M I N U T E S
February 24, 1998
A Regular Meeting of the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights was held on February 24, 1998 at 8:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, 248 Hamilton Avenue, Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey.
Mayor Torre stated that the meeting complied with the Sunshine Law, due notice having been made to all members of the Council by personal service on January 1, 1998 and transmitted to The Observer, The Record and the Herald News by mail on January 2, 1998.
ROLL CALL: Present: Mayor William J. Torre, Councilman Herbert D. Heeren, Councilman Justin A. DiPisa, Councilman Garrett R. Pepe, Councilwoman Marlene Verrastro, Councilman John Wassberg
Absent: Councilman Andrew Link III
SALUTE TO FLAG: Mayor Torre led in the Salute to the Flag.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: None
BE IT RESOLVED that the claims and accounts amounting to $604,259.86 specified in the schedule, having been examined and approved by the Finance Commissioner, or his Deputy, be paid and that warrants be issued therefor.
Signed Andrew Link III/Commissioner of Finance
Councilman Wassberg motioned, seconded by Councilman DiPisa, to approve the Bill List. There were all ayes except Councilman Pepe abstained on the bill for Acme, PO#1895, as he felt there was a conflict of interest.
As Deputy Commissioner of Finance, Councilman Heeren reported that the 1998 Municipal Budget was introduced and the Budget Committee continues to meet to reduce the tax rate. The Governing Body will be applying for supplementary municipal tax relief funds to reduce the tax rate even more. Adoption of the budget is pending on whether the Borough will be receiving discretionary funds. The annual financial statement, annual debt statement and 1998 budget have been filed by the statutory deadline and the close out of 1997 records has been completed.
Under Police, Councilman Heeren reported that the Borough will be receiving two defibrillators from Hackensack Medical Center to be placed in the police cars. Officers using the defibrillators will be trained and certified. During the month of January, the Department received 782 calls, 78 via 911. 508 summonses were issued. 386 parking tickets were issued with the majority being for overnight parking. 122 tickets were issued for moving violations of which 13 were for speeding, 10 for fictitious plates and 10 for suspended licenses.
FIRE & PUBLIC FACILITIES:
Under Fire, Councilman DiPisa stated that the
month of December represents the beginning of the calendar year for fire and rescue call
reporting. The number of fire calls for December/January for the Borough was 33, 61
year-to-date, 5 Teterboro calls, 12 year-to-date and 6 mutual aid calls, 9 year-to-date.
There were 8 rescue calls for the Borough, 16 year-to-date, 3 Teterboro calls, 6 year-to
date and 0 mutual aid calls. He commented how fortunate the Borough is to have a very
dedicated and confident volunteer fire department and rescue squad. If these departments
were paid as in other towns, there would be a salary package of approximately $1,800,000
with benefits and other contingencies. This could affect the tax rate by as much as 20
points or a $410.00 increase per household. Under Public Facilities, in accordance with
the NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection Site Remediation Program, the Borough must
upgrade any petroleum underground storage tanks that it owns by the end of this year. In
1993, diesel fuel and gasoline tanks were removed from under ground and new above ground
tanks were installed. There are presently two waste oil tanks underground which must be
upgraded to meet DEP regulations for detection monitoring, overall prevention and
corrosion protection, all being costly. It has been decided that these be removed and no
longer used. The DPW is in the process of installing two new tanks above ground which
should be in operation by the end of the month.
SANITATION & WELFARE:
Under Sanitation, Councilman Pepe reported the DPW will be delivering five paper bags in March to each household for the spring cleaning of leaves, grass, hedge clippings and small twigs. Plastic bags will not be accepted. The Borough has been awarded two grants, the Municipal Recycling Program Grant and the Source Reduction Grant, in the total amount of $51,480 from the BCUA. Under Welfare, for the month of December there were 10 cases, 2 cases closed, 3 cases pending, 2 cases denied, 20 reports, 18 office and home interviews, 5 food distributions from the pantry, 20 conferences with other agencies and $1,540 was expended. The Department serviced 30 families and 27 children during the Christmas holiday. By April, all municipalities handling welfare cases are mandated to use computers for their reports.
HEALTH & RECREATION:
Under Health, Councilwoman Verrastro reported that for the month of January there were 9 births recorded, 5 male and 4 female, 48 burial permits issued, 358 certified transcripts, 572 dog licenses issued, 48 deaths recorded, 2 food licenses issued, 21 vending machine licenses issued and 2 marriage licenses issued. There were 191 calls received by the Department. Under Recreation, she announced the registration of an upcoming program.
STREETS, TRANSPORTATION & PARKS:
Under Parks, the DPW has purchased a Wells cargo trailer to be used for the storing of landscaping equipment. This new trailer replaces a 15 year old handmade trailer which was no longer repairable. The Borough will be accepting bids for a new brush chipper which has better safety features and will be able to handle larger limbs, speeding up clean up time. In 1996, the Department began the project of trimming all Borough trees. To date, 70% of the trees have been trimmed and the project should be completed in 1999.
REPORT OF MAYOR:
Appointments: Richard Castellitto & Richard Vanatta - Building Inspector Trainees
On motion by Councilwoman Verrastro, seconded by Councilman Pepe, and unanimously carried, the foregoing appointments were made.
Peter Gallo - Ambulance Auxiliary
On motion by Councilman DiPisa, seconded by Councilman Pepe, and unanimously carried, the foregoing appointment was made.
Mayor Torre reported on the 1998 municipal budget. The budget introduced on February 10th provides for a 6.8 point increase in the local tax rate, being a $132.60 increase on the average house assessed at $195,000, however, this budget can and will be modified prior to its adoption. The Budget Committee has already met and made significant reductions to that figure. We are submitting an application to the State Local Finance Board for state aid and if received, it would result in further decreases. The biggest problem has been tax appeals. This year, due to tax appeals, ratables decreased by 8.8 million dollars. The Budget Committee has looked at every area they can make reductions without compromising public safety, sanitation and Borough employees and they have accomplished that with this budget. From 1995 to 1998, the tax rate increase was 1.57% per year, which is well below the rate of inflation of 2.5% over the same period. The Governing Body has been holding the line on taxes and even received a commendation from the Governor citing the Borough as only approximately 30 municipalities out of 572 that has kept their tax increases below the rate of inflation over the last four years. The Borough has been tentatively awarded grants for 1998 in the amount of $100,335 to continue the barrier-free program throughout the Borough. The Mayor and Council has authorized the Borough Engineer to proceed with a survey of the Boulevard, after which we will apply to the NJ Dept. of Transportation for grants in blocks of $200,000 to renovate the sidewalks, install decorative lighting and brick pavements and plant new trees.
CONSENT AGENDA: None
39. Granting of Raffle Licenses - Corpus Christi Church & Concerned Parents of Corpus Christi School
40. Authorizing Issuance of Check to Postmaster
Councilman Wassberg motioned, seconded by Councilman DiPisa to adopt the foregoing Resolutions. (Resolutions attached). There were all ayes except Councilman Pepe abstained on Resolution No. 38.
ORDINANCE(S) ON INTRODUCTION:
ORDINANCE NO. 1809:
"REVISED ORDINANCE AMENDING PARKING LOT TRUST FUND ORD." (Draft referred to Committee by mail)
ORDINANCE NO. 1810:
"RESIDENTS' PARKING PERMITS". (To be referred to Committee for Caucus Mtg.)
ORDINANCE(S) ON PUBLIC HEARING:
ORDINANCE NO. 1805:
"AN ORDINANCE SUPPLEMENTING CHAPTER 275 ENTITLED "ZONING" OF THE CODE OF THE BOROUGH OF HASBROUCK HEIGHTS TO ESTABLISH A COMMERCIAL PARKING FACILITY TRUST FUND AND TO REQUIRE THE PAYMENT THEREIN OF A SUM IN LIEU OF REQUIRED PARKING IN CONNECTION WITH ANY VARIANCE OR WAIVER SOUGHT AS TO THE REQUIRED NUMBER OF PARKING PLACES FOR ANY NON-RESIDENTIAL PREMISES LOCATED IN THE BOROUGH, AND FURTHER REPEALING ORDINANCE NO. 1779 BEING PARAGRAPH D OF SECTION 275-26 OF THE CODE WHICH WAS ADOPTED ON FEBRUARY 11, 1997".
On motion by Councilman Pepe, seconded by Councilman DiPisa, and unanimously carried, the foregoing Ordinance was carried on Public Hearing pending the Planning Board's recommendations.
MISCELLANEOUS FROM PUBLIC:
Mayor Torre opened the meeting to the public for anyone wishing to speak.
Frank Romano, 144 Hasbrouck Ave., came forward and complained of sewer backups in his home which have been exasperated by the expansion of Venture 17 and Shop-Rite. He complained that the Borough granted them permission to raise their grade above his grade and to put in a retaining pond which he described as a retaining swamp housing wild animals and rats. He complained about Riser Ditch and water and large rats coming on his property. He complained of not getting any assistance from Borough departments to alleviate his problem. Mayor Torre said they have been involved in extensive meetings with Assemblywoman Heck, the State and County and are trying to come to a solution in cleaning Riser Ditch. Councilman Wassberg said it is difficult to find a solution because the ditch travels through many other towns. Mayor Torre said the Borough Attorney is looking to see if any action can be taken against the property owners near Mr. Romano's home for this excess water going on his property. Borough Attorney Ralph Chandless said the Governing Body gave him authorization to file a suit against the owners of the Shop-Rite premises. The suit is drawn and can be filed tomorrow. Mr. Chandless said that from the records he reviewed, it seemed that the primary cause is from the Shop-Rite premises. The flooding of the basin on the Venture 17 property results from the overflow of water on the Shop-Rite property. According to the site plan, Shop-Rite was to have a system sufficient enough to prevent runoff from its property. He said that the importance of Riser Ditch to this situation is that all of those properties depend for its drainage on the laterals underneath Route 17 which are within the jurisdiction of the NJ Dept. of Transportation. They clog repeatedly because of Riser Ditch which has silt backing up in it. The Dept. of Transportation and former owner of Shop-Rite had been cooperating toward the cleaning and repair of the lateral and it did appear that the problem could have been resolved if this was the cause, but one of the property owners on the east side of Route 17 denied the Dept. of Transportation access. Mr. Romano was satisfied that the matter is being worked on.
Carmine Nunziato, 121 Hamilton Ave., came forward, said he was a senior citizen on a fixed income and complained of rising taxes. He also said that there are many activities for children involved in football and baseball and not for other activities such as ice hockey. Mayor Torre said they have been looking into a location for such an activity.
There being no one else wishing to speak, Mayor Torre closed the meeting to the public.
CLOSE FOR PERSONNEL
WHEREAS, the Mayor and Council desire to meet for the purpose of a closed session to discuss personnel; and
WHEREAS, the Open Public Meeting Law does specifically authorize a public body to exclude the public from a meeting for certain specified purposes;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights that a closed meeting shall take place immediately and said meeting shall be closed to the public and to the press. The results of the discussion of the closed meeting will be released to the public when the reasons for discussing and acting on the subject matter set forth above no longer exists.
Motion to go into Private Session was entertained, motioned, seconded and carried.
There being no further business to come before the Mayor and Council, the public portion of the meeting was adjourned.
I, BARBARA MALDONADO, Borough Clerk of the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights, do hereby certify that the foregoing Minutes are to the best of my knowledge a true account of the Regular Meeting held on February 24, 1998.
Barbara Maldonado, RMC