BOROUGH OF HADDON HEIGHTS
Tuesday, April 3, 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 Valvardi and Madden were present as well as Councilmen Schroeder. Council President Mrozinski, Councilwoman Griffith and Councilman Schreiber were absent but excused. John Moustakas was present for Solicitor Howard Long. Borough Clerk Kelly Santosusso and Deputy Clerk Katie Compton were also present.
Devon Avenue Tennis Courts – Councilman Bryan Schroeder
Councilman Schroeder introduced the head coach of boys and girls tennis, Keith Chambers and Len Baker. They reached out a few months ago regarding their concerns about the tennis courts at Devon Avenue. Chambers explained that they are here to simply have a discussion about the tennis courts. Chambers and Baker handed out photos and packets of the condition of the courts. The second to last page shows the flooding condition that occurs there. Chambers explained he has coached for many years but has not been able to play matches on the courts for the last four (4) years due to the condition of the court. He has 32 girls on his team, which is one of the largest in the conference. He also has 22 boys on his boys’ team. He also does a Jr. High week in June, and where he has 10-15 year olds for a week long session. Approximately 10% of the student body is affected by this. He encourages Council to consider to work together with him and the school board to figure out how to address this. He said he received estimates from two (2) companies. The less expensive of the two has come in for $100,000-$150,000.
Councilman Schroeder followed up saying the winter weather has worsened the condition of the courts. According to the National Tennis Association, the teams are allowed to practice on the courts but not permitted to hold matches on them. This discussion is to explore the idea of creating a working group that includes a few members of Council, the School Board and coaches to work together to research funding options.
Schroeder asked to get Council’s approval to develop a working group to explore this. He said he will reach out to the school district and Athletic Director to begin the initial steps.
Len Baker said he has been around the teams for many years and he thinks this is now necessary. Chambers said it could be a money maker too because he knows many coaches would like to use our courts to hold practices, camps, and matches.
Councilwoman Valvardi said that he also reaches out to various organizations/younger groups to introduce the sport.
Heights in Progress / Perkins Grant for Mural – Councilwoman Stephanie Madden and Joe Gentile, HIP
Councilwoman Madden invited Joe Gentile to address Council. Gentile described his communications with the Zoning Office and the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC); he said that he was asked by HPC to provide more detail on the proposed project. Gentile explained he received a grant from the Perkins Institute that is pending approval. He went to Ron Newell, the Zoning Officer who initially told him he had to go to HPC. After attending the HPC meeting, he was advised to go through Council. He said he does not plan to put anything up until September but has to get the process done this school year. Council advised that there are questions that still need to be answered and that approval for the grant may not be received in the period of time Gentile had hoped. Councilman Schroeder said in the future, he recommends changing the HPC meetings to coincide better with the Planning Board.
Annual Financial Disclosure Statements – Borough Clerk Kelly Santosusso
Borough Clerk Kelly Santosusso explained that the annual Financial Disclosure statements are to be filed by the end of the month. She advised Council that Deputy Clerk Katie Compton will be sending emails to all local government officers this week that will explain the process. Instructions on how to file will be included.
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.
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 Valvardi. All members present were in favor.
PRESENTATION OF OFFICER OF THE YEAR 2017 – Ptl. Daniel Kinkler
Mayor Merryfield and Councilman Bryan Schroeder asked Ptl. Daniel Kinkler to come forward. Councilman Schroeder read the Certificate.
After the reading, Ptl. Kinkler said they have a great group of guys in the Police Department which makes it easy to do his job well.
Chief Bruce Koch said this is his third time receiving this recognition in his six (6) years with the borough. That just goes to show the level of commitment. Last year, Kinkler had 1,347 calls, 590 summons issued, 72 arrests, and almost $5,000 in drug seizes and forfeiture. Chief Koch said he does a fantastic job and he and the other officers are very proud of him.
PRESENTATION LIFE SAVING AWARD – Ptl. Theodore Hagenbucher
Mayor Merryfield and Councilman Bryan Schroeder asked Ptl. Theodore Hagenbucher to come forward. Councilman Schroeder read the Certificate.
Chief Bruce Koch gave a little background on this specific incident. Koch explains that when he became Chief, he made the Stop The Bleed training mandatory. This is the first application of a tourniquet in the borough. He said he feels these are just as important as AEDs and defibrillators. Anything we can do to save a life. He explains that these tourniquets are inexpensive and they do save lives. He is very proud of Ptl. Hagenbucher and sure everyone else is as well.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES:
A motion to approve the March 20, 2018 Council Meeting Minutes was made by Councilman Schroeder, seconded by Councilwoman Madden. All members present voted in favor.
Councilwoman Madden reported that she attended the Board of Education meeting on March 28th where they introduced the budget for the next school year. She advised that there will be no cuts in their budget. They have an additional $4,000 to spend on programs and positions. The board will be adding a few more full-time teaching assignments in the high school, a part-time elementary guidance counselor, and a part-time media specialist. Also, $5,000 will go towards improving school security. Superintendent Adams is currently taking recommendations from Homeland Security and the Police Department to see what they can do to improve security.
Madden also attended Heights in Progress meeting last night and there is going to be an event this Saturday, April 7th called Rails to Trails sponsored by Camden County, and Heights in Progress is the co-sponsor. This event is to encourage people to come check out the trail that is going along the railway. There will be a press conference from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the cove in Audubon. The festivities on Atlantic Avenue will begin at 11:00 a.m.
The next Heights in Progress event is Rhythm and Brews on April 21, 2018 from 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Councilwoman Jackie Valvardi had no report.
Councilman Bryan Schroeder explained that at last meeting there was a discussion about amending the municipal code about the rental facilities in the borough. He hopes that we will have the ordinance for amendment on for introduction at the next meeting. He reported that two organizations in Haddon Heights have applied for the Camden County Open Space grant, the Haddon Heights Soccer Club and the Borough.
Schroeder reported that the next Haddon Heights Business and Professional Association meeting is on April 11th at 6:00 p.m. at the Village Cheese Shop.
Schroeder also advised that there will be a bike ride during the Rails to Trails event from the Cove in Audubon to the Old Rail Tavern in Barrington. This rail is in the design stages now.
Schroeder explained that he is in favor of the Mural that Heights in Progress is proposing, as long as the application and all correct documents are submitted and approved.
Public Hearing and Final Adoption of Ordinance 2018:1448 – An Ordinance to Exceed the 2018 Municipal Budget Appropriation Limits and to Establish A Cap Bank (N.J.S.A. 40A: 4-45.14)
Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance 2018:1448. A motion to adopt Ordinance 2018:1448 was made by Councilwoman Madden, seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. Under a roll call vote, all members present voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:95 – Resolution Supporting The 2018 Udrive. Utext. Upay. Distracted Driving Crackdown
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:95 was made by Councilwoman Madden and seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. Upon a roll call vote, all members present voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:96 – Resolution Appointing A Member to the Haddon Heights Neighbors Committee
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:96 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. All members present voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:97 – Resolution Authorizing the Hiring Of A Part-time Administrative Assistant in the Service Operations Facility
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:97 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilman Schroeder. Upon a roll call vote, all members present voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:98 – Resolution Authorizing Payment of Bills and Claims for the First Half of April
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:98 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. Upon a roll call vote, all members present voted in favor with the exception of Councilwoman Valvardi who abstained on payments to Horizon Dental and Vision Services Plan and Councilman Schroeder who abstained on a payment to Jacqueline Schroeder.
Resolution 2018:99 – Resolution Authorizing A Refund of a Street Opening Deposit
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:99 was made by Councilwoman Madden and seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. Upon a roll call vote, all members present voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:100 – Resolution Authorizing The Borough Engineer To Make Application And The Mayor To Execute A Camden County Community Development Block Grant Agreement For Program Year 2018
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:100 was made by Councilwoman Madden and seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. Upon a roll call vote, all members voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:101 – Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of Planning/Zoning Escrow Refunds
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:101 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. Upon a roll call vote, all members present voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:102 – Resolution Designating April as Autism Awareness Month in Haddon Heights
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:102 was made by Councilman Schroeder and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. All members present were in favor.
Mayor Merryfield called for Public Comment on any topic anyone may wish to address.
John Gemmell, Sycamore Street – Mr. Gemmell explained that he read the Mayors Message in the Heights Report about the Planning and Zoning Board. He said, as a resident, he has some serious concerns. He has attended the last eight (8) Planning and Zoning Board meetings. He echoes the Mayor’s sentiments that the law is the law but believes evidence that is put forth for duplexes should be able to be cross examined. He said that at the last planning board meeting, one property owner came to be heard but, in his opinion, had no solid evidence. He thinks there are some other inconsistencies that he believes are unlawful. Mayor Merryfield explained that we need to put our faith in our appointed professionals to trust that they are making the correct decisions. However, Mayor Merryfield said he will keep an eye on it.
Jocqueline Renner, Special Education Director, Haddon Heights School District – Renner thanked Mayor, Council, and the community for their support again to build awareness for abilities and Autism this month. She thinks it is great that we are helping her to spread the message. She thanked all again.
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.
A motion to adjourn was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilman Schroeder. All members present were in favor.
Kelly Santosusso, RMC