REGULAR MEETING OF THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL HELD ON WEDNESDAY
EVENING, FEBRUARY 27, 2002. MAYOR MICHAEL TRIPODI PRESIDED.
Roll Call at 8:01 P.M. showed the following Council Members present: Carmela Colosimo,
Gregg David, Kathi Fiamingo, Ed Galasso and Bob Taylor. Councilman Falcetano was
Mayor Tripodi read the requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act.
The Salute to the Flag was led by Mayor Tripodi.
It was moved by Fiamingo, seconded by Galasso, that the minutes of the Work Session Meeting of February 12th, and the Regular Meeting of February 13, 2002 be dispensed with and approved
as submitted. (Copies furnished each Council Member prior to the meeting.)
COMMUNICATIONS AND PETITIONS
It was moved by Galasso, seconded by Colosimo and carried, that the above communications be received and filed and any money amounts indicated be spread over the minutes.
REPORT OF COMMITTEES
Mayor Tripodi reported that on Saturday, February 23rd the Kenilworth Municipal Drug Alliance and Project Graduation Committee had a charity basketball game featuring NFL players and it was very successful. He reported that approximately 500 attended the event and everyone had a wonderful time. St. Theresa’s, the Knights of Columbus, and Project Graduation parents all helped out and Mayor Tripodi said he would like to thank them all for a job well done. He also thanked the businesses for their generous donations. Mayor Tripodi added a special thank you to Michelle DeRocco, our Deputy Borough Clerk, for doing a lot of work on this project saying that she did a tremendous job. He also thanked the Chief who came out in uniform and acted as security for the event. Chief Dowd donated his time and the Mayor noted that he is always there for the community.
DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Councilwoman Fiamingo reported that Borough Auditor Jim Cerullo and our CFO attended last night’s work session meeting to comment on the proposed budget. She said they will be getting the proposed budget together for an introduction next month, however, in the meantime she said she will be inviting the Department Heads to come and speak on their behalf.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
Councilwoman Colosimo reported that we will be awarding the bid tonight for bulky waste pick-up which is the clean up that is usually done 3 times a year. She wanted to make the residents aware of the fact that in our previous contract we were paying $71.00 per ton and when this contract expired the new bid came in at $225.00 per ton. Councilwoman Colosimo explained that this is a tremendous increase and this has been discussed at great length. They are trying to figure out how they can still provide residents with the same service as in the past. She said they decided to award the bid and cut back on the amount of pickups from 3 per year to 2 pickups and also to eliminate the drop-off at the yard. She explained that this was a situation which was totally out of their control and they did investigate other options to no avail.
Mayor Tripodi noted that the resolution for the bid award would be moved under general business, as it was not on the Consent Agenda.
REPORT OF COMMITTEES (CONT.)
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
Councilman Galasso reported that they have interviewed 3 alternate route candidates to fill the vacancy made by the appointment of a school resource officer and hopes that a selection will be made in March. He also announced that they have received a proposal from a company called Texas Inmate Phones who want to come in and install phones in the cell blocks. This would be at absolutely no cost to the Borough and in fact, we would even get a commission on the calls that the inmates make, in return for allowing them to put their equipment in the cellblocks. Councilman Galasso said they he will move to authorize the Mayor to sign this contract, after review, under general business.
Mayor Tripodi added that the signing of the contract will also be subject to the Attorney’s review.
DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING, ZONING AND ORDINANCES
Councilman David announced that tomorrow evening is the Planning Board’s public meeting for the month of January. He reported that he met with the Construction Official John Risso last week to discuss a number of issues. He said that they have agreed that the Borough will begin to see a more aggressive and proactive enforcement of zoning violations. In addition, the PZO Committee will be meeting next week to review the part time code official’s job descriptions and their hours with possibility of extending them.
DEPARTMENT OF FIRE, RECREATION, LIGHTING AND ECOLOGY
In Councilman Falcetano’s absence, Mayor Tripodi noted the resolution which will appoint 2 alternates to the Recreation Committee. Alternate #1 will be Madonna Bogus who is very active with St. Theresa’s and worked on our basketball game committee and alternate #2 will be Joe Chango who is a football coach and has previously worked in the Recreation Department.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELFARE
Councilman Taylor said he attended the Library Board meeting on February 14th and was proud to announce that circulation is up 38%, and added that things are going well. He
thanked the Mayor and Council for the appointment of Barbara Morison to the Library Board.
In regards to the serious sewer problem on the Boulevard and Market Street, Councilman Taylor
said he held a meeting with Dennis SanFilippo and Dan Ryan and they discussed grease traps and the presence of grease in the sewer system which comes from the restaurants. They have agreed upon a 4 week plan which consists of evaluation, education, and inspection to ensure that there is no presence of excessive grease. Councilman Taylor said that he will be receiving a report in 2 weeks and again in 4 weeks and hopefully this serious problem will be resolved.
Consolidated Bill List appears on the following pages.
Resolutions No. 1 through No. 6 are listed under Consent Agenda and will be enacted by one motion in the form listed below.
Council Member Colosimo moved that all items under Consent Agenda be approved, seconded by Council Member Fiamingo. Upon roll call the vote was unanimous.
RESOLUTION NO. 1
Be It Hereby Resolved: That all bills be paid when properly audited and funds are available.
RESOLUTION NO. 2
Be It Hereby Resolved: That the Mayor be authorized to sign the agreement with MCI Worldcom Communications, Inc. for Internet and E-Mail service for a one year period at a cost of $179. per year.
RESOLUTION NO. 3
Be It Hereby Resolved: That the Mayor’s appointment of Barbara Morison to the Kenilworth
Library Board of Trustees for an unexpired term ending 12/31/02, be and the same is hereby confirmed.
RESOLUTION NO. 4
Be It Hereby Resolved: That the Mayor’s appointment of the following to the Kenilworth Recreation Committee, be and the same is hereby confirmed:
Alternate No. 1 – Madonna Bogus for a two year term expiring 12/31/03
Alternate No. 2 – Joseph Chango for a one year term expiring 12/31/02
RESOLUTION NO. 5
Be It Hereby Resolved: That Donna Astone be employed as a Part-time Clerk in the Volunteer
Fire Department at a rate of $10.00 per hour, retroactive to February 1, 2002.
RESOLUTION NO. 6
Be It Hereby Resolved: That the Mayor be authorized to sign an extension to the Spot Waste
Agreement with Covanta for Disposal of Household Waste generated in the Borough which extends the contract period until March 31, 2002.
Councilwoman Colosimo made a motion to accept the bid from Waste Management for a one-year contract for bulky waste pick-up, two times a year. There will be no container service at the Borough yard with the exception of the one container for Borough waste only.
RESOLUTION NO. 7
Introduced by Colosimo who also moved its adoption.
Resolution appears on the following page. (Authorizing the Mayor and Borough Clerk to sign
1 – Year Contract with Waste Management for
bulky waste pick-up, 2 times a year)
Seconded by Fiamingo and upon roll call unanimously carried.
At this time, Councilman Galasso made a motion to authorize the Mayor to execute a contract
with Texas Inmate Phones, Pasadena, Texas, for the installation and maintenance of inmate telephones, subject to attorney review and the Mayor’s signature. It was seconded by Councilwoman Colosimo and upon roll call, unanimously carried.
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Wray Bailey, North 9th Street, said with his experience in life, whenever there is an agreement between a business and the government, usually has the poor people paying for it. He asked who will eventually pay for this “free” service from the inmate phone proposal.
Councilman Galasso said that the phone calls made by the inmates will be collect calls.
Mr. Bailey asked if the rates charged for these collect calls will be inline with what is normally charged.
Councilman Galasso said he would say they are higher because it is an independent company.
Mr. Bailey said that someone should look into the charges to see if they will be fair or if we should just throw the burden to the poor. He said the other thing he came to talk about is the
tree on 9th Street. Mr. Bailey said he is here, not representing any committee, but is here for three people who have become attached to the tree. He said he is not sure if the Council will be able to understand, but the shade of a tree means a lot to different people. He said he remembers being able to walk the length of Monroe Avenue on the sunniest day without the sun ever hitting your head, because trees covered the whole street and it was beautiful. He said progress comes and things do have to change, however, when you are used to certain things, you become attached to them. Mr. Bailey said he has walked past that same tree for 65 years and he and his wife do not want the tree to be cut down. He said in his opinion, he feels a permit to cut this tree down was given too quickly due to the fact the tree borders two property lines. He said he feels
MEETING OPEN TO THE PUBLIC (CONT.)_
the Borough has an obligation now to solve this problem so they do not have two neighbors fighting for the rest of their lives. He said he feels there are alternatives, such as planting another tree in its place if this one cannot be saved.
Councilwoman Colosimo informed Mr. Bailey that the borough policy regarding trees is that when a tree is cut down by the town, a new tree is planted in its place. She said she is the chairperson for the Department of Public Works and one of the things that she has done in her tenure is to make sure that we plant more trees. She also remembers the tree-lined streets when she was a little girl, referring to an old newspaper article where a reporter referred to Kenilworth as “a beautiful tree-lined community” and she said this has always stayed in her mind. She explained that a permit was not really issued, because we do not issue permits, however, the town was unaware of the fact the tree straddled two properties. Councilwoman Colosimo said it is town policy not to take down any trees unless they are dead or diseased.
Mayor Tripodi congratulated Mr. Bailey on the recent Regional Wrestling Award he has received.
Anna Brummett, North 9th Street, said she is opposed to cutting down the tree in question and presented a pictures to the Governing Body of trees in the Borough which she felt were in worse shape.
Councilwoman Colosimo explained that Superintendent Dan Ryan was able to hire an arborist and he did get a report stating that the tree, a red maple, is structurally sound, no rot or decay, no fungi on the tree, noting that the branch stubs must be cut back to branch collar so the tree will callus over, and that the tree is healthy and should live.
Mrs. Brummett stated that she is willing to pay a tree surgeon to put graphs back into the tree. She said she was in her house painting when she heard the truck outside and a man was already starting to pull on the tree to demolish it. She said she phoned the police to tell them to stop it, however, the tree was already partially destroyed.
Michael Klein, North 9th Street, said he is a new resident and it is not his intention to come to this town and remove trees unnecessarily. He presented a report to the Governing Body. He stated that the tree is a silver maple, not a red maple, and also known as a soft maple. Soft maples start to decay as soon as they become a tree right from the tree pod and because of this, municipalities no longer plant this type of tree. He said this particular maple is soft, the bark is starting to fall off, and it has a hole in it. Mr. Klein said that his concern is liability, as a homeowner, as stated in his letter to Mayor and Council. He said not only is he liable if anyone gets injured on his property, but so is his neighbor. At this time, Mr. Klein provided certificates
verifying Mr. Cliff Murphy’s expertise on trees, as he was the contractor who he hired to cut down the tree. Mr. Klein said that if the tree was removed, he would replace it with two trees,
out of his own pocket, if the town was unable to do so. He said he is not here to make enemies, and had he known it was on his neighbor’s property, he would have gotten her permission first.
MEETING OPEN TO THE PUBLIC (CONT.)
Mr. Klein asked where the tree lovers were when trees on the property were cut down so that the lot could be sub-divided.
Councilwoman Colosimo asked Mr. Klein if Mr. Murphy stated that the tree was diseased.
Mr. Klein said no, however, he did have an arborist come who said it was diseased, however, in order for her to write a report she wanted a fee of $250.00. He said the arborist’s first words were that the tree was a liability for the town. Mr. Klein said he is not looking to take away shade from anyone, he is just concerned about the liability. The root system is lifting his neighbor’s walk and when the contractor put in his driveway, he cut a lot of the roots away. He explained that since the roots are now exposed in the front of the house, only the roots that run to the back of the house are securing the tree and if we have a strong rain or heavy winds the tree could come down. Mr. Klein said he needs to know exactly who is the owner of the tree because in order for him to file an order to show cause, the assignment judge’s law clerk has to know who the owner of the tree is.
Attorney Vitale said if it is on the Borough’s right of way, it is the Borough’s tree.
It is really not an issue of whether it straddles two property lines or not, the issue is whether or not the town wants the tree removed. The town is the sole and exclusive body to make the decision.
Councilwoman Colosimo said that the Borough policy is to remove trees only if they are dead,
diseased or present a hazard.
Mr. Klein said when they constructed his home they removed a lot of the root system and although you can graft a limb you cannot graft roots. He said the tree sits 24” higher than the street or the driveway. He said the only way to save this tree is to remove it or transplant it, so for this particular situation the Borough’s policy may have to be “tweaked” a little bit. Mr. Klein said the part of the tree that is on his property has an 8” hole in it and the trunk is only about 14”
deep, and the hole is about 10’ up from the base, so like a tall building in a strong wind it may bend and snap. He said now there is now a record as far as liability, if anything happens. Mr. Klein said he asked permission, had his expert look at the tree, the Borough had an expert look at the tree. Mr. Klein asked if he can cut his half of the tree down?
Mayor Tripodi advised Mr. Klein that a copy of our report will be made available in the morning and he is welcome to show it to Mr. Murphy.
Mrs. Brummett said there was no tree on the sold property except for one which the new owner cut down. She said as far as the tree’s roots coming into the driveway area, there were no raised roots on that side of the property, however, her side does happen to come uphill and that is why the tree is above the ground. She said she has been there for 12 years and there is no protrusion of the blacktop on the street or the curb. She said there is the slight raising of one step, however, there is no danger or she would take care of it for insurance purposes. Mrs. Brummett said the tree was a healthy tree or the Borough would have taken it down. She said it
MEETING OPEN TO THE PUBLIC (CONT.)
looked beautiful and the town did a wonderful job of trimming it. She said they destroyed it, before she could stop the man from chopping it. She said as a property owner, she also has a
liability and she does not have any fear of this tree coming down, adding that if it was dead she also would like to see a new tree in its place.
Mr. Klein said he noticed that all of the trees on South 23rd Street were taken down to widen or pave it, with the intention of replacing them. He said this is the same situation and feels it would safer for all parties involved to take down this tree and replace it with a new tree. He said it’s progress and he even offered to have the tree moved over 5 feet and pay for it out of his own pocket. Mr. Klein said this way if it falls, it would be completely her liability and that is the only reason he is here, because of the liability.
Mayor Tripodi said the town will make a decision based on the information that we have from our expert, adding that these types of disputes are difficult and he would encourage the neighbors to communicate on this.
There being no further business to come before the Council, it was moved by David, seconded by Galasso and carried, that the meeting be adjourned to the call of the chair.
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