January 17, 2017 Council Meeting Minutes

                                                                              BOROUGH OF HADDON HEIGHTS

                                                                                                    Tuesday, January 17, 2017

                                                                                                                Governing Body Meeting Minutes



Council President Griffith 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.”




Council President asked for the roll call. 


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




Council President Griffith asked if any Councilmembers had anything they wanted to address before moving to the Caucus Agenda.


Councilman DiRenzo said he will address any questions during the business session of the meeting.


Councilwoman Lange confirmed with Solicitor Olizi that Resolution 2017:51 was being pulled from this evening’s Agenda.


Stop Signs at Haverford Avenue at Sycamore & W. High Streets

Councilman Schroeder presented handouts for councilmembers detailing the concept of four way stop signs at Haverford Avenue and Sycamore & W. High Streets.  He said that he was approached from some parents from Glenview Avenue School who expressed concern regarding the intersections around the Glenview Avenue school.  He said that he contacted Council President Griffith and Councilwoman Lange who directed him to the Chief of Police for his opinion.  Chief Koch addressed Council saying that the area had a traffic study completed of the area and described the results of that study.  He said what was suggested at that point was that the kids enter the school on Sycamore and let out of the school on Haverford and W. High.  He explained that if stop signs were to be placed there, 50 feet would have to be between the intersection and parking.  Discussion ensued as to the flow of traffic and potential problems with placing stop signs at these intersections.  He said that he thought education of the parents on where they should be parking so that will not limit the line of sight.   Councilman DiRenzo asked if there were any accidents or speeding complaints in this area recently.  Chief Koch responded that there has been none.  Councilman DiRenzo said that he did not think this was a speeding or accident issue but one where parents may need to be educated on where to park.    

Councilman Schroeder suggested the possibility of an additional crossing guard as an option.  Another option would be “stop for people in the crosswalk” signs which he said has been utilized on the other side of town.  He said that he is assuming that this would be the less expensive option.  Schroeder acknowledged that liability for the town is minimal.  Chief Koch said that he thought the problem of the signs in the crosswalk do not allow room for parking on both sides which is what parents do.  Schroeder suggested the idea of parents parking at least 25 feet from the curb thinking this may alleviate the concerns.  Chief Koch said that he thought there would not be enough room for the cars to go around.  Councilwoman Lange said that the message needs to get out to the parents and suggested that Councilman Schroeder contact Principal Sassano to communicate this information to parents.  Councilman Schroeder asked what the hourly rate of a crossing guard is.  DiRenzo responded that the rate is $11.89.  Schroeder also said that whether or not there has been an accident there is not the issue.  Discussion ensued between Councilman Schroeder and Chief Koch.  Many of the issues with parking around St. Rose was resolved by continuous parent education.  Council President Griffith concluded the topic by asking Chief Koch to contact Sam Sassano at Glenview Avenue school to address safety issues at the crosswalks/intersections.  Chief Koch provided a map from Google Earth regarding the appropriate parking locations.  Lange also suggested that there is a program called the Walking School Bus which encourages kids to walk together to school which may also be helpful in the crossing of the streets with Parent leaders.  This program has been successful.


Borough Website Updates

Councilman Schroeder said that a couple of residents approached him with concerns about the Borough website.  He said he noted that the Agenda for the January 7th meeting was posted in advance of the meeting but much of the changes from the Reorganization meeting had not yet been made.  He expressed his concern that the Planning Board had just two sets of Agendas and Minutes on the website for the year 2016.  He said that he also noticed many broken links on the site.  Councilman Schroeder said that he looked at the site a couple of days later and saw that all pertinent information had been updated. 


Schroeder said that he spoke to Clerk Kelly Santosusso who explained that approximately a week following the Reorganization meeting is needed before all information can be updated.  She also indicated that she was aware of the broken links and said that the site was created in approximately 2008 and that over the past administrations, several IT companies have maintained the site. As such, the site has a miss match of code throughout the site.  She said that it was her opinion that the site needs a complete overhaul or a new one altogether.  Budget constraints have prevented this over the last 5 years. 


Santosusso addressed the topic of the site being mobile friendly.  She said that she did a test with everyone in the office asking them to pull the site up on their cell phones.  All were able to view the site in full on their phones whether they had an Android or an i-Phone.  She said that she is aware that some people have a problem viewing the site on their phone and said she was not sure if this was due to individual settings on devices.  Santosusso said she has asked our IT Company for an explanation as to why this might be.  Santosusso reiterated that she felt that the website needed a complete overhaul and that she and Katie Compton have met with a company who quoted us approximately $4,500 but were not happy with what was presented.  She said that she and the Deputy Clerk would meet with a few more vendors. 


Christian Science Church Building

Councilwoman Lange said that she was bringing up this topic on behalf of the Haddon Heights Senior Citizen Housing commission.  The Christian Science Church has been empty and the group was interested in possibly using the church as a meeting location so that there would be activity there as the Church being empty might be a concern.  She also addressed whether the Borough would be interested in the property or if a non-profit social needs assessment should be done to determine whether there is any feasibility in the group purchasing the building.  Discussion ensued as to possible uses.  Olizi said that he felt that this is not a matter for Council to address as we do not own the building.  Councilwoman Lange summarized by asking if it would be accurate to get back to the group saying that the Council does not believe it should have a role in this but that we might support the idea of a needs assessment.  All were in agreement. 



Council President Griffith called the Business Session to order at 7:30 p.m.





Council President Griffith asked for a moment of silence.  She then led the Pledge of Allegiance.




Council President Griffith 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 Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilman Berryhill.  All members were in favor.




Council President Griffith asked for a motion to approve the Minutes of the December 20, 2016 Council meeting.  A motion to approve the Minutes of the December 20, 2016 Council meeting was made by Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Councilwoman Lange.  All members were in favor with the exception of Councilman Schroeder who abstained.


Council President Griffith asked for a motion to approve the Minutes of the Reorganization Meeting, January 7, 2017.


A motion to approve the Minutes of the January 7, 2017 Reorganization meeting was made by Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi.   All members were in favor with the exception of Councilman DiRenzo who abstained.




Councilman Schroeder reported that Environmental Commission will be held tomorrow evening here in Borough Hall.  He then reported that he attended the Haddon Heights Business and Professional Association (HHBPA) meeting last week with Councilwoman Lange and Councilwoman Valvardi.  He said he also attended a Heights in Progress (HIP) meeting where the success of the Farmers Market, upcoming events Rhythm & Brews and Friday Nights Heights were discussed but dates have not been determined.  He said that HIP has added five new members including John’s Friendly Market, Classic Asia and My Fair Trade.


They also addressed the proposed lighting on Station Avenue in between the light poles and wanted to know what the process would be when implementing an idea.  Discussion ensued with the idea that anyone wishing to do any sort of project, what would be the process step by step to achieve a particular idea or concept.  Discussion ensued regarding Mr. Gentile’s wish to hang lighting in between the street lamps.  Griffith said that he would have to go before the Historic Preservation Commission.  Councilwoman Valvardi said that there is no formal process in place.  Council should always be approached so that guidance and the overall concept of what is being proposed can be discussed and/or approved.  Olizi said that every scenario is different.  It was mentioned that Mr. Gentile was directed as to what his next steps should be with regard to the idea of HIP donating the lights to be hung between the lamp poles.  It was the understanding of Council that Mr. Gentile withdrew the concept.  Discussion ensued as to the meetings that Mr. Gentile attended Caucus to discuss the idea.  Councilman DiRenzo said that approval from PSE&G for this idea would have to be obtained.  Solicitor Olizi indicated that this was somewhat of an unusual situation and rules for a procedure would change depending on what the proposal would be.  Council President Lange said that Mr. Gentile came to Borough with the diagram of the proposed lighting and a letter from Margaret Westfield, an Architect in town who has served on the Historic District Commission.  He had been referred to PSE&G as well.  The overall opinion was that Council should be approached first and then Council advises accordingly depending on the proposed project.


Councilwoman Valvardi reported that all was well in Borough offices with nothing new to report at the moment.


Valvardi reported that she, Councilman Schroeder and Councilwoman Lange attended the Business and Professional Association (HHBPA) meeting last week.  She reported that the Town Calendar costs were as follows:


$10,000 to publish with $900 being paid to Baptist High School Students to deliver the Calendar to all residents.  She said that just 13 individuals reported not receiving the Calendar but they were able to obtain copies from Town Hall.


Councilwoman Valvardi said that the HHBPA is currently updating the form for participation in the Fall Festival which will be on HHBPA’s website.


Valvardi reported that HHBPA is charging a fee of $42 for anyone/vendor using propane during any event being held in town.  The fee has previously been covered by HHBPA.  The Vendor will now have to complete paperwork for a permit and pay fee of $42 for a permit for the use of the propane at their individual tent. 


She announced that the Train Show is January 20, 21st and 22nd at Borough Hall and said that model trains will be on display.  Councilwoman went on to announce that Cruise Heights is scheduled for Saturday, April 29th with a rain date of Sunday, April 30th and Down by the Station Day is scheduled for Saturday, May 13th


Councilwoman Valvardi said some members of the HHBPA inquired about the Master Plan.  They said they wanted to know when it would be available for review before being discussed in Public.


Valvardi said that HHBPA reported that they have a new business on Station Avenue, the Sub Station; she noted that the business is now owned by two brothers.  She said there are also new owners of Ralph’s Pizza.  She added that the recipe and name will stay the same but Ralph’s will now be open on Mondays.


Lastly, Valvardi announced that unfortunately, Knowlton Associates will be leaving town due to personal reasons.


Councilman Berryhill reported that the Municipal Alliance has submitted their grant application for the 2017-2018 year.  They will be conducting Peer Mentoring and a Scared Straight Program for High School Students.  There will be a Senior Citizens Program on for prescription drugs. 


There will also Drugs and alcohol bowling programs next year.  He said that they are looking for someone to speak at the Senior Luncheon which will likely be scheduled in the fall.  He asked if anyone has any suggestions on a speaker, please let him know.


Berryhill announced that our Plumbing Sub Code Official has resigned as of January 30th.   Borough Clerk Santosusso is hoping to post the position as soon as possible.  Berryhill asked if anyone was opposed to posting the position.  Councilman Berryhill directed Kelly Santosusso to post the position.


Berryhill said that he was inadvertently listed in the Appointments as Council Liaison to the Green Team as well as the Shade Tree Commission.  Councilman Schroeder should be listed instead. Santosusso said that she has a few changes to the Appointments and there should be a resolution on the next Agenda amending the Appointments.


Councilman DiRenzo had no report.


Councilwoman Lange reported that there was an error on the HHBPA Calendar which caused residents some confusion on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday regarding trash collection.  The trash contractor did pick up trash on Monday.  Residents who called that their trash wasn’t placed out due to the notation on the calendar listing Tuesday as the pickup day, had their trash picked up by our DPW.  Trash was disposed of through an arrangement with Audubon.


She said that the usual Report on tonnage will be given at the second meeting in February. 


Lange announced that a Baby Changing Station was installed in the Cabin bathroom.


Councilwoman Lange reported that the Small Explorers Playground will hold a fundraising event on February 17, 2017 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Painted Treasure.  She said this is a half day for many of our school children.  The event is titled Kindness Rocks and Playing Rolls.  Displays of the playground will be presented by a professional playground company; kids will give input and then will be painting Kindness Rocks.  She said this activity is a national movement and photos will be placed on our on the Toddler Small Explorer’s website.  Lange added that this is a free and fun event.


She announced that we will have an event once the Small Explorers project is completed.


Councilwoman Lange reported that Summer Rec currently has 15 kids registered which is a strong early response. She went on to say that Winter programs are in session. 


Lange announced that all spring Field Use applications are now due.  She said that community sport organizations are reminded that if they wish to apply for the Camden County grants, all projects require Council approval.


Lange also announced that the Parks and Rec Committee will meet this Thursday in the Mayor’s office for an open agenda format.


Lange said the Board of Education met the first week of the month.  She said that Trish Sheilds was elected School Board President.  Check the school board district website for further details.


Council President Griffith gave the HH Police Department. 6,681 miles were driven on patrol, 1,113 calls for service, 42 arrests 18 accidents 50 ACS Complaints and 470 motor vehicle summonses were issued.


HH Police Department participated in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over initiative during the month of December. 


Griffith said that the Ordinance on the Agenda this evening is regarding roadwork police overtime rates.


She reminded all to view the HH Police Department on Facebook.


Board of Freeholders of the County have asked if we would be interested in hosting a Town Hall Meeting here in Haddon Heights.  She said they have been done in the past and are usually successful events.  She added that  typically, the Town Hall is conducted from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and then light refreshments are served with opportunities for attendees to visit informational booths covering various services/topics.  She asked if anyone had any objections to us hosting a Town Hall meeting for the County.  There were none.  Council President Griffith suggested that we have the matter on the Caucus Agenda for the next meeting. 


Lastly, Griffith said that the HH Neighbors Night Out Committee will hold its’ first meeting of the new year tomorrow evening.  More information will be provided at the next Council meeting.


Council President Griffith asked Craig Reilly of Bach Associates to come forward to present the Engineer’s Report.




Craig Reilly of Bach Associates, 304 White Horse Pike, said that he would rely on the submitted written report unless anyone had any questions.  Councilwoman Lange asked if we knew when the lighting project on McCullough Field at Devon Avenue would be complete.  Mr. Reilly responded that an estimated time period would be approximately 4 weeks.  A copy of the Engineer’s report is attached to these minutes. 


Council President Griffith suggested that there be some type of event at the end of the project that will be held in the evening as opposed to the morning.  Councilwoman Lange said she is planning an event “Let there be Light” once project is completed and lights have been tested and all have been trained.  She added that hot chocolate will be served.









Council President Griffith said that this is the first reading of  Ordinance 2017:1437 – An Ordinance Amending Chapter 75 §31 of the Code of the Borough of Haddon Heights Regarding Overtime Compensation Fees


Public Hearing and final adoption are scheduled for Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building located at 625 Station Avenue, Haddon Heights, New Jersey.


A motion to introduce Ordinance 2017:1437 was made by Councilwoman Lange, seconded by Councilman Berryhill.   Upon a roll call vote, all voted in favor.


Resolution 2017:43 – Resolution Approving a Social Affair Permit for St. Rose of Lima School for a Beef ‘n Beer Fundraiser Benefitting the Athletic Committee – Saturday, January 28, 2017, 7 to 11 p.m.


A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:43 was made by Councilwoman Lange, seconded by Councilman Berryhill.  All members were in favor with the exception of Councilwoman Valvardi who abstained.


Resolution 2017:44 – Resolution of Borough of Haddon Heights Authorizing the Borough Engineer to Make Application and Execute A Grant Contract with the New Jersey Department of Transportation for the Reconstruction of W. High Street – Phase III

A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:44 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Councilman Schroeder.  Under a roll call vote, all members were in favor.

Resolution 2017:45 – Resolution Authorizing Refunds of Program Fees


A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:45 was made by Councilwoman Lange, seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi.  Upon a roll call vote, all members 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.


Councilman DiRenzo asked what the fees were in the Agreement.  Clerk Santosusso said the Agreement was not included in the packet and was unsure of the amount.  Councilman DiRenzo said that he thought the Resolution should be tabled until we know what the fees are.


A motion to table Resolution 2017:46 was made by Councilman DiRenzo, seconded by Councilwoman Lange.   All members were in favor of tabling the Resolution.


Resolution 2017:47 – Resolution Approving Final Change Order #1 for the FY 2015 NJDOT Trust Fund Resurfacing of W. High Street – Phase II


A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:47 was made by Councilman DiRenzo seconded by Councilwoman Lange.  Under a roll call vote, all members were in favor.


Resolution 2017:48 – Resolution Authorizing Mayor to Execute an Agreement Between Voorhees Animal Orphanage, Inc. and the Borough of Haddon Heights For The Purpose of Providing Animal Shelter Services For a Period of 24 Months


A question posed by Councilman DiRenzo asked if we ever exceed 35 animals per year as an additional $20 per animal is charged after 35.  He also asked “Do we go after the homeowner for any additional fees that may be charged to the Borough.”  Santosusso said that she does not believe we have ever been charged over $400 per month.  Solicitor Olizi indicated that he thinks municipalities do not try to recoup these costs as these occurrences are somewhat rare.  Lange said that she thought this is for stray animals only.  The flat $400 is charged whether we use the services or not.  


A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:48 was made by Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi.  Upon a roll call vote, all members were in favor.


Resolution 2017:49 – Resolution Authorizing Payment of Bills and Claims for Second Half of January


A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:49 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Councilwoman Lange.  Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor with the exception of Council President Griffith and Councilwoman Valvardi who abstained from the payment to Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield. 


Councilman DiRenzo asked John Ellis, DPW Superintendent to come forward.  DiRenzo asked why there was a cost of $683.00 for a LED light.  Ellis answered that this covered several lights that go on the front of the plows. Councilman Schroeder asked whether the Glover Mill v Haddon Heights legal fees on the bill list covered one month or more than one month?  Olizi responded that his invoices as Solicitor cover four months.  Deputy Clerk Compton went upstairs to get a copy of the invoice.  The fees were for one month of services.  Santosusso said that she was aware that quite a bit of work had taken place recently on the lawsuit.


Resolution 2017:50 – 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.  Personnel Matter in the Police Department related to a Special Law Enforcement Officer.  Formal Action May be Taken.  


A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:50 was made by Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi.  All members were in favor.


Resolution 2017:51 – Resolution Requesting Permission from the Director of Local Government Services to

Establish a Dedicated by Rider Trust Fund for Recreation Trust Fund as Required by N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.56 (P.L. 1999, Chapter 292, Approved December 23, 1999 – REMOVED FROM AGENDA


Resolution 2017:52 – Resolution Approving Change Order #1 for the McCullough Field Lighting Project at Devon Avenue 


A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:52 was made by Councilman Schroeder, seconded by Councilwoman Lange.  All members were in favor with the exception of Councilman DiRenzo who abstained.




Council President 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 Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi.  All members present were in favor.


Council President Griffith 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.




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

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


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


Council considered Resolution 2017:53 – Resolution Appointing Jarrel Ferren to the Position of Class I Special Law Enforcement Officer. 


A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:53 was made by Councilman Berryhill and seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi.  All members were in favor.


A motion to adjourn the Executive Session was made by Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Councilwoman Griffith.  All members were in favor.   9:00 p.m.


Respectfully submitted:




Kelly Santosusso, RMC, Borough Clerk



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