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Minutes of Commissioners Meeting   -   May 6, 2009

Note:  Complete Meeting Appears on Tape #11-09 on File in the Borough Clerk’s Office May 6, 2009
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 – 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 5, 2008.

 

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 IN FULL:

RESOLUTION NO. 967-09

(Authorizing amendment of CY2009 Municipal Budget)

 

(Note: Mr. Groon entered the meeting during the reading of the Resolution.)

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. 968-09

(Urging reform to the Binding Arbitration Statute)

 

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. 969-09

(Authorizing amendment of the Borough’s Policies and Procedures Manual, specifically the Health Insurance Policy section, to confirm existing practice of providing reimbursement of the standard Medicare Part B premium paid by eligible retirees, and the Family and Medical Leave Policy section to require employees to utilize two weeks of accrued time prior to eligibility for Family Leave Insurance benefit coverage)

 

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. 970-09

(Authorizing installation of Trolley Route signage at various locations designated by 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. 971-09

(Authorizing opposition to Governor Corzine’s 2009 budget cuts to beach nourishment and tourism funding)

 

 

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. 972-09

(Supporting the naming of the Route 109 Cape May Canal Bridge to the “Cape May County Veterans’ Memorial Bridge ”)

 

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. 973-09

(Authorizing submission of an NJDOT grant application for the Transportation Enhancement ARRA (Economic Recovery) Program – Rambler Road Park Project and bicycle path improvements)

 

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. 974-09

(Authorizing transfer of developer [Don Nelson] obligation for NJDEP public access from Cardinal Road and Park Boulevard to the borough-owned kayak launch area at Sunset Lake , Miami Avenue and Bayview Drive )

 

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

Prior to the vote, Mr. Groon indicated that he had not had a chance to review the plan and asked that the matter be held pending his review of same. He asked Mr. Cabrera if there was a “time line” on the matter. Mr. Cabrera responded that there was not a time line, but the developer was under an obligation to provide authorization as soon as possible. The Clerk suggested approving the resolution “subject to final review, along with the Engineer.” The Clerk added that he had provided copies of the plan to each of the Commissioners. It was agreed that authorization was being provided subject to a final sign-off by the Mayor after submission of the final plan by the Borough Engineer.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 975-09

(Authorizing appointment of eight Class II Police Officers in the Borough)

 

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

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Mr. Cabrera motioned, seconded by Mrs. Gould, that all bills properly authorized, as submitted and which appear in full hereinbelow, be paid.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

The Clerk indicated that Tom Byrne and Joe Meola of the J. Byrne Agency were present for the meeting to make a presentation to the governing body. He added that each of the Commissioners had been provided with a copy of the “Stewardship Report” from the J. Byrne Agency.

 

Tom Byrne provided a summary of the work being done by his agency in conjunction with the Safety Committee. In that regard, his agency reviews all claims submitted, they participate in all Safety Committee meetings, they conduct “no tolerance” training for rank and file employees, as well as their attendance all JIF meetings on behalf of the Borough. Mr. Byrne went on to highlight various aspects of the report and congratulated the Safety Committee and Fund Commissioner for a “job well done and for their continuing commitment to all program requirements”.

 

Mr. Groon thanked Mr. Byrne and Mr. Meola for the work they do on behalf of the Borough, and extended that thanks to the Borough employees who make the program run smoothly.

 

The next matter was a presentation by Eric Gundrum of Remington and Vernick Engineers on the COAH matter.

 

Mr. Gundrum reported that the Borough had submitted its Fair Share Plan to COAH in December 2008, and that plan has been deemed “incomplete” by COAH. The basis of the incomplete status was the lack of a draft resolution to bond for any shortfall in funding of the Borough’s Housing Element Fair Share Plan. Mr. Gundrum reviewed various options available to the Borough. He has advised the Borough to not provide the requested draft resolution since there is pending legislation that would remove the 2.5% non-residential development fee, the result of which would be an immediate shortfall in funding. It is projected that the Borough’s shortfall could be $300,000 by the year 2018. COAH has decided to deem the Borough incomplete for not submitting the draft resolution. Mr. Gundrum has requested a waiver of the resolution requirement and that request has been denied.

 

Mr. Groon asked for confirmation that providing the draft resolution would not eliminate the Borough’s exposure. He added that the Borough has an obligation to provide 60 units and if the process does not evolve to create those 60 units, what would be the Borough’s exposure at the end of the process? Mr. Gundrum responded that the 2.5% that would create the $300,000 would only cover that which would be generated by the non-residential development fee. In addition, the Borough would be generating 1.5% on residential fees which could be utilized as part of the affordable housing program. It is the obligation of the Borough to create those 60 units by the year 2018. In order to create those 60 units, the Borough will have to implement a funding mechanism, whether it is to get grants from the State of New Jersey , or utilizing the development fee ordinance, or to fund it entirely by the Borough through taxpayer dollars. It is estimated that the cost per unit is $116,000 which would provide an estimate of the total exposure for the 60 units. Mr. Groon interjected that that could be a $7 million obligation on the part of the Borough. He went on to state that by providing the “draft resolution” to COAH, the Borough would potentially be obligating itself to $5 million or $6 million. Mr. Gundrum concurred.

 

Mr. Groon inquired if he was correct that if the Borough does not “enter in” and the State should pass a statute to collect the funds, those funds would go directly to the State. Mr. Gundrum responded in the affirmative. Mr. Gundrum also said that under the current pending bill, any certificate of occupancy drives the affordable housing fee on non-residential development at 2.5%. Currently, any funds paid under that provision would go directly to the State. At such time as the Borough adopts an affordable housing fee ordinance, that money would be retained by the Borough to be used for affordable housing purposes only in a dedicated housing trust fund.

 

Mr. Groon inquired if the Borough could adopt the ordinance without entering into COAH. Mr. Gundrum responded negatively, adding that it is provided for in the Roberts bill. It states that the municipality must have substantial certification in order to adopt such an ordinance.

 

Mr. Groon inquired if in the event the Borough chooses not to enter into COAH, has Mr. Gundrum received any indications from COAH that there would be a negative support for grants or other funding to the community, or would not be permitted to be part of any other regional groups with regard to planning, zoning, etc. Mr. Gundrum responded that he has not received direct indications of that, however, he is aware of other municipalities facing just such obstacles. Mr. Groon inquired if Mr. Gundrum thought the State would expand its role in that area. Mr. Gundrum responded that the State has signed several memorandums of understanding with COAH – the DOT, NJDEP, EDA, HMFA – and the memorandums are being honored. He has also seen within the DOT grants that are being awarded. Mr. Groon inquired if there were any additional ways of supporting the COAH process. Mr. Gundrum responded that there was an e-mail from the COAH counsel that suggested that there are alternative funding sources. COAH does provide a guide. He added that to his knowledge, for most of these grant programs, COAH certification is required.

 

Mrs. Gould inquired as to how many municipalities Remington & Vernick is representing, how many have signed on with COAH, and how many have declined. Mr. Gundrum responded that he has worked with six municipalities, and there are approximately eight other municipalities being represented by Remington & Vernick. He added that the majority of municipalities have submitted their Housing Element Fair Share Plan, those being mostly in the northern part of the state.

 

Mr. Gundrum added that there are several agencies working with COAH to change the obligations of various municipalities in different regions of the state, as well as the New Jersey League of Municipalities which is in litigation with COAH trying to overturn the COAH rules and the methodology behind affordable housing obligations. The Clerk interjected that the Borough of Wildwood Crest is a participant in that litigation.

 

The Clerk state that the $5-6 million exposure to the Borough is one aspect of the issue, but additionally the Borough’s land use ordinance would be “thrown out the window” in the event there is a problem. Mr. Gundrum concurred, stating that if a developer sues under the Builders’ Remedy, the Borough’s land use ordinance could be overturned.

 

The Solicitor inquired if all of the documentation provided by the other surrounding municipalities is public record. Mr. Gundrum responded in the affirmative. The Solicitor then asked if the Borough could request copies of those submissions from COAH. Mr. Gundrum responded in the affirmative. He added that he has copies of several municipalities’ submissions. He is aware that several municipalities did not provide the draft bond resolution and were certified, and he is questioning why Wildwood Crest is being required to provide the resolution and is being denied certification. He added that he is concerned about Wildwood Crest being singled out in that regard.

 

The Solicitor inquired if any municipality had received an official letter from COAH. Mr. Gundrum responded that he was not aware of any letters being received.

 

With regard to the Fitness Park Pavilion, the Clerk indicated that the Borough is moving forward on that project, and asked Mr. Cabrera to provide a report on the funding mechanism. Mr. Cabrera stated that he is still working with the surrounding property owners.

 

The Mayor advised that he would be meeting with the Planning Board tomorrow to further address this matter and to look for direction from that group.

 

With regard to the COWCO renewal agreement, the Clerk reported that he had supplied each of the Commissioners with a draft agreement. He indicated that he had responded to the City of Wildwood indicating that the May 12, 2009 response deadline was not feasible due to the Municipal Election on that date. He added that all delays in drafting the agreement have been due to the City of Wildwood , and the Borough of Wildwood Crest has timely responded to all issues. The Borough will be contributing from the 2009 budget based upon obligations acknowledged by the Borough that are shared among the participating members. Additionally, the Borough has indicated that changes were needed in the contract from the previously required June 30, 2009 notice date of intent to withdraw if that is ultimately provided, to August 31, 2009. Additionally, the Borough has requested a cap on expenditures for staff OE’s, etc., as well as tying in the previous histories for revenues from permit fees as an amount that the Borough would supplement in order to meet the operating needs. Any costs to be borne by the participants in the way of a deficit should also inure to the participants in the event there is a surplus. The draft agreement was received by the Borough from the City of Wildwood on May 1, 2009, and the Clerk responded on that same date.

 

The Solicitor stated that she had met with the Wildwood Solicitor, and there will be another revision to the agreement forthcoming. The Clerk reiterated that the Borough has attempted, along with the City of North Wildwood , to timely respond to the draft agreement and all other activities related to COWCO.

 

With regard to the 2009 Capital Improvements, the Clerk indicated that the CFO has been provided additional direction for consideration by the entire governing body.

 

Jim Johnstone, 300 East Miami Avenue , commented on the dead trees at Sunset Lake , and asked if they will be replaced. Mr. Cabrera responded in the affirmative, adding that it is in the 2009 budget. Mr. Johnstone then inquired if a dog park was being considered at Sunset Lake . Mrs. Gould responded that she and Commissioner Cabrera had been asked about a dog run at Sunset Lake , and stated that it would be considered by the governing body. She added that not everyone cleans up after their dogs and that issue must be addressed. Mr. Groon concurred, adding that enforcement is something that must be discussed since there is an ordinance in place addressing that issue. Mr. Cabrera stated that it has been an ongoing problem for many years.

 

Mr. Johnstone then commented on the Borough-Wide Yard Sale the previous weekend. He indicated that there were many vehicles traveling the streets and parking was an issue due to the ongoing street reconstruction and it was a safety factor. He inquired if the streets would be completed before the season begins. The Engineer responded that they hope to have it completed within the next week or so, but the recent rain has been a problem.

 

Louise Johnstone, 300 East Miami Avenue , stated that she was very impressed with the governing body’s responses and knowledge regarding the COAH issue. Mr. Groon responded that the Borough has been working with Mr. Gundrum for some time and it is not an easy process.

 

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

RESOLUTION NO. 976-09

(Closed session: potential litigation, specifically the NJDEP direction for beach cleaning as well as their delay of permitting process for Rambler Road Park Project and reconstruction of the existing building on Heather Road pier)

 

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

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Upon returning from closed session, Mr. Groon indicated that he wanted to update the governing body on the plan for COAH. He indicated that, after discussion with counsel, they have a letter they would like to send to COAH, prior to receipt of a formal letter from that entity, further investigating the issue of the requirement for a bonding resolution. That letter will be drafted by Mr. Gundrum and the Solicitor, and will be submitted to the governing body for review prior to being sent to COAH.

 

The Clerk reminded the Commissioners of a special meeting on May 13, 2009 on the budget amendment.

 

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

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Dated:        May 27, 2009

Kevin M. Yecco, Clerk/Administrator

MINUTES OF MEETINGS INDEX