REGULAR MEETING OF THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF THE BOROUGH OF KENILWORTH HELD ON WEDNESDAY EVENING, APRIL 22, 2009. MAYOR KATHI FIAMINGO PRESIDED.
Roll Call at 8:00 P.M. showed the following Council Members present: Sal Candarella, Brian Joho, Scott Klinder, Kevin Leary, Jr., 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.
It was moved by Councilman Candarella, seconded by Councilman Leary, and carried that the minutes of the Work Session Meeting of April 7, 2009 and the Regular Meeting of April 8, 2009 be dispensed with and approved as submitted. (Copies furnished each Council Member prior to the meeting.)
2009 BUDGET HERARING
Councilman Joho stated the Borough is experiencing one of the worst recessions most have ever lived through and historical in proportions even compared to the Great Depression. The recession has been long in length – over eighteen months and some don’t foresee the bottom until later this year. Municipal, State and Federal Governments around the world continue to take unprecedented actions in defense of their economies. The recession is worldwide and Kenilworth is not immune to its reach. We witnessed a dramatic decrease in our revenues during 2008. Entering 2009 we were challenged to create a budget that was capable of maintaining necessary Borough services, provide for needed infrastructure and capital items while minimizing the tax burden on our residents while dealing with increased costs, decreased revenues and State Aid.
He said the Borough has taken a number of actions so far and more are to follow. He said the budget will not be adopted tonight, as we await several developments.
You may recall, we started the year challenging our Department heads to seek grant opportunities, some have found those opportunities already, this process will continue throughout the year.
Mayor and Council have taken a number of other actions as well. The Borough has instituted a freeze on overtime and compensation time absent of emergent conditions, a hiring freeze as well as limiting part-time employees to no more than 20 hours per week. They have also instituted a policy of having office equipment purchases of $500.00 or more first approved by the Finance Committee. The Borough has already filed with the State for Extraordinary Aid and has submitted and received approval from the Local Finance Board for the Pension Deferral. Councilman Joho stated the Department Heads have done a tremendous job so far keeping their operating budgets under control and will continue to pursue more costs savings where possible prior to the budget being adopted. Overall, the operating budget has only increased about 2.5%. He said most of that increase is contractual and out of the Borough’s immediate control. He said these difficult economic times require tough decisions and one such decision is
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sell the Girl Scout property to replace lost revenues. Some may question why the Borough would sell a valuable piece of property in a recession, others may question why the Borough has been a landholder for all these years, foregoing tax ratables. He said if you look at the proposed budget you will see the increase in the Rahway Valley Sewerage Authority cost to the Borough of almost $378,000.00 and a decrease in State Aid of nearly $43,000.00. As introduced, the budget represents a $237.00 increase on the average assessed home value of $175,000. That does not take into account the sale of the Girl Scout property or Extraordinary Aid being received. Councilmen Joho mentioned the budget is not being adopted tonight, but it will be open for discussion.
Mayor Fiamingo Opened the Meeting to the Public on the Proposed 2009 Budget.
The Mayor asked that comments be limited to the five minutes that are generally allotted. She said she has not been enforcing the five minute rule but she intends to do so in order that everyone has an opportunity to be heard.
Livio Mancino, 102 North 24th Street – Mr. Mancino stated the school board budget went down last night and the council has their work cut out for them. Mr. Mancino said that Councilman Joho said the increase in the Municipal budget is about 2%. Mr. Mancino said he calculated the figures and there is a .0889% increase from the previous year. He said that is an astronomical increase in these times. He said there was other funding which last year was 3,793,000.00 and this year was only $3,094,000.00 which is a loss of $600,000.00. He asked Mr. Cerullo, the Borough’s account if that was correct? Mr. Cerullo asked what line item he was looking at? Mr. Mancino said he was not looking at a line item he said the budget for last year was $13,386,000.00 and the budget for this year was $13,725,000.00 less the $3,094,000.00 that you get from revenues, etc. which leaves this year’s budget to be $10,676,000.00 vs. last year’s was $9,537,000.00. Mr. Cerullo said the tax levy last year was $9,457,000.00 and this year is $10,626,000.00 and the overall budget is $13,725,000.00. He said the loss of revenue to the surplus made the amount to be raised by taxes a larger increase. Mr. Mancino asked why last year the Borough had $3,793,000.00 from other sources. Mr. Cerullo said the numbers Mr. Mancino was reading were not in the budget document. He said the number the Borough got from other sources last year was $2,985,000.00 and this year they are anticipating $3,099,000.00. He said the biggest increase is a loss of surplus that the Borough had from prior years of $721,000.00 which was anticipated in the 2009 Budget and that was not replenished so there is a shortfall of about $800,000.00. He said there is no other place to make up for that loss of revenue so it comes from the taxpayers. Mr. Mancino said the Borough could not get a better accountant then Mr. Cerullo. Mr. Mancino said the debt service is $900,000.00 and he asked how much is outstanding that is causing the debt service to be over $900,000.00? He said he doesn’t need an answer right now. Mr. Mancino asked who represents Kenilworth on the Rahway Valley Sewerage Authority? Mayor Fiamingo responded, Rich Loforte who has given the Council reports that would make anyone’s hair stand on end about what is going on down there. Mr. Laforte is providing the Council with documentation so that the Mayor’s can get together and start raising hell down there. Mr. Mancino said they have a lot of nerve to increase this year’s needs for the Rahway Valley Sewerage of over 25%. He said the Mayor should write a letter to defer the project for a while. The Mayor said the project is done, it’s the debt service. Mr. Mancino said they should spread it out over a longer period of time and the Mayor responded by stating they cannot because that is what the debt service is. She said they are proposing that the RVSA refinance the debt service so that it will not be such a significant
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impact in the coming years. Mayor Fiamingo stated the budget has increased 2 ½ % but the tax levy is where there is a problem. She said the Borough is under cap on the budget increase. The overall increase on the budget is less than 2 ½ %. She said the unfortunate part of the tax levy increase is that we have reduced revenues. She said everyone that looks into their own bank accounts will find their interest has significantly decreased. The Borough has decreased revenues through fees and other expenses and it is across the board, just like in your own home. The Borough is trying to fix the problem by generating new revenues so that we can use them to fund budget. Mr. Mancino asked why the Zoning Officer is listed as getting a 9% increase in his salary? Mayor Fiamingo said there was not a 9% increase in his salary, she said last year he did not start until March and the salary reflects 10 months of pay. Mr. Mancino said the budget shows him being paid $5,500.00 and now it pays him $6,000.00 and that is a 9% increase. The Mayor said last year he worked 10 months for $5500.00 and because he is working 12 months this year, his salary is $6,000.00. Mr. Mancino asked why the engineer’s salary was up? He said there are a lot of areas that the Council can cut the budget.
Bob Beiner, 36 South 24th Street – Mr. Beiner reiterated some of the things he has said in the past such as the Borough should be focusing on lay-offs. He said there should be no layoffs for the police but the Borough should look into layoffs for other non-public safety people. He said there should be zero pay raises for non union employees. He said certain projects and programs should be looked at. He said the Borough should look into having the bulky pick-up being a pay as you go service. He said people should pay for their bulky pick up and that would generate a couple of thousand dollars. He said grass clippings are $50,000.00 per year and he said we could save that every year based on the 3 year contract that was just signed. He quoted the Springfield Mayor as saying “We are in a situation where people are going to have to be much more cognizant of the fact that every little thing adds up”. Mr. Beiner said the Mayor of Springfield is absolutely right and everything should be brought to the table. He said he was glad that Councilman Joho mentioned that overtime should be cut but he said that is also very disturbing because that means in the past there has not been a strict overtime policy. He said overtime policy should be not be given unless it’s justified. He said another thing the Council should be looking into is the Recreation budget. He said he is assuming that the entire budget for the Recreation is for non essential spending and the Council should focus on that budget. He said it is probably something the Council does not want to do but these are hard times and if the Borough needs money they should cover all areas. He said all in all the Borough could save thousands of dollars by focusing on the ways he just mentioned.
Jerry Ramos, 337 North 19th Street – Mr. Ramos asked how much would it cost the Borough to discuss furloughs? He said he noticed in the Work Session Meeting Minutes that there was a cost involved with furloughs. The Mayor said she did not know what Mr. Ramos was referring to. Mr. Ramos asked who in the Borough did not get pay raises this year? The Mayor said at this point in time, the only people in the Borough who have received raises are the union employees. Mr. Ramos asked if the Department Heads received a raise because he thought there was a state statute that said Department Heads get raises. The Mayor said Department Heads have not yet received their raises this year. Mr. Ramos asked if there were plans for them to get raises? The Mayor said there is a contract between the Police Chief and the Borough that requires that his raise be at least what the rank and file receive. Mr. Ramos asked if that was a State Statute and the Mayor replied no, it is in the contract. She said there is a State Statute that says that certain statutory employees like the Tax Assessor, Tax Collector, Borough Clerk must all receive at least the same increase as the other people on that level or
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Department Heads. Mr. Ramos asked if that extends to all departments? The Mayor said no it only applies to the Tax Collector, Tax Assessor, Borough Clerk and the CFO. Mr. Ramos asked how the raise is figured? He asked if it was the highest of what the uniformed people receive? The Mayor said no it is the highest of the Department Heads. She said if a Department Head gets a raise of 3% then those statutorily named employees must get that same raise. Mr. Ramos asked what was that raise? The Mayor said the chief’s contract which was negotiated a few years ago requires that his raise be at least what the rank and file receive and she believes the amount is 3 ½ %. Mr. Ramos said the rank and file are getting 3 ½% per year and that comes to 14% over the four years. He asked if the Department Heads follow along with that? The Mayor said no. She said Chief Dowd has a contract that requires that his raise be at least what his men receive and as a result of that, only the Department Heads that she previously mentioned require that same raise. Mr. Ramos asked if he was correct in stating that in the 2010 contract with the Police and DPW there is a give back from the employees of $25.00 for health insurance for a single person and $45.00 for a family. The Mayor said that is only for the DPW, not the police. Mr. Ramos asked how much it costs the Borough for health insurance, per employee, per month? The Mayor said significantly more than $25.00 per month. Mr. Ramos said he has employees and he pays health insurance and for a single person, the health insurance is $1,000.00 per month. He asked how much per month does the Borough pay per employee? Nancy Nichols answered about $480.00 per month for a single person and $1,100.00 per family. Mr. Ramos asked why it was so cheap and the Mayor responded because it is State Health Benefits. Mr. Ramos said he did not think that $25.00 for a single person and $45.00 per family is very much help to the Borough. Mr. Ramos said the Council started off the year talking about furloughs, layoffs and then they gave big raises to everybody and in the end they decided that the Borough does not have enough money. He said then the Council decided to sell the most valuable property the Borough owned in the middle of a recession. He said that is bad business.
Frank Pugliese, 235 North 13th Street – Mr. Pugliese said he has good news. The Mayor asked if his comment was about the budget and Mr. Pugliese said yes. He said two weeks ago the Chronicle had headlines that said Kenilworth Residents resent selling Girl Scout Property. Mr. Pugliese said residents are not two people. He said he went to Nicks Luncheonette and Hershey’s and asked everyone if the Borough should sell the land to balance the budget and reduce taxes and they all said yes, sell the land. He said 99% of the people in town are for selling the land.
Trudy Neuhauser, 45 South 17th Street – Ms. Newhauser asked if the Council gave themselves a raise? The Mayor said no. Ms. Neuhauser said other town council people get paid a lot more than Kenilworth. Ms. Neuhauser asked what people are supposed to do with the grass, cook it or eat it with vinegar and oil? She said as far as the clean-up is concerned she said maybe the Borough could cut back to once per year instead of twice. She said she knows that in other towns the Mayor and Council get more money than Kenilworth.
Tom Ramos, 264 Newark Avenue – Mr. Ramos said he agrees with Mr. Pugliese and if the Borough needs to sell the land than that is what they should do. He said the Borough may not want to sell it because it has been with the Borough forever but if the Council says that is what the Borough needs, then that is what they should do. He asked how the Mayor and Council intend to sell the land? The Mayor said the land is going to be sold at auction because that is how the sale of government property is done. She said it is being sub divided into seven lots.
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Mr. Ramos asked when will the next meeting be where there would be a more formal discussion? The Mayor said as soon as they get the final plan. She said they just received the title search and there is a question as to whether there is a vacated street. She said as soon as they resolve that then they will put together the sub division plan, submit it to the Planning Board for approval and then they will have a meeting with the public. Mr. Ramos asked if there was a price or a minimum bid and how will the Borough come up with that? The Mayor said she they will reach out to the people who know what those numbers should be. Mr. Ramos offered his services and said if there was anything he could do to please feel free to contact him.
Jerry Ramos, 337 North 19th Street – Mr. Ramos said if the property is divided into 7 lots then the houses on the properties will be rather large. He said according to real estate statistics a house of three and four bedrooms will accommodate an average of 2.4 children per house. He said if there are seven houses and two children per house that would be about 14 children. He said the cost to educate each child in the Kenilworth School system is around $10,000.00 per pupil. The Mayor responded that is correct and it may be a little more. Mr. Ramos said if you have two children per house and it costs $20,000.00 per household to educate them and they are not paying $20,000.00 in taxes then where is the tax gain? Councilman Klinder asked Mr. Ramos if he is saying he doesn’t want families with children in those houses? Mr. Ramos responded by stating there are going to be at least 2.4 children in each house and it will cost $20,000 per year to educate those children.
Rudy Cammarota, 1 Red Maple Lane – Mr. Cammarota said he thinks what the Mayor and Council is doing is correct. He said if he belonged to a corporation who had assets that were just sitting there doing nothing, nonproductive assets, and they asked him to contribute more to support the corporation he said he would not keep those directors in there too long. He said real estate changes monthly, values change monthly. He said during the next five years the values will go up and down. He said whatever the market is at the time is what we are confronted with. He said when a town builds a building they deal in ratables. He said years ago houses were not considered ratable because they produced children and children have to be educated so over the years they went toward the industrial ratables which do not include children. He said over the years industry used to pay the large share of the taxes in Kenilworth. It switched. He said the residential homes are now paying more in proportion then the industries. He said houses went up from $50,000.00 to $400,000.00 over the years and industry did not go up. He said when the assessor goes out and strikes an assessment the houses are high and the industrial buildings are low. He said now the balance is off and the most taxes are on homes. He said that is what has happened to the market over the last 30 years. He said in his opinion what the Mayor and Council is doing is good for Kenilworth. He said when the girl scout property goes on the market for sale it will bring the highest dollar on the market regardless of what someone thinks they can estimate it at. He said from his experience the only true way to get value is to place a building on the market for a reasonable amount of time, under reasonable conditions where each party acts not under duress and the highest price paid for it is market value. He said that is what we are going to get for that property.
Livio Mancino, 102 North 24th Street – Mr. Mancino asked the Mayor if the Borough is selling the property to offset the increase in the budget? The Mayor responded it is to offset the increase in the tax levy, not the budget. Mr. Mancino said the Borough would not sell the property if they had a zero increase in taxes. Mr. Mancino said if there is a problem next year the Borough will
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not have that resource. Mr. Mancino said the Board of Education does not charge per student. He said the Board of Education has a bill and they work out a budget of 20 million dollars and that is divided by the amount of children in the town. He said they do not charge per head. Mr. Mancino asked if the town gets any money back from bulk pick up? The Mayor said no, it costs the Borough money to get rid of it. Mr. Mancino said the town should collect old computers for money.
Mike Padula, 610 Cranford Ave. – Mr. Padula said two major corporations in town have gone out of business and the properties are still vacant. He said there is also a pending situation with Schering Plough which will have an impact on the tax revenue again. He asked if these things have been considered as far as the budget? The Mayor said Mr. Padula is making an assumption that because the businesses are out of the building that the taxes are not being assessed. The Mayor said the Borough does not value the property on the basis of its income, they value property on the basis of its value. She said the value of property when it’s in operation makes it better for the Borough in at lot of ways in that it is nicer looking and a better building in all ways. The Mayor said she is very concerned with the vacancies.
Mayor Fiamingo asked if anyone else wished to speak. Seeing no one, she closed the hearing on the 2009 Budget.
The Mayor said they will not be taking any action on the budget at this time. She said it will be deferred until after they hear back from the State.
The Mayor thanked the Borough Auditor, Jim Cerullo and reiterated Mr. Mancino’s praise for Mr. Cerullo by stating he is one of the best.
COMMUNICATIONS AND PETITIONS:
1. Letter from Timothy Clancy asking that a tree at 173 South Michigan Avenue/Summit Avenue be removed as he feels it presents a dangerous condition.
1. Municipal Court Report for the month of March, 2009.
2. Rahway Valley Sewerage Authority Meeting minutes of March 19th and a Special Meeting of March 31, 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 commented by stating the Borough’s representative at the Rahway Valley Sewerage Authority is Mr. Loforte and he is a pro-active representative and very good at keeping the Borough up to date on what is going on. She said she is going to be away next week. She said there is going to be a meeting next week at the RVSA and Councilman Pugliese will attend on her behalf. She said the meeting is not what she had hoped it would be
Regular Council Meeting – April 22, 2009 Page 7
which was to sit down and raise the roof with a group of Mayors but it is going to be an informative session. She said there has been an interest on behalf of the other Mayors to go to the authority and put their feet to the fire regarding the outrageous costs. She said she was approached recently by one Mayor, who is in one of the municipalities that is paying one of the largest fees, to join a group of municipalities so that they would have some clout in this endeavor. She said she will keep everyone informed as they go along.
DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Councilman Joho had nothing further to report.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
Councilwoman Sosnosky had nothing to report.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
Councilman Pugliese reported the Police Department will be receiving approximately $30,000.00 worth of new equipment at no cost to the Borough. He said the funds are from assets and cash seized during drug arrests.
DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING, ZONING & ORDINANCES
Councilman Candarella reported they held their first Master Plan Meeting and have drafted an outline of how to proceed. They will be having a public meeting in early fall for all the organizations and residents to voice their opinion on what they think the Master Plan should include and how they think we should proceed. Mayor Fiamingo added there will be letters going out to the various organizations to invite them to the meeting. She said she believes there will be an initial meeting earlier than the fall.
DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION AND FIRE
Councilman Leary reported the Fire Department and Rescue Squad will have their open house on Saturday, April 25th from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. They will be demonstrating equipment, hands on learning and there will be food and refreshments. It is open to the public. There will also be a 31 cent scoop night on Wednesday, April 29th between the hours of 5 pm and 10 pm at Baskin Robbins on the Boulevard. Scoop Night is dedicated to support our local firefighters.
The Mayor urged residents to come out for some ice cream because it is for a good cause.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION & WELFARE
Councilman Klinder reported the Library is celebrating Cinco De Mayo on Wednesday, May 6th. The Library also will have a program with the City Winds Trio on Friday, May 8th which starts at 7:00 pm. On Tuesday, May 12th they are having an “Understanding Memory Loss” program.
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He said the West Nile Virus season starts on April 15th and if residents see any dead birds, especially crows, blue jays or robins to please report to it to the Health Department.
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.
Councilwoman Sosnosky moved that all items under Consent Agenda be approved, seconded by Councilman Joho. 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: That Marc A. Schachter, Appraiser, PO Box 302, Linden, NJ 07036, be authorized to perform an appraisal on parcels located in the Borough of Kenilworth at cost not to exceed $500.0
RESOLUTON NO. 3
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:
38 Dorset Drive
Kenilworth, NJ 07033
Regular Council Meeting – April 22, 2009 Page 9
RESOLUTON NO. 4
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:
RESOLUTION NO. 5
WHEREAS, The Office of the Municipal Clerk, a time honored and vital part of local government exists throughout the world, and
WHEREAS, The Office of the Municipal Clerk is the oldest among public servants, and
WHEREAS, The Office of the Municipal Clerk provides the professional link between the citizens, the local governing bodies and agencies of government at other levels, and
WHEREAS, Municipal Clerks have pledged to be ever mindful of their neutrality and impartiality, rendering equal service to all.
WHEREAS, The Municipal Clerk serves as the information center on functions of local government and community.
WHEREAS, Municipal Clerks, continually strive to improve the administration of the affairs of the Office of the Municipal Clerk through participation in education programs, seminars, workshops and the annual meetings of their state, province, county and international professional organizations.
WHEREAS, It is most appropriate that we recognize the accomplishments of the Office of the Municipal Clerk.
Now, Therefore I, Kathi Fiamingo, Mayor of Kenilworth, do recognize the week of May 3 through May 9, 2009, as Municipal Clerks Week, and further extend appreciation to our Municipal Clerk, Hedy Lipke and to all Municipal Clerks for the vital services they perform and their exemplary dedication to the communities they represent.
Regular Council Meeting – April 22, 2009 Page 10
RESOLUTION NO. 6
WHEREAS, Myasthenia Gravis is a neuromuscular disease striking children and adults, affecting control of voluntary muscles and afflicting several hundred of our fellow New Jerseyans; and
WHEREAS, the symptoms of this disorder include, but are not limited to, difficulty moving, breathing, swallowing, speaking and seeing; and
WHEREAS, the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, Inc. is a non-profit organization founded, “to facilitate the timely diagnosis and optimal core of individuals affected by myasthenia gravis and closely related disorders, and to improve their lives through programs of patient services, public information, medical research, professional education, advocacy, and patient care”; and
WHEREAS, Myasthenia Gravis is the most common neuromuscular disorder affecting the residents of New Jersey; and
WHEREAS, it is fitting to recognize the many physicians who demonstrate an untiring effort to treat this disease and search for a cure;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, MAYOR Kathi Fiamingo, Mayor of the Borough of Kenilworth, do hereby proclaim
MYASTHENIA GRAVIS AWARENESS MONTH
in Kenilworth, New Jersey.
Proposed Ordinance No. 2009-09 was read for second reading as follows: (Copy appears in
minutes of March 25, 2009)
CALENDAR YEAR 2009
AN ORDINANCE TO EXCEED THE MUNICIPAL BUDGET APPROPRIATION LIMITS
AND TO ESTABLISH A CAP BANK
Regular Council Meeting – April 22, 2009 Page 11
Mayor Fiamingo stated this second reading on an ordinance that exceeds the municipal budget appropriation limits to establish a cap bank. She said this rolls forward the amount that the Borough is under cap for future years. She said if anyone wishes to speak, please step forward and state your name and address for the record. Seeing no one, the Mayor closed the meeting to the public.
RESOLUTION NO. 7
Introduced by Brian Joho who also moved its adoption
Be It Hereby Resolved: That Proposed Ordinance No. 2009-09, be and the same is hereby passed on second and final reading and ordered published according to law.
Seconded by Sal Candarella. Upon roll call five in favor. Councilman Leary voted no.
Motion was made by Councilman Candarella and seconded by Councilman Pugliese to open the meeting to the public. All in favor.
MEETING OPENED TO THE PUBLIC
Bob Beiner, 36 South 24th Street – Mr. Beiner said he is on the Air Traffic Advisory Board and he said they have a lawsuit against the FAA regarding the changing of the airplane patterns at Newark Airport. He said there are 12 litigants and Union County is one of them. He said they had a meeting with Congressman Lance and the status right now is that it is all combined into one lawsuit and the trial will start tentatively next month at the Court of Appeals in Washington, DC. He said he will report the findings at a future council meeting. Mr. Beiner said he saw in some work session notes that Borough Attorney Harvey Fruchter was asked to contact the DOT regarding South 24th Street. He asked Mr. Fruchter what was that about? Mr. Fruchter directed the question to the Mayor. Mayor Fiamingo said it was related to vacating/ closing of South 24th Street in the event the Borough was going to need part of the street for the public safety building. She said the DOT’s response was that it was fine. The Mayor said they have not taken any action on it. Mr. Beiner asked what specifically were they looking to do with the street? The Mayor said to potentially vacate the street or close it in at the part of the street by the Boulevard so that the public safety building would have ample parking. She said they would not do anything before presenting it to the people who live along that end of the street. Mr. Beiner asked where the Mayor and Council stand with the public safety building? The Mayor said the Council had a presentation last night from the architects and the they will be discussing it at their next work session meeting.
Motion was made by Councilwoman Sosnosky, seconded by Councilman Klinder to close the meeting to the public. All in favor.
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Councilman Candarella wished a Happy Birthday to his son Marc Anthony, who was in the audience. He said he is turning 9 years and is spending his birthday at the Council Meeting. The audience gave Marc Anthony a round of applause. Councilman Candarella also wished Mayor Fiamingo a Happy Birthday. The Mayor wished Marc Anthony a Happy Birthday.
Mayor Fiamingo wanted to make it clear to everyone that the budget increase is less than 2 ½ % and the money the Borough has spent this year over last year is no more than 2 ½%. She said the problem the Borough is facing is a reduction in revenues. She said the Borough is just like everyone else in that the banks are paying less than 1% on our money. She said our surplus is down this year and we did not regenerate because we had to use more than $300,000.00 last year to make up the loss of State Aid. She said the Borough has not been able to put that money back into surplus and that is why we have a significant potential tax increase. She said this is why the Borough is taking the extraordinary measures. She said she believes in her heart it is the right thing to do. She does not believe reduced services and layoffs are the appropriate things to do especially since the budget has increased less than 2 ½ %. She said it is not the spending, it’s the revenues that are not coming in. She said the Council will look at all avenues and recommendations relative to reduction in budget and increases in revenues.
Councilman Pugliese said he disagrees with some of the recommendations to reduce the budget that were made tonight but the one he disagrees with the most is the recommendation that was made to take money away from the Recreation Departments budget. He said cannot envision a scenario where he would ever take a dollar away from our kids. He said he can see himself cutting other departments for one reason or another, he will not agree to cheat the kids in the Recreation Department. The Mayor said the Borough spends so little on the Recreation Department as it is. She said they have already looked into ways to make that department more affordable and still provide services by implementing fees. She said she agrees wholeheartedly with Councilman Pugliese that they are not going to reduce what is already a miniscule budget for the Recreation Department.
Councilman Leary said he agrees with Councilman Pugliese and the Mayor. He said the Recreation Department has implemented a fee schedule to help reduce costs. He said the Recreation Department has tried to keep costs down as much as possible. He said by cutting the Recreation’s budget, it would take a lot away from our children and what they enjoy.
There being no further business to come before the Council it was moved by Councilman Candarella, seconded by Councilman Pugliese and carried, that the meeting be adjourned to the call of the chair. All in favor.
9:00 P.M. Respectfully submitted,
Hedy Lipke, Borough Clerk
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