BOROUGH OF HADDON HEIGHTS
Tuesday, March 7, 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 Griffith 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 Bryan Schroeder. Solicitor Albert Olizi, Jr., Borough Clerk Kelly Santosusso and Deputy Borough Clerk Katilyn Compton were also present. Mayor Jack Merryfield was absent and was excused.
Council President Griffith announced that Mayor Merryfield is home recovering from unexpected surgery. She said that she will be acting on behalf of the Mayor until his return. Council President Griffith said that there are several topics on the Caucus Agenda but asked each Councilmember if they had any questions regarding this evening’s Agenda. Councilman DiRenzo said he will save his comments for the Business session. Councilman DiRenzo asked if there was an update regarding the Mayor. Griffith said that the Mayor is recovering and says he is getting better everyday.
Hens in Heights Pilot Program
Council President Griffith said that she and Councilman Berryhill been approached by some residents asking if they could make a presentation to Council to determine what the feasibility is of beginning a Hen Pilot program in Haddon Heights. Councilman Berryhill explained that Gwen Baile and a group of people brought this idea to him a couple of years ago. He said that Gwen Baile was very instrumental in developing a Pilot Program in Haddon Township. He said what this means we would be approving a group of people to have four hens on their private property in their yards. He said there would be an advisory board of approximately eight people who currently have hens and would oversee the Pilot program. He said that anyone who would participate in the Pilot would be required to attend an educational program. The idea is to begin with 20 households in towns with some basic rules for how far they need to be kept from property lines, etc. He said that he has provided information that is specifically designed for councilmembers and explains the benefits of hens. He said that that the eggs are healthier, this builds community and this is good for the environment. He said hens eat spiders, mosquitoes and stink bugs. it is recommended that no less than 4 to 6 hens be kept. He said that the one of the documents provided dispels the myths associated with hens being kept on residential properties. They are not dirty, do not carry disease and are not noisy; he explained that an advisory board would address complaints from residents. Councilwoman Griffith added that this Pilot is not for commercial purposes. They cannot be sold however, they can be given to a neighbor or family member. Berryhill said that he would like to have an Ordinance introduced over the next month. Ms. Baile explained that the Pilot Program has been very successful in Haddon Township, Oaklyn, Barrington and Delran. She said there have been no complaints whatsoever in Haddon Township. She said they are in the 17th month of a two year Pilot in Haddon Township. Councilman DiRenzo asked if there is a veterinarian required in the Ordinance. Baile responded no but that chickens are vaccinated for one illness because it can wipe out the flock. Olizi asked if all of the Pilots have used the same model and same enforcement procedures. Discussion ensued. Baile explained that the Advisory Board would handle any complaints so that the Zoning Officer would not have to become involved. Councilwoman Griffith thanked everyone and said that we will work on an Ordinance.
Awarding of 60 Month Lease Agreements for Borough Copiers and Postage Machine
Kelly Santosusso said that all may notice resolutions on the Agenda this evening awarding contracts to KDI and to Neopost. She explained that the spreadsheet provided this evening is for the postage machine. She explained that had a demo of the initial proposed machine revealed that we would need to go up a level in machine. Neopost provided a quote later that day that was the lowest of the three vendors for comparable machines. Santosusso said that we have discussed this over the last three meetings and assured the governing body that all quotes received were closely reviewed. She said that administration is recommending contracting with Neopost for the postage machine and KDI for Savin Copiers for both the Administrative Offices and the Service Operations Facility. Councilman DiRenzo noted that Pitney Bowes was offering free ink cartridges. Compton said there were just a couple of cartridges that would be provided, not for the life of the contract. Santosusso concluded by saying that Resolutions 2017:76 and Resolution 2017:77 were on this evening’s Agenda for Council’s consideration.
2017 Municipal Budget
Councilwoman Valvardi addressed Council regarding the 2017 budget process. She gave a brief history saying that in September of 2016, our CFO Christie Ehret asked all Department Heads to submit their budget needs and requests to her by October 14th. She passed out a copy of the 2017 proposed budget. She said that both she and the CFO met with each Department Head to go through their budget line by line and pared down each budget. She said that we are facing some uncontrollable costs such as healthcare insurance and legal fees. She explained the increase in health insurance which is due to incorrect billing from the Health Insurance Fund and legal fees due to ongoing litigation; payment of such legal fees was agreed upon last fall. With all that has been presented, she said she wanted to give the courtesy to Council of reviewing the proposed budget prior to Introduction. She said that we also feel strongly that this is the year we need to institute a capital budget so that we can be proactive with the future needs of the Borough; particularly in dealing with infrastructure. She asked that all submit their questions, comments or concerns to Christie Ehret by Friday, March 10th. She said she and the CFO would like to have the budget introduced at the March 21st Council meeting with Public Hearing and final adoption on April 18th. Councilman DiRenzo asked if the overall increase in expenditures to spending has increased. Ehret responded that the overall increase is a little over 2%.
Sustainable Jersey Grant Application to the Solar Foundation
Councilman Schroeder said that as Council liaison to the Green Team and Environmental Commission, Sustainable HH reached out to him last week regarding participation in a SolSmart designation plan for municipalities to utilize solar friendly programs, specifically solar energy programs. He said that should Sustainable Haddon Heights participate, they and the town would receive this designation by October 31st. He said that Sustainable HH is looking for a letter from the Borough supporting the Program which would need to be provided by Friday, March 10th. The letter would accompany the ten page grant application that Sustainable NJ is applying for. He said this is a time sensitive issue but if the letter is provided to Sustainable HH that would give us the designation by October 31st. Councilman Schroeder said he has a letter and a sample resolution for consideration. Olizi said that the Clerk will draft a letter
Council President Griffith said that all needed to proceed downstairs for the Business Session.
Caucus session concluded at 7:28 p.m.
Council President Griffith called the Business Session to order at 7:30 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE AND MOMENT OF SILENCE:
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.
Ginger Samuels, Collingswood, said she is the grandmother of two children that attend Glenview Avenue School. She said that she has a petition of 72 concerned parents for a four way stop sign at the intersection of Haverford and Sycamore. She expressed her concern regarding children’s safety at the intersection of Haverford & Sycamore Street. She said she also thought a sign for no parking from here to the corner. Solicitor Olizi responded noting that there is an Ordinance on this evening’s Agenda for Introduction regarding a sign at the proposed intersection. He explained that an Ordinance requires two readings and that there will be a Public Hearing and final adoption at the next Council meeting, March 21, 2017. Council President Griffith said that Chief Koch went to Glenview School to discuss the issues with the intersection with the school Principal. If this does not work, we might have to go to no parking on the street during certain hours. She said that we will be happy to have the Ordinance introduced tonight. Olizi asked Ms. Samuels to give the Clerk the petition and the Ordinance will be introduced tonight and then there will be a public hearing on the Ordinance. It would then be adopted at the next meeting if it is not opposed. Council President said that if anyone would like to speak publicly about their concerns, they are welcome to come up to the microphone. Councilman Schroeder encouraged those he has been working with on the issue to come forward.
Esther Bumberner, 1231 Sylvan Drive said that she supports the Ordinance and thanked all for their support.
Joan Maguire, 8 Thornholden Avenue said that she supports the Ordinance.
Chris Weaver, 1944 Sycamore Street said that he is in support of the Ordinance.
Seeing no further movement, a motion to close the Public Comment portion of the meeting was made by Councilman Berryhill and was seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. All members were in favor.
PRESENTATION OF CERTIFICATES FROM GIRL SCOUT TROOP 30751
Councilwoman Lange said that in recognition of the 60th anniversary of Hoff’s Park, the Girl Scouts will do a Presentation on the History of Hoff’s Park and then receive their Certificates of recognition.
The Girl Scouts presented the History of Hoff’s Park.
Lange introduced Barbara Hoff Robinson and explained that Mrs. Robinson is the daughter of Mr. Hoff. She then recognized Jillian Soriano of Neighbors Night Out who is assisting with the Small Explorers Park which will be at Hoff’s Park. Lange asked Council President Griffith and Soriano to come forward for the presenting of Certificates of Appreciation to each Girl Scout. Council President read the Certificate. All posed for a photograph.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Council President Griffith asked for a motion to approve the Minutes of the February 21, 2017 Council meeting.
Council President Griffith mentioned that an error in the Minutes on the first page, it said that Mayor Merryfield called the meeting to Order but should be changed to Council President Griffith.
A motion to approve the Minutes of the February 21, 2017 Council meeting was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Councilwoman Lange. All members were in favor.
Councilman Schroeder reported that he attended the Height in Progress (HIP) meeting along with Councilwoman Valvardi last evening. He reported that HIP is sponsoring a Social Media event, March 14th at 6:00 at AT&T on the corner of the White Horse Pike and Kings Highway. The event is being by Car-Tel Communications and titled Business Development and Making Consistent Progress; the event is designed to assist businesses with their social media skills. He said HIP has created two new positions – social media coordinator and secretary. The Farmer’s Market has limited the number of vendors to 30. The Farmer’s Market is in the planning stages of developing sponsorship packages – 1) Market Package – $500 for the season 2) Market and HIP Events Package – $1,000. The Famer’s Market is well underway for planning for set up and layout for the Rhythm and Brews on April 2, 2017. They have submitted their paperwork to the Borough for the event.
Councilman Schroeder then reported that the Environmental Commission is working on an Arbor Day program in coordination with the Shade Tree Commission for the distribution of tree seedlings/saplings through the grade schools in town. Glenview Avenue School has already committed.
The Shade Tree Commission meeting is scheduled for March 29th. He said that due to some citizen complaints about dead trees, he met with John Ellis and Councilwoman Lange to talk about how we might be able to get a community Stewardship $25,000 grant through the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. The application for the 2017 has not been posted to their site yet. The grant application should be available within 7 to 10 days; we should have approximately 4 to 6 weeks to apply. He said he will bring this up at the next Shade Tree Commission meeting on the 29th. Schroeder reported that as of now, we are not eligible for the grant. He noted there should be a 2016 annual accomplishment report should be filed with the State. He also said there is an open CSIP grant from 2013/2014 that needs to be closed out so that we will be eligible for the 2017 grant. During his conversation with the Forestry service, he learned that a five year plan was submitted in the past and that second five year forestry management plan should be completed and submitted as it will be due by the end of the year. This will allow us to be eligible for the next set of grants.
He asked whether Sustainable HH would receive the letter of support along with a commitment of a reasonable effort to achieve this designation by October 31st. Olizi said that we agree that a letter can be prepared for Council President’s signature. Olizi asked about the ten page application and whether Sustainable NJ was applying for the grant or the Borough. Council President asked Marshall Hatfield to come forward.
Marshall Hatfield, 1509 Prospect Ridge Blvd. – Mr. Hatfield said that Sustainable NJ is applying to SolSmart Department of Energy for the grant. They asked for a minimum of four municipalities to commit. He said that Sustainable HH agreed to complete the application but he said that they will need a letter of support from the Borough. Clarification was made as to the enclosed application – it is for the SolSmart designation only, not the actual grant application.
Councilwoman expressed her thought to have the Planning and Zoning Board review pages 3 and 4 of the SolSmart application. Mr. Hatfield responded that the application will be reviewed by the Planning Board. She expressed her concern that there are provisions in the application that might need to be matched with the new Master Plan as well as the Historic District. Councilman Schroeder read a section of the paperwork which indicates that all will be reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Board. Discussion ensued between Councilman Schroeder and Councilwoman Lange. Councilman Berryhill said that he is the liaison to the Planning Board and will make sure they review.
Olizi said the Clerk will prepare the letter for Council President to sign. Council President Griffith thanked Marshall Hatfield and said that she will sign the letter as soon as it is prepared.
Councilwoman Valvardi reported that she would like to add that HIP designated Saturday Night Heights events will be held on the third Saturday during the months of May, June July and August. She said this should bring activities for those events – further detail will be provided. She said all is well in the Borough Offices. The next meeting is at the Village Cheese Shop tomorrow morning at 8 a.m.
Councilman Berryhill said that the Community Garden was looking for locations for additional plots for gardeners. He said that John Ellis provided him with two locations – Pump Station at Maple Avenue and at Cedar and Bellmawr. The Community Garden members reviewed and thought that the Maple Avenue location would work best. Berryhill asked that all please drive by and advise as to whether they feel this is a good location. He said that the Community Garden’s plan is that they will need at least four people to commit to renting plots there before moving forward. They said that should Council approve, the Borough would need to consider a placing a water source there. The Community Garden is meeting on March 28th in the Library’s lower level. He said the Community Garden promotes community and they provide fresh vegetables to needy people in town.
In the County Park in town, John Ellis and Chief Koch brought to his attention some issues that needed to be addressed regarding graffiti and down trees. He said the graffiti has already been addressed and he will continue to work toward having the trees addressed. He said that there is some question about whether some of the trees are County trees or Borough trees but County trees will be addressed.
Councilman DiRenzo said his Heights Inside Perspective is up and running on Facebook. He said he created the page to provide factual information to inform our seniors of what is happening in town. He said the reception has been good so far.
Councilwoman Lange reported that the McCullough Soccer Complex will be reopened on March 1st. Turf blankets are up, grass will be cut and an irrigation system is being installed. She added that the bathrooms will be ready. She said she wanted to send out a big thank you to the Department of Public Works and John Ellis for having the area cleaned up for the celebration of the completion of the project last week.
Lange reported on the Barr Complex – an interior wash down of the HHYA Concession Stand was completed. HHYA painted the concession stand. She said the Department of Public Works will paint the bathrooms.
Lange also reported that the Dug Out and Building renovation project was completed at Cervino Field.
She said that at all three complexes, the venue buildings will be painted by the Department of Public Works as weather permits.
Complete list of pre-season work has been shared with her and the three sport organizations.
Summer Program planning is underway.
Councilwoman Lange announced the Board of Education and the Child Study Team is supporting a T-shirt sale for World Down Syndrome Day on Tuesday, March 21st. She said it is encouraged that all wear brightly colored shirts or mismatched socks. She said she attached some flyers to the bulletin board in the lobby. She said please see her or go to the BOE website for more information.
Council President Griffith reported on the Barrington Ambulance, a copy of which is attached to these Minutes.
She then reported on HH Neighbors Night Out. Calendar of Events for 2017 – May 20th – Soiree En Blanc for pop up dancing. She said the location is secret until just before the event. August – Outdoor Movie Event in collaboration with the Library. September 10th – Annual Spaghetti Dinner on Station Avenue. Friday, October 13th will be Haddon Heights’ Good Witch Hattie’s birthday – she said we will be celebrating at our annual Bon Fire will be held at the Cabin that evening. She said from May to October will continue the Kids Time at the Farmer’s Market. She said that they are continuing to work on new signage for Kings Highway and the White Horse Pike as well as the Station Avenue banners. They are also working toward helping with the Small Explorer’s Playground. Lastly, they will be working on a special project for our seniors in Haddon Heights.
Introduction of Ordinance 2017:1438 – An Ordinance Amending §100-20 of the Entitled Stop Intersections
A motion to introduce Ordinance 2017:1438 was made by Councilman Schroeder, seconded by Councilwoman Lange.
Councilman DiRenzo asked questions regarding. All members voted in favor.
Public Hearing and Final Adoption of Ordinance 2017:1438 will be held on March 21, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building located at 625 Station Avenue, Haddon Heights, New Jersey.
Introduction of 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)
A motion to introduce was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Councilwoman Lange. All members voted in favor.
Public Hearing and Final Adoption of Ordinance 2017:1439 will be held on March 21, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building located at 625 Station Avenue, Haddon Heights, New Jersey.
Resolution 2017:76 – Resolution Awarding a Contract to KDI for the Purpose of Leasing Borough Copiers for a Period of 60 months, State Contract #G-2075
A motion to approve Resolution 2017:76 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by councilman DiRenzo. All members voted yes.
Resolution 2017:77 – Resolution Awarding a Contract to Neopost, Inc. for the Leasing of Borough Postage Machine for a Period of 60 Months through Cooperative Purchasing Agreement with the National Joint Powers Alliance
A motion to approve Resolution 2017:77 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Councilman Lange. Upon a roll call vote, all members voted yes.
Resolution 2017:78 – Resolution Authorizing Bills and Claims for the First Half of March
A motion to approve Resolution was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Councilwoman Lange.
Councilman DiRenzo said he had a question about the payment to Duane Morris in the amount of $22,000. He said that he is concerned about the legal bills we are incurring saying that we have paid over $50,000 to Duane Morris this year and this does not include the Solicitor’s fees to review the work. He then asked Superintendent John Ellis about a car repair for a push bumper asking if we had to drive the vehicle down to Atlantic County. Ellis responded that they picked up the vehicle. DiRenzo then asked Councilwoman Lange how the event at the McCullough Soccer field went; she responded that it went well with approximately 70 people in attendance. He then asked what happened to the remaining hotdogs and water leftover from the event. Lange responded that she delivered the hotdogs to the Department of Public Works to place in their freezer and said the water will be used for the Summer Recreation program.
Upon a roll call vote, all members voted yes with the exception of both Council President Griffith and Councilwoman Valvardi who both abstained from payments to Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield, VSP and Southern New Jersey Councilman Schroeder voted yes to all payments with the exception of the payment to Duane Morris.
Resolution 2017:79 – Resolution Approving Certified List of Fire Department Volunteers Eligible for Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP) for the Year 2016
Upon a roll call vote all members voted yes with the exception of Councilman DiRenzo who abstained from his son, Stephen DiRenzo.
Resolution 2017:80 – Resolution Authorizing Refunds for Program Fees
A motion to approve Resolution 2017:80 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Councilman Berryhill. Under a roll call vote, all members voted yes.
Resolution 2017:81 – 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 ongoing litigation. Glover Mill Inc. v. the Borough of Haddon Heights. Formal Action May be Taken 2.) Matter related to Contract Negotiations with Government Workers Union. Formal Action May be Taken.
A motion to approve Resolution 2017:81 was made by Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Councilwoman Lange. All members were in favor.
Resolution 2017:82 – Resolution Authorizing the Borough of Haddon Heights Joint Land Use Board to Conduct a Preliminary Investigation and Feasibility Study for Redevelopment of Block 80, Lots 1, 2, 2.01 and 2.03
Councilwoman Lange asked where the property was located. Councilman DiRenzo said it was near the Ambulance building. Olizi said that this is one of the sites for affordable housing. Development does not mean it is definitely for housing, it simply means to research to determine what it can be used for in the future. Councilman DiRenzo asked if Coalition on Affordable Housing (COAH) money can be used for housing. Albert responded yes but that does not mean this is what is going to happen with this property. This is simply approving a feasibility study for the site.
A motion to approve Resolution 2017:82 was made by Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Councilman Schroeder. Upon a roll call vote, all members voted in favor.
Resolution 2017:83 – Resolution Authorizing the Borough of Haddon Heights Joint Land Use Board to Conduct a Preliminary Investigation and Feasibility Study for Redevelopment of Block 29, Lot 4
A motion to approve Resolution 2017:83 was made by Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Councilwoman Lange. Upon a roll call vote, all members voted in favor with the exception of Councilman DiRenzo who voted no due to previous concerns of residents not wanting residential units in the area.
Resolution 2017:84 – Resolution Appointing Danielle Parks to the Haddon Heights Neighbors Night Out Committee
Councilman Schroeder asked if Ms. Parks was related to anyone on Council. Olizi responded that she is the adult child of Mayor Merryfield and lives outside of home with her husband.
A motion to approve Resolution 2017:84 was made by Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. All members voted in favor.
Council President Griffith called for Public Comment on anything anyone may wish to address.
Chris Mrozinski, 109 3rd Avenue – asked for an update on abandoned properties. Councilman Berryhill said that we adopted an Ordinance establishing a registration process of the properties. He explained the possibility of moving toward a Shared Service through the County which would speed up the process of registration. He said that we are now down to approximately 14 properties. Conversation ensued between Olizi and Mrozinski and Berryhill. Mrozinski expressed his concern for a property on his street. Councilman Berryhill further explained the Borough’s efforts.
Seeing no movement, a motion to close the Public Comment portion of the meeting was made by Councilman Steve Berryhill, seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. All members were in favor.
Council President Griffith announced that Council would be going into Executive Session.
ADJOURNMENT OF BUSINESS SESSION:
Kelly Santosusso, RMC, Borough Clerk