BOROUGH OF HADDON HEIGHTS
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Governing Body Meeting Minutes
Mayor Merryfield called the meeting to Order at 7:00 p.m. He then read the following statement:
“In accordance with Section 5 of the Open Public Meetings Act, Chapter 231, P.L. 1975, notice of this meeting was posted on the bulletin board designed for that purpose and notice was transmitted to the official newspapers provided by Resolution adopted January 6, 2018.”
Mayor Merryfield asked the Clerk for the roll call.
Under roll call, Councilwomen Griffith, Valvardi and Madden were present as well as Council President Chris Mrozinski, and Councilmen Schroeder and Schreiber. Solicitor Howard Long, Borough Clerk Kelly Santosusso and Deputy Clerk Katie Compton were also present.
2018 Primary/General Elections, District 1 Polling Location – Kelly Santosusso, Borough Clerk
Santosusso reported that as she previously informed Council, Ascension Lutheran Church, which was the polling location for District 1, is closing and is will be up for sale. She said that upon her notification to the County Board of Elections, they asked her to look at potential locations to move District 1 so we do not have to go back into the High School. She said she has approached the VFW; the facility meets all requirements but is approximately two blocks outside of District 1. She said the VFW meets tonight and it is on their agenda to discuss. She said if they do approve, she will be reaching out to the Board of Elections who will come out to look at the location and approve and would then go to the Board of Elections who would have to vote on approving the move.
2018 Municipal Budget – Councilwoman Valvardi and Christie Ehret, CFO
Valvardi said the 2018 proposed budget is being passed around the table. She said she, Christie Ehret, CFO and Council President Mrozinski met a few Fridays ago with all department heads to discuss their proposed budgets and then reconvened the following week. Valvardi said that we cut out items line by line. This budget includes the following highlights: with this budget, we will be painting electrical poles on Station Avenue, update our existing website making it mobile friendly, remove all dead trees along with all existing stumps. Valvardi asked that Council to review and to contact Christie Ehret, myself or Council President Mrozinski should there be any questions or concerns by Friday, March 9th by noon. Christie said that she will need to speak with the auditors to move forward so that they can begin printing all official documents so that we can plan to introduce the budget at the March 20th Council meeting; Public Hearing and final adoption will be 28 days later at the April 17, 2018 Council meeting.
Application for Camden County Open Space Recreation Grant – Councilwoman Valvardi & Christie Ehret, CFO
Valvardi said she was delayed in speaking with Councilman Schroeder due to being ill. She said that she and the CFO were talking about the Small Explorers Playground and she suggested we as the borough apply for the grant from Camden County to fund the $40,000 piece of equipment for the playground. Councilman Bryan Schroeder, Director of Parks and Recreation, said that the Open Space Grants he received a draft application from the Soccer Club. The next two are for the HH High School boys and girls tennis courts. He did say that the Tennis court people want it too, one court is really bad but they haven’t had a home game in four (4) years. Tennis club has multiple estimates, grants, proposals, etc. He said that they have a copy of the grant application and are aware of the April 2nd deadline to apply. He said that last week, he met with Kathy Lange and Jillian Soriano about the Small Explorers Playground and is aware they would like the opportunity to apply for the grant well. There are three (3) total groups that would like one of these grants, and there are only two available based on our population. Ehret said that the borough itself can apply for two grants, the tennis courts and Small Explorers. She said that the other sport organizations can apply separately. Council President Mrozinski said that we will only be eligible to receive two grants; this is based on our population. We can support as many organizations in their grant applications but in the end, we can only get two.
Christie Ehret said the borough itself can apply for two (2) grants (Small Explorers and the tennis courts). There are other organizations that can apply separately (HH Soccer Club, HHYA, etc.), but need resolution of approval from governing body. Jackie Valvardi said Ehret offered to help us with these grant applications.
Update on Economic Development Committee – Council President Chris Mrozinski
Council President Mrozinski said that the committee has had two productive meetings and a number of conversations in between. In last week’s meeting, they decided to bring forth immediate goals: marketing, traffic calming, and signage. Marketing can be approached by the development of a new website and this is moving along smoothly as Deputy Clerk Katie Compton is currently soliciting proposals. He thanked Katie for her work. Mrozinski said that two other items they will have drafts of: a recruitment package and a welcome package.
Recruitment: would be if a new business wants to open in town, what is your road map? Welcome package: once the business decides to open, we would send a thank you letter and any other relevant information. He said he is aware we currently have all of these pieces somewhere. The Committee is pulling it all together in one cohesive way which should be a simple thing we want to do.
Traffic Calming: he said that Engineer Steve Bach will detail this toward the end of Caucus. This issue comes up frequently with speeding and U-turns on Station Ave. Steve has some thoughts and will report back to us soon.
Signage: Council President Mrozinski said that parking signs can be improved upon. Business Districts signage (have to think about how to pay for these). He commented that other towns have perpendicular signs coming down the avenue out of the business which is something to consider.
In April, they will have long term goals which will be reported on.
Proposed Amendments to Rentals Ordinance – Councilman Bryan Schroeder
Councilman Schroeder proposed the following amendments/additions to our Rentals Ordinance. All Payments due 30 days prior to event. Rental cancelled within 15 days of the event will incur a cancellation fee. Community Center Cancellation Fee: $150, Cabin Cancellation Fee: $75. Excessive cleaning fees: Community Center: $75/hour up to $250, Cabin: $30/hour up to $250. Councilman Schroeder said that borough staff has proposed a cancellation policy as we have been unable to book the facility(ies) when we are not notified of cancellation at least a couple of weeks prior to the event, losing out on the rental fee. He asked all to review and send him any comments.j
Caucus session concluded at 7:29 p.m.
Mayor Merryfield called the Business Session to order at 7:32 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE AND MOMENT OF SILENCE:
Mayor Merryfield asked all to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence.
PUBLIC COMMENT ON CAUCUS AND AGENDA ITEMS ONLY:
Mayor Merryfield called for Public Comment on Caucus and Agenda items only. Seeing no movement, Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to close this portion of the meeting.
A motion to close this portion of the meeting was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Madden. All members present were in favor.
Councilwoman Madden reported that she and Councilman Valvardi met with the Civic Events Committee on February 26th to discuss and examine past and future events. She said they focused on the upcoming Spring Events. One of these events is the Easter Egg Hunt that will be held on March 31st at Hoff’s park, in which Trish Sheilds has been coordinating. The next upcoming event is the Lizzy Haddon Basketball Tournament at Atlantic Avenue School on May 5th and May 6th where their goal will be to try to encourage those guest to visit local businesses. Down By the Station Day will be held on May 12th. Madden advised that they are going to get trolley again this year and the committee is currently working on coordinating those activities. The 2018 Memorial Day Parade will on May 28th.
Madden announced that she attended the Heights In Progress (HIP) meeting last Monday. The group discussed this year’s Farmer’s Market where they are looking to expand the Kid Time. HIP is also going to be working with the county to attend the Rails to Trails celebration on April 7th. Finally, the Rhythm and Brews event will be held on April 31st, rain or shine.
Councilwoman Griffith announced that there was an incident that occurred at the Haddon Heights Dell in the County Park where a male attempted to take his own life on the stage. Members of the Haddon Heights Police Department applied a tourniquet on the male’s arm which saved his life. The Haddon Heights Fire Department came to provide care and helped stabilize the male. He was taken to Cooper Emergency Room and had emergency surgery. Griffith thanked the Police and Fire Departments for having the equipment that was able to save a life. She said we will be ordering more tourniquet.
Griffith reported that during a past meeting, resident Brett Harrison and Trish Rynn came before Council with regards to hosting a fundraiser for Childhood Cancer event on Station Avenue in May. She attending a meeting with these residents along with emergency management stakeholders to discuss what would need to be done to accommodate their requests. After the meeting, they decided to postpone the event to October.
Councilwoman Griffith also gave the Barrington EMS report for February. A copy is attached to these minutes.
Council President Christopher Mrozinski reported that he updated Council in the caucus session of the meeting on the Economic Development Committee and will report back on this in two weeks.
Councilman Schreiber commended the Department of Public Works for their great work during the Nor’easter last week. During the storm, two trees landed on homes and many on cars. The borough employees are working with the insurance company to get all claims submitted. He also praised employees of Public Works who showed good leadership and judgement when the finding a pump station malfunction during their normal inspects but the alarm wasn’t sounded. After further investigation, it was found that there was an issue with Lake Street Pump Station which has since been resolved.
Schreiber met with the Environmental Commission on February 21st. He explained that the discussed upcoming tree planning as well as an upcoming Cooper River Kayak Trip hosted by Maggie Johns. More info on these items will be available soon.
Schreiber also announced that Sustainable Haddon Heights will be formally approaching Borough Council in the near future about a potential bike rack program on Station Avenue.
Councilwoman Valvardi announced that the 2018 Budget was discussed during tonight’s Caucus Session. She reiterated that we are hoping to introduce the budget at the March 20th meeting and adopting it at the April 17th meeting.
Valvardi reported that the Haddon Heights Neighbors meeting was held on February 21st where there were several events discussed. A successful event was just held at this past Friday on March 2nd at Lunacy Brewing Company. April 27th is the Senior Murder in Heights event in the Community Center from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. The committee is looking for ideas for the Kid Time at the Farmers Market which is held on the third Sunday of each month. The 2018 Soirée en Blanc will be on June 9th. The summer 2018 movie at the Library’s Movie Night event will be Beauty and the Beast with the date to be determined. The annual Spaghetti Dinner is scheduled for September 17th. The annual Bonfire at the Haddon Heights Log Cabin is scheduled for October 12th.
Councilman Schroeder reported that the Parks and Rec Committee had a meeting last week in regards to kicking off summer Rec. He explained that the program is nearly full already and have started waitlists.
Schroeder reported that during the storm, a tree branch fell on a fence located at Barr Complex. This has been reported to the Borough’s insurance company.
Schroeder announced that the Safe Routes to Schools had an informal kick-off meeting last week where volunteers met to discuss planning and various other items. He said 10 people showed up. The formal kick off meeting with Cross County Connections is tomorrow, March 7th at 9:00 am. A representative from the Green Team and the Haddon Heights Police Department will be attending as well.
Schroeder reported that Camden County Open Space grants that were discussed in the Caucus Session of tonight’s meeting are due on April 2nd this year.
Resolution 2018:77 – Resolution Authorizing The Payment Of Bills And Claims For The First Half Of March
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:77 was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilman Schroeder. Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor with the exception of Councilwomen Griffith and Valvardi who both abstained on payments to Horizon and VSP.
Resolution 2018:78 – Resolution Approving Tax Overpayment
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:78 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. Upon a roll call vote, all members voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:79 – Resolution Authorizing Tax Overpayments to Corelogic
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:79 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. Upon a roll call vote, all members voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:80 – Resolution Authorizing Transfers of Appropriation Reserves
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:80 was made by Councilman Schreiber and seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. Upon a roll call vote, all members voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:81 – Resolution Providing For A Meeting Not Open To The Public In Accordance With The Provisions Of The New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-12. 1.) Related to a personnel matter in the Service Operations Facility. Discussion is expected to be approximately ½ hr. in duration. Formal action may be taken.
Solicitor Howard Long announced that we will be adding to the Closed Session a discussion regarding the Glover Mill Litigation. Formal action may be taken.
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:81 was made by Councilman Schreiber and seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. All members voted in favor.
Mayor Merryfield called for Public Comment on any topic anyone may wish to address.
Jack Gemmell, 1843 Sycamore Street- Mr. Gemmell expressed his discontent with properties nearby his home being listed in the tax assessor’s system as a single family home but being used as a duplexes. He is concerned with one specific property that is close to his home and he is worried that it is lowering his property value due to the condition of the home and the fact that is multi-family. He said that he successfully filed a tax appeal this year that he believes was due to the decline of the value of his home. He believes there should be summonses issued to all multi-family dwellings that are not registered as such.
Seeing no more movement, a motion to close the Public Comment portion of the meeting was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilman Schreiber. All members voted in favor.
Solicitor Long announced that Council will now be adjourning and going into Executive Session at approximately 8:00 p.m. and will remain in executive session for approximately a ½ hour.
Following Executive Session, a motion to open the meeting was made by Councilman Schroeder, seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. All members were in favor.
A motion to adjourn was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Madden. All members were in favor.
Kelly Santosusso, RMC