REGULAR MEETING OF THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF THE BOROUGH OF KENILWORTH HELD ON WEDNESDAY EVENING, MAY 12, 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 Councilman Joho, seconded by Councilman Candarella, and carried that the minutes of the Work Session Meeting of April 27, 2010 and the Regular Meeting of April 28, 2010 be dispensed with and approved as submitted. (Copies furnished each Council Member prior to the meeting.)
Motion was made by Councilman Klinder, seconded by Councilwoman Sosnosky to open the meeting to the public on the Defeated School Budget.
MEETING OPEN TO THE PUBLIC REGARDING THE DEFEATED SCHOOL BUDGET
Herb Michitsch, 725 Monmouth Ave - Mr. Michitsch said that according to the resolution tonight the council recommended the budget be reduced by $650,000.00. He asked the Mayor to explain that figure. The Mayor said they went thru the budget and arrived at various line items relative to salaries of teachers and reduced or rather put a freeze on salaries. There were also some positions that were going to be added and we eliminated those positions. Mr. Michitsch asked what is the dollar amount of the freeze of the salaries? The Mayor said based on the line items that they were able to identify, the freeze was somewhere in the neighborhood of $450,000.00 with all positions. Mr. Michitsch asked if the teachers accepted the freeze? The Mayor responded by stating that the teachers are currently in contract negotiations. Mr. Michitsch said his understanding is that if the teachers accept the freeze, the savings would be around $500,000.00. He said he heard they are going to hire another Assistant Superintendent and asked why do they need an Assistant Superintendent? He said this is not the Mayor’s problem but he said the Mayor should question the BOE on this. He said the Superintendent is getting $175,000.00 and getting a raise this year. He asked if he was giving up his raise and is the rest of the administration giving up their raises? The Mayor said Mr. Michitsch would have to ask the school board about that She said the Borough’s job was to identify line items that they could allocate a reduction in the budget and what the school board does with that is their decision, we can only recommend.
Councilman Klinder said they just present to the Board of Education and they have the final say. Mr. Michitsch said he knows that part but he said the Board of Education comes back to the town and asks for money and residents have to pay for it one way or the other.
The Mayor said the Board of Education puts out a budget with an increase, the town voted and it was defeated and now the council is now recommending $650,000.00 worth of decreases.
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She said then it goes back to the board and they will make whatever decisions they want to relative to their budget.
Mr. Michitsch said a $650,000.00 deduction is not enough and they are still $500,000.00 short. Councilman Klinder said when he first started he was looking for one million and at times it was not the most congenial meetings they had with them but they finally came to a sum last night. He said they tried to do it with the most minimal impact to student class size and programs and no one is happy to make cuts but they tried to do the best they could.
Mr. Michitsch said that last year the Borough went through the same ritual when the Board of Education was asked to reduce their budget and mysteriously they found additional dollars. He said he worked for a Fortune 500 company and was involved in the budget process and nobody presents a budget that they expect to pass. There is always padding and there has got to be padding in this budget. He said they will find the money. He asked what is the impact on the average home? Councilman Klinder said it was at $310.00 and it should now be about $170 or $175. Mr. Michitsch said $350.00 to the average homeowner is a lot. He said his portion is $450.00 because it goes on the assessment of the home, the higher the assessment, the more you pay. He said the BOE needs to do better. The teachers and administrator need to take a freeze and contribute to their health benefits. The Mayor said they put the freeze in the budget and after speaking with the Business Administrator they have taken into account the 1.5 contribution because it is going to be required when they enter into their contract. She said it is a shocking amount of an increase but relative to what you are saying, you are preaching to the choir. Mr. Michitsch said we cannot go on like this because last year they destroyed us with what they wanted to do with school and we accepted that because it needed to be updated. He said there is no reason in the world why they had to increase to that extent this year and he thinks they need to go back and take a look at what they are putting in their budget and reduce it. The Mayor said to be fair, they had a one million dollar decrease in State Aid. He said the decrease did not come overnight and if they knew it was coming, they should have planned for it. The Mayor said they planned for the ˝ million. Mr. Michitsch said they have to plan just like he has to plan for the tax increase, he knows it is coming so he budgets for the increase. He said he does not think they took the appropriate action. Mr. Michitsch said it was a disgrace that the Superintendent let the kids out and we are paying him a lot of bucks and he is not running the school. The Mayor said he is in the wrong venue. Mr. Michitsch said he wants to go on the record to ask the Council to go a little deeper with the cuts.
Patty Fugett, 11 North 6th St. – Ms. Fugett asked why are they focusing on the teachers, they should be focusing on the administration. She said everyone across the board, including herself is taking a cut in salary and in work. She said what are we trying to do, hit below the belt by saying the teachers have to take a freeze. She said cuts should be balanced between the teachers and the administration. She said we do not want to hurt the children but at the same time we don’t want to have administration doing paperwork which takes away from the children. She said there is a lot more paperwork going around then there used to be and there is a lot more pressure on the administrative end but we all have to pull in our belts.
Steve Hosonitz, 53 Locust Drive – Mr. Hosonitz said he was at the meeting last night and was a little passionate about what he was speaking about. He said he understands the venue tonight and he understands the council is here to decide how they are going to go forward and how the increases are going to affect the town. He asked the council what kind of message are they sending to the children if they go ahead with tax increases. He said basically what we are telling
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the children is that times are tough and they should go to their neighbors and get money from them. He said when times are tough you roll up your sleeves and work but these are kids and they cannot roll up their sleeves. He said the council should roll up their sleeves and make the tough choices and it is going to benefit the kids in the future. He said there is no money but there are programs that need to be continued and the Board is saying they need the money and the taxes are going to be increased. He said that why not have a $610 increase per household or a $930 increase, why stop at $310 because if we don’t have the money anyway why not just tax every homeowner in the town $1,000.00 and the Board will be happy. He said he knows it’s a balance but where do you draw the line and tonight we have to decide where we should draw the line.
John Wycoff, Kingston Ave. – Mr. Kingston said the voters have told you that a 10 ˝% increase in school tax is unacceptable and they are expecting you to act on the will of the voters not on the will of the school board. He said are we sending the message to the children that elections don’t mean anything because that is not much of a message to send to children.
Erin Pentz, 186 Boulevard – Ms. Pentz said she is a junior at David Brearley Middle/High School and is involved in many programs. She participates in band, art, cooking, soft ball and is also involved in many honor classes. She has been playing the drums since she was 8 years old and she is currently 17 years old. She said she has competed in Boston, Washington and on Friday she is competing at Dorney Park in Pennsylvania and they have always placed highly. She said she is very disappointed to hear they may be cutting those events. She said she has played at concerts, football games. She said she realizes times are tough and we need to make economic sacrifices however there must be fat to be cut from the budget in order to keep the programs intact. She asked if anyone has ever played an instrument and do you still play it now? She said when you are older you don’t really play a sport but you would still play an instrument or draw. She said after your knees give out you can’t do that. She said she has been taking drawing classes to relax. Erin asked if they could do the Pay for Play and the Mayor responded that she does not know. Ms. Pentz said she plays Varsity Softball and she would pay to play if that would save the band from getting cut. She said she looks forward to band every day. Ms. Pentz said she heard that they are going to cut down on Science teachers and will only have three Science teachers and some of them are not qualified to teach some of the classes. She said she has taken Biology, Chemistry and Physics and Earth Space and next year she would like to take Oceanography and Environmental and now that they are going to cut the teachers she does not know what to take. She said there are nine periods per day and now that they are cutting her electives, she will only have four classes to take. She said they cut down all five of her classes. She had ceramics, band, oceanography and now she has nothing to take. She said when she applies to colleges they are going to say “She slacked off her senior year”. She said what is she going to write on her application, the school cut all her stuff? In conclusion, she thanked the Mayor and Council for their time and she hopes they consider her points when making a decision with the budget.
Mary Michitsch, 725 Monmouth Ave. – Ms. Michitsch asked if the Board of Education comes back and says the teachers will not take a freeze or anything else what happens then? The Mayor said the BOE will have to find other places to make the cuts. Ms. Michitsch said she agrees with Ms. Pentz and she never thought of taking away art or music from kids because a good music child is always an excellent student but they do have to cut in some places. The Mayor said that people have to start giving back and she is not looking to cut programs. She said on her end they are trying to dig deep and make every penny count and teachers are going
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to have to help them. Ms. Michitsch said she has heard that teachers have never had to pay in the past for benefits but she said when Herb retired she did not have to pay medical but now she pays $9,000.00 per year because Medicare is her secondary. She said there are a lot of seniors in the town and although she complains, she pays but there are seniors in this town that cannot afford to pay. She said she knows people in the town that are on reverse mortgages. She said people say it is only $200.00 but $200.0 for some people may mean their medicine, heat or food and we have to take that into consideration.
John Bury, 417 North 15th Street – Mr. Bury said he has not seen the budget and does not know much about it but from the last part he asked that if the teachers don’t approve a pay freeze then the Board will have to come up with $400,000.00. He asked if they are obligated to reduce $650,000.00 no matter what? The Mayor said that the Council is recommending $650,000.00 and are obligated to identify it to the penny. The Council’s decision was to target salaries and freeze them. She said the Board is, she believes, going to accept the recommendation of the $650,000.00, however, they have to fashion their budget and they are entitled to allocate that $650,000.00 to wherever they believe they can. They are in negotiations with the teachers and if they do not accept it they are still mandated to make the cuts. Mr. Bury asked if there was a 50/50 chance that they will accept and the Mayor replied she has no idea what the chances are. Mr. Bury asked what was the deadline that they have to accept the pay freeze by? The Mayor said their contract runs out May 30th and she said they are working on it. Mr. Bury said that if they don’t accept the freeze are they obligated to cut the $400,000.00? The Mayor said it is $650,000.00. He asked if $450,000.00 is in the budget cut then it is going to have to come out somewhere else and is it up to them to decide? The Mayor said yes, unless they decide to appeal which she does not believe will happen. Mr. Bury said they can lay off?
Herb Michitsch asked if the $650,000.00 on the resolution tonight will not appear in the town budget? The Mayor said do you mean in your tax bill and Mr. Michitsch said no. He said the school gets 15 million from the town and he asked if the Council is cutting that $650,000.00 off what they asked? The Mayor said yes, the tax levy. He said so that will not be part of our taxes and the Mayor replied correct. He said even if they appeal? The Mayor said if they appeal and they win an appeal with the County Superintendent, the County Superintendent puts the money back into the budget. He said it is not in our town budget now? The Mayor said between now and the 19th the Board has to redo their budget to take into account the $650,000.00 reduction.
Sylvan Hershey, 426 Boulevard – Mr. Hershey said when the BOE put their budget together they were under the impression that they would have their funding cut somewhere in the range of 5 and 15 percent of the State funding that we had received the year before so we did the budget with $530,000.00 being eliminated from that budget. On April 18th, three days before we had to submit the budget to the County Office, the Governor shared with not just Kenilworth but the whole State that it was going to be 5% of our General Operating Funds so now we went from $530,000.00 to almost one million. He said they had already cut $530,000.00 from the budget and they had to see where they could go beyond that. He said they chose to put that budget before Kenilworth and say if $530,000.00 cut is sufficient and if you believe that then come out and support our budget and if you don’t do that then we will go to the next step and the next step is standing before the Mayor and Council this evening asking for assistance in putting a budget together that will take care of the schools in Kenilworth. He said the dollar amount is closer to $355,000.00 if everyone’s wage was frozen in the district including administration, secretaries, custodians and teachers. He said one of things everyone has to realize is that they have already cut about 12 positions in our budget so we are not looking to
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cut into our staffing or into our programs any more than what the Mayor and Council asks us to. He said they were there last evening and also a couple of weeks ago and shared our thoughts. He said whatever the Mayor and Council asked us to cut on that budget, we will. He said he believes everyone in Kenilworth and on the staff is willing to share the burden of what is going on in the State of New Jersey as best we can. He said he appreciates as Superintendent, trying
to weigh the needs of the school district versus the needs of the community. We will work with you and do our best.
Zimmerman, 35 North 7th St. – Ms. Zimmerman said she appreciates the time that Council and Mayor spent with all the members of the public and board members last night to hear our discussions on what our suggested line items are and why we felt some of them were programs that we could not cut due to special needs children or whatever the case may be. She said thank you for taking that into consideration in your decision. She said she thought it might help if she clarified a little bit more on behalf of the questions that came up in terms of the teacher’s salaries. She said she is the chair of the negotiations team and she cannot discuss the exact details in public because it would be a violation and they would open to unfair labor practices, etc. She said they have been working very hard with the teachers union over the past several months. She said they are aware of the current climate because they live in it themselves in whatever communities they live and they are all in the same boat as we in Kenilworth are.
She said we are working very hard with them to come to some sort of solution that would help the district. She said she has every confidence in her negotiating team and also in the teachers that hopefully we will be able to come to some way of keeping the salaries in a lock position of some sort that we will be able to hopefully come up with this number. She said as was stated for the time being whatever we do we have to work around the amount and we can’t factor in what they will or will not do. She said they will be working very hard through negotiations.
Mary Ellen Harris, 710 Newark Avenue – Ms. Harris said somewhere along the line common sense has to come into this. She said a lot of districts have cut people. She said her son-in law works for the county and has a wage freeze and her other son has a wage reduction. She said senior citizens have not gotten a raise and we won’t get one for three years. She said the best thing that could happen for the good of the children is for the teachers to agree to a wage freeze if they love the children like they say they do.
Motion to close the hearing on the defeated school budget was made by Councilman Klinder, seconded by Councilman Joho. All in favor.
RESOLUTION NO. 1
Introduced by Scott Klinder, adoption moved by same
Seconded by Sal Candarella
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE BOROUGH OF KENILWORTH
WHEREAS, the School District Base Budget requiring $16,847,614.00 to be raised in taxes
for the General Fund for the school year 2010-2011 for the Borough of Kenilworth has been
rejected at a public election; and
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WHEREAS, said base budget was, as required by law, referred for action to the Mayor and
Council of the Borough of Kenilworth for their review and determination; and
WHEREAS, the Governing Body has consulted with the Board of Education and has
determined that a reduction of $650,000.00 be made to the base budget tax levy for an
adjusted total tax levy amount of $16,197,614.00 now required for Local School District
Taxes for fiscal year from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011; and
WHEREAS, the Governing Body has consulted with the Board of Education and has
determined that the following items in the Board of Education base budget shall be made
ACCOUNT BUDGET CATEGORY AMOUNT REASON
TOTAL AMOUNT OF REDUCTION TO THE TAX LEVY……………………..$650,000.00
Roll Call: Candarella voted yes, Joho voted yes, Klinder voted yes, Pugliese voted yes, Sosnosky voted yes. Leary voted no.
Council Meeting – May 12, 2010 Page 7
COMMUNICATIONS AND PETITIONS:
1. Police Department Report for the month of April, 2010
2. Construction Department Report for the month of April, 2010.
3. Borough Clerk’s Report for the month of April, 2010.
4. Fire Department/Rescue Squad Report for the month of April, 2010.
It was moved by Councilman Candarella, seconded by Councilman Joho 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 will be a Memorial Day Service at the VFW on May 31st at 11:00 AM at the VFW. She said this was a fitting way to remember our soldiers who have given up their lives for our freedom and she encouraged everyone to attend. She said the Fire Department will be having their annual Memorial Services on May 20th for fire department personnel and family members.
The Mayor said the Kenilworth Historical Society had a “Voices from the Past” essay/drawing contest and that contest will culminate on May 20th at 7:00 pm where there will be awards given out to those who won the essay and drawing contest.
DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Councilman Joho had nothing to report.
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DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
Councilwoman Sosnosky reported the crew has been working on curbside brush pickup, filling potholes throughout the Borough and maintenance of our sanitary sewers. She said last year the Superintendent purchased three picnic tables and two recycling bins for our Borough parks.
Two tables and one recycling bin were placed at DiMario Park and one table and one bin were placed at the Sixteenth Street Park and with this year’s Clean Communities money, another table and recycling bin will be purchased for our Ninth Street Park. The total amount for April for the General Household Clean Up was 215.93 tons for a total cost of $50,650.00.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
Councilman Pugliese as a result of the storm on May 7th some large trees fell within the Borough, the most prominent one was one that fell on South Michigan Avenue and it brought along numerous power lines. Traffic was detoured off of Michigan Avenue until Sunday when PSE&G was able to repair the line and the County Shade Commission removed the tree. There was only one minor injury as a result of the storm when a fallen branch went through a windshield, slightly injuring the driver. The DPW was of great assistance during the storm and was very helpful in providing assistance to the Police Department. In addition, the Deputy OEM Manager Jon Lipke, assisted in making the area safe from small branch’s that fell along side of the roadways. He said in situations like this when there is an emergency in town, it is very comforting to know that all the departments chip in and work together to make our town more safer.
Councilman Pugliese also reported that Lt. Grady has started the process of the transition phase into the role of new Police Chief. He said he received a letter from a Kenilworth resident congratulating Lt. Grady on his promotion. He read a portion of the letter, “On behalf of my family and I, I would like to congratulate Lt. Grady on your recent promotion to Chief of the Kenilworth Police Department there is no doubt that you have earned it and now we know that your hard work has be recognized and it could not happen to a more confident and deserving person. Your loyalty and dedication as a member of the Kenilworth Police Department and the Borough of Kenilworth goes far beyond recognition and it is something that any police department would be proud to have represent them. My family and I wish you well and God Bless you with continued success in your new position.
DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING, ZONING & ORDINANCES
Councilman Candarella reported the Construction Report and Zoning Reports were in order. The Planning Board has two applications on for the next hearing in two weeks.
DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION AND FIRE
Councilman Leary had nothing to report
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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION & WELFARE
Councilman Klinder reported that the Library will show the movie “On the Waterfront” with a commentary by author Professor James T. Fisher, on Tuesday, June 8 at 6:00 PM.
Consolidated Bill List appears on the following pages. (copy attached)
Resolutions No. 2 thru 8 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.
Councilman Klinder moved that all items under Consent Agenda be approved, seconded by Councilwoman Sosnosky. Upon roll call the vote was unanimous.
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
RESOLUTION NO. 2
Be It Hereby Resolved: That all bills be paid when properly audited and funds are available
RESOLUTION NO. 3
Be It Hereby Resolved: That the Borough Clerk be authorized to issue the following Raffle Licenses:
#986 Deerfield School #9 PTA for an On-Premise 50/50 Raffle on November 22, 2010 at 33 South 21st Street, Kenilworth, NJ.
#987 Deerfield School #9 PTA for a Tricky Tray on November 22, 2010 at 33 South 21st Street, Kenilworth, NJ.
#988 Roselle Park PBA Civic Association for a Tricky Tray on June 10, 2010 at 33 South 21st Street, Kenilworth, NJ
RESOLUTION NO. 4
BE IT RESOLVED: That the Governing Body of the Borough of Kenilworth hereby grants Garden State Fireworks Company permission to provide a public display of fireworks scheduled for July 3, 2010 (rain date July 11, 2010) after proper proof of insurance coverage is provided and upon issuance of the required permit from the Fire Official.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the Mayor be authorized to sign the Contract with Garden State Fireworks Company at a cost of $7,000.00 (an extra 15% ($1,125.) if on ran date.)
Payment as follows:
50% ($3,500.00) upon signing of contract
Council Meeting – May 12, 2010 Page 10
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:34-5.1 et seq. Local Public Contracts Law, the required Certification of Funds has been obtained from the Chief Finance Officer of the Borough of Kenilworth. The appropriation to be charged for this expenditure is: Pride in Kenilworth Trust Account.
Certification of Funds
RESOLUTION NO. 5
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