BOROUGH OF HADDON HEIGHTS
Tuesday, October 18, 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, Richard DiRenzo and Vince Ceroli. Solicitor Albert Olizi, Jr., Borough Clerk Kelly Santosusso and Deputy Borough Clerk Katilyn Compton were also present.
Mayor Merryfield asked Council President who turned the topic over to Councilwoman Griffith who said she had a meeting with Chief Koch, Captain Scardino and John Ellis of DPW. She said she also spoke with Chief Nick Scardino of the Fire Department, Bridgette Fultano and Trish Sheilds of the Municipal Alliance. She said that the Parade will be Friday, November 25th, the day after Thanksgiving. She said the staging area will be the Cannons in the Park. The Parade route will be from the Cannons at 10th Avenue up to the White Horse Pike at which time Santa will walk back down to the 600 block to the Library with the band behind him. The remaining fire trucks will go to Barrington. Santa will then light the Star on top of the Library. She says all duties have been distributed. She said that snacks and photos will be held in Borough Hall. She said she is contacting the High School Band and has the music locked in. John Ellis is taking care of the stage, borrowing from Audubon. Chief Koch is informing the County Police. She said the meeting was brief as everything will run the same way it did last year. She said she hopes it will be a nice night.
Best Practices Inventory 2016
Christie Ehret, CFO explained the 2016 Best Practices Checklist is a list of questions asked of the municipality regarding their financial and operating procedures. She added that state financial aid can be withheld depending on the score the municipality receives upon completion. Ehret said that Kelly Santosusso and she completed the checklist last Friday and that it is due to the state this coming Friday, October 21st. She called attention to question 13 which should have been a yes. Ehret reported that we received a 90% which means the Borough will receive all state aid we are entitled to. She that if anyone had a questions, please e-mail Kelly Santosusso but asked that all please keep in mind that it must be emailed to the state by this Friday. Council President Lange noted that question 10 needs to have a date inserted. Santosusso said that the date will be included with regard to when the Corrective Action Plan was filed following our Audit.
RFP’s for Professional Services for 2017
Kelly Santosusso called attention to Resolution 2016:225 saying that the resolution authorizes the solicitation of Requests for Proposals for professional services for the year 2017. She said that the legal notice indicates a due date of November 30, 2016. Solicitor Olizi added that the decisions will be made in January and will be awarded at the Reorganization Meeting. Mayor Merryfield asked if we had a list of all Professional services. Solicitor Olizi said that he and Kelly discussed earlier in the week. Santosusso said that once due date has passed, she and Katie Compton will open all RFP’s and create a spreadsheet summarizing all pertinent information so that the 2016 Council may determine contract awards.
Councilwoman Griffith made corrections to the Minutes of October 18, 2016. She said that under Councilmember reports, her report on the Fire Department should have read – 450 calls years to date. Knoettner, Mash and Scharle qualified to operate Engine 213 this month and the Haddon Heights Fire Department started live training this month. Santosusso said the corrections will be made. Olizi said the Minutes of October 4th will be voted upon as amended.
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.
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 Councilman Berryhill. All members were in favor.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to approve the Minutes of the October 4, 2016 Council meeting as amended. Councilman DiRenzo said that he asked a question of Councilman Berryhill during Berryhill’s report that was not included in the Minutes on page 2. Santosusso said that she would listen to the recording of the meeting and make the appropriate additions to the Minutes.
A motion to approve the Minutes of the October 4, 2016 Council meeting as amended was made by Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. All members were in favor.
APPROVAL OF EXECUTIVE SESSION MINUTES:
Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to approve the Executive Session Minutes of August 4, 2015. A motion was made by Council President Lange, seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. All members were in favor with the exception of Councilwoman Valvardi and Councilman Ceroli.
Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to approve the Executive Session Minutes of August 4, 2015. A motion to approve the Executive Session Minutes of August 4, 2015 was made by Council President Lange, seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. All members were in favor with the exception of Councilwoman Valvardi and Councilman Ceroli who abstained.
Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to approve the Executive Session Minutes of August 18, 2015. A motion approving the Executive Session Minutes of August 18, 2015 was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Council President Lange. All members were in favor with the exception of Councilwoman Valvardi and Councilman Ceroli.
Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to approve the Executive Session Minutes of October 6, 2015. A motion approving the Executive Session Minutes of October 6, 2015 was made by Council President Lange, seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. All members were in favor with the exception of Councilwoman Valvardi and Councilman Ceroli.
Councilman Berryhill reported that Kelly Santosusso and Katie Compton sent out all of the initial letters out to owners of record of vacant properties which now requires registration of vacant properties. He said that he and the Mayor are attending the Mayor’s Association Meeting tomorrow evening in Somerdale in which the topic of vacant and abandoned properties will be addressed.
Councilwoman Griffith reported on the Police Department – 7,499 were 880 calls for service, 29 arrests, 11 accidents and 31 ACS complaints, 275 motor vehicle summons were issued. She said that the two police vehicles that were ordered from state contracted are expected to be delivered by the end of October/early November. She announced that all are reminded to check out the Police Department’s Facebook page.
She went on to say that the Police Department conducted traffic studies in September – A traffic study of Ninth Avenue was completed as well as one of Prospect Ridge Blvd. Studies were done in response to resident complaints. She said the Police Department will be increasing radar enforcement as well as placing a speed trailer on the streets.
Griffith then reported on Barrington Ambulance for the month of September – 57 calls, 34 transported; average response time was 1.04 minutes and average on location time was 5.25.
Councilwoman reported on Neighbors Night Out saying that the Bonfire was a big hit. She said they had a beautiful night with hundreds of people attending; the kids had a great time. A considerable amount was collected to be donated to the Small Explorer’s playground equipment.
She then reported that the benches at the Fountain are now complete; NNO is just waiting for the plaques to be reaffixed to the benches. NNO will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony at which time a presentation will be made to Good Neighbors Civic Group for the Spaghetti Dinner.
Griffith said that Councilman DiRenzo asked the amount spent on the fountain at the last Council meeting. She reported $4,600. She added that she wanted to point out that Nature Scape came out and completed numerous hours of work that they have not billed us for. Griffith said she hoped that satisfied Councilman DiRenzo’s request and DiRenzo said that he will have further questions.
Griffith moved on to the Holiday Parade announcing that the event will be held Friday, November 25th, Black Friday at 6:00 sharp. She said the staging area for the Parade will be down at the Cannons on North Park Avenue. She said the Parade will begin at the Cannons and will proceed up Station Avenue toward the White Horse Pike and Station Avenue, at which point Santa will disembark and walk back on Station Avenue with the band behind him to the Library where he will light the Star on top of the Library. Following the lighting of the Star, all are invited into the Municipal Building for refreshments and photos with Santa, provided by the Haddon Heights Municipal Alliance.
Council President said the TD Bank Bring Change fundraiser for the Hoff’s Park Small Explorer’s play area went off as planned on October 7th. She said the results were wonderful with the community matching and even exceeding the TD Bank donation. She thanked Jillian Soriano of Neighbors Night Out for the outstanding work she did on behalf of our community. She encouraged all to go to the TD Bank website to view the photos from the event. She also thanked Mayor Merryfield and the Councilmembers who attended the event.
Lange said that the McCullough Fields lighting project is just two weeks away. She reported that all details have been coordinated with contractor, DPW, the Soccer Club and the High School. She said that the President of the Soccer Club sent out an email to the parents and coaches reminding them about the project and thanking them for their patience and understanding during this exciting time.
Lange then reported that the Soldier Encampment was held as scheduled on October 8th. The next civic event is the Holiday Parade under Councilwoman Griffith’s direction. She said we are already working on the 2017 Civic Events and will get the dates on the Borough calendar.
Open Agenda Parks and Rec October 20th at 7:30 p.m. in the Borough Hall Conference Room. She said the public is welcome to attend.
Councilman DiRenzo asked Council President if she got any further information on the tree trimming for the lighting project. Lange said that DPW will coordinate with Janney Electric with the Borough paying for the trimming where necessary. Councilman DiRenzo said his concern was that the contractor should be responsible. She said that all the bids were prepared and were available for review by the public prior to awarding contract. Craig Reilly of Bach Associates said that the bid specs were prepared exactly as the specs were prepared for Barr Complex. Olizi and Lange noted that there may be no need for tree trimming. Olizi said we can cross that bridge when we get to it.
Councilman DiRenzo had no report.
Councilwoman Valvardi reported that she attended the Haddon Heights Business and Professional Association Meeting. She reported that the Fall Festival was a success although it was a overcast and chilly day.
Councilman Ceroli said that all budgets should have been received by the CFO. There are still a few that have not submitted; he said we are asking that they be submitted by this Friday.
Added assessment tax bills were sent out representing 7.5 million in added assessments which accounts for $122,000 in taxes which are to be collected by November 1st.
Ceroli reported that the Tax Sale was today. The tax sale represents the collection of all unpaid taxes for the year 2015. Lien holders bid on the block and lots. Approximately $30,000 was collected today.
Ceroli reported that the Shredding Event held at the Service Operations Facility went well.
Councilman DiRenzo asked Ceroli what the collection rate is? Ceroli responded in the high 90’s percentile. He said that they will do all they can to boost the rate.
Mayor Merryfield commented on a letter that was sent out to the Soccer coaches and others regarding the process that the Borough and the HH Soccer Club went through to reach an agreement working together on the field lighting project at McCullough fields at Devon Avenue. He said that the letter had many inconsistencies in it and much of the information was incorrect. Mayor Merryfield expressed his concern that someone who never attended these meetings would put forth information for which he had no direct knowledge as he never attended one of these meetings.
BOROUGH ENGINEER’S REPORT:
Craig Reilly of Bach Associates reported on the submission of an application for New Jersey Department of Transportation Transportation Alternatives Program. Applying for funding through the state for installing a bicycle path along Kings Highway.
Councilwoman Griffith said that the County has held to their word in working to place some stone pavers on either side of the Park on Kings Highway at the entrances to both Audubon and Haddon Heights. She said the work so far looks very nice around the new Welcome to Haddon Heights sign.
Craig Reilly said that all will note the packet that the state has lifted the freeze on projects funded through the DOT trust fund. We will be seeing a change order to close out the project of the repaving of W. High Street over the next couple of weeks.
Mayor Merryfield opened the Public Hearing on Ordinance 2016:1435 – An Ordinance Amending Chapter 100 of the Code of the Borough of Haddon Heights Entitled Vehicles and Traffic, Section 100-11 Entitled Time Limit Parking
Seeing no movement, Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to close the Public Hearing on Ordinance 2016:1435. A motion to close the Public Hearing on Ordinance 2016:1435 was made by Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Council President Lange.
A motion to adopt Ordinance 2016:1435 was made by Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Council President Lange. All members were in favor with the exception of Councilman DiRenzo who was opposed.
Resolution 2016:220 – Resolution Approving a One Day Social Affairs Permit for the Haddon Heights Soccer Club for the Purpose of Conducting a Beef n’ Beer Fundraiser – November 18, 2016
A motion to adopt Resolution 2016:220 was made by Councilman Berryhill, seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. All members voted in favor.
Resolution 2016:221 – Support Submission of Application for New Jersey Department of Transportation Transportation Alternatives Program
A motion to adopt Resolution 2016:221 was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilman Berryhill. All members voted in favor.
Resolution 2016:222 – Resolution Authorizing Refunds of Program Fees
A motion to adopt Resolution 2016:222 was made by Councilwoman Lange, seconded by Councilman Ceroli. Upon a roll call vote, all members voted in favor.
Resolution 2016:223 – Resolution Authorizing Payment of Bills and Claims for Second Half of October
A motion to adopt Resolution 2016:223 was made by Councilwoman Valvardi, seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. Upon a roll call vote, all members voted in favor.
Resolution 2016:224 – 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. Discussion related to Chief and Captain’s Contracts. 2. Fair Share Housing litigation. Discussions expected to be one hour in duration. Formal Action May Be Taken.
A motion to adopt Resolution 2016:224 was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilman Berryhill. All members voted in favor.
Resolution 2016:225 – A Resolution Authorizing the Solicitation of Request for Proposals for Professional Services for Calendar Year 2017
A motion to adopt Resolution 2016:225 was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. All members voted in favor.
Resolution 2016:226 – Resolution Approving a One-Day Social Affair Permit for Haddon Heights in Progress for a Craft Beer Garden at the Haddon Heights Farmer’s Market Autumn Harvest Festival – October 30, 2016, Rain Date, November 6, 2016
A motion to adopt Resolution 2016:226 was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilman Berryhill. All members were in favor with the exception of Councilman DiRenzo who abstained.
Mayor Merryfield opened the Public Portion of the
Jillian Soriano, 1st Avenue Neighbors Night Out is here to publically extend thanks to Council, Police, Fire and Public Works Departments for supporting us and allowing us to raise money for projects in the town.
George Wise, 1533 Oak Avenue and owner of Wise Jewelers – Said he wanted to speak about the recent events in town. He said he has been in business for 33 years, 29 of which have been on Station Avenue. He said at one time, Paul Ciervo tried to do 4th Friday events which were nice but we typically saw just our own residents on Station Avenue. He noted Down by the Station Day and the Fall Festival as nice events that we all support. He said that the businesses are not necessarily doing a lot of business on these days but we all support them because we understand what it means to support the Community. Wise said that the recent events have provided us with opportunities. He says he takes the opportunity to present his craft to people who, as a result of attending these events, have come back to his store and have given him significant sales. He said that the last few events have brought people from all over noting that the demographics of these people are ages 20 to 50 with disposable income. He said he wanted to ask Mayor and Council to continue the support of these events. There is quite a bit that has been accomplished but there is always more we can do through learning, talking and communicating with one another. He said that what we have here in Haddon Heights is unique and special but he would like to see us continue to move forward. He said that good towns like this do these kinds of things to attract people. He said he looks forward to cooperation in the future.
Councilman DiRenzo asked a question of Mr. Wise. He said do you think that liquor licenses should be something we should move forward with. DiRenzo said our restaurants have been begging for us to do something on liquor licenses. DiRenzo asked him has he thought about asking people this question. Wise said that this issue is beyond his area of expertise. He said that if the restaurants want this, they will address it. He said that all he can say is that these events have yielded very positive results. He said he has made major sales as a result of all of the people who are coming into the town.
Councilwoman Griffith thanked Mr. Wise for his comments and for informing us of the positive effect of the events on the businesses. She said that she has received a lot of feedback on the events; both praising and also ways to improve.
Joe Gentile, 1410 Sycamore Street – Mr. Gentile said he wanted thank Council for supporting him and Heights in Progress in what we are trying to accomplish for not just the downtown area but for the community as a whole. He said that the “We” is important and the only way we will continue to see success is by working together. He said that he realizes that not everyone will be pleased all of the time but assured all that we will continue to work out the problems so that the businesses and the community will continue to see success. He said that he feels we have a great town and he would never would want to leave. Gentile said that all should take note of Collingswood, Haddonfield and Philadelphia, all whom are constantly striving to improve to draw people into the town.
Mayor Merryfield said he wanted to personally thank Joe Gentile for all that he has done in coordinating these events. Gentile said we have a long way to go. He said the meetings that all have attended are great and is confident that we will continue to get better. Mayor Merryfield said he loved the phrase Joe came up with, “stop pointing the finger, lift a finger.”
Seeing no further movement, a motion was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilman Berryhill to close the Public Comment portion of the meeting. All members were in favor.
Mayor Merryfield announced that Council would be going into Executive Session for approximately an hour.
ADJOURNMENT OF BUSINESS SESSION:
The Business Session was adjourned at 8:09 p.m.
Kelly Santosusso, RMC, Borough Clerk