502 Millbrook Avenue, Randolph, NJ 07869-3799
Tel: 973.989.7100Fax: 973.989.7076

All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.

Minutes: January 31, 2008

A work session of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 8:00 p.m. by Mayor Napoliello. 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 and the Randolph Reporter on December 11, 2007, by emailing them the annual resolution adopted by the Council on December 6, 2007. The annual resolution, which included this meeting date, was advertised in the Randolph Reporter, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph, on December 20, 2007, and in the Morris County Daily Record on December 27, 2007.

PRESENT:
Councilman Algeier
Councilman Alpert
Councilwoman Mitsch
Deputy Mayor Metz
Mayor Napoliello

ABSENT:
Councilman Obremski
Councilwoman Price

Also Present: Township Manager John Lovell and Township Attorney Edward Buzak

Mayor Napoliello led the Pledge of Allegiance.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: November 29, December 6, and December 20, 2007; January 1 and January 17, 2008

Deputy Mayor Metz made a motion to approve the minutes as presented. Councilwoman Mitsch seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:

AYES:
Councilman Algeier
Councilman Alpert (abstain on January 17)
Councilwoman Mitsch (abstain on January 1)
Deputy Mayor Metz
Mayor Napoliello

NAYS: None

ABSENT:
Councilman Obremski
Councilwoman Price

OPEN TO PUBLIC

Lee Whilden, 82 Radtke Road, asked if the public would be allowed to comment during the budget discussions.

Mayor Napoliello responded that the public will be given time to express comments during the budget discussions.

Mrs. Whilden asked that the Council consider rescinding the 50 percent pay increase for the mayor and explained her belief that it places the mayor above the other council members, which goes against Randolph’s charter.

Councilman Alpert thanked Mrs. Whilden for her historical perspective on the issue. However it is his belief that the position of Mayor requires a greater devotion and time commitment than that of the other council members, and the level of compensation barely covers the personal expenditure required to attend to the extra duties expected of the Mayor.

Mayor Napoliello noted that the salary increase was implemented in 2007.

Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, reiterated an opinion she expressed to the Planning Board that she would like to see Randolph become “greener” in 2008 with an increase of trees, shrubbery and ground cover, increased recycling, and also the exploration of solar options.

Manager Lovell responded that the council has been discussing the use of solar panels on two capital improvement projects under consideration. Also, improvements suggested by the recent energy audit are being implemented at Town Hall.

Mrs. Stewart suggested the council be more proactive in guiding the Planning Board and Board of Adjustment toward “green” alternatives while reviewing applications before them.

Seeing no one else from the public, the public portion was closed.

COUNCIL AND MANAGER REPORTS

Deputy Mayor Metz reported that the MAC Committee is in the process of putting together a census report and needs analysis that will be submitted to Morris County.

Mayor Napoliello reported that he attended a meeting at the Department of Environmental Protection and learned of grant money available for redevelopment projects. The Mayor suggested considering the EA Porter site as a possible applicant for that grant.

Manager Lovell asked that the February 9, 2008, budget meeting be moved to February 16, 2008.

Councilwoman Mitsch reported that, at the request of the council, the Environmental Commission will review the current leaf collection ordinance to look for ways to improve it, especially as it pertains to senior citizens.

COMBINED ACTION RESOLUTIONS

Councilwoman Mitsch made a motion to approve the Combined Action items. Deputy Mayor Metz seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:

AYES:
Councilman Algeier
Councilman Alpert
Councilwoman Mitsch
Deputy Mayor Metz
Mayor Napoliello

NAYS: None

ABSENT:
Councilman Obremski
Councilwoman Price

A. Authorizing Purchase of One Police Vehicle to Replace Vehicle Totaled in an Accident

R-41-07

WHEREAS, the Township wishes to replace a police vehicle which was determined to be totaled in a motor vehicle accident; and

WHEREAS, all dealers on both the State Contract and Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council contracts, as well as all other Ford dealers in the area, are unable to obtain any new vehicles; and

WHEREAS, new police vehicles ordered by the Township for this year will be unavailable for delivery until October 2008; and

WHEREAS, Warnock Fleet, East Hanover, New Jersey, has a vehicle available under Cranford Cooperative Pricing System.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of the Township of Randolph, County of Morris, State of New Jersey, that a contract be awarded to Warnock Fleet, East Hanover, New Jersey, at a total contract price of $22,050.00.

CERTIFICATION OF AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS

Dated: January 31, 2008

As required by N.J.S.A. 40A:4-57, N.J.A.C. 5:30-14.5, and any other applicable requirement, I, Michael J. Soccio, Director of Finance of the Township of Randolph, have ascertained that funds are available in the 2008 Budget to award a contract to Warnock Fleet for the purchase of one (1) Police Vehicle in the amount of $20,050.00.

_____________________________
Michael J. Soccio
Chief Financial Officer

B. Resolution Supporting the Morris County Housing Authority’s 2008 Community Development Block Grant Application for the India Brook Village Senior Citizen Complex

R-42-07

WHEREAS, the Housing Authority of Morris County has made application on behalf of the residents of the India Brook Village Senior Citizen Complex for CDBG grant money for additional parking spaces and resurfacing of the parking lots; and

WHEREAS, part of the application process is to present the project to council for their acknowledgement; and

WHEREAS, the Township Council recognizes that this organization provides a vital commendable service to the community and the residents of India Brook Village, located at 34-36 Calais Road, Randolph, NJ.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Mayor and Council of the Township of Randolph, County of Morris, State of New Jersey, does hereby support the Housing Authority of Morris County in their request for a CDBG grant.

DISCUSSION

A. Architect’s Presentation—Calais Road—Senior/Recreation Building

Manager Lovell provided a brief historical background of the Calais Road site.

John Van Brunt, the Director of Parks, Recreation, and Community Services, introduced Ken Fox, of Fox Architectural, who has been working on a proposal for the Senior Citizens/Recreation complex. Mr. Van Brunt noted that very little money has been spent on the building since its purchase in the 1970s, and it is now critical that the building receive some much needed attention. Problems associated with the building include:

  • Exterior walls are deteriorating
  • Over-crowded office space
  • Electrical system is over-taxed and no longer up to code
  • Extreme lack of storage space
  • Original roof, which has been patched during the years, is leaking badly and shingles becoming dislodged
  • Dangerous walkways and stairs leading to the building
  • Rest rooms in poor condition
  • A desire to have a dedicated space for senior citizens
  • Poor air ventilation and circulation

Mr. Fox reviewed various aspects of the proposed renovation, including:

Main level:

  • Office space—provide three private offices and office space for general staff
  • Adjacent conference room
  • Small bathroom for staff and daycare program
  • Dedicated senior room—possibly dedicated as The Kay Custer Senior Room—with dedicated entrance and handicapped-accessible
  • Additional meeting space
  • Additional storage space
  • Main corridor to provide access to all locations without disturbing other functions
  • Central focal point
  • Renovations to rest rooms
  • Comply with regulations concerning day care programs where you have to keep the public separate

Lower level:

  • Additional storage space
  • Stairway to provide interior access through main corridor
  • Ramp on lower level to provide for deliveries

Outside:

  • Expand existing parking lot
  • Improve drainage in parking lot
  • Connect existing library parking lot and Senior Citizens/Recreation lot along front of buildings
  • Correct problem at library parking lot simultaneously

Other:

  • Expand septic system
  • Potential expansion of library

Costs:

  • Existing building—upgrades on the interior—roof replacement—new electrical system—HVAC systems
  • 3,000 feet of new construction on right side of building
  • 3,000 additional feet in basement for storage
  • septic cost is unknown at this time
  • $1.8 million includes parking upgrades, septic upgrades, etc.

Councilwoman Mitsch asked how long such a project would take to construct from start to finish.

Mr. Fox responded that it could take approximately 18 months or so, including roughly 8 or 9 months to receive the necessary approvals for the project.

B. E.A. Porter Building—Insurance Coverage

Manager Lovell reported to the Council that the JIF has notified the township that they will not provide insurance coverage for the EA Porter building. The Manager responded to JIF that he understands their concern about providing replacement insurance for the building, however he does not accept their decision concerning liability insurance. At this time, the Manager is awaiting a ruling on this issue from the JIF. Should the JIF decide to not provide the liability insurance, the Manager is seeking the council’s authorization to go out to the general market to obtain the necessary insurance.

Councilman Alpert stated that he agrees with the Manager’s position regarding the liability insurance. The Councilman suggested to the Manager that he inform the JIF that Randolph may seek reimbursement from them for any expenses incurred to obtain liability insurance from another source.

C. Highlands Council—Community Meeting

Manager Lovell noted that he provided the Council with a memorandum detailing a meeting conducted with the Highlands staff, township staff, and a member of the Planning Board. The Manager expressed concern for two points: the potential impacts to Randolph regarding COAH, and the suggestion by the Planning Director for Morris County that towns be cautious about opting into a plan that has not been developed yet. The Highlands staff indicated that they would like to provide a presentation to the entire Town Council. The Manager believes there would be a lot of value in such a presentation and recommended the Council agree to such a presentation.

The Manager will begin the process of setting a date for the presentation.

D. Property Maintenance Ordinance

Mark Caputo, Randolph’s Health Officer, provided a presentation of the Property Maintenance Ordinance that he is hoping will be re-adopted by the Council. In creating his presentation, he referred to a series of questions posed by Councilman Algeier. Those questions included:

Have the actions gotten results by Notices of Violation or have we had to issue summonses due to non-compliance with the Notices? To date, 18 of the 98 property maintenance actions that have taken place under Mr. Caputo’s supervision have resulted in a summons to appear in municipal court, all of which have been resolved by plea arrangement. The remaining 80 actions have been resolved by voluntary compliance by the property owner.

Are there any photos of the properties where the ordinance has been enforced? Mr. Caputo summarized 11 cases with “before” and “after” pictures.

Has there been any recidivism? Overall, these cases are relatively low.

Have there been any potential challenges as to the validity of enforceability? So far, there have been no trials so there has been no challenge to the constitutionality of the ordinance. The ordinance sets forth with specificity how to enforce it and the staff follows those guidelines to the letter.

Do most enforcement actions start from neighbor complaints? Most complaints do start with a neighbor concerned about the possible decline of a neighborhood.

Are property maintenance complaints made out of retribution for on-going neighborly disputes, and if so, how often? Occasionally the staff can discern a dispute and will attempt to handle it with discretion.

Mr. Caputo proposed that a change in the former ordinance allow the town to address and enforce the issue of overgrown and uncut grass. In the past this issue has been addressed as a public health issue, but Mr. Caputo believes it belongs under the property maintenance umbrella.

Manager Lovell provided the history of the ordinance including the decision to provide a sunset clause to allow for review of the impact of the ordinance. The Manager believes the ordinance has been successful. Mr. Lovell agrees that a provision should be included addressing uncut and overgrown grass.

Councilman Algeier supports the re-adoption of the ordinance, however he believes the issue of overgrown lawns is a health issue and should not be included in the property maintenance ordinance. The Councilman would like a four year sunset clause provided in the new ordinance and requests that reports be provided to the Council more regularly on the impacts of this ordinance.

Councilwoman Mitsch made a motion for the Manager to prepare an ordinance for re-adoption. Councilman Algeier seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:

AYES:
Councilman Algeier
Councilman Alpert
Councilwoman Mitsch
Deputy Mayor Metz
Mayor Napoliello

NAYS: None

ABSENT:
Councilman Obremski
Councilwoman Price

Manager Lovell suggested that Mr. Caputo’s monthly reports reflect any actions taken concerning the property maintenance ordinance.

REVIEW AND SET PROPOSED AGENDA FOR FEBRUARY 7, 2008 REGULAR MEETING

Manager Lovell reviewed the proposed agenda for the February 7, 2008, meeting.

OPEN TO PUBLIC

Lee Whilden, 82 Radtke Road, noted that she would not be against everyone on the Council receiving an increase in salary so long as everyone was paid the same. She is very much opposed to the mayor being set apart from the council. Mrs. Whilden hopes the council is aware of what went into the process of changing the charter.

Seeing no one from the public, the public portion was closed.

COUNCIL AND MANAGER COMMENTS

Councilwoman Mitsch expressed her belief that if the role of mayor were largely ceremonial, as expressed by Mrs. Whilden, she would have accepted the position this year. However, she is aware of the massive amount of time it entails over and above that of the rest of the council members. She believes the monetary difference provided to the mayor is not enough to fully compensate for that amount of time and effort expended.

Manager Lovell suggested Mr. Van Brunt and Mr. Fox provide the Library Board with the presentation they made to the Council so that they can see proposals that impact the library so they can be incorporated into enhancements under consideration for the library.

Mayor Napoliello asked how the Manager plans to move forward with the proposal for the Senior Center/Recreation Building.

Manager Lovell responded that the project is listed in the 2009 Capital Improvement Program. He will be meeting with the architect and engineers to obtain prices as they go toward the design phase of the project. The Manager will begin working to get construction drawings, firm bid estimates, the site plan improvements, and starting the permitting process with Trenton.

EXECUTIVE SESSION

WHEREAS, Section 8 of the Open Public Meetings Act, Chapter 231, P.L. 1975 (N.J.S.A. 10:4-12) permits the exclusion of the public from a meeting under certain circumstances; and

WHEREAS, this public body is of the opinion that such circumstances presently exist.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of the Township of Randolph, in the County of Morris, and State of New Jersey, as follows:

1. The public shall be excluded from the following portion of the meeting.

2. The general nature of the subject matter to be discussed is as follows:

1. Unauthorized Water Connections
2. Amendment to the Administrative Code—Police Department

3. As nearly as now can be ascertained, the matter or matters to be discussed at this time will be disclosed to the public at such time and under such circumstances as are prescribed by law.

4. At the conclusion of the closed Executive Session, the Council may reconvene in public session for the purpose of taking formal action on matters discussed in closed session or on any other matter as permitted by law.

Councilman Alpert made a motion to move into Executive Session. Councilman Algeier seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:

AYES:
Councilman Algeier
Councilman Alpert
Deputy Mayor Metz
Mayor Napoliello

NAYS: None

ABSENT:
Councilwoman Mitsch
Councilman Obremski
Councilwoman Price

Deputy Mayor Metz made a motion to come out of Executive Session. Councilwoman Mitsch seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:

AYES:
Councilman Algeier
Councilman Alpert
Councilwoman Mitsch
Deputy Mayor Metz
Mayor Napoliello

NAYS: None

ABSENT:
Councilman Obremski
Councilwoman Price

ADJOURNMENT

The Mayor adjourned the meeting at 10:20 p.m.

Donna Marie Luciani
Township Clerk

E X E C U T I V E    S E S S I O N

An executive meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order by Mayor Napoliello.

Present for the executive session were:
Councilman Algeier
Councilman Alpert
Councilwoman Mitsch
Deputy Mayor Metz
Mayor Napoliello

ABSENT:
Councilman Obremski
Councilwoman Price

Also Present: Township Manager John Lovell and Township Attorney Edward Buzak

Unauthorized Water Connections

Manager Lovell noted that there is an unauthorized water connection at a property in Mendham. The homeowner has hired Jon Huston and Harry Gerken to represent him in the case.

Mr. Lovell met with Mr. Huston and Mr. Gerken and listened to their concerns. Mr. Huston offered to use his own water consumption as a base for determining the homeowner’s usage. Mr. Lovell has been to the property and noted that the large home and property, which includes a pool, is not comparable to Mr. Huston’s home. The system currently used by the town to determine approximate use is to obtain an average consumption figure for the neighborhood. The Manager noted that this home was required to install a water meter last summer, and the water bill for the first three months was in the $2,000.00 range.

Mr. Gerken put forward several arguments. He noted that the other properties in the neighborhood are 5 or 6 acre lots, and this property is only 3 or 4 acres. The Manager noted that this is a beautifully landscaped property with an orchard in the front, and it is his sense that outdoor watering is key to making the property look as beautiful as it does. Mr. Gerken then argued that the property owner is being penalized because the water connection was reflected in the value of the home when the house was purchased.

Mr. Gerken suggested the town is punishing the property owner by developing a new policy to determine back-billing for water consumption. The Manager responded that this policy is not new, it has been in place for a while now, and in fact Mr. Huston was a part of the policy discussion when he sat on the Town Council several years ago.

The Township Manager expressed concern that Mr. Huston representing this homeowner presents a conflict. Councilman Algeier agreed that it may be a conflict if they are using the argument that the policy is a new one designed to punish this homeowner.

The total estimated water bill comes to $24,000.00 or $25,000.00, the breakdown of which is $5,000.00 for the connection and $18,700.00 for water consumption and interest. Mr. Gerken and Mr. Huston suggested dropping the charge for the connection and interest and negotiate further on the water consumption. The Manager noted that there is another property owner who has an attorney dealing with Mr. Buzak at this point in time.

It is the Manager’s belief that since the homeowner has spent money on two consultants, he may very well want to litigate the matter. The Manager disagrees with the arguments put forward by Mr. Huston and Mr. Gerken, however he is seeking guidance from the Council as to whether to proceed, and possibly go to court, or agree to settle.

Mayor Napoliello and Councilman Alpert expressed a desire to proceed with trying to collect the $25,000.00 estimated bill. Councilman Algeier suggested a waiver of $2,500.00 in interest would be acceptable, but no more of a concession than that.

Manager Lovell will relay the Council’s comments to Mr. Huston and Mr. Gerken.

Amendment to the Administrative Code—Police Department

Manager Lovell stated that he is drafting a general amendment to the 1999 ordinance governing the police department replacing Article III of the municipal code due to conflicting language in the code. He summarized his changes for the Council, which include:

  • Defining the organization in three existing divisions
  • Police provide oversight to Rescue Squad as well as Atlantic Ambulance
  • A table of organization not to exceed numbers for all titles
  • Flexibility in numbers but no obligation to fill positions
  • Eliminated position of captain and replaced it with position of deputy chief
  • Amend promotional criteria for sergeant
  • Ability to use a consulting firm to conduct promotional evaluations
  • Narrowed selection criteria for deputy chief and chief

The Manager noted that these recommendations were worked out in conjunction with the Chief and Lieutenants. Mr. Lovell has asked Mr. Buzak’s staff to review the draft and is asking the Council to review it as well and provide recommendations or comments.

Donna Marie Luciani
Township Clerk