All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: April 23, 2020
A. OPENING OF REGULAR MEETING
1. Call to Order
A regular meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Mayor Carey. 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 Randolph Reporter and the Morris County Daily Record on November 6, 2019 by emailing them the annual resolution adopted by the Council on November 5, 2019. The annual resolution, which included this meeting date, was advertised in the Randolph Reporter, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph, and the Daily Record on November 14, 2019. The time change for this meeting was emailed to the Daily Record on April 17, 2020 and advertised on April 21, 2020 as well as advertised on the township website and TapInto Randolph on April 17, 2020.
2. Roll Call
Councilman Forstenhausler - Via Zoom
Councilman Loveys - Via Zoom
Councilman Nisivoccia - Via Zoom
Councilwoman Potter - Via Zoom
Councilman Tkacs - Via Zoom
Deputy Mayor Veech - Via Zoom
Also present: Township Manager Mountain, Chief Financial Officer Darren Maloney, Planning and Zoning Administrator Darren Carney, and Attorney Ed Buzak from the Buzak Law Group by Phone
3. Pledge of Allegiance
Mayor Carey led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mayor Carey asked that the Council and those attending the meeting participate in a moment of silence for Randolph residents who have passed away during the COVID-19 crisis.
B. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Seeing no one from the public, the public portion was closed.
C. MANAGER’S REPORT
Manager Mountain reported the following:
COVID-19 Update—There is one new confirmed case today which brings Randolph’s present total to 223, 20 of these cases are from long term care facilities. The community has had 16 COVID-19 fatalities to date; nine of which were from long term care facilities. As of today, 89 individual cases have reported that their symptoms have been resolved.
Trends—The number of reported COVID-19 cases has fluctuated in number over the past week; the number of total cases combined over the past seven days is significantly lower than the seven-day totals of the previous weeks. The state is showing a similar flattening of the curve. The reality of the present situation and trends suggests that the Coronavirus will most likely not dissipate in the next two weeks. He is hopeful that we will see enough positive results for the first phase of reopening statewide to begin to take shape. From all indications, however, it is still going to be a while before the community sees a full return to normalcy.
Township Staffing/Services—All township services continue to operate with facilities closed to the public. The township will continue to operate as such for the foreseeable future or until there are indications that it is safe to open to the public. All interactions with the public are being conducted on-line, by mail/email, phone, or through drop-off/pickup at facility entrances. All front line field staff—Police, DPW, Water & Sewer, Volunteer Fire, and EMS continue to operate with some small modification in work schedules/hours to maintain social distancing. Line administration staff members are working on shifts as described at the last meeting and department heads and other specified staff with the ability to work from home are continuing to work remotely. Manager Mountain also added that a skeleton staff led by himself and Township Clerk, Donna Luciani, continue to work in the municipal office to ensure business continuity. To date, no issues with this approach have been reported.
Communications—The Township is continuing to communicate daily utilizing all media platforms. There continues to be positive feedback on our communication thus far.
Social Services—Community services have been ramped up in response to the impacts of the virus. The food pantry has expanded its outreach for both donations as well as the population it is serving. The staff and volunteers have also been utilizing transportation vehicles to deliver food, books from the library, and other essentials to those in need. The Recreation/Community Service staff has also been managing calls about other community needs and directing those appropriately to other resources, county or non-profit if unable to address locally. He tasked Russ Newman and Barbara Lukavich, the Township’s Parks & Recreation Director and Community Services Coordinator, to overhaul the Community Service Website to better reflect the wide range of services available through the town and other resources. The township has continued to get positive responses from the community with many residents offering to volunteer, donate, and provide other support.
Donations—The Township has received a multitude of donations and contributions from individuals and local businesses in the form of masks and personal protective equipment, sanitization supplies, food, and other services. The generosity of these individuals are too numerous to mention during the present meeting but, are being recorded so as to invite all of the wonderful individuals to be recognized at the appropriate time. Manager Mountain added his thanks to the Mayor and Township Council for their continual support, speaking for the staff and community when saying their efforts are acknowledged and appreciated.
Communication Tower—A new communication tower has been installed near the municipal building. The project’s crew is currently completing work on the pad and other ground improvements. The crew has advised us that they will be swapping the communication equipment from the old tower on to the new tower in the next two weeks after which the old tower will be taken down. The carrier, AT&T, will then be responsible for installing their equipment along with electrical service to the tower, which may take a few months. The town began collecting its lease payments from the tower company in January.
Parks Superintendent—The Township’s Park Superintendent, Mike Muldoon, is retiring on April 30th. Manager Mountain publicly acknowledged Mr. Muldoon for his years of wonderful service to the town, both in his role as Superintendent and his many years prior as a park employee. He added that the township was able to find a very experienced replacement to take over for Mr. Muldoon. Brad Smith will be starting with the town next week. Mr. Smith was the Assistant Director of Public Works/Parks Buildings and Grounds Supervisor in Roxbury Township for the last several years and before that was a Project and Facilities Manager for a private corporation. Mr. Smith possesses extensive experience in field and ground management at similar organizations to Randolph.
Memorial Day—Manager Mountain reported that he spoke with Jack Sassaman about Memorial Day ceremonies and recognized that this year’s event may need to be modified due to social distancing requirements. Mr. Sassaman wanted him to relay to the council the importance he feels for himself and the post members to have the ceremony proceed in some manner. Manager Mountain told him the township would work with him to ensure the day would be properly handled.
D. 2020 MUNICIPAL BUDGET/ PUBLIC HEARING ADOPTION
1. Municipal Budget Presentation
Manager Mountain briefly introduced the 2020 Municipal Budget & Capital Improvement Program. He acknowledged that as the majority of council members were present by phone, they would have to follow along with the copies they were provided with. He stated that the public health crisis has created many unknown variables and an uncertain timeframe which led to the township making the decision to not to make any adjustments to the 2020 Budget as it was structured in such a way that the impacts from the current pandemic, while they may be felt, does not require a change to be made at this time.
He continued to provide an overview of how the budget process works, adding that the process starts in August with the collection of data and information, and involves many discussions with the council to address public concerns, before leading to the introduction of the budget, which this year took place on March 3rd.
He highlighted some high-level details on the budget explaining that it is a very small decrease in the overall amount from the previous year, and is effectively even. He further explained that the tax rate for the 2020 Municipal Budget is proposed to remain at the same level as the prior year, which marks the fourth consecutive year that the township has been able to adopt a budget with no tax increase. Manager Mountain added that we have been able to accomplish this while managing our business and services without needing additional tax dollars; this is something that cannot always be counted on. Manager Mountain discussed elements of township staff and the township’s continual investment into infrastructure, which he believes is critical to public satisfaction. He also added that surplus is being managed in support of the budget and that the township has continued to maintain our triple AAA bond rating.
He briefly discussed how this year’s budget compares to 2019, explaining that the data and information presented examines on an appropriations level, how we manage our expenditures. He summarized the township’s revenues from the previous year and the projections for 2020, stating that revenues are going to be a challenge for all municipalities in 2020. He explained that though the township may fall short in some categories, despite how conservatively the township has budgeted for them, there is enough cushion in the budget for those possible impacts and our overall surplus position is such that it is not a large concern that we would have cash flow issues. He added that the township is in a better position than most to absorb some shortfall and that we will be monitoring the present and third-quarter tax collections to examine trends and analyze the impacts COVID-19 will have on collection rates.
He continued to discuss how our state aid has fluctuated over the past decade and explained how taxes have trended on a local level, describing how taxes collected are distributed. He explained that it would be beneficial for the public to be familiar with this distribution, as they would be impressed with the job the council and municipal organization has done in terms of spending tax dollars.
Manager Mountain added that the township also manages our costs through shared services as a provider, recipient, and direct partner. He briefly reviewed comparative data for how we sit in the county explaining that the township has held a position in the top 5 for per capita lowest tax per person cost. The township matches up well to the countywide tax rate.
He continued to review the water and sewer components of the budget, explaining that our two main utilities this year are just over $9 million. It is an increase from the previous years due to capital expenditures happening on the sewer side. A detailed analysis of these two funds was covered in 2019; he added that they made correct decisions to adjust rates on the water side up and the sewer side down. The water utility spending plan is conservative, and the township is remaining sensitive to discussions related to affordable housing and how water has to be directed for those projects. He informed the council that the Meadow Brook water project is being completed and additionally the township will be doing some work with the replacement of meters, fire hydrants, valves, etc. He also reported that there are several capital initiatives on the sewer side that include the purchase of a sewer jetpack truck and the proposed extension of the Farm Road and Arnold Drive sewer.
He concluded the presentation by wrapping up the highlights of the budget, explaining that core service levels and the township’s master plans will continue to be maintained, allowing areas of government to continue to be robust. The township is also funding public works, health, senior and social services areas, and other capital aspects of the budget. He thanked all those who participated in the creation and assembly of this budget, thanking the staff, Chief Financial Officer, Darren Maloney, and the council for their involvement during this process and keeping the public satisfied and happy with the town’s direction.
Councilman Loveys thanked Manager Mountain, Darren Maloney, and the township staff for their work in putting this budget together. He added that he was glad to hear that the township would be treading slowly when implementing some of the appropriations this budget allows for. Manager Mountain added that he and Darren Maloney have discussed holding back certain capital items longer than normal, taking the time to examine each item, and evaluate their level of discretion and the possibility of following up on those items at a future time. Councilman Loveys responded that this year will continue to have many unknown outcomes and the fact that the township has adopted fiscally conservative budgets over the past several years proves now to be very prudent. Councilman Loveys added that the township’s management of surplus and other reserve funds have made it possible for us to be in a strong position, continuing to thank all the individuals who contributed to making this possible.
Councilman Forstenhausler echoed Councilman Loveys’ comments and thanked Manager Mountain and Darren Maloney for maintaining the tax rate and avoiding an increase. He added that it was a privilege to be serving on a council that has been able to accomplish this task each year. He added that he was pleased that the township had a comfortable surplus and had responsible budgeting that prevented us from facing critical financial challenges. He concluded by thanking Mayor Carey and Councilman Loveys for their work on the budget as well.
Deputy Mayor Veech commented that she was relieved to know that the township is in a comfortable position and echoed similar messages of thanks to all those who worked diligently to maintain our strong financial position.
Mayor Carey thanked Manager Mountain, Darren Maloney, and the township staff, echoing previously made comments about being proud of our strong financial position and our prudence in fiscal management and management of surplus. She added that she had been participating in conference calls over the past few weeks with the governor’s office and with many Mayors’ around the state, adding that unfortunately; many other municipalities and communities are in much dire situations.
Mayor Carey opened the discussion to the public.
Kathy Mantell of 63 Combs Hollow Road commented that she was available to anyone who had questions regarding the budget. She added that she has seen what other towns are presently going through and she was happy to be a Randolph resident as the township has paid close attention to our financial strength.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public portion was closed.
1. 123-20 Adoption of 2020 Municipal Budget
BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council Members of the Township of Randolph, County of Morris that the budget hereinbefore set forth is hereby adopted and shall constitute an appropriation for the purposes stated of the sums therein set forth as appropriations, and authorization of the amount of:
(a) $19,612,277.13 (Item 2 below) for municipal purposes, and
(b) $______________ (Item 3 below) for school purposes in Type I School Districts only (N.J.S.A. 18A:9-2) to be raised by taxation and,
(c) $______________(Item 4 below) to be added to the certificate of amount to be raised by taxation for local school purposes in Type II School Districts only (N.J.S.A. 18A:9-3) and certification to the County Board of Taxation of the following summary of general revenues and appropriations.
(d) $911,190.00 (Sheet 43) Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund Levy
(e) $1,522,546.31 (Item 5 below) Minimum Library Tax
|1. General Revenues|
|Miscellaneous Revenues Anticipated||13-099||$12,040,047.00|
|Receipts from Delinquent Taxes||15-499||$550,000.00|
|2. AMOUNT TO BE RAISED BY TAXATION FOR MUNICIPAL PURPOSES (Item 6(a), Sheet 11)||07-190||$19,612,277.13|
|3. AMOUNT TO BE RAISED BY TAXATION FOR SCHOOLS IN TYPE I SCHOOL DISTRICTS ONLY:|
|Item 6, Sheet 42||07-195||$-|
|Item 6(b), Sheet 11 (N.J.S.A. 40A: 4-14)||07-191||$-|
|TOTAL AMOUNT TO BE RAISED BY TAXATION FOR SCHOOLS IN TYPE I SCHOOL DISTRICTS ONLY|
|4. To Be Added TO THE CERTIFICATE FOR THE AMOUNT TO BE RAISED BY TAXATION FOR SCHOOLS IN TYPE II SCHOOL DISTRICTS ONLY:|
|Item 6(b), Sheet 11 (N.J.S.A. 40A:4-14)||07-191||$-|
|5. AMOUNT TO BE RAISED BY TAXATION MIN LIBRARY TAX||07-192||$1,522,546.31|
|(a & b) Operations Including Contingent||34-201||$24,415,966.13|
|(f) Deferred Charges and Statutory - Municipal||34-209||$2,443,453.00|
|(g) Cash Deficit||46-885||$-|
|Excluded from “CAPS”|
|(a) Operations - Total Operations Excluded from “CAPS”||34-305||$5,714,722.74|
|(c) Capital Improvements||44-999||$3,739,500.00|
|(d) Municipal Debt||45-999||$1,398,437.00|
|(e) Deferred Charges - Municipal||46-999||$1,000,000.00|
|(n) Transferred to Board of Ed. For Use of Local Schools (N.J.S.A. 40:48-17.1& 17.8)||29-410|
|(g) Cash Deficit||46-885||$-|
|(k) For Local District School Purposes||29-410||$-|
|(m) Reserve for Uncollected Taxes||50-899||$2,922,354.57|
|School Appropriations - Type I School District Only (N.J.S.A. 40:48-17.1 & 17.8)||07-195|
It is hereby certified that the within budget is a true copy of the budget finally adopted by resolution of the Governing Body on the 23rd day of April, 2020. It is further certified that each item of revenue and appropriation is set forth in the same amount and by the same title as appeared in the 2020 approved budget and all amendments thereto, if any, which have been previously approved by the Director of Local Government Services.
Deputy Mayor Veech made a motion to adopt the 2020 Municipal Budget. Councilman Forstenhausler seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Veech
E. COMBINED ACTION RESOLUTIONS
- R-116-20 Refund Summer Day Camp Registration fee due to Covid-19 to Timothy Mulvihill—$675.00
- R-117-20 Refund various Summer Camp program fees due to scheduling conflicts to Karen Rogers—$665.00
- R-118-20 Finding a vendor in default and the rescission of MCCPC Contract 45 (Septic Pumping/Sludge Removal & Disposal Services/Pump Station Wet Well Pumping/Pump Station Bypass Pumping) reserving all rights to claims and damages
- R-119-20 Refund tax sale certificate for Block 51.01, Lot 3, 3 Yorkshire Dr. to Shirea Carroll—$729.99
- R-120-20 Authorizing contracts with an additional approved state contract vendor for contracting units pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:11-12a
- R-121-20 Authorizing contracts with an additional approve ESCNJ contract vendor under the educational services commission of New Jersey Cooperative Pricing System (ESCNJ) Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:11-11(5)
- R-122-20 Approving the Annual Budget Examination conducted by the Township
Councilman Forstenhausler made a motion to approve the Combined Actions Resolutions. Councilman Tkacs seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Veech
F. ORDINANCE: INTRODUCTION
1. ORDINANCE NO. 04-20 An Ordinance Amending Ordinance No. 07-19 to Provide and Determine the Range of Compensation for Specified Officers and Employees in the Township of Randolph
Manager Mountain explained:
This ordinance memorializes the salaries for the year 2020. It covers the salaries of both contractual and non-contractual employees and specified officers of Randolph Township.
BE IT RESOLVED, that an Ordinance entitled “An Ordinance Amending Ordinance No. 07-19 to Provide and Determine the Range of Compensation for Specified Officers and Employees in the Township of Randolph” be introduced, read by title by the Township Clerk and passed on first reading.
BE IT RESOLVED, that said Ordinance shall be further considered for final passage at the meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Randolph on the 7th of May, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. in the evening, prevailing time, at the Municipal Building in said Township, at which time and place all persons interested shall be given an opportunity to be heard concerning said ordinance.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Township Clerk be authorized and directed to advertise said Ordinance in full or by summary with the notice of introduction thereof, in the official designated newspaper according to law.
Councilman Forstenhausler made a motion to introduce the ordinance. Councilman Nisivoccia seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Veech
G. DISCUSSION ITEMS
1. Review of Road Evaluation Recommendations
Manager Mountain explained:
It had been some time since township roads went through a full re-evaluation, therefore it was decided that in December the Department of Public Works (DPW) would evaluate every township road. In the spring the project continued with the Township Engineering Department and DPW reviewing the top 100-150 roads, to make sure there were no substantial changes since the winter evaluation. The roads were then scored and ranked based on quality, with 100 being a perfect score. The findings also include 2019 projects nearing completion, upcoming projects in 2020, and State Aid projects for the current year. He explained that this information also includes some roads that are not presently scheduled to be resurfaced but show maintenance work and/or observance. He briefly reviewed other elements of the Road Overlay Program’s findings and the key points of the map provided along with the meeting agenda. These findings were reviewed by the Council’s Infrastructure Committee, in addition to the departments previously mentioned.
Councilman Forstenhausler, a member of the infrastructure committee, commented that based on the data collected, he has seen that previously low scoring roads have gone up in score showing significant improvement. Based on the re-evaluations, he added that he was pleased to see that we have many roads with high scores and only a handful that score on the lower end. He added that he was pleased that the township council accounts for road paving/capital improvement projects every year as it is a real benefit to residents. He also stated that the work of the DPW and Engineering department in completing this re-evaluation was tremendous in giving the township an accurate picture of the road quality in town.
Councilman Tkacs, a member of the Council Infrastructure Committee, echoed Councilman Forstenhausler’s comments, adding that he went out to drive on the roads that were evaluated, and he believes that the work being done will be appreciated by residents and keep Randolph a great community. Councilwoman Potter, a member of the Council Infrastructure Committee, commented that the process to accomplish this re-evaluation would lead to some great results for the township.
Deputy Mayor Veech asked Manager Mountain about the road paving compounds the township has used to address road issues. She inquired about any possible tracking of the qualities of the mixtures we are using and whether it can indicate which materials are better in quality based on the results from the re-evaluation process. Manager Mountain responded that the materials used for road paving have not varied greatly. He also added that the county has experimented with different types of materials, but those were for projects that they went out to bid for on their own. All township road projects are completed through the town and the CO-OP. He added that some of the township’s older roads with a rural history were not paved with the same “suburban” approach as used recently and this may account for road quality differences. He explained that the council may recall that a few of these roads had to be completely reconstructed. He stated that in terms of material he believes that there hasn’t been a large variance, but he will confirm the information.
Councilman Loveys asked for clarification about the abbreviations on the Road Overlay Program 2020 spreadsheet, inquiring about the meaning of “EM Milling Costs” and “FM Milling Costs.” Manager Mountain explained that EM stands for Edge Mill and FM stands for Full Mill. Councilman Loveys pointed out a calculation error, which Manager Mountain said would be addressed. Additionally, Councilman Loveys asked about the Gas Company’s contribution to the Road Overlay Program, asking for further clarification on their role in paving and the township’s role in milling. Manager Mountain explained that we are confirming this agreement once again as it was the previous year. He explained that the gas company will be paving the whole road, which creates great savings for the township by doing a partnership. Councilman Loveys asked if we could get them to do the full width on Cromwell and South. Manager Mountain said he would follow up on that.
Mayor Carey commented that this was a great process that leads to getting comprehensive information and understanding the rationale about decisions and the cost associated with road work.
1. Tax Relief Options
Manager Mountain explained that he misspoke when discussing this item at the previous council meeting. He corrected himself, explaining that the Tax Relief statute says that the municipality through the action of the council passing a resolution, can lower the tax rate down as it chooses, having previously said that there was a floor to the level it could be reduced to.
He shared with the council some additional information that has been collected over the past weeks from the state, the Tax Collectors Association, and information collected from the Manager’s Forum.
He added that he was somewhat reticent to recommend any immediate action on Tax Relief options as presently the township has not received any real metrics to analyze the impact the current crisis has/will have on tax collection comparatively to the prior year. Additionally, there are a fair amount of unintended consequences that come with this relief action. He explained that the Tax Collectors Association Memo outlined some of the consequences that this action may incur.
He explained that this action may result in the possibility of incentivizing individuals who may not need relief, to not pay their taxes in a timely fashion, which could lead to a general drop off of tax collection and could exasperate our worries about revenue. Additionally, if the township were to change its rate to 0% the period for tax collection would be extended and there would be no penalty, and if the rate were to go back up, those with delinquent statuses would still pay at the 0% rate. He added that this action could also affect the township’s cash flow negatively, affecting our ability to make payments we are obligated to cover, most notably for the township’s school. He also explained that this action could negatively affect tax sales and investments made by third-party investors. Manager Mountain continued to explain that the township’s surplus put us in a position that allows us to absorb some loss, but a catastrophic loss in revenue could put us in a difficult position. He recommended against a 0% tax rate but wanted to inform the council about the consequences of the action and provide them with a full picture, as it is a local decision.
He received a running count of 50 towns that had weighed in on the actions they plan to take in regards to Tax Relief on the Manager’s Forum. By his count, an estimated 25% or less of municipalities have decided to take actions related to tax relief, the majority have either decided to not make any changes or reserve judgment based on data from their next quarter. He added that this was not a scientific count, just an observation of the responses on the forum at present.
Mayor Carey inquired about the typical rate at which taxpayers submit their payments on or by the due date. Darren Maloney responded that the township has an automatic payment process that the tax department utilizes to contact taxpayers and notify them of when the township will be deducting the taxes owed for the may quarter. Currently, there are about 200 taxpayers who receive this notification and presently we have yet to receive any complaints about tax collection for this quarter. Manager Mountain also added that we receive many tax payments in bulk through mortgage companies. Darren Maloney plans to examine how many of the township’s taxpayers have their taxes paid through this process; he believes it is a significant number. Manager Mountain added that the group to focus on when looking at collection trends is the individual taxpayers.
Mayor Carey approved of the township’s plan to monitor the situation closely over the next week and into the next tax collection period to see if there are concerns that need to be addressed. She added that there was a bill introduced in Trenton that may result in State action.
H. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Seeing no one from the public, the public portion was closed.
I. COUNCIL COMMENTS
Councilman Nisivoccia stated that he had not attended any meetings, but did want to take the time to thank the township staff, Manager Mountain, and Mayor Carey for keeping everyone updated during this time.
Councilman Forstenhausler attended a zoom meeting with the Trails Advisory Committee. He reported that the committee members were appreciative of the township decision to keep the trails open during this time, recognizing the closure of many state and county parks. He stated that many residents have provided positive feedback about the open trail operations, although they have been disappointed with a few sections of trails that are combined with county trails. He explained to those residents that while township trails are open, the sections that operate as county trails are closed by the county. He echoed Councilman Nisivoccia’s previous statement of thanks to Manager Mountain, Mayor Carey, and the township staff for their excellent work in keeping the public and council informed.
Councilman Tkacs reported that he attended a zoom conference with the Recreation Committee on April 9th, during which they discussed the status of which leagues could and could not happen due to the public health situation. He added that paper trail maps had gone out for bid and that electronic maps were available on the township website. He reported that the Junior High Football Program was setting up a motivational meeting that will feature NFL Players, Eli Manning and Lawrence Taylor. He also reported that the school board announced that the second round of bids had been rejected, and they will now have to go out for a third round of bidding.
Councilwoman Potter commented that she had nothing to report for the present meeting.
Councilman Loveys commented that he had nothing to report for the present meeting, but did want to take this time to thank Mayor Carey for the tremendous job she has been doing throughout this difficult time. He continued to thank the entire township staff for their commitment and dedication and recognized the work of the Township Clerk, Donna Luciani, for her continual efforts in helping the staff feel safe. He lastly wanted to take this time to thank the residents for the outpouring of support that they have shown during the pandemic, as many individuals have responded to this health crisis by donating food and PPE. He added that they are fortunate to live in a great community.
Deputy Mayor Veech thanked Manager Mountain for the many Swift 911 alerts and the other services the township is providing to keep residents informed and fulfill the services they need. She attended the Parks Advisory Committee meeting on April 14th and reported that the installation of speed bumps in the Freedom Park Parking Lot began in March, with the addition of two installment projects being completed at the Brundage Park Playhouse and the Township Community Center.
She continued to report that the Parks Advisory Committee removed the remaining structure from the timber lane playground, which functioned as a pocket park; there are now newly installed ramps and assembled platforms for the dog park. In addition to those projects, the Parks Advisory Committee assisted the Randolph Police Department in removing a campsite/party area in woods near the Hanover Avenue area. She reported that the committee closed township playgrounds, athletic courts and fields, and outdoor bathrooms, and posted additional signage in response to meet public safety standards. The Randolph Community Garden is nearly complete, but there is yet to have an opening date posted as the subcommittee has not set it. Deputy Mayor Veech added that she would like to recommend that the council approves Sheila Bell-Helmke to be an alternate on the Parks Advisory Committee.
Deputy Mayor Veech made a motion to appoint Sheila Bell-Helmke as an Alternate on the Parks Advisory Committee. Councilman Tkacs seconded the nomination and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Veech
Mayor Carey thanked the community for their support and understanding during this pandemic. She recognized that being confined to our homes can cause frustration, but many residents have responded to this crisis by supporting the community and offering help through the many donations they have provided. She also reported that she went on the 2020 Census website and found that the county’s response rate faired much higher than of the national and state response levels, reporting that the national rate is currently reported at 52%, the state response rate is at 53%, and the county rate is at 68%. She reminded residents to complete the 2020 Census Survey.
Township Attorney, Ed Buzak, wanted to clarify to the public and council the process of using Zoom and teleconference when moving a resolution to executive session and meeting adjournment. He explained that the resolution will be read, voted on, and the meeting will be closed. The closed session meeting will then be conducted through a conference call by phone or computer and at the end the council and public will have to call back into this council meeting zoom number, where the meeting adjournment will proceed. Zoning Administrator, Darren Carney, stated that the device and zoom program being utilized for the council meeting will allow this process to be completed without the need for individuals to call back in.
J. 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 Executive portion of the meeting.
2. The general nature of the subject matter to be discussed is as follows:
Affordable Housing Update Action
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 Executive Session, the Council may or may not reconvene in public session for the purpose of taking formal action.
Councilman Tkacs made a motion to move into Executive Session. Councilman Loveys seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Veech
Councilman Forstenhausler made a motion to close the Executive Session. Councilman Tkacs seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Veech
Councilman Forstenhausler made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Councilwoman Potter seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Veech