a home in Connecticut late on Thanksgiving evening, possibly being a current place of hiding for Mr. Gagnon. They worked with local authorities to establish a plan for searching the home the following morning. When it would be safer to do so, overnight surveillance was placed on the house and the officers sought the rest that they could until they would search the house the next morning. Within a few hours, they had safely extruded a female resident and searched the resident and our actor was not there. Later on Thanksgiving morning, another break was reported to the detectives that were still in New Jersey, Verizon reported a location where a call had been made from, and we dispatched Detectives to that location. Detective Patchunka and Sanchez and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Detectives had since separated from local authorities as they went to search other areas of their town. Sergeant Walker frantically attempted to communicate the latest information acquired from Verizon to the detectives and the Bridgeport Connecticut Police via phone, via radio, and Nextel but as often the case in police work, the communication was slow. He was, however, tenacious and ultimately able to reach Detective Patchunka while Walker made contact detectives in Mount Olive Headquarters, searched and internet mapping system compared it to the address previously identified in their investigation. The address was located within a 4000 meter plot as described by telephone company directed by Detectives at Mount Olive Police Department by our cell phones detective Patchunka and Sanchez rushed to that address at the same time they were attempting to contact the Bridgeport Police Department for backup. As they arrived in the proximity of the house Detective Patchunka observed the car believed to be driven by Mr. Gagnon, bearing New York plates approaching their position. The driver of the vehicle spotted the police and quickly preformed a K turn driving away with Patchunka and Sanchez and two Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Detectives pursuing. The vehicle was quickly boxed in and a felony stop was preformed by the officers and the Bridgeport Police who had just arrived. Surrounded and out gunned, Joseph Gagnon surrendered without a fight. It was later discovered that a loaded 40 caliber automatic handgun rested on the seat beside him.
When he saw that it would be difficult for him to escape that is when he gave up. It’s only by having our four officers and four or five officers from Bridgeport that we were able to avoid any gun fire, which would have...which could have been pretty ugly for our people. This is obviously a story of leadership, tenacity, dedication, professionalism, and skill by many members of our department. What is not so obvious is that it is also takes into account of a life saving operation.
Chief Katona (Cont’d): It will probably never come out in the trial, it will never be in public diversions of what Mr. Gagnon had in his mind but he had already allegedly committed one Homicide and my belief is there was intent to commit another. Our officers most likely thwarted a killing spree this Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving Day. Witnesses and evidence put him in the area of several of these potential victim’s homes within forty eight hours of his capture and one could speculate that he was at these locations at other times during his nearly one month period of hiding. I strongly believe this dangerous killer was taken into custody and will successfully be prosecuted only because of the sacrifice, attention to detail and commitment of our officers. Accordingly, Lieutenant Donald Gardner, and Detective Michael Patchunka will receive the Departments Meritorious Service Award for this highly unusual accomplishment, under adverse conditions, where death or injury of several victims almost certainly was prevented. Further, Lieutenant Stephen Beecher, Detective Sergeant John Walker, Sergeant Michael Novak, Detectives Smith, Dunn Strada, Yagiello, Sanchez, and Officer Scott Price receive the Honorable Service medal for sacrifice, initiative, and accomplishment during this Homicide Investigation. Lieutenant Glinko, Sergeant Austenberg, Officer Shuren, Martini, Bazur, Carlstrom, Braikovich, and Turner receive the Grand Cordon award for their individual participation in this operating unit for their actions which led to the arrest of this murderer. Gentlemen, congratulations and thank you very much.
Mr. Rattner: I just want to say that we are all extremely proud and we are also thankful that, like the police department, the accomplishments that you just heard, they make us very, very proud especially when you read some of the things that have been in the newspaper lately and they are representative of the entire department and a lot of other departments that we have, are very dedicated personnel with exceptional education, dedication, and energy that makes everything work in this town. We said for years that we would match our Police Department with any police department around and I think what you just said tonight, just proves that. We do thank you because it makes us all look good from your department’s dedication. Thank you very much.
Mayor De La Roche: I just want to agree with everything that has just been said in regarding praising the officers and the entire department. I have continuously said and even in my State of the Township, that we have the finest police officers in the entire State, if not the Country and obviously we are proud of you and again, you have excelled at your job. As Steve has said, you honor us by being good at your job and I also want to compliment the Chief because it starts at the top and works it’s way down and by keeping it as a very professional Police Department, obviously this is the result and everybody goes home safe as they did in this instance because everybody is doing what they know they have to do and they do it according the rules and safeguarding the public and that is our first duty. We all serve the public in one capacity or another and I want to thank each and every one of you for your dedication to duty and also to point out, the Chief is the one who sets the tone, and obviously, he set the right tone for our Police Department, so thank you again.
Presentation to John Mania
President Greenbaum: We have one more presentation this evening, it is non police related, but it also deals with service to the town. At this point, I would ask anyone who has to leave, now is an appropriate time. If you have another couple of minutes to sit here and hear the presentation to John Mania on behalf of his service to the Town, that would be appreciated as well. I would like everyone before I say a few words to stand and give a standing ovation to John for his service to Mount Olive. John, it is great honor for me to present this plague to you for your 25 years of service to the Township on the Planning Board and on the Town Council and just for your overall efforts, for all of us that live in this Township. You and I have spent a few years together on the Planning Board. I have gotten to know you. I have known you before that, and I have always had the greatest respect for you as an individual. I have told you that. There has been a few times where you and I didn’t agree on things. It didn’t get in the way of what I consider a personal friendship and I know that I speak on behalf of the entire Township, that your efforts on behalf of the town, also protecting the town, not in a police manner but in terms of the development that has occurred, in terms of doing the best that you could under difficult circumstances. Where the applicant, who is coming to build in the town, really has the upper hand and whatever the Planning Board could do to limit or minimize the impact to the town through the development is done and you were there through every step. It is a great honor as I said for me to read this presentation to you which is, to John Mania in appreciation of 25 years of service Mount Olive Township Planning Board presented this 10th day January 2006 from the Mount Olive Township Council. Congratulations.
John Mania: I will make it short. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Council for honoring me this evening. Twenty-five years may seem like a long time but for me it has gone by in a flash.
Twenty-five years represents half of my adult life, yet in truth I still feel like a kid, a few pounds heavier to be sure but perhaps little bit wiser as well. I have had the privilege of serving under former Mayors Rowland, Ruggiero, Johnson, Schiess, and Licitra. I say privilege because I would like to believe Mount Olive is a better place and I am a better person for having done so. My departure from the Planning Board was not of my own choosing but I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. The passage of time has a way of providing answers to many questions. For those of you that remain in public service do not lose sight of the fact that the tough decisions you make today may well have long standing consequences. The quality of life enjoyed by the present and future residents of Mount Olive rests in your hands. May God Bless you all.
Mayor De La Roche: I just want to echo the sentiments that were expressed here tonight regarding John, and I want to thank him for his years of service and his dedication to the Town and I wish him well and thank you again for your service to the community.
Mr. Perkins: Thank you, Mr. President. John, congratulations on an end I guess or a new beginning. I am not sure which, I am sure it is a new beginning. I know that I moved into the Township in 1985. Twenty years ago, I guess. We got to know each other and got to know you with Paul and you guys got me involved in politics somehow and I don’t know why but you did. It has been a real pleasure, it has been an honor watching you. You helped me, mentored me a bit. I learned a lot from you from my short stance on the Planning Board. You have been helpful. You have always been opinionated, which I appreciate. You have told me the reasons why things needed to be and sure as shootin, as I have always done, I investigated and found out you were correct. Yes, in fact, they did have to be done that way. I thank you for all your years of service. I look forward to working with you in whatever capacity you see fit to join us. I know you will be a public servant forever. Thanks again, John.
Mrs. Labow: John, you are going to be unbelievably and sorely missed on the Planning Board and I just wanted to say I have known you I guess, six years now and John and I had two major disagreements but we put it all behind us because John and I both believe that what’s best for Mount Olive is what our goal is and we worked together very nicely and John it has been an honor to be your friend and I do wish that other certain individuals knew how to appreciate and applaud your efforts and you should have been back on the Planning Board. Thank you.
Mr. Mania: Thank you.
Mr. Biondi: John, I think you and I go back the longest of anybody up here. We have about thirty years together. A lot of it is personal friendship. We have broken bread together many times in a lot of places. Your service has been exemplary in this Township, your politics notwithstanding. You’re still a friend. You will always be a friend and I salute you my friend.
Mr. Mania: Thank you, John.
Mr. Buell: I want to dispute John’s claim to being the person that has known John the longest. I think probably, I have known him just as long. I have known John for thirty years also.
Mr. Biondi: I can accept that.
Mr. Buell: I think your service to the town long before I ever thought about becoming a public servant is exemplary and I congratulate you and good wishes for the future and hope to see you back.
Questions on Bill List?
President Greenbaum: Okay. Let’s move on with the meeting. At this point, the first item for discussion is questions on the Bill List for a discussion later on. Has anyone identified anything which they need the Administration to clarify? Seeing none, we will move on to Approval of Minutes of Previous meeting, Mr. Tepper, could you please move the one set of minutes please?
APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETINGS
Dec. 13, 2006 Present: Mr. Buell, Mrs. Labow, Mr. Biondi, Mr. Guenther, Mr. Rattner,
Mr. Perkins, Mr. Greenbaum
Mr. Tepper: Yes, Mr. President. I recommend we approve the Minutes of December 13, 2006.
Mrs. Labow: Second.
President Greenbaum: It has been moved and seconded. Are there any questions, comments, deletions, changes? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously with the exception, Mr. Tepper Abstained.
RESOLUTIONS, ORDINANCES, CORRESPONDENCE FROM OTHER TOWNS
1. Notice received December 27, 2005, from Allamuchy Township Planning Board regarding a hearing on Land Use Law.
2. Resolution received January 4, 2006, from Township of Monroe regarding Property Tax Reform.
DOT / DEP
3. Letter received December 27, 2005, from State of New Jersey, Department of Transportation regarding 2006 Local Safe Streets and Schools Program, Route 46 Sidewalk Improvements Phase II, Mount Olive.
4. Letter received December 27, 2005, from State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Proposed Mount Olive Township Wastewater Management Plan Update, Dated August 10, 2004 – Upper Raritan Water Quality Management Plan Disapproval.
5. Letter received December 28, 2005, from Transportation New Jersey regarding the TTF Funding Crisis.
6. E-mail received December 23, 2005, from State of New Jersey, Department of Community Affairs regarding Gov Connect Update on Pay to Play Law, CY 2006 Budget forms, Chapter 159 Resolutions, Purchasing Agent, and forum discussion input.
7. Fax received January 6, 2006, from New Jersey Department of Community Affairs regarding Pay to Play, Top ten things you need to know.
8. E-mail received December 22, 2005, from Morris County Chamber of Commerce regarding the annual meeting luncheon sponsored by Garden Savings.
9. E-mail received December 29, 2005, from Morris County Chamber of Commerce regarding Young Professionals Happy Hour Presented by The Young Professionals Committee.
10. E-mail received January 3, 2006, from Morris County Chamber of Commerce regarding Featured Restaurant of the Month.
11. E-mail received January 4, 2006, from Morris County Chamber of Commerce regarding Women in Business Networking Breakfast.
12. Information received December 28, 2005, from National League of Cities Institute regarding 2006 Annual Congressional City Conference.
13. Spring 2006 Course Schedule received December 29, 2005, from Rutgers, Center for Local Government Service regarding Municipal Elected Officials Certificate Program.
14. Information received December 29, 2005, from NCCJ – New Jersey Voices regarding fighting Bias, Bigotry and Racism.
15. Letter received January 6, 2006, from Morris County Green Table regarding helping to meet the Recreation needs of Morris County: Craigmeir Recreation Area and Greystone Park.”.
16. Letter received December 28, 2005, from State of New Jersey, Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council regarding Grant Summary and Partnership Report Fall 2005.
17. Fax received January 3, 2006, from Comcast regarding State Franchise Legislation.
ORDINANCES FOR PUBLIC HEARING – None
President Greenbaum: There are 17 pieces of Correspondence on the Agenda this evening. Does anyone wish to discuss any particular piece of Correspondence? There are no Ordinances for Public hearing this evening. We have one Ordinance for First Reading second to be February 14, 2006. Ordinance #1-2006 entitled:
ORDINANCES FOR FIRST READING – (2nd reading 2/14/06)
Ord. # 1-2006 An Ordinance Providing for the Selection of a Municipal Prosecutor.
Mr. Buell: I move that Ordinance # 1-2006 be introduced by title and passed on first reading, and that a meeting be held on February 14, 2006 at 7:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive, New Jersey, for public hearing, consideration of second reading and passage of said Ordinance, and that the Clerk be directed to publish, post and make available said Ordinance in accordance with the requirements of law.
Mrs. Labow: Second.
President Greenbaum: Mayor?
Mayor De La Roche: Point of order, it doesn’t require advise and consent from Council.
President Greenbaum: Any other discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
President Greenbaum: At this point, we are up to Consent Resolutions.
CONSENT RESOLUTIONS AGENDA:
Resolutions on the Consent Agenda List are considered to be routine and non-controversial by the Township Council and will be approved by one motion (one vote). There will be no separate discussion or debate on each of these resolutions except for the possibility of brief clarifying statements that may be offered. If one or more Council member requests, any individual resolution on the Consent Agenda may be removed from the Consent Agenda List and acted on separately.
1. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Release of Performance Bonds Submitted by Millbrook Estates (Dara Estates).
2. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Release of Performance Guarantees to Robbie’s Inc. Relative to Lot 4 Block 8301.
3. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Person-to-Person and Place-to-Place Transfer of Alcoholic Beverage License No. 1427-33-017-010 from Rocklim, Inc. Trading as Yokohama Japanese Steak House to Apple Food Service of Mt. Olive, LLC Trading as Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar.
4. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Awarding the Sale of Lot 2 Block 2912 to Philip Cataldo.
President Greenbaum: Does anyone wish to have any of the four Consent Resolutions removed?
Mr. Rattner: Number three.
President Greenbaum: Number three, any others? Mr. Biondi can you please move number one, two and four, for approval.
Mr. Biondi: I move Consent Resolutions number one, two, and four for approval this evening.
President Greenbaum: Is there a second?
Mr. Tepper: Second.
President Greenbaum: It has been moved and seconded. Is there anyone from the public who wishes to be heard on any of the three Resolutions on the Consent Resolutions Agenda? Seeing none, I close it to the public. Is there any Council discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
President Greenbaum: Number three.
3. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Person-to-Person and Place-to-Place Transfer of Alcoholic Beverage License No. 1427-33-017-010 from Rocklim, Inc. Trading as Yokohama Japanese Steak House to Apple Food Service of Mt. Olive, LLC Trading as Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar.
President Greenbaum: Mr. Rattner could you please move that for approval.
Mr. Rattner: I move Resolution number three.
Mr. Perkins: Second.
President Greenbaum: Moved and seconded. Is there anyone from the public who wishes to be heard?
Seeing none, I close it to the public. Mr. Rattner, comment?
Mr. Rattner: Yes. The only thing I have is. Attached to the resolution we had a memo from the Chief of Police, talking about transfers to large corporations recommending that we would also conduct a background investigation on the designated local manager. Since it is different then a small local establishment, he didn’t recommend that we hold up the transfer but with the condition that we look at doing a background check on the licensee designate. I didn’t see any response to the Chief of Police’s memo. I don’t know if it is legal? I guess maybe that is why it is not in there and it is not mentioned in the Resolution. So I just wanted to know, can we do it, and if we can why did we not decide to put that in?
Mr. Dorsey: We certainly can do it.
Mrs. Lashway: I prepared the Resolution.
Mr. Dorsey: We certainly can make the background check.
Mr. Rattner: Can we modify the Resolution just so we can.... because it seems like a good idea.
Mr. Dorsey: Why don’t you just add to it, subject....
Mrs. Lashway: We have more of these big corporate entities purchasing liquor licenses. The Chief is in charge of what type of investigation is completed.
Mr. Biondi: Steve, it is conditional.
Mr. Rattner: I know but.... well, he recommends that, the resolution doesn’t say that.
President Greenbaum: Chief, is that something that you recommend, that we actually do a background check on the restaurant manager?
Chief Katona: The restaurant manager, after the license is transferred, whoever the corporation decides will the responsible person locally, that is the person we wish to do a background investigation on.
Mr. Biondi: You really can’t do it ahead of time.
President Greenbaum: No, I understand that. Does the resolution need to reflect that?
Mrs. Lashway: It can’t be conditional.
President Greenbaum: Right.
Mr. Dorsey: I think you have to do them beforehand. I think they have to tell you who their manager is going to be, before you recommend the approval of the license.
Mr. Biondi: But they might not know for 6 months.
Mr. Tepper: What happens if they hire another manager, if this one quits?
Mr. Rattner: Well, what happens if we tell them the manager doesn’t pass? Do we tell them they have to fire the manager?
Chief Katona: Yes.
Mr. Dorsey: Yes.
Mr. Biondi: They might know who the manager is for six months?
Mr. Rattner: I am only bringing it up because it was a recommendation from the Police Chief and I didn’t see it addressed.
President Greenbaum: The counsel that I am getting from Mr. Dorsey seems to be.....and from Lisa, is that we can’t put it in as conditional, it has to be....
Chief Katona: As condition of approval, that upon the naming of a local manager that, that person will submit to a background investigation, conducted by the Police Department. We have done that, we have done that in cases of.....
Mrs. Lashway: We have done it with Chili’s, Macaroni Grill, and Longhorn and Wyndham...
Chief Katona: We have done it with Chili’s Macaroni Gill and the Wyndham.
President Greenbaum: Excuse me, Mr. Biondi and then Mrs. Labow.
Mr. Biondi: I have a question. If we have done it with Chili’s and all these people are we doing it in an ongoing fashion when they do get new managers in there, every time they get new managers. I don’t see a problem with that. I really don’t.
President Greenbaum: So the Motion then by Mr. Rattner is to amend the Resolution to include, the condition that when a manager is identified that the manager has to submit to a background check and that obligation continues in the event that the manager no longer works for....
Mr. Biondi: With all managers.
President Greenbaum: With all managers.
Mr. Biondi: Any subsequent managers.
Mrs. Labow: My only question would be, a lot of these restaurants will have general managers that oversee several stores or districts or regions, and then you have your store managers. I think perhaps the person that is on top more then, to keep going through all the managers.
President Greenbaum: I see that we are opening Pandora’s Box here because before you know it we are going to be taking a background check of every single server that is in the restaurant. Mayor, did you have something?
Mayor De La Roche: I might suggest that we make it conditioned upon them passing the successful test and for them and whoever is handling it at the time and succeeding. Right now, you are conditioning it on them taking a test or taking a background test and passing. You haven’t said anything about passing it. I would just caution you, that they would have to pass it and they in subsequent, managers.
Mr. Perkins: Thank you, Mr. President. Chief, just a question. On the other establishments that we have, we did not under their resolutions where we either transferred the license, or they got the license, we did not make it a condition precedent for them to have to have a background check. We are doing the background checks, but I don’t believe.... is the language in their resolution exactly the same?
Chief Katona: We have made, in the previous liquor license transfers, we have made the same recommendation, and we have required that their onsite managers submit to the background investigations.
Mrs. Lashway: As soon as the manager is hired, it is before the place opens up, that the investigation is completed.
Mr. Perkins: Can we make that condition precedent?
Mrs. Lashway: No, once this license transfers, it is transferred. So if a person failed the investigation it doesn’t go back to Yokohama.
Mr. Perkins: Yokohama, exactly.
President Greenbaum: It seems to me, that it is to leave the resolution as is but to require as a matter of Township policy that an onsite manager in a corporation holding a liquor license be subject to and required to pass a background check sufficient by the Police Department.
Mr. Rattner: Then we should have... modified later on our Code, just state that and it should be in there that way...
President Greenbaum: That’s fine, so we are leaving the resolution as is at this point. Is there any further comment? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
President Greenbaum: We are up to motions at this point. Mrs. Labow, could you please move the raffle applications?
1. Approval of Raffle Application #2119 for the Budd Lake Vol. Fire Co. #1 and Raffle Application #2120 and Bingo Application #2121 for Fr. Joseph A. Cassidy Knights of Columbus Council 6100.
Mrs. Labow: I would like to move raffle application #2119 for the Budd Lake Vol. Fire Co. #1 and Raffle Application #2120 and Bingo Application #2121 for Fr. Joseph A. Cassidy Knights of Columbus Council 6100.
Mr. Perkins: Second.
President Greenbaum: Moved and seconded. Any discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
President Greenbaum: Mr. Perkins, could you please move the Bill List.
2. Bill List.
Mr. Perkins: Thank you, Mr. President. I move for acceptance of the Bill List, pages numbered one through fourteen.
Mr. Biondi: Second.
President Greenbaum: It has been moved and seconded. Any discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
Library Board Report
President Greenbaum: Mr. Prill, do you have an update with respect to the Library, Mayor?
Mayor De La Roche: Yes, you asked Mr. Prill. The Library Board met and they had a quorum and they did their Reorganization portion of the Library, choosing officers and they also amended their bylaws to include a provision for the removal of any member who works against the interest of the Library Board or who misses at least three consecutive meetings and that was approved by the Library Board. The Reorganization took place and all the officers were seated and the Library has been reorganized.
President Greenbaum: And who is the Chairman of the Library Board?
Mayor De La Roche: Jerry Sheard.
President Greenbaum: And the Vice Chairman?
Mayor De La Roche: Mrs. Rosa, I believe?
President Greenbaum: Moving on to Old Business...I am sorry.
Mrs. Labow: Can I ask a question?
President Greenbaum: Yes, you can.
Mrs. Labow: I was present at the Library Board Meeting, as a resident. I wanted to ask Mr. Dorsey a couple of questions in procedure for the bylaws. In all due respect, I want to correct Mayor De La Roche. They did not pass an amendment to the bylaws. They brought it up for preliminary and they are following the proper procedure, where they have to send out to all the members ten day notice before they can pass the amendment for three missed meetings so on and so forth. Mr. Dorsey, in the bylaws it states that no one should hold office for the same position for more than three years and they appointed their Treasurer, she is now going on her sixth year I believe, and I wanted to know if there is....
Mr. Dorsey: Well, it would appear they have acted in violation of their own bylaws.
Mrs. Lashway: The other question that I have is that their Vice Chair is actually the Mayor’s alternate. Sometime last year they asked her to be the Vice Chair, so the question... I have a concern with this, if we have an alternate as the Vice Chair, if the Mayor isn’t present then that person is really not a member of the Board, so can she still be the Vice President if the Mayor is present, or he or she whichever?
Mr. Dorsey: If the Mayor is present, I think she no longer has a seat on the Board. You can only have a seat in a voting position on the Board when the Mayor was not present. So it is a strange selection of Vice President.
Mrs. Labow: On Section 3 Article 5, Section 3 of their bylaws, under officers, Page 3 in their bylaws booklet states, that a vacancy in office shall be filed by election of a successor for the expedited term of vacant office, except in the office of President, which shall be filled by the Vice President until a new Vice President shall be elected. Such an election shall take place the first regular meeting after the vacancy occurs. Since Mr. Sheard was the president last and his term ended, December 31, 2005, that created a vacancy and by their bylaws, the Vice President automatically becomes President.
Mr. Dorsey: I think you made the point. That they have done very many strange things that may indeed place them in a position that if the Mayor shows up, that he may have to leave so that the Vice President can actually have a seat and participate. Or, they have locked themselves in a situation that they will not be able to operate on certain evenings.
Mrs. Labow: My concern is, they are handling a large amount of money from the taxpayers and I am sitting on the dias here this evening, but as a resident and a concerned taxpayer, I would like to know what would the options be?
Mr. Dorsey: I think the options are primarily political options, rather than legal options.
Mrs. Labow: Then when the Board violates the bylaws....
Mr. Dorsey: They make themselves appear, if not in an absolute sense, but very foolish, and the person that appointed them looks rather foolish for his selection of those people.
Mrs. Labow: Thank you.
Update on Demolition of Old Municipal Building
President Greenbaum: Any other comments? Old Business, Mr. Prill, Update on the Old Municipal Building. I saw them there yesterday carting away the material.
Mr. Prill: Yes, Lerch Contracting has returned to the site as of yesterday and they will remain onsite on a fulltime basis until the project is completed. They are anticipating having the work completed by the end of next week.
President Greenbaum: Building completely down and carted away?
Mr. Prill: Yes.
Update on DPW Building Project
President Greenbaum: Update on the DPW building project, is that on hold now until the Spring?
Mr. Prill: Well, the contracts have been executed, a capital project presentation is scheduled for the Planning Board for their January 19th meeting. Actual construction work will not begin until weather permits in early Spring.
President Greenbaum: Okay, so the next time you think there will be some movement will be when, so that I can put it back on the Agenda.
Mr. Prill: Well, assuming we get into a normal winter pattern, some time over the next couple of months, we are probably looking at the end of March, I would suspect, maybe early April.
President Greenbaum: Okay, so I will list it for the end of March for further update. If we are at the same spot, then that will be the update that you give us. I believe you gave us an update that you thought, Tim said it was working very well.
Update on Efficiency of Sign Machine
Mr. Prill: Yes, in a memo I think towards the end of December, I did respond on that. Tim is very satisfied. it has been a significant time savings achieved with this new piece of equipment in terms of design, and the manufacturing of the signs and that allows his staff more time out in the field.
Revised Developer’s Agreement for Best Western/Hashemi
President Greenbaum: Okay, the next item I have is Revised Developer’s Agreement for Best Western and that relates to an issue that was brought up previously and the change from the swimming pool to the conference room. Does the Administration have a plan to bring a revised developer’s agreement before the Council?
Mr. Prill: I believe that the Planning Board Attorney was going to be reaching out to Mr. Dorsey to discuss whether or not a revision of the Developer’s Agreement was needed. I don’t know whether or not that contact has been made.
Mr. Dorsey: Well, it hasn’t.
President Greenbaum: Could you follow up with the Planning Board Attorney so that we could resolve that issue, if you would be so kind?
Mr. Prill: Yes.
Mrs. Labow: When I discussed this with the Planning Board Attorney and Mr. Mania both discussed it, he told us it had to come before the governing body. That was his ruling on it but I did not get it in writing, so do you want me to reach out and get it from him in writing?
Mr. Dorsey: Yes, do that.
Mrs. Labow: Okay.
Legislator’s response to Councilman Guenther & Mund’s letter
President Greenbaum: Have we heard anything from our Legislators regarding the letter sent by Mr. Guenther and Mr. Mund regarding traffic safety issues?
Mr. Prill: I am not aware of any response back from them.
Mrs. Lashway: We haven’t received anything.
President Greenbaum: Okay, I have been told that the Council’s office, also, has not received anything. Does anyone else have any Old Business that is not on the Agenda?
Mr. Rattner: Yes, it involves the Highlands and I have a little bit of a report. The Highlands has hired a number of professionals to start doing the scientific and statistical and geographic data after the fact to get ready for their master plan that is scheduled to be published in June, which everything else is supposed to follow. In that end, one of the firms that was hired was Hatch Mott McDonald.
They reached out to me on my position at the MSA a couple weeks ago wanting some assistance in knowing the infrastructure, water and sewer, current service areas, current plans and capacities. We had them come to the Musconetcong Sewerage Authority to give a presentation last Wednesday. The representative from the engineering firm Hatch Mott McDonald was Fletcher Platt and two staff people, Steve Paszano and Lisa Voyce who is a planner over there. One of the things that really disturbed me is that their current map as of last Wednesday and they said they have gotten no input. They know it is wrong but nothing came from here.
Mr. Rattner (Cont’d): They have the International Trade Zone as part of Jefferson Township and so I would imagine that any work or correspondence would be going to them. If the Administration has been following this for the last six months, I am wondering how if a map, the only published map, is showing the International Trade Zone in the wrong town. That is surprising... to me personally that was embarrassing when they brought that up and they said that they caught it. They said they really hadn’t got much they will be coming to the Town looking for certain data. They explained that they were there, what their charge is, is to gather information, they were going to explain why they needed it and what they were going to do with it. The Highlands Council is compiling information on existing sewer and water supply systems in the preservation and the planning area in the Highlands region. The information compiled will be evaluated and considered in the regional plan the Council is obligated to complete by June 30th. They feel that it is important to have the most accurate information in this plan, as a starting plan, point is the DEP records which they already found and we all know is not really good. What they are looking for is they are probably going to be coming to the Town in the next couple of days. They are going to want to see the flow records, not just for Budd Lake but, of course, for Clover Hill. You probably haven’t even been contacted yet, this is just to give you a heads up. They are going to look for construction maps because they really want to put in what areas are sewered, because they are going to be looking at different areas that maybe in the preservation zone that were suitable and had approvals or plans to build. They already have the infrastructure in, they want to make sure it is correct and so they are going to need how much allocation is been sold, what is being used, what is not being used by contractor too. They want to put as much of that information, they may not be able to get it all in, but do want.......that is what this engineering firm has been hired to do. When the mapping is available and they incorporate all of this data they expect to digitize it and anything we do give them or any agency gives them they hope to be able to provide back digitized maps once they put it into the State’s system. This is not the DEP system because believe it or not the DEP system, the digitized system is not consistent with what the DEP has done. DEP hasn’t made their final determination on what software they are going to be using. Also they say that the proposed rules, the emergency rules have been published and that the current comment period is right now, it will probably go through, I would imagine, in April. That is the rules they want to put in that are going to govern what you can do what you cannot do. This is different from the mapping, is in the process I would believe the rules were issued a couple weeks ago. They also in there, they are willing to take information to identify ongoing projects to expand any service areas. What they are looking for is built out areas that may have septic problems, I know that we appropriated, I think it was three years ago, money to evaluate the Clover Hill sewer system. Part of it was whether it could be expanded, whether we wanted to build another plant because we have property off of 206 that was dedicated for that probably about.... that may have predated you John. That is how long ago I think it was. They are looking at that, and I know one of the concerns we have was looking at Old Flanders, I believe some of those issues came up with St. Elizabeth Church. I would expect that in the next... in a matter of days, hopefully it will be very soon, they are going to be looking for that kind of data. They will probably tell you exactly what they want but I would imagine it is to let the utility know that some of those records are going to be requested. They are going to consider and this is Hatch Mott McDonald is economic consideration, the financial implications about being able to pay back any existing bonds if the connections that have been contracted for or service areas that have been provided are not being able to be serviced. One of the things that came up, is they were looking at the $18 million that it cost for the expansion of the Musconetcong Sewerage Authority and that was the $800,000 for Mount Olive $400,000 for Roxbury and a couple $100,000 for Mount Arlington. What they didn’t contemplate was the $31 million that we bonded for, the $13 million that I know that Mount Arlington contracted for and Roxbury probably had to be in the 20’s someplace based on the volume. If they are looking at the economic impact because what they are looking at, they were just looking at what they were going to have to pay back bond holders based on the plan, not on the distribution center. The last thing that I brought up was about with the Highlands, about the loss of ratables. The reduced property values which, we had our first tax appeal, which was directly related not just because of the planning area. First thing, they brought up, well have you applied for tax stabilization, you know a refund, and we said that we have. However, I told them exactly what I thought and had to agree that it is really a fraud that the tax stabilization where they make up the tax loss to the town because of what the Highlands have done only covers the municipal taxes which are about 19% of your tax bill but there is absolutely nothing for the schools which means the amount of taxes, if we get a tax appeal that is worth $100,000, that means the best we can hope for, if they appropriate their money is 19% and lastly, they were stating that we should be proceeding forward with our wastewater management plans, that there is no reason to stop just because the new rules in the DEP say we should implement the new Highlands regulations which haven’t been published yet. They said “no, that’s not true, you can still go ahead.” It was surprising.
I happened to have the letter that came from the State to Schoor DePalma dated December 19th, that stated that they agreed with us. That we are not taking any further action until we knew what we had to do, this is how disconnected they are.
Mr. Rattner (Cont’d): They asked me for a copy of that because that is not something that they did not consider in their work, yet it is part of what they are supposed to put together. It appears that Hatch Mott McDonald is trying to go the right route. They want to get as much information in there and provide something, they have to actually give the final product by May. They don’t have a lot of time. That is why I expect we are going to be contacted and even though it is going to cause us some grief and maybe some expense getting some of these records together. I would imagine we have in our best interest to get the most accurate information provided to them so we can at least be input, so if we go forward and we say these are the impacts, at least it is in their data. This is really, what they are doing, they are accumulating what is out there they are not inventing anything new. They are not producing new rules they are only trying to get the mapping right, where the infrastructure is, where the appropriate buildings should be and make the recommendations and that is all that they can do because we know the map and some of the other things were all done by the legislature which means they would have to go back for any kind of modifications. Thank you, Mr. President.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. Any other Old Business?
Mrs. Labow: I don’t think we will have the answer tonight but if we could put on, under Old Business for next time, update on the parking spots at the handicapped parking at the Library.
President Greenbaum: We will put it on for the next Workshop. Any other Old Business, any New Business?
Mr. Buell: Yes, I went to the Board of Education meeting last night and I will report on the balance of the meeting later, at the appropriate point. I learned that the High School parking during the construction has now been moved to Turkey Brook, I support that. I think that is where it should have been in the first place. I think we should do everything we can to assist them to that, and I understand the Township has done everything that they can, in relation to helping the High School relocate the parking, also in terms of the fields that are going to be used by the High School kids this year, to a very cooperative effort. I have one huge problem with this and that is, at some point in time those kids in the High School are going to try to use the woods and the open space between the High School and the parking lot to access those parking lots. I think that is a huge liability, I don’t think the kids are going to try to use Flanders Road or Cory Road or Flanders-Netcong Road to access those parking lots. I think they are going to try to go... it is inevitable that those kids will use those woods to go to and from those parking lots. I think we should look into that liability and do anything we can to stop that from happening.
President Greenbaum: Any other New Business?
Mr. Dorsey: None, no legal report.
Recreation Liaison Report
Mr. Biondi: Meeting was moved until tomorrow night.
Board of Health Report
Mrs. Labow: We meet on the 18th.
Planning Board Report
Mr. Tepper: Reorganization will be this Thursday.
Board of Adjustment Liaison Report
Mr. Perkins: Thank you, Mr. President. Monday night the Board of Adjustment held their Reorganization meeting. The Chairman is Donald Hill, Vice Chair is John Cavanaugh, Secretary is Lauren Perkins, Attorney is Michael Carroll, Planner is Chuck McGoarty through his firm, Engineer is Mr. Perkins ( Cont’d): Schoor DePalma Gene Buczynski. They approved the adoption of the Resolution for the meeting dates as well as the annual report which I believe all of Council has in front of them. They have adopted the Mount Olive Chronicle and the back up as the Daily Record. Site Plan Review Committee Planning Board Liaison Committee Liaison is Catherine Natafalusy. Environmental Commission is Don Hill. All the rules and procedures were adopted. They had one extension request, which was granted, that would have expired 2/4/06 and the meeting won’t be until afterwards so they granted a few weeks extension for that through 2/28/06 and they did have a discussion matter on the Pay to Play Ordinance. That is it, Mr. President.
Open Space Committee Report
Mrs. Labow: Thank you. Last night was my first Open Space Committee Meeting and it was a very, very nice meeting. They are very excited to report that the work on the Seward Mansion is moving along very nicely and one thing they did find out in doing the clean out is that the kitchen in the back, where everyone had thought the kitchen in the back was an add-on to the building. It turns out it was just the opposite. What is now the kitchen was actually the main house and everything else was added on to that, so that was very cool to find that out. They also said that they are at a point where they will probably be able to start the section in the back, the back right quadrant that is closest to Sunset that had the damage where the tree fell on it. They are hoping to be able to start replacing the beams and they have pretty much shored off the rest of the rooms so that any moisture that will come in through that gaping hole in the roof will not affect any other parts of the house. It is really exciting to see that coming about. The most exciting part that happened when they were doing the outside cleanup, they thought this one area they thought was a basement window and they realized there was no sill. They started to dig it out and there were stairs that lead right down to the basement. Which made everybody really happy because they will be able to get all the beams and everything else they need right through the basement and everything in the right spot so it seems like it is a really great project.
Mr. Rattner: How come our Planning Department doesn’t have all the as built’s?
President Greenbaum: They probably do, but they are all in the Old Municipal Building.
Mrs. Labow: Probably....We do have an Executive Session which of course cannot be discussed in public but things are moving along nicely in that respect as well. One thing that was a little bit confused, I just wanted to put this on the record that I know that Mayor De La Roche had appointed Mr. Candura as the Chairperson of the Open Space Committee and that was discussed last night and they said according to the Ordinance that the Chair and the Officers are voted on by the Committee there and not appointed by the Mayor and the other thing that came up in the discussion was they weren’t really sure who their liaison was going to be and they were concerned even with the Environmental Committee because you have two members of the Environmental Committee are also on the Planning Board and the Planning Board also gets a Liaison so the Environmental Committee will have three people. Then the Open Space Committee had Lou as a liaison from the Planning Board but now they are going to have him as the Chair and then they are going to have a Planning Board representative so there just kind of confused that you have all this Planning Board members on all these Boards.
Mr. Rattner: What did you just say?
Mrs. Labow: Hey look, I had to listen to you talk. So the question is, Mr. Dorsey, when you have all these members from the Planning Board being on the Environmental and Open Space Committee is there any kind of....do we have any laws that prohibit multiple appointments?
Mr. Dorsey: No, I know no reason why very talented people cannot serve on many boards although that is the exclusion rather the inclusion of many people but I will have to get a memo from you and research what’s been done here. If the ordinance, in fact, provides that the Open Space Committee selects its officers, I think the appointment of Mr. Candura not simply as a member but as chairman, would have been simply an error. The members of the Advisory Committee, if that is correct, will simply have to get together and elect their own Chairman.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. Is that it for the Open Space Committee?
Legislative Committee Report
Mr. Biondi: No Report.
Pride Committee Liaison Report
Mr. Perkins: No report.
Board of Education Liaison Report
Mr. Buell: They met last night, they discussed several topics. It was a Workshop Session for them. They received a letter from 50 seniors in the senior class wanting to discuss the consequences of the food fight. The Township was praised for its assistance in working with the school to use our facilities, our fields during the balance of this construction which is probably going to last for another two years. They specifically mentioned Jill Daggon, Tim Quinn, and Jim Lynch as being exceptional service to them. They asked us offhand if we still had our contact with JCP&L because they are having problems with locating the utility lines. The Planning Board wanted the School Board to locate those lines, the new lines, ten feet from the tree line. JCP&L is saying they will not. They are going to locate them on or within ten feet of the curbline. The balance of the meeting was spent talking about the GPA average and the class ranking and basically the Administration and the Board has decided they will begin a new system of ranking students but only with the Freshman class this year. They are not going to include the Juniors, Seniors, and Sophomores.
Lake/Environment Issues Committee
Mr. Rattner: Thank you Mr. President. The first thing I want to ask the Administrator, back in December, we were talking about the beavers and the beaver dams, and we had to wait until the 27th of December. Has anything happened? The reason I ask that is the water level of the lake did go down.
Mr. Prill: I know the trappers were out, but I haven’t gotten any report back from Tim as to how successful they have been with the beavers.
Mr. Rattner: Okay, because they were supposed to trap and also take out material and the water did go down so it is not covering the road. I mean it is good news that the water went down finally, so something obviously caused it. Number two, one of the issues that have come up, mainly by the residents, was the bridge built properly and was the road lowered when they built the bridge. I spoke to Ed Bennett, the recently retired engineer and one of enforcers and that was his expertise. He said, the last he looked at it, because he did review it right before he left at the end of November, and it was exactly to spec. Right now the Acting County Engineer is Steve Hammond, who has been a good friend to Mount Olive in getting things done and I sat down and we actually went over the different plans and the surveys. What it looks like is that the road, especially getting closer to the bridge, is actually a couple of inches higher, just because of the way that they built it up so it is all done to spec. That is, nothing has changed. If anything, the area, the road is a little bit higher and the water flow....there is nothing in the bridge in the culvert impeding the flow under the bridge. Anything that is happening is further down. I think that should relieve and we do have the before and afters to show the elevation of the road so that hasn’t changed. That is all I have.
Safety Committee Liaison
Mr. Perkins: No report.
Finance Committee Report
Mr. Rattner: Nothing.
Economic Development Committee Report
Mr. Rattner: Nothing to report.
Solid Waste Advisory Committee Report
Mr. Tepper: Thank you, Mr. President. There are three points. The committee met for the first time on Wednesday 4th. Three issues, new permits were given to the Transfer Station and some possible plans to expand. We have asked Tim Quinn to continue to work with them so as to understand what the scope of that would be before they finalized their plans.
Mr. Tepper (Cont’d): There was a discussion about removing a recycling contract from the MUA to a third party and that raised the question as to whether we would need to put that out to bid as it exceeds the new limits. I will probably ask Mr. Dorsey to look into that and I will do that formally via email in writing.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. At this point I will open the meeting up to anyone in the public who wishes to be heard on any particular issue. Mr. McDonald if you would be so kind as to state your name and address for the record.
Ned McDonald, Budd Lake: I have been an infrequent attendee at the Planning Board Meetings. However, during the Crown Tower affair, I don’t think I missed a single meeting. During that time, I was...when I became aware of the members of the Planning Board, Mr. Mania was an outstanding member and I was very impressed with his kind understanding and professionalism with the members of the public. He always gave them the utmost respect. It is refreshing to a member of a public body that will go to that length to afford the public every opportunity to exercise their rights. I would like to thank you John. I think it is a Township tragedy that he will not be on the Planning Board any longer but we will just have to wait and see what happens. Again, thank you John.
Mr. Mania: Thank you.
President Greenbaum: Thank you, anyone else from the public? Mr. Kamin, please state your name and address for the record.
Richard Kamin, 13 Downstream Drive, Flanders: I, too, want to first of all applaud Mr. President, you and the Council members for this pattern that seems to be developing for how Public Meetings should be conducted, I think I speak for others that we like the trend. Today was the 212th Legislature swearing in day. I was with Assemblyman Guy Gregg and I can assure you that he will be working with John Biondi and the members of the Council on the traffic issues that were addressed earlier. I also took a point while I was down in Trenton today to see Jack Lettiere who is the outgoing Commissioner of Transportation and even though he won’t be there, I can assure you that that department will be responsive to our needs because we have a strong voice up here in Northwest New Jersey to respond to that. Finally, I to want to join the many others, the Council’s Resolution and the members of the public to thank and congratulate and applaud John Mania for his years of service to the Community. I am sure they have not ended. John, thank you.
President Greenbaum: Is there anyone else from the public who wishes to be heard? Seeing none, I close it to the public and we are at final comments. Mr. Prill did you have anything this evening?
Mr. Prill: Nothing further.
Mr. Tepper: Other than thanking Mr. Mania for his service, I have no further comment.
Mr. Buell: Ditto.
Mr. Biondi: Nothing else.
Mrs. Labow: Just really quick, I wanted to state on the record. I wanted to thank the Freeholders for appointing me to the NORWESCAP Board and I went to the Reorganization meeting Friday night and it was a delightful function. It was very exciting to be there....and I am going to smack these two guys here. They are turning off the thing, and I want to thank the Council members who were able to be there to support me Friday night and it was great to see everybody, and that’s it.
Mr. Perkins: Thank you, Mr. President. Very briefly, all of us that were here this evening that have given accolades and awards and presentations to Police Officers, Sergeants, Detectives, past Planning Board members and other public servants. Public service here in the Township is something that I know I hold dear in my heart. I have been doing it not only not always as an elected official but as an appointed official as well as.....just a fill in idiot I guess you can say, a long time before I thought it was popular.
President Greenbaum: Is there a second for that?
Mrs. Labow: Second.
Mr. Rattner: Call the question.
Mr. Biondi: I want to pass that by acclimation.
Mrs. Labow: Point of order.
Mr. Perkins: It is the little things in the Township, we look at the officers that were up here before us this evening for what they have done and for what they have given up with their families and you know those are the same officers that are out there helping the little children to make sure they are wearing their helmets and making sure that they know who they are and that they are getting back forth to school safely. They are patrolling the neighborhoods. They are doing all the fundamentals of being a police officer as well as being involved in some of these high profile things. It gives you a good feeling inside to know that these are just normal residents here in Mount Olive Township and doing everything they can and, John, again thank you very much and thanks everyone for showing up this evening.
Mr. Rattner: I just have a short report I want to give about the MSA’s activity but I did want to make a final comment about John. I guess I am a newcomer I am just short of 30 years. I met John almost right away because my wife and I bought the house as we were getting married and she became very religious and joined St. Jude’s Church, which seemed at the time to be bastion of the democratic party and John has been selling me tickets ever since. I think one of the things, and what one has to look in and what the value and all the effort John has put in. We just went through an election, some of us up here were running against John, but when you heard stuff, did you hear anything bad from John about the people up here? The people who won or the people on the Republican side against John, no. We may disagree but we respect his effort, his integrity and what he did for the Town and that is what really small town politics should be. That is what all politics should be. You have a difference of opinion, that’s fine let the people decided who is right and that is what it is really all about. It has always been an honor. John has always been Democrat. I have always been a Republican. It didn’t get in the way. Once we got out of the building to say that we are friends so thank you for your service and I am sure you are not going away. The thing with the MSA, a couple different things are happening. One, I have been notified that through the association that the MSA maintains the membership in, the Association in the Environmental Authorities, and through one of the directors Ellen Gulbinsky that we have a meeting with Larry Baier, who is one of our nemesis from the DEP. He is right below the Commissioner on wastewater issues, has agreed to a meeting to ask what can be done to improve the wastewater regulations and the process in setting the new regulations. So if anybody has any type of input or anything that they think should be put in there, we are open to everything. Hopefully, we are trying to gather together all the different issues. Number two is that you have heard me talk over the last year, which I thought was going to be the big issue are the new phosphorus rules because it has been pretty much unanimous that the regulations that the State wants to put in are unattainable without hurting the other part of the environment. The only way you are going to get phosphorus down to the .1 that they want is by injecting metals, either iron or aluminum, into the process. The metals have to go someplace. If it goes into the sludge, we will have problems getting rid of it. If it goes into the receiving waterway we don’t know how you are going to meet the suspended solids, for people who are in the business and know what that means. So with that and a class action suit will be started by the Association and supported by most of the Utilities in the State because we are all in the same boat. It doesn’t matter whether we are in the Northern part of the State, the Central part of the State or the Southern part of the State. The last thing, I am hoping to have a meeting with the new Commissioner designate, within the next week, bringing a number of professionals just to try to get an idea of where she is going, whether she is going to use science rather than politics for what we want to move forward. Everybody wants to have the cleanest air, the purist water and the best place to live. We want the clean water because we drink it. We want the cleanest air because we breathe it. So we all have the same end result. We are very hopeful. I don’t see any opposition in the Legislature to appoint the new Commissioner, she has a lot of experience, mostly with the EPA. The last three or four years she has actually been in the DEP she happens to have a lot of experience in land use which I think will help if we are trying to explain what the Highlands are doing to the region and we have to balance the economics with the environment because real people live here. Thank you, Mr. President.
President Greenbaum: Thank you, Mr. Rattner. I have a comment. At the Reorganization Meeting of January 3, 2006, I sat here and listened to the Mayor’s State of the Township address in awe and I feel the need to respond to that address. While I know it is common place for a Mayor to take credit for the developments which occur under the Mayor’s watch, some of the accomplishments contained within that speech were completed not because of the leadership of this Administration but rather in spite of the lack of leadership therefrom. Two prime examples are the Mount Olive Child Care and the diversion for the Mount Olive High School. Many of the impediments to the resolution of these issues were caused by and through this Administration and more particularly by this Mayor. Now at the onset of this New Year the Mayor has decided his top priority is to fight with the Council as to whom the Municipal Prosecutor would and will be. The Mayor and his choice for Township Prosecutor, Mr. Ruggierio, have made it quite clear that they are willing to plunge the Township into additional litigation simply to make a change, where no change is mandated or warranted. This is a shame that the priorities of this Administration are not focused on important issues like the 2006 Budget and development of additional ratables. I suspect that the Mayor has spent little to no time on the Budget and less time trying to generate new tax revenue for the Township. In the next few months, it is my hope in conjunction with this Council to bring four or more exciting new ratable opportunities to the Township. These opportunities have the potential for generating hundreds of thousands of new ratables and taxes for the Township on a yearly basis. Some of these concepts are new and unique. One is intended to make Budd Lake the Township’s most valued asset once again a destination. Admittedly, some of these concepts may not work for Mount Olive; each has the potential for raising significant taxes without putting more children in our school system. Each concept will have to be explored and debated and if appropriate adopted. This Council is committed to focusing on these critically important issues rather than the pettiness in which this Administration is determined to wallow. With that, I will request a motion to adjourn.
Motion was made and seconded, all in favor and none opposed, the meeting was adjourned at 9:02 pm.
Robert J. Greenbaum, 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 February 14, 2006.
Lisa M. Lashway, Township Clerk