BOROUGH OF HADDON HEIGHTS
Tuesday, April 17, 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.”
Council President Mrozinski advised that the Mayor would be here shortly and asked the Clerk for roll call.
Under roll call, Councilwomen Griffith, Valvardi and Madden were present as well as Council President Mrozinski and Councilman Schroeder. Councilman Schreiber was absent but excused. Borough Solicitor Howard Long, Borough Engineer Steve Bach, Borough Clerk Kelly Santosusso and Deputy Clerk Katie Compton were also present.
Annual Financial Disclosure Statements – Borough Clerk Kelly Santosusso
Borough Clerk Kelly Santosusso reminded all that all local government officers are required to file their annual Financial Disclosure statement by the end of the month.
Pilot Improvements to the Atlantic and Station Avenues Intersection – Council President Mrozinski, Councilwoman Madden and Steve Bach, Borough Engineer
Council President Mrozinski asked Steve Bach to present some traffic calming concepts. Bach presented diagrams of Atlantic and Station Avenues Intersection and described the current problems we are experiencing.
Pedestrian enhancements throughout the Borough related to visibility and signage on both East Atlantic and West Atlantic. 4 intersections that are stop controlled. Cross walks and E. and W. Atlantic. There is no documentation with the County Engineers office of any studies so we are beginning from scratch. He said we do not have the ability to add stops, cannot make it a 6 way stop intersection. Bach said that surrounding towns have traditionally used “bump-outs” and added that that we are limited on this because of drainage issues on Station Avenue.
We are anticipating “at grade bump-outs” which would provide high visibility of the crosswalks using a painted surface. He said they would provide an area of refuge for pedestrians. Bach said we would also add high visibility piano key crosswalks versus ladder crosswalks. He thinks we can justify the need with the County.
Bach went on to address signage saying we have every sign we should have but we can add two additional signs that would be critical would be at Carole’s Candy corner making right on W. Atlantic add turning vehicles “yield to pedestrians.” The same sign would be added on the other side at the bank and E. Atlantic Avenue. Bach said if Council is in agreement, we can bring it to the County in a formal manner to get their buy-in and then report back to Council. He asked for everyone’s thoughts. Councilwoman Griffith asked about the fire lane curbs. Bach said there would be no loss of parking and curbs would remain yellow. She asked what kind of materials would be used. Bach informed that they would like to use the red brick pavers where possible but for the pilot, we are thinking of garnet red stamped asphalt apoxy. He said we will not go through the stamping process due to the current asphalt settling. He added that maintenance would be required; we would need to determine whether the County would accept the maintenance. He said this is a a general concept and wanted to see if the governing body is interested. Councilwoman Griffith says there are also parking issues at these intersections. She asked if there is anything that would deter people from parking. Bach said that it is designed to enhance visibility. Madden said she thought the paint would deter motorists from parking. Bach said the other reason we are doing the larger areas; meant to be seen 50 yards away, trying to give the most visibility possible.
Councilwoman Madden thanked Bach for his work and added that if you live in Heights, you know this is a dangerous intersection. She expressed her concern for the kids from Atlantic Avenue School as they cross over Atlantic Avenue to go to the candy and water ice stores. Madden said that this should be a top priority. She also said she feels the long term goal should be to place a crossing guard at Atlantic and Station Avenues (corner of Local Links).
Bach said this will be presented to other entities, both business associations, Historic Preservation, Economic Development and Advisory Board etc. for their buy-in. Bach said he wants to make sure we have agreement with all interested parties. He said the bump outs help with the back up of traffic going toward the light at the White Horse Pike, aggressive drivers then create a third lane trying to make turns. Council President Mrozinski thanked Bach. Bach thanked all for their attention.
Mayor Merryfield arrived at 7:20 p.m.
Small Explorers Playground Update – Kathy Lange and Jillian Soriano
Council President Mrozinski asked Kathy Lange and Jillian Soriano to come forward. Lange distributed materials to update Council on the history of the project. She then reviewed the financials she provided to Council. She said $3,500 has been raised and the equipment cost is $37,000. She said two people raised 1/10th of the cost of the project. Lange thanked Council for supporting the grant application to the County. She said we had over $300 of vandalism which is not reflected and set us back a bit. She explained that the playground equipment is age certified, 5 and up. The last official action was providing the narrative for the grant application. She said the borough has a copy of the price freeze from the vendor. She reported that a high percentage of families are utilizing Hoff’s Park in addition to the County Park. She said the goal is to provide age appropriate and safe equipment so all children can play safely in the same area. Lange said the largest expense with the equipment is an inclusionary spinner. This would be for differently abled children as well as able bodied children so that all can play together in a safe place.
Jillian Soriano said we are not able to move forward without official support from the governing body or a Committee. She said they feel a strong sense of obligation toward our donors and those we have interacted with to push the project. We are currently at a standstill and there are significant costs to complete the project. She said we did a lot of community outreach. She said although we do not expect the town to incur the total expense of finishing the project, we are looking to form a Committee to determine how we might move forward with community fundraising to complete the project. She said they are getting questions about the project and hope to move forward especially with all of the support they have garnered in the community. She said she feels there is a need for this at Hoff’s Park and asked if Council would support forming a Committee. Councilman Schroeder asked if we needed to go out to bid for the purchase of the equipment. Lange responded that the Borough is part of the purchasing group NJPEA which allows us to purchase from without going out to bid. Schroeder said he noticed that Haddon Heights Neighbors was involved initially. Soriano said that TD Bank became interested in the project was not a Haddon Heights Neighbors was approached from TD Bank as they cannot just make a donation to the borough. Neighbors was approached by TD Bank to see if they would help coordinate a fundraising event. She said that she is no longer a member of HH Neighbors but explained that they were merely a partner in the fundraising event at TD Bank. She said that at the time, Neighbors would take on the project. The thought would be the Parks and Recreation Committee; Schroeder said that sometimes there is just one person in attendance at the Parks and Rec meetings. Schroeder said he had no problem creating a committee and would welcome the submission of names.
Mayor Merryfield called the Business Session to order at 7:30 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.
PRESENTATION OF CERTIFICATE OF ACHIEVEMENT TO ST. ROSE BASKETBALL TEAM
Councilwoman Madden presented the certificates as coaches and children came forward. Applause followed all and all posed for photos for the RETROSPECT.
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 Public Comment.
A motion to close this portion of the meeting was made by Councilwoman Madden, seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. All members present were in favor.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES:
Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to approve the Special Meeting Minutes of March 27, 2018. A motion to approve the Special Meeting Minutes of the March 27, 2018 was made by Councilwoman Madden, seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. All members present voted in favor.
Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to approve the Council meeting minutes of April 3, 2018. A motion was made by Councilwoman Madden, seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. All members present voted in favor. Councilwoman Griffith abstained.
Councilwoman Madden announced that the Rhythm and Brews event is this Saturday, April 21, 2018. She explained it will be a fun event which will feature twelve breweries, wineries, music and many food trucks. The event will be from 3:00 to 9:00 rain or shine.
Madden stated that the Rails to Trails event sponsored by Camden County was postponed due to weather. It is rescheduled for Sunday, May 20th which will coincide with first Farmers Market in town.
Madden also attended the Board of Education meeting on April 10th where the board updated the public on the 2018-2019 budget. She explained that the board went into great detail about how the budget was structured and the tax implications. If anyone wants a better explanation, she recommends looking at the meeting minutes where member Kim Stuart gave a very good explanation on the changes. The board also discussed school security and ideas they have for increasing it.
At the April 11th Haddon Heights Business and Professionals Association meeting, the group discussed the Bowl the Night Away fundraiser where they raised $700. They also made a charitable $400 donation to the Haddon Heights VFW. They will also be giving four (4) Senior Students from Haddon Heights High School and Baptist High a $500 Scholarship. They have already begun taking applications for this.
Finally, Madden said the Municipal Alliance Committee paid for an Assembly for the Junior High and High School students at the High School called “You Don’t Know Me Until You Know Me” which was about Bullying and Anti-Drug Use. Madden heard it was an excellent assembly, where her own daughter even thought it was great. Also, the Municipal Alliance is in the process of planning their annual Firecracker 5K race on the Fourth of July. She announced that the registration is now open using the online link.
Councilwoman Griffith gave the March 2018 Police Department report, a copy of which is attached to these minutes. Griffith explained that the Police Department applied for and was awarded the 2018 Distracted Driving Enforcement rant for 120 hrs. The Police Department is also working with Council and Safe Routes to Schools for identifying road ways that need restriping and no passing zones. Engineer plans have been submitted.
Griffith explained that the Police Department will be present a few SOPs to be adopted. These SOPs include “Spit Net Procedures”, “Early Warning Systems”, and “Random Drug Testing”.
Griffith also reported that last Saturday morning was the Coffee with a Cop event at Trouble Brewing sponsored by the Police Department. Griffith said it was nice to see young kids coming in to see the Police Officers. It was a very positive event.
Council President Mrozinski echoed what Councilwoman Griffith said and complimented Police Chief Koch on the Coffee with a Cop event. Mrozinski explained it was a great event and well attended.
Mrozinski gave a quick updates on the Vacant and Foreclosure home registry. He announced that there are currently 32 homes registered, 2 have been deregistered since last month and one property has been added. This program continues to make progress and is successful.
Mrozinski reported that the Economic Development Committee had a Meeting at the end of March. They meet on the last Wednesday of every month. He gave a brief updates on each key piece they have been working on. He explained that for Traffic Calming, Steve Bach has presented a pilot plan for the Atlantic Ave and Station Avenue intersection. We will be moving forward on that after talking to Camden County. On the Marketing front, Kelly and Katie are working on setting up an internal meeting for the Updating of the Borough’s website. He is also going to distribute to council a draft welcome packet that the Committee has put together. He welcomes all comments and suggestions on it. The purpose of this packet is for when a new business comes into town, they have effectively a brief road map on the Historic Preservation Committee regulations and Borough’s permitting process. Finally, he addressed the signage ordinance, explained that the Planning Board has created a sub-committee to explore this ordinance and possible changes. This sub-committee’s first meeting is coming up and he looks forward to reporting on it.
Councilwoman Valvardi explained that tonight is the Public Hearing and Final Adoption of the 2018 Municipal Budget. She said that she knows that council can’t please everyone there but she can say that she herself, Council President Mrozinski, and CFO Christie Ehret worked really hard to try to make this the best budget possible with circumstance that were anticipated and unavoidable. Valvardi thanked Christie Ehret for her patience and persistent during the budgeting process. She is a very dedicated CFO who looks at every angle in the budget to try and save the residents money. Valvardi also thanked Council President Mrozinski for making the time to be a part of the whole process with her this year. She thinks that they worked very well together. She also thanked the Department Heads for taking the time to go over their proposed budget line by line with them and understanding when items needed to be cut or eliminated to adjust the budget.
Valvardi reported that the Haddon Heights Neighbors will be meeting in the Auditorium tomorrow, April 18th. Their sponsored senior event, Murder in the Heights, is April 27th at the Community Center from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Councilman Schroeder reported that the Parks and Recreation Committee will be meeting this Thursday at 7:30 in conference room. Schroeder thanked the Department of Public Works for its hard work in getting the Barr Complex ready for the Opening Day events. He also recognized the Haddon Heights Youth Association for its hard work and planning for putting together a great parade and opening day program that included the Philly Phanatic and a State Police flyover.
Schroeder also thanked borough staff, especially Kelly Santosusso and Julie Yuhaze, for setting up various programs in the spring and summer for both young children and adult residents. Some of these new programs includes Lacrosse and a Social Skills program for both differently abled and typical developing children which is in conjunction with the Haddon Heights director of Special education.
Schroeder also thanked Council President Mrozinski and Councilwoman Valvardi for doing a great job on this year’s budget.
Steve Bach, 304 White Horse Pike- Mr. Bach directed council to Page 1 of his report explained that we have secured Municipal Aid Funding for W. High Street Phase IV in the amount of $250,000. He anticipates going out to bid for this project mid-summer. He explained there are resolutions on the agenda tonight awarding contracts to companies that have been both the favorable opinion by the Solicitor and the Engineer along with the funds being certified by the CFO. The Service operations Facility Roof Replacement project bid is on to be awarded to Tortorice Contractors Inc. in the amount of $66,735.00. The bid for the ADA Improvements to the Municipal Building’s front steps is on to be awarded to W.J. Gross Inc. in the amount of $55,000. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) FY39 Project Targeting the Architectural Barriers and ADA Complainant ramps at intersections is on to be awarded to Decker’s Inc. in the amount of $43,600. Bach explained that this years’ CDBG funding allocations is different than previous years, as it will not be a set amount per year and will be more competitive. Our application for the next grant is for the amount of $247,000 for ADA Curb Ramps tailored specifically to areas around the schools to promote pedestrian access around schools.
Bach also reported that their Kings Highway Pedestrian Crossing plans have been submitted and accepted by Camden County. These plans are in the process of procurement for the new crosswalks as well as new LED lighted pedestrian signs.
Bach directed council to page 9 of his report, referencing the two (2) redevelopment designations that have been reviewed and recommended as areas in need of redevelopment by the Planning and Zoning Board. The next steps will be to come up with a resolution for approval by the governing body to accept these areas as in need of redevelopment. Once that is done, we would make the submission to the Department of Community Affairs and the governing body can start thinking about what they would like to see. If chosen to make these properties residential, both of these areas should be consistent with our Fair Share Plan.
Solicitor Howard Long asked Mr. Bach about an inquiry he received about a deed restricted affordable housing unit that was being sold in Kings Run. He asked back if his firm did the COAH Analysis. Bach responded that he did. Howard asked if there was someone he can reach out to about our ability to sign off on a transfer because he is concerned that it may not be COAH complaint. Bach advised Long to send the information to him and he will refer him to the correct contact.
Resolution 2018:103 – Resolution for Local Examination of the 2018 Municipal Budget
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:103 was made by Councilwoman Griffith and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. All members present voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:104 – Resolution Authorizing the 2018 Municipal Budget to be Read by Title Only
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:104 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. Upon a roll call of all members present, all were in favor.
Public Hearing on the 2018 Municipal Budget
Mayor Merryfield opened the Public Hearing on the 2018 Municipal Budget. Seeing no movement, a motion to close the Public Hearing was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Madden. All members present were in favor.
Final Adoption of the 2018 Municipal Budget
A motion to adopt the 2018 Municipal Budget was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Council President Mrozinski. Upon a roll call vote of all members present, all voted yes.
Ordinance 2018:1449 – Ordinance Amending Chapter 213 of the Code of the Borough of Haddon Heights Entitled Cabin Usage and Community Center Usage
Public Hearing and Final Adoption of Ordinance 2018-1449 is scheduled for May 1, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building located at 625 Station Avenue, Haddon Heights, New Jersey.
Ordinance 2018:1450 – An Ordinance Authorizing Salaries, Wages and Reimbursements to be Paid to Non-Contractual Employees of the Borough of Haddon Heights
Public Hearing and Final Adoption of Ordinance 2018-1450 is scheduled for May 1, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building located at 625 Station Avenue, Haddon Heights, New Jersey.
Resolution 2018:105 – Resolution Authorizing Payment of Bills and Claims for the Second Half of April
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:105 was made by Councilwoman Griffith and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. All members present voted in favor with the exception of Councilwomen Griffith and Valvardi who both abstained from payments to Bollinger Prescription and Southern New Jersey Regional Health Benefits.
Resolution 2018:106 – Resolution Authorizing Refund of a Tax Overpayment
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:106 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. All members present voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:107 – Resolution Authorizing the Award of a Non-Fair and Open Contract to Dependable Land Maintenance for the Purpose of Emergency Tree Removals
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:107 was made by Councilwoman Griffith and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. All members present voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:108 – Resolution Authorizing The Modification Of The Existing Contract With Waters, McPherson, McNeill, P.C., Appointed As Bond Counsel To The Borough Of Haddon Heights On January 6, 2018
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:108 was made by Councilwoman Griffith and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. All members present voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:109 – 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.) Discussion related to the appointment of an Emergency Management Coordinator. Discussion is expected to be ½ hr. in duration. Formal action may be taken. 2.) Personnel in the Police Department. Discussion is expected to be ½ hr. in duration. Formal action may be taken. 3.) Operations in the Department of Public Works. Discussion is expected to be ½ hr. in duration. Formal action may be taken.
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:109 was made by Councilwoman Griffith and seconded by Council President Mrozinski. All members present voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:110 – Resolution Authorizing the Refund of Program Fees
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:110 was made by Councilman Schroeder and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. Upon a roll call vote of members present, all voted yes.
Resolution 2018:111 – A Resolution Authorizing The Award Of The Contract For ADA Improvements To Borough Hall Entrance Project Which Includes The Replacement Of The Front Steps At The Haddon Heights Municipal Building To W.J. Gross, Inc.
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:111 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. Upon a roll call vote of members present, all voted yes.
Resolution 2018:112 – A Resolution Authorizing The Award Of The Contract For Service Operations Facility Roof Replacement to Tortorice Contractors, Inc.
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:112 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. Upon a roll call vote of members present, all voted yes.
Resolution 2018:113 – A Resolution Authorizing The Award Of The Contract For FY 2018 Handicap Ramp Program To Decker’s Hardscaping and Landscaping, Inc.
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:113 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. Upon a roll call vote of members present, all voted yes.
Resolution 2018:114 – Resolution Authorizing An Agreement In Accordance With A Shared Services Agreement By And Between The County Of Camden And The Borough Of Haddon Heights For The Purpose Of Marketing Services Of Single-Stream Recyclable Materials For A Three-Year Term
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:114 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. Upon a roll call vote of members present, all voted yes.
Resolution 2018:115 – Resolution Authorizing Mayor To Execute Department Of Transportation Agreement Ada, Contract #4 Boroughs Of Haddon Heights, Barrington, Lawnside, Magnolia, Somerdale, Stratford, Laurel Springs, Lindenwold & Clementon, Camden County, UECA-5-ADA South Con 4 – 154230, UPC Number: 154230
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:115 was made by Councilman Schroeder and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. Upon a roll call vote of members present, all voted yes.
Mayor Merryfield called for Public Comment on any topic anyone may wish to address.
John Gemmell, Sycamore Street – Mr. Gemmell thanked Council President Mrozinski for answering his email. He then addressed his opinions on the Planning Board and how the body addresses matters as they relate properties being used as multi-family unit dwellings. Council President said that he will get more information upon the return of the Zoning Officer. He said he appreciates Gemmell’s patience. Mr. Gemmell then said that he does not understand the concept of affordable housing. Solicitor Long explained Engineering and Planning services address affordable housing which is state mandated in every municipality.
Seeing no more movement, a motion to close the Public Comment portion of the meeting was made by Councilwoman Madden and seconded by Councilman Schroeder. All members present were in favor.
Mayor Merryfield announced that Council would be going into Closed Session and that formal action may be taken.
Following executive session, a motion to open the meeting was made by Councilwoman Madden, seconded by Councilman Schroeder. Council went back on the record to consider the following resolutions:
Resolution 2018:116 – Resolution Appointing An Officer Of Emergency Management
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:116 was made by Councilwoman Griffith and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. All members present were in favor.
Resolution 2018:117 – Resolution Authorizing A Shared Services Agreement By And Between The Borough Of Audubon And The Borough Of Haddon Heights For The Provision Of Certified Public Works Manager Services Subject To Certain Terms And Conditions
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:117 was made by Councilwoman Griffith and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. Upon a roll call vote of members present, all were in favor.
A motion to adjourn was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilman Schroeder. All members present were in favor.
Kelly Santosusso, RMC, Borough Clerk