RP M&C Meeting (March 19, 2009)

On March 19, 2009, in Mayor & Council, Video, by RP Citizens

Mayor & council were in attendance with councilman Matarante arriving during the meeting.

The meeting began with a moment of silence for Anthony Casselli and Hank Calabrese, two Roselle Park residents who passed away this week.

Communications

  • The Roselle Park Youth Baseball League requested use of trailers to use as concession stands during games.
  • The mayor spoke on the death of Anthony Casselli and the community’s reaction and how residents came together to mourn and support. The actions of residents have shown the best of Roselle Park.

Certificates/Proclamations

First Aid Service Awards were presented to members of Roselle Park’s first aid squad. The following first aid squad members were recognized for 100+ calls this year:

    • Juan Allende (116 calls)
    • Matt Blaskewicz (143 calls)
    • Glen Costello (136 calls)
    • Joe Iungerman, Jr. (347 calls)
    • Robyn Iungerman (104 calls)
    • Rich Lonecke (119 calls)
    • Kevin Murphy (151 calls)
    • Paul Ohler (164 calls)
    • Kymm Balinth Regan (475 calls)
    • Stephen Smith (179 calls)
  • The following first aid squad members were recognized for their service milestones:
    • Lisa Malave (5 years)
    • Ag Manzella (20 years – life membership)
    • Kimberly Iungerman Allende (20 years – lifetime membership)
    • Kathy Kreie (25 years)
    • June Stark (25 years)
    • Owen Iungerman (35 years)
  • Kimberly Iungerman is a third generation life member of the first aid squad, following in the footsteps of her grandfather, uncle, and father.
  • Mr. Juan Allende thanked the borough for the recognition. He stated that the first aid is always looking for volunteers. Anyone interested can call (908) 245-3470 or  visit their website.

A proclamation was made recognizing Boys & Girls Club week.

Reports of Standing Committee

Council-At-Large Carl Hokanson

  • Councilman Hokanson expressed sadness over the passing of Anthony Casselli and Hank Calabrese this week. He wanted to commend the residents and the police for handling matters on Sunday when students met at the high school and during the week with preparations for the wake and the upcoming funeral.
  • The councilman congratulated the members of the first aid squad for their recognition, the councilman being a former first aid member himself.
  • There are 145 dogs and 29 cats that have not yet been licensed. The councilman asked that those people register their pets because summonses will be going out Monday.

Councilwoman Larissa Chen-Hoerning

  • A resident asked the councilwoman if she could investigate on the legality and procedure to start a ‘sponsor-a-spot’ program like the one at the credit union in town. The mayor stated that a letter could be drafted up from the Borough so that when the resident goes around, people would be able to know it is legitimate.
  • The councilwoman  received a request from a resident to make sure monies are allocated in the budget to address trees throughout the borough.  The mayor stated that the capital budget does have funds in it for trees but that in the past, when the borough has had trees, there have been more trees than requests from residents to have them planted. Those trees have been planted in front of properties but some residents were not pleased with having them there.
  • The Moms’ Center will be holding their consignment sale on Friday, March 20th from 7:30 pm – 9 pm and Saturday, March 21st from 9 AM to noon.
  • The Community Methodist Church will be holding a rummage sale on Friday, March 20th from 9 AM to 5 PM and on Saturday, March 21st from 9 AM – 2 PM.
  • There will be a Pasta Night at the Roselle Park High School on Thursday, March 26th for the food pantry. It will coincide with the opening night og the high school musical “Pippin”. Anyone interested can call the high school at (908) 241-4550 [ext. 3020].

Councilman Michael Yakubov

  • Councilman Yakubov and councilman Miranda attended the Joint Sewer Council meeting, which represents 11 municipalities. The council, as a whole, voted against pay increases for the officers of the council, partly due to the economic times.
  • The next Community Watch meeting will be on March 28th at the Casano Community Center at 10:30 AM. This meeting will address business safety and local businesses will be invited to attend.
  • The Community Clean-Up Committee will be meeting at 9:15 AM on Saturday, March 21st, at LaMonaco/Perry Park by the high school and first aid squad for clean-up of the west end of town. Volunteers are needed.
  • For a year and a half the councilman has been working to clean up the M&E railroad track area around Valley Road. There has been success and M&E will be coming in and, with county approval, finish cleaning up the rest of the railroad area.

Councilman Modesto Miranda

  • The councilman extended his condolences to the Casselli family for their loss.
  • The councilman wanted to remind residents  helmet  and safety awareness. Children should be wearing helmets when riding bicycles and skateboards.

Councilman Laurence Dinardo

  • The next Neighborhood Watch meeting will be on March 28th. The councilman also wants to have an emergency preparedness presentation for businesses and residents before or during the next Neighborhood Watch meeting.
  • The councilman extended his condolences to the Casselli family.
  • The governing body has been holding budget meetings and when the budget is finalized, the public will have and opportunity to review and comment on it.
  • There was an incident the afternoon before the meeting where a child was wandering on the Walnut Street bridge unaccompanied. The police were called and the mother was found and reunited with her child. Now that the weather is getting better and people are going out more, safety should keep aware of where their children are to keep them safe.

Reports of Departments

Karen Intile

  • Ms. Intile thanked everyone for their well wishes during her recovery.
  • Ms. Intile thanked councilman Miranda for giving a report on community activities while she was recuperating.
  • The chair rail at the center needs to have the wall where it will go painted before it can be installed. The DPW will paint it and then the chair rail will be installed.
  • The next SID (Special Improvement District) meeting will need to be scheduled with the mayor. After discussion, the date of April 22nd was agreed upon and scheduled.
  • Arbor Day will be on April 24th and Ms. Intile and the mayor will go to the high school to plant a seedling in commemoration of the day.
  • Ms. Intile wants to ask the schools if they would be interested in having students maintain an organic garden at the Casano Community Center. There used to be a children’s garden at the library some time ago but no longer. She will get in touch with the Board of Education. The mayor suggested that the Girl Scouts also be contacted to see if there is interest for them to participate.
  • The artist’s gallery this month highlights Nick Florio’s artwork.
  • There will be a ceramics class on April15th for children which will be free.
  • The consignment sale is March 20th and 21st.
  • The first meeting of the Roselle Park Wine Taster’s Club will be on April 18th. It will cost $25 for the first event ($5 membership fee + $20 for the event. The minimum being sought is 15 people.
  • Ms. Intile request to come to the April 2nd meeting to give her report.

Library Board Report by Susan Calantone

  • Ms. Calantone spoke on the passing of Hank Calabrese. Mr. Calabrese was an active library patron and a big supporter. He will be missed.
  • Ms. Calantone give a list of upcoming events including:
    • Writers’ Group meeting on March 23rd at 7 PM.
    • Blood Pressure screening on March 24th at 11:30 AM.
    • Yarn Spinners (Knitting for Adults) on March 24th at 7 PM.
    • Sew N Sews get together on March 26th at 7 PM.
    • ‘Understanding Personality Characteristics’ on March 26th at 7 PM.
    • Library Board meeting on April 5th at 7:30 PM.
    • Book discussion of  “Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant” on April 16th at 7 PM.
    • Book signing of “Eyes on the Prize” by Montego F. R. Craddock on April 23, 2009 at 7 PM.
    • ‘Letting Go of Anger’ workshop on April 30th at 7 PM.
  • April 14th is National Library Workers’ Day. There will be refreshments throughout the day at the library.
  • The Library’s web site (link) has a ‘Helpful Links’ section which offers information on employment resources, student financial aid, and various federal forms. It also has information on things that are happening around town and in the schools.
  • The library has shared services with every library in the state. If anyone is interested in a book, the library can order it from other libraries.
  • There is new furniture in the children’s room of the library.
  • Laura Hahn and the mayor are revitalizing the “Friends of the Library” program for anyone interested in raising funds outside the library budget.

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 2266

  • During the public portion Mr. Magiera asked to explain the reason and procedure for someone wanting to have a garage/yard sale. The borough clerk stated that someone wanting to have a garage sale would apply at the borough clerk’s office. The ordinance was starting due to complaints from residents that some people were running businesses out of their house. The code officer would notify residents of the ordinance to make them aware of it and the ordinance would be published and advertised. It would also be included in the New Information pamphlets. The mayor stated it would be used at the discretion of the code enforcement officer but that the Borough is aware of some property owners abusing the use of garage sales to run a business. Mr. Magiera asked if the code enforcement officer would have the authority to issue permits on the spot. He was notified that the ordinance does not allow for that practice.
  • Mr. Glen Marczewski stated he is against the ordinance since it is a second tax on property. The people conducting the business are on their own property and are not bothering anyone. Mr. Marczewski asked why the ordinance was made. The mayor stated that Mr. Marczewski should ask Mr. Qersdyn, the resident who brought up the idea of the ordinance.
  • Mr. Saul Qersdyn stated that the original reason for the ordinance started during the townwide garage sale. There were some residents that paid for their participation and were upset that other neighbors did not pay and set up a garage sale – thereby benefiting by the publicity but not paying for it. Secondly, Mr. Qersdyn stated that on various occasions he noticed people selling things as garage sales in front of closed businesses. It could also address public safety since police would know the reason for traffic on a certain street during a sale. Finally, other municipalities in the surrounding area charge for garage sale permits.
  • The public portion was closed and there were no comments from the governing body. The ordinance was moved, seconded, voted on, and adopted.

Public Portion

Jacob Magiera

  • Mr. Magiera asked about a proposal for a pay cut that was discussed for mayor & council during one of the budget meetings. The mayor stated that he was against having a pay cut. Mayor & council have not had a pay increase since 2004. Based on the increase percentage for other borough employees, it has come to a saving of $34,692 to the borough. The mayor stated that the pay for council & mayor does not include with it medical or other benefits.
  • Mr. Magiera asked councilman Miranda, the public safety chair, for an update on pedestrian crosswalk issues. Councilman Miranda stated that the police chief has not gotten back to him yet but that he will keep on it.
  • Mr. Magiera spoke on the February 21st meeting of the ‘Concerned Citizens of Roselle Park’ (CCoRP). The mayor was in attendance and he answered questions for about two (2) hours. Last Saturday, the CCoRP started a petition signing at the post office and collected around 100 signature in about two (2) hours. The petition is asking for taxes in place of the current PILOT proposed agreement.
  • Mr. Magiera asked about resolutions 7409, 75-09, and 79-09 with regard to tax appeals. The borough has lost, from 2007 to part of 2008 about $320,000 in tax appeals. Since that time to the present, the borough has lost $397,365 in tax appeals. Mr. Magiera stated that the Borough should seriously consider a town re-evaluation. The mayor stated that two (2) of the properties that filed tax appeals were apartment buildings. The refunds to those property owners was around $69,000. The mayor wanted all residents to know that tax appeals for commercial properties are not based on market value but on profit & loss. He stated he was uncertain what impact a townwide re-evaluation would have on that but that appeals are based on profit & loss, not market value. Mr. Magiera stated that his understanding was that tax appeals do not occur when there is 100% assessment.
  • Mr. Magiera read an article as a tribute to women during Women’s History Month.
  • Mr. Magiera read an article regarding a plane whose engine fragments fell in Queens. People should be more aware of low flying planes and the issues that might raise regarding safety. Mr. Magiera closed with stating that a letter from UCATAN (Union County Air Traffic And Noise) was sent to Congressman Lance.

Glen Marczewski

  • Mr. Marczewski expressed his condolences to the Casselli family. He knew another person who has passed away in a similar accident a few years back and he wanted to help find a way to prevent such a thing from ever happening again. He felt horrified and sad over the tragedy.
  • Mr. Marczewski stated he has wanted to have a helmet safety program supported by the Board of Education where helmets can be purchased at below market cost. The mayor stated that last year a reward program was started from the police department where the police on patrol gave coupons for a soda to children who were wearing their helmets.
  • Mr. Marczewski spoke on problems he has been experiencing with the wrong mail being delivered to his house.

Nick Pagnetti

  • Mr. Pagnetti asked about Belgian blocks on Grant Avenue. He stated that curbing is a safety issue for pedestrians. He lives on a T intersection and a truck almost hit his house – had it not been for the flag pole he put in front of his house. The area of Pershing & Grant, which had sewer work done last year, is sinking. There are depressions on Dalton & Grant and Walnut & Grant. Grant Avenue is a major east/west thoroughfare in the borough and a lot of curbing is not more than one (1) inch tall, with some being below the macadam. Serious thought should be given to curbing and paving Grant Avenue. The mayor stated that a federal stimulus package application has been made for $1,5 million along with a DOT grant application. Mr. Pagnetti stated that Grant Avenue is one of the oldest streets in Roselle Park with most of the curbing being around 100 years old. Councilman Dinardo stated that the sewer system under Grant is collapsing causing the depression. He hopes the borough gets the grant. Safety is an issue since a car can hit a bump on Grant and drive into the sidewalk.
  • Mr. Pagnetti asked about the train overpass on Westfield Avenue. It still has not been painted and is more than an eyesore – it is a safety issue. The mayor stated that ConRail owns the bridge and the painting of it, along with the painting of the other bridges in town, will be one of the issues discussed in closed session. There are some outstanding code issues that need to be addressed with ConRail. Mr. Pagnetti stated that the rust on the bridge is corroding it. Paint will stop,l or at least slow down the rusting of it. Mr. Pagnetti asked why the bridge is painted in Cranford. He was notified that NJ Transit is the owner of the bridge in Cranford and ConRail owns the bridge in Roselle Park.
  • Mr. Pagnetti spoke on the child ID program sponsored by his Masonic Lodge in Westfield. Children have their pictures, fingerprints, DNA sample, and tooth imprints taken. The collected information is given to the parents to keep. The program is completely free. Mr. Pagnetti will provide more information as the date nears. The mayor asked that Mr. Pagnetti send information to the borough clerk so that it can be put on the municipality web site.

Patricia Pagnetti

  • Mrs. Pagnetti wanted to invite all residents to the Roselle Park Museum’s current exhibit “Come Back to the 50s” for all 1950s aficionados. Inspired by the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the Roselle Park Class of 1959, the Historical Society is planning its newest exhibit to celebrate the 50s decade. Anyone interested in offering photographs or other 1950s related memorabilia, please contact the Historical Society at (908) 245-1776.Any loans to the exhibit will be returned. They are looking for a 1959 Barbie Doll if anyone has one.The museum is open every Wednesday from 10 AM to 1 PM.
  • Mrs. Pagnetti would like to thank Moses Gomez for his donation of 30 chairs for the museum. The museum’s old chair are available for anyone interested. Additionally, Mr. Moses Gomez donated two (2) September 11th flags to the Borough. One could be used during September 11th week and the other could be hoisted during the annual September 11th memorial held at Mauri Park. The museum would be the caretakers of the flags.

Eugene Meola

  • With regard to Walnut Street & Grant Avenue, Mr. Meola stated that the street sign keeps falling. Perhaps the Borough could have it repaired so it stays on the pole.
  • Mr. Meola stated that in other municipalities there are stop signs that are solar powered and blink when a vehicle approaches a corner. He thinks it would be a nice thing to have in Roselle Park. He suggested it be put on the corner of Sherman & Grant because there are cars that do not stop. Councilman Yakubov stated that Plainfield has a “Stay Alive – Drive 25” blinking sign. Mr. Meola stated that a speed notice truck could be put in the area of the Sherman School as well.

The public portion was closed with no one else from the public coming up to speak.

Ordinances for Second Reading

Ordinance 2267

  • During the public portion, Mr. Magiera asked that Section 40-3008 be read into the record.
  • Glen Marczewski asked what kind of trailer was being addressed in the ordinance. He was notified that is was an OEM trailer or a concession trailer, not a camping trailer.
  • With no one else from the public coming up to speak the public portion was closed.
  • The ordinance was moved, seconded, voted on, and adopted.

Resolutions

  • No resolution was pulled from consensus.
  • All resolutions were moved, seconded, voted on, and awarded.

Councilman Matarante arrived at the meeting. He forewent his report and read a statement which spoke on the death of Anthony Casselli and the community’s untiy in this time of tragedy.

Our town lost a member of its family this weekend. Something happened that you read about in the paper or see on the news all of the time, but you never think it will happen to you or someone you know.


Tonight I was going to be asking to three student athletes for their
achievements during the wrestling season. These three all qualified for the wrestling state championships and competed for Roselle Park in Atlantic City just two weeks ago. One of those wrestlers was Anthony and through a horrible tragedy he is no longer with us.


My daughter Samantha was friends with Anthony and wanted to be at the hospital on Sunday morning. When we got there, it was amazing to see how just to be together and comfort one another. We were there when Anthony died.


When we returned to town, there were so many kids standing in the parking lot across the street. They all proceeded into the high school where they could grieve together.


I want to thank the Board Education for their compassion opening the school and all of the Board members, administrators, guidance counselors, teachers and members of the community who went to the school to be with the kids. Anyone who every criticized the Board of Ed, if they knew what they did during this time of grief, they would never criticize it again.


I want to thank the police officers who were at the high school; doing traffic control and allowing the children to somberly cross the street fr0m the parking lot to the high school. This is a time of many different emotions: anger, sadness, confusion, guilt and a host of many others, but it is also, a time for healing and support. We need to rally around the rest of the children and their families who were in that car and support them, especially the young man who was driving the car. I saw him Sunday and he a mess. I can’t even imagine the guilt he must be feeling. Alex, we support you and are there if you ever need anything.  We need to help this member of our family, and all of the other members of our family who have been affected by this tragedy.


I want to talk to the bloggers, or as I call them – cowards. You people have absolutely no compassion for anything and not have to put your name behind the trash on the forums. You could care less how your could be hurtful to the families of those involved. But you have opinions, and know what they about opinions. For the most part your comments are unproductive and do nothing for the betterment of society. You all need to computer and a life.

In closing, Anthony we miss you, God bless you, and to your family. We are here for you.

Matters For Referral To Committee or Council

  • None

The mayor read from an article regarding the bailout of AIG and the present situation of bonuses being paid out to executives.

The mayor also spoke on the senior tax relief programs, including the senior freeze program. A woman had called in with confusion between the programs available. She was able to be assisted but anyone with questions should call the tax office at (908) 245-0819. There is still time to file for last year’s taxes since the deadline is March 31st. If someone misses a year, they will have to start all over again since their base year will not be available.

Councilwoman Chen-Hoerning stated that the next budget meetings are Saturday, March 21st at 8 AM and Tuesday, March 24th at 6 PM. The mayor stated that the date of introduction targeted for is March 31st in order to be eligible for extraordinary aid.

Councilman Matarante stated that the high school musical “pippin” will run from March 26th through the 29th. The show times are 7:30 PM from Thursday to Saturday and 2:30 PM on Sunday.

Closed Session

  • There were four (4) items for closed session discussions:
    • Roselle Park VP, LLC v. the Borough of Roselle Park and the Planning Board
    • Negoitations with ConRail and senior citizen housing.
    • Contract matters with the Boys & Girls Club.
    • Talks regarding T-Mobile.

The meeting went into closed session at 9:33 PM.

The meeting went back into open session at 11:36 PM.

A motion was made, seconded, and approved to allow the borough meeting to go past 11 PM.

With regard to closed session, there was a recommendation to amend resolution 78-09 to increase the fee to the attorneys from $1,000 to $10,000. The recommendation was moved, seconded, voted on, and approved.

Councilman Matarante wanted to resolve the matter regarding sergeant promotion criteria at the next meeting. There may be a special meeting on March 31st where the matter could be debated and acted on.

The issue with T-Mobile was not discussed since the lawyer left.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:39 p.m.