Township Council Minutes
July 29, 2003
The Special Public Meeting of the
Mount Olive Township Council was called to order at 7:30
pm by Council President Guenther with the Pledge of Allegiance
to the Flag.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
MOMENT OF REFLECTION in recognition of the men and women
fighting terrorism and defending the freedom we all enjoy.
OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT ANNOUNCEMENT
According to the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate Notice
of this Meeting has been given to the Morristown Daily
Record. Notice has been posted at in the Municipal Building,
204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mt. Olive, New Jersey, and
notices were sent to those requesting the same.
ROLL CALL: Present: Mr. Rattner, Mr. Perkins, Mr. Spino,
Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Scapicchio, Mrs. Miller, President Guenther
Also in attendance: Mayor Licitra; Cynthia Spencer, Business
Administrator; John Dorsey, Township Attorney; Nicole Whittle,
Deputy Township Clerk.
ORDINANCES FOR PUBLIC HEARING
Ord. #30-2003 An Ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive
Authorizing the Imposition of a Municipal Hotel and Motel
Occupancy Tax as Authorized by P.L. 2003, C. 114.
President Guenther: We only have one item on the agenda
for the public meeting which is an ordinance of public
hearing. I open the hearing to the public on Ord. #30-2003.
Bob Elms, Budd Lake: Why are we putting that part in the
Ordinance to restrict so that the hotels can’t absorb
that tax or our portion of that tax?
President Guenther: I will let the attorney answer that.
I believe that is a format that was sent to us by the State.
We have no choice over that. Is that correct?
Mr. Dorsey: That is correct. The form came from the League
of Municipalities, they preapproved that format.
Mr. Elms: I’m sorry?
President Guenther: They preapproved that format because
there has to be a mechanism for collecting the tax. This
is the way they can identify it. I am not going to justify
what they did, but that is the way it was sent out to us
and that is the way in which it should be done.
Mr. Elms: If the ordinance is passed tonight does that
mean we are still going to hear a companion ordinance that
is identical at the next meeting?
Mr. Dorsey: We may do that, yes.
Mr. Elms: And the purpose of two identical ordinances
Mr. Dorsey: To make certain that there never is an issue
in terms of notice.
Mr. Elms: An issue of what John?
President Guenther: In terms of notice because there was
an issue raised by several people that properly posted
for the ordinance to take effect September first which
would be the case if we passed the ordinance tonight. If
such is the case and it is a challenge, we want to make
sure we would be able to impose it October 1st.
Mr. Elms: In essence we could have dropped this ordinance
and gone with the one that had proper notice.
President Guenther: Well, nobody is saying it wasn’t
proper notice. I think it is an honest difference of opinion.
I don’t want to get into the legalities. Mr. Dorsey
would you explain?
Mr. Dorsey: My opinion was that the notice that was given
for the notice of the introduction which was held two weeks
ago tonight was sufficient because all of the Council people
were here except for Mr. Greenbaum who acknowledged he
received notice but was on vacation. But the question was
raised so we have taken some precautionary acts so that
we are not left in limbo should anyone of interest in this
ordinance raise an issue and it be decided against the
Richard Laroche, Budd Lake: Maybe somebody could just
correct my understanding for me through the Chair. What
happens with this money when it is collected? Is it going
into the general funds or is this going into a special
fund and if so, what would the special fund be used for
and why would it be separated out?
Mr. Dorsey: It is going into a general fund.
Mr. Laroche: It is going into general funds? That is not
what I read in the paper, which is why I asked the question.
So you are saying the paper is incorrect?
President Guenther: Mr. Laroche, this is the second time
you have done this. You come here and make statements that
you quote from the paper as if they are fact. If you have
a doubt about something I suggest you contact someone here
at Township Hall to get it clarified, and the paper is
not the oracle of all facts of what happens in town.
Mr. Laroche: They quoted a source at City Hall, namely
the Mayor, and I am just curious which is the correct interpretation.
Question? So you are saying the paper is incorrect?
President Guenther: Well if the Mayor’s name is
mentioned, then I guess I will give him the floor.
Mayor Licitra: I would like to see it designated into
some different areas that the Township may need, but that
is not my decision, that is the Council’s decision
on how they want to put the money, if they want to put
it back in the general fund, my idea that when it goes
into a general fund it just convoluted with all the other
taxes and if anytime you want to collect $60,000 a year
there are a lot of things that Mount Olive could use and
designate the money towards it but again, that is not my
decision, that is only my opinion.
Mr. Laroche: I understand the fund will constantly grow
too, right? Over a period of time every year, it will get
larger and larger.
President Guenther: One would hope that the occupancies
go up, plus there is a provision for next year for the
tax to increase under the state law so obviously we will
have a big increase next year.
Mr. Laroche: So as I understand it is going to into a
Mr. Dorsey: The answer to that is that it will go into
the general fund unless some special action is taken by
the Council to create a special fund to go into. But all
money that comes in basically comes into the general fund
unless there is a special fund created, and no special
fund has been created for these funds.
Mr. Laroche: So, in other words it really has not been
decided yet is basically what I am hearing.
Mr. Dorsey: It is going into the general fund unless it
is changed otherwise.
Mr. Laroche: Okay, thank you.
President Guenther: Anyone else from the audience? Seeing
Mr. Scapicchio moved for adoption of Ordinance 30-2003.
Mrs. Miller seconded the motion.
President Guenther: Council Discussion? I am just going
to make a statement if no body else will. This is a tax
that does not hurt anybody in Town; it is a way of collecting
money that will benefit the Town. I have traveled a lot
all over the world, all around the Country, almost every
municipality and City does this, it does not seem to hurt
their tourism. It is 1%, it is really a minimal amount,
a lot of the people who stay in hotels here happen to be
business travelers and it is not really going to hit the
pockets of poor tourists coming to Town. To me it is a
win win proposition for the Township as a way of hopefully
down the road avoiding general tax increases to the citizens
of the Town.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously with the exception of Mr.
Spino, voted no.
President Guenther: This special meeting was called strictly
for the passing of this ordinance; there will be no general
public comment period. We will have that during our regular
meeting next week. We will be adjourning to executive session
after this, after which time we may or may not come back
into open session and take public action. Obviously we
do not know how long the executive session will take place
to discuss matters of personnel. Any council comments before
we do that?
Mr. Spino: According to Section 7 & 8 of the Open
Public Meeting Act, I move we go into executive session
to discuss personnel. Mr. Perkins seconded the motion.
All in favor none opposed. Executive session began at 7:43
pm and adjourned at 9:25pm. The public meeting reconvened
and immediately adjourned at 9:25 pm.
BERNHARD D. GUENTHER
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 August 26, 2003
LISA M. LASHWAY
Mount Olive Township Clerk