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Minutes of Commissioners Meeting   -   April 18, 2007

Note:  Complete Meeting Appears on Tape #10-07  on File in the Borough Clerk’s Office April 18, 2007
Wildwood Crest, NJ

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

 

Prior to the commencement of the meeting, Mr. Groon requested a moment of silence in memory of the students killed at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007.

 

The meeting of the Board of Commissioners, Borough of Wildwood Crest, Cape May County , New Jersey , was held in the Municipal Court Room at 7:00 p.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.

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that Ordinance No. 1036 be placed on second reading and final passage by title only.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING ORDINANCE BY TITLE ONLY:

ORDINANCE NO. 1036

AN ORDINANCE SUPPLEMENTING BOROUGH OF WILDWOOD CREST ORDINANCE NO. 999 AUTHORIZING A SPECIAL EMERGENCY APPROPRIATION FOR THE PREPARATION AND EXECUTION OF A COMPLETE PROGRAM OF REVALUATION OF REAL PROPERTY FOR THE USE OF THE LOCAL ASSESSOR OF THE BOROUGH OF WILDWOOD CREST

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that a public hearing be held on Ordinance No. 1036.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Jim Johnstone, 300 East Miami Avenue , inquired if this supplement would bring the total cost for the revaluation to $440,000.00. The Clerk responded in the affirmative.

There being no further public comments, Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the public hearing on Ordinance No. 1036 be closed.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that Ordinance No. 1036 be passed on second and final reading and advertised according to law.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that Ordinance No. 1037 be placed on second reading and final passage by title only.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING ORDINANCE BY TITLE ONLY:

ORDINANCE NO. 1037

AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOROUGH OF WILDWOOD CREST REPEALING AND REPLACING ORDINANCE NO. 979 ADOPTED AUGUST 24, 2005 – ESTABLISHING CHAPTER 62 – SEX OFFENDERS RESIDENCE PROHIBITION

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that a public hearing be held on Ordinance No. 1037.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

There being no public comments, Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the public hearing on Ordinance No. 1037 be closed.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that Ordinance No. 1037 be passed on second and final reading and advertised according to law.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

The Clerk read in full Resolution No. 463-07 adopted March 7, 2007 authorizing introduction of the 2007 Municipal Budget.

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION IN FULL:

RESOLUTION NO. 486-07

(Authorizing public hearing on 2007 Municipal Budget)

 

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

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Louise Johnstone, 300 East Miami Avenue , commented on grant revenues.

 

Jim Johnstone, 300 East Miami Avenue , asked for an elaboration on the appropriation of $55,440.00 under “Other Expenses” regarding tourism on Sheet 12A. The CFO responded that the public affairs line item has been removed, and that line item has been combined with the craft show appropriation. He went on to state that the majority of the operating expense comprises the various entertainment provided by the Borough.

 

Mr. Johnstone then inquired about an increase from $37,000 to $50,950.00 in the lifeguard, other expenses, line item from 2006. The CFO responded that the beach patrol is purchasing a pick-up truck and a mule. Mr. Groon added that the pick-up is a normal replacement vehicle. He added that the mule is also a replacement vehicle.

 

Mr. Johnstone then inquired about recreation buildings, other expenses, and questioned the increase from $60,910.00 to $82,000.00. The CFO responded that there was an additional $8,500.00 allocated for safety equipment at the recreation center and the swimming pool; $6,500.00 allocated to do some siding work at the recreation center, and some siding work at the tennis court, as well as increases in the maintenance contracts for various equipment at the pool.

Mr. Johnstone also inquired if “it is true” that an additional $1 million has been collected in tax levies over 2006. The CFO responded in the affirmative, adding that it is a combination of various “anticipated revenues.”

 

Bob Young, 207 Louisville Avenue , commented on the reduction in anticipated revenues from grants, and questioned whether any of those revenues might be realized in 2007. The CFO responded that the Borough is always looking for grant revenues, but at the time the budget was introduced a number of the grants had not been approved. He added that since the time the budget was introduced, the Borough has been notified of a grant from the County in the amount of $63,000, and any other grants will be incorporated into the budget by way of Chapter 159 resolutions. The Clerk interjected that the grant from the County will be utilized for rehabilitation of Scoop Taylor Park.

 

Mr. Young then inquired about the $400,000.00 in emergency appropriations. The CFO stated that $150,000.00 was for a sewer break in 2006 that was funded by way of an ordinance. There was also $10,000.00 for petroleum products due to the escalating price of gasoline, as well as a $320,000.00 special emergency appropriation for the revaluation and the tax map.

 

Jim Johnstone inquired as to the Borough’s tax rate. The CFO responded that he estimated it will probably be in the vicinity of $1.305 to $1.31. Presently the tax rate is $1.27, with the local purpose being just under $.63.

 

Mr. Young commented that the Borough “only added” approximately $300,000.00 in new assessments, and asked if that was all of the assessments added. The CFO responded that that was for new construction. Mr. Young questioned the low amount. The Borough’s auditor responded that that is at a rate of $.60 per $100,000.00, and added that the actual dollar amount of new construction was almost $53 million.

 

George Ziegler, 7710 Seaview Avenue , inquired as to why the surplus has not been utilized to off-set the tax increase. The CFO responded that the Borough is utilizing $1.37 million of surplus in the 2007 municipal budget to off-set the increase. He added that historically the Borough has attempted to utilize fund balance somewhere in the high 40% range, and rarely exceeded 50%. He went on to state that no one is sure how the new budget cap is going to affect the 2008 budget, but the $1.37 million is 47.3% of the surplus, which is consistent with the policy in Wildwood Crest for many years. It was the CFO’s opinion that it would not be prudent to utilize more than 50% of the surplus. He reiterated that the Borough has included in this budget several “pay as you go” capital projects of over $400,000.00 above 2006. Mr. Ziegler inquired if the computer upgrade had to be done all at once or if it could be spread out over time. Mr. Groon responded that after reviewing the situation it was determined that it would be best to do it all at one time.

 

Mr. Ziegler inquired if the $320,000.00 to rehabilitate the fishing pier was included in the 2007 budget. The CFO responded that that is not part of the taxation budget, but, rather, is part of the capital budget. He added that the bond ordinance for that project has been adopted and in effect. Mr. Ziegler inquired as to how much of that affects the 2007 budget. The CFO responded that only approximately $20,000.00 will impact the 2007 budget, that being the amount the cash downpayment involved with the bond ordinance.

 

Mr. Ziegler stated his opinion that the timing is wrong for a tax increase, and that the Commissioners should “re-look” at the budget to try to cut that tax increase. Mr. Groon responded that there are some fixed costs imposed by the State.

 

George Martin, 212 East Denver Avenue , inquired when the “$18 million debt” will be put into the taxes. The CFO responded that part of that debt is being amortized every year. Mr. Martin inquired, “how much of it?” The CFO responded that this year it will be $1.280 million. Mr. Martin stated his opinion that the Borough should be getting “some of these big bills down, not keep going up.” The CFO stated that most of the debt amortization that the Borough has put in place is an aggressive plan in comparison to what goes on throughout the state.

 

Mr. Groon stated that it has been his observation that most of the debt bonding is a result of street reconstruction, and it was his understanding the much of the street work was “pushed off for many years” or was not needed.

 

Mr. Martin inquired as to when the “high bucks” condominiums would start paying their share of taxes. Mrs. Gould responded that they are. Mr. Groon added that if Mr. Martin has information to the contrary, the Commissioners would be interested in obtaining that information to review.

 

Mr. Young commented that the fire safety line item is up approximately 35%, but the anticipated revenues are not divided out in the budget. The CFO responded that the revenues are listed in the budget.

 

Mr. Young then inquired as to the beach patrol budget being increased only $5,000.00, and asked if the Borough would be extending beach hours. Mr. Groon responded that what was done during the 2006 season would be done in 2007. Mr. Young stated, “there are still tons of people there unguarded and it scares me to death.” Mr. Groon responded that there is an emergency crew on after hours in the station until dusk, as well as police patrols on the beach. However, it is not an easy problem to solve due to insurance issues. Mr. Young suggested it might be time to think about beach fees.

 

Jim Johnstone inquired as to how many vehicles are in the Borough’s fleet at the present time. The Clerk responded that the exact number is in a data base in the Clerk’s Office and the information could be provided to Mr. Johnstone if he wished. Mr. Johnstone inquired if the Borough is “upgrading every three or four years.” Mr. Cabrera responded that the cycle is longer than that, adding that a trash truck could last eight years or more. Mrs. Gould interjected that the police cars are replaced every two years or so. The Clerk added that when a new piece of equipment is purchased, the old equipment is sold and the fleet is offset.

 

Mr. Johnstone inquired about the purchase of a fire truck from Stone Harbor . The Clerk responded that the cost would be $4,000.00, and the volunteers have provided a check to the Borough for the cost of that vehicle.

 

There being no further public comments, Mr. Cabrera motioned, seconded by Mrs. Gould, that the public hearing on the 2007 municipal budget be closed.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Groon, that the 2007 municipal budget, inclusive of $9,216,434.94 for municipal purposes as specifically set forth hereinbelow, be adopted.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

RESOLUTION NO. 487-07

(Adoption of 2007 Municipal Budget)

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 488-07

(Authorizing insertion into the 2007 Municipal Budget of the sum of $4,000 received from the Wildwood Crest volunteer Fire Company for the purchase of a fire truck from the Borough of Stone Harbor)

 

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. 489-07

(Authorizing approval of Change Order No. 1 in conjunction with the Sunset Lake Shoreline Stabilization Project, increasing the final contract amount by $40,250 for electrical services and landscape irrigation)

 

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

Prior to the vote, Mrs. Gould inquired of Mr. Cabrera as to whether the Engineer knew at the time of the introduction of the budget, at which time the Engineer made a presentation to the governing body, that the Borough would not have enough money to complete the project. Mr. Cabrera responded that this Resolution does not increase the funding, but simply changes the allocation of the existing funds. Mrs. Gould responded that the Resolution states that it is increasing the original contract by the sum of $40,250.00. Mr. Cabrera stated that the pending change order permits the Borough to take the current electrical system that is in place and make it safer and better. He added that with regard to landscaping, this is an opportunity to put in irrigation in order that the new grass can get the proper water.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 490-07

(Authorizing an increase to the professional services contract previously awarded to Remington Vernick and Walberg Engineers to $257,000 from the prior authorization of $245,000, a $12,000 increase)

 

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. 491-07

(Authorizing James Rogers as “Alternate Privacy Officer” under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act – HIPPA)

 

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. 492-07

(Authorizing proclamation of month of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in the Borough of Wildwood Crest)

 

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. 493-07

(Proclaiming April 28 – May 6, 2007 as National Safe Kids Week in the Borough of Wildwood Crest)

 

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. 494-07

(Supporting restoration of tourism advertising and promotion funding by the State of New Jersey in the FY2008 State Budget)

 

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. 495-07

(Authorizing Director of Public Works and Property to make application to GWTIDA for funding of Borough event known as “Surf & Turf Monster Mash”)

 

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. 496-07

(Authorizing award of contract to Jesco, Inc. for a 2007 John Deere 644J Wheel Loader in the total sum of $170,935)

 

Mr. Groon 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. 497-07

(Authorizing award of contract to Gran Turk Equipment for a Model Year 2007 29-cubic yard trash packer in the total sum of $153,915)

 

Mr. Groon 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. 498-07

(Authorizing award of contract to Rodio Tractor Sales, Inc. for a 2007 New Holland four-wheel drive tractor in the total sum of $35,995)

 

Mr. Groon 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. 499-07

(Authorizing refunds of tax/sewer overpayments to Jack and Mary Lou Enoches in the amount of $165.25 for premises situate at 7205 New Jersey Avenue , and D. & T. Green and M.S. & R. Roccuzzo in the amount of $252. For premises situate at 407 East Palm Road )

 

Mrs. Gould 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

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that all reports received, from the Court Administrator, CFO, Tax Collector and Chief of Police, for the month ending March 31,2007, be accepted as presented and filed.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the minutes of meetings held March 21,2007 and April 4, 2007 be approved as presented.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Jim Johnstone, 300 East Miami Avenue , questioned the need for replacement of the irrigation system at Sunset Lake . He added that it was his understanding that the contractor had “run over and destroyed” the existing lines. Mr. Cabrera responded that there had been an indication when the project first came to fruition that there was going to be some irrigation lines added to the project or that the irrigation system was going to be replaced. He added that it had never made its way into the budget in terms of the overall construction of the project. Mr. Johnstone inquired if the original system was destroyed by the contractor. Mr. Cabrera responded that it was not destroyed, although several areas were not working properly.

 

Mr. Johnstone then inquired if professional services contracts are put out to bid by the Borough. The Clerk responded that, for long term professionals, they are not. He elaborated by stating that the Borough has not complied with “Pay to Play” because this governing body has not taken  [campaign] money from any of the professionals hired by the Borough during the affected period(s). Mr. Johnstone stated that the governing body earlier at this meeting awarded a $12,000.00 increase in a professional services contract. The Clerk responded that it is for work to be done in concert with the change order authorized for the Sunset Lake Shoreline Stabilization Project. Mr. Cabrera interjected that in the construction process of Sunset Lake , there were a few items of work that did not have to be performed. Therefore, there are some credits that have come back to the Borough to be utilized for other work that is required to be performed.

 

The Clerk added, with regard to the professional services contract, that using the Borough Engineer as an example, the experience and knowledge of the Borough’s infrastructure and needs weigh heavily in the decisions by the governing body in awarding those types contracts. He stated that the same holds true with the Solicitor and other “annual” professionals hired by the Borough.

 

The Clerk went on to explain that the law requires the municipality to go out to bid under “Open and Fair” if the governing body members are taking donations through campaign financing. He added that this governing body had not done that and have pledged not to do that as well during the affected period(s).

 

George Martin, 212 East Denver Avenue , stated that when the Sunset Lake “seawall” was commenced, the Borough had been awarded a grant for $2 million, and he questioned where the $2 million was spent. He added that it was his understanding that the contract was for $1.8 million, leaving $200,000.00. The Clerk interjected that it was his understanding the grant was for $1.4 million. The CFO responded that it was a $2 million check, comprising a $500,000.00 loan and $1.5 million grant from the USDA. Mr. Cabrera interjected that that was for street reconstruction. The CFO went on to state that the grant for the Sunset Lake project was $1.4 million, as stated by the Clerk.

 

Mr. Martin then inquired as to what will be done for safety on Sunset Lake with the current configuration. Mr. Cabrera responded that there was a study done by the Joint Insurance Fund which indicated that some shrubbery be placed there to create a buffer between the top of the incline and the grass area, and some design work is currently being done. Additionally, some signage will be placed along the lake.

 

Mrs. Gould read from the Loss Control Report from the Joint Insurance Fund: “CRCS believes that the installation of a low maintenance, hedge-type shrubbery slow growing but thick enough to discourage climbing through or stepping over would suffice. . .” It went on to state that if fishing is permitted from the seawall, it suggested that cut-out areas with fencing or railings be constructed. Additionally, signage warning of the dangers of climbing the wall should be erected.

 

Mr. Martin then inquired about access to Sunset Lake such as ramps, and asked where they were to be located. The Clerk responded that they will be at Miami Avenue . Mr. Martin inquired about the ramp that had been suggested at Stanton Road . The Clerk responded that he was not aware of any plans that were ever considered for Stanton Road . Mr. Cabrera interjected that he and Mr. Martin had met and reviewed the plans, and that there was never any plan for Stanton Road .

 

Ed Lees, realtor, had some questions with regard to the sign ordinance. He stated that recently his office was “mandated” to take down a sign that was tied to a rail, and the only place the sign could be placed was on the railing or near the sidewalk. He received notice from Code Enforcement to “remove the sign, period.” He stated that the sign ordinance is “very restrictive” and he is running into problems with it. He requested that the Borough review the ordinance, and he offered to demonstrate properties where signs cannot be placed under the current ordinance. Mr. Groon responded that the sign ordinance took a long time to put together and was more complicated than anybody anticipated. He added that the Borough had received many complaints about signs before this ordinance was implemented, and this was in response to those complaints. The ordinance was reviewed by the Planning Board and other personnel. He suggested that Mr. Lees and the realtors get together and sit down with the Borough representatives to discuss the issues and their concerns.

 

William Callahan, 8801 Pacific Avenue, stated that he can see both sides of the issue as a licensed realtor and a developer, and went on to state that it was his opinion that in creating this ordinance, the Borough has allowed provisions for construction by permitting substantial signs, and there is no bridge between the gap of construction and ownership. Mr. Groon acknowledged his understanding of Mr. Callahan’s statements, and added that the Borough will have to revisit some of the issues. Mr. Callahan suggested permitting new construction, until it is sold, to have some additional signage.

 

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

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Dated:        May 23, 2007

Kevin M. Yecco, Borough Clerk

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