RP M&C Meeting (August 6, 2009)

On August 6, 2009, in Mayor & Council, Video, by RP Citizens

The mayor and all council members were in attendance.

A moment of silence was observed for Linda Scutary, a former Roselle Park Borough employee who passed away.

Communications

  • A request from 300 Hemlock Street to hold a block party on September 19, 2009 from noon to 10 pm (09/26/09 rain date) was accepted.
  • A request from Park Place & West Clay Avenue to hold a block party on August 29, 2009 from 2 pm to 10 pm (09/05/09 rain date) was accepted.
  • A request from the 600 block of Sheridan Avenue to hold a block party on August 22, 2009 from 10 am to 10 pm (08/22/09 rain date) was accepted.
  • A request from the 400 block of Bender Avenue to hold a block party on September 5, 2009 from noon to 10 pm (09/06/09 rain date) was accepted.

Report And Recommendations Of Mayor

  • National Night Out was on August 4, 2009. The mayor wanted to thank all who worked, volunteered, and attended the event; especially the Public Safety Departments and Karen Intile.
  • The next scheduled municipal meeting for August 20, 2009 has been canceled. The next scheduled meeting will be September 3, 2009.
  • The September 11 Memorial Service will be at Michael Mauri Park on September 11 at 6 pm. Anyone wishing more information can contact Karen Intile at (908) 245-0666.
  • The mayor is still getting calls from residents complimenting this year’s fireworks display. The mayor wanted to especially thank the Roselle Park Band Parents Committee (RPBPC) for their carnival. The RPBPC will be having a meeting coming up and anyone interested in joining or participating in next year’s carnival is encouraged to attend.

Certificates & Proclamations

  • A proclamation was made to acknowledge “Breast-feeding Awareness Month” upon the recommendation of council representative Larissa Chen-Hoerning. The councilwoman spoke on the proclamation and wanted to make residents aware of the issue of public breast-feeding and that NJ is supportive of the practice, having laws to protect women who wish to breast-feed.

Report Of Standing Committees And Other Mayor & Council Committees

Councilman Larry Dinardo

  • No reports at this time.

Councilman Modesto Miranda

  • The Faitoute Street Bridge work is scheduled to be started by the end of August.
  • The councilman wanted to send his condolences to the Lyons family and the Picarelli family for their loss.

Councilman Michael Yakubov

  • The councilman rode around with the code enforcement officer and DPW to evaluation areas that have issues that need to be addressed in the fifth ward. They went out to Webster Gardens & Woodside Gardens to evaluate the safety & health issues and quality of life for residents of those complexes.
  • The councilman drove around with DPW to look at trees that looked old.
  • Some borough property, like on Jerome Street, has not been able to have the grass cut due to the weather but it will be addressed.
  • The traffic officer addressed speeding in the fifth ward – particularly Amsterdam & Ashwood where they meet up with West Webster. Part of the reason is that there is a 3-way stop sign. The recommendation of the officer was to re-adjust the signs as well as keeping an eye open for the area.
  • Parking with regard to sporting events was a concern for residents. Some people are parking on yellow lines or on the corner during sporting events.
  • Young individuals are skateboarding around town, even in the middle of the streets. The councilman feels that safety issues ranging from helmets to riding on the street should be addressed.
  • The American Cancer Society is sponsoring an event at the Manor Park Swim Club (Westfield, NJ) on August 9, 2009 . It is a “Taste & Judge The Pasta Sauces”. Anyone interested should RSVP christina.andrascik@cancer.org. The fee is $10. The mayor wanted to correct the councilman that it is not pasta but gravy sauce.

The mayor wanted to announce that the Church Of The Assumption is currently accepting donations for their Rummage Sale in October. There are some things that they will not accept so anyone interested in donating should contact the church.

  • Councilman Yakubov had a meeting regarding A&B Auto Glass. It appears that the property has been sold, will be demolished, and a new business will be at that location.

Councilman Rick Matarante

  • The councilman wanted to congratulate Roselle Park American Legion Post 60’s Junior (17 & under) Baseball Team. They finished their season tied for first in their league. They qualified for the county tournament. They were eliminated in the second round.
  • The councilman asked the borough engineer if he could look into flash flooding problems on East Clay Avenue. The area in question has flooded five times in the last two weeks and he has been told that the sewer lines are clear by the DPW. The borough engineer reviewed pictures that were given to him and he will look into why the flooding is getting worse.
  • The councilman wanted to re-convene the Acker Park Committee now that the renovations are being done and now the next step of the process needs to be addressed. He asked the Borough Clerk to explain any open issues with regard to the recreation grant & loan for Acker Park. The borough clerk stated that Roselle Park received approval from Green Acres for a low-interest 2% loan up to $352,000 with a matching $117,000 grant. The grant is based on how much is spent. The borough clerk on Tuesday received a Kid’s Recreation Trust Fund Grant  (KRTFG) application which will require a resolution on the next meeting. All the sports group in the borough handed in their equipment requests which will be put into the grant application. The mayor stated that any work done and grants used would depend on funds that are available in the municipal budget for the matching grant. The deadline for the grant is September 12, 2009 so things need to move forward quickly.

Councilwoman Larissa Chen-Hoerning

  • The councilwoman had her weekly ward walk on August 10, 2009. She will conduct her weekly walk on Mondays at the front steps of the library at around 7:30 p.m.
  • The councilwoman attending the Nation Night Out picnic and wanted to thank everyone involved.
  • The councilwoman reminded everyone of the Farmer’s Market which takes place at Michael Mauri Park every Wednesday until October from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • The councilwoman asked if council formerly requested reports from the Raritan Valley Sewage Authority (RVSA). She was told that a letter was sent out. The mayor stated that council will send a reminder.
  • The councilwoman wanted to apologize to residents for not getting back to them when they left messages on her voice mail. She had an issue with it and is addressing now.
  • The councilwoman was not able to attend the last Planning Board meeting but wanted to see if the mayor wanted to discuss it. the mayor stated he would.

Councilman Carl Hokanson

  • The councilman had his 200 day conference on July 25th.
  • The councilman helped out on Tuesday & Thursday to clean up the center island. He wanted to thank the Borough Clerk for the use of the gas-powered hedge trimmer.
  • The councilman attended the July 29, 2009 meeting of the Concerned Citizens Of Roselle Park.
  • The National Night Out had a nice turn out.
  • The Environmental Committee meeting will be held at the councilman’s house on August 17, 2009.
  • The councilman wanted to thank Butch, the borough engineer, for the work done on the sidewalks that were repaired.
  • The councilman gave his animal control report.

Reports Of Departments

Borough Engineer

  • The Webster Avenue Sanitary Sewer replacement.  The contractor is expected to return within the next ten (10) days to finish the sidewalk. They have been notified that the project needs to be completed before school starts and the contractor has assured the borough that it will be done by then.
  • The train station enhancement plans had to be resent to NJ Transit since the original ones that were sent over a year ago got misplaced. NJ Transit is looking at the plans and has asked if the borough is ready to proceed with talks.
  • Various construction projects will be starting soon, within the next two weeks:
    • E. Sumner Ave. from Walnut St. to Chestnut St.
    • Roosevelt St. from W. Lincoln Ave. to W. Webster Ave.
    • Laurel Avenue from Seaton Ave. to W. Webster Ave (CDBG)
    • E. Webster Ave. from Chestnut St. to Spruce St.
    • Ashwood Ave. from W Lincoln Ave. to W. Colfax Ave.
    • Maplewood Ave. from W. Lincoln Ave. to W. Colfax Ave.
    • Myrtle Ave. from W. Webster Ave. to W. Lincoln Ave.
    • Pinewood Ave. from W. Colfax Ave. to Woodside Rd.
  • The Casano Center Improvements Project is being re-bid.
  • The Chestnut Street crosswalks are being discussed with Statewide and their bond company. The borough engineer has asked that Statewide send its best representative to investigate the cracks in the crosswalks. He will meet with them on August 24 and he extended an invitation to any council members to attend if they have any question or concerns. The cracking will continue to be monitored since the bond from Statewide is a two-year maintenance bond and there are 11 months remaining on it..
  • The generators for the firehouses will be going out for bids next week.
  • Councilman Hokanson asked for further explanation on the East Grant project on the list. The borough engineer stated that this project is connected with the area that had the sanitary sewer replaced last year. The contractor, Montana, will be paving that before school starts.
  • The rest of East Grant project is being formulated right now and bids are expected to be put out in the fall.
  • Councilman Yakubov asked if the projects that will be starting within the coming weeks will be happening at around the same time. The borough engineer stated that yes, for the most part they would be for the most part. The smaller projects would be two to three weeks maximum.

Attorney Report

  • There are three (3) items, two of them held for closed session. The two closed session items have to do with NJDEP v. Occidental Chemical where Roselle Park is a third-party defendant in the lawsuit and the CableVision LightPath proposal.
  • One item, Constantine v. Bass River which is over. The case dealt with the plaintiff believed that too much was being charged for police reports. The case was struck down and the Supreme Court refused to hear the court, thereby settling the matter.

Municipal Clerk Report

  • The borough clerk is council would consider formulating an ordinance committee to review new ordinances with regard to different changes in state law. The mayor asked if this should be a separate committee or to be part of another committee.  It was decided to have it be a sub committee of municipal services.
  • The State of New Jersey notified the borough that the plans for the proposed changes to Westfield Avenue are done. They are now in the hands of the state landscaper and the proposed renovations should be given to the borough within the next 30 days.
  • There has been a request that potholes be fixed on a section of Sherman Avenue that is currently under consideration to have that area vacated by the borough, thereby become private property. Attorney William Lane, sitting in for William Johnstone, stated he is not as familiar with the vacating issue but will look into it. The mayor explained that in vacating the street, the owners of the area would have to agree to share the property. Councilman Dinardo stated he spoke with the owners in the area and some are for the vacating and others are not. The issue is the right of way for one property owner who is at the end of the street and being allowed a right of way.

CFO Report

  • At the last meeting a resident asked about  the sale of municipal assets. The CFO gave the following information of appropriated monies that were put into municipal budgets from 2002 – 2008:
    • 2008: $117,000 (COAH / Fair Share Housing)
    • 2007: $117,000 (COAH / Fair Share Housing)
    • 2006: $165,275  ($117,000 for COAH / FSH + $48,275 to settle the Tucci lawsuit)
    • 2005: $62,000
    • 2004: $135,000
    • 2003:  $135,000
    • 2002:  $85,000
  • Further research is being done to find out specifically what the monies in 2002-2005 were used for.
  • The CFO had a short statement for the budget. The mayor requested that it be read when the resolution is brought up.

The mayor spoke regarding the sidewalk replacement program. The mayor asked for someone from council be the liaison between the sidewalk repair person and the administration. Councilmen Hokanson & Miranda volunteered to be liaisons.

DPW Report

Matt Rondo spoke on behalf of the superintendent.

  • Borough trash cans are being emptied.
  • Tree crews are working based on requests.
  • Two men are cleaning borough hall and the police station.
  • Crosswalks around town are being painted.
  • SLAP & the DPW are working around town, cutting weeds, scraped & painted poles, cleaned gutters at the library and the bike path.
  • Councilman Miranda asked if the door for the Lorraine fire house is done? They have not been done yet. The councilman also  asked if the paint that is on the top of the poles be removed.
  • Councilman Hokanson said the DPW did a great job pulling the weeds and asked if it has been sprayed yet. The DPW is in the process of getting that done.
  • Councilman Matarante requested that the pot holes on Sheridan Avenue be filled to address the issue in the short term.

Police Department Report

Officer Ted Dima spoke for the Police Department.

  • The report was submitted for review.
  • Councilman Yakubov asked if parking regulations could be suspended while the engineering work is being done in his area.
  • Councilman Matarante wanted to thank the police department for their handling of the barricade situation that happened on July 4th. The police took control of the incident and resolved it without injury to anyone.
  • Councilman Hokanson stated he was approached by Alex Balaban from Clean Communities regarding a repeated problem on Chestnut & Warren of alcohol containers being littered in the area.
  • Councilwoman Chen-Hoerning asked about a traffic study on East Roselle. Officer Dima  stated he was not aware of one but would notify the chief of the councilwoman’s query.
  • The councilwoman asked if there could be something done with regard to parking permits for students of local colleges who reside in Roselle Park.
  • Councilman Miranda commended the police department on their handling of the barricade situation.

The mayor noted the time as being 8:30. He asked if there were a lot of people who were going to speak during the public portion. Noting the number of hands the mayor asked council if they would like to finish with borough business before having the public portion. Council agreed with the recommendation.

Fire Department Report

  • The fire chief stated that the fire house door has not been painted yet.
  • He stated that the fireworks was one of the better he has ever seen.
  • There was a boot drive last week and it did very well.
  • The fire chief wants to get moving on Kelly Coffer Park again. The goal is to put a shovel on the ground before winter. The funds are available to get the work started but the fire department will be looking for donations.
  • There could be a slight delay with the rescue truck. Spartan has been overwhelmed with orders for vehicles and they might be a couple of weeks behind schedule.

Reports Of Departments

  • All reports were moved, voted on, and approved.

The Minutes To Be Approved, Pending Any Corrections, Motion that Bills & Payrolls Not Be Read, Motion that Bills & Payrolls Be Passed For Payment, and Minutes for Meetings were all voted on and carried.

Ordinances For Second Reading

Ordinance 2271

  • No one came forward during the public portion.
  • The ordinance was moved, seconded, voted on, and adopted.

Ordinance 2272

Jacob Magiera

  • Mr. Magiera asked to have the public improvements explained. The borough clerk read the other equipment that was included in the ordinance

Robert Zeglarski

  • Mr. Zeglarski stated the $3,000,000 is one of the largest bond ordinances that he has heard of in a long time. It seems to be  adding $4,000,000 to the borough’s debt service. The CFO stated that the bond ordinance is issuing $2.4 million in debt services however one project alone is $1.5 million (the East Grant Street project). The borough has to front the funds for the project but the borough is applying for the traditional program under the infrastructure loan program which is supposed to be announced in October. If awarded, the borough gets a 75% interest-free loan and 25% would be low-interest. Mr. Zeglarski stated that the borough would then not have to go to bonding on the $1.5 million, just do it in anticipation and the pay it off. Mr. Blum, the CFO, confirmed that statement.
  • Mr. Zeglarski asked regard the re-construction projects in the ordinance. He asked what level of reconstruction would occur – would it be more resurfacing or a complete re-digging and reconstruction. The borough engineer stated that full reconstruction would be done on areas that needed it and resurfacing would be performed on the rest.
  • Mr. Zeglarski asked what are the rates for bond anticipation notes. The mayor stated that in the town he is the CFO for, it is 1.7 – 1.8 and in Verona 0.99 and 0.75. The CFO heard the same.
  • Mr. Zeglarski asked what will the debt level be for this ordinance. Mr. Blum stated the debt level would be 1.03% – the maximum allowed to go is 3.5% of equalized evaluation. The total debt for the borough is $13,626,902.09

The public portion was closed.

  • The ordinance was moved, seconded, voted on, and adopted.

Ordinance 2273

  • Consultant Bill Northgrave was asked to provide a synopsis of the ordinance. Mr. Northgrave stated that this ordinance is the final step in the process with AvalonBay. This ordinance is the authorization and acceptance of the application for the long-term tax exemption, commonly known as Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT). The ordinance sets the conditions and protocol for the tax exemption from the property. The agreement in the ordinance runs for 35 years from its execution or 30 years from the Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.) being pulled – whichever comes first.

The public portion was opened.

Jacob Magiera

  • Mr. Magiera asked Mr. Northgrave how much more work will he (Mr. Northgrave) have to do for the borough with regard to AvalonBay. Mr. Northgrave stated that other than making sure that the agreement is executed properly by both parties, there is no more work for him to do. Mr. Magiera asked regarding a previous ordinance to pay Mr. Northgrave a total of $20,000 for services rendered ($10,000 increased from the original $10,000). The mayor wanted to focus on this ordinance but addressed the payment to Mr. Northgrave. When contacted by the governing body, Mr. Northgrave gave an estimate close to $20,000 but mayor & council felt that work could be started with $10,000  to see how the process would continue – seeing if services would be needed based on initial findings. With all work done with culminated in this ordinance, Mr. Northgrave’s estimate proved accurate. Mr. Magiera wanted to make certain that the expense was justified and if there are documented invoices, there would be no problem. The mayor stated that Mr. Northgrave would still need to make sure that the documents are properly executed. Mr. Magiera stated he asked because he has only seen Mr. Northgrave three times. Council & Mr. Northgrave stated that work has been done in private sessions and in negotiations which are more than three times and that attorneys bill by the hour and that his time is documented.
  • Mr. Magiera wanted to thank the borough’s CFO for his work  and Mr. Magiera asked if there is anything that the public should know that it has not asked about nor been informed regarding the long-term tax exemption for AvalonBay and PILOT. The mayor asked if Mr. Northgrave could summarize Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT). Mr. Northgrave stated that the term PILOT appears nowhere in the NJ Statute and that it is an acronym used by the public. The statute speaks of an annual service charge that is charged to a project for improvements on a piece of land. The land is still separately taxed but instead of normal taxation, where there is an improvements portion and a land portion, in a long-term tax exemption (PILOT),  only the land portion is still paid. The improvements portion is fully exempted and then there is a negotiated rate for the improvement. In this case it is 10% of annual gross shelter rent.

Robert Zeglarski

  • Mr. Zeglarski wanted to make certain that this ordinance is specific only to the AvalonBay issue and could not be used for any other purposes down the road. If the Borough wanted to enter into another PILOT agreement with another entity, they would have to go through the same procedure all over again. Mr. Northgrave confirmed that this agreement is specific to a lot & block. The same process would have to be done for anyone else.

Glen Marczewski

  • Mr. Marczewski wanted to ask if the PILOT program runs for the entire 30 years. When that was confirmed, Mr. Marczewski asked what happens if AvalonBay leaves or decides not to stay the 30 years. He was told that the PILOT stays with the land. He was also told that the PILOT program is in stages where, if at any point, the amount of taxes that would have been collected are more than the amount generated by PILOT, the property would revert back to taxes. Mr. Northgrave gave three (3) scenarios of what might happen. AvalonBay could stay with PILOT for 30 years, or AvalonBay could decide to renounce PILOT if their revenues result in a payment larger than taxes, or AvalonBay could no longer be associated with the property. PILOT is attached to a property and a project. If, in 10 years, the building is demolished and a warehouse is constructed, there would be no PILOT agreement for the warehouse. Mr. Marczewski asked what if AvalonBay sells the property. He was notified that PILOT stays with the property & project, regardless of who the owner is. So if the new owner continues with the apartment complex, PILOT is still in effect.

The public portion was closed.

  • Ordinance 2273 was moved on, seconded, voted for, and adopted.

Ordinance 2274

The public portion was open but no one from the public spoke.

The mayor stated that information was received from the Planning Board with a slight modification in the sign ordinance which is not significant enough to re-advertise the hearing nor adoption process.

The borough clerk explained the clarification having to do with the actual dimensions of A-frame signs that the sign must not be more than 2′ x 4′ total from the ground.

The ordinance was moved, seconded, voted on, and adopted.

Ordinance 2275

The public portion was opened

Saul Qersdyn

  • Mr. Qersdyn wanted to confirm that the ordinance’s first paragraph referred to Section (i)(6), not Section 16, of Code 40-3002. He read the section into the record and was notified that the section was (i)(6), not 16.

The public portion was closed, seeing as no other member of the public went before the dais.

The mayor wanted to thank Carl Plucchino for his research and work on the ordinance.

The ordinance was moved, seconded, voted on, and adopted.

Ordinance 2276

The public portion was opened.

Jacob Magiera

  • Mr. Magiera asked if this ordinance had to do with buildings that brunt down and have no started repairs, like Domani’s, for example. He was notified that this was not the case. The only purpose of this ordinance was to add the word ‘fire’ to the “Building, Plumbing, and Electric”.
  • Mr. Magiera asked if there is anything that addresses when a building should be demolished. The mayor asked that those comments be reserved for the regular public portion but that Mr. Plucchino is addressing the issue with Domani’s.

The public portion was closed.

The ordinance was moved, seconded, voted on, and adopted.

Ordinances for First Reading

Ordinance 2277

The ordinance was read & explained. It was moved, seconded, voted on, and introduced.

Ordinance 2278

The ordinance was explained by CFO Ken Blum. This is an annual ordinance done before the introduction of  the municipal budget. The state requires that such an ordinance be passed. The ordinance was moved, seconded, voted on, and introduced.

Resolutions

Resolution 161-09 has been put on hold by councilman Miranda until the next meeting so he can review and make some changes pursuant to some recent laws.

Resolution 166-09 had the resignation date of Keith Hyman changed to September 10, 2009.

Resolutions 162-09 and 166-09 were pulled from consensus.

Resolutions 154-09, 158-09 thr0ugh 160-09, 162-09 through 165-09 were moved, seconded, voted on, and approved.

Resolution 162-09

The borough clerk read the state required statement into the record. CFO Ken Blum read a summary of the 2009 budget [Link].

Councilman Hokanson spoke on the budget process and all the hard work that went into it. He spoke on the pension program being paid in full and council’s decision to not take the partial pension payment option which would have come back in the future to end up costing more. The action to not use the partial payment option negating the borough from applying for extraordinary aid. The councilman is also looking into other options than to have the borough use the one bid system for health insurance.

Councilwoman Chen-Hoerning wanted to thank everyone involved in working on the budget. Also she wanted to commend people for making narrative summaries and pie charts along with detailed information available for the public.

The mayor stated that there would be a public hearing on September 17, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. The mayor wanted to t hank the borough CFO for all the hard work he put into working and finishing the budget.

The resolution was moved, seconded, voted on, and introduced.

Resolution 166-09

The mayor wanted to thank Keith for all his work throughout the years for the borough. Keith started as a volunteer and has now resulted in a career for Keith.

Councilman Hokanson stated that every time he needed something, Keith came through.

Councilman Yakubov wanted to thank Keith for everything he has done with TV-34, even when he was not paid. He wished Keith the best of luck.

Councilman Dinardo stated that he has known Keith since he was a neighbor across the street from him and he will be missed.

Councilwoman Chen-Hoerning echoed the sentiments of everyone regarding Keith. it is sad for the borough but great for Keith and she wised him well.

The resolution was moved, seconded, voted on, and approved.

Public Portion

The mayor recognized that there was a large crowd and he wanted everyone the opportunity to speak. He asked through a show of hands how many people were planning to speak. Noting the number of people who raised their hands the mayor requested that everyone limit their comments between five to seven minutes for each person. The public portion was opened.

Jake Magiera

In order not to have Mr. Magiera cut into his time with an issue, the mayor spoke on a matter that concerned Mr. Magiera. The Borough received notice from the state that the senior tax payer rebate has been extended to August 17, 2009.

  • Mr. Magiera asked for an additional 10% cut off the budget excluding police, fire department, and first aid squad.
  • Mr. Magiera asked the borough engineer if the crosswalk pavers were going to be done from Costa’s to Grant Avenue on Chestnut Street. The borough engineer stated he is having a meeting with the contractor on August 24, 2009 to discuss the matter. At the time of the meeting, there was no time set. The borough engineer stated that once the time is set Mr. Magiera could contact a council member to find out the time.
  • Mr. Magiera thanked the CFO for information on the sale of assets. Mr. Magiera stated he could stop by on Friday to get the rest of the numbers.
  • Mr. Magiera asked for an update on parking meter money collected. The CFO stated he did not have the exact figures with him but could get those to Mr. Magiera.
  • Mr. Magiera spoke on the Little League Tournament.
  • Mr. MAgiera spoke about West Clay Avenue and the houses that are sinking in. The mayor stated he does not know of any of the houses sinking in.
  • Mr. Magiera reminded everyone of the bylaws stating that the meeting must end at 11 p.m.

Doris Hartman

  • Mrs. Hartman spoke on the easement on her property that she is refusing at this time. She asked her son, Fred Hartman, to speak on the matter.

Fred Hartman

  • Mr. Hartman stated that he and his mother decided to come to a public meeting because the mayor & council might themselves not know the whole story. There is an easement with no parameters. The Hartman’s asked that additional items be put in writing.  The borough attorney made it seem like the borough is doing the Hartman’s a favor when it is the borough that wants the favor from Mrs. Hartman – the easement.
  • Mrs. Hartman’s property is affected more than anyone else. She owns both side of Westbrook. No one has been able to say how big an easement is wanted. An engineer was supposed to show up at the house but that never happened. The borough wants the easement from Mrs. Hartman but the borough is not willing to make it go easier. The borough wants control on land that Mrs. Hartman pays taxes on. It will limit what she can do with that piece of property, which does not seem quite fair.
  • Additionally, those limitations are not being given to anybody in writing. There are people who have signed the easement in question blindly. The last time the Hartman’s had a meeting, they were basically given an ultimatum – sign it or it will be done without doing that section. Mr. Hartman stated that such a course was not a very intelligent way to approach it. He asked the mayor if he was aware of that and that he has a letter from the attorney that states as such. The Hartman family wants to get it done and have put in writing via e-mails with correspondences with councilman Hokanson. Mr. Hartman asked that those e-mails be forwarded to mayor & council.
  • Mr. Hartman made it very plain on every single e-mail that Mrs. Hartman will give permission to fix Eastbrook. She does not want to give the borough her rights to the land. She will give permission to repair Eastbrook in perpetuity but she will not give an easement. The borough can have a temporary easement. Mr. Hartman made an offer that evidently was not good enough.
  • The other problem is that there is no protection. They were told that the land will be restored to as-close-as-possible to what it was before the work. Mr. Hartman asked who makes the decision whether or not that is done correctly – not Mrs. Hartman. The Hartman family has to believe that the borough will do that – Mrs. Hartman refuses do that. She wants some saying in this matter. If the Borough wants something from Mrs. Hartman, it needs to give. A question to ask is ‘how much do you need or what do you want?’ Does the borough want the easement or does it need it? Mr. Fred Hartman stated that the borough wants it, does not need it and that the borough should not get greedy.
  • The mayor asked Mr. Hartman if he wanted to have the borough attorney address the issues. Mr. Hartman stated in his last e-mail that he did not want to speak to Mr. William Lane anymore because he felt that the borough attorney was rather obnoxious.
  • The mayor asked if Mr. Hartman wanted additional information from the borough engineer or anyone else. Mr. Hartman stated that it was his understanding that councilman Hokanson is trying to put together another meeting with another attorney.

Myrtle Counts

  • Mrs. Counts stated she was the President of the Roselle branch of the NAACP.
  • Mrs. Counts stated that she came this evening because she had a rally concerning the proposed financial department shared services between Roselle & Roselle Park. She stated she was annoyed about it. Mrs. Counts said it was not about what she thinks, it is about the community and members of the NAACP. She stated that the NAACP will continue to fight for justice until all, without regard to race, gender, creed, or religion can enjoy equal status. Mrs. Counts stated that in the agreement that was made there was no equal status. On July 1, 2009 the residents were given the agreement. Ms Counts stated that she is a taxpayer and a lifelong resident of Roselle and that the agreement came out that was not talked to about to the people nor to the mayor nor to people who could speak for her. She was annoyed at the fact that the mayor of Roselle was not even considered in doing the agreement. She stated that people tried to make it about four (4) black people in Roselle losing their jobs. She stated it was much more than that. She said that it is about the people in Roselle losing the ability to take care of their town financially. She stated that Roselle’s budget is over twice that of Roselle Park and that if this is true why is no Roselle providing the financial department for Roselle Park. She wanted to know why the mayor or someone not talk to Roselle’s mayor about what was going on. Mrs. Counts stated that the Civil Service Commission turned it down because it was so junky for lack of a better word, because it was very improperly done. Mrs. counts wanted to know why is this agreement being done.
  • Ms Counts asked how many African-Americans are employed by the Borough of Roselle Park. The mayor responded that he did not know how many African-Americans are employed, nor how many Hispanics nor any other race color or creed are employed by the Borough. Mrs. Counts asked if any of those employees look like her. The mayor responded that yes, there are beautiful people working in Roselle Park. Mrs. Counts stated that she appreciated her kindness but wanted to be serious because this was about equal justice, and she did not think that this was equal justice. She stated that it was more than four employees who will be losing their jobs – if one goes a little further down it is about lawyers who will be there. She stated that Roselle does not have any black lawyers left.
  • Mrs. Counts stated that she thinks that people want her to be ashamed of being; she is very proud of being black. She is proud of living in Roselle and having worked for the town all of her life. She has been a volunteer all of her life. Her mother came to Roselle when she was 17 years old and they have contributed to a better life in Roselle and she does not see them giving it away.
  • Mrs. Counts asked how can there be a sharing of anything financially in Roselle when there is not even a sharing of information. She stated this is a sad commentary. She stated that they cannot talk to each other, share with each other, nor respect each other. She stated that 30 pieces of silver does not make it work.
  • The mayor stated that in Roselle Park, the agreement was discussed among all and they went through the process of sharing that information with residents from Roselle. At the same time, Roselle Park requested, in order to ease any tension that might exist, for financial data from Roselle. Two (2) requests were sent but Roselle Park has yet to receive a response. The mayor stated that he would still like to join together and work together. If the boroughs do not come to an agreement or this does not work – so be it., because what he does not want to happen is there be tension between the two (2) boroughs. The mayor stated that the only rivalry that the two boroughs have is in November at the Thanksgiving football game. The mayor stated that Mrs. Counts may find out that he and she have a lot of commonalities. His parents came to America from Italy in their teens, met in Roselle Park, got married, and contributed to the community. The mayor asked if America looks at issues concerning the color of someone’s skin and answered by stating that definitely, we do. Mrs. Counts stated that although the mayor might not that she has seen the horror stories regarding race. She was not going to apologize for being black and the mayor added that she should not be.
  • Mrs. Counts stated that she and other African-Americans have given to Roselle and she resents very much that an agreement comes in and  that the mayor has to sign it and a lawyer can tell the mayor of Roselle that he does not have to tell him anything. There is something wrong with that.
  • Mrs. Counts stated that she is not accusing the mayo of anything ulterior but that there are people trying to take over Roselle and she resents it very much. She lives there, she pays taxes there and that this is a sorry state of affairs.
  • Mrs. Counts told a story of her living on Rivington Street in Roselle and played with a little girl who, whenever they would play house, would say that Mrs. Counts would play the maid and she would be the mommy. This was not racial to the other little girl. When Mrs. Counts mother heard this one day she told her daughter if she could not be the mommy then she cannot play. If Roselle cannot be mommy, then Roselle does not need to play.
  • The mayor stated that he admired her passion and that he would love the opportunity to sit down with Mrs. Counts and speak about these issues over a cup of coffee or tea. He asked her to look at the make-up of Roselle Park’s council and he wanted to assure her that they did not take into consideration the issue of color, gender, sexual orientation, income level, or any of other issue other than financial where both communities would benefit. He stated he would like to share Roselle Park’s global community with Mrs. Counts  in a personal settings so that they both could get to know each other.
  • Mrs. Counts stated that someone said that they belong to the NAACP and they were not invited to the rally. Mrs. Counts stated that perhaps that person chose not to go because there was a flier that was sent out. She read the flier and pointed out the section which read “The NAACP Roselle Area Branch cordially invites all freedom-loving people to attend” and perhaps someone felt they were not freedom-loving which is why they did not come. She wanted to put that at rest.  She stated that the issue is not just about color but about a town saving itself.

The mayor stated that, for the record, neither he nor Roselle’s mayor have signed the Interlocal Agreement because the issues still need to be looked into, especially the financial ones, in order to come to some remedy and if they do not, so be it, move on.

Wilfred Curry

  • Ms. Curry was disheartened to hear about the shared service agreement between Roselle & Roselle Park. She wanted some homework to be done and that is where the whole issue got into difficulty. She spoke of the tension not only between the two (2) boroughs but throughout the United States based in history, treatment, and perception that people have about people of color. Homework needed to be done not only in the fact that Roselle Park’s council is a diversified group but that Roselle Park should have known the constituents of the partners that the borough wanted to enter into business with. She stated that the borough extended its olive branch to the NAACP but an olive branch should have been extended to the mayor of Roselle. Since that did not happen, she stated that Roselle Park should have questioned the individuals who brought the package to them. She stated that if it seems like it is too good to be true, it usually is. There are consequences and ramifications that go far beyond what Roselle Park can imagine that has been done in terms of harming the relationship based on the numbers of Roselle residents present at this meeting.  She stated that the council of Roselle Park sounds sincere and that council has gone back and discussed the present situation with Roselle. She stated that America presently has an African-American president that could not have been put into office solely on the votes of African-Americans – it was based on his character. She hopes that council takes to heart what she stated.

James Moore

  • Reverend wanted to commend mayor & council for running a civil meeting. He stated that he believed that Roselle Park does not nor did not want to deceive any community it plans to work with. However there are a lot of political tensions in the Roselle community and it is not for the betterment of the community.
  • Reverence Moore stated that he did not believe that it was Roselle Park’s intention to bamboozle or ram ride the community of Roselle but there were some things that needed to be taken into consideration. One of the considerations was that shared services are a jointure instead of a perceived takeover; which it is perceived as by Roselle since the financial department is being taken over by Roselle Park. There are questions as to why full-time employees from the Roselle financial department are being fired and how does a non-service part-time Roselle Park employee have preference or authority over Roselle employees. Questions arise as to what credentials the Roselle Park employee have that supercede Roselle employees. Roselle Park has a budget of $13 million and Roselle has a budget of $36-39 million. Reverend Moore stated that it did not sound proper that the municipality with the smaller budget was taking over the services of the municipality with the larger budget.
  • Reverend Moore asked why was not a shared services grant applied for prior to the agreement and he asked why it was so hasty.
  • Reverend Moore stated that he encourages that Roselle Park rescind the agreement.
  • Reverend Moore asked what happens when there is a organizational, operational, financial, political backlash as a result of such a hasty decision.
  • Reverend Moore stated that he respects mayor & council and he feels that mayor & council respect the residents of Roselle and the mayor. He stated that he believes that the mayor is in favor of being perceived as snubbing the mayor of Roselle by not considering his opinion regarding the agreement.
  • Reverend Moore stated that according to the guidelines of the Shared Services Commission, agreements are supposed to be brokered and signed by the mayors. This can have some severe ramifications to the relationship of all mayors because the perception of mayors leaving one another out of the process of shared service can fester throughout the county and state.
  • Reverend Moore asked what part did the Union County Shared Services Coordinator play in brokering the agreement and was she or he in favor of negotiating such a deal behind the back of Roselle’s mayor and Roselle residents.
  • Reverend Moore asked if mayor & full council met with Roselle’s mayor & full council to plan and discuss arrangements to merge the shared services, when did that meeting happen and where are the minutes of that meeting.
  • Reverend Moore asked if this shared service was done with residents in mind, why were not the residents of both boroughs brought together to consider it before the agreement was made.
  • Reverend Moore asked why was not the Union County Shared Services Coordinator a part of the process, are the county freeholders in favor of the takeover plan, is the state’s Shared Services Division in favor of the plan, and what happens if Roselle Park decides to terminate this agreement within the specified 120-day written notice period. How can Roselle scramble to put a CFO and civil service staff back in place in that period of time.

The mayor spoke on the issue of why mayor & council were not directly involved in shared services, he stated that historically, and in this case, the department heads were instructed to seek out a shared services agreement. The shared services brought by Mr. Ken Blum seemed feasible. The mayor also stated that sometime when mayor & council get involved, they mess things up. Many times one has to try and leave it up to the professionals who know the intricacies of the details then bring those recommendations to governing officials to then have them consider whether to move forward or not. He is sorry if it did not happen in Roselle. Roselle Park went with the health care professionals’ recommendation to share health services with Westfield and with the county to share the welfare services. The borough did not go to the freeholders, they went to the professionals and in each case the borough had success with them.

A couple of years ago the borough tried to enter into a shared services agreement with Roselle to share police patrol on the borders of both boroughs. Both mayors talked about the program and Roselle Park passed a resolution to try and get state grant money to share police patrol. On Roselle’s end it did not get passed and the mayor did not know why. He did not know if it was politically motivated, all he knows is that it went nowhere.

Currently the borough is currently in negotiations to share services with the township of Cranford and the municipal clerk is in talks with Cranford’s administrator.

The mayors stated he did not know who the County Shared Services Coordinator was. Roselle Park’s Borough Clerk works day-in and day-out with the professionals of the county’s IT (Information Technology) department for shared services and she is left with the responsibility to bring any savings through shared services.

The mayor stated that this proposal was looked at because of the similarities of financial software packages and payroll services. Nothing has been forwarded nor signed due to the questions by residents and those involved with this proposed shared services.

Councilman Matarante stated that he also had conversations with residents and he stated that he felt good about the conversations. He wanted to clear up some things that have been mentioned with regard to the use of the word ‘takeover’, Roselle Park did not perceive it as a takeover since Roselle approached the borough. Roselle Park did not know who worked in the Roselle Financial Department and that was ignorance on the borough’s part but once approached with the proposal, the governing body looked at it as a financial issue. The word ‘haste’ was used but this idea was presented in March-April and have been discussing it for months. The third concern was that someone implied that Roselle Park moved their July meeting to coincide with Roselle’s meeting date and that there was some conspiracy. The councilman stated that it was he who moved the meeting date (in June) from Thursday, July 2nd, to Wednesday, July 1st, since most people had July 3rd off and having the meeting the eve of a national holiday might affect people’s plans or vacations. He was not aware of when Roselle held their meeting – it was a coincidence. The councilman was not aware of the other issues until residents from Roselle came and discussed them. The councilman stated he would have felt it was a takeover if Roselle Park went to Roselle with the idea but that was not the case.  Additionally, this has been through two votes in Roselle was voted on and passed twice by the majority of Roselle’s council. Based on that, it appears that there is some consensus although those present in the audience may not agree with that.

Sylvia Turnage

  • Ms. Turnage, the second ward councilmember in Roselle, stated she was not going to speak this evening but that she was taken aback by some comments that she found disingenuous. She heard the proposal to invite Mrs. Counts invited for a talk but the last time Ms Turnage was at the meeting, she said the mayor stated that he felt he did not have to meet with the mayor of Roselle. She felt that was disingenuous . The mayor asked the councilwoman to please not present it that way. Mrs. Turnage asked that she be allowed to finish.
  • Ms. Turnage stated that Mr. Blum was not a stranger to her. When she came on council in Roselle, Mr. Blum was still Roselle’s CFO and prior to him becoming Roselle’s CFO she had many conversations with him. She requested a lot of information fro him because she has always been a community activist. She always found him respectful and receptive but she felt something has changed over the years because of the whole personality, the whole professional relationship. She stated that if Roselle was going to share financial services with Roselle Park, Mrs. Turnage thought that Mr. Blum coming from Roselle, and knowing the basic inner workings, as opposed to just speaking the council-at-large or some other people who were not even authorized, because at the time Roselle still had a Business Administrator that did not resign until May 31, 2009. The initial meetings for this proposal started in March and April, she stated that Mr. Blum knew the inner workings of Roselle since it could be every other day that he would be having lunch at Pinho’s with some of their employees. Mrs. Turnage stated that Roselle park (or Mr. Blum) knew the protocol.
  • The mayor asked as to what protocol Mrs. Turnage was speaking to becasue the protocol that existed when Mr. Blum was an employee of Roselle is different now that he is an employee of Roselle Park.
  • Mrs. Turnage stated she was talking about the protocol as far as the whole shared services arrangement and agreement. She stated that if Mr. Blum needed in formation, he should have contacted Roselle CFO. Not once was Roselle’s CFO contacted, not once was the mayor contacted, and the information that Roselle Park’s governing body was presented with was being fed by Mr. Blum.
  • When Mrs. Turnage had discussions with Roselle’s council on July 1st and asked them who knew what & when, the information was not forthcoming but then she had to pull the information out.
  • Mr. Blum, councilman Holley, Larry Caroselli, Joe Salemme, all county people, had meetings in regards to shared services with Alan Roth. Roselle has attorney’s bill and Mrs. Turnage wanted to know what was the nature of those meetings. The mayor asked which members of the governing body, including himself were there. Mrs. Turnage responded that just Roselle Park’s CFO was in attendance at those meetings. The mayor stated that he wanted to make that very clear. Mrs. Turnage stated that was fine.
  • Mrs. Turnage repeated that the information that Roselle Park has supported is the information given to them by the CFO. The mayor repeated that the CFO’s instructions were to seek out shared service agreements across the board. The mayor thought that protocol would have been, irrespective of whether it be a councilperson or an attorney or whomever it may be, keeping in mind that the CFO’s position in Roselle would have been affected, the information was fed to an official in Roselle. It was up to that person or persons to then give it to the rest of Roselle’s governing body that would be involved in the process. Similar to the information that Roselle Park shared with Roselle after everything ensued and there was some issues that needed to be addressed. The mayor gave that information to Mrs. Turnage and Roselle’s mayor. Roselle Park requested financial data because Roselle Park residents had questions because at first they thought it sounded like a great opportunity financially to save money with Roselle and Roselle Park but now there are some question with the numbers; that they might not be as strong as when the figures were presented to Roselle Park. The mayor has yet to see that financial data. He does not mind because there might be something to do with the civil service determination. If there is a revisiting of those numbers, share that information with Roselle Park. But the mayor asked to not make it appear that Mr. Blum did something incorrect by not telling the governing body because he was under the governing body’s instruction to seek out shared services. If the people in Roselle did not tell Roselle’s governing body, shame on them.
  • Mrs. Turnage stated that the last time she was there and she requested information, the mayor stated that he would have the information she requested available the next morning. Roselle’s mayor went the next day to pick up the information that the mayor stated was available; Mr. Blum was in contract negotiations and refused to see the mayor. Roselle’s mayor asked when will the information be available, Mr. Blum responded that they would be available the following week.  The mayor asked when did Mrs. Turnage received the letter. Mrs. Turnage asked to be allowed to finish. She stated that even though the mayor was courteous enough to send the information in a timely fashion as the mayor said he would, when it came to Roselle Park’s representative, that person told Roselle’s mayor he could have it the following week. Mrs. Turnage stated again to be allowed to finish and that the mayor could interject.
  • Mrs. Turnage stated that she had been dealing with the shared service dilemma since the last meeting.  She stated that if she sounds abrupt, it is not intentional, it is just that it becomes very tiring. She stated that this shared services agreement was birthed in the bowels of bad government and that it was simmered in a stew of arrogance since April. It was force fed to Roselle residents as a bitter pill. When Roselle residents came last time to the Roselle Park meeting there were comments from the audience, not from the dais, that the group in attendance was just a splinter group of residents or they are a small group that no matter what is said cannot be pleased. Community leaders have been attacked for speaking out about the injustice and inequality in this shared service agreement. They have been called racist. The more this proposal is entertained, the more tax payers realize is really is no cost-savings or benefits to the Roselle residents. The deal is a bonanza for Roselle Park. Mr. Blum’s salary increases by over 50%, something Mrs. Turnage did not realize until Roselle Park sent over the information. Roselle Park’s clerks will be some of the highest paid clerks in Union County. Roselle Park will be hiring a part-time clerk that used to formerly work for the borough and went to work for the county. She will be working for the borough coming in after hours, working part-time, making a full-time salary.
  • Mrs. Turnage mentioned that four (4) civil service, Roselle resident, current employees from Roselle that will be losing their jobs.
  • Mrs. Turnage  stated that if Roselle Park is willing to share services, perhaps Roselle Park could share its school system. That would be a wonderful idea. It would definitely be a bonanza for Roselle. Mrs. Turnage asked if Roselle could entertain the Roselle Park Board of Education in sharing school systems because Roselle children do not even have a track. Roselle has a track coach that has been coach of the year last year and an award winning track team running up and down stairs in the high school. Roselle does not have a track, Roselle Park has a track and full facilities. Roselle would love to share.
  • The mayor asked if he could respond to a bit of information that Mrs. Turnage was interjecting. Mrs. Turnage stated she just had  three (3) more points and then she will close.
  • Mrs. Turnage needed to know why were not any of the four (4) current employees who will be losing their jobs that are Roselle residents even considered for the part-time position in this agreement.
  • Mrs. Turnage asked what progress Roselle Park has had vetting out their concerns. The last time that she was at the Roselle Park meeting, the governing body tabled the agreement so that mayor & council could vet out concerns. She did not know if all of the governing body’s concerns are contingent upon receiving financial data from the Borough of Roselle. There was another concern regarding Roselle’s intention of changing from a fiscal year to calendar year. She stated that Roselle plans to change to a calendar year. Is Roselle Park’s CFO willing to handle two (2) budgets that are both on a calendar year because it is now August and Roselle Park is still trying to get its budget passed and there are only four (4) more months left to the end of the year. How will Roselle Park do that two-fold?

The mayor stated that one of the issues that were brought forth was the change from fiscal year to calendar year. It was brought up and requested to be part of the agreement. The agreement has not been signed by the mayor due to that issue, which was already discussed with Mr. Blum. Mayor & council agreed that this agreement can only work if Roselle remains with a fiscal year.

The mayor stated that it was suggested that because of the agreement that the individuals involved would be the highest paid in Union County. The mayor needed to have the comparison of how many employees or public personnel in Union County will be doing the level of work that those involved will be performing. If there is going to be a comparison of salaries, the amount of work that is attached to those salaries should also be compared.

The mayor spoke on the incident where Roselle’s mayor went to Roselle Park’s CFO’s office to obtain information, the mayor notified both the CFO and the Borough Clerk that they were not to release the information themselves but that the mayor would release the information to all of Roselle’s governing body because at that point it was the mayor’s sense that there may have been other members of council that do not know the financial information that Roselle Park had. The mayor instructed the Borough Clerk to put together a cover letter requesting information from Roselle that was brought out at the last meeting, look at the financial data and look at them both, but as of the date of this meeting, the governing body has still not received the financial date from Roselle.

Councilman Matarante stated that he would vote ‘no’ if Roselle moved to a calendar year. The reason the councilman himself has not vetting any information is because he is not voting for it until Roselle gets its act together and the issues in Roselle are resolved. Councilman Matarante stated that he wants to work together with Roselle going forward but for this rift to happen because of this particular issue is not worth it. He is willing to throw this agreement out and either re-work it or not based on the benefits to both boroughs.

Glen Marczewski

  • Mr. Marczewski is against the shared services agreement because Roselle’s mayor & the full governing body did not discuss the agreement. Everyone should be involved to work on the agreement together. This is not working because this was not done.
  • Mr. Marczewski asked about the Youth Center. He wanted to know if the money received from the lawsuit will be used to repair the building. He was notified that the money from the lawsuit was used to repair the issues with the water leaking in the basement years ago
  • Mr. Marczewski asked about mosquitoes in the sewers and drains. The mayor stated that the borough does not do insecticides. Mr. Marczewski stated that Cape May sprays. The mayor stated that the county provides that service for Roselle Park.
  • Mr. Marczewski asked about the Planning Board and the Zoning Board. He wanted to know if you cannot tape these meetings becasue some people do not like being on camera. Mr. Marczewski asked why not have them videotaped by the Borough so that everyone can see them. Mr. Marczewski stated that it would shoe transparency. The mayor stated that this issue was discussed in prior meetings and there are some issues. First, someone would need to be paid to man the equipment during the taping and then there is the issue of which meetings are more important than others. As an example, the mayor used the Library Board. Some residents stated that those meetings should be taped since they are using taxpayer money. Another example was the Community Center and some residents stating that those meetings should be taped. Mr. Marczewski stated that if the people on the various boards do not want to be videotaped, then they should not be on the boards. He stated that he feels that people on the Planning & Zoning Boards should be elected by the people. The mayor recommended that it is an admirable idea but that would require the state to pass new law. Perhaps Mr. Marczewski could bring that up with his legislatures since the borough is prohibited from making that change on its own. Mr. Marczewski wanted to say that the mayor & council could put anybody on the Planning & Zoning boards without anyone knowing. The mayor stated that the appointments are made once a year and that they are announced before the public and available in the clerk’s office. Mr. Marczewski stated that voting would help in showing transparency.
  • Additionally, Mr. Marczewski stated that the code officials should be voted on by the public as well. He wanted to know if code officials are certified by the state where they have to go to school. He was notified that yes, they are.
  • Mr. Marczewski asked what is going to happen to the Sullivan Chevrolet and other properties in the Borough. the mayor stated that although no applications have been submitted, he has been notified that there are parties interested in properties throughout the borough. Mr. Marczewski is afraid that more developments will be constructed.
  • Mr. Marczewski asked what was going to happen with Senior Citizen Housing. The mayor stated that Roselle Park is currently negotiating with ConRail for 2.5 acres of property, located behind Webster Gardens.

Robin Randolph-Henderson

  • Ms. Henderson stated that she has been to every Roselle park municipal meeting since July 1, 2009 and that council knows her views on the shared services agreement. She enjoyed speaking with councilman Matarante however she cannot say that everyone she has called has done her the courtesy to return her phone call. She stated that councilwoman Chen-Hoerning stated she had issues with her phone but Ms. Henderson stated that she was not very pleased with that. Councilman Yakubov did call back and left a message but Ms. Henderson did not have the opportunity to call him back and she apologizes to him for that.  Her biggest disappointment in reaching out to Roselle Park has been the mayor. Ms. Henderson called him two (2) times and he has not returned her call. She also called the  Borough Clerk’s office and Ms. Henderson was assured that the woman she spoke with would relay the request for a callback but the mayor has not yet called Ms. Henderson back.
  • Ms. Henderson also called the Roselle Park’s CFO’s office and she left two (2) messages without a return phone call.
  • Ms. Henderson stated that if Roselle Park enters into shared services with Roselle, Roselle Park can anticipate that Roselle residents will be calling Roselle Park officials and that it would be in Roselle Park’s best interest to return Ms. Henderson’s phone calls.
  • Ms. Henderson stated that when she calls Roselle’s mayor, she has no problem with him picking up the phone, not to mention leaving a message and not receiving a call back.
  • Ms. Henderson stated that at the last meeting she attended, Roselle Park made mention of the literature that was distributed in Roselle. Ms. Henderson responded to what she felt was a smart remark by the mayor that if Roselle was giving $1.5 million to Roselle Park, please write the check. Ms. Henderson stated that she read the agreement and when it was presented to the residents in Roselle,  it was presented as the five-year savings of $647,000. If the numbers are added for every year of the agreement, the amount comes out to around $1.54 million. Ms. Henderson was not receptive to the mayor trying to insinuate that the literature was stating an untruth. The borough of Roselle Park would receive $1,54 million in order for Roselle to save $647,000.
  • The mayor stated that the flier did not state the five-year savings. Nor did the flier make mention of the opportunity for either borough to get out of the agreement nor was there any phone number or contact information. This lack of information prohibits Roselle Park from contacting anyone to discuss issues with the flier. The mayor stated that Ms. Henderson was correct, that if the five (5) years are added up, the total is $1.54 million but the flier was not that specific. People who read the flier were under the impression that there would be a check coming for $1.5 million, which was not the case. This would be a multi-annual project and if either party got out of the agreement, the amount would be less than $1.54 million. This is an opportunity to question things. Just as the borough is being questioned, the governing body has questions regarding information that is being conveyed.
  • Ms. Henderson thought she made it clear that when the savings were presented to Roselle, only the amount was presented, not the duration and breakdown per year of the savings. The flier was sent out to those who heard the $647,000 so it was apples to apples and oranges to oranges. She got the message – the flier was intended for her, it was intended for the Borough of Roselle residents who heard the $647,000 savings.
  • The other thing that Ms. Henderson had a problem with was when councilman Holley was at the Roselle Park meeting, he called those in attendance part of a splinter group. He can call them whatever he wants to call them but they will continue to fight for what they believe is right,  and they will continue to support their mayor and their council people who do exactly what they elected them to do. To speak, to make deals, to make legislation, that is in the best interest of the Borough of Roselle.
  • She challenged council not to necessarily believe that Roselle residents in attendance are a group of voters – they know who they are, they know they will stand up for what is right, and Ms. Henderson challenged Roselle Park to stand up and do the same.
  • The other thing that Ms. Henderson said to councilman Dinardo was that in her personal, spiritual, and business life she tries to be around people who have the same values, morals, and integrity that she has.  She challenged Roselle Park’s governing body to do the same. If Roselle Park conducts business with people who are being as forthcoming as they should be; as council representatives Holley and Dansereau stated they could have done things better, and everyone knows what that means. When politicians say they could have done things better or could they have communicated better, everyone knows what they means. Ms. Henderson challenged Roselle Park’s governing body  to be careful with whom they make arrangements and agreements with.
  • Ms. Henderson finished with sating that if Roselle residents call Roselle Park and the borough will be handling their finances,  Roselle Park should do due diligence and return phone calls. Ms. Henderson wanted a response as to why she did not get a call back. The mayor stated that he was on vacation last week and he has been busy; he offered Ms. Henderson his apologies. She thanked him for that. Councilwoman Chen-Hoerning stated that she was out of state during last month’s meeting. The councilwoman’s husband heard messages left for her, saved them but did not tell her they were saved. Unfortunately there are plenty of Roselle Park residents who have yet to be contacted. Ms. Henderson asked to be one of the people on the list to be called back. The councilwoman said she would.

Fred Anderson

  • Mr. Anderson asked what is the actual status of the agreement. The mayor stated that the status of the agreement is that it has not been signed by himself nor the mayor of Roselle and Roselle Park is requesting additional financial information that has not been received to date. There was also concern over what should have been a provision in the agreement that discussed the requirement for the fiscal year to stay intact in Roselle in order to provide the shared financial services. There is no date for Roselle Park’s staff to go in, no date for Roselle Park to begin, nothing has transpired because neither of the two (2) parties have signed the agreement.
  • Mr. Anderson stated that there might be some other information that might be looked at to see the feasibility of the shared services working out with Roselle and Roselle Park. Mr. Anderson encouraged that Roselle Park do that because in looking at some of the information he has received from the public, the cost savings proposed at $108,000 for each municipality, Mr. Anderson wonders how that figure was arrived at because using the approximate $200,000 that Roselle would pay to Roselle Park, it seemed like out of that, roughly $192,000 would go to Roselle park’s employees (3) and hire a fourth person, part-time, which would give an average increase of 45% to 50% to each one of the Roselle Park employees. It made Mr. Anderson wonder that it is a lot of money just going to salaries. It would come out to over $1 million being paid in salaries to Roselle Park. that should be something to look at. When that figure is annualized it is $108,000, which comes out to $9,500 per month. Looking at that and looking at the five (5) employees from Roselle that would be impacted by this. Looking at the weekly hours that the three (3) employees from Roselle Park work, using 35 hours, Roselle has 175 hours allocated to its financial department. Roselle Park has approximately 105 hours.  If the hours are consolidated together because what will be happening is basically the two (2) towns will be brought together,  that is 280 hours. When the additional person is added, that is 20 hours, and you look at Roselle Park’s hours (105 for the three plus the 20 hours from the part-time worker), that is 125 hours. That still leaves 175 hours to be absorbed by Roselle Park’s staff. Doing the math that is an added 60 hours per employee. Mr. Anderson stated that it does not add up. It probably means Roselle Park would have to add another person.
  • Mr. Anderson suggested that when doing the professional analysis, to look at more than just the salaries, to look at the functional flows to see if operationally can a department of the size of Roselle Park consume the workload of Roselle. No one has done the analysis to see it is going to be done.
  • The mayor stated that Roselle Park still does not have the information from Roselle to review so that the numbers can be compared to see where the discrepancies lie. Some of the hour savings will occur because both boroughs share the same software financial packages (MUNIDEX). Some of the work can be done electronically and remotely such as the request for purchase orders and the processing of vouchers can be done online through remote connectivity programs (GoToAssist). Both municipalities use the same payroll services (ADP) which can be done online. Any state payments or pensions or health benefits or any submissions of dollars are also done via the internet. There has to be some consideration of time saved because of technology.
  • Mr. Anderson asked if the mayor was suggested that 125% of hours can be saved. The mayor stated that he did not know what Mr. Anderson was looking at and that is why the mayor & council requested information from Roselle.
  • Mr. Anderson suggested having professionals look at the functional flows to see what is going on in both departments. To date neither borough has been able to show the functional flows of departments to show consolidation and savings.
  • Mr. Anderson stated that no one has taken into consideration that if Roselle Park is going to take over the services of Roselle and it is said that it would be done after-hours and those 60 hours mentioned earlier are absorbed, that means that Roselle Park’s building facilities might be open an extra five (5) hours a day. He asked if anyone looked at the facility cost for the extra five (5) hours a day which, based on Mr. Anderson’s background looking at it, might increase Roselle Park’s facility cost up to 48%. Mr. Anderson saw that in Roselle Park’s budget, the electric bill was $111,000 and the increase might increase that amount to $160,000. The mayor stated that the building is, on a frequent basis, open late at night with the CFO working late and the Borough Clerk working late and the municipal building being open for meetings and other functions. Mr. Anderson stated that the mayor mentioned that the CFO, Mr. Blum, is already working a great deal of hours doing things for Roselle Park. Mr. Anderson stated how can he then put extra hours putting work in for Roselle. The mayor stated that Mr. Blum takes the time to do things no matter how long it takes. Mr. Anderson stated that there are only 24 hours in the day. The mayor stated that it should be kept in mind that it is not only Mr. Blum that should be considered but the entire financial department support staff. The mayor restated that the governing body would be more than happy to look at the information that Mr. Anderson has or that the Borough of Roselle has, but Roselle Park does not have that information. The mayor stated that the governing body has to go back to the residents. Residents were provide information that indicated there would be a savings to both parties. If that information turns out to be different because of additional information provided by the Borough of Roselle, that would be helpful, but that information has not been received from Roselle.
  • Mr. Anderson stated that was the whole point, that the professionals should have been consulted as a feasibility study. The mayor stated that the professionals are being consulted at present through requests for information and analysis. Mr. Anderson stated that a financial officer might not have management background to look at operations nor to do the analysis to see the functions of the departments merged. Mr. Anderson stated that it is easy to crunch numbers but that is why the “Best Practices” handbook that the state requires is to hire an objective person that has an understanding of operational flows to look at the possibilities of shared services throughout the municipalities.
  • Mr. Anderson suggested that Roselle Park get back to using the “Best Practices” handbook because it could have highlighted points that could have avoided all the current discussion.
  • Mr. Anderson also stated that all local officials and every elected official should be aware of what is going on. Then, both municipalities, at the local official’s level, can get together and talk about it and then professionals are objectively hired to do the analysis. Using the “Best Practices” handbook could have avoided a lot of tension and misinformation.
  • Mr. Anderson stated that at first people thought this was a good deal but now, with information that has been presented in the public, Mr. Anderson does not see how it makes sense.
  • Mr. Anderson encouraged Roselle Park residents to ask those questions related to this shared services proposal as opposed to saying that Roselle Park is going to get $300,000 a year to pay out $192,000 to Roselle and take over a municipality that is greater that has more hours and more work and no one knows how it is going to be done. taking the money and signing the agreement might cost more money because two (2) more people would be hired. Then the $108,000 savings diminishes with that and with utility costs and it ends up costing more money.
  • Mr. Anderson asks to have the agreement rescinded and to start from scratch and have both boroughs do a complete analysis to see where services can be shared: fire, DPW, etc.

Councilman Matarante wanted to ask a question but he thought that Mr. Anderson might not be the right person to ask the question to, that it might better be asked of a Roselle elected official. Councilman Matarante asked if there is a plan to address this shared services agreement again at a Roselle council meeting.

Mr. Anderson gave the floor to Roselle mayor Garrett Smith.

Garrett Smith

  • Mr. Garrett Smith, the mayor of Roselle responded to councilman Matarante’s question by stating that there are some civil service issues that need to be discussed so before Roselle can get back to the plan, Roselle needs to do some internal housekeeping.
  • Councilman Matarante asked if the Interlocal Agreement were to come to a vote again, what would the outcome of that vote be, with the assumption that the same group of people in attendance at this Roselle Park meeting go to Roselle meetings. The councilman wanted to know if there has been any effect on the current sitting council where one or two of the people sitting on council would change their vote.
  • Mayor Smith stated he did want to get into it too much but he did not think the vote would change. He stated there are political motivations on the Roselle side. Mayor Smith stated that he feels that Roselle Park is sincere in what they are trying to do.
  • One of the things Mayor Smith wanted to talk about was the relationship going forward. Mayor Smith is still a little disappointed with the communications between himself and the mayor. He wanted to make it clear that he made five (5) phone calls to the mayor starting from a week before the shared services agreement. The mayor replied with a text that since Mayor Smith reached out to Ken Blum, the mayor did not need to call him but Mayor Smith stated that it was not what he needed to talk about.
  • Mayor Smith always thought there was a relationship in the past and he did not know why all of a sudden this deal came forward, and all of a sudden that relationship changed and that he felt that the mayor did not want to speak to him on the phone.
  • The mayor stated that councilman Holley reached out to him as well during the process and the mayor wanted to frankly state that he did not know who was on who’s side in Roselle anymore. He knew there was some animosity so it would be best to leave this matter up to the professionals to handle it.
  • The message that Mayor Smith left, the mayor responded that Mayor Smith speak to Mr. Blum since he is the one who would have the information that Mayor Smith could then present to Roselle’s governing body.
  • The mayor stated that there is similar initiative before. The mayor stated that Mayor Smith should not take this example in the wrong way but that previously both mayors tried to do things the proper way. The attempt was made to join services with police by sharing patrols on Westfield Avenue in Roselle Park and First Avenue in Roselle. It sounded like a great idea and both mayors worked on it together. The Star Ledger picked it up. Roselle Park passes a resolution but then Roselle Park hears nothing from Roselle. The mayor stated that he knows that Mayor Smith tried hard to get it passed. The political make-up in Roselle seems to change frequently and the mayor tried not to look at that issue. He looked at it, and hopes other looked at it, as a financial issue and how beneficial it would be for both communities. The mayor had the Borough Clerk reach out but there were no return phone calls from Mayor Smith. The mayor left it be thinking that perhaps Mayor Smith was busy or the issue did not work out the way it was supposed to, or maybe the council did not agree, but in the end, Roselle Park was left with nothing. This time, the mayor figured he would let the professionals deal with it and maybe they would have a better opportunity so they would bring it to their officials, have it discussed, and have a vote taken. The lack of return phone calls was not out of disrespect or any change of relationship but there was no opportunity for the mayor nor Roselle Park residents nor the police chief to come before Roselle’s council at a meeting to discuss the issue of police shared services. The issue just fell flat. The mayor learned from that experience that maybe doing things that way was not the best approach to deal with an issue like that mayor to mayor, and maybe this time try a different approach. All that can be done is to move forward. It was not done as any disrespect to Mayor Smith.
  • Mayor Smith stated that he gave five (5) phone calls to the mayor and he expected a return phone call. In his phone calls, Mayor Smith did not state he was talking about shared services or any particular issue. Mayor Smith simply left a message to have the mayor return his phone call. Mayor Smith stated that the mayor assumed that since he went to Mr. Blum that he was calling about shared services. All he did was call the mayor and ask, from mayor to mayor, to call Mayor Smith back. In all the years that Mayor Smith has dealt with mayors, he has never had a mayor not call him back. Until the date of the meeting Mayor Smith stated that the mayor has not called him back and that the only way they have communicated is by Mayor Smith coming to a Roselle Park council meeting and talk during the public portion.
  • The mayor stated that after the last meeting Mayor Smith had an opportunity to speak with him outside. The mayor stated that with all due respect, Mayor Smith should not bring this issue up as if Mayor Smith had been slighted. The mayor was slighted with the last attempt at shared services but he did not make an issue of it. The mayor stated again that this time Roselle Park tried to handle things differently.
  • The mayor again stated that he does hope to get some information from the Borough of Roselle regarding the numbers and figures from Roselle’s professionals about the financial impact of this agreement so that he can share that with Roselle Park residents and thereby put some closure to this issue.
  • Mayor Smith asked one more time that the mayor owes him a phone call and Mayor Smith asked if the mayor ever plans to call him. The mayor stated that sure, he would and then Mayor Smith can return the phone call due the mayor for police shared services.
  • Mayor Smith stated that if something happened years ago, he apologizes for it. He was not aware of a clerk or anyone else calling him and he did not purposely not return the mayor’s phone calls and he would never do that. The mayor stated that he did not think that it was done on purpose.
  • Mayor Smith ended with stating that he would just like to improve communications between the boroughs. If any councilperson has any questions to contact Mayor Smith at any time.

The public portion was closed with no one else approaching the microphone. Council went into closed session to discuss matters already place on the agenda as closed.

Council returned to open session to put matters on the record that were discussed in closed session.

  • Councilman Hokanson presented an idea where work schedules could be made to have borough employees or elected officials available after hours to be accessible to residents. It could perhaps be tried from now until Labor Day.
  • The closed session items having to do with NJDEP v. Occidental Chemical where Roselle Park is a third-party defendant in the lawsuit and the CableVision LightPath proposal were discussed without resolution.

The meeting was adjourned.

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