All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: December 10, 2020
A. OPENING OF REGULAR MEETING
1. Call to Order
A regular meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 6:00 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 placed on the township website on November 2, 2020, as well as emailed to the Randolph Reporter, Daily Record, and TapInto Randolph on November 2, 2020. The time change for this meeting was advertised in the Randolph Reporter and Daily Record on November 5, 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 Steve Mountain and Attorney Keli Gallo from Buzak Law group (via Zoom)
3. Pledge of Allegiance
Mayor Carey led the Pledge of Allegiance.
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- Over the past two weeks, the township has had 121 new cases reported, including 12 new confirmed cases today. The total number of cases in Randolph is now 744. The case numbers appear to be reflecting the anticipated post-Thanksgiving surge. The next 4-6 weeks could very well trend in the same upward direction as the potential for gatherings increases with the upcoming holidays. Residents traveling for the holidays or attending gatherings should consider getting tested for the virus before and after such activities, they should also follow all other precautions stringently.
COVID-19 Testing- Morris County announced the establishment of a three-pronged approach to testing for both county residents and individuals working for businesses located in the county. The approaches are as follows:
- At-Home Self Tests- The County contracted a company to provide at-home tests to individuals who request one through the morriscountycovid19.org portal. Testing is available in the forms of a nasal swab test and a saliva PCR test. The tests are free for those without insurance and processed through insurance for those with coverage. Upon order, tests will be delivered overnight and will come with a pre-paid return envelope to send out to the testing lab. The results will be returned in 24-72 hours; Individuals are limited to two tests per person per month.
- Walk-up Testing- A walk up testing facility is to be set up at the County College of Morris Student Center. The facility will be open three days a week and managed by a third-party vendor hired by the county. Saliva PCR tests will be available by appointment at that location.
- Additional Remote Testing Facilities- Additional testing sites are being established at churches in Dover and Morristown for walk-up testing. These sites will be managed by Zufall Health and will be open 1-2 days per week.
All results collected through the county testing program will be entered into the state system for case identification and investigation. The program should greatly reduce the challenges township and county residents have faced in recent weeks in finding accessible and convenient testing options.
COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout- Morris County will be taking the lead for the region in working with the state on vaccination roll-out. The first delivery of the vaccine is anticipated in the next week or two and it will be delivered to area hospitals for the vaccination of 1A candidates, individuals classified as hospital workers, and frontline personnel. The 1B phase of the rollout will include first responders, long term care residents and workers, and essential employees. This phase of the program is expected to begin in January. The county is currently looking at locations where mass vaccinations can be accommodated. Vaccinations for the general public will be part of a later phase anticipated for spring through medical facilities, county, and municipal locations, private pharmacies, and other health providers.
Sussex Turnpike Rock Stabilization- Morris County has hired a contractor to inspect and design targeted sections of Sussex Turnpike for rock slope stabilization. The inspection will be focused on two areas in the vicinity of Washington Valley Road and Ash Lane. They plan to start the inspection on December 14. During the inspection process, Sussex Turnpike will be closed to one lane in the areas of work. The work is expected to take place between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and should be completed in 4-5 days.
Acknowledgment of Mayor Carey’s Last Meeting- Mayor Carey’s first term as Mayor was relatively uneventful in comparison to her second term. In the past 12 months, the township has experienced multiple snow and ice storms, a global pandemic, social justice protests and reform efforts, a hurricane, intense negotiations in the settlement of the township’s affordable housing agreements, in addition to all the other duties that fall under the regular responsibilities of the Mayor. Mayor Carey provided tremendous leadership for the Township Council and the municipal organization through it all. Her calm demeanor and thoughtful approach to governance set the right tone for an uneasy community. Mayor Carey responded to every email and phone call with a quick and proper response, reassuring and informing numerous residents. Her general communications were also timed and nuanced and were particularly well-received as the township began to experience the impacts of the pandemic.
Mayor Carey gave her time selflessly during the past year, going well beyond the attendance at meetings, performing weddings, attending events-in person or virtually, and showing up to support resident milestones, she was there to show her support through it all. The past year would have been difficult for many to handle, however, Mayor Carey managed it all in stride and did so with good humor and quiet confidence. On behalf of the entire organization, Manager Mountain thanked Mayor Carey for her leadership, time, and above all else her support through this past year.
Mayor Carey thanked Manager Mountain for his kind words and acknowledged the work and effort he and the township staff have been putting into maintaining community services and preventing disaster for the town.
Manager Mountain informed the council that Combined Action Resolution Item #4, R-352-20, is a request from YCS, Inc. asking the Township Council to authorize and support the group’s submission of an application for the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) for the Pamela Dive Home Improvements. He informed the council that it was not their duty to judge the grant, but instead to verify that there is no reason that the group cannot submit the grant on behalf of their organization and the people they represent. The grant process requires the group to go before a governing body where the housing is located and have that body pass a resolution as a part of their grant package. He informed the council that representatives from YCS, Inc. were available to answer their questions.
Mayor Carey referred back to the COVID testing information, adding that the county was paying for the testing through the CARES funding they received. Manager Mountain confirmed that she was correct.
Councilman Nisivoccia asked if in-person testing would be available in the county. Manager Mountain informed him that on-site testing would be available at the CCM testing site as an alternative to home testing.
Mayor Carey informed the council that the county would not be conducting drive-up testing due to the winter season. She proceeded to ask if any members of the council had questions for YCS, Inc.
Deputy Mayor Veech responded that she did not have any questions, and wished the group good luck with their grant application. Councilman Forstenhausler commented that the group’s application was very straightforward and clean.
D. APPROVAL OF MEETING MINUTES
1. Approving the Regular Council Meeting Minutes for November 12, 2020 and November 24, 2020
Councilman Forstenhausler made a motion to approve the Regular Meeting minutes for November 12, 2020 and November 24, 2020. Councilman Tkacs seconded the motion and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Veech
E. COMBINED ACTION RESOLUTIONS
Item #3, R-351-20, Approving the Temporary Budget for 2021- Councilman Tkacs asked if this item was something the council did annually; he could not recall doing so the previous year.
Manager Mountain informed him that this item must be completed by the beginning of the year. The formula-driven item allows the township to operate during the first quarter of the year’s budget where a budget has not been adopted. Manager Mountain shared that the previous temporary budget was likely approved during the previous reorganization meeting.
Item #15, R-363-20, Authorizing the hiring of AmeriFlex as the new flexible spending plan account management company- Councilman Loveys asked for clarification on this item.
Manager Mountain informed him that it allows employees to put their own money into a plan to cover out of pocket costs associated with health insurance. This company manages the funds those employees put in the flexible spending account; it is generally associated with higher cost deductible plans.
Item #10, R-358-20, & Item #11, R-359-20, Refund overpayment of 2020 taxes by reason of veteran’s tax exemption- Councilman Nisivoccia asked for clarification on the two resolution items.
Manager Mountain informed him that both items are carried out by state law on veteran tax exemption. If an individual qualifies for an exemption they are not responsible for paying for their taxes based on the full exemption. Many times individuals get their exemption status during the course of the year, therefore the monies they paid are refunded because of their exemption status; it is a state program that the township pays for.
Mayor Carey congratulated Manager Mountain and the township staff on the success and the continuation of the township’s two shared services agreements, adding that it was great that the township can continue to save taxpayer money with these agreements.
- R-349-20 Authorizing Shared Services Agreement for Randolph Township to provide Public Health Services to the Township of Roxbury
- R-350-20 Refund registration for Girls Travel Basketball program due to Covid-19 to Vanessa Cedeno—$350.00
- R-351-20 Approving the Temporary Budget for 2021
- R-352-20 Authorizing and supporting the request by YCS, Inc. for a Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) for the Pamela Drive Home Improvements
- R-353-20 Awarding a contract for the Millbrook Avenue Retaining Wall Project to CMS Construction Inc.,—$88,675.00
CERTIFICATION OF AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS
Dated: December 10, 2020
As required by N.J.S.A. 40A:4-57, N.J.A.C. 5:30-14.5, and any other applicable requirement, I, Darren Maloney, Director of Finance for the Township of Randolph, have ascertained that funds will be available in the General Capital Fund, Ordinance #08-17, Retaining Wall Program and Ordinance # 06-18, Retaining Wall Program, to award a contract to CMS Construction, Inc., for retaining wall repairs on Millbrook Avenue, per its response to bid solicitation by the Township.
Chief Financial Officer
Budget Accounts: 04-215-55-981-327 (not to exceed $36,343.64)br /> 04-215-55-990-326 (not to exceed $52,331.36)
- R-354-20 Refund cash road opening bond posted for the purpose of resurfacing the driveway at 2 Sharon Street, Block 21, Lot 40—Stephen Frost -$500.00
- R-355-20 Refund cash road opening bond posted for the purpose of resurfacing the driveway at 20 Bragman Road, Block 119, Lot 146—Madelin Valdez—$500.00
- R-356-20 Refund cash road opening bond posted for the purpose of connecting to the township water service at 242 Turnpike, Randolph, Block 50, Lot 201—William Amaducci—$500.00
- R-357-20 Refund overpayment of 2020 taxes by reason of reduction in tax assessment for 645 Millbrook Avenue, Block 119, Lot 114 to Peter E. & Alice M. Knothe, ET AL—$709.87
- R-358-20 Refund overpayment of 2020 taxes by reason of Veteran’s tax exemption for 37 Valley Rd., Block 97, Lot 30.08 to Greg & Jill Saxon—$7,301.89
- R-359-20 Refund portion of taxes paid in the amount of $811.50 and cancelling the first half of 2021 taxes in the amount of $4,931.07 due Veteran’s tax exemption status for 31 Ash Lane, Block 220, Lot 27 to Joseph Jr. & Joan Lake
- R-360-20 Authorizing contracts under the New Jersey Cooperative Purchasing Alliance (NJCPA) pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:11-11(5)
- R-361-20 Cancelling current fund appropriation balances pursuant to NJSA 40A:4-60—$700,000
- R-362-20 Authorizing appropriation transfers per N.J.S.A. 40A:4-58—$29,800
- R-363-20 Authorizing the hiring AmeriFlex as the new flexible spending plan account management company
- R-364-20 Release of Performance Bond of $399,318.00 and final payment of $3,491.57, and acceptance of the Maintenance Bond $38,213.05 for Meadowbrook Road Phase 3—Road Improvements Project, CCM Contracting, Inc.
- R-365-20 Authorizing Shared Services Agreement for Randolph Township to provide Animal Control to Rockaway Boro effective January 1, 2021—$12,204.00
- R-366-20 Authorizing the Acceptance of a Deed of Dedication for a Road Right-of-Way along 10 Brookside Road, Block 101, Lot 20
- R-367-20 Authorizing the person-to-person transfer of Plenary Liquor License No. 1432-33-001-011 from Nicoles Ten, LLC to Dabal Enterprises, LLC
- R-368-20 Authorizing contracts under the Hunterdon County Educational Services Commission Cooperative Pricing Sysem (HCESC) Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:11-11 (5)
- Raffle License, Off-Premise 50/50, Hebrew Congregation of Mt. Freedom NJ, 1209 Sussex Turnpike, Randolph, February 27, 2021 at 9:30 p.m.
Councilman Nisivoccia made a motion to approve the Combined Action Resolutions. Councilwoman Potter seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Councilman Forstenhausler (Abstained to #4)
Deputy Mayor Veech
Mayor Carey informed the public that a Drive-by Menorah Lighting would take place on Monday, December 14, at the Community Center parking lot. Individuals attending are able to drive through the area to see the menorah; no mingling would take place. She recognized that the present day was the first day of Hanukkah and took a moment to wish residents and anyone celebrating a happy holiday.
F. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Seeing and hearing none, the public portion was closed.
G. COUNCIL COMMENTS
Councilman Forstenhausler reported that the Trails Advisory Committee did not have a meeting scheduled for December. He shared that the Diversity Inclusion Steering Committee had met several more times since the last council meeting.
Councilman Forstenhausler read the following statement into the record on behalf of the Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee:
The Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee (DISC), which was formed in June, 2020, is continuing to work towards our vision of a community where all are accepted, supported, and treated fairly and where we continue to educate and promote inclusion for all residents of Randolph Township. DISC is working towards releasing a comprehensive report to the community within the first half of 2021.
To that end, DISC has been meeting regularly and is scheduled to meet weekly well into the New Year. DISC members will participate in a diversity workshop as recommended by the Morris County Human Relations Commission. This workshop will take place in January and will be led by an independent expert.
In the first quarter of the New Year, DISC will be conducting a survey utilizing the expertise of Hanover Research to gather input from all members of the Randolph community. Hanover Research is contracted by the Randolph School District to conduct independent and confidential surveys throughout the year on behalf of the school district. Given that the District understands the importance of the work of DISC, they were able to re-prioritize the calendar with Hanover Research in order for DISC to be able to work on this important endeavor. The survey will be targeted to all members of the community including residents, parents and students grades 6-12.
Councilman Forstenhausler concluded his report.
Councilman Tkacs reported that he attended a Planning Board meeting on December 7. During the meeting, Gateways submitted a proposal to amend their previously approved building permit to build three additional buildings. This amendment would allow the developers to build an additional building and add a 3rd floor on another building, bringing the unit total in the complex to 1003. The board gave the approval for Gateways to draft their amended proposal.
Councilman Tkacs also reported that he and Deputy Mayor Veech had attended a combined Parks Advisory Committee and Recreation Advisory Committee meeting. He shared that he was unable to attend the meeting as early as he hoped because of technical issues. During the meeting, the committees discussed the success of the fall outdoor basketball season, which was held due to COVID restrictions preventing the use of indoor facilities during the winter season. He informed the council that lighting issues were being addressed at Veterans Community Park and that winter recreation leagues are to be suspended until January 2.
Councilwoman Potter corrected her comments from the November 12 Township Council meeting. She stated that plastic and paper single-use bags, in addition to disposable food containers and cups made out of polystyrene foam, are to be banned for establishments of any size as stated in New Jersey State Law S864.
She reported that the Municipal Alliance Committee (MAC) was having difficulties with virtual event programming; many people are signing up for the events, however very few are turning up in attendance. During the meeting, Officer Biase reported that Brightview requested a fraud prevention presentation be-held virtually; feedback on the event was unclear. Officer Biase and Officer Shoudy attended a state-wide resiliency training program that educates polices officers on suicide. The program educates officers to become a safe point of contact for officers from other municipalities to reach out to if they are uncomfortable coming forward in their municipalities.
Additionally, she reported that the Advisory Environmental and Landmark Committee met on November 24. The committee dissolved the single-use plastics subcommittee group and discussed the committee’s role in taking up the initiative to educate the community about the new law banning single-use plastics.
She concluded her report by summarizing NJ 2-1-1 data; between December 2019 and December 2020, 409 calls from Randolph were made to NJ 2-1-1. The top three call categories were related to healthcare (126 calls), housing and shelter (78 calls), and utilities (41 calls).
Councilman Loveys reported that the Wildlife Management Advisory Committee reviewed the communication previous committee member, Susan Grassmeyer, had undertaken with the state before she stepped down. The communication relates to obtaining state reports pertaining to the total number of deer removed in the 2019-2020 season. Parks and Recreation Director Russ Newman reported on the data, sharing that there was a total of 224 deer removed, including 81 carcasses on the roadways this season. Mr. Newman shared that since the start of the program in the 2012-2013 season, a total number of 2,870 deer have been removed from the township. Over the past eight seasons, the data reflects, with the exception of a couple of seasons, that the total number of deer removals has been declining and is seemingly leveling off; this is an indication of the program’s success and demonstrates that recent seasons have mostly been focused on maintenance.
Councilman Loveys took a moment to recognize Manager Mountain, Township Clerk Luciani, and the township staff for guiding the community through what continues to be a challenging year. He thanked Manager Mountain and Clerk Luciani for all their efforts in providing level confidence and creating a culture of cooperation that aided the township in maintaining its services. He also thanked them for keeping employees and residents as safe and informed as possible during the present pandemic.
He recognized that this was Mayor Carey’s final council meeting as mayor. He wondered if having known all she does now, would she do it all over again and accept her nomination for the role; he stated that he knew the answer would be yes. He commented that serving as mayor is challenging enough and that Mayor Carey exhibited incredible leadership throughout the pandemic, representing the township and council very well. She continually communicated with residents, dealt with the impacts of Hurricane Isaias, attended every possible event she could, addressed the national social unrest on a local level, and more. He concluded his statement by thanking Mayor Carey for her selfless service and for the many sacrifices she has made.
Councilman Nisivoccia echoed Councilman Loveys’ comments, adding that Mayor Carey did a phenomenal job. Additionally, he commended the Department of Public Works (DPW) for their handling of the recent winter storm; stating that during his commute that day the roads were in poor condition until he arrived in Randolph.
He reported that the state had completed work on the Route 10 left turn lane on Center Grove Road. The hope is that the work will improve visibility in the area and will result in a decrease in the number of accidents. He concluded his report by informing the council that he had also attended the recent Library Board of Trustees meeting.
Deputy Mayor Veech attended the combined Parks Advisory Committee and Recreation Advisory Committee meeting on December 8. She reported that the parks team will be closing the parks and are examining what needs to be completed for the spring season, in addition to getting the facilities and areas ready for winter. During the meeting, the committees discussed the software issues with the LED lights at Veterans Community Park; she informed the council that the issues should be resolved in the coming weeks.
Manager Mountain informed her that the department will be meeting with the contractor next week and that the lighting issue is at the top of their list.
Deputy Mayor Veech continued her report, sharing that many residents have been enjoying Veterans Community Park, utilizing the pickleball courts and walking through the community garden. She commented that when spring arrives the park will have the opportunity to blossom.
Deputy Mayor Veech concluded her report by echoing the comments of thanks from Councilman Loveys and Councilman Nisivoccia to Mayor Carey. She added that Mayor Carey did a fantastic job and that residents were well informed and had no complaints.
Mayor Carey thanked everyone for their kind comments and support. She stated she wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else when working with Manager Mountain, members of the Township Council and the township staff.
H. 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:
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 Loveys made a motion to enter Executive Session at 6:35 p.m. Councilwoman Potter seconded the motion and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Veech
Councilman Forstenhausler made a motion to close Executive Session at 7:56 p.m. Councilwoman Potter seconded the motion and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Veech
Councilman Forstenhausler made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:57 p.m. Councilman Tkacs seconded the motion and following roll vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Veech