REGULAR MEETING OF THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF THE BOROUGH OF KENILWORTH HELD ON WEDNESDAY EVENING, MARCH 11, 2009. MAYOR KATHI FIAMINGO PRESIDED.
Roll Call at 8:00 P.M. showed the following Council Members present: Sal Candarella, Brian Joho, Scott Klinder, Fred Pugliese, Toni Sosnosky. Kevin Leary, Jr. was absent.
Mayor Fiamingo read the requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act.
The Salute to the Flag was led by Mayor Fiamingo.
It was moved by Councilman Candarella, seconded by Councilman Joho, and carried that the minutes of the Work Session Meeting of February 24, 2009 and the Regular Meeting of February 25, 2009, be dispensed with and approved as submitted. (Copies furnished each Council Member prior to the meeting.)
COMMUNICATIONS AND PETITIONS:
1. Police Department Report for the month of February, 2009.
2. Construction Department Report for the month of February, 2009.
3. Borough Clerk’s Report for the month of February, 2009.
It was moved by Councilman Pugliese, seconded by Councilman Klinder and carried that the above communications be received and filed and any money amounts indicated be spread over the minutes.
REPORT OF COMMITTEES
Mayor Fiamingo stated she assumes everyone has heard about the merger of Merck and Schering Plough which is supposed to occur at the end of the year. The Borough is hopeful that Merck will continue to maintain their facility in Kenilworth because it is a wonderful plant and corporate headquarters. The Mayor said she will be reaching out to Merck to discuss that possibility.
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The Mayor said there is some potentially positive information on the RVSA. She said hopefully next year there will be the potential to refinance the bonds so that the Borough can hopefully get out from the tremendous increases that the Borough has been experiencing over the last few years. She said she does not have any more information because there have only been initial discussions.
Mayor Fiamingo stated that Governor’s Corzine’s budget address had a very bleak economic forecast for the State and not much better for the Borough. He indicated there will be an additional 2% decrease in State Aid and combined with the 36% reduction we received last year makes a total of 38% reduction in State Aid to the Borough. The Finance Committee is working very hard on the budget process and the Council expects to introduce the budget by the end of the month.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held this Saturday in Union. The VFW will be the staging area and 21st Street will probably be closed off for the better part of the day from the Boulevard to Newark Avenue.
The Silver Card Association Dinner will be held on April 2, 2009. The Mayor said the Silver Card Association honors our police officers. She said it is a wonderful event and they will be honoring Joe Starkey from Schering Plough and Al Parker who is a local resident and has been very helpful to the Silver Card Association. The tickets are $50.00 per person and if you bring your spouse it is $30.00.The meal is being presented by the Garlic Rose and the Mayor hopes everyone will attend.
DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Councilman Joho reported the Finance Committee continues to work on the 2009 budget. They are challenged to create a budget that maintains the Borough services and staff but also reins in spending and limiting the tax burden on our residents. At the work session yesterday the Mayor and Council requested a number of items be initiated immediately and that is a hiring freeze will be instituted during 2009 and until further notice. He said in the absence of emergent conditions, no overtime or compensation time will be granted during 2009 until further notice. Also part-time employees will be limited to no more than 20 hours per week and additional hours would require justification and approval by the Finance Committee. All new office equipment and purchases of $500.00 or more must be approved by the Finance Committee beforehand. Also the Mayor and Council requested the Borough Auditor and Finance Officer begin the necessary work and preparation for filing for State Extraordinary Aid. We do not know if there will be aid available but we will go through the process.
Mayor Fiamingo stated that working on the budget is still an on-going process and they will have to implement certain measures that are significant to save the taxpayers being burdened. Councilman Joho said they will continue to look at the budget line item by line item and they are still reviewing the various department budgets and looking for any other savings.
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DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
Councilwoman Sosnosky had nothing to report.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
The Police Department will be applying for another grant from the State relating to the Graduated Drivers Licenses. The grant is provided by the State Division of Highway and Traffic Safety. He said a Graduated Drivers Licenses are licenses issued to a new drivers provided they only operate the vehicle during certain times and that they have taken a driver’s education course. The grant will be used to fund the salaries of officers while they are working to enforce the Graduated Drivers License system and also to educate young drivers regarding the rules of the road. The Police Department is participating in the Hang Up And Drive Program and as of this past Monday, scores of summons have been issued. That grant is being funded by the State so that the Police Department is not paying any money directly out of their budget.
DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING, ZONING & ORDINANCES
Councilman Candarella stated all is in order when he reviewed the Construction Report for the month. The 2008 Road Project is gearing up to start. They will be having their first meeting for the Master Plan later on this month and they will keep everyone abreast of what is going on.
Mayor Fiamingo stated the residents on North 11th Street and North 20th Streets will be getting a letter within the next several days relative to the start up of those projects. She said weather permitting the projects will start next Monday.
DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION AND FIRE
Councilman Leary was absent. Mayor Fiamingo read a very brief note to the dedicated Kenilworth Volunteer Fire Department, dated March 2, 2009 from Mrs. Helen Kuchenka. The note stated the Fire Department does a courageous service for the Borough of Kenilworth.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION & WELFARE
Councilman Klinder reminded residents that two weeks from tonight the Library will be hosting the “Experience the Iditarod Race” from 7:00 to 8:00 pm. Karen Land is a three-time participant in the 1,150 mile Iditarod Sled Dog Race across Alaska. Registration for residents will begin on March 18th and for out of town people registration will begin on March 23. Also this Friday, the Hudson Shakespeare Company will perform the play “Proof” at 7:30 at the Library. On March 31st, local author Diane Schwabb will be discussing her book “Flourishing After Sixty”. He said that for the month of January, 4611 people attended the Library.
Mayor Fiamingo added that Kenilworth has a very active library and a wonderful staff.
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Consolidated Bill List appears on the following pages. (copy attached)
Resolutions No. 1 thru 6 are listed on 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.
Councilman Candarella moved that all items under Consent Agenda be approved, seconded by Councilwoman Sosnosky. Upon roll call the vote was unanimous.
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
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:
WHEREAS, a fee has been collected for removal of 1 air conditioner in the amount of $25.00 and,
WHEREAS, the permit has been found not to be used.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Treasurer be authorized to
draw a warrant in the amount of $25.00 payable to the order of:
490 Sheridan Avenue
Kenilworth, NJ 07033
RESOLUTION NO. 3
Be It Hereby Resolved: That the Borough Clerk be authorized to issue the following Raffle Licenses:
#955 Kenilworth Little League for an Off-Premise Merchandise Raffle on June 13, 2009 at Echo Lake Park, Westfield, NJ.
Regular Council Meeting – March 11, 2009 Page 5
RESOLUTION NO. 4
RESOLUTION DESIGNATING THE MONTH OF MARCH AS
“WOMAN’S HISTORY MONTH”
WHEREAS New Jersey women of every race, class, and ethnic background have made historic contributions to the growth and strength of our State in countless recorded and unrecorded ways;
WHEREAS New Jersey women have played and continue to play a critical economic, cultural, and social role in every sphere of the life of the State by constituting a significant portion of the labor force working inside and outside of the home;
WHEREAS New Jersey women have played a unique role throughout the history of the State by providing the majority of the volunteer labor force of the State;
WHEREAS New Jersey women were particularly important in the establishment of early charitable, philanthropic, and cultural institutions in our State;
WHEREAS New Jersey women of every race, class, and ethnic background served as early leaders in the forefront of every major progressive social change movement;
WHEREAS New Jersey women have been leaders, not only in securing their own rights of suffrage and equal opportunity, but also in the abolitionist movement, the emancipation movement, the industrial movement, the civil rights movement, and other movements, especially the peace movement, which create a more fair and just society for all; and
WHEREAS despite these contributions, the role of women in history has been consistently overlooked and undervalued, in the literature, teaching and study of American History;
WHEREAS the Department of Community Affairs, specifically the Division on Women’s goals are to remember and celebrate New Jersey women and to:
· Ensure that NJ women are offered equal opportunities in education, the workforce and healthcare regardless of age, sexual orientation, income, ethnicity, race or religion.
· Identify, implement, measure and coordinate programs that address the needs of NJ women.
· Engage in continuous study and research on issues affecting NJ women and their families, develop policy papers and legislative recommendations
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Governing Body in the Borough of Kenilworth, State of New Jersey, that March 2009 is designated as “Women’s History Month” under the National Women History Project’s 2009 theme: Women Taking the Lead to Save our Planet.
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RESOLUTION NO. 5
WHEREAS, the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System (NJPIES) (a division of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health,/NJ Medical School of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is New Jersey’s only certified poison control center; and
WHEREAS, NJPIES is celebrating 26 years of service of New Jersey residents; and
WHEREAS, unintentional poisoning is the 2nd leading cause of unintentional injury death nationally; and
WHEREAS, approximately half of all accidental poisonings occurring each year happen to children under six (6) years of age; and
WHEREAS, this non-profit organization provides free poison consultation, drug information, and poison prevention education to NJ residents through the 1-800 Poison Help Hotline; and
WHEREAS, consumers and healthcare professionals need and desire a source of information for their questions regarding the use of prescriptive and non-prescriptive medications; and
WHEREAS, NJPIES’ Poison Help Hotline services are free and confidential and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year; and
WHEREAS, all NJ residents must be educated about the dangers posed by potentially poisonous household products and other toxic substances because these products when not used as intended or directed, may be dangerous or fatal; and
WHEREAS, NJPIES is involved with the state’s efforts at homeland defense, counter-terrorism, bio surveillance, and surveillance for clusters of poisonings; and
WHEREAS, NJSPIES encourages the public to use the resources of the Poison Control Center for emergencies, drug information, poison information questions, and public education services by calling the Poison Help Hotline at 1-800-222-1222; and
WHEREAS, educating the public about the Poison Control Center’s service can help save lives.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Kathi Fiamingo, Mayor of the Borough of Kenilworth do hereby proclaim
MARCH 15TH – 21ST, 2009
NATIONAL POISON PREVENTION WEEK
In New Jersey, and urge all citizens to take this opportunity to make their homes as safe as possible and to correct any potentially dangerous situations.
Kathi Fiamingo, Mayor
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RESOLUTION NO. 6
American Red Cross Month 2009
Each year during the month of March we formally recognize the Tri-County Red Cross and its essential humanitarian role in the Borough of Kenilworth. We honor the role of the Red Cross contribution to making Kenilworth a better place. Every day, Red Cross volunteers and employees carry out the mission by providing essential services to people in their communities with the help of generous donors in Kenilworth.
For more than 90 years, Kenilworth residents have relied on the expertise of the American Red Cross in disaster relief. Each year the Tri-County Red Cross responds to estimated 65 disasters in and near Kenilworth, including house or apartment fires, hurricanes, and other natural and human caused disasters. The Tri-County Red Cross assisted more than 25,000 people in our area with shelter, food, clothing, disaster training, medical transportation and other life-saving services.
The Tri-County Red Cross in Kenilworth makes every effort to save lives long before tragedy strikes by helping individuals and entire communities learn to prepare for disasters. It prepares people to save lives through first aid and CPR training, water safety, and use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to save victims of sudden cardiac arrest. Over the past year, nearly 10,000 people have enrolled in Health and Safety Courses with the Tri-County Red Cross. The Tri-County Red Cross also provides free disaster preparedness and response training to any resident or organization OF Kenilworth who is interested in learning how to help their neighbors in times of need.
Under its charter, the American Red Cross is entrusted with providing volunteer aid in time of war to the sick and wounded of the armed forces. Staff Members deploy with our Armed Forces to provide emergency communications and a caring presence to service men and women separated from their families. The Tri- County Red Cross has sent more than 2,500 emergency messages to active duty personnel and their families, and also reaches out to the members of the National Guard and Reserves and their families who reside in nearly every community in the 22 communities they serve in Union, Middlesex and Somerset Counties.
Without the help of Kenilworth volunteers, the Tri-County Red Cross would be unable to fulfill the humanitarian mission that is the cornerstone of the organization. We are grateful for the tireless work of the volunteers and employees of the Tri-County Red Cross in Kenilworth and during this month, we pay tribute to this remarkable organization and all those who have answered the call to serve a greater cause and offered support and healing in times of need.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Kathi Fiamingo, Mayor of the Borough of Kenilworth, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of Kenilworth do hereby proclaim March 2009 as American Red Cross Month. Especially during this extraordinary time for our country, I encourage all Americans to support this organization’s noble humanitarian mission.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this 11th day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and the Borough of Kenilworth of New Jersey.
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Motion was made by Councilman Joho, seconded by Councilman Klinder to open the meeting to the public. All in favor.
MEETING OPENED TO THE PUBLIC
Herb Michitsch, 725 Monmouth Avenue – Mr. Michitsch asked when information on the budget would be available? Mayor Fiamingo responded that they will announce when they will introduce the budget at the next council meeting. Mr. Michitsch asked if there was a preliminary budget available? The Mayor responded by stating the budget would not be available because there are a lot of items that need to be resolved before they can put something out. Mr. Michitsch asked if they were working with last year’s budget and revising and updating it? The Mayor said yes. Mr. Michitsch asked if by the end of the month they would have something? The Mayor responded by stating the budget will be introduced before the end of the month.
Livio Mancino, 102 North 24th Street – Mr. Mancino said people have trouble hearing the council meetings on TV. Mr. Mancino asked if the Council was taking into consideration, as far as the freeze on hiring, the people that are leaving? The Mayor responded yes. He suggested the Council negotiate with the unions to forego any increases in salaries. He said he recommended to the school board that teachers forego their increases in salaries starting from the administrators on down. Mr. Mancino said the people that are under contract would have to be willing to rescind their increases for the year. The Mayor asked Mr. Mancino how that process was going and Mr. Mancino stated it was not being supported by most members of the Board of Education. The Mayor said she is dismayed and surprised that these things are not being discussed. She said the Borough cannot go into that area because that would incur contract negotiations. Mr. Mancino suggested the Mayor and Council send a letter asking the School Board to consider rescinding increases for the year. The Mayor said that would require reopening the contract negotiations. Mr. Mancino said the negotiating team would have to suggest to the Board that they rescind the increases for the year. He said the team would have to go to the membership with this. He said if the Board of Education has a budget that the town does not accept then the Board would have to cut teachers and make classes bigger. Mr. Mancino said the school is better than 50% of the community taxes that the Borough is forced to collect. The Mayor said the Borough is looking at all avenues and will be announcing further cuts and initiatives at the next meeting. Mr. Mancino offered to give some of the new Planning Board members some classes because the Planning Board should know about the renovations being done at the school. The Mayor said the school already presented the plans to the Planning Board. Mr. Mancino suggested the Mayor and Council send a letter to the new owners of Schering Plough with a plea that says they welcome them. He said they pay ½ of the commercial taxes to the Borough and if they downsize or they don’t need those facilities then things would be worse than Hoboken and West New York. Mr. Mancino said he would be willing to help work with Merck. The Mayor said she stated at the beginning of tonight’s meeting that she was planning to reach out to Merck and that it is on the top of her list, right after they get the budget straightened out.
John Bury, 417 North 15th Street – Mr. Bury asked if there were any layoffs or furloughs planned? The Mayor said it is hard to plan something like that when most of the employees are
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contract employees .She said the Borough will be addressing that issue with the unions. Mr. Bury said the County is going ahead with layoffs. The Mayor responded that when you have a contract you have to negotiate. She said even at the State level you have to negotiate. Councilman Klinder responded that he is a state employee and has 14 days off without pay. Mr. Bury asked if S-7 or S-14 is supposed to be voted on soon? He said Joseph Fass voted against the bill and was indicted today. The Mayor stated that the bill Mr. Bury is referring to is the Pension deferral bill and she said it is very iffy that it is going to pass. Mr. Bury said the payment has to be made by April 1st. Mr. Bury asked what the pension deferral would be? Councilman Joho responded about $300,000.00. Mr. Bury asked if in the budget it’s assumed that the $300,000.00 will be deferred. He said Jersey City and Union County are all assuming it will be deferred. The Mayor said the Borough is looking at it both ways because if it does not pass then we have to find $300,000.
Bob Herbert, 363 Coolidge Drive – Mr. Herbert said the school budget was passed around 20 million dollars but he said it is a bad time for the school to start the project. He suggested they do a smaller scale this year or extend the period of time of how they will make the improvements. He is concerned the Borough is going to cut overtime for the Police, Fire and Rescue, even though they are volunteers, they still need funding. He said crime goes up and mysterious things happen and we need those people available. He said as important as it is for the school for the children it has been an ongoing project and delaying it for another year or two during these tough times is the thing to do. He said the Mayor and Council should talk to the School Board and see if they can come up with another plan. He said it is not a good time to go forward with 20 million when we are considering cutting overtime for public safety.
The Mayor said it is not a 20 million project, it is somewhere in the area of 13 million and the voters approved it.
Mr. Mancino said that the reason they had to run a referendum this year was the only time they could get the money. He said out of every dollar they are getting .40 cents. He said the State has mandated that once you get these funds you have to give them a schedule and stay within the schedule. He said the amount of tax that is increased from the project in everyone’s homes this year is on the average $50.00. He said you have to let that project go through because otherwise we lose 4-5 million dollars.
Mayor Fiamingo said we do not have any control over what the school does with financing and it was approved by the voters.
Motion was made by Councilman Joho, seconded by Councilman Klinder to close the meeting to the public. All in favor.
Mayor Fiamingo stated there are a lot of decisions that the Council has to make that are going to be very difficult this year. We are going to do what they have to do because the Borough has an obligation to their constituents to do the best they can with the budget. They are working very hard and it is an extremely difficult time. She is going to reach out to Merck to discuss the
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benefits of staying in Kenilworth. The Council is going to have to take extraordinary measures, relative to the budget, that ordinarily they would not want to take. She said she cannot discuss this any further at this time but it will all be discussed at the next meeting or a special meeting after the next meeting that we introduce the budget.
There being no further business to come before the Council it was moved by Councilwoman Sosnosky, seconded by Councilman Pugliese and carried, that the meeting be adjourned to the call of the chair. All in favor.
8:30 P.M. Respectfully submitted,
Hedy Lipke, Borough Clerk
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