BOROUGH OF HADDON HEIGHTS
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Governing Body Meeting Minutes
Mayor Merryfield called the meeting to Order at 7:00 p.m. and 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 2, 2016.”
Mayor Merryfield asked Borough Clerk Santosusso for the roll call.
Under roll call, Council President Kathy Lange, Councilwomen Susan Griffith and Jackie Valvardi were present as well as Councilmen Stephen Berryhill and Rick DiRenzo. Solicitor, Albert J. Olizi, Jr., Borough Clerk Kelly Santosusso and Deputy Clerk Katilyn Compton.
Mayor Merryfield asked if any council member had any questions about the evening’s Agenda.
Replacement of Council Seat – Solicitor Albert Olizi
Albert Olizi said that the Republican Municipal Committee is required to submit three names for Council’s consideration to fill the vacancy on Council created with the resignation of Councilman Miller. He said a letter has been provided to everyone. He said that all are welcome to contact any of the individuals listed. He explained that the Council has thirty days to fill the position. He is recommending that Council would conduct the vote on filling the vacancy at the next Council meeting at the March 1st meeting.
Networks Plus – Clerk Kelly Santosusso
Santosusso said that Resolution 2016:59 on this evening’s Agenda represents the past Finance Director’s directive to negotiate a three year contract with Networks Plus for the purpose of providing computer and network maintenance to the Borough for a flat monthly rate. She said that she was able to lock in the proposed flat monthly rate of $1,200 for years 2016 and 2017 and for the year 2018, a flat monthly rate of $1,300. She said we thought this was a fair proposal. She asked if there were any questions. There were none. Mayor Merryfield and Councilwoman Griffith thanked Santosusso for her efforts.
Vacant Property Ordinance – Councilman Berryhill
Councilman Berryhill said that he was asked by Council President Lange how many vacant properties exist in town. Berryhill noted that there are approximately 45. He said that he spoke to John Carney, Solicitor in Somerdale last week. He said that Somerdale is being very proactive and have filed two lawsuits in Superior Court. He explained that Somerdale has a builder who is keeping up the properties and does not charge any money to the town; the property then goes up for sale. Berryhill said we do not have to be this aggressive. He says that when a fee is assessed, the money is collected, lawns are cut and trees are maintained. Berryhill said that Audubon is also being aggressive in that they have an individual who is handling all of the vacant properties and he is being paid out of the fees that have been collected. Berryhill said that perhaps we would consider a Shared Service with Audubon. He said he asked Carney if the town has been challenged on the fees assessed and was advised that there were none thus far. Discussion of fees have included $1,000 or $500 to $1,500. Towns have found it more beneficial to set the fee a bit higher because it seems to encourage the proper maintenance of the properties.
Council President Lange said she feels we need to clarify the reason why the properties are vacant. Lange asked for information on the properties such as whether taxes have been paid, whether there are liens against the properties, whether bank owned, etc. Clerk Santosusso said that this information can be gotten from the Tax Collector. Lange said that she wanted to be sure we are not ‘casting too wide of a net.’ She asked that we review what Barrington, Haddon Township have done regarding vacant properties.
Councilman Berryhill said that he will provide the information he has to the Clerk and she will get the information from the Tax Collector.
Mayor Merryfield announced that we will reconvene downstairs in the auditorium for the Business Session.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE AND MOMENT OF SILENCE
Mayor Merryfield asked all to stand for a moment of silence and then led the meeting in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mayor Merryfield called for Public Comment on Caucus and Agenda items only.
Seeing no one come forward, a motion was made to close Public Comment by Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Council President Lange. All members present were in favor.
PRESENTATION OF PROCLAMATION in recognition of National Women and Girls in Sport Day
Council President Lange presented a Proclamation in recognition of National Women and Girls in Sports 30 years. She read the Proclamation and invited all to have refreshments and look at some of the memorabilia of some of our sports. She spoke about Title 9 being passed. Council President invited Councilwoman Valvardi to come down to accept the Proclamation with Field Hockey.
Council President read the Proclamation and then invited each sports organization forward to shake the Mayor’s hand. All posed for photos by the RETROSPECT.
PRESENTATION OF CERTIFICATE in recognition of Robert Gladden’s 50 Years of Service as Organist for St. Rose of Lima Parish
Mr. Gladden accepted the Certificate of Recognition. Mayor Merryfield mentioned that he known Mr. Gladden for many years and described him as a dedicated volunteer to St. Rose.
Both Mayor and Mr. Gladden posed for a photo for the RETROSPECT.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to approve the Minutes of the January 19, 2016. A motion was made by Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Council President Lange. Councilman DiRenzo abstained.
All members were in favor.
Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to approve the Minutes of the February 2, 2016. A motion was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilman Berryhill. All members were in favor.
Councilman DiRenzo had no report this evening.
Councilwoman Valvardi attended NJ League of Municipalities newly elected officials on February 13th. She said it was an 8 hour seminar that was very informative. She thanked Council President and Clerk Santosusso for providing the information and registering her.
She wanted to follow-up with the 911 Swift system. She said she spoke with Sam Spino from the County emergency department who provided the number that appears on the caller I.D. when residents receive the phone call. She said she will share the information with Chief Kinkler in the hopes that we will proceed in increasing resident awareness.
Council President Lange thanked Borough Hall staff for the Proclamation for National Women in Sport Day. She also said that
Council President also reported that Summer Rec registration is doing well and that we already have between 14 and 20 registrations for Summer Rec for all of the five weeks it is running.
Lange mentioned that that the lighting project on McCullough fields at Devon Avenue remains a priority and said she will be asking Council at the March 1st meeting for permission to rebid the project to get up to date numbers. She said it is important to move forward with the project and hopes there will be a plan in place for funding in the near future.
Lange then reported that the preliminary planning has been done for the Down by the Station Day in May. She said the trolley has been contracted and the HH Business and Professional Association will be funding some of the activities of the day.
Lange said that she has asked Borough Hall to resolve an issue with PSE&G regarding a guide wire at the Barr Complex.
Lange reported that we have had some resident requests for some additions to the Hoffs Park Playground for equipment for children under five. The playground is currently certified for ages 5 to 12. She said we will investigate this possibility in April and May.
Councilwoman Griffith reported that Marian Hauser from Borough Hall is working on a letter to send out to 4th of July participants this year. Ms. Hauser will be sending out the letter to all town organizations within the next month.
Councilman Berryhill reported on 2016-61 the PSE&G thanked Justin Yuhaze from Sustainable Haddon Heights for the Direct Install Program from PSE&G. He said this will make Borough Hall more energy efficient.
He said that he attended the Local Board of Health meeting and reported that no major health issues currently exist in Haddon Heights.
Councilman Berryhill said that the Municipal Alliance meeting was supposed to meet last week but got snowed out. This was a Special Meeting to discuss Project SAVE which would help drug users when going to court. The program would help individuals with drug charges to help get them into a program versus going through the criminal system.
Berryhill reported that he is continuing to work on the vacant properties issue in town.
Berryhill mentioned he will be asking John Sczcerbinski, Construction Official, to attend a meeting to present the concept of creating a dedicated by rider Trust account for the Construction Office.
Berryhill said Alan Breslow attended a couple of meetings back when we were addressing the Pet Shop Ordinance the County was asking us to consider. Berryhill said that he and his family have adopted a puppy through Mr. Breslow.
Councilman DiRenzo asked Councilman Berryhill about funding for Project SAVE. Berryhill responded that Municipal Alliance is not permitted to use grant money for Project Save. He said he does not recall why. He said that Municipal Alliance contacted the state who advised that the Alliance would be prohibited from using the money for this purpose.
February 25th National Drug Facts week. He asked Councilman DiRenzo said that the Camden County Drug Addiction Team he said there is a new film out Chasing the Dragon which is downloadable. He said that it has been sent to all public and parochial schools.
Steve Bach, Borough Engineer said that he would rely on his report submitted this evening unless any councilmember had any questions. There were none. Bach said that many projects are on hiatius due to the weather. A copy of the Engineer’s Report is attached to these minutes.
Resolution 2016:56 – Resolution Supporting the Submission of an Application to the Camden County Open Space, Farmland, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund for Enhancements to the Cervino Baseball Field at Eighth and High Street, Haddon Heights High School Baseball Booster Club
Councilwoman Griffith asked if passing this resolution would mean that they are supporting the plan which was just presented in Caucus? Albert Olizi said that the wording in the Resolution would infer that Council would be in agreement with the plans. Discussion ensued regarding tabling the Resolution.
A motion to table Resolution 2016:56 was made by Councilman DiRenzo, seconded by Councilman Berryhill.
All members were in favor with the exception of Council President Lange who abstained.
Resolution 2016:57 – Resolution of the Borough of Haddon Heights Appointing TD Bank, N.A. Paying Agent for the Borough’s Outstanding General Obligation Bonds, Series 2014 Dated June 26, 2014
A motion to adopt Resolution 2016:57 was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Kathy Lange. Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor.
Resolution 2016:58 – Resolution Appointing Licensed Site Remediation Professional
Council President Lange asked if Council has to award to the lowest bidder. Olizi said that no, it is not a bid. This was a Request for Proposal process. He said that Pennoni has worked with the town on this issue for a number of years and knows the town and the history of the issue.
A motion to adopt Resolution 2016:58 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Councilwoman
Lange. Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor with the exception of Councilman DiRenzo who was opposed and Council President Lange who abstained.
Resolution 2016:59 – Resolution Awarding a Contract to Networks Plus for the Purpose of Providing Computer and Network Maintenance Support to the Borough of Haddon Heights for a Period of Three Years
A motion to adopt Resolution 2016:59 was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Kathy Lange. Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor.
Resolution 2016:60 – Resolution Authorizing the Approval of Bills and Claims for the Second Half of February,
A motion to adopt Resolution 2016:60 was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Kathy Lange. Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor.
Resolution 2016:61 – Resolution Authorizing PSE&G Direct Install Program through Green Tech Energy Services for the Purpose of Energy Efficiency Upgrade for Lighting in the Municipal Building Located at 625 Station Avenue
A motion to adopt Resolution 2016:61 was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Kathy Lange. Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor.
Resolution 2016:62 – A Resolution Providing for a Meeting Not to 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. Matter related to collective bargaining agreement with the International Association of Fire Fighters; Discussion is expected to be ½ hour in duration. Formal Action May be Taken. 2. Matter related to litigation related to Glover Mill LLC v. Borough of Haddon Heights; Discussion expected to be ½ hr. in duration. Formal Action May be Taken.
A motion to adopt Resolution 2016:62 was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Kathy Lange. Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor.
Resolution 2016:63 – A Resolution Authorizing the Haddon Heights High School Baseball Booster Club, Inc. to Make Improvements to Cervino Field Located at Eighth Avenue and W. High Street
Council President said it might be beneficial if the representative present this evening from the Booster Club could assist in the discussion.
Ms. Jennifer Hammel, 807 Station Avenue stated that this work has been part of a project that has involved been leveled out the fields using private funds. She said that the Booster Club installed an irrigation system. We want Cervino Field to be one that we are proud of while not presenting a risk of injury to users. She said that the installation of the brick flag pole is something that they are proud of as this project was done using private funding. She said there are still items that need to be addressed such as the benches. Ms. Hammel said that the HH Booster Club needs supportive County funding as the quote is 40K; she said that if they can get the 25K in funding from the County, she is confident that the Booster Club can raise the rest.
Councilwoman Griffith said that she thinks that it is great that the Booster Club is raising money for the fields. But that she has an issue with the movement of the dugouts. Griffith said that she would like to have more discussion as to why the dugouts need to be moved. Ms. Hammel said that this was part of a plan that was done in conjunction with the Coach and the Athletic Director at the high school several years ago. Ms. Hammel said that the idea is that the coaches and players are in one enclosed area. Mayor Merryfield asked if there is a state rule or guideline that suggests the dugouts should be moved or is it just our plan. Ms. Hammel said she is unsure if there are any regulations. Councilman DiRenzo asked how many coaches there are. Councilman DiRenzo said that he feels the school board should be contributing something. Council President responded that the Board of Education maintains all fields in town all year, even the ones they do not use. She stated further that this is not an aesthetic move, it is to put the players closer to the coaches. Solicitor Olizi said the issue is very simple – sightlines. All Council is asking is if the movement is based on regulations.
Ms. Hammel confirmed what the concerns of Council were. Solicitor Olizi encouraged Council to talk to the individuals who might be aware of whether or not there are regulations as to placement of dugouts before the next Council meeting. Council President Lange said that she does not want to speak for the HH Booster Club but she feels that the plan was made years ago and is based on safety vs convenience.
A motion to table Resolution 2016:63 was made by Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Councilman DiRenzo. All members were in favor.
Mayor Merryfield called for Public Comment.
Karyn Errington, 1645 Sycamore Street – Ms. Errington asked if the licensed site remediation professional is for Glover Mill. Borough Engineer Steve Bach responded that the only Borough site requiring remediation is Devon Avenue.
Ms. Errington said that the Fair Share Affordable Housing submission by the Borough is not on the website. Clerk Santosusso responded that it would be up on the site tomorrow morning.
Mr. Errington complimented the Department of Public Works on the snow removal following the snow storm.
Keith Speyerer 1820 S. Park Avenue – Mr. Speyerer suggested that Council consider the cost associated with moving the dugouts on Cervino field. He said he does not think it is a problem for kids to run across the field to talk with coaches and that this is not a good enough reason to spend grant dollars. He said that someone from the Booster Club should explain what about the existing dugouts are unsafe? He said that parents’ opinions should be considered because of the sightlines. Mr. Speyerer asked what is mandating the coaches to be in a particular spot on the field. Council President Lange responded that it is the high school federation rules. Councilman DiRenzo asked that the American Legion give their opinion. Mayor Merryfield and Council thanked Mr. Speyerer for his comments.
Seeing no one else come forward, a motion to close the Public Comment portion of the meeting was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilman Berryhill. All members were in favor.
Mayor Merryfield announced that Council was going upstairs to go into Executive Session.
Following Executive Session, Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to adjourn. A motion to adjourn was madeby Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilman Berryhill. All members were in favor. 9:55 p.m.
Kelly Santosusso, RMC, Borough Clerk