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: November 29, 2007

A regular meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 8:00 p.m. by Mayor Obremski. 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 January 5, 2007, by emailing them the annual resolution adopted by the Council on January 4, 2007. The annual resolution, which included this meeting date, was advertised in the Morris County Daily Record, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph, and in the Randolph Reporter on January 11, 2007.

PRESENT:
Councilman Algeier
Councilman Alpert
Councilman Metz
Councilman Napoliello
Councilwoman Price
Deputy Mayor Mitsch (arrived at 8:45 p.m.)
Mayor Obremski

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

Mayor Obremski led the Pledge of Allegiance.

APPROVAL OF EXECUTIVE SESSION MINUTES—March 29, April 26, and October 18, 2007

Councilman Algeier made a motion to approve the Executive Session minutes as presented. Councilman Napoliello seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:

AYES:
Councilman Algeier
Councilman Alpert
Councilman Metz (abstained on October 18)
Councilman Napoliello
Councilwoman Price
Mayor Obremski

NAYS: None

ABSENT: Deputy Mayor Mitsch

OPEN TO PUBLIC

Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, reported that the Community Services Advisory Committee is currently providing leaf raking services for needy residents in the community. The Community Services Advisory Committee will also be returning to the Council to ask for increased senior transportation.

COUNCIL AND MANAGER REPORTS

Councilman Metz asked when the next meeting with the Board of Education would occur since he had not met with them since August.

Manager Lovell responded that he will reach out to the Board of Education.

Councilwoman Price stated that the Board of Health is communicating with Dover General and Morristown Memorial Hospitals to discuss funding for the life magnets. The Board of Health is also pursing an educational campaign in the schools regarding MRSA.

Councilman Algeier stated that he believes the current tree ordinance creates a lot of confusion. He asked that the Manager provide a report on the tree ordinance to see if revisions would be in order to make it easier for Planning Board applicants to understand and easier for the township to enforce.

The Manager responded that he will begin that process.

Councilman Algeier, while at the League of Municipalities Convention, attended a MEL/JIF presentation encouraging towns to put Council liaisons on a safety committee. He believes it would be important for a Council member from Randolph to attend the safety meetings in 2008. The Councilman felt there was a lot of good information presented at the Convention this year and has passed some information onto the Manager.

Mayor Obremski stated that the Parks Committee has been in discussions with the owner of the Stonybrook Day Camp who is considering two capital improvement projects, one being a multi-purpose basketball court and the second is an ATV track. The Mayor expressed concern that the property is public property and the Township does not allow ATVs on public property. The tree and bench dedication program is continuing with the possible addition of two benches in 2008 relating to baseball. The Landmarks Committee is undertaking the following projects: Funding for a kiosk near Combs Hollow Road to help display the history of that area; assisting an AP History class at the high school with promoting the Randolph Museum and township history in the spring; attempting to repair the iron gate at the Walnut Grove Cemetery; exploring the designation of the Shongum Lake Club House as a township landmark; purchasing fire-proof cabinets to store old records and photos. Members of the Traffic Advisory Committee attended the Governor’s Task Force and made a presentation on what Randolph is doing in terms of teen traffic safety.

Manager Lovell noted that the League of Municipalities recognized Randolph’s Annual Report as one of the best in the state of New Jersey and congratulated Assistant Manager Russo, who oversees this project. The Manager attended a Raritans Highlands Compact Meeting which included the Executive Director for the Highlands and the Director of Science for the Highlands. The Manager reported that new maps have been generated by the Highlands that he believes to be far superior to what was generated previously. Much of Randolph has been placed in the existing community zone, which has a designation of environmentally constrained sub-zoning. There is the requirement that COAH, prior to determining third round housing obligations, must consider the regional master plan developed by the Highlands Council. After a hearing in January, Randolph will have several months to bring our Master Plan into compliance in the preservation zone, which impacts a small area at the Alamatong Wellfield and should not be difficult to bring into compliance since most of it is public property at this time. The Manager is quite concerned about the potential COAH impacts for Randolph and suggested that a committee of council members, Darren Carney, and himself, be established to review the Highlands maps and put together a series of recommendations.

Councilman Alpert expressed frustration with the Highlands Council dictating policy in a town such as Randolph with which they have no real contact.

DISCUSSION ITEMS

A. Architect’s Presentation—Municipal Building Architectural Plan

Ben Horton offered an update to the presentation he had made at a previous Council meeting regarding renovations at the Municipal Building.

Highlights of the presentation for the upper floor included:

  • Expansion would be in middle of building towards back of property
  • New addition of stair and elevator to allow for handicapped access from the lower level of police department to street level of municipal offices
  • Court room has central aisle and additional seating for planning board members
  • Relocate court clerk and judge’s chamber off the court room
  • Judge to have private access to court room
  • Court to have secured area with private rest room
  • Stairway from police department to court to keep defendant separate from public, court staff, and judge
  • Relocate town clerk and staff to former court area
  • Copy/fax area centrally located
  • Creation of nurse’s office/exam room/bathroom facility
  • Creation of Mayor/Council office
  • Addition of transaction window for added security to finance office/tax area
  • Maintain existing meeting room locations and size
  • Creation of security gate by main entrance to control public access to restrooms during evening hours

Councilman Algeier expressed concern that the conference rooms, as they currently exist, do not provide sufficient privacy for attorneys speaking with clients.

Features of the lower floor include:

  • Relocate patrol officers to the front of the building with separate entry
  • Relocate traffic office
  • Create muster room
  • Convert existing muster room to dedicated lunch room
  • Create new kitchenette/pantry area
  • New entry on side with canopy
  • Lobby area
  • Expanding dispatch
  • Create second “wait area”
  • Create special meeting room for police officers for confidential discussion with public
  • Create office for administrative staff dealing with computers and dispatch
  • Create entry into bureau and chief’s area
  • Create additional archive storage
  • Create more open detective area/teaming area
  • Create two interview rooms
  • Create security door in hallway
  • Relocate community service department
  • Expansion of staff will be possible without reconfiguring space
  • Maintain existing work-out area
  • New garage door

Manager Lovell requested that the Council review the proposal and provide comments and suggestions to him. He stated that, while it’s nice to have a goal and project in mind, he would consider renovations to the VFW Building and Recreation Center to take priority over the Municipal Building.

B. Selection of Engineers—Butterworth Sewer Interceptor Design

Manager Lovell reported that the interviews have taken place and additional documentation has been requested and provided. The committee will review the additional documentation and report back to the council in December.

C. Policy—Future Capital Acquisitions/Shared Services

Manager Lovell reported that he does not have a policy to present to the council at this time, however this item will stay on future agendas until a policy is presented to the council for consideration.

COMBINED ACTION RESOLUTIONS

Councilman Metz made a motion to approve the combined action items. Deputy Mayor Mitsch seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:

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

NAYS: None

A. Adjustments/Refunds Resolutions

(1) Refund Overcharge for Water Usage Since 2002 at Block 103, Lot 28.06, to Christopher and Maria Maher—$11,923.71

R-288-07

WHEREAS, Christopher and Maria Maher, 2 Helene Drive, Block 103, Lot 28.06, have been overcharged for their water usage since 2002; and

WHEREAS, this overcharge was due to a manufacturing error with a 1" meter head installed on a 5/8" meter; and

WHEREAS, the Township discovered this anomaly through an independent testing of the meter per the direction of the Township Manager, John Lovell; and

WHEREAS, the Township has recalculated Mr. and Mrs. Maher’s water bill from February 14, 2002, to October 25, 2007; and

WHEREAS, based on the recalculation, Mr. and Mrs. Maher have an overpayment of $11,923.71 on their water account.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council, Township of Randolph, County of Morris, State of New Jersey, that the Finance Director be instructed to refund $11,923.71 to Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Maher, 2 Helene Drive, Randolph, NJ 07869.

B. Authorizing Rescission of Contract for 2008 Dump Bodies with Steelfab and Re-awarding to Cliffside Body Corp. and Seely Equipment & Supply

R-289-07

WHEREAS, the Township of Randolph, on behalf of the Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council, awarded (ITEMS #5A, B, C & E) to Steelfab on October 18, 2007, under Contract #15-D (2008 Model Dump Bodies); and

WHEREAS, the award of (Items #5A, B, C & E) was erroneously awarded to Steelfab as they were not the true low bidder in compliance with the bid specifications; and

WHEREAS, it is in the MCCPC’s interest to rescind a portion of Steelfab’s initial contract award for (Items #5A, B, C & E ) under Contract #15-D (2008 Model Dump Bodies) and re-award to the following companies who were the actual low bidders meeting the specifications:

CLIFFSIDE BODY CORPORATION: ITEMS #5A, B & C
SEELY EQUIPMENT & SUPPLY COMPANY: ITEM #5E

NOW, THERFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of the Township of Randolph, County of Morris, and State of New Jersey, that (Items #5A, B, C & E) of Contract #15-D (2008 Model Dump Bodies) be rescinded from Steelfab’s initial contract award and re-awarded to Cliffside Body Corporation for (Items #5-A, B & C) and Seely Equipment & Supply Company for (Item #5E).

C. Authorizing an Assignment of New Contractor in Award of MCCPC—Model Utility Vehicles—Ditschman Flemington Ford Lincoln Mercury

R-290-07

WHEREAS, on October 18, 2007, the Randolph Township Council awarded a contract on behalf of the Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council to Princeton’s Nassau/Conover Ford for Contract #15-C (2008 Model Utility Vehicles), Items #1, 4, 5A, 5B, 5C, 6 and 8; and

WHEREAS, a notice was received from Princeton’s Nassau/Conover Ford that their dealership will cease operation as a Ford franchise on November 30, 2007; and

WHEREAS, the dealership of Princeton’s Nassau/Conover Ford is re-assigning the contracts awarded on behalf of the MCCPC to another dealership (Ditschman Flemington Ford Lincoln Mercury, trading as Flemington Car & Truck County Fleet Sales). The contract pricing for all 2008 model vehicles will remain the same as initially awarded on October 18, 2007.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Mayor and Council of the Township of Randolph, County of Morris, State of New Jersey, authorizes the re-assignment of the new contractor/dealership of Ditschman Flemington Ford Lincoln Mercury/Flemington Car & Truck County Fleet Sales for MCCPC Contract #15-C (2008 Model Utility Vehicles), Items #1, 4, 5A, 5B, 5C, 6, and 8.

D. Authorizing the Settlement of the 2006 and 2007 Tax Appeals on Block 11, Lot 24—Sovereign Bank

Acted on separately.

E. Raffles

(1) Off-Premise 50/50, Hebrew Congregation of Mt. Freedom, 1209 Sussex Turnpike, Randolph, NJ—March 8, 2008 at 9:00 p.m.

(2) On-Premise Merchandise Raffle, Randolph High School Girls’ Soccer Booster Club, December 3, 2007, 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Meadow Wood Manor, 461 Route 10 East, Randolph, NJ

(3) On-Premise Tricky Tray, Randolph High School Girls’ Soccer Booster Club, December 3, 2007, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Meadow Wood Manor, 461 Route 10 East, Randolph, NJ

(4) Social Affair, December 31, 2007, 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., at St. Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Church, 1447 Sussex Turnpike, Randolph, NJ

(5) Social Affair for the “Donna” Committee, c/o St. Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Church, 1447 Sussex Turnpike, Randolph, NJ, December 8, 2007, 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

REVIEW AND SET PROPOSED AGENDA FOR DECEMBER 6, 2007, REGULAR MEETING

Manager Lovell provided a summary of what appears on the proposed agenda.

OPEN TO PUBLIC

The Mayor opened the meeting to the public.

Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, asked that a comparison of the costs for the two options previously provided for the Municipal Building be provided, as well as the difference in space acquired for those two options.

Manager Lovell responded that the cost for the option not chosen was approximately double the option that has been chosen and that the majority of the cost comes from the reconfiguration of the police department. He can provide the number on added space.

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

COUNCIL AND MANAGER REPORTS

Councilman Algeier stated that he noticed a house for sale on Sussex Turnpike that backs up to open space and asked the Manager to check to see if it might be worth acquiring for open space. The Councilman noted that the Manager is going through a process of determining where private homeowners have erected structures on public property and recommended Council support a policy correcting those issues and to expect some push-back from affected residents.

Councilwoman Price recommended citing the Parade Committee during the Volunteer Recognition Ceremony in December.

Mayor Obremski noted that the dates for the Tree Lighting, the Menorah Lighting, the Township Holiday Party, the Volunteer Recognition Ceremony, the Recreation Awards Brunch, and the Senior Holiday Party.

Councilman Algeier noted that the Randolph Kiwanis Club agreed to assist the Salvation Army with their fundraising efforts and asked that anybody interested in participating contact the Kiwanis Club for information.

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:

a. Tucker Avenue Negotiations
b. Freeman et al versus Luciani et al
c. Settlement of 2006 and 2007 Sovereign Bank Tax Appeals
d. Manager’s/Clerk’s Evaluation

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.

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

AYES:
Councilman Algeier
Councilman Alpert
Councilman Metz
Councilwoman Price
Mayor Obremski

NAYS: None

ABSENT:
Councilman Napoliello
Deputy Mayor Mitsch

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

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

NAYS: None

Counciman Napoliello made a motion to accept the tax appeal letters provided by Richard DeAngelis satisfying the appeal for Sovereign Bank for 2006 and 2007. Deputy Mayor Mitsch seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:

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

NAYS: None

Township Attorney Buzak stated for the record that the Council came out of closed session to vote on the tax appeal and returned to closed session in accordance with the original resolution that was adopted earlier.

Authorizing the Settlement of the 2006 and 2007 Tax Appeals on Block 11, Lot 24—Sovereign Bank

R-291-07

WHEREAS, Sovereign Bank, the owner of the property located at Block 11, Lot 24, on the official tax maps of the Township of Randolph, also known as 430 Route 10, has filed an appeal to the Tax Court of the State of New Jersey from the assessed value of the subject property for tax years 2006 and 2007; and

WHEREAS, the property owner and the Township of Randolph have agreed to a reduction in the assessment for tax year 2006 from a total assessment of $1,878.800.00 to a total assessment of $1,453,000.00; and

WHEREAS, the property owner and the Township of Randolph have agreed to a reduction in the assessment for tax year 2007 from a total assessment of $1,878.800.00 to a total assessment of $1,314,000.00; and

WHEREAS, the property owner and the Township of Randolph have further agreed that the refund resulting from the settlement for tax year 2006 and 2007 shall be made within sixty days of the date of entry of Judgment by the Tax Court of New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, the property owner has agreed to waive pre-judgment interest due on any refunds due as a result of the proposed settlement judgment; and

WHEREAS, it is the recommendation of the Township’s Special Counsel for Property Tax Appeals, in consultation with the Township’s Tax Assessor and appraisal consultant, that the settlement of this matter, as set forth herein, is in the best interest of the Township of Randolph, and that this matter be settled pursuant to the terms set forth herein; and

WHEREAS, the proposed settlement for the 2006 tax year results in a total tax refund of $12,050.14; and

WHEREAS, the proposed settlement for the 2007 tax year results in a total tax refund of $16,605.12.

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

1. The tax assessment on the subject property, located at Block 11, Lot 24, on the official tax maps of the Township of Randolph shall be reduced for tax year 2006 from a total assessment of $1,878,000.00 to a total assessment of $1,453,000.00.

2. The tax assessment on the subject property, located at Block 11, Lot 24, on the official tax maps of the Township of Randolph shall be reduced for tax year 2007 from a total assessment of $1,878,800.00 to a total assessment of $1,314,000.00.

3. Upon receipt of the Tax Court Judgment, the Township Tax Collector is hereby authorized to refund the amount of $16,605.12 to the property owner, said refund being attributable to the reduction in the assessment for the 2007 tax year and to be paid within sixty (60) days of the issuance of the Judgment by the Tax Court of New Jersey.

5. This resolution shall take effect immediately or as otherwise provided by law.

ADJOURNMENT

The Mayor adjourned the meeting at 11:00 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 Obremski.

Present for the executive session were:
Councilman Algeier
Councilman Alpert
Councilman Metz
Councilman Napoliello
Councilwoman Price
Deputy Mayor Mitsch
Mayor Obremski
Township Manager Lovell
Township Attorney Edward Buzak

a. Tucker Avenue Negotiations
b. Freeman et al versus Luciani et al
c. Settlement of 2006 and 2007 Sovereign Bank Tax Appeals
d. Manager’s/Clerk’s Evaluation

Tucker Avenue Negotiations

Manager Lovell stated that there is a willing seller. The property owner received an appraisal of $1.5 million, and the Township’s appraisal came in at $1.1 million. The property owner will accept no lower than $1.45 million for the property and is agreeable to a spring closing. The Manager noted that the extra money for this purchase could come from the Green Acres fund in an attempt to deplete that account so that the state can not take any unused funds back from Randolph.

Mayor Obremski called for a voice vote either in favor of or opposed to moving forward with the purchase. The Council unanimously agreed to have the Manager move forward with a closing on the property.

Freeman v. Luciani

Township Attorney Buzak discussed the aspects of this case with the Council, including:

  • The plaintiffs’ accusation that the defense of the Township Clerk was frivolous
  • Mr. Buzak’s response that the statute is very clear and the defense was not frivolous
  • His response that the plaintiff’s claims were frivolous
  • The judge’s position that the rejection of the petitions was done on a technicality
  • The brief that will be presented to the court containing the depositions
  • The probability of the judge rendering his decision on December 3
  • His belief that the statutes are clear and it is not the job of the courts to re-write the statutes

Manager Lovell thanked the Township Attorney for the job he did on this case. He noted that, when the first petition was rejected, Township staff sat down with the petitioners and instructed them on correct procedure. Apparently the petitioners didn’t take the advice offered and proceeded with the second petition, which was ultimately rejected.

Councilman Metz asked if the court was ever told the facts of the pool case, such as the reports and data that had been collected and scrutinized and the fact that the council voted unanimously in favor of a pool.

Mr. Buzak responded that the facts are contained in the brief, but they were never a part of the court discussions.

Councilman Napoliello noted that the plaintiffs’ are asking that the Township reimburse their legal fees and asked if this was a possibility.

Mr. Buzak responded that the possibility exists that, if the court should find the defense to have been frivolous, sanctions could be imposed against Randolph.

Mr. Buzak reiterated his opinion that nothing about the defense of the Clerk was frivolous, he is proud of the work done, and is satisfied that the advice he gave the Township was sound.

Councilman Napoliello and Councilman Alpert expressed their belief that the attorney did a good job in his defense of this case.

Sovereign Bank Tax Appeal

Manager Lovell stated that he believes the settlement to be reasonable and suggested that, if the Council were to decide to fight this case, they could possibly end up in a weaker position. He also noted that he expects to see fewer tax appeals in 2008 because the housing market has become so soft.

The Council returned to Open Session to approve the resolution and then returned to Executive Session to discuss the last item on the Executive agenda.

Manager/Clerk’s Evaluation

The Township Council discussed the evaluations of the Township Manager and the Township Clerk.

Donna Marie Luciani
Township Clerk