RP M&C Meeting (October 4, 2007)

On October 4, 2007, in Mayor & Council, Video, by RP Citizens

Mayor and all council members were in attendance with the exception of Councilman Badillo who joined the meeting in progress. All in attendance observed a moment of silence in remembrance of Vincent Sweeney, Sr., who passed away on October 1, 2007. After the observance, the mayor stated that the borough presented Betty Sweeney with a proclamation in honor of her husband. She sent her regards and thanks.

Communications

The three (3) communications regarding requests from the Roselle Park High School Marching Band, the County Educators Federal Credit Union and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and the Puppy Love Project Rescue were all moved on, voted, and adopted.

Report and Recommendations of the Mayor

  • The mayor met with the Postmaster and a citizen representative to inform the United States Postal Service (USPS) of problems with staffing, delivery, hours of operation, and other pertinent matters to make them, and the publi, aware that incidents at the Roselle Park Post Office are not isolated incidents. On Saturday, November 3, 2007, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. a representative from the Post Office will be available to address any concerns from the residents. Surveys will be available as well as information on identity theft. Surveys will also be available on the Roselle Park borough web site, the Casano Community Center, the Roselle Park Veterans Memorial Library, as well as other municipal government buildings.
  • The mayor spoke of the grand opening of Solar do Minho. There are discussions about having an Open House for Roselle Park residents to take a tour of the establishment. The date for a “Roselle Park Evening” open only to borough residents will be announced once it is set.

Report of Standing Committees and other Mayor and Council Committees

Laurence Dinardo

  • Grant Avenue, although the second phase of the sinkhole area is commencing, needs to be addressed. The road, as a whole, is in bad shape. Councilman Dinardo asked that Grant Avenue be placed on the list for road repairs for the next fiscal year. The borough clerk noted the request.
  • On Sunday, October 7, Autism Speaks’ “Walk Now For Autism” will take place at Nomahagen Park in Cranford. Roselle Park is being represented by about 90 volunteers called the “Park Puzzlers”. The mayor stated that he will not be able to attend but conveys his support. More information can be found here.

Ricky Badillo

  • Councilman Badillo apologized for being late; Sherman School had their Back-To-School night tonight. Councilman Badillo expressed his personal condolences to the family of Vincent Sweeney.
  • The opening of Solar do Minho, the councilman stated, is the spark that will help the redevelopment of the Westfield Avenue corridor. He wanted to thank all the department and department heads that helped in bringing Solar do Minho to Roselle Park. He asked that the borough consider making the median area in front of the restaurant a turn-off / drop-off area to avoid congestion.
  • CAASA (Community Alliance Against Substance Abuse) is sponsoring their annual Movie Night on October 23. Tickets are $5.

Loren Harms

  • Several calls have been received regarding the rail line behind Seton Avenue. There is a terrible stench that is emanating from some box cars when they pass through. Councilman Harms wanted to know if there was a way to find out what is being transported and wanted to know of whom that concern could be addressed. The mayor stated that he recalls Conrail Holdings and CSX Norfolk Southern to be the responsible parties for the box cars. He recommended the councilman, through the borough, file a request through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Movement of freight lines are governed by the federal government.

Rick Matarante

  • Nothing of note to report.

Robert Rubilla

  • Councilman Rubilla echoed the sentiments of sympathy for the family of Vincent Sweeney.
  • There is no final report on the activity of ConRail and the code enforcement office but expects to have something ready at the next meeting.

Michael Yakubov

  • There have been drastic improvements by the Grove area and behind the school area. Councilman Yakubov wanted to thank the Board of Education and Frank Wirzbicki of the DPW for addressing the concerns. There are still some signs with graffiti and the councilman asked that the Board of Education look into it.
  • Calls of commendation for the individual performing tree maintenance have come in stating that not only is the person doing a satisfactory job but that he is respectful in his duties. The borough should see into if it would be beneficial to making him full-time.
  • The next Neighborhood Watch meeting will be on Friday, October 26, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. If there are any senior citizens that need a ride, one will be provided for them. Senator Kean may appear at the meeting.
  • There have been complaints from residents that planes have been flying too low in the borough.
  • There is one (1) matter for closed regarding possible contract negotiations with Union County.

Reports Of Departments

Engineering Report

  • The Chestnut Avenue Reconstruction project has been finalized.
  • Madison Avenue Reconstruction has commenced.
  • Westbrook Stream Improvements. The borough submitted an application packet to the NJDEP for review. The DEP has requested that the borough has to notify all property owners within 200 ft. of the project.
  • Webster Avenue Sanitary Sewer Replacement is becoming larger than first expected. There is an issue regarding the redirection of water flow into the pump station.
  • The First Aid Squad Emergency Generator has a scheduled bid date of October 16th.
  • The Storm Water Management Plan may require one or two new ordinances.
  • The Union Avenue Sewer Repair received no bidders for the project. There is a re-bid date of October 16th.
  • The Fire Station Bathroom contract has been awarded and in progress. There may be a need to change some fixtures to conform with the specifications of the project.
  • The 237 Sherman Avenue flooding problem has been solved with a simple fix; installation of a new inlet. A cost estimate of $15,000 has been provided and a motion was needed to have bids solicited. The motion was voted on and carried and the borough engineer was authorized to begin accepting bids. Councilman Badillo asked if a letter could be sent to the resident owner of 237 Sherman to notify him of the findings and decision.
  • Councilman Badillo asked that the engineer look into the Hawthorne Basin to see if the capacity (presently at around one million gallons) be increased. The engineer will see if and how it could be done.

Attorney Report

  • There is nothing of note to address with the exception of one (1) matter for closed dealing with possible litigation regarding the FAA and its flight plans.

Borough Clerk Report

  • The borough received a letter from the State of New Jersey stating that the state will not be paying for Presidential Primary cost and that the costs associated, $5,777, will be the responsibility of the borough. The mayor asked the borough Clerk to draft a resolution from the borough stating its disapproval of such an action since there was a vote from the State Senate regarding this vote and that the borough should not subsidize the cost from something that the State passed.
  • A public hearing must be set in order for the borough to apply and acquire funds from Green Acres funding. Once the date is set, the public will be notified.

Chief Financial Officer Report

  • Nothing of note to report.

Department of Public Works Report

  • Department superintendent Frank Wirzbicki had nothing of note to report.
  • He was asked about leaf pick up. He stated that DPW is looking at the end of October.
  • Councilman Yakubov asked what times the street sweeper was in operation cleaning up. The superintendent stated that the sweeper starts at 7 a.m. From Monday to Thursday he has routes and sweeps in between the areas he could not clean up during his route. On Friday he starts early to finish any areas not swept.
  • Councilman Badillo thanked the DPW for cleaning up the bike path and the Westbrook Stream.
  • In November, Frank Wirzbicki will be honored as DPW Superintendent of the Year in Atlantic City.

Police Report

  • Officer McCaffrey was in attendance for acting Chief Morrison.
  • He submitted his report and addressed the request from Councilman Badillo. He stated there might be some logistics problems with having the median area in front of Solar do Minho turned into a turn-off since Westfield Avenue is a state highway. The department wills till look into the request.
  • In response to a question from the mayor, there have been increased patrols in the downtown area, when manpower allows. officers have also been called of car patrol duty from time to time to patrol the area.

The Minutes To Be Approved, the Motion that Bills & Payrolls Not Be Read and Passed were all voted on and carried.

Ordinances (Second Reading)

Ordinance 2217 : The ordinance was read and the public portion was open. Jacob Magiera asked if resolution 214-07 had anything to do with this ordinance. He was told it does not have any relation to this ordinance. The ordinance was voted on and passed.

Ordinance 2218: The public portion was open with no comment from the public. The ordinance was voted on and passed.

Ordinance 2219: Postponed until October 18 to allow the Planning Board to review the ordinance.

Ordinance 2220: During the public portion, Jacob Magiera asked that the spending ordinance be read. The major portions of the ordinance was read, voted on, and passed.

Ordinance 2221: Postponed until October 18 to allow the Planning Board to review the ordinance.

Ordinance 2222: During the public portion, Mr. Magiera asked that the spending ordinance be read in its entirety for the viewing audience. CFO Kenneth Blumread the highlights with regard to health benefits and 3.75% pay increase. The mayor read the overall range of salaries from minimum to maximum – not each individual salary.

Ordinances (First Reading)

Ordinance 2223: The ordinances was read, voted on, and introduced.

Ordinance 2224: The ordinance was read. Councilman Yakubov asked the reason for the bus stop. he was notified that Special Needs children attend an after-school program at Sherman School which necessitates the bus stop. The ordinance was voted on and introduced.

Resolutions

Resolutions 208-07 to 217-07 were announced. Resolutions 210-07, 212-07, and 213-07 were pulled from consensus. The remaining resolutions was voted on and approved.

Resolution 210-07 was voted on and passed.

Resolution 212-07 asked if local contractors were afforded the opportunity to bid on the work. he was notified this resolution dealt with pre-existing work. It was voted on and passed.

Resolution 213-07 was held until after the closed session upon the recommendation of Councilman Matarante so that the council could be aware of the final issues of the agreement. A motion was made to postpone the resolution. It was voted on and postponed.

Matters For Referral To Committee Or Council

Council voted on and passed the motion to allow Meals on Wheels to have an off-premise raffle license issued for October 26, 2007.

Public Portion

Jacob Magiera

  • Mr. Magiera offered his condolences to the family of Vincent Sweeney.
  • The FAA Packet on the Report for the Emergency meeting was delivered to the borough.
  • There are storm sewers that are filled with debris. Mr. Magiera asked about leaf pick-up and he also asked how Essex Fells handled their leaf pick-up. He was informed that Essex Fells uses a compost system.
  • Mr. Magiera asked if Roselle Park applied for Discretionary Aid. He was notified that if he meant Extraordinary Aid, the borough applied for 250,000 and received noting. When asked if we would re-apply next year, he was told yes. Mr. Magiera stated he heard that there was a deadline for next year’s application. Mr. Kenneth Blum informed Mr. Magiera and the council that was for fiscal year towns.
  • An update on Chief Wielgus was requested. Was there a way to find out how many sick days, personal days, and vacation days were left for the Chief and could those numbers be verified. The mayor notified Mr. Magiera that all that information is available at the Finance Office. The number of sick days was not presently available but would be provided as soon as they are available. The same would apply for verification of those numbers. The mayor informed Mr. Magiera that details regarding the Chief’s health issues are a private matter, in conformance with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) laws.
  • Mr. Magiera asked about the new “Yield to Pedestrian” signs and if they have been ordered yet. Councilman Harms stated that he has talked with the acting Chief of Police and provide an update at the next meeting.
  • Is there an update on the inventory of borough assets? Mr. Blum stated that the work is still in progress.
  • Mr. Magiera stated that the Board of Education should get minutes from meetings that concern them. This was in relation to the Planning Board meeting of September 17th, 2007. The mayor stated that they have been in communications with the Board of Education regarding the Adase property. Mr. Magiera stated that, in relation to the Planning Board meeting, the Board of Education had a private company conduct over 100 tests. The mayor stated that the private testing company was inefficient and the borough is waiting for a report from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). The mayor also informed the public that minutes cannot be released officially until they are approved during a Town & Council Meeting.
  • Mr. Mageira asked regarding the area of depression on East Grant Avenue. Mr. Neglia, the borough engineer, responded and restated the bond ordinance.
  • An update was requested on the legal matter of Guariello & Deck vs. Roselle Park. Borough attorney William Lane stated they have issued a counterclaim and are awaiting an answer from the opposing party.
  • Mr. Magiera asked if an update was available on legal action from Monica Montoya. He was informed that there is no legal action from Ms. Montoya.
  • Post Office vehicles appear to be parking in areas that violate parking laws. The mayor stated that Mr. Magiera could address the issue on November 3rd with the Post Office representative.
  • Mr. Magiera asked about houses and business that yet do not have building numbers on them. It is important to have house numbers viewable for emergency purposes.
  • The status on the Jerome Street vacant property was requested. He was informed that the second auction took place and no one showed up.
  • Half of the lights outside of Borough Hall are not working.
  • An update on tickets issued for violation of restricted parking areas was requested. Mr. Magiera personally saw four to six cars parked in Resident Only streets that did not have the appropriate stickers viewable. Hr asked if there was a report on the number of tickets that have been issued. Councilman Yakubov stated that he has talked with the Police Department and, although the exact numbers are not available, he has seen police officers issuing tickets.
  • Mr. Magiera asked if Councilman Yakubov received a copy of Mr. Magiera’s FAA report. The Councilman stated that he has not yet received it but will be sure to get one.
  • With regard to Ordinance 2222, Mr. Magiera asked for the entire resolution to be read, not simply the highlights or general overview.
  • Another $3,000 was added in Resolution 214-07. Mr. Magiera asked the reason for the additional funds. The mayor notified the public that the fees are for the expert advice for the council which is helping to protect borough interests.
  • The storm sewer drain on Colfax and Walnut are blocked by debris. Councilman Harms asked if there was a time he could meet with Mr. Magiera so they could inspect the drain together. A time was set for 11:30 a.m. on Friday.

Glen Marcheski

  • Mr. Marcheski asked some questions regarding the Neighborhood Watch. He asked if there would be ID cards available for participants of the Neighborhood Watch program. He was informed that the idea behind the Neighborhood Watch was to become the eyes and ears of the police department and not be the equivalent to a patrol force. It would be a bad idea to give residents the sense that there are those being deputized and have authority when they do not. Additionally, the danger behind having ID cards is that they could be copied and used for criminal purposes.
  • Glen asked regarding basketball hoops for borough kids. He knows that the courts are not available at Acker Park but he inquired if are there other places where borough residents could play. He was informed that the high school courts are open as well as the park by Aldene School.
  • Glen notified the council that there was a fire hydrant, or fire hydrant type structure on the corner of Sherman Avenue and Lincoln that has been leaking water. He was informed that he should call the water company to have them repair and/or correct any water type issue witnessed. He was told that in the future, any notice of such leaking should be brought to someone’s attention immediately.
  • Mr. Marcheski asked if there have been any sidewalk grants applied to by the borough. He read the Cranford had received grants. He was informed that Roselle Park did apply for the same grant, “Safe Routes To School”, but did not receive any funds.
  • Senior housing, a nursing home, or senior-assisted living should be pursued by the borough. The mayor informed the public that the borough had never considered a nursing home but that senior housing was part of the plans with the Romerovski property. All plans are presently on hold due to the lawsuit from AvalonBay and Israel Braunstein.

Nick Pagnetti

  • Mr. Pagnetti wanted to address the council regarding the bridges and train overpasses throughout the borough. He stated that the bridges look terrible and going beyond aesthetics, painting stops rust and deterioration. He asked if there was a way for the borough to charge ConRail rent for passing through the borough. William Lane stated that the rails are the property of ConRail and the borough cannot charge rent. The borough has some limited ability on finding ways to have the bridges repaired.
  • With relation to the ID cards suggestion introduced by Geln Marcheski, Mr. Pagnetti stated that when he was in charge of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), there were 28 officers. To his knowledge, when many of the officers left, they did not turn their badges in. This is not a good idea since the badges displayed “Roselle Park Police” on them. Councilman Badillo stated that he would like the clerk to send a letter to acting Police Chief Morrison to verify that badges have not been returned and address the issue so that they can be returned.

Al Costanzo

  • Mr. Costanzo offered an update on the situation with the Roselle Park Post Office. He presented pictures he took with his cell phone to show that on Wednesday, statistically the slowest day in the post office, the line was out the door at 11 a.m. additionally he brought pictures to show that his post office box was filled with mail for other people. It was so much mail that he had a “Too Much Mail” card in his post office box.
  • Mr. Costanzo spoke on the situation with the FAA and the flight patterns of planes. He wanted to notify the borough of the gravity of what is currently happening. Previously there were flight routes that used to exists. According to a report he saw, the FAA is getting rid of routes and corridors and the air space above Roselle Park and other communities will be open game and basically become unregulated.

Patricia Pagnetti

  • The Roselle Park Historical Society will be taking part in the “Four Centuries In A Weekend” on October 20th and 21st at the Roselle Park Museum from 10 a.m. to 4. p.m.. The event is free. Included with other entertainment will be a barbershop quartet from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Mrs. Pagnetti wanted to thank the DPW for the planters in front of the museum. All that is needed now are trees.
  • Mrs. Pagnetti also wanted to thank Borough Hall for donating historical item that were discovered in the Borough Hall attic.

Mr. Magiera wanted to return to the microphone but was notified that his opportunity to speak publicly had passed. Mr. Magiera stated that the mayor did not read Ordinance 2222 in its entirety as requested. Councilman Badillo made a statement that Mr. Magiera does a good service participating in his government but Mr. Magiera consistently asks for and receives information from various department in the borough freely without being made to submit an application through the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) which may incur a cost. The councilman stated that it should be uniformed that either Mr. Magiera have to apply for information through OPRA and pay any associated costs or that the process should be removed for all residents. Mr. Magiera agreed with the councilman’s statements.

Matters for closed session were announced: IT Services with Union County; PBA contract; contract negotiations with respect to parcels of property for the purpose of senior housing. The meeting was not adjourned since there would be a decision and possible vote on Resolution 213-07 since it is one of the matters set for closed.

The meeting entered the closed session at 9:15 p.m. and went back into an open session at 9:47 p.m. Resolution 213-07 was voted on and passed. The matter regarding IT services will be on hold until the contract is presented. The borough authorized the borough attorney to negotiate on various parcels of property for the purpose of senior housing.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:48 p.m.