BOROUGH OF HADDON HEIGHTS
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Governing Body Meeting Minutes
Mayor Merryfield called the meeting to Order at 7:00 p.m. and 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 2, 2016.”
Mayor Merryfield asked Clerk Santosusso for the roll call.
Under roll call, Council President Kathy Lange and Councilwomen Susan Griffith and Jackie Valvardi were present as well as Councilmen Stephen Berryhill and Vince Ceroli. Solicitor Albert Olizi, Jr., Borough Clerk Kelly Santosusso and Deputy Borough Clerk Katilyn Compton were also present. Councilman Richard DiRenzo was absent.
Decorative Lighting on Station Avenue with Heights in Progress – Councilwoman Griffith/Joe Gentile
Councilwoman Griffith explained that she and Mayor Merryfield met with Joe Gentile of Heights in Progress (HIP) early last week to discuss HIP donating decorative lighting to be hung from street lamp to street lamp in the 500 Block of Station Avenue that would remain up all year. She said that HIP would like to contribute something to the business district. The idea would be to continue the lighting in the 600 block of Station Avenue next year. Griffith said that she is presenting the idea to Council to get a feel for whether all are in agreement. Griffith said that she also spoke to Councilman Ceroli who oversees the Department of Public Works and felt that DPW could assist in putting the lights up. Mayor Merryfield said that the labor associated with the hanging of the lights would be a one-time event as the lights will remain all year round and would be connected to a cable. Council President asked if we needed approval of the Historic Preservation Commission. Solicitor Olizi responded that we do not as the lights are not permanent structures. Mayor Merryfield indicated that permission would have to be received from PSE&G as we do not own the lampposts. Mayor Merryfield asked Mr. Gentile to present the proposed lighting, mentioning that the lights are the same as the ones at the Fountain at the railroad tracks. Gentile said that these bulbs are Edison LED ready and will go on at dusk and go off at sunrise. He said they come in 24 foot strands and are considered “heavy duty.” Gentile went on to describe the pattern of the lights noting that the driveway next to the Library which is the driveway in and out of the Fire Department will not have lights hung. Mayor Merryfield said that colors of the bulbs can be changed throughout the year, such as pink for breast cancer month. Council President Lange asked who pays the utility bills. Solicitor Olizi said that the Borough pays the utilities. She then asked if there were any lights that were more in line with the black lamp posts in terms with “style.” Discussion ensued with the overall opinion being that the lights presented this evening would the lights used. Mayor Merryfield asked councilmembers their opinion. There was no opposition to the idea. Councilwoman Griffith thanked Mr. Gentile for donating the lighting to the business district. Mayor Merryfield also thanked HIP. Councilwoman Griffith asked Superintendent John Ellis to contact PSE&G for permission. Councilwoman Griffith said it would be nice if the lights were up for the holidays.
Councilman Berryhill asked if there was anything we should know regarding Resolution 2016:234 in Support of Senate Bill S981 and Assembly Bill A237. Clerk Santosusso asked John Ellis to elaborate as the Bill is related to recycling.
Ellis said he attended a meeting at the County regarding recycling and this Resolution is in support of heating manufacturers who have “dropped the ball” regarding the recycling of TV’s per the directive of the Department of Environmental Protection. He said this Bill would push Governor Christie, who pocket vetoed it previously, to support the Bill. He noted that should the Governor veto it again, he would be required to provide a reason for not supporting the Bill.
Caucus Session ended at 7:15 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 and then led the Pledge of Allegiance.
PRESENTATION OF DONATION FROM NEIGHBORS NIGHT OUT TO THE SMALL EXPLORER’S PLAY AREA AT HOFF’S PARK
Council President Lange asked Jillian Soriano to come forward. Mrs. Soriano came forward with an image of a check. Mrs. Soriano explained that NNO had a successful fundraiser through the TD Bank and culminating with the community Bonfire to collect donations to benefit the Small Explorer’s Playground project at Hoff’s Park. TD bank donated $2,000 and the rest of the proceeds were raised by NNO. Soriano invited the members of NNO forward for the presentation of a check in the amount of $4,320.42.
Council President Lange thanked Neighbors Night Out (NNO) for their unbelievable support of the borough. She said this all came about because the manager of TD Bank heard about the project by attending a Rotary Club meeting. They chose to donate to Neighbors Night Out because the bank manager was aware of this committee because of all of the wonderful events and projects they do in town. Lange said that this project has been presented multiple times but because of the energy and enthusiasm of Jillian and the members of NNO, this provides a wonderful start to the implementation of this playground. She said that the community donated more than double the amount of money that TD Bank did ($2,000), all in one day. Mayor Merryfield said that when he was at TD Bank on October 7th, a young girl was there drawing pictures which she sold. He said she donated her profits to the project. All posed for photos.
Mayor Merryfield called for Public Comment on Caucus and Agenda items only.
Seeing no one come forward for comment, a motion to close the Public Comment portion of the meeting was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. All members were in favor.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to approve the Minutes of the October 18, 2016 Council meeting.
A motion to approve the Minutes of the October 18, 2016 Council meeting as amended was made by Councilman Ceroli, seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. All members present were in favor.
Councilman Ceroli announced that the Department of Public Works is out collecting leaves and trimming trees. There was a need for a manhole repair on Kings Highway, so the DPW did in in-house to save some money. The Shredding event held in October collected over 4,000 lbs. of paper. The Recycling contract with the county expires at the end of this year, so there is a meeting scheduled to discuss the RFPs. We are also looking to purchase a street sweeper. Ceroli said that the Superintendent attended a meeting with the County regarding the recycling contract.
Ceroli then reported on Finance saying the Fourth Quarter taxes are due today, with a 10 day grace period. Interest will begin to be charged after November 10. A second round of delinquent notices will be sent out in an effort to boost the collection rate before the end of the year. He said that budgets have been received by the CFO but there are two Departments who have not submitted their budget yet. Once we receive all proposed budgets we will start scheduling meetings.
On October 28th Moody and Moody issued their rating on Haddon Heights, which was a AA3, high quality rating giving us a healthy financial planning. He said that this is directly related to Department Heads managing their budgets well.
Councilwoman Valvardi said that she had no official report but wanted to discuss the HH Field Hockey Club. She said she is thankful to the Haddon Heights Police Department, the Department of Public Works, Barrington EMS, and Haddon Heights NNO for donating cases of water. Valvardi also thanked all of the sponsors that put their logos on the back of the shirts. She thanked the volunteers involved, the businesses that put the signs up in their store fronts, and all of the runners. She said there were 35 runners who had a great time. She said that they are hoping to move the run earlier in the year.
Mayor Merryfield said that he normally does not comment on criticism. He began to read a comment from a Haddon Heights resident on social media who was unhappy with children Trick or Treating in addition to the hours that have been in place for at least twenty years. He said that he understands if someone does not want children coming up to their door, but it can be avoided by turning the house lights out and closing the door. He said he would have never commented on this but due to the fact that one of our Councilmembers responded to the statement with inaccurate accusations toward Mayor Merryfield, Council President Lange and Councilwoman Griffith, he felt the need to make this statement. Mayor Merryfield responded to another comment stating that Station Ave. was shut down for another chance to drink in the street. Mayor Merryfield said that the event being referred to was the annual Hoots and Howls/Trunk or Treat event. Merryfield assured that there was no alcohol served at this event for children. He said that Councilman DiRenzo did not show up to the meeting tonight. He noted that if Councilman DiRenzo was so against the Trick or Treating hours, he questioned why he voted in favor of the hours every year since 2012, even seconding the motion in the year 2013? He said that it is unfortunate that a sitting councilmember would participate in such a conversation.
Council President Lange said that by 7 a.m. this morning, Janney Electric was out on the Devon Avenue Field beginning work on the lighting project. She said we held a brief ground breaking ceremony at 9 a.m. with the Mayor, the Superintendent of HH Schools, the Athletic Director of the High School, members of the HH Soccer Club, Chief and Captain, the Superintendent of Public Works and Borough Clerk Kelly Santosusso. She thanked John Ellis for his assistance.
Lange reported that that the Summer Recreation Program grossed over $16,000.00 and after paying minimum wage to counselors, paying for t-shirts and supplies, a total profit of $4,856.64 was made. She says this amount goes to the general fund. Lange said that residents have been very generous with their donations to Summer Rec.
Councilwoman Griffith said that she wanted to address the Facebook posting as her name was mentioned in it as well. She said that with regard to the Trick or Treating hours, they have always been the same for as long as she can remember. She said that she had many kids were at her house from 3 to 5 and did not see another kid until 6 with no one knocking after 8 p.m. She added that she thinks it is nice to have a dinner hour where no one is knocking at the door. Griffith addressed the statement regarding the Trunk or Treat event that was held by the Police Department for the first time, and that it was stated as “this was another event for them to drink in the street.” She said this was a blatantly false statement as there was no alcohol served during this event. She said that it is unfortunate that these comments were made for so many to see.
Councilwoman Griffith then reported on Neighbors Night Out saying that announced that a dedication ceremony was held at the Fountain earlier this evening for the refinishing of the benches. The sponsors of the benches were also invited. She said she hopes that families enjoy the benches and the fountain for years to come.
Griffith then said she wanted to remind everyone that the Holiday Parade is on Friday, November 25th at 6:00 p.m. She said that everything is lined up. The Parade will begin promptly at 6:00 p.m.
Councilman Berryhill reported that he and the Mayor attended the October Mayor’s Association meeting where a Seminar on abandoned properties was held. He said the seminar was very educational.
Berryhill then said that he received a call from our Borough Engineer, Steve Bach, regarding the need for rapid flashing beacons at Kings Highway at the Park. He said that this crosswalk is a danger point and he will be working with the County in the hopes of moving this project forward.
Resolution 2016:230 – Resolution Authorizing DPW Superintendent to Purchase Salt Through the Camden County Cooperative Pricing System ID 57-CCCPS, Bid B-23/2016
A motion to adopt Resolution 2016:230 was made by Councilman Ceroli, seconded by Councilman Berryhill. All members present were in favor.
Resolution 2016:231 – Resolution Authorizing a Refund of a Rental Fee
A motion to adopt Resolution 2016:231 was made by Council President Lange, seconded by Councilman Ceroli. Under a roll call vote, all members present voted in favor.
Resolution 2016:232 – Resolution Authorizing Transfers of Appropriations
A motion to adopt Resolution 2016:232 was made by Councilman Ceroli, seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. Under a roll call vote, all members present were in favor.
Resolution 2016:233 – Resolution Authorizing Tax Collector to Cancel Taxes
A motion to adopt Resolution 2016:233 was made by Councilman Ceroli, seconded by Council President Lange. Under a roll call vote, all members present voted in favor.
Resolution 2016:234 – Resolution in Support of Senate Bill S981 and Assembly Bill A237
A motion to adopt Resolution 2016:234 was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilman Ceroli.
All members present voted in favor.
Resolution 2016:235 – Resolution Authorizing Payment of Bills and Claims for First Half of November
A motion to adopt Resolution 2016:235 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. Under a roll call vote, all members present voted in favor.
Mayor Merryfield opened the floor to public comment on any issue at all.
Seeing no movement, a motion was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilman Berryhill to close the Public Comment portion of the meeting. All members present were in favor.
ADJOURNMENT OF BUSINESS SESSION:
The Business Session was adjourned at 7:55 p.m.
Kelly Santosusso, RMC, Borough Clerk