BOROUGH OF HADDON HEIGHTS
Tuesday, July 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.”
Mayor Merryfield asked the Clerk for roll call.
Under roll call, Councilwomen Valvardi, Griffith and Madden were present as well as Councilmen Schroeder and Schreiber and Council President Mrozinski. Borough Solicitor Howard Long, Borough Clerk Kelly Santosusso, Deputy Clerk Katie Compton and CFO Christie Ehret were also present.
Borough Engineer Steve Bach explained that these resolutions need to be passed as a part of our Settlement Agreement with the Fair Share Housing Center. These are the two areas in town that were a part of the agreement and require us to redevelop. To start the redevelopment process, council had to send over two letters to the Planning Board allowing the redevelopment of these two parcels. The state approved these two properties.
Because these properties are zoned as business areas, if there are multiple owners on one property, the word “condemnation” lets the borough to allow for the best use of the property as we see fit. Bach explained that after these resolutions are passed, the matter will be forwarded back to Planning Board so they can prepare a plan for these properties. After the plans are made, they will be referred back to Council for final approval.
Solicitor Howard Long strongly suggested that Council leaves the word “Condemnation” in the resolutions.
Memorandum Of Agreement Between Camden County Police Chiefs Association and the Haddon Heights Police Department
Councilwoman Griffith explained that at the last Council meeting, she had proposed an agreement between the Borough and the Camden County Police Chiefs association that would allow the Borough to submit plans and blue prints of any and all buildings we wished to have included in their County wide geo-mapping system. This would help with emergency response. She explained that she wished to have an agreement with the School Board to have them assist with the annual fee, however the County wants this agreement signed ASAP. This is a great program either way and payment would not be due until next year.
Councilman Schroeder introduced Bob Hunter and Mary Ann Bigelow of Interfaith Caregivers. Bob Hunter explained that he has been involved in many things in town over years but he is most proud of his involvement with Interfaith Caregivers.
Mary Ann Bigelow, president of Interfaith Caregivers explains what the group does for the residents of Haddon Heights and Haddonfield. She said that we provide free services for anyone over 65. Their goal as a group is to keep people in their homes and in their community for as long as they can possibly stay. They provide many services, the majority of which are rides to and from doctors’ appointments, grocery shopping and quality of life (taking to classes, senior center, exercise classes, hair appointments). Not only do they provide transportation, they also provide companionship and respite care. It is also personal connections, one on one services. Isolation is a huge problem for seniors. This helps alleviate it. In 2017, Interfaith Caregivers provided 3,003 services for clients. 25 of their clients are 90+ and over. She said they have seen the need for our services increase 15% since 2015. 31 residents are direct service volunteers.
Councilman Schroeder asked Mrs. Bigelow if there is anything Council can do to help the organization. Ms. Bigelow said the biggest need is volunteers and funding. The group does all of their own funding. They get a $15,000 grant from the County per year, but their budget is $250,000.
Stanfill Towers Board of Directors Funding of Bus Service for Seniors/SCUCS
Councilman Schroeder introduced Anne McAdams, Suzanne Watson, and Mr. McElhatton representing Stanfill Towers.
Anne McAdams explained that Stanfill Towers is celebrating their 40th Birthday this year. She described how successful the facility is, saying that there is always a waiting list of several hundred people. About three years ago, the association purchased three small buildings on the White Horse Pike, rehabbed them, and rebranded them as Stanfill Commons. Four years ago, they purchased the house next door to the Towers, called Stanfill Manor, which houses the Haddon Heights Senior Resource Center. Any senior in Haddon Heights can come to Stanfill Manor and speak with a social worker free of cost.
McAdams said that as Stanfill continues working their mission statement, we have heard that there are residents who are having trouble physically getting to certain places in the area. She said they currently utilize a program through Camden County called SCUCS, however that only runs one day per week for shopping services, and one day per month to the mall. They are exploring the idea of contracting with SCUCS to offer the additional days of service to run back and forth from Haddon Heights to various shopping destinations in the area.
Sue Watson explained that she is on the Boards of both Stanfill Towers and SCUCS. She explained that some towns in Camden County contract with SCUCS directly to provide additional services to their specific town.
Stanfill has put out a survey in Borough Hall and the Library to get responses related to the want for additional transportation for seniors. 85/105 responded that they would like to have this service. The intent is to have an additional 37 hours per month for people 60 and older and those with disabilities. They are looking to gain the Council’s support in this initiative. They plan to start on October 1st of this year.
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.
Anne McAdams, 401 E. Atlantic Avenue- Mrs. McAdams explained that she is here representing Stanfill Towers and the senior citizens in Haddon Heights. She is here to support the Stanfill Towers proposed additional transportation services for seniors.
Suzanne Watson, Copley Road, Haddonfield – Mrs. Watson is here to further discuss the proposed Stanfill Towers Transportation Services. This program will provide weekly transportation services for the seniors and Disabled residents of Haddon Heights. Some locations where the services will take our residents are the Wegmans Shopping Center in Cherry Hill, Shoprite in Lawnside, Cherry Hill and Deptford Mall, and the Westmont Shopping Center. Watson explained that this service will be door to door. She said that it is their pleasure to make this possible for the community and thanked Councilman Bryan Schroeder and Kelly Santosusso for working closely with us to help bring this to the attention of council tonight. She hopes to have their support.
Seeing no more movement, Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to close the Public Comment portion of the meeting.
A motion to close Public Comment was made by Councilwoman Madden, seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. All members were in favor.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES:
Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to TABLE the Council meeting Minutes of June 19, 2018. A motion was made by Councilwoman Madden seconded by Councilman Schreiber. All members present voted in favor with the exception of Councilman Schroeder who abstained.
Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to approve the Executive Session meeting Minutes of February 20, 2018, March 6, 2018, March 20, 2018, April 17, 2018, May 1, 2018, and May 15, 2018. A motion was made by Councilwoman Griffith seconded by Councilwoman Madden. All members present voted in favor with the exception of Councilwoman Griffith who abstained from the May 15, 2018 Minutes.
Councilwoman Madden thanked Anne McAdams and Suzanne Watson of Stanfill Towers for their work on bringing this program to fruition for the residents of Haddon Heights. Madden also thanked the representatives from Interfaith Caregivers for all that they do for the seniors of our town and Haddonfield. Councilwoman Madden explained that we want to help support both of these groups in any way that we can.
Madden reported that the Board of Education met on July 10th. She said there was public comment on various issues including grade level schools. She advised that the board has asked for everyone’s patience on this issue as they are still exploring this idea. The board is also considering Geo-mapping the schools to help with emergency response.
The Municipal Drug Alliance met last night. The main topic of conversation was the Firecracker 5k held on July 4, 2018. This run was a huge success, having over 300 runners. The committee raised a lot of money that will be going to great programs. The next meeting is September 17th.
Councilwoman Griffith read the June Police Department report, a copy of which is attached to these minutes. She explained that there is a resolution on the agenda tonight for Haddon Heights to enter into an agreement with the Camden County Police Chiefs Association. This agreement will allow Haddon Heights to submit blue prints and plans of any building we want geo-mapped into this county-wide system which will assist with any emergency response.
Griffith also read the Barrington EMS report for June. A copy is attached to these minutes.
Council President Mrozinski thanked and recognized Anne McAdams and Suzanne Watson from Stanfill Towers. He explained that it is an honor to have them in our community.
The next Economic Development Committee meeting is on July 25th. Two items that the committee has been working on have progressed significantly. One of these items is the pedestrian improvements on Station Avenue. The other item is the Municipal Website update. Another item on this committee’s radar is the implementation of bike racks on Station Avenue. Mrozinski will share the proposal materials with council regarding bike racks within the next few days. Finally, the vacant and foreclosed home registrar though the Camden County Improvement Authority has brought in $1,500 for June 2018. Two properties were added and two were removed this month.
Councilman Schreiber reported that he has been working with the Engineer to secure funds for the Small Asset Management Plan. He has also been meeting with the Police Department and Department of Public Works to see what our other capital needs may be for the next five years. He plans to present a five year capital plan included with a needs assessment in September.
Councilwoman Valvardi thanked Mr. and Mrs. Cox for their help with the baby parade. She also thanked Bob Hunter and Trish Shields for their help with the bike parade. Overall, the Fourth of July parade was a great event. She thanked Marian Hauser who was phenomenal behind the scenes, coordinating the bands and organizations. She also thanked Susan Griffith and Kathy Lange for their copious amounts of notes left in the file to help direct me and Stephanie Madden accordingly.
Councilman Schroeder echoed the comments on Stanfill and Interfaith Caregivers and again thanked Bob Hunter, Mary Ann Bigelow and their volunteers for the services they provide in town. He also thanked Anne McAdams and Sue Watson for being here on behalf of Stanfill Towers. He is impressed with the bus program expansion.
Schroeder also reported that there will be a proposed ordinance to clean up the code in Parks and Rec section for Sports Organizations to hopefully be on the next agenda. He plans to have a meeting with representatives from specific Sports Organizations to have some input on the ordinance.
Craig Reilly, Bach Associates – Reilly explained that we will be relying on the written report that was submitted but he wanted to highlight a few items. Reilly announced that in addition to the Station Avenue Pedestrian Improvements, they will also be installing no passing zone lines on Station Avenue, Prospect Ridge, and E. Atlantic Avenue.
Reilly also announced that the Preconstruction meeting for the ADA Improvements for the Steps at Borough Hall is scheduled for tomorrow. This project should be starting soon.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS:Resolution 2018:151 – Resolution Authorizing The Execution Of A Cooperative Pricing Agreement, By And Between The County Of Camden And The Borough Of Haddon Heights – South Jersey Power Cooperative
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:151 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. All members voted in favor with the exception of Councilmen Schreiber and Mrozinski who abstained.
Resolution 2018:156 – Resolution Of The Borough Of Haddon Heights, County Of Camden, State Of New Jersey Designating Certain Property Within The Borough Of Haddon Heights As A Condemnation Area In Need Of Redevelopment In Accordance With The Local Redevelopment And Housing Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-1 et seq. (Block 29, Lot 4)
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:156 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. All members voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:157 – Resolution Of The Borough Of Haddon Heights, County Of Camden, State Of New Jersey Designating Certain Property Within The Borough Of Haddon Heights As An Area In Need Of Redevelopment In Accordance With The Local Redevelopment And Housing Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-1 et seq. (Block 80, Lots 1, 2, 2.01, And 2.03)
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:157 was made by Councilwoman Griffith and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. All members present voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:162 – Resolution Authorizing The Chief Of Police To Execute A Memorandum Of Understanding Of The Camden County Police Chiefs Association And The Haddon Heights Police Department
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:162 was made by Councilwoman Griffith and seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. All members present voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:170 – Resolution to Cancel Old Grant Receivable and/or Grant Reserve Appropriation Balances AS AMENDED
Council President asked CFO Christie Ehret if she can explain the purpose of this resolution prior to adoption. CM wants an answer to the question about this. Ehret explained that this is a topic that came up during the Audit Exit Conference. The auditors suggested that we clean up some of the old grants that have been sitting on our books for over six years. When we receive a grant, we have to spend that amount within a certain time period. The amounts on this resolution were never spent. This could be an audit finding in future years. Some of the items are just monies that were left over from pervious grants that need to be cancelled, some were never spent, or some were never encumbered. Some of these are “receivables” that we do not have the physical money but it was just anticipated.
Mrozinski asked how we can avoid this in the future. It is important that if there is money received, and a limited time frame on when spending can occur, it needs to happen.
Councilman Schreiber suggested the CFO provides council with a monthly grant report so council can keep track of what is being spend and what is not.
Schreiber made a motion to amend the resolution to include a line that will require the CFO to report the available grant balances to council on a monthly basis.
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:170 AS AMENDED was made by Councilwoman Griffith and seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. All members present voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:174 – Resolution To Approve And File A Corrective Action Plan For 2017 Audit Report
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:174 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. All members voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:175 – Resolution In Support of Stanfill Towers Agreement/Contract with Senior Citizens United Community Services, Inc. for the Purpose of a Shopping Route Bus Service for the Borough of Haddon Heights Senior Residents
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:175 was made by Councilman Schroeder and seconded by Councilman Schreiber. All members voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:176 – Resolution Authorizing the Payment of Bills and Claims for the Second Half of July
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:176 was made by Councilwoman Madden and seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. Upon a roll call vote, all members voted in favor with the exception of Councilwomen Griffith and Valvardi who abstained from Southern New Jersey Regional Benefit Fund.
Resolution 2018:177 – Resolution Authorizing the Refund of Program Fees
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:177 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilman Schreiber. Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:178 – Borough Of Haddon Heights Mayor And Council Revised Listing Of Annual Meeting Dates For 2018
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:178 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. All members voted in favor.
Mayor Merryfield called for Public Comment on any topic anyone may wish to address.
Kathy Lange, 26 First Avenue – Former Councilwoman Kathy Lange thanked the Solicitor and Parks and Rec Director Schroeder for working on the new Field Use Agreement and Ordinance. She said holding a meeting regarding a field use ordinance that involves the sports organizations is a great idea.
Lange also suggested that we check with the committee representatives that are involved in applying and expending grant monies prior to dissolving them.
Kathleen Franklin, 1604 Oak Ave – Mrs. Franklin thanked everyone for bringing awareness to the situation regarding the email she received on June 15th. She asked Councilman Schroeder if the plan is to have the on the agenda for the next Council Meeting. Councilman Schroeder explained that that is the goal, however, it will depend on the availability of the sports organization representatives.
Seeing no more movement, a motion to close the meeting was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Madden. All members present voted in favor.
Mayor Merryfield announced that council will be going upstairs into a Budget Work Session.
BUDGET WORK SESSION
Councilwoman Valvardi explained that in the last closed session she had suggested that the CFO come to update Mayor and Council on where we stand with the budget and the audit finding.
CFO Christie Ehret highlighted a few items for Council.
First, Ehret explained that there at the end of the year, there will be an unpredicted savings of about $31,000 remaining in the Salary and Wage line of the Department of Public Work’s budget.
Next, Ehret explained that we have received an unexpected bill from Camden County for $8,600 for reimbursement of Patrol Officer Propati’s schooling. Councilwoman Madden explained that this is a statutory requirement, that then any officer leaves Camden County Metro Police before their contract is up, the hiring department must reimburse Camden Metro for 50% of the schooling.
The next item Ehret went over was that as of today, we only have $2,922 left in our legal line item. Howard Long explained that the significant expenditures out of this line was because of the personnel matters that occurred at the beginning of the year. A normal month of legal services for his firm typically ranges between $4,000 and $5,000.
Councilman Schreiber explained that he works with budgets every day and that a budget is just that, an estimate. He said he is not too concerned about the status of the budget and said that what matters is the bigger picture, that at the end of the day we need to ensure that our revenues match or exceed our expenses.
The last item that Ehret called attention to was the Public Works Vehicle Maintenance account. She explained that they have spent quite a lot of money repairing their vehicles. Much of these expenditures are a result of the majority of their equipment and vehicles being very old. We budgeted $60,000 and have about $8,000 left. Councilman Schreiber said this is the result of not capital investing in this department.
Councilman Schreiber also acknowledge that Borough Clerk Kelly Santosusso, Deputy Clerk Katie Compton, and CFO Christie Ehret have been very receptive to purchasing regulations implementation but said this is an exact reason why the Purchase Orders need to be approved before expending.
A motion to adjourn was made by Councilwoman Griffith and seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. All members present were in favor.
Deputy Borough Clerk