BOROUGH OF HADDON HEIGHTS
Tuesday, March 21, 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.”
Mayor Merryfield asked the Clerk 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 Bryan Schroeder. Solicitor Albert Olizi, Jr., Borough Clerk Kelly Santosusso and Deputy Borough Clerk Katilyn Compton were also present. Council President Griffith welcomed the Mayor back after an extended illness.
Mayor Merryfield began the meeting by addressing the items on the caucus agenda.
Councilwoman Valvardi said that all might recall that at the last meeting she mentioned that this is the year that a capital budget should be instituted due to the fact that we have not done a capital budget in close to four years. She said that each Department Head met with her and the CFO and communicated what their needs are and submitted their capital budgets. She said that following both her and the CFO’s review, the items in the bond ordinance are what was considered to be essential. She said she and the CFO then spoke with the Mayor and Council President who both agreed. Valvardi said that Bond Counsel was then contacted to prepare the Ordinance on the Agenda this evening. Bond Counsel researches the useful life of each item requested. Maple Avenue Pump Station is now an emergency. This proves that we need to proactive rather than reaction.
Tonight is the Introduction with a Public Hearing on April 4th. Following public hearing and final adoption
She asked all to consider that the funding for the emergency at Maple Avenue Pump Station.
DiRenzo said that we just received this on Monday. He commented that he many of the items are not emergencies. He said we need to have a public hearing. It was then explained that a Public Hearing is scheduled for April 4th and that tonight is the Introduction only.
Councilman DiRenzo asked the CFO if the money for the emergency at Maple Avenue Pump Station could be taken from surplus. CFO Ehret responded yes.
Councilman Schroeder said he would like to see some additional information supporting each item.
Councilwoman Valvardi said that she felt this was presented in the best way possible. DiRenzo said that we have to review our bond debt and have more questions answered. Lange said that she felt that those who submitted capital requests that were not included in the bond ordinance should have been notified previous to the bond ordinance appearing on the Agenda. Council President Griffith said that the items that are included in the Bond Ordinance are necessities and have been put off for the last few years. Councilman DiRenzo added that he would like to see the Department Heads capital requests. Council President Griffith said that all Department Heads have submitted their capital budgets so the information is available.
Hens in Heights
Berryhill said that he would like to introduce an Ordinance in April for Hens in Heights. He said that questions can be answered by some present this evening. Councilwoman Lange said she would like to address the setback from property lines but told Councilman Berryhill she can discuss with him at a later point. Councilman Berryhill said he will be working with Solicitor Olizi to complete the ordinance.
Council President Griffith said she was approached by Richard Kinkler regarding an annual fee for a Type I Fire Prevention permit versus a per event fee for vendors who participate in our Major Events. She said that the fee of $42 for each event per vendor was suggested. She said that Kinkler has been designated security liaison for Heights in Progress. She said that we now have several Major Events, which should be defined as a significant road closure on Station Avenue. She said there are times that HIP uses the same vendors for each of their events. They have had to pay the $42 fee and register for each event. She said that HIP has proposed paying a calendar annual fee of $42 per year, January through the end of December. Inspections would still be performed for each event. She said that this would apply to any organization, i.e. Haddon Heights Business and Professional Association or Neighbors Night Out, PTG etc
Council President Griffith then described the procedure the Fire Department follows when a permit is applied for – they get the specs out to the applicant/vendor regarding the permit for a Type I, (open burning, generators and electric) and then the permit is paid for and an inspection is done prior to the event. She said the annual fee of $42 would cover the vendor for the entirety of major events (including the Farmer’s Market) for the year. Once a Borough approved application for a Major Event (obtained through the PD) is completed, the vendor would then be permitted to apply and pay for the annual permit at the Fire Prevention office. Griffith said that she asked the Solicitor if we could have a Resolution in place to cover the HIP event being held on the 22nd of April with the idea that an Ordinance setting an annual fee would be considered going forward.
Councilman DiRenzo asked where these fees go? Griffith responded the money goes to the Fire Prevention Office. DiRenzo then asked if we would be losing money by not assessing the fee for each event. Fire Chief Kinky said that the purpose of the fire code is not to generate revenue, but to make sure everything is safe. Chief Kinky then added that putting an annual fee in place would streamline things in the office and would have minimal impact on the budget.
Councilwoman Lange suggested that this proposal be presented to the Haddon Heights Business and Professional Association (HHBPA) as well. She then questioned why a one-time event vendor would have to pay the fee for a permit and not have it be considered an annual permit. Griffith responded the reason is because the major event vendors return for each event throughout the year.
Caucus session concluded at 7:28 p.m.
Mayor Merryfield called the Business Session to order at 7:30 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE AND MOMENT OF SILENCE:
Mayor Merryfield asked for a moment of silence. He then led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mayor Merryfield called for Public Comment on Caucus and Agenda items only.
Barbara Burger, 1149 Fulling Mill Lane – Ms. Burger said she was here to talk about Fulling Mill Park. She addressed several concerns with respect to the national historic site and the current condition of the site. She said that she understood that funds were supposed to be appropriated for the site last October. She said that there are nice historic markers/signs, a handicapped accessible sidewalk and a black chain link fence was put up last year around the site. She said that she is disappointed that she was not on the Caucus Agenda and asked how Fulling Mill Park can be part of the capital budget. Ms. Burger said that several of the residents met with Councilwoman Lange and Rosemary Fitzgerald. Solicitor asked whether plans were submitted. They said there are plans but the money has not been allocated. October of 2015, Fulling Mill Park was submitted as part of the capital budget. DiRenzo asked if there was a total cost requested. Lange responded that she requested $15,000. Councilwoman Valvardi said that the oversight was not intentional – she said that she is trying to include everything that are necessities for the Borough Departments.
Ms. Burger said that this is a national historic landmark and it is unsightly. Berryhill asked how much money is needed. She said the work could be done in phases and is unsure as to what total cost would be. Berger asked what is now needed from them to be considered for inclusion in the capital ordinance. Lange said that at the time the capital budgets were submitted, it was not known by her whether trees and shrubs could be considered capital. Borough Engineer Bach responded that trees and bushes are capital items, flowers are not. Olizi said that a detailed list of what would be done needs to be submitted as soon as possible.
She expressed her concern regarding safety of children who often play in the area, specifically the columns that held the old Public Works sign.
Sue Ponaitowski, 1165 Fulling Mill Lane – Ms. Ponaitowski expressed her displeasure at the current appearance of the national historic landmark. She explained it is an eyesore that there are two large columns of rocks as well as cement pieces and trash. She asked what the Friends of Fulling Mill Committee is and why the residents had no knowledge of their meetings. It was explained that a list of names was submitted to Council. Councilwoman Lange said she thought Ms. Ponaitowski was present at the meeting. Ponaitowski said she is trying to determine whether the Department of Public Works is responsible for cleaning up the area. She also expressed concern for the columns that are currently propped up. Discussion ensued with Councilwoman Lange saying that it was her impression that Rose Fitzgerald had asked that the columns not be removed. Ponaitowski and Berger asked what can be done going forward. She said there is signage, a handicapped accessible sidewalk and a fence surrounding the site but does not feel the area appears worthy of a national historic site. Borough Engineer Steve Bach said that the Borough owns the property and there are no current plans for beautification of the area. He said the fence was installed to protect the site. Discussion took place as to what the plans were and the communication of those plans. Councilwoman Lange explained that Rose Fitzgerald prepared a grant application that resulted in $50,000 for an archeological dig. Lange said that the Dedication of Fullling Park is taking place this Saturday.
Katelyn Mercurio, 1136 Fulling Mill Lane – Ms. Mercurio expressed her concern regarding safety as they live there and children play there. She said if the area is unsafe, signs should be present advising people. Ms. Mercurio went on to say that residents were told that the area was going to be developed into a park. Borough engineer Steve Bach said there are no immediate plans to develop the area into a park. Ms. Berger said that we need to move forward in correcting residents’ concerns. Councilwoman Lange said that Fitzgerald gave a two page report on the site to Council on the project a few months ago. She said she hoped to have clarification as to whether the area can be referred to as a park.
Discussion was concluded with the Mayor, Borough Engineer and Councilwoman Lange saying they would meet at the Fulling Mill site tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m.
Councilman Berryhill said that he has been on Council for seven years and he never understood that the site was to be developed into a Borough park. He added that the columns were not to be disturbed.
A resident from Glover Mill said that the columns were not part of the historic site and did not see the reason for keeping them. Borough Engineer said that he did not know how the columns got propped up.
John McClafferty, 601 Garden Street – Mr. McClafferty he said that he received an e-mail regarding the Hens Pilot Program. He said that he is in favor of the Program and has attended meetings of the organizers and feels that the Program has been well thought out.
McClafferty then commented that he thought the annual fire prevention permit for vendors should be higher than $42.00. Council President Griffith said that Councilman DiRenzo suggested a fee of $85. McClafferty said that vendors who take part in the Farmer’s Market would then be paying close to $300. He did not feel we should discourage vendors from participating in town events. Griffith said that she is open to further discussion.
Seeing no further movement, a motion to close the Public Comment portion of the meeting was made by Council President Griffith and was seconded by Councilman Berryhill. All members were in favor.
Councilwoman Lange said she will accept the Certificate of Appreciation for Sharon Sayers who could not attend the meeting this evening. She then read the Certificate which included Ms. Sayers free and complimentary use of her business, her paint, paint brushes and other supplies for the Kindness Rocks Event.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Council President Susan Griffith Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to approve the Minutes of the March 7, 2017 Council meeting.
A motion to approve the Minutes of the March 7, 2017 Council meeting was made by Council President Griffith, seconded by Councilman Schroeder. All members were in favor.
Councilman Schroeder reported that the Environmental Commission met last week. Discussion included the examination of borough lots to return to wooded conditions. Multiple lots were discussed so we need to ensure that none of these lots interfere with the community garden. Discussion also included implementing solar panels onto borough building and Sustainable Haddon Heights involvement with solar energy. The Environmental Commission is planning an Arbor Day program in coordination with the Shade Tree Commission to distribute seedlings to students in the schools. The Community Stewardship Incentive Program through the Forestry Service. He said this is a NJ Department of Environmental Protection grant. He said we received a grant in 2013 for hazardous remediation and our Superintendent of Public Works and CFO are working on paperwork to close this grant so we are eligible for the 2017 CSIP grants. The Shade Tree commission is eligible for this grant for 2017. This grant application is due on May 16, 2017 and can be awarded up to $21,000.00. The next Shade Tree Commission meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday at the Service Operations Facility at 7:00 p.m.
Councilwoman Valvardi extended her condolences to Deputy Clerk Katie Compton and her family for the passing of her grandmother this past week.
She announced that Borough Clerk Kelly Santosusso and Superintendent John Ellis conducted interviews for the position of Service Operations Facility Assistant on Monday, March 13th.
Valvardi then reported that she attended a budget seminar at Bowman & Company on January 26th and a seminar at Mercer County College sponsored by the NJ League of Municipalities Budget class. She said both were very helpful and gave her ideas that she hopes to pursue in the future. She thanked the Borough for allowing her to attend both seminars.
Valvardi then said that she and Councilwoman Lange attended the HH Business and Professional Association meeting that was held on Wednesday, March 8. HHBPA reported that they already have three vendors registered for the Fall Festival. HHBPA received a good turnout for their Bowling Event, Bowl the Night Away, 48 people attended with a large turn out from the Haddon Heights Police and Fire Departments. She said the ‘Whitman’ team took first place, the ‘Scardino’ team took second place, and the ‘Danny Boy Kinkler’ team took third place. HHBPA now has a new Vice President but is still looking for a secretary.
Valvardi explained that we are formally introducing the 2017 Budget tonight with Public comment and final adoption scheduled for April 18th. Any comments and or concerns can be addressed at that time.
She reported on the Borough’s Standards and Poors long term rating has increased up one (1) notch from an A+ to an AA-. She described the S&P rating as the equivalent to a credit history for the borough. She said this represents the financial stability of the town. Lastly, she said the the S&P rating is the single most important factor for determining the interest rate we receive when bonding.
Councilman Berryhill reported that the Municipal Alliance met last week and are working on four events – a Team Pep Retreat will be held this summer to help freshmen when confronting issues of bullying, drug and alcohol abuse and positive decision making. Berryhill said that the Police Department is working on baseball cards of the officers to hand out to elementary school students. He said that this is to build a bond and good will between our kids and the Police Department. He added that a contest will be held for the child who collects the most cards.
He announced that a senior luncheon will be planned for this fall to address the effects of drug and alcohol abuse as well as prescription drug abuse on seniors. Berryhill then said that a 5K Race is also being planned for July 4th prior to the Parade.
Councilman Berryhill said that our Construction Official, John Sczcerbinski has given his notice that he will be retiring. He said that he will be greatly missed and that we will have to post and advertise the position.
Lastly, Berryhill said that hopefully we will have hens in Haddon Heights very soon.
Council President Griffith said that she wanted to thank the Police and Fire Departments as well as the Department of Public Works for a fine job done during the storm last week. She said that there were many trees down and a lot of brush as a result. She said that the Department of Public Works is working on picking up all the brush throughout town.
Council President Griffith presented the HH Fire Department report which is attached to these minutes.
Griffith then reported on the Police Department, a copy of which is attached to these minutes. She then submitted the reports to the Clerk for inclusion with the Minutes. She reminded all to follow the HH Police Department on Facebook.
Council President Griffith then reported on Neighbors Night Out. She said that banners that were attached to street lamps were addressed at the last meeting. She said we currently have six light poles around the Barr Complex and three on Station Avenue that are available for a banner to be hung. She said the cost is $375 for the first year and $100 for two years for maintenance on the banners. Most of the previous banner owners are opting to purchase another banner hung. They are looking into advertising on the Kings Highway signage when the sign is empty. They also would like to add a spotlight to highlight the sign.
Some of the projects NNO is working on include Kid Time during the Farmer’s Market. The Senior Project is sponsoring an acting class that will be run 8 weeks and will be limited to 12 seniors. They will write and make the costumes. They are looking for a sponsorship for this program.
They are looking to create a schematic for the Welcome to Haddon Heights sign at the White Horse Pike and Kings Highway. They are trying to organize flowers and shrubbery to be donated for this sign.
Griffith said that NNO will be sponsoring the Easter Egg Hunt, Theatre Playbill with the High School and Kid Time at the Farmer’s Market. She said they are working on a Drive in Movie Theatre with the Library; the proceeds will go to the Library on August 4th. She said the Pop Up Dinner ‘Soiree En Blanc’ will be held May 20th – the location will not be known until about an hour before the event. She said they are looking to prepare a proposal to extend the Kindness Rocks program into the schools.
Griffith said that the group is working on a new logo for NNO and the name change. She said that the new logo will be more representative of the group’s current mission. She said they are hoping to have the new logo in place by their next meeting.
Councilman DiRenzo asked if letters were sent out to previous banner sponsors about the new banners. Griffith responded that she was unsure if letters were sent out or if phone calls were made. DiRenzo said he was not contacted. Councilwoman Griffith said she will check into this. DiRenzo then asked about the sign on Kings Highway and if the sign is being utilized for advertising? Griffith responded that they are working to increase advertising on that sign.
Councilman DiRenzo asked if Neighbors Night Out has as a treasurer who he can send a letter to. Griffith responded yes and named Roni Olizi as the Treasurer.
Councilwoman Lange thanked our CFO and Councilwoman Valvardi and Mayor for their work on the budget.
She said that there will be an event for Friends of Fulling Mill Park which will include an extensive article on the state and national historic site in the Courier Post. She said this designation is not something that is not handed out easily. She said that she wanted to thank Rosemary Fitzgerald for the decades of work on this site and for obtaining a grant for the site.
Lange announced that there will be a third fundraiser for the Small Explorers Playground on Sunday evening June 4th, 2017 at Paint-A-Treasure.
Summer Rec Registration is going very well. There are just a few slots left. An add will appear in the local paper for Summer Rec counselors
Lange explained that Borough sponsors the Easter Egg Hunt. The date was changed to April 15 and will be held at Hoff’s Park. NNO and HH Business and Professional Association are the sponsors. She said Trish Sheilds does all the filling of the eggs.
The Board of Education met last week on the evening of the storm. She said she did not attend but the notes will be on the school district’s website.
Councilman DiRenzo had no report.
Borough Engineer Steve Bach said that he presented his report to Council and will rely on that unless anyone had any questions.
Mayor Merryfield opened the Public Hearing on Ordinance 2017:1438 – An Ordinance Amending §100-20 of the Entitled Stop Intersections
Ginger Daniels, Collingswood, said that she wanted to present Kendall, a child who attends Glenview Avenue School. Kendall explained that when she tries to cross the street, cars do not always stop. Mayor Merryfield said he will try his best to help. Ms. Daniels reiterated her support of a four way stop sign and said that she appreciates Council’s support.
Council President Griffith said that the Department of Public Works will be out the week of spring break to paint the street markers that designate the areas as ‘no parking.’ She said this may reduce the number of spots for parking. Council President Griffith said she is hoping this will alleviate the problem.
Jen Derins, 1520 Prospect Ridge Boulevard – She supports the stop sign ordinance for and hens in Heights.
Joan Maguire, 8 Thornholden Avenue said that she supports the ordinance for the stop sign.
Seeing no one else come forward, motion to close the public hearing was made by Council President Griffith, seconded by Councilman Berryhill. All members voted in favor.
A motion to adopt Ordinance 20127:1438 was made by Councilman Schroeder, seconded by Council President Griffith. All members voted in favor.
Mayor Merryfield opened the Public Hearing on Ordinance 2017:1439 – Ordinance to Exceed the 2017 Municipal Budget Appropriation Limits and to Establish A Cap Bank (N.J.S.A. 40A: 4-45.14)
Seeing no one come forward for comment, a motion to close the public hearing was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Councilman Berryhill. All members were in favor.
A motion to adopt Ordinance 2017:1439 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Council President Griffith. Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor.
Resolution 2017:85 – Resolution Approving Introduction and Providing Notice for Public Hearing and Public Inspection of the 2017 Municipal Budget
Public Hearing and Final Adoption is scheduled for April 18, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building located at 625 Station Avenue, Haddon Heights, New Jersey
Motion to Introduce Resolution 2017:85 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Councilwoman Lange. Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor.
Councilman DiRenzo suggested that the Introduced Budget be placed on the borough Website’s homepage in addition to the Finance page. Borough Clerk Santosusso said it will be place on both.
Bond Ordinance 2017:1440 – Bond Ordinance Providing for Various Capital Improvements by the Borough of
Haddon Heights, Appropriating the Aggregate Amount of $948,000.00 Therefor and Authorizing the Issuance of
$902,000.00 Bonds or Notes of the Borough to Finance Part of the Cost Thereof
Public Hearing and Final Adoption is scheduled for April 4, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building located at 625 Station Avenue, Haddon Heights, New Jersey.
Councilman DiRenzo asked to push this back since nothing listed is an emergency and we can receive more input. Mayor Merryfield ensured that this is only the introduction and nothing is being passed at this time to get the Capital process started. If members or residents have concerns with the items listed, then we can address issues or changes during the Public Hearing at the next meeting.
DiRenzo said that he would like it to be posted on the website for the public to review. DiRenzo was informed that it has been posted on the website.
A motion to introduce Bond Ordinance 2017:1440 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Council President Griffith. Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor with the exception of Councilman DiRenzo who abstained.
Resolution 2017:86 – Resolution Authorizing Bills and Claims for the Second Half of March
A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:86 was made by Council President Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor with the exception of Council President Griffith and Councilwoman Valvardi who abstained from the Bollinger Bill, as well as Councilman Schroeder who voted no on the Duane Morris bill.
Councilman DiRenzo expressed his concerns with the Duane Morris bill.
Resolution 2017:87 – Resolution Authorizing Transfers of Appropriation Reserves
A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:87 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Councilman Schroeder. Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor with the exception of Councilman DiRenzo who voted no.
Resolution 2017:88 – 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 the Construction Office. Discussion expected to be ½ hr. in duration. Formal Action May be Taken. 2.) Matter related to the Service Operations Facility. Discussion expected to be ½ hr. in duration. Formal Action May be Taken.
A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:88 was made by Council President Griffith, seconded by Councilman Berryhill. All members voted in favor.
Resolution 2017:89 – Resolution Authorizing the Mayor to Execute A Camden Improvement Authority
Development Grant Agreement for Year 39 (2017-2018)
Councilwoman Lange asked what this project was for. Other members on council responded that the resolution specified it was for Curb Cuts.
A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:89 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Council President Griffith. Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor.
Resolution 2017:90 – Resolution Establishing an Emergency Related to the Maple Avenue Pump Station in the Borough of Haddon Heights
Councilman DiRenzo asked Superintendent John Ellis what had happened at the pump station. Ellis responded that the housing of the pump warped through and cracked. Only one pump at the location is currently working. Borough Engineer Steve Bach expressed that this pump is original from the 1950’s. 35% of the Borough’s sewages goes to this pump so if the station went in its entirety, it would be a significant expenditure. He explained that Council will have to consider a complete re-do of this pump station in the near future, as we did with Lake Street. The work being passed under this resolution is only a band-aid.
A motion to adopt Resolution 2017:90 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Council President Griffith. Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor.
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 Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilman Berryhill. All members were in favor.
Mayor Merryfield announced that Council would be going into Executive Session.
ADJOURNMENT OF BUSINESS SESSION:
Kelly Santosusso, RMC