Township Council Minutes
May 10 , 2005
The Regular Public Meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council was called to Order at 7:31 pm by Council President Greenbaum with the Pledge of Allegiance.
MOMENT OF REFLECTION for all those who have and continue to protect our freedoms.
OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT ANNOUNCEMENT
According to the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate notice of this meeting has been given to the Mount Olive Chronicle. Notice has been posted at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive Township, New Jersey and notices were sent to those requesting the same.
ROLL CALL Present: Mr. Buell, Mrs. Labow (7:31), Mr. Mund, Mr. Guenther (8:26),
Mr. Rattner, Mr. Perkins, Mr. Greenbaum
President Greenbaum: Let the record reflect that Mr. Guenther is attending an MUA meeting and will be here shortly.
ALSO PRESENT: Mayor De La Roche, Bob Casey, Acting Business Administrator; Fred Semrau, Township
Attorney; Lisa Lashway, Township Clerk; Sherry Jenkins, CFO
Timothy Burkly - Louis Bay II Future Municipal Leaders Scholarship Competition – Presentation by Mayor De La Roche
President Greenbaum: At this point, there is a presentation. Timothy Burkly – Louis Bay II Future Municipal Leaders Scholarship Competition. Mayor, you have a presentation?
Mayor De La Roche: Yes. Timothy Burkly is a junior at Mount Olive High School and I just want to say that it gives me great pleasure to announce that Timothy Burkly has been slected as one of the three State winners in the Louis Bay II Future Municipal Leaders Scholarship Competition and is awarded a $1,000 scholarship check and I want everybody to know that more than forty municipalities submitted essay entries, so this is quite an achievement for this young man. I understand his sister won it also, a couple of years ago, so it’s a family thing. So, please join me in congratulating Tim and he’ll now read his essay…..that’s what I was told, do you have your essay with you? Well, anyway……Clapping….. If you come up with it, you can read it later.
President Greenbaum: Maybe we should just let him run the rest of the meeting and I can go home at this point, Mayor. Congratulations.
Mayor De La Roche: You got my vote.
Questions on Bill List?
President Greenbaum: At this point in the meeting, I open it up to any Council members who have questions on the Bill List. Any questions? Seeing none, we’ll move on.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETINGS
April 12, 2005 Present: Mr. Buell, Mrs. Labow (7:35), Mr. Mund, Mr. Rattner, Mr. Perkins, Mr. Greenbaum Absent: Mr. Guenther
President Greenbaum: Approval of Minutes from previous meetings. Mr. Buell, can you please move the Minutes from April 12, 2005?
Mr. Buell: Thank you, Mr. President. I move the approval of the April 12, 2005 Minutes.
Mr. Mund: Second.
President Greenbaum: Any discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
LETTERS FROM RESIDENTS/ORGANIZATIONS
1. Notice received April 25, 2005, from Morris County Women’s Republican Club regarding Republican Candidates Night.
2. E-mail received May 5, 2005, from Sheila Speroni regarding Beach fees.
RESOLUTIONS, ORDINANCES, CORRESPONDENCE FROM OTHER TOWNS
3. Resolution received April 25, 2005, from the Borough of Mount Arlington regarding continued support for Picatinny’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC)
4. Ordinance received April 25, 2005, from Washington Township regarding Land Use.
5. Ordinance received April 25, 2005, from the Township of Chester regarding Land Use.
6. Ordinance received May 2, 2005, from the Borough of Stanhope regarding Land Use.
7. Resolution received May 2, 2005, from the Township of Denville regarding support for Picatinny’s Armaments Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC)
8. Ordinance received May 4, 2005, from Allamuchy Township regarding proposed amendment to the Land Development Ordinance.
9. Resolution received May 4, 2005, from the Town of Boonton regarding Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders Return Surplus Funds to Local Municipalities.
10. Invite received May 5, 2005, from Jefferson Township regarding Land Preservation Conference.
11. Resolution received May 6, 2005, from Township of Cranford regarding “Christopher’s Law.”
DOT / DEP / LOI
12. Letter received April 25, 2005, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Cancellation Letter for Freshwater Wetlands Letter of Interpretation – Line Verification Application/Applicant: Abdel – Rehim Rian Block 6800; Lots 2,3, & 4 (286, 288, 290 Route 206/Riad Development Co. LLC).
13. Letter received April 25, 2005, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Estate of Joseph Sawojzczyk Block 7600, Lot 83 (80 Flanders Road).
14. Letter received April 25, 2005, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Cancellation Letter for Freshwater Wetlands Letter of Interpretation – Line Verification Application/Applicant: White Gate Homes c/o Richard Valentino Block 2801; Lot 29 (65 Waterloo Road).
15. Letter received April 27, 2005, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Mt. Olive Township Schools/Mount Olive High School Site Lot 86, Block 7600.
16. Notice received May 2, 2005, from NJ Transit regarding Public Hearing.
17. Letter received May2, 2005, from Morris County Community Development regarding Morris County Community Development and Home Program Federal Fiscal Years 2006, 2007, and 2008.
18. Letter received May 2, 2005, from Matrixnewworld regarding Freshwater Wetlands Averaging Plan Transition Area Waiver Application Submitted by: West Morris Regional High School District. Regarding Property at 10 Four Bridges Road, Chester.
LEAGUE OF MUNICIPALITIES
19. E-mail received April 25, 2005, from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding Permit Streamlining (“Fast Track Law”).
20. Letter received April 25, 2005, from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding 2nd Annual Property Tax Summit: Tax Relief now or never.
21. Letter received May 2, 2005, from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding League Seminar “The Nuts and Bolts of Revenue Allocation Districts.”
22. Mayors Fax Advisory received May 2, 2005, from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding Verizon Fiber Optic Roll Out.
23. Letter received April 25, 2005, from COAH regarding revised procedures for certification and upcoming deadline to submit motion.
24. Spring 2005 Bulletin received April 25, 2005, from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Natural and Historic resources, Historic Preservation office regarding Brownfields and the Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit.
25. Letter received April 29, 2005, from the New Jersey Highlands Council regarding Council Partnership meetings.
26. Fax received April 29, 2005, from the New Jersey Highlands Council regarding May 5th meeting.
27. Notice of Proposal received April 29, 2005, from the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, Division of Consumer Affairs regarding proposed amendments to Raffle and Bingo.
28. Public notice received May 2, 2005, from the New Jersey Highlands Council regarding corrected Agenda.
29. Letter received May 2, 2005, from COAH regarding Updated Service List.
30. Letter received May 5, 2005, from South Branch Watershed Association regarding Hunterdon County Green Table.
31. Notice of Lawsuit and complaint received April 25, 2005, from Seth D. Levine regarding Kohn v. NJ Department of Law and Public Safety, Civil case # 05-1735 (MMC)
LETTERS FROM LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIVES
32. E-mail received May 3, 2005, from Congressman Frelinghuysen regarding deeper 45-foot Channels at the Port of New Jersey and New York Officially Opened, Celebrate New Jersey History as New Education Web Site is Unveiled, and Congressman keeping busy in New Jersey.
President Greenbaum: There are 32 pieces of correspondence on the revised agenda, does anyone wish to comment on any particular piece of correspondence? Seeing none, we will move on.
ORDINANCES FOR PUBLIC HEARING
President Greenbaum: At this point, Ordinances for Public Hearing. First Ordinance for Public Hearing is Ordinance #14-2005, entitled:
Ord. #14-2005 An Ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive RE: Driveway Utility and Grading Easement to Lot 75, Block 7000 – Gary Court.
President Greenbaum: Is there anyone from the public who wishes to be heard on this particular ordinance? Seeing none, I will close it to the public and ask Ms. Labow to move Ordinance #14-2005.
Ms. Labow: I move for adoption and final passage of Ordinance #14-2005.
Mr. Buell: Second.
President Greenbaum: Any discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
President Greenbaum: Ordinance #14-2005 is passed on second reading and I hereby direct the Clerk to forward a copy of same to the Mayor and publish the notice of adoption as required by law. The next Ordinance for Public Hearing is Ordinance #15-2005, entitled:
Ord. #15-2005 An Ordinance of the Township of Mt. Olive Prohibiting Parking on Victoria Court.
President Greenbaum: Is there anyone from the public who wishes to be heard on this ordinance? Seeing none, I’ll close it to the public and ask Mr. Mund to move the ordinance.
Mr. Mund: I move for adoption and final passage of Ordinance #15-2005.
Mr. Rattner: Second.
President Greenbaum: It’s been moved and seconded, any discussion? Seeing none, Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously, except Mr. Perkins voted No
President Greenbaum: Ordinance #15-2005 is passed on second reading and I hereby direct the Clerk to forward a copy of same to the Mayor and publish the notice of adoption as required by law. The next Ordinance for Public Hearing is Ordinance #16-2005, entitled:
Ord. #16-2005 An Ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive Establishing Fees to be charged by the Recreation Department for Programs for the Year 2005.
President Greenbaum: Is there anyone from the public who wishes to be heard? Yes sir, please state your name and address at the microphone.
Harry Brown, Hackettstown, NJ, Vice President of Operations for Mount Olive Soccer Club: We forwarded a letter to Council rather late to be entered in and we were informed that it would not be read until next week, or the 24th’s meeting. We have a letter here from the Presidents of Mount Olive Soccer Club, Mount Olive Junior Baseball, Mount Olive Junior Marauder Football, Mount Olive Youth Hockey, Mount Olive Junior Lacrosse objecting to the $5.00 ordinance. There’s a few points regarding it that we have not heard correspondence or response from Township Council regarding the Recreation Advisory Committee’s memo dated April 7th, whereas they stated quite clearly they are not in favor of assessing the $5.00 registration fee from each quasi-entity sports association. They go on to request that if this ordinance is imposed, that the revenues go into a dedicated line item specifically for park maintenance in the Recreation Utility. This would lead one to believe that even they had questions as to what the Township’s purpose of these funds may have been. Was it for Recreation or to be used towards general funding? If the Township’s intent is to charge each of the quasi-entity sports associations this fee, then how do they justify it? Since listed within our organizations that have not received funding from the Township and even more alarming is the charging of a group that does not use Township fields and conducts its’ program, for the most part, outside of the Township. It sounded, during the first reading of this ordinance, that somehow the Township was burdened with the cost and operational difficulties pertaining to registrations of our programs. For the record, each quasi-entity listed above handle matters pertaining to each of their registrations process, the participation and efforts of volunteers handling registration, operations and running of these programs should in no way burden the Township. We consider this Ordinance #16-2005 nothing more than a use tax being indiscriminately targeted at sports groups in an effort to hide a tax burden that should be shared by every taxpayer in Mount Olive Township. I have copies here, if the Council would like them.
President Greenbaum: We all had copies, thank you…it was in our packages. Does anyone else in the audience wish to be heard on this particular ordinance? Seeing none, I’ll close it to the public and ask Mr. Perkins….can you please move this one?
Mr. Perkins: Thank you, Mr. President. I move for adoption and final passage of Ordinance #16-2005.
Mr. Mund: Second.
President Greenbaum: Any discussion? Mr. Buell, then Mr. Mund, then Ms. Labow.
Mr. Buell: Yes, I should have brought this up, I guess, under correspondence, but I knew we were going to approve this ordinance tonight, or at least review this ordinance tonight. Did anybody contact Shiela Speroni regarding the Beach fees? She had sent us an e-mail.
Mr. Casey: She was advised that she could be present tonight, too. She’s the one who sent the e-mail?
Mr. Buell: Yes.
Mr. Casey: She was advised that we were considering this tonight and she could obviously come and voice her concerns at the meeting. She was also advised it would be discussed early in the meeting.
Mr. Buell: I guess she’s not here, that was my only question.
Mr. Mund: The purpose of this, as I understand it, is that it’s going to make the Recreation Department solely funded through these fees, is that correct?
Mr. Casey: No. Well, portions thereof…
Mr. Mund: For next year.
Mr. Casey: The playground fees that we’ve put in here, would make the playground program self liquidating. The Beach fees that we have initiated, would cover about 25% of the cost, is what we’re looking at, by the first year. The fee that the gentleman is referring to on the registrations, I believe we’re looking at approximately $20,000, which we’ll use to offset some of our direct costs, i.e. maintenance costs, insurance costs, etc. on the fields. So, the only fee that is in here that would make a program self-liquidating, is the playground program.
Ms. Labow: Mr. Casey, originally when this $5.00 fee was brought up and my colleagues up here on the dais could correct me if I’m wrong, was that you said that the $5.00 fee was supposed to cover the time that the Recreation Department took in handling all of the registrations…that was the original idea behind the concept, is that correct?
Mr. Casey: The original idea of this concept came out of discussions that the Council had on that Saturday morning, and it’s more than just the registration process, it’s the whole cost of the entire park operation and the incidental cost….for instance, the large insurance cost, that you have when you run that program. We do run a fairly large insurance cost, because of the expenses involved in the use of our facilities.
Ms. Labow: Each group….each sporting group handles all their own registrations, so our Rec Department doesn’t handle any registrations. Is that correct?
Mr. Casey: The issue is, once again, the issue is to generate some income in order to offset Recreation costs.
Ms. Labow: Some of the sporting groups actually donate, during the year, for costs for fertilizing the fields and so-on and so-forth, so why are we penalizing them again with another $5.00, when whenever there’s needs, they’re willing to give when they can and work towards that. I think this is excessive.
President Greenbaum: You know what this is, this is not a penalization issue, we are not taking from the clubs, we are asking the clubs to collect, on behalf of the township, an additional $5.00. I’m sorry, the audience portion is closed and it’s at Council comment level and it would be bad precedent to open it up for additional discussion. You’ll have a chance to speak during the Public Portion at the end. The bottom line is that this is not a penalization, we have user taxes throughout the town and I believe that they’re absolutely correct, in terms of their assessment of what this is…this is a user tax, just like Sanitation is a user tax, and Sewer and Water is a user tax, and it’s simply a question of whether or not we want to pass this along to the entire township or whether or not we felt that this was an appropriate thing for the people who are using the sporting activities, the personnel of the township, the fields in the township, and generally benefiting from the fact that we have Recreation services. This will not cover our costs for having to do the programs, this is simply an attempt to generate revenue to offset our costs, and we’re not asking for the sports programs….what the sports programs do for the township is incredible, whether it’s volunteer time, materials, or anything of that same sort. This simply is, we don’t have enough money this year and if we don’t collect the money in some fashion, because we President Greenbaum (cont’d): are not passing along to the taxpayers in general, then we need to cut, and if we’re going to cut, then we’re going to cut….we’re going to start with people at Turkey Brook, if we’re not going to raise money through the sports programs. So you know what, we’ll have two less maintenance people cutting the fields at Turkey Brook, instead of collecting this money, and if that’s the way that you want to go, that’s an alternative method that we can use and not collect these dollars. It’s fine with me, the decision was made to go this route rather than to cut bodies. So, that’s where we sit right now, as far as I’m concerned. It’s unfortunate, I don’t want to collect it, I have to pay it, my kids play sports all year long. I’m going to have to pay it, but if a question comes down to whether or not we’re going to cut people, or whether we’re going to ask the people who use the sporting activities to participate towards the cost that everyone incurs, because the entire township pays for all the costs associated with having to run the organized sporting activities in town.
Ms. Labow: The thing is, Rob, is that no one even questioned any of these groups as to what kind of contributions that they already make towards the fields, and…
President Greenbaum: It’s really irrelevant at this point, because the bottom line is that the township incurs significant costs outside of what is already donated. We’re not asking the sporting organizations to donate anything other than to collect the $5.00 through the registration process on behalf of the town. If the soccer club charges $60.00, they should charge $65.00, and $5.00 of that should be….their member should be told that $5.00 is being collected from the town to offset the cost of the maintenance of the fields, the insurance and the like.
Mr. Buell: Also, in addition, when this first came up, it was in relation to the vetting of the coaches, in terms of the background checks of the coaches, and that’s going to cost a significant amount of money as well, which is something I think we plan to move onto early next year.
President Greenbaum: I don’t think that the money that we’re collecting now is in any way going to relate to what it’s going to cost to have the background checks on the volunteers who are coaching. It’s a separate issue, which is going to have to be dealt with at the time that that issue is undertaken, and I don’t want to leave the perception with anybody that this cost that we’re collecting is to go towards the cost of the background checks.
Ms. Labow: Is this $5.00 going in the general fund or is it going….for the fields at Turkey Brook, what’s it going to?
President Greenbaum: You know what, it doesn’t really matter. You’re talking about semantics, at this point. If you wanted to designate it for a general fund, to be used towards the maintenance of the fields, then we can simply subtract the same amount out of the general budget that we use for that and earmark that for something else. So, you’re really talking about apples and apples as far as I’m concerned, because you know what, if we feel that we’re going to collect X dollars, let’s assume that it’s going to raise $40,000. Then we can take $40,000….we can earmark it for maintenance of the fields and take $40,000 out of salary, at this point, for the two people who work exclusively at Turkey Brook. So, it’s not really a relevant distinction, as far as I’m concerned.
Mr. Rattner: I’m going to support the ordinance, however, as I brought up last time, again this was mishandled. For one thing, I think every one of us, when it was introduced by the Administration, who has the responsibility for figuring that out and going through the Recreation Department, that it was discussed with the recreational groups. I think every one of us had that understanding that it wasn’t done in a vacuum. Number two, Turkey Brook costs us about $800,000 a year to maintain, and in this year….and we were discussing the possibility of layoffs, that public works was the place that one of the areas that layoffs were going to be. As I mentioned the last time, I was disappointed that the Recreation Department….the Administration didn’t sit down with the Recreation organizations, because I know that they do a lot of maintenance and a lot of work on their own, and if we’re not going to be able to do all the maintenance, or if we were going to cut something, if they were going to put something else on, that if they were going to cut some of the grass, do some of the trimming, because we still get complaints about that periodically, and as I mentioned, I was disappointed that that wasn’t done, but I can say that if this doesn’t pass, there would be, and we discussed it, a person cut out of Public Works because we just can’t afford it. I mean, we’re talking about a very large tax increase this year, they’re talking about a very large tax increase next year. There’s no new revenues coming into the town, yet the expenses keep going up, and when Turkey Brook is such a large expense now, either that or it’s not going to, you know, it just can’t be maintained, we can’t afford to keep everything. I’m not going to cut Police, because I think that’s an absolute necessity, we can’t cut the heat in the building or the utility bills, we have negotiated contracts so we don’t have a heck of a lot to do there, and there isn’t really much of an alternative. It’s either find a way of raising revenues other than raising the taxes, which is still going to be in the 10% range, there’s no way we’re getting out of that, and that’s just ours, that doesn’t even include the school, and we’re going to have Mr. Rattner (cont’d): less people, if that’s what it was, and I don’t understand why that wasn’t discussed and I think that’s part of the problem is that all of a sudden people just hear, the different groups, we’re just raising a fee, not why, not thinking about other alternatives, we’re just raising a fee, but right now we’re in this spot, and if not, you know, we’re going to have to adjust the budget and it’s going to be another person removed, and it’s going to be cutting grass, because we’re not going to take the people out of Public Works who are cleaning the catch basins and the other things that are needed for the health and safety of the community.
President Greenbaum: Anyone else with comments? Mr. Perkins.
Mr. Perkins: Thank you, Mr. President. I recall, as we discussed this with the Administration, that quite a bit of the amount of money that would be raised from this would help to offset the cost of the maintenance to the Turkey Brook facility, which is a pride for us here. I mean, let’s face it, it’s a large park and it requires a lot of money to maintain. I know everybody has watched the news this past week, the fliers are out, the County parks and the State parks are all raising fees for the use of those facilities, it’s no different than us trying to raise the fee from here. As my colleague, Mr. Rattner, has stated, as we looked at trying to preserve bodies, so that we could get the maintenance done, and could actually present the field that the children could play on safely, the only way to do that was to come up with some sort of a fee structure to help these things become “somewhat self liquidating.” That fee is in there, I support the fee. If I go to the Beach, I’ll be using the fee. It’s just another fee that unfortunately has to be put there by the people that use the facilities. We can’t continue to pass these rates onto the general taxpayers who absolutely get no benefit out of Turkey Brook Park or the Beach because they never use those facilities. So, I will be voting in favor of this. Thank you, Mr. President.
President Greenbaum: Any other Council comment? Seeing none, Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously, except Ms. Labow voted No
President Greenbaum: Ordinance #16-2005 is passed on second reading and I hereby direct the Clerk to forward a copy of same to the Mayor and publish a notice of adoption as required by law. The next Ordinance for Public Hearing is Ordinance #17-2005, entitled:
Ord. #17-2005 An Ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Modification of Easement for Block 7600, Lots 74 and 86 Granting Easement Rights to the Mount Olive Township Board of Education.
President Greenbaum: Anyone here from the Public who wishes to be heard on this particular ordinance? Seeing none, I’ll close it to the public and ask Mr. Rattner to please move this ordinance.
Mr. Rattner: Thank you, Mr. President. I move for adoption and final passage of Ordinance #17-2005.
Mr. Buell: Second.
President Greenbaum: It’s been moved and seconded. Any Council comment? Seeing none, Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
President Greenbaum: Ordinance #17-2005 is passed on second reading and I hereby direct the Clerk to forward a copy of same to the Mayor and publish a notice of adoption as required by law.
ORDINANCES FOR FIRST READING – (2nd reading June 14, 2005)
President Greenbaum: Ordinances for First Reading, Ordinance #18-2005, entitled:
Ord. #18-2005 Bond Ordinance Amending Section 3(e) of Bond Ordinance Numbered 24-2003 of the Township of Mount Olive, in the County of Morris, New Jersey Finally Adopted May 27, 2003 in Order to Amend the Description of the Project.
President Greenbaum: Mr. Perkins, can you please move that ordinance?
Mr. Perkins: Thank you, Mr. President. I move that Ordinance #18-2005 be introduced by title, and passed on first reading, and that a meeting be held on June 14, 2005 at 7:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive, New Jersey, for a public hearing, consideration of second reading and passage Mr. Perkins (cont’d): of said Ordinance, and that the Clerk be directed to publish, post and make available said Ordinance in accordance with the requirements of law.
Mr. Mund: Second.
President Greenbaum: Discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
President Greenbaum: Mr. Casey, can you please explain Ordinance #19-2005?
Mr. Casey: Yes. The situation is that when they amended the CAP law in the year 2004, they put a provision in there that said that a municipality can bank up to two years, the difference between its’ appropriation and the CAP; however, it’s not automatic. You must adopt an ordinance each year to put in place the bank. You do not need the bank this year, but what we’re recommending you do is adopt the ordinance, which provides flexibility to you next year, should you need it next year. So, what you’re doing here is you’re basically reestablishing the bank, which you have to do every year, you’ll put in the bank, not you…but the auditor puts in the bank, for lack of a better term, any of the available CAP that’s not used, and that’s carried forward so that if you need it next year, it’s available to you. So, this does not really affect this year’s budget, but it keeps your options open for the next year’s budget, but the law changed in 2004. It used to be, you didn’t have to do this, but now the new law says you have to do it every year that you want to move your bank forward. So, we’re recommending you do this simply to maintain your options for future years.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. The next ordinance for first reading is Ordinance #19-2005, entitled:
Ord. #19-2005 Township of Mount Olive Morris County, New Jersey Calendar Year 2005 Ordinance to Exceed the Municipal Budget Cost of Living Allowance and to Establish a CAP Bank (N.J.S.A. 40A-4-45.14).
President Greenbaum: Mr. Rattner, can you please move Ordinance #19-2005?
Mr. Rattner: I move that Ordinance #19-2005 be introduced by title, and passed on first reading, and that a meeting be held on June 14, 2005 at 7:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive, New Jersey, for a public hearing, consideration of second reading and passage of said Ordinance, and that the Clerk be directed to publish, post and make available said Ordinance in accordance with the requirements of law.
Mr. Perkins: Second.
President Greenbaum: Is there any discussion or questions? Mr. Rattner.
Mr. Rattner: I introduced it, now I’m going to have to have some time to read it, but reading over it real quickly, because this was just put on us tonight, it says that we’re increasing…..and I just want to make sure I understand what it is, so I’m not sure how I’m going to vote on the 14th, that we’re asking to increase this year’s budget.
Mr. Casey: What you’ve done is you’ve increased the CAP this year, okay? You don’t necessarily need it this year, because the budget that you have before you here, we can do with the old CAP, okay, the banks that we carried forward from the last two years. You’re increasing this, and you don’t need it, but you’re going to carry it forward. So, you don’t need this ordinance to adopt this budget, correct Sherry? We’re okay.
Ms. Jenkins: Yes, we are.
Mr. Casey: All we’re doing at this point is putting you in place so that you have flexibility next year.
Mr. Rattner: I understand that, but there’s a couple of words in there….that’s why I said I’ll introduce it, because I haven’t had time to read it. It just says, and I have a problem where it says whereas the Township Council hereby determines that a 1% increase in the budget of said year, amounting to $118,959 in excess of the increase in your final appropriations, otherwise permitted by local government CAP law is advisable and necessary. This year’s budget doesn’t have to be increased, and that’s where I’m going to have to really look at this and…..
President Greenbaum: Gary is going to be here next Tuesday night and I would ask him to be….
Mr. Rattner: Well, just looking at it real quickly, maybe that’s the way it’s worded…..but the way I read it, and I realize there’s other whereases, it says that we’re increasing the budget this year over the CAP, because we need it, and that’s just where I have a concern….
President Greenbaum: Yes.
Mr. Rattner: But this is only the first reading, so I don’t have a problem with it.
President Greenbaum: To be quite honest with you, notwithstanding Mr. Casey’s explanation, I have no clue what this ordinance relates to. I mean, I don’t know its’ impact.
Mr. Rattner: Well, I understand what Mr. Casey said and I understand what that is, I just want to make sure the wording is what I…
Mr. Casey: The auditor prepared the ordinance. He will be here, as you indicated, he can explain it further, but again, this is a change in law, so it’s a different process, but let Gary explain it when he’s here next week, so let’s put it in process.
President Greenbaum: Yes. Any other questions or comments? Seeing none, Roll Call.
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 Authorizing a Limited Lifting of the Noise Ordinance for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
2. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Professional Services Agreement with Princeton Hydro, LLC.
3. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Professional Services Agreement with Garden State Engineering, LLC.
4. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Bond Reduction in Connection with Morris Hunt – Phase I.
5. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive RE: Morris Hunt Phase I Developer’s Agreement.
6. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive RE: Mount Olive Child Care & Learning Center, Inc.
7. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing Expenses Related to the Acquisition of Silver Springs, Block 5300 Lots 8 & 26.
8. Resolution of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Use of Various Purchasing Contracts.
9. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Awarding a Contract to Atlantic Detroit Diesel for (1) mobile generator for the Department of Public Works.
10. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Amending the Temporary 2005 Budget for all Funds.
11. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Execution of a Developer's Agreement Based on Final Site Plan Approval Between the Township of Mount Olive and Ken Shafer.
12. Resolution to Introduce the 2005 Municipal Budget.
13. Resolution to Introduce the 2005 Solid Waste Collection District Budget.
14. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Contract with Jersey Professional Management for the Purpose of Recruiting a Business Administrator for the Township of Mt. Olive.
15. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Extending the Management Services Agreement with Jersey Professional Management.
16. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Professional Services Agreement with Schoor DePalma for the Design and Bidding Services in Connection with Phase III of Turkey Brook Park.
17. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing an Additional $50,000.00 for Litigation Purposes RE: Turkey Brook Park.
President Greenbaum: Next item on the agenda, Consent Resolutions Agenda. Does anyone wish to have any of the resolutions removed from the Consent Resolutions Agenda? Seeing none, Mr. Buell, do you want to move the Consent Resolutions?
Mr. Buell: I move the Consent Resolutions 1 through 17.
Mr. Mund: Second.
PUBLIC PORTION ON CONSENT RESOLUTIONS
President Greenbaum: Is there anyone from the public who wishes to be heard on any….yes, please state your name and address for the record.
Jane Israel, Madison Avenue, Vice President of the Mount Olive Library Board of Trustees: Last month when I was here, we were told by the Council that they would appropriate the minimum that the State requires for the Library, that is a third of a mil per $100 of assessed valuation and in addition to that, they would put money in their budget to cover the utilities, which we took to mean just the electric and the gas, for the Library, since there has been no history or information about how much that is going to be, so that you would have that under your control. Now, I understand last meeting, there was some misinformation given to the Council in regards to monies that we supposedly have in our possession and, therefore, today we received a note from Mr. Casey that the Council says they will no longer support the additional utility money and that they will give just the minimum so that will include the utilities. Now, every month we have a reconciliation, which is given to the Board Members and also to the liaison, and the last reconciliation of funds that we have is dated March 2005, and it shows that the total amount in all of our bank accounts was $768,102. Now, the thing that the Council may not know at this time is that $499,000 of that is money that we just received from the State, from the grant that was applied for by the Library Board, and that…..of course, we meet tomorrow, but at that time, the Library Board will be voting to give that money to you and it will be presented to you. So, that’s where the bulk of the amount is. The other monies that are here, besides that $499,000, is mostly for expenses connected to the construction. The construction of the Library has not been completed and, in fact, there are many bills still coming in, there’s more work to be done, in fact. We have $150,000 yet that we have to pay the architect, so if you figure in 5, that’s 650 and, you know, if you just deduct that real quick from $768,000, that’s an amount that a lot of it is still earmarked for other expenses, having to do with the construction. So, I didn’t want the Council to make their decision in regard to the Library budget, or contribution rather, on the basis of misinformation and that’s why I felt that I had to get up and tell you this, and I hope that….I mean, I don’t know what can be done about this at this point, when you’re just introducing the budget, but the fact is that I believe that the Council has been, you know, misinformed, and we do have a Council liaison who comes to our meetings and gets all the information and besides that, the Finance Committee came and got certain information from Rita Hilbert, the Director, and I think, in fact, I don’t know if that was from the audit….the latest audit we have is for the…..the official audit that’s done by the auditor, is for the year 2003. So, I think that’s maybe what Mr. Tepper was looking at, and at that time, we had just received the first check from the State, and had at the
Mrs. Israel (cont’d): end of the year…..we had I think that was $400,000, and then during the first quarter of the year, we handed that over to you at a public meeting. So, I mean, that money….we really didn’t have it, it was just….it came in and it was going out, and it’s the same thing right now. We happen to have a check from the State, we’re going to be giving it to you as soon as the motion is passed at our meeting tomorrow, to turn it over to you. Thank you very much.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. Mr. Casey, any comment to that?
Mr. Casey: The reason I asked the Library to come present, because we do not have any definitive information relative to their current financial status, I mean, that’s what you’re providing to us. I’m a little confused, you said that your opening balance was $768,102?
Mrs. Israel: The….for the month of March, at the end of March, our total amount of money that we had in all checking accounts was $768,102, yes, and that is public information.
Mr. Casey: Okay, that included the $499,000?
Mrs. Israel: Yes, it did.
Mr. Casey: So, what you’re saying is, in essence, that your free balance, for lack of a better term, is $269,000 -…net the two.
Mrs. Israel: Well, it’s not totally free, but yes, I mean…..let’s see what it would be….$175,000 is earmarked for construction cost, it’s in our cash management building fund. So, $500,000 and $175,000 is restricted, that is not operating cost at all. We have tried to pay for as much as we could pay for, you know, from the beginning of this project, we promised that we would pay for the architect, which we have been doing all along, and we have paid for a lot of other expenses, which you may not even have heard about, because we didn’t ask for reimbursement.
Mr. Casey: So, what you’re saying is of the approximate $269,000, that the $768,000 less the $499,000 is approximately $269,000, okay? Then you’re saying $175,000 of that is in your building fund?
Mrs. Israel: Yes.
Mr. Casey: So, you’re saying, in essence, that your free balance then becomes essentially…..no it’s less than that, it’s $96,000.
Mrs. Israel: That sounds right, and in addition, $62,000 of that $96,000 is in a savings account, which….it’s not restricted, but we have used that account, that savings account, for special things in the building. It all has to do with the building, we’re in the middle of, you know, we’re almost at the end, but we’re not quite at the end of this construction, which was quite a big project for us, and we’ve done the best we can, but it just so happens that the money that you think we have, we really don’t have, it’s not operating money. I think our bookkeeper prepared some information for us and I don’t know if you did get that, but she wrote up all of the money that we spent last year and the money that we got from the Council and it was like $12,000, which….see, we don’t carry a surplus, but likening it to your surplus situation, there was $12,000 that we, you know, didn’t spend, and we didn’t spend it because we were moving into the new building and we decided not to buy a bunch of children’s books that we were going to buy. We decided to wait until next year to go ahead and purchase those books, because we were moving.
President Greenbaum: Does anyone else have any comments? Questions? Mr. Casey, did you have anything else to add?
Mr. Casey: No, I would just indicate that, again, the information that you’re sharing with us, is the information we didn’t have. I think that the Finance Committee was working off the 12/31/03, which showed an $800,000 ….whatever the number was, etc., etc. So, from what you’re really saying is that that 2003, if I remember right, Sherry had like a $500,000 restricted fund and $280,000 or whatever the number is…of a balance. You’re saying that your building fund has gone…..has been drawn down, essentially, it was totally drawn down.
Mrs. Israel: Yes, right…..which we….well, it will be by the….when we get all the bills in, that we have to pay, it will be gone, yes, it will be gone. I don’t know why you don’t have this, I mean, I’m pretty sure that we gave this to people somewhere along the way, one dated December, which didn’t have the $500,000 in it that
Mrs. Israel (cont’d): the State gave us by the way, the one for the end of the year, but the latest one that was approved is March and…now I forgot the point I was going to make, so never mind. I don’t know why you don’t have that.
Mr. Casey: No, we don’t have it…the last piece of information we had was what Rita and you gave to us that Saturday morning where you had the yearend, but that was not a complete statement as to overall cash position as of the end of the year.
Mrs. Israel: Right, because you know that we pay….the bills for last year, whatever is encumbered by the end of the year, we pay it out of our funds for the first three months. Sherry knows, she, you know, sat on our Board for a couple years or so, so it’s a little bit different than the way you guys do it, but….
President Greenbaum: I was told, early on, that there was an audit for 2004, which was had but it was not being turned over because the Library Board had not reviewed it. Does anyone else remember that?
Mrs. Israel: That’s 2003.
President Greenbaum: No, I was told….
Ms. Jenkins: I spoke to the auditor directly and he said they have not done the 2004 audit.
President Greenbaum: Yes. Okay, so that was misinformation. Mr. Rattner, did you have anything?
Mr. Rattner: Yes, I think one of the problems that Mr. Tepper, was the one from the Finance Committee, tried getting information from the Library and he’d gone over a couple times to get information and it was not forthcoming. He had to fill out an OPRA request and it still wasn’t really complete. He wanted to talk about it and if we’re getting new information now, we should have had it, you know, some time ago. He was able to look at two of the older audits which showed that balance kept increasing, because you had the balance in 2002, it increased in 2004, trying to get the information. I don’t know if Mr. Tepper wants anything, because he actually had the direct contact on exactly what he tried getting and some of the difficulties he had, but we have to deal with the information that we do have and, again, just like every other group, every department and every other situation that we have, it’s an extremely tough budget year. When we put the debt onto the Library, it becomes 10% of the municipal tax rate and so, if you’re looking at expenses, you look at all the big things first. So, Mr. Tepper, did you want to, you know, if the President would let him speak.
President Greenbaum: No, it’s okay Steve, you can run the meeting.
Mr. Rattner: Oh, thank you.
President Greenbaum: Go ahead Russ.
Russ Tepper: The numbers that I presented last week, were the numbers that were provided from Rita from the 2003. They were numbers from the report not yet official, because the 2003 audit had not yet been approved by the Board of Directors of the Library, but they were the numbers specifically taken from the report that Rita provided. So, if there was any mistake, and I have them here in front, as to what they were. The fund balances in 2002 were $683.4, the fund balances in 2003, per that report, were $815.2.
Mr. Rattner: Mr. Tepper, you’re saying that they didn’t approve, because my understanding is that the Library….every Library is required to provide their certified audit by the fifth month of the subsequent year. Does that mean that the Library is a year behind in getting their audits done?
Mr. Tepper: I can’t speak on that, I can only say that I filed an OPRA request for that information. I was told it could not be fulfilled because the reports were not yet available, and so I was called and told that if I’d like to see the numbers in the report, I could come to the Library. I did do that, that’s what I reported to the Council, that’s what I stated at the last meeting.
Mr. Rattner: Sherry, do you know if they, in fact, did not issue….report the audit for 2003, is that true?
Ms. Jenkins: I don’t know if that was reported. I do know that when I talked to Bud Jones, I said is there a timeframe for when the audits have to be done, because my understanding, from when I used to audit there, was that they were due by the end of May.
Mr. Rattner: Right.
Ms. Jenkins: But that’s what my understanding was, and Bud said to me that there was no hard and fast deadline for the Library, which I find bizarre, but that’s what I was told.
Mr. Casey: We finally did get a copy of….we contacted Mr. Jones and got a copy of your 2003 audit…the middle of last week. That’s when we e-mailed people that we had the 2003, those numbers in.
President Greenbaum: Under the May deadline, we should already have the 2004 audit, as well.
Ms. Jenkins: Well, we should have a draft or something by now, which is why I raised it to him.
Mrs. Israel: Oh, so he….Mr. Jones said that he should have the 2004, or you’re saying it?
Ms. Jenkins: No, my understanding was from when I used to audit…..
Mrs. Israel: Because we always get them a year after.
Ms. Jenkins: Yes, and I remember that, being on the Library Board, that they were always late. My understanding, just from when I used to audit Libraries, was that the reports were due by the end of May. So, I spoke to Bud because I wanted to confirm that, it’s been a while since I was in that job, and he said to me that there’s no hard and fast deadline for when that needs to be done.
Audience: Inaudible…..Mr. Jones you’re talking about?
Mrs. Israel: Mr. Bud Jones.
Ms. Jenkins: We’re talking about Bud Jones, who does the audit.
Mrs. Israel: From the Nisivoccia Company, and by the way, this audit…I have a copy of it here, but it’s by mistake, it was an oversight, the people got the audit last time, last month, but we neglected to vote on it, it was a mistake, so we’re voting on it tomorrow night. It’s….I know, it’s…you know, we’ve had it for about a month and a half or so and it just wasn’t acted on when it should have been.
President Greenbaum: Any other comments or questions? Thank you. Anyone else from the public who wishes to be heard on the Consent Resolutions? Seeing none, I’ll close it to the public.
COUNCIL COMMENTS ON CONSENT RESOLUTIONS
President Greenbaum: Any Council comment? Mr. Mund.
Mr. Mund: I have a question on Resolution #14, authorizing a contract with the….for the search of the Business Administrator. What criteria do they use for this search and this selection process, and do they do an initial background investigation?
Mr. Casey: No, what Jersey Professional Management…..the normal process that they do is they, well, they meet with usually the Mayor or go to the search committee, if there’s one, they attempt to ascertain the qualities that they’re primarily seeking in terms of level of experience, any particular training or educational levels, etc. They will then….the normal process is that when resumes come in, they go to the search committee, they review …..the consultant will offer advice and comments to them, they screen down at that point, then they do interviews and they will do a background when it’s done, usually when you get down to, you know, hopefully you come down to three, they do backgrounds on three and then the final selection is made. They do not do it….if you’re familiar with the School Board process, which is a very structured type of program, they don’t use that full process. The main asset they bring to the overall, again, the word process, is that when they do the interviews, they use a structured interview, they will actually take those who are going to be interviewed, they have a questionnaire that goes out to them, they are asked a series….every candidate is asked the same type of questions, you know, when you sort down to the top five that you want to interview, so that you will have before you very specific information by each candidate as to how they would handle certain types of problems, how they view certain types of issues, whether it’s internal communications, external communications, Council-matic actions, etc., so you will have form every candidate that you’re going to interview, on the search committee, you’ll have a written response from them as to how they handle these….case studies, and then you use that and you work through the interview process using that type of information to discuss their management Mr. Casey (cont’d): philosophy among other things. So, there is a structured process, it’s not as detailed as you’re used to in schools, in the education community, but it’s more….they will try to refine the goals you’re looking at, you know, the resumes come in, you choose down to a number, hopefully half a dozen, those you basically send out a questionnaire to…or structured questionnaire….it’s not quite a….it’s essays, you ask for essays to come in, then you use them for the actual interviews so that you have from each of the candidates, in writing, responses to questions that are relevant to your operation.
Mr. Mund: Thank you.
President Greenbaum: Are there any other questions or comments? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously, except Mr. Rattner abstained from #6
RESOLUTIONS NON CONSENT
President Greenbaum: There are no Non-Consent Resolutions.
President Greenbaum: We move on to Motions. Ms. Labow, can you move Raffle Applications?
1. Approval of Raffle Application #2080 for the Parents Club Mt. Olive High School and Raffle Application #2081, #2082 and #2083 for the Mt. Olive Jr. Baseball Softball Assn.
Ms. Labow: I move for approval of Applications #2080, #2081, #2082 and #2083.
Mr. Mund: Second.
President Greenbaum: Any comment? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
President Greenbaum: The next item is appointment to the Board of Adjustment, Alternate I.
2. Appointment to the Board of Adjustment, Alternate I, 2 year unexpired term to expire 12/31/05.
Mr. Mund: I would like to appoint Anthony McKeon to the Board of Adjustment, Alternate I, 2 year unexpired term to expire 12/31/05.
Mr. Rattner: Second.
President Greenbaum: Are there any other nominations? Ms. Labow.
Ms. Labow: I would like to nominate Rich Escobar.
President Greenbaum: Is there a second? That nomination dies for lack of second. Any other nominations? Seeing none, Roll Call for Mr. McKeon.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
Mr. Rattner: What was the final count? Did he get it?
Mrs. Lashway: Yes, six people.
President Greenbaum: The next Motion for discussion is the appointment to the Ethics Committee. Ms. Labow.
3. Appointment to the Ethics Committee, 5 year unexpired term to expire 12/31/08.
Ms. Labow: How are we doing this?
President Greenbaum: Do you want to nominate one of the people who put in a…..
Ms. Labow: There….don’t we…
Mrs. Lashway: A, B or C.
Ms. Labow: Okay, I nominate candidate number A.
Mr. Buell: Second.
President Greenbaum: Are there any other nominations? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
Mrs. Lashway: That’s Mari Dean.
President Greenbaum: Mari Dean, congratulations to Mari Dean. Mr. Rattner, can you please move the Bill List.
4. Bill List.
Mr. Rattner: Sure. I move the Bill List of 17 pages as submitted, 18 pages, I’m sorry.
Mr. Perkins: Second.
President Greenbaum: Council comment. Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
President Greenbaum: Administrative Matters. Mr. Casey.
Mr. Casey: None, other than a request for an Executive Session to talk about a matter of Personnel.
Handicapped Parking @ Library
President Greenbaum: Old Business – Handicapped Parking at the Library. Is there an update? It’s just on as a tickler. Yes, Colleen, did you have something?
Ms. Labow: I think Mr. Semrau was writing a letter to the Library?
Mr. Semrau: Yes, we had a discussion and that is ready to go, that will go out tomorrow, regarding the handicap parking and the change order.
President Greenbaum: Okay, any other discussion?
Ms. Labow: If I could just ask Mr. Casey one question. Mr. Casey, I’m sorry, do you know if they started to work on the….at the Library for the two handicap spots?
Mr. Casey: No, I do not know. I have not physically been out there to observe it, so I don’t know.
President Greenbaum: Any other Old Business?
President Greenbaum: Any New Business?
President Greenbaum: Legal Matters.
Mr. Semrau: I just wanted to report that, you may recall, Mayor and Council, that in January 2004 we tried a case entitled Interverse versus the Township of Mount Olive. It was a challenge to the zoning of the Smithtown Farm Tract and the court found…they upheld the ordinance and Judge Bozonelis issued a very thorough opinion from the four day trial that the Township’s planning efforts and the actions of the Township were all valid and reasonable, and just this past week, we received a decision from the Appellate Division where, actually John Dorsey argued in the Appellate Division about two weeks ago, once again, upholding the trial court’s decision and validating the ordinance and the planning efforts of the Township and just as the Appellate Division did in the Mount Olive Complex case, it also highlighted some of the testimony of Chuck McGroarty, the Planner for the Township, who did a fine effort in the trial court and it was again highlighted in the Appellate Division’s decision. So, once again, very similar to Mount Olive Complex, maybe now it’s on a smaller scale as it just pertained to the Smithtown Tract, the Appellate Division has come out and said that the actions of the Township and it’s planning process were upheld. So, it was a very favorable decision. It was a 15 page opinion issued by the Appellate Division and we were pleased that all of the counts of the complaint that were dismissed by the trial court were upheld by the Appellate Division.
President Greenbaum: I read the opinion, it was really favorable to Mount Olive and a job well done for all the participants. The one thing I didn’t look for was it a unanimous decision of the Appellate Division?
Mr. Semrau: Yes it was.
President Greenbaum: So, there’s no right to the Supreme Court other than by cert, correct?
Mr. Semrau: That should be the end of that litigation.
President Greenbaum: Very good. Any other Legal Matters?
President Greenbaum: Council Reports, Library Board Liaison Report, Ms. Labow.
Library Board Liaison Report
Ms. Labow: We meet tomorrow.
Recreation Liaison Report
Mr. Mund: The Recreation Committee met. Aly Pearsall is the new student liaison. There are two positions open on the Recreation Committee to be filled…Mr. Mayor? We reworked, and rewrote, and hopefully we’ll reissue the words, or recommend reissue of the words to the park’s ordinance.
Mr. Casey: That will be on next week’s meeting.
Mr. Mund: There was much discussion about the budget. The Committee, as has been noted by the letter from the coaches, took great exception to the fee structure on the motion we passed tonight. I guess that’s the major issues.
Board of Health Report
President Greenbaum: Mr. Guenther is not here at the present time.
Planning Board Report
Ms. Labow: The Planning Board was supposed to meet this Thursday, they cancelled the meeting. I know there is a big Democratic function so I don’t know if that’s why they cancelled it or not, and we will be meeting a week from Thursday.
Board of Adjustment Liaison Report
Mr. Perkins: Nothing, Mr. President.
Open Space Committee Report
President Greenbaum: Mr. Guenther is not here yet.
Legislative Committee Report
Mr. Mund: Nothing.
Pride Committee Liaison Report
Mr. Perkins: Yes, the Pride Committee is busy finalizing up the essay contest for the Memorial Day Parade, as well as getting all the balloons and everything else ready, and looking forward to coming up with a new design for the billboard down on Route 206.
Board of Education Liaison Report
Mr. Buell: They met last night. The major issue is they’re trying to find out why the bids, through the architect back to the bidders, why they were 14% over budget. They really did not have an explanation at this point in time to that, and there was a rather interesting discussion vis-à-vis the speakers at the graduation.
Mr. Mund: Also, the appointed President is now Larry McEntee?
Mr. Buell: Yes.
Mr. Mund: And the Vice President is Mark Werner. They met today with the architects on a discussion this afternoon and they were meeting all afternoon. Their next major bid coming in is the trailer relocation and that will be coming….the bid opening will be this Thursday, the 12th of May and they have had more retirements than they thought they were going to have.
Ms. Labow: Retirements?
Mr. Mund: Retirements, yes.
Ms. Labow: What does that mean?
Mr. Mund: Several of the staff are leaving for retirement.
Ms. Labow: So that means that it helps the budget?
Mr. Mund: That’s good news, that helps their budget.
Ms. Labow: That helps their budget, good. I heard….can I ask a question of the…for the….Mr. Mund or Mr. Buell?
President Greenbaum: Of course.
Ms. Labow: If….with their bids coming back so high, where do they go from there, I mean, what’s the plan?
Mr. Buell: They plan to rebid it on May 23rd, or as early as they can, but May 23rd they have another meeting, they plan to rebid out the project making changes, if they can, between now and then.
Ms. Labow: Okay. So, they’ll make changes to try and bring the cost down then, is that how it works?
Mr. Buell: Yes.
Mr. Mund: Yes, what they can remove, and that was what the meeting today was about.
Ms. Labow: Okay, thank you.
President Greenbaum: Mr. Guenther, we skipped several of your reports, Board of Health….
Mr. Guenther: We’re meeting tomorrow night.
President Greenbaum: And then also Open Space Committee Report.
Mr. Guenther: Open Space, unfortunately, they met Monday, I couldn’t be there, so I didn’t get a chance to talk to a member….Kathy, were you there, at the meeting? Anything of note?
President Greenbaum: You have to come up, if you’re going to speak.
Mr. Rattner: Either that, or just say no.
Mr. Mund: She said no.
Kathy Murphy: Well just that, of course, we closed on Silver Spring, we did get the reimbursement from the State today, the final tally really, for the township, we still have a couple more small bills to pay for appraisers and all. The township portion will actually only be about $160,000 – just short for the entire purchase.
Mr. Guenther: Great, good job.
Mrs. Murphy: So, that will be our major thing, we still have to resolve our application….water application will be for the Morris County application, and we have some issues to discuss on that.
Mr. Guenther: Thank you.
Lake/Environment Issues Committee
Mr. Rattner: I have nothing to report.
Safety Committee Liaison
Mr. Guenther: Nothing to report.
Finance Committee Report
Mr. Rattner: I have nothing to add.
School Budget Committee Report
Mr. Guenther: We met today, which really is the last meeting. We reached an agreement, I don’t know if you want me to get into details on that, or…
President Greenbaum: I haven’t seen anything, I’d rather get a memo from you and then we can…if anyone has any comments during the week about….and I’d like you to highlight for us in the memo not only what has been resolved, but the issues that were on the table, where Gary saw issues, what other issues were raised generally, so we have a good sense of what has been discussed.
Mr. Guenther: Okay.
Mr. Mund: I would like to say that Gary Higgins has provided us some tremendous help and that Mr. Guenther has led a good dialogue and a cooperative environment in these discussions. We have had no animosity between the groups, and it’s always been a positive discussion, fact finding and coming to consensus.
President Greenbaum: Was the decision that was reached among the Ad Hoc Committee unanimous?
Mr. Mund: Yes.
Mr. Guenther: Yes.
President Greenbaum: Okay. At this point, I’ll open it up to the public for anyone who wishes to speak.
Jane Israel, Mount Olive Public Library: I wanted to comment on some comments that were in the newspaper today, attributed to Mr. Rattner and, of course, we know that the newspaper makes mistakes, but the Mrs. Israel (cont’d): comments I was referring to was that the Library is never satisfied with the level of funding, no matter what we give them, they always complain. I just wanted to comment about that because it is the Library’s mission, the Library Board’s mission and responsibility to provide the very best in Library services that this town can afford and that is why we’re always working towards our stated goals, which are to create and maintain comprehensive collection of materials, extend the Library’s visibility in the community, nurture in children the desire to be lifelong users of the Library, offer enjoyable and informative programs that attract diverse groups to the Library, provide equal access to information and services for all people, support the continuing professional development of all staff, and use technology to expand and facilitate access to information, and I know that the Library Board will continue to work for those goals in the town, and that’s why we’re never satisfied the way we are, we’re always looking to get better. As far as the complaining about the money that we get from you, I know that I have stood here in this very place and thanked you many times for the funds that you provided. The $3,500,000 that was bonded originally and then the $644,000 appropriation. I thanked you for paying the cost of the construction manager, who was invaluable, by the way, and also thank you very much for picking up the tab for the furnishings because we had promised that we would raise that money and then our fundraising efforts were not what we thought we could get, and I just….I don’t think we’re always complaining, there have been a couple of times when we have made known that we, you know, would like to be able to have more money, and in fact this is one of those times, because if the Council has, you know, changed our budget to the minimum, we were….when we were here the last time, when I was here the last time and we were told that you would pay for the utilities, we were still off, you know, and our Finance Committee met a number of times bringing down our budget to meet the amount of money that you were going to give us, but of course this latest decision of yours right now is really going to blow the whole thing out of the water and I don’t know if we…you know, just how it will effect Library services, but the Board meets tomorrow night, so we’ll talk about that at that time, and I hope I’ve corrected any misunderstanding about the $800,000 where it…whatever that was, that was another thing that was in error. As far as, you know, always criticizing the Council, I really don’t think we’ve done that, there’s….there’s naturally a little bit of, you know, contention maybe between the two. You have a job to do and we have a job to do, and I think we did….both of us did a pretty good job with the new building and I think that the people in the town are very happy with the Library and with the services that are being provided over there, and I think that you can give yourselves a pat on the back for that, because certainly you were a big part of it. Thank you.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. Mr. Rattner, did you want to respond?
Mr. Rattner: Yes. Jane, I want to respond to that, just because here…here’s the newspaper article and I got the calls on it, and I got the calls because I was told that it was from a letter from you advising him this is what we wanted to do, from probably two or three sentences that I made during a brainstorming, or budget….when we started the budget, talking about issues. It was probably not too long after Mr. Casey mentioned, if you’re going to be serious about cutting the budget, you have to go after where the big dollars are and he said well, I don’t know of anybody who is brave enough….or something to that effect, and he’s right….about cutting the Police Department. He said if you’re looking at big departments and significant dollars, that’s where it is. I said that I happened to be at a meeting and I told the newspaper that, I don’t know why it didn’t come in there, because I meet at the County on a regular basis with the County officials from being on different boards, and I was sitting next to two Freeholders and I said that….I made the offer, I said hey, what would you think about taking over the Library, is there any benefits in that, or can you operate it? It was a lukewarm….you know, that’s cute…we get the three mils, and that’s as far as it went. If I just talked to him and didn’t do anything, he said why are you talking behind the back? You never talked to me about this, you went to the newspaper, and then you get a thing, give it to the County, Councilman says, I never said that, you know I never said that, the newspaper knows I never said that. I said, yes, I talked to him and, you know, he wasn’t interested, I also told the newspapers there’s probably legal constraints because it was a public vote and we have no idea what would happen with the municipalization and how that goes forward, but with everything, last year we really wrestled through the budget and found different ways of getting everything that was requested, what was presented to us from the Mayor, and we didn’t cut a penny out of your budget. We capitalized some of the things, we put some in capital. I know, because I got a lot of calls, because a lot of the calls…and you and me had the conversation, you remember that, when I said that I was going to sit up here, I was so mad that that night I was going to sit up here and ask for the entire Board to resign, otherwise I would never vote for another penny. Remember that conversation, how mad I was?
Mrs. Israel: I remember that you were mad.
Mr. Rattner: Because your Board members went and told people, and some of them happen to be friends of mine, that I couldn’t be trusted, I’m taking money away, even if I say it’s in the budget, and we had that conversation, Jane. You said you didn’t know about it…..about that.
Mrs. Israel: I….
Mr. Rattner: And you know, and this is a continuation, the year before, when we were doing the funding, we got the three and a half, you came back and we talked about the extra $600,000, we’ll get that in….but remember, before we even got an architect, you came back and asked for more money, said we wanted another amount, and I just said, and I was very forceful, until you know where the bids are coming, I said I’m willing to go back to the public one more time, but I’m not going to go back more than that, if we know what it’s really going to cost and we get the firm cost, I’ll come back. I still got that, because I got it from your employees for the next year, that I treated the Board so badly, over the course of the years, going back 10, 15 years ago, when they wanted to take your capital fund away from you, you remember that. Who was the supporter right along, and it really is, no matter what we gave. Last year you got every penny and yet we got six hundred and some off postcards, after a sign that was in the Library that we wanted to close it, we were going to cut the hours, those are the things that you get frustrated on, and then this year Mr. Tepper, who’s representing the Finance Committee, asked for data, and we just kept…it’s not publicly available, we don’t have to give it to you, it was very very difficult. He filled out an OPRA form, we said that well, we’re two years behind in our audits, well maybe that’s true now, which I don’t know of any other government agency, because when we had that with one of our Rescue Squads, we stopped the funding immediately until we got the audit, and that was on the recommendation of the CFO at the time, but this…why it was in the paper, and I don’t like….especially the headline, was not because I went to the paper, not because we’re seriously considering it, you felt it was time to go there and attack me and/or the Council as a whole, that we’re trying to give away the Library. Like last year, your Library Board tried telling people I was trying to close the Library a few days a week or cut the hours so far back. In fact, I got it from two people that I know very well and highly respected in town, that how could we spend $5 million on a Library building and then close it, and they told me who said it, and if you want to, I won’t do it here, I’ll tell you which Board member went to them and I’ll tell you who said it, and exactly what they said and about some of the vicious things they said about me and some other people on the Council. So, yes, it is very very difficult, we had a very difficult year, we try working with you, you know, even last year, even no matter how mad some of us got, we made sure you got your full funding, so we never held it against you and then to find out that you decided to go to the newspaper, because we wanted to give away…to let them know that I wanted to give away the Library….and that was you, wasn’t it?
Mrs. Israel: I beg your pardon.
Mr. Rattner: That was you who went to the Star Ledger.
Mrs. Israel: No, actually what happened was at the last….
Mr. Rattner: No, Jane, stop….because I got that from the newspaper and the newspaper…the person who sent it to happens to be here.
Mrs. Israel: Can I just say that the reason….we, by the way, didn’t know about your comments at the budget hearing, and it was when Colleen was at our last meeting…
Ms. Labow: That’s not true, Jane.
Mr. Rattner: And she said you said it.
Mrs. Israel: Well, I didn’t…..I didn’t give any credence to it anyway, whatever it was, but you know, Colleen said that this was being seriously considered….and I don’t….no I don’t like this discussion he said/she said and all this stuff……
President Greenbaum: You know what, I don’t want to….Jane, Jane, Jane, Jane, I don’t like it either, I’ll let you….no, Colleen, we’re not going to go back and forth.
Ms. Labow: No, I have a couple other comments….
President Greenbaum: No, no, you can save it for your Council comments. Jane, do you have anything that….you have the floor….do you have anything that you want to finish up with at this point?
Mrs. Israel: Just to say that mostly everything what Mr. Rattner said was true….mostly. I mean there were a few, you know, digs that he made that probably, you know, he exaggerated…you know, personal things, but most of what he said was true and I know that in the past, he had always been a strong Library supporter, and I
Mrs. Israel (cont’d): think that the business last year kind of soured him on us and I apologized to him, even though I wasn’t responsible, you know, fully responsible, but anyway, and I thought we were, you know, friends, but….
Mr. Rattner: I had to spend the whole day today at the County….
President Greenbaum: Please, Steve, Steve….Jane, do you want to wrap up?
Mrs. Israel: Yes, well, we didn’t call the Ledger. What happened was the….because we were told, because the Library was told that we were not communicating about the project, and that was you, Mr. Greenbaum, who told us that. An Ad Hoc Committee…..communications committee was formed, and we have a series of three forums that…one we put on the other day about the conception of the Library, overviewing the process, you know, and all the way up to the ground breaking. On May 19th we have another meeting, a forum for the public to come to about the construction and what happened all through that, all the way up to the temporary CO. Then on June 2nd, there’s going to be a follow up and an evaluation of the total project and as part of the communication committee, a letter was sent to the Editor, because we wanted to let people know that we were doing, you know, that we were going to be proactively going out and telling the public about things that we may have….we were working hard on all along, but we may not have communicated to them. We did write a letter to the Editor and in that was referred to the fact that the Council had…was entertaining the idea of offering the Library to the County and that was only because Ms. Labow had reported on it in her committee, I mean, her liaison position, and…..
Ms. Labow: That’s not what I said.
President Greenbaum: Colleen, you’ll have a chance….Colleen….
Mrs. Israel: You were at our meeting and you said what do you think of this, what do you think of this and we all told you what we thought of it.
Ms. Labow: All right, all right, all right. Well, that’s not what I said.
Mrs. Israel: But anyway….well, that’s just a….
Mr. Rattner: They got the communication right, because it was brought up and it was me.
President Greenbaum: Excuse me, excuse me….do you have anything else Jane?
Mrs. Israel: No, that’s all, thank you.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. Anyone else from the public? Mr. McKeon, name and address please.
Tony McKeon, 31 Glendale, Flanders: I don’t mean it to be a Library pile-on session, but I guess, you know….just with the Budget Committee meetings we were doing, you know, one of the things I’m disappointed with is, you know, we had a Saturday…we had all these Saturday meetings, we brought the different departments in to talk about the different, you know, expenditures that they had for, you know, a case of Library books and, you know, different materials, you know, custodial services, and $499,000, or whatever that amount is, was never brought up that, you know, that this was money that, you know, maybe the State hadn’t finalized that money and, you know, so, you know, it’s a possibility that, you know, we didn’t want to go out in public and say that, you know, we’re going to be getting this money from the State, but if we had any idea that maybe there was some money coming from the State, you know, that would have been useful information when we had our budget meetings but, you know, we’re talking about $500,000 that nobody knew what was going on and, you know, I don’t want to make, you know, accusations that if we didn’t get, you know, audit, you know, numbers that showed $700,000, $800,000 that maybe the $499,000, you know, money that we’re getting from the State, we never would have been, you know, maybe, you know, I’m sure it would have went back into the building but, you know, it’s just disappointing that, you know, we weren’t made aware of the money that was there. It’s useful information that we could have had that maybe…maybe it would have effected, you know, the…..realistically, I don’t think so, I think we would have stayed with a third of a mil that we had before, but I just…it just didn’t come up, so I was just kind of disappointed with that. So, I don’t know if that was a Library obligation to us when we had our budget meeting, or what that was, but it’s just…it’s disappointing, it’s almost like we didn’t have the, you know, the full picture on that.
Ms. Jenkins: Rob, can I answer that, please?
President Greenbaum: No, I don’t think you need to respond, I don’t think you need to respond. Anything else?
Mr. McKeon: Yes, the other thing, real quick, I just wanted to mention, too is, you know, Russ and I have been doing a couple of the OPRA requests, and we did an OPRA request for….you know, we were trying to figure out, you know, like how much was spent, you know, for previous years, so we can kind of get an idea of, you know, spending, you know, maybe the Library was getting conservative and, you know, in 2004 for when they were moving into the building, so maybe they scaled back on buying books, so that way it would be less books to move, that kind of thing. So, you know, when we….about a month....I would say probably a month, month and a half ago, when we did our first OPRA request, you know, we were looking for, you know, for an audit for, you know, 2004; they didn’t have the 2004, then we asked for the 2003, and 2003 we were told at the time, this is about a month and a half ago, that it wasn’t even certified yet. So, you know, then just recently, I would say probably about two weeks ago, we did another OPRA request looking for it, and 2003 still wasn’t done. So, you know, it’s not like, you know, I don’t think it’s like we forgot about the 2003 audit, it just…it’s, you know, I just…I’m not sure why it wasn’t certified yet, but, you know, it’s, you know….I don’t know, it just didn’t seem like we were getting a clear picture of the Library when we were going through our budget hearings, and that’s what we opened it up for, that’s why we had public meetings and then we arranged the meetings with departments, was to get the full picture. You know, to be honest with you, I didn’t think we got the full picture when we were doing that. I don’t know if it would have effected the outcome or not, but I just wanted to be, you know, just to put that out there. Thanks.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. Sherry, did you want to respond briefly?
Ms. Jenkins: Yes. The $500,000, you don’t have that story quite right. The $500,000…we actually had set up a grant receivable when we set up this ordinance, for almost a million dollars, okay, so we’ve gotten a portion of that…that came back to the township and the $500,000 that Jane is referring to is money that we expected to get to offset the bond ordinance that we already set up. It’s not additional money, it’s money that the township set up as a receivable that we anticipated on getting from the State.
Mr. McKeon: Would that money…if that money…that $500,000, would that go towards the debt service for the Library?
Ms. Jenkins: Yes.
Mr. McKeon: Would that potentially reduce what our debt service was for this year?
Ms. Jenkins: No, because we already….we set up the ordinance…in other words, we set it up…let’s say we set up a $5 million ordinance, we knew we were getting money from the State for a $1 million, so we authorized debt for the balance of the $4 million.
Mr. McKeon: Okay, so we already….okay so the debt service was already….we already took into consideration we were getting State money….
Ms. Jenkins: Okay. It was taken into consideration when we did the ordinance.
Mr. McKeon: Okay. So, I just wanted to make sure this wasn’t something that was coming after the fact and actually would even change our budget even further.
Ms. Jenkins: No, it won’t. We knew that we were going to be getting it.
Mr. McKeon: Okay, thanks.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. Anyone else from the audience? Mr. Jones.
Dave Jones, Route 46, Budd Lake: I just want to thank Mr. Rattner for thinking outside the box, and I thought that handing over the Library to the County is a fantastic idea, it would relieve the burden off the local taxpayers, okay, and I see it as a win-win for both the Library and the township, and we could only be funded better by the County. That’s all I have to say.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. Mr. Hall, please state your name and address for the record.
Rob Hall, 1 Gail Drive, Flanders, and President of the Junior Marauders Football Association: My comments are based on Council’s comments. So, first of all, Mr. President, thank you for clarifying what the township’s use is intended to be on the $5.00 ordinance, because what was being discussed was somewhat troublesome and greatly inaccurate. So, thank you for clarifying that. Four quick points, though, about #16-
2005: I think Mr. Rattner hit the nail on the head in prioritization. You can call this a youth tax, but when push comes to shove, you’re going to collect the $5.00 for the “support of Turkey Brook”, but the first thing that’s going to get cut, is not going to be Police and it’s not going to be the heating of the building, it’s going to be the guys cutting the grass. So, in terms of prioritization, it isn’t even a use tax, because by 2006 or 2007, that money’s not even going to be going towards Turkey Brook, it’s going to be going towards some other general funding requirement in the township. Two: The size of Turkey Brook Park, you’re going to have both organized and passive recreation sports taking place there. When you take on….when the township takes on a project as big and as beautiful as Turkey Brook, to have certain groups pay for it and certain groups not, the analogy I draw is the only people that should pay school tax are those that currently have children in the system. If your children are grown or you don’t have kids yet, you shouldn’t have to pay for the school taxes. Three: If you take the $5.00 ordinance and the discontinued funding that’s going to take place to the sports associations, we’re going to reach a point very quickly, at least in football, where it is going to be very cost prohibitive to play football and in a township the size of Mount Olive, to say that you’re not going to have kids come out and play football because it cost too much, I think is very disturbing. And Four: Just a quick point of order, whether this is in Robert’s Rules or otherwise, to have public comments made in a vacuum and then have you guys make your comments and not to be able to respond, I think you’d have a lot more intuitive conversations if there’s a follow-up after you guys make your comments to allow the public to come back, because again, a lot gets generated based on what you say after the fact. That’s it, thank you.
President Greenbaum: Yes, but do you know, by the same token Rob, it would be endless, because there would be more comment, there would be more discussion, then more comment. It’s set up that way for a purpose. There’s a first reading. At the time of the first reading, you have the opportunity, during the public portion, to say whatever you want to say about a particular ordinance. Then you have the opportunity to say whatever you need to say, when it’s open to the public for public hearing, and to be quite honest with you, there’s nothing which you said, which in any way changed my concept of what this ordinance was about and/or why it was needed in this particular year. Some valid points that I thought could have been made during the public portion on that particular ordinance and before any Council comment occurred and I believe that the discussion that was at the Council level tonight was extremely similar, if not identical to, the same discussion that we had when this opened for first reading, when I got in a very heated discussion with Mr. Rattner about what this particular ordinance was about and why it was so troublesome, and believe me, this is one of those ordinances that’s extremely troubling to every single person that sits up here, extremely troubling, and by the same token, everybody in the township pays money towards the maintenance of Turkey Brook Park, just like every resident in the township, or at least taxpayer in the township, pays school taxes, but when you do additional things with the school system….let’s say that the Ski Club goes on an outing, the Ski Club collects money for that activity. It does not come out of the general tax revenue of the School Board. So, while I understand what you’re saying, the Council made a decision this year that there was going to have to be a differentiation in terms of the way that a certain portion of the expenses for running the recreation in town were going to be allocated, and it’s a small price to pay to the residents who use the recreation services of the township.
Mr. Hall: Thank you for that and, again, my only concern in that is that a year from now, that money’s not going to be going towards recreation, it’s going to be going towards something else. So, you know, to call it….to offset recreation costs, is…..it may be semantics……
President Greenbaum: Do you play basketball in the over 39 league?
Mr. Hall: Yes I do.
President Greenbaum: Okay, and do you pay a fee?
Mr. Hall: Yes I do.
President Greenbaum: And where does that money go?
Mr. Hall: It doesn’t…..does it go to the township?
President Greenbaum: A portion of it goes to the township to cover the cost of insurance.
Mr. Hall: Okay.
President Greenbaum: At least more than $5.00 of what you pay to play basketball, goes to the township. We’ve been doing it in the past with just….yes, it is true. Don’t shake your head, Mr. Farley, I know it’s true.
Mr. Hall: Thank you.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. Yes sir, Fred, please state your name and address.
Fred Phillips, 1 Adam Court, Budd Lake: I’m the President of the Soccer Club. Like Rob Hall, to me, the $5.00 fee is definitely discriminatory; it’s a tax on people who are using the park. Everyone in town has access to the park, right. The tax…the fee…the money you guys are going to generate from this, is pennies to this entire township, but it’s a burden to a family of two or three who play multiple sports, right, and God forbid if the parent is athletic and wants to play in the over 39 basketball league, he’s got to pay that fee too, and your analogy about the Ski Club doesn’t hold water with the Football Club, the Soccer Club, the Hockey Club, who doesn’t even use any facilities in town. The Rec Department does absolutely nothing for the Soccer Club, they do absolutely nothing for Football, they don’t handle our registrations, they don’t handle our day-to-day operations, they don’t handle our volunteers. The Ski Club analogy, they have to go out and rent the bus, they have to go find chaperones, so there is a cost involved in that, right.
President Greenbaum: There’s a cost involved to maintain the fields for the Soccer Club as well.
Mr. Phillips: Where in that ordinance does it say that?
President Greenbaum: What’s that?
Mr. Phillips: Where in the ordinance does it say that money’s going back to the Rec Department?
President Greenbaum: It’s really irrelevant…I don’t think you were here for the discussion, I thought you walked in….
Mr. Phillips: Yes, but it is relevant though, Rob…..
President Greenbaum: It’s not, there is a cost which is associated with maintaining those fields, whether we dedicate the funds, which I’m happy to do, ultimately next year, is to dedicate the funds and take an equal withdrawal from what we put towards the maintenance of Turkey Brook or towards what we give to the Recreation…..do we give money to the Hockey Club to run their….to subsidize their Hockey Program? Yes, we do.
Mr. Phillips: Only if they ask for it.
President Greenbaum: And they do.
Mr. Phillips: Okay
President Greenbaum: They do, so they do benefit from….
Mr. Phillips: But now they say that’s going away, though.
President Greenbaum: It’s not going away, those funds have not been cut out of the budget. Sherry?
Ms. Jenkins: No, we didn’t take money out for the sports organizations.
President Greenbaum: We didn’t touch that at all.
Ms. Jenkins: No, that was not touched.
Mr. Buell: In fact, Rob, we discussed the issue of the higher fees versus cutting the $26,000 as a trade-off during the budget hearings, and we decided to leave the $26,000 in and to add the fee of $5.00….
Mr. Phillips: I stand corrected, then. With regards to Turkey Brook, that’s Greenacres property….was funded Greenacres under that Greenacres program?
Ms. Labow: Yes.
Mr. Phillips: Because their rules and regulations, I’m just reading something here, shall use any fees it collects from the youths of funded parkland….or facility funded parkland, for operating maintenance or capital expenses related to its funded parklands or to its recreation program as a whole. So, it sounds to me that you’d have to go back to the Rec Department.
President Greenbaum: You know what, it’s….I think you’re mixing apples and oranges. You’re looking at a justification for recouping the expenses of generally running the Recreation Department and you’re looking to extrapolate it to necessarily the maintenance of Turkey Brook Park. The bottom line is that we can reduce two workers at Turkey Brook Park and accomplish the same thing. You won’t get the fields cut, there will be no maintenance up there other than the one person who is going to be up there at half a day. I mean, that’s really what you’re talking about, that’s what we avoided this year by going this route.
Mr. Phillips: Rob, we’re all in favor…we’ve been a very good citizen up at Turkey Brook.
President Greenbaum: Excellent citizen.
Mr. Phillips: Whenever Jim Lynch needed something, we stepped up to our membership and given it to him. Nobody wants the fields to burn out, right? I mean, obviously, you can go around…you can go to Freedom Park, everyone claims well, you know, what a great bargain, couple million dollars, but you go up there, (inaudible) are all dirt. It’s not safe for the kids, right…we’re working our butts off to make this field safe, we just want some assurances that the money….if we’re going to pay….if you’re going to take $10,000 from our club and our membership as a tax, we want to make sure it goes to where it’s supposed to go.
President Greenbaum: We’re not taking any money from your club or your membership, we’re taking money from taxpayers….just like we do when we levy taxes all year round, and when we provide sanitation, sewer services, beach, whatever it is, we’re not asking you to take any money out of your club, and I believe that all of the sports organizations have been extremely good citizens, and I would say that, you know, between the organized sports and the non-organized use of Turkey Brook Park, my guess is that 95% of the use of Turkey Brook Park is for sports organizations, and that the fields are tied up by the sports organizations to such a great extent that the ability to use the park on behalf of residents is limited to extremely off hours, and so to say that it’s open to everybody, it is open to everybody, but who really benefits by the maintenance of the park? It’s the sports organizations, it’s the kids in the programs, it’s the parents of the kids.
Mr. Phillips: Oh, well, yes, I know the skateboarders up there today…the high school kids that were playing on the fields, you know, they just walked on, we didn’t kick them off, we had a permit, we could’ve kicked them off. We just said, you know, go down here and shoot, when you’re done, put the goal down so it doesn’t fall on someone’s head.
President Greenbaum: But it’s rare, it’s rare. There are times when other people use the fields and they are open to everybody and they should be open to everybody, but the bottom line is that when you look at when those soccer…I’m just using the soccer fields as an example, because you’re here..
Mr. Phillips: That’s fine.
President Greenbaum: I could say on any given night, Monday through Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, those soccer fields are in use by the soccer club and you’re talking about two seasons, both fall and spring.
Mr. Phillips: Right.
President Greenbaum: So, you know, the bottom line is that….I mean it doesn’t change the equation any. I mean, your points are valid, they’re valid points, but the decision was made to go this route rather than to lay off employees of the township, or to levy the tax higher. You know, in every single group that we’ve cut money from, had the same….comes up and says the same exact thing. These are hard decisions that we have to make, they’re not popular decisions. No matter what decision you make, you piss somebody off. You know what, you piss somebody off, and I hear it every day, I hear from somebody or somebody else, but you know what, the average taxpayer in Mount Olive, which is greater than the sports organization, would applaud this decision. The people who don’t use the Library, would applaud if they knew that their taxes were going to go up by two tax points or three tax points. So, we have to make hard decisions, this is one of the hard decisions that was made. I’m really not even in favor of this, I have to tell you. I had a discussion with Jim, that I’m really….
Mr. Phillips: But you voted for it, though.
President Greenbaum: I did vote for it, because….
Mr. Phillips: But you’re not in favor of it, but you voted for it.
President Greenbaum: I voted for it because I’m more in favor of this than any of the other alternatives, which is either higher taxes passed along to the general tax population or laying off employees.
Mr. Phillips: But Rob, that’s the cost of living in town, that’s the cost of having a better town, every citizen, every citizen is responsible for having a better town, right?
President Greenbaum: Part of the cost of participating in recreation is to pay this $5.00 fee this year, that’s the way I looked at it. It came down to a balancing and we decided to go the route of collecting the fee. I don’t necessarily want to be the spokesperson on this, I think that generally all of us, from the Administration on down, none of us like this, but we all thought it was the better of the alternatives.
Mr. Phillips: Well, in closing, I just think you, you know, you have a Rec Committee, Rob you have a Rec Committee…..I’m sorry Mr. Rattner, I don’t mean to interrupt you….
President Greenbaum: Go ahead.
Mr. Phillips: You have a Rec Committee, but you just totally ignore their advice, or their letters, or their meaning, you know, that you have a Rec Committee that gets together and discusses these things at length, and their words go unheard.
President Greenbaum: I don’t think that’s accurate. We heard what they had to say, we considered what was in the letter, ultimately we have the unfortunate task of making the hard decisions, and we made the decision. You know what, this was discussed through the Recreation Department, it was something which was brought to us by the Administration, at the outset. It was discussed at length at the time, we must have spent easily an hour, hour and a half, discussing the merits of doing this particular policy decision, and the decision was made to go this route.
Mr. Phillips: And the last thing, Mr. Mayor, I would like to know what your comments are on this.
Mayor De La Roche: Is it alright to make comments?
President Greenbaum: Oh sure.
Mayor De La Roche: Okay. I agree with what Council has done.
Mr. Phillips: Sorry.
Ms. Labow: He turned the mike off.
President Greenbaum: He said he agreed with what Council has done. Anyone else from the public who would like to comment? Yes sir, name and address for the record.
Harry Brown, Hackettstown, NJ: You love that, I think you wait for that every two weeks.
President Greenbaum: It’s actually every week, so….
Mr. Brown: That’s your fault, not my doing. I don’t volunteer to come up here. Mr. Mayor, I appreciate you answering that. My question is this, the proposed budget is anticipating $10,000 to come from this Recreation fund. Mr. Casey mentions $20,000 would be generated. Am I correct, sir?
Mr. Casey: I said twenty……
Mr. Brown: A few moments ago at the beginning….
Mr. Casey: That’s correct, but the reason we backed off to $10,000 is we don’t anticipate starting it until August.
Mr. Brown: Okay. If soccer is going to be paying $9,500 of this under our present registrations right now, in a given year, at $5.00 with 950 kids per season, and you’re going to charge me twice a year, what are you going to do with all of Mr. Halls’ money? What are you going to do with Mr. Art Adams’ baseball money? You’re going to be generating almost $50,000 a year to $65,000, maybe even $70,000, and you’re projecting in the budget $10,000, you’re bringing up only $20,000 in your budget. What are you going to do with all this dough?
President Greenbaum: Ultimately the money will….ultimately the money that’s collected this year, to the extent that it exceeds…Sherry, you can correct me if I’m wrong…to the extent that it exceeds what we have projected in our budget, will go into surplus ultimately.
Ms. Jenkins: Yes it will.
Mr. Brown: Is the Recreation Department prepared to have me send the parents of 950 kids here, with $5.00 per kid in their hands, and drop it in that desk? Are you going to make me, a volunteer, gather money for you as a tax collector?
President Greenbaum: Mr. Casey.
Mr. Casey: Yes.
Mr. Brown: So, it will come to your office, sir?
Mr. Casey: No, we’re basically going to require that each organization…..
Mr. Brown: I quit. What are you going to do now?
Mr. Casey: Supply that funds when they go for their reservations for the use of the parks.
Mr. Brown: I quit. What are you going to do now?
Mr. Casey: Then, obviously, if we don’t have the program, we don’t have the cost.
Mr. Brown: So, you’re willing to tell the parents of 950 kids that there’s no program?
Mr. Casey: We’re willing to tell the parents of 950 kids that, in fact…..
Mr. Brown: If I don’t pay the $5.00 per head….
Mr. Casey: There’s a $5.00….there is a fee to use the facilities and if they, you know, if the organization does not want to do it, they may have to create a new organization or replace its’ leadership.
Mr. Brown: I mean, this is a terrible burden for parents, I mean, each year I’m hit with hardship cases that our Board decides upon already, letting kids play for free, and I’m sure Mr. Hall has that situation in his group, and baseball. I mean, we’re already dealing with this at our level. Now we have to go and say, well it’s 950 less 20, and then we have to explain who, what and where and account for it? The parents come to us confiding us, hey, we have a problem, we can’t afford to pay and we take them into our program. You fellows are coming up with numbers and making clubs and volunteers jump through hoops to make up for the shortcomings that you’re doing here, not bringing in better business into this town and more ratables.
President Greenbaum: That’s unfair. You know what, the bottom line is that we have subsidized the Soccer Club through the field usage and, believe me, I’m a coach in soccer. I’m just going to use soccer as an example. The Soccer Club utilizes Turkey Brook Park…the usage up there is just incredible, it’s incredible what the Soccer Club does, and justified, because there are that many kids who want to play soccer in Mount Olive.
Mr. Brown: And we did pretty damn good, didn’t we, over at ITC with donated fields.
President Greenbaum: Absolutely, absolutely, you did great.
Mr. Brown: And now, all of a sudden, because we come back into town, it’s a problem.
President Greenbaum: The bottom line is that the decision was made. We have to make a decision, Harry. You stand….you stand up there…you tell me you want the fields not to be cut, or would you rather impose on the people who participate an additional $5.00? You tell me which of the two options you choose? Which option do you choose? You tell me.
Mr. Brown: Alright, answer me this…
President Greenbaum: No….I want you to answer my question, which option do you choose?
Mr. Brown: We would like the fields cut and made playable. So then, all the other items that come our way that Mr. Phillips mentioned before, I’ll send them back to you? When we’re asked to kick in a few dollars for fertilizer because he’s run out of money, or the department’s run out of money, the signs, numbering all the fields that I just spent $450 of club money for, the $1,200 in automatically timed bathroom locks that I paid for last fall out of our budget in good faith, isn’t enough?
President Greenbaum: How much did you get charged for the Halloween Tournament, to use the fields of the township?
Mr. Brown: Not one dime, sir.
President Greenbaum: How much money….how much revenue….
Mr. Brown: How much revenue did I bring into town that day?
President Greenbaum: How much revenue does the Soccer Club make off the Halloween Tournament?
Mr. Brown: Approximately…net, $10,000, $15,000, if that, when all is said and done, if that.
President Greenbaum: All I’m saying is it’s in response to your comments about what the Soccer Club does in terms of donations. I find it to be extremely….an extreme showing of good will on the part of the Soccer Club, that you guys will go the extra length to do what you need to do. We’re not asking…..
Mr. Brown: Rob, this isn’t personal, and you have to…this township has to make…or Council has to make a business decision, but it’s a lousy one, sir, because every Saturday morning, we’re up there at 8:00….the breakfast club is sitting here right now, opening your restrooms, setting up the goals safely for these kids to play and we’re not doing enough?
President Greenbaum: No, that’s not it, that’s not it. I have to comment on your discussion of it not being the right business decision, it’s easy to say that when you are one of the volunteers who are in the Soccer Club, but for the other….
Mr. Brown: The township won’t come and….
President Greenbaum: Excuse me…for the other 20,000 residents who don’t participate, who would otherwise have their taxes raised but for this decision of Council, those 20,000 residents would say, you know what, that was a good decision and perhaps $5.00 wasn’t enough, perhaps it should…..and there were people who were sitting in the audience, for instance, Mr. Stefiniw, and I don’t want to take words that….he said we should study what it costs, we should study, see how much it actually costs for us to run that park, for us to take in registration, and maybe that’s what we should charge back to the clubs, and we were all saying no….no, no, we can’t do that, because that would be an incredible burden, but there wasn’t a person up here who thought that $5.00 was going to be an extreme burden to the majority, the vast majority of the people who participate in the clubs. Now, there will be exceptions and we recognize that, and I’m sure that Mr. Casey, through his infinite wisdom, or whoever is sitting in that seat, will come up with some plan to deal with those people who just cannot afford to pay those $5.00, but I tell you this, to the extent that we didn’t collect the money from the club, those homeowners would be taxed in some fashion to account for that additional revenue or, as I said, there would be a cut in staff at town hall. Those were the options, and so the decision was made to pass it along, and yes, if you want to call it a user tax, in my mind, that’s exactly what it is.
Mr. Brown: I read somewhere recently that you all kindly kicked back half of your salary as Council people. It wasn’t enough fellas, give up the whole thing. There’s another twelve grand there. You just spent $40,000 - $42,000 on a berm at Turkey Brook Park to appease six residents, pretty bad decision, don’t you think?
Mr. Guenther: Wait a minute, that is completely out of order, okay.
Mr. Brown: It’s $42,000 sir.
Mr. Guenther: Wait a minute….because of an error that was made in the way the drainage was constructed, to impact those residents, they had no idea that this was going to impact them that way. That’s completely unfair, Harry, and I wish you’d take that comment back, because….
Mr. Brown: Bernie, didn’t the township spend money to put a berm at Turkey Brook Park?
Mr. Casey: We spent money to correct drainage problems which were flowing off the site, because the law requires that we basically control our own drainage, and if in fact we hadn’t done that, we would have possibly been liable to those people to come back after us, as any property owner has a right against an adjoining property owner who’s damaging his property. The alternate to that, by the way, would be to close down the fields and not cut the grass so far so that more is absorbed into the soil.
President Greenbaum: I think it’s a bad argument, Harry, and I don’t want to get into it back and forth at this point. Mr. Perkins.
Mr. Perkins: Thank you, Mr. President. I would just like to….Harry, and I don’t mean to cut you off, I really don’t….but it’s….we’re getting into a lot of argumentative discussion back here about what could have and what shouldn’t be and why it was…..
Mr. Brown: If you’d like me to shut up, I would.
Mr. Perkins: No sir.
Someone: I would, I would, except I don’t want to hear….
Mr. Brown: My question is…how will you…if you’ve been adjusting….
Mr. Perkins: Harry, Harry, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute, I have the floor. Harry, wait a minute, wait a minute. I didn’t interrupt you through that whole dialogue that you ran through there.
Mr. Brown: Okay.
Mr. Perkins: What I would like to suggest is that, right now the point is moo, the ordinance has already been voted on, it’s already been approved, alright. For this year, at this point in time, it becomes effective within the next few weeks. So, if any further discussion about some other ways that might be done, my son played in the Rec Department, every year some fee went up, you know, we didn’t sell candy, we gave the $20.00 and there was always more money for more uniforms and when Steve Masotti said Ray, there’s not a whole hell of a lot of players, you know, in this Babe Ruth Baseball League, this is the fee, well, we paid the fee, you know, that’s what it was. I spend enough time down at, you know, the Chester Stephens School, you know, when we didn’t have anything down there and it was way before ex-Mayor Schiess helped us out to get the scoreboard down there. So, there’s been a lot of trial. The bottom line, Harry, really is is this ordinance has already been passed, any further discussion, I’m sure you’re free to talk to Mr. Casey about the wherewithal and Bob, you can always talk to me or anyone of us. I think what we need to do, is not dwell on this right now, look at some better, understand that in this year, 2005, it is the only way that we could see, and we’re not the smartest group in the world, trust me, I think you’ve already pointed that out, but we had to make a decision to protect A. the amount of employees that we have here, to keep them gainfully employed, doing the job that we know needs to be done, at a minimum, and there are going to be some areas in the township that you’re going to see, are not going to receive the same amount of attention as they did in 2004, 2003, it’s just a fact of life. As we address this into 2006, if that fee can be reduced, because of regeneration, you know, BASF building sells and we have these tremendous ratables begin to move into town, things will change, but right now the ordinance only needs to be in effect for the one year.
Mr. Brown: Mr. Perkins, from your mouth to God’s ears, but I’ve never seen taxes reduced.
Mr. Perkins: The only thing that’s ever reduced, Harry, and you know it, is your salary and your hairline.
Mr. Brown: I’m just really curious to see how Council and final comment explains to hockey parents, who travel out of town to play, how do you account for the $5.00 because of the overages in Turkey Brook Park and staffing it?
President Greenbaum: It’s not that, it’s the….
Mr. Brown: You spent the last ten minutes now sir in saying that….
President Greenbaum: Excuse me, it’s the cost of providing Recreation, whether it’s the $26,000 that the township provides by way of direct subsidy, which we could have eliminated this year, and the hockey parents would have all been here and said how can you do that, we get $5,000 - $10,000. So, you know what, that $5.00 that they’re paying, I have no problem explaining it to the hockey parents. Bring them on, bring them on, because the hockey….hockey, I think, is one of the most subsidized organization recreation programs in the township. So, don’t tell me that hockey is not benefiting through the recreation programs, because that’s just not true. Thank you.
Mr. Brown: Thank you.
President Greenbaum: Anyone else from the public? Seeing none, I’ll close it to the public.
President Greenbaum: Final comments, Mayor.
Mayor De La Roche: No comment.
Mr. Buell: In January the Mayor introduced what I thought was a very conservative budget, Mr. Casey called it a stand-in-place budget. It’s been a very difficult year. I think what you’re hearing tonight is that nobody’s satisfied with this budget, I’m not, I don’t think any of the members of the Council are. The fact is, we had to cut over $700,000 and did cut over $700,000 out of this budget this year. The bad part about it is, it’s probably going to be worse next year. We are…. the Finance Committee spent 3 ½ hours up here on Saturday trying to find additional places to cut, and we now are at the point where we’re really talking about cutting back programs, services and people if we go any farther than we’ve gone. This is set. As long as the ratables continue to go down in this town, we’ve got a real major problem, and every service in this town has been hurt, and that’s just the facts of life at this point in time. I hope that, as Mr. Perkins indicated, that ratables begin to pick up and that our financial outlook looks better next year, but I just don’t see it. In fact, it probably looks worse, because at the current time, there are tax appeals in the amount of $248 million that have been filed against the town this year, and that’s as bad as it’s ever been.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. Ms. Labow.
Ms. Labow: Thank you. First of all, Mr. Greenbaum, I would have greatly appreciated if you had let me respond to Jane when she was up there, you had dialogue going back and forth with the sporting groups, I thought, to be fair, you should have allowed me the opportunity to address Mrs. Israel while she was here. Since she’s no longer at the podium, it’s stuck with Council comments…and I apologize that she cannot respond. First of all, I want to say that the last Library Board meeting, during my Council comments, I brought up to them that, at a budget meeting, Mr. Rattner had mentioned the possibility that the County….we might entertain discussions with them about taking over the Library. There was nothing discussed, nothing decided, no plans, no negotiations, nothing, the Library Board went berserk, in plain English, they started screaming, yelling, ranting, raving, everything else, and I said look, I’m not saying Council…..it was mentioned in passing and then we get the letter that goes to the papers. Furthermore, I want to say that also, during that meeting, Mrs. Israel mentioned that they could just send more postcards. So, I guess maybe we’ll get more postcards. The other thing, too, is what I’d like to say is that also when Mr. McKeon came up about the Library, the Mayor is on the Library Board of Trustees, and he gets their budget every single month, he gets all the paperwork. Council, myself as liaison, I’m not allowed to go to the CFO to discuss anything with her, because we’re not allowed to talk to any of the department heads, however, the Mayor is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Library, and if he felt that the cuts that Council was going to make was unfair, I don’t know why he wasn’t more proactive in making sure that the Finance Committee and the CFO had all the details. As far as the $5.00 fee goes for the sporting clubs, in the beginning when we discussed it, we were told it was for administrative costs, it’s gone on to become all different things. The reason why I voted no is I’m really upset that the Administration did not discuss with the sporting clubs, finding other alternatives to this $5.00 fee. I found out from just about every single sporting group that whenever extra funds are needed for Turkey Brook Park for
Ms. Labow (cont’d): fertilizer, whatever, every single club has been more than willing to give money towards the park and that’s the direction I think it should have gone, not a $5.00 fee imposed per family, per child, or some….I talked to a lot of people about this the past couple of weeks, there are some families have four kids playing three sports, that’s an awesome expense for a family in addition to the already fees that they pay to register, so that is why I voted no. I thought it was handled very poorly by the Administration, thank you.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. Mr. Mund.
Mr. Mund: No comment.
Mr. Guenther: I feel….I need to make some comments again. I apologize to Jane Israel that she doesn’t have a chance to answer this, but I feel I need to make a couple comments…not directly to this situation, but in general regarding the Library Board. It is my distinct recollection that we had constant battles with the Executive Director and the Board about the control of funds and about the control of expenditures. They resisted us regarding our ability that we should review those bills. We had meetings, and I can….we can dig up the tapes and listen to them, where the answers given when we asked questions of the construction manager, who was hired by us and paid by us, took an arrogant attitude toward our questions and, in effect, sometimes we were stonewalled in the answers that we wanted; and lastly, I distinctly remember after, I believe, the first meeting after the Election of 2003, your president, I believe he was president at the time, Jerry Sheard, got up and made some very disparaging remarks regarding the ex-Mayor, or the soon to be ex-Mayor, and the Council in relation to the Library Board, which were completely uncalled for. I kind of controlled myself at the time, in fact I was going to talk personally to Jerry and take him to task for it, I never did that. So, these are my recollections and this has been an ongoing abrasive relationship between the Library Board…they, on more than one occasion, and I was at a Library Board meeting, where they make it extremely clear to us that they are an independent Board and they can make decisions and they don’t need interference from the Council, and I object to that. When it’s township money that we’re spending, yes I believe the Council has a say on those expenditures, and that attitude, I believe, still continues. I’ve never heard anybody from the Library Board apologize for those kind of remarks.
Mr. Rattner: Okay, I have three things. One, about never reducing fees, three years ago, after an extended amount of work by myself, the auditor, and the CFO, we lowered Water and Sewer rates 10%. We also made sure that if we did lower them, that we would not have to increase them for a bare minimum of five years because we didn’t want a roller coaster. We can go back when we….back in the early ‘90’s, we eliminated the fees on the beach because we felt that, at that time, we could afford it, so we eliminated it. Also, I think if you go back, and the people who have lived in town for a while, in the ‘90’s, the municipal tax rate was reduced seven out of the ten years, because we had the big ratables. Yes, we started spending a lot of money, but we didn’t spend it all and we were very conscious about that, so if we have the ability, we will do it, and that’s what I wanted to say, but the Water and Sewer was only about two and a half years ago, and we’re still at the reduced rate. So, you’re paying less now than you were three years ago, and hopefully, based on our projections, we should be able to continue that for at least another two years and that includes funding all the things internally. In fact, a year ago, we had extra cash, so instead of bonding stuff, we paid cash so we wouldn’t burden future….you know, in the future, and I think that was the responsible way to go, and we’ve tried our best with that. Number two, I see the representative from the Star Ledger is not here, because I made a couple other comments about the Library, of course they didn’t print that part, because they talked about the building, and I said well, the building is probably the nicest looking building we have in town right now, and the people are complaining because it makes the Municipal Building look bad, and it is a nice building, and nobody, I think, could dispute that, and something else that nobody can really dispute is the fact that they did come in under budget and for any government project, that is an accomplishment and yes that did happen. So, the building came in under budget and it is a nice building. You know, everybody complained about….you can talk about the size or anything else, but those are two things, but you didn’t see some of those comments and I asked her specifically to put that in, because we’ve heard some of the other comments about people, about the building, some of the adjectives used for it, which were uncalled for. The last thing is I said I was at the County and a couple different meetings started off early this morning with the Morris 2000 Awards Dinner and ended up on the Planning Board work that I had there, and a number of staff from the Board came up to me and they wanted to know why we’ve been dragging our feet on the Charters Farm, so I think we have to get on the stick on that. They felt that we should have had that resolved about a year ago, they said they’ve had a certain amount of contact, including one person who was there, it was from the engineering firm, that supposedly has been promised some data from what they called our engineering department, so I won’t say….so, I’m not sure exactly who that was, but they said that right now we should have already sold, because they’re a partner, but people don’t know, we bought Charters Farm to keep it a farm, with the County, we each put up half the money. The idea was that we would buy it and then sell it with a deed restriction to keep it a farm, agricultural, forever. So, this way we wouldn’t have to buy it outright and it would be a lot less money, and what I was told by the Ag Mr. Rattner (cont’d): Board Director, is that he thinks right now we’d probably make a profit, even selling it with the restriction, but there was supposed to be a cleanup, everything was in place. The DEP is waiting for two letters, one…the receipt showing the soil that was removed and the other is that the fill soil that was put in…the certification that it was clean, and I think we have to get on that, but it was enough for them to come up to me and ask where that is, because they have the big charts on all their open space, and that is cash coming in, it would be money that would be available for our Open Space projects, some of the other things we’re doing. So, I don’t know where it is, I know we’ve brought it up every once in a while. We’ve had a lot of different issues and a lot of other things come up, but I think we have to get on the stick with that and just figure out just what needs to get done so we can resell it and not have to worry about it.
Mr. Guenther: I think that’s probably an appropriate question for the attorney, because I believe we’re still involved in some cleanup issues, if I’m not mistaken.
Mr. Rattner: That’s what I’m talking about, they said we just had to go out, they have all the specs, we had to go out and get it done, get the two letters. One, that the soil was removed, it’s already been agreed to what was being done, just get the soil out, we need the…they need the receipt that the soil has been taken out that’s been identified and everybody agreed to over a year ago, and that the fill that goes in, is the….that it’s been certified as clean, and they’ll give us no further actions required and we have then a clear title to sell it.
Mr. Semrau: I will get a status for you for the next meeting.
Mr. Rattner: Yes, but find out why they said the engineer…that they’ve been promised something from our engineering department for over a year, that’s what they told me.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. Is that it Mr. Rattner?
Mr. Rattner: Yes.
President Greenbaum: Mr. Perkins.
Mr. Perkins: Thank you, Mr. President. Well, first off, I would like to congratulate Mr. McKeon and Mari Dean on their appointments, to the Board of Adjustment as well as the Ethics Committee, respectively. It’s nice to see people volunteer. It’s almost as thankless a job as being an elected official here. So, I think you guys are really going to enjoy it. I also wanted to thank the folks who are coming from the different recreation associations, the football, the soccer. We hear what you’re saying, guys, it’s never been an easy decision, it’s…as Council President said, it’s a tough decision, there’s just a whole lot of things that we don’t have the money for any longer. Four years ago, when I first was elected and I sat up here, we had money. Now we don’t have money. It’s kind of like your allowance went from $10.00 to $2.50 and that’s what you get to live by for the week and figure out what you’re going….what’s important to you and what’s not important to you. All of the Administration, all of your Department Heads went back I think at least three times and revisited both their operating and capital budgets to see…for different ways to cut. We had a committee, a Finance Committee, that had gone through, reviewed that budget, along with our CFO later down the road, and our Interim Business Administrator and the Mayor’s office. These cuts got it down to a bare bone, the tax increase is still going to hurt and I don’t think anybody out there that’s going to see it, it’s not double digit thank goodness, but it is there, and we just have to live with things, but again, your comments didn’t fall on deaf ears and I, for one, support Harry, you know, giving you that all Council members, starting with anybody who’s appointed next year, should not be paid for this job. Thank you.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. That just leaves me at this point. I have several comments. First, with respect to the Library Board, I applaud the efforts of the Library Board. I know that there is not a single person who sits at those meetings who has any other interest than fulfilling the goals of the Library, as Jane illustrated, and I sat here and thought, as she went through the list of the different items that the Library Board…that there mandate…and you guys, with a passion, go out and do the best that you can for the Library. Having said that, I agree with many of the other comments of my fellow Council people, especially Mr. Guenther, who I think stated it in as succinct a fashion as….certainly more succinct than I could have, so I don’t need to repeat it, but there have been times where I didn’t think that the approach that the Library took, with respect to the Council, was appropriate. It’s unfortunate that the Library may see a cut in their budget this year in terms of the operations, which they may be able to put on. Again, it comes down to a decision as to how we’re going to allocate funds and how we’re going to allocate the generation of revenues to support those funds. This year, it may fall on the Library to find alternative means for doing that which they feel they need to do on behalf of the residents of Mount Olive. The same goes true with the sports organizations. I know that there is not a person who is sitting in this room, whether it’s Rob or Fred or Harry, who come up here with any other thought than to President Greenbaum (cont’d): provide the best that they can for their membership. The same holds true for every single one of us that sit up here, that we try and do the best that we can for our membership, and our membership is the taxpayers of Mount Olive. So, the decision was made and, as I said, it was a hard decision, but it was a decision that was made by six out of seven Council people, after significant thought and comment on the issue. Lastly, I would like to thank those individuals who donated their time and their effort to sit on the School Budget Review Committee. It’s a difficult task that’s placed upon us by the State of New Jersey, after a School Budget is defeated, to review the finances and the needs of a school district which far encompasses anything that we deal with up here on any particular issue. The system, as it’s set up, as I see it, to have seven people decide what the School Budget should be, what the needs of the children are, after a budget goes down, after it’s been reviewed by professionals who are in the business, by Board of Education members who deal with nothing but Board of Education issues, makes it an extremely difficult task, and while I only have a thumbnail idea of what the committee agreed upon with the School Board, I know that the task was onerous, I know that the effort was meaningful, and I’m sure that the result will be appreciated by the taxpayers in Mount Olive. Once again, I applaud your leadership, Bernie, your effort, Lee, and the effort of those citizens, taxpayers of Mount Olive who dedicated their time.
Executive Session – Construction Code Official
President Greenbaum: With that, we are going to go into Executive Session to deal with two issues, the first being Construction Code Official discussion and the second, which is not on the agenda, which we will discuss, relates to the Interverse litigation. Other than that, there will be no further business discussed or taken when we come out of Executive Session.
Mr. Semrau: With respect to the Interverse litigation, it has to do with the condemnation action involving Interverse, the Township of Mount Olive, and the Smith Farm Tract located on Smith Farm Road….Smithtown Road. Thank you.
President Greenbaum: Thank you. With that, Mr. Perkins can you please move us into Executive Session?
Mr. Perkins: Yes, Mr. President. In accordance with Section 7 and 8 of the Open Public Meetings Act, I make a motion to move into Executive Session to discuss the Construction Code Official as well as the Interverse litigation for condemnation.
Ms. Labow: Second.
All were in favor and none opposed and Executive Session began at 9:40 pm, after a short recess.
President Greenbaum: Motion to adjourn.
Mr. Perkins: So moved.
President Greenbaum: Second.
All were in favor and the Meeting adjourned at 10:09 pm.
Robert J. Greenbaum, Council President
I, LISA M. LASHWAY, Township Clerk of the Township of Mount Olive do hereby certify that the foregoing Minutes is a true and correct copy of the Minutes approved at a legally convened meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council duly held on May 24, 2005.
Lisa M. Lashway, Township Clerk