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Minutes of Commissioners Meeting   -   September 14, 2005

Note:  Complete Meeting Appears on Tape #25-05 on File in the Borough Clerk’s Office September 14, 2005
Wildwood Crest, NJ

Prior to the opening of the meeting, Mr. Groon led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

 

The meeting of the Board of Commissioners, Borough of Wildwood Crest, Cape May County , New Jersey , was held in the Municipal Court Room at 9:30 a.m.  On roll call the following answered to their names:

Gould - Cabrera – Groon – Yes

 

Mr. Groon read the following statement:  In compliance with the Open Public Meeting Act, Chapter 231, P.L. 1975, the notice requirements have been satisfied as to the time, place and date of holding said meeting by posting notice on the bulletin board in the Borough Hall and by mailing same to the Gazette-Leader and The Press on December 6, 2004.

 

Mr. Groon next announced the one-way in and the one-way out method of ingress and egress in case of emergency.

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 91-05

(Authorizing approval of Change Order No. 1, Final and Estimate

Certificate No. 4, Final Reconstruction of Lotus Road )

 

Mr. Cabrera motioned, seconded by Mrs. Gould, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 92-05

(Authorizing amendment of the Employee Personnel Manual to

prohibit personal cell phone use while on duty)

 

Mr. Groon motioned, seconded by Mrs. Gould, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 93-05

(Authorizing issuance of a Special Events Permit to Patricia Kraus and

Joseph Boraski for the purpose of holding a wedding ceremony at the

Rambler Road Gazebo on October 8, 2005)

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Groon, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 94-05

(Authorizing re-appointment of the J. Byrne Agency as Insurance Broker of

Record for the placement of Public Official Bond Coverages and

miscellaneous insurance coverages on behalf of the Borough)

 

Mr. Groon motioned, seconded by Mrs. Gould, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 95-05

(Authorizing refund of certain overpayments for property taxes and sewerage fees)

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Groon, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 96-05

(Authorizing issuance of a Special Events permit to Don Martin Realty for the

purpose of holding a grand opening block party on September 30, 2005 at the

100 block of West Hollywood Avenue )

 

Mr. Groon motioned, seconded by Mrs. Gould, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.

Vote:          Gould-Groon-Yes                                    Cabrera-Abstain

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 97-05

(Authorizing issuance of a Special Events permit to National Multiple

Sclerosis Society for the purpose of holding a Bike Tour through the Borough)

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Groon, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 98-05

(Authorizing refund in the amount of $59.48 for the overpayment of

an ambulance service transport)

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 99-05

(Authorizing the designation of Monday, October 31, 2005 as

Trick or Treat Night between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.)

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that all bills properly authorized, as submitted and which appear on the following page, be paid.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

The Clerk reported that, with regard to renewal of the Lease Agreement with the Historical Society for Store No. 3 at the Crest Pier, discussions will commence on September 19, 2005 between Mayor Groon, the Clerk and Kirk Hastings, the President of the Historical Society. He indicated that a report will be made to the full governing body at the meeting of September 28, 2005 in order that the matter might be introduced in ordinance form at that time or at the first meeting in October 2005.

 

The Clerk then reported that with respect to the matter of street opening permit applications, there have been meetings between Borough staff, including the Clerk, the Chief Financial Officer, Commissioner of Public Works, the Borough Engineer, and the Public Works Superintendent, with an aim toward amending that section of the Code of the Borough of Wildwood Crest. He added that the intent would be to prepare an amendment for introduction on or about the first meeting in October 2005.

 

Jim Johnstone, 300 East Miami Avenue, inquired as to whether any improvements were made by the Police Department with regard to the motorcycle weekend, specifically with regard to control of noise. Mr. Groon responded that it would be difficult to gauge whether there were any improvements. Mr. Johnstone inquired as to what steps the police department took, such as use of the speed monitoring board. Mrs. Gould interjected, “they gave a lot of tickets.” Mr. Johnstone opined that the police department is not utilizing the speed board as well as it could be. The Chief of Police responded that the speed board was not utilized since it was at the school to warn that school it now open, but that there were extra patrols. He added that a great number of tickets were issued for speeding, as well as many warnings. Mr. Johnstone inquired as to why the speed board was not being utilized. The Chief responded that the speed board is only one part of controlling traffic, and it was determined by his department that it should remain at the school to remind drivers about the speed limit and enforcement for violators.

 

Bill Hoeger, 8002 Atlantic Avenue , stated his understanding that there are over $120 million in ratables coming on the books that should generate approximately $1 million in new taxes. He questioned why there should be any tax increases for any new street reconstruction in light of the additional revenues. He inquired as to “where is all this money going?” Mr. Groon responded that he did not have the information as what the new ratables will generate by way of revenues, and that the Borough has not yet begun to work on the 2006 budget. Therefore, he was unable to answer Mr. Hoeger’s questions. Mr. Hoeger stated that the implications he has read in the newspaper was that the Borough will have to open the streets to work on the infrastructure such as sewer lines as a result of the development. Mr. Groon responded that he was not able to speak for what was printed in the newspaper, but that there are many streets scheduled for reconstruction that have nothing to do with new construction; that the Borough is dealing with an aging system. Mr. Cabrera interjected that he was not aware of the $1 million in new taxes that Mr. Hoeger referred to. The Chief Financial Officer stated that a $100 million increase in ratables would not generate $1 million in tax revenues. He calculated that it would generate approximately $582,000 in tax revenues if those ratables were on the books for the entire year. Most new ratables are not on the books for the entire year.

 

Jim Johnstone, 300 East Miami Avenue, commented that in 2004 the Borough had approximately $2.5 million in surplus, of which $1.15 went into surplus for 2005 and $1.3 million went into the general fund. He inquired what the $1.3 million was used for. The CFO responded that the $1.3 million was retained as surplus. He explained that at the end of the 2004 year the Borough had $2.4 million of “unpledged cash” of which the Borough utilized $1.1 million to balance the 2005 budget. The balance of that money “still sits” in surplus and it is anticipated that at the end of 2005 the surplus will probably be somewhere between $2.1 million and $2.2 million. He added that at the present it is difficult to project that number since the fourth quarter sewer payment and the fourth quarter tax payments have not been received. He concluded that the Borough should be able to replenish approximately $800,000 to $900,000 and perhaps as much as $1 million.

 

Mr. Johnstone then indicated his opinion that there is not enough signage in the Borough to direct buses and trucks to the truck route, and asked that more signage be put in place. Mr. Groon thanked Mr. Johnstone for his comments.

 

Louise Johnstone, 300 East Miami Avenue, addressed a recent comment in the newspaper by Mr. Cabrera that emergency repairs to the sewer system may result in a tax increase in the future. She stated, “that is scary.” It was her hope that no tax increase would be necessary in light of the new ratables, adding that perhaps impact fees should be considered. Mr. Cabrera responded that the one area of the Borough that needs attention is the infrastructure, i.e., sewer lines, street reconstruction and laterals. He added that the Borough has been successful in obtaining grant monies for that purpose, but that the Borough as also bonded for some of the work. It was his opinion that if the Borough is to be able to continue with reconstructing the streets, he was not sure the new ratables will be enough to cover the expenses since each block can cost as much as $300,000 to reconstruct. Mrs. Gould interjected, in response to Mr. Johnstone’s suggestion of implementing impact fees, that the legislature does not allow such fees. She added that she will be contacting the New Jersey State League of Municipalities to determine what other municipalities faced with the same dilemma are doing. Mr. Johnstone responded, “there are a lot of communities in New Jersey that impose impact fees.” Mrs. Gould responded, “if they are doing it, they are doing it against the law.”

 

Mr. Johnstone then questioned the significant expenditures over the past two years on vehicles and equipment in the Borough. He stated that they were probably needed, but questioned how many more replacements will be needed, and are the vehicles being maintained. Mrs. Gould responded that when it comes time to start work on the 2006 budget, that is when the Borough will determine what vehicles and equipment will require replacement. She added that police cars last only two or three years. The Chief of Police interjected that the national average life for police cars is 80,000 miles. He added that the plan in Wildwood Crest is over 100,000 miles. He went on to state that there is proper maintenance on the vehicles, but that they average two cars per year being replaced. Mrs. Gould also praised the Borough mechanics for maintaining the Borough’s vehicles and equipment. The Clerk interjected that Jim Davies, Motor Pool Supervisor, is “perhaps the finest supervisor of any motor pool on the entire island.”

 

Mrs. Johnstone commented on the truck and bus routes, indicating that they have noticed “many, many buses coming down our street.” She asked if the Borough could require the motels to give notice to the bus companies as to the truck route. The Chief of Police responded that his department has a form letter that is sent out to the bus companies that come into the Borough. He added that the truck route runs north and south through the Borough, and the trucks and buses must “take the closest point” to their destination from those north/south streets. The chief went on to state that his department does give warnings and summonses in conjunction with the public relations aspect.   Mrs. Johnstone then inquired about the progress of the Master Plan with regard to the M-1 Zone., and asked if any “residents” would be involved in that plan. Mr. Groon responded that the “residents” are represented on the Planning Board. Mrs. Johnstone went on to state, “some of the members of the Planning Board are motel owners.” Mr. Groon responded that he felt comfortable with the people on the Planning Board and their representation of the community. He added that there had been public meetings with the Master Planner, and the public was invited to give their comments and suggestions for change at that time.

 

Jim Johnstone then commented on the parking situation during the summer and questioned, should the Planning Board allow a height increase in the motel zone to 85 feet in the new M-1 Zone with no additional parking, where will the extra cars be parked? Mr. Groon responded that it is a difficult problem and that it is being discussed. Mr. Groon said, as a lifetime resident of Wildwood Crest, that parking has been a problem for the last fifty years. Mr. Johnstone stated that the Borough will exacerbate the problem by increasing the height limit. Mr. Groon responded that no final determination had been made in that regard.

 

Jack Kerbig, 216 East Hollywood Avenue, inquired as to the status of new sewers on his street. Mr. Cabrera responded that Mr. Kerbig’s street is scheduled in about two years if the present plan is followed. Mr. Cabrera added that the Hollywood Avenue sewer system seems to be okay, but that the street surface is bad. Mr. Kerbig inquired if the street had been scheduled for resurfacing “this fall.” Mr. Cabrera responded that it had not been on the schedule. He went on to state that the original survey of the entire town resulted in a priority list for sewers, laterals, street resurfacing and curbing and Hollywood Avenue is further down the list.

 

Mr. Cabrera responded to Mr. Johnstone’s earlier comments regarding impact fees. He indicated that if Mr. Johnstone could provide him with the names of any communities that do have impact fees, he would like to see their ordinance allowing same. He said that Wildwood Crest “has the best street opening ordinance in Cape May County” and it will be made “tougher” in 2006 with increased fees to be paid by companies opening up the streets for new construction.

 

Mr. Cabrera addressed Mrs. Johnstone’s comments regarding a tax increase, stating that if there is going to be a tax increase “after due diligence as a governing body to keep the rate down,” as a taxpayer himself he would prefer that it go toward something “we can all see” and the infrastructure would provide that.

 

Bill Hoeger, 8002 Atlantic Avenue, commented that there are two days during November when his trash will not be collected due to holidays. He inquired if some arrangements could be made to have the trash collected “sometime” during those weeks. Mr. Cabrera responded that he would look into the matter.   Mr. Hoeger next commented on the matter of “impact fees,” questioning whether the proposed development at the Grand Hotel in Diamond Beach would utilize Wildwood Crest sewer and water lines. Mr. Groon responded that he did not have the answer to that question. Mr. Cabrera state that it was his understanding that sewer is connected to the Lower Township system, but that the water is connected through Wildwood Crest to the Wildwood Water Utility.

 

There being no further comments, Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the meeting be adjourned.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

Dated:        October 26, 2005

Kevin M. Yecco, Borough Clerk

 

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