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Minutes of Commissioners Meeting   -   December 12, 2007

Note:  Complete Meeting Appears on Tape #29-07 and #30-07  on File in the Borough Clerk’s Office December 12, 2007
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 Commissioners’ Meeting 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 November 9, 2006.

 

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 ORDINANCE BY TITLE ONLY:

ORDINANCE NO. 1050

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING AND SUPPLEMENTING CHAPTER 54, PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE, OF THE CODE OF THE BOROUGH OF WILDWOOD CREST, COUNTY OF CAPE MAY, NEW JERSEY, AMENDING ORDINANCE NO. 875 ADOPTED JULY 26, 2000 AND ORDINANCE NO. 905 ADOPTED MAY 22, 2002

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Groon, that Ordinance No. 1050 be passed on first reading, advertised according to law, be brought up for second and final reading and public hearing on Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.

Vote:           Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING ORDINANCE BY TITLE ONLY:

ORDINANCE NO.  1051

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING AND SUPPLEMENTING CHAPTER 3, ALARM SYSTEMS, OF THE CODE OF THE BOROUGH OF WILDWOOD CREST, ARTICLE II, FALSE ALARMS TO 9-1-1 SYSTEM, SECTION 3-7, VIOLATIONS AND PENALTIES; ARTICLE III, FIRE ALARM SYSTEMS, SECTION 3-8, DEFINITIONS, SECTION 3-9, PERMIT REQUIRED, SECTION 3-10, INITIAL REGISTRATION OF FIRE ALARM SYSTEMS; NEW FIRE ALARM SYSTEMS, PRE-EXISTING FIRE ALARMS, FEES, SECTION 3-13, EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE, SECTION 3-15, FEES, SECTION 3-16, FALSE ALARMS; REVOCATION OF PERMIT, SECTION 3-17, VIOLATIONS AND PENALTIES, AND AMENDING ORDINANCE NO. 765 ADOPTED AUGUST 26, 1992 AND ORDINANCE NO. 763 ADOPTED AUGUST 3, 1992

Mr. Groon motioned, seconded by Mrs. Gould, that Ordinance No. 1051 be passed on first reading, advertised according to law, be brought up for second and final reading and public hearing on Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.

Vote:           Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING ORDINANCE BY TITLE ONLY:

ORDINANCE NO. 1052

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING AND SUPPLEMENTING CHAPTER 33, FIRE CONTROL MEASURES, SECTION 33-22, VIOLATIONS AND PENALTIES, OF THE CODE OF THE BOROUGH OF WILDWOOD CREST, AND AMENDING ORDINANCE NO. 937 ADOPTED JULY 23, 2003

 

Mr. Cabrera motioned, seconded by Mrs. Gould, that Ordinance No. 1052 be passed on first reading, advertised according to law, be brought up for second and final reading and public hearing on Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.

Vote:           Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 655-07

(Authorizing interest rate, grade period and year-end penalty for non-payment of taxes and sewer for calendar year 2008)

 

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. 656-07

(Authorizing certain refunds for overpayments of property tax or sewer charges)

 

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. 657-07

(Authorizing amendment of application for Special Event Permits regulating approval of all surrounding property owners and limiting hours to between 2 pm and 8 pm for all block parties)

 

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. 658-07

(Authorizing amendment of “Policies and Procedures Manual” of the Borough)

 

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. 659-07

(Authorizing issuance of Special Events Permit to Greater Wildwood Jaycess for the purpose of conducting the 2007 Greater Wildwood Christmas Parade on December 14, 2007 )

 

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. 660-07

(Authorizing issuance of Special Events Permit to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for the purpose of conducting the 2007 MS Bike Tour on May 18, 2008 )

 

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. 661-07

(Authorizing approval of Change Order No. 1-Final and Estimate Certificate No. 9-Final Street & Utility Reconstruction, Phase 3A-Various Streets, decreasing the Borough portion of the contract by $63,714.95 to $1,165,973.80)

 

Mr. Cabrera 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. 662-07

(Authorizing approval of Change Order No. 1-Final and Estimate Certificate No. 6-Final, Street & Utility Reconstruction, Phase 3B-Various Streets, decreasing the Borough portion of the contract by $67,195.81 to $834,852.94)

 

Mr. Cabrera 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. 663-07

(Authorizing approval of Change Order No. 1-Final and Estimate Certificate No. 5-Final, Street & Utility Reconstruction of Monterey Avenue, decreasing the Borough portion of the contract by $13,466.91 to $516,326.12)

 

Mr. Cabrera 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. 664-07

(Authorizing approval of Change Order No. 1, Rehabilitation of Heather Road Fishing Pier, to provide for the installation of steel C-Channels for the lump sum amount of $17,500, decreasing the Borough portion of the contract by $9,500 to $664,173 due to credit received in the amount of $27,000 for not completing replacement of certain existing piles)

 

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

Vote:           Gould- No                                                Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 665-07

(Authorizing approval of tentative agreement between the Borough of Wildwood Crest and Local #59, PBA Superior Officers of the Wildwood Crest Police Department)

 

Mr. Cabrera 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. 666-07

(Authorizing submission of grant application under the NJDEP National Recreational Trails Program)

 

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. 667-07

(Authorizing refund of $175.20 to Michelle Mammana for duplicate ambulance transport payment)

 

 

Mr. Cabrera motioned, seconded by Mr. Groon, 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 reported that the DEP Recycling/Solid Waste Management Plan Requirements matter is ongoing, and the public hearing on the pending ordinance to bring the Borough into compliance is scheduled for December 27, 2007 .

 

He indicated that the Borough has not received word on whether the grant application regarding the Rambler Road/Seaview Avenue projects has been awarded, and the matter remains “status quo.”

 

The Clerk reported that the Mayor had requested a discussion of “financial planning: capital improvement priority list, long-term bonding, 2008 Budget CAP/Tax Levy restrictions.” Mr. Groon stated that the reconstruction of Seaview Avenue (a major artery in Wildwood Crest), a potential reconstruction of sections of the southern portion of New Jersey Avenue, and extension of the outfall lines are all major projects requiring bonding in the near future. He inquired if the governing body should be looking at a different process or looking at grouping the projects and extending the period of the bonds. He also inquired if the other Commissioners were aware of any near future projects that were “out of the ordinary” that should be included in the long-term planning. The Clerk interjected another consideration is the Capital Improvement Priority List as requested by the CFO. Mr. Groon stated that he wanted to make sure everyone understood that the Seaview Avenue , New Jersey Avenue and the outfall lines projects are “big shots coming at us.”

 

Mr. Groon stated that, in his review of the proposed budget, these types of projects seem to be having a large impact on the community, and wondered if the governing body should be looking at different types of financing such as going to a longer term. The Clerk interjected that the total of the outfall lines projects as estimated by the Borough Engineer is approximately $4 million which includes the extensions as well as the maintenance in and around the areas from the mains easterly.

 

Mr. Groon added that he would estimate that the cost for New Jersey Avenue would be approximately the same as each phase of the Seaview Avenue project.

 

Mr. Cabrera stated that the Borough had started with a ten year phase plan for the side streets, and the plan has now been channeled to Seaview Avenue and the main arteries. He stressed that with Seaview Avenue, New Jersey Avenue and the outfall lines, the side streets cannot be forgotten.

 

Mr. Groon stated that there is a lot to be done and he raised the issue because he wanted a discussion of the governing body regarding the matter.

 

Mr. Cabrera questioned how many “years out” Mr. Groon would suggest the plan extend. The CFO responded that there are several issues involved, and it was his opinion that the Borough would not be selling permanent financing until 2009. He added that the local bond law dictates the maximum length of time a municipality can issue debt, and for the most part the Borough has been in traditional financing, meaning there is no outside agency such as USDA or some of the other programs that permit a longer life. In traditional financing, the municipality is required, when it sells bonds for permanent financing, in the authorizing resolution to issue that debt, it must contain an “average useful life.” The “average useful life” is weighted between infrastructure and equipment which have a lower useful life. He stressed that if a project with a lower “average useful life” is included with the longer-term projects, it will bring the average down and the municipality cannot go beyond that “average useful life.”

 

The CFO went on to state that the Borough has taken a very aggressive approach in retiring debt and has been rewarded with lower interest rates by investors and an enhanced bond rating.

 

He added that the USDA is changing the parameters of its requirements. They now are going to include summer population in analyzing whether the municipality is eligible, and that would make Wildwood Crest ineligible and those funds have “dried up.”

 

With regard to the New Jersey Infrastructure Trust, the CFO indicated that he was not totally familiar with the program, but it was his understanding it provided for 20 year debt. He added that he was not aware if there was a penalty for pre-payment, but that USDA does not. The Borough presently has just under $1.5 million in USDA debt at 4.38% for 40 years. He explained that the USDA debt can be reissued under a traditional bond for a lower interest rate. He stated his opinion that he is not a proponent of 40 year debt or long-term debt for that matter.

 

The CFO explained that if the governing body wished to extend the term of the debt to the maximum number of years, the Borough, when it is time to issue permanent debt, would have to segregate the debt into two issues, one for the 40 year useful life debt and one for the lower useful life debt.  He stressed that the municipality will pay higher interest rates regardless of when it is done.

 

He stated that it is good that the governing body is talking about a long term strategy, but it was his opinion that the debt will not be issued until 2009. As the time gets nearer, the Borough can better develop a strategy.

 

Mr. Groon stated that his concern was that the governing body will be “stuck” with trying to make a decision with regard to some critical projects and the governing body does not want to hit the taxpayers with a “huge bond” at one time when most of the projects are long-term. The CFO acknowledged that he understood Mr. Groon’s theory of not burdening the present taxpayers with a debt that has a useful life of more than 50 or 60 years.

 

Mr. Groon inquired if there are any projects on the horizon for which the Borough could be eligible for grants. The CFO responded that he was of the understanding that the Borough will be awarding a contract to a grants writer and, in that event, he has turned his focus away from grants since the Borough will be hiring a professional. He stated that some of the money that purported to be a State program really comes to the State from the Federal government and the fiscal budgets do not coincide.

 

Mr. Groon inquired if the hiring of a grants person on January 1, 2008 would permit sufficient time to attempt to get grants for the outfall extensions and perhaps look at alternatives for financing these major projects. The CFO concurred.  Mr. Groon stated his opinion that the next move with the grants writer would be to try to organize a priority list.

 

The Clerk stated that in terms of the 2008 budget process, he did not believe that there has been developed a final capital improvement priority list. The CFO concurred, adding that he is waiting for project lists and once those lists are received by him he will do a compilation. The Clerk stressed that that must be accomplished quickly for all to review so that final decisions may be made by the entire governing body.

 

The Clerk stated that the next matter for discussion was the fitness park pavilion permit application. He indicated that he had received an e-mail from the Borough Engineer and he has discussed the matter with the CFO. He added that there is a requirement for an authorization of $3,980 in an expenditure for that application to be filed by the Engineer on behalf of the Borough and that that expenditure would reduce the availability of funds in the project. He added that the CFO has advised that he can authorize the certification of availability of funds. Mr. Cabrera interjected that the application is for CAFRA approval. The Clerk concurred, adding that it would be for CAFRA authorization to construct the pavilion. Mr. Cabrera inquired if it was based on the specs provided by the Borough. The Clerk responded in the affirmative, adding that the application, with a project description, has been prepared and is ready to be filed by the Engineer. Mrs. Gould inquired if the pavilion will have a roof, electric, etc. Mr. Cabrera responded in the affirmative, adding that he is frustrated that CAFRA is requesting an application for a structure that does not need CAFRA approval.

 

Mr. Cabrera then motioned, seconded by Mrs. Gould, that approval be granted for expenditure of the $3,980 for the CAFRA application for the fitness park pavilion permit.

Vote:           Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

The next matter for discussion was the UEZ ordinance amendment. The Clerk advised that a draft of the ordinance amendment had been provided to the governing body some time ago for their review. Mr. Groon stated that in August 2007 he was advised that because the Borough has not contributed to the expenses of the UEZ, there was discussion as to whether the Borough wished to continue to be a member. He went on to state that the Borough is bound by an ordinance, and he made an effort at that time to resolve the issue. A recommendation was made for an ordinance “going forward” to cap the Borough’s future costs. At the time, he was not aware of certain information, some of which now makes it difficult to proceed with the original plan. He indicated that the Borough has collected fees of approximately $12,000 to $14,000 and we were recently presented a voucher for $20,000 from the City of Wildwood for return of the administrative component. He questioned why the UEZ was not paid the fees the Borough was obligated to pay. The CFO responded that Ordinance No. 911, Section 8, states that when each of the municipalities has adequate funds in the UEZ account, those dollars would be returned to each of the respective municipalities to the extent that those municipalities paid seed start up costs. The ordinance states that if the Borough paid a certain sum of money to the cities of North Wildwood and Wildwood as the host communities while they were incurring administrative costs at start up, when the Borough’s administrative component got to that number, those funds would be refunded to the Borough. The CFO advised further that there is a provision that beyond the initial funding by the municipalities outside of the UEZ component, the taxpayers of the municipality would not be required to fund any future expenses as an offset. It was his opinion that he was complying with the ordinance in which it says the Borough must be refunded its money first. Additionally, he was not instructed via budget requests to put money into the municipal budget to fund UEZ expenses. Had he received such request, he would have shown the section of the ordinance that states the Borough is not permitted to do so. It was his opinion that there is adequate money for the Borough to receive its seed money back.

 

Mr. Cabrera inquired if the reference to “UEZ” was to UEZ Wildwoods to include all of the municipalities. Mr. Groon responded in the affirmative. The Clerk interjected that the information received by him was that existing officials of the UEZ and past elected officials, this start up of the UEZ created a situation in which Wildwood Crest was clearly of the understanding that benefits to be derived would impact the Borough significantly less and that decisions were being contemplated by elected officials to not participate in the UEZ. The legislature indicated that it was and all or nothing situation for the creation of the UEZ. It was his understanding that the situation that has come about at this time is that the creation of Section 8 in existing Ordinance No. 911 is as a result of the culmination of those discussions to the extent that, Wildwood Crest in particular, would not be responsible for placing any of the burden of the UEZ expenses or administrative costs upon the taxpayers of the Borough of Wildwood Crest because all involved officials at that time knew that Wildwood Crest would not have sufficient monies to fund the administrative costs. Mr. Groon inquired as to how much of a benefit came back to the Borough in dollars. The CFO responded that he did not have that information. He added that the project area was approximately $175,000. Mrs. Gould concurred. Mr. Groon stated that the Borough received $175,000 back, and worst case there were estimated costs of $20,000 with approximately $13,000 to $14,000 put aside. Therefore, over the past five or six years the taxpayers would have had to support the UEZ for approximately $1,600 per year. The CFO responded that it is his understanding that when UEZ was established, the allocation of administrative costs was being distributed identically to the municipalities as the JCOW funding formula. The Borough objected to being allocated 21% and the Borough was told that it would be revisited after the first year. It has been in existence for five years, and the Borough has not generated its original investment of $21,000. In his terms, “the hole was dug in year one.” He added that in year two, the elected representatives to the UEZ convinced the UEZ Board to lower the administrative components over the Borough’s objection. Additionally, although the percentage is down to approximately 2%, the budget is over $200,000 leaving the Borough with an obligation of $4,000 per year. The Borough would still not be generating adequate dollars to cover the Borough’s obligation. Mr. Cabrera interjected that there is a benefit to the program and the Borough should not lose sight of that. The CFO responded that he was not recommending withdrawing from the UEZ because he did think there are benefits to businesses in Wildwood Crest. However, that entity agreed to accept an annual contribution from Wildwood Crest of what was generated annually (with no contribution by the taxpayers), and if the Borough is obligated to pay 2% of the $200,000 administrative costs ($4,000) but only generates $1,300 in administrative component, the UEZ should be willing to accept the $1,300 and the balance of $2,700 should be underwritten by the administrative components of the other towns.

 

Mr. Groon stated that it was his understanding that the other municipalities are contributing taxpayer dollars to the UEZ. The Clerk interjected that Wildwood adopted Ordinance 652-05 on August 10, 2005 which deleted Section 8 of the original ordinance. Mr. Groon indicated that he has not confirmed that the other municipalities are paying taxpayer dollars to the UEZ, but the Borough must make a decision on how to proceed. He has been advised by the Director of the UEZ that he will no longer be certifying businesses in Wildwood Crest, and they have the support of the State. They also informed Mr. Groon that the Borough had been advised in August of the same issue.

 

Mrs. Gould stated that she is the representative to the UEZ and the State permits the municipalities to “change the law” when it is not working. That is what occurred in this situation.

 

Mr. Groon stated that an ordinance was prepared in August 2007 which amended Section 8 of the original ordinance. That amendment would limit the Borough’s responsibility to its activity. It was Mr. Groon’s opinion that the Borough should remain in the UEZ, and it is incumbent upon the governing body to resolve the situation. Mrs. Gould agreed, but added that the Borough receives the least amount of money from the UEZ.

 

Mr. Cabrera stated that there are three components to the UEZ to be understood. The first is that businesses that charge the 3.5% sales tax provide a tax break to their customers. That money in turn goes back into the “fund.” Secondly, businesses in the district receive a tax break by paying no sales tax, permitting them to improve their properties. Finally, the system is designed to provide an increase in employment. He went on to state that the UEZ is good for Wildwood Crest and for the entire island, and the issues should be resolved to permit the program to continue.

 

The Solicitor stated that she was not aware of any of these problems until the prior week. She stated that the one thing that had not been addressed was that the State has determined that the language incorporated in Ordinance No. 911 was illegal and should not have been inserted, and the State agrees with Wildwood and North Wildwood that they can “not certify” Wildwood Crest based on our failure to pay. It was her opinion that the language in Ordinance No. 911 permits the municipalities to “decertify” a municipality for non-payment.

 

Mr. Cabrera suggested that the amending ordinance be tabled until the December 27th meeting pending receipt of more information. He agreed with the CFO that if money is owed to the Borough, that issue must be addressed. Mrs. Gould stated that someone other than herself should be at the UEZ meeting on the 19th since she will not be at the Commission meeting on the 27th to report the results of the UEZ meeting.

 

The Solicitor stated that it was her understanding that even if the ordinance amendment were to be adopted, the CFO was of the opinion that it would be prospective and would not eliminate any obligation retroactively. She stated that the governing body needed to provide clear direction to the CFO as to how to proceed with regard to the outstanding obligation.

 

The CFO stated that it was a requirement of all four municipalities to provide “mirror” ordinances, and each municipality was to send a certified copy of their adopted ordinance to the State of New Jersey , Department of Commerce, in order that they would know the participants. Therefore, the State of New Jersey was in receipt of that language contained in Section 8 of the ordinance in 2002. The correspondence that questions whether that language should have been in the ordinance is a direct result of an issue that the CFO raised. He went on to state that until that section of the ordinance is repealed, he cannot make the payment to the UEZ. Mr. Groon responded that he understood what the CFO was saying. Mr. Groon then inquired why the difference between that was “owed” to the Borough and what was collected was not paid to the UEZ. The CFO responded that he was waiting until there is adequate monies so that he will be able to do, on behalf of the taxpayers of Wildwood Crest, what the ordinance says he is supposed to do. The Clerk interjected that it is a “taxpayer dollars” issue. Mr. Groon inquired how much the Borough initially paid as start up funds. The CFO responded that it was 21% of the first year’s costs. Mr. Groon inquired if it was in excess of $20,000. The CFO responded that the health benefits and salary were over $100,000.

 

Mr. Groon stated that he was not sure how the problem can be solved with the UEZ under the parameters of the ordinance. Mrs. Gould concurred. The Clerk interjected that it was his understanding that if the governing body did not introduce the ordinance amending Section 8 of the current UEZ ordinance, proceedings will be initiated to remove Wildwood Crest from the UEZ. Mr. Cabrera stated that the governing body can introduce and, prior to second reading, a decision can be made to not adopt or to amend the ordinance. The Solicitor stated that introduction of the ordinance does not solve the problem and it won’t solve the problem. The Clerk related that it was his understanding that the UEZ is looking for the introduction of the ordinance as a “good faith effort” to commence the process to have Wildwood Crest in a similar position to the other municipalities, notwithstanding the fact that it may well not have been the intention or initiative from the initial start up of the UEZ. The Solicitor responded that the way the ordinance is written, the continuing obligation to contribute in the future results in a deficiency and therefore taxpayer dollars would have to be budgeted. The CFO stated that the Borough will have to underwrite the cost, and although it is not “significant dollars,” by the nature of the mirror ordinances, there is an inequity built in to the extent that Wildwood Crest knew from the beginning that there would not be adequate funds. He went on to state that he was personally told that Wildwood Crest would only have to pay administrative costs to the extent that the Borough receives as its administrative component. For example, if the Borough’s obligation was $4,000 but took in only $1,300, the other municipalities would make up the difference from their administrative component.

 

Mrs. Gould reported that the next meeting of the UEZ was scheduled for December 19th, and the public was welcome. Mr. Groon indicated that perhaps the CFO should attend that meeting with Mrs. Gould. The CFO stated that he would be willing to attend. Mr. Cabrera suggested that the ordinance be introduced at this meeting, prior to the UEZ meeting on December 19th and, after the UEZ meeting, a decision can be made as to whether to adopt or amend the ordinance. He added that it would show the good will of the Borough. Mrs. Gould stated that she did not have a problem with that plan. The Clerk stated that if it is the intention of the governing body to stay in the UEZ, it was his opinion that there is no alternative but to introduce the ordinance at this time and then try to work out any issues.

 

Mr. Groon inquired of the Clerk as to any suggestions he may have. The Clerk responded that if it is the intent of the governing body to stay in the UEZ, and the ordinance amending Section 8 of Ordinance 911 is introduced, it should be clearly understood that until there is an initial “reach out” to the Mayor by the UEZ Director, and no further dialogue from any other representatives, culpability exists between both parties. The indication should be made that the Borough is now attempting to resolve some of the issues “going forward” with Section 8 of the ordinance, that will not take effect until January 2008. Additionally, there would need to be a consensus of opinion of the governing body that the Borough will fund, budgetarily, any deficits. The Solicitor interjected that she did not think the governing body can do that. The Clerk disagreed, adding that that commitment must be made by the governing body. The Solicitor stated that if the ordinance amendment is introduced and adopted, it would not only be their intention, they have determined that that is what they have to do. She went on to state that she did not think they needed to make any representations other than introducing the ordinance, because that will come with adoption since the ordinance requires that it be appropriated in the budget. The Clerk responded that his point was being missed, because the Borough cannot provide the money to the UEZ prior to the end of the 2007 calendar year because the ordinance will not be effective. Resolving the matter on the 19th has to be with the proviso that by introducing the ordinance, the Borough still cannot make payment in 2007. The Solicitor responded that there is $14,000 in an account that is readily available. The Clerk responded that until the ordinance is effective, it was his opinion that the funds cannot be released. Mr. Groon concurred.

 

Mr. Cabrera inquired as to the maximum exposure to the Borough. The CFO responded that in 2008 it would be 1% and that he has seen the correspondence about the State’s support for the UEZ Director’s motion to “expel” Wildwood Crest from the UEZ. He suggested that someone from the Borough communicate with the Director of the UEZ at the Department of Commerce to advise her of the Borough’s reasons for withholding payment.

 

Mr. Groon suggested that the Borough “reach out on our own” to clarify the Borough’s position as soon as possible and before negotiating. He suggested that the Clerk contact the State UEZ Director at the Department of Commerce to arrange a meeting. Mrs. Gould and Mr. Cabrera concurred.

 

Mr. Groon asked the CFO if he had a problem with the ordinance amendment and if he would have any problems making payments under that ordinance. The CFO responded that he has not reviewed the amendment because he was not aware that it would be discussed at this meeting. Mr. Groon asked him to review it and provide the Clerk with his analysis/comments.

 

There being no further discussion on this topic, THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING ORDINANCE BY TITLE ONLY:

ORDINANCE NO. 1053

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING AND SUPPLEMENTING ORDINANCE 911, ENTITLED “AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE BOROUGH OF WILDWOOD CREST TO EXECUTE AND FILE JOINTLY WITH THE CITY OF WILDWOOD, THE CITY OF NORTH WILDWOOD, AND THE BOROUGH OF WEST WILDWOOD A NON-PROFIT CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION PURSUANT TO THE ‘NEW JERSEY URBAN ENTERPRISE ZONE ACT’ FOR THE PURPOSE OF ESTABLISHING A JOINT ENTERPRISE ZONE CORPORATION FOR CITIES OF NORTH WILDWOOD AND WILDWOOD AND THE BOROUGHS OF WEST WILDWOOD AND WILDWOOD CREST, AND SETTING FORTH PROVISIONS TO BE INCLUDED IN SAID CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION,” ADOPTED JULY 15, 2002, TO AMEND SECTION 8 THEREOF

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Groon, that Ordinance No. 1053 be passed on first reading, advertised according to law, be brought up for second and final reading and public hearing on Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.

Vote:           Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Jim Johnstone, 300 East Miami Avenue , stated that he appreciated the hard work of the Commissioners.  He inquired as to the Borough’s total bond debt at the present time. The CFO responded that it is in the vicinity of $20 million to $21 million. He inquired if the Borough anticipates any new raises for employees in 2008. Mr. Groon responded in the affirmative. Mr. Johnstone stated that he was aware that the reconstruction of the streets and sewers were important because of the “dilapidation” of the infrastructure. He asked if it is true that the Borough will be putting side streets “on hold.” Mr. Groon responded that it is part of the “big picture.” Mr. Johnstone stated that he had concerns about Miami Avenue and did not see that it is scheduled for reconstruction in the near future. Mr. Cabrera responded that the 400 block of Miami Avenue is part of the stormwater outfall line proposal. Mr. Johnstone expressed his concerns about flooding on Miami Avenue , stating that flooding in October had been the worst he had seen in twelve years. Mr. Cabrera stated that the outfall extensions have been worked on from the manhole cover on the beach toward the water. However, the main arteries and the lines back to Seaview Avenue have not been done and are deteriorating. The proposed stormsewer reconstruction will include that work.

 

Mr. Johnstone stated that with regard to grant funding and the statements that it is “free money” is not true since the taxpayers of the State of New Jersey are paying for that debt, of which we are a part.

 

With regard to health insurance, Mr. Johnstone inquired as to the cost to the taxpayers of Wildwood Crest. He questioned whether any of the employee groups are paying for a portion of their health insurance. The response was in the negative. Mr. Johnstone inquired if any volunteer groups are getting free health benefits. The Clerk responded that they are getting a portion and the volunteers contribute a portion. Mr. Johnstone inquired if there was a possibility in negotiations that the employees could pay a portion of the health insurance costs, and has the Borough ever tried to do that. The Clerk responded, “yes, we have tried to do that.” He went on to add that the difficulty has been the timing of when certain agreements expire, and, more importantly, the biggest problem is that it has been “all for one and one for all” and the Borough cannot segregate because the Borough is in the New Jersey State Health Benefits Program all employees must be given equal treatment.

 

Mr. Johnstone stated that the Borough’s total debt has been increasing yearly for various projects and the “wish list” at the end of the budget documents always seems to continue to grow. He stated that he understood the infrastructure problems, but questioned whether some of the projects are being “thought out enough.” He acknowledged that the Borough applies for grant funds, but stated that the Borough should “worry about the infrastructure more than some of the other projects.” Mr. Groon responded that that is always the object, even if the costs of the parks and other projects are factored into the equation. He sent on to state that the street infrastructure is “heavily weighted in terms of our overall infrastructure.” He added that he did not think there is an imbalance, and, in fact, he thought there should be an investment in the parks as well. Mr. Johnstone stated his opinion that there is a burden put upon the taxpayers of Wildwood Crest every time the Borough applies for a grant and subsequently additional monies are required in order to get the grant funds.

 

Mr. Johnstone expressed his dismay at the cost for Seaview Avenue reconstruction with the streetscape and bikepath. Mr. Groon responded that Seaview Avenue must be reconstructed because it is in major disrepair and has been recommended by the Borough Engineer as a major priority. The discussions to add to the project included a bike path in which event the Borough would look for grant funding without adding to the cost of the street reconstruction. Additionally, if the Borough can replace asphalt with sod and trees at relatively the same cost, it should be considered. Mr. Groon stress that no decisions have been made to date in either regard. Mr. Johnstone stated that as a retiree he is concerned that it will cost him more in taxes. He reiterated that he agreed with the infrastructure reconstruction but some of the “frills” are costing the taxpayers too much money. Mr. Groon responded that it is important to invest in the community as a whole and not just in one aspect. Mr. Cabrera interjected that the infrastructure has had years and years of neglect and this administration is trying to deal with that.

 

Louise Johnstone, 300 East Miami Avenue , commented with regard to the UEZ initiative in 2002, indicating that she remembered the “nasty articles” written about Wildwood Crest at that time because of the Borough’s hesitancy in joining because of the low number of businesses in town that would qualify for participation. She went on to state that she also remembered being at a Board of Commissioners meeting at which it was discussed that the Borough would not generate enough money to cover administrative expenses.

 

Mrs. Johnstone spoke with regard to the proposed pavilion at the fitness park, and inquired if the Borough could get a “benefactor” to construct the pavilion. She stated that the surrounding motels will see the most benefit from the pavilion and asked if there was a way to get the assistance of the motels in constructing the pavilion. The Clerk responded that there is a problem with that suggestion and the Solicitor has done research in the matter in the past. He went on to state that the Borough could be “beholden” to those property owners if they paid for the construction of the structure and, if in the future the Borough “took it away”, there could be some legal issues with those property owners and the circumstances under which they donated monies for “dedicated purposes”. Mr. Cabrera stated that he could speak to the motel owners and ask if they would assist with “no strings attached.”

 

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

RESOLUTION NO. 668-07

(Closed Session – Personnel matters, specifically organizational structure Borough-wide staffing needs)

 

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

Vote:           Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

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

Vote:           Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Dated:         December 27, 2007

Kevin M. Yecco, Clerk/Administrator

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