Council Minutes from 3/24/2010
 

REGULAR MEETING OF THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF THE BOROUGH OF KENILWORTH HELD ON WEDNESDAY EVENING, MARCH 24, 2010.  MAYOR KATHI FIAMINGO PRESIDED.

ROLL CALL

Roll Call at 8:00 P.M. showed the following Council Members present:  Sal Candarella, Brian Joho, Scott Klinder, Kevin Leary, Fred Pugliese and Toni Sosnosky. 

Mayor Fiamingo read the requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act.

The Salute to the Flag was led by Mayor Fiamingo.

MINUTES

It was moved by Councilwoman Sosnosky, seconded by Councilman Joho, and carried that the minutes of the Work Session Meeting of March 9, 2010 and the Regular Meeting of March 10, 2010 be dispensed with and approved as submitted.  (Copies furnished each Council Member prior to the meeting.)

COMMUNICATIONS AND PETITIONS:


1.  Letter from the Department of Transportation informing that the Borough will receive     a D.O.T. Grant in the amount of $275,000 for North 8th Street (Section 2) & Kenilworth Boulevard Drainage.

2.  Letter from Ronald Knecht, President of the Kenilworth Democratic Club, asking to use the Recreation Building or the Senior Citizen Building for their monthly meetings.

3.  Letter from Fred & Annett Soos, 18 Epping Drive, requesting an adjustment of their curb assessment.

4.  Letter from Shirley Boyden Maxwell, President, Kenilworth Historical Society, asking for a letter to be used for grant applications, endorsing the Historical Society’s efforts to preserve the Nitschke House and enclosing a listing of Historical Society events for 2010.

REPORTS

  1. Fire Department/Rescue Squad report of calls/activities for the month of February.
  2. Rahway Valley Sewerage Authority Meeting Minutes of December 17, 2009, January 21 and February 18, 2010.

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It was moved by Councilman Candarella, 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 reported there were deep cuts in State Aid to both schools and municipalities.  With respect to the municipality, we received a cut in our State Aid of $280,000.00 which represents a 22% reduction in State Aid over last year’s figures.  She said we had already received a number of cuts in prior years.  She said as bad as that might be it is a good thing because we need to start cutting further into our budgets to make sure that we are not passing along these costs to our taxpayers.  The Mayor said our Department Heads will be asked to cut even deeper into their budgets to make that happen. 

The Mayor said everyone should have received their census forms and she asked everyone to please fill them out and send them in.  We need to make sure that  everyone in Kenilworth is counted.  She said if you have any questions or problems, we  have a link on our web site for the census. 

The Mayor reported there is a citizen’s review of the Union County Freeholders budget and it is very interesting. It can be obtained on their web site which is off the Watch Dogs web site which is loosely associated with the Union County Watch Dogs Association. She said it does a very nice job in simple terms of describing the increases, and she said there are rather interesting increases in the budget for the Freeholders.  She said she found one statistic that was staggering which is since the year 2000, the Freeholders budget has increased by 85%.  She said we pay quite a bit of taxes to the Freeholders and this is something people may want to look into.  She said they are having a meeting on March 31 at 7:00 at the Cranford Municipal Building to bring the Union County Freeholders budget to the people so that they can be aware of what is going on. 

The Mayor said the school budget vote will be on April 20th.  She said everyone should make themselves aware of what the school budget is all about and go out and vote.  She said it is one of the few financial things we get to vote on and we should make ourselves aware of what is going on and exercise our right to vote.

April 10th is opening day for the Little League and they will have their annual parade and their opening day ceremonies. 

Also July 3rd we will be having our fireworks at David Brearley High School.  She said we were lucky to get the July 3rd date without the extra cost and they are holding their usual reduced cost for us.  The Mayor said the fireworks are funded solely by private donations and are not funded by the Borough at all.

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On a sad note, Mayor Fiamingo said that Police Chief Dowd has submitted his notice of retirement, effective June 30th.   She said the Chief has been here forever and we will all miss him.  She said they will begin the process of looking for someone to take his place, even though there is not anyone who can take his place because he is irreplaceable, but they must go through the process.  The Chief said thank you to the Mayor and she said she will miss him from the bottom of her heart.

DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE

Councilman Joho said as many of you have read or heard, on March 16th Governor Chris Christie presented his proposed fiscal year 2011 budget to the State Legislature.  The budget calls for a wide range of reductions in spending across all areas of the State.  He said the Division of Local Government Services has provided Kenilworth with an estimated State Aid figure, leaving us with a proposed cut in State Aid of $280,157.00 or 21.9% reduction in aid.  He said the Finance Committee has requested that our Department Heads revisit their 2010 budget requests and provide proposals for cutting their overall budgets by an additional 5%.  The Finance Committee will be meeting this coming Monday to review those proposals in our effort to absorb that estimated cut in State Aid.  He said they will provide updates thereafter. 

The Mayor said they hope to bring the proposed budget to the public as soon as possible.  She said having just received the State Aid figures they have to go back to the drawing board all over again.

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS

Councilwoman Sosnosky reported the crew has been working on curb side brush pick up, cleaning the storm water catch basins and filling potholes throughout the Borough, weather permitting.  Also general household cleanup will begin on the north side of town on Wednesday, April 14th until completed and will begin on the south side of town on Wednesday, April 21st until completed.  

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

Councilman Pugliese read a letter to himself from Chief William Dowd dated March 23. “Dear Councilman Pugliese,  I will be retiring from the Kenilworth Police Department on June 30, 2010 after 39 ½ years of service.  Even though I immensely enjoy my job, I feel that the time has come for me to step down.  My journey on the Police Department stared on January 1, 1971.  My career working for the Borough of Kenilworth all of these years has been truly an enjoyable experience.  It has been an honor to be the Chief of Police of what I consider to be one of the finest Police Departments around.  I would like to thank the officers of the Kenilworth Police Department for the work that they

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performed under my leadership.  Their dedication to duty and professionalism during my tour as chief has been outstanding.  I would also like to thank Mayor Fiamingo and the Council Members for their support of the Kenilworth Police Department.  Lastly I would like to thank the residents and business people of Kenilworth who have always been supporters of the Police Department.  Although I am leaving with a certain degree of sadness, I am also looking forward to some relaxing years.  I am sure the excellent work of the Kenilworth Police Department will continue long after my departure. Sincerely, William Dowd.

The  Chief stood for a round of applause.  Councilman Pugliese said to the Chief that the Governing Body is sorry to receive this retirement letter and he will certainly be missed by not only us but by the community.

DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING, ZONING & ORDINANCES

Councilman Candarella wished the Chief many years of good health in his retirement.  He apologized for not being at the last meeting because he was home sick in bed for a week.  The Construction Report and Zoning Reports are in order this month.  The Planning Board has three applications this month. He said he signed a paper for the continuation of the Union County Senior Handyman Program which will continue for another year. 

DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION AND FIRE

Councilman Leary reported this Saturday at 10:00 am at Black Brook Park will be the Easter Egg Hunt.  He said crafts will be at 7:00 pm at the Recreation Center the night before for toddlers thru 4th grade.

Councilman Leary thanked Chief Giordano and the firefighters for doing an amazing job handling emergencies that arose from the severe thunderstorms that occurred last week.  They assisted with the flooding in many resident’s basements.  He said this is an all volunteer crew and they do an amazing job for the Borough. He extended thanks to the Fire Department from the entire council.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION & WELFARE

 

Councilman Klinder reported the library circulation for the month of February was 3599 which was a decrease of just over 20%.  The decline could be attributed to the abundance of snow during the month along with the fact that the library was closed for five days.  He said attendance for February was 3688 which is a decrease of 22% from last year which is also probably due to the snow.  Councilman Klinder wished Chief Dowd well in finding new fishing spots.

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Mayor Fiamingo said the Chief is not going anywhere for a few months so we will be doing this every meeting and maybe we should have a special segment called “Goodby to the Chief”.

The Mayor mentioned that the folks sitting in the audience can now hear us because we finally have a good sound system.  She said contrary to what she has heard it is not a single microphone that we spent money on, it was a whole system so that the folks in the audience and also those in TV land could hear us.  She said the major expense was the recording system which is a computer system. This system has been approved by the Municipal Court Administrator for the State and will be used not only by the Council for our meetings but also by the Municipal Court and Planning Board.  She said it will be well used and worth the monies that were expended.

Consolidated Bill List appears on the following pages.  (copy attached)

 

CONSENT AGENDA

Resolutions No. 1 thru 7 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 Candarella.  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

WHEREAS, First American R.E.T.S. paid the property taxes for the 4th quarter of 2009 for the property located at 347 Oakwood Avenue, Kenilworth, NJ, and;

WHEREAS, this resulted in a tax overpayment for the 4th quarter of 2009;

WHEREAS, First American R.E.T.S. has requested that the overpayment of the 4th quarter be refunded to the homeowner;

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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 a refund as stated below.

Block                      Lot                     Payable To:                                                 Amount

            168                          6             Nathan Brett                                                 $ 1,486.64

                                                                        347 Oakwood Avenue

Kenilworth, NJ 07033

                                                                                                                        TOTAL            $ 1,486.64

RESOLUTION NO. 3

BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED:  That the following be employed as part-time Recreation

Department seasonal employees for the position of Softball Umpires at a rate of $30.00

per game:

                                    Joey Calello

                                    Anthony Pantano

                                    Scott Vanek

                                    Raymond Cappola

RESOLUTION NO.  4

WHEREAS, an emergent condition has arisen with respect to inadequate funds being provided for in the temporary budget and NJSA 40A:4-20 provides for the creation of an emergency temporary appropriation for the purpose mentioned, and

WHEREAS, the total temporary budget resolutions adopted in the year 2010 pursuant to the provision of Chapter 96, PL 1951 (NJSA 40A:4-20) including this resolution total $6,248,395.00 for the current fund;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that in accordance with the provisions of NJSA 40A:4-20:

1. An emergency appropriation be and the same is hereby made for the following line-items in the amount of $3,100,474.00 for the Current Fund effective March 24, 2010;

            See Attached

2. That said emergency temporary appropriation has been provided for in the 2010 budget under the respective line-items.         

           

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3. That one certified copy of this resolution be transmitted to the Chief Financial Officer for his/her records.

RESOLUTION NO. 5

WHEREAS, Union County residents enacted a 1.5% Open Space Preservation Trust Fund (OSPTF) tax in 2001, which by 2009 collects twice the amount ($12 million) that was initially envisioned because “equalized” ratable have doubled due to inflation; and

WHEREAS, state government is nearly bankrupt in New Jersey, forcing Governor Christie to drastically curtail State Aid to counties and municipalities alike; and

WHEREAS, tough economic times are forcing some counties to scale back popular open space and farmland preservation programs in order to control property taxes; and

WHEREAS, the mission of Union County’s OSPTF was recently expanded beyond its original narrow charter due to being over-funded.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, BY THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF THE

BOROUGH OF KENILWORTH, as follows:

1.    That the current 1.5% millage for preserving open space is unnecessarily high.

2.    That, in light of an economic emergency and the need for taxpayer relief, it hereby requests the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders reduce the Open Space Preservation Trust Fund tax to 0.75% millage.

3.    That the whole question of OSPTF be the subject of a referendum question in the November 2010 election.

4.    That a copy of this Resolution be sent to the Union County Board of chosen Freeholders and all Union County Municipalities.

I, Hedy Lipke, Borough Clerk, Borough of Kenilworth, do hereby certify that the foregoing resolution was duly adopted by the Governing Body of said Borough at a regular meeting held on Wednesday evening, March 24, 2010.

______________________________________

Borough Clerk

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RESOLUTION  NO.6

RESOLUTION IN OPPOSITION TO S-1352 WHICH MODIFIES THE OPEN PUBLIC RECORDS ACT (OPRA)

WHEREAS S-1352, makes many changes to the open public records and (OPRA); and

WHEREAS included among these are the requirements that documents containing certain information concerning criminal investigations be made available to the public within 24 hours or as soon as practicable; and

WHEREAS, the bill would also change the copying cost fee structure to a flat $0.10 cents per page for each letter size sheet and $0.15 cents per page for each legal size sheet;  and

WHEREAS, it provides that the special service charge for an OPRA request requiring extraordinary equipment or effort be based on a posted hourly rate based on the actual direct cost if the charge includes a charge for time; and

WHEREAS it provides that a personnel record containing certain disciplinary actions and settlement information on lawsuits or claims is not exempt from OPRA requests; and

WHEREAS the bill would, also, define “immediate access,” which must ordinarily be granted to “budgets, bills, vouchers, contracts, including collective negotiation agreements and individual employment contracts, and public employee salary and overtime information,” to mean “within three hours for any request made before 2  p.m. and it shall mean by 10 a.m. of the next business day for any request made after 2 p.m.; and

WHEREAS these requirements fail to account for the fact that different records requests can have very different “degrees of difficulty,” which could require the custodian to go through years of records on various matters, in various media, or which could be vague and confusing; and

WHEREAS neither do they respect the need to ensure appropriate redaction of information, in order to protect the privacy rights of citizens and public employees; and

WHEREAS neither does the new fee structure account for the time and the difficulty often involved in the retrieval, review and appropriate redaction of public records; and

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WHEREAS at the time of fiscal stress, when state policy makers counsel local officials to decrease spending, this bill would force a greater investment in records keeping and dissemination, by requiring the custodian to do more and to do it all faster and, in many instances, to do it cheaper.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the governing body of The Borough of Kenilworth does hereby express its opposition to S-12352, in its current form

RESOLUTION NO. 7

Be It Hereby Resolved:  That Police Chief Dowd be authorized to proceed with the administration of a promotional test for the ranks of Lieutenant and Sergeant.

Motion was made by Councilman Joho, seconded by Councilman Leary to open the meeting to the public.

MEETING OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Livio Mancino, 102 North 24th Street – Mr. Mancino wished the Chief well. During his tenure as Mayor they had an Officer of the Month and he received that award more than any other police officer.  Mr. Mancino asked if anyone from the Council was going to attend the meeting with the Freeholders in Cranford?  He said they are going to try and explain why they spend so much.  The Mayor said that is a Citizen’s Review Meeting and the Freeholders will not be attending.  Mr. Mancino said this will be an opportunity for our citizens to express some of their feelings.  He said he would like to attend but does not want to represent the Borough of Kenilworth and he is asking if one of the council members will be attending.  Mr. Mancino said he appreciated the fact that all the Council Members came to the Board of Education Meeting on Monday.  He said since then the budget that was sent to the County was returned and requested that it be pared down 1 million dollars. The budget was approved 8 to 1 with him being the only dissent.  He said the County could not understand why we would increase 11.7 % in our school budget so they sent it back.  He said the Board of Education now has to start from scratch.  He said the budget should have zero tolerance and hopefully that will happen. He said residents should not have to pay $320.00 on a $167,000.00 house.  He said reducing the budget one million or more will bring the tax rate down. 

Mr. Mancino said the Governing Body should be aware of some of the areas of the community that are abused.  He said he complained about the Zoning Officer not seeing enough signs and then he followed it up by apologizing. He said the Zoning

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Officer is trying to do a good job but he sees a lot of personal violations.  He said people are converting properties doing things to their house and they think that no one is looking but when it comes time to sell they will be in trouble. He urged the Council to get the message out that they know it is hard times but if people are doing something and they think it is legal they should call the Building Department to make sure it’s not illegal.

The Mayor responded to Mr. Mancino that regarding the signs, Mr. Herbert came to the Council and asked if there was a way to avoid enforcing that particular ordinance because of the economic conditions.  She said unfortunately in order to do that they would have to pass an ordinance.  She said Mr. Herbert is very much aware of people’s pain and does not want to hurt them in that regard.  Mr. Mancino asked if the ordinance could be rescinded or modified?   He said maybe the Zoning Officer can go to the person and say that it’s a violation and maybe not keep the sign out all day.  

Mr. Mancino said there was a rumor around that the budget was going to go down, and then the Mayor and Council will get it, knock off $100,000.00 or $150,000.00 and that would be fine.  He said the Council did not even get a chance.  He said they got egg on their face because they wanted to know where we got the nerve to pass an 11.7% increase in the budget.  He said it is an embarrassment to the Borough.  He said he appreciated the Mayor and Council being at the Board of Education meeting.

John Bury, 417 North 15th Street – Mr. Bury said he will miss Chief Dowd.  He said there were a couple of times when it snowed and he would see him driving around and he did not think he was lost.  He said he is going into the State Pension Plan and he may be back.  He said he got into this activism because the Pension System looked like it was being run by a bunch of idiots. He was trying to find an answer to whether he was right or not and he thinks he has one.  He said that is how he got into Union County.  He said he will be at the dais at the March 31st meeting which unfortunately coincides with the School Board Meeting.  He said the meeting will be between 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm and should be televised on TV 35 between 7:00 & 8:00. He said the County will also be doing their budget things but nobody goes to that.  We post it on the internet and get maybe five hits because nobody watches that. He said this is actually serious, we looked into this in detail and there are some stunning things on it, not only the 84% tax increase but where they are spending money.  He said there are things like Cape May hotel rooms, refreshement’s for $60,000.00, lobbying for quarter million dollars.  He said these are things that he did not know but it is all in the report which is on www.countywatchers.com .  He said also on the web site is what they are doing to Galloping Hill related to Kenilworth.  Because of the deal the struck with Kemper,

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which is the management company, they are going to try to bring a tournament in and make as much money as possible because Kemper gets more if they do.  They are projecting hugh amounts of income that they are never going realize, an extra 2 million dollars in this year’s budget.  They are going to try and pump as much money as possible in there because anything over 3.4 million in revenue for the golf course Kemper gets 6.5%.  He said it is an awful deal and what he found is that a lot of awful deals go down in the County because no one is watching.  He said you can go back to the Children’s Museums, the Union County Performing Arts Center and we are talking millions being sucked into these projects. He said it is still business as usual.  He said the report shows increases with no sense of urgency.  He said on Wednesday, at 7:00 pm at the Cranford Municipal Building there will be a sense of urgency and he hopes everyone comes.\

Mayor Fiamingo asked Mr. Mancino if the budget hearing is still scheduled for March 31st?  Mr. Mancino said nothing has changed  and that is why he did not announce anything tonight because it has been put in the papers as March 31st.  He said they will probably going to convene before that and then it may change but right now everything is status quo.

The Mayor said there are two competing interests on that day, one being the School Board Budget Meeting which will be very interesting and the Citizen’s Forum on the Union County Freeholders budget.  She said either one would be well worth your time and effort to attend.

Joe Grimaldi, 34 North 14th Street – He said his comments have to do with Kenilworth as well as the whole Country.  He said he saw the passing of the big health care bill and regardless of  party affiliation every American should be against it an appalled by it because it is a big mess.  He said it is another entitlement on top of  the other three great entitlements that were supposed to change everyone’s lives to wonderfulness like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  He said all those things are going to go broke then why are we going to bring out the biggest thing that is going to crush the backs of everyone in the Country whether they pay taxes or not but especially the tax payer. He said Kenilworth, State or anyone else cannot keep on spending and raising taxes, it has to stop and we have to get back to our roots. He said there are no entitlements intended in the Constitution the only number one job of the Federal Government was to protect the people and the general welfare and roads.  He said we are so far from that and that is why we are in the pickle we are.  He said he does not want to be number two or three in the world, we should be the leaders of the free world and oppressed world.  We should be the mightiest army the richest people and the freest people because our freedom gave us everything.  The Mayor asked Mr. Grimaldi if he knew Bob Herbert.

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Richard Wood, 614 Jefferson Avenue – Mr. Woods expressed his congratulations to Chief Dowd and his wife Bonnie and he hopes he has a happy and long retirement. 

Bob Herbert, 363 Coolidge Drive – He said everyone should know that November is right around the corner.  He said do the right thing and send a message to the government that it is time for them to go.  He said he and his family would like to thank the Chief for all the years of service.  He said he has always been there for us.  He said they are going to miss him. Mr. Herbert said he appreciated Mr. Mancino’s  apology.  He wanted to ease Mr. Mancino’s mind by stating he is a part time zoning officer and our funds are low but he wanted to make it clear to him and the Mayor and Council, that he sees a lot of things in town and he has built a good relationship with the DPW, Police Department and Fire Department and they all stay in communication with each other.  He said they are always sending him letters or giving him call.  He said he follows up on most violations but during these tough times he goes to these calls very open minded.  He never knows how bad their situation is and he is very compassionate and tries to work things out before issuing summones.  He said with some people they send notices and they respond and some people he has to send several notices and he said it depends on the seriousness of the complaint as to whether he pursues it or not. He said his number one goal is to try to get the people to comply with talking and some letter writing.  He does not want to tie up the courts, waste taxpayers money.  He said he does not want to tie up the Police Department with one guy in court when he can be out there serving and protecting us.  He said there are a few people who don’t want to go along and his hands are tied and he has exhausted every avenue he does write summonses’ but during these tough times we all have to be a little forgiving, compassionate and try to work with the people.

Frank Pugliese, 235 North 13th Street – He wished the Chief the best on behalf of Mr. Cammarota and himself.

Motion was made by Councilman Pugliese, seconded by Councilman Joho to close the meeting to the public. All in favor.

GENERAL BUSINESS

The Mayor said they are going to have to set aside a part of every meeting for the next couple of months to say good bye to the Chief.

Councilman Candarella said Mr. Herbert is very passionate about his job and he knows that he works with all the residents to try and get them to do the right thing.  He praised Bob for his work.

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Councilman Pugliese reported on March 31st will be the DARE graduation at Harding School at 7:00 pm.  He commended and thanked SRO Detective James Grady for his hard work and effort in talking with the students at St. Theresa’s and Harding regarding the dangers and pitfalls that come about regarding drug use, cigarette smoking, alcohol and other vices. He also congratulated the students on their graduation.

Councilman Leary wished everyone a Happy Easter.

Mayor Fiamingo commended Mr. Mancino for putting the school boards feet to the fire in trying to put together a budget.  He said it was staggering that the budget was going to result in a tax increase of over $300.00 per average assessed home.  Mr. Mancino was very vocal in his opposition to the budget that was proposed.  She said she does not know what they can do but it is going to be a tough road on their part but Mr. Mancino at least thinks outside the box in terms of what changes might be had.  She said they do not necessarily agree on everything but she needed to commend him for thinking of the taxpayers in these tough times.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Council it was moved by Councilman Pugliese, seconded by Councilman Leary and carried, that the meeting be adjourned to the call of the chair. All in favor.

8:45 P.M.                                                                                                                                                                                                        Respectfully submitted,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                     Hedy Lipke, Borough Clerk  



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