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Minutes of Commissioners Meeting   -   November 8, 2006

Note:  Complete Meeting Appears on Tapes #32-06 and 33-06  on File in the Borough Clerk’s Office November 8, 2006
Wildwood Crest, NJ

Prior to the opening of the meeting, Mrs. Gould 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 Commissioners’ Meeting Court Room at 9:30 a.m.  On roll call the following answered to their names:

                           Gould - Cabrera – Yes                         Groon - Absent

 

Mrs. Gould 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 November 10, 2005.

 

Mrs. Gould 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. 369-06

(Authorizing designation of Calendar Year 2007 Commission Meeting Schedule)

 

Prior to motion, Mr. Groon entered the meeting at this precise point in time.

 

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. 370-06

(Authorizing the CFO to issue refunds in the amounts of $483.75 for Block 68.03-1-C402A and $1,354.17 for Block 33-7, respectively, for property and/or utility overpayments)

 

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. 371-06

(Authorizing submission of a grant application in the amount of $5,000 for Emergency Management Performance Enhancement)

 

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. 372-06

(Authorizing release of the performance guarantee by the CFO in the amount of $4,000 to Jerome Freal III in conjunction with the street opening permit for the property situated at 6201 Park Boulevard)

 

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. 373-06

(Authorizing the CFO to void certain outstanding checks drawn against the Municipal Court General Account – Crest Savings Bank)

 

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. 374-06

(Authorizing the realignment of certain tourism departmental duties, responsibilities and activities from the Department of Revenue and Finance to the Department of Public Works, Parks and Property)

 

Prior to the motion, Mrs. Gould made the following statement:

“I am voting no to this resolution because I feel there is an imbalance among the departments and responsibility given to me. I am not exactly sure what you want. I’ve heard that you feel we should have an events coordinator and maybe so, but I think that that’s almost cheating the public because we were all elected to do our jobs and not pass anything on to a fourth party. I am especially angry with having the TDC taken away from me because one or two people on the board don’t like my decisions and so they go to the Mayor like little boys. In this past administration, they divided all this up before the swearing in ever came about and just did not include me. Now, you’re handing me my responsibilities eighteen months later. I should remind each of us, we only each have a third of this government. There is no supreme being as in Sea Isle just changed last night. They want to go to a Mayor/Council form. Maybe that’s better. I don’t know. This is a very old form, an antiquated form of government. This little green book of statutes, State of New Jersey, at 40:72-6, it states ‘the Commissioners assigned their departments and the change of assignments may be changed whenever it appears that the public service would be benefited thereby.’ I do not think that the public will benefit from these changes. There are checks and balances in the Walsh Act, and by doing this, takes that away. I have always worked for the betterment of this community, and I have always done my job as a labor of love, and not for an hourly wage, which is the difference between myself and an employee. ‘Under the Walsh Act, the Mayor has vague supervisory role, which has been reduced to a meaningless position through judicial decisions. The Mayor position is mainly to report the positions at meetings. Each Commissioner is considered supreme in his own department. The reports of the Walsh Act towns is that if the Commissioners lack common vision of where the municipality should be going, the possibility of governmental chaos is strong. The Commission form of government lacks a single strong executive. If the community wants a strong executive, they should adopt a mayor/council form of government.’ Gentlemen, I have been given lemons before, and I have made lemonade, and I will do it again. I almost feel like I’m a Republican losing last night’s election, and I’m not even a Republican. That’s all I have to say, so my vote is no.”

Prior to motion and second, Mr. Cabrera asked for clarification of the pending resolution. He inquired if the Nesbitt Center, its staff and its operation would remain under Mrs. Gould’s department. The Clerk responded in the affirmative, adding that GWTIDA and TDC have been the only activities removed from Mrs. Gould. Mr. Cabrera added that TDC applications would move to his department. He reiterated to the public that this change is not done to hurt anyone. It is done to offer a better service to the community and Wildwood Crest residents. He went on to state that it is a staffing issue, and recreation provides staffing for all of the events, it has the resources.

Mr. Groon stated that he has stated publicly that the current system does not work, does not have accountability, and, therefore, this was the resolution that he suggested. There were no other suggestions to correct the current problems that exist.

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

Vote:          Gould-No                                                Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 375-06

(Authorizing Notice to Bidders for Street and Utility Reconstruction, Phase 3B, and Cardinal Road Storm Sewer Improvements)

 

Mr. Groon 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 in full on the following page, be paid.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

The Clerk presented the 2007 Holiday Schedule to the Board of Commissioners for their approval. He indicated that the dates have initially been set as a result of contractual negotiations between the Borough and its four bargaining units, and is repeated for management level staff as well. He requested a motion to confirm the 2007 Holiday Schedule.

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the 2007 Holiday Schedule be approved as presented.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Mr. Groon reported that a proposal has been received with regard to the upgrade of the Borough’s computer system. He indicated that the Borough is attempting to resolve the overall problems with computers and potentially the telephone system. He added that because of time constraints, he and the Clerk met with an additional IT group who had suggestions. He indicated that it will require a revamp of the entire building since the computer system has been done in stages over the past twenty years. He stated that it will be very expensive, although they do not have all of the numbers. He went on to state that it will require a thorough upgrade of the building, and it also involves the incorporating of all of the Borough facilities outside Borough Hall. There appear to be some advantages to including the telephone system in the upgrade because of the wiring necessary. The Clerk interjected that they are also looking at software upgrades. He added that part of the plan would be to utilize some of the existing equipment in Borough Hall at the off-site locations. The Clerk stated that additional information will be forthcoming with all of the breakdowns of costs. Mr. Groon added that the software is different companies for various departments, and recommendations from the software companies will also be required. The Clerk reported that the current prospective bidders are companies that have worked extensively with Edmunds and a number of the current software providers in the Borough and have, in fact, been recommended by that company for compatibility/performance reasons.

 

The Clerk reported that a closed session discussion was scheduled after the public comments portion of the meeting at which the Commissioners would be discussing the revaluation, the Borough’s continued membership in JCOW and the on-going litigation, as well as a status update on the ownership of Wildwood Gables Yacht Club.   Prior to that time, he offered that Ann Fitzgerald is present for a report on the borough sponsored Hydrofest.

 

Ms. Fitzgerald indicated that the event has matured over the years, with an estimated 18,000 spectators in 2006. She reported that in 2006 there was increased promotion and advertising, with radio, television and print advertising as far as Philadelphia and northern New Jersey. She stressed that it is a “clean event” aimed at families, with no beer drinking and “carrying on.” The Chief of Police interjected that of all of the events in Wildwood Crest, from a public safety standpoint, there are “absolutely no problems whatsoever.”

 

Ms. Fitzgerald thanked the Commissioners for their support and the support of the various departments involved. She provided the Commissioners with a packet of materials containing a detailed report of the event. She indicated that the 2007 event is scheduled for September 29-30, and provided the Commissioners with her proposal for the 2007 event.

 

Mr. Cabrera indicated that he would review the proposal and arrange a meeting with Ms. Fitzgerald and the TDC members within the next month.

 

Ms. Fitzgerald stated that she would like to bring a championship title to this event, which would add prestige to the event. The title of the event would have the words “North American Championship” added before Sunset Lake Hydrofest.

 

Mr. Groon added his support to the event, adding that it is a positive thing for Wildwood Crest.

 

Jim Johnstone, 300 East Miami Avenue, inquired as to the timeframe for the Sunset Lake stabilization project. Mr. Cabrera provided that it is underway and will be complete by the end of spring, 2007.

 

Mr. Johnstone then stated that the Borough’s roads “are in terrible shape” and indicated that more needs to be done with regard to cleaning up the streets. He also inquired as to the status of the gazebo at Rambler Road, asking if it will be torn down. It was his understanding that a gazebo would be installed at the new Beachfront Fitness Park, and asked “how many gazebos do we need?” He expressed his unhappiness that monies are being spent on a fitness park, which, in his opinion, is not a priority when the streets need work.  Mr. Cabrera stated that the structure at the fitness park will be an entertainment pavilion. Mr. Cabrera added his opinion that the Borough has done a good job balancing priorities and infrastructure, but that there is also an opportunity to give something back to the community with the fitness park. Mr. Johnstone reiterated his question with regard to tearing down the Rambler Road gazebo. Mr. Cabrera responded that there is no definitive plan, but for 2007 it will need to be made safe and attractive.

 

Louise Johnstone, 300 East Miami Avenue, suggested a new activity for a recreation site. She stated that there are lots of programs for the younger generation, and the middle-aged generation, but “my generation” is lacking in physical activities programs. She suggested a lawn bowling area at the new fitness park. Mr. Cabrera indicated that it was an excellent suggestion, adding that part of the “recreation vision” needs to identify more in that area. Mrs. Johnstone added that perhaps shuffleboard courts could be included for the senior generation. Mr. Cabrera indicated that the Recreation Commission has recommended that a shuffleboard court be installed on the west side of the tennis court.

 

Mrs. Johnstone inquired if the new pavilion will have electricity. Mr. Cabrera responded in the affirmative. Mrs. Johnstone suggested that outside tai chi could be held in the pavilion. Mr. Cabrera indicated he would pass Mrs. Johnstone’s suggestions along to the Recreation Commission.

 

Mr. Johnstone indicated his concerns with regard to the Hydrofest and fiscal responsibility with regard to the event. He inquired as to how much the Borough spent on setting up for the event, on police for overtime, for public safety and for clean-up. He inquired as to the “real” costs to the taxpayers. Mr. Groon responded that he did not have the answer to that question. Mrs. Gould interjected that Ms. Fitzgerald had requested $10,000 from the Borough in total. She indicated that the Borough did not give Ms. Fitzgerald the amount requested, but that the Tourism Development Commission did provide $5,000. Mrs. Gould added that in 2005 the police overtime was approximately $4,000. She added that she did not have the numbers for public works, but the numbers overall are “considerable.” Mr. Cabrera interjected that he would like to get that information for his meeting with Ms. Fitzgerald in order to have a better understanding of the Borough’s support of the event.

 

Mr. Johnstone then inquired as to how much the new computer system will be costing the Borough. Mr. Groon responded that the Borough has not received a definitive number, but it will be significant. Mr. Johnstone inquired if the Borough “has a tax base to cover all of this.” Mr. Groon responded that he does not have the answer to that. Mr. Johnstone inquired if the “significant number” would be in the millions. Mr. Groon responded that it would not.

 

Mr. Johnstone indicated that his reason for these questions was because some of the streets are in poor shape, and he was concerned that the money should be spent on the streets. Mr. Groon indicated that Mr. Cabrera has been addressing that issue for the past several years with a plan for reconstruction of the streets. Mr. Groon added that the Borough is part of the infrastructure and technology makes the Borough more efficient. The Clerk interjected that the Borough has a number of federal grants for street reconstruction, and the Borough is now into Phase 3B. He added that within the past couple of years, the governing body has passed an ordinance to require that any private individual who tears up the street must restore the street. Additionally, any recently reconstructed streets, for which federal funding was received, are prohibited from being excavated for a certain number of years.

 

Mr. Cabrera stated his estimated opinion that the computer upgrade will cost the Borough less than the cost of reconstructing one block of a street.

 

The Clerk advised all present that the commissioners would be deliberating in closed session, in accordance with the provisions of the open public meetings act, on the matters of the on-going JCOW litigation and continued membership therein, as well as a status update on the revaluation and ownership of the Wildwood Gables Yacht Club.   It was the commissioners’ intent to resume the open session at the conclusion of the discussion, that formal action may be taken, and the results of the discussion would be released to the public at the conclusion of the matter.

There being no further public comments, THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 376-06

(Closed Session – Litigation and/or negotiations with respect to ongoing JCOW litigation; status update regarding the County Revaluation Order; ownership of the Wildwood Gables Yacht Club and property adjacent thereto)

 

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

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Upon returning from closed session, there being no further discussion, Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the meeting be adjourned.

Vote:           Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Dated:        November 29, 2006
Kevin M. Yecco, Borough Clerk

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