REGULAR MEETING OF THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF THE BOROUGH OF KENILWORTH HELD ON WEDNESDAY EVENING, APRIL 8, 2009. MAYOR KATHI FIAMINGO PRESIDED.
Roll Call at 8:00 P.M. showed the following Council Members present: Sal Candarella, Scott Klinder, Kevin Leary, Jr., Fred Pugliese and Toni Sosnosky. Brian Joho 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 Pugliese, seconded by Councilman Leary, Jr., and carried that the minutes of the Work Session Meeting of March 24, 2009 and the Regular Meeting of March 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 March, 2009
2. Construction Report for the month of March, 2009
3. Borough Clerk’s Report for the month of March, 2009
It was moved by Councilman Candarella, seconded by Councilwoman Sosnosky 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 reported last night the Council approved the police applying for a grant under the COPS Program. She said this is an attempt to obtain a grant that would provide for the Federal Government to pay for the salary of a replacement officer due to the retirement of Lt. Moll. The grant, if successful, would pay for a three year period. The Borough would be committed to retain the officer for 4 years and in the event there is difficulty in our budget within the next several years, we would have the ability to go to the Program Administrators and request there be a change. For example if there is another retirement, rather than hiring another officer perhaps we can continue with the number of police that we have at that time. She said we will have to wait and see if we get the grant.
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The Mayor said she met earlier this evening with Brian Dehl, Jr. and Rosa Cuppari. She said Brian is in the 7th grade at St. Theresa’s and had approached her earlier in the year about getting some recommendations from children his age regarding what they can do to help our
town. Brian & Rosa got together with students at David Brearley and did a survey on what they could do for the town and came up with 47 recommendations. The Mayor said it was very helpful and she was very appreciative of their efforts. She said the Council is going to start to look at the recommendations.
The Historical Society is having a Historical Fashion Show on May 2nd at the Kenilworth Gospel Chapel. They are also having a Treasures From The Attic Sale on April 18th and 19th from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.
The Mayor said at the last council meeting there was a discussion on the sale of the Girl Scout Property. She referenced an easel that was set up in the courtroom with a recommended proposal of a plot plan that would show what the subdivision of the Girl Scout property would look like. She asked that anyone who wished to look at the proposal to please do so at the end of the meeting so as to not disrupt the flow of the meeting.
DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Councilman Joho was absent. The Mayor said the Council is working on the application for Extraordinary Aid and they will submit the application to the State pending the sale of the property and the ability to reduce the Borough’s tax levy.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
Councilwoman Sosnosky reported that Household Cleanup will begin on the north side of town on Wednesday, April 15th and will continue until completed. Cleanup will begin on the south side of town on Wednesday, April 22nd and will continue until completed.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
Councilman Pugliese reported the Police Department qualified and received two hand-held portable breath test units from the County Police Department. As a result our police have the ability to test blood alcohol on the side of the road whereas previously they had to do it at Police Headquarters. Councilman Pugliese said the Kenilworth Police received a fully funded grant for the “Hang Up And Drive Program” and the results were as follows: Approximately 120 violations were issued of which one half of the funds go to the Borough; 46 summons’s were issued and one drug arrest. Councilman Pugliese said it is his opinion as well as the opinion of
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the Governing Body that as a result of receiving this grant the Borough will be a safer place and hopefully motorists will observe the cell phone ban while driving ban. He reported that the Office of Emergency Management, through Chief Dowd, had their emergency operation plan approved by the State Police and the Attorney General’s office. The plan is in case of an emergency in the Borough. The plan has been certified and approved and they will not have to submit another plan for another 2 years. Councilman Pugliese reported that David Brearley High School is the first school in the state to participate in a 10 week pilot program to teach a new DARE course to freshman students. This new program will be taught by police officers from other jurisdictions as well as our own SRO, Detective Jim Grady. Detective Jim Grady was instrumental in obtaining this high school program and Councilman Pugliese commended Detective Grady for his efforts in the DARE Program and for looking out for our students. Councilman Pugliese said he received a letter from Union Police Chief Thomas Kramer who thanked the Kenilworth Police Department for lending them an officer during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. He stated in his letter he will reciprocate if Kenilworth ever needed an extra officer. He said Kenilworth received a grant from the State for the enforcement of a Special Teen Driving Program. Our officers were enforcing the program at David Brearley High School and were interviewed by Channel Five and Channel Nine news.
DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING, ZONING & ORDINANCES
Councilman Candarella reported the Monthly Construction Report was in order. The first meeting for the Master Plan is later in the month. He said in regard to the sale of the Girl Scout property, he assured residents that, as a licensed real estate professional and someone who has worked in the real estate business for a while, he will make sure the Borough gets what is has coming to them by making sure they get a good price.
DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION AND FIRE
Councilman Leary reported this past Saturday the Recreation Department hosted an Easter Egg Hunt which was very successful. Over 200 children participated. He thanked the Recreation Committee for their hard work. The Kenilworth Fire Department’s annual Memorial Service will be held on May 21st at 8:00 PM at the Kenilworth Veterans Center. Councilman Leary stated that due to construction being done at the high school, the Recreation Department has had to suspend the Summer Parks Program for this summer. They will be looking into alternatives, although not to the same extent, that will hopefully make up for the lack of the summer program.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION & WELFARE
Councilman Klinder reported last Tuesday the Welfare Department had a Salvation Army dinner at the Kenilworth Inn. He said over 30 people attended.
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Consolidated Bill List appears on the following pages. (copy attached)
Resolutions No. 1 thru 10 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.
Councilwoman Sosnosky moved that all items under Consent Agenda be approved, seconded by Councilman Pugliese. 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
RESOLUTON NO. 2
2008 TONNAGE GRANT APPLICATION
WHEREAS, The Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Act, P.L. 1987, c. 102, has established a recycling fund from which tonnage grants may be made to municipalities in order to encourage local source separation and recycling programs; and
WHEREAS, It is the intent and the spirit of the Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Act to use the tonnage grants to develop new municipal recycling programs and to continue and expand existing programs; and
WHEREAS, The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has promulgated recycling regulations to implement the Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Act; and
WHEREAS, The recycling regulations impose on municipalities certain requirements as a condition for applying for tonnage grants, including but not limited to, making and keeping accurate, verifiable records of materials collected and claimed by the municipality; and
WHEREAS, A resolution authorizing this municipality to apply for such tonnage grants for 2008 will memorialize the commitment of this municipality to recycling and to indicate the assent of the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Kenilworth to the efforts undertaken by the municipality and the requirements contained in the Recycling Act and recycling regulations; and
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WHEREAS, Such a resolution should designate the individual authorized to ensure the application is properly completed and timely filed.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Kenilworth that the Borough of Kenilworth hereby endorses the submission of the recycling tonnage grant application to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and designates Public Works Superintendent Daniel Ryan/Recycling Coordinator to ensure that the application is properly filed; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the monies received from the recycling tonnage grants be deposited in a dedicated recycling trust fund to the used solely for the purposes of recycling.
RESOLUTION NO. 3
WHEREAS, Edward Bartley is the owner of Block 21, lot 5, 250 No. 21st Street, Kenilworth, Union County, NJ, and;
WHEREAS, per the Tax Assessor, Mr. Bartley qualifies as a 100% totally disabled veteran, and;
WHEREAS, the bank has paid first quarter 2009 taxes on the aforementioned parcel on behalf of Mr. Bartley, and;
WHEREAS, Mr. Bartley has requested the tax monies be refunded to him;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Treasurer, after proper notation on the tax account records by the Collector of Taxes, be and is hereby authorized to issue a warrant for refund as stated below:
BLOCK LOT PAYABLE TO: AMOUNT
21 5 Edward Bartley $1,611.56
250 North 21st St.
Kenilworth, NJ 07033
RESOLUTION NO. 4
WHEREAS, the Pride in Kenilworth Committee is planning to hold an event on the Boulevard in 2009; and
WHEREAS, the Governing Body of the Borough of Kenilworth and Kenilworth Police Chief Dowd have approved this event which will necessitate the closing of the Boulevard as follows:
Closing of the Boulevard from 23rd Street to 18th Street on Sunday, October 25, 2009 from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. for the annual Kenilworth Street Fair.
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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 event.
RESOLUTION NO. 5
WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40a:55-21 authorized the establishment of a Change Fund, and
WHEREAS, it is the desire of the Borough of Kenilworth, County of Union that the Change Fund for the Court Administrator be increased from $100.00 to $150.00.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Borough of Kenilworth, County of Union hereby authorizes such action and two copies of this resolution be filed with the Division of Local Government Services, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs for approval.
RESOLUTION NO. 6
BE IT RESOLVED: That the Governing Body of the Borough of Kenilworth hereby grants Garden State Fireworks Company permission to provide a public display of fireworks scheduled for June 28, 2009 (rain date July 5, 2009) after proper proof of insurance coverage is provided and upon issuance of the required permit from the Fire Official.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the Mayor be authorized to sign the Contract with Garden State Fireworks Company at a cost of $7,000.00 (an extra 15% ($1,125.) if on ran date.)
Payment as follows:
50% ($3,500.00) upon signing of contract
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:34-5.1 et seq. Local Public Contracts Law, the required Certification of Funds has been obtained from the Chief Finance Officer of the Borough of Kenilworth. The appropriation to be charged for this expenditure is: Pride in Kenilworth Trust Account.
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RESOLUTION NO. 7
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RESOLUTION NO. 8
WHEREAS, Borough Engineers Grotto Engineering Associates requested proposals for “Pavement Corings on Carnegie Avenue” and three proposals were received; and
WHEREAS, Borough Engineer Richard O’Connor has recommended award of this project to Frank H. Lehr Associates, this being the lowest quote.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that FRANK H. LEHR ASSOCIATES be awarded the contract for “Pavement Corings on Carnegie Avenue” at a cost of $725.00.
Certification of Funds
Nancy Nichols, Treasurer
RESOLUTION NO. 9
WHEREAS, the people of this municipality support the New Jersey National Guard and Reserve in the strongest possible terms, are immensely proud of their accomplishments, and are extremely grateful for their services to this State and to the nation over the years.
WHEREAS, in the highest American tradition, the patriotic men and women of the Guard and Reserve serve voluntarily in an honorable and vital profession by responding to their community and their country in time of need;
WHEREAS, it is right and proper that we set aside time to honor these fine men and women for the sacrifices they make for every one of us;
WHEREAS, the New Jersey National Guard State Family Readiness Council is honoring them with a concert by the Blawenburg Band at the National Guard Armory in Lawrenceville on “Support Our Troops Day” on Sunday, April 19, 2009.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Governing Body of the Borough of Kenilworth, County of Union, hereby resolves that it honors these service members and the day of appreciation set aside for them.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this resolution be sent to the New Jersey National Guard State Family Readiness Council and the New Jersey League of Municipalities
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RESOLUTION NO. 10
NATIONAL DONATE LIFE MONTH, 2009
WHEREAS, every human life has matchless value, and during National Donate Life Month, we reaffirm our commitment to raising awareness about organ donations and the importance of making the decision to donate. We also express our appreciation to those who have donated organs, tissue and marrow; and
WHEREAS, over 100,000 Americans, over 4,500 in New Jersey, are currently on the waiting list for an organ transplant and thousands more need life enhancing tissue transplants. I urge all New Jersey residents to register with the state’s donor registry; say yes to organ and tissue donation on their driver’s license; and share their decision with family and friends. By taking these steps, New Jerseyans can help save lives. My administration is committed to strengthening organ and tissue donation programs and to increase the number of organs available for transplantation in order to save lives. The kindness and generosity of donors reflect the compassionate spirit of our state; and
WHEREAS, DURING National Donate Life Month, we celebrate the life-saving work of medical professionals and researchers and the many others whose actions reflect our commitment to a brighter tomorrow. Individuals can visit www.DonateLifeNJ.org to learn more about organ and tissue donation and how they can give the gift of life.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Kathi Fiamingo, Mayor of the Borough of Kenilworth, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the citizens of Kenilworth, do hereby proclaim April, 2009 as Donate Life Month. I call upon health care professionals, volunteers, educators, government agencies, faith-based and community groups, and private organizations to help raise awareness of the urgent need for organ and tissue donors throughout our state.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this eighth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine.
Proposed Ordinance No. 2009-10 was read for a first reading as follows: (Copy attached)
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING ARTICLE II OF SECTION 91-4, SUBSECTION L-FEES CHARGED BY THE POLICE DEPARTMENT
Mayor Fiamingo stated this is a first reading on an ordinance that would add a fee when there is a need for a police car to be at a construction job. The second reading will be held on May 13th and anyone who wishes to speak may do so at that time.
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RESOLUTION NO. 11
Introduced by Fred Pugliese who also moved its adoption
Be It Hereby Resolved: That Proposed Ordinance No. 2009-10, be and the same is hereby
Passed on first reading and ordered published for final hearing on May 13, 2009.
Seconded by Toni Sosnosky and on roll call unanimously carried.
Mayor Fiamingo stated that last week she and Councilman Pugliese attended the Silver Card Dinner. She said it was a successful event that helps the PBA with their charitable endeavors. She also attended the Little League Parade this past Saturday. She said although it was cold and windy, it was a lot of fun. The Mayor said the Easter Egg Hunt was extremely successful even though they had to delay the hunt to include some last minute children.
The Mayor stated, on a sad note, retired former police officer Lt. George Kernan passed away. She asked everyone to have a moment of silence for Officer Kernan.
Motion was made by Councilman Candarella and seconded by Councilman Leary to open the meeting to the public. All in favor.
MEETING OPENED TO THE PUBLIC
Darryl McMahon, 62 South 24th Street. Mr. McMahon said to Councilman Candarella that he believes what he said but he does not think this is the best time fiscally to sell the girl scout property. He said there are other properties the Borough owns that are not as valuable and the Borough should be looking to sell those properties. He said past Mayors like Mayor David and Mayor Tripodi thought that this was our most valuable piece of property and they wanted to save it for a public safety building or something more tangible because it is so valuable. He said by selling it now the Borough will lose a million dollars over the course of time because of the way the economy is. He implored the Council to look at some of the other properties. He said it seems foolish to get rid of the most expensive piece of property at this time. Mr. McMahon asked what is the cost to the Borough for the Master Plan. Mayor Fiamingo responded the cost is $60,000.00 which will be financed over a 5 yr. period. Councilman Candarella stated this is something that needs to be done by law every 6 years. Mr. McMahon asked if police officers other than Lt. Moll retire over the next few years does the Borough intend to replace them because crime is way up? The Mayor said the Council will have to see what the situation is financially next year. She said the Borough needs to know if the funds are available and they may very well be because of the retirement of the officers. Mr. McMahon said he feels the Borough has to make the funds available before anything else because crime is up. He said there has been a bank robbery, a store held up and people robbed at gun point and this should be a priority. Mr. McMahon said that from the tone he heard last night he said it sounded like the Borough got the grant to replace Lt. Moll but if other officers retire the police force will be decreased to 29 officers and then 28 officers and so on.
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Herb Michitsch, 725 Monmouth Ave. – Mr. Michitsch asked what is Resolution No. 7 amending the Temporary Budget? The Mayor said it allows the Borough to spend money and keep the Borough running. He asked if the Council has amended the budget that was proposed. Mr. Michitsch said he wanted to talk about the budget. The Mayor responded that the borough is going to have a hearing on the budget at the next meeting. Mr. Michitsch asked if the Council is going to vote on the budget at the next meeting? The Mayor replied that they will not vote at the budget hearing and they are not adopting the budget at the next meeting. Mr. Michitsch said he will not be here for the budget hearing and he would like to say something regarding the budget tonight. He asked the Mayor if it was correct that there is a shortfall in the budget that will be passed on to the residents as an increase in their taxes? The Mayor responded not exactly. He said in looking over the proposed budget there is a proposed increase of 13 points to each resident and that equates to over $300.00 for him personally for just the municipal budget. He said the school budget will add another $206.00 which means his taxes will go to over $500.00 and he said that is unacceptable. He made a suggestion to the Council to look into the DPW. He said the Borough should reduce the staff of the DPW. He said the budget on the DPW is over one million dollars. He said we have reduced the services that the DPW provide enormously. He said this year the grass is going to be picked up by a contractor at a cost of $52,000.00, recycling is being done on a contracting basis and bulk pickup is being done on a contracting basis. He said the budget on the DPW has not changed, it has gone up. He strongly suggested the Borough reduce the DPW head count by three people which would save at least $180,000.00 or maybe $200,000.00. He said this is not counting the benefits. Mr. Michitsch said there is a cap in the budget for $144,000 for a garbage truck and he asked why we need another garbage truck when services are being outsourced. He said we have two garbage trucks that are functioning. He asked why in this economy are we spending $144,000.00 on a garbage truck?
Joseph Vecchi, 417 Coolidge & Gary Bigg, 421 Coolidge Drive – Mr. Vecchi said he has two problems on his street, one with storm sewer and the other with the trees in front of his house. He said he and Mr. Bigg have put complaints in to the public works department. The Mayor asked what was the problem with the trees? Mr. Vecchi responded by stating the branches keep falling off. Mr. Bigg said squirrels have started to nest in the tree and when they hollow out the tree the branches above the hollowed area cause the branches above to be unstable and they become a safety issue. Mr. Vecchi said one of the branches fell on his car and damaged it. He said he put complaints in to the DPW and he did not get anywhere. Mr. Vecchi said there is a flooding area right in front of his house and Mr. Biggs house. He said they are right on the curve at Coolidge and the water collects right in front of their houses. He asked if there were any plans for storm sewer. The Mayor said she will have Councilwoman Sosnosky look into the tree situation. She said there are no present plans to do the storm sewers. She said that entire part of town has that problem because when it was developed they did not put in storm sewers. Mr. Vecchi asked about the pavement on the street? He said they did the street a while ago and every time they patch the water comes directly to his house. The Mayor said she would ask the Engineer to take a look and see if there is something they can do short of installing storm sewers. Mr. Vecchi asked if the water can be redirected and the Mayor said she cannot promise anything but she will ask the engineer to take a look at it. Mr. Bigg said his wife has called several times regarding the tree in front of his property and he has not received any response. He asked if there would be some written notice confirming that there is
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a problem. The Mayor said she guarantees that if he gives Councilman Sosnosky his contact information, she will contact you.
Linda Salkins, 29 North 13th Street & Rose from 13th Street – Mrs. Salkins said she has a group living situation on her street. She said she has complained to the police several times about the parties that take place from 11:00 PM to 5:00 AM. She said there are people coming and going and they are all over her lawn. She asked if there could be an ordinance against group living. She said it appears to be a fraternity or a sorority house. She said her neighbor Rose lives right next door to the house and she has a husband that is not well. The Mayor said she has heard about the house and knows there are problems. The Mayor said they have not considered that kind of ordinance. She said it is something they can look into but they would hate to “hit a tack with a sledgehammer” to address an issue that is in one area. She said she will talk to the Borough’s counsel regarding the ordinance and she asked for Mrs. Salkins contact information. The Mayor said she cannot promise anything. Mrs. Salkins said she calls the police all the time. Councilman Pugliese asked what happens after she calls the police? She said the people run into the house and there is nobody there when the police come by. She said the parties go on until 5 o’clock in the morning and the police cruise by but they are not being aggressive. She they are all over her lawn. She said in her opinion they are in violation of their lease and the owner of the property should be involved. Councilman Pugliese said either the Police Chief, himself or the Mayor will get back to her. She asked if the landlord can be held responsible. Councilman Candarella said they cannot control the lease. Rose said she has a very old husband and they usually start the parties around 11:00 and they go until 5:00 am. She said she has called the police and all the neighbors have called the police. She said they have had mediation and they signed the agreement that they are going to be quiet after 10:00 pm. and it has gotten worse. She said they barbeque at 11:00 at night and they finish at 5:00 am. She said they walk on her property and they sleep in the car. She said by the time the police come they go inside and the police say there is no violation. She said the police do not go in the back yard and check. The Mayor asked Rose to give her some contact information after the meeting and Councilman Pugliese and she will make some recommendations.
Mary Michitsch, 725 Monmouth Avenue – Mrs. Michitsch said she is against selling the girl scout property. She said it is a very bad time to sell it and it is putting a band aid on our budget. She said it should be sold when the prices are high. She asked if it was going to be sold as one lot to one builder? The Mayor said only if that brings the best price. Mrs. Michitsch said $200,000.00 per lot is not a good price. She said there are other properties in town that could be sold like the property next to the American Legion that could be sold as commercial property.
Jerry Ramos, 337 North 19th Street – Mr. Ramos said he is against selling the girl scout property. He said he has been in real estate for over 25 years and this is the worst thing to be done to the town at this time. He said the girl scout property is the most valuable residential real estate property in the town. He said there have been many administrations before who have protected that property to either keep it green or they did not want to sell it until it reached it’s maximum. He said the Council is proposing to sell it at a time when residential real estate is at an all time low and that is ill advised. He said this is the wrong time to sell. He said the Council has not done it’s due diligence in deciding to sell the property. He said the Council did not know there were other properties to be sold. The Mayor asked what properties did they not
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know about? Mr. Ramos said the one next to the park that Mr. Scuorzo suggested and the one that he suggested on 14th. The Mayor said she is well aware of the Civil Defense property and the DPW property. The Mayor said she finds it astounding to suggest that commercial property would sell more quickly and at a better rate than residential property in this market when we have empty buildings in town that are commercial. Mr. Ramos said that the town property that he is proposing the Borough to sell are not empty. He said he pointed out some last night. He said the properties he proposed are owned by Mr. Paparatto and are on 8th Street, 9th Street, 10th Street. He said some of the properties are very close to the DPW yard, like the sign company on the corner, the printer company next to the little league field and the stair company across from the little league field. Councilman Klinder said the stair guy and the printer companies are gone. Mr. Ramos said the printer has been replaced by another company. Councilman Klinder said there are places on the corner of 14th Street that are for sale. Mr. Ramos said he is not proposing those kind of properties be sold. Councilman Candarella asked Mr. Ramos if he is proposing that the Council build them and rent them or sell them? He said they have no control over what they build on the property once it is sold. He said they can guide them on what to build within the zoning regulations. Mr. Ramos asked Councilman Candarella if he thought that selling the girls scout property is the best thing to do at this time? Councilman Candarella said that Mr. Ramos did not hear those words from his mouth. He said if the Mayor and Council decided to sell the property he will make sure they get the right price. Mr. Ramos said the Borough is selling their best property and Councilman Candarella will get the best price but at a down market and that is not the smart thing to do. Councilman Candarella said he is not sure if the properties that Mr. Ramos suggested selling are available because they might be “Green Acres”. Mr. Ramos said that is the point he is trying to make. He said the Council has not looked into these properties and they are zeroing in on the one property. He said they have not done their due diligence. Mr. Ramos asked whose idea was it to sell the girl scout property? The Mayor said it was a communal idea. Mr. Ramos asked who was the first person to suggest the girl scout property be sold? The Mayor said the discussions started back when the Waldorf judgment was against the town and for reasons unknown it was not sold back then. She said it could have been sold three years ago but it wasn’t. She asked if it was the town’s duty to maintain property or to administer the Borough? She asked if it was the town’s obligation to hold on to valuable property that could be utilized in the budget? Mr. Ramos asked whose idea was it to sell the girl scout property, if it was such a good idea then someone should step up and take responsibility for it. The Mayor said she would take responsibility for it. Mr. Ramos asked whose idea was it to make 7 lots out of 6. The Mayor responded by stating they were maximizing the value of the property. Mr. Ramos asked whose idea was it to maximize the value of the property. Councilman Candarella said it was sent out to the engineer. Mr. Ramos asked if the engineer decided to divide the property into 7 lots? Councilman Candarella said the engineer recommended it. Mr. Ramos asked if the engineer recommended the Borough break the 6,000 sq. foot zone and make lots less than the neighboring lots. The Mayor said they originally requested that Mr. Cammarota give a proposal dividing the lots. Mr. Ramos said he differs from Mr. Cammarota and it is a disservice to the town to sell the most expensive and best residential real estate that the town owns at a time when we are in a recession. He said it is the worst time to sell the property because the town will get less money than it would if it waited until the recession ends. Councilman Candarella said now is when the town needs the money. Mr. Ramos asked how much money the town needs? Councilman Candarella said he does not have the numbers but somewhere between ½ million and one million dollars. Mr. Ramos said the town should sell the properties on 14th Street and that will give the Borough the money it
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needs. He said they should save the most valuable property. Councilman Pugliese said that previous administrations have thought about selling the girl scout property in the past. He said for one reason or another they did not have the need to sell it and they held onto it for a rainy day. He said it’s raining. Mr. Ramos asked if the council has done an inventory on what the town owns? The Mayor responded yes and they have also gathered a list of properties that have not had their taxes paid. Those properties can be sold by the Borough after they are foreclosed. The Mayor said this is Mr. Ramos’s time to speak and she asked what he thinks the Mayor and Council should do. Mr. Ramos said he thinks they should put aside the thought of selling the girl scout property because to sell the most valuable property in a recession is dumb. He said they should sell what would sell for the most money now. He said the council wants to do what it wants whether it’s in the best interest of the Borough or not. He said they are going to sell the property for a lot less then what it should go for. Mr. Ramos asked what other options have they looked at to balance the budget? The Mayor responded, extraordinary aid, cap waiver. She said the budget is balanced and is only 2 ½% up over last year. She said they have done a great job in keeping down costs. She said the problem is with our revenues and that is because of the recession. She said that is why this is the exact time to sell the property. Mr. Ramos said the budget only went up 2 ½% and the Borough is selling their most valuable property? The Mayor said the revenues in town are down. The revenues are almost one million dollars short of the cap. Mr. Ramos said the Borough should live within their means. He said don’t give raises if you cannot afford to give raises. He asked the Mayor if she has given any raises this year? The Mayor said yes they have given raises that are under contract. Mr. Ramos said the Council could have negotiated the contracts a little better. The Mayor said the contracts were negotiated last year. Mr. Ramos asked if they are negotiating contracts this year. The Mayor said no they were signed this year but negotiated last year. Mr. Ramos said people are losing their jobs and homes and the Borough is giving raises they don’t have. Mayor Fiamingo asked if it was the job of the Borough to have the police on the job or to keep property because Mr. Ramos wants it to be sold at another time? Mr. Ramos asked if the Mayor has given any raises to town employees this year? The Mayor said the Police and DPW are under contract that provide for raises in the year 2009 and no other raises have been granted? Mr. Ramos asked how much money does the town need to close the budget gap? The Mayor said about ½ million dollars to get under CAP. She said we are well under cap with spending. The tax levy cap, because of the reduction in revenues, is about ½ million dollars above cap with the pension deferral. Mr. Ramos asked if that is the case why are you selling all of the girl scout property? He said if you only need ½ million dollars why not sell part of the property. Councilman Candarella said they are still in the talking stages of selling the property and they have not even accepted bids yet much less sold anything yet. He said if someone comes in and puts a bid in for the whole thing we will consider it and if they put a bid in for only one or two lots we will consider that to. Mr. Ramos asked if the Borough would consider putting only two lots up? Councilman Candarella said no, they will put up all the lots if that is what the Mayor and Council decide and then we will see what happens when the bids come in. He said there is no need to make that decision now. Mr. Ramos asked if you only need $500,000.00 why is the Borough selling all the lots? Councilman Candarella said they will put up all the lots and see what they get back. The Mayor said they do not have a crystal ball that sees what they will realize on the property. Mr. Ramos said they will get a lot less now then they would two years ago. The Mayor said two years ago they did not need the ½ million dollars. Mr. Ramos said he is much more of an expert than Councilman Candarella because he sold Councilman Candarella his house. Mr. Ramos said the Borough is making a big mistake in selling the girl scout property.
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John Bury, 417 North 15th Street – Mr. Bury said it was nice to have a five minute time limit. He asked if the pension deferral went through? The Mayor said in order for the Borough to apply for Extraordinary Aid and to get the waiver on the cap levy, they have to present the budget as if they are accepting the deferral. The Borough would still have to apply for the deferral. She said it is not something they want to do because it will be more expensive in the long run to accept the deferral. Mr. Bury asked what the interest rate would be? The Mayor said she heard 8 ½%. Mr. Bury said 8 ¼% is what is in the plan. Mr. Bury said if you want his advice he said the Borough should accept the deferral. He said New Jersey and Illinois are worst funded plans in the nation. He said there is absolute incompetence running the pension plan and there is no way that this plan is not going to be taken over by the Federal Government within 3 or 4 years. He said everybody will be on their own and what they put into the plan they will get out. He said next year they are going to come back with another waiver and it is going to go on and on. Mr. Bury asked if the revenue was being lost from property taxes not being paid? The Mayor said no our property tax collection is tremendous and in the high nineties. The Mayor said we lost $300,000.00 last year in State Aid which we had to take out of our surplus to get within cap. She said we are making that up plus the additional $40,000.00 we lost this year. She said revenues were down $150,000 plus on returns from investments. She said all of this will be discussed at the budget hearing. Mr. Bury said the County taxes are probably going up 5% or more. He asked the Mayor what percentage was the school tax going to go up? The Mayor responded she does not have that information in front of her. Councilman Candarella responded by stating that before the 20 million dollar improvement it was about $120.00 per average household plus whatever they get on the 20 million. The Mayor said they are capped at 4% and then they have the capital budget allowed on top of that. She said April 21st is the School Board budget and you will get to vote on the budget. Mr. Bury asked he could see the budget? The Mayor said they had their budget presentation on the 30th. She said he could get a copy from them.
Mary Michitsch said if you have a $167,000.00 house it would be $101.00 for the school but that does not include the 20 million which will be another $129.00 and that would make $230.00 for a house that is $167,000.00. She said her house would be over $300.00.
Frank Pugliese, 235 North 13th Street – Mr. Pugliese asked if the Mayor was going to give the land away if she doesn’t get her price? The Mayor said no, of course not. He said if you don’t get the right price you won’t sell it. The Mayor said the point that was trying to be made was that the Borough will get less for the property this year than they would have two years ago. Mr. Pugliese asked where were the people who are complaining tonight for the last four months? He said if they care so much about the town why didn’t they show up twice a month for the meetings like he does?
Robert Herbert, 363 Coolidge Drive – Mr. Herbert asked if the State was cutting budgets for all municipalities across the state? The Mayor responded yes. He asked is that why the Borough is in trouble? The Mayor said the Borough is experiencing a problem with revenues. She said the spending is under control but the revenues have decreased significantly as a result
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of the economy. She said we are above cap on the tax levy side of the budget. Mr. Herbert said if the Mayor and Council are not happy with the offers that come in for the girl scout property and they opt not to sell it because of concerns of the majority of citizens then what happens to the middle class taxpayers of the town. He said in order to get the revenue you will have to increase taxes more than your 2 ½ point cap that you are trying to keep? The Mayor said assuming the Borough can get the approval from the State. She said the Borough cannot raise the tax levy without approval from the State and that would mean reduction of services across the board. Mr. Herbert asked if our County Prosecutor put a new bulletin out that states when there is a recession, crime goes up. Mr. Herbert said he would like to make sure law enforcement all keep their jobs. Mr. Herbert said if the Council decides not to sell anything and they have a 4% cap on taxes then the Borough is forced to cut departments. He said the Borough should not cut Police or Fire Department because we need these services for the public safety of our residents. He said he knows the Mayor and Council do not want to do that but he would like residents to know that if the Borough does not sell property owned by the Borough then it will come back to the taxpayers. Mr. Herbert said there was a survey that since 2000 until the present the only economical growth in the State of New Jersey is government jobs. He said the leaders in Trenton that are supposed to be looking out for the middleclass people are not doing their jobs because they keep giving their friends jobs with their lifetime benefits and double dipping. He said people should not be attacking the Mayor and Governing Body, we should go to Trenton and tell them to do their job or get out. He said if you leave those guys in Trenton we will not have to worry about budgets because we are not going to have one.
Trudy Neuhauser, 45 South 17th Street – Ms. Neuhauser said she has heard a lot of complaints tonight on a Borough level but she did not hear any complaints about Elizabeth. She said the same people are elected to represent us on the County level and every time they are voted in they give themselves a 6% raise and then in the summertime they have a big party in the park with our funds. She said they built a bridge across the lake and they have VIP tent and this is our money that they are spending. She said we should go to Elizabeth and complain.
Motion was made by Councilman Klinder, seconded by Councilman Candarella to close the meeting to the public. All in favor.
The Mayor stated that regarding the DPW, the services that were mentioned by Mr. Michitsch as being outsourced, were outsourced years ago by a prior administration. She said we have not increased our workforce. They are doing their jobs that they have been doing for the past 5-6 years. She said the garbage truck was purchased because it was needed, the Borough does not buy things they don’t need.
Councilwoman Sosnosky said she does not know what Mr. Michitsch’s problem is with the DPW but what she does know is that there is a world-wide depression going on and you want to lay people off or you want us to fire them? She said Mr. Michitsch wants to fire three DPW workers and get them off the job because in his opinion the Borough does not need them. Councilwoman Sosnosky asked Mr. Michitsch “is that how you want to balance the budget”? She said this is a community of good people, neighbors and friends and we are not talking
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about a metropolis, we are talking about Kenilworth. The Mayor and Council and union members have been working very hard together to come up with a solution to insure that we keep our employees working throughout this recession, depression and all of the services that our residents deserve will be intact. She said as for the DPW, of which I am the Chair, we maintain the cleanliness of this Borough, we have daily pickups of refuse, we clean the streets, we clean the sewers when there is a backup, we fill the potholes. They also clean the parks so that our children and residents can enjoy them and they do much, much more. She said she does not know what Mr. Michitsch’s agenda is but the Mayor and Council’s duty is to serve this community and to keep this community running 100% and also to keep everyone working.
There being no further business to come before the Council it was moved by Councilman Candarella, seconded by Councilman Leary and carried, that the meeting be adjourned to the call of the chair. All in favor.
9:15 P.M. Respectfully submitted,
Hedy Lipke, Borough Clerk
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