Mt. Olive 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
Absent: None

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 are?

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 Township.

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 general fund?

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 none,

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?

ADJOURNMENT

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
Council President

I, LISA M LASHWAY, Township Clerk of the Township of Mount Olive do hereby certify that the foregoing Minutes is a true and correct copy of the Minutes approved at a legally convened meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council duly held on August 26, 2003


_____________________
LISA M. LASHWAY
Mount Olive Township Clerk

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