All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: October 22, 2020
A. OPENING OF REGULAR MEETING
1. Call to Order
A regular meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 5:00 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, on November 14, 2019, and the Daily Record on November 11, 2019. The time change for this meeting was placed on the township website on September 28, 2020, as well as emailed to the Randolph Reporter, Daily Record, and TapInto Randolph on September 28, 2020. The time change for this meeting was advertised in the Randolph Reporter and Daily Record on October 1, 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, Township Attorney Edward Buzak (via Zoom), and Township Chief Financial Officer Darren Maloney.
3. Pledge of Allegiance
Mayor Carey led the Pledge Allegiance.
Mayor Carey asked for a moment of silence to remember Jim Maraska, a long time community volunteer who unfortunately passed away over the past weekend.
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—The Township continues to see an increase in the number of confirmed cases in Randolph; over the past two weeks 38 new cases have been reported, including four new confirmed cases today, making the township’s present total 407. The cases spread across every demographic; there has not been any one event or activity at the root of any of the cases reported in recent weeks. The impact of the virus on the school-age population in town continues to be very low. Identified cases have appeared to be tied to direct contact with sick family members as opposed to school activities. As the colder season approaches it is expected that people will be spending more time inside, this will likely lead to a higher number of positive cases. The State Health Department has provided assistance to the Township’s Nurses and Health Department staff in their tracing efforts by providing a team of contact tracers and investigators. Public safety and health guidance continues to be the same; individuals feeling sick should stay home, and the public should continue to practice social distancing and other recommended health guidelines.
CARES Act Funding—The state has notified Morris County that its 39 municipalities will be receiving a share of the Federal CARES Act allocation to help offset expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, Morris County fell under the 500,000 threshold in population and thus did not receive a direct CARES allocation. The funding is coming out of the original grant provided by the state for discretionary re-distribution. The total amount to be awarded to the county is$8,415,816, with $6,117,943 to be allocated directly to the towns in the county. Randolph is eligible to receive $267,893.
The specific allocations were determined by the State Division of Local Government Services. The township has begun the process of applying to the state for the township’s funding amount, the application is due back in early November. Permissible expenses eligible for reimbursement include medical expenses, protective supplies, and sanitization initiatives, payroll expenses for personnel costs not budgeted for the 2020 budget, and other expenses associated with COVID compliance. The funds to be provided will help the township mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic on this year’s budget. The resolution listed under combined action is the first step in the application process.
Veterans Community Park Dedication—Manager Mountain publicly acknowledged Parks and Recreation Director Russ Newman and his staff along with the many volunteers from the various Parks and Recreation committees for their efforts in making the dedication ceremony for Veterans Community Park a success.
New Business Welcome Packet—The Economic Development Committee’s New Business Welcome Packet is now available for download on the township website, and the Economic Development and Randolph Local websites; hard copies of the packet are available at town hall. The packet features vital information for businesses, covering important topics related to site selection, permitting, utility information, community support services, and more. Additionally, the packet highlights the many invaluable business resources available in Morris County, providing details and contact information for business advocates such as the Morris County Chamber of Commerce and the County College of Morris’ Center for Workforce Development. It is designed to be a “one-stop” resource for businesses, entrepreneurs, and potential developers planning to navigate the process of maintaining, growing, and/or relocating in the community.
Mayor Carey inquired about the CARES Act funding, asking if the township had to demonstrate that we had spent that amount of money to be reimbursed; Manager Mountain clarified that it is up to the amount, it is set up as a grant application. He explained that the township would not have a problem documenting and showing that we expect the full amount.
Mayor Carey asked if there was any idea where COVID-19 positive individuals exposing their family to the virus where being exposed themselves. Manager Mountain informed her that it is difficult to tell, while people are being cooperative with contact tracers, they tend to be nonresponsive or hesitant in their responses to contact tracer inquiries. The case reports demonstrate that there is no one activity linking exposure, as case positive households are being reported in different areas of the community. He continued by explaining that individuals testing positive are likely tied to a central line of work where they are working directly with people.
Mayor Carey shared that the Veterans Community Park was a great event and she received a lot of positive feedback.
D. APPROVAL OF MEETING MINUTES
Councilman Tkacs made a motion to approve the October 8, 2020 minutes. Councilman Loveys seconded the motion and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Veech
E. COMBINED ACTION RESOLUTIONS
Item #14, Awarding a contract for 2020 Leaf Loading, Hauling, and Proper Recycling—Councilman Loveys asked Manager Mountain if the township would be watching the operation of this contract closely. Manager Mountain informed him that it would be carefully monitored.
Item #4, Authorizing the rejection of all bids for the rebid-VFW Building Septic System Replacement—Mayor Carey asked if all the bids came in too high for the VFW Septic System Replacement. Manager Mountain informed her that presently the bids are about 15,000 higher than the estimation given by the Township Engineer for the project cost. The township is now looking at a couple of different options; examining a contract from another co-op to see if we could more closely meet the estimated pricing, and the possibility of negotiating prices since the township has gone out to bid twice. She asked if the VFW project was urgent, Manager Mountain informed her that it was not an emergency; however, the township moved forward with the project because of the system’s age, wanting to complete the replacement before any issues with the current system arises.
- R 275-20 Refund cash road opening bond posted for the purpose of resurfacing the driveway at 16 Wilkinson Road, Block 27, Lot 22 to Samuel McCormick—$500.00
- R-276-20 Refund cash road opening bond posted for the purpose of widening the driveway at 8 Elaine Court, Block 168, Lot 49 to Mark Walker—$500.00
- R-277-20 Refund the sanitary sewer connection fee for 237 South Salem Street, Block 196, Lot 7 to Maria Xocoy—$7,950.00
- R-278-20 Authorizing the rejection of all bids for the rebid-VFW Building Septic System Replacement Project
- R-279-20 Authorizing contracts with additional approved ESCNJ contract vendor under the Educational Services Commission of NJ Cooperative Pricing System
- R-280-20 Redeeming and refunding Tax Sale Certificate #19-20 to GSRAN-Z LLC Christiana Trust as Custodian—$91,346.77
- R-281-20 Refund cash road opening bond posted for the purpose of resurfacing the driveway at 16 Winchester Terrace, Block 81.2, Lot 4 to Nicole Grech—$500.00
- R-282-20 Refund cash road opening bond for 152 Munson Street, Randolph, Block 131, Lot 5 to Kevin’s Homes, LLC—$500.00
- R-283-20 Refund cash road opening bond for the purpose of resurfacing the driveway at 8A Knights Bridge Drive, Block 227, Lot 5.01 to Margaret Swartwood—$500.00
- R-284-20 Refund cash road opening bond posted for the purpose of resurfacing the driveway at 14 Wick Lane, Block 103.01, Lot 4 to Arthur Knox—$500.00
- R-285-20 Refund cash road opening bond posted for the purpose of resurfacing the driveway at 15 Center Road, Block 53, lot 115 to Jennifer Houston—$500.00
- R-286-20 Refund cash road opening bond posted for the purpose of resurfacing the driveway at 8 Hickory Place, Block 212, Lot 11 to Richard Antico—$500.00
- R-287-20 Refund cash road opening bond posted for the purpose of installing a new grinder pump at 10 Bragman Road, Block 119, Lot 47 to Diana Drysdale—$500.00
- R-288-20 Awarding a contract for 2020 Leaf Loading, Hauling, and Proper Recycling for the period of November 1, 2020 - February 28, 2021 to Britton Industries, Inc.—$190,000
- R-289-20 Establishing standard procedures for remote meetings regarding access to presentations and documents viewed or made available to attendees and making public comment at meeting or by electronic mail or written letter in advance of the meeting in accordance with N.J.A.C. 5:39-1 et seq.
- R-290-20 Emergency Covid Fund Grant
Councilman Forstenhausler made a motion to approve the Combined Action Resolutions. Councilman Tkacs seconded the motion and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Veech
F. UPCOMING EVENTS
- Operation Take Back (prescription drop off) at ACME Supermarket, 690 Millbrook Avenue, Randolph, Saturday, October 24, 2020, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
- Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting for Stardust Convenient & Smoke Shop, 1206 Sussex Turnpike, Randolph, Wednesday, October 28, 2020, starting at 5:00 p.m. with ribbon cutting at 5:30 p.m.
- Heroes & Healers: Hill of Honor Display in appreciation of Veterans, Active Military Personnel, First Responders and Healthcare Workers at CCM—Parking Lot 1, Drive through viewing on Saturday, November 7, 2020, at 10:00 a.m., Special Program at 11 a.m. and Sundown Candlelight Ceremony
G. ORDINANCE INTRODUCTION
Ordinance #20-20: An Ordinance Amending and Supplementing Sections 31-52 and 31-301(A) of Chapter 31, Traffic and Vehicles, of the Revised Ordinances of the Township of Randolph, Morris County, New Jersey
Manager Mountain explained that this ordinance memorializes the recommendations received from the Police Department and Traffic Advisory Committee involving the passing zone on Calais Road, the intersections on Robin Drive and Sparrow Road, and the Rockaway Road and Franklin Road intersections. The council discussed these recommendations in September; he informed the council that this particular ordinance does not address the latter area as that area does not require council action; the first two areas require an ordinance to be addressed.
BE IT RESOLVED, that an Ordinance entitled “An Ordinance Amending and Supplementing Sections 31-52 And 31-301(A) of Chapter 31, Traffic and Vehicles, of the Revised Ordinances of the Township of Randolph, Morris County, New Jersey” 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 12th of November 2020 at 6 o’clock 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.
Councilwoman Potter shared that a resident was concerned about the speed limit on Calais Road near Veterans Community Park. She asked Manager Mountain to look into working with the Traffic Advisory Committee to review the speed limit in the area. Manager Mountain informed her that he would have the committee and the Police Department look into the concern. He recommended that the council move forward with the current items as they are. He and Mayor Carey did note that the introduction of the Veterans Community Park and the location of Kahana Farm on that road did warrant the evaluating of the traffic speed limit in the area.
Councilman Loveys asked what the current speed limit in the area was. Manager Mountain informed him that the present speed limit is currently 45 mph when coming off of Dover Chester Road; the speed limit decreases to 35 mph as the road goes down toward the Township Library and Community Center. He believed the limit was set at that speed because it was a rural stretch of road, he added that it was worth looking into to determine if a change was needed because of the addition of the Veterans Community Park and other changes that have occurred in the area.
Councilman Forstenhausler made a motion to introduce the ordinance. Councilwoman Potter seconded the motion and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Veech
Manager Mountain provided a brief background on the 2020 Best Practices Inventory, explaining that it was implemented by the state about seven or eight years ago. It started exclusively as a finance-oriented set of questions and over the years has expanded to include questions that evaluate other areas of government. The state uses the responses as a way to ensure that there is uniformity amongst local government entities in conforming to practices. The Best Practices Inventory creates an incentive for the municipalities to be in good standing; if organizations are below a certain score their state aid could be affected. The township scored very well, scoring above the point threshold with a score of 22 points.
This year many questions on the Practices Inventory were not given a point value, which told him that it was likely being used as more of a survey this year to learn about practice, rather than to deprive low scoring municipalities of state aid. He and the Township’s Chief Financial Officer Darren Maloney carefully reviewed and answered the 2020 Best Practices Inventory. Some of the practices discussed in the document were shared services, transparency, COVID-19, recycling, and more. He informed the council that he and Mr. Maloney were available to answer questions they might have.
Councilman Loveys asked Manager Mountain to elaborate on question 4 on the 2020 Best Practices Inventory, regarding the creation of an accumulated absence liability trust fund pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:30-15.5. Manager Mountain informed him that they answered no to having such a fund because the township’s fund balance position and existing fund balance policy leaves the township in a position to fund future accumulated absence payouts. The township is well informed of when staff members anticipate retiring, but in the case of an abrupt retirement, the township has the flexibility to handle it, rather than tying up a sum for such a trust as an expense on the budget.
Mayor Carey asked for further elaboration on question 14, regarding a cyber security incident response plan. Manager Mountain informed her that the plan is a set of instructions to help detect, respond to, and recover from network security incidents. The township has plans to protect data and other protections for risks on the technical side of operations. The reason he and Mr. Maloney answered no to this question was due to there not being an assembled document that ties together the practices the township utilizes; the hope is to have this assembled by the middle of next year. It was determined that the township should answer no incase the state asks for the assembled document, as the answers provided in the Practices Inventory require proof.
Mayor Carey asked about question 32, regarding the response to whether the township had received any CARES Act funding from the state, county government, or directly from the federal government. Manager Mountain informed her that at the time of completing the Best Practices Inventory there was no indication that the state would give the township funding and there was no documentation that the township had received any, therefore they answered no.
Mayor Carey asked Manager Mountain if there was any further action required for the 2020 Best Practices Inventory to be completed. He informed her that by discussing it at the present council meeting the obligations for the document had been fulfilled.
I. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Seeing and hearing none, the public session was closed.
J. COUNCIL COMMENTS
Councilman Tkacs attended the Recreation Advisory Committee meeting on October 15th; he shared that the steel skeleton for the field house project at the high school would be arriving soon and that the skeleton of the building should go up quickly. He informed the council that in the place of the annual Trunk or Treat event, the Parks and Recreation Department is sponsoring a Riddle Run and a Virtual Costume Contest for Halloween. He shared that the decision was made to cancel all winter recreation due to COVID-19. The goal of this action is to keep people out of the school building and limit its use so the school can continue to clean and sanitize its facilities.
He recently attended two business ribbon cuttings for Artistry Skin Center and Dynamic Foot & Ankle Podiatry of Randolph. He also commented that the Veterans Community Park dedication event was a great success and that he received a great deal of positive feedback from attendees,; he shared that it was a well-planned event and thanked everyone involved.
He reported that he attended the Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) meeting. The purpose of the SWAC is to advise the freeholders of any changes to the solid waste plan. During the meeting, the committee accepted a new five-year bid for hauling from two transfer stations to associated landfills in Pennsylvania. He informed the council that the operation functions as a very large budget item; estimating it to be about 27 million dollars a year. The same vendor that had previously had the contract will continue on. The meeting also functioned as a reorganization meeting; he was nominated for and accepted the position of chairmen to the committee.
Councilman Loveys attended the Board of Health meeting on October 12th. He reported that the Health Department had received two grants in addition to the CARES Act funding the township will soon be receiving. The grants are estimated to be valued at about $35- $40,000 and are to be used for funding the costs expended on sanitization and Personal Protective Equipment. During the meeting, Township Health Officer Mark Caputo informed the Board of Heath that the Morris County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is developing plans for COVID-19 vaccine distribution once such a vaccine becomes available. He informed the board that the discussed plans include large-scale retesting in the form of home kits and mobile testing units, opening vaccination sites, and more, though nothing is near finalized.
Additionally, Councilman Loveys also shared that the Health Department had conducted a variety of inspections and had also issued several certificates related to habitability, food, and a multitude of septic inspections. The Health Department also continues to hold flu clinics by appointment only.
Councilwoman Potter informed the council that the time capsule was lowered into its designated resting place earlier in the day. She commended everyone involved for their great work and thanked everyone who supported the project.
Councilman Nisivoccia echoed Councilman Tkacs’ remarks on the success of the Veterans Community Park opening. He congratulated Parks and Recreation Director Russ Newman and the rest of his staff on the success of the event.
He reported that he attended two business ribbon-cutting ceremonies, remarking that it was reassuring to see businesses once again opening in Randolph. He shared that he had spoken to a few landlords, and they informed him that they had been receiving a lot of interest in renting vacant space in the area. He also shared that he had attended the Library Board of Trustees meeting.
Councilman Forstenhausler thanked everyone who put effort into the Veterans Community Park opening and dedication ceremony. He also thanked Councilwoman Potter for her work on the time capsule, in addition to thanking Russ Newman and the rest of the Parks and Recreation Department.
Councilman Forstenhausler read the below DISC statement into the record:
The Randolph Township Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee (DISC) has held three virtual town halls which gave members of the our community the opportunity to share their personal experiences in Randolph of bias based on race, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity. Participants were also asked to share their ideas regarding governance and their aspirations for our community. The members of DISC are incredibly grateful to all of the participants for sharing with us such personal and often emotional experiences. We listened with open minds and hearts. Because of the turnout in our last Town Hall, we decided to give the community another opportunity to attend a virtual Town hall and have added the date of October 25 from 2-4 pm. Please go to the district or township website to find the link to sign up.
In addition to the Town Halls, the DISC is exploring other ways to allow members of the community to share their experiences and ideas with us. We have reached out to the Randolph PEACE Group and we are considering a community survey. We are also gathering reports from various entities within the township and school district to help us further our understanding of acts of bias in the community. We will then issue a report which will summarize our findings and include recommendations to both the township governing bodies and the school district.
Councilman Forstenhausler reported that he had recently attended a Trails Advisory Committee meeting. The committee discussed a few items, including a request for adding a light on West Hanover Avenue, where the trail crosses the road at the bottom of the hill. The Trails Advisory Committee will be contacting the Township Manager to see if the suggestion should go to the Traffic Advisory Committee or go directly to the council. He also reported that 11 people have signed up to become a member of the Friends of the Randolph Trails group. The committee also discussed the possibility of having a trails page on the township website created; they plan to discuss the idea with Manager Mountain. He concluded his report by sharing that a portion of one of the township trails can be seen at Veterans Community Park, the trail was funded by a trails grant awarded to the township by Morris County.
Deputy Mayor Veech had no report for this evening.
Mayor Carey reported that she received positive feedback on the Veterans Community Park event, adding that many were happy that the park was a different alternative to the township’s athletic field parks.
She shared that she reviewed the Economic Development Committee’s (EDC) New Business Welcome Packet and remarked that the EDC was doing a great job and that the township should consider sharing the information with local press entities. Manager Mountain informed her that a press release has already been sent to TapInto Randolph and the Randolph Reporter; they should have received the press release and hopefully will cover it.
She informed the council that along with Deputy Mayor Veech and Manager Mountain, she attended a virtual Board of Education meeting. During the meeting, they discussed COVID response, planning, and case reporting, among other related items.
She also participated in a phone conference with JCP&L that played out very similar to the conference hosted by Senator Bucco the previous week. She stated that it was important that the township keep emphasizing the problems experienced during Hurricane Isaias and our expectations for improvement.
She also reported that she attended the Morris Habitat for Humanity 35th Anniversary celebration with Councilman Loveys and Manager Mountain. It was an outdoor event that kicked off the building of 25 new homes in Randolph in partnership with the township.
Councilman Loveys added that Mayor Carey represented the township very well during the Morris Habitat for Humanity event.
K. EXECUTIVE SESSION
No Executive Session was held for this meeting.
Councilman Tkacs made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 5:50 p.m. Deputy Mayor Veech seconded the motion and following roll vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Veech