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Minutes of Special Commissioners Meeting   -   May 7, 2008

Note:  Complete Meeting Appears on Tape #14-08  on File in the Borough Clerk’s Office May 7, 2008
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 7, 2007.

 

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

 

Prior to the commencement of the meeting, the Clerk announced for those present that the agendas for the Board of Commissioners’ meetings were available on the Borough’s website, and would be posted on the Monday prior to each Wednesday meeting.

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 750-08

(Authorizing certain refunds of tax and/or sewer utility overpayments)

 

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. 751-08

(Authorizing the Borough to participate in a Feasibility Study for consideration of forming the South Jersey Health Insurance Fund)

 

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. 752-08

(Authorizing refund to John and Joyce Strouse in the amount of $15 for withdrawal from the May 3, 2008 Borough-wide yard sale)

 

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. 753-08

(Authorizing support for the adoption by the Legislature of the State of New Jersey of Assembly Bill A-1105 which would authorize public advertising of legal notices by on-line posting of said publications)

 

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. 754-08

(Authorizing issuance of a Special Events Permit to William Frankenfield and Wanda Soto for the purpose of holding a wedding ceremony on September 7, 2008 at the Miami Avenue Gazebo)

 

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. 755-08

(Authorizing subordination of Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program Mortgage for Diane Weiss)

 

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

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

The Clerk announced that Michael Healy, a holder of a 2007 Ice Cream Peddlers’ License, had requested an opportunity to speak to the Commissioners prior to action being taken on the next resolution. Mr. Healy stated that he was speaking on behalf of the current five license holders regarding the increase in the number of licenses to be issued. He indicated that they were all very disturbed about the structure of the new ordinance. He went on to state that ice cream peddling had been a tradition in Wildwood Crest since the early 1960’s. During the end of that decade there were four licenses available, another vender requested to come into town, and the courts upheld the limitation to four licenses. Those four licenses continued until approximately 1982, when the four original license holders failed to renew their licenses. At that time, Chilly Willy’s Ice Cream submitted an application for a license and was approved. Also in 1982, the ordinance was amended to increase the number of licenses from four to five. From 1982 until approximately 2000, the Borough of Wildwood Crest was in its “heyday” when tourism was at its peak. Since 2000, with the demolition of many of the motels, the growth of the beach, and construction of condominiums, ice cream peddling business has declined substantially. He went on to state that there are 21 coffee shops presently that sell ice cream; there are an additional three motels selling ice cream at the bulkhead; there is one motel that has neither a coffee shop nor a license to operate a restaurant, but has a bulkhead concession stand. Additionally, there are five motel offices selling ice cream out of the front offices. There are numerous vending machines throughout the Borough that sell ice cream. The five current ice cream peddler licenses are used mostly to sell from Atlantic Avenue eastward to the bulkhead. It is their opinions that selling on the west side of town is hazardous with children in the street, etc., and they feel the community would not like their trucks driving up and down the streets. Therefore, there will now be seven ice cream peddlers in addition to “numerous” veterans’ licenses. Mr. Healy added that in reading the new ordinance, Section 49-19b was particularly upsetting since his interpretation was that it would be “first come, first served” and anyone could come in and get a license.

 

The Clerk responded that there was a public hearing held on the ordinance in addition to the ordinance being properly advertised. There was also coverage on the issue from the local newspapers. He added that in the court proceedings referred to by Mr. Healy, the court also permitted the Borough to limit the number of licenses issued. He went on to state that the public hearing portion of the ordinance adoption process was “silent.” He added that in response to Mr. Healy’s “first come, first serve” comments, that applied only to the two new licenses and the process will remain the same for renewal of licenses. He indicated that Chapter 40 of the code of the Borough indicates that those prior license holders, in terms of renewal, would have the clear advantage for receiving approval for the following year unless there were documented problems with the performance or actions of that license holder in the previous year. The Solicitor added that the renewal filing date was not changed; the two new ones did have a waiver of the filing date in order that they could be operational in 2008. She added that the renewal date remains December 31st of the previous year.

 

Mr. Healy stated that the court has ruled that a veteran does not require a license, and that the Borough can only “regulate” veterans. The Clerk stated that a license was previously issued to a veteran in response to litigation bringing the total licenses to six at that time. Mr. Healy concurred, adding that a veteran does not need a license to vend. The Clerk responded that veterans would not be able to vend in the current calendar year because they had not applied prior to December 31st. The Solicitor stated that over the course of the last several years, there have been no veterans apply to vend ice cream.

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 756-08

(Authorizing award of seven Ice Cream Peddler Licenses for calendar year 2008)

 

Mrs. Gould motioned that the foregoing Resolution be adopted. Mr. Cabrera, seconded, with a question, requesting clarification as to the “potential unlimited number of ice cream peddlers” due to the veteran preference, and asked how that can be controlled. The Clerk responded that it was his opinion that it cannot be controlled by the Borough, and there is the ability for a veteran to make application and the only limitation would be that they would not be able to vend in the current year. The Solicitor reiterated that the veteran preference has been in existence for many years and there has never been a great influx of veteran ice cream peddlers. The Clerk interjected that the Chief of Police had provided his opinion that the addition of two licenses would not create a traffic or public safety problem.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 757-08

(Authorizing rejection of three ice cream peddler license applications and authorizing the return of the fees previously paid)

 

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 in full on the following page, be paid.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

The Clerk previously provided information to the governing body on April 29, 2008, and indicated that formal action would be required in the future, regarding the Defined Contribution Retirement Program. He indicated that the governing body would be required to set parameters of individuals to be included in the program. He added that a review of the statutory requirements would be needed by the Solicitor, but action will be necessary from the governing body to put the program in place. The Clerk explained that the Defined Contribution Retirement Program changes the parameters of the retirement system by which certain (future) professionals will not be permitted to participate in the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS). He advised that an ordinance will have to be adopted to list those positions to be subject to the Defined Contribution Retirement Program. Mr. Groon inquired if the Commissioners should be reviewing their individual departments. The Clerk suggested that each of the Commissioners review their departments with both he and the CFO. He added that in the case of current employees remaining in PERS and then moving up to an appointed position through a promotion or the like, those appointments will have to come from within. Mr. Groon inquired if each of the Commissioners should go through their list of employees and provide a list of the appropriate personnel. The Clerk responded that it was his understanding that the “positions” must be defined. The CFO stated that he had received an e-mail from the State that he would provide to the governing body and the Solicitor as a supplement to what was previously provided. That information provides the “IRS test” for defining certain positions which will be required to participate in the DCRP.  The Clerk concluded the discussion by indicating that the very first objective should be for the Solicitor to review the applicable Local Finance Notices and then meetings should be held with the governing body and appropriate members of staff to develop the necessary Ordinance.

 

With regard to the telephone system upgrade, that Clerk reported that the process was “ongoing.” Mrs. Gould indicated that the company was not providing a response to the Borough’s inquiries, and that a representative would have to come to the Borough to assess the current system and determine what would be required. She added that her department would “persist” with the inquiries.

 

The Clerk reported that with regard to the Rambler Road Park Project, Mr. Groon has appointed an “ad hoc” committee comprised of five individuals to assist with recommendations to the governing body for that project. That committee consists of a member from the Tourism Commission, a member from the Recreation Commission, a member of the business community, a member of the Planning Board and a member of the public. That committee is scheduled to meet on Monday, May 12, 2008 to discuss the matter.

 

With regard to Seaview Avenue Phase II, that matter is still in the discussion stages, with financing being an issue. The Clerk reminded the CFO that included in any upcoming bond ordinance would be the two pieces of equipment previously bid for the public works department.

 

The Clerk lastly advised that the extension of the bicycle path would be part of the Rambler Road Park Project.

 

Louise Johnstone, 300 East Miami Avenue, with regard to the Rambler Road Park Project and the ad hoc committee, inquired if a member of the Environmental Commission had been appointed to that committee, and is the Environmental Commissioner involved in the project. Mr. Groon responded that a member of the Environmental Commission is not on the ad hoc committee, but a review could be “run through” the Environmental Commission of any recommendations made by the committee.

 

Mrs. Johnstone suggested including dune grasses and bayberry shrubs to the landscape of the Rambler Road Park, as well as butterfly bushes. Mrs. Gould interjected that there is a problem with the bayberry bush, adding that the birds eat the berries and then look for fresh water. She has had problems with them in her swimming pool.

 

Mr. Groon indicated that the Environmental Commission and the Planning Board have a list of trees and bushes that are conducive to growing in the area.

 

Jim Johnstone, 300 East Miami Avenue, inquired as to how much money the Borough made on the recent Borough-wide yard sale, and what will be done with the money. Mr. Cabrera responded that there were approximately 170 participants in the yard sale, and each of them paid $15 to participate. He added that those dollars went directly to the Borough’s general fund and will be considered miscellaneous revenues.

 

Mr. Johnstone spoke with regard to trash collection, and stated that “since we are in a recession” the Borough should think about cutting back to one trash collection per week in the winter, and asked if the Commissioners were considering such a move. Mr. Cabrera responded that it has been discussed, but in the end it comes down to whether the residents, who have become accustomed to having two trash pick-ups per week, would be okay with the reduction to once per week in the winter. If so, he would have no problem with it.

 

Mr. Johnstone stated with regard to health insurance costs for the Borough that he has seen in the newspapers that the Borough is considering having the employees contribute to the cost of the health insurance, and asked if that will be taking place. The Clerk responded that it is something that the Borough intends to pursue, adding that it is ultimately a negotiable item for certain employee groups.

 

Mr. Johnstone then inquired if the governing body had considered adding more parking meters as a source of more revenue for the Borough. Mr. Groon responded that it has been discussed, and the meter rates were raised in 2006. He added that the next step would be to put meters in the residential areas, and the Borough is reluctant to do that. He added that he is not sure there is a large need or benefit of adding more meters. Mr. Johnstone stated that he was aware that there was only one meter person during the 2007 summer season and asked if the Borough will be hiring more people for 2008. Mr. Groon responded that 2007 will be reviewed and the issues will be addressed.

 

Nancy Pietropaoli, 6002 Seaview Avenue, inquired why there are problems renting the stores at the Crest Pier. The Clerk responded that the stores have been advertised on four or five occasions, and the indications that he has heard are that the season is not long enough. Mr. Cabrera added that there are vacancy signs along New Jersey Avenue in the “commercial district” so it is not just the Crest Pier but all over.

 

John Quintano, Atlantic Avenue, inquired as to why the five hour parking signs were removed from Atlantic Avenue between Newark and Jefferson Avenues. He added that the poles were left and are an eyesore. The Chief of Police responded that the signs were removed because they were no longer needed for statutory reasons. He added that the poles will be removed.

 

Mr. Cabrera reported that an informal study was done by the Borough’s auditors, and Wildwood Crest ranked 29th in the state of New Jersey, out of 566 municipalities, as the lowest tax rate. The Clerk interjected that Wildwood Crest, accordingly to the report, has the 29th lowest “effective” tax rate in the state.

 

Louise Johnstone stated that for the past several years she had been asking for shuffleboard courts because it was her opinion that the Borough is neglecting the senior citizens for exercise programs. She asked “where are we in the process?” Mr. Cabrera responded that they were originally going to be put on the west side of the tennis courts, but that side is the “buffer zone.” The only other place would be Rambler Road and that has been explored. Mrs. Johnstone suggested resurfacing one of the tennis courts and making it a shuffleboard court. Mr. Groon stated that there has been discussion regarding resurfacing the tennis courts, but that is on the “wish list” and the shuffleboard courts might be able to be addressed at that time. He added that attendance is critical to making a decision to expend funds for equipment and facilities. Mr. Cabrera stated that he would review the matter.

 

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 28, 2008

Kevin M. Yecco, Clerk/Administrator

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