Township Council Minutes
January 4, 2005
The Reorganization Meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council was called to Order at 7:31 pm by Council President Rattner with the Pledge of Allegiance.
MOMENT OF REFLECTION in recognition of the men and women fighting terrorism and those who have lost their lives defending the freedom that we all enjoy today. Thank you.
OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS LAW ANNOUNCEMENT
According to the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate notice of this meeting has been given to the Mount Olive Chronicle. Notice has been posted at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive Township, New Jersey and notices were sent to those requesting the same.
ROLL CALL of 2005 Council Present: Mr. Buell, Ms. Labow, Mr. Mund, Mr.Guenther,
Mr. Perkins, Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Rattner
ALSO PRESENT: Mayor De La Roche; Bob Casey, Acting Business Administrator; Sherry Jenkins, CFO;
John Dorsey, Township Attorney; Lisa Lashway, Township Clerk; and, of course, it looks like we have a room full of citizens and appointees tonight and I welcome you.
ELECTION OF 2005 COUNCIL PRESIDENT
President Rattner: The first item we have on the agenda for tonight is the election of the Council President for 2005. I open it up to nominations.
Mr. Perkins: I nominate Rob Greenbaum for President.
Mr. Guenther: Second
Mr. Mund: I nominate Colleen Labow for President.
Mr. Buell: I’ll second it.
President Rattner: Are there any other nominations? Close the nominations. Take a Roll Call, we’ll do it in order, first for Mr. Greenbaum.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously, except Mr. Mund voted No
New Council President Takes Chair
ELECTION OF 2005 COUNCIL VICE-PRESIDENT
President Greenbaum: I guess at this point, I’ll open up the floor for nominations for Council Vice President.
Mr. Guenther: I hereby nominate Ray Perkins.
Mr. Rattner: Second.
President Greenbaum: Any other nominations? Mr. Mund.
Mr. Mund: I nominate Jim Buell.
Ms. Labow: Second.
President Greenbaum: Are there any other nominations? Seeing none, we’ll start the vote with Mr. Perkins. Roll Call, please.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously, except Mr. Buell, Ms. Labow & Mr. Mund voted No
New Council Vice-President Takes Chair
President Greenbaum: At this point, we would like to call Pastor Ingeneri for the Invocation.
Pastor Ingeneri: Town Council, Mr. Mayor and citizens, I want to preface my prayer by noting that God is the God of the impossible. In the Old Testament, Sarah was barren, couldn’t conceive. God promised her and her husband Abraham a son with these words: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” When Jerusalem was under siege, Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon was attacking, God told his prophet, Jeremiah, to buy a plot of land in the city. When Jeremiah questioned God about the reason, since the city would soon fall to the enemy, God told him that after seventy years of exile, his people would return to the land and, again, he gave this reassuring word: “I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world, is anything too hard for me?” In New Testament times, when Mary was told of the miraculous birth of Jesus that would come through her by the Holy Spirit, the angel added the now familiar anthem: “For nothing is impossible with God.” It’s with that knowledge that we seek God’s wisdom and blessing on this meeting and on the year ahead. Let’s pray together. Father, for our Township, it’s been a good year in many ways, progress has been made in this area and in that, but we must acknowledge that it’s been a very difficult year, as well. When they were sworn in, Father, our leaders here acknowledged ‘I will faithfully, impartially, and justly perform all the duties of my office according to the best of my ability, so help me, God.’ And so it’s for your help that we appeal this evening. Lord, you tell us again and again that the ‘so help me, God’ is not just a nice sounding traditional closer, but it’s real and meaningful and powerful, however, it’s not magic. It doesn’t come into play automatically. Father, though you are God of the impossible, can bring things to be without us, you want our wills, our hearts, our commitment to serve in leadership for the extremely difficult job of governing as a team. You know, Lord, that we citizens do not arrogantly pretend the job of Council person or Mayor is easy, or that we have any magical solutions or could make all things right if we just had the chance, we know something of the complexity, we know something of our own hearts. So, Father, we appeal to you to lead our leaders. Help them to do the things that make for both peace and progress. May they state their position straightforwardly and concisely. Give them the wisdom to get to the heart of matters to ask specific questions to help them understand what may seem to be at first a completely opposing viewpoint. Help them to resist the temptation to attack or use emotionally loaded words, to compromise, to lose something and gain something because the good of the Township is their first concern. Father, before mouths are opened, may the question be not merely is what I’m about to say true, but how will this help us to progress for the good of our Township. Lord, you know that we appreciate our leaders, their wisdom, the various gifts, time, and energy spent on our behalf. Bless them this year in their attitudes, their thoughts, their speech and outward behaviors, as they work with a ‘so help me, God’ mindset, knowing that nothing is impossible with you. Amen.
President Greenbaum: Thank you, Pastor.
a. Mayor's Appointments with Advice & Consent of Council
President Greenbaum: The next item on the agenda are the Mayor’s appointments with advice and consent. The first Committee is the Economic Development Committee, which is a committee which is being resurrected this year, and the Mayor has submitted nine names with staggered terms. Mr. Casey….
Mr. Casey: Yes, there is one typographical error, Louis Terrezza should have a term expiring in 2005, that would give you the three, three and three requirements of the ordinance. It says 2007, it should be 2005.
Ms. Labow: For a two year term?
Mr. Casey: A three year term. That would give you three….
President Greenbaum: One year term.
Mrs. Lashway: One year term.
Mr. Casey: Excuse me, one year term, expiring in 2005.
President Greenbaum: Okay, so, for the record, the Mayor is appointing:
Economic Development Committee
David Kelley, 3 year term expires 12/31/07
Paul Stefiniw, 3 year term expires 12/31/07
Frank Altamura, 2 year term expires 12/31/06
Pat Walsh, 2 year term expires 12/31/06
Don Bello, 2 year term expires 12/31/06
Louis Terrezza, 1 year term expires 12/31/05
Mark Werner, 1 year term expires 12/31/05
Karen Wisniewski, 3 year term expires 12/31/07
Ted Adams, 1 year term expires 12/31/05
President Greenbaum: That accurate, Mr. Casey?
Mr. Casey: Yes sir.
President Greenbaum: Okay. At this point, I would open the discussion up to Council on the appointments, if there is any discussion.
Mr. Guenther: I just had a question. I saw the qualifications of Karen Wisniewski. It didn’t say there anywhere that…she is a township resident, I assume, it didn’t say that in the e-mail.
President Greenbaum: I actually saw correspondence that indicated her address as being in Budd Lake.
Mr. Guenther: I only saw the e-mail, so….okay, thank you.
President Greenbaum: Any other discussion? Seeing none, Roll Call.
Mrs. Lashway: No, we need a motion to approve.
President Greenbaum: We need a motion to approve.
Mr. Mund: Motion to approve the Mayor’s appointment of the Economic Development Committee.
Ms. Labow: Second.
President Greenbaum: It’s been moved and seconded, Roll Call please.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
President Rattner: Anyone who is here from the Economic Development Committee, or any of the other committees, is welcome to be sworn in by the Town Clerk after the meeting. So, you may want to stick around for that. The next item for discussion is the appointments of the Recreation Advisory Committee. Are there any changes to what has been supplied, Mr. Casey?
Mr. Casey: No sir.
President Greenbaum: Okay. The Mayor has nominated:
Recreation Advisory Committee
Michelle Koptyra, 3 year term expires 12/31/07
Steve Masotti, 3 year term expires 12/31/07
Liz Ouimet, 3 year term expires 12/31/07
President Greenbaum: Is there any discussion with respect to any of these individuals?
Mr. Buell: Yes, I’d like to, before considering Steve Masotti, to request a review or advisement from the Ethics Committee in terms of whether or not his serving on this would present a conflict of interest. So, basically I’m making a motion to table…I guess I can….
Mr. Dorsey: Why don’t you make a motion to approve the two, without Masotti, with his to be withheld until there’s an opinion.
Mr. Buell: Okay, I’ll make that motion to approve Liz Ouimet and Michelle Koptyra…..
President Greenbaum: If I understand you correctly, your motion is to move for approval of Michelle Koptyra and Liz Ouimet and to withhold the approval of Mr. Masotti until after a decision regarding conflict of interest is determined by the Ethics Board.
Mr. Buell: Yes.
President Greenbaum: Is there a second?
Mr. Guenther: Second.
President Greenbaum: Having been moved and seconded, Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
Ms. Labow: I have one question. How do we….do we submit this to the Ethics Committee, or does the Mayor….how does it go?
Mr. Dorsey: I think if the Council is asking for the opinion, the Clerk can make that request to the Ethics Committee.
Ms. Labow: A formal request, okay, I just wanted to know the procedure.
President Greenbaum: Mayor, at this point, I would ask that it be a joint request of both the Mayor and of the Council in light of prior correspondence that we’ve gotten about the Ethics Committee reviewing the particular nomination and….this was once submitted and they said that they wouldn’t review it unless the Mayor actually asked for the review. So, I would ask that it be just a joint request of the Ethics Committee to issue an opinion as to whether or not Mr. Masotti can sit.
Mayor De La Roche: Well, I don’t necessarily have a problem with that, I don’t necessarily have a problem with that, I just don’t know the basis for the objection.
President Greenbaum: As I understand it, Mayor, the basis for the objection, or at least the question….I’m not sure that there’s an objection to Mr. Masotti, but Mr. Masotti does business with the…certain of the recreation teams. He’s a business owner in town and the Recreation Advisory Committee, in part, decides how different funding is to be made available to the different recreation groups in town. So, in essence, he will have a decision making….he will be involved in the decision making process over a group of people who purchase from his business and it needs to be sent to the Ethics Committee so that they can look at it and offer an opinion.
Mayor De La Roche: Well, just so the record’s clear, I had this discussion with Mr. Masotti on numerous occasions, he was appointed on…by prior Administrations also, but he indicates to me that he does not do any business with the Township, so I’m not too sure there is a conflict.
President Greenbaum: Well….
Mayor De La Roche: But if, in fact, I have no problem with joining in your request for the Ethics Board if, in fact, it’s just to make that one determination.
President Greenbaum: That is the only determination.
Mayor De La Roche: Okay, thank you. I’ll join with you.
President Greenbaum: Okay, thank you. Moving on, the Library Board. The Mayor has nominated:
Cathleen Sullivan, 5 year term expires 12/31/09
President Greenbaum: Is that correct, Mr. Casey?
Mr. Casey: Yes sir.
Mr. Mund: Motion to approve.
President Greenbaum: Is there a second? Seeing no second, the nomination dies. Are there any other nominations, Mr. Casey, for the Library Board, or is that going to be resubmitted?
Mr. Casey: There are none.
President Greenbaum: Okay.
b. Council Appointments
All Subcommittees of the Township Council previously created are extended through 2005:
President Greenbaum: The next issue is Council appointments. These are liaison and/or appointments to Boards through statutory means. This year we are establishing a new Finance/Budget/Audit Control Committee:
Finance/Budget/Audit Control Committee – Jim Buell, Steve Rattner, David Kelly & Anthony McKeon, 1 year term expires 12/31/05
President Greenbaum: Sherry, we’re going to need to establish some ground rules as to what the committee is going to look at. That’s going to be a one year term expiring 12/31/05. With respect to the liaisons:
Library Board Liaison, Colleen Labow,1 year term expires 12/31/05
Board of Adjustment Liaison, Ray Perkins, 1 year term expires 12/31/05
Recreation Board Liaison, Lee Mund, 1 year term expires 12/31/05
Board of Education Liaison, Lee Mund & Jim Buell, 1 year term expires 12/31/05
Safety Committee Liaison, Bernie Guenther, 1 year term expires 12/31/05
Planning Board, Colleen Labow, Councilmember, Class III, 1 year term expires 12/31/05
Pride Committee Liaison, Ray Perkins, 1 year term expires 12/31/05
Legislative Committee, Lee Mund, 1 year term expires 12/31/05
Committee RE: Lake/Environment Issues, Steve Rattner, 1 year term expires 12/31/05
Community Development Revenue Sharing Committee, Bernie Guenther,1 year term expires 12/31/05
Economic Development Committee Liaison, Steve Rattner, 1 year term expires 12/31/05
President Greenbaum: Are there any Council comments?
Mr. Buell: I just noticed that the Open Space Committee is not listed.
President Greenbaum: Bernie is on the Open Space Committee, and Mr. Guenther has taken the unexpired term, it’s a voting member and, therefore, it’s not up and that’s why it’s not included.
Mr. Buell: Okay.
President Greenbaum: Good catch, though.
Ms. Labow: I have a question on….this is going to sound like a silly question, but the Community Development Revenue Sharing Committee, what exactly is that committee?
President Greenbaum: Steve, do you want to explain that, you were the past….
Mr. Rattner: That is a Board, it meets intensively in the end of February, beginning of March. All the applications from all the towns, they ask for volunteers from each town, they have to go through all the applications, do the research, do the evaluation, and make the recommendations.
Ms. Labow: For what…applications for…..
Mr. Guenther: This County…at the County level.
Mr. Rattner: At the County level, yes. This is actually two or three nights in a row, maybe four or five hours, because you listen to every….what they do is they split it up to four different categories, whether it be housing, whether it be infrastructure, that type of thing. They listen to all of them, they want the volunteers in each….so every town has at least somebody sitting on one. We put in three or four applications in different categories each year, as most towns do.
Ms. Labow: Wasn’t that where we got the funding for the Lewis Nelson Park?
Mr. Rattner: Yes.
Ms. Labow: Okay, I know exactly what that is now, thank you.
Mr. Rattner: Yes, that’s where we didn’t get the funding for the wiring of the Library and the painting for the Tank.
Ms. Labow: Yes, but we did get something, that’s good, thank you.
President Greenbaum: Are there any other questions or comments with regard to the Council appointments? Seeing none, we’ll move onto the next item, which is the Crossing Guards. The four people who are on the agenda are the same people who were in the spots last year. I’d like to have a motion for approval of these four individuals.
Theresa Petrocelli - 1 year term expires 12/31/05
Cathy Wallwork - 1 year term expires 12/31/05
Maria Masini - 1 year term expires 12/31/05
Donna Hickey - 1 year term expires 12/31/05
Mr. Guenther: So moved.
Mr. Mund: Second.
President Greenbaum: It has been moved and seconded, any comment? Seeing none, Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
President Greenbaum: Okay, the next appointment is the Board of Adjustment appointment. It has been standard practice, in the past, that the alternates, when a spot opens, move up to the Board and at this point, I would…there are two four-year terms that are open, one is Mr. Cavanaugh, who currently serves on the Board, and the other one is Norma Lacitra’s seat and she has indicated that she no longer wishes to serve or to be reappointed. At this point, I would take nominations for the two four year terms that expire 12/31/08.
Board of Adjustment
Russ Tepper, 4 year term expires 12/31/08
John Cavanaugh, 4 year term expires 12/31/08
Christopher Westrick, Alt. I, 2 year term expires 12/31/05
John Staszak, Alt. II, 2 year term expires 12/31/06
Mr. Guenther: I hereby nominate Russ Tepper and John Cavanaugh for the four year terms on the Board of Adjustment.
Ms. Labow: Second.
President Greenbaum: Okay, any other nominations for these? Seeing none, Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
President Greenbaum: In that Mr. Tepper has now moved from an alternate position to a full four-year term as a voting member, his spot has now become vacant. It has been standard practice, again, that the second alternate moves up to the first alternate spot, when that seat becomes vacant. Having said that, I’ll open the floor for nominations with regard to the remainder of Mr. Tepper’s term.
Ms. Labow: I nominate Mr. Westrick for the Alternate I, 2 year term.
Mr. Rattner: Second.
President Greenbaum: Any other nominations? Seeing none, Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
President Greenbaum: The last spot on the Board of Adjustment now is the remainder of Mr. Westrick’s term, which is Alternate II, it’s a 2 year term that expires 12/31/06. I’ll open the floor to nominations.
Ms. Labow: I would like to nominate Mr. Richard Escobar for the Alternate II position, fulfilling the remainder of the 2 year term expiring 12/31/06.
Mr. Mund: Second.
President Greenbaum: Okay, are there any other nominations? Mr. Guenther.
Mr. Guenther: Yes, I would like to nominate James Staszak to the Alternate II, 2 year term expiring 12/31/06.
Mr. Rattner: Second.
President Greenbaum: Okay, we’ll start with Mr. Escobar, Roll Call, please.
ROLL CALL Defeated
Mr. Buell, Ms. Labow & Mund voted Yes
Mr. Guenther, Mr. Rattner, Mr. Perkins, Mr. Greenbaum voted No
President Greenbaum: Okay, we’ll move to the nomination of Mr. Staszak, Roll Call, please.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
President Greenbaum: The next appointment is the Board of Health. Both Ms. Cooper and Mr. Kana currently serve on the Board of Health and wish to be reappointed. I’ll open the floor for nominations to the Board of Health, both are three years expiring 12/31/07.
Board of Health
Anita Cooper, 3 year term expires 12/31/07
Mark Kana, 3 year term expires 12/31/07
Ms. Labow: I move to nominate Anita Cooper and Mark Kana to the Board of Health, terms expiring 12/31/07.
Mr. Guenther: Second.
President Greenbaum: It’s been moved and seconded, Roll Call, please.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
President Greenbaum: Open Space Committee.
Open Space Committee
Kathy Murphy, 3 year term expires 12/31/07
Mr. Mund: I would like to move the name of Kathy Murphy for a 3 year term expiring 12/31/07.
Mr. Guenther: Second.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
President Greenbaum: Ethics Committee, Chris Urinyi is currently the Chairman of the Ethics Committee and wishes to be reappointed to a 5 year term expiring 12/31/09. Mr. Guenther.
Chris Urinyi, 5 year term expires 12/31/09
Mr. Guenther: I wish to nominate Chris Urinyi for the 5 year term expiring 12/31/09.
Mr. Mund: Second.
President Greenbaum: Any other nominations? Seeing none, Roll Call.
ROLLCALL Passed Unanimously
President Greenbaum: Moving on with the agenda, the next items for discussion are the Consent Resolutions Agenda.
CONSENT RESOLUTIONS AGENDA:
Resolutions on Consent Agenda List are considered to be routine and non-controversial by the Township Council and will be approved by one motion (one vote). There will be no separate discussion or debate on each of these resolutions except for the possibility of brief clarifying statements which may be offered. If one or more council members requests, any individual resolution on the consent agenda may be removed from the Consent Agenda List and acted on separately.
1. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Designating the Official Newspapers of the Municipality for the Purpose of Publication of Legal Notices.
2. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Establishing the Annual Schedule of Meetings and Other Requirements Pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act.
3. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Establishing a Temporary Budget for 2005 for the Current, Water, Sewer and Sanitation Budgets.
4. Resolution of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing Acceptance of a Cash Management Plan as Prepared by the Director of Finance/Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer.
5. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Retaining Professional Services Without Competitive Bidding.
6. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Appointing Bernie Guenther as Council Representative to the Community Development Revenue Sharing Committee.
7. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing Participation in the State of New Jersey Cooperative Purchasing Program for the Year 2005.
8. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Fixing the Rate of Interest to be Charged on Delinquent Taxes or Assessments.
9. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Purchase of Necessary Goods and Services Under Any Contract Competitively Bid by the Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council.
10. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Tax Assessor and/or the Township Attorney to File and Tax Appeals/Rollbacks.
11. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Establishing Various Change Funds for the Year 2005.
12. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive, County of Morris, State of New Jersey, Creating and Continuing the Mount Olive Municipal Alliance Committee.
13. Resolution of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Cancellation of Water, Sewer, Sewer Assessment and Tax Receivable Overpayments and Balances $1.00 or Less.
14. Resolution of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Use of Various Purchasing Contracts.
15. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing an Agreement with Morris Land Conservancy for the Year 2005.
COUNCIL COMMENTS/STATEMENTS ON CONSENT RESOLUTIONS AGENDA
President Greenbaum: At this point, I would open up discussion…..does anyone want to have any of the Consent Resolutions removed from this list and dealt with separately? Seeing none, I’ll open up for discussion from Council members on the Consent Resolutions, if there is any discussion.
PUBLIC PORTION ON CONSENT RESOLUTIONS
President Greenbaum: Seeing none, I’ll open it to the public, if there is any discussion on the Consent Resolutions. Mr. Bonte.
Richard Bonte, Budd Lake: Resolution number five. Are all of these appointments for retaining of professional services, are they for a year?
Mr. Dorsey: Yes.
President Greenbaum: They’re all for holdover positions, they’re contractual in nature and can be changed by….they are for one year terms.
Mr. Bonte: Has the Mayor advised whether he’s planning on putting forth any appointments himself?
President Greenbaum: You’d have to ask the Mayor that. We did receive some correspondence from the Mayor indicating at this point he did not wish to name anybody and that he was going to have everyone remain as holdovers at the present time. If the Mayor wants to add anything to that, he’s welcome to do so.
Mr. Bonte: You’re planning on retaining these people for….most likely for the next year?
Mayor De La Roche: In holdover position, yes.
President Greenbaum: Again, the Mayor is free at any point in time to put up nominations.
Mr. Bonte: Thank you.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. Are there any other individuals from the audience who would like to address any of the Consent Resolutions? Seeing none, I’ll close it to the public and ask for Ms. Labow to move Consent Resolutions agenda.
Ms. Labow: I would like to move for approval of Consent Resolutions number 1 through 15.
Mr. Perkins: Second.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
President Greenbaum: At this point in the agenda, I would ask the Mayor if he has a State of the Township Address.
MAYOR’S STATE OF THE TOWNSHIP ADDRESS
Mayor De La Roche: Yes I do. Thank you Mr. Council President.
MAYOR RICHARD D. DE LA ROCHE
STATE OF TOWNSHIP MESSAGE
Reorganization Meeting January 4, 2005
Happy New Year to everyone! As we complete the first twelve (12) months of my administration, I want to briefly review 2004 accomplishments, as well as look ahead to the future and our next milestones.
First and foremost, I want you all to know that the Administration and Council will work together to minimize any tax increase in the 2005. Although there have been announcements in the paper, indicating that there will be a $200 increase, this announcement is premature and we will work to offset any loss in ratables that the Township experienced as a result of the decline in value of corporate ratables in Mount Olive. We will have to be frugal in 2005, and look for ways to minimize spending, while maintaining the quality services that our residents deserve.
Tonight, I want to thank the many people who have worked so hard in the best interests of the Township of Mount Olive to get us to this point. I want to especially commend our volunteer organizations. A quote from Casey Stengl comes to mind as I think about volunteers. He said “There are three kinds of people: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who say, 'what happened?' Of course, we know that our volunteers make things happen.
Mount Olive is fortunate to have the finest public safety programs and personnel including Police Protection, Fire Prevention, Emergency Rescue and Response and Emergency Management Services in the County. Without community service, we would not have the strong quality of life that exists.
Mount Olive is also blessed with young community service volunteers. This past year, I presented the highly coveted Eagle Scout award to eight scouts from Troop #’s 312 and 156, and 249 for a variety of community improvement projects that they undertook as their service projects. Each of these projects will benefit the residents of Mount Olive Township for many years to come.
Special congratulations also to Girl Scout Troop #’s 1181 and 1183 who worked hard to received Girl Scouting’s highest award; the prestigious Gold Star Award in 2004 and also to Troop #137 who received their Silver Award.
In March, Girl Scout Troop 137 collected food for three Mount Olive Pantries. Food collection containers were set up in the Mt. Olive Township Health Department, and donations were collected by the troop and brought to the food pantries. The Mount Olive Township Food Pantry was one of the recipients of the donations. I was proud to participate in all of these ceremonies to honor these great young people. We thank our young volunteers for their service to the community and I commend them for their tenacity, diligence and community spirit. And, in terms of their commitment, I offer them a challenge from one of the great leaders of our time, Mother Theresa, who said “Life is a promise………….Fulfill it!”
This past year was a good year in terms of new development and new businesses. We added over $52 million dollars of new construction to our ratable base which included approximately 109 new residential dwellings. Shoprite purchased the Acme site in Flanders and we once again have a vital business at that site contributing to Mount Olive Township. In addition, we have been able to attract several new small businesses to the community including AVIS, Trattoria Romana, Ricky’s Music, and Edible Arrangements, as well as new restaurants and retail establishments (such as Staples) in the International Trade Center South.
Looking ahead to the year 2005 and beyond, the financial and economic growth of the Township is expected to continue with the new additions of large commercial buildings including the Marriott Hotel, an Animal Hospital by the new Shoprite in Flanders, Senator Morrison Building on Gold Mine Road which rents small business space, Wachovia Bank, Staples, the new Goddard School in the Mall at 206 in Flanders, and the possible addition of a new retail facility in the Mall in Flanders. Lutheran Social Ministries will also be adding 90+ units of additional Senior Housing to their complex in Flanders. Several large residential developments approved in prior years are also expected to move forward.
Still, we must look for ways to compensate and lessen the impact of the loss of some of our corporate ratables in 2003 and 2004. To that end, I have re-established the much needed Industrial & Economic Development Committee and appointed qualified individuals to evaluate and solicit new ratables for Mount Olive Township, in order to stabilize and reinforce a continued healthy ratable base growth.
Despite the political turmoil which prevailed during much of the year, the administration managed to move forward on several important projects which had either stalled in the previous administration, or had presented themselves as a new opportunity:
The Administration reviewed existing funded capital projects to evaluate and move essential projects along.
A donation of cement and gravel was obtained for construction of future shuffle board courts for the Senior Center in the spring.
More than a dozen localized drainage and road surfacing projects were successfully completed.
The tennis court in Powerline Park was repaired so that local residents could use it.
The long awaited DPW facility was approved at a public referendum in November enabling us build a facility to house expensive Township vehicles and equipment and provide a much needed place (with locker facilities) for Township employees to meet during snow emergencies.
Several grants were received to improve amenities in some of our small parks such as Lou Nelson Park.
An access road for the High School was provided to the Board of Education and approval obtained from various state agencies for access across green acres property. The administration played a major role in obtaining approval of the access road, and negotiating a fair exchange of BOE land (behind the old Flanders School) for use as a Township recreation field. This cooperative effort between the Township and the Board of Education saved the taxpayers a significant amount in construction costs for this needed improvement.
Mount Olive Township became one of the leading edge communities to support the Highlands Legislation in New Jersey. I strongly endorse the basic premise of the legislation: to control large development in our community and to protect the diminishing potable water supply in the area. We owe that to our children and their children. We cannot continue to grow in the manner of the past decade without significant negative financial and environmental consequences to our Township.
Another project implemented was the acquisition and cleanup of a property on Rose Street located behind Budd lake Tire, which had been used as an illegal dump site for many years. A Major tire cleanup was completed with the assistance of the Morris County Sheriff’s Labor & Assistance Program (SLAP) and the Morris County Mosquito Commission.
The Administration negotiated and is implementing telephone system improvements which will reduce monthly recurring costs, long distance, and local charges and save the Township $33,500 in the first year of its use.
A clean-up of the Kwartler property located in the Hackettstown section of Mount Olive was initiated in 2004. This property had been an illegal dump site since 1992.
Open space continued to be a top priority with the acquisition of Crown Towers (600 acres), & Silver Spring Farm (162 acres). $500,000 was received from Morris County Open Space for the Silver Spring Farm purchase, with the support from the Farmland Trust and Morris Land Conservancy, who also provided funding.
As our Town has grown, our Recreation facilities and programs have experienced tremendous growth. We have accommodated this demand by enhancing the beach and summer school programs with additional amenities, projects and day trips. 2,466 children attended the Recreation summer programs in 2004. The free summer concert series under the stars was enjoyed by residents again in 2004. The Administration would like to improve the service related facilities at the lake to include bathrooms, lockers, and a concession stand to better serve the public. And the Administration is looking to adopt new safety measures for our Recreation and sports programs in 2005 which will ensure the safety and well being of our children.
The DPW Department successfully coordinated the popular spring clean up program and the regularly scheduled recycling program was accomplished this year with a grant of $6,050. Mount Olive Township also received a local aid fund entitlement for the Clean Communities program for 2004 for $23,572. These grants, combined with scheduling cleanups Morris County Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program, have resulted in removal of debris from Route 206 and other County roads in Mount Olive at no cost to taxpayers. We recently negotiated the cleanup of graffiti by the Route 80 overpass. I personally endorsed the projects. The Buildings & Grounds Supervisor assisted the Pride Committee in beautifying Route 206 by Clover Hill Development, with the planting of shrubs and flowers.
The Water & Sewer Division successfully met all relevant State and Federal standards in furnishing potable water and treating sewage at the Flanders plant. In addition, several system improvements were made and we are in the process of expanding the system to accommodate several new developments. Other improvements included the replacement of water meter pits at the Pinecrest and Lynwood Water Systems and the Gold Mine Water System, as well as improvements to the Drakes Brook Pump Station at the sewer plant.
The Police Department celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 2004, a long and proud history of service to Mount Olive Township. Mr. Eugene Kasakove, a Township resident, donated new dress uniforms for the Police Department. We are very appreciative of this generous donation which will undoubtedly improve the image of the Police Department. The Mount Olive Township police responded to over 35,000 calls for services this past year, such as domestic disputes, missing people reports, suspicious persons and activities; traffic accidents, and incidents of people locking themselves out of cars. Several grants were received including one for protective vests for officers; and one to coordinate a Child Safety community program. The DARE program continues to work in the schools and has a high success rate for communicating with our youth; In addition, a new communications system was implemented in 2004, which will improve the patrol officers ability to communicate with dispatchers and respond to calls more quickly. The department continues to do an excellent job in keeping Mount Olive safe.
The Flanders Fire and Rescue, the Budd Lake Fire Department and the Budd Lake Emergency Squad all provided excellent emergency response for our residents and businesses and I am pleased to support their initiatives. In 2004, Flanders Fire & Rescue received a $27,000 Fire Administration Grant for turn-out gear and other protective equipment for firefighters. Homeland security is an issue that my administration has been meeting with the Police and Emergency Management Coordinator to formulate and document emergency protocols for handling emergency situations. To that end, I would like to share the following information:
• Morris County has 4 Decon trailers – the region 4 trailer is located in Flanders. These units contain decontamination equipment to handle emergency cases of a large scale exposure to chemicals. Mt Olive’s fire departments are specially trained to deploy this unit.
• The Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) Trailer- This unit is the only one in the county. It would be deployed in case of an incident involving multiple patients (such as a bus or plane accident). It can treat up to 100 patients at a time. The MCI Trailer is housed and operated by Flanders Fire and EMS.
• CERT Team - This is a group of non-emergency personnel that respond to any emergency to help the existing emergency professionals. They are trained in shelter management, first aid and grief counseling.
Health/Human Services/Senior Services had a busy year. The Board of Health successfully conducted community wide immunization programs for children, adults, as well as dogs and cats. They provided ongoing inspections of restaurants and food stores insure that the food you and your family eat is safe. They conducted various health education programs to help people improve their health and prevent disease, and provided nursing services such as community advocacy, case management, outreach, referral, and counseling. The Health Department also sponsored various Child Health Clinics; Blood Pressure Screening; Female Cancer Screening; Mammography Screening; Blood Screening; just to name a few. In addition, the Director of Senior Services provided recreational opportunities for our senior citizen residents.
The Building Department issued a total of 1,564 permits in 2004, amounting to $604,634.00 in revenue for the Township and $50,000 in revenue to the state for state training fees. 109 new homes were built in 2004.
Court and Violations Department: The Mount Olive Township Municipal Court collected $1,171,129.00 in revenues from motor vehicle summonses of which $473,030.00 was remitted to the Mount Olive Municipal Court Treasurer. They handled 7,924 motor vehicle cases and 1,372 criminal charges for 2004. They continue to do an excellent job.
Looking forward to 2005, and beyond, I would like to focus on the following 12 priorities:
1. As a top priority, I am determined to make government in Mount Olive work. I know there will be challenges, however, I am determined to resolve any problems in a way that will improve the image of the Township.
2. Moreover, I am fully committed to pushing a reduced 2005 budget as part of my continued support of the voters who have placed their trust in me. Preliminary budget hearings have been completed. It is my intent to retain all staff while presenting a pared-down budget.” In view of the loss of commercial ratables anticipated for 2005, we must curtail our 2005 expenditures, even if this means changing prior traditions and assumptions. A “bare bones “operating budget” will be provided that will continue the immediate and pressing the needs of the community and provide basic necessary services, while holding the line on taxes to the greatest extent possible. In addition, so that the Council and the entire community is fully aware of the overall community and organizational needs of the Township, a “supplemental budget” is being prepared representing what the various departments and agencies believe is needed to meet growing needs that are not included in the basic budget. These supplemental requests will be reviewed and prioritized so that the Administration and Council can determine if any should be included in the final 2005 budget. Finally, a detailed six-year capital budget will be presented outlining the long term needs of the municipality. My goal is to present to the Council and community-at-large budgets which encompasses both the short term needs of the municipality and the long term requirements of the municipal operation, in order to foster positive discussions on the future of our community.
3. We must closely monitor and actively participate in the review and regulatory process of the Highlands Commission over the next year. The Township should carefully monitor large development growth even if it means opposing prior approvals which now are vulnerable to revision due to the ramifications of the Highlands legislation. I remain committed to stopping suburban sprawl which leads to traffic problems and overcrowding in our schools.
4. We must further diversify our commercial tax base. We are now experiencing a severe impact on our property tax revenue flow due to downturn in value of large commercial enterprises. The goal for the newly reconstituted Industrial and Economic Development Committee is to provide for further diversification of the local economy, concentrating on the smaller commercial venues. We must remove obstacles from our existing small businesses in the community so that they have the ability to expand and grow. The economic diversity of these smaller industries combined with their growth in terms of aggregate number will formulate the foundation of the economic well being and long term strength of our local economy.
5. In terms of capital projects for 2005, a top priority will be to initiate design and construction of a reasonable and realistic DPW facility, within the $1.9 million approved by the voters. My goal is to have a concept plan before the governing body in February, or March at the latest.
6. Once we have addressed the DPW needs and the relocation of their facilities away from Budd Lake Beach then I believe we need to formulate a realistic plan for the redevelopment of the beach area, former municipal garage. A plan for this site will be presented to the Council in the spring of 2005.
7. We need to provide additional recreational opportunities at Turkey Brook Park. We have received the preliminary report of the Turkey Brook Advisory Committee and the council and administration should consider moving forward after we have fully evaluated their recommendations.
8. After monitoring the activities of the Teen Scene this past year, I feel it is important to create a meeting place for the youth of Mount Olive Township. To that end, I believe we need to provide a more comprehensive program for our teens, using existing facilities, such as the Senior Center, whenever possible. With proper scheduling and staff support, we should be able to provide weekly evening use as a teen center until we can find a more adequate facility in the future. To that end, I have been meeting with the Chief of Police and the Supervisor of Recreation to formulate a new outline for the program, and have put the Teen Scene under the jurisdiction of Recreation.
9. It is my hope that we can make use of the Flanders School for Township purposes and programs. If this facility is disposed of by the Board of Education, without full consideration of the ramifications of its re-use, the community may be impacted in a negative manner. It is my intention to initiate discussions with the Board of Education regarding the ownership and continued community use of this asset.
10. We will continue to beautify our community, using grant funding, County clean up programs and Clean Community Funds. We will target cleaning up long-neglected properties along our main corridors and highways. We will enforce the Township ordinances to stop the commercial littering of our highway with unauthorized signs and advertisements. We will be continuing to seek scout groups and community volunteers to help with the beautification effort. Not only is it beneficial to their achieving community service hours, but it instills a sense of pride in our Township.
11. We will be looking to develop more community-wide events to foster a stronger sense of “community spirit” such as a “Mount Olive Day” celebration for all of Mount Olive residents.
12. We will be seeking community members and volunteers input as to how to improve our sense of community and well being.
I would be remiss if I did not add that what we accomplished in 2004 was not done alone, but with the support and professionalism of our Department Heads, Supervisors, and Employees who continue to provide the quality services that our residents expect.
After one year in office, my commitment remains the same:
• to improve the quality of life for our residents, through a cooperative working relationship with the Township Council. Government works best when the two branches have mutual respect and a spirit of cooperation. The residents of Mount Olive should insist that their government is working for their interests. I was elected to serve the people of Mount Olive Township and I intend to finish out my term of office. After all, as F. Scott Fitzgerald once said: “Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist, but the ability to start over.” We need to put politics and egos behind us and work together for the common good of all our residents. An unknown author put it very succinctly when he said “When the world says give up, hope whispers – try one more time.”
May God continue to bless and protect the United States of America, our brave military troops who are defending our freedom, our community and our residents. Again, let me wish you a happy, healthy and safe new year. Thank you and good night.
Mayor Richard D. De La Roche
Mayor De La Roche: Now I would like to announce my new appointments to the Planning Board and the Environmental Commission. I hereby appoint the following respective board committees listed below effective January 1st, 2005 for the terms indicated.
Scott Van Ness, reappointment, Member Class II, 1 year expiring 12/31/05
Paul Stefiniw, Member Class IV, 4 years expiring 12/31/08
Lewis Candura, a former Alternate moving up to Member Class IV, 4 years expiring 12/31/08
Charlie Uhrmann, Alternate I Member Class IV, 1 year expiring 12/31/05. Normally a 2 year…she’d be filling the unexpired term of Lewis Candura.
Noreen Ciborski, Alternate II Member Class IV, 2 years expiring 12/31/06
John Greco, reappointment Member, 3 years expiring 12/31/07
Hank Titone, reappointed Member, 3 years expiring 12/31/07
Kay Serebrakian, reappointment Member, 2 years expiring 12/31/06
Joseph Fleishner, Alternate II, 1 year expiring 12/31/05
Mayor De La Roche: Thank you. Clapping….
President Greenbaum: Thank you Mayor. Can we get something in writing.
Mr. Mund: Rob, he’s passing it back.
President Greenbaum: Thank you Mayor.
President Greenbaum: At this point, I would open to the public on any issues which they feel the need to address.
Jane Israel, Mount Olive Library Board: I’m at a loss to understand the failure of the Council to give their consent to the appointment of Cathy Sullivan for the five year term on the Library Board. Perhaps they have their reasons and perhaps they have someone else in mind; if so, I hope they communicate their ideas to the Mayor, but I would like you to know that the Library Board considers Cathy Sullivan a dedicated and valuable member and she….just for your information, she practically single handedly ran the November gala for the last three years. I don’t know if we could have done it without her, of course, Rita and the staff did a lot of work too. The Library Board did discuss this appointment at their last meeting and we decided to ask the Mayor to reappoint her, and I would be asking the Mayor to bring up this appointment at your next meeting and I hope that you…that the Council will reconsider their position on this. Thank you.
Mayor De La Roche: So that you understand, I did nominate Mrs. Sullivan and you were aware of that.
Ms. Israel: Oh yes, it’s on the agenda, thank you.
Mayor De La Roche: Okay, thank you.
President Greenbaum: Thank you Mayor. Anyone else from the public? Sir.
Don Markey, Cloverhill section of Flanders: I just want to address the Council. The topic I picked here is the Master Plan, which has been….since approved by the Planning Board since October 2003, and I have a lot of questions as to why it hasn’t moved forward through this Town Council and it hasn’t gotten approved. Now, it’s my understanding that what we faced here is there is one objection to that and that’s, I guess, with the senior housing, and I can’t understand for the life of me why we can’t move forward on the Master Plan and just omit a decision on the senior housing. Now, just so you understand the ramifications of the Master Plan, and one of the main reasons why I’m here is….what the Master Plan does prohibit is large box retail in C-1 zoning. Now, large box retail has been designated for the ITC area, and that’s where we’re looking at. When…..and I just want to go over what the Mayor had spoken about….let me just refer to what you had here. Some of the things you had said, that you wanted to improve the quality of life for the residents and I know some of the things you were worried about is the loss of ratables to the Township, and I’m looking at some of the things that have happened. When you look at large box retail, you can look at the Comfort Suites on Route 46, where a large box retail, which is listed…that is listed as a large box retail, which jammed in there right behind people’s homes. So when they look out their back door, they have to look at a parking lot with Comfort Suites. Any kind of shrubbery, any kind of trees, they’re all removed. This is what the people in the residence are now facing. I know you looked at a situation here where you said you beautified the Cloverhill section with trees and shrubs. Are you also going to beautify it with a large box retail store like Target? By putting….and let me just kind of preface this, Target had gone to the Planning Board and asked for their opinion because there are going to be a lot of variances required for Target, if nothing changes. Pardon me, am I wrong?
Ms. Labow: Yes, they didn’t go to Planning Board yet.
Mr. Markey: No, that’s not true. They had a private meeting with the Planning Board.
President Greenbaum: No, no, let me address that just so it’s factually accurate.
Mr. Markey: Okay, go ahead.
President Greenbaum: The developer of the property had a hearing with some of the professionals, of which John Mania and myself, who are two members of the Planning Board, sat in at that meeting when they first brought in the concept. There was no discussion about whether or not it was…..whether or not….I apologize, I obviously have laryngitis. There was no discussion as to whether or not it was an appropriate use for that site. Their concept has never been brought to the Planning Board. The Planning Board has never discussed it. As I said, it was discussed within the professionals. There have been no decisions made on it, it’s never been presented in any formal or informal way to the entire Planning Board, which is the group that ultimately makes the decision on it….
Mr. Markey: Okay.
President Greenbaum: And in fact, they left the meeting, and John you’re here, you can correct me if I’m wrong, we said that you need to make the residents who are going to be most directly affected, happy and that is
what your goal needs to be before you bring this to the Planning Board, because I can tell you, if they are not happy, I as a Planning Board member am not going to be happy. John, that’s fairly accurate.
Mr. Mania: That’s correct.
President Greenbaum: So, having said that, that’s all that the meeting was.
Mr. Markey: Great, that’s good, I appreciate that and….
Mayor De La Roche: I think it should be added here that I was at that meeting and I’m the one who insisted that they move the building as far away from any residence as possible.
Mr. Markey: Well, here again, what I’m looking at here is that you’re looking forward to a new retail store in Flanders, which I assume that’s what you’re referring to. Now, what I’m looking at is Target is specifically denoted as large box retail and the property that is in question is C-1 zoning. My whole thing here is that if your Planning Board has already approved the Master Plan, which would prohibit large box retail in C-1 zoning, and you’re going to drag your feet in approving that, to jam one more ratable in, I would be embarrassed for this Council. I don’t think that’s in the best interest of the public, and I think, you know, just by your own….some of the things you’ve said here, you really want to improve the quality of life, and just let me clue you in on what Mr. Markey (cont’d): their meeting was. Their meeting was not to get our approval, they already had plans drawn up telling us they’re going to put a thirty foot wall behind everybody’s residence so it will block their view. That’s the information here, what I’m imploring you to do, is do something that you should have done back in October of 2003. I would really appreciate it if you could get this Master Plan approved to improve….if you want to improve the quality of life of the people and the residents in Mount Olive, that’s what you need to do and you need to do it immediately before anything goes any further.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. Yes, Ms. Labow.
Ms. Labow: I…..
Mr. Markey: Does anybody have any questions?
Ms. Labow: Yes, I do, I just have one question. Mr. Greenbaum, is….would the new Master Plan prevent Target from going in at that location?
Mr. Dorsey: Well, wait a minute. The Master Plan is in the purview of the Planning Board. The function of the Council is to adopt or reject various recommendations by way of adopting or amending its land use ordinance…it’s zoning ordinance. I think what the gentleman is asking for, and I wouldn’t know without specifically checking the zoning ordinance, as to whether or not large box is currently permitted in the C-1. It appears to me that what he’s requesting is that you amend your land use ordinance to specifically prohibit large box within the C-1 zone.
Mr. Markey: Just to inform you. I have seen the proposal of the new Master Plan, and it does specifically restrict large box retail in C-1 zoning.
President Greenbaum: You’re missing the point.
Mr. Markey: Okay, help me out.
President Greenbaum: The Council does not approve the Master Plan. The Planning Board approves the Master Plan. That was done and was sent to the County. The recommendations, which are set forth in the Planning Board….in the Master Plan, then come to Council. The Council passes ordinances which relate to the zoning changes and the technical changes which are included in the Master Plan. What you’re talking about is a technical change, and let me tell you what I’m going to do. The zoning changes were sent back to the Planning Board for further reexamination based upon additional information which came forward during the process of the Planning process. They have now dealt with it. It’s going to come back to Council. I will ask Chuck McGroarty, who is the Planning Director, to include in the ordinance which comes, the technical information which you are so interested in. That should be introduced at the meeting of January 20th. Now, Target is introduced for first reading at the 20th, which means that it will be adopted, if it is adopted, probably January 25th. Target or the…..I should say, the owners of the shopping center where Target wants to go, is not due to come to Planning Board until sometime in February.
Mr. Markey: The 17th.
President Greenbaum: But that is a concept plan. A concept plan does not give them any rights….rights rest at the Planning Board level upon preliminary approval, which is a lengthy process. So, what I’m telling you is that they will have no rights with respect to their property until Council has dealt with this issue completely.
Mr. Markey: Okay, if you can do that, then I will tip my hat to you.
President Greenbaum: It will be on for the 20th.
Mr. Markey: I appreciate it and I will see you then. Thank you for your time.
President Greenbaum: Okay, thank you. Mr. Geiger.
Nick Geiger, Knollwood: I want to wish you all good luck in the new year, and I’m following up on this gentleman. I didn’t have any idea he was going to talk about the Master Plan, but I too have been concerned about it. I have nothing specific about it, it’s just my feeling is that the new plan will give us more specificity Mr. Geiger (cont’d): and less culpability with all the attorneys running, and that’s all I want. I know it’s been passed by the Planning Board over a year ago and John, I didn’t know that you had looked at it again, but I would ask the Council to please move on it as prudently as possible. The second thing is, the Mayor brought up about a pared-down budget and I think it’s a good idea, but you really need to send something to the School Board and tell them to get on board too, because without the School Board on board it doesn’t make any difference. That’s it, thank you very much.
President Greenbaum: Thank you Mr. Geiger. Mr. Weiss.
Howie Weiss, Flanders: Good evening. Actually I was going to say something about the Master Plan, too. The Master Plan Committee which I, along with John Mania, were the co-chairmen of the Master Plan Committee, which was adopted by the Planning Board in September 2003, and I know….there’s sort of a little question on your faces….I think. I’ve done some research into what’s happened to the Master Plan and what’s happening, there were some questions that the Council had that was sent back to Planning Board, those have been addressed, and like Mr. Greenbaum said, it’s on the agenda for the Planning Board for the 20th of January. I guess what I’ll do is also support what Mr. Markey was asking. I would like Council to make it a priority to ask Mr. McGroarty to draft the appropriate ordinances to make the Master Plan become a reality, and I think, as Mr. Greenbaum said, we’re just talking about some technical things. If we make it…..if the Council makes that a priority, then we can have this document finally have some teeth for us as we go forward. So, I know a little bit of information was accurate, but that’s where the Master Plan is right now, as far as I know, and it sounded like we had a couple different stories, but the Master Plan is a great document, it truly does prohibit big box retail in the C-1 zone. That will be good to continue with what the Mayor talked about as far as quality of life, and certainly myself and Mr. Mania spent a lot of good years with the committee to make it what it is. So, I just ……it sounded like a little confusion, I just wanted to clarify that. The last way we talked about it was accurate. So, thank you.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. Just looking at the calendar, it looks like it’s going to be introduced on the 25th, is my hope, the 25th, that’s a Tuesday. The 20th is when the issue is going to be before the Planning Board. So, you might want to attend both.
Ms. Labow: Mr. Greenbaum.
Mr. Weiss: Thank you.
President Greenbaum: Yes, I’m sorry, Miss Labow.
Ms. Labow: I just have a legal question for Mr. Dorsey, regarding the zone change on Route 46 area. Can we approve the Master Plan and exempt that section?
Mr. Dorsey: No. We do not approve or disapprove the Master Plan.
Ms. Labow: I mean the final…..
Mr. Dorsey: No, let me finish. We do not approve or disapprove the Master Plan. We adopt ordinances and, obviously, if the Council is not prepared to move on the recommendation by the Planning Board in terms of….I think it’s referred to as the senior housing, but it’s prepared to move on the balance of the Master Plan, it can do so.
Ms. Labow: Okay.
President Greenbaum: It can be done in parts?
Ms. Labow: It can be done in parts, that’s what I needed to know. Thank you.
Daniel Amianda, 10 Camp Pulaski Road, Budd Lake: I’m here to speak about something different, that’s about unity in town and I just want to talk….to encourage you to talk more about what is good in Mount Olive, rather than what is bad, and for that reason, I have a question to make to the Council, to the Mayor and to the residents of Mount Olive. As we turn a page for the year 2005, I ask the Council and the Mayor to set aside partisan politics in order to focus on making Mount Olive a better community. I also ask residents to help keep the township from becoming a Republican or a Democratic town. I know when we run for election, we run as Mr. Amianda (cont’d): Republicans, Democrats, or Independents, but once you are elected, you are elected to serve the people of the town. When I look around, I see good people, people working hard and expecting the best out of our Council, our government, and the Administration. For this reason, I am asking that let us find a common ground in Mount Olive and move forward. I just wanted to make that statement. It’s not…I didn’t…..it’s not easy….I didn’t make it as an easy, but I just wanted you to let’s….you know, that’s my feeling. Thank you.
President Greenbaum: Thank you.
Ms. Labow: Thank you, Daniel. Clapping….
Dawn Foote, Budd Lake: Happy New Years everyone. I’m a resident of Budd Lake, I’m also a volunteer. I had come to this town back in May because of the wrongful termination of my husband from the Budd Lake Fire Company. I have asked the Administrators (multiple) and the Mayor and the Council for assistance. The Council has been very gracious to return phone calls and to get back to me. Unfortunately, I have not had that courtesy from the Mayor or the Administrator current, and it upsets me. After twenty years of dedicated service, I’ve asked the town for help, and I feel that it’s unappreciated. Mayor, you sat up here and you complimented the volunteers. I’ve asked you to help repeatedly. I’ve left several phone messages, you told me you didn’t get any of them. I spoke to you personally at this building two days in a row, you’ve returned no phone call. I went to Mr. Casey on the advice of the Township Clerk because, unlike some people, you can come up here and complain to the high hills, no problem, but I came with a solution, yes it needed work, take time, but it’s done nothing since it’s been proposed. It not only protects a volunteer, an officer from these organizations, but it also protects the township to assure that the best interest of the volunteers and the taxpayer, and this community is always being served. I am requesting, in public in front of everybody here, a return phone call from you, Mr. De La Roche, and also Mr. Casey, because I was trying to set up an appointment to bring him up to speed since he came in mid-stream regarding my resolution, why it was proposed, and also the pros and cons to it.
Mr. Casey: I’d be happy to answer your question. I sent you a letter back, very specifically told you my position and my position is that I do not think that your proposed solution is in the best interest of the township. That same position was reiterated to this governing body last week. If they wish to adopt an ordinance in the direction that you obviously requested, that is fine, I simply recommend against it. I think it is a liability that the township does not need to assume. That was my position in writing to you and it hasn’t changed, and that’s what everybody has been told here.
Mrs. Foote: You’re right, I did receive a letter, but I purposely…..
Mayor De La Roche: May I comment also?
Mrs. Foote: May I complete what I have to say, first?
Mayor De La Roche: Sure.
President Greenbaum: Yes, please, Mayor, let her have the floor and I will recognize you immediately afterwards. Thank you.
Mrs. Foote: Mr. Casey, have you taken time and spoken to any of the department heads? As per request of the Workshop that I attended, when this was discussed.
Mr. Casey: My knowledge of the Fire Department, here…..similar to my knowledge of the Fire Department in Roxbury, which is a different arrangement, similar to my knowledge of the recent court case in Roxbury, led me to basically indicate to you that I would not support…..
Mrs. Foote: Okay…..
Mr. Casey: Any involvement of the township in the internal affairs of the Fire Department.
Mrs. Foote: Mr. Casey, out of all due respect, and I understand your….
Mr. Casey: By the way, that’s a Council decision….
President Greenbaum: Please, please, let’s keep it from being argumentative.
Mrs. Foote: Opinion, but we live in Mount Olive Township, not Roxbury Township and the situation might be similar, but different, and if you sat down with me and gave me the time, you would know this. I am familiar with the Judy Showdy versus Roxbury case, especially since I was a prior member of Roxbury Fire Company at one time.
President Greenbaum: Can we cut this, Dawn, I hate to interrupt you, but I would like to cut this short if I can…
Mrs. Foote: That’s fine.
President Greenbaum: By offering a compromise, if we can do that. Bob, can we have a sit down meeting with Dawn? If you’re not going to say anything which is different, I don’t expect you to say anything different, but I would like to have Dawn to at least say her piece. I don’t think it needs to be further expanded, during this public session. If we could arrange that, it would be greatly appreciated, and I think, as a resident, she has a right to at least provide whatever information she has to you, so that this issue can be terminated at this point in time. Can we do that?
Mr. Casey: Be happy to.
Mrs. Foote: Thank you.
President Greenbaum: Okay, and if you feel with that direction that you have no further comment, then Dawn is going to have to live with that as your answer, but at least allow her to present her information. Dawn, is that acceptable to you?
Mrs. Foote: Yes.
President Greenbaum: Okay.
Mrs. Foote: And is it possible that we can get a meeting with Mayor De La Roche?
President Greenbaum: You know, I don’t want to….I don’t want to ask Mayor De La Roche to jump in at this point, I think that I’ve provided you with an avenue to Mr. Casey at this point. Let’s see where it goes.
Mrs. Foote: Okay. I’ll give it more time.
President Greenbaum: Okay, I just….either one of you can contact me and just let me know that the meeting’s been set up. Thank you very much.
Mayor De La Roche: Mr. Council President, you did indicate that I would have an opportunity to comment, right?
President Greenbaum: Please Mayor, I did.
Mayor De La Roche: I’m sure Mrs. Foote and Mr. Foote will agree that I spent a substantial amount of time when the problem first reared its ugly head, if that’s a way of terming it. You came to my office, I sat with you, I don’t know, an hour, two hours, I forget how long it was.
Mrs. Foote: Half an hour….actually it was 22 minutes.
Mayor De La Roche: Oh, you timed it.
Mrs. Foote: Yes, I did.
Mayor De La Roche: Alright, 22 minutes I spent there and then I went to the experts in the field, right…who indicated they felt it was an inter-departmental problem and I should not impinge on the emergency services, because I would be interfering with them since they had their own internal mechanisms, right. So, that was Mayor De La Roche (cont’d): based on the experts that I spoke to at the time, and then the matter became an issue again, but you did….your husband, as I understand it, was afforded a hearing and in keeping with…..
Mrs. Foote: Actually, you are incorrect.
President Greenbaum: Excuse me, excuse me, I don’t want to have…I don’t want to have back and forth, I would like the Mayor to be able to finish whatever he’s going to say, Dawn, I’ve afforded you the opportunity….
Mayor De La Roche: It’s not meant to be argumentative, I’m just trying to explain to you that he was afforded an opportunity in keeping with the departmental regulations at the time and it was advised to my people that it was not appropriate for the Mayor to interfere with that, since it would have an adverse effect on the emergency services, and that was the reason that there was no further action taken on it until it was brought to the Council again.
Mrs. Foote: With all due respect, Mr. Mayor De La Roche, it would have been appreciated if you would have returned a phone call and told me that, or put it in writing. I have yet to hear from you since I had that meeting with you in your Mayor’s office when you told me to contact you to set up an appointment so we could discuss it more. I just want it on public, that I have attempted, and you have never responded back to me, written or verbal.
President Greenbaum: Thank you, Dawn. Please let me know that the meeting has been scheduled.
Mrs. Foote: Thank you. I will.
President Greenbaum: And we’ll follow up with it at that point.
Mike Foote: I’ll save my comment, Rob.
President Greenbaum: Thank you Mike. Anyone else from the public? Yes.
Tammy Jones, Route 46, Budd Lake: I think all of you have actually received a letter. I’m just sending this letter of request of an appeal of an extension of time on my property cleanup. We found out, through the internet site known as the NJ.com, that the Township had intended to give us a summons. We believe that this would be a form of harassment by the Mayor and the Administration. We understand that the property owners are first warned and then summons is issued, is the general procedure. As the Township knows, we are under several restraints as far as time, money and manpower. Since our last correspondence, we have cleaned up the property considerably, removed several piles of debris, moved several large items from the yard and trimmed overgrowth again and did general maintenance to the property. I was told by Catherine Natafalusy that the Township would be willing to extend the timeline of our cleanup past December 31st of 2004, if we so requested. Instead, we found out days ago that the Zoning Department was told to issue a summons by the Business Administrator. We were never…..we never received an abatement, when we filed for the last
extension, and never received any type of paperwork confirming our extension or any other verbal okay from Catherine Natafalusy. Also, the property has only been in my name for about a year, and we have been working, diligently working, to clean it up, and I also reference the statute of 185-42 Municipal Intervention….did you want me to read that or no?
President Greenbaum: No, we have the letter in. I have to make sure that Mr. Dorsey has a copy and we will act accordingly pursuant to the statute with respect to your request for a hearing, which I think gives us thirty days to schedule the hearing.
Mrs. Jones: Correct, thirty days.
Mr. Casey: If I might, I think, if you read that carefully, you’ll notice that it’s from the date of the original notice, which was dated April 19, 2004 that they were notified to clean up their property, and I think that Mr. Dorsey may find that that has…the timeliness of that appeal, is passed.
President Greenbaum: Yes. It’s under review, I’ll speak to Mr. Dorsey about it and I’ll get back to you after I’ve heard from Mr. Dorsey.
Mrs. Jones: Thank you.
President Greenbaum: Mr. Jones. I’m sorry, yes, Ms. Labow.
Ms. Labow: I just want to ask a question of the Administration. On Sunday, I was reading the NJ.com Forum and I saw that one of the residents had posted that summonses were going to be issued this week to people who had sixty day extensions, and I just find it very curious that a resident in the community would be posting something like that on a Forum prior to the residents even being notified, and it gives me cause for concern why other residents would know that somebody was going to be issued a summons before that person was notified. Do you know why that happened, Mr. Casey?
Mr. Casey: Let me review the record on this. Original notice was granted April 19th, ten day notice to abate, according to code. There was a request for a sixty day extension, on the 21st it was granted. In July, there was a request for a second extension, it was granted. In September, there was an e-mail setting forth a specific clean-up plan indicating that the site would be cleared by the end of December. I became aware of this when I first came here, there were four or five Zoning issues, which were outstanding. At that point in time, I told the Zoning Department that, given the history of this particular incident, the eight months of extensions, that at this point in time that if in fact the property owner did not meet their own established clean up schedule i.e. December 31st, that in fact we would move for enforcement, i.e. remove it from the Administration, place it in the Court, where in fact the necessary corrective action will be taken, and that’s what’s being done. When moving in that fashion as to what will finally happen, it will be, in our opinion, something up to the Judge to resolve and…however he wishes to resolve it. In reference to the notice that may have been on the internet site, I don’t go to the net sites, I don’t believe in them, I find that there’s too much garbage on them, so I don’t know who put that there, and I don’t know how it got there.
Ms. Labow: No…I agree with you on that, but I just….concerned that other residents knew about it before the residents in question did.
Mr. Casey: I told the….
President Greenbaum: Thank you. Could we please move on, I think you both answered that question. Mr. Jones can you keep your comments brief, if it’s going to be on the same subject?
Dave Jones, Route 46, Budd Lake: Sure. Just under Section 185-42, Municipal Intervention, it says upon the filing of an appeal, the Enforcement Officer shall refrain from issuing a summons until the appeal is disposed of by the Township Council.
President Greenbaum: I understand that, Mr. Jones, and it’s been given to legal counsel for review and we’ll get back to you….
Mr. Jones: Well, I’m just….my question is will we be receiving a summons?
President Greenbaum: Dave, I can’t answer that question until after I’ve spoken to Mr. Dorsey. There are legal issues which are involved in terms of timing, in terms of other issues that…..
Mr. Dorsey: I think the answer is, they filed their appeal, no summons should be issued, but you must act upon the appeal, given the input from Mr. Casey and the input from the Joneses, within a reasonable period of time.
President Greenbaum: That’s the legal opinion.
Mr. Jones: Thank you. Happy New Year.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. Mr. Bonte.
Mr. Rattner: Are you mumbling down there? Mr. Casey, are you mumbling?
Richard Bonte, Budd Lake: I would just like to add onto Mr. Amianda’s very eloquent remarks. Mine probably won’t be as eloquent, but….I hope, for the next year and forever, that both the public and the Council refrain from coming forth in this forum where we should be conducting public business and bringing forth things which one has heard, my kid came home from school and told me this…it was on the electronic rumor mill, NJ.com, and all the others, and let’s try to present this Council with factual information, problems that may exist that are factual….not Mr. Bonte (cont’d): something that I heard or this one heard or that one heard, because in reality, it consumes an awful lot of the Council’s time, the Administration’s time investigating things that have absolutely no factual basis whatsoever. So, I’d ask that of everybody and I think that would go a long way towards a lot of harmony between the Council, the Administration and the public. Thank you.
President Greenbaum: Thank you Mr. Bonte. Anyone else from the public wish to be heard?
Douglas Williams, Flanders: I’ve been before this Board prior to this about a problem that we’ve had ongoing since the Theresa Drive development was built off of Flanders-Drakestown Road. We’ve been residents of this town for almost 90 years. When this retention basin was built, I had come up here and asked that they do something better with it…for the outlet structure. They didn’t seem to want to do anything. What we’ve been left with is a giant gorge in our property from the outfall of this. We’ve gotten no response from the town, I’ve been before the town engineer, I’ve had several meetings with them, the old Administration and go nowhere. So, we’re left with what’s becoming a more and more useless piece of property because of what…..not necessarily this Council, maybe some of you were on the Board at that time, I don’t know, but what the Township Council has left us with. Over the years, we’ve had several other things that I have asked the town about, how certain roads got vacated without anybody’s knowledge. I was promised by one of the members of the staff here that he would look into it for me and tell me and give me that information. I was never told and I just kind of like to know what the Council is going to do or what they will do, and how this can be corrected?
President Greenbaum: Which property are you referring to? I’m sorry, I missed that.
Mr. Williams: I’m on Flanders-Drakestown Road.
President Greenbaum: And where is the retention basin?
Mr. Williams: I believe it’s the old Carlton Hill development, which is Theresa Drive and….
Ms. Labow: Victoria and all those?
Mr. Williams: Victoria, right.
Mr. Guenther: No, that’s not Carlton Hill, that was called Highridge Crossing.
Mr. Williams: That’s it.
Ms. Labow: Is that by the Silver Springs Restaurant?
Mr. Williams: Correct.
President Greenbaum: Gene, can you come up for a second? Thank you.
Gene Buczynski, Township Engineer: Sure.
President Greenbaum: Can you prepare a report, please, for Council, as to the history?
Mr. Buczynski: Yes, I’ll have to go through the files, because this has been…going back probably, I’m going to say 15 years ago…more than that, maybe.
President Greenbaum: I know nothing about it, Gene, I would like to get….
Mr. Buczynski: I’ll have to go through the old files to find out.
President Greenbaum: Just a very brief history….as to the nature of the approval, the issues which have been ongoing since the development and if you could get that to me for, you know, our next meeting.
Mr. Buczynski: I’ll try.
President Greenbaum: Okay if you can, if you can’t let me know and let me know when I can expect it so that I can alert the appropriate residents that it’s going to be discussed. Thank you.
Ms. Labow: I’m just not sure what’s happening to his property as a result of that….
President Greenbaum: It’s being eroded and I expect that Mr. Buczynski’s report will follow up with the complaints related to that property.
Ms. Labow: Okay. It’s overflowing.
President Greenbaum: Anyone else from the public? Seeing none, I’ll close it to the public.
CLOSING COUNCIL COMMENTS
President Greenbaum: At this point, I would open up to the Mayor and Council, if you have any closing comments, Mayor.
Mayor De La Roche: I’m shocked. I just want to wish everybody, as I have already….I tried to squeeze it all into my one brief moment when I had a chance to speak at a Council meeting. I hope this is a precedent that I will be able to comment in all future meetings, because historically there was no indication that the Mayor could speak since he was considered a guest at Council meetings. So, if this is…what I constantly refer to as an olive branch, I am happy to receive it and it is appreciated. As I have indicated, my approach is that I do want to work with the Council and I intend to do the best I can to do that, but as always, it’s a two-way street, so we have to meet half way and I’m certainly willing to do that, maybe even more than half way, but, you know, I’m glad that, under the new Council President, possibly we’re opening doors that were not opened before and I commend you for that. Thank you and, again, Happy New Year to everybody, and I hope that the Administration and the Council can work together and do the best that we can for Mount Olive, which has been my intention since the day I was sworn in. Thank you.
President Greenbaum: Thank you, it’s not that I’m so magnanimous, I still make you go first.
Mr. Buell: Just a Happy New Year to everybody.
Ms. Labow: Yes, I want to thank everybody for coming this evening and I want to say that this past year, first year in office, was a fantastic year of learning many new things, exciting things. Even today, I was busy reading ordinances and land use laws and everything else and you would think that after a year, I’d be tired of it, but I enjoy it even more so, and I’m anticipating learning a lot more in the honor that has been bestowed upon me in being the liaison for the Planning Board from the Council, but I would like to make one request of Mayor De La Roche while we’re in the spirit of opening the lines of communication and offering the olive branches, I would like him to possibly reconsider his directive where the Council is not allowed to talk to department heads where we have to go through a memo or an e-mail process before we’re able to get information, it’s time consuming… two, three, four weeks before you get an answer and I do agree the Administration needs to know what questions are being asked, but perhaps if we were allowed to pick up the phone, call a department, ask a simple question and then it would be followed up with a…..the question would be followed up through to the Administration. That was what I would like to request, and I want to wish everybody a Happy New Year, congratulation to….we have two residents in the audience who are going to be grandparents, Guy Gregg of twins and the Ciborski’s of their first grandchild and congratulations and Happy New Year to everyone. Clapping…..
Mr. Mund: I would like to congratulate all the volunteers who were appointed tonight and thank you for serving the Township. I would also like to wish everyone a healthy and a Happy New Year and say let’s move on.
Mr. Guenther: With the danger of throwing cold water on all this good feeling, I’m just going to take….since I have an audience tonight, versus the last time I’m the only one that was here, I’m going to sort of repeat what I said at that time. I appreciate the Mayor pointing out the cooperation we did get from the State, in having that dedicated piece of land….the land swap that we did to get the access to the school. On the other hand, one hand of the State giveth and the one taketh away and this time it was the DEP that proved to be the grinch for this Christmas, and at the same time that we saved a lot of money in construction costs for the High School, we had to spend a lot of money to redo the plans because of one little manmade drainage ditch that had been put in at their insistence in the first place when the sewer lines were originally run up there, and now they consider them wetlands and they considered them wetlands and made us conform to the 300 foot buffer, forcing relocation of Mr. Guenther (cont’d): the road, the access road, closer to the school, eliminating parking spaces, making it, as I understand from a Board member, more dangerous because that access road is going to be closer to the building and costing us additional money. So, I vote for the grinch of the year of 2004 the State DEP, but I still wish you all a Happy New Year and thank you for coming out. Clapping…..
President Greenbaum: Thank you. Mr. Rattner.
Mr. Rattner: Thank you Mr. President. I just want to congratulate you on ascending to the presidency and we look forward to having a very productive year. I also want to congratulate and thank the volunteers that were named tonight, appointed and confirmed, especially the first timers. It’s a little bit difficult at the beginning, because you feel self-conscious about asking questions sometimes, because you don’t know, you haven’t been there. We’ve all been there, it takes a little bit of time, but give it a few months and all of a sudden you get in the swing of things. Everybody on the Board, especially the experienced people, will give you the extra time, will repeat their comments, tell you why they’re doing something, and next year you will be telling the new people, who will be appointed, and helping them along, and it’s just a learning process. Again, thank you very much and have a great New Year. Clapping….
President Greenbaum: Thank you. Mr. Perkins.
Mr. Perkins: Thank you Mr. President. I’ll make this as short and sweet as possible. I will do my utmost this year to not be the cause of any conflict. I will try to continue to instill pride within the township. I always find…I think most of you out there know that I don’t have a lot to say unless I think it’s important and I probably follow that adage that says: It’s better to have people think you’re stupid by saying nothing, than open your mouth and dispel any doubt. So, I want to thank my colleagues for putting me here for the second time. I guess if there’s being the bridesmaid…now I’m the maid of honor again, and I still never quite made it up to the top chair, but that was by choice. It’s been a productive year regardless of what’s happened. It wasn’t a happy year for some of us, I think we need to just put that behind us and continue to march forward. There’s a lot of new people coming onboard, a lot of new faces, a lot of new people moving into the township that are expecting a lot more out of their elected officials as well as their volunteers. Hopefully we get a lot more of them to volunteer. I’m proud to be able to be back with the Pride Committee, which I helped to chair when we first kicked that off in 1998 and I will be the Council liaison and we can continue to try to bring some pride and beautification into the township. It’s one of the first things you see when you drive, is what a township looks like and it’s pretty much how you rate whether you want to live there or not. If it doesn’t look good, you don’t stop in to get a sandwich there. So, again, I want to thank everybody for coming out tonight and may God bless you. Clapping….
President Greenbaum: And I guess Mr. Guenther.
Mr. Guenther: Sorry to interrupt, but I just noticed in perusing the resolutions we passed, there is a typo on this Community Development Revenue Sharing Committee, it states Steven Rattner, rather than myself.
President Greenbaum: Okay, that will be corrected.
Mr. Guenther: Thank you.
President Greenbaum: With respect to my Council comments, I only want to say thank you to my colleagues for giving me the honor of sitting in this chair for the year and thank you to the participants and volunteers and you all for coming tonight and for helping Mount Olive work. Before I go to the Benediction, I just want to remind everybody who got appointed to a committee, that you can get sworn in tonight by the Town Clerk after the meeting is over. If you were appointed to the Planning Board or the Board of Adjustment or the Board of Health, generally those swearing in ceremonies are done at their reorganization meetings and you might want to wait until that time. Having said that, at this point, I would call on Pastor Wehrlen for the Benediction.
Pastor Wehrlen: Do you want the twenty minute one or the two minute one? Let’s pause for a moment to recall the presence of God. To receive God’s blessings, we see some signs all over “God Bless America.” We must earn God’s blessings and this is a new year at which time people make resolutions. Therefore, let us resolve one day at a time just for today to be friendly and pleasant to all we meet. Let us try to focus on the good in every situation. Let us do all that we do to the best of our ability. Let us find something to praise in another rather than criticize. Let us be grateful to be alive. Just for today, start small, pray big, stay steady, trusting that the course of all our tomorrows will be well directed and generously graced by God. Amen.
President Greenbaum: At this point, I would entertain a motion for adjournment.
Mr. Mund: So moved.
Mr. Guenther: Second.
All were in favor and the meeting adjourned at 9:14 pm.
Robert J. Greenbaum, Council President
I, LISA M. LASHWAY, Township Clerk of the Township of Mount Olive do hereby certify that the foregoing Minutes is a true and correct copy of the Minutes approved at a legally convened meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council duly held on February 8, 2005.
Lisa M. Lashway, Township Clerk