Township Council Minutes
March 23, 2004
President Rattner: Before we start, I can’t help but to notice that some members of the Council decided to rearrange the seating position and I’m wondering, is this going to be a new process where the first person here gets their choice of their seat. Is that the game we’re going to play?
Mr. Elms: You object to that?
President Rattner: Well, I object because I’m not going to have it where anybody comes in and were going to decide to sit wherever we want because I know that we have three attorneys up here, two on that end of the table. They said that they studied our Code. Our Code is very plain; that we follow Robert’s Rules for running the meeting. And I believe if you look in Robert’s Rules; it very clearly says that it’s up to the Chairman or the President to decide the seating arrangement. We had it in there. I don’t know what the problem was. Nobody talked to me about having a problem. And is it going to be that the first person here is going to pick their seat and everything is going to fall into place from there? Is that what the idea is? Who changed the seating order?
Mr. Elms: I just moved down to the end, Steve.
President Rattner: Why?
Mr. Elms: Because I wanted to.
President Rattner: Okay, and so our Code; so your saying that even though it’s very plain in the Code that we follow Robert’s Rule and Robert’s Rule is very plain, I mean you have the whole book and I know you have been in with a lot of different organizations. So you know what Robert’s Rule says. You just decided to disregard our Code, that you’re going to pick a chair that you like and you’re just going to get up and move when you feel like you want to. Is that what’s happening?
Mr. Elms: I would like you to make this my permanent seat.
President Rattner: Well, suppose I don’t? That means that it doesn’t matter. And you’re just going to have, you’re going to decide where you want to sit. So we’re going to start having competition where people will get here earlier and earlier to pick their seat. I don’t look at it as a big deal but I can see. I understand what you’re trying to do. You’re also saying that regardless of what the Code or what the order of procedure that has been well established and well documented that you don’t play by the same rules. Is there a tape on?
Mrs. Lashway: Yes.
The Regular Public Meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council was called to Order at 7:30 pm by Council President Rattner with the Pledge of Allegiance.
MOMENT OF REFLECTION in recognition of the men and women fighting terrorism and those who have lost their lives defending the freedom we all enjoy
Open Public Meetings Law Announcement
According to the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate notice of this meeting has been given to the Mount Olive Chronicle. Notice has been posted at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road Mount Olive Township, New Jersey and notices were sent to those requesting the same.
ROLL CALL Present: Mr. Elms, Mr. Buell, Mrs. Labow, Mr. Guenther, Mr. Perkins, Mr.
Greenbaum, Mr. Rattner
Also Present: Mayor De La Roche, John Dorsey (Township Attorney), William Ruggiero (Business Administrator), Township Clerk Lisa Lashway, Township Librarian Rita Hilbert and the Chief of Police Edward Katona.
Questions on the Bill List?
Mr. Buell: Yes, I’ve got a good explanation. I asked about check number 445, 42 the bill counter. We brought in
two hundred fifty five thousand dollars in cash in 2003. Who pays us cash?
Ms. Jenkins: I actually have a bad cold tonight which is why I am sitting in the audience. I don’t want to get
everybody sick. So I apologize. The bill counter is actually from my office and yes we did take that amount of cash
in last year.
Mr. Ruggiero: They want to know where…. tax collection?
Ms. Jenkins: Yes for tax collection, for water sewer rentals and for sewer assessment as well.
Mr. Buell: People actually come in and pay in cash?
Ms. Jenkins: Yes, I can print you out a report. Yes they do.
Mr. Greenbaum: Does the Court also take in a lot of cash? And do you have any responsibility for counting that
which comes in from the Municipal Court.
Ms. Jenkins: All the departments bring their monies to be deposited down to finance. And we do check all the
deposits before they go to the bank.
President Rattner: I know the question’s been asked. And I guess we should have an explanation of the actual
need. How much time is actually spent counting money? Do we really have that volume of cash. We are
talking approximately five thousand dollars a week. I know we deposit the money on a daily basis based on our
code, or your procedures. So if you take that, that’s a thousand dollars a day. It starts… to me I start wondering for a
thousand dollars in cash a day, do we need I believe it’s a couple thousand dollar machine.
Mrs. Labow: Thirty five hundred.
President Rattner: Thirty five hundred dollar machine. You don’t have to answer that now. As I said this is what I
wanted this to be. It is just to know what questions are going to be asked so you have time to look up…..not
necessarily on this, but especially if you had to look up a voucher or something, you would have time. Unless you
want to address that now? Or if that’s it we will just do the bill list all together because I know I saw some
correspondence to make sure that everybody’s happy with the answers that they did get.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETINGS
Jan. 20, 2004 Present: Mr. Buell, Mrs. Labow, Mr. Elms, Mr. Rattner, Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Perkins
(7:35 pm), Mr. Guenther
Feb. 10, 2004 Present: Mr. Buell, Mrs. Labow, Mr. Elms, Mr. Rattner, Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Perkins,
Feb. 24, 2004 CS Present: President Rattner, Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Guenther (8:55 pm), Mr. Buell, Mr. Elms, Mrs. Labow, Mr. Perkins
March 2, 2004 CS Present: President Rattner, Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Guenther, Mr. Buell, Mr. Elms, Mrs. Labow, Mr. Perkins
Mr. Greenbaum moved for approval of the Minutes and Mr. Guenther seconded the motion.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
LETTERS FROM RESIDENTS
1. E-mail received March 10, 2004, from Michael Tierney regarding various Township Issues.
2. Letter received March 15, 2004, from James and Kathleen Lennon regarding a request to purchase Township owned property.
RESOLUTIONS, ORDINANCES, CORRESPONDENCE FROM OTHER MUNICIPALITIES
3. Resolution received March 4, 2004, from the Township of Bordentown regarding property tax reimbursement program.
4. Resolution received March 5, 2004, from the Borough of Netcong regarding support for financial
reinstatement of the regional efficiency aid program.
5. Legal Notice received March 10, 2004, from Township of Chester regarding Planning Board Hearing on the Chester Township Master Plan.
6. Resolution received March 15, 2004, from the Borough of Butler regarding Punitive Damages.
7. Resolution received March 15, 2004, from the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders regarding the establishment of parking regulations on Flanders -Netcong Road and Cory Lane.
8. Ordinance received March 16, 21004, from Township of Roxbury regarding Land Use.
LEAGUE OF MUNICIPALITIES
9. E-mail received February 25, 2004, from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding the Governor’s Budget Proposal.
10. E-mail received February 27, 2003, from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding the Morris County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast.
11. Letter received March 4, 2004, from the New Jersey League of Municipalities regarding League Seminar on Retirement Planning and the Division of Pensions and Benefits.
12. Letter received March 12, 2004, from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding League Seminar “Help America Vote Act of 2002.”
13. Letter received March 16, 2004, from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding League Marketing Seminar (Smart Growth for your Community / Current Initiatives for Future Generations).
14. Invitation received March 15, 2004, from Morris County League of Municipalities regarding Luncheon / Discussion on Homeland Security Equipment.
COUNTY OF MORRIS
15. E-mail received February 23, 2004, from the Morris County Chamber of Commerce regarding Good Morning Morris Power Breakfast.
16. E-mail received March 5, 2004, from Morris County Chamber of Commerce regarding Leads Exchange Plus and getting to know your networking neighbor.
17. Final Equalization Table received March 8, 2004 for the year 2004.
18. Press Release received March 17, 2004, from the Morris County Agriculture Board regarding deadline for application to the Farmland Preservation Program.
19. E-mail received March 18, 2004, from Morris County Chamber of Commerce regarding Power Breakfast on April 2nd.
LETTERS FROM LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIVES
20. E-mail received March 10, 2004, from Congressman Frelinghuysen regarding Visit to Picatinny Arsenal, Red Cross America Day, 11th District Students, Morris County Head Start and Chester 50+ Club (issues regarding health care).
21. Press Release received March 15, 2004, from Assemblyman Guy Gregg regarding the announcement of twelve Million dollars available for Historic Preservation Projects.
22. Letter received February 23, 2004, from Glasson Environmental regarding Application for Letter of Interpretation. Property located at: Lot 3 Block 400 Mount Olive Township (223 Waterloo Valley Road).
23. Letter received February 26, 2004, from the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Water Quality regarding Ground water renewal permit action / Gold Mine Estates Water System.
24. Letter received February 27, 2003, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Notice of Violation Block 6900, Lot 34 (38 Bartley Road).
25. Letter received February 27, 2004, from Joseph Jagniatkowski, Bureau of Local Aid regarding 2004 Municipal Aid Program.
26. Letter received March 1, 2004, from the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste regarding Renewal of Recycling Center General Approval for Class B and C Recycling Center Morris County.
27. Letter received March 4, 2004, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding permit to construct and operate treatment works - Applicant: Hackettstown MUA, 424 Hurley Drive, Hackettstown.
28. Letter received March 9, 2004, from Tilcon New York, Inc. regarding Certified Sand and Gravel, Mount Olive regarding installation of chain link fence to be approved by the NJDEP.
29. Letter received March 12, 2003, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding preserving NJ Highlands.
30. Letter received March 18, 2004, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Morris County YMCA Dam.
31. Letter received February 26, 2004, from Hackettstown Municipal Utilities Authority regarding HMUA / NJDEP Water Approvals.
32. Minutes received March 5, 2004, from the Musconetcong Sewerage Authority regarding Minutes of the February 4th reorganization and regular meeting.
33. Letter received February 23, 2004, from Cablevision regarding the launch of two new High-Definition programming services in New Jersey.
34. Letter received February 25, 2004, from the State of New Jersey, Board of Public Utilities regarding CSC TKR, Inc. d/b/a Cablevision of Morris. (Cable Franchise Renewal)
35. Letter received February 26, 2004, from Thomas C. Kelly regarding responses of Mount Olive Villages Sewer Company, Inc. and the Mount Olive Villages Water Company, Inc. application.
36. Copy of Complaint received February 23, 2004, from John C. Phillips regarding Richard De La Roche v. John Dorsey, et al; Docket No. MRS-L-53-04.
37. Copy of Subpoena received March 15, 2004, from Superior Court of New Jersey regarding Phyllis Gentile vs. Pompton Queen Diner.
38. Copy of Notice of Claim received March 16, 2004, from Jacoby & Meyers regarding Caberson v. Mount Olive Township.
39. Notice received February 23, 2004, from the Musconetcong Watershed Association and Heritage Conservancy regarding introduction of Legislation to designate the Musconetcong River as a Federal Wild and Scenic River.
40. Letter received March 8, 2004 from the Mount Olive Township Historical Society regarding
Accomplishments and membership renewal for 2004.
41. FAA Newsletter received March 15, 2004, from the United States Department of Agriculture regarding
Lamb Program, Conservation Compliance, NAP Deadline, Existing FSA Borrower, DCP sign up
42. Notice received March 17, 2004, from National League of Cities regarding 2004 Call for Nominations.
43. Information received March 17, 2004, from Midday Morris regarding quarterly luncheon / lecture on
“Quality of life issues”.
President Rattner: We have 43 items of correspondence. Are there any questions or comments?
Mr. Elms: I have a question on Number 2, the letter that we received did not have a map attached to it. I pulled the tax map on it and it says that the owner’s lot is contiguous to a property owned by Mount Olive and the tax map shows that it is not contiguous. The town owned land is across the street, across Colonial Street.
Mr. Ruggierio: I can address that Mr. Elms. There are two issues there. I don’t know how it would be considered, it does abut a paper street as I understand it but the more urgent issue and I have already drafted a response to the couple that asked about it, is that this property is on our open space inventory and cannot be sold so I think that answers the question.
Mrs. Labow: I have a question. If it is on our open space roster, we can’t sell it at all?
Mr. Dorsey: That’s right. If you put property on your ROSI, you can’t sell it unless you make some very difficult and complex arrangements with the State House Commission.
Mrs. Labow: Oh, it was on the ROSI? Not all open space property goes on that list? Not all municipal owned property? I just want to clarify that.
Mr. Dorsey: All municipally owned property that is on that list. The State does what they can to get you to put property on that list because it is certain collateral for various grants that have been given to the Township but if it is on that list, you should not consider selling that property.
Mr. Guenther: In connection with that, I’d like to see, is Kathy Murphy here tonight? Maybe tonight but for the future, can we get an update on the whole, I think it was a six page list, of all the municipally owned properties, for various needs, not just the open space inventory but to see what the future needs are and identify if these are really necessary to be kept on the rolls. How soon do you think you can get us that, Kathy?
Mrs. Murphy: I have a list I think it’s just a matter of distributing it again with the new personnel now that we have a new administration and make some decisions. The ROSI is a separate list and that is encumbered open space that we cannot sell. A second list was put together and that was all the other municipal property that we own with the thought that we should really understand and review the potential uses or the current uses of those properties and then if we decide that we need to keep them, fine, designate that and let’s not worry about questions for sale. If we don’t need them and we have our answer, then we can make recommendations on how to dispose of them. I suspect that there is not that much there to dispose of. Most of what we get, if it is donated, is wetlands or properties that have problems with them any way or they are undersized and we are not inclined to want to see houses built on them. There may be properties there that we want to save for drainage or future water rights or whatever. Usually when we’ve been selling properties, we’ve been selling them with restrictions from being able to build a house on them. We can review that together and take into consideration the comments from the different departments and from the Council. I’ll resubmit it and we can redistribute it and start the process again.
Mr. Guenther: Maybe what you should submit, because we saw those before but maybe you should circulate it within the administration and get the comments as to recommendations either for water or for drainage or whatever that these are necessary and the ones that are not. You can really get the input of everybody in the municipal building, however long it takes. If it takes you two months, fine, but come back to us so that we can make some determination.
Mrs. Labow: I just wanted to know, when you distribute that list is it by lot and block or does it have street address to it?
Mrs. Murphy: It has the street the address, it has a general description of the property, whether it is wetlands or if it has a certain location issue and the size of the property as well.
Mrs. Labow: I just know a lot of things come with lot and block and it is hard to…
Mrs. Murphy: I do give the street location, the size of the lot and some conditions.
ORDINANCES FOR PUBLIC HEARING
Ord. #2-2004 An Ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive Requiring the Posting of Informational Signage Relative to Development.
President Rattner opened the hearing to the Public.
President Rattner closed the hearing to the Public.
Mr. Buell moved for adoption and final passage of Ord. #2-2004 and Mr. Guenther seconded the motion.
President Rattner: I believe from what I’ve heard or at least some comments that have filtered through the
Clerk’s office in the past is that the construction official and possibly the zoning official have some problems
with it. Do you know anything about that Mr. Ruggierio?
Mr. Ruggierio: Problems with what?
Mrs. Labow: The sign ordinance.
Mr. Ruggierio: I have not, I’ve spoken to both of those officials quite a bit and I haven’t gotten any feedback to
that effect so maybe someone else knows something I don’t know.
Mrs. Lashway: Both Catherine and Russ indicated that they had problems with the way the ordinance was
written even though it had not been given to them to officially review. Russ’s concerns had to do with the
enforcement and their concerns had to do with the size of the sign and it needed to be on a site plan, that it
couldn’t be permitted separately without being on a site plan because of the size and the footings…
President Rattner: Did the construction official actually sign off on it with no comments?
Mr. Ruggierio: Did he have to sign off on the ordinance?
President Rattner: No, usually, in the past, the administration would send it to the departments that have either
enforcement or direct effect on it to make sure that there was nothing in there.
Mr. Ruggierio: I don’t know. I wasn’t here when it would have been passed along but it is a good point and we
certainly should have input from those that would enforce it but this is the first time that I’m hearing that there
was any type of an issue with those officials.
Mr. Dorsey: There is one thing that doesn’t seem right. The township adopts an ordinance that says that these
informational signs will be posted. They don’t have to be part of any separate site plan application. They are
simply directed by ordinance to be placed. In some instances they will be on individual lots rather than major
subdivisions. I don’t understand that objection as being correct. That has nothing to do with whether or not you
should seek additional comments.
President Rattner: Mr. Greenbaum, you are our representative to the Planning Board. It is my understanding
that when a site plan comes in for any development, the placement of the sign is actually part of the plan so it
would be, right?
Mr. Greenbaum: You are talking about different types of signs here. You are talking about signs which are
going to be permanently affixed or free standing during the entire life of the operation of the site as opposed to
this particular sign which has a completely different use and purpose but what I do suggest at this point since we
want to get it right in the first instance is that we keep the public comment period open so that we can get
whatever criticism or comments are available to us so that we can finalize this particular document. I don’t think
that we are in any way harmed by putting it off for another two weeks to hear exactly what the construction
official and the planning department have to say about it.
President Rattner: It will be three weeks.
Mr. Greenbaum: So I would make a motion to continue the public portion of this particular ordinance and
Mr. Guenther seconded the motion.
Mrs. Lashway: We do have a public meeting next Tuesday. So if you want to just continue it to next week.
Mr. Greenbaum: Three weeks.
President Rattner: Roll call on the motion to continue the public hearing to April 13th.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
Ord. #5-2004 An Ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive Establishing Fees or Rates for Off-Duty Police Officers.
President Rattner opened the hearing to the Public.
President Rattner closed the hearing to the Public.
Mr. Elms moved for adoption and final passage of Ord. #5-2004 and Mr. Greenbaum seconded the motion.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
President Rattner declared that Ord. #5-2004 is passed on second reading and directed the Clerk to forward a
copy to the Mayor and publish the notice of adoption as required by law.
ORDINANCES FOR FIRST READING
Ord. #7-2004 An Ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive Establishing a Recreation Utility.
Mr. Perkins moved that Ord. #7-2004 be introduced by title and passed on first reading and that a meeting
be held on April 13, 2004, at 7:30 at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive,
NJ, for public hearing, consideration of second reading and passage of said ordinance and the Clerk be
directed to publish, post and make available said ordinance in accordance with the requirements of law. Mr.
Guenther seconded the motion.
ROLL CALL: Passed, Mr. Greenbaum Voted No.
Ord. #8-2004 An Ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive Establishing the Salary of the Deputy Township Clerk for the Year 2004.
Mr. Guenther moved that Ord. #8-2004 be introduced by title and passed on first reading and that a meeting
be held on April 13, 2004, at 7:30 at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive,
NJ, for public hearing, consideration of second reading and passage of said ordinance and the Clerk be
directed to publish, post and make available said ordinance in accordance with the requirements of law. Mr.
Perkins seconded the motion.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
President Rattner: With that, I’m going to take something out of order. The reason why we read the first reading of this ordinance is to set a salary in three weeks but our deputy clerk left a couple of weeks ago and somebody who has worked in the Clerk’s office for a long time has agreed to accept the position of deputy President Rattner (cont’d): clerk. So with that, I would like to move up Resolution No. 2 on the Consent Agenda and ask for a motion for the appointment of Michelle Masser as the Deputy Township Clerk.
2. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Appointing Michelle Masser as the Deputy Township Clerk.
President Rattner: Any comments from the public? Seeing no comments from the public, I’ll close that. Any discussion on the Council?
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
President Rattner: Congratulations and now I think it would be appropriate…she’s not Deputy Clerk yet until she gets sworn in so we’ll do that now.
Oath of Office by Township Clerk Lisa Lashway:
Mrs. Masser: I, Michelle Masser, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of New Jersey; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same and to the governments established in the United States and in this State under the authority of the people and that I will faithfully, impartially and justly perform all the duties of the office of Deputy Township Clerk according to the best of my ability, so help me God.
Mrs. Lashway: Congratulations.
All Council, Mr. Dorsey, Mr. Ruggierio and Mayor De La Roche congratulated Mrs. Masser.
Ord. #9-2004 Bond Ordinance Amending Bond Ordinance Numbered 11-2001 of the Township of Mount Olive in the County of Morris, New Jersey, Finally Adopted May 8, 2001, in Order to Amend the Description of the Project.
Mrs. Labow moved that Ord. #9-2004 be introduced by title and passed on first reading and that a meeting
be held on April 13, 2004, at 7:30 at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive,
NJ, for public hearing, consideration of second reading and passage of said ordinance and the Clerk be
directed to publish, post and make available said ordinance in accordance with the requirements of law. Mr.
Perkins seconded the motion.
President Rattner: Just so the public knows what this is. It is not new money. This is the bond for the
construction of the library. The library has come in and is still considerably under what we budgeted for and this
is to start looking at the shelving, the computer networking and related items on the library. This is not any new
money. This is just using the existing money and moving forward so that it can be furnished. Any other
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
CONSENT RESOLUTIONS AGENDA:
Resolutions on the Consent Agenda List are considered to be routine and non-controversial by the Township Council and will be approved by one motion (one vote). There will be no separate discussion or debate on each of these resolutions except for the possibility of brief clarifying statements that may be offered. If one or more Council member requests, any individual resolution on the Consent Agenda may be removed from the Consent Agenda List and acted on separately.
1. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive RE: NJDEP 319 Grant Applications.
2. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Appointing Michelle Masser as the Deputy Township Clerk. (previously approved after Ord. #8-2004)
3. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Person-to-Person Transfer of Alcoholic Beverage License No. 1427-33-006-005 from Alidan, Inc. Trading as the Boat House Restaurant to 96 Sandshore Road Liquor LLC. (Reza Hashemi)
4. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Changing the Meeting Dates for the Month of April 2004.
5. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Assigning of One EDU to 14 Midland Avenue, Block 3511, Lot 6.
6. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Awarding a Contract to Sanitary Construction for Installation of 220 Meter Pits and Accessories.
7. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Supporting the Raritan Highlands Compact.
8. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Mayor to Execute a Grant Application for 2005 Child Passenger Safety Program.
9. Resolution of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Revision to the Cash Management Plan as Prepared by the Director of Finance/Chief Financial Officer in January 2004.
10. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Lease Extension with the County of Morris for the Rental Space Known as the Nutrition Site at the Mount Olive Senior Center.
President Rattner: Would any Council member like any Consent Resolution removed and discussed on its own? It’s been reduced from 1-10 because we took off 2 which was the appointment of the deputy clerk.
Mr. Guenther: Yes, Resolution No. 3
Mr. Greenbaum moved for approval of Resolutions 1 and 4-10 and Mr. Perkins seconded the motion.
PUBLIC PORTION ON CONSENT RESOLUTIONS
Richard Bonte, Budd Lake: Resolution No. 7, I certainly support it and I agree with the title of it but having read it, nowhere in the text does it say anything about Mount Olive supporting the Raritan Highlands Compact. In fact, the last two paragraphs seem to command the Compact as to what they shall do which I don’t understand how we can do that and I believe we had discussed a couple of meetings ago that if we were going to become part of the Compact, would there be any funding required of Mount Olive and should that be in here.
President Rattner: Mayor, do you want to comment on that because I believe you reviewed it.
Mayor De La Roche: I’m sorry.
President Rattner: You put your hand up. Do you want to respond.
Mayor De La Roche: We had a meeting at 8 o’clock this morning in the Chester town hall regarding this and the funding that is requested of us is $1,500 as basically seed money so that we will have among the 9 or 10 communities, we’ll have some money to work with.
Mr. Bonte: What could possibly be done with $15,000?
Mayor De La Roche: That is what they requested. That’s the initial amount of money that they need for purchasing of whatever documents…
Mrs. Labow: Did you say $1,500 or $15,000.
Mr. Bonte: I said $15,000 because there are ten communities.
Mr. Ruggierio: $1,500 per community is seed money and apparently the Compact as was described today has a commitment of sorts, although not a formal commitment of money from the Dodge Foundation and they feel that by establishing the seed money, they are going to attract much more by way of grants. There must be a lot of grant money out there for this type of thing. I seems certainly like a good investment. I will say, just to be clear about it, this assessment of $1,500 takes us to the end of the year so we will have to address this every year. This is a voluntary compact so we can withdraw from it at any time.
Mayor De La Roche: For the most part, it is being used for stamps and envelopes and various things like that.
Mr. Bonte: Would it be appropriate to put that in this resolution as well as, I just believe that the last two paragraphs are really kind of inappropriate. They say, “Now, Therefore, Be it Resolved, that the Raritan communities will establish common and comprehensive watershed models, etc.” and then “Further, Be it Resolved, that the Raritan communities will take reasonable measures to influence.” It’s sort of like we are directing the Compact and I thought that this resolution was to be a resolution in support of the Compact as opposed to directing what there duties will be. I don’t see anywhere in this text that we are supporting this whatsoever unless I’ve missed it.
President Rattner: Mr. Ruggierio, this has gone through three iterations because in the past, I think we’ve gotten one, I believe, from our Grants Coordinator, we got one that you had written and now we have this one. How did we end up with this one is the question?
Mr. Ruggierio: I don’t know how we ended up with this one. I know that when I got the original agreement, I drafted something very simple. I will say this, the Council may be able to hold this resolution because there is a redraft of the Compact, the actual contract that is being transmitted to the municipality, I think, within the week and everybody expects that there will a formal signing, I think it’s April 1st so we would have to, as a Council, formerly authorize the entering in to of the contract for the Compact so I would think that is something that is going to occur in the near future. I don’t know where this particular resolution came from except I will say that the last two paragraphs that Mr. Bonte is talking about seem to be, from recollection, to be precisely the paragraphs that I was looking at in the Compact today, the draft of the Compact, so my guess would be that this came from them.
President Rattner: I want the Clerk to say how we got a resolution that we are going to vote on, how it got into our packets and what we are voting on.
Mrs. Lashway: At the last workshop, Kathy Murphy had listed two resolutions. One was supporting the Raritan Highlands Compact and the other one was supporting the New Jersey Highlands Region. Then, Mr. Ruggierio prepared a newer version of the one to establish the Highlands Commission. Those two were not put on because there were two versions. This one supporting the Highlands Compact did not seem to be controversial and was discussed at the workshop so that is why this one, I always felt that there were to separate ones that we were doing and the other one, because there were two versions, you had asked me not to put it on.
President Rattner: Yes, because we had to discuss it.
Mr. Dorsey: Why don’t we just change the last paragraph and very simply say “Now, Therefore, Be it Resolved by the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive that it does hereby endorse the Highlands Regional Compact” and are we supposed to contribute $1,500 now?
Mr. Ruggierio: We are and we would need an authorization for the Mayor to sign the Compact.
Mr. Dorsey: Why don’t we take this resolution that is marked 7 and rather than the last two paragraphs, I’ll simply dictate and send to Lisa tomorrow I think what you want. “Now, Therefore Be it Resolved by the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive that it does hereby endorse the New Jersey Highlands Regional Compact, does hereby authorize Mayor Richard De La Roche to execute the Compact on behalf of the Township and does further authorize the contribution or the payment of $1,500.00 on behalf of the Township of Mount Olive as a member of the New Jersey Highlands Regional Compact.”
President Rattner: Does anyone have a problem with that?
Mr. Bonte: I think we just need to make one correction. Delete the word New Jersey Highlands and make it say Raritan Highlands. Thank you, Mr. Dorsey.
COUNCIL COMMENTS ON CONSENT RESOLUTIONS
President Rattner: Mr. Ruggierio, can we just ask Kathy Murphy to come up to make sure that, I think she’s been involved probably longer than anybody else to make sure that this is exactly what we are doing.
Mrs. Murphy: This was the second version for the Raritan Highlands Compact. There was a first version. They sent some minor corrections, that is what you have now. Anything that happened at the meeting today, I wasn’t at it, so there may be some more tweaking of that.
Mr. Ruggierio: There was a minor modification, yes.
Mrs. Murphy: It should be the Raritan Highlands Compact.
President Rattner: But the actual wording of the resolution, I know because I was involved with the people with the ten towns which it was being modeled after and also after talking to Mayor Pierson a few weeks ago, they know that every town modifies it to make sure it protects their interests. As long as the core is in there is all they are really concerned about and I do think that it is important that we put in there that we are also committing the $1,500 because I’m sure that is what they are looking for. I don’t think it is unreasonable, especially looking at what like the Whippany River, the Rockaway River, the ten towns have accomplished and the matching grants that they’ve gotten. I would suggest that we take…
Mr. Ruggierio: Subject to the certification of availability of funds which I’m sure we can get.
President Rattner: We have to vote on the amendment since we’ve already. No, we didn’t introduce, we were only asking about things being taken off.
Mr. Greenbaum: We moved the Consent Resolution Agenda. I will accept the amendment as the mover.
President Rattner: This is only for the amendment to that resolution, the verbiage that Mr. Dorsey will make sure that he’ll put in writing tomorrow morning.
Mr. Greenbaum: Actually, before I accept it, I have just one question. We have not actually seen the Compact at this point and we are authorizing the Mayor to sign it. I will assume that there will be nothing objectionable in there but not having had a chance to review, I’m not sure I’m prepared to accept those amendments as Mr. Dorsey has laid them out because I don’t know what the Compact actually says and I don’t know whether or not the Compact is going to commit this township to additional funds. I assume it will not be based upon what I’ve heard from Mr. Ruggierio but I haven’t seen the agreement so it’s hard for me to vote on it as Mr. Dorsey has rewritten it.
President Rattner: If we pass a resolution only committing $1,500 that’s all the Mayor is going to be authorized to expend.
Mr. Greenbaum: But we’ve also authorized the Mayor to sign the document which is a contract and it creates a legal issue at that point as to whether or not we are then obligated…
President Rattner: But if we put the whereas in there, it’s $1,500. He has a limit.
Mr. Greenbaum: Okay, then I’ll accept the amendment.
Mrs. Labow: Mr. Ruggierio also mentioned that it is voluntary and we can withdraw at any time.
Mr. Ruggierio: It’s voluntary and it is substantially in the form that Council has seen, either it was transmitted before, there were just minor modifications. I have some notes about the modifications but I don’t remember them off the top of my head.
Mrs. Labow: Are we hooked in to a certain amount of time or is it that you can withdraw at any time?
Mr. Ruggierio: No, you can withdraw at any time.
Mrs. Labow: Do you get your money back?
Mr. Ruggierio: No.
President Rattner: Any other comments? Anybody else from the public that would like to speak on any of the resolutions? I’ll close the public portion. We’ve made the modification to that resolution
ROLLCALL: Passed Unanimously
RESOLUTIONS NON CONSENT
3. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Person-to-Person Transfer of Alcoholic Beverage License No. 1427-33-006-005 from Alidan, Inc. Trading as the Boat House Restaurant to 96 Sandshore Road Liquor LLC. (Reza Hashemi)
Mr. Buell moved for approval of Resolution No. 3 and Mr. Guenther seconded the motion.
Mr. Guenther: The reason why I took it off is because I saw Mr. Hashemi here and there have been some interchange of correspondence with the Police Chief. I just wanted, in case there was anything that was needed to be said in support or against. I just wanted it to be out there rather than just being part of the whole consent resolution package.
Mrs. Labow: Can I just have this explained to me? The liquor license isn’t going to be used for the Boat House anymore, the Boat House Restaurant? Where is it being transferred to?
Mrs. Lashway: The owners of the Boat House are transferring the license and I believe the real estate has already transferred. Mr. Hashemi is here if you would like to ask him.
Reza Hashemi: What’s the question?
Mrs. Labow: So you are still going to operate the Boat House Restaurant with the liquor license there at that facility or are you going to move the liquor license to another location?
Mr. Hashemi: We don’t know yet but most likely we are going to transfer it to a different location.
Mr. Dorsey: But this resolution only authorizes a only a person-to-person transfer. So you all understand, if you seek to transfer it to another location, it’s a different resolution.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
11. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Appointment of Donald Scarinci Esq. of Scarinci & Hollenbach as Township Attorney for a One-Year Term Ending December 31, 2004.
President Rattner: Okay, the next item on the Agenda for non-consent is Resolution number eleven; Mr. Elms.
Mr. Elms moved for approval of Resolution No. 11.
President Rattner: Okay, can I get a second? Can I get a second!? Seeing no second the Resolution dies due to a lack of a second.
12. 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 with Waiver) Between the Township and AOR Holdings, Inc.
Mr. Greenbaum moved for approval of the resolution and Mr. Perkins seconded the motion.
President Rattner: Okay, on here it says “Site Plan Map will be available for public view at meeting.” Is that the map up there?
Mrs. Lashway: Right there.
President Rattner: Okay, let me open to the public. Is there anyone from the public who would like to address Resolution No. 12, the execution of the Developer’s Agreement? Seeing none, I will close the public portion.
Mr. Guenther: Rob, could you just give us a quick synopsis of the particular project?
Mr. Greenbaum: This is the Mall at 206 which is currently where the Post Office is, Frank’s Pizza, Mount Olive Bar and Grill and several other stores. It would be a development of the property located directly South of the existing Shopping Center. I believe it’s approximately 16,000 square feet; although I may be mistaken. It was some time ago that it came before the Planning Board. It involves primarily, the vast majority of the building furthest South of the new structure will be a Child Care Center. And it was suggested and testified to that the remainder portion of the shopping center most likely would be dedicated to uses with consistent with the child care center such as doctors’ offices and other types of services which would benefit family type
Mr. Greenbaum (cont’d): activities. There will be a driveway between the two buildings where there is also I believe an electric easement that runs through the property to the back of the property. The waivers were basically minor as I recall the design waivers. There were no variances. And as part of the approval, the applicant agreed to repave the entirety of the parking lot as well as to fix the grading problem which currently exists behind the building through the installation of a terraced wall and or retaining wall to help stabilize the hill which is currently in bad condition.
Mr. Guenther: Did anything ever come up in the hearings about the some what... when you are coming out at the end of where Mount Olive Bar and Grill is; there is sort of an island. When you look to the left it partially obstructs the view. Was that ever discussed about trying to grade that? Bring it down to more street level?
Mr. Greenbaum: I don’t believe that was ever testified to or it was raised by anyone in the public or by anyone on the board. But there was significant discussion about the parking lot itself. Both in terms of the condition of the parking lot and the striping of the parking lot. And what’s going to occur there now; anyone who’s ever driven there knows how terrible the spots are to pull into. You can never seem to get at the right angle to get your car into. They’re going to change it from a vertical parking situation to a horizontal parking situation. So I imagine that the entirety of the parking lot is going to be revisited. But there was no specific discussion with regard to the site triangle.
President Rattner: Any other comments from the council? Questions? Mr. Elms.
Bob Elms: Has the preliminary and final site plan approval with waiver; already been executed? The copy we have doesn’t indicate that it’s executed.
Mrs. Lashway: No, the developer’s agreement would not be executed until you authorize it. Council has to authorize the Mayor to sign it.
Mr. Dorsey: You’re looking at the Resolution, right? You’re looking at the Resolution?
Mr. Elms: Yes, but attached to the Resolution is the Developers….
Mr. Dorsey: Is the Developer’s Agreement!
Mr. Elms: And that’s gone through your office John?
Mr. Dorsey: Yes, We prepared it. Then it’s reviewed. So you know the process; we draw it. We then send it to Gene Buczynski and Chuck McGroarty for their review. I think in this one, Gene had one or two small corrections. Those corrections had been made. After that occurs, we then submit it to you with the resolution and of course it would not get signed by the Mayor until after the Resolution was adopted.
Mrs. Lashway: And after they turn in everything that is listed in that Resolution as far as bonds and approvals, they are all turned in before it is submitted to the Mayor for signature.
Mr. Elms: Okay, thank you.
President Rattner: Any other comments or questions? Roll call.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
Mr. Guenther: But I just want to make a comment. I think that when we do things like this, those kinds of safety issues should be thoroughly looked at by the Planning Board. I’m a little bit distressed that it wasn’t but I will vote for it.
President Rattner: Resolution thirteen, Mr. Buell.
Mr. Buell: I would like to move Resolution 13. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Grant Application to the Morris County Historic Trust.
Mr. Guenther: Second.
President Rattner: Anybody from the public like to address this Resolution? Seeing none I will close the public portion. And ask for any Council comments.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
President Rattner: Resolution Number 14, Mrs. Labow.
Mrs. Labow: I would like to move Resolution number 14.Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Township to Reject all Bids Received for Licensed Electrician Services.
Mr. Buell: Second.
President Rattner: Anybody from the Public like to address the Council on this Resolution? Any Council Comments?
Mrs. Labow: I had sent a memo…. memorandum to Mr. Ruggierio wondering why they had to be rejected and submitted. His response was “that it was necessary to rebid the licensed electrician bid due to the fact that all bidders must submit the same bid package at the same time.” One of the bidders had a proposal, pricing page missing in the submittal. All bids received must include all the necessary documents at the time of the bid opening. I don’t understand why we just can’t ask them for the missing part.
President Rattner: I raise actually a different question from that. I don’t remember that memo. But usually when we have bids, if someone sends an incomplete bid… it is just eliminated. Because, we have a bid date. It’s not where we … so I don’t know. Mr. Ruggiero?
Mr. Ruggierio: Yes, two things. The reason that you didn’t see the memo is that Ms. Labow…
President Rattner: Oh, no, no, no; that’s okay. I’m just saying that I don’t remember seeing your response.
Mr. Ruggierio: I responded today and the answer to that is not that the bidder made any mistake in submitting the documentation. It’s that our bid package was incomplete and that was at least my conclusion based on meeting with relevant parties on the administrative staff and since we would have only had one bidder, I thought it was appropriate to rebid this. Now we are in somewhat dire need of moving forward with this because we are approaching the bid limit.
Mr. Guenther: I’m a little puzzled by the remark; “That you would have had only one bidder.” That means there was one bid that was complete?
Mr. Ruggierio: I think that your question implies that you have the same issue that Mr. Rattner raised and that is; it wasn’t the bidder that made the mistake. It was the Township that made the mistake in the bid package. Omitting a document, a page.
Mr. Guenther: You didn’t answer my question. Was there one bidder that had a complete document submitted and met the criteria?
Mr. Ruggierio: There were a number of bidders who got that page. One bidder did not. And yes, there was a bidder who got a complete package, who submitted a bid. Yes.
Mr. Guenther: How did you come to the determination that the one particular bidder did not receive that page?
Mr. Ruggierio: I consulted with the staff that handled the bid. And made a determination based upon the credible information that I got from the staff. And I decided that it was in the best interest of the Township to rebid this matter.
Mr. Guenther: But did all the other bidders get that last page, the page that was missing for that particular bidder?
Mr. Ruggierio: I believe that we concluded that they did.
President Rattner: Mr. Perkins.
Mr. Perkins: Thank you Mr. President. I have a question that I would like to pose to Council. And that would be; under the rules and public bidding, if you solicited bids and you’ve received a bid from the lowest responsible bidder. Who in this case, happen to have a complete or at least there were more then one that had a complete package that was submitted are you normally not bound to accept that bid since it met the criteria of Mr. Perkins(cont’d): your request for bid?
Mr. Dorsey: Clearly, if you advertise for bids and you get two or three bids that fully comply with the requirements, the normal course of action would be to award it to the lowest responsible bidder. We also generally had a policy that we would not award bids where there was only one complete bid submitted. As I understand from Mr. Ruggierio. He believes that errors were made on the part of the staff? I guess? As to mailing out the bids….to answer your question; it’s basically yes. Unless there are some intervening circumstances which I think is what Mr. Ruggierio is trying to explain.
Mr. Perkins: As a follow up to Mr. Ruggierio, when we, historically we have seen bid proposals go out five, six and we have seen one and we have awarded contracts prior to my sitting here and I’m sure well after I’m gone. Based upon only receiving one bid, why would we not have looked at the qualifications of the submitted bids that were put in if we were under dire straits to get this done, made the determination that you’ve got more than one back and it did meet the criteria that was described upon those people, albeit one missing, and avoid that conflict or at least make a recommendation.
Mr. Ruggierio: I agree with what Mr. Dorsey said. That the problem appeared to be to me from our end, not the bidders end. So think of it this way, if you’re a bidder, and you do not get a complete package, and your disqualified because you submit a bid, because you have not submitted an essential page, but it was not your fault, wouldn’t you have a potential complaint against the Township and that was my assessment and analysis
of it after I spoke with our staff.
Mr. Perkins: I guess Bill, just looking, contract law would look at this standard AIA document. And I would say I have pay one, two, three, four, whoops….missing five, must not be important, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. You know, you gave them more than thirty seconds to review the bid package. If he saw that it was missing a page and all of the AIA document pages are numbered.
Mr. Ruggierio: Well, I have to say Mr. Perkins that I’m not aware that the page that was missing was part of a standard AIA contract. I would have to actually go back and actually analyze it. I sat down after discussion with the staff and concluded that our package was defective and that’s why I recommended this action.
Mr. Dorsey: We do understand that some packets were not defective, right? Because you said….
Mr. Ruggierio: That’s right.
President Rattner: How many packets were put together, Mr. Ruggierio?
Mr. Lynch: I guess I should speak to this because Mr. Ruggierio, when we received the bids, was not yet on board with the Township. There were four packages sent out. Three of the packages received back at the bid opening were complete. One was not. All packages were run at the same time. I can’t be sure; I was there when the packages were run. I do not know if the first package was incomplete or not. I know they were all run at the same time. We received three bids back that were incomplete. One was missing a page; two did not answer questions that were in the bid package.
President Rattner: But they had all the pages?
Mr. Lynch: They had all the papers but they did not answer questions that we requested information, whether it be to provide references or to provide scope of work that they preformed before similar to what we were asking for. We did receive one complete bid package back out of four that answered all questions, provided all documentation and gave us what was not the lowest price but was the responsible package.
President Rattner: So we got four bids back all together?
Mr. Lynch: We got four bids back. Three we deemed to be incomplete packages because one was missing a document, the other two did not answer the questions and give us proper documentation for what we requested in that bid package.
President Rattner: Okay, so we sent out four. One they say is incomplete. I guess I have to come up with them and extrapolate that out. We send out tax bills and we have a few people who said “I never got tax bills, so I did not know I was supposed to pay it.” Do we waive the interest in that case because how would we go back and be able to say that we know the page wasn’t in there and they’re just looking for an excuse or whatever happened. We sent it out. If three out of four said that they got a complete package, what makes you think; just because the person said that they somehow…
Mr. Dorsey: They did not say that.
President Rattner: Well, the bidder must have said that they did not receive a full package.
Mr. Lynch: At the bid opening, the bidder said that he did not receive a full package. However it was denoted within this as part of our documentation, not in the AIA contract. There was a category A, Electrical Work and a category B. He stated that he did not receive the B sheet but it was noted clearly in the preface to that page stating that there were two categories to be filled out and returned. He was given the opportunity at that point to call and ask if that package was in fact incomplete and request it in the time period to still return it for the bid opening.
Mr. Dorsey: So what you’re saying is, that even if the page, and I take it that this must have been the page that provided to fill in for electrical contract B or phase B even if that wasn’t there the rest of the material clearly showed that there were two contracts to bid on, right?
Mr. Lynch: It would be my opinion if the bidder had read his package completely, he would have realized there was a “B” category to be bid and there was appropriate time to call and request that page or to come personally and pick it up.
Mr. Dorsey: You realize that you’re between the devil and the deep here.
Mr. Lynch: I know, yes.
Mr. Dorsey: Because you have a contractor who apparently submitted everything he was to submit and therefore he appears on the record to be the lowest responsible bidder and perhaps he’s here tonight to complain that the contract is not being awarded to him. Did his price appear to be a reasonable price for the service for which you were taking bids?
Mr. Lynch: His price was comparable to two of the other bids received. One was significantly lower. However the package that we are saying that was incomplete is not the package that was significantly lower.
Mr. Dorsey: And in the other two packages there is one package that is absolutely complete? Every question is answered, the bid was inserted properly but the other two that you say were defective. They did include the numbers. They just did not answer certain questions?
Mr. Lynch: They did not answer questions of references or scope of work to be completed similar to what we had requested and they did not provide certifications for confined space training as requested as a need of the Water and Sewer Department and they quantified an hourly minimum for a bucket truck which we did not ask for which the other bidders did not. Those were the discrepancies as found.
Mr. Ruggierio: And I think it’s also important Jim, would you talk about how you have revised or are revising the specs so that they’ll be tighter in this next round should the Council authorize a re-bid?
Mr. Lynch: If re-bid was authorized, I began to speak with Bill about changing the bid specifications. That is to set, I’ve never written electrical specs. I took what we had on file. These were resubmitted from two years ago when we went to bid for electrical work. I did make some minor changes this time around. If it is chosen that we go to re-bid, there will be changes again made to the package. However, the changes I am proposing that Bill has not seen yet would not have changed the scope of bidding in this round.
President Rattner: Okay, I just want to speed this along. I have a real concern. We sent out bid packages. We got four responses. Three of them for whatever reason did not answer the questions, didn’t fill it out right. One did. What it sounds like now, this is just the way it sounds from up here is that somebody doesn’t like the way the result came out and wants to re-bid and they’re looking for reasons to knock it out. If we had four packages went out, we got four responses. If somebody can’t fill out the paperwork properly, I have problems with them doing electrical work which includes following the plans, writing the permits and so on. I think that if we sent out four and we got four responses then we got at least one good one. It wasn’t extraordinarily expensive. I mean if he was so far out of the way, we could say what they were bidding on or maybe we could say something was wrong with the bid specs but just because somebody says I want a do over because I didn’t get a piece of paper and he wasn’t the lowest bid so that’s probably why there looking at it. As long as it’s a responsible bidder, the price is in the ball park with everybody else. I know when you do bids, a lot of times you look at the highest bid, the lowest bid and you look at everybody in the middle and figure why the two others were extreme and so I don’t see any reason…..especially since you said were in dire need of this. We don’t want to go out. We President Rattner (cont’d): have to republish, advertise and everything else. It’s going to be another month and a half to two months before we get somebody in. I think that if we have a responsible bidder we should just approve the bid, the responsible bid that came in. I don’t know… what is the rest of the people….
Mr. Ruggierio: Council has the right to award over the objection of the Administration. It’s Council’s call.
President Rattner: I’m not faulting your recommendation. I’m just saying from my point of view. Mr. Guenther.
Mr. Guenther: Is it for a period of two years as the previous one was?
Mr. Ruggierio: I don’t remember.
Mr. Lynch: The period of the contract is I believe one year this time with an option for a second year.
Mr. Guenther: Well then let’s do it, how about a sermonic solution here. Let’s just do it for one year and then go out next year. Since you are in dire need, I would say let’s award it to that bidder that was complete and then go out again next year. Let’s give Jim time to recast his bid document and do them the way they should be done because that’s going to be another period of time that’s going to be lost in getting everything together.
President Rattner: Mrs. Labow.
Mrs. Labow: Yes Jim, are you comfortable with this electrician? Or…..
Mr. Lynch: Yes.
President Rattner: Mr. Perkins, then Mr. Buell.
Mr. Perkins: Thank you, Mr. President. Before we cast our votes, Jim, I think you did an outstanding job along with Mr. Ruggierio trying to look at this. My basic problem, and I hope you understand, if you solicit and you receive a responsible outcome, a reply, in my professional opinion you’re bound to accept that. You may not like what the results were but you’re bound to accept that. I would hope that you’re as lucky with the rest of the bids that you go out with this year, that we end up with more then one responding because to me, that presents to us with a much larger quandary then having to turn around say I’ve received something in good faith, I sent it out and in good faith it was returned. Whereas, when you send out five bids and you only get one back, and you’re forced to sit up here along with the Business Administrator and say “Well all we got was one bid back” there’s not much negotiation. How can I substantiate to the taxpayers of Mount Olive that they are actually getting their money’s worth if I don’t have anything prepared against it. So again, I want to thank you for looking into it. I hope you tidy up the specs, you know, for the next go around.
Mr. Lynch: I will work on that.
President Rattner: Mayor?
Mayor Richard De La Roche: I agree with what everybody said but at the same time I would like to ask Mr. Dorsey if there is a potential liability to the Township because all the parties didn’t get a chance to bid on the exact same specs.
John Dorsey: Mayor, I think there is a possibility here of a liability on the Township no matter which way you go. You have a bidder who submits, far as Jim is concerned, a perfectly good bid. He is the lowest responsible bidder on which we received and I assume that Jim has checked out his credentials and finds that they are adequate for him to take the contract. So if you knock him out and there is some unfairness to him and there is some liability on his part and then of course there is the allegation by a bidder that he did not receive the entire packet. I think Mr. Lynch says something that is very incentive here and that is, what he did receive in the packet, assuming he didn’t receive one page, he clearly noticed that there were two bids that were requested, A and B, and he as the bidder has some obligation to pursue that bid, to determine whether he’s missing any part of the bid. It’s not entirely the Township’s fault, nor could it ever be proven that it was entirely the Township’s fault. So there’s liability no matter which way you go. It does appear to me that it’s easier to disqualify the bidder that failed to include part of his packet then it is to say to the low bidder who submitted a responsible bid that he should now be denied the bid because of the allegation of another bidder that he did not get the entire proposal.
President Rattner: Mr. Elms, then Mr. Buell.
Mr. Elms: Did we charge for this bid package?
Mr. Lynch: I believe there was a $10 fee per bid package.
President Rattner: Mr. Buell.
Mr. Buell: If this was bid for one year with a one year option, how do we now just award it for one year?
Mr. Dorsey: It obviously, Jim I don’t have it in front of me, but I am assuming that it essentially says that it will be an award for one year with a possible option to renew for a second year. Is that basically what it says?
Mr. Lynch: I believe that to be the specific language.
Mr. Dorsey: So the discretion would be on the part of the Township as to whether it would give it for one year or renew or only give it for one year.
President Rattner: Anybody else? Okay, the Resolution that was moved was to reject the bids. We had a discussion. We heard there’s one responsible bid. Do we want to, I guess how do we do this? We vote on this and if it goes down, or do we modify it?
Mr. Dorsey: Was Ms. Labow’s Resolution seconded?
President Rattner: Yes.
Mr. Dorsey: Then you should have a vote on that Resolution.
President Rattner: Now, if you vote ….
Mr. Dorsey: Yes, if you vote yes you are going to reject all bids and re-bid.
President Rattner: And if you vote no, then we will do another Resolution asking to accept the bids.
Mr. Dorsey: Accept and award to the lowest responsible bidder.
President Rattner: Mr. Elms.
Mr. Elms: Can I move to table the bid?
Mr. Dorsey: I think you vote on this resolution. It’s up or down. You can move to table the resolution. Is that what you want to do? Mr. Elms has made a motion to table the resolution offered by Ms. Labow. The question is, is there a second to that table resolution?
Mr. Guenther seconded the motion.
Mr. Dorsey: You must now take a vote on the resolution to table without any debate.
Mr. Elms: Isn’t there a discussion period on this?
Mr. Dorsey: Not on the motion to table.
ROLL CALL: Motion to Table failed
Mr. Elms & Mr. Guenther – Yes
Mr. Buell, Mrs. Labow, Mr. Perkins, Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Rattner – No
Mr. Dorsey: The motion to table fails and now you should take a vote on the resolution offered by Ms. Labow to reject all bids.
ROLL CALL: All voted No to reject all bids.
Mr. Dorsey: Does Mr. Ruggierio have here the low bid?
Mr. Ruggierio: We’ll get it. We’ll get the name.
Mr. Dorsey: I’ll dictate the resolution. What I need is the amount?
Mr. Lynch: I know the name. I don’t know the amount. It’s Lamp Post Electric.
Mr. Dorsey: We really should have the dollar amount.
Mr. Lynch: I’ll go get it.
President Rattner: While they are getting it, we’ll move on.
15. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Amending the Temporary Budget for 2004 for the Current Budget.
Mr. Perkins moved for approval of the Resolution and Mr. Guenther seconded the motion.
PUBLIC PORTION ON INDIVIDUAL RESOLUTIONS
COUNCIL COMMENTS ON INDIVIDUAL RESOLUTIONS
Mr. Buell: How long are we amending this for?
President Rattner: I think we should ask the CFO since she is here. I could figure it out based on the dollar numbers.
Mrs. Jenkins: We are in the process this week of applying for extraordinary aid which usually takes about two or three months for the State to decide so when I did the amendment rather than have to come back every month, I did it for approximately another three month timeframe to cover ourselves.
President Rattner: This raises a couple of questions on the budget. We had a meeting. When we introduced the budget, we thought we’d be further along and have the public hearing next week and so far we haven’t made any progress. We’ll be talking a little bit about some of it at the end of this meeting. Number two, with the extraordinary aid, we won’t know if that is coming for a couple of months. Also, it is my understanding that the extraordinary aid is based on the tax increase from the introduced budget. If we cut the budget, it could change the extraordinary aid so we’d have to go back to the State. We are really at such a stage that we are spinning our wheels and wasting some of all of our time. I’m looking at that at this point especially with the extraordinary aid because I think all of us up here are saying that we are looking for ways to cut the budget. I think that the public is demanding that we cut the budget. That is going to effect our application which is going to delay it even more. If we have a public hearing next week, it is going to be based on the introduced budget which we all agree is going to change and we are going to ask for people to comment on it before we change it and then we may still have to wait a couple of months. We still don’t know the end result of the extraordinary aid which would effect the tax rate any way. My concern is that the big thing that is on for next week is just the public hearing and I don’t see any reason for having it if we are basically going to have to do a do over any way.
Mrs. Jenkins: We have to have it.
President Rattner: Why?
Mrs. Jenkins: Because we’ve advertised. We have to have a public hearing on the introduced budget.
Mr. Dorsey: You can always cancel it.
President Rattner: We can cancel it and delay it saying we are not ready to discuss it because we are going to sit up here with the public, say this is the document that we know is going to change, we don’t know exactly where it is going to change, we won’t know what the tax rate is but we want your comments? To me, as long as we can delay it until we are a little bit further along because if not, I can see it going back and forth, well this was what was submitted, this is what the tax rate is, this is exactly what we have in front of us and I really don’t think it is worth it at this time if we have a way of just delaying it so we are closer. We ask for people’s comments when we get the budget closer to the way we think it is going to be. Hopefully, with the extraordinary aid we’ll know fairly early on whether there is any chance or not. If it looks very unlikely, we would move ahead and if it came in, we’d have to do an amendment down the road. Each time we have a public meeting and President Rattner (cont’d): every time we have to have our professionals here to help explain the budget, it is going to cost us money and I think it is our best bet just to delay it. I don’t want to sit here for an extra meeting to discuss something that we are going to do over again.
Mrs. Labow: Sherry, I just want to ask you a question on the extraordinary aid application. I probably misunderstood this but I believe you said that in order to apply for extraordinary aid our surplus had to be all spent or down to….
Mrs. Jenkins: One of the criteria that the State looks at in terms of whether they are going to give aid to a municipality is how much money you have left in surplus. As everyone is aware, the introduced budget reflects that we have left a good amount of money in surplus.
Mrs. Labow: So we haven’t changed that so the application was put forward with that amount in surplus.
Mrs. Jenkins: I have the application right now. We haven’t submitted it yet. It’s not due until Friday.
Mrs. Labow: In your opinion, I don’t know if you have this experience, what are our chances of getting this? If we are delaying this, if we have this amount of surplus, are we going to get this aid or not?
Mrs. Jenkins: We’ve talked about this before when we initially discussed filing it and when I was in Maplewood, I had filed it for a number of years and we did get it but we were in a different financial situation. We didn’t have the ratable growth there that we have here. What I said then is what I still think and that is that our chances of getting it are probably very low.
Mrs. Labow: Mr. Rattner, I’m wondering if our chances of getting it are relatively low and we are going to go through a couple of months not being any further along in the budget process.
President Rattner: It doesn’t cost us anything to put it in and I don’t have a problem with that and we go with our process and if there are any substantial changes. We know that there has been some discussion about changing it but also you remember that with extraordinary aid is because they are looking at surplus and your tax rate. If we use up a lot of the surplus and run it into what is considered dangerous, we may be able to get it. You may be doing it by falsely reducing your tax rate which is another criteria of extraordinary aid. Extraordinary aid is just because of the impact on the taxpayer. You can play around with the numbers.
Mrs. Labow: Sherry, do you know what kind of a percentage, is there a level that we would qualify for?
Mrs. Jenkins: They have a set of different criteria that they look at and there is really no way of knowing in advance what we would get.
Mrs. Labow: I was just thinking that we could possibly keep two mindsets, one if we get it and one if we don’t.
President Rattner: Why have a public hearing when there is so much up in the air?
Mrs. Labow: I agree with you there but I’m just wondering about what we should be looking for.
President Rattner: I talked to the auditor yesterday on something else and I asked him about that. He said, all you need is the regular notification which is a certain amount of hours. He actually said that he would have liked to go ahead with it. I’m not really sure why other than I think he was coming, he was here. He had an open night and he may not in the future but I don’t see any reason to start sitting down with that until we get further along because I wouldn’t know what I would tell the public if they asked specific questions on the budget. Especially if they say that this tax increase is too high. I agree with you. Where is it going? We don’t know yet. What can you cut? We haven’t decided yet. I think it is putting the horse before the cart.
Mr. Buell: Steve, my question though is if we continue with extending this budget further into the year then we are going to have to cut deeper because as I understand it, our budget, this temporary budget is predicated upon last year’s spending level. Therefore, the longer we go before we start cutting…
President Rattner: We’re in that spot now and that is just what we are going to have to deal with. There are a lot of different reasons. It’s just the situation we are in. I don’t want to get into anything about the budget. It’s just something, we have a lot of things to look over. If it doesn’t go too late, we are going to discuss some of it tonight and we’ll look at how much we have done. We’ll get the revenue side and the discussion on the uncollectables and the reserve. We’ll know where we are going. I know that certain Council members have a President Rattner(cont’d): dollar figure in mind and I’m not asking anybody to put that forward but you need the revenue side to be able to balance it out. Once we get that we’ll know where we are going with the recommendations and then maybe it will go a lot faster. Right now we are in the situation we are in and I don’t think it is appropriate to have a public hearing especially when we have to sit up here and say that we really can’t answer a question. It’s a public hearing but we don’t answer? Any other comments?
Richard Bonte, Budd Lake: I have one comment regarding this whole process. It seems to me that we are letting the revenue issue and possible aid drive where the budget is going to go. I think the budget needs to be determined initially regardless of the revenue issue and the aid issue. We need to sit down and determine what this town basically needs to operate before we start worrying about whether we are going to get aid from Trenton. The way it sounds to me, what I’m hearing is, well, we can have a bigger budget if we get some more money out of Trenton. First of all, I find that offensive because all of the money that Trenton gives out comes from you and I any way but it still doesn’t require you to do what you should be doing and that is to be looking at every department in this town and determining only those things that are absolutely necessary to maintain the township services to the population. Come up with that number first. Everything else above that is a nice to have and then we can look at, after we’ve arrived at that number, how much do we as a community want to spend in addition to that for the nice to have and maybe we will get some money from somewhere else for some of the nice to haves. I think the public hearing should go forward as planned and I think that this body and the administration needs to come to grips with the bare bones necessary budget to operate the township first. Do what you are charged to do.
President Rattner: We’ve gone over all the departments and even looking at what’s there, I think for the most part, when you look at the different departments about what the operation of the government has to maintain and we’re not happy with it but we want to make sure what is going on with the revenue side. Also, the way the economy is, some of the revenue assumptions have changed and they have not changed to the good. At some point we have to say there are a minimum amount of services regardless of the taxes. At the same time we are looking at it and I don’t think a single person up here is going to vote on a budget that is any where near 16%. I can guarantee you that. At some point it comes from what you need to absolutely run the town forward, the actual requirements because by cutting something in the road department so we don’t have snow plowing, I think is unacceptable because we have to plow the snow. We know we have an appropriate level in the police force. We can talk about some of the equipment and toys that may go on the side but almost everything is in salaries so we have to wrestle with the decision, do we want to go with actually downsizing the police department. I don’t know if we are there yet. I think a lot of us are convinced about what the appropriate size is but at some point we have to have the melding of the two. I don’t believe we are going to get down to a zero tax increase and 16% is completely out of line but when you look at the statutory requirements, the debt payments that we have to pay, that is just a fact of life. Everyone can say how we got there but we have $3 million in debt that we are going to be paying this year. That’s in the budget. We have the different reserves. We have certainl things that we have to do and I think it is all part of it but we haven’t gotten there yet. That is why I’m saying that a public hearing on a document that everyone agrees that we are not going to go with, how are we going to explain that this department is appropriately staffed. We don’t have those answers yet.
Mr. Bonte: I still haven’t heard the answer that I’m looking for, Steve. I personally don’t care whether the number is 0% or 16%. That’s not the issue. The issue is first of all, what do we need to operate the township effectively and whatever that number is for the bare bones budget, we’re going to have to accept it providing you’ve done your job and gone to the bare bones budget first. You come up with a budget that says, we cannot cut one more nickel out of this and if that number presented to the public says 9%, and I’m just pulling a number, then that is what we have to do as a township to maintain the basic governmental functions. I don’t think we should be talking about what the public will or won’t stand for. I’m part of the public. We all have to understand first of all if we need “x” it’s going to cost “x” times a certain property tax rate. I think we are all intelligent enough to understand that and then if there are things that we’d like to have, we need to know what the price tag on those. I don’t see why, after three months now, we can’t go to the point of this Council coming to the public and saying, this is your bare bones operating budget and it is going to raise taxes or maybe keep them stable, I have no idea but here are the numbers, here are the ratables, here is what the proposed tax rate will be. Comment on that. The public needs to comment on your bare bones budget. You may hear from members of the public, I think we should be doing x, y & z which we used to do in the past and your answer to them well that’s not necessary for bare bones, it’s a nice to have and if the public says, well we want that nice to have. I think we need to get to the baseline first. I don’t see how you get to the baseline when you are worrying about what is coming from Trenton.
President Rattner: I agree with you but we are not at that level yet. The budget was introduced after the Mayor was in office for 15 days. That’s just a fact of life and can go back and forth and say, should it have been introduced at that point in time or not, but that’s really not the issue. The issue is was that he was still coming on board, something brand. At the same time we also had a department head leave, we have a new business President Rattner(cont’d): administrator who has to start figuring, who I’m sure the Mayor is going to rely on for almost everything that is going on. That’s the professional manager on a day to day basis. He’s been here is his three week anniversary. Congratulations. It’s Mount Olive, you have lasting power but seriously, those are some of the issues that are going on. We have that and we have to agree with you but the revenue assumptions we questioned, we didn’t like them. Some of the revenue we put in there is how much surplus we use and also the reserve for uncollected taxes. We’re still getting tax appeals. They are still rolling in. The State deadline is April 1st and when revenues drop whether you like it or not, there may be some other things that you cut even a little bit further. That is all we are saying. We haven’t gotten down, the business administrator is learning. He is spending a lot of time in the departments, trying to figure out, looking at the facilities, understanding what they say they need money for. There is where a lot of our recommendations are going to come from and we are still a month or so away from that. I don’t doubt that.
Mr. Bonte: So you are basically saying that the administration is going to be giving you a revised budget?
President Rattner: We’ve gone through the budget hearings together. There are questions. Some of the Council members have put it in writing and actually had specific items. They have a lot of questions. The administration is still looking at some reorganizations that they state will cause efficiencies. That’s all part of what is going forward. I agree with your concept. I think we are going to get there. It may not be easy. We are going to have some disagreements but when it comes to a budget that we vote on, it’s going to be one that the Council can agree on and that the Mayor says he can run the town with. That’s what happens. That’s the process.
Mr. Greenbaum: Rich, I think your concept is very simplistic. In my review of the budget, it doesn’t necessarily work the way that you have suggested which is get it down to bare bones. For instances, certainly snow removal is something that we need to provide for. That would be a necessity. Certainly police protection is something that we need to provide for. That would be a necessity. Something like recreation, it’s not a necessity but yet it is something that we wouldn’t cut out of the budget even in a bare bones situation because we have an obligation to provide. There are areas that you can say that it is not a necessity but it is a necessity in terms of the provision of government.
Mr. Bonte: I agree with that.
Mr. Greenbaum: Also, there are needs and I know that you and I disagree in this area with regard to fire and rescue squad needs and the revenue assumptions directly impact certain capital purchases that we might have to invest in this year or not invest in this year. So we need to know for certain capital items, in terms of our budgeting, where our revenue assumptions are going to be and there really is dynamics involved in terms of the budget and the way that we review it that goes beyond the simplistic approach which you have provided. I went through the budget and I tried to cut everything I could cut and I put all of my suggestions in writing and I sent it off to Steve and I would like to get this budget as low as humanly possible but the bottom line is, as I think Steve has said, even if we took your approach with regard to next week’s hearing, we are not there. We are not at the point yet where we can say, we cut everything we can cut out of the budget, here it is. This provides for snow removal. This provides for police protection. That’s all we are putting in the budget. Now you tell us where you want us to spend the money to put it back in. Even if we adopted your approach, we are not there and as I said before I don’t see how we could ultimately do it that way because it really is not, at least in my mind, the function that I serve up here is not to get it to a bare bones level but it is to get it to a bare bones level that I feel provides for the needs of the community. Not necessarily just those needs which are necessary like snow removal and police protection.
Mr. Guenther: I guess I’m a simpleton then. With all due respect to our financial maven, Mr. Rattner and Mr. Greenbaum, I happen to agree with Mr. Bonte, maybe not his classification of calling it a bare bones budget but I think we’ve gone about this backwards. I think you’ve got to come up with a spending level. I think as we went through it, we just made comments. We didn’t made specific suggestions. There are some difficult choices to make. I think we should have made those choices and then determined where the revenue…made basically the choice that Rob was talking about, obviously snow removal and that is a very difficult one, by the way, to budget because you never know how much snow is going to fall and other things that we come to the determination. This is not something we can compromise and then other areas where we can and maybe come up with two scenarios and say, okay, bare bones, okay, we’d love to have this, some of the expansion of the recreation programs for example. Well maybe we have to cut those out this year and do an alternate one of the nice to have things and then have some paper in hand and say these are the expenses we need for the year and then approach the revenues from that side. I believe that we are going about it backwards.
Mr. Buell: Rich, I basically agree with Bernie and with you, however there are issues with a brand new business administrator, a position that I had provided Steve with cuts of I think about $560,000 that I think we could do without. Mr. Ruggierio and I had an earlier discussion tonight about one position, the director of DPW, whether Mr. Buell(cont’d): we need it or not. We obviously have some opposite issues there, some opposite opinions. He thinks that we are cut to the bare bones that he needs the staff in that particular area but that is a very significant possible cut we could make and so I am kind of leaning with Steve at this point in time in terms of I think we need to have Bill on board for a little bit longer period of time so he can get familiar with what is happening in the town so that we can actually do what I think you want and what Bernie’s indicating. I think we should also be looking at cutting spending. As I said, I provided a net cut of about $544,000 and it is painful. I’m talking about cutting positions, the people who are actually employees in this town. If our revenue projections are the way I think they are, I think that is where we are going to need to go to get this budget down to a bare bones situation but I don’t think we are quite ready yet until Bill has been on board long enough to evaluate some of the real critical issues like what is the staffing level he needs in administration to run an important department like DPW. I’m willing to wait a little bit longer. That is one of the reasons I wanted to know how long this temporary budget lasts because the longer this thing goes, the worse the problem is if we have to cut it as much as I think we have to cut it.
Mr. Elms: Steve, I think we have gone far afield of the resolution that is before us. It was for a temporary budget so that our government can continue for the next three months while we wrangle out all of these things in the budget itself. It wasn’t meant to be a budget discussion.
President Rattner: I agree with you but it is related because of the question of how long because this is a three month which is longer than we usually have done it in the past, for the most part, it’s been different at different times. For the most part since I’ve been here, you do the first three months and then it is one month after that. In fact we did that quite a few times just because we were trying to control spending during that interim basis. We wanted to see how the spending level was.
Mr. Elms: But if we get these things resolved within the next month or two months, we can go off the temporary budget, true?
President Rattner: No, we have to wait for the extraordinary aid. We are a couple of months away before we can get the information.
Mr. Elms: Last year, the actual budget wasn’t finalized until July.
Mrs. Jenkins: May 23rd but it’s normally been June or July since I’ve been here.
President Rattner: It’s been there just because of these different issues and we’ve had major, major disagreements on how we are going to get it down because a lot of times it’s painful. When we have money, it’s the priorities. I think we all agree. We have to go there. It’s just that we are not ready to go to the public and say exactly what we are doing other than there is just a document that was put together. Part of it was the statutory requirement to get certain dates in and at least get the framework in there. There’s no doubt about that and we all want to work it, we don’t like it, we all believe that there can be substantial reductions in the budget. When we went through the budget and I think we all remember one department that we actually said that we want to put in additional where it wasn’t. The administration did cut. They cut a few different positions in different areas and there were a couple of areas that we thought were critical and we want to put money back in. I don’t know if that is really going to take shape but those are the things we are wrestling with.
Mr. Elms: But if we don’t pass this resolution…
President Rattner: We are going to pass this resolution. We have to do that otherwise everyone goes home on the second. We run out of money, we spend no money.
Mrs. Jenkins: I just want to make it clear, my thought processes that we still have awhile to go in terms of the budget process, whether we apply for extraordinary aid or not. I felt that rather than do it every month, this time frame was appropriate.
President Rattner: I looked at the numbers. They are not all just double what we had for the first three months. It looks like you tried calculating when expenses are coming. The big numbers are statutory things that are periodic payments that we don’t have any control over.
Mr. Bonte: Thank you Steve and thank you Rob and Bernie and Jim for your comments. They were very useful.
Dave Jones, Route 46: What really upsets me is we spent like crazy over the last four years. We really did and now we are talking about cutting necessities, police, fire department, rescue squads. We cannot, I don’t believe this growing township can afford to cut necessities such as that and we have this huge park. I talk to a lot of
Mr. Jones(cont’d): people and they are so upset about spending, the overspending at Turkey Brook Park and a lot of the residents that I spoke with over the last couple of weeks, they just want to sell it. I’m serious. I just find it incredible that the spending that we went through over the last four years on things that weren’t true necessities and now we are talking about cutting things like the police department and personnel.
President Rattner: Mr. Jones, we didn’t say that. In fact, when I was just referencing a department that the majority of us think that we were going to add because we looked at how thinly they were stretched. Those are the things that we are wrestling with. We are not going to cut back and I’m not going to disagree with you with all of the money we spent. Turkey Brook was something that I was a critic on, the level of spending. It’s a gorgeous park, there’s no doubt about it but the fact is, right now we have to pay those debt payments. Some of the debt payments go back 20 years. We are looking at new bonding for another 22 years. That’s how far we go out. We still have to address the budget and come down. We don’t want to cut any necessities.
Mr. Jones: I looked at the budget. I looked over every single page of the budget and 90% of the departments in town are taking cuts. I’m not putting words in your mouth or anything like that but I don’t think you have a choice but to accept the 16% tax increase and accept the criticism that you are going to get. I’m not going to criticize you if you accept the Mayor’s budget this year.
President Rattner: I don’t know how to respond to that. You got me this time.
Mr. Greenbaum: Dave, just so the record is clear, no one has discussed cutting the police or fire or any of those areas where there are needs. In fact, we have looked at ways to help the Budd Lake Rescue Squad, the Budd Lake Fire Department, Flanders – both Squads, the police department in terms of adding a new police officer so I don’t know where you got the suggestion that those were areas where we were going to take cuts because to a person, everyone that I’ve spoken to who sits up here is not in favor of, nor would vote for such a cut. I believe that you got a misimpression somewhere that that is what we were suggesting. That is clearly not the case.
President Rattner: Let’s get back to the resolution at hand. Does anyone have any more questions? We have to address what we are doing with the public hearing but right now, what we have in front of us that was moved and seconded, we’ve heard from the public and we’ll close the public portion. We have the resolution to amend the temporary budget which will actually give us three months. Does any one from the Council have any questions for the business administrator or preferably the CFO?
Mr. Buell: If we cut this back to a two month level instead of a three month, is there any difficulties.
President Rattner: Then we just do it again in two months.
Mr. Dorsey: If you resolve the budget within two months and you pass the temporary for three months, that will simply be the end of the temporary.
Mrs. Labow: We’re not bound for three months then.
Mr. Dorsey: Right.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
President Rattner: I think we gave Mr. Dorsey and Mr. Lynch plenty of time to come up with a resolution for the electric contract.
Mr. Dorsey: Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Awarding a Contract to Lampost Electric for the Supplying of a Licensed Electrician for One Year.
Whereas, the Township Council duly advertised and received and opened bids for the providing of services by a licensed electrician and an electrician’s helper for the year 2004 on March 2, 2004; and
Whereas, the contracts that were bid upon were broken into two distinct categories. Category A was referred to as providing a licensed electrician and helper for electrical services within this municipal complex and Contract B as it was referred to in the bid specifications, according to Mr. Lynch, was for the providing of a licensed electrician or helper in connection with services rendered to the water and sewer departments and within Contract A and B it was further broken down as to the time period within a given day which those services would be rendered, the first category being from 8 am to 4:30 pm, the second category being for services after 4:30 pm or on weekends; and
Whereas, the Township received four bids which were examined by Mr. Lynch and by Mr. Ruggierio and it was determined that only one bidder, namely, Lampost Electric submitted a complete bid, having totally filled out all of the requirements of the bid specifications; and
Whereas, Mr. Lynch reports that two of the bidders, one known as Technica and the other as Power with Prestige failed to properly complete all of the various documents within the bid specifications and most specifically of interest to Mr. Lynch and the Township was the failure of these bidders to provide certification that they had training in providing this work within confined spaces, which was a specific requirement within the bid package and the fourth bidder, Edward Hubbard Associates also failed to provide certification of confined space training and also failed to submit a bid for Contract B and in connection with that bid submitted by Mr. Hubbard, it is noted that he claimed that he did not receive the form in order to submit a price for Contract B, Contract B dealing with electrical services to the water and sewer system and on that basis, apparently sought to have the bids rejected on the basis that it was not his fault that he did not provide the bid for Contract B although he, too, the rest of his bid was incomplete because he failed to submit certification as to confined space training; and
Whereas, the Township Council has reviewed the four bids, notes that only one bid was fully complete and that bid has been reviewed by Mr. Lynch and found to be competitive in terms of the prices submitted. It is further found that bids provided by Technica and Power with Prestige as well as the Edward Hubbard Association bid failed to comply with all of the requirements and therefore their bids are deemed to be defective and the only qualified bid and the lowest responsible bidder is that submitted by Lampost Electric.
Now, Therefore, Be it Resolved by the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive that it does hereby award for a one year period, the licensed electrical services contract to Lampost Electric for the prices bid by it into the two categories, Category A being for the municipal building and Category B being for services for the water and sewer department.
President Rattner: It seems to be a lot shorter when it is written. Okay, Mr. Dorsey read a Resolution. Can I get a motion on that?
Mr. Perkins moved for approval of the Resolution and Mr. Guenther seconded the motion.
Mrs. Labow: I just want to say that I sent Mr. Ruggierio a memo the other day when I first got the first letter on this thinking that somebody forgot to send this one piece of paper. I’m glad this came about because I was able to understand the whole process better. Now that Mr. Dorsey just informed us that the one person who is complaining about missing section B or bid spec area B or whatever, had other things missing, I just think this was a whole waste of time. The other one was clearly the one that we should, I’m just disappointed. I think it was a run around the bush but the good part is, we learned all about what can and cannot happen with bid specs.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
Library Board Report
Jerry Sheard, VP Library Board: I just wanted to give you a quick update on what is going on with the Library. As you know the weather is still affecting us quite a bit. Hopefully, we’ve seen the last of the snow although I still have snow in my yard. We will know more by next month where we stand with the weather. The contractor has notified us that the weather has held him up on numerous occasions. They are behind schedule but we have denied it so far until we get all of the information on how much and why and where. We’ve also recently had two electrical inspections by the town and we passed both of them as far as some of the new construction that is going on. The HVAC systems hopefully will be installed within the next two weeks, probably by next week depending on weather again. Basically it was held up. We had them for awhile. It was held up because of the weather. The library is going not as quickly as we’d like to see it go but it’s moving right along. We have another construction meeting on Thursday. Due to problems, I won’t be there but Rita will be there and Jane. The bill we submitted, we are at 48% approximately right now and there is some discussion on that. The contractor thought it was more and we denied it. We went back down to 48% in order to make sure that what we got is what we got. Also I’d like to let the public know and the Council, we did get a $20,000 grant from the State which was, no you don’t get it, we got it. Sorry about that. This is for the wheel chair, computers, software and various equipment that will aid the people with a disability. Other than that, I’m open to any questions from the Council. I would say that I missed the Council representative at our last meeting. Also I missed the Mayor at our last meeting because they had other appointments.
Mrs. Labow: I was actually here for a Highlands conference. It was a tough choice.
Mr. Sheard: Well the Highlands take preference over the Library. We understand.
Mrs. Labow: I was going to come by. You guys were still in there but I knew that the front door was locked. I didn’t want you to have to get up and unlock the door for me.
Mr. Sheard: Are you telling me that we got more efficient without you?
Mr. Perkins: Going back to 2003 when we looked at the belgium block curb out there, we had talked about it. Did you ever come to a final resolution of how that was going to be taken care of? I know Mr. DiGennaro was working on that with you guys.
Mr. Sheard: We are just waiting for good weather now. The contractor said that he would take care of that. No problem. That was brought up a couple of months ago and resolved but we just have to wait for good weather to do it.
Mr. Elms: Was the check made out to the Township of Mount Olive or the Library Board?
Mr. Sheard: It just says here that we are happy to say that you were awarded.
Mr. Guenther: Is it made out to Jerry Sheard?
Mr. Sheard: No, by the way, just off the record a little bit. All of this talk about fire and rescue and the police department. You should have been around this morning. We earned our pay which is zero for all of you people that think we are low on money.
Mrs. Labow: What happened?
Mr. Sheard: We lost a house this morning which was completely inflamed when we arrived. It came in as a car fire in a garage. It was a little bit more than that.
President Rattner: Do you have any reports? I know two people were air lifted from Hackettstown to St. Barnabus including one child. How are they?
Mr. Sheard: All I know is that it was serious but not critical. The Chief might know more. He was there. He might know more than I do.
President Rattner: He’s probably there to see if we are going to cut his budget.
Mr. Guenther: How’s the deadline? With all of these delays, how do we look time wise?
Mr. Sheard: Right now we still have the same deadline. That might change depending on what we come up with as far as, after discussions with the contractor and the architect. Right now we are looking to move in right after Labor Day, moving in, actually, in August. We are still looking for the same thing. No change.
Mr. Greenbaum: Jerry, I know it has been offered in the past but now that we are getting down near the end of the construction cycle and the weather is going to start to get better, I’d like to take a tour of what has been done. It is easier to sit up here and judge if what you are telling me is accurate and I know that you only present accurate information but as someone who has to sit up here and make decisions, I’d like to be able to go to the facility, see how much is done and judge for myself what’s left to be done so that I can easily say, Jerry, I agree with you 100% that that is where they are at in terms of completion.
Mr. Sheard: Unofficially, I’m leaning for the middle of April after Easter.
Mr. Greenbaum: In terms of having a tour of the…
Mr. Sheard: We have to wait until the ground is safe to go on and the building, itself, is safe.
Mr. Greenbaum: I’m in the same camp as you are, wanting to make sure that there is enough money left in the pot in terms of the construction contract so that we have leverage in terms of getting the building completed the way we want it completed.
Mr. Sheard: The changes have been extremely small compared to what some construction sites are.
Mr. Greenbaum: It is not the changes that I’m concerned about. It’s the doling out of the money, that we are in step with where we should be in terms of the building completion and that we have enough left in the account in terms of making sure that the contractor finishes that with which he has agreed to do.
Mr. Sheard: As I said, we’re at 48% right now and we cut him back. We also, just for your information, always withhold a certain percentage every month just for that purpose.
Mrs. Labow: I have a couple of questions. That gas meter that was broken by the falling wood off the roof, has that all been fixed?
Mr. Sheard: That was fixed right then. That had nothing to do, no insurance or anything on that.
Mrs. Labow: Last month when Jane was here, we talked about are they going to put some kind of roof over it? Or do we feel like it was a freak accident?
Mr. Sheard: It was a construction accident. Normally you don’t put anything over them because once the roof is up and everything is there, there is nothing to fall off. This is where a contractor moved something and put it where he shouldn’t have and it was knocked over. That’s all.
Mrs. Labow: The next question I have is, how are you doing with the specs and everything for the shelving and the furniture? Same as last meeting? How is that coming?
Mr. Sheard: That is moving right along and we’ll have a report by next time for that.
Mrs. Labow: I promise I won’t miss the next meeting.
President Rattner: I just have a question and this has to do with the voucher. Mr. Ruggierio, on the voucher you wrote a letter saying that you were signing it but you really didn’t know if it was correct or something. That actually disturbed me a little bit because that is the final check, the agreement that we have with the Library that everything would come here and be looked over, whether it be the percentages to make sure the numbers because we’ve had some issues in the past. That is why the Mayor sits on the Library Board, or his representative. That’s why we have a Council representative but to say that I’m signing it but I really am not sure if it is right. Can you just explain that?
Mr. Ruggierio: You are characterizing it. You are paraphrasing what I said. Yes, I wrote a memo that indicated that I was not going to hold up a progress payment because there are legal consequences to that but that I had not had an opportunity to meet with the Library people to get an assessment. I think some of the things that Mr. Greenbaum was just asking about, however, after I wrote that memo, I met with Rita. I met with Scott Ayers, the construction supervisor and I am very satisfied. I wrote a subsequent memo to the Council. I’m very satisfied that this project is on track.
President Rattner: With that, I didn’t expect you to go out and make the inspection and say 47.2% or 48%. I know that but at least looking at and make sure that everything seemed in place. That is all you are really signing off on. You are letting your other people, your sub departments…
Mr. Ruggierio: I think it is important for the Council and the public to understand something about construction projects of this sort and that is that the architect signs the certification concerning the advancement of the construction and makes a certification to the owner concerning how far along the construction is. Mr. Greenbaum’s concerns are appropriate because sometimes you have to be worried that the architect might have been a little too easy in terms of making those judgments and that is all I was addressing because I have been involved in many of these types of projects and I know that by holding up a progress payment, there can be delay claims made by the contractor. What I was trying to say is that I’m signing this, I have a certification from the architect so it looks otherwise in order. I am not certifying that I have really an understanding of this project. About a week later I got an understanding of the project and I think the public, at least at this stage can be very satisfied that this project is being well managed.
President Rattner: We’ve actually had discussions and we actually made some modifications on the percentages and we had one issue where the project manager felt that a cost was justified having to do with rock again which we happen to have plenty of in Mount Olive. We had a disagreement and we were adamant in saying, no it wasn’t in the contract so it is just looking at it. I’m satisfied with that answer, thank you. Anybody else have any questions for the Library Board? Since we’ll be voting on what we just discussed; that one President Rattner(cont’d): voucher that’s in there for tonight that’s on the bill list. Now is the time to get it out. Thank you very much Jerry. Okay, now we’ll go to Motions. Mr. Perkins, would you do the raffle applications?
1. Raffle Application # 2025 for Deepath Montessori School and Raffle Application # 2026 and #2027 for the Jewish Center of Mount Olive.
Mr. Perkins moved for approval of the Raffle Applications and Mr. Guenther seconded the motion.
President Ratter: Any discussion? Seeing none.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
2. Bill List
Mr. Guenther moved for the Bill List and the Additional Bill list. Mr. Elms seconded the motion.
President Rattner: Okay, do we have any more questions? Now is the time to ask the questions from the Administration that you have on the bill list. Hopefully they’re aware already of what you’re going to ask. Mrs. Labow?
Mrs. Labow: I just want to say that, I know we keep talking about the gas issues, the tanks out back and the usage. I saw on the bill list from February 13th I think it started to February 25th, a twelve day period. We had delivered over six thousand gallons of gasoline. I just thought that seemed like an astronomical amount of gas to use in twelve day’s time.
Mr. Ruggierio: Well I think we had snow events and maybe Jim can address this more completely but I have the same concerns that you have. That it’s insecure in terms of that municipal asset. I will say that when I checked it, and it’s one of the first things I checked. Jim Lynch assured me that he was monitoring our usage in terms of quantity. He certainly can’t stand for the idea that nobody is improperly taping those pumps. But we hope to get that in hand.
Mrs. Labow: Well, I want to say that I stopped by there on Saturday. I actually parked my van. I got out, I walked around, I pulled right in there as if I was going to fill up. Which, I did not. No one came out. No one said a word and I was there for a good half hour and I could have easily filled up twenty cars in that time and nobody would have been the wiser. I purposely parked there and just hung around so I did find it a very large concern. Not one single person questioned me. I did notice that between the tanks, there is a key pad set up. What I understand is that when they first put that in, codes had to be punched in and each person, whatever, was tagged whatever number. I was told that there was a lot of operating problems. It kept malfunctioning and so it’s no longer in use. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Mr. Lynch: That’s correct. The system was put in when that fuel station was constructed. There were problems with it. I have gone through a very limited file that I have been left on it. It has been inoperable for a period of at least three years and in discussion with Chief Katona, we have been locking the gate to that back area. I’m assuming on Saturday when you got here the recycling center was in operation.
Mrs. Labow: It was at the end of the recycling period of time and that was another thing. The reason I’m thinking somebody was there. Maybe somebody would ask me how come I was sitting there with my van there.
Mr. Lynch: Unfortunately I can’t speak for the recycling station employee that was on duty.
Mrs. Labow: No, I understand.
Mr. Lynch: I know they are busy most of the time in the back of the site.
Mrs. Labow: Ya, ya…..nobody was busy. Three people drove by. Nobody said a word.
Mr. Lynch: The delivery of gas in excess of six thousand gallons - typically what happens, Mount Olive Township sits at the end of the delivery run for the contract fuel vendor. On an alternating basis we will receive roughly eleven hundred gallons in gas on a delivery and the Board of Education uses the same vendor because they’re on County and State contract. So we will get a thousand gallons plus or minus on one delivery. Within the next two weeks we receive a five thousand gallon delivery to compensate, because we have a five thousand gallon tank. And they alternate between the two facilities. Thus, in a two week period; we generally do see a six thousand gallon delivery.
Mrs. Labow: So we go through six thousand gallons a month?
Mr. Lynch: With the volume of vehicles utilizing our fuel station including Fire and First Aid for Flanders and Budd Lake, yes.
Mrs. Labow: Is that diesel or unleaded?
Mr. Lynch: I’m assuming you’re referring to the unleaded bill?
Mrs. Labow: Yes.
Mr. Lynch: Historically, yes. Since I have come on board that has been the usage.
Mrs. Labow: Okay, so the trucks, the fire trucks, the plow trucks, will be using diesel, not unleaded gas?
Mr. Lynch: They use diesel, yes, but our patrol cars, our township municipal vehicles, portions of my DPW trucks all run on gas engines and that is unfortunately a high usage rate. But that’s what we’re going through.
Mrs. Labow: I don’t want to accuse anyone of using gas they’re not supposed to. Perhaps Chief Katona knows how many gallons of gas, how may cars we have, and how many times they fill up a week. Can I ask him that Mr. Rattner?
President Rattner: Yes.
Mrs. Labow: Come on get up Ed. Chop, chop. I know he’s back there taking a nap.
Chief Katona: Trying to take a nap.
Mrs. Labow: I know, I’m sorry.
Mr. Greenbaum: Ed, before you answer Colleen’s question, isn’t Colleen sitting back there for twenty minutes considered loitering?
Chief Katona: I think so.
Mrs. Labow: Thirty minutes.
President Rattner: And if she was looking at the gas pumps, isn’t that conspiracy? She didn’t actually steal it, but she was thinking about it and planning it.
Chief Katona: If you say so. We generally put on six to eight vehicles per shift.
Mrs. Labow: Two shifts per day?
Chief Katona: Two shifts per day and they’ll go through approximately 14 or 15 gallons a piece. In total, historically, the Police Department will use approximately forty to forty-five thousand gallons of gasoline a year. So I don’t have anything. I’m sure the Road Department and Sanitation there running similar numbers. So with about six thousand gallons…
Mrs. Labow: That sounds about right.
Chief Katona: It’s about right. And the key pad system. It never worked. And it’s been twelve years. So,….
President Rattner: Ed, why don’t you explain? You have process for your fleet when people fill up. What don’t you explain that process. Because we know how much is used by every car, right?
Chief Katona: Each vehicle, each police officer is required to fill up, gas his vehicle at the end of his shift - his or her shift. That vehicle, that driver, reports the gasoline by calling our dispatch and the dispatcher records the gasoline and the mileage on a gas log that we keep. If there is any question about usage of the gas that the officers are using, we go to the gas log and we can see. It’s pretty consistent for what’s used. Of course, bad weather and that will cause fluctuation from month to month.
Mrs. Labow: No other department has that system though, right?
President Rattner: The police department has had that. They had a problem I guess it was twenty-three, twenty-four years ago?
Chief Katona: We won’t go there. That’s been rectified.
President Rattner: There was a problem and they put in very strict rules. That’s why everybody, when they fill up, I know they call in every fill up.
Mrs. Labow: See I knew that too and that’s what I want to know. They have a very, probably the best system we can have, and very accountable. What about the rest of the departments? Thank you Chief Katona.
Mr. Lynch: The rest of the departments do not have that procedure because we do not have a dispatcher to call it into. We do vehicle reports. We do not tract mileage between fill ups in the vehicles on those sheets. Those sheets were developed by our previous DPW Director. What we have done, actually today we had a meeting. We have another one scheduled. We are looking to A, reestablish possibly putting combination locks that the township utilizes on the fuel pumps themselves. I’m still working details of that out with our Fire Marshall and he will be in contact with Budd Lake Fire Department about one method of control. A cheap method to start. We have had conversations today with different security firms about initiating new security measures on those pumps to control basically how power is provided. When fuel can be pumped by using similar access cards to what we have for the building. So we are looking into it. It’s just a matter of finding the most affordable and most sensible way to manage the entire township since it’s one fuel depot.
Mrs. Labow: Can I have the combination?
President Rattner: Mr. Guenther?
Mr. Guenther: The combination will be on what? Not the gate, right?
Mr. Lynch: Well, on the gate we have a combination lock to get back into the rear of the site.
Mr. Guenther: Excuse me, when is that locked?
Mr. Lynch: That lock is secured daily by our First Vehicle Services out in the back fleet garage. When they leave, that is locked. The police fill up around seven o’clock, Chief?
Chief Katona: We begin at about 5:30 until about 7:30.
Mr. Lynch: So the police open that again as they fill up. When they are done, the last car fills up for shift change. The police relock that gate. In the morning, sanitation is always in before everyone else. They will open the lock typically at 4:30 am to the back of the site and from that point on throughout the day; the rear of our site is open because of DPW, police and fleet vehicle usage. So it’s locked in the afternoon and it’s opened early in the morning. Throughout the night that lock should be secure on that gate. What we would be looking to do is add additional combination locks onto each of the diesel pump and the gasoline pump. So it would be three locks. So someone would have to know the combination to get into the site and then have the combination to get into the fuel pumps themselves. The combination locks, for now, seem to be an effective, yet very cost effective solution. Until we get a better….. with the discussion of the DPW facility that fuel site will have to be reconsidered. So to put an exorbitant amount of money into it now, we are looking at security. It’s just a matter of which dollar figure we choose to go with.
Mr. Guenther: Thank you.
President Rattner: Mrs. Labow?
Mrs. Labow: I think my other concern is it’s not so much that people use the gas. It’s that more like vandalism too. I mean it just opens up all kinds of possibilities but I do want to ask you how are you feeling?
Mr. Lynch: Fine.
Mrs. Labow: He had two wisdom teeth pulled yesterday. Look at him; working all day long. I’m really impressed. Thank you very much, Jim.
Mr. Lynch: You’re very welcome.
President Rattner: Anybody else? Mr. Buell?
Mr. Buell: I asked about the cleaning contract. Everybody seems to be very unhappy. Are we doing our diligence in terms in collecting the information necessary to ….
Mr. Ruggierio: Yes, I asked Jim whether there was a paper trail. I got an e-mail back that was a very long trail and we’re reviewing it. Yes.
Mr. Buell: What is the procedure?
Mr. Ruggierio: If it’s non-performance of course we would consult legal counsel. But if it’s non-performance then we would look to terminate the contract on some legal basis.
Mr. Buell: But we can stop them from re-bidding if we determine they are not qualified?
Mr. Ruggierio: I’ll let Mr. Dorsey address that but I believe in New Jersey that it’s a long process to pre-qualify bidders.
Mr. Dorsey: To pre-qualify or dismiss a contract?
Mr. Ruggierio: I think Mr. Buell was saying, what protections do we have if the same company and in some other incarnation or some people or some other incarnation bid on the next contract.
Mr. Dorsey: Well, you are right. It becomes a process in which you have to give them a hearing to find a basis upon which to disqualify them from the bidding, dismissing a contractor who does not perform appropriately, assuming that your evidence is significant is probably surest because your going to terminate the contract for improper or non performance. You have to offer them a hearing. And then you proceed from there. We have dismissed a couple contractors over the years.
President Rattner: Anybody else? Okay, I never got my question answered. The cash counting machine – what was the justification for an average of a $1,000 of cash a day and not all of that, I guess, paper because of people paying cash in nickels and dimes too, but for $1,000 a day, how much time are we really saving because I would imagine a machine is probably a certain size, takes up room, I mean, it costs $3,500 to probably have a service contract on it, were we really spending that much time counting cash?
Mr. Ruggierio: I don’t know, I mean, certainly I thought that Sherry gave an adequate justification for why she proposed it, why it was approved and …
President Rattner: But I mean when we agree that it is only $1,000 a day and I work in a bank, I know what is to count money because our people do that, I guess it’s an unfair advantage but really, $1,000 is not much to start setting it up. I mean, you still have to set up the bills and everything else to put it in the cash machine so you’re not saving all that much time. $1,000 really isn’t all that much, and it’s not all singles. $1,000 can be only what 20, 200 twenties.
Mr. Ruggierio: No that’s where you missed….. and you work in a bank?
President Rattner: No, but, a hundred twenties…
Mr. Ruggierio: Steve, a hundred twenties…
President Rattner: It’s okay – I don’t have to count because I’m in accounting, it’s okay but, you don’t understand what I’m saying. It’s really not that much, you know, I guess I’m at a loss really. If that’s really what the volume is, what, you know, why do we have to buy a big, you know. It’s just a question. It is a big piece of equipment, at least dollar wise.
Mr. Ruggierio: If you like, I’ll look into it in more depth and get you an answer.
President Rattner: Yeah, I’d just like to see if it’s really justified – going forward. I don’t know if we can send it back, or whatever, if we say that we only had it for a couple of weeks and we don’t like it, because it’s not serving the purpose. Mrs. Labow…
Mrs. Labow: I’d like to know like how, especially with money now, we have, you can have three twenties in your pocket and they all look different. One’s color, one’s the new design and one’s the old one and what it says here, the unit counts mixed currency while sorting off notes that do not belong into a separate tray without stopping. How does it know?
President Rattner: Is that like a thermos?
Mrs. Labow: But, you know what I’m saying – I mean, how does it sort? By the strip inside?
Mr. Ruggierio: I think it’s got some kind of electronic eye or something.
President Rattner: How does a change machine know whether you’re putting in a dollar, or a five, a ten, or, down in Atlantic City, a hundred?
Mrs. Labow: No, but you know what I’m saying if it’s going to sort the money, how does it, all the different colors and everything else, I mean, in other words, is it the state of the art – does it take into consideration the money, or….
President Rattner: I would imagine it probably….
Mr. Ruggierio: I’ll get you a comprehensive report.
Mrs. Labow: Thank you.
President Rattner: Okay, anybody, anything else on the bill list? Anything else on the bill list?
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
3. Appointment of Dr. Anthony Miccio to the Board of Health (3 year term to expire 12/31/06)
President Rattner: Would the Clerk just give, I believe she made a telephone call to everybody today to explain the situation that we’re in and what we’re going to be doing.
Mrs. Lashway: Dr. Miccio currently lives, I’m sorry, he works in the Village Green. He will be moving in June. Our code requires that the physician, the MD, on the Board of Health be either a resident or have his practice in town. In June, he will be moving his practice, which is Mount Olive Health Care, the name stays the same, he’s moving it over to 206 and he’s on the Roxbury/Mount Olive border, with a Flanders mailing, and his only interest in the appointment was if it was going to last past June so Mr. King was preparing an ordinance for the Board of Health to review and present to the Council and, prior to the doctor moving his office in June, we will have to enact an ordinance amendment to state that he does not have to be a resident or have his residence in Mount Olive.
President Rattner: Hopefully she explained to everybody that the state statute requires that the Board of Health contain at least one MD and it’s been tough getting a doctor who is willing serve and spend that time. The doctor we have now, I think he’s been there an extended length of time, so we got a lot of service and we couldn’t find anybody who stepped up so that’s why we’re in this situation. Why the Clerk called is because she wanted to make sure there wouldn’t be any objection to adjusting our code. So, it’s going to be our preference to get somebody from in town, but we have to… we want to move ahead. Otherwise, we’d have to ask the state and the state would probably find somebody to place, which probably wouldn’t come from town anyway. Mr. Guenther, you wanted to say something?
Mr. Guenther: That was the point, you just made the point – that if the state does it, they’ll find somebody from out of town anyway, so to me it’s a moot point.
President Rattner: So, with that, we have an appointment of Dr. Miccio to the Board of Health. Would somebody move that then?
Mr. Guenther: I’ll move that.
Mrs. Labow: Second.
Mr. Guenther: I just have a question, Steve, what’s this asterisk here, it says Council representation at 3/26/04 hearing before Judge Bonzenelis?
President Rattner: I think that was just, I think those were just delayed additions. You know, that was added today.
Mr. Guenther: It’s not related to….
President Rattner: No, it’s not related.
Mrs. Lashway: No, we’re at number 3 under motions. I also want to add, we have advertised for the position for the Board of Health since January and did not receive any resumes.
Mr. Guenther: I understand.
Mr. Greenbaum: It’s not related.
Mr. Guenther: Well, then how come….
Mr. Greenbaum: They are just two new items that came in late, unrelated.
Mrs. Lashway: They were added today.
President Rattner: Administrative Matters.
Mrs. Labow: Did we vote on that?
President Rattner: Oh, we didn’t vote on it, I’m sorry. We still have to vote – we forgot to vote – then we’ll do it.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously.
President Rattner: Okay, Administrative Matters, I’m sorry.
Mayor De La Roche: I just want to take this opportunity to publicly commend the services that participated regarding the fire today. The Police, the Fire, the Emergency Squads, and also I want to assure the public that I contacted the Social Services Department and they also reassured me that any housing or furniture type of problems that people were burned out would have, would be taken care of by the Red Cross. So, I just want to compliment everybody on the fact that the staff and all the emergency service worked very well together and I think we should do this publicly so that people understand we appreciate their volunteering and the combined work that they do.
President Rattner: Thank you, Mayor. Yes, Mr. Ruggierio.
Mr. Ruggierio: Yes, just a couple matters. As you pointed out, I have been here twenty days, I would just like to tell the Council a few things that have happened. Of course we had three snow storms and that was interesting. I had a staff meeting with all the senior staff, most senior staff that were available. During that staff meeting, there were concerns expressed by the staff that the security of our records that were being stored offsite were potentially problematic and I’d like Council to know that that has been, at least a temporary solution with respect to those issues has occurred since the staff meeting last week. And, not only was that very quick action by dedicated township employees that you have here in Mount Olive, but I would also like to also second what Colleen said about Jim Lynch. He had his wisdom teeth taken out yesterday and this morning, early, he was addressing this archive problem and this was critical. I’d like to tell the Council, you probably picked up from the correspondence, that we do have a lot of capital projects either proposed or funded and I’ve established at least a list and I’m going to establish a work group to make sure that we follow-up on that, so I’ll be reporting to the Council from time to time because I think one of the critical things that has to happen in this town is that if you fund something, or something is deemed to be critical, that you expect the administration to follow-up on it. What I did is, I informed you and I won’t spend time on it, have a what I consider to be a comprehensive review of our library project and I think I told you what I think about that. And one of the issues that I saw as a top priority, based on just a quick assessment of things that have gone on in Mount Olive, had to do with the DPW situation. I know that that matter is fairly well known to the Council, but I did inform myself by speaking to people who had been favorable to the previous approach to that DPW garage and I informed myself about that plan. We also met recently with an architect who had some different approaches, but the one thing that we will be presenting at the next Council Meeting is we’re going out for quotes right now for surveys and topographical studies which is, under any circumstances, a first step in connection with this project, which I think everybody must have a consensus that that’s critical for the town. And I guess that’s it, I’m sure you’re all aware that, because I’ve given you copies that Mayor De La Roche has issued a six month plan which I think gives us a pretty good plan, road map on where we’re going to go and the short-term and the long-term as we develop a more comprehensive plan.
President Rattner: Thank you very much. Ms. Labow, you have, you wanted to say something?
Ms. Labow: Yes, is this some…are you going out for the bids…isn’t that what we already did.. what Mark DiGennaro did in the Fall and we, but we already have bids for that?
Mr. Ruggierio: Are you talking about the DPW garage?
Ms. Labow: For the topographical, the survey and all that, that was already done.
Mr. Ruggierio: No it wasn’t done and that’s the least controversial of anything concerning this project and it was something that I thought why don’t we at least get that done, because no one could really quibble about that element – it’s required no matter what direction we go and we expect to have it in a prompt fashion some kind of proposal to the government body concerning how we want to proceed with this. I know it’s a priority.
Ms. Labow: I just want to clarify it – Steve, do you know what I’m talking about what Mark DiGennaro did in the Fall and…..?
President Rattner: That went at…well, I guess they were opened in December – they agreed to put it off so the administration could have time to look at it and see if they were going to actually fund it in this year’s budget. When it came into January, they said that they weren’t ready to move ahead and they were just looking at it and didn’t want to move ahead with that quote, because they wanted to make sure the direction was consistent with what they wanted to do and I guess that’s what they’re doing and….
Ms. Labow: But now they’re going to do the same…they were going to…is that what….
President Rattner: I don’t know if it’s exactly the same. That…so from his report, I don’t know what..how the bid specs are different. I don’t know.
Mr. Ruggierio: It’s very far from the same…it is not the same…the…I don’t want to get into the details of it, but there was three phases proposed in that prior plan. Phase I, even if you just limited it to Phase I, was not only a topographical survey, but also a needs assessment. We’re not doing that.
Ms. Labow: We’re not doing that?
Mr. Ruggierio: But I figured that it made no sense not to go forward with something that everybody agrees we need the topographical survey.
President Rattner: Mr. Perkins, then Mr. Greenbaum, then Mr. Guenther.
Mr. Perkins: Mr. Ruggierio, the archives system – what was wrong with the archives system that we had to have addressed? I would ask Mr. Lynch, but he’s not as wise as he was.
Mr. Ruggierio: No, it isn’t the archives system, it’s our records, our actual physical records and they were in danger because of some changes that were made where they were being kept, it’s not one of our facilities, and so we were able to remedy that on a temporary basis. We also, as part of this DPW project, believe that providing for a permanent location for those records, which we would keep in the long-term, has to be part of that project and so, we are looking at it in that connection.
Mr. Perkins: Are they still being held down at the International Trade Center?
Mr. Ruggierio: They are, but many of them have come back here and…the ones that are still down there have been secured…relocated and secured in a much better fashion.
President Rattner: Bernie.
Mr. Guenther: Now, the topographical survey you’re doing, does that include soil?
President Rattner: We went out of order…
Mr. Guenther: …soil test, because at the meeting we discussed that you were going to try to find to see if…because it was Radar’s contention he thought they had been done, but nobody…you hadn’t been able to find them, was something found?
Mr. Ruggierio: No I haven’t heard that we’ve found that yet…I’m glad you reminded me because I haven’t specifically followed up on that but, you know, the only thing that’s being done is the topographical survey, an outbound survey of the property – metes and bounds and topography.
Mr. Guenther: But you will look for those to see if you can find those soil tests?
Mr. Ruggierio: Yes.
President Rattner: Is that all Mr. Guenther?
Mr. Guenther: That’s it.
President Rattner: Mr. Greenbaum.
Mr. Greenbaum: The cost for this project has been estimated at about $1.7 or less or more, but that’s what was budgeted in terms of capital appropriation - somewhere in that neighborhood, Bill.
Mr. Ruggierio: Actually what we see from our preliminary assessment of it is that it could well be, you know, in the area of hundreds of thousand dollars less than that, but I think it’s premature for me to guess at what this will cost when it goes out to bid, but that’s our thinking about it now.
Mr. Greenbaum: Okay, so you’re certainly thinking in the $1 million plus range, though – for a building of this size?
Mr. Ruggierio: It appears that that’s what’s required.
Mr. Greenbaum: Is this something that the administration is planning on putting out to the people for referendum as per their campaign promises that any large capital projects would be put out for the people to vote on? Or is this something that the administration is just going to move forward with without complying with that campaign promise?
Mr. Ruggierio: I’ll let other people speak to campaign promises. I only know that this is a pressing need of the government, it’s something that should move forward and I’m trying to move forward with it in a rational way. Somebody else wants to comment about campaign promises, I’m out of it.
Mr. Greenbaum: Well, I have no problem putting anything out to referendum – I wished it would have happened with Turkey Brook where we spent $12.5 million, but you have to put a $1 million referendum out, I have no problem with that because I think the citizens, it’s their money – they have the right to decide what they want to do with it. So, I have no problem with that but we do have a pressing need in order to safeguard the equipment and the health and well being of the DPW workers, so it would depend upon how quickly we could get it together for a referendum.
President Rattner: Okay, thank you. Any other administrative matters?
Mr. Ruggierio: No, Mr. Rattner.
President Rattner: Thank you, thank you very much. Okay, old business.
President Rattner: We must get to two things, you know, we want to talk about the budget and we don’t want to stay too late, but we do want to go over that. We have two issues, one is the public hearing scheduled for next week on the budget. I think…my recommendation is that we put it off for what’s it four weeks, five weeks?...the second public meeting in April, because we have that revised schedule. We have..did we advertise that it’s not going to be held next week? And then advertise then, I think we’ll have better….
Ms. Labow: The 27th.
President Rattner: The 27th. I recommend that we put it off that far so that we can at least have something, a better framework and I think we’ll definitely be there a lot further down the line, come at the end of April. Mr. Elms?
Mr. Elms: I’ll make the motion that we put it off until April 27th.
President Rattner: We will ask that date the courts make sure what the advertising requirements; I’m sure there has to be some sort of notification for it, that it be done properly and that we also post it on our regular bulletin boards so the public knows when we’re going to discuss it.
Mr. Elms: We should also include in that advertisement that next week is being cancelled.
President Rattner: Okay, are there any other comments?
Mr. Elms: Are we canceling next week’s meeting entirely?
President Rattner: I think, yes, well we don’t have, really, usually, you know, what are we going to act on if we don’t have anything? I mean, why have a meeting for weeks, we have a workshop the next week scheduled anyway. We don’t need two workshops, unless anybody just likes coming down for an extra meeting.
Mrs. Labow: Oh, I do.
President Rattner: Yeah, but I know Mr. Elms said, you know, we don’t need extra meetings for no reason. He made that point at the beginning. Okay – no I do that. Roll call.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously with the Exception, Mr. Guenther Voted No
President Rattner: Okay, the other item, I’ll do it while people are still here, so they can hear it. We have a court hearing on Friday that has to do with the appointment of the Township Attorney. Mr. Greenbaum had offered to go and, as an attorney, represent the Council, which I didn’t think was a real good idea and I told him that, not that I don’t think he could do it. Anyway, you know that we have been in contact and if there is somebody there to stand in for us to make sure that any of our legal rights are protected, is that we’ve used William Kearns, who is an attorney for the New Jersey League of Municipalities, and I would like to, just for that one day, have a resolution so that he can represent us at an hourly rate for the hearing. I’ll get you Mr. Elms.
Mrs. Labow: Is he free?
President Rattner: What? No, I said no – it’s just actual pay.
Mrs. Labow: No, is he available?
President Rattner: Yes.
Mrs. Labow: Thank you.
President Rattner: I actually had a Resolution put up, but I wanted to socialize that – it is something we have to decide, you know, what to do as a Council, whether we want representation there. It’s going to be an interesting discussion, I’m sure, but we have to make that decision one way or the other. Mr. Elms.
Mr. Elms: I don’t believe that there’s time for him to put in a notice of appearance and, if it’s going to delay at all the Friday hearing, I would be vehemently object to it. In fact, I would object to Rob representing me at all.
President Rattner: Well, I’ve already…..
Mr. Greenbaum: I wouldn’t have you engineer at my house either.
President Rattner: Anyway, you have the resolution that was faxed over to you today, right the format 01? I just want to hand this out and I’d like to, you know, to hear everybody’s comments on it.
Mr. Elms: A point of order. This was not on the agenda until today. I thought that we went through this once before – that these things can’t be done on the agenda on the day of the….
President Rattner: No it can’t be after the deadline of the agenda. This was put on the official posting of the agenda, which is in our code of what time the official agenda is posted.
Mr. Elms: But it was given to us on Friday, and that was not on there. Why are we even entertaining that?
Mr. King: It was on the agenda. The last time there was an issue about it, there was nothing on the agenda, so any people from the public who would have come, who picked up an agenda, would not have seen that action item there. It’s an action item, it’s on the agenda, so people now can comment on it – so it wouldn’t violate the Open Public Meetings Act.
President Rattner: The code is…so what time does the agenda have to be posted to make it official agenda for a meeting? There is a time on the day…we have a time in our code, don’t we? 4:00 or 5:00, I thought we did.
Mrs. Labow: 3:00, I thought.
Mrs. Lashway: 3:00 is when I have it posted on the website, but that is not covered in our code.
President Rattner: Okay. I know there is a time when we have officially prior to the meeting. It can’t be at the meeting, I think it has to be a certain amount of time before.
Mr. Labow: I think it’s 5:00.
President Rattner: I always remember some certain time, I don’t remember what it is off hand, I’d have to look it up. But that’s why we’re discussing it and we can just look at it here, it’s an issue that came up, I didn’t want to put a resolution actually on there because we were taking a vote earlier on one firm, I didn’t want to be presumptuous to put it on to say that I would know absolutely, because I’ve been surprised before the way a vote’s going to go. So, I did have it posted, saying that it was posted on the agenda and saying that we could take possible actions. I think that was the requirements of the law. Am I wrong, from your point of view? Does anybody disagree with my reading of the law? Well, anyway, that’s the resolution. Comments from anybody? Does anyone have any comments, yes, no sideways – do we need it, do we don’t need it?
Mrs. Labow: Can I make a motion to approve?
President Rattner: Sure you can, do we get a second?
Mr. Guenther: Second.
President Rattner: Okay, we have a motion and a second, I will take comments from the public. Does anybody want to comment? What this is is at $100 and I believe $55 an hour to have William Kearns, Jr. appointed as a special counsel to represent the Township Council, because we’re being sued in the action of Richard De La Roche vs. the Township Council of Mount Olive. Yes.
Ronald De La Roche: Good evening, Ronald De La Roche, Wynnwood Road, Mount Olive Township. I just have one question of the Council. How many bids were put out for representation for the Council? Any bidding at all?
Mrs. Labow: We don’t have to bid.
President Rattner: No, it’s a professional services contract just like the appointment is for….
Ronald De La Roche: Okay, thank you – okay, you answered my question.
President Rattner: Consistent with what the Mayor has been, to appoint, we’re just following the same procedure.
Mr. Ron De La Roche: And also notification – I think you kind of crossed over that. Does it have to be posted in the newspaper with regards to adding this to the agenda?
President Rattner: No, I don’t believe we put our agenda in the newspaper, do we?
Mr. Ron De La Roche: Mrs. Lashway mentioned about the website, that it wasn’t covered by code.
President Rattner: No, I said when the agenda has to be published. The website is just a service we give to residents. There are a lot of towns that still don’t have a website.
Mr. Ron De La Roche: Thank you.
President Rattner: Mr. Jones and Mr. Sohl. Mr. Sohl.
Mr. William Sohl: This is the resolution you’re adding?
President Rattner: Yes.
Mr. Sohl: Just like we added the one earlier tonight that at a very ad hoc basis and we had done probably a hundred times when I sat up there. Adding resolutions to the agenda has never been out of the scope of public notice to my knowledge. Correct Lisa? We’ve added resolutions many times.
President Rattner: Only if it was related to a subject matter that was at hand, because we had to take action.
Mr. Sohl: This is not an ordinance of the first reading and not subject to the same publication requirements that we’ve dealt with in those circumstances. So, I approve, you know…go forward.
President Rattner: Mr. Bonte.
Mr. Richard Bonte: Budd Lake. I just want to get clear what this is about.
President Rattner: In fact, what I would like to do is have, would the Clerk read the entire resolution – just so everybody knows exactly what we’re talking about. I think that would probably be the best.
Mrs. Lashway: Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive appointing William Kearns, Jr., Special Counsel, to represent the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive in the action entitled: Richard De La Roche vs. Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive, et al, docket #MRSL0053-04:
Whereas,on January 2nd, 2004, Mayor Richard De La Roche filed a verified complaint and order to show cause, seeking the removal of the Township of Mount Olive Attorney and the turning of all legal documents to another lawfirm without the advice and consent of the Township of Mount Olive Council. And,
Whereas, on or about February 23rd, 2004, Mayor De La Roche amended his complaint naming the Township of Mount Olive Council as a defendant; and,
Whereas, the Township of Mount Olive Council is now compelled to retain special counsel to defend itself in the interests of the Township.
Now, therefore be it resolved by the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive that, 1. It retains William John Kearns, Jr. of the lawfirm of Kearns, Visallo and Kearns, as special counsel to represent the interests of Mount Olive Township and Council in the matter captioned “Richard De La Roche, in his capacity of Mayor of the Township of Mount Olive, Morris County, a municipal corporation of the State of New Jersey vs. John H. Dorsey, Esquire and Dorsey, Fisher and Kings, Esquires and the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive, docket #MRSL0053-04; and, 2. The hourly rate of William John Kearns, Jr. will be $155.
Mr. Bonte: Thank you, Lisa. I don’t know the qualifications of the attorney you’re hiring, but obviously the Council needs to be represented.
President Rattner: Thank you Mr. Bonte, anybody else from the public?
Mr. McDonald: I have a question.
President Rattner: Mr…. I’ll get this…it’s the public, the public portion, Ned.
Mr. McDonald: This contract with the attorney is for one date. Do you anticipate that this proceeding is only going to take one day and it will be over?
President Rattner: It should be over, because I think when the Judge makes his decision, we’ve got to then decide where we go. Either, you know, the Judge is going to say, you know, is going to rule on one side or the other. This is the ruling whether the appointment, you know, how the appointment of the Township Attorney goes. If we decide we have to take, if after that happened, and either side does not like the decision, because obviously somebody’s not going to like the decision, then somebody would have to make the decision to go and appeal it to the next higher up. At least that’s the way I think the procedure is. So, this is for this docket – if we appeal, we have to make a policy decision whether to appeal it just as the Mayor would, if he doesn’t like the decision when rendered on Friday.
Mr. McDonald: If this goes forward, are you going to still hire an attorney on a per diem basis or are you going to contract with someone to handle the entire case?
President Rattner: I don’t know of any attorney that would take it on, you know, a lump sum nor…I think we have to look at what happens on….
Mr. McDonald: No, not necessarily a lump sum, but with the understanding that the attorney would work on the case to completion.
President Rattner: Well, this attorney…this could be. The attorney was the former counsel to the League of Municipalities. He has a legal firm in South Jersey. He was a Democratic Mayor of a town and Municipal Chairman of the Democratic Party. He knows the laws, you know, we’ve used his advise when he was from the League and going forward and since he is well versed in municipal law, the Faulkner Act, and the state statutes, we figured that he was appropriate. Plus we had to find somebody that, you know, we wanted to find somebody who was more of a disinterested, you know, is the term to use. Somebody who’s going to look strictly on the facts because we want to get it straight view; you know, when he gives advice, we want to know that it’s not tainted by any relationships, any previous experience, that type of thing.
Mr. McDonald: Okay.
President Rattner: Anybody else from the public? Seeing none, Mayor – you wanted to make a comment?
Mayor De La Roche: Yes, I have a couple of questions. First of all, who drafted the resolution?
President Rattner: Do you know who drafted that…it came from Mr. Dorsey’s office, I know that, because I asked for it.
Mayor De La Roche: I’m sorry.
President Rattner: Mr. Dorsey’s office.
Mayor De La Roche: Mr. Dorsey’s office drafted the resolution?
President Rattner: Mr. King drafted it, yes.
Mayor De La Roche: Doesn’t he have a conflict with this thing?
Mr. King: I drafted it.
Mayor De La Roche: Yeah, but your firm is involved.
President Rattner: I asked him to write a piece of paper….
Mayor De La Roche: Besides that, it’s replete with inaccuracies. I did not join the Council, the Judge joined the Council. So, the resolution doesn’t even accurately portray what happened. I have gone out of my way, not just me but other people, so it cost the Township absolutely no money, right? And now you have Mr. Dorsey’s office drafting resolutions regarding the case and also indicating that I joined the Council. I did not join the Council, the court joined the Council. So, I would think that this resolution should be examined much more closely before the Council votes on it.
President Rattner: Mr. Greenbaum.
Mr. Greenbaum: Mayor, that is totally inaccurate. You, as a practicing attorney for I don’t know how many years, to put that to the public that you didn’t join the Council, is just hogwash.
Mayor De La Roche: You are….
Mr. Greenbaum: Excuse me, I have the floor at this point, Mayor…I didn’t interrupt you when you were spewing that stuff. You were given an option by the court to either join the Council, or dismiss the suit. You decided to join the Council. You didn’t have to go forward, but you decided that this was important enough to you that you were going to move forward with the suit for whatever reason, you sued the Council. It is the Mayor Richard De La Roche vs. the Township Council. So, don’t sit here and tell me that the Judge ordered you, because you always had the option of dismissing the lawsuit, but….excuse me Mayor De La Roche….you don’t have the floor and you don’t sit up here, and I didn’t interrupt you and I find that to be rude.
Mayor De La Roche: You should know, you’re an expert.
Mr. Greenbaum: Excuse me, I still have the floor and you weren’t recognized by the chair, so let me finish please.
Mayor De La Roche: I have no problem with that.
Mr. Greenbaum: Obviously you do, because you’ve already….
Mayor De La Roche: No obviously I don’t.
Mr. Greenbaum: ……already interrupted me twice.
Mayor De La Roche: Three times.
Mr. Greenbaum: As far as the conflict issue, if the Council President asked Mr. Dorsey’s office to draft a resolution, that’s not a conflict of interest, irrespective of the fact that they’re involved in the litigation. They simply performed a ministerial task to honor the needs of a council member. So you, as an attorney, should also know that that’s not a conflict of interest and to try and assert, as we sit up here, that that’s a conflict, is ridiculous.
President Rattner: Mayor De La Roche.
Mayor De La Roche: So, in your opinion if someone that the Judge orders that we join the Council into something or dismiss the case, that you feel that’s an option that, well I would suggest that Mr. Dorsey could resign and that could be another option, but I don’t see him exhorting that one either, so…but…I have Mr. Dorsey’s firm drafting resolutions regarding the case, I still think there’s a conflict. But, I would have to bow to someone who’s an environmental lawyer, who might know that. I really don’t know. I personally think it’s a conflict, and I think everybody out here thinks it’s a conflict and I’ll say it again, I did not join the Council. The Judge joined the Council.
President Rattner: Any other, Mr. Elms.
Mr. Elms: I believe I read the Judge’s order and it said that the Judge ordered the Council to be joined in this action.
President Rattner: Mrs. Labow, then Mr. Buell.
Mrs. Labow: I read it as well and I took it to mean that Mayor De La Roche had two choices, either join the Council or have it dismissed and he chose to join the Council. It’s off the Council the option to be represented or not. I just read it this morning as a matter of fact.
Mayor De La Roche: There was no option.
President Rattner: Mr. Buell.
Mr. Buell: I would like to have the option to review the order, I have never seen the order. I think that the Mayor should probably provide that to the entire Council.
President Rattner: I believe we have a copy Mr. Buell.
Mr. Buell: Oh, I’m sorry, I’m corrected.
President Rattner: Because there, because now you know…
Mrs. Labow: Yes, I was reading it this morning. We got it a couple, two weeks ago, I think, Lisa?
President Rattner: Whatever it was, I think it was a while ago.
Mrs. Lashway: It was right after it happened.
Mrs. Labow: Right after it happened, two weeks ago.
Mr. Guenther: I call the question
President Rattner: A question has been called, which means there’s no floor, no further discussion. Roll Call.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously except Mr. Elms – No
President Rattner: Okay, now moving on to the lighter side of our business, the Budget.
Mayor De La Roche: May I be recognized?
President Rattner: Sure.
Mayor De La Roche: I just want the public to understand that they had the option, the Council had the option of spending absolutely no money on this case, and they have chosen to spend money on this case. Their rights were protected, I’m sure the Judge was going to protect the rights of the Council so I don’t think that this is a proper expenditure of money and I think it’s very clear, and I think the Council understands it. Many of them have been here for a number of years, they would still be represented with no cost to the Township.
President Rattner: Thank you, Mayor. I believe that the New Jersey Bar Association periodically comes out with a comment – If anybody tries to defend themselves, they have a fool for a client. I remember that. Mr. Guenther.
Mr. Guenther: Well no…I...who’s…I don’t understand the Mayor’s argument. Who’s going…who’s representing us?
President Rattner: He’s saying the Judge would represent us.
Mr. Guenther: The Judge would represent us?
President Rattner: We’re not going to get into any more…we had this discussion…you called it….you’re the one who called it, which ended discussion. Okay, the Budget. Are we prepared to discuss that side, I was hoping…you know, we let you know last week that we wanted to redo some of this if we have information available, where we are, where we are going, so…you have something, Mr. Ruggierio.
Mr. Ruggierio: Just…
President Rattner: Movie pictures?
Mr. Ruggierio: Just something quick, yes. You know you’re single when there’s movie pictures of the Council meeting.
Mr. Ruggierio: We don’t have movie screens, so I apologize.
President Rattner: White board works…no money.
Mrs. Lashway: Yes, that works.
Revenue Side of the Budget: Reserve for Uncollected Taxes
Funding for DPW Reorganization
Mr. Ruggierio: I knew that the Council asked us to take a position of administration on those two issues, the reserve for uncollected taxes, and the budget surplus issues. I think the revenue items, I’m happy to go over them, but they are not as much of a controversial item, so attempting to address the issues to the Council and the public as you requested that we do. So, I think we need to start out with a little philosophy here and the philosophy, you know, we could start with this: The sky is not falling and…I’m supposed to say – yet. Members of the public, I know the Council is aware of this, the reserve for uncollected taxes is an appropriation item that is provided for circumstances in which the Township is counting on taxes from its’ property owners, but those taxes don’t materialize. You probably remember, if you’re old enough, that in the late ‘80’s there were a lot of financial circumstances under which people didn’t pay their taxes. Sometimes there are tax appeals which result in taxes which we might expect to come our way that don’t come our way and that is a particularly apt comment in connection with the circumstances we find ourselves in, in Mount Olive. You will find, when you look at the Budget, that Mayor De La Roche gave over to the Council and, I think Mr. Rattner was correct - I wasn’t here, but I think the Mayor may have been in office a very short period of time, that it has a significant increase in the reserve for uncollected taxes. In fact, you will see from the Budget documents, that there’s a 53.46% in the 2004 reserve for uncollected taxes over the 2003 figures, which equates out to $836,721.
President Rattner: Excuse me, Mr. Ruggierio, what does each….what do they represent in dollars…each bar?
Mr. Ruggierio: Well, I can tell you the...I can go to the Budget document to tell you that…but the 2003 item is about $1.5 Million, the 2004 is about $2.4 Million, the difference being, I don’t remember the 2002, but as you can see…
President Rattner: Well it’s close to the others…
Mr. Ruggierio: But the difference is $836,721 and, of course, we know that the tax point is approximately $200,000. So, the question, and this is a short presentation, but the question that the Council has to ask itself and has been asking advice from the Administration, that is how high should the reserve for uncollected taxes be set? Now, I heard Mr. Bonte earlier and some of the Council members debating or discussing, I should say, the question of should we speed along with this process or should be go slower and here’s my answer to that question – how high should the reserve for uncollected taxes be set? I think the answer is that it’s too early to decide and that may sound to some of you as being an equivocal answer, but let’s ask the question, why is it too early to decide? And here’s I think what the Administration’s position is. The tax appeal deadlines – the deadline by which tax payers have to file appeals – is April 1st, 2004. That date has not yet occurred. We know, I mean, it’s in the newspapers, that a major…our biggest tax payer has filed a tax appeal. And, without disclosing anything that I think is confidential, sometimes early settlements of tax appeals, warranted tax appeals, where there should be a reduction, if that’s in order, can change the whole landscape and quick action (and that’s supposed not goop but group) quick action and a reasonable, you know, adversary on the other side can sometimes result in, you know, an appropriate approach. It’s too early for us at this point to say that we are there, but I think the point that was made earlier is the point that I would want to make and that is that, you know, that this application for extraordinary aid is going in, we are not certainly going to have a Budget in place by April 1st, so as I said before, it’s too early to decide, but I think that, you know, this delay that is necessary will work for us because we may be able to afford some…or avail ourselves of some of these strategies to bring the taxes down. And so, what happens if neither of these things can be done before the Budget is introduced? Well, in an appropriate circumstance, and I don’t want to go too far down this road, but in an appropriate circumstance, there is the opportunity to bond out and repay out over a five year period a tax refund obligation. And so, it’s the position of the Administration, on the reserve for uncollected taxes that the Budget that was presented and is before the Council right now, is appropriate and, I think in the words of Mr. Rattner which I think completely mirrored the words of Mayor De La Roche, the…a rational Budget is not going to be a zero percent tax increase, but a rational Budget is not going to be a 16% tax increase. And so, what I would say to all of you (the public and the Council) is that we will work diligently to employ these two strategies to see that the tax number comes down to the lowest possible amount that it can, but that’s got to be our position right now that it’s too early.
As far as surplus is concerned, I think you know that with respect to surplus that we haven’t…as Sherry pointed out in the Budget hearings that we had two Saturday’s…that we haven’t had the same level of increase in added assessments that we had in other years. From my assessment of the Budget, and I’ve discussed it with Mayor De La Roche, the amount of surplus does look rational based on those circumstances. And that would be the position of the Administration the Council asked us to take.
President Rattner: Mr. Ruggierio, I’m not really sure…you’re saying that the levels that were in the…that are in the document that we have today?
Mr. Ruggierio: Yes.
President Rattner: If, and I’m not saying it can’t be tweaked, I mean obviously…and look at it and if we get more information, you’re saying the surplus annual reserve is appropriate and you’re just saying the one option we have, if I understood, on the reserve for uncollected taxes is, let’s not worry…you know, ah it’s probably a bad term…let’s not put away money for something that may happen, even though in business you have to look at the likelihood and you estimate what you think would be there and then you would just bond in the future instead of cutting or booking the expense this year that if next year – then we’d have two years if, let’s say, it takes that long, that we would just go out and bond for it and pay it off going in the future for expenses that we used the money on this year?
Mr. Ruggierio: I don’t really want to….
President Rattner: I understand the concept, but you’re basically saying ….I’m not saying….I’m not asking for a definitive answer, but you’re saying it’s just the option but the numbers right now that are in the Budget are not unreasonable, but we have to look at different ways of actually accomplishing it.
Mr. Ruggierio: Well, I think that if you ask me for my best prediction, I think that that number for the reserve for uncollected taxes is going to change and is going to significantly bring down the tax liability that we’re going to have to raise from the tax payers. That’s what I think is going to happen, but it’s going to require aggressive and concerted action on the part of our legal staff and on the part of the Township to try to capitalize on those two strategies. And if we do that, then I think we will achieve what I’ve said and what I think you and the Mayor agree upon that, at the end of the day we will not be at 16% nor will we be at zero, but we will be in the low percents, I believe.
President Rattner: Does anyone have questions/comments? Mr. Guenther.
Mr. Guenther: I’d like…I see Sherry here…I would like to ask what was the rationale for the large increase in the reserve for uncollected taxes – the more than 50% increase?
Mayor De La Roche: Well, I think that we’ve discussed this in closed session, and as I understand it, the Council President did not want it discussed because of it gave certain advantages we have…may need at a later date regarding any possible law suits. And I believe you were present at the discussions, so I’m just surprised that you forgot that.
President Rattner: Mayor, I think…and you’re right…we don’t want to discuss that, but the reason why it came up was we started…and forgot in a press release where you stated that we could actually eliminate a good portion of that and then bond; and then you sent that out to the newspaper. So, I think that’s what Mr. Guenther was getting to. But the specifics, and I think the public understands, you know, basically this is a major tax payer, the largest tax payer we have in town and he basically filed a suit against the town wanting the taxes reduced. We don’t know where that’s going to come out, you don’t want to telegraph, and that’s what the Mayor was eluding to and he’s absolutely right, what our strategy is going to be, because we’ve got to decide…we’re going to aggressively defend it and we have to get certain experts, you know, different appraisers who specialize in that area making sure that our position is good, so when we go ahead, we either defend our position or, if we have to deal, we make sure we do it from strength. Also, what’s happened since then is that another major tax payer in the same general area has filed an appeal and, you know, with this economy and with commercial values that are unsteady, I mean, we keep building, but we don’t know where we’re going to be and I think that’s where we have to leave it at this point. The issue came up because a couple weeks ago, that it was looked at and said this is maybe one of the areas, or this is an area where we can save a lot of money. It may be an area that we can look at, but if we don’t pay it…it’s either pay me now or pay me later. If the tax appeal comes in, whether it be by settlement or by court decision, we have to write out a check within a certain amount of days and that’s just the reality of life and it is tough right now and we wanted to get a handle…I think what we’re hearing tonight did get…we can fine tune it and the later on we go, the more information we have to better information, the better we can get it down…but I think what we’re hearing now is that overall the rationale is there…it was put together by the CFO and reviewed by a few different people, the auditors and the business administrator who was here at the time and I believe the Mayor at least briefly, in his short tenure here, that it’s something and it’s a starting point. We have to really look where it is. We don’t know where exactly the number is and I bet you if you asked everybody up here we’d all have our own opinion also. So, I think we want to leave that…I was just hoping that because comments came up, that maybe we came up with better numbers so we’d know whether we actually had anything to work with. I do think that there probably could be some modification and movement on both those numbers. Can it be real great? We don’t know at this point. I think that’s where we really are. Mr. Guenther.
Mr. Guenther: Alright…ah…
President Rattner: We don’t know specifics.
Mr. Guenther: No..No…Okay, I’m off that subject. It said on the revenue side you have on the agenda…the revenue side of the Budget says funding for DPW reorganization. We voted…you voted, I didn’t..for delay to April 27th to consider the expenditures. Can...when…what is the Administration’s timetable? This has been proposed at least six weeks ago originally. I think they’ve had enough time to flush this out. I don’t think it should wait until April 27th to be presented to us. I’d like their input as to when we could see some flushing out of this proposed DPW reorganization.
President Rattner: Well, the DPW was put on because that is a major structural change and there is a lot of different complexities with the Budget, because we’re talking about additional personnel, offsets maybe on some other areas, but the way it effects the Budget is statutory, you know, and how you get it in, and it needed a little more work. If you remember the discussion, I don’t know if anybody bought into the plan wholeheartedly, but I think most of us saw different pieces of it that we liked. I don’t think there was any doubt about that. So, if there are some pieces there, we want to be able to get that and if there is a cost involved, because sometimes there is a first year cost, if you can have continuing benefits. I mean, that’s something, so I was just hoping that we get at least the cost of the proposed program because it’s also in your six month plan, which I think is one of the shorter term items, but at least…so…if we’re doing the Budget, because if we put together the Budget and there’s not funds to make a change, we might as well not even discuss it this year. That was the reason for bring it up. Mr. Guenther.
Mr. Guenther: With all due respect, you didn’t answer my question. I directed it at the Administration. I’d still like an answer as to when we could see this flushing out. I agree with what you said but that still wasn’t an answer to my question.
Mr. Ruggierio: Can I ask a question in response because I really don’t remember whether this got distributed or not, but Mr. Elms had a proposal and I analyzed it, I’m sorry. I analyzed the proposal and sent him, you know, I think it maybe even happened before I got here, you know, analyzed it. Did Council receive that?
President Rattner: Was that the two flow charts?
Mr. Ruggierio: No, I’ll be happy to give Council my assessment of Mr. Elms proposal, but I will say this, I am very close to telling you what I think about the DPW department.
President Rattner: Well, remember one of the things is that we got the Budget and the Budget may be on a shorter term than implementing the public works. To be fair to spending the time to discuss it, if we find it’s a good idea, you want to make sure the Budget, you know, you have that. You know, we might not like the system, but it’s the statutory system we have to operate under.
Mr. Ruggierio: That’s true. There may not be unanimity, so I’m venturing out here on dangerous ground, but I said to Mr. Elms at some point that I feel that any changes that may occur, will need to be made in the future. I’m not sure he agrees with that, but to me the funding that’s required for the department is the current structure. So the structural change, I would say no, not at this moment, maybe in next year’s Budget.
President Rattner: I’ll propose this. Our next workshop is what April, it’s not April fools day is it? April 6th. So we could do a little bit of this...and not….you know, get the other things that are going to come up in the next two weeks, you know, with the workshop. We’re allowed, without going through a lot of extra rigmarole, we can start up to an hour early?
Mrs. Lashway: Yes.
President Rattner: I would say, so we don’t have to be here late, so we can allocate at least an hour and a half on the Budget. I think what we’ll do at that time is, as I said, you know, we’ve gone over the department budgets, we probably still have some questions, we can discuss, we can take all the different proposals, you know, Mr. Buell has come up with a list, Mr. Greenbaum, so we can actually start looking at it department by department and at least get as many of those things flushed out as we can. What do the people think about 6:30? Instead of setting up another Saturday or something, I think most of us would rather just get it here early and just work it as a regular meeting. Does anybody have any comments? It also gives Bill another two weeks before we have to come back so there’s a lot of different things that I’m sure he could get accomplished at that time. Mr. Guenther.
Mr. Guenther: Well, the reason I keep pushing this DPW reorganization is because it does have a major impact on what we’re going to discuss as far as expenses and revenues and I think should come before we discuss anything else, because we’ve got to come to a meeting of the minds as to what we really want to do with that department.
President Rattner: Mr. Ruggierio, do you think you could have, you know, after your analysis at least obviously you have to work it out with the Mayor, your boss, you know to make sure what you’re going to be presenting, what you think is doable or the implementation and the practical plan so then we can move on. So maybe we’ll do that and that will be the first thing we’ll have on the agenda.
Mr. Guenther: Absolutely. Could we be provided with Mr. Buell’s and Mr. Greenbaum’s proposed cuts?
President Rattner: Well, I think what we’ll probably do is everybody gets all the different cuts, you get them to me…you know how we worked together on this like we did on the last list and we’ll come up with one list – by department and we’ll have everybody so you can see. This way we’ll put it on a spreadsheet, seven names with seven items and then we could have what everybody is proposing so that we know, and then everybody else will get it so we know what the other person is doing. So, you know, Bernie could ask Colleen what do you think we can cut, Jim can talk to Ray – that type of thing. That’s fair.
Mr. Guenther: So, before your next…..
President Rattner: We’ll get that at least a week….all I ask is that if everybody could get that by…if you could get, Jim next Thursday, do you think you’ll be available?
Mr. Buell: Yes.
President Rattner: Okay so maybe we’ll look at that, so if we get it by the beginning next week, everybody’s list, just give it to Lisa, she’ll give it to Jim and I and then we’ll put together one…everybody’s list on there together. And I think, by us looking at everybody else’s, you know, you get some ideas like how did you catch that?...and why do you think?....I’m sure we’ll have a lot of disagreements ourselves. It also gives some indication to the administration what we’re looking at, so if they need more information from the department heads and the people working there, they can get that. Everybody agree then?
Mrs. Lashway: Yes.
Mr. Guenther: What are we agreeing to?
President Rattner: That everybody will come up with…if they have proposed cuts, or additions because some of us had some additions, any additions by department, you know, and at least try to put at least…it doesn’t have to be a full paragraph, but at least a line that you want to cut.
Mr. Guenther: Is this by Thursday of next week?
President Rattner: By Wednesday of next week. Then Jim and I will meet Thursday night, hopefully, and then by Friday we can get it to the Administration – at least so they can see what we’re thinking. They’re going to be working on their own things, so at least if they see something or if there is a hot point or something that they figure that they need to defend against, which would be reasonable, they have at least a little bit of time to do it. And, you know, we don’t have to discuss everything next Tuesday, but at least the more information we can get them the better. So we’ll start on the next workshop at 6:30? The first hour and a half will be allocated to the Budget because and that’s all because we’ll want to get all the other business that we’ll have to get done.
Mrs. Labow: That’s on April 6th?
President Rattner: Yes.
Mrs. Labow: And next week, are we having a meeting or not?
President Rattner: No, we’ve voted…
Mr. Guenther: April 6th at what time, Steve?
President Rattner: 6:30.
Mrs. Lashway: And we’ll go to 8:00 on the Budget.
President Rattner: And the way she’s going to schedule it, is the Budget will go to 8:00 – only 8:00. It’s not going to go any longer, if we’re not finished, we’ll carry it over because we want to handle the other business that we’ll have…that I’m sure we’re going to have for the night. Then if we have time at the end, we can always go back to it, but I think that’s the most reasonable way to go.
Mrs. Labow: And it’s not a workshop right, it’s a regular meeting?
President Rattner: It’s a regular workshop. It’s just that we’re starting at 6:30 and that will allocate an hour and a half. Okay, moving right along. Any other new business for anybody? Mr. Buell.
Mr. Guenther: You never discussed old business.
President Rattner: We were in old business.
Mr. Guenther: Yeah, but you never asked anybody else…..
Mr. Buell: This is new old business.
President Rattner: Okay, we’re doing old business right now, because Mr. Guenther wants us to go old, so…
Mr. Guenther: Okay, I have a couple of things. Just, not right now, but I’d like to discuss at some time, is where do we stand with the Recreation Committee ordinance that was pending, I guess I wasn’t there that night, but as I understand it was tabled for future discussion because it was some versions of opinion of what we want to do with that. I would like to know where we stand on that, ye, neigh or indifferent or whatever. And the second thing is the old municipal building, where…what’s the status of that project? At the next meeting, maybe have a report on those?
President Rattner: Mr. Guenther, if I’m not mistaken, right now we know we want to put, you know, resolve some issues with the recreation committee, but are we still short enough people to have a quorum at least to go forward with this…..
Mr. Guenther: I don’t know where we stand.
President Rattner: Because, I don’t think we actually have…I think that’s one of the things we just…the Mayor appoints one person, at least it can be a working committee and maybe we can get that resolved at the next meeting. I think that’s all that we really…that’s the short term and the long term is structuring it the proper way.
Mr. Guenther: The Mayor has appointed three individuals that have to be submitted to the Council for advise and consent, so I guess we’ll do that in the next day or so.
President Rattner: And have it put in the report next week and then we can put it on the next workshop, and then we’ll put it on the next public meeting, so we can get that moving. The season’s coming up. Anything else, Mr. Guenther?
Mr. Guenther: That’s it.
President Rattner: Thank you. Mr. Buell, the new old….
Mr. Buell: The new and old.
President Rattner: We’ll do the old stuff first.
Mr. Buell: Okay well, Rosewood Ditch. On my walkarounds two weeks ago, several residents of the Rosewood Ditch have been cleaned up and Tim Quinn is not here tonight. I think they’ve done a very good job. Other residents felt the Rosewood Ditch is not…is well cleaned up, some think it’s not cleaned up to their satisfaction. I think it’s an issue we need to put onto a workshop, invite the residents to come, I’ll volunteer to knock on their doors and deliver the notices.
President Rattner: Lisa, do you have a file on that…from three Mayors, probably about six different Councils, you know, because everybody has their opinion of what should be done.
Mr. Buell: It is actually cleaned up at this point in time, I think it’s the time to put it on the Council and try to settle the role of whose job is it to keep that thing cleaned up?
President Rattner: Lisa, do we have any more room on our conference table to pull out the file of the Rosewood Ditch? Because I think it helps to see some of the things that went before…especially if we made promises, you know, there are certain things that we made certain commitments….and that’s good to know ahead of time, especially if somebody’s going to say – “but you told us this...” and if you agree with them, then you know, and if not, this is what the agreement was.
Mr. Buell: Is it really an administrative issue, as opposed to a Council issue?
President Rattner: Yeah. Mr. Elms and then the Mayor.
Mr. Elms: Rather than take up Council time, why don’t you set up a working group of the Council that live in that area and let them bring back a recommendation to the Council?
President Rattner: I would rather have that the administration review what’s gone on, you’ve heard the comments, which from in the past, I tend to agree with Mr. Buell, come up and say this is what we have done, this is what we think is appropriate, this is what is actually required and then I think that should be the starting point. To have another sub-committee to go there, because I think we’re going to end up, especially with just the residence that live right there, and I know some of the problems we’ve had in the past, I think let the administration look what it is, that’s why I’m asking to get out some of the files, you know, what’s been promised to different problems we’ve had before, how much we delivered on, how much we didn’t, and then schedule that in the near future. And I don’t think a sub-committee at this…really…we spend a lot of time… there’s so much information out there, we just have to decide this is what we’re committed to do and this is what we’re going to do. Mr. Greenbaum.
Mr. Greenbaum: We don’t do anything. We don’t cut the grass, we don’t send people out to cut the grass. That’s done from the administration. If there’s a problem in terms of cleaning the Rosewood Ditch, and I believe that there is, and we should mandate that the admin…or at least request that the administration meet with these people to come up with a solution in terms of how this is going to be maintained. Irrespective of whatever decision, whatever help that we can give, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re not the ones who can actually force the changes. So, that’s why I think that a meeting is appropriate between the administration and the residents of the Township to finally once and for all get this resolved. Let them come, let’s have Tim Quinn there, let’s have the business administrator there, let’s have them hear the complaints of the people, and that’s the way Bill can request Tim and his people to go out and do what is required. I don’t really understand why we need to get back involved in this situation, when we cannot give the services that are required to resolve the problem.
President Rattner: I think what we want is the administration to say what they’re doing and the level of service. There may be an expense, because if you will remember in the past, we considered because of the complexity and what we have to do there, calling an outside service, that’s going to be funds. That may be the right way to go. I agree with first half, and I think that’s what I’m saying, is let the administration go, come up with what they need and bring it back. If they say that we’ve looked at it, we’ve looked at all the agreements, you know, the easements and everything else, this is what we’re committed to do and, as a practical matter, this is what they should be doing. If they think there should be more, then they have to come back to us because we have to give them the funds or whatever resources to be able to do it.
Mr. Buell: Rob, …..
President Rattner: Wait a minute, Mr. Buell. The Mayor has had his hand up twice.
Mayor De La Roche: I just wanted to thank Mr. Buell for his kind remarks and I’ll pass them on to Mr. Quinn and when we consider that he did this during the peak snow season and I think he is to be commended and I thank Mr. Buell for recognizing that.
President Rattner: Thank you Mayor, Mr. Buell.
Mr. Buell: Well, part of the problem is that Cindy Spencer did the…I think the….Mayor Lacitra met with several people from the Rosewood Ditch and they…sometime late last year…and they declined what cleanup is. Unfortunately, that did not filter down to all of the people who live on the Rosewood Ditch. That’s the reason why I think we….I’d like to see a workshop, where we define this thing, and define responsibilities for this once and for all.
President Rattner: What Mr. Greenbaum said is the administration has to come up with a procedure. You know, they’re the ones who get it done. Mr. Guenther, then the Mayor again.
Mr. Guenther: No, I just support what Rob Greenbaum said, it really…I think it should, Jim, with all due respect, it’s got to be the administration…all the appropriate players, from Quinn, whoever else is involved, obviously the administrator, with the specific citizens that have, you know, maybe that message hasn’t gotten to. And, for them to give the input to the administration and let them see, well okay, their concerns have not been addressed, but maybe they have been and they…it just hasn’t been properly communicated. But I think it’s not something to bring out here at the workshop, because then there’s still the additional step. We still have to do the additional step anyway about implementation. So I…if there’s a conflict in that particular meeting..well, they can always bring it to Council and we can try to straighten it out. But I think, you know, the good will of all parties involved, I think if they meet in Bill’s office or the Mayor’s office and sit down and, you know, I think they could work it out.
President Rattner: Okay, I’ll let you have the final comment, Mayor on this one. But on this just that, you’re right, let them figure out…but they should still come back and report to us what they decided on, if they need anything, that’s what they’ll do. Mayor, you have the last comment on this subject.
Mayor De La Roche: I just wanted to remind Mr. Buell that I and Mr. Elms and he did walk the Rosewood Ditch and we did discuss it with some of the people, they are have different opinions as to what constitutes clean up. Not everybody wants it cleaned up as much as I would like to see it cleaned up anyway. Because they like the overgrowth and they like to use the ditch for whatever reasons they like to use it, to get rid of their clippings and everything else. So, I think that probably, not that I’m very good at putting out mandates, but I think the purpose is to move the water as opposed to take grass clippings, so I’m not too sure that, you know, in that respect, it should be opened to a public forum. I think the purpose is to make the…to do what the ditch is there for and I, you know, I can understand people liking the overgrowth – it adds a little color to their backyards, but at the same time, the ditch is there for a particular reason, so I’m not too sure that it’s going to make any difference because you’re going to have pro and con.
President Rattner: Okay, I would give the…make the request that the administration give us a status report at the second workshop of the month. Just, at least, where it is, if you need something, you’ll say what you need from us, if not you’ll say how you’re handling it so at least we know…
Mr. Ruggierio: Blessed are the peace makers.
President Rattner: Who has the floor, Mr. Buell still has the floor. Anything else?
Mr. Buell: That’s all.
President Rattner: Mrs. Labow.
Ms. Labow: I had old business in Turkey Brook Park. The berm for Sunset that was supposed to be up for the people, do we still have the funds available for that, or did they go…
President Rattner: The funds are right here…yeah…still there, but that would have to be the administration. They would also have to look to see exactly what was required and what will be done.
Mrs. Labow: Because we’re getting into the season where there’s going to be a lot of sporting events going on, if we’re going to…Mr. Ruggierio was that the residents of Sunset were promised that berm for privacy and noise buffer. To this day, it has not been put up. During campaigning, Mr. Buell and I were at one house and these people couldn’t even open their windows, nothing, the noise was incredible, if they could at least get a natural barrier, there. But, I’m not sure if the funds are still there or not.
Mayor De La Roche: Okay, well I’m sure you could appreciate there are many problems that are carried from the prior administration. One by one we have to work on them, until we resolve them, and that’s what I’m attempting to do.
Mrs. Labow: Thank you, I wasn’t done.
Mayor De La Roche: Sorry.
President Rattner: Mayor, could we also, at the meeting when we talk about the Rosewood Ditch, could you have a report on Mrs. Labow’s…at least where it is, I mean, you’re not saying anything’s been done, but at least that you’ve looked into it and this is what should be done and this is how whether we have the resources or we don’t have the resources to do it at this time, without anything from us.
Mrs. Labow: Thank you. The other thing, I believe it’s old business, on Route 46, the gas station next to the 7-11, K-C Fuel. What’s the status on that, I mean, I keep getting calls from people about these tanks there and they’re concerned. What’s…do we know what’s going on with that property?
M. Ruggierio: K-C Fuel?
Mrs. Labow: Yes, it’s right next to 7-11, it’s on…
President Rattner: See, it used to be an old Sunoco Station, then it was Town & Country….
Mrs. Labow: Well, the tarp fell off, that’s how come I noticed…
President Rattner: Then they put the gasoline into the lake and they closed down.
Mrs. Labow: Right on Route 46 East, Bill, eastbound after you pass…just before 7-11. Okay, so you know where it is. But anyway, people say there are four tanks in the back and people want to know what’s going on with that. I’m done, thank you.
President Rattner: Anybody else with any New Business.
Mr. Ruggierio: I don’t have any.
President Rattner: Okay, Legal Reports, any legal reports, Mr. King?
Mr. King: No legal reports.
Mrs. Labow: We spoke at the Library this evening and I asked the questions…I missed the meeting because I was here for the Highlands Conference.
Recreation Liaison Report
Mr. Elms: We had a meeting on the 3rd of March. I believe we’re waiting for the three other slots to be filled and what we’re going to do about the recreation ordinance. And, now I understand we’re going to be a recreation utility, so….this is supposed to be an advisory committee and I suggested one form for the advisory committee make-up and Mr. Buell suggested another one, so…they should both be run by the Council and see which way you want to go.
President Rattner: I think we did that and I think it was sent back to the administration for recommendation, you know, taking whatever it is and what they want. The recreation committee, for all practical purposes, reports to the Mayor and he had to be the one who is able to deal with the control and that type thing that’s involved with it. They’re an advisory committee and that’s what they are, they do a very valuable service and they put in a lot of effort, but it really is an advisory committee, put together to make the proposals, but they’re not a decision making body. So, I would ask that that paperwork just…you know, we’ll find out what’s there. And maybe that’s something else again, you know…I’m putting everything at the…you know…I’m giving you a month, I’m saying all these different things, these are little things and if we could get some of these accomplished, I think everybody’s going to feel well served.
Mr. Ruggierio: I actually looked at this, I won’t tell you about it now, but I thought, geez, I’m stepping on Council’s toes, but I think we’d be happy to make a recommendation.
President Rattner: Is that it, Mr. Elms?
Mr. Elms: That’s it.
Board of Health Report
Mr. Guenther: It meets this coming Wednesday, so I’ll report….
Planning Board Report.
Mr. Greenbaum: Yes, I think since last Council Meeting, we had two Planning Board Hearings. One hearing dealt with primarily Robbie’s Music Store as the main applicant of discussion, it’s a proposal to convert, I believe it’s Hemlock Nursery, to use the existing structure and add a separate structure with regard to storage. There were some issues that did not get resolved with regard to the parking in the front setback off Route 46 and also the physical appearance of the buildings and they’re going to come back with some kind of color rendering as to what they’re proposing to do. At the next Planning Board Hearing, there were two applicants, one was a modification of a cell tower, I believe, back on Waterloo Valley Road, to add existing antennas to that existing tower. And also continuation of the application for Blue Atlas Nursery, which I believe is 22 homes and that also did not conclude, but they’re not seeking any variances with regard to that property.
President Rattner: Blue Atlas Nursery is saying that they’re taking their property that they currently have a nursery on and making a development?
Mr. Greenbaum: Blue Atlas Nursery is moving forward with their development rights of that property. Yes, although the fact that they receive approval, doesn’t mean that they will cease operation. It just means that they are looking to…
President Rattner: Sell the property.
Mr. Greenbaum: Not necessarily, but they are looking to establish their rights in terms of development at this point in time and they would get whatever rights vested to them under preliminary, and they’re only seeking preliminary approval because their concept is to sell the lots individually at the time when they ultimately decide to close up shop and move forward. One of the issues which came up actually was pretty interesting, it was whether or not pesticides had been used on the property. Obviously that’s an issue which, you know, has come up in the town before, and it’s a hot issue I understand in Montville Township currently. The applicant indicated that all the trees that have been brought into the site were certified non-pesticide and that they’ve never used pesticides at the site. Notwithstanding that, there was a discussion that certain testing that should be done on the site and the applicant ultimately agreed to that. There was also significant discussion with regard to tree banking and how that was going to be accomplished on this particular site.
Mr. Buell: Rob, anything on the Sutton Park South?
Mr. Greenbaum: No, there was a meeting with regarding Sutton Park South that was adjourned because of the snow storm.
Mr. Guenther: What is the issue of Sutton Park South?
Mr. Greenbaum: The applicant has…the owner of the property has submitted to the Planning Board a concept plan to further develop that property.
Mr. Guenther: But, excuse me, where? In the back?
Mr. Greenbaum: Ames.
Mr. Guenther: Oh Sutton I’m sorry, I was thinking of…okay.
Mr. Greenbaum: Ames, Colonial, and a couple of other stores. It’s a concept plan, there are three or four different proposals and it would be premature at this time to discuss them publicly.
Board of Adjustment
Mr. Perkins: Thank you Mr. President, most of the matters were routine with the exception of Dockrell Yacht Club. That was back again, still looking for the certification for pre-existing non-conforming use. The Board denied that application, and I would refer to Mr. King to expand on that.
Mr. King: There is a court matter - it’s a long tortured history. Probably about four years ago there was the first part of the property, which was the beach site. This went to court and it was appealed from Municipal Court. The Superior Court Judge ruled that there was $7,500 worth of fines that should be paid. That was appealed, it came back. In between those appeals, the vehicles that were on the beach property were removed to the parking lot property, which is across 46. Again, summonses were issued, that was transferred, at the request of the property owner, to Mine Hill. Mine Hill found against the property owner, I think there was $37,000 worth of fines levied, however, that was also appealed. The appeal was dismissed at one point, there was a motion made by the property owner to bring that appeal back, there was a private writ filed by the property owners suing the town. I think John Dorsey and a couple of other people, at one point in time that was dismissed but brought back by the property owner. We went to court just before Judge Stanton left the bench. Judge Stanton reinstated the prerogative writ, but put it through on the inactive list, then Judge Bonzoneli, at one point, dismissed it without prejudice. He brought back the Mine Hill appeal, put that on the inactive list and wanted the property owner to go before the zoning board to get a non-conforming, pre-existing use because he felt that the site was never properly adjudicated before the right board to see if there was a pre-existing use. Because that would in turn effect all of the prior fines and complaints. It was probably about a year and a half….
President Rattner: Would you please move closer to the mike, I can’t hear.
Mr. King: By the way, I got your…I received your memo and you’re going to get a four page memo in response. That matter…the property owner, who was here today, was supposed to go before the zoning board, the zoning board was supposed to hear that probably within six months, but unfortunately it’s almost been two months because there has been numerous delays and I received a letter from the zoning board secretary advising that the zoning board finally said enough is enough and dismissed it. So, there’s time for an appeal from that… the zoning board, which I’m waiting for. If there is no appeal, then I’m going to go back to court and try to obtain those monies and also the monies with regard to the Mine Hill matter.
Mr. Perkins: Thank you Mr. King, that’s it in a nut shell, Mr. President.
President Rattner: That’s a big nut shell.
Open space report – Mr. Elms, anything to report?
Mr. Elms: We had a meeting on the 8th of March.
Mr. Elms: Nothing, there’s no committee.
Pride Committee Liaison Report
Mrs. Labow: They met this evening and they started talking about the Earth Day celebration, they met and I had to come over here. But one of the things that….and I’ve been contacted by a couple residents in town. They’re very concerned about the condition of the town as far as cleanliness goes…within two days two people from town called me and they wanted to know couldn’t we have like a town-wide clean up and sponsor it during Earth Day celebration. Then I checked into the adopt-a-spot, which Tim Quinn gave me the updated list for the adopt-a-spots in town, it’s like a quarter of what it used to be. So, we’re going to be working on that. They did send out a letter the 22nd of March for people – did you get it? – I know. Anyway, it’s kind of like a project I’m taking on, I think the project kind of fell by the wayside, I’d like to start working on it – make more public awareness and so, that’s it.
Board of Education Liaison Report
Mr. Buell, you didn’t go to the Board of Education meeting last night.
Mr. Buell: There wasn’t one.
President Rattner: It was on the calendar.
Mr. Buell: I know, but it’s been changed to next Monday the 29th at 7:30 at the High School, special budget I think.
President Rattner: You know, Liz Hamlin was there, the Board of Ed was there…
Mr. Buell: I happened to call them and ask them.
President Rattner: Lake Committee/Environmental Issues Committee. We’re planning….Mr. Elms, yes.
Mr. Elms: We have a meeting with the Board of Ed on the school access road the 31st.
President Rattner: Right, I believe everybody got an individual invite, however, we can’t have more than three people go. These are people who have had an interest. I will not be around, so I can’t go. I’m one of the liaison’s along with Mr. Buell. Mr. Buell, are you anticipating attending?
Mr. Buell: Yes, I will – where is it, here? What time of day?
President Rattner: 1:30 – so are you planning to go? Well, anybody, let’s go this way, does anybody have an intent…would like to go?
Mr. Elms: I’d like to go, but if there’s somebody that’s been….
President Rattner: Mr. Elms said he wants to go.
Mrs. Labow: It’s March 31st at 1:00 PM, next Wednesday.
President Rattner: Okay, Mr. Buell, you said you were going to go.
Mr. Buell: Yes I plan to.
President Rattner: Okay, do we have other takers?
Mrs. Labow: It doesn’t say the location, but it is here?
Mr. Buell: It’s here.
President Rattner: Okay, well we have Jim and Bob. If anybody wants to go, let Lisa know to make sure that we don’t have over…then it’s a problem. Because, they’re probably going to discuss the access road, things like that, so…This is their facilities meeting, it’s not a regular Board of Ed meeting. So, right now, it’s Mr. Buell and Mr. Elms will be representing the Council.
Lake Committee/Environmental Issues
President Rattner: We’re planning our spring cleanup, which is going around the lake from roughly the Boat House to the Municipal Building, cleaning up garbage that can be easily reached, doing maintenance on the pear trees. One thing I did hear with that fire we had this morning that the Health Department did notify the Lake Committee – remember, that was the protocol that was set up, because of the interconnection of all the storm drains where there could be, you know, the water with may be chemicals running…that may have gone into the lake, so at least it can be monitored. The Lake Committee had volunteered their services to be spotters to see if anything’s actually getting into the lake so that worked out well.
Safety Committee Liaison
Mr. Guenther: There’s been no….
President Rattner: You haven’t gotten a call for...a meeting. Okay, now we come to the final Public Portion of the meeting, Ned then Mr. Jones.
Ned McDonald, Budd Lake: Question on the bill list, page 21, what are power paddlers?
President Rattner: I got in trouble that last time I brought that up. Bill, or do you want to have your person who can explain it? Bill, maybe if you ask Jill.
Ms. Daggon: Power paddlers are the single person aquatic vessels that we’re adding to our paddle boat program at the beach this summer. They’re for children…some of them are for single child up to a poundage of 120 pounds and one adult 140A compliance, they can use the sand wheel chair that we have into the water and transfer directly into the arm powered boat.
Mr. McDonald: I thought the paddle boat situation was not resolved, am I mistaken in that – that we are going ahead with the paddle boat concessions? Yes, we are going ahead with it? Did Council approve that? Was it discussed and approved?
Ms. Daggon: Yes.
President Rattner: Not the capital purchases, these were just the smaller little boats, the paddle boats and things like that have not been resolved.
Mr. McDonald: This won’t entail buying a power boat?
President Rattner: Oh, they’re still trying.
Mr. McDonald: I thought the power boat was going to be necessary for the paddle boat concession, the way it was described before.
President Rattner: It’s still on the table, that decision hasn’t been made yet. We’ll leave it at that. The power boat has not been approved.
Dave Jones, Route 46: In regards to the Rosewood Ditch, I don’t think it was originally planned correctly in the first place, way back, whenever they put the Cloverhill development in. What I believe should happen over there is they should have an underground sewer that goes the length behind the Cloverhill development. I think that would be the proper way to handle it, and I would hope, I don’t know who’s liaison to the Planning Board, but I would hope the Planning Board could look at that or, you know, consider that as an alternative to the ditch.
President Rattner: Why would the Planning Board have any jurisdiction….
Mr. Jones: I don’t know, or if you could consider putting in a sewer there.
President Rattner: I think that is that the administration has to figure what is needed for the safety of that area and the aesthetics and what is appropriate.
Mr. Jones: Because, I think in the long run it would probably be cheaper, because we wouldn’t have to clean it up every year, you know, and it would probably satisfy a lot of the residents.
President Rattner: Thank you Mr. Jones. Mr. Foote.
Mike Foote, Budd Lake: Question on snow removal. I live between…on First Street in Budd Lake, Woodland Avenue – I discussed this with Mark when he was here – Woodland Avenue between Route 46 and Netcong Road – the little short piece there that loops around George’s Deli. He told me that was the State’s responsibility. The State does not plow that, they might just go through there, turn around. It’s being neglected, I know I live back there, Colleen lives back and Mr. Sohl lives back there. Could we maybe make a call to somebody and see if we could get this resolved? Because it’s never cleaned up, from Kennedy’s Tavern, you know, that loop behind George’s Deli there is never…..
Ms. Labow: That little strip by the light, right?
Mr. Foote: Right. I know that Morris County does, I believe, behind the BP Station over here on 46, and the State does Anderson Place, they go in that way, I’ve seen the State truck in there, but no one is going in that short piece of Woodland, or anything like that.
President Rattner: Okay, just check into it and figure it out. Somebody’s got to do it.
Mr. Foote: Also under snow removal, I’m also a public works employee in Hunterdon County. Two weeks ago, we had a storm, we were sent home, my crew was sent home at 5:00. I came home at 5:00, my road was not plowed yet, which I understand that. Ten to six comes around, I took a ride around and it still wasn’t touched yet. I went over to Sal’s Pizzeria, there was ten DPW trucks in the parking lot. I understand they want a break, maybe we could get them to do one round and then go for their break, because it wasn’t touched and they supposedly go on overtime at 3:30 and they were at Uncle Sal’s at quarter to six already eating dinner. I understand they want a meal, but they should make a round first, and I understand – I’m in public works also, I’m out there plowing just like them – maybe we could get them to do a round and then go for a meal, or split the crews up instead of having ten trucks sitting there. They’re talking about fuel, every truck was running in the parking lot.
Mr. Ruggierio: I’ll look into this, but obviously there are other people that need to be consulted about this issue.
Mr. Foote: Okay, I know they don’t have a public works director and I know most of the guys, I’m a fireman, so I see these guys all the time, but I have three little kids and residents back there, you know…
President Rattner: You’re saying, Mike, was it all of First Street that wasn’t plowed?
Mr. Foote: Yeah, First Street, Second Street, Third Street. I don’t mind them going for a meal, but make one round, you know.
Charlie Uhrmann, Mount Olive: My understanding is that items that were pertaining to me were read into the record at the last Council Meeting and I prepared a response and I would like to read it into the record please, Mr. President.
Mr. President: How long is it going to be, is it relatively short?
Ms. Uhrmann: It was called to my attention that R. J. Greenbaum abused his position as a Councilman during the Council Comment Portion of the February 23rd council meeting. His premeditated sole intention was to utilize this time to malign a resident without retort. He has defiled Chapter 4, Section 119A of the Administrative Code of Mount Olive ordinance, whereas, it states persons shall, at no time engage in personal, offensive or abusive remarks. Furthermore, Mr. Greenbaum’s statement and his March 3rd letter to the Chronicle representing his position as the Mr. of the Council, was factless and outright lies. Robert Greenbaum’s goal was to make his commentary a part of a permanent record. Therefore, it is my right to rectify his numerous false statements as part of the record as well. Robert Greenbaum ascertains that I have a planned agenda, he continues this, but conveniently fails to elaborate such a statement such as this deserves factual substantiation and there has never been any. Robert Greenbaum bespeaks my letters are factually inaccurate but fails to unfold any examples. It is apparent that Robert Greenbaum finds my abilities to be a nuisance because I continue to challenge his inabilities to adhere to the ethical standards set upon him. Robert Greenbaum’s assumption that I signed my name to attack letters written on behalf of Mayor De La Roche and Councilman Elms is factually malnourished at best. I would never compromise my integrity for financial, political or egotistical gain. Robert Greenbaum refers to a memorandum he wrote criticizing the Mayor and Bob Elms, he complains it was passed along to me. Where did he get this information? How would Robert Greenbaum know what I receive in the privacy of my own home? Better yet, it is more important to note that Robert Greenbaum provided the same to the Mount Olive Chronicle to publicly humiliate the Mayor and Councilman Elms. Rob Greenbaum’s testimony that I have never ever volunteered for anything in Mount Olive demonstrates that he is either stalking me or he is obsessed of how I spend my time. His actions are alarming. Does he keep track of all the residents in MountOlive? His statement is easily disproved, however, I do not have the need nor desire to toot my own horn or grapple for recognition whenever I unselfishly give my time, money or talents. Mr. Greenbaum reiterates unresolved issues pertaining to oil tanks and mold. I formally request that the Council challenge the new administration to a conclusion of said issues and finally put said issues to rest. I am surprised that Frank Rocco’s identity remains a mystery to Robert Greenbaum, since he (Frank Rocco) was appointed by Mayor Lacitra to sit on the Mount Olive Economical Development Committee during Mr. Greenbaum’s term on Council. During the last election campaign, I was assured that attacks towards residents would no longer be tolerated. These were political campaign promises. Two of our newly elected vowed personally to me to intervene on behalf of the residents. Those words are lacking sincerity. In closing, I feel that Robert Greenbaum’s conduct is unbearing of a public representative. The chair is obligated to call to order any speaker who violates any provisions of this rule as stated in Chapter 4, Section 119B or the Administration Code of Mount Olive Township Ordinance. I thank you and I hope that this puts an end to little contest Robert Greenbaum and myself are apparently having. Thank you.
President Rattner: Do you have an extra copy to give to the Clerk so they can make sure…
Ms. Uhrmann: I can make one.
President Rattner: This way when they type up the minutes, they get every word in there properly.
Ms. Uhrmann: I will provide Lisa one. Thank you.
President Rattner: Anyone else?
Ms. Frye - Dockrell Beach Yacht Club: We are making a new application to the Board of Adjust…the Board for Pre-Existing Non-Conforming Use. I was there on Friday to make that application, or Thursday it was, and Mrs. Perkins wouldn’t take my application. She stated that I would need to have an attorney represent me, put a representation into the Board. But, in answer to your questions, Pete, I am putting a new application into the Board. Hopefully, we will be heard. Thank you.
President Rattner: Nelson, you’re next.
Mr. Russell: Nelson Russell, Budd Lake. Colleen, while you are looking into the old Sunoco Station, could you add the old Shell Station and the Texaco Station to that and let’s get the status of all of the closed gas stations on 46 or in the town.
Ms. Labow: Good idea. Yeah I was actually…I asked the Budd Lake Diner the other day why don’t they buy it and they said it was going to cost them way too much money and it’s just sitting there. It’s junky.
President Rattner: It’s..probably to clean up, it’s expensive.
Linda Rosa, Budd Lake: I would like to address the issue 11 under Resolutions Non-Consent about the township public attorney. My question is to the two Democrat Council People and I would like to know, Ms. Labow and Mr. Buell as to why you voted….you did not second the motion for a new township attorney?
Ms. Labow: Mr. Scarinci spoke to me personally and said he did not want the appointment and in view of his wishes I chose it was better not to second the motion. If it was passed, I would have voted no, because I would prefer to have a smaller firm instead of our municipality being a large…a small little entity in a large firm. Also, Mr. Scarinci had asked one of the associates in his office to call me back. Three days later the woman did not call…he wanted her to call me…three days later she didn’t call me. I called her and left a message. To this date, two weeks later, I still have not heard from her. So, that’s my own personal opinion.
Ms. Rosa: Okay, and Mr. Buell.
Mr. Buell: I would have voted no also, simply because I don’t think Mr. Scarinci and Hallenback are the proper firm for this town. I think we have a very good attorney in the position of Mr. Dorsey.
Ms. Rosa: Thank you. Could I just…
President Rattner: Why don’t you wait until final comment, think about it. Anybody else? Close the Public Portion and move to final Council Comments. Mr. Elms.
Mr. Elms: The last meeting we had I know you went on and on about a contract that was for Mr. Steinberg being open-ended and tonight I see a resolution for appointing William Kearns as a special council at an hourly rate of $155. Mr. Kearns’s office is in Willingborough, the meeting in Morristown on Friday is at 1:30 and there doesn’t seem to be any restriction on how many hours he bills for being at that 1:30 meeting whether or not we’re paying him portal to portal, automobile expenses, limousine, overnight stay, so I believe it’s very open-ended. I have two other issues…two other items I would like to read into the record.
The first one is a letter written to the Mayor by the Garifallo & Pryor firm. It says on behalf of Garifallo & Pryor I wish to thank you for considering our firm for the position of township attorney. We appreciate your efforts and wish you success in your endeavors with the township. It may not be necessary at this time, but I wish to advise you that this firm has had no involvement with any commercial developments in Mount Olive. I understand there was someone mentioned in this regard with a similar last name, but it is not me nor is it a relation of mine. Also, this office has not engaged in any litigation with Mount Olive Township except for Mr. Elms’s matter which was settled at the Appellate level.
Mr. Elms(continued): The next letter that I would like to read into this is a letter from Thomas A. Deguise, County Executive, County of Hudson. This was sent to the Mount Olive Chronicle and it says: Dear Editor, I was disgusted to learn recently that Republican Mayors of the Mount Olive Town Council and their supporters that resorted to attacking the good people and hard working elected officials of Hudson County as a way to score points against your Mayor Richard De La Roche. In a recent Council Meeting, 2/23/04, and in letters to the Editor in your publication forwarded to the Mount Olive Republicans used the term “Hudson cronies” as some sort of epitaph against Mayor De La Roche who is a former resident of Hudson County. The vast majority of Hudson county public officials, business people and residents serve honestly, work diligently and support open response of government. When politicians like those in Mount Olive use the term like cronies, they are implicitly attacking the morals of those they tar with it. I strongly urge Mount Olive Republican Politicians to stop this kind of slanderous talk. Their understandable desperation in the face of corruption charges and electoral defeat does not give them a license to kick dirt on Hudson County. If this keeps up, however, perhaps we will start referring to members of the GOP in your community as Mount Olive Republicans. Signed Thomas A Deguise, Hudson County Executive. Thank you.
President Rattner: Thank you Mr. Elms. Mr. Buell.
Mr. Buell: Nothing.
President Rattner: Ms. Labow.
Ms. Labow: I want to make a comment, but if Mrs. Rosa chooses to respond to it, I would like to have special permission. Because, this is not an attack on her character, but I just want to say that I resent Mrs. Rosa coming up asking Mr. Buell and I specifically why we didn’t second the motion, when she didn’t ask the rest of the Council Members. I just want to make it clear to the public that I was elected to serve Mount Olive Township. I was not elected to vote party lines, I was not elected to support the Mayor 100%, I was elected to serve the people of Mount Olive Township and in the past couple of weeks I have been called upon by many people saying ‘you have to support this’, ‘you have to have solidarity’, ‘you have to do that’. The only thing I have to do is support and work for the people of Mount Olive Township to the very best of my ability and do what’s right for the Township of Mount Olive, not vote party lines, not back something I don’t believe in. Thank you.
President Rattner: Since Ms. Rosa brought this up and Colleen hinted on it, I just want to…for the record state that she only asked the Democrats, but I’ll tell you why I oppose…as want to consider any reasonable candidate. In the interview that I had…do you have an open mind, can you at least listen to me before you shake your head? Okay? That, when I asked him the question of what kind of fees he would charge, he would not settle on a flat fee as we are now receiving with Dorsey, King & Semrau. It was an open-ended thing, he says he normally charges are…I don’t think that’s a responsible fiscal approach to take for the Township and that’s the main reason I would have voted against it, had it come up. I also had some problems, I asked him questions about representation of developers and I asked him which developers have you represented, and he laughed and he said “all of them.” So, whenever a developer comes up in front of the Council…an issue comes up with any kind of developer, they would have had to recluse themselves, then we would have had to find another attorney and pay additional fee. Again, I didn’t think that was fiscally responsible to the Township. And Mr. Elms’s reading of that letter from Hudson County was laughable and he…you know, mentioning about corruption…you know, some people throw enough against the wall and hope it will stick and just because one person or two persons said this was a cesspool of corruption, doesn’t mean it’s true. And for him to pick that up as a counter argument to what’s happened in Hudson County, maybe he’s not and maybe the present people of Hudson County are not but even Mayor De La Roche mentioned that there were issues in Hudson County that were, you know, questionable and he would not go near anyone that was associated with any of those things. And it’s well documented in the past that Hudson County’s had serious corruption problems. Mr. Perkins.
Mr. Perkins: Since it’s late, I figure I’ll have a couple of comments. Since no one asked, I won’t offer any reason for why I wouldn’t second the motion. I have my own personal reasons. Secondly, I would address Mr. Foote on First Street, it’s amazing you must know and if not, I only live about two blocks further back than you do, and my street wasn’t done. Colleen…and I always like to bust her and tell her it was. The eighteen years I have been after everybody and their brother, the county, the state, to try to get that piece resolved. I know during some tremendous snow storms we’ve had, the Township has undertaken and done that small area. It doesn’t forgive the fact that the gentlemen weren’t out there and I’m sure that’s something Mr. Ruggierio will take a look into. I know most of them, as you do, you know, being here in town, I find them all to be very hard working and why they were all taking a break at the same time, is beyond me, but I’ll leave that another area. I think we need to address that and work out some agreement, Bill, with the state. They use it as a turnaround real good reason for them to plow it. Again, I’m a little miffed and I don’t want to spend too much time on it, my gosh, guys, we’re at the end of March and I don’t think we’re that much further along in the process, we’ve had an awful lot of donnybrooks, I think Liz and the rest of the press has had a quite a bit to write about. Hopefully, it is getting less, because I think everybody is getting tired of it. Again, this is…we’re your government, you elected us, we’ll do the best job that we can, I don’t make it a habit to say bad things about anybody. I’m a marine, I follow a strict rule…chain of command, I’m a little disappointed in Mr. Elm’s choice of seating arrangement this evening and Bob it’s just a personal thing, I don’t think that we have the right as regular Council Members up here to move the seat without getting the approval of the chair. The chair is the one who decides this is where he feels the most comfortable running his meeting. I just don’t agree that that was a good move. As far as the lawsuit to remove our attorney, I think the Council is well justified by appointing an attorney to represent our interests and the interest of the Township in this. The Faulkner Act, everybody seems to read it differently and that’s why it’s in court right now and ultimately a judge (and whether it’s from Judge Bonzonelis or it ends up going into Appellate) someone will make a decision which will be far fetching and anyone who governs under the Faulkner Act in this state, will be effected by the way that decision turns out. So, it’s not just Mount Olive. It is important and I hope all the residents in Mount Olive understand that, whether it’s $155 an hour, $100, $50 or $255 an hour, the representation needs to be there so that we draw this to a final conclusion and the courts decide how the government is going to be run, not only here, but in other Faulkner Act communities. Thank you Mr. President.
President Rattner: Mr. Greenbaum.
Mr. Greenbaum: In response to Charlie Uhrmann’s comments, I had a prepared statement which I am not going to read. I’m not going to read it because I am going to take you up on what I perceive to be an offer to move past this. And I say that with one limiting factor which is that I have already submitted a written response to the Chronicle, so you shouldn’t be surprised if it appears in the paper because I already sent it prior to today in response to the last letter, but I won’t read what I have written into the record today. That’s it.
President Rattner: Thank you Mr. Greenbaum. It is twenty of twelve, I would say that it’s been a long time since we had this many people stay this late. Thank you for staying and keeping us company. Thank you. Motion to adjourn?
Motion made and seconded, meeting was adjourned at 11:40 pm.
Steven W. Rattner, Council President
I, LISA M. LASHWAY, Township Clerk of the Township of Mount Olive do hereby certify that the foregoing Minutes is a true and correct copy of the Minutes approved at a legally convened meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council duly held on July 13, 2004.
Lisa M. Lashway, Township Clerk