February 7, 2017 Council Meeting Minutes

                                                                              BOROUGH OF HADDON HEIGHTS

                                                                                                    Tuesday, February 7, 2017

                                                                                                                Governing Body Meeting Minutes

                                                                                                                                                                                             

Mayor Merryfield called the meeting to Order at 7:00 p.m. and said that the Mayor was unable to attend this evening but sends his regards.  She 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 7, 2017.”

 

ROLL CALL:

 

Mayor Merryfield asked for the roll call. 

 

Under roll call, Council President Susan Griffith and Councilwomen Kathy Lange and Jackie Valvardi were present as well as Councilman Stephen Berryhill.  Solicitor Albert Olizi, Jr., Borough Clerk Kelly Santosusso and Deputy Borough Clerk Katilyn Compton were also present.  Councilmen Bryan Schroeder and Richard DiRenzo were absent.

 

CAUCUS SESSION:

 

Mayor Merryfield said that there are several topics on the Caucus Agenda.  He began with introducing Jim Bruno, President of Haddon Heights Youth Athletics (HHYA).

 

Haddon Heights Youth Athletics Proposal for Barr Complex Project  

Jim Bruno thanked Council for the opportunity to address Council regarding HHYA’s proposal.  He said that HHYA submitted a grant proposal last year for plans at the Barr Complex for the Majors and Memorial Fields.   He said they wanted to purchase and install netting from the backstop to the end of each dugout which would prevent balls from flying outside of the field into areas where the kids play by the trees as well as into the snack area.  In addition, they also want to install five tier bleachers on both the first and third base sides in the “bump outs” to provide significant seating for guests.  On Memorial Field, we have had a problem with foul balls flying into the streets as well as balls that fly into the Majors field because there is no netting there.  They want to extend the fence and install netting up the backstops.  On third base side, they want to take down the four foot fence and raise the fence to 8 feet and install netting there as well.  He said that the older the boys are hitting like adults.  He said that HHYA is hoping to receive the $25,000 grant through the Camden County Open Space Grant.  He said that the Board has agreed to pay for any costs over the anticipated grant award.  Bruno reiterated that this work is necessary from a safety standpoint.  He described an unfortunate situation in which a spectator was hit in the eye with a baseball.  He said that HHYA wants to address the above safety concerns.

 

Kathy Lange said she wanted to thank HHYA for being proactive regarding safety.  The risk manager suggested that the bleacher be slid down to the wider part of the walkway and would prefer if they padded the overhang.  Jim Bruno asked if this was a mandate or a suggestion with regard to the placement of the bleachers.  Olizi suggested that a resolution on the next Agenda authorizing the work to be done.  Lange read the risk managers recommendation.  Mayor Merryfield said that the padding should be added.  Bruno said that HHYA would be happy to add the padding.

Council thanked Mr. Bruno for his time.

 

Proposals for Renewal of Borough Postage Machine Lease

Councilwoman Valvardi said that Kelly Santosusso and she spoke regarding the Borough’s postage machine five year contract expiring.  She said that the contract is up in March.  Valvardi then turned over the topic to Santosusso.  Santosusso passed out a spreadsheet with three quotes for a machine that is basically a step down from the machine we currently have.  She said that the current machine is more than what we require and that we can save money by going with a smaller machine.  She said that we have quotes from Neopost, Pitney Bowes and Heritage.  All three (3) vendors provided a quote for their version of the level machine we require.  She went over the quotes with Council and explained which were from a State contract and which were associated with cooperative purchasing agreements.  She said that the Borough has used Pitney Bowes with a five year contract and that we have never have had any problems with Pitney Bowes.  Santosusso said that she and Katie will continue to look into the reviews of the machines and make a recommendation to Council by the next meeting.  Mayor Merryfield said that he will rely on the staff’s recommendations.

 

Santosusso added that the five year leases for Borough copiers are ending in April.  She said that she has notified our current vendor that we will not be renewing.  Santosusso said that John Ellis, Katie Compton and she have been meeting with companies who are offering proposals.  She noted that she these companies are either state contract or part of a cooperative purchasing group.  She said that we will make a recommendation to Council on this as well by the next meeting.

 

 

Shared Service Agreement with Camden County regarding Abandoned/Vacant Properties

Councilman Berryhill said that he attended a meeting of the Camden County Mayors where the County discussed a Shared Service with the County with Community Champions Corporation.  The company is responsible for seeing that the registering and maintaining of vacant and abandoned properties here in town.  He said that Community Champions would supervise the properties and ensure registration fees were paid to the Borough on a bi-annual basis for all vacant and abandoned properties as well as homes in foreclosure.  Berryhill said he met with Bob Harris from the Camden County Improvement Authority.  They provided copies of a Shared Service Agreement, a sample Ordinance and other materials to review.  He said he will give the information to Olizi to review.   He said that currently we have not collected any fee.  Community Champions is informed right away when a home goes into foreclosure; they take $100, County gets $100 and the Borough collects the remainder of the fee $300.  Santosusso added that the fee would be paid bi-annually.  She said that our ordinance regarding registration of a does not cover homes in foreclosure.  Berryhill said that he feels we would have to amend our Ordinance.

 

Olizi said that we should meet with Community Champions.  Berryhill said that he will be addressing this again in the near future.

 

Discussion Regarding Proposed Councilmember Participation in Council Meeting Telephonically

Mayor Merryfield addressed a request from a Councilmember to participate in the meeting via phone if unable to attend the meeting in person.  He further explained that there would be no problem during Caucus but that we currently do not have a landline in the Auditorium.  Without a landline being installed, the acoustics in the Auditorium do not allow for the individual to be able to hear and be heard during the Business Session of Council meetings.  Council President Griffith asked how much it would cost to provide the piece of equipment. 

 

Mayor Merryfield said that the Clerks have determined a total cost of $1,750.00 for the purchase of a piece of equipment that works with our recorder would have to be purchased to allow for successful participation in the meeting.

 

Clerk Santosusso said that it was her opinion that even with a land line in the Auditorium, the acoustics in the room would make it difficult to hear the absent person and the absent person to hear.  Clear for the person on the other end.  She said that she would not have full confidence that this would be successful with a landline alone.

 

Mayor Merryfield said that he just wanted everyone to think about this in the event it comes up again. 

 

Olizi said that this could be addressed through a reasonable Agreement such as allowing once or twice a year and only one Councilmember at a time choosing this option, etc. 

 

Mayor Merryfield said he just wanted to put the topic out there in the event the issue comes up again

 

 

County Town Hall Meeting

Santosusso said that Council President Griffith addressed the topic of us hosting a Town Hall for the County at the last Council meeting.  Santosusso said she spoke to Mark Stratton, School District Administrator about the possibility of doing the event at Atlantic Avenue School on Thursday, September 14th at 6:30 p.m.  She said that Mark Stratton agreed to this and said that wherever we want to do the event, they would accommodate us.  Santosusso added that the County has asked for access to a kitchen so it may be best to hold the event in the
Cafeteria at the High School.  She said they require 6 foot tables surrounding the room for information to be placed with representatives.

 

Mayor asked if any Councilmembers would be opposed to the idea of us hosting a Town Hall.  All present were in agreement.  Councilwoman Lange said that she was in favor but suggested checking with the other schools in town to make sure that the back to school night is not scheduled on that date.   

 

Animal Control Services

Santosusso then reported that the County has discontinued its joint cooperative agreement for joint Animal Control Services.  We need to renew an agreement by the end of this month.  She said that the company who was contracted with the County, Independent Animal Control Services, Inc. has provided us with a quote to continue as our Animal Control Officer.  She said the cost is $6,300 annually which is no increase from the previous year.  She added that we will now save the 5% administrative cost previously added to the fee annually by the County, representing a savings of $315.  It was suggested that we try and get other quotes.  Santosusso said there are not many services who do this in the area.

 

Santosusso then reported that our Service Operations Assistant, Pat Cooper has informed us that her husband  has had a serious accident and is in the hospital.  She said he will require considerable care when he is able to return home.  She has informed us that she cannot guarantee that she will return to work anytime soon.  As such, Santosusso said that she wanted to inform Council as she feels we need to advertise the position again.  She said that currently the Service Operations Facility is being closed for a lunch hour for the Administrative Assistant.  Mayor Merryfield said that over the next four weeks, construction permits will definitely increase as we approach spring so he does not want the office to be closed during lunch much longer.  Several Councilmembers agreed that the office should not be closed so the position needs to be posted.  She added that the position requires considerable flexibility in that the hours could change based on the Administrative Assistant’s paid time off i.e. sick, personal or vacation.  It was agreed that the Clerk will advertise the position and post on the website.

 

BUSINESS SESSION:

Mayor Merryfield called the Business Session to order at 7:30 p.m.  Mayor Merryfield then asked all to keep Dottie Grant’s family in their prayers.  She was Haddon Heights first Councilwoman.

 

 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE AND MOMENT OF SILENCE

 

Mayor Merryfield asked for a moment of silence.  He then led the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

 

PUBLIC COMMENT:

 

Mayor Merryfield called for Public Comment on Caucus and Agenda items only. 

 

Seeing no one come forward for comment, a motion to close the Public Comment portion of the meeting was made by Council President Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Lange.  All members present were in favor.

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

 

Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to approve the Minutes of the January 17, 2017 Council meeting.

 

Councilwoman Valvardi said that she had a correction to her report from the Minutes of January 17, 2017.  She said that with regard to her report on the HH Business and Professional Association, she wanted to clarify that the vendor fee being proposed is due to regulations imposed by the Fire Department – the $42 fee would go directly to the Borough and not to the HH Business and Professional Association.  She also said that she wanted to correct the statement she made regarding Knowlton Associates.  She said they are closing their storefront on Station Avenue but not leaving town completely. 

 

Solicitor Olizi said that changes that Councilwoman Valvardi just mentioned should not be amendments to the Minutes.  He said that the Minutes are a reflection of what took place and what was said at the meeting.

 

Councilwoman Lange said she had one correction to the Minutes.  She said that there would be an event once the lighting project on McCullough field at Devon Avenue is completed, not the Small Explorer project.  Santosusso said the correction will be made. 

 

Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to approve the Minutes of the January 17, 2017 Council meeting as amended.  A motion to approve the Minutes of the January 17, 2017 Council meeting as amended was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Councilwoman Griffith.  All members present voted in favor.

 

 

 

 

COUNCILMEMBERS REPORTS:

 

Councilwoman Lange reported that the Lights are on at Devon Avenue and will be on consistently for a few days for the 100 Hour Burn procedure.  She said there will be a field walk-through soon and a lighting ceremony on March 3rd.  The Irrigation System will be installed in April, then sodding and grading to follow. 

 

Lange reported that the spring Field Use Applications have been turned in and will go through the approval process shortly.

 

Councilwoman Lange announced the Small Explorer Kindness Rocks & Playing Rolls event will be held on February 17, 2017 from 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm at Paint-A-Treasure.  Kids will give their input on design for the park and will paint rocks. 

 

Councilwoman Lange reported that the Summer Rec Program has over 30 children registered, which brings us to half capacity at this early date. 

 

Lange said she attended the most recent Parks and Rec and Heights In Progress meetings.  She and the program coordinator Julie Yuhaze met with a potential program instructor at an off-site location.  Lastly, she announced that the next Board of Education will meet on Tuesday, February 14th at 7:30 p.m. in the Atlantic Avenue All Purpose Room.

 

Councilwoman Griffith reported on Barrington Ambulance Association – 50 calls were answered in Haddon Heights, 39 were transported to hospitals and average response time was 1.34 minutes and the average on location time was 5.53 Minutes.  She said this report will be included with the Minutes.

 

Council President Griffith said she received a Memorandum from our Fire Chief Michael Kinky which she then read.  A copy of the Fire Department is attached to these Minutes.  Following the report, Councilwoman Griffith added that she thought that it should be recognized how much volunteer time these young men contribute to our community. 

 

Council President then spoke about the recent Neighbors Night Out meeting saying that many marketing ideas were addressed and consideration is still being given to changing a portion of the group’s name so that it may coincide with the mission statement of NNO.  She said that some feel that the current name does not accurately represent the group and the work they are doing in the Community today.  She said that there will be new banners for the lamp posts that individuals may purchase.  They are still working on a senior project that has not been finalized yet.  They are still working on Welcome to Haddon Heights signs.  She added that there was discussion of upcoming events including: a possible Drive-In Movie in early June, annual Spaghetti Dinner and the annual Bonfire.  She said they are looking forward to attaining some more sponsorships, doing some direct mail.   She said it was a very good meeting.  

 

Councilwoman Valvardi said all is well in Borough offices.   She said that she and Kathy Lange attended the HIP at Local Links.  She said that Councilman Schroeder was away on business.  She announced the following:  Strawberry Fields will be held at St. Mary’s on Saturday, June 3rd.  Season 6 of the Farmer’s Market will be held on Sundays from 9:30 am to 1 pm, May through October; HIP is looking to attract people to town on Saturday nights in the summer.  They are thinking of calling the evening series ‘Summer Nights in Heights,’ and will schedule one Saturday a month in June, July, August and September.  Those nights might include food and music, food trucks, an open mike night, etc.  The third annual Rhythm & Brews event will be held on Station Avenue from some Saturday in April from 3 to 8 p.m.  The third annual Sippin on Station will also be scheduled for a Saturday in September.    Valvardi announced that HIP is helping to promote a Home and Garden Show to be held in the Community Center on March 4th from 11 am to 3 pm.  Vendors, contractors will be present with displays for ideas on beautifying your home.  Residents can attend and schedule appointments with professionals right then and there.

 

Valvardi said Joe Gentile asked for a step by step process if a resident wants to present an idea to Council.  Councilwoman Valvardi said she thought we might consider a flow chart to give some information to residents; perhaps for the website.  Councilwoman Lange asked if a Committee should be formed to present something to Council.  Valvardi acknowledged that she understands it could not be specific as every situation is different but thought it might be helpful to come up with something for residents to begin with. 

 

Lastly, Valvardi announced that the HH Business and Professional Association Meeting will be held tomorrow evening at the Village Cheese Shop.

 

Councilman Berryhill reported that our Plumbing Sub Code Official recently resigned.  He said that James Ryan was the only individual who applied for the position.  He said there is a Resolution on the Agenda tonight authorizing the hiring of Mr. Ryan who holds a Class I Plumbing Certification.  John Szczerbinski and I have spoken about a way to make the schedules of the inspectors more efficient.  He said nothing has been finalized at this point.

 

Berryhill said that he addressed in Caucus a Shared Service through the County to manage the abandoned properties in town.  He will be speaking about this more in the near future.

 

Berryhill reported that the Community Garden is still looking for another location to utilize in town.  If anyone has any ideas, please contact me.    

 

 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS:

 

Mayor Merryfield opened the Public Hearing on Ordinance 2016:1437 – An Ordinance Amending Chapter 75 §31 of the Code of the Borough of Haddon Heights Regarding Overtime Compensation Fees

 

Seeing no movement, Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to close the Public Hearing on Ordinance 2016:1437.  A motion to close the Public Hearing on Ordinance 2016:1437 was made by Council President Griffith, seconded by Councilman Berryhill. 

 

A motion to adopt Ordinance 2016:1437 was made by Council President Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi.  Under a roll call vote, all members present were in favor.

 

A motion to bring Resolution 2017:46 back from the table was made by Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Councilwoman Lange.  All members present were in favor.
Resolution 2017:46 – Resolution Authorizing the Mayor to Execute an Agreement Between the Borough of Haddon Heights and Phoenix Advisors, LLC, Independent Registered Municipal Advisor of Record for the Purpose of Providing Continuing Disclosure Agent Services.

 

A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:46 was made by Council President Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi.  Under a roll call vote, all members present were in favor.

 

Councilwoman Lange asked if a cost was ever discovered.  Borough Clerk Santosusso advised that the cost is $950/year and is included in an attachment to the resolution.  Santosusso added that this is a requirement by the federal government and is part of SEC regulations.  She added that Council has entered into this Agreement by Resolution over the past few years at the recommendation of our CFO.

 

 

NEW BUSINESS:

 

Resolution 2017:54 – Resolution Authorizing Payment of Bills and Claims for First Half of February

A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:55 was made by Council President Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Lange.  Under a roll call vote, all members present were in favor with the exception of Council President Griffith and Councilwoman Valvardi who abstained from the payments to Bollinger, VSP, Horizon, and Southern New Jersey Health Insurance.

 

Resolution 2017:55 – A 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.) Matter related to Contract Negotiations with Government Workers Union.  Formal Action May be Taken.  2.) Discussion related to Non-Contractual Salary Increases.  Formal Action Will not be Taken.

 

A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:55 was made by Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi.  All members present were in favor.

 

Resolution 2017:56 – Resolution Awarding a Contract to Southern New Jersey Resolution Awarding a Contract to Southern New Jersey Regional Employee Benefits Fund for the Purpose of Providing Health Coverage to All Full-Time and Retired Employees of the Borough of Haddon Heights

 

A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:56 was made by Councilwoman Lange, seconded by Councilman Berryhill.  Upon a roll call vote, all members present were in favor with the exception of Council President Griffith and Councilwoman Valvardi who both abstained.

 

Resolution 2017:57 – Resolution Appointing a Plumbing Sub Code Official – James Ryan

 

A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:57 was made by Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Council President Griffith.   Under a roll call vote, all members present were in favor.

 

Resolution 2017:58 – Resolution Amending Resolution 2017: 27 Resolution Concerning Attached 2017 Appointments

 

A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:58 was made by Council President Griffith, seconded by Councilman Berryhill.  All members present were in favor.

 

 

Resolution 2017:59 – Resolution Authorizing Mayor to Execute Department of Transportation Agreement ADA, Contract #3 Boroughs of Lindenwold, Clementon, Berlin, Bellmawr, Haddon Heights and Mount Ephraim, Township of Pennsauken and City of Camden, Camden County, NJDOT Job Number 2206289, UECA-6-ADA South Con 3 -154220, UPC Code: 154220, Contract ID No.: 17 14134

 

Councilwoman Lange asked about what this project is for.  Santosusso said that it is related to a 295 Project but was not sure the specifics as the information was mailed to the Superintendent.  She said that John Ellis has more knowledge on this.

 

A motion to table Resolution 2017:59 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Council President Griffith.  All members present were in favor of tabling Resolution 2017:59.

 

Resolution 2017:60 – Resolution Authorizing a Refund for Overpayment of an Annual Dog License

 

A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:60 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Council President Griffith.  Under a roll call vote, all members present voted in favor.

 

Resolution 2017:61 – Resolution Authorizing a Refund for Program Fee

 

A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:61 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Council President Griffith.  Under a roll call vote, all members present were in favor.

 

Resolution 2017:62 – Resolution Approving a Raffle License for St. Rose of Lima Parish for the Purpose of Conducting a 50/50 Raffle, Summer Jackpot – June 24, 2017, 12:00 pm

 

A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:62 was made by Council President Griffith, seconded by Councilman Berryhill.  All members present were in favor with the exception of Councilwoman Valvardi who abstained.

 

Resolution 2017:63 – Resolution Appointing Municipal Court Public Defender

 

A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:63 was made by Council President Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi.  Under a roll call vote, all members present were in favor.

 

Resolution 2017:64 – Resolution Approving Active Membership of Eamon Oswald in the Haddon Heights Fire Department

 

A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:64 was made by Council President Griffith, seconded by Councilman Berryhill.  All members present were in favor.

 

Mayor Merryfield called Eamon Oswald, his family and Council President Griffith to the front and administered the Oath of Public Office.  All posed for a photograph by the RETROSPECT.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT:

 

Mayor Merryfield called for Public Comment on anything anyone may wish to address.

 

Seeing no movement, a motion to close the Public Comment portion of the meeting was made by Council President Griffith, seconded by Councilman Berryhill.  All members present were in favor.

 

Mayor Merryfield said that Council would be going into Executive Session and that once concluded, the meeting will be opened to the Public once again.  Formal action may be taken.

 

 

ADJOURNMENT OF BUSINESS SESSION:

 

The Business Session was adjourned at 8:10 p.m.
 

EXECUTIVE SESSION:

 

Council went into Executive Session at 8:15 p.m.

 

Executive Session was opened to the Public with a motion by Council President Griffith, seconded by Councilman Berryhill.  All members present were in favor.

 

The meeting adjourned at 9:14 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted:

 

 

__________________________________

Kelly Santosusso, RMC, Borough Clerk

 

 

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