All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: January 13, 2011
Manager Lovell introduced the following staff members in attendance: Chief Mason, Police Chief; Mark Caputo, Health Officer; Ralph Carchia, Engineering Administrator; Christine Hopler, Court Administrator; Bill Kerwick, Public Works; Mike Soccio, Finance Director; Gail Catania, Purchasing Agent; Frank Howard, Construction Official; Barbara Gothie, Tax Assessor; John Van Brunt, Parks, Recreation and Community Services; John McAndrew, Randolph Fire Chief; Kevin Dunn, Deputy Fire Chief.
A Special Meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Mayor Mitsch. This meeting is held pursuant to the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act. Adequate notice of the meeting has been provided by posting written notice of the time, date, location and, to the extent known, the agenda of the meeting in Randolph Township. This notice was posted on the Bulletin Board within Town Hall, it was filed with the Township Clerk, and it was provided to those persons or entities requesting notification. Notice was also provided to the Morris County Daily Record on January 5, 2011, by emailing them the Special Meeting Notice. The Special Meeting Notice, which included this meeting date, was advertised in the Morris County Daily Record on January 7, 2011.
Councilman Algeier (arrived 6:05 p.m.)
Deputy Mayor Guadagno
Also Present: Township Manager John Lovell and Township Attorney Edward Buzak
Mayor Mitsch led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mayor Mitsch asked that a moment of silence be observed in remembrance of the victims of the recent tragedy in Arizona and offered her hope that those wounded in the shooting regain full health.
ETHICS IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT—Edward Buzak
Manager Lovell noted that New Jersey has developed a Best Practices List which requires towns to each year go through a process of, among other things, discussing ethics in municipal government and he has asked Mr. Buzak to make a presentation to Randolph’s elected officials, appointed officials, and department heads.
Mr. Buzak’s comments included the following:
- He has done ethics presentations before elsewhere
- He will review a number of statutory provisions that govern the conduct of elected and appointed officials, case law that addresses it, and some other criminal statutory law that addresses it
- One thing to remember, with all he will be presenting tonight, can be boiled down to these tenets—if your worst political enemy found out what you did and raised the issue at a public meeting, would you be embarrassed in explaining your conduct and then trying to justify your actions; if your mother found out what you did, would you find it embarrassing to explain to your mother why you did what you did; when you get caught are you going to find it difficult to explain to your family, especially to your children, why you have been taken from your home in handcuffs; do you really think that you would have received that gift if you were not in an official position able to influence something for which the gift was given
- Those are the common sense things that need to keep in mind as we navigate through our tenure as local government officials and employees
- In 1991 the legislature developed the Local Government Ethics Law
- It begins by declaring that public office and employment represent a public trust and the vitality of democracy depends upon the public’s confidence in the integrity of its elected and appointed officials
- The law regulates ethical behavior by establishing a series of modes of conduct
- It applies to both local government officers and local government employees
- Local government officers are defined as being any of those people elected to a public office or who serve on a local governmental agency which has the power to enact ordinances, approve development applications, or grant zoning variances—it includes members of independent municipal, county or regional authorities or managerial, executive or confidential employees of the local government agency
- It is important to distinguish between a local government officer and a local government employee because there are additional requirements for local government officers
- In addition to having to meet the criteria he will cover in this presentation, local government officers also have to file a Financial Disclosure Form each year
- A local government employee is any person whether or not compensated and whether or not part time or full time who is employed by or serving on a local government agency who is not a local government official
- Local government agencies include agencies, boards, the governing body, other offices, divisions, commissions, or other instrumentalities within the county or municipality, and independent authorities created by one or more municipalities or counties
- In many cases, these standards also cover the spouse or dependent child if the local government officer or local government employee and that child reside in the same household
- The lines where local government officers and local government employees must meet are set forth in eight declared prohibitions and three disclaimers
- The prohibited conduct ranges from having a business interest which is in substantial conflict with the discharge of the local government officer’s or local government employee’s responsibilities to not using public office or any information not available to the general public for the purposes of securing financial gain for himself or a member of his family or any business organizations
- No local government officer or employee or member of his immediate family shall have an interest in a business organization or engage in any business transaction or professional activity which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his duties in the public interest
- No independent local authority shall for a period of one year subsequent to the termination of office of a member award a contract to that member, allow that former member to appear or represent anyone before the agency, or employ for compensation that individual—that does not apply to council members or elected officials
- No local government officer or employee shall use or attempt to use his official position to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for himself or others
- No local government officer or employee shall act in his official capacity in any matter where he, a member of his immediate family, or business organization in which he has an interest, has a direct or indirect financial or personal involvement that might reasonably be expected to impair his objectivity or independence of judgment
- No local government employee or officer shall undertake any employment or service, whether compensated or not, which might reasonably be expected to prejudice his independence of judgment in the exercise of his official duties
- No local government officer or employee, member of his immediate family or business organization of which he has an interest shall solicit or accept any gift, favor, loan, political contribution, service, promise of future employment, or other things of value based upon an understanding that the gift, favor, loan, contribution, service, promise or other thing of value was given or offered for the purpose of influencing him directly or indirectly in the discharge of his official duties—carved out of that is the acceptance of regular political contributions to an announced candidate that is put into that announced candidate’s political campaign fund
- No local officer or government employee shall use or allow to be used his public office or employment or any information not generally available to the members of the public which he receives or acquires in the course of or by reason of his office or employment for the purposes of securing financial gain for himself, any member of his immediate family or any business organization of which he is associated
- No local government officer or employee or business organization of which he has an interest shall represent any person or party other than the local government in connection with any cause, proceeding, action or other matter pending before any agency in the local government in which he serves—there’s a carve out for employee representatives in unions and that kind of thing where you do represent the union before that local government entity
- There are three prohibitions or disclaimers that soften some of these items
- No local government officer shall be deemed in conflict of these provisions if, by reason of his participation in the enactment of any ordinance, resolution, or other matter required to be voted upon, or which is subject to executive approval or veto, no material or monetary gain accrues to him as a member of any business, profession, occupation, or group to any greater extent than any gain could reasonably be expected to accrue to any other member of such business, profession, occupation, or group—so if you happen to be in a particular group that is being regulated in an ordinance that is being adopted, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can not participate in the discussion nor vote on that matter because that may affect you so long as it doesn’t affect you differently than it affects the same class of people with whom you are associated
- No elected local government officer shall be prohibited from making an inquiry for information on behalf of a constituent if no fee, reward or other thing of value is promised to, given to, or accepted by the officer or member of his immediate family whether directly or indirectly in return
- Nothing shall prohibit any local government officer or employee or members of his immediate family from representing himself in negotiations or proceedings concerning his or their own interest
- Those are the bright line standards that are set forth in the Local Government Ethics Law
- If you measure those against those common sense standards we talked about before, most would fit in pretty nicely
- Financial disclosure forms have been prepared by the Local Finance Board and request certain generic information—all sources of income earned or unearned exceeding $2,000; source of fees and honoraria having an aggregate amount annually exceeding $250 from any given source for personal appearances and speeches, etc.; all sources of gifts, reimbursements, or pre-paid expenses having an aggregate value exceeding $400 from a given source; the names and addresses of all business organizations in which the local government officer or member of his immediate family has an interest; the address and brief description of all real property in the state in which the local government member or member of his immediate family holds in interest
- Those are filed by April 1 of every year
- There are fines and penalties if you violate any of these tenets—complaints are handled by Local Finance Board—some municipalities have created a local ethics board—his advise is do not create a local ethics board and to handle complaints through Local Finance Board
- Local Government Ethics Law is the mainstay of local government ethics in New Jersey
- There are a number of other statutory provisions that deal with conflicts of interest and ethics—one is unique to the Faulkner Act municipalities
- Randolph is a Faulkner Act municipality (form of government)
- In creating the Faulkner Act, certain ethics requirements were established well before 1991
- Interest in contracts or jobs for bidding—no officer or employee, elected or appointed in any municipality, shall be interested directly or indirectly in any contract or job or work or materials or the profits thereof to be furnished or performed for the municipality and no such officer or employee shall be interested, directly or indirectly, in any such contract for work or materials or the profits thereof to be furnished or performed for any person
- Franks, free passes, tickets or services—acceptance is forbidden—no officer or employee shall accept or receive directly or indirectly from any person operating within the territorial limits of the municipality any railway, street railway, gasworks, etc, using or operating under a public franchise any frank, free pass, free ticket, free service, or accept or receive directly or indirectly from any person, any other service upon terms more favorable than is granted to the public generally except that such prohibition of free transportation shall not apply to policemen or firemen in uniform, nor shall any free service to the municipal officials heretofore provided by any franchise or ordinance be
- The last one is failure to appear and testify before a court, legislative committee or governor—if any person hereinafter elected or appointed to any office or position in a municipality governed under the Faulkner Act shall, after lawful notice of process, willfully refuse or fail to appear before any court, legislative committee or governor, or having appeared, shall refuse to testify or to answer any question regarding the property, government or affairs of the municipality or regarding his nomination, election, appointment, or other official conduct on the ground that his answer would tend to incriminate him or shall refuse to waive immunity from prosecution on account of any such matter in relation to which he may be asked to testify, may be removed from office by the governing body of the municipality in its discretion—any person removed from office pursuant to this section shall not thereafter be eligible for election or appointment to any office or employment in such municipality
- That takes care of the specific statutory requirements of generally local government officers and employees and specifically the Randolph elected officials who are in the Faulkner Act municipality
- Before the Local Government Ethics Law was enacted and after the Faulkner Act was enacted, we still had to deal with ethics and morals and what public officials are supposed to do and are not supposed to do
- That was largely done through the courts
- There was a series of cases that deal with how conflicts are examined, measured, evaluated, and how a determination is made
- The standards found their way into the statutory scheme in 1991
- They are generally broken up into four different categories—direct financial interest, indirect financial interest, direct personal interest, and indirect personal interest
- It provides that local government officers and employees should not act in any matter in which they have any of these kinds of interest
- Direct financial interest is when the act of that member would benefit that member’s own property or afford that person direct financial gain
- Indirect financial interest is tied to someone close to that member—a spouse, a child—it does not specifically delineate the levels and is broader
- If a member is uncomfortable with whether or not to hear and decide on any particular issue due to a possible conflict, his advise is to recuse themselves—reasons for recusing yourself do not have to be offered—it is probably best to step away from the dais due to the perception that you could influence others with your presence and refrain from eye and hand movements
- Direct personal interest and indirect personal interest get more nebulous
- Direct personal interest involves a matter in which you or someone you’re close with will have some benefit or gain some benefit from it, but not a financial benefit
- Indirect personal interest involves action of a member on a matter in which you feel your judgment may be affected because an organization in which you are associated may benefit
- His advise is if you have a question or concern, talk to the attorney for the board and get comfortable with your decision—if in doubt, recuse yourself
- When you get beyond ethics and ethical violations, there is a line that you may cross and that’s when you get to the criminal statutes (bribery, misconduct in office)
- They typically involve bribery and misconduct in office
- Criminal code recognizes each of these activities and provides substantial penalties
- Under bribery and corrupt influence statutes, both the recipient and the offerer are covered—the recipient is typically the public servant and that person is defined in the criminal statutes as any officer or employee of government—the public servant commits a crime if the public servant knowingly solicits, accepts or agrees to accept any benefit, whether to himself or to another, to influence the performance of an official duty or to commit a violation of an official duty
- Official misconduct in the criminal code is defined generally as actions by a public servant when, with a purpose to obtain a benefit for himself or another or to injure or deprive another of a benefit, the public servant commits an act related to his office which represents an unauthorized exercise of that official function—if he knows that such an act is unauthorized or he commits the act in an unauthorized manner
- In 1989 they created new crimes dealing with specific areas—4th degree which involves the disbursement of monies or the incurrence of obligations in excess of authorized appropriations
- Public money needs to be handled in a way where you follow all of the requirements that are there
- Civil rights violations—an official deprivation of civil rights—not only is it a single violation but if there is a pattern of official misconduct in violating one’s civil rights there could be criminal consequences as opposed to just civil consequences
- It’s up to the elected officials that all of the people they represent get a fair shake and that the power of the law does not come down on them in some disparate way or in a way that is inconsistent with the obligations they have
- Common sense should prevail
Councilman Algeier asked if the Council must provide written advice on matters where a member of the Council or a member of a board of committee or other public entity is unsure of how to proceed in certain circumstances.
Mr. Buzak responded that, if the issue is complicated in nature, he would typically provide written notice, but it does not have to be under the law.
OPEN TO PUBLIC
Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, asked for clarification from Mr. Buzak on, should a member of a board or committee recuse himself from an issue, whether that individual should be required to leave the room.
Mr. Buzak responded that the recused member is not obligation to leave the room. However, although he has not experienced such a case, if an individual recuses himself, remains in the room, and begins to make gestures of any sort, either the chair of the committee or the attorney should ask the individual to leave the room. Should a member of the public attending the meeting notice such behavior on the part of the recused member, it would not be out of line for that member of the public to alert the chair to that behavior.
Mrs. Stewart wished the Council a Happy New Year. Mrs. Stewart is confident that ethics violations are less common when the local government is run under the council/manager form of government. She reiterated that there is a push in New Jersey to combine smaller governments into one larger entity, and Mrs. Stewart encouraged the Council to resist those efforts and to instead continue to look for cost savings by encouraging other forms of consolidation. She suggested the Council find a way to inform the public of the many areas of shared services currently being done.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public portion was closed.
COUNCIL AND MANAGER REPORTS
Councilman MacArthur noted that the Recreation Committee, for which he is liaison, is meeting tonight so he will present his report at the next Council meeting. He is also a liaison to the Board of Education and they are attempting to schedule a meeting.
Councilman Napoliello attended a Freight Meeting recently. A photo shoot of the last spike being driven was cancelled due to the weather and will probably take place in May. The Chester branch should be completed by the end of February, and a fence in Roxbury will be installed next week. At a recent Planning Board meeting, Art Lee was chosen as chair and Bob Mooney was chosen as vice-chair.
Councilman Obremski asked if there has been any update by the County regarding work on Sussex Turnpike.
Manager Lovell responded that the County has not progressed on taking any right-of-ways, therefore he believes the project has stalled. The Manager will attempt to establish a meeting with the County to get a better sense of the status of the proposed project.
Councilman Loveys attended a Parks Committee Meeting recently. Linda Johnson was appointed as chair and Steve Healey was appointed as vice-chair. At the meeting, John Van Brunt reviewed several of the improvements that are on-going at the parks. It was reported that revenue surpassed last year’s level. The beach did very well, particularly with individual daily fees, and there was a recommendation to increase two of the beach fees for next season.
Deputy Mayor Guadagno reported that the Community Services Committee will have to do quite a bit of reorganization at their first meeting on January 24.
Mayor Mitsch reported that she and the Township Manager are hoping to get a meeting set with Congressman Frelinghuysen regarding the Susquehanna Transmission Project in an effort to keep that issue on the forefront. Regarding comments made by Mrs. Stewart regarding shared services, the Mayor agreed and is very conscious of the long history Randolph has in terms of shared services and she does try to enlighten residents on this issue whenever she is able to do so. Mayor Mitsch thanked Mr. Kerwick and his crew for their snow removal efforts and noted that often roads in other towns on which she travels are not cleared as well as they are in Randolph.
Manager Lovell stated that the road crew in Randolph does a fabulous job removing snow. The Economic Development Committee has chosen Ed Metz as their chair this year. The EDC will be developing a program this year whereby the local commercial and business sector will meet periodically, most likely on a fifth Friday schedule, with staff and elected officials at a local restaurant. Plans for the 2011 High School Career Day are moving forward. The EDC believes there is a team effort in the township and that the staff many times will go out of their way to assist the business community and is looking forward to a productive year. The Manager reported that three competitive bids were received for the aerial ladder truck. Staff from the Fire Department will review the bids and make their recommendations shortly.
Mayor Mitsch noted that she will be attending Economic Development Committee meetings this year.
RECREATION COMMITTEE STUDENT INTERVIEW—Alexis Giordano
Mayor Mitsch noted that Alexis Giordano submitted a “Tap the Talent” form asking to be appointed as a Student Member to the Recreation Committee. She asked Ms. Giordano to introduce herself to the Council and to provide a little background on herself.
Ms. Giordano, a sophomore at Randolph High School, was involved in the recreation soccer and softball programs and is still active in softball at the high school. She believes Randolph has a great program, it is well organized, and it is a program in which she would like to be more involved.
Councilman Napoliello nominated Alexis Giordano as a Student Member on the Recreation Committee. Councilman MacArthur seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Guadagno
Councilman Loveys noted that Alexis’s brother James, in preparing for his Eagle Scout Award, coordinated the refurbishing of all of the various township landmarks signs this past summer.
The Clerk administered the Oath of Office to Alexis Giordano.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Manager Lovell’s comments included the following:
- It has been a practice every year to get together and spend an evening talking about Randolph Township, where we are, where we’re headed, goals and objectives for the coming year, and focus on what Randolph is all about
- There were several points raised at last year’s meeting that remain valid today and he will review those points
- He encouraged the Council and staff members to add items they feel are missing from the list or to remove items that have either been achieved or are no longer relevant
- The first objective, reflecting the Mission Statement, is to ensure the high quality of life enjoyed by residents of Randolph Township and to ensure that Randolph remains the best it can be
- Protecting Randolph’s AAA bond rating is a priority, although the Manager did express concern that many municipal bond ratings will fall this year due to economic conditions and through actions in Trenton which have profound impacts on the way in which we will budget this year and in the future
- The new 2.5 percent levy cap will have an impact on our ability to collect taxes
- One of Randolph’s goals has always been to continue the future financial security of Randolph, and that has been accomplished in the past by conservative fiscal management
- Randolph is in a period of transition whereby numerous large ratables are no longer coming in
- This has been the first time in the Manager’s career where he has seen the ratable base of a town decrease, mostly due to slow development and tax appeals
- However, there is some development anticipated for the coming year
- Another goal has been to pursue shared services
- Randolph is currently sharing health services and animal control services with several towns; on February 1 we will be entering into a shared service for dispatch with Morris County; shared construction services with Roxbury will occur in 2011
- Discussions with Mendham Township for a shared police force have stalled and the Manager will look to reopen those discussions shortly
- The Manager anticipates that the Seeing Eye property in Mendham will progress this year so that a new animal pound can be established there
- Many other shared services are not always visible to the council, for example shared public works equipment with the Board of Education and other surrounding towns
- Stewardship of Randolph’s open space remains an important issue that must be and will be handled aggressively over the course of the next few years to keep these valuable assets from deteriorating or from being encroached upon
- The goal of enhanced communication to increase public awareness is being achieved through the quarterly newsletter and the township web site—a revamped and streamlined email alert system will be reinstated in 2011
- Attracting and maintaining quality businesses in Randolph is one of the core focus points of the Economic Development Committee
- Stability of the municipal organization’s work force is a concern as many long time employees are nearing retirement and the organization will be going through a rebuilding process over the next two years
- The goal of opening a dialog with the owners of the garden apartment complexes in town to hopefully bring about reinvestment and improving conditions needs to be met more aggressively in the coming year—some capital improvements at the apartments have taken place—however, the area is undergoing cultural and social changes that may require more focus on this issue in the future
- Randolph’s housing stock has been protected by effectively abating property maintenance violations in the past year and will continue to be monitored
- Emphasis on stacking regulations will be reviewed again this year with staff, particularly emergency response personnel, in an effort to control violations
- One area in particular that will need focus this year is seeking additional revenue opportunities
The Manager asked the Council to engage in a discussion on which items from 2010 they would like to see remain on the list, what items they would like to add to the list, and which items, if any, can be removed from the list for 2011.
The following is a list of Council and staff suggestions, concerns, questions and responses:
- Is the list in order of priority (no)
- How often is the bond rating reviewed (they are not now reviewed on a regular schedule but that could change due to economic conditions)
- Should there be a stated priority about identifying and encouraging development in some areas of town, for example Mt. Freedom
- The Manager’s list can be streamlined by combining several related items into one heading with several sub-headings
- A re-examination of services provided to the residents to determine the level of necessity and whether there can be offsets of costs through the generation of revenue—are these services provided actually a function of government
- A main goal should be to protect Randolph’s quality of life and its reputation as a quality residential and family-oriented community
- What is being done to continue the transition from a growing community (it has been a goal for many years and is probably no longer a relevant statement which should probably be revised or removed from the list)
- Could the Manager provide the Council with a cost benefit analysis dealing with services as they head into the budget process (a comprehensive document will be provided at the first budget session)
- Other than the Grecco property and the hotel, are any other ratables scheduled to come on line in 2011 (Grecco and the hotel are not due to come on line in 2011—although there are several small projects that may be coming on line, nothing is expected to significantly impact Randolph’s ratables)
- What is the cost of a revaluation (most likely close to $1 million)
- Is the social media (Twitter, Facebook) a way to embrace enhanced communications to the community (the Manager in Newton is experimenting with that now and Manager Lovell will meet with him to discuss his experiences to see if it makes sense for Randolph)
- Is there an update available on the Grecco property (he is in the process of marketing the complex, looking for the right anchor stores, and has set up three liquor licenses, trying to set up a sense of a destination)
- Many suggestions were made again to combine several related goals and objectives into one major item with sub-headings
- It was suggested that another report on the property maintenance ordinance be presented
- Where is Randolph in regard to the MUA and the Kushner project (very difficult to say right now—the Manager will be meeting with the MCMUA and attorneys—there may be some flexibility in Randolph’s water allocation—this ties in to the Manager’s efforts to get Randolph into Morris County’s waste water plan—COAH remains a wild card in this issue)
- It was suggested that many people don’t mind paying extra for services they receive but object to paying for services they don’t take advantage of
- When considering the costs for service such as building inspections and permits, the Council should evaluate how advantageous it is to contractors to be able to get those inspections and permits on a timely basis
Mrs. Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, asked the Council to consider the difference between fees and taxes, with taxes likely being deductible on federal income taxes.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
Manager Lovell’s comments included:
- The Council provides the staff with the tools and platform from which services can be delivered to the community
- In the Capital Improvement Program, a great job has been done of adhering to the projects listed and working with the timing of those projects
- One main goal is to time projects so as not to create a spike in the tax rate
- Some major bonds and some short term debt was retired last year
- The Finance Director is accelerating some debt payments this year and has increased some of the capital cash contributions towards projects
- Randolph struggles to stay on top of road maintenance requirements and has been able to secure grants from the NJ DOT for some road repair projects, and this must continue into the future—it is important to never skip a year of road maintenance
- Plans are ongoing for the new Department of Public Works maintenance building—work there will be largely done in-house—the Board of Education attorney is working on an Interlocal Government Services Agreement
- There has been concern expressed over the division of cost for the DPW building between general obligation and the water/sewer fund and the Council will need to decide how best to handle that issue
- Also included in this year’s program is the concept of the new children’s wing for the library—the library has offered to contribute towards this project and assist in the debt service
- Work at the Community Center/Library site will begin as soon as the weather permits
- The concept has been put forth of each year setting aside a set amount of money from the Open Space and Parks Development and Redevelopment Tax in a designated fund from which to undertake capital improvements for the parks and trails—the amount of $225,000.00 has been suggested—the tax generates approximately $729,000.00 annually
- The Fire Department has indicated they will not be asking for new pumpers for the next several years
- Some projects have been delayed, such as improvements to the VFW building and improvements to retaining walls in town—those items will be addressed when the economic conditions improve
- By endorsing the Capital Improvement Program, the Council sends a policy message to the Manager that he is to present these projects for funding during the year
Following are Council comments and questions:
- Regarding the division of funds for the DPW building, it has been suggested that the Board of Education remain at one-third, general obligation pay 40 percent, and water/sewer fund the remainder
- There is concern and dismay regarding once again adopting a bond ordinance to pay for the road overlay program and it should be discussed more in-depth during the budget process
- How many miles of road can be maintained with $700,000.00 (it depends on the condition of the road, however last year seven or eight miles were maintained)
- What is the actual amount of outstanding debt for Randolph (the Finance Director will be preparing a debt statement and will provide that to the Council)
- There was a figure cited regarding Green Acres that did not seem to add up (the Finance Director will check that number)
- From where does the Library Board get their money and is it state mandated (it is state mandated—the money comes almost exclusively from the Township via taxes)
- Many libraries across New Jersey have put together very substantial reserves and now the State will allow towns to request that money be returned to the town to assist with operational costs—the Randolph Library has been responsible over the years and has willingly offered assistance in the past
AUTHORIZING RESOLUTION FOR SHONGUM LAKE DAM SPECIAL ASSESSMENT LATE PAYMENTS
Manager Lovell noted that this issue was discussed at a prior Council meeting.
Councilman Obremski made a motion to adopt the resolution. Deputy Mayor Guadagno seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Guadagno
WHEREAS, the Township of Randolph (“Township”) adopted Ordinance No. 47-05 Authorizing Special Assessment for the Shongum Lake Dam Restoration Project pursuant to the Dam, Lake, Stream, Flood Control, Water Resources and Wastewater Treatment Project Bond Act of 2003; and
WHEREAS, on December 23, 2005, the Township executed an agreement with the Shongum Lake Property Owners’ Association for the Association to construct all improvements associated with the Shongum Dam Restoration; and
WHEREAS, on July 10, 2008, the consulting engineer for the Shongum Lake Property Owners’ Association, the Entech Group, Inc., certified all Project costs and a copy of the certification was provided to the Board of Assessors (“Board”); and
WHEREAS, the Shongum Lake Property Owners’ Association provided a list of 780 properties with deeded lake rights for Shongum Lake to be specially assessed for the Project; and
WHEREAS, on September 4, 2008, the Township adopted a Resolution Adopting and Confirming the Report of the Board and the Assessments contained therein for the benefits derived from the construction of the Shongum Lake Dam Restoration Project in the Township and Authorizing the Imposition of the Assessments; and
WHEREAS, certain Association members failed to submit the annual Assessment payment to the Township by the November 3, 2010, due date; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:56-35, if any such special assessment installment payment shall remain unpaid for 30 days after the time when the same shall have become due, either the whole assessment or balance due thereon shall become and be immediately due, shall draw interest at the rate imposed upon the arrearage of taxes in such municipality and be collected in the same manner as is provided by for other past due assessments, or the governing body may, by resolution, permit any person who is delinquent in the payment of such an installment to pay only the amount of the delinquent payment and any interest on the delinquent payment that has accrued from the date that the installment was due and payable until the date that payment of the delinquent installment is made and after the delinquent installment is satisfied, the person assessed shall be reinstated on a regular installment payment schedule; and
WHEREAS, the Township desires to authorize the acceptance of the November 3, 2010, installment payment for the Shongum Lake Dam Special Assessment through January 31, 2011, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:56-37.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Randolph, County of Morris, State of New Jersey, as follows:
1. The Township is hereby authorized to accept delinquent payments from the property owners listed on the attached Exhibit A for the November 3, 2010, installment payment for the Shongum Lake Dam Special Assessment pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:56-37. Said payments must be received by the Township on or before January 31, 2011. Said payments must be in an amount equal to the installment payment due plus interest at the legal rate from November 3, 2010, (the due date) through the date of receipt of the payment by the Township. Upon receipt of said payment, the property owner shall be reinstated on a regular installment payment schedule.
2. This resolution authorizes the acceptance of delinquent payments for the Shongum Lake Dam Special Assessment only, from the particular property owners listed on the attached Exhibit A only, for the November 3, 2010, payment only, and does not set any precedent for future relation of payment due dates.
3. This resolution is effective retroactive to January 1, 2011.
4. All appropriate Randolph Township officials are authorized and directed to perform all required acts to effect the purpose of this Resolution.
5. The resolution memorializes the action taken by the Township Council on January 1, 2011.
FILL VACANCIES ON COMMITTEES
(a) Landmarks Committee—Alternate #2
Councilman Algeier nominated Michael Markoff to serve as Alternate #2 on the Landmarks Committee. Councilman Obremski seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Guadagno
(b) Recreation Advisory Committee—Regular Member
No nomination as made at this time.
(c) Parks Committee—Unexpired Term Regular Member
Mayor Mitsch nominated Paul O’Malley to serve an unexpired term as a member of the Parks Committee. Councilman Loveys seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Guadagno
(d) Community Services—Alternate #1
Councilman Napoliello nominated Marilynne Mazzella to serve as Alternate #1 on the Community Services Advisory Committee. Deputy Mayor Guadagno seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Guadagno
(e) Traffic Advisory Committee—Alternate
Mayor Mitsch nominated Matt Tal to serve as an Alternate on the Traffic Advisory Committee. Councilman Obremski seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Guadagno
(f) Library Board of Trustees—Unexpired Term Regular Member
Mayor Mitsch nominated Pamela Obremski to serve an unexpired term as a member of the Library Board of Trustees. Councilman Loveys seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Guadagno
OPEN TO PUBLIC
Maria Martorana, 1 Wilkeshire Boulevard, stated that she appreciated the presentations on ethics and Council goals. Mrs. Martorana asked if, when police officers are hired for private duty, does it cost the town extra money to provide those officers or is it a source of revenue for the town. She also asked if it cost the town money to operate the Recycling Center.
Manager Lovell responded that there is a set fee schedule when hiring police officers for private duty. While it does not cost the town money to provide officers for those services, it is not a source of revenue for the town. The cost of running the Recycling Center depends on the recycling market, which tanked a couple of years ago. While the center is generating a small amount of revenue at this time, real savings are achieved in not having recycling material dumped at a landfill and paying for those tipping fees.
Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, once again asked the Council to refrain from scheduling Council meetings on the same night the Board of Education holds their meetings. Mrs. Stewart suggested implementing a better sound system for the meeting room because it is very difficult for the public to hear the Council speak.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public portion was closed.
COUNCIL AND MANAGER COMMENTS
Deputy Mayor Guadagno asked for an explanation on bond anticipation notes.
Manager Lovell responded that a bond anticipation note is money borrowed from an institution for a one year period. They are purchased because the interest rates are very low and they allow the town to fast track the principal.
Councilman Algeier reported that the Board of Health reorganized at their recent meeting. Dr. Pearson was chosen to be chair this year. The Safety Committee met recently and reported that there were no new law suits against the township last year by outside third parties with one exception, and it is anticipated that Randolph will be dismissed from that suit. The one serious Workmen’s Comp claim is for a police officer who sustained injuries when his patrol car was struck from behind while he was assisting with a disabled vehicle. There is a staff member who is certified to train emergency vehicle operators, which is an asset to the town. Snow plow operator training is also provided in-house. The JIF also provides snow plow operator training, but it is not as comprehensive as what is provided in-house, and the Councilman asked Mr. Soccio to check with the JIF to see if the township is required to pull personnel out of service to attend JIF-sponsored training.
Mr. Soccio responded that he address that issue with the JIF.
Councilman Algeier noted that the Safety Committee is recommending a reminder be issued to all employees who are required to visit homes and businesses that snow and ice must be removed from walking areas before the employee is to enter the building. The reminder will also include a list of other hazardous situations of which employees should be aware.
Councilman MacArthur thanked the Township Manager for the orientation he had arranged for the newly elected Council members in December. He suggested asking the Environmental Commission to review recycling issues raised by the League of Municipalities and possibly make recommendations that could be useful to Randolph. The Councilman also suggested posting on the township web site the name of a company that, once a resident is registered, can eliminate up to 50 percent of unwanted junk mail. Council agreed that the recycling information should be forwarded to the Environmental Commission for review.
Councilman Loveys thanked Police Chief Mason for his assistance in sending a police officer to resolve an unshoveled sidewalk issue brought about by a resident.
Mayor Mitsch thanked the department heads for attending the meeting and for their efforts. It is her belief that they play a vital role in why Randolph runs as smoothly as it does. The Mayor noted that Randolph is once again in the forefront by having a Safety Committee that reinforces the importance of safety to help protect employees and the organization.
Mayor Mitsch adjourned the meeting at 9:05 p.m.
Donna Marie Luciani