REGULAR MEETING OF THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF THE BOROUGH OF KENILWORTH HELD ON WEDNESDAY EVENING, MARCH 24, 2010. MAYOR KATHI FIAMINGO PRESIDED.
Roll Call at 8:00 P.M. showed the following Council Members present: Sal Candarella, Brian Joho, Scott Klinder, Kevin Leary, Fred Pugliese and Toni Sosnosky.
Mayor Fiamingo read the requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act.
The Salute to the Flag was led by Mayor Fiamingo.
It was moved by Councilwoman Sosnosky, seconded by Councilman Joho, and carried that the minutes of the Work Session Meeting of March 9, 2010 and the Regular Meeting of March 10, 2010 be dispensed with and approved as submitted. (Copies furnished each Council Member prior to the meeting.)
COMMUNICATIONS AND PETITIONS:
2. Letter from Ronald Knecht, President of the Kenilworth Democratic Club, asking to use the Recreation Building or the Senior Citizen Building for their monthly meetings.
3. Letter from Fred & Annett Soos, 18 Epping Drive, requesting an adjustment of their curb assessment.
4. Letter from Shirley Boyden Maxwell, President, Kenilworth Historical Society, asking for a letter to be used for grant applications, endorsing the Historical Society’s efforts to preserve the Nitschke House and enclosing a listing of Historical Society events for 2010.
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It was moved by Councilman Candarella, seconded by Councilman Klinder and carried that the above communications be received and filed and any money amounts indicated be spread over the minutes.
REPORT OF COMMITTEES
Mayor Fiamingo reported there were deep cuts in State Aid to both schools and municipalities. With respect to the municipality, we received a cut in our State Aid of $280,000.00 which represents a 22% reduction in State Aid over last year’s figures. She said we had already received a number of cuts in prior years. She said as bad as that might be it is a good thing because we need to start cutting further into our budgets to make sure that we are not passing along these costs to our taxpayers. The Mayor said our Department Heads will be asked to cut even deeper into their budgets to make that happen.
The Mayor said everyone should have received their census forms and she asked everyone to please fill them out and send them in. We need to make sure that everyone in Kenilworth is counted. She said if you have any questions or problems, we have a link on our web site for the census.
The Mayor reported there is a citizen’s review of the Union County Freeholders budget and it is very interesting. It can be obtained on their web site which is off the Watch Dogs web site which is loosely associated with the Union County Watch Dogs Association. She said it does a very nice job in simple terms of describing the increases, and she said there are rather interesting increases in the budget for the Freeholders. She said she found one statistic that was staggering which is since the year 2000, the Freeholders budget has increased by 85%. She said we pay quite a bit of taxes to the Freeholders and this is something people may want to look into. She said they are having a meeting on March 31 at 7:00 at the Cranford Municipal Building to bring the Union County Freeholders budget to the people so that they can be aware of what is going on.
The Mayor said the school budget vote will be on April 20th. She said everyone should make themselves aware of what the school budget is all about and go out and vote. She said it is one of the few financial things we get to vote on and we should make ourselves aware of what is going on and exercise our right to vote.
April 10th is opening day for the Little League and they will have their annual parade and their opening day ceremonies.
Also July 3rd we will be having our fireworks at David Brearley High School. She said we were lucky to get the July 3rd date without the extra cost and they are holding their usual reduced cost for us. The Mayor said the fireworks are funded solely by private donations and are not funded by the Borough at all.
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On a sad note, Mayor Fiamingo said that Police Chief Dowd has submitted his notice of retirement, effective June 30th. She said the Chief has been here forever and we will all miss him. She said they will begin the process of looking for someone to take his place, even though there is not anyone who can take his place because he is irreplaceable, but they must go through the process. The Chief said thank you to the Mayor and she said she will miss him from the bottom of her heart.
DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Councilman Joho said as many of you have read or heard, on March 16th Governor Chris Christie presented his proposed fiscal year 2011 budget to the State Legislature. The budget calls for a wide range of reductions in spending across all areas of the State. He said the Division of Local Government Services has provided Kenilworth with an estimated State Aid figure, leaving us with a proposed cut in State Aid of $280,157.00 or 21.9% reduction in aid. He said the Finance Committee has requested that our Department Heads revisit their 2010 budget requests and provide proposals for cutting their overall budgets by an additional 5%. The Finance Committee will be meeting this coming Monday to review those proposals in our effort to absorb that estimated cut in State Aid. He said they will provide updates thereafter.
The Mayor said they hope to bring the proposed budget to the public as soon as possible. She said having just received the State Aid figures they have to go back to the drawing board all over again.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
Councilwoman Sosnosky reported the crew has been working on curb side brush pick up, cleaning the storm water catch basins and filling potholes throughout the Borough, weather permitting. Also general household cleanup will begin on the north side of town on Wednesday, April 14th until completed and will begin on the south side of town on Wednesday, April 21st until completed.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
Councilman Pugliese read a letter to himself from Chief William Dowd dated March 23. “Dear Councilman Pugliese, I will be retiring from the Kenilworth Police Department on June 30, 2010 after 39 ½ years of service. Even though I immensely enjoy my job, I feel that the time has come for me to step down. My journey on the Police Department stared on January 1, 1971. My career working for the Borough of Kenilworth all of these years has been truly an enjoyable experience. It has been an honor to be the Chief of Police of what I consider to be one of the finest Police Departments around. I would like to thank the officers of the Kenilworth Police Department for the work that they
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performed under my leadership. Their dedication to duty and professionalism during my tour as chief has been outstanding. I would also like to thank Mayor Fiamingo and the Council Members for their support of the Kenilworth Police Department. Lastly I would like to thank the residents and business people of Kenilworth who have always been supporters of the Police Department. Although I am leaving with a certain degree of sadness, I am also looking forward to some relaxing years. I am sure the excellent work of the Kenilworth Police Department will continue long after my departure. Sincerely, William Dowd.
The Chief stood for a round of applause. Councilman Pugliese said to the Chief that the Governing Body is sorry to receive this retirement letter and he will certainly be missed by not only us but by the community.
DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING, ZONING & ORDINANCES
Councilman Candarella wished the Chief many years of good health in his retirement. He apologized for not being at the last meeting because he was home sick in bed for a week. The Construction Report and Zoning Reports are in order this month. The Planning Board has three applications this month. He said he signed a paper for the continuation of the Union County Senior Handyman Program which will continue for another year.
DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION AND FIRE
Councilman Leary reported this Saturday at 10:00 am at Black Brook Park will be the Easter Egg Hunt. He said crafts will be at 7:00 pm at the Recreation Center the night before for toddlers thru 4th grade.
Councilman Leary thanked Chief Giordano and the firefighters for doing an amazing job handling emergencies that arose from the severe thunderstorms that occurred last week. They assisted with the flooding in many resident’s basements. He said this is an all volunteer crew and they do an amazing job for the Borough. He extended thanks to the Fire Department from the entire council.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION & WELFARE
Councilman Klinder reported the library circulation for the month of February was 3599 which was a decrease of just over 20%. The decline could be attributed to the abundance of snow during the month along with the fact that the library was closed for five days. He said attendance for February was 3688 which is a decrease of 22% from last year which is also probably due to the snow. Councilman Klinder wished Chief Dowd well in finding new fishing spots.
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Mayor Fiamingo said the Chief is not going anywhere for a few months so we will be doing this every meeting and maybe we should have a special segment called “Goodby to the Chief”.
The Mayor mentioned that the folks sitting in the audience can now hear us because we finally have a good sound system. She said contrary to what she has heard it is not a single microphone that we spent money on, it was a whole system so that the folks in the audience and also those in TV land could hear us. She said the major expense was the recording system which is a computer system. This system has been approved by the Municipal Court Administrator for the State and will be used not only by the Council for our meetings but also by the Municipal Court and Planning Board. She said it will be well used and worth the monies that were expended.
Consolidated Bill List appears on the following pages. (copy attached)
Resolutions No. 1 thru 7 are listed on Consent Agenda and will be enacted by one motion in the form listed below. All items will be recorded individually in full in the minutes.
Councilwoman Sosnosky moved that all items under Consent Agenda be approved, seconded by Councilman Candarella. Upon roll call the vote was unanimous.
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
RESOLUTION NO. 1
Be It Hereby Resolved: That all bills be paid when properly audited and funds are available
RESOLUTION NO. 2
WHEREAS, First American R.E.T.S. paid the property taxes for the 4th quarter of 2009 for the property located at 347 Oakwood Avenue, Kenilworth, NJ, and;
WHEREAS, this resulted in a tax overpayment for the 4th quarter of 2009;
WHEREAS, First American R.E.T.S. has requested that the overpayment of the 4th quarter be refunded to the homeowner;
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NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Treasurer, after proper notation on the tax account records by the Collector of Taxes, be and is hereby authorized to issue a warrant for a refund as stated below.
Block Lot Payable To: Amount
168 6 Nathan Brett $ 1,486.64
347 Oakwood Avenue
Kenilworth, NJ 07033
TOTAL $ 1,486.64
RESOLUTION NO. 3
BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED: That the following be employed as part-time Recreation
Department seasonal employees for the position of Softball Umpires at a rate of $30.00
RESOLUTION NO. 4
WHEREAS, an emergent condition has arisen with respect to inadequate funds being provided for in the temporary budget and NJSA 40A:4-20 provides for the creation of an emergency temporary appropriation for the purpose mentioned, and
WHEREAS, the total temporary budget resolutions adopted in the year 2010 pursuant to the provision of Chapter 96, PL 1951 (NJSA 40A:4-20) including this resolution total $6,248,395.00 for the current fund;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that in accordance with the provisions of NJSA 40A:4-20:
1. An emergency appropriation be and the same is hereby made for the following line-items in the amount of $3,100,474.00 for the Current Fund effective March 24, 2010;
2. That said emergency temporary appropriation has been provided for in the 2010 budget under the respective line-items.
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3. That one certified copy of this resolution be transmitted to the Chief Financial Officer for his/her records.
RESOLUTION NO. 5
WHEREAS, Union County residents enacted a 1.5% Open Space Preservation Trust Fund (OSPTF) tax in 2001, which by 2009 collects twice the amount ($12 million) that was initially envisioned because “equalized” ratable have doubled due to inflation; and
WHEREAS, state government is nearly bankrupt in New Jersey, forcing Governor Christie to drastically curtail State Aid to counties and municipalities alike; and
WHEREAS, tough economic times are forcing some counties to scale back popular open space and farmland preservation programs in order to control property taxes; and
WHEREAS, the mission of Union County’s OSPTF was recently expanded beyond its original narrow charter due to being over-funded.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, BY THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF THE
BOROUGH OF KENILWORTH, as follows:
1. That the current 1.5% millage for preserving open space is unnecessarily high.
2. That, in light of an economic emergency and the need for taxpayer relief, it hereby requests the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders reduce the Open Space Preservation Trust Fund tax to 0.75% millage.
3. That the whole question of OSPTF be the subject of a referendum question in the November 2010 election.
4. That a copy of this Resolution be sent to the Union County Board of chosen Freeholders and all Union County Municipalities.
I, Hedy Lipke, Borough Clerk, Borough of Kenilworth, do hereby certify that the foregoing resolution was duly adopted by the Governing Body of said Borough at a regular meeting held on Wednesday evening, March 24, 2010.
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RESOLUTION IN OPPOSITION TO S-1352 WHICH MODIFIES THE OPEN PUBLIC RECORDS ACT (OPRA)
WHEREAS S-1352, makes many changes to the open public records and (OPRA); and
WHEREAS included among these are the requirements that documents containing certain information concerning criminal investigations be made available to the public within 24 hours or as soon as practicable; and
WHEREAS, the bill would also change the copying cost fee structure to a flat $0.10 cents per page for each letter size sheet and $0.15 cents per page for each legal size sheet; and
WHEREAS, it provides that the special service charge for an OPRA request requiring extraordinary equipment or effort be based on a posted hourly rate based on the actual direct cost if the charge includes a charge for time; and
WHEREAS it provides that a personnel record containing certain disciplinary actions and settlement information on lawsuits or claims is not exempt from OPRA requests; and
WHEREAS the bill would, also, define “immediate access,” which must ordinarily be granted to “budgets, bills, vouchers, contracts, including collective negotiation agreements and individual employment contracts, and public employee salary and overtime information,” to mean “within three hours for any request made before 2 p.m. and it shall mean by 10 a.m. of the next business day for any request made after 2 p.m.; and
WHEREAS these requirements fail to account for the fact that different records requests can have very different “degrees of difficulty,” which could require the custodian to go through years of records on various matters, in various media, or which could be vague and confusing; and
WHEREAS neither do they respect the need to ensure appropriate redaction of information, in order to protect the privacy rights of citizens and public employees; and
WHEREAS neither does the new fee structure account for the time and the difficulty often involved in the retrieval, review and appropriate redaction of public records; and
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WHEREAS at the time of fiscal stress, when state policy makers counsel local officials to decrease spending, this bill would force a greater investment in records keeping and dissemination, by requiring the custodian to do more and to do it all faster and, in many instances, to do it cheaper.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the governing body of The Borough of Kenilworth does hereby express its opposition to S-12352, in its current form
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