REGULAR MEETING OF THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF THE BOROUGH OF KENILWORTH HELD ON WEDNESDAY EVENING, JANUARY 24, 2007. MAYOR DAVID PRESIDED.
Roll Call at 8:00 P.M. showed the following Council Members present: Lawrence Clementi, Peter Corvelli, Anthony DeLuca, Kathi Fiamingo, Fred Pugliese and Councilman Robert Taylor.
Mayor David read the requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act.
The Salute to the Flag was led by Mayor David.
It was moved by Councilman Corvelli, seconded by Councilman DeLuca, and carried that the Work Session Meeting of January 9, 2007 and the Regular Meeting of January 10, 2007 and the Special Work Session of January 17, 2007. (Copies furnished each Council Member prior to the meeting.)
COMMUNICATIONS AND PETITIONS
1. A Civil Action Summons was received on 1/17/07 – “New Jersey Citizen Action Group v. Kenilworth alleging arbitrary, burdensome and selective restrictions on door to door canvassing.
2. A Third Party Summons was received on 1/22/07 from Joyce Santoriello, naming the Borough as a Third Party Defendant regarding a fall at 505 Boulevard.
3. We have advertised for the position of Labor Attorney for 2007 per the Fair and Open Process – proposals are to be received by 4:00 P.M. on Friday, February 2, 2007.
4. A check in the amount of $26,220.71 has been received from Comcast for use of municipal rights-of-way for Year 2006.
1. Municipal Court Report for the month of December, 2006
2. Kenilworth Board of Education Meeting Minutes for October & November, 2006.
3. Rahway Valley Sewerage Authority Minutes of Special Meeting of December 21, 2006
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It was moved by Councilman Taylor, seconded by Councilwoman Fiamingo and carried that the above communications be received and filed and any money amounts indicated be spread over the minutes.
Mayor David reported that the Union County Department of Engineering and Public Works is holding a meeting on Friday, February 2, 2007 at 10:00 am. The purpose of the meeting is to re-acquaint municipal officials with the County Department of Engineering and Public Works and their mission concerning the County’s infrastructure and shared services, to inform municipal officials of current County plans within their communities and to provide a forum for exchange of information concerning various issues in which the County may be able to assist the local government. Mayor David stated that a number of Kenilworth Officials have been invited.
Mayor David reported that he has received a communication from the American Heart Association reminding everyone that Friday, February 2, 2007 is the fourth annual American Heart Association National Wear Red Day for women and anyone who would like to support the Heart Association is urged to wear red on that day.
Mayor David advised that he received a letter from Robert Singer, Senator from District 30, Ronald Dancer and Joseph Malone who are Assemblymen from District 30. The letter asked the Mayor to join them in a state wide effort to make the voices of people heard in the halls of the State House, more specifically in the office of Governor Corzine. They enclosed a petition demanding that Governor Corzine make every effort to revise the School Funding Formula as soon possible. The letter stated that school taxes are the major portion of our constituents tax burden and they believe that if the State is ever to have lasting and meaningful property tax relief, it lies with redefining how they fund our schools. They asked the Borough to make the petition available to all residents to sign and to return the signed petition to their office the last week of March, 2007 so that they may deliver the signatures to Governor Corzine. Mayor David stated that if any residents wish to sign the petition they can do so at the Borough Clerk’s Office.
Mayor David reported that the kick off dinner at the Veterans Center for the Kenilworth Centennial was an extremely successful event. Approximately 300 people were in attendance, the food and entertainment were excellent and everyone had a great time. The Mayor thanked Shirley Maxwell and the entire Centennial Committee for putting together the event. Mayor David stated that if the dance was an example of what’s to come for the rest of the year, residents will have a great year celebrating Kenilworth’s 100th Anniversary. Anyone who missed the initial event, should try to attend the many events that are planned each month throughout the year. The Committee has tried to
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plan at least one event for each month of the Centennial year. Calendars were sent out and most of the events are listed on the Town Planner.
DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Councilwoman Fiamingo reported that last night she met with several Department Heads to review their budget requests but they still have several to go. The Finance Committee will meet on February 6th and 7th and hopefully they will have something put together by the end of February to present to the Council.
Councilwoman Fiamingo commented that prior to the Re-Organization Meeting, the Mayor looked at the By Laws and noted they were particularly out of date with the last revision being 20 or more years ago. Councilman Taylor and myself reviewed the By Laws and submitted the proposed amendments to Council for their discussion and they are being proposed tonight on this evenings agenda. In the near future we will be working on employee policies for all non-union employees in order to come up with some integrated consistent policies for the Borough employees so that they know exactly what they can expect.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
Councilman Pugliese reported that between January 9th and January 23rd the DPW worked on cleaning catch basins, curbside brush removal, repairing the street and traffic signs, cleaning sanitary sewer lines, pruning trees, landscaping and general cleaning up of Borough property, parks and dead ends. Residents are reminded that every Wednesday the DPW will be picking up brush until January 31, 2007. On Friday it snowed about ½ inch and the DPW sent out one spreader truck and 2 crews were sent out to sweep the sidewalks. Councilman Pugliese reported that he passed Mr. Mancino’s concern regarding the street sweeper spitting out of rocks to Dan Ryan, Superintendent of DPW. After a discussion with Mr. Ryan it was decided that they are going to continue running with the current street cleaner and they have asked the driver to be more careful and if he notices rocks are being shot out then he is to park it.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
Councilman Clementi reported that Police Chief Dowd was sworn in as President of the Union County Police Chief’s Association which is a position that has never been held by a Police Chief in Kenilworth. Councilman Clementi stated that this is an honored position and if anyone sees the Chief to be sure to congratulate him. At the next meeting Councilman Clementi suggested having a Resolution to honor the Chief’s appointment.
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DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING, ZONING & ORDINANCES
Councilman DeLuca reported that the Park Drive drainage improvement and construction, is completed. Hopefully after the saturation of the ground water has gone down, the catch basins will do what they are supposed to do. The Air Conditioning Ordinance is going back to the Planning Board to correct some of the verbiage. Councilman DeLuca will have updates on the Library and DiMario Park at the next meeting.
DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION, ECOLOGY, LIGHTING AND FIRE
Councilman Corvelli reported that the renovation to the Fire House is coming along nicely. He is meeting with the Fire Chief on Saturday, January 27, 2007 at 10:00 am. to discuss some areas of concern and he will report on the events of that meeting at the next Council meeting. The Recreation Committee put together a wish list for Sixteenth Street Park for the grant money that was received from the County. The winter sports are in full swing and everything is going along fine.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION & WELFARE
Councilman Taylor reported that he is going to attend a Special Meeting of the Board of Education on January 29, 2007 at 6:30 pm. The meeting is scheduled to discuss the Television Network Programming.
RESOLUTION NO. 2
Introduced by Larry Clementi, adoption moved by same
Seconded by Robert Taylor
Be It Hereby Resolved: That the Borough Clerk be authorized to issue the following Raffle Licenses:
#880 Kenilworth Silver Card Association, Inc. on December 14, 2007 at 50 Lafayette Avenue, Kenilworth NJ for an Off-Premise Raffle.
#881 PTA Cranford High School on March 3, 2007 at Kenilworth Veteran’s Center, 33 South 21st Street Kenilworth, NJ for an On-Premise 50/50 Raffle.
#882 PTA Cranford High School on March 3, 2007 at Kenilworth Veteran’s Center, 33 South 21st Street, Kenilworth, NJ for an On-Premise Merchandise Raffle.
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Upon Roll Call, 5 in favor. Councilman Pugliese abstained.
Resolutions No. 1 and 3 through No. 7 are listed under Consent Agenda and will be enacted by one motion in the form listed below. All items will be recorded individually in full in the minutes.
Councilwoman Fiamingo moved that all items under Consent Agenda be approved, seconded by Councilman DeLuca. Upon roll call five in favor.
RESOLUTION NO. 1
Be It Hereby Resolved: That all bills be paid when properly audited and funds are available.
RESOLUTION NO. 3
WHEREAS, The Kenilworth Centennial Committee and the Pride in Kenilworth Committee are planning to hold two events on the Boulevard in 2007; and
WHEREAS, The Governing Body of the Borough of Kenilworth and Kenilworth Police Chief William Dowd have approved these events which will necessitate the closing of the Boulevard as follows:
1. Closing of the Boulevard from Springfield Avenue in Cranford to Michigan Avenue in Kenilworth on Saturday, June 16, 2007 from 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. for the Kenilworth Grand Centennial Parade.
2. Closing of the Boulevard from 23rd Street to 18th Street on Sunday, October 7, 2007 (Rain date: Sunday, October 14, 2007) from 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. for the Annual Kenilworth Octoberfest Street Fair.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Kenilworth request the approval of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders for the closing of the Boulevard for the above listed events.
RESOLUTION NO. 4
Be It Hereby Resolved:
WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:5-21 authorizes the establishment of a Petty Cash Fund in any municipality by application and resolution; and,
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WHEREAS, it is the desire of the Borough of Kenilworth, County of Union to establish such a fund for the Recreation Department in the amount of $150.00; and
WHEREAS, the custodian for this fund is Scott Pentz; such custodian shall maintain records for this fund in a manner conducive to proper accounting and auditing procedures;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Mayor and Council hereby authorizes such action and that two copies of this resolution be filed with the Division of Local Government Services, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs for approval.
RESOLUTION NO. 5
Be It Hereby Resolved:
WHEREAS, the following property was issued a street opening permit, and escrow of $500.00 was received by the Building Department;
WHEREAS, it has been determined that the work has been complete and inspected by Dan Ryan, Superintendent and Dan Swayze, Town Engineer
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Treasurer be and is hereby authorized to draw a warrant to refund the following amount to the property owner:
Amount $500.00 refunded to the property owner
295 North Michigan Avenue
Kenilworth, NJ 07033
Property located at 234 North 20th Street, Block #22, Lot #7,01
RESOLUTION NO. 6
Be It Hereby Resolved:
WHEREAS, the Borough Council of the Borough of Kenilworth is concerned that the construction of the Lackawanna Cutoff Project will increase the potential for freight movements along a re-opened Rahway Valley Railway; and
WHEREAS, New Jersey Transit policy encourages rail freight along commuter rail lines, and the Lackawanna Coalition under Docket FD-33388-91 before the Federal Surface
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Transportation Board has endorsed the resumption of freight service on a restored Lackawanna Cutoff; and
WHEREAS, rail freight movements along the Rahway Valley Railway and the Staten Island Railway within the Borough of Kenilworth and across the County of Union would create traffic delays, additional threats to human life and increases in noise and air pollution from the operation of diesel locomotives; and
WHEREAS, traffic delays and diversions along roadways crossed by the Rahway Valley Railway will worsen traffic conditions on other area roadways; and
WHEREAS, the Borough Council of the Borough of Kenilworth is concerned with the potential impact of increased commuter and freight rail traffic on New Jersey Transit commuter lines if the Lackawanna Cutoff Project is constructed; and
WHEREAS, the completion of the Lackawanna Cutoff would require the expenditure of approximately $500 million in capital costs and $21 million in annual operating costs from New Jersey’s limited state and federal transportation funding; and
WHEREAS, the Lackawanna Cutoff Project would use New Jersey transit funds to subsidize Pennsylvania commuters and place Pennsylvania commuters in competition with New Jersey commuters for seating on New Jersey Transit trains; and
WHEREAS, the introduction or addition of freight traffic on the Staten Island Railway, Rahway Valley Railway, Morris & Essex Lines would create additional air pollution, asthma inducing fine particulates, noise and vibration from the operation of freight trains with diesel locomotives in close proximity to residences and hospital facilities; and
WHEREAS, northern New Jersey is facing a growth in port commerce similar to that being experienced by the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California; and
WHEREAS, the use of an archaic rail system in an attempt to accommodate port growth in southern Los Angeles resulted in traffic gridlock and an inordinate rise in air pollution; and
WHEREAS, the construction of a modern, high-speed rail corridor known s the Alameda Corridor was necessary to effectively move marine cargo through southern Los Angeles; and
WHEREAS, the Alameda Corridor currently moves more than fifty trains containing more than 11,000 cargo containers out of the combined Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on a daily basis; and
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WHEREAS, the Alameda Corridor currently transports more than half of the container cargo handled by the combined Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach; and
WHEREAS, the expenditure of funds for the Lackawanna Cutoff Project would be better spent on direct, high-speed rail freight access to the Port of New York and New Jersey; and
WHEREAS, direct, high-speed rail access to the Port of New York and New Jersey would provide the entire eastern half of North America with access to commodities and opportunities for economic growth; and
WHEREAS, the United States Army Corps of Engineers has historic expertise in the coordination of large-scale, interstate rail and transportation projects.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Governing Body of the Borough of Kenilworth hereby opposes the construction of the Lackawanna Cutoff Project and the reactivation of the Rahway Valley and Staten Island lines west of the New Jersey Turnpike and calls upon all state and federal officials to discontinue any further support or funding for these projects; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Governing Body of the Borough of Kenilworth calls upon all State and Federal Officials to seek the immediate assistance of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin evaluation of the feasibility of establishing new, high-speed rail freight lines that would originate at the Port of New York and New Jersey and follow the U.S. Route 78 and U.S. Route 80 transportation corridors across the State of New Jersey; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution shall be sent to the Municipal Clerks of all communities traversed by the Staten Island Railway west of the New Jersey Turnpike, the Rahway Valley Railway, the Morris & Essex Lines, and the Lackawanna Cutoff; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution shall be sent to the elected State and Federal Officials representing the municipalities thereby traversed, the New Jersey Department of Transportation, and the local regional offices of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
RESOLUTION NO. 7
Be It Hereby Resolved: That amendments/revisions have been proposed to the By-Laws of the Borough Council of the Borough of Kenilworth.
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Councilman DeLuca stated that Jessie Boyden, a Brearley Wrestler was made Brearley Wrestler of the Week for New Jersey and the team is number 9 on the top 20 list for the State.
Mayor David congratulated Councilman DeLuca and his wife Rose on the birth of their son, Niko Luigi.
Councilwoman Fiamingo stated the Centennial Dinner was successful and lot of people who are in the audience were there that evening. Councilman Fiamingo stated that the Borough Clerk, Deputy Clerk as well as other Centennial Committee members did a great job decorating the VFW for the dinner dance.
Councilman Pugliese stated the entertainment which included Rudy Cammorata, Dr. Boright, Susan Mancino and the Irish Dancers were very entertaining.
MEETING OPENED TO THE PUBLIC
Stan Orzeck, 152 Boulevard – Mr. Orzeck advised the Council that the Shade Tree Commission has moved to Plainfield or Scotch Plains. He wanted to know the impact this would have on Kenilworth. Councilman DeLuca stated that the building is being refurbished and in the mean time the County Police are using that location to secure baby car seats into vehicles. Hedy Lipke advised that it is a temporary arrangement.
Frank Brandofino, 672 Summit Avenue – Mr. Brandofino stated that on March 23, 2005 this body jointly and suddenly imposed on him and his household a debt in the form of an assessment for curbs installed on Summit Avenue more than a decade ago. Summit Avenue homeowners protested stating the administration, sitting at the time of the improvement, said there would be no assessment for Summit Avenue curbs as the curbs were financed by the $90,000.00 Summit Avenue Grant that the Borough received from Community Development. The body acted in gross negligence and indifference when they arbitrarily imposed the assessment debt. They stated, on the record, that they did not have official records, documents or any personal knowledge relating to the decade old improvement or the $90,000.00 Community Development
Grant for the Summit Avenue Project. They were obliged to give full consideration to the foregoing facts and that it was incumbent upon the body to conduct a thorough investigation of the facts in order to determine with 100% certainty that the assessment debt was valid and more importantly that it was authorized. By their failure to investigate, they failed to perform the duty which is imposed upon them by law of which is clearly inherent in the nature of the office. The question is did the body cause damage to myself and my household by a willful want or grossly negligent act of
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commission or omission. Mr. Brandofino stated that the governing body committed an invalid and unauthorized act of misconduct. The State Law finds that a public official is
guilty of misconduct if it commits an act relating to the office but constituting an unauthorized exercise of their official function knowing that such an act is unauthorized or they are committing such act in an unauthorized manner. The State Legislature declares such misconduct and the correspondent damage to the public confidence impairs the ability of the government to function properly, forces mistrust and is disrespectful of government and public service. These acts of gross negligence are in violation of State Statute as well as civil rights. The body is not above the law. Their legal standing and authority to impose the debt assessment is questioned. The body imposed the assessments while they simultaneously admitted they lacked the documentation or the knowledge concerning the street improvement, the condition of the $90,000.00 grant and what it did or did not finance. Their actions did not achieve authority status by declaring the $90,000.00 did not finance Summit Avenue curbs and that the debt assessment was valid. The validity and authorization can only be achieved when they provide evidence proving the curbs were not financed by grant dollars. That evidence must be in the nature of official documents, receipts, resolutions, expenditures, vouchers, etc., accounting for each and every dollar of the $90,000.00 grant. Mr. Brandofino demanded that this body provide such evidence and failing that he demands that the body rescind the curb assessment and return the monies already paid. Mr. Brandofino asked the Governing Body when he can expect an answer one way or the other.
Mayor David responded by saying he believed the Borough Clerk had already researched the issue and had provided Mr. Brandofino with answers in the past but apparently the answers were not acceptable to him.
Mr. Brandofino stated the Borough Clerk did not provide answers nor documentation. The Clerk provided me with some information but it was not sufficient and did not cover the $90,000.00 nor did she provide the application for the Community Development. The only thing that he received from the Clerk was a certification by DePalma Engineering certifying there was not grant money and that was not true. Mr. Brandofino has been in touch with the agency and they say they have no idea at all and they cannot indicate whether the project received grant money or not. It was not a certification that there was no grant money, it was an accounting of what each homeowner would have to pay if the assessment went through. Mr. Brandofino stated he would like all of the documentation concerning the grant and how it was spent, vouchers, etc.
Mayor David responded that Hedy would research the grant and any information they have is under the right to know and Mr. Brandofino has the ability to obtain that information at a per page cost.
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Mr. Brandofino stated it is the Borough’s obligation to prove to him that the grant did not cover the streets. Mayor David stated we will look into whether the grant was actually used for the curb assessments. Hedy Lipke stated that she has researched Mr.
Brandofino’s request and both she and Councilman Corvelli both advised that the County records do not go back that far. Mrs. Lipke stated she found the Ordinance
which stated the Borough was to receive a Community Grant for $90,000.00 and it was going to be applied to drainage. Mr. Brandofino stated that the street and drainage was approximately $70,000.00 and there was approximately another $20,000.00 left in the grant money. Mrs. Lipke stated that she cannot dispute what Mr. Brandofino stated because she cannot find any records but he cannot dispute what she is saying either. Mr. Brandofino stated that if there are no records pertaining to the grant and what the grant financed then how can he be assessed for curbing.
Mayor David responded that Hedy will get whatever documentation she can obtain and the Council will review it and report back to Mr. Brandofino. Mr. Brandofino stated he will be at the next meeting. Mayor David stated he cannot guarantee the documentation will be ready by then. Mr. Brandofino asked if they Mayor had any idea when the information would be ready and the Mayor replied that he does not know as he does not know what is involved in obtaining the records. Councilman Corvelli stated the records are from the calendar year 1993 for the County and he will try obtain whatever records he can. Councilwoman Fiamingo stated that the Finance Department should have something on record.
Livio Mancino, 102 North 24th Street – Mr. Mancino asked if residents can purchase the Town Planner Calendar. Mayor David suggested that Mr. Mancino contact Joe Renna at the next Centennial Meeting regarding the calendars. Mr. Mancino confirmed with Councilman Taylor the date and time for the Board of Education Meeting. Councilman Corvelli gave Mr. Mancino a copy of the paperwork with the date, time and place of the meeting. Mr. Mancino suggested that the Council give the Petition to Mr. Gonnella at the school and have him give a letter to all the parents urging them to sign the petition. Mr. Mancino asked the Council who the Kenilworth representative is for the Rahway Valley Sewerage Authority. Mayor David advised that Mr. Tom McHale is the Kenilworth representative. Mr. Mancino asked if Kenilworth was being assessed for ¾ of a million dollars? The Mayor responded that everyone who is a member of the RVSA is being assessed. Mr. Mancino said he believes the residents should be aware of the increases that are coming their way in the next couple of years. Mr. Mancino asked Councilwoman Fiamingo if Comcast was budgeted for the $26,000.00. Councilwoman Fiamingo stated it will be put into the budget. Mr. Mancino asked if it was a line item last year? Mayor David stated yes it is a recurring payment that the Borough receives. Mr. Mancino stated to Councilman Pugliese that as far as the sweeper is concerned it is not
a question of it kicking out stones but more that it is ripping up the road. Mr. Mancino asked if the Borough would mark the streets around the school as being a School Zone. He suggested the signs be put on Monroe Avenue, Washington Avenue and 24th Street. He advised that the County will take care of the Boulevard. Mr. Mancino stated
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that trucks fly down Monroe Avenue and before there is a tragedy the Borough should mark the streets as being a School Zone.
There being no further business to come before the Council it was moved by Councilman Corvelli, seconded by Councilman Taylor and carried, that the meeting be adjourned to the call of the chair.
8:35 P.M. Respectfully submitted,
Hedy Lipke, Borough Clerk
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