Township Council Minutes
July 27, 2004
The Regular Public Meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council was called to Order at 10:25 pm by Council President Rattner.
President Rattner: We’ve already done the Pledge of Allegiance.
OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT ANNOUNCEMENT
According to the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate notice of this meeting has been given to the Mount Olive Chronicle. Notice has been posted at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive Township, New Jersey and notices were sent to those requesting the same.
ROLL CALL Present: Mr. Buell, Mrs. Labow, Mr. Elms, Mr. Rattner, Mr. Greenbaum,
Mr. Perkins, Mr. Guenther
ALSO PRESENT: Mayor Richard De La Roche; William Ruggierio, Business Administrator; Sherry
Jenkins, CFO; Lisa Lashway, Township Clerk; Fred Samrau, Township Attorney.
PUBLIC HEARING ON AMENDMENTS TO BUDGETS
1. Resolution to Adopt the 2004 Budget.
President Rattner: Okay, the first thing we have on the agenda for tonight is the Public Hearing on the Amendments to the Budget. Is there anybody from the public who would like to address the Council on the Budget?
Richard Bonte, Budd Lake: In the 2004 Budget, are there monies in this Budget – donation to the Mount Olive Child Care Center?
Ms. Jenkins: Yes there are.
Mr. Bonte: Do you know the amount?
Ms. Jenkins: $27,500.
Mr. Bonte: Is there any accounting for what they do with that money?
Ms. Jenkins: I believe at the time that they submit their Budget, they give us sort of like a, I almost want to say, income statement, Steve, is that the right word?
President Rattner: Yes, but I can’t get that involved in any discussions, because I happen to be a Trustee at the Center.
Ms. Jenkins: They do give us a history of their Budget, along with like realized numbers and what-not.
Mr. Bonte: So, there’s no accounting for what they do with this money.
Ms. Jenkins: We don’t get anything specifically, no, other than that.
Mr. Bonte: So, you are a Trustee of that organization, Mr. Rattner?
President Rattner: Yes, I have been.
Mr. Bonte: Excuse me.
President Rattner: Yes.
Mr. Bonte: Thank you.
President Rattner: Anybody else? Close the hearing on the amendment to the Budget. This is, if anybody wants to talk to Sanitation, because this also includes Sanitation? Okay, Mr. Buell, would you move the resolution to adopt the 2004 Budget?
Mr. Buell: I move to adopt the 2004 Budget for Mount Olive Township.
Mr. Guenther: Second.
President Rattner: Any discussion? Roll Call.
Mr. Elms: I was unable to determine, based upon what we got in the revised Budget, whether or not we kept the attorney’s fee…attorney’s retainer at the same level as last year?
Mr. Buell: No, I think we dropped that, I asked that question during our last Budget hearing. It was dropped, I think, to the last year’s level, consistent with….
Ms. Jenkins: It absolutely was adjusted, yes.
Mr. Elms: Okay, thank you.
President Rattner: Okay, any other questions, comments? Roll Call (this is on the 2004 Municipal Budget).
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously, except Mr. Greenbaum voted No and Mr. Perkins absent from vote.
2. Resolution to Adopt 2004 Solid Waste Collection District Budget.
President Rattner: Okay, Ms. Labow, would you move the resolution to adopt the Solid Waste District Budget?
Ms. Labow: I move to adopt the resolution for the 2004 Solid Waste Collection District Budget.
Mr. Elms: Second.
President Rattner: Any discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
President Rattner: Okay, now we come to the first optional public portion. Anybody want to discuss anything that’s on the agenda tonight?
Miffy Ruggiero: Just two quick thank yous. First, I’ll speak as a community member, Miffy Ruggiero, and I wanted to thank the Recreation Department and I would like to make sure they know it. I’ve been enjoying the bands that are at Flanders Park. It’s my first time in doing that and so I just wanted to say thank you, and it was packed when I was there last week, so, that’s a really nice thing for our community to enjoy. The second is as a Board Member, Miffy Ruggiero, I want to thank Mr. Ruggierio and Mayor De La Roche and Mr. Rattner, I know you spoke very very passionately at our last Board Meeting to helping us get this access road moving forward. So, I really really want to appreciate…thank you to all of you for spending the time with this, I know it’s been an issue, it’s been a public issue, you spent a lot of time with us privately, as well, so I appreciate that. In the words of Mr. Greenbaum, it was the right thing to do, as he said about our referendum, that’s how I feel about this access road, so, thank you for doing that.
President Rattner: Would anybody else from the public like to address the Council? You do get one shot later on. I’ll close the public portion.
Questions on Bill List?
President Rattner: Questions on the Bill List….Mr. Elms.
Mr. Elms: Page 9, Blackstone payment. I thought we were….I thought we were withholding some of this.
President Rattner: Well, I think the Library is going to be giving a report before we approve the bill list; and if I remember the voucher, I think there is a deduction they are withholding something to do with the air conditioning or heating units that were swiped.
Mr. Elms: Page 13, almost half way down, Lincoln Financial Advisors length of service award, $108,000?
Mr. Jenkins: Do you want me to answer now or wait or….
President Rattner: Yes, if you can answer him real quickly.
Ms. Jenkins: Okay. That’s the LOSAP program that was approved by referendum, I believe, Steve, it was in 1999 and we make a contribution on behalf of the emergency service volunteers and this is the payment from last year.
Mr. Elms: We’re making payments not to the volunteers, but to this….
Ms. Jenkins: No, we have this…there was a contract that was approved to authorize this whole process to go through this Lincoln Financial Advisors, so they handle the management of it.
Mr. Elms: And they do this out of the goodness of their heart, right?
Ms. Jenkins: Actually we don’t pay a fee for it, so…
Mr. Elms: Page 15, last week we had three pages of S & S Worldwide for things like neon blue lacing and washable paint blue and this week we have another page and a half of this. When is this going to end?
Ms. Jenkins: Again, I believe it’s for the playground program, so…that’s still ongoing at this point, okay. What I’m going to try and do, I talked to my Accounts Payable people, rather than to list each of these items, if I can just put various supplies and just leave it at that, so we’re not taking up all the pages on the bill list.
Mr. Elms: One line item instead of two pages?
Ms. Jenkins: Yes, exactly, unless, you know…I don’t know that everybody needs to see, you know, all the specifics for markers and what-not, so I think “various supplies” will do. Okay?
Mr. Elms: Okay, page 16 was my last one. Down towards the bottom, I would like to know who had the hotel room for $378?
Ms. Jenkins: It was for Tax Assessment.
Mr. Buell: It was, I think, for three or four days, I looked at that one also.
Ms. Jenkins: We do get a portion of that reimbursed, as well.
Mr. Guenther: A question on the….page 18, at the bottom, Treasurer of the State of New Jersey, DEP, $474 as an assessment for Cloverhill STP? No, what is the assessment?
Ms. Jenkins: Actually, Mr. Buell had that question, so I can…
Mr. Buell: Sherry answered….this is an annual assessment from the Department of Environmental Protection regulating what we discharge into Drakes Brook.
President Rattner: It’s a permit fee, they call it an assessment.
Mr. Guenther: Next page, 19, JCP&L $11,000 and change for June water testing? What water does JCP&L test?
Ms. Jenkins: I’ll look that one up. It may just be a typo, but I will look it up, okay.
President Rattner: Mr. Perkins, I’ll get to you, Jim, you can be last, you can be cleanup tonight.
Mr. Perkins: Again, on page 19, under Water, the capital for the meter pits to Lee Company and the Sanitary Construction payment number 3. Are we buying the meter pits from them, or is that their installation charge?
Ms. Jenkins: I believe that we have two separate contracts that were approved last year. I believe one is for the purchase and one is for the installation.
President Rattner: Mr. Greenbaum, you had a question?
Mr. Greenbaum: No. I’m waiting to hear what Mr. Buell has to say, before I…..
Mr. Buell: Sherry, I asked about the Federal and the Sales Tax, or NJ Sales Tax, on the Verizon bills, and you indicated that you were aware that this is a problem and it’s been going on for some time. At some point, I would like to know the total amount and how long it’s been going on, but I think more importantly, I would like to know how it happened that we had, you know….that somebody went out and purchased these contracts without knowing that these charges were…should be excluded; and how come the Accounts Payable Department is not receiving these bills, I guess individually, the people individually who have these phones are actually receiving the bills, or…what is happening in this thing?
Ms. Jenkins: My department processes the bills, they are not signing off on them, okay. I do a general overview and always have since I’ve been here, but the utility bills have never been signed by my department. We’ve had other department heads who were responsible for that. I believe, for the most part, it was Mark DiGennaro who was signing off on the utility bills. If that sign-off is there and they’re saying that the bill is appropriate, then we make the payment. I believe we noticed, a number of weeks ago, about the tax and, you know, we’ve made the appropriate adjustment for that. We’ve also had problems with the bills going to the departments and them holding onto them, so we’ve had to make changes for that. My department has taken a lot of additional responsibility regarding the bills that we really had never done, you know, the bills were going to the departments, that obviously was a problem. There has been many times, we’ve sent vouchers out, we haven’t gotten them back on a timely basis. Bill has recently sent out a memorandum, you know, reminding everyone that they need to get the vouchers back within a certain period of time so that we don’t miss any deadlines. My Accounts Payable person is also keeping a log of all the bills now, so that we can make sure that, you know, we’re getting them on a timely basis; so we have implemented any number of different procedures to try to correct some of the things that were going on. You know, how far back it goes, I don’t know.
Mr. Buell: It could go all the way back to the beginning of the Verizon, when we purchased these phones.
Ms. Jenkins: Oh absolutely. It absolutely could, yes.
Mr. Buell: Any possibility we’re going to recapture all that….
Ms. Jenkins: Yes, we are working on that. Colleen made some phone calls today and we will be getting some refunds back.
Mr. Buell: Okay, thank you.
Ms. Jenkins: You’re welcome.
President Rattner: Anything else, Mr. Buell?
Mr. Buell: No.
President Rattner: Mr. Ruggierio, I found nothing to question in this week’s bill list.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETINGS
July 13, 2004 CS Present: President Rattner, Mr. Perkins, Mr. Guenther, Mr. Buell, Mr. Elms, Mrs. Labow (7:16 pm)
Absent: Mr. Greenbaum
President Rattner: Okay, moving right along, we have approval of minutes from the July 13th Closed Session.
Mr. Perkins: I move for approval of the Minutes of the July 13, 2004 Closed Session.
Ms. Labow: Second.
President Rattner: Any corrections, discussions? Mr. Elms.
Mr. Elms: I would like to see these Closed Session Minutes be a little bit….they don’t have to be verbatim, but they should explain each of the items and what the decision was, or what the intent was, where we were going with it.
President Rattner: Mr. Elms, I agree with you again about having better Minutes, but the Council year after year has voted to keep them as brief as possible, for whatever reason.
Mr. Elms: Well, you give them to us marked confidential and there is nothing in there that’s confidential; it just says we talked about it.
Mrs. Lashway: Following directions.
President Rattner: That’s what the Council has done over the course of years. We can change that, we can put that on Workshop, we can change that anytime we want, just like we can change verbatim minutes on the regular meeting; and I agree with Mr. Elms, because I like going back and checking, because I do file them that way to see what’s there. I liked it when we actually had regular verbatim minutes of the closed session.
Mr. Elms: Well, I don’t see any sense in saving them, as soon as I get them and they’re marked confidential, they go in the shredder.
President Rattner: Well, that does a lot of good if you want to go back and you’re talking about a meeting you had two months before and what was discussed and you don’t remember, that’s the whole idea of minutes and I have to agree, if there’s not much on there, all it says is the statutory requirement, we spoke and took no action, but we can discuss that at a workshop and maybe come up with something that satisfies everybody. Okay, Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously, except Mr. Elms and Mr. Greenbaum abstained.
LETTERS FROM RESIDENTS / ORGANIZATIONS
1. Letter received July 19, 2004, from Morris County Communities Against Tobacco Coalition regarding information on tobacco smoke.
RESOLUTIONS, ORDINANCES OTHER TOWNS
2. Ordinance received July 12, 2004, from the Township of Roxbury regarding Land Use.
3. Resolution received July 19, 2004, from the Borough of Morris Plains regarding legislation transferring the local government employer’s share of the PFRS and the PERS Pension Retirement System costs to the State Government so that it is consistent with the educational pension system program.
4. Resolution received July 19, 2004, from the Borough of Chatham regarding petitioning members of the Morris County Legislative Delegation to introduce and sponsor legislation transferring the local government employer’s share of PFRS and PERS pension retirement system costs to State Government so that it is consistent with the Educational pension system program.
5. Ordinance received July 22, 2004, from Town of Hackettstown regarding Land Use.
6. Ordinance received July 23, 2004, from Washington Township regarding Land Use.
LEAGUE OF MUNICIPALITIES
7. Letter received July 12, 2004, from New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding Signing of Tax Reform Bill (A-97)
COUNTY OF MORRIS
8. E-mail received July 9, 2004, from Morris County Chamber regarding New Jobs Event Reception.
9. E-mail received July 13, 2004, from Morris County Chamber regarding Leads Exchange.
10. Letter received June 28, 2004, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Morris County YMCA Dam, Emergency Action Plan.
11. Letter received July 13, 2004, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding One year extension of time – Treatment works Approval Morris Chase, Block 4400. Lot 79 (64 Goldmine Road, Budd Lake)
12. Letter received July 16, 2004, from NJ Transit regarding stepping up security during RNC Week.
13. Letter received July 19, 2004, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Sewer Service Expansion, Mount Olive Township Library Block 7900; Lot 3
14. Letter received July 22, 2004, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Response Report Received July 7, 2004 Charter’s Farm, 69 Stephens Park Road.
15. Letter received July 22, 2004, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Area of Concern: 275 Gallon No. 2 Fuel Oil UST Case Name: Nickens Residence
Block 3601, Lot 16 (16 Delbar Drive)
LETTERS FROM LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIVES / COORESPONDENCE RELATING TO
16. E-mail received July 12, 2004, from Governor McGreevey regarding E-Z Pass Fix a Success at Two Year Anniversary.
17. E-mail received July 21, 2004, from Congressman Frelinghuysen regarding US Defense Deputy Under Secretary to Visit Picatinny Arsenal & Morris County Chamber of Commerce.
18. Letter received July 22, 2004, from John DiMaio, Deputy Director, Warren / Board of Chosen Freeholders regarding unsafe conditions on Route 46.
19. Fax received July 12, 2004, from Department of Community Affairs regarding announcement of $2.2 Million to 56 Towns for Property Tax relief in Watershed Moratorium Offset Aid.
20. Letter received July 16, 2004, from Alan Goldstein regarding K. Hovnanian, Four Seasons at Mount Olive.
MUA / MSA
21. Minutes received June 21, 2004, from Musconetcong Sewerage Authority regarding the June 2nd meeting.
22. Letter received July 23, 2004, from Musconetcong Sewerage Authority regarding List of Allocations.
23. Fax received July 12, 2004, from Comcast regarding ESPN Now.
24. Fax received July 13, 2004, from Comcast regarding Discovery HD Channel Addition.
25. Fax received July 15, 2004, from Comcast regarding Sports Tier and Digital realignment.
26. Letter received July 16, 2004, from Comcast regarding Discovery HD being added to the Comcast digital classic level of service on channel 186.
27. Letter received July 16, 2004, from New Jersey Natural Gas regarding annual review and revision of its basic gas supply service.
28. Notice received July 21, 2004, from Elizabeth Gas regarding Public Hearings.
29. Letter received July 22, 2004, from New Jersey Natural Gas regarding Reception.
30. Two faxes received July 22, 2004 from Comcast regarding WABC-DT and WABC-DT correction (new channel addition)
President Rattner: Okay, we have thirty items of correspondence, anybody like to question anything that’s in the correspondence?
Mr. Buell: A letter, number 20, Alan Goldstein regarding the K. Hovnanian, Four Seasons at Mount Olive. When is that going….when are we going to bring the master plan back?
President Rattner: I have that at the end of the agenda, you’ll see under Old Business, asking when we want to set up the public hearing for it. We’ve had enough time to review the minutes that were posted for the public and now we’ll have to address it and if there are any other questions, we’ll have to go back to different people, we’re going to have to take action on it. We’ll discuss that at the end of the meeting. Anything else?
ORDINANCES FOR PUBLIC HEARING - None
ORDINANCES FOR FIRST READING – None
President Rattner: Moving right along, we have no ordinances for public hearing. We have no first reading of ordinances.
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.
3. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive to Submit a Question of Constructing a Capital Improvement, Namely a Department of Public Works Garage and Facility to Referendum.
4. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Cancellation of a General Capital Ordinance Balance and Corresponding Authorized Debt.
5. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Supporting the State House Commission Application to the NJDEP Green Acres Program for an Access Driveway to Mount Olive High School Through Block 7600 Lot 74, Green Acres Funded Open Space.
6. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Submission of an Application to the Morris County Open Space and Farmland Trust Regarding Silver Springs Manor.
7. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Professional Services Agreement with Kinsey Associates Relative to the Development of Lighting at the Flanders Baseball Fields Not to Exceed $5,000.
8. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Congratulating the Budd Lake First Aid and Rescue Squad on Their 50th Anniversary.
9. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Execution of a Developer’s Agreement (Preliminary and Final Site Plan Approval) Between the Township and Chris Hallihan.
President Rattner: We now come to the Consent Agenda, we have….now we made some changes….3 we took off, 7 we’ve taken off, and 5 we’re amending to put a dollar amount in it, and I think the attorney has recommended, instead of putting a range, to pick a number. He suggested we pick a number right in the middle of the range, which was $30,000.
Mrs. Lashway: Okay, so you’ll vote on that as amended.
President Rattner: Right, as amended. Is there anybody who would like to take anything off the consent agenda and discuss any of those separately? Ms. Labow.
Ms. Labow: Number 7, did you say you were taking that off?
President Rattner: That’s…we….you voted to take that off.
Ms. Labow: Okay.
President Rattner: Okay, Mr. Elms, would you move resolutions 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9?
Mr. Elms: I move for adoption of resolutions number 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9.
Mr. Perkins: Second.
PUBLIC PORTION ON CONSENT RESOLUTIONS
President Rattner: Anybody from the public like to address the Council on any of these issues?
Mr. Bonte: I would just like to express that I do not agree with the Council and hold that you do not approve resolution 5 and the reason that I am opposed of this is because I think, once again, and I said this earlier in the year, it sets a bad precedent and believe that it puts in jeopardy the entire Green Acres program as well as any lands that are dedicated forever to remain as open space, or to be protected, when one can, for whatever reason, quote the public good, etc, take these lands and then use them for something else. There is no overriding reason why this has to happen other than convenience for the school…for the School Board, and I don’t believe that you should request this action take place. Thank you.
President Rattner: Thank you, Mr. Bonte. Anybody else from the public like to address the Council on any of the resolutions? Seeing none, I’ll close the public portion on the Consent Resolutions. Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
Library Board Construction Report
President Rattner: Okay, moving right along, we come up to the Library Board Construction Report.
Jane Israel, President of the Mount Olive Library Board: We are here tonight because there is a bill on the bill list for Blackstone, the contractor for the new Library, and the bill is in the amount…well, originally, I should say, was in the amount of $429,827.91, but we are withholding $23,080.38 because of the Municipal Mechanics lien from Trane Company, which was the manufacturer of the HVAC units which were not…which disappeared from the site, and this bill has been approved by the architect and the construction manager and also the Library Board, so I’m hoping that you will….
President Rattner: Jane, just…what you just said, let me see if I got this right, the mechanics lien is against the air conditioning or heating units that were stolen or taken by another contractor, so we have a mechanics lien that we got from Blackstone from the manufacturer….this is really getting convoluted.
Ms. Israel: No, the Trane…the mechanics lien is from Trane against Blackstone.
President Rattner: I understand that, but it’s on the units that were taken by the contractor who said he owned them.
Ms. Israel: Well, we don’t really know for sure who took them.
Mr. Ruggierio: I think that was…this is a materialman’s lien for the replacement air conditioners, as I understand it; and so I think there is already an amount withheld from the amount due to the contractor, but it was sort of, as it’s been explained to me, $23,000 short.
President Rattner: I understand the mechanics lien are….a vendor who’s worried about getting paid slaps that on right away, that happens, I understand that. It’s just that you said that it was for the old…units that were taken, so…it sounded like a real political football. Okay.
Ms. Israel: Well, until this is all settled in the courts, you know, this is what we have to do – deduct that $23,000 and I know that Sherry had asked about it and there was a response to that, I hope that explained it. The work is progressing at the Library. The EIFS covering is continuing and it’s almost finished, it’s over 90% complete, that’s the stucco part, and the cultured stone is about 75% and it’s ongoing as weather permits. The interior metal stud framing and interior furring insulation, sophets and drywall work is ongoing at the main level and building inspections have been successful to allow for closure in many areas. Roofing and facia metal trim continue in all areas as weather permits and is over 90% complete. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing rough-in is ongoing at the main level and inspections have been successful. I understand we did also have a successful sprinkler test just recently, since this report. The main electric service is to be energized in late July, so I don’t think that’s done yet, but it is late July, so maybe any day now. The telephone service work is going to be started, I was told this week, but it says late July or early August. The fire alarm system installation is ongoing. Plumbing inspections have been successful and are ongoing keeping pace with the balance of the water and gas line work. The HVAC duct installations are 90% done. Gas fired furnace has been installed in the basement level with associated duct work and venting and the site improvements are largely complete. Restoration work is ongoing with the hydro seed at the perimeter lawn areas and preparation for putting in the sod in the front and landscaping all the remaining areas that’s, you know, the preparations are being done there. The driveway divider was installed, for a while they didn’t have that in because of the big trucks and things, but they put that in. The project remains within budget. There are a couple of other things that I wanted to let the Council know. The shelving bids are out, they’ve been advertised, and they will be opened on August 11th in the morning, and the specs call for the shelving to be installed on October 15th, which, of course, that’s going to dictate, you know, when we open. So, but we’re hoping that after the attorney reviews the bonds and the insurance, that we will be prepared to award the contract as soon as possible after that, so we’ll need your help in that regard. Also, a presentation on the furniture will be made by the architect at the next Library meeting on August 11th and so we will be available for showing you what the Board, you know, decided on and have the full request available for you at your next meeting after that.
President Rattner: Anybody have any questions for Ms. Israel?
Mr. Guenther: I had mentioned, I guess whenever I took the tour what six or eight weeks ago, I wanted the opportunity to take another tour and see, you know, sort of judge for myself the rate of progress and see how things are going. Would that be possible to arrange this week?
Ms. Israel: This week, let’s see. We’ll try.
Mr. Guenther: Or the earlier part of next week, because I’m going on vacation at the end of next week. Thank you.
Mr. Perkins: Jane, the sprinkler system, I’m assuming fire suppressions sprinkler system? Or the lawn sprinkler system?
Ms. Israel: Oh, I’m talking about fire suppression.
Mr. Perkins: Okay. So, that was tested and then I think further down in your listing, I believe you had also mentioned that there was some other work that was being done in coordination with the water and gas piping?
Ms. Israel: The plumbing inspections have been successful and are ongoing, keeping pace with the balance of water and gas line work.
Mr. Perkins: Do we know what the balance of that is, Jane?
Mr. Israel: The balance of the water and gas line work? Is that what your question is?
Mr. Perkins: Yes, I mean, where are they? If they’ve already got the fire suppression system in and they’ve tested the sprinkler system, what water are they still doing?
Mr. Israel: Oh well, I know that…for a fact that the bathrooms aren’t done yet, so maybe that’s…..
Mr. Perkins: Oh, we’re talking the inside plumbing?
Ms. Israel: Oh, yes, we’re talking inside, I’m sorry. Yes, well, I mean the last time I was there, the fixtures in the bathroom weren’t there either so, that’s part of water, isn’t it?
President Rattner: Anything else? Thank you, Jane.
Ms. Israel: You’re welcome, thank you.
President Rattner: Oh, Mayor, you wanted to say something?
Mayor De La Roche: Yes, I just wanted to mention to you that I asked Bill to speak with Tim because your sidewalk’s not in yet, are they?
Ms. Israel: Yes, the sidewalks are in, yes.
Mayor De La Roche: They are in….all in?
Ms. Israel: I believe they’re all in, except is something in the back not done yet maybe? No, sidewalks are all in.
Mayor De La Roche: All in. Because I heard there was a problem regarding removing the snow this evening, that’s why I’m asking if they weren’t in, maybe we could make some adjustments to make it easier for everybody, but….I guess that’s not possible. Okay, no I just…it was a point I wanted to check. Thank you.
Ms. Israel: Okay, oh – one other thing, we had a request from the fire department to come in and they’re going to visit next month early to see the building while it’s being built, so that they’ll have a better idea of, you know, what’s there and then they’ll come back later after it’s all finished, but….
President Rattner: Don’t let them talk you into a wetdown.
Ms. Israel: No. But I think they’re going to make it like a drill for them, you know, to come through the building while it’s under construction.
1. Approval of Raffle Application #2046 for the Parents Club Mount Olive High School and an Application to Amend Raffle License #2009 for the Mt. Olive Lions Club.
President Rattner: Okay, moving right along, we come up to the motions.
Mr. Guenther: I make a motion for approval of Raffle Application #2046 for the Parents Club of Mount Olive High School and an application to amend Raffle Application License #2009 for the Mount Olive Lions Club.
Mr. Perkins: Second.
President Rattner: Any discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
2. Approval of the Renewal of a Taxi Permit for Dennis Menta, d/b/a Area Taxi.
President Rattner: Mr. Perkins, would you do the renewal of the Taxi Permit?
Mr. Perkins: Thank you, Mr. President. I make a motion for approval of the renewal of the Taxi Permit for Dennis Menta, Area Taxi.
Mr. Guenther: Second.
President Rattner: Any discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
3. Bill List & Additional Bill (Budd Lake First Aid & Rescue Squad).
President Rattner: Then we have the bill list. Before I ask Mr. Greenbaum to move it, Ms. Jenkins, do you want to comment what happened…why we have that…since it wasn’t discussed before, why we have that amended bill list?
Ms. Jenkins: We had to void the check for Budd Lake Rescue because they already got a $25,000 donation and the maximum that they’re allowed to get is $35,000, so we voided that $25,000 and reissued them the balance which is $10,000, okay.
President Rattner: Yes, what happened is they reviewed it over the weekend and saw…after the bill list was put out, they noticed that the check was never….and they still had to pay them what they could. Okay, Mr. Greenbaum, would you move the bill list and the additional bill?
Mr. Greenbaum: I’d rather not.
President Rattner: Mr. Guenther, would you move the bill list?
Mr. Guenther: I hereby move the bill list and the additional bill.
Mr. Elms: Second.
President Rattner: Any discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously, except Mr. Greenbaum voted yes except for the Blackstone payment.
President Rattner: Okay, Administrative Matters, Mr. Ruggierio.
Mr. Ruggierio: Just a few quick items, not intended to be comprehensive. We have made some progress on Mine Hill, I know you want a more extensive report on that at the end of August. You may be aware that the Township Committee, I’m sorry, in Washington Township, has authorized the expenditure of some money in connection with the project which is, I think, a positive step forward. We also took a second walk of the area with the Township Engineer and the DPW Director and I think that what we’re finding is that we need to sort of refine our design on the Mine Hill-Drakestown Road matter, so I’ll have a better report to you on that. I do have some preliminary numbers which we can include in the report and I know that that was part of what Council wanted. I think you got a memo from me, but I’ll confirm to you that one of the two Flanders tennis courts is now open, Tim Quinn sort of intervened with Jim Lynch and they, you know, put their two heads together and found a way to get at least one of those courts open, so I think that’s positive news, it should make some of the tennis playing residents in Flanders happy. We’ve been interviewing Engineering candidates in connection with the DPW reorganization that I talked about earlier. I did send out a note, that I guess I thought was a positive one, to the residents of the Tulip Park area to ask them how they felt about the proposal by Ms. Labow that was sort of endorsed, tentatively, I think, by Jim Lynch, our Parks and Recreation Director, that the equipment be moved from the Tulip Park….Tulip Avenue Park to Turkey Brook and we just found out today, in our little Senior Citizens picnic meeting, that there is at least one resident that doesn’t think that’s a very good idea, so I think we’ll make sure that we understand what the residents feel about that before we go much further with that. Tomorrow morning we have a meeting with a surveyor to go over the survey and the topographic map in connection with the DPW project. Next meeting we will be presenting to you our Risk Manager to speak about our insurance which must renew in the….in January and, of course, we have some deadlines that we have to deal with so we’ll be presenting that to you at the next meeting. And, finally, I know that probably all of you are aware that we had an interesting meeting at the field at Turkey Brook yesterday where we looked at the football field and whether or not it was adequately constructed and a lot of discussion occurred with respect to that. One of the issues that came up, that I know that everyone was concerned about, had to do with the safety of that football field, because it was called into question by a letter that we got from Mr. Baker. I have arranged with Mr. Buczynski, the Township Engineer, at least it was his suggestion, that we see if we can’t tap the…our joint insurance fund people to come out, like Commerce Risk Management or something like that, to certify the safety of the field, because I think once we have someone who goes on record like that telling us our field isn’t safe, that we need to address that element of it. Now, there were other things that happened, but I think most of you are aware of that, so….I’ll leave my report at those items. I guess the Mayor also wanted to either say or have me say that, of course, we got that $575,000 grant that you got written notice of, so…
Ms. Labow: I just want to say regarding the letter to Tulip, to the residents surrounding Tulip Pocket Park, I was very upset when I read that letter because, first of all, there was a preliminary thing to find out if it was feasible to even move the equipment and I thought that it was very very premature for the Administration to send out a letter of that nature when we hadn’t even decided if it was something we wanted to do, if something
Ms. Labow(cont’d): we could do financially, if it made sense to do it, so…I was very disappointed in that and then, of course, when the resident came up to me today at the Senior Picnic and she kind of like was bashing Jim Lynch and I and I said to her, look the Administration, you know, really jumped the gun on that, because we don’t even know if it’s something we can do or want to do, and I just would like, in the future, that you…..
Mr. Ruggierio: She yelled at you first and then you brought her over to yell at me, but I understand…..
Ms. Labow: That’s right, I did. No, first she got Rob…she got Rob first and then I went over and said would you like to meet Bill Ruggierio.
Mr. Ruggierio: You know, honestly, my intentions were innocent. I think that, with respect to these types of matters, you should have three components: one is Council person says hey – is this a good idea? We check with our Administrative people who say, yes, you know, it might be a good idea. Then the next component, before we even proceed in it, is to say to the residents what do you think about this and it was in that connection that I sent the letter out.
Ms. Labow: But in the memo that I sent to you, what I was planning on doing was going door to door and talking to the people, but first, I never even got a report to see if it was financially feasible.
Mr. Ruggierio: No. I think…I thought I sent out the memo saying that it looked like it had some merit, based on what I got back from Jim Lynch.
Mr. Guenther: I would like you to go into some detail, Bill, on the result of our walk through yesterday, because the safety issue that’s well taken, but I would like you to summarize because I’m a little bit confused as to how we really came out. I have my own impressions of what happened, but I, you know, just to lay some things to bed if you would summarize what you know regarding the opinion of the football association. Also, is the fact that the baseball association was there and the soccer association and their reactions to the fields, so that it’s….I think on the public record.
Mr. Ruggierio: Right. Well, I think the last part of what you asked me is relatively simple. There were minor…very minor complaints from baseball and soccer concerning the conditions of the fields, or how maintenance might be improved and those matters, I think, were easily addressed, so I think that’s very positive for Turkey Brook. I know that Jim Lynch has said, and I endorse the idea, that we really have to live with this park for a year before we really know what we’re up against in terms of recurring maintenance problems and, of course, every time we go to a Turkey Brook development meeting, you know, with good reason, everybody is saying, you know, let’s move to the next step, let’s do the next thing and, you know, who knows what kinds of additional challenges that will present, but the football field was a different matter. I think the football people went on record before the meeting of saying that they felt that that field was not adequate, they said it was not safe, we walked it with the Township Engineer, we were…I think he took a very, you know, he took a very strong position during that walk through that the field, in fact, had….well, it might have minor undulations, I guess is the way he put it, that it was within tolerances. I left the meeting with basically two objectives in mind. It was my impression from, you know, discussions there with the Township Engineer, that the probable answer to whether or not that field was adequate, was that it probably is. On the other hand, in order to address these concerns that had been expressed, two things have to happen: one is that we have to get some type of a certification from a surveyor to our Engineer, somebody independent of the contractor, that says that these….that this field was built in accordance with the specifications or reasonably within tolerances of the specifications. Now I have a strong confidence, based on what we learned there, that that’s how it’s going to turn out, but I think that until we can get that sort of certified by somebody with an actual license, that we ought to demand that…that’s something we ought to see happen, but the issue as to whether or not the field…whether it was built to spec or not, is safe for the, you know, for the use by these football…young football players, I think is something that we could work on getting a certification from our Risk Management people at Commerce Risk Management that handles matters for our insurance carrier, or somebody similar. I think that we ought to get, for our own protection, a certification that football can be safely played on those fields and that way we all sleep well at night. That’s pretty much the summary, as I saw it.
Mr. Elms: Bill, I believe we have a surveyor’s plot, what they call, 2525 plot, that was ordered last year sometime. I have a copy of it.
Ms. Labow: That’s not inde….but it’s done by….
President Rattner: Done by Ed Secco.
Mr. Elms: It was done by who?
President Rattner: Ed Secco, I think. We’ve had three all together and they compared that to the as-builts or whatever the design plans were.
Mr. Greenbaum: And there were deviations.
President Rattner: There were some deviations, but I don’t know, but I think they were within tolerance.
Mr. Greenbaum: I don’t believe that they were necessarily within tolerance.
President Rattner: Well, that’s the report that we got, but anyway.
Mr. Ruggierio: I only know that there was corrective grading done there and I….it was not clear to me and certainly Mr. Buczynski couldn’t say whether or not there was a post-correction as-built so, that’s I think what we need to be certified by a surveyor and then he can say it’s within tolerance. I think we all have to recognize that if it’s within tolerances, we are really wasting our time to pursue any kind of claim against the contractor. If we want to correct the field, and it is within tolerances, it’s out of our pocket, you know.
Ms. Labow: I’m just really confused. The fact that the football organization played three games on the field last year, I asked them did anybody get injured, they said no. I said did any of the kids complain, they said no. Then our lacrosse team played ten games on the same field that the football organization is saying is unsafe, so, is it unsafe only for the football organization and not the lacrosse, or….I don’t know.
Mr. Guenther: Well, let me give you my quick opinion. These undulations, they’re there, within tolerances or not, I’m not professional enough to make that determination, but when you looked at the field aesthetically, sure it’s probably not there, but it certainly…I don’t think, a matter of safety. I mean, what I was concerned about in the first walk through we did in the Fall, were the divots and the real gaps that there were where somebody yes could step in them and twist an ankle, and there’s still a couple of those around. Jim Lynch is constantly working on those to straighten those out and some of them are due to settling; and one of the things that Jim Lynch pointed out, is the fact that, you know, you’re dealing with soil, which will have a tendency to settle. Also, my impression was that where those undulations took place, or where they appeared to be most obvious, were the most worn sections of the field, where the lacrosse people have been using it this summer. So, it gave a false impression of what was good and what was bad, compared to the areas that had not been utilized by the lacrosse program. I personally believe that, you know, the famous e-mail that was sent to us went completely overboard, I mean, that opinion was expressed that the whole thing should be torn up and started all over again and I think that’s over the deep end, quite frankly.
Status of New Path to Turkey Brook from Sunset Drive
Public Hearing Date for Master Plan Update
President Rattner: Anything else? This was on the Administrative section. Okay, moving right along, we go to Old Business.
Mr. Guenther: I just want a quick, just for the record, you know, I’ve got an informal report…but just…the status of the new path at Turkey Brook, I saw the drawings today, that’s going through, and I’ve already explained to a couple of the residents that have been inquiring of me, that it is going to take a little bit longer because of the need to comply with the ADA. So, engineering had to be done and certain preparation…and it’s not just going to be an overnight project, but it’s something that’s going to take a few weeks. They understood, I think and at least now we have an explanation, unless you want to add something, Bill. I do want to bring up one other thing, before I go on to the master plan item, is I am a little bit disturbed, well, disturbed maybe isn’t the right word, the memo….and of which I thank you Bill, the detail on the inquiries that Colleen and I made regarding Budd Lake. One of the things, I mean, I had not….the response that Jill Daggon made, as she said the information I’d asked for was not relevant to the problem of water quality, she’s exactly addressing the problem that I brought up. I didn’t put it in writing, so I guess maybe there was a miscommunication, but it was an algae problem and I’m just going to read some excerpts form her report, which are a bit disturbing. Algae is nature’s response to cleaning up excessive nitrates and other pollutants in the water. We have noticed an extreme increase of algae this season. I do not know where the nitrates are coming from, there is an….and then she’s saying there is a barge blocking the water flow under Manor House Road, over by the dam. She recommends removing the barge. The water level of the lake is a little high and that maybe one of the weir boards can be removed to provide better flow of water. What the issue I brought up and where I noticed, I guess it’s algae because I just called it green scum, okay, I guess it’s algae, and it was a particular day, I was out kayaking,
Mr. Guenther(cont’d): where it was a fairly calm day, so I’m thinking that maybe on a calm day this stuff doesn’t blow off as easily, or whatever; but I was concerned and we usually launch the boats right next to the beach area that, you know, obviously, this had to affect the beach area and later in that same day, I saw a lot of people swimming there, so I’m really concerned about, you know, you know, she said she’s noticing increasing algae, nobody knows where it seems to be coming from. What kind of action can we take to get a better handle on this to make sure, not only for health reasons, I’m sure from health reasons, I know they test the water and they’re not going to let people in if there’s a problem, but I think also for aesthetic reasons, I mean, if there is an algae problem that’s being formed by some sort of, I guess, nitrates, how do we….how do we possibly solve it?
Mr. Ruggierio: I guess that I thought that the concern that I saw in her memo was sort of addressed by the fact that I also saw the testing results and in one of the results, there were two exceedences that I went and talked to the Health Director about and got information, but I think the only way we can answer your question is probably to make some inquiry from a hydrologist, or a biologist, or somebody with an expertise in this type of issue, and if you want, I’ll make that inquiry, first of our Engineering firm and maybe they can refer me to someone.
Mr. Guenther: Okay, thank you.
Mr. Elms: What disturbs me more about the Budd Lake water monitoring is that, I guess on June 8th, they had three fecal choliform readings go over 200 and on July 14th, they had one that was 192, and over 200 they are supposed to shut the beach. So, the question in my mind is where is it coming from, it doesn’t seem that the monitoring locations that they have is any single one of them is showing up on a regular basis as being high. Maybe we ought to add some more monitoring points.
Mr. Ruggierio: I’ll look into it. I actually was concerned about the exceedences when I saw them, you know, I, you know, tracked them down and was given what I thought was an adequate answer, but, you know, I haven’t lived with the issue as long as people who have lived here have, so I’ll go and try to get a little better handle on it.
President Rattner: Anything else? Okay, the other thing we have is the public hearing date for the Master Plan Update. We had that special meeting where we listened to the affected land owners, now we have to address it, and we’ve gotten some additional information from one of them, so at least somebody listened to what we were saying. I suggest that we set the public hearing for the first public meeting in September.
Mrs. Lashway: Okay, public hearing on what? We have to introduce a zoning ordinance.
President Rattner: Oh, we actually have to do…okay, we have to….
Mrs. Lashway: So, we have to give direction to Mr. McGroarty to write the zoning ordinance and he has to write it in accordance with what you’re going with, so if you’re going with everything that’s recommended in the Master Plan, that’s one direction that you would be giving him, and if he’s going to write it different than what’s recommended in the Master Plan…in the approved Master Plan, he has to have a direction, and then you introduce a zoning ordinance.
President Rattner: Okay, then we just put it on there, because that’s what I said, just put it on the agenda, so we can discuss the public hearing date. Do we want another workshop just to discuss what’s in there to make sure that what was recommended, we want to go with?
Mr. Greenbaum: I think we should.
President Rattner: How much time do you think we’ll need on that and do we need anybody else, because one of the issues that I have…we did get that one letter, and I was actually happy with it because there was a lot of stuff in there that I specifically would like to see, but the question I have is we’re changing zoning, how do we make sure that we can get that in there to make sure that we really get it, not just a representation saying if you let us get the zoning if we propose a project, we’ll do all these things, so that’s a real issue that I really want to make sure that I understand.
Mr. Greenbaum: You’re talking about along Route 46?
President Rattner: Yes.
Mr. Ruggierio: Do you want Mr. McGroarty at the meeting? Do you want Mr. McGroarty at the workshop?
Mr. Greenbaum: That’s probably…be a good idea.
President Rattner: Yes, I think that’s probably the best one. How much time do you think we’ll need? We’ll probably have an extended discussion on that. Do you want to hold that off until the first workshop in September, because right now, on the summer schedule, we don’t have it where we can spend an hour, hour and a half on it and still get anything else done.
Mr. Greenbaum: Can I just comment on what you’re…the point you just brought up? I find it’s the exact same thing I thought about is that once you change the zoning, Council loses control over the matter in which the project is ultimately going to be, first of all submitted to the Planning Board, and ultimately approved or disapproved by the Planning Board; and not necessarily is the applicant who wrote the letter, going to be the applicant who ultimately goes before the Planning Board or actually builds the project, so it creates all kinds of issues in terms of how do we, as a Council, address the traffic concerns that we have in that aspect of the roadway, and I think that we do need some legal advice on that issue.
President Rattner: Okay, well those are the questions I need to be answered before we can move forward, because I just don’t know, I mean, everything looks good and then you wonder how you’re going to do it.
Mr. Buell: The property they’re talking about, that is our Township property, are there any diversions of….another diversion of Green Acres for those lots?
Mr. Guenther: Excuse me, what are we talking about?
President Rattner: Remember one of the things that Ms. Labow asked for…in fact, I said that the only way to make it…you know, to develop the property behind the Budd Lake School, is there a way of going in back of the Cherokee Trading Post and coming out, so they can have a signaled intersection where they can make turns onto 46? Well, in the letter that we got back from the attorney for the applicant, or the developer, or whatever it is, the land owner at the time, said that there is a way of doing it, however, there is a piece of Municipal land behind the Cherokee Trading Post that they’d have to cross and then they could build a road and connect it all up, and then there’s…..also brings up other issues that Mr. Buell and I brought up is that years ago, we had in our traffic master plans, still the traffic master plan, a connector road that would have gone from east to west of the Budd Lake School and connect up with Goldmine Road. If we have an issue that we would still like to open up, or at least have different access for Country Oaks and Goldmine Road, that if that was available then, can this all be built in and then use, you know, see the route of that old connector road and could it connect up with Goldmine Road, so there would be a way for people to come out at a signaled intersection.
Mr. Elms: And the signaled intersection would be…..
President Rattner: At Village Way.
Mr. Elms: We’re talking about connecting up the Goldmine Road to go out to 46? Or to go out to 206?
Mr. Buell: No, to 46.
President Rattner: That was actually in our Master Plan, but I don’t know if it’s possible. because I don’t know where the road went, what?
Mr. Guenther: It’s Old Budd Lake Road you’re connecting with….
President Rattner: Yes.
Mr. Buell: I looked at it today, I don’t think so.
President Rattner: No, but it just came up….I don’t know, there’s a lot of other issues that we may want to look at, but I wasn’t sure….I didn’t think it was going to be that easy when we talked.
Mr. Buell: It’s further towards 206, probably….
President Rattner: Yes, but it was a good thought that, you know, that could solve some of the problems, but anyway….
Mr. Greenbaum: It creates other problems….
President Rattner: Well, one thing can always create another problem.
Mr. Greenbaum: Yes, I mean, that’s a bad intersection to start with….it’s not like you have a good….yes, okay.
President Rattner: But if they improved it….
Ms. Labow: I have a question, I don’t know, this is probably a crazy question, but if we change the Master Plan to allow that adult active community, is there any way you can have that changed contingent upon all of the traffic situations met, and have it revert back to the old…..
President Rattner: Well, I think I even had an argument with Mr. McGroarty and it has to do with starting to go with overall zoning or something. He got mad at me when I brought that up. I told him, we’ve always been able to come up, this is what we want done to give us some control and he goes you want me to go to jail? Or something to that effect. Anyway, so we’ll have the workshop and then we can plan for there, because we have those issues we have to address, I mean, it was given to us by the Planning Board or the Master Plan Review Committee, and we, you know, we have to act on it one way or the other.
Mr. Elms: What workshop was that?
President Rattner: The first one in September.
Mrs. Lashway: September 7th and you want Chuck McGroarty there?
President Rattner: Yes.
Mr. Greenbaum: You should invite Goldstein as well.
President Rattner: Just him?
Mr. Greenbaum: Well, either Goldstein and/or whoever is going to….I mean, there are going to be issues about that particular zoning issue. I don’t know if there are going to be other issues related to the other proposed zoning, which I don’t think that there are, I think that most of the other ones have been answered. It just comes down to a discussion as to whether or not we want to move forward with it.
President Rattner: Well, I don’t know if I like the idea of bringing, you know, the developer/the owner’s lawyer in. You know, this is our workshop to decide what we want, you know, discuss what we have to do to make sure we have the controls, and from there, we can go back and either have our professionals, their attorney, or our planner, go back and say these are things we need, or they may tell us that you can’t, you know, you can ask for whatever you want, but there’s no way you can hold them to it, so that doesn’t do any good either.
Mr. Elms: You don’t anticipate a problem down on 206?
Mr. Greenbaum: No, I don’t anticipate having to need further information related to the issues on 206. I don’t need to hear from….I’ve heard all of the arguments that relate to 206. The issue related to Route 46, now has a new wrinkle that the wrinkle wasn’t involved before, whether or not we move forward with 206 or not, I don’t believe that the issues have changed, that’s all I was saying.
President Rattner: Well, we can ask different questions because, you know, we know that we’ve been threatened, I guess that’s a way of putting it, whether we can actually do certain things, so we just need to know exactly what we can do, how much changes we can make and there are other things, because, if you remember, one of those people made a representation well I would like to do something like this. Well, maybe if that’s what he wanted to do, it wouldn’t be a real big change, we don’t want strip, you know, more strip malls and stuff like that, that cause the traffic, so there may be some minor things, but not really changing anything what the Master Plan Committee really said; and again, that’s why we need the workshop to discuss all those issues. Okay, so that’s on for the 7th, if Mr. McGroarty is available. Okay, any other old business?
President Rattner: Any new business?
Mr. Semrau: The only legal matter report is we did conclude the Commissioners hearing in the Mount Olive versus Interverse case and we are awaiting a decision, and I have something for Executive Session on the….
Mrs. Lashway: Talk into the microphone, I can’t hear you.
Mr. Semrau: Start again?
Mrs. Lashway: Yes.
Mr. Semrau: Okay, we concluded the Interverse Commissioners hearing litigation last week, we are waiting for a decision from the Commissioners and I have something for Executive what Mr. Ruggierio mentioned earlier about the OPRA litigation.
President Rattner: Thank you. Okay, now Council Reports.
Library Board Liaison Report
Ms. Labow: I think Jane covered it pretty well.
Recreation Liaison Report
Mr. Elms: No report.
Board of Health Report
Mr. Guenther: We meet next week.
Planning Board Report
Mr. Greenbaum: Unfortunately, my vacation took me away both the 8th and the 15th meetings, that’s when I went and when I came back. I don’t know if the Mayor has anything he wants to add, or if anyone else was present at any of the Planning Board….I know that on the 8th, Morris Chase went down…
Ms. Labow: I wasn’t at the 15th, but I was at the 8th.
Mr. Greenbaum: That was the major development over the last two weeks. The extension request on phase one on final was denied.
President Rattner: Thank you Mr. Greenbaum.
Board of Adjustment Liaison Report
Mr. Perkins: Thank you, Mr. President. Mostly routine matters, other than Dockrell. Dockrell was up, they were denied their petition to be declared a pre-existing non-conforming use, that is now going back to court again, so we are still not able to collect any of the fines. That’s it, Mr. President.
Open Space Committee Report
Mr. Elms: The main thing that they’ve been working on is the Silver Springs Farm, which we had the resolution for tonight.
Legislative Committee Report
Mr. Elms: None
Price Committee Liaison Report
Ms. Labow: They meet next week, but I’ll be away.
Board of Education Liaison Report
President Rattner: The Board of Education is on their summer schedule, so they didn’t meet last week, two weeks ago I guess they’re talking about, you know, the final plans and the architect making final changes, substitutions on the school project. They’re already starting to have issues with the fact of the way that contracted prices, bid prices they figure are going up so they’re starting to make substitutions to try reducing some of the costs to keep it within budget.
Lake/Environment Issues Committee
President Rattner: The only thing I have to say is hearing some comments from people who use the lake, and the lake committee people say that the lake, right now, is dirtier than it’s been in years and the Clerk just advised me that one person has actually already pulled their boat out, just because of the amount of staining on the outside, because of whatever this slime or whatever is on there, some of it is understood to be when there is heavy rains, everything gets washed into the lake and things also get churned. Also, what came up before, is some of the choler….some of the bacterial counts, if you track them, most of those are after a heavy rain. What happens there is goose droppings, other dog droppings and everything else, they get washed into the lake in large quantities. After it hasn’t rained for a while, they all get washed in and so, for usually a day or two after a heavy rain, you’ll see the counts go up, sometimes not to over the limit, but they do go up and that’s just a normal occurrence. I know that the County park systems, especially the one in…off of Route 24 and Schooley’s Mountain, have had major problems. The one off 24 in Mendham, I guess it is, Sunrise, I think about three years ago, I think there was one summer they were actually closed over 30 days and it was just because of the amount of rain and what gets washed in. Some of the luxuries of living in the country, so some of this stuff is there, but some of it’s just natural, it doesn’t mean anything is leaking in there.
Safety Committee Liaison
Mr. Guenther: It meets tomorrow night.
President Rattner: Okay, we’re coming to the final public portion. We will be going into Executive Session tonight, the….on contract issues and the OPRA that we had before. We won’t be taking any action, I guess it’s just to get advice. So, with that, is there anybody from the public who would like….
Miffy Ruggiero: I did call the Daily Record, by the way, and the Editor responded to me in about five seconds, that it’s Mr. Ruggierio and I said it took us twenty years to go from Ruggiero to Ruggierio, then when Ruggierio comes, and now he was Ruggiero. So, he said he will make a mental note to make sure that never happens again.
Mr. Ruggierio: Well, my grandfather was Ruggiero, so….
Ms. Ruggiero: See, I know, it just kind of gets lost there.
President Rattner: Okay, then the same newspaper asked me if he was related.
Ms. Ruggiero: Yes, I know, see…Okay, we already went through this. Two things…just…you spoke about. One is the lake, geese, geese, geese, that’s all I’m going to say about that, and anybody that has homefront property or lakefront property, last week, I know one beach that (a private beach) that cleaned up over twenty pounds, okay. So, the lake is dirtier, there’s more geese, you know, the cowboy’s going to Stanhope, whatever you guys have to figure out to do that, it is absolutely despicable to live…to have lakefront right now. Part of being in the country, I know, but we have to be able to know it’s just going to multiply and multiply and multiply; but I want to add to that. Thirty years ago, I recall being in a town meeting where there was a problem with algae, or scum, or whatever you want to call it, and there was a good two-month conversation about boats and the engines. I know, particularly Bernie-if you’ve been kayaking, the size of the boats that are coming on this lake are like unbelievable. That certainly has issue with the algae, they did studies on that. I remember that whole conversation, jets skis, take the signs down, if we don’t have the time or the money to police that, they’re there every weekend and there are signs all around the lake that say no jet skis on weekends and holidays, but they’re there every weekend and they’re there every holiday, just remove the signs, because I know we can’t police that.
President Rattner: There’s a problem, the technology has changed, those aren’t jet skis. Jet skis, by definition, don’t have a reverse gear. The ones that are going on now, remember we used to have to stand up President Rattner(cont’d): and it was like being on skis, these are considered personal water craft and they’re not really covered, but you’re probably right about the signs, because nobody is using jet skis anymore.
Ms. Ruggiero: Well and there’s been some, being a boater on the lake pretty regularly with friends, there has been some real animosity between everyone sharing the lake and it’s over the jet skis, so you may want to just help that…correct that….
President Rattner: Personal water craft.
Ms. Ruggiero: Whatever you want to call it, Mr. Rattner. So, anyway, I would like that discussion because the lake…right away, when the…when we were talking about fecal matter, all I’m thinking about are the geese, so all the other stuff….we’re trying to make the lake cleaner, more enjoyable for people to use, so that’s my one point. The other point was about the Tulip Avenue Park, what we call the shade park, because if any of you have ever been there, it’s probably the park that gets the least amount of sun and it’s a park that’s in my neighborhood, I’m there, I see the number of people that probably clean that park on a regular basis, community people that do that. So, yes, they were a little perturbed about the letter, but I do believe Mr. Ruggierio, you have…you were trying to do something that was better for the community. How you do it and how you decide to do it, is one thing, I do want to ask you this, if you’re going to look into it to see what the best thing is, whether to keep the park open, to move it to Turkey Brook, whatever you decide to do, that you look into how many hours…community hours, as far as staffing, really go to servicing that park as compared to all the other parks.
Ms. Labow: See, that’s why everyone misunderstands it, it was just about moving the two playground apparatus where the kids are, because what I wanted to do was go door to door to everybody and see are the kids going to Turkey Brook Park now, or are they not really playing there, and the woman today said that with all the heavy equipment that’s been there, with some of the work that’s being done, that a lot of people won’t let their kids down there, so that could be one reason why a lot of the children haven’t been playing, but no one at any time ever wanted to close the park. It was just a matter of moving the equipment where the kids are now going, so it gets used and not just deteriorating.
Ms. Ruggiero: Right. There are still the kids that go there, though. I could save you the time in door to door, there are still children of all ages that use that park. I just….
Ms. Labow: Well, this was a preliminary…and then…sort of the gun got, you know, jumped and we never even made the determination if it’s financially feasible to do it.
Ms. Ruggiero: Right, okay, thank you.
Don Storms, Trestle Plaza: I just wanted to address the Master Plan, thank you for that. With the Highlands Bill, I don’t see the need, though I’m not familiar with all your approvals, with you changing the Master Plan, I could be wrong. I know Mr. Greenbaum, you’re a little more familiar with that, but a lot of that…I’ll just be specific to my site that I’ve spent a lot of money and you’ve heard me before come in front of you and the Planning Board, that I recently got confirmation from the DEP that they will allow that to be built, which I think the Planning Board, and Chuck McGroarty and Gene Buczynski was waiting on, if you do not change the zone. If you change the zone, I’m out and I would tell you that it’s very upsetting. I’ve spent a lot of money and a lot of time to hopefully make this project work and I hope you consider that greatly. I’m working with Mr. Ruggierio, he knows I have about $95,000 worth of sewer allocation that I’ve sat on for years and, you know, then I would be forced to ask that back from you. I don’t want to do that, I want to use that to build this project. We’ve gotten all my approvals now, mostly all done, but if the Council takes this zone Master Plan change, I’ll be out. I’ll be out a considerable amount of money and a lot of time. I’m your neighbor, as you guys know, I live right down the road and that’s it, any questions? I’m not here with any attorney, just myself and don’t take it politically, I’m not that way.
President Rattner: No, you heard we’re going to, you know, we’re going to move on it, we’re going to have a workshop, I mean, we may not, you know, we don’t have to take…and we don’t normally take public input, we just have to figure out where we are, for ourselves, so we can get everything put together and then have the regular public hearing.
Mr. Storms: Are you going to ask any of the land owners, like you did last time? Are you going to notify them, or was this….
President Rattner: No, that was a special meeting that we hadn’t done before because we just wanted to hear from you specifically. Then we’ll have the public hearing, where then you and the public at large can make any comments or ask any questions they want.
Mr. Storms: Okay, because you notified everybody last time. This time, you probably will not. On the zoning change, you notified all the land owners.
President Rattner: Well, the workshop isn’t to change it, that’s just a discussion. The public hearing, I was asking, we don’t notify anybody on that?
Mrs. Lashway: I don’t believe that there is an individual notification required for Master Plan zoning.
President Rattner: I’m sure the newspapers will report when it is, so…
Mr. Storms: Okay. I’m sorry I didn’t submit anything, as Mr. Greenbaum said, in writing. You’ve heard me before, though, I think I’ve been here a couple of times, on both Planning Board and Council, so maybe I should do that, but I think you know where I stand. I won’t be adding any kids, I’ll only be giving you more tax money. I hope that’s something I could offer and build something you’ll be proud of. To remind some of the Council that might not know, I will leave it at this, my family sold the property that the A&P was built on (the new A&P), so maybe it’s not what everybody would like to see, but I personally think, living as a neighbor down the road, that was an improvement to Flanders. I think it really looks great and you look at the one side that’s still vacant, but, you know, A&P is now thriving and I would hope to do that the same in Trestle Plaza. Thank you.
President Rattner: Thank you. Anybody else?
Richard Bonte, Budd Lake: Have we received any status reports, financially on the paddle boat usage regarding what the usage has been and whether it has met the goals that were set and the projections and where we are at this point in time and how we expect to end up at the end of the year?
President Rattner: We haven’t got anything. Mr. Ruggierio, can you add anything?
Mr. Ruggierio: I’m operating from memory here, we did give a written report to the Council, but as of July 10th, I think, we had about $2,350 or something like that in gross revenues. It was indicated to me that the analysis was that it would be a profitable program. I figured that we will reassess it at the end of the season.
Mr. Bonte: What was the projected amount that we were supposed to have achieved in revenue as of that point in time?
Mr. Ruggierio: That’s a good question, I don’t know the answer.
Mr. Greenbaum: Rich, I can tell you anecdotally, I stopped by the beach one day, and I spoke to Jill, who happened to be there on that particular day, and my understanding, although it’s second hand, is that those boats are being used all the time. So, whether or not it meets projections, or doesn’t meet projections, I can’t answer, but I can tell you that it has been a successful program as far as I’ve been told.
Mr. Bonte: Okay. I can only go by what I’ve been reading in the newspaper, over the last few weeks, so correct me if…any of what I….my interpretations are incorrect. I’ve been reading regarding this whole, I’ll call it a deal with the School Board, regarding the access road, the old Flanders School, the town planning on taking that building from the School Board in exchange for access to the land for their access road and then the possibility of selling that school to the Mount Olive Child Care Center, or the possibility of the Child Care Center getting some other land or a building in this town. Is what I am reading in the newspapers, things that are being discussed by our Town government, anyone?
President Rattner: Okay, Mr. Greenbaum, that I sidestep, I don’t get involved in any discussions…..which way with the Child Care Center, as I have done for the last eight years.
Mr. Bonte: But you could answer the other questions, right Mr. Rattner?
President Rattner: What other questions? If there’s any of those discussions that involves that property, no I have not. In fact, I wrote a memo when I get asked and I say, just refer everything to Mr. Greenbaum, who will handle it for the Council.
Mr. Greenbaum: Let me answer it this way. Let me tell you what I know, rather than what you’ve heard, okay, which is probably more accurate than what you’ve heard. There were discussions between the Administration and the School Board concerning the access, as there needed to be because there was a diversion issue which was required if it was going to happen. I was not involved in those discussions. The diversion issue related to a number of different issues and settled upon, basically, the fields behind the Flanders School, which are open space fields, which it was believed the DEP, and correct me if I’m wrong, Bill, at any point. It was believed that the DEP would find those fields in terms of diversion for the access for B&H as acceptable. Along with that issue, was whether or not the property could be conveyed simply as the fields, or whether it had to be the building, and there was some discussion as to whether or not the Township was interested in taking over that building. It’s always been my position, whether it’s the Township or it’s the School Board, it’s Mount Olive tax dollars that control that building, so it doesn’t really make a difference to me whether it’s Township that owns the building or whether it’s the School Board that owns the issue, generally. We took a look at the building today, as a matter of fact, and it was a sub-committee of Bernie, myself, Jim Buell, the Mayor was
there, Bill Ruggierio, someone from Mount Olive Child Care, two people from Mount Olive Child Care were there today and separate and apart from whether or not we were going to sell the building to Mount Olive Child Care, or whether we were going to take the building, or whether we were going to leave it with the School Board, we needed to access the building itself. Also there today were Russ Brown, Building Inspector and Freddy DeTorro just to talk about the structural aspects of the building, whether or not it had any value to the Township, which was the first issue; and I think, I can only speak for myself, but I think that we….let me say I think that we all generally came to the conclusion that that building does have some value. That it’s structurally in very good condition, although to bring it up to what we would consider usable code, would take considerable tax dollars, in terms of there’s asbestos in the building around the pipes, perhaps it needs additional electrical work to upgrade it to code, or not to code but to upgrade it so that it could be used appropriately. There is a possibility that the boiler would need to be replaced, so talking about substantial dollars. We didn’t get into specifics, because I think, at least I came to the conclusion that, although the building had substantial value, it really had very little value to the Township, as I could see it. If we took the building, what would we use it for; and I can’t speak for everybody else, but I kind of generally got that sense as we walked through the building, that everyone pretty much felt the same way, that we weren’t interested in taking the building, whatever the case may be. So, although we haven’t discussed it further, I think that’s really where we ended up with regard to that school, and we are interested in acquiring those fields, or at least working with the School Board to take the fields and then ultimately convey them as we need to for the open space diversions. With regard to Mount Olive Child Care, no decisions were made, they did send the memo as to what they thought they would like us to do, in terms of housing them, or helping them find space. I know that the Mayor is considering many options and hasn’t brought any back to the table and, in fact, I asked Bill to give me a timeline for what they were planning to do with the old Library, when the Library is ultimately able to move into the new space. I don’t know what the Administration is going to recommend, you know, I get the sense from your questioning, that you’re not a proponent of Mount Olive Child Care, and I would like to hear more of your perspective on that, but I think that pretty much sums up where we are in terms of the Flanders School and the use of the Library. No deals have been made with Mount Olive Child Care, I don’t know what the Administration’s position is going to be with regard to them and I would like to hear more from you as to your perspective.
Mr. Bonte: Well, Mount Olive Child Care Center is not a governmental entity. They are a private firm. They use the term non-profit all the time, but so is Blue Cross, Blue Shield, it doesn’t mean anything. They are a non-governmental entity. They provide a service, it may be needed, there are also many other ‘for profit’ child care facilities that provide the same service, in some cases, at lower cost. I have nothing personally against the Mount Olive Child Care Center, or anybody that works there, or is on the staff, but I am constantly offended by the annual donation to a private facility that is not a governmental entity and the fact that this facility has, on numerous occasions, looked for things from the town. They have gotten a van from the town a couple of times. The Mount Olive Township Council, in 1993, gave them five acres of our land, where were you, Bernie?
Mr. Guenther: Gave them five acres?
Mr. Bonte: Gave them five acres of our land.
Mr. Guenther: Where?
Mr. Bonte: What is now Flanders Park.
Mr. Guenther: That’s not given to them.
Mr. Bonte: Excuse me, it was and…
Mr. Guenther: They’re not the only occupants of that wood building by the way, Rich.
Mr. Bonte: Bernie, in 1993, am I wrong, Steve, or am I right? You were on this Council.
President Rattner: I’m not speaking anything on the….get involved in any conversation with the….
Mr. Bonte: You voted to give this facility five acres of Township land.
President Rattner: Right.
Mr. Bonte: In August of 1993.
Mr. Greenbaum: Rich, I’m not trying to be disrespectful, I’m going to take over for Steve on this point because he’s stepped aside with regard to……
Mr. Bonte: That doesn’t matter, I’m talking about an action that he took.
Mr. Greenbaum: It doesn’t matter, I’m going to take over the meeting as….and I’ll take your representation as true for purposes of this discussion…
Mr. Bonte: Well, the record will show that…..
Mr. Greenbaum: That’s fine.
Mr. Bonte: And over many objections of the public, the Council, at that time, voted seven to nothing to give away five acres of Township owned land to a private facility. Subsequently, there was a referendum, which was called for by the public, and it was overturned, I believe four to one. I want to make it very clear, I don’t want to see, and I am sure the majority of the taxpayers in this town, will not stand for the give-away of Township facilities, or land, or the selling for a dollar, or anything below fair market value, of any piece of Township property or building to any non-governmental organization. I would suggest that we don’t entertain or pursue these discussions. The Mount Olive Child Care Center needs a home, let them find a home. It’s not government’s place to be funding this organization, that is not a governmental entity. When I read what’s going on in the papers, whether it be true or not or hearsay or rumor, and I see things, I’ll….well, maybe we’ll take the building, maybe we’ll sell it to them for a dollar, maybe we’ll give them the Library, maybe we’ll give them some other land that’s adjacent to something else, wait a minute….back up guys, go back and read what happened in 1993/1994 and the public overwhelmingly sent a message, we don’t want Township property or land given away to anyone. So, let’s not even start thinking about this and talking about the deals. If the Flanders….and I agree with you Rob, whether it’s the School Board or the Town, it’s the same thing and that’s how I’m looking at the old Flanders School and, while it may need a lot of work to bring it up to code for “educational purposes” it may not need that kind of money to be brought up to whatever codes required for some other type of private entity. If the facility is excess to our needs, the School Board, or us, whoever the owner is, should dispose of it at fair market value. Let’s get what we can for it, if we don’t need it and don’t think we’ll ever have a use for it, let’s not start looking to make a deal somewhere. That’s the point of my discussion here, because if there is a move afoot to donate anymore money to this organization, we’ll move to stop that, that’s not right, and I have called for many years ago, that no public lands or buildings should be able to be given away to anybody without a referendum, and I think that’s something that we should consider, because I don’t think we should be giving away property without the public’s concurrence. Thank you.
Mr. Guenther: Well, I…okay, I wasn’t here in 1993/1994, I don’t know what transpired, but I have problems with the characterization of it as a give-away, they pay rent, okay. It’s not given away to them, they pay rent and they’re not the only occupants of that building, there’s a Deerpath Montessori School, which is a private enterprise that pays the rent, there’s the ARC Program, I guess that’s a County program that’s in there. I don’t know what their arrangements are, you know, I’m sure they have to pay rent, as well. So, it’s not just the Mount Olive Child Care Center, and they do pay the School Board rent, that’s the way I understand it.
Mr. Bonte: Oh, I know that, I didn’t say they didn’t.
Mr. Guenther: But you’re saying…you’re characterizing it as giving it way.
Mr. Bonte: In 1993,
Mr. Greenbaum: Separate issues, separate issues.
Mr. Bonte: …this Council took action to give away five acres of land and we give the Mount Olive Child Care Center almost $30,000 and year. If you go back to 1987 or 1988 when this started, it was originally supposed to be seed money to get them going. I think it was $10,000 the first year, by 1993 it had gone up to $15,000, and then a van, and then another van, and now we’re up to almost $30,000. When does it end?
Mr. Greenbaum: Rich, I think you’ve made your point, in terms of Mount Olive Child Care.
Mr. Bonte: Okay, we’re not saying that we’re giving them the building now or they’re free…
Mr. Greenbaum: You’ve made your point.
Mr. Elms: Rich, I do understand that some of the children going there enjoy some kind of a subsidized payments that….and I don’t know what the whole thing is, but I agree with you from the standpoint of if we’re going to hand them money, which is something that I complained about a couple of years ago, we should be entitled to a financial statement of exactly how that money and the rest of the money is being spent down there Mr. Elms(cont’d): and if this Town anticipates getting rid of that building, or the School Board anticipates it, what they should do is go down to Chester and look at what was done with an old school building, now called the Williamson Building, it was taken over by private interests and they’ve made it into a very nice looking building for corporate offices and professional offices. So, I’m not in favor of continuing that either.
Mr. Guenther: And there has been criticism in Chester that they sold it for too cheap a price, and I don’t know if the condition of that building was any better than the Flanders School is, my impression was that it was, but I don’t really know that, but there was a lot of criticism on the way it was sold to private enterprise.
Mr. Greenbaum: Is there anyone else that wants to speak on this issue, if not, I’m going to turn it back over to Steve for further public portion.
Jane Israel: The hour is late, but I can’t let this opportunity go by to stick up for the Mount Olive Child Care Center, because I think that Mr. Bonte has characterized this in a different light than one…than what I see it as, because it may be….yes, it’s a non-profit organization, but it’s an organization that serves the community in a very needed way. They have sliding scales for people who cannot afford child care, people who may not be able to go to work if they didn’t have the Mount Olive Child Care Center. Also, they have after-school programs, so people don’t have to go to…you know, kids don’t have to go home to an empty house, and again, that’s on a sliding scale, so I think that they do a lot for the people in the town and I commend the Council for supporting them in the manner they do.
Mr. Greenbaum: Thank you.
Ms. Labow: I just want to add to what Jane said, I had my son in that program, as well, and I got to know a lot of people who had their children go before school and after school, and my son has very special needs and they had people who were able to handle his needs; and at the time when he was going, we were very financially strapped and I couldn’t have afforded care for him and still been able to work and they help a lot of people. A lot of people have children who have special needs and it’s a wonderful wonderful program and they serve this community for our children beyond belief, they are to be commended, not berated, I believe.
Mr. Greenbaum: Thank you. Is there anyone who wants to speak on this issue, if not, move onto the next…Steve.
President Rattner: Anybody else from the public like to address the Council? Close the public portion, take final council comments, hopefully they’ll be quick so we can get right into Executive Session.
Mr. Elms: Yes, I have some comments. I have accepted a position with a firm that provides engineering consulting services to the Department of Defense. Due to a travel commitment, I would like to, and I know I won’t be able to make the two meetings in August and the first public meeting in September on the 14th, so I would like excused absences for those three meetings. Thank you.
Mr. Greenbaum: I would just like to say that I support the Mount Olive Child Care Center for the reasons that have been expressed here. Thank you.
Mr. Perkins made a Motion to go in to Executive Session and Ms. Labow seconded the motion. All in favor, none opposed (11:55 pm).
EXECUTIVE SESSION: MOTPEA Contract
JIF OPRA Suit
Motion to adjourn was made and seconded and the meeting was adjourned at 12:20 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 legal convened meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council duly held on September 28, 2004.
Lisa M. Lashway, Township Clerk