Mt. Olive Township Council Minutes
January 20, 2004

The Regular Meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council was called to Order at 7:30 pm by Council President Rattner with the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of reflection for our soldiers overseas protecting our civil liberties.

Pledge of Allegiance

Open Public Meetings Law Announcement

According to the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate notice of this meeting has been given to the Daily Record. 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. Elms, Mr. Rattner, Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Perkins (7:35 pm), Mr. Guenther
Absent: None

Also Present: Mayor De La Roche, Business Administrator Cynthia Spencer, Chief Financial Officer Sherry Jenkins, Township Clerk Lisa Lashway, Township Attorney John Dorsey

School Referendum Presentation (March 9, 2004)

Dr. Rosalie Lamonte, Superintendent of Schools: Thank you very much and good evening. I very much appreciate the time that the Mayor and the Mount Olive Township Council is providing us tonight to discuss with you the Mount Olive High School referendum. With me this evening is Mr. Kevin Stansberry, the new principal at Mount Olive High School and from the Prisco Group, Mr. Scott Prisco, cheif architect of the project proposal. Mr. Strillacci and Mr. Amianda from the Board of Education are also with us here tonight. The fact that we have so much interest in this community in our March 9th referendum demonstrates the importance of Mount Olive High School to the residents of Mount Olive Township. Whether those present tonight are long term residents of Mount Olive like myself or whether there are newcomers here tonight, I know that each of you shares my own feelings of excitement and anticipation about this project. We all know that our high school is the cornerstone of our school district and, in deed, of our entire community. We know that at Mount Olive we offer a great curriculum that prepares our students for success in their chosen fields of endeavor. We also know that we have great kids in the Mount Olive school system, young men and women getting involved in their school and community and who do us proud. We also know that our high school facility is simply inadequate to meet the demands of an ever increasing enrollment; an enrollment that is expected to climb from 1,200 students just last school year to almost 1,600 students by 2007. We actually ended in June of 2003 with 1,216 high school students and now six months later we have 1,294 in an already overcrowded facility. We know that the students are coming and we know that the figure we project may be surpassed as new housing units get approved. We know that we need to provide this growing population of students first and foremost with an adequate and safe learning environment. More than our enrollment needs, however, our high school does not currently meet our curricular needs. We simply cannot be current with the advances in the teaching of science, technology and other core subjects given overcrowded and antiquated facilities. We also cannot expect students to flourish academically when they feel a disconnect between their curriculum and the building they occupy day in and day out that does not do that curriculum justice. Nor can we expect them to flourish in other endeavors such as music, art and athletics when there are non-existent or inadequate practice, performance, display and arena spaces. Our kids need to be excited and positive about their environment if they are to be excited and positive about their learning. We need to provide them with a learning environment that inspires and challenges them to reach their full potential because what has been proven over and over again is that attitude determines altitude. To this end, the Administration and Board of Education has been working over the past five months with a community planning committee to help create a high school facility that will truly be curricular driven, a facility that will educate students for the future that they will be living, a facility that will stand as a proud focal point of our township and of it’s commitment to the education to this and future generations. I wide diversity of people has made up this committee, including parents, students, teachers, senior citizens, Board of Education members, representatives of our architectural and construction management firms as well as many of our esteemed Township Council members. The meetings have been well attended and they have allowed for a broad give and take of ideas and suggestions. Members of this committee first grappled with the idea of a new high school versus renovating and expanding the current building but a new high school at a cost of $80 to $100 million simply makes this option cost prohibitive. Added to this is the fact that our current high school is still a viable and functional facility that definitely can be enhanced through proper planning and vision and we can take advantage of State funding that will reduce the cost of such a

Dr. Lamonte (cont’d): project substantially and allow the people of Mount Olive the opportunity to reap the benefits for our own community of taxes we have been paying into the State’s $8.6 billion school construction fund. The vast majority of that school construction fund is earmarked for the State’s 30 poorest districts. Only $2.6 billion of this fund has been set aside for suburban schools which number over 570. Therefore, we are one of many districts now vying for this construction aid. Only $1 billion remains of that money. If we wait, we might lose a golden opportunity to have State funding offset the cost of the project we know is inevitable. On this $46.9 million project, we estimate $10.2 million of State aid or about 22% of the project leaving $36.7 million to be voted on via the referendum. For the average household assessed at $187,600 that would be an annual tax impact of approximately $241. On September 8th, the Board of Education heard from the community planning members about their vision of the project. Our community group felt that the priorities for this plan included both expansion, which is indicated on the building layout that is before you on the large easel. The Council members also have smaller xeroxed copies of that layout. The portion in blue is expansion and the renovation in the pink or rose color. I would ask Kevin Stansberry, our principal if he would stand by our easel and point out to you the various areas that the community planning group felt were essential in this project. We have planned for 10 new science labs with the possibility of easy expansion if ever necessary. Those science labs are indicated with the Number 5 and you’ll see them on the main floor of the building and on the ground floor of the building – two levels. You will also notice that on the upper floor of the building, there is a white area designated for future expansion which is at the top of the science lab, therefore, if we ever need to go up one more floor with that wing, that could very easily be accomplished. The community planning group also felt that we needed 21 new classrooms, 14 of those classrooms would replace classrooms that now house the modulars or trailers. Those classrooms are indicated with the Number 1 and there are three floors. So there would be three floors, one on top of the other. There is also a very long hallway that you will see in a beige color. That corridor makes it very easy for us to add more classrooms should we ever need to expand in the future. We also felt that we need to convert the old science labs into business and computer rooms and those are indicated in the rose color. Mr. Stansberry is pointing those out to you. We will also be providing more space for art, graphic arts and photography courses and all of the art rooms will be together in one area of the building on the upper floor. We will also be providing on the ground floor for more space for robotics and technology courses. We currently have approximately 80-90 students in our robotics program alone. We have to turn students away from these electives because we simply do not have the room for them. We are planning to expand the space available for those important programs. We will also be refurbishing a few rooms that are very antiquated, such as home economics, also on the ground floor. I believe that is Number 23. Also, in the plan is the expansion and equalizing of physical education and athletic facilities with the addition of an auxiliary gymnasium and that would be on the main floor. There will be, as well, related areas for locker and team facilities, room for the athletic trainer, relocated weight room and adaptive physical education room for our special education students that will double as a small dance studio room. Just as is currently the case, these expanded facilities will be open to the township recreation groups as well. The plan also includes the refurbishing of outdoor fields which must be done if we are to expand our athletic offerings for an ever increasing student body. You have before you this site plan which indicates the refurbishing of fields. Those outdoor fields must be done if we are to expand our athletic offerings for those increasing numbers. We have, in fact, separated out for voters a second question on the ballot which addresses upgrading the playing surface of one athletic field to a field turf surface that will increase the flexibility and use of this field for our own students and township use as well as decreasing student injury. Having this turf field should also reduce our maintenance costs associated with repair and upkeep of the fields, thus reducing annual costs. The community planning group also knew that we needed to provide for student health and safety in many other ways by increasing space in the student cafeteria, expanding the nurses area, centralized and securing the main entrance, securing the facility when the community uses the auditorium and gymnasium spaces and if you notice, you will see the blue area coming in front of the building as our new auditorium. We will be able to lock down that auditorium and the new entry or commons area when outside groups use our facilities. We also needed to update the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in the building and we need to provide adequate storage space throughout the building. One of the main things we looked at was removing what we call the “pit” or old theatre in the round that is no longer safe. In fact, we cannot even send students or spectators to the second floor of that area because of concerns about the pitch of the bleachers that are in the second level. We decided, as a group, that we would need to provide adequate meeting and performance space for students in an actual auditorium that can also be used extensively by our community and we wanted to maximize the use of that auditorium by providing within it classroom and practice space for band, orchestra, chorus and TV studio courses indicated with the Number 6 to side of the auditorium and we will also be using the partitions in that auditorium to create large group lecture spaces so that the auditorium will be constantly in use. And we are improving the actual site plan of the school, which you have copies of, by increasing parking and we are hoping, with the Council’s help, to extend a new access road through the property to create a second point of entry and exit to the site which will help alleviate traffic on Cory Road and provide emergency access from more
Dr. Lamonte (cont’d): than one entry point that we have now. When you think about it, we will have approximately 1,800 people on that site every day. That would account for 1,600 students and at least 200 staff members. We only currently have one point of entry and exit to that property that will house just slightly under 2,000 people. Mr. Prisco described this access road to you in December and a question was raised as to how much property would be disturbed of Green Acres that the township currently owns. It is actually less than ¼ of an acre. If our referendum passes in March, we anticipate that we will have our science labs, classrooms and gymnasium completed by September 2006 and then our auditorium completed by September 2007. We will not demolish the “pit” or the old auditorium until the new one is up and running. Those of us who have been planning this referendum know how important it is that it pass the first time out. If not, it will probably be at least a year before we can hold another referendum. This not only sets our project completion date back by at least another year or two but it also jeopardize the anticipated $10 million in State aid that we are due to receive. Add to this the rising construction costs and that would make any future referendum likely to costs more and deliver less. We are truly at a crossroads with this referendum vote on March 9th. The steps that our community takes on that day will truly affect the quality of life for our students, and indeed, for the entire community of Mount Olive. I truly believe that with all of us working together in this community we can achieve our goal of having a high school facility that we can all be proud of and that will represent our dreams and aspirations for the children of Mount Olive Township. I know that we are ready and up to this exciting challenge. For more information I would refer you visit our referendum website at www.mohsfuture.org or call either myself or Mr. Stansberry. We would be happy this evening to answer any questions that you might have. It has truly been an honor and a privilege to be with you tonight. On behalf of all of us in the Mount Olive Township school district we thank you again for the opportunity to keep you and the members of the public informed about this crucial referendum vote on March 9, 2004. Thank you very much.

President Rattner: Does anybody from the Council or the Mayor have any questions for the Superintendent?

Mrs. Labow: When do you expect to get the okay from the State on the $10 million?

Dr. Lamonte: We would expect it within the next two weeks I would imagine. It must be in 17 days before the election. We are hoping that we will have it before 17 days prior to the election.

Mrs. Labow: Have you gotten a status on it?

Dr. Lamonte: Mr. Prisco can answer that.

Scott Prisco, Prisco Group: We’ve been in contact with the State on a daily basis. Two weeks is probably the longest out and it may even be by the end of this week that we’ll hear something. We are very optimistic that we are going to hear a good answer, that is going to be the $10 million and it should come by this week. Two weeks is a conservative answer. That’s a worse case scenario.

Mrs. Labow: I hate to say this, but what if we don’t get it?

Dr. Lamonte: Many people have already asked that question and it is a very good question and I would respond by saying that we have to put the students somewhere. Just like the Board of Education had to expend hundreds of thousands of dollars to put 8 classroom modular units in front of the school, we will have to continue to put modular units on the site. However, modular units do not resolve the curricular issues that were brought up to you. A modular unit is simply four walls. It cannot give our students the adequate science, technology, fine arts curriculum delivery that they need.

Mrs. Labow: So without the $10 million, you are just going to keep using modulars?

Dr. Lamonte: If the referendum does not pass? Yes, we will have to go out and continue to secure modulars. I truly believe we will have to go out for another referendum. The State will not allow you to continue to use modular. They expect you to have a permanent solution to the problem.

Mr. Perkins: Mrs. Lamonte, having watched what has happened with the Abbott Districts over the past two years, everybody is on that same wish list and I think Mr. Prisco can attest to that, how confident or as confident as we can be, are we looking at getting an affirmative answer within a two week timeframe? Have we received anything in writing that gives us any indication that this is going forward in a positive fashion or do we end up, as usual, spending our own money and not getting anything back from the State.

 

Mr. Prisco: I’ll answer the question just because our familiarity with the State and the process. Unfortunately, the LFRP took a long time for the State to review and they are constantly asking for more
detailed information. That has all been straightened out so we really are going to get the answer my the end of this week most likely, hopefully, but just to put your mind at ease a little bit, we have an excellent track record with estimating what State aid a district will get. We’ve been within one or two percent in the last eight projects that we have done, probably over $200 million worth of construction or more just in those projects and we’ve been within one or two percent ratio. We are very confident that you are going to get the $10 million or very close to it.

Mr. Perkins: Have they all been in the areas such as Mount Olive.

Mr. Prisco: Yes, they have all been non-Abbott districts.

Dr. Lamonte: Also, just to assure you the Board of Education cannot go out to the public with a ballot question unless we know exactly how much State aid we will get. We are not allowed to do that. So we can’t put the vote in front of the township until and unless we know what the State funding will be.

Mr. Greenbaum: I have several questions and comments. First let me say, Dr. Lamonte, that I am utterly impressed with the job that you have done since taking the helm at Mount Olive. I have the same respect for Tony (Strillacci) and Daniel (Amianda). Before I go into my questions and concerns, it’s my position that we have no choice to vote in favor of this referendum for the reasons that you stated; that we need to put the kids some place and we need to continue to improve the offerings that the high school provides to the students. Fortunately, we all see the benefits in the increase in the value of our homes based upon the increase of the benefits that the school district provides to the kids and I definitely feel that we are moving in the right direction at this point in time and that we will all reap those benefits on the back end. Having said that, I didn’t hear any discussion tonight, and I don’t know whether or not it was your intent to go into this but I do have some familiarity with the costs involved with this project just from having attended one or two of the meetings. Can you just briefly go through what the total cost of the project is likely to be and assuming that you do receive the amount of State aid that you are expecting, what the cost will be to the average homeowner in Mount Olive related to this particular referendum.

Dr. Lamonte: First of all, thank you very much for your support and for your comments. We really appreciate it. We have all been working very very hard to see the project come to fruition. We know that it is going to be a very worthwhile project. We have calculated based on the estimated State aid that if we bond out over a 25 year period at 4.5% interest rate, which we feel is a conservative interest rate, the average homeowner with a home assessed at the average taxed assessed evaluation of $187,600 that taxpayer will be paying approximately $241. There is some fluctuation based on maturity date of the bonds and so forth but the average is about $241. I believe it was $0.12 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Mr. Greenbaum: One of the issues that you have raised here tonight relates to the second access through B&H and I am generally in favor of that and I believe that it is necessary and although we have had some discussion that it is going to take up a minimum amount of Green Acres space, I still need to have a better understanding of how it will effect the entire tract. In other words, is it through the middle of the tract? Is it through the side of the tract? How does it effect the other areas on the B&H tract? That is something that I haven’t come to grips with yet. The other issue which is of concern to me, as you come to the Township Council to get relief from a situation which is at the high school which is intolerable, the one access in and out, we have concerns for the residents who live around the high school in terms of student parking as you know. We have dealt with the problem over and over and over. I could go six more overs till I got to where I have to go and I understand that this particular project will increase the amount of parking but will not satisfy all of the demands of the students which will leave the Township Council still in a position of trying to protect the residents who live surrounding the high school and I’d like to know whether or not there is something that can be done on this site. If we were to come to the table and provide the land which you think is necessary, which I think is necessary to finally once and for all resolve this issue, it’s an important concern to all of us sitting up here. I’d like to know whether or not it is something we can resolve as we move forward on this project.

Dr. Lamonte: Why don’t I let Mr. Prisco address the access road first and then I’ll ask Mr. Stansberry to address the parking issue.

Mr. Prisco: With the site plan that you are looking at, the newer one, I added the Flanders Road so that you could see the relationship to Flanders Road now for the access. The portion of your site that it would take, that really is the end of it. It’s the corner of the lot and I met with Eugene Buczynski, your engineer. I went to his office and we both looked at it and we didn’t feel that it impacted the site. The impact is real minimal. I know you did have a concern about the amount of area because of the give back that you have Mr. Prisco (cont’d): to do when you disturb it. We did a calculation. It’s a rough estimate now based on tax maps but it’s a little bit less than ¼ of an acre of pavement so there isn’t a large impact. It’s a lot better than I thought it was going to be actually.

Mr. Greenbaum: Which is one of the concerns that I had but I also need to know how it effects the rest of the property to the extent that at some point in time it was going to be developed.

Mr. Prisco: If you look at the copy line here, the vertical, if you continue that to Flanders, that’s the end of your tract. Everything else, all your fields are everything are here. So we really are at the furthest corner of the tract but I really think, both Eugene and I, you can talk to him, but there really is going to be no impact on your usability of the rest of the site.

Mr. Greenbaum: I do know that you guys have now been scheduled for a courtesy review before the Planning Board some time in February. What I would request, at that point in time, is a map in greater detail depicting the surrounding area so I can get a real picture of exactly what we are talking about in terms of this roadway so I can come back and advise Council as to what occurred at Planning Board. Thank you.

Mr. Prisco: We have a larger map now, another engineer, when you did the site planning for the play fields and it shows that area. What we can do is we can highlight what area we would be going through, like penciling where the road would go on that existing map and that would give you a better feeling of how minimal the impact will be.

Kevin Stansberry, Mount Olive High School Principal: To answer the parking question, I don’t know if we’ll ever have adequate parking to meet all of the needs but I believe with the planned referendum we are going to actually over double the amount of parking spaces available to students and faculty, somewhere nearly around 500 parking spots if I’m not mistaken but with the layout there are opportunities to add extra parking through the access routes if we did like one side of the lane parking to address those issues but right now we will be sacrificing the varsity softball field which will become a parking lot. As the layout changes, we’ll also provide for additional parking but I we’ll be fine with the way the layout is proposed and we’ll be able to meet the demands needed for the faculty and the students.

Mr. Greenbaum: Congratulations on the appointment.

Mr. Stansberry: Thank you.

President Rattner: I’ll give my closing comment and I’m not going to repeat what’s already been said. The thing that is disturbing to me, the board members and a good portion of the community, we have about 4,600 students in the system right now and yet when a vote like this comes up or a School Board election, we’re usually pretty happy with about 3,000 votes. That means that we don’t even get, we get probably a third of the families that come out and vote that have children in this school system. We have 13,000 registered voters in town and a good majority of those have kids in the school system so I think what is really the job of every citizen, which ever way you come down on it, to get out and vote. You don’t want a minority of the population dictating what is happening especially on a project this big. Talk to your neighbors, talk to your friends, encourage them to get out and vote and I ask the press to keep it on the front page or as close as you can about what is going on and that there is an election on March 9th. Thank you very much. The next item we have on the Agenda is the Library Board who has a presentation. I guess it’s an update because we have a bill on the bill list?

Mrs. Lashway: This is the presentation of the check.

Library Board Presentation

Jane Israel, President of the Mount Olive Library Board: I have come here this evening to present to the Township in the amount of $399,544.40 and I wanted to present this to the Mayor and Council. This is the first proceeds from the State grant. I forget just what the formula is but anyway we did whatever we were supposed to do to get the money. I wanted to present the real check to Sherry and I thought it might be appropriate if we had a picture with the Mayor and Mr. Rattner.

President Rattner: We are going to change the order of the Agenda a little bit. We have resolution No. 13, I want to move this up, which is confirming the appointment of the Business Administrator. Of course there has been a lot said about it. I just wanted to state that regardless of the criticism the Council has taken, we were first given the name of the current candidate on December 23rd. That’s the first time we knew, we got a name and a resume. It was delivered via memo on that date with some others and at the President Rattner (cont’d): time Councilman Perkins and myself told the Mayor and one of the Councilman-elect that we would work as fast as possible so we could meet the person and get the process rolling because this is a pivotal position in the township. It is important and it is absolutely necessary for the Mayor to have any success at all and it is important to everyone else in town for the smooth running of the town. I believe we met him for the first time on January 3rd and we tried doing everything as quickly as possible. When you really look at the timeframe, I think we did an admirable job doing our back ground checks, everyone getting to meet him and ask him questions and giving him enough time to answer. With that and I don’t want to prolong it any more, I’m moving this up now so that we can move this resolution and get it resolved.

13. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Confirming the Appointment of William Ruggierio as Township Business Administrator.

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

President Rattner: I’ll take brief comments. I’ll start with the Mayor since it’s his appointment.

Mayor De La Roche: First of all I want to thank the Council for their expeditious movement of this resolution. As you indicated, it is essential in order for the township to move ahead. We have someone who is able to oversee the many projects we have outstanding. Of course, they’ve been, up until now, in the capable hands of Mrs. Spencer and we want to thank her for her fine work and her continuing effort on behalf of the township. We also wish to welcome Mr. Ruggierio. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the job and again, we welcome him. At the same time we thank Mrs. Spencer for her continued service to the township.

Mr. Buell: I just wanted to welcome Bill. I just wanted to say hello and how much I enjoyed meeting with Bill and his wife, not his wife, but his significant other, and showing her around town while you were interviewing him.

Mrs. Labow: Jim and I started a Mount Olive tour group and Ruth was our first victim and she survived and I was driving. I would like to thank Cindy Spencer for all of her hard work. I’ve seen her grow and come a long way. Thank you very much for your continued efforts in helping us with our transition and all the information and I’d like to thank the Council for moving this resolution up to the beginning of the Agenda.

Mr. Elms: I, too, would like to thank Cynthia for all of her support in the times that we were running and asking for kinds of information and I welcome Bill and I hope that we will have four years of good results. Thank you, Bill.

Mr. Guenther: I also want to welcome Mr. Ruggierio and thank Cindy for her service. I just was to reiterate, I guess, or iterate if you will, I think it is extremely important that this position be one of the utmost confidence of the Mayor, someone who is very close, someone who has his confidence. I had the chance to meet with Mr. Ruggierio and I’m impressed with his credentials. I think he’ll serve very well. There was some concerns about his lack of administrative experience but I think, at least, he’s been involved with township government at Old Bridge for 8-9 years if I remember correctly. I think that is extremely important.

Mr. Perkins: Mrs. Spencer, I want to thank you for your service to the township. It’s been a pleasure working with you over the years. I guess I get to stick my nose in the building probably more than some but maybe not quite as many as some of the others. Bill, absent of us taking the vote and confirming your appointment, I want to welcome you to Mount Olive Township. Some of the discussions we had that Saturday morning, you do keep your finger on the pulse of the employees here, that’s the rank and file, and without those hard working men and women, the township folds and it all falls back on to the Mayor. I’m going to keep my eye watching you. Thank you.

Mr. Greenbaum: Thank you Cindy. Good luck Bill and I don’t think anything more needs to be said that hasn’t already been said.

President Rattner: I’m going to say the same thing. The business administrator’s job is a very very tough job. That is the person who is out on the front line representing the Mayor and then having to deal with the Council because this position actually works for the town and so it is very very difficult. I’ll just say that I was impressed with his honestly, his directness. It seems like he has a great personality which is definitely going to help and hopefully in a couple of minutes we’ll just actually tell him that we wish him a lot of luck.

ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously

President Rattner: Congratulations.

William Ruggierio: I’d like to thank very much the Council for their vote. I think a unanimous vote in the way that you did it is most important to not only me but to the employees to know that everything is at least starting on a bi-partisan and positive basis. I’ll say this, I’ll be brief in my comments throughout my tenure, but I’ll say this to you, I think that the most important thing that we can do as public employees is to project to the public that we are custom oriented, system oriented and I’ll try to deliver that message as much as I can. I do remember, Mr. Perkins, your comments about making sure that we keep objectives in front of us and monitor that those objectives are achieved and I will certainly try to do that. May I day that I have also had very positive experiences with your outgoing administrator who I know will be here for a brief time before I come on full time and has offered to assist me in any way possible to make this transition smooth, and so with that, thank you very much.

Questions on Bill List?

Mr. Rattner: At his time so that at least it gives the administrator and the CFO a little bit of time to look through the voucher package so when we vote on approving bills at the end of the meeting, they could have some answers for us.

Mr. Buell: As a new Council person I have a hard time reading through the invoices and figuring out the code and I have been offered assistance by the finance department to take me through the invoices to show me the interpretations of the code, but the one question I have other than procedural questions is, on the long distance telephone list, what are audits that are applied to that list.

Mrs. Spencer: Right now the software that we have does not allow us to audit the long distance calling from any particular phone. So Mr. Lynch reviews those bills on a monthly basis. The calls go out from a trunk line, so there is no way to know which individual handset is being used to make the calls. That would require a software upgrade to provide more sophisticated tracking.

Mr. Buell: So there is no way our department head can look at the phones assigned to him or her in terms of the employees and determine who made telephone calls to what numbers.

Mrs. Spencer: No. The phone bill itself is not delineated in that manner. All the calls come in and go out over trunk lines, so you cannot tell which extension or handset was being used. I am sure if there are abusives I could identify if you know for instance where a number of calls were going repeatedly we could through knowledge of employees and relatives and that sort of thing identify who is abusing the system.

Mr. Buell: How much would the software upgrade cost?

Mrs. Spencer: I don’t have that figure right now. Jim is in the process of looking into it.

Mr. Buell: Okay, thank you.

Mrs. Labow: I have a few questions, several questions. Page five for General Capital, we have for Turkey Brook, other expense, the wood carpet safety surface, what is that about?

Mr. Buell: How much would the software upgrade cost?

Mrs. Labow: Wood carpet; that is what the bedding is called that is in the tot lot. Wood carpeting, it’s approved for playground use. So that part was not denoted with the…

Mrs. Spencer: No it was not, we did the actual work to dig out the lot and had to put in the sub surface.

Mrs. Labow: The next question I had is also is regarding Turkey Brook on page six, we have Turkey Brook other expenses, and you have November professional services for $5,295.00. What’s that mean?

Mrs. Spencer: This is actually Schoor Depalma’s bill. I would have to look on the exact bill but it’s under Schoor Depalma and that was work that they did for Turkey Brook. So it was probably in response to meetings that were held on site, it’s a billing of hours. We could actually get the breakdown, it will be part of the bill, would you like us to pull that out so that you can look at it?

Mrs. Labow: Yes. Thank you. On page 7, what is the historic structure reports, there’s two bills, one is for $3, 880.00 and then another structure report for $6,790 from Tom Hitchens Associates.

Mrs. Spencer: Kathy is coming up to address that.

Mrs. Murphy: Good evening, these two bills are paid out of the grant that we have on the Baptist Church. They are part of the Morris County Historic Trust Grant that we’ve received. We have the architect and the history preservationist reviewing the building and they are submitting data to the historic preservation office for national register nomination and examination of the building in preparation for some renovation work.

Mrs. Spencer: Why are there two different reports though?

Mrs. Murphy: They are submitting them in segments. So they complete a certain percentage of work, we’re paying them along the way. There is actually three components to the grant. Two of the components are finished. A third component which will be the larger portion still is remaining.

Mrs. Labow: Mr. Rattner, for something like this, is this something you bid for when it’s a grant. If it reaches to high of a…

Mr. Rattner: You bid I believe and the CFO could probably explain it better. It is based on the type of service you are getting, not exactly where it is being paid from. I believe this is under the professional services contract so you could go out, find the expert that you want that you think is best qualified to do this kind of work.

Mrs. Labow: The other question I wanted to ask was on the Bill list, this is probably for Mrs. Jenkins, there was a lot of voided checks.

Mrs. Jenkins: When my accounts payable supervisor ran the bill list she inadvertently dated them 12/25 instead of 12/23 so had to void them and go back and date them properly.

Mrs. Labow: Okay. What about all the refunds? Is that something you want to address?

Mrs. Jenkins: The tax refunds I wanted to make sure that we returned then in the year that we actually received the money and basically that is from a lot of refinances, when people refinance, a lot of times the old mortgage company pays from closing and things like that, so we did our best effort to refund and actually about $180,000.00 before the end of the year so that the people had the money in the year that it was over paid.

President Rattner: I had that question, I gave you my questions earlier today, my question really was is that the back up that was provided really didn’t show that there was an over payment situation and that is what I was asking for to see what it is in our tax files and then showing why we are giving a refund. IT just show, what is this, first and second quarter or third and fourth quarter billings, and then it shows the negative amount in this period. It doesn’t really show that they were paid twice.

Mrs. Jenkins: Yes. We actually printed out a copy of the tax screen that shows what quarter the over payment occurred and we attached that to the voucher, so there is back up there.

President Rattner: Okay, it’s the backup I didn’t understand, it looked like it was just showing what is going forward, it shows the credit going in, but that’s it. It didn’t show that their assessment should have been $6,000.00 in taxes and they paid $7,500.00 so we are giving them back $1,500.00 for the duplicate quarter.

Mrs. Jenkins: I know what you are saying.

President Rattner: From the copy of the screen it didn’t show me that they were actually in an overpayment situation.

Mrs. Jenkins: Okay, I understand what you are saying. There is a lot of different things that we could have printed out to make it simple because we had obviously as you can see from the Bill List a lot of over payments. We wanted to put something there, so we felt that printing a copy of the tax screen that reflected the overpayment of exactly that amount would be sufficient for payment purposes.

President Rattner: Okay, what I would like to see going forward is showing what taxes they actually paid during the year and then showing how much we are giving them back and why.

Mrs. Jenkins: We can print a detailed history, that is another screen that we can go to, that will give you specific payments, check numbers and things like that. We printed just the main summary screen so you can see it, but we can do that.

Mrs. Labow: On page 14 I know you voided these checks to the Mt. Olive Baseball Association, Junior baseball, Junior Marauders. Why were those checks, did you void them and then reissue them? Are they for 2003 or 2004?

Mrs. Jenkins: 2003.

Mrs. Labow: They have to wait until the end of the year to get their…

Mrs. Jenkins: I can talk to Jill, I don’t know what her time frame is for that normally. I do know that it is for 2003 though.

Mrs. Labow: The next question I had I saw that there was…

Mrs. Jenkins: Colleen, could I just add one thing. They don’t get their full allocation, until they have provided receipts to show that they spent the money and that at that time the checks are issued to them.

Mrs. Spencer: You have a number of checks going out to different plowing contractors, how many do we have?

Mrs. Jenkins: We actually have two, Beckendorf and Precision Excavating for five different zones.

Mrs. Spencer: I do have the answer on the Schoor Depalma questions. That $5,295 was for work that they did at the request of Turkey Brook Development Committee. They did conceptual plans plus estimates. I provided them to that committee on the development of Loop Road and they also billed for their attendance at two meetings.

Mrs. Labow: I have two questions, they are not major things. On page 39 there is a reimbursement luncheon that took place on January 12, 2004 for Paul Licitra.

Mrs. Spencer: It actually took place on December 31, or December 30, I don’t remember which, but that was an employee of the year luncheon to acknowledge the award that was given by ex Mayor Licitra for the Employee of the Year which was granted to Jim Lynch.

Mrs. Labow: I don’t have a problem with the luncheon; I was just concerned about the date.

Mrs. Jenkins: The January 12, 2004 date is the date that we got the information to actually put in the system.

Mrs. Labow: So you don’t put the date that it actually occurred?

Mrs. Jenkins: No, we can’t go back in and date it that way; we put it in as of January 12, 2004 because that is the day that we got the information.

Mrs. Labow: Okay, I’m done.

Mr. Elms: I only have two. I see on page 39 we bought two lawyer’s diaries; since we have a number of lawyers, can you tell me where they went. Hopefully one is for the new Mayor.

Mr. Rattner: If you can’t find it, just have it ready for when we do the Bill List. That is one of the reasons for asking the questions now.

Mrs. Spencer: It’s for the Courts and for the Tax Assessor.

Mr. Elms: On page 41, a 14 x 16 dutch barn with a garage set for the beach?

Mrs. Jenkins: Yes.

Mr. Elms: Thank you.

Mr. Guenther: A couple things, in general capital, there are a lot of expenditures for technology, I would just like some explanations on them. For example, technology services, data back up and recovery. Is that a recurring expense?

Mrs. Spencer: It’s a back up unit that was needed for all of township service. That was actually purchased off of a state contract. I have the number if you would like it.

Mr. Guenther: That’s okay. What are the two companies here, CDWG Inc. and then there is Communication Service into, it doesn’t give a whole name. What are these companies? Do we have contracts with them, what is the nature of them providing the materials here?

Mrs. Spencer: We’ll have to look at the back up. I don’t know offhand.

Mr. Guenther: On page 37, there is an item there that says, in line of duty, I assume these are police expenses. It says it is a very wide category and you have five different things there with some very ominous names like the Murder of Georgia Deputy Kyle, Tampa Massacre.

Mrs. Spencer: They are training videos.

Mr. Guenther: Okay, that’s it from me.

Mr. Greenbaum: Page 18, the voided checks, were they recut with the right dates, is that what happened?

Mrs. Jenkins: That’s exactly what happened.

Mr. Greenbaum: I assume that the Washington Mutual home loan does not reflect that we are paying someone’s mortgage. Is that a car loan?

Mrs. Jenkins: It is actually a refund of an overpayment of taxes.

Mr. Greenbaum: Okay. So then why is it not listed with the rest of the refund of taxes. Is it just because that is who the check is made payable to as opposed to the other refund of taxes?

Mrs. Jenkins: You mean did we reissue it?

Mr. Greenbaum: No. There are pages and pages of refund of taxes here. We have one which is, and I apologize am sure if I looked in the basket…

Mrs. Jenkins: I’m sure that we reissued it and it is in the pages, I will look for it while you are moving on okay?

Mr. Greenbaum: I was just hoping that we weren’t paying someone’s mortgage. Here’s the question that I have though, on page 30, actually it starts on page 29, talking about the food allowance for the employees. Do they actually have to hand receipts in for the boot allowance? Or are they entitled to the $100 refund of whether they buy food or not?

Mrs. Spencer: Twice a year as per the contract, they receive a $100 check in January and July. However, last year, one of the things that we did was we tightened up the specifications as to what they are required to wear on their feet. We did that to protect their ankles, and…

Mr. Greenbaum: I am not troubled by the fact that we give the boot allowance. But I seem to recall, and correct me if I am wrong Mr. Dorsey, that there was a problem in Parsippany involving police uniform allowances where the police officers in Parsippany were receiving allowance to purchase uniforms without having to submit receipts related to those uniforms and it was found to be a violation of some statute or ordinance, you may not know about it, but I seem to recall that. Do you know anything about it Sherry?

Mrs. Jenkins: Yes, in fact, that was one of the first things I changed when I got here is how we handled the police allowances. Basically, there are two types of plans, it is either accountable or not accountable, Mr. Rattner probably knows this because he is an accountant and we don’t require them to submit receipts but we do tax them on it, so we cover ourselves that way.

Mr. Greenbaum: The boot allowance is the same way?

Mrs. Jenkins: The boot allowance, we haven’t done anything with that because it is under the $600.00 threshold, so when I talked to Gary about it when I initially came, we’ve left that the same in that they get well below that, so we have not required that they submit receipts, which is not to say that we can’t. Okay?

Mr. Guenther: Now that Rob brought up the boot allowance, I just noticed on there, I understand Mr. DiGennaro has resigned, but yet he is down here for boot allowance for the first quarter.

Mrs. Spencer: Yes, at the time we were doing the boot allowances, he had not yet resigned.

Mrs. Jenkins: We prepared the Bill List on Friday and at that time we were no longer aware that he was no longer going to be here. We’ll make sure that we don’t relinquish the check.

Mrs. Labow: Do we know also with the boot allowance, they are allowed to have this, right?

Mrs. Spencer: Yes.

Mrs. Labow: But there is nothing that says that they have to submit a receipt. Okay, so they have to have the proper foot gear to go out in the field, but they don’t have to prove that they actually bought it.

Mrs. Spencer: They have to be wearing; their supervisors inspect their footwear.

Mrs. Labow: There’s that foot fetish again. So what about supervisors who are out in the field, Steve and I were talking about that earlier, they also get the boot allowance.

Mrs. Spencer: Yes. There are a number of supervisors and department heads that get the boot allowance, if in fact their job requires then to do extensive field work.

Mrs. Labow: Thank you.

President Rattner: Moving right along, now we’ll go to the approval of minutes from the previous meetings. As I stated most of them were last year, I will ask for a motion from one of the republican councilman.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETINGS

November 11, 2003 Present: Mr. Scapicchio Mr. Spino, Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Perkins, Mr. Guenther, Mrs. Miller Mr. Rattner
Absent: none

December 9, 2003 Present: Mr. Spino, Mr. Rattner, Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Scapicchio, Mr. Perkins
President Guenther
Absent: Mrs. Miller

January 13, 2004 CS Present: President Rattner, Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Guenther, Mr. Buell, Mr. Elms, Mrs. Labow
Absent: Mr. Perkins

Mr. Guenther made a motion to approve the Minutes as listed above. Mr. Greenbaum seconded the motion.

ROLL CALL: Passed
Mr. Buell, abstained on November 11, 2003, and December 9, 2003.
Mrs. Labow abstained on November 11, 2003, and December 9, 2003.
Mr. Elms abstained on all.
Mr. Guenther voted yes on all.
Mr. Perkins voted yes on November 11, and December 9, 2003. He abstained on January 13, 2004.
Mr. Greenbaum and Mr. Rattner voted yes on all.

 

CORRESPONDENCE

Resolutions, Ordinances, Correspondence from other Municipalities

1. Letter received December 22, 2003 from Washington Township Advising Morris County Municipalities that the Washington Township Master Plan Reexamination Report and New Master Plan were adopted on December 8, 2003

2. Resolution received December 23, 2003 from the Township of Mount Holly Opposing the State’s Actions concerning the “Property Tax Reimbursement Program.”

3. Resolution received January 7, 2004 from the Township of Nutley regarding the Implementation of the “Property Tax Reimbursement Program.

4. Correspondence received January 12, 2004 from the Borough of Netcong regarding International Drive South

5. Resolution received January 16, 2004 from the Township of Lawrence Opposing the State’s Action Concerning the “Property Reimbursements Program.”

6. Letter received January 16, 2004 from Gary W. Whyte of the Ecuadorian Line Inc. thanking the Mayors of New Jersey for their support regarding responses to Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva - a rare and incurable disease.

League of Municipalities

7. Email received December 18, 2003 regarding Proposed Stormwater Regulations.

8. Email received December 19, 2003 regarding S-2832/A-3936, Transfer of Development Rights.

9. Email received January 8, 2004 regarding S-2047/A-3156, Pre-Entry Fitness Standards.

10. Email received January 9, 2004 regarding TDR Bills Stall, New Law Limits Authority over Flag Displays and the League’s Abandoned Properties Bill Becomes Law.

New Jersey Alliance for Action

11. Invite received January 12, 2004 from the New Jersey Alliance for Action regarding the 2nd Annual New Jersey Transportation Conference to be held on February 9, 2004.

Musconetcong Sewage Authority

12. Correspondence received January 8, 2004 from the Musconetcong Sewage Authority regarding Allocations for the Participating Municipalities in the 3.803 MGD Pollutions Control Plant.

13. Meeting Minutes received January 9, 2004 from the Regular Meeting of the Musconetcong Sewage Authority on December 3, 2003.

County of Morris

14. Invite received January 6, 2004 from the Morris County Green Table Regarding the Public Use of Open Space: Design, Building and Funding Trails.

DOT/DEP/Permit’s/LOI’s

15. Letter received December 31, 2003 from the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection regarding approval of the Remedial Investigation Work plan for Oakwood Village Apartments, 185 Route 206 Mount Olive. Block 4600, Lot 11.

16. Letter received January 7, 2004 from the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection granting a permit to construct a single span bridge to replace an existing three-span bridge for Hillside Avenue Crossing over Drakes Brook, in the Township of Mount Olive, Morris County New Jersey. Permit No.1427-03-0009.1

17. Letter received January 8, 2004 from the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection granting a permit for the Mount Olive Water Department to construct a new Public Community Water Supply Well located at the Pinecrest Well Field, Block 3702, Lot 56.

18. Letter received January 12, 2004 from the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection regarding a deficiency letter for Freshwater Wetlands Individual Permit for Deerfield/Rezamir Estates, Block 7000, Lot 64.

19. Response Letter received January 12, 2004 from the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection regarding the NJDEP’s (Department) Issuance of Treatment Works Approval (TWA) Permit which authorized the construction and operation of a sanitary sewer system to serve the proposed “Morris Chase” residential development.

Correspondence from Organizations / Committees / Boards

20. FSA Newsletter (Farm Service Agency) received January 9, 2004.

21. Letter received January 12, 2004 from the New Jersey Division of American Foresters providing Mount Olive with their Position Statement on Land Use Planning and Stewardship

22. Letter received on January 13, 2004 from PMK Environmental Group regarding Discharge Prevention Regulations.

23. Invite received on January 14, 2004 from the Hunterdon County Green Table regarding a seminar to be held on the “Recipe for Planning and Defense of Resource Management Zoning.”

COAH

24. December Newsletter received January 10, 2004 from COAH (Council on Affordable Housing).

Utilities

25. Letter received January 2, 2004 from Attorney Thomas C. Kelly, regarding the responses of Mt. Olive Villages Water Company, Inc. to the Staff Interrogatories. BPU Docket No. WE03120970

26. Letter received January 2, 2004 from Attorney Thomas C. Kelly, regarding the responses of Mt. Olive Villages Sewer Company, Inc. to the Staff Interrogatories. BPU Docket No. WE03120971

27. Letter received January 12, 2004 from Attorney Thomas C. Kelly Regarding the Application of Mt. Olive Villages Water Company, Inc, BPU Docket No. WE)3120970.

President Rattner stated we have 27 items of correspondence listed on the agenda and asked for Council comments on same.

Mr. Perkins: I have a comment on number four, the correspondence received from the Borough of Netcong regarding International Drive and their proposed interconnection through/AIG Baker together with the New Jersey Water Company. I don’t know how that is going to impact upon us, there is an obligation that they installed, this interconnection, at least on the letter that we had gotten from the Borough Administrator. It would be well I believe if you could direct through the Business Administrator to take a look at that and see what options we have open.

Mr. Guenther: I believe there was a response from Gene Buczynski that he has addressed this. That he responded saying that they are perfectly aware of their commitment, that they need to do it and it will be done.

Mr. Perkins: I did get that Mr. Guenther. Unfortunately the letter from our Township Attorney, it says Netcong will follow up and contact AIG/Baker and the private purveyor directly. I still don’t know what protections that gives us as far as granting Municipal Consent to extend the franchise further along, there are other things that need to be tidied up before they can just go and make this interconnection. So, I don’t want to see this just fall by the wayside.

Mrs. Labow: I had sent an email to Gene Buczynski on his memo that he had sent us, because I wanted to know, it said you know, they are hoping to not have to open the road. I says, well, do they know or don’t they know, as far as they know that they don’t have to open a road and everything is moving forward with that from what I understand from Gene, that there is just a matter of making the connection as long as it was properly laid in the roadway then they don’t have to cut open the road and then talked about doing a sort of likened to rotor rooter, where they just go under the road but they don’t want to do that because it is very costly cutting the road.

Mr. Elms: What I read on that was there was already a pipe under the road.

Mrs. Labow: I think there is.

Mr. Elms: Okay. I had a question on number one.

President Rattner: Mrs. Spencer, did you have anything to add to that?

Mrs. Spencer: No, just that I had a talk with Mr. Joss, and he was aware of the fact that we were in litigation and I had passed it on to Gene at that point and then the letter came to Council and Gene had responded, so AIG/Baker is stating that they are aware.

President Rattner: Mr. Perkins, were you finished?

Mr. Perkins: Yes, I would like somebody to follow up on this. I understand AIG, but AIG/Baker doesn’t own the water.

Mr. Perkins: I understand that, I just wanted to make sure you didn’t have any other.

Mr. Elms: Letter number one, Washington Township has adopted their Master Plan Reexamination Report and New Master Plan. I would suggest that we get several copies of that and pass it out to our Planning Board so that they can see what our neighbors are doing.

President Rattner: That would be the Planning Board, plus I think there is a fairly large cost involved. I know when we give out our plans, we charge big time for the copying and that type of thing I believe. Anybody else? Okay.

ORDINANCES FOR PUBLIC HEARING

President Rattner opened the hearing to the public on:

Ord. #1-2004 Bond Ordinance Providing for Improvements to the Water Utility in and by the Township of Mount Olive, in the County of Morris, New Jersey, Appropriating $151,000 Therefore and Authorizing the Issuance of $151,000 Bonds or Notes of the Township for Financing the Cost Thereof. (installation of meter pits) – C. Labow motion to continue to 2/10/04

President Rattner closed the public portion on Ord. # 1-2004.

Mr. Dorsey: Mrs. Labow wants to move a continuation of this public hearing until February 10,
2004.

Mrs. Labow: Which one do I read? The top one?

Mrs. Lashway: Move to continue.

Mr. Dorsey: Make it up. I would like to move to continue the public hearing in connection with Ordinance # 1-2004 until the meeting of the Township Council on February 10, 2004.

Mrs. Labow: I would like to move to have the first reading of Ordinance #1-2004 to February 10, 2004. Mr. Perkins seconded the motion.

President Rattner: Any discussion?

ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously (to continue)

ORDINANCES FOR FIRST READING – (2nd Reading February 24, 2004)

Ord. #2-2004 An Ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive Requiring the Posting of Informational Signage Relative to Development.

Mr. Buell moved Ord. #2-2004 be introduced by title and passed on first reading and that a meeting be held on February 24, 2004 at 7:30 pm at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive, New Jersey, for a Public Hearing and consideration of second reading and passage of said ordinance and that the Clerk be directed to Publish, Post and make available the Ordinance in accordance with the requirements of the law.

President Rattner: Is there any discussion?

Mr. Guenther: I was looking to see how specific it got as to what the sign should say and I had to go back to the first WHERAS, which I find a little bit too general. I think it should be very specific as to what information we want on the sign.

Mr. Dorsey: It does get specific in the following sections of the ordinance. You have to go into the heart of the ordinance.

Mr. Guenther: I didn’t see that.

Mr. Greenbaum: I don’t know how many times I have to say, it’s the Buell ordinance.

President Rattner: I’m sorry.

Mr. Greenbaum: I’ll take credit for it though.

President Rattner: It’s the Buell/Greenbaum ordinance.

Mr. Greenbaum: A bipartisan effort.

Mrs. Lashway: You’re right, there is a page missing, I don’t have it either.

President Rattner: Why don’t we just hold it.

Mr. Dorsey: I could tell you what they are, you have to state the name of the owner and the developer of the track, you have to give the lot and block of the track, you have to give the person who is in charge of the development with his phone number, you have to give the name of the municipal official who is in charge of it which could either be the construction code official for an individual home or the township engineer in which case you get the name of the inspector and the phone number. You also must put on it the permitted hours of operation.

Mr. Guenther: Will this sign exceed our sign ordinance?

Mr. Dorsey: No.

Mr. Guenther: I would like to make one suggestion however, that it not be called developer/builder because in a lot of cases you have a developer who flips it to a builder and I think the public wants to be interested in who is actually building the homes. For example in the case of Toll/Morris Hunt, they are developer and builder, in the case of Morris Chase they are the builder, they bought from the development.

Mr. Dorsey: I think Toll Brothers goes on as the developer and the owner at that point.

Mr. Guenther: For the sections. There are other developments for example Rachael Manor was the developer…If you were going to make it useful for the public, I think the name of the builders should be on there. I think that is what brought that up, that people actually want to know who is actually building the homes. There are people who are just developers that don’t build.

Mr. Greenbaum: Why can’t we put on it developer/builder?

Mr. Guenther: Sounds good.

President Rattner: What is the Council’s pleasure? Do you want to move with this going forward? It still has to be published in the right form, a public hearing and vote on it. Do we want to put it off until we see it or do we want to vote on it now?

Mr. Greenbaum: There is no rush in terms of moving it unless Lisa is telling me that there is something that…

Mrs. Lashway: I would be more comfortable if you didn’t do anything and you held this for introduction.
President Rattner: The next ordinance, what does the Ordinance actually say?

Mrs. Lashway: Four ton.

President Rattner: Didn’t we resolve that last week?

Mrs. Lashway: It’s supposed to be five ton. We’ll, no it says four ton and five ton at different points.

Mrs. Labow: The signs on the road say five ton.

Mr. Dorsey: Okay. Five tons.

Ord. #3-2004 An Ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive Establishing a Five Ton Weight Limitation on Manor House Road.

Mr. Guenther moved that Ord. #3-2004 be introduced by title and passed on first reading and that a meeting be held on February 24, 2004 at 7:30 pm at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive New Jersey for a Public Hearing and consideration of second reading and passage of said ordinance and that the Clerk be directed to Publish, Post and make available the Ordinance in accordance with the requirements of the law. Mr. Perkins seconded the motion.

President Rattner: Thank you. Any discussion?

ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously

President Rattner: For the public’s information, when you introduce and ordinance, that is the legal requirement so you can go out and advertise it for the Public meeting. We are not taking any action other than putting it out there as long as what gets published is correct, because that’s the actual notification, then we can actually go forward with the public hearing on the 24th of February. If there are any problems at that time then we’d have to redo it. But that is all we are doing now is just getting it for publication. So we are not taking any formal action.

Ord. #4-2004 An Ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive Establishing a 35 mph Speed Limit on Smithtown Road and Mount Olive Road.

Mr. Perkins moved that Ord. #3-2004 be introduced by title and passed on first reading and that a meeting be held on February 24, 2004 at 7:30 pm at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive New Jersey for a Public Hearing and consideration of second reading and passage of said ordinance and that the Clerk be directed to Publish, Post and make available the Ordinance in accordance with the requirements of the law. Mr. Guenther seconded the motion.

President Rattner: Thank you. Any discussion?

Mr. Elms: I live on the part of Smithtown Road that has been 30 mph. It is now being raised to 35 mph. I would like to ask the Police to start enforcing the 35 mph if they are going to raise it because they have been sitting into my driveway clocking cars at 50 to 55 mph in that zone.

President Rattner: Thank you Mr. Elms. Any other discussion?

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 that may be offered. If one or more Council member requests, any individual resolution on the Consent Agenda may be removed from the Consent Agenda List and acted on separately.

CONSENT RESOLUTIONS – R. Greenbaum

1. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Releasing Performance Guarantees that the Kaplan Companies Submitted in Connection with the Development Known as Oak Hill I, Sections I, II, and III.

2. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Releasing a Performance Guarantee Submitted by Kaplan Companies in Connection with Oak Hill II.

3. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Mayor to Execute an Application to the NJDEP for the Replacement of the Manor House Road Bridge.

4. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Support and Participation in the Volunteer Tuition Credit Program (P.L. 1998, c.145).

5. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Supporting the Participation in the 2004 Fair Share Assessment with the Morris Chapter’s McARP.

6. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Sale of Certain Land Known and Designated as a Portion of Block 2507 Lot 2, (50’ Frontage on Dogwood Drive) Which is No Longer Needed for Public Use by the Township.

7. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Release of Performance Guarantees to Paragon Village.

8. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Release of Performance Guarantees RE: Toll Brothers, Inc. in Connection with Wyndham Pointe Sections I and II.

9. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Release of Performance Guarantees RE: Toll Brothers, Inc. in Connection with Wyndham Pointe Sections III.

10. Resolution to Establishing a Temporary Capital Budget.

11. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Reappointing Steven Rattner as a Member to the Musconetcong Sewerage Authority.

12. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive RE: Interverse Enterprises Litigation (Smith Farm).

President Rattner: Would any body like to discuss any of the consent resolutions separately?

Mr. Elms: I would like to take off number six.

Mr. Rattner: Anybody else? Okay.

Mr. Greenbaum made a motion to approve Resolutions 1 through five and 7 through 12. Mr. Perkins seconded the motion.

PUBLIC PORTION ON CONSENT RESOLUTIONS - NONE

COUNCIL COMMENTS ON CONSENT RESOLUTIONS - NONE

ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously.

RESOLUTIONS NON CONSENT

6. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Sale of Certain Land Known and Designated as a Portion of Block 2507 Lot 2, (50’ Frontage on Dogwood Drive) Which is No Longer Needed for Public Use by the Township

Mr. Greenbaum made a motion to approve resolution #6. Mr. Guenther seconded the motion.

President Rattner: Would anybody from the public like to discuss this resolution. Seeing none, Council Discussion.

Mr. Elms: This is a situation where a portion of a piece of property that is owned by the Township is being put up for sale for a neighbor which apparently does not require any kind of subdivision in order to do this. There has been in the past another family who is looking to take a piece of property and subdivide it the same say without a subdivision, just by splitting it by two property owners. It seems to have languished before the Council for sometime. I would just like to see that the residents of the two places are treated equally because I think the last time the Presco family asked to have this done for the lot next to them. There was something about they had to pay to have a complete subdivision done.

Mr. Dorsey: On number six we have another problem. Kathy Murphy advised me today that this lot is currently on what is known as the ROSI, which is a list of properties that the Township essentially dedicates to recreational use and is filed with DEP. Is that not right Kathy? I think we should take number six off, as I understand it the ROSI has not yet been filed with DEP but it would have to be amended if this lot is to come off, so Mr. President, could we take six off until we take appropriate action?

Mr. Greenbaum: I had a question related to that. That we are not actually taking the lot off, we are actually losing a portion of the lot.

Mr. Dorsey: We are only selling a portion of the lot but we need to take that lot off the ROSI.

Mr. Greenbaum: Does the ROSI contain metes and bounds of the property or does it simply identify that by block and lot? So essentially the block and lot remain the same even though a portion of that particular lot will become amended to another lot. I have no problem taking it off at this point in time, so that it can be further researched, but I am not sure that it ultimately changes the ROSI because the same block and lot will remain on the ROSI.

Mr. Dorsey: You have to take the whole lot off.

Mr. Greenbaum: Why, I don’t understand. The same block and lot will remain Township property, it will just be in smaller form than it is today because a portion of that is being appended to the lot next door.

Mr. Dorsey: What you are saying is when we amend the ROSI, we will include the portion of that lot that we are not selling.

Mr. Greenbaum: Yes.

Kathy Murphy: I am not quite sure what the ruling is and that is why I am sort of looking for some legal advice and also the reason the ROSI is not filed…

Mr. Dorsey: Kathy, wait a minute, before you go any further, you told me today for the first time that this lot is on the ROSI, the ROSI which was approved by the Township Council a month or two ago but not yet filled with DEP. If it had been filed with DEP, I would tell you right now, forget about selling any portion of that lot, but it hasn’t been filed so what we are going to do is take it off tonight and then you are going to have to do a resolution to amend the ROSI so that it only includes that portion, I think it’s lot two, that will not be sold.

Mrs. Murphy: That is just an inadvertent goof on my part. I thought we had already taken care of that issue, so we’ll just try to fix it.

Mr. Dorsey: It doesn’t matter, we could do that. But it’s off for tonight.

President Rattner: Since we have a motion and a second, why don’t we just vote it down and then we’ll just bring it back up, that is the easiest way.

Mr. Elms: I had gotten a memo from Kathy, I think the party is trying to sell their property and needs that piece to sell the property.

Mrs. Lashway: Their driveway is on that property.

Mrs. Murphy: Years ago apparently when the woman put the driveway in, part of it was put on town property, and they weren’t aware of this until recently. For her to resolve any issue of her selling her property in the future, she would like to have that issue resolved and that is why she came to the town.

Mr. Elms: So it is not an immediate sale that is going on? If we hold it up for a month, it won’t be a problem.

Mrs. Murphy: Not to my knowledge.

President Rattner: Anything else Mr. Elms

Mr. Elms: How about the other lot with Mrs. Presco?

Mrs. Murphy: The thing with Mrs. Presco; that is an isolated lot and the town had discussed selling it. The two people who are interested in it could not reach an agreement on how they would like to split it. Both were contending they wanted the entire piece themselves, Council just felt they would table it at the time. I did a property study of all the Towns on the recreation list and other property’s and we had said we really should take a look at all the properties, decide what purposes the town may have for them in the future. Whether we want to save them for drainage or wells, and then after we’ve reviewed all that, then anything that we felt was excess property we could do what we wished. We never completed that last portion ourselves and it would be a good way for everybody to understand exactly what the town does own. So there is no rush on selling the Presco piece, I think it was just left that it would be a good exercise to go through to know what we own.

Mr. Elms: John, how about we just spilt the lot in half and let them bid on both halves?

Mr. Dorsey: That would be fine by me. That would be the ideal solution that each adjourning property owner would get to obtain the one half that immediately adjoined their property. But as I understood it, there was not agreement between those two property owners that was an acceptable resolution in the matter.

Mr. Elms: We could then split the lot in half and put both halves up, if one party wanted to buy both halves, so be it.

Mr. Dorsey: Theoretically you can do that.

Mr. Guenther: I am just trying to clarify because in fact the question came up from the attorney from the Presco’s that who is going to pay for the subdivision, which was not quite clear. If you do subdivide, apparently there is a cost involved and the township might have to absorb it.

Mr. Dorsey: Suppose we subdivided it without the submission of subdivisions to the Planning Board as essentially we are doing with this lot two today, would that solve any of the outstanding problems?

Mr. Greenbaum: Not to belabor the point since we are dealing with a completely different piece of property, but Kathy is that piece of property next to the Presco’s house on the ROSI?

Mrs. Murphy: No.

Mr. Greenbaum: Secondly, I seem to recall that there was significant discussion come July, August, September, October, November, December, about trying to keep down our litigation costs of the township. I do remember that not the Presco’s but the other homeowner was threatening an adverse condemnation suit against the Township in the event that we did something with the property, that is one of the reasons that I have trouble doing anything with that property. When someone threatens us with
Mr. Greenbaum (cont’d): litigation in terms of trying to help somebody else out, I think it is in perhaps the best interest of the township just to sit on that piece of property, it’s our property, it’s open space and I don’t see us needing to get into litigation related to that piece of property.

Mr. Guenther: The Presco property is very different from the one we are considering here. We’ll call it the Presco property, the property next to the Presco’s and the Thompson’s, is that there are no hardships involved. It was strictly a matter that they wanted to add a garage. They already had a lot that was more than conforming to the zone. Here is the situation of an owner who can’t sell her property without having this particular piece of land with the driveway on it. The other point that I feel is important, even if it is not on the ROSI inventory, I think we should have a systematic plan as to what we are going to do with the properties we have and determine if they do have any use, rather than reacting to requests from residents that they want to buy a piece of municipal land. I think once it’s on the public rolls it should stay on the public rolls and we should really exhaust every possibility of a use for those pieces. After this review, I think Kathy is suggesting, not only the ROSI, but the other properties we determine it is not needed, it is really something useless than we should do it, but we haven’t done that.

Mr. Elms: Should we then send a letter to both residents not to use our property because I understand one of the parties is using a good portion of it and would that solve the adverse possession problem.

President Rattner: We are here discussing a different resolution; this looks like it is something for another workshop session if we wanted to go on it. I rather just cut it off right now. We are not going to resolve it now; we are just asking a lot of questions so we’ll post that for a workshop in the future. Roll call to defeat for Resolution No. 6 in case anybody has forgotten.

ROLL CALL: Defeated

14. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive RE: 2004 Community Development Grant Applications.

President Rattner: Would anybody from the Public like to address the Council this Resolution? Seeing none.

Mr. Greenbaum moved for approval of this Resolution, Mr. Guenther seconded the motion.

ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously

New Library Construction Report – Jane Israel

Jane Israel, President of the Mount Olive Library Board: I know that you got a nice report from your liaison and in fact I think maybe she included a lot of information that was on the project progress review from the construction services company; Scott Ayers. I will just read it into the record. This is the review for the month of January. The contractor continues submittals for construction materials and products to the architect/engineer’s team for approval. The exterior canopy footings and bases are on their way on the building front. Above grade lock exterior walls continue, left and rightwing sections are about 95% complete, the gable and walls on the eastern west wings are 100%. There were some repairs to the concrete masonry unit and that will be 100% complete before the end of January, but I don’t know now because of the snow. Structural steel composition is 70% complete. The wood truss assembly continues at the eastern west wings, they are both 85. Exposed architectural wood trusses have been erected at the center section of the main level, tongue and grove decking will follow as weather permits. Sanitary sewer line is installed including a sewage pump that remains 95% complete. Water line installation is 100% complete including a new fire hydrant which is not active, formal BPU approval is still pending. Interior medal framing began at the east wing, that would be the children’s side along with interior perimeter furring and electrical service conduits in progress at the basement level. New main service conduits and transformers padded and installed from the building to municipal drive. Temporary power and lighting has been installed, the project remains within budget, however the project is behind mainly because of earlier contractor performance issues, but of course now the problem is with the weather because it is very cold out there, on top of all the snow. The building has not been enclosed completely, so they have heaters going, but you can’t keep the heat in because all the walls and roofs aren’t up yet. The contractor though is still saying he is going to be able to catch up. However, our architects are a little concerned that he has required that the contractor submit a plan of action for completion because we have a certain time line that is supposed to be followed, evidently it has been adjusted, however, by the end of this week, we should have an actual plan that shows the contractors strategy and a summary of what he is going to do to catch up. We do have a bill on the list which you saw for a $129,000, and it has been reviewed by the architect and approved by the construction manager. Are there any questions you might have on the Mrs. Israel: project tonight? If not, thank you very much for your time and I am always available if you do want to call me or contact me. We will be happy to answer your questions.

MOTIONS

1. Raffle Application #2017 for St. Mark the Evangelist Parish and Raffle Application #2018 for Knights of Columbus Fr. Joseph A. Cassidy Council 6100.

Mr. Buell moved the Raffle applications as listed above. Mr. Perkins seconded the motion.

President Rattner: Council Discussion? Seeing none.

ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously

2. Bill List

Mr. Guenther: Do we have the answer to the questions.

Mrs. Spencer: The question regarding the communication services intergrades that were purchased by Flanders Rescue squad. They were all purchased off of state contract.

Mr. Guenther: Okay. For the rescue squad?

Mrs. Spencer: Yes.

Mr. Guenther: What was the other expense there?

Mrs. Spencer: The other expenses were accumulation of different expenses for the IT department. We don’t have the actual quotes that were gotten, but whatever items are not covered by state contract, we go out and get three quotes to get the best price. Each one of those instances, Scott did get quotes.

Mr. Guenther: So that was CDWG, is that the one?

Mrs. Spencer: Yes.

Mr. Guenther: Thank you.

ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously.

President Rattner: I have one concern that I will bring up now rather than do at the final comments. We passed on the business administrator tonight, and that’s good. But I am concerned that it’s been about 2.5 months from the election and we haven’t got a list especially from our department heads, our employees, from most of our departments, CFO, Public Works, Director of Heath, Township Planner, Tax Collector which obviously need advice and consent of the Council. We have been able to operate because township employees are dedicated to perform their duties, however in a town of 28,000 there is just no way to continue, and I know that it is causing a problem of the moral of the employees, not knowing where they are going. Without having the leadership, knowing who they are reporting too and what is going to happen, on a day to day basis. So I am just asking that you accelerate now that you have somebody here, that you accelerate in bringing those names forward one way or another so that at least we know who is going to be the department head in those different areas because I know I am getting a lot of concerns from the employees. They really are not sure because if the top is unsure then everybody else feels like they are walking on eggshells, so I just ask that you provide that as soon as possible.

Mayor DeLeRoche: I haven’t received any of those statements from any employee, but I will take your word for it and we will move it as expeditiously as we can.

OLD BUSINESS

Mr. Guenther: Where do we stand on the old municipal building?

Mrs. Spencer: I had sent council members a report November 10th I believe and it outlined a number of issues that needed to be addressed and time lines for each of those issues, and it was my understanding that the Council was going to look at that and then have to discussion to decide how to proceed.

Mr. Guenther: Mr. President, could we schedule that for the next workshop?

President Guenther: We’ll see what it looks like. How heavy is the workshop?

Mrs. Lashway: There is not too much on, but the discussion I believe can’t move forward, until the DPW relocation is decided.

Mrs. Spencer: That is one of the big issues.

Mrs. Lashway: Yes. That is where we have stopped each time it has come up is until we decide what we are doing with DPW, we can’t really talk about the old municipal building.

Mr. Guenther: Okay, so it is back to the administration.

President Rattner: The administration has forwarded and put on the table a request to have a professional services agreement approved for an architectural engineer to move ahead with the drawings and the design of a new DPW facility. That was, at last week’s meeting, tabled for discussion during budget hearings. We took the first step, we believe that a new DPW building is necessary.

Mr. Greenbaum: I don’t believe it was tabled because of budget discussion so much, I believe it was tabled because we had no direction from the administration, it’s at least the third time that I have asked the administration what their plan is in terms of going forward with the DPW garage, now we have the budget from the Mayor, and I see in the Budget appears only that the limited amount of money has been put into potential capital projects and although I have only taken a very cursory look at the budget, at this point that the DPW garage is listed as a capital project, but there certainly has been sufficient funding to go forward with the capital budget and to do the DPW garage. So I again ask, is it the administration’s position that they are going to move forward with the DPW garage or is that something which we are not going to go this year is which case we don’t need to fund a professional services contract to look at and study the issue.

Mr. Elms: Rob, I believe there is $1.7 million in the capital budget for the new building.

President Rattner: In the budget which we all got there is almost $5 million dollars of projects listed, however the amount for the capital improvement fund, doesn’t fund anywhere near that. I believe it is $75,000. That if we used the bare minimum of five percent down, that would fund a total of $1.5 million, so if we have $4.7 for whatever it is in the budget, so we don’t have money in there to do a lot of capital. I think we have to look at and it doesn’t have to be this year, but it would have to be in the next year, otherwise why do the engineering. We can do the engineering if we know we are going to go ahead with the building. What the Mayor had mentioned because he wanted to hold back on because they had not made a decision on it yet and it makes sense that if we are not going to go ahead with the building, then we don’t need the engineering for it at this time. So we really have to look at where we are going, not just for this current year, but over the next couple years, and you know that the capital budget is a six year plan because when you are building different things, it is in stepping stones, not all at once.

Mrs. Spencer: It was also estimated that some of the down payments for the DPW facility could come from the utility budget since those departments would be housed in the building.

President Rattner: But it would have to be in their budget. It would have to be in one budget or another; you can’t just come up out of air.

Mr. Greenbaum: Just so I am clear on what you said, there is approximately $5 million of capital improvements proposed and only funding in place for approximately $1.5 million.

President Rattner: Right. Mayor, can we put that on the workshop? That would be in two weeks. Can you at least come up with which way you want to go at least we can get some direction that we are going to either move forward or not. Because we really should come up with that before we go into the actual budget hearings.

Mayor DeLaRoche: I have no problem with two weeks.

President Rattner: Okay, so we will put it on for the first workshop in February. Anything else? Okay, now we are moving on to old business and I do want to bring up one thing on old business. Last week we talked about a township employee who got their car damaged in one of the snow storms by a public works vehicle out in the parking lot, no fault of his own. As I explained the way that his information was given to me, that even though there are ways that they are supposed to go through their own insurance first and then the deductible can be reimbursed by our insurance. Our insurance policy because we are a state President Rattner (cont’d): government, because of one accident and a couple incidents that were not his fault with his daughter, his insurance company let him know very plainly that they would drop him if he had another incident. Obviously I am concerned because this is an employee who is going their job in very bad weather, he happens to be a police officer, and to put them at risk that way I think is unfair. He provided a couple of estimates, the cheaper one of the two was $1,483.15. I want to propose to get this resolved as simply as possible and I think because an employee deserves it that we should pass a resolution to pay that fee, directly. I would ask that later we write a letter to the Insurance Commissioner, along with copies to our legislature explaining the situation that puts us in. I think that’s unfair to an employee, they may not be the only one. I know I have a 23 year old daughter, no chargeable accidents and they are telling me that she can’t get insurance because of two parking lot things because she was hit from the back because she is a bad risk because she is in the wrong place at the wrong time. So I do believe the officer when he said what happened. So I would like to let the Commissioner know that the idea that the solvency of the state and that the insurance companies are supposed to cooperate has not worked.

Mr. Greenbaum: Steve, I agree with you 100 percent that we should be paying that bill for all of the reasons that you said and that the employee of the township should not be responsible in any way, shape, form or fashion for that bill. I have a problem with paying the bill, not fully understanding what the legal ramifications are. As raised by Mr. Bonte, and I don’t know the answer to this question. It would be unlawful for us to make the payment. As much as I would like to make the payment, I don’t know until I get a legal opinion from Mr. Dorsey that we can, I can’t vote in favor of it.

Mr. Dorsey: There is no question about liability. The police officer’s vehicle was struck by a township owned and operating truck plowing the snow. The vehicle that was hit was stationary, so there is no question about liability, liability is clear.

Mr. Greenbaum: My understanding Mr. Dorsey is that there is a state statute which requires the submission of the bill first to the vehicle owner’s own insurance policy, and then he could recover, and I don’t know this to be true. This is hearsay; this is what Mr. Bonte brought us. If in fact that is the law, I don’t know how we could move forward; I would like to pay him. I would like to find a way to pay him even if it comes as a one time stipend in terms of our budget where it is not connected to the payment of the vehicle.

President Rattner: I am willing to take the chance because I don’t want an employee to lose their car insurance, it will cause a major moral problem. I have already heard some of the comments because it has gotten around town hall. I can’t imagine if a person is worried about coming to work. Second, we constantly pay things out of our general fund, how many mailboxes have we paid for last year. There is quite a bit of damage that because it is just a lot simpler. It makes it a lot simpler not to go the insurance, we just put in a voucher and it’s paid, some of them aren’t cheap. Most of them are relatively inexpensive, but we have paid some expensive ones. I think the precedent has been set. I would like to call the question right now, I’ll make the motion to pay the officer $1,483.15 furthermore I ask the administration that if he needs some transportation so that he doesn’t need to rent a car, that they do some allowance for that because normally that would be covered by insurance.

Mayor DeLaRoche: Before we move it I would like to be sure that the township would be entitled to any subrogation rights before we pay this.

Mr. Dorsey: Where would there be any subrogation?

President Rattner: From the insurance company if they should change their position, but I would want to protect the town’s rights to get the money back if it is available in any shape or form. The insurance company’s position is the state law that they are not legally responsible under state statute to pay the claim, only the deductible on the insurance claim. The issue comes up is that this gentleman is going to lose his car insurance, I don’t want to take a chance. The law is very plain. It has to go through his insurance company, they will only pick up a deductible. That’s anywhere in the state, I just think that is patently unfair.

Mayor DeLaRoche: As I indicated. I have no problem with paying it, I am just making sure that the township’s rights are protected for any funds that may be available to him.

President Rattner: I understand.

Mrs. Labow: Many times when you are having car repairs done and they start taking it apart, it comes to more money. Are we going to have provision in there if…

Mrs. Lashway: It’s a brand new car.

President Rattner: $1,400 is not a big damage. I am just saying if it ends up being more. That’s what we are settling for.

Mrs. Labow: I am just saying, if it ends up being more…

President Rattner: We have to cover, that’s what we are settling for. That is what he requested.

Mrs. Labow: And anything else is his own expense?

President Rattner: He’ll have to sign a release. Okay, since this is a motion for a resolution, I’ll need a second.

Mr. Guenther seconded the motion.

Ned McDonald, Budd Lake: I applaud you for wanting to do the right thing for this person who has had this damage done to his car. However, as you just stated yourself, there are state laws involved. Now, you are legislators; I don’t see how you can pass a resolution that you seem to believe would be in conflict with a state law. I think this should be researched out and really nailed down before you do something that is contrary to the laws of this state, even though it may be the nice thing to do. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t pass laws, expect people to abide by them, and then go pass resolutions and then break the law. Eventually maybe this could be worked out. But I think it is premature to just turn around and pay out this money without really knowing what you are doing.

President Rattner: Ned, there is no law that says you have to put this through insurance. At least I couldn’t find anything. It says that if somebody is going to collect from the town’s insurance company because it is the way the state protects itself and says, the same thing about law suits and other things. It does not say that we can’t just do what’s right. It says that if you are going to put it through insurance, you put it through the person’s insurance first and then you put it through to the state. I’ll tell you that I really feel that this will cost us more in the long run with personnel issues, union problems and everything else in this amount. And we make decisions like that a lot, special legislation is actually done all the time. We are doing it in a public meeting. We are stating exactly why we are doing it. If somebody wants to come back at us, so be it. We are doing it with the best intention. We believe we have a reason to do it, I think it is the right thing to do. In this case, instead of government getting in the way, I think it’s one time where the government is actually going to solve a problem.

Mr. McDonald: I sympathize with your reasoning here, but I have to agree with what Mr. Greenbaum said before, that this should be looked into. I think it is a bit premature to do it at this point.

President Rattner: Thank you very much. Anyone else from the Public? Seeing none.

ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously with the exception of Mr. Greenbaum who abstained

ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS

Mrs. Spencer: Actually, I should tell you that Kyle Conte has been talking to the manufacturer of the broken goal posts. As soon as the weather is clear, they will be out on site. He is looking to have it replaced.

President Rattner: Thank you.

LEGAL MATTERS

Mr. Dorsey: On Monday, we start the Interverse trials. We saw the last minute settlement proposal made. Their suggestion of course is to put a density on that lot which would now permit 20 residential units, to permit 400 residential units, but you adopted a resolution for this evening to go forward and by the next meeting we should know where we stand.

Mr. Guenther: The zoning before the five acre zoning, what was it? One per acre?

Mr. Dorsey: Yes.

Mr. Guenther: So he is even proposing to go backwards beyond that?

Mr. Greenbaum: But he is proposing to do it as a senior active adult community.

Mr. Guenther: He probably wants sewer tied in too.

Mr. Dorsey: Oh yes. Four times greater than what it would have been under the old zoning.

NEW BUSINESS

Mr. Elms: I think we had a couple of things cross our desk about the dam down at the Pumphouse, also signing permits for the Manorhouse Road bridge.

President Rattner: That will be on our workshop because those things just came in. Usually the things that we put on a public meeting we have already discussed and we want to put it up for a vote.

Mr. Elms: I thought there was an urgency to get…

Mrs. Lashway: The permit for the Manorhouse Road bridge, that resolution was on and adopted tonight.

Mr. Dorsey: Your are speaking about something else., the Municipal authorization…

Mrs. Lashway: No. That was on tonight. Resolution No. 3. The resolution application to DEP for the replacement of the bridge, that was approved tonight. The dam down at the Pump House, I was going to schedule for the next workshop.

President Rattner: Okay. Anything else on new business? Seeing none.

COUNCIL REPORTS

Library Board Liaison Report

Mrs. Labow: Thank you. I want to say I went to my very first library liaison meeting on January 14, 2004. It was a very very very nice meeting. I thought Jane was going to talk about all their new officers, you didn’t mention it. Well the new officers, Jane Isreal is President, Jerry Sheard is Vice President, Kathy Sullivan is Secretary, Joan Young is their Treasurer. Mayor DeLaRoche was at the meeting with us. Nice spread, lots of goodies, I just wanted to say how impressed I am with the board. They are such a dedicated group of people. They really put a lot of time and effort into everything that they come up with. They have been working very hard to meet with their commitment to raising the money for the furniture and the shelving inside the library. We are getting very close to the time when they have to order the shelving so it can be installed and they have pretty much exhausted every available place to get a substantial amount of money. Steve, this is where you say we’ll buy the furniture.

President Rattner: It’s a little more complicated than that. Anything else on the library board?

Mrs. Labow: I want to know how we could go forward with this. Can we put it on a workshop meeting and discuss it.

President Rattner: When they actually have a proposal, we will set it up for a workshop. Thank you.

Recreation Liaison Report

Mr. Elms: This and the Legislative committee report are kind of tied together. The only thing is, I don’t know who else is on the legislative committee beside me.

President Rattner: The legislative committee has really been an informal committee. When we want something done, somebody will contact our legislators, or anybody else in the state, or tries arranging the meeting. We’ll talk about that so we can get that moving.

Mr. Elms: For the recreation committee, we are wrestling with the ordinance. Getting input from several different sources and I am trying to sort it out. Hopefully I will have something for the next workshop.

Board of Health Report

Mr. Guenther: The Board of Health had its reorganization meeting last week. I was elected Chairman. There was also one resignation. Dr. Huang resigned I believe after about five years on the Board. We did want to try and name Al Melveger who had shown a strong interest in it. Unfortunately that particular position is a designated position. It has to be a medical doctor and even though I think Mr. Melveger is very qualified and everybody believed that, we could not name him to that position. We obviously will consider him in the future. So we have to look for another medical doctor that either practices in town, or resides here, so anybody who knows somebody that could serve; I think they were going to get a list together of all the doctors and contact them. The other major item that was discussed that was near and dear to the heart of our past Chairman, Mr. Perkins, the cat problem in Mount Olive, apparently a lot of stray cats and hopefully it is something we will try to come to grips with.

Mr. Greenbaum: Bernie, did you explore the fact of whether if someone else on the Board was a medical doctor but was not fitted to that slot so that you could rotate. I don’t know who constitutes the Board of Health, but perhaps one of the general spots is a medical doctor who could move into that spot and you could replace Alan into that person’s spot. I don’t now the make up though.

President Rattner: I would assume that Frank would have proposed that if that was the situation.

Mr. Guenther: We have a dentist, but no doctor. Just so you know the Clerk has been advertising for a Doctor.

Mrs. Lashway: I’ve already researched the makeup of the board and none of the members can be rotated. This specifically is for an MD and I have an advertisement that will start running next week in the Chronicle asking for specific qualifications that are required, asking them to send resumes.

Mr. Elms: I believe Al Melvegar is a Ph.d but I think it is in physical chemistry?

Mr. Guenther: It’s biology, which makes him very qualified, it’s a shame. It’s a slotted position in the future we will always consider if somebody else resigns.

President Rattner: So it’s been a hard spot to fill. Thank you Mr. Guenther.

Planning Board Report

Mr. Greenbaum: We met on Thursday, John Mania was elected Chairperson. Ed Buzak was retained as Counsel to the Planning Board. Gene Buczynski was retained as Engineering Consultant to the Planning Board. Chuck MrGroarty was retained as Planner/Consultant to the Planning Board, Dr. Keller was retained in his Environmental Consultant position. We basically will be meeting the second and third Thursday’s of the Month.

President Rattner: Thank you Mr. Greenbaum

Board of Adjustment Liaison Report

Mr. Perkins: Reorganization was held January 12, 2004. Chuck McGroarty was appointed as a consultant/planner. The report as required has been submitted by the secretary, the end of 2003 that shows that there were 35 applications during last year and they are fully detailed on the attachments. It seems that Don Hill is the Chairman again for this upcoming year and there is nothing else to report.

Open Space Committee Report

Mr. Elms: I was tied up with something and couldn’t make that committee meeting, but I guess I’ll play catch up for the next meeting.

Pride Committee Liaison Report

Mrs. Labow: They met this evening but their meeting started late and this meeting started so I was not there.

Board of Education Liaison Report

President Rattner: The Board of Education meeting was a week or so ago. Both Mr. Buell and I attended. Anything you want to say about that.

Mr. Buell: Basically, tonight’s presentation covered most of what was covered in the meeting. The one decision they did make is that there will be two questions on the ballot on March 9, 2004. One for the actual school renovations itself, the second question will only be asked if the first question is passed and that is should they build a multi purpose field for $850,000.00 which is a separate question, the turf field that they talked about tonight.

President Rattner: The only thing I want to ad is that the Board and the Superintendent did comment that the cooperation between the Town Government and the Board of Education has been improving, and continues to improve and in fact they especially acknowledged that both Jim and I were there saying that we chose the interest that we are trying to do as much cooperation, we both understand the shared services, that type of things in the future is an absolute necessity as we both have budgetary cuts, yet we are still serving the same public, same tax payer. So that was acknowledged and appreciated.

Status of Committee RE: Lake/Environmental issue

President Rattner: The next meeting is scheduled for next Saturday, also the business administrator sent me I guess different correspondence and the contacts for the emergency notification for the lake.

Mrs. Spencer: That is actually what we had always called that committee. So I just sent you the minutes.

President Rattner: I didn’t get to read it all, I got an email with four or five attachments. Thank you.

Safety Committee Liaison

Mr. Guenther: That committee has not met. How often does it meet?

Mr. Perkins: Once a quarter.

Mr. Guenther: Okay. I don’t know of any meeting, but will keep you informed.

PUBLIC PORTION

President Rattner: Would anybody from the public like to address the Township Council?

Dave Jones, Route 46 Budd Lake: A letter to the editor by Bernie Guenther. He said that the firm of Garofolo and Pryor does not meet the criteria for township attorney. I was wondering what criteria you based that on.

Mr. Guenther: Criteria for experience in dealing with representing townships as municipal attorneys. The principal by his own admission has not done municipal work for many years, I don’t know exactly how many. Mr. Pryor who I know, I ran into at the League of Municipalities said to me he was not interested in doing municipal work anymore. He is pretty much into other things and then the attorney that was assigned by that firm supposedly had to my understanding to what I saw on his resume only about one year municipal experience and only five years out of law school.

Mr. Jones: What does that have to do with competence?

Mr. Guenther: I compare to who we have on here now. I don’t think that shows a relative competence.

President Rattner: Okay, we are not going to have back and forth. You asked a question. All we do is keep repeating the same thing over and over again.

Mr. Jones: He did make certain statements. He said the firm of Garofolo and Pryor does not meet the criteria for township attorney and the preceding statement he said the citizens of Mount Olive to competence…

Mr. Guenther: First of all you are not reading the letter in the way it was worded. I think it was very clear what the message was okay?

Mr. Jones: My question is, what gives you the right to say whether they are competent or not.

President Rattner: Right up here there are seven people that vote on any appointment and we have to decide in our own mind on the level of competency, on the level of service that it could provide and what we think the level of service and how they would serve the community and that is what we are actually here for. That’s what advice and consent really means. Tonight, we unanimously approved one of the Mayor’s picks because we felt that he could do the job, and that he was competent enough and had the skills required. We look at every position in that way. When we agree, we go one way, if we don’t and just to say vote one way or the other, we just keep our mouth shut and not say why wouldn’t be fair either. Some of us up here have been very vocal, in fact all of us, one way or the other why we think that position should be filled by certain people. Regarding Mr. Guenther’s letter, I would suggest that you talk to him separately, but I think really what we are doing is we evaluated, that’s the way I came to the conclusion, I don’t think by asking questions, the conclusions are going to change. I don’t want to spend a lot of time going back and forth. Because you’re going to say the same thing and he will say the same thing back. I think you can understand that we want to move the meeting along. There are other people that want to speak.

Bernie Borchers, 21 Crestwood Circle: A couple things I would like to talk about tonight real quick, and I will try to make them brief, going back to Bernie’s letter and Mr. Jones comment, while I have the mic, I might add that I am a consulting engineer, I do a lot of work for the DOT and various other organizations throughout the State. They require a minimum years experience on many of our jobs, ranging anywhere from 8 to fifteen years. I just wanted you to know that a lot of departments in the state require that. Most importantly what I am here for tonight is last week on the agenda, we discussed the opening of Goldmine Road. I was not able to attend that meeting, my father passed away on the Monday before, so I was unable to get here on Tuesday. What I did was, I wanted to get the pulse of the people out there, the new administration was going to get a pulse of the people, they were going to look and see if the reopening of Goldmine Road was a good idea. What I did, because I was not sure myself. There are 166 homes in Country Oaks. We sent out a ballot, distributed it to all the residents. We received about a 40% return on those votes. Basically the question was, do you want Goldmine reopened or not. As a return I got 76 percent saying no, and about 23.8 percent saying yes. I think what we have to do with Goldmine Road is we have to really get in touch with our association. We have an association, if you reach out to our president, we will be more than happy to give you our opinions. Our major concern obviously is, we have a lot of children in our neighborhood. It’s a very young neighborhood, the town itself is very young. If you look at the median age of our 39 muncipalites in Morris County, we happen to be the third or now the second largest. The median age in Mount Olive, a lot of people don’t realize, is the third lowest in Morris County. That translates into young families. Country Oaks is all young families. If you go through our development on any summer day, you will see kids in the streets galore. What we are afraid of is you open Goldmine Road, you knock five traffic signals off somebody’s trip to Walmart, to Route 206 Southbound. Our concern is that you have a significant increase in traffic. I also happen to be a professional traffic engineer in the State of New Jersey and if there is any help that you will require on this, I will be more than happy to provide my services. Another con that we have with the reopening of Goldmine Road is our property value. We feel that if you increase the traffic along Connelly Avenue, that is definitely going to have an impact on the property value. As such, I don’t think our taxes are going to be lowered as appropriately, then we will get reassessed. So that’s another concern. But that is obviously a secondary concern. Our major concern is with safety. There are other options that we could investigate. I have talked with Bernie about this in the past. Bernie has been very active in our community. Rob’s been active in our community. With Morris Chase coming in, we can look at possibly looking at some other safe access routes. That’s what we really wanted to do. We don’t want to just open up Goldmine and do some irreparable damage. What we would like to do if we are going to go that route, or we consider that route is at least do a traffic study. Do an O & D study. That we have an O & D study from Route 46 westbound on to Rroute 206 southbound. We would like to have a pavement design report done. The Route 46 existing pavement section is obviously designed for heavier traffic and ADT’s. Connelly was not designed for those types of ADT’s. Goldmine was not designed for those types of ADT’s. So we think that all of this information should at least be gathered and then we will take an intelligent approach to this, rather than just jumping into it. Most importantly, if you please would consult with us, our association is always there. If you can’t reach them you can always reach me. I am very active with them and will be more than happy to talk about it. We are very happy that it has been tabled for now. At least that is my interpretation from what I have read to date. Should this come up again, please talk to us before you advance that issue.

Mr. Greenbaum: Bernie, I give periodic discussions at my association meetings as a resident in my development in terms of what is going on in the township. I would be more than happy to come to your association meetings if somebody would get in contact with me, I can show up and listen to concerns and tell you what is going on in town. I assume you have meetings probably once a month? Or whenever they occur, if you would like me to be there, I would like to be there. It’s the best way to stay in touch. As soon as I found out that this issue was going to be on the agenda, I got in touch with you, I didn’t know whether you knew about it, I know it was an important issue to you. I would do the same in respect of how I felt about an issue if I knew that it was important to a community in the Township.

Mr. Borchers: I appreciate that very much. As the association meetings come about, if anybody on the Council wishes to attend I’ll try to let the Council be aware of that.

Mr. Greenbaum: There was lengthy discussion on that issue last week during our workshop, I think that the consensus was that the majority of Council was not in favor of opening up either of those roads.

Mr. Borchers: That would be fantastic. We really do need safer access. Route 46 and Connelly is not going to get a traffic signal and that is the bottom line. It is going to be a high accident location if it isn’t already. The access code has that Route 46 as a four lane divided highway. That is what we need to pursue with the DOT. When you continue pursuing that and trying to get them to include us in some of their feasible assessments and concept development studies.

President Rattner: Thank you Bernie. Anyone else?

Lauren Kaplan, Country Oaks Development: I also live in Country Oaks. I am actually a new resident to Mount Olive. I want to thank Bernie because he is the reason why I learned about this and I have to tell you that when my husband and I chose to move to Mount Olive the reason was that we were actually blown away by the fact that kids in this day and age still play outside. We did not see that in other any community that we looked in. The fact that there are young families and we were looking for a home that we could stay in for years. I am not a traffic engineer or anything like that, but I can tell you that I like the fact that kids are outside in my neighborhood and not every parent needs to be out there with them. If there is one parent, that one parent is looking out for every kid in that neighborhood. I think it is extremely important to Bernie’s point that if this is something that this Council wants to look into, that you do communicate that to the residents in that area. I appreciate that you have tabled the issue for now, the second thing we were going to say is that I know there is big concern over bears in the neighborhood. Certainly if you increase traffic, you will also increase litter, and we are going to have more bears, so think about it that way. Thanks.

President Rattner: Thank you. Anybody else?

Ned McDonald, Budd Lake: First thing, what the gentleman Bernie said, having Route 46 as a four lane divided highway, I think that is insanity. You would have to really have a strong selling job with the residents in Mount Olive to do that. Where would you have traffic turnaround? You would have to have jug handles too to get from one side to the other and I think that would be a disaster. I don’t think we need that. What I want to come up for, first of all Resolution No. 6, it was discussed tonight. I just want to thank Lisa for including a map on the back page. I am overjoyed that we are finally getting maps. I hope it continues. I hope this is not just a short term fix. Thank you. Ordinance #3-2004, the load limit on the bridge on Manorhouse Road. What was the original load limit on that bridge?

Mr. Guenther: I don’t think there was one.

Mr. McDonald: The Police Chief has recommended apparently a 5 ton weight limit. How did that figure come about? Was there any Engineering Study, was there expert opinions on that?

President Rattner: That was the County. Any culvert, any pipe or anything that is more than 36 inches is the responsibility of the County. The County does periodic inspections. They have their classifications. They’re the ones that came up with this. It’s a certain condition, it is on their schedule to be rebuilt, and they will do it at County Tax costs.

Mr. McDonald: So this was not just a figure that was picked up.

President Rattner: We couldn’t do that on our own.

Mr. McDonald: Good. Ordinance #2-2004, this sign ordinance; will that pertain to private residences if we want to do modifications or anything?

President Rattner: Mr. Buell, it’s your ordinance.

Mr. Dorsey: The answer to that I think is yes. We have an individual house going up, I think the answer is yes.

Mr. McDonald: A presently occupied…

Mr. Dorsey: When Mr. Buell changes his ordinance we better say therein, that renovations to individual residents are excluded. He could put that in if that’s what you want to do. Obviously it’s designed to catch the major development like Morris Chase, Morris Hunt, etc.

Mr. McDonald: I understand that, but the way it is written, it looks like if I want to change my garage door, I have to put a sign out in front of my house, and I think it is a bit intrusive.

Mrs. Labow: Did you have all three pages?

Mr. McDonald: No, there is some of it missing, but I think it should be only for new construction, I don’t think it should apply to presently occupied residences. Secondly, the size of the sign, if you don’t really spell out this sign properly, we are going to get a new marvelous development by Toll Brothers or whoever is going to be a large advertisement.

Mrs. Lashway: The ordinance is specific in the size of the sign.

Mr. Dorsey: It’s 6 x 6 and it has to be raised off the ground at least three feet.

Mrs. Lashway: I think it is in accordance with the sign ordinance.

Mr. Dorsey: As long as we don’t leave the door open to the developers making an advertising site out of it.

Mrs. Lashway: It specifies what information can be on this.

Mr. McDonald: What is the answer then as to private dwellings where they are presently occupied?

Mr. Dorsey: We will put an exclusion in as to individual residents where it is just a renovation.

Mr. Guenther: Do we also want it for what we call spot lots, where one lot is being built on.

Mr. Dorsey: I have drawn it that way because if you have a new house going up, you have many of the same problems.

Mr. McDonald: My concern is with a presently active household.

Mr. Guenther: I just think it is silly for one single home.

Mr. Greenbaum: You would not think it was funny Bernie if you lived next store to the guy and he was hammering at 7:00 in the morning on a Sunday and you didn’t know who to get in touch with.

President Rattner: Or if you got mud in your yard. Anybody else from the public? Seeing nobody else, we’ll close the public portion.

COUNCIL COMMENTS

Mrs. Labow: I would just like to say in reading the article in the paper on Sunday, Mr. Dorsey talking about my litigation from my suit that I was forced to file. Really quick, in April of 2001 the resolution has passed for the ethics committee and it changes selection criteria of an ordinance. Mr. Bonte came up at the public portion and said you can’t change the…he didn’t think you could change the selection criteria. I went up and said it. Afterwards I spoke to Mr. Sohl on the phone. I spoke to Mr. Rattner on the phone. Steve finally said to me you could change it. I said well, okay, let me know because I only have so many days before I have to go forward. Mr. Dorsey’s contention to me was sue us, because you wasn’t going to change it, and that’s why I went forward. At no time was it ever a frivolous thing, it was never a political thing, I couldn’t understand what you guys were talking about, turning it to politics, because I didn’t know about politics. I then since learned that that’s how politics are played. My only Mrs. Labow (cont’d): desire was to have an ordinance drafted correctly, have a resolution drafted correctly, and I should not have had to go to that extreme to do it. I would just hope that there is no other residents in this Township that ever has to go to that extent. And for Mr. Dorsey, he never once contacted me and asked me, can we settle this. That’s it.

Mr. Dorsey: You were represented by an attorney about that.

Mrs. Labow: You never contacted him and said it either.

Mr. Dorsey: He never contacted me until we were in Court.

Mrs. Labow: Sure we did.

Mr. Dorsey: Not until we were in Court.

President Rattner: Is that all?

Mr. Dorsey: I’m done.

Mr. Guenther: I would like to suggest reinstating the second public portion at the beginning of the Public Meeting. I think we took it out when we were starting to put the workshops and the public together. We figured a third public comment period wasn’t necessary. The reason for that was that sometimes people can’t stay until the end of the meeting for the public comment, the ones that have to get up early, if we could have a public portion at the beginning again.

President Rattner: Okay. We will look into it.

Mr. Perkins: Keeping it short, I apologize to the public for not being able to attend last week’s workshop, albeit that I did say that 95% of the time I would be able to make it here but I do understand that it was in a timely fashion and you got out of here sometime after 11:00. I think that is a bit more hours than were necessary, that is neither here nor there. Speaking about Goldmine Road, whether that should be opened or not, I am still not convinced 100%. I would like to see more traffic studies, I know that many of my fellow Council members as well as the past Mayor has been through with the DOT and got absolutely nowhere. The lights, in deference to Ned here who knows my position is, the four lane highway with the Jersey barrier, lets figure out where those turn arounds go. I don’t find it sufficient, the problem was created through the Planning Board, the buildings are there. If children are going to play in the street with their basketballs and run around, it is probably not the most safest environment for them to be into. Albeit, your neighborhood probably has a little less traffic maybe than others. I’m in the old section of Budd Lake, not the new section. I don’t have sidewalks and curbs, it kind of makes it a little different. I do think that we need to keep pushing together with my fellow council members as well as the administration, and any help that obviously we could get from Country Oaks, we need to push on the state and come up with a long range plan for that highway to satisfy the residents of this Township. Especially all of us that live here that are faced with an ever increasing traffic. Thank you Mr. President.

President Rattner: Thank you.

Mr. Greenbaum: I am going to comment on the proposed budget that has been submitted to us. As I said I haven’t a chance to go through it. It is a very lengthy document as you can see, it fills up this binder. The one area that I have looked at is the proposed capital expenditures which we commented earlier about $4.793 million proposed if there is funding for only $1.50 million. I don’t understand that. I don’t find that to be responsible. I have a lot of questions with regard to why it was done that way, which of these the administration actually plans to go forward with, which of these the administration put in here for some other reason. I can only hope that the remainder of the budget is not in similar fashion. That we actually got a budget which is properly put together and funded where it needs to be funded. Because in the one section that I have looked into date, it’s not properly funded and there are a lot of choices which are going to have to be made because there isn’t enough money in this particular category and capital is obviously a very important category in terms of our yearly operation and the needs of the township and I am very troubled.

President Rattner: I just have one comment which probably should have been asked before. Welcome aboard Bill, but when do you start?

Bill Ruggierio: At this point the beginning of March is the target date. No later than March 3, 2004.

President Rattner: Thank you very much.

ADJOURNMENT

Motion to adjourn made and seconded, all in favor, none opposed. The meeting adjourned at 10.05 pm

 

______________________________
STEVEN W. RATTNER
Council President

I, LISA M LASHWAY, Township Clerk of the Township of Mount Olive do hereby certify that the foregoing Minutes is a true and correct copy of the Minutes approved at a legally convened meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council duly held on March 16, 2004.

 

___________________________
LISA M. LASHWAY
Mount Olive Township Clerk


 

 

 

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