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Minutes of Special Commissioners Meeting   -   December 3, 2009

Note: Complete Special Meeting Appears on CD #40-09 and 41-09 on File in the Wildwood Crest, NJ Borough Clerk’s Office December 3, 2009
Wildwood Crest, NJ

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

 

The special meeting of the Board of Commissioners, Borough of Wildwood Crest, Cape May County , New Jersey , was held in the Municipal Court 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 special meeting by posting notice on the bulletin board in the Borough Hall and by mailing same to The Herald, Gazette-Leader and The Press on Tuesday November 24, 2009 at 2:00 p.m.

 

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

 

The Clerk advised that he had circulated to the governing body, solicitor, and CFO, two Excel spreadsheets containing Capital Improvement Plans with USDA funding through 2013, and one without USDA funding through 2014.

 

It was indicated that the purpose for this special meeting was to present all of the issues to the governing body in order to have a purposeful discussion of budgetary and capital items and priorities. The lists presented were for purposes of a starting point for discussion.   Also present for the discussion were the Borough Engineer and the CFO.

 

Mr. Cabrera questioned the item entitled “east/west streets” and indicated that it should be entitled “Rambler Road Phase II.” He went on to state that it would be his suggestion to categorize the capital items as “infrastructure,” “equipment purchase,” “preventative maintenance/building upgrade.” It was his understanding that everyone agreed that infrastructure was a priority, and secondarily would be preventative maintenance on buildings, and finally new purchases.

 

Mr. Cabrera added that the “infrastructure” items should be further categorized by which projects would be eligible for USDA funding and which would not. Those projects would then have to be prioritized in order to determine which would be USDA eligible.

 

The Clerk inquired as to the NJEIT funding, as an alternative. The Engineer responded that any of the infrastructure projects would be eligible. He added that most of the infrastructure projects would also be eligible for USDA funding, but there has been talk of changing the eligibility criteria. It was asked if one of the programs (NJEIT or USDA) is better than the other in terms of financing. The CFO responded that he would not recommend USDA. The Engineer stated that he did not think the work on the beach would be eligible for either funding program, but the beach project might be eligible through NJDEP Coastal. He added that there would be a timeline for the beach project. He was asked if the NJDEP could meet the timeline or would that project have to be placed into the 2010 budget. The Engineer responded that the Project Manager did not think it would be difficult to meet the Borough’s timeframe for some of the work to be done by summer 2010, but it was suggested that some of the work be carried out by the Borough and the “greater picture” could be funded by them. He was asked if that was a 20 year plan. The Engineer responded that it is maximum twenty years but the Borough could choose a lesser timeframe to repay the debt . He added that it is based on “useful life” in which case any equipment purchased under the program could not be a 20 year plan. The CFO interjected that either process is slower than a traditional funding source because a report would have to be prepared and then get on the agenda of the Local Finance Board. He suggested that if timing is an issue, neither program would be good.

 

On that basis, the Clerk added that a priority list and emergency list would have to be assembled, and those projects included in a bond ordinance. Any projects that can be delayed several months would be included in the alternate funding sources.

 

Mr. Groon stated that he wanted to address to the governing body that if the emergencies were taken out of the picture and solved as soon as possible, the Borough could then return to a conservative year-in, year-out approach of approximately $2 million per year for infrastructure.

 

The Engineer indicated that he had a rough estimate of the work to be done on the west side. He suggested a two-phase approach due to the magnitude of the project. Phase I would be Cresse, Morning Glory and Lake Road , as well as Washington Avenue . That Phase would be approximately $1.1 million for Cresse/Morning Glory/Lake Road; $770,000 for Washington Avenue/Bayview/Newark Interconnect; and $250,000 for the public works yard, for a total of $2.120 million. Phase II would include Hollywood Avenue between Bayview and New Jersey Avenue to replace the drainage line and the sanitary sewer; St. Louis Avenue through the easement to the outfall; a drainage system between New Jersey and Bayview (sanitary and storm sewer) which would be approximately $3.0 million. Mr. Groon asked for a breakdown for the three projects included in Phase II. The Engineer responded that Hollywood Avenue and St. Louis outfall would be approximately $1.1 million; drainage system between New Jersey and Bayview would be approximately $2.0 million, but would include two blocks of New Jersey Avenue . That could be reduced if the two blocks of New Jersey Avenue were to be removed, reducing it to approximately $1.4 million. The Engineer next indicated that Phase III would be a couple of minor drainage improvements that could be done at any time between Morning Glory and Miami , as well as replacement of tideflex valves. That Phase would be approximately $750,000. He added that he anticipated a 15% increase in unit prices assuming that the phases would be several years away and that increase is included in his estimate. He was asked how critical the phases were. He responded that Hollywood Avenue is far more critical than the other projects.

 

The Clerk inquired as to how much of Phase I should include other items that have been on a preliminary list for several weeks, such as the roof work. The Engineer responded that the phasing does not include any work except the west side projects.

 

Mr. Cabrera reiterated his suggestion that the projects be broken down into “infrastructure,” “building and park improvements,” and “equipment.” He indicated that there will be emergencies/high priorities in each category.

 

The CFO questioned the funding sources for these various projects, stating that it is all bonded indebtedness. The Clerk responded that the governing body is looking at the pay-back period in the USDA or NJEIT programs versus a bond ordinance. The CFO stated that the pay-back on the two programs would commence sooner than the payment on traditional funding. He added that it would impact the Borough’s bond rating as well.

 

The CFO was asked when the next bond pay-off was scheduled. He responded that it was scheduled for 2014, when the 2006 issue was scheduled to be amortized. He was asked if it would be possible to wait until 2014 to issue the next bonds. The CFO responded that it would not be possible “at the pace of the past three years.” He was asked if there was a yearly number that would extend it to 2014. The CFO responded “no,” adding that the Stimulus Plan expended the small issues. He said that he would never recommend having an issue in excess of $10 million because it would drive the rates up.

 

Mrs. Gould inquired as to the most important projects on the list, notwithstanding the USDA projects. The response was the Phase I of the west side projects would be most important. Mr. Cabrera again suggested reclassifying the list as “infrastructure,” “buildings renovations/improvements,” and “equipment” and then prioritizing the list to see what would create “minimal impact” on the budget. The Clerk stated that the governing body would need direction as to which items are “priority” and “critical.”

 

Mr. Cabrera also indicated that he was not familiar with all of the programs available, and would like to reconfigure the list in order to match the list with available funding sources. Mr. Groon responded that it was his understanding that there is no program that would be any more beneficial than the current program. The CFO responded that he did not completely agree with Mr. Groon’s comments. He added that the dynamics are changing so rapidly, it was his opinion that the Borough should wait to see if the current programs are going to be extended. The Clerk inquired if the debt could be retired sooner than anticipated, would that be feasible. The Engineer stated that when attempting to evaluate the programs, the terms are not made clear until application is made.

 

Mr. Groon indicated that he agreed with Mr. Cabrera’s assessment that the projects must be prioritized. He added that it was his suggestion that Phase I be done in 2010, in addition to any other projects that are feasible, and do Phase II in 2011. He added that it was his opinion that the governing body needs to determine what is going to be invested in capital and then work with the remaining projects. Mr. Cabrera stated that his reasoning for classifying the projects was that if the governing body were to look at the infrastructure items, whether or not funding is from grants or traditional funding sources, it would reveal the impact.

 

The CFO responded to Mr. Cabrera’s suggestion by stating that the levy cap law penalizes towns for reducing its overall debt.  He added that if Trenton continues to impose the cap levy penalty, it hampers the Borough’s ability to operate. He added that any plan developed today could be completely wrong two or three years down the road because it is impossible to know what Trenton is going to do regarding the levy cap law. Mr. Cabrera stated that it would be a plan subject to change. The CFO responded that once the Borough is three years into a plan and thinking about going to bond market, it would be too late to change the plan.

 

It was suggested that Phase I be put into 2010, Phase II into 2011, Phase III into 2012, 2013, and/or 2014.

 

Mrs. Gould asked about the tideflex valves being in Phase III. The Engineer responded that many of them are getting older and are not functioning properly, if at all.

 

After much discussion of the various projects and improvements, it was determined that in 2010 the following projects would be undertaken: Lake Road for $650,000, DPW improvements to coincide with infrastructure repairs for $250,000, Washington Avenue for $770,000, beach repairs totaling $440,000; Heather Road for $250,000; administrative Borough improvements for $125,000; school land acquisition at $195,000; roof repairs (various locations) at $200,000, and a sewer vac for $230,000. The determination for the smaller items would be for budgetary inclusion, as opposed to the bond ordinance, if possible financially.

 

There was further discussion of various projects for the 2011 capital budget in order to develop a plan for future years, inclusive of Phase II ( Hollywood , St. Louis , and Bayview Avenues) infrastructure improvements.

 

There being no public comments, nor any further matters for discussion, Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the meeting be adjourned.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

December 28, 2009

Kevin M. Yecco, Borough Clerk

MINUTES OF MEETINGS INDEX