M I N U T E S
May 13, 1998
A Regular Meeting of the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights was held on May 13, 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 on January 2, 1998.
ROLL CALL: Present: Mayor William J. Torre, Councilman Andrew Link III, Councilman Herbert D. Heeren, Councilman Justin A. DiPisa, Councilman Garrett R. Pepe, Councilwoman Marlene Verrastro, Councilman John Wassberg
SALUTE TO FLAG: Mayor Torre led in the Salute to the Flag.
BE IT RESOLVED that the claims and accounts amounting to $1,855,062.05 specified in the schedule, having been examined and approved by the Finance Commissioner, or his Deputy, be paid and that warrants be issued therefore.
Signed Andrew Link, III/Commissioner of Finance
On motion by Councilwoman Verrastro, seconded by Councilman Wassberg, and unanimously carried, the foregoing Resolution was adopted.
72. Payment of Fees to State - Dog Licenses
73. Update to Boro's Deferred Compensation Program for IRS Compliance
On motion by Councilman Pepe, seconded by Councilman Link, and unanimously carried, the foregoing Resolutions were adopted. (Resolutions attached)
ORDINANCE(S) ON INTRODUCTION:
ORDINANCE NO. 1821:
BE IT RESOLVED that an Ordinance entitled "AN ORDINANCE TO AUTHORIZE AN AGREEMENT WITH THE BOROUGH OF TETERBORO TO PROVIDE "911" EMERGENCY TELEPHONE SERVICE THEREFOR FROM JULY 1, 1998 THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2004" introduced this date be and the same is hereby passed on first reading and the Borough Clerk be directed to advertise notice of public hearing on said Ordinance to be held at the regular meeting of the Borough Council on May 26, 1998 at 8:00 p.m.
ORDINANCE NO. 1822:
BE IT RESOLVED that an Ordinance entitled "AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND AND SUPPLEMENT AN ORDINANCE ENTITLED "AN ORDINANCE TO STABILIZE AND REGULATE RENTS WITHIN THE BOROUGH OF HASBROUCK HEIGHTS AND TO ESTABLISH A RENT BOARD" AS THE SAME MAY BE IN FORCE AND EFFECT AT THE TIME OF THE ADOPTION OF THIS ORDINANCE OR AS THE SAME MAY BE ADOPTED SIMULTANEOUSLY TO THE ADOPTION OF THIS ORDINANCE" introduced this date be and the same is hereby passed on first reading and the Borough Clerk be directed to advertise notice of public hearing on said Ordinance to be held at the regular meeting of the Borough Council on June 9, 1998 at 8:00 p.m.
On motion by Councilman DiPisa, seconded by Councilman Pepe, and unanimously carried, the foregoing Ordinances for Introduction were adopted.
ORDINANCE(S) ON PUBLIC HEARING:
ORDINANCE NO. 1820:
"AN ORDINANCE TO STABILIZE AND REGULATE RENTS WITHIN THE BOROUGH OF HASBROUCK HEIGHTS AND TO ESTABLISH A RENT BOARD".
On motion by Councilman Link, seconded by Councilman Heeren, and unanimously carried, the foregoing Ordinance on Public Hearing was carried to the 5/26/98 meeting.
MISCELLANEOUS FROM PUBLIC:
Mayor Torre opened the meeting to the public for anyone wishing to speak.
Harry Maisch, 150 Burr Pl., came forward and complained that some of his neighbors and himself had raw sewage coming in through his basement floor. He said that at times sewer water, feces and toilet paper come out of the main sewer line. He asked for relief with the installation of a new sewer line or pump station.
He said some of the residents actually have feces coming through their sewer lines. He said he has water tainted with fecal matter coming up through the floor. Mayor Torre said he witnessed the situation and the basic problem is that residents have sump pumps illegally connected into the sanitary sewer system, creating an overload of the system. He said the line is at half capacity at all times, except for when there is a major storm which recently took place. The illegal sump pumps exasperate the problem and the line cannot handle it. He said he visited some of the houses on the block, saw the situation and found it to be unacceptable. The Borough Engineer will be giving the Governing Body some options this evening to correct the problem.
Councilman Pepe said this is why the Governing Body has been stressing that any resident that has their sump pump connected to the sanitary sewer system to please disconnect them from such.
Mayor Torre said the Building Inspector has increased his search for illegal sump pumps and has already located approximately five.
Susan Tebbenhoff, 148 Burr Pl., came forward and said she has never had a flooding problem, but noticed that in the middle of the block there seems to be a leak that comes from underground and drifts towards her house.
Lynn Masopust, 155 Burr Pl., came forward and complained that this problem has been ignored for many years. She complained that for years when there has been a storm, she cannot use the facilities because they will back up into the house.
Olly Cordero, 107 Washington Pl., came forward and as President of the H.H. Soccer Association, asked if improvements will be made to the soccer fields at Woodland Park. Mayor Torre said that no formal plans have been made since the referendum was held. In the next few months the Governing Body will see what its options are for improvements to the park. He could not give an answer at this time.
Bob Anderson, 153 Burr Pl., came forward and said he does not have any water problems in his basement. He said he agreed that illegal sump pumps definitely have to be removed to help the sewer system. He asked if we have two separate systems for stormwater and sewer. Councilman Pepe said there is a separate stormwater system and sanitary system. He said the DPW has been installing solid manhole covers to prevent the infiltration of rainwater going into the sanitary system. DPW Superintendent Robert Heck said approximately 65 manhole covers, 2%, have bibs to prevent rainwater from entering the sanitary system. He said the holes in manhole covers are there mainly to let gases vent out and let air in to help the sewage flow. If they are all blocked up, it could cause a problem. They choose to block up the manhole covers that would definitely be letting water in.
Borough Engineer Kenneth Job came forward and said bibs are effective in areas where a manhole cover has a chance of becoming submerged. When manholes are in the center of the roadway, there is virtually no water entering. He said that a few years ago, the BCUA did an analysis of their entire system involving all municipalities. They issued a summary report of inflow and infiltration which covers manhole covers, open joints, cracked pipes, etc. where groundwater would enter the system during rainstorms which could lead to backup problems. The Borough of Hasbrouck Heights was one of the best towns in the County for low infiltration and inflow. Based on those reports, it is clear that the areas in the Borough where there is a buildup of stormwater during rainstorms, the major culprit is sump pumps. The backup doesn't occur during a summer thunderstorm. It happens when water builds up and in this case, there was 14 days of rain, saturating the ground. Sump pumps start to go on when the ground gets saturated and they stay on for long periods. Mayor Torre asked how sewage seeps into a home through the floor. Mr. Job said it could be from a break or crack in a lateral pipe. The same would be the case with sewage coming in through fixtures. If it was a problem with the main line, you would see a washout of the road pavement.
Harry Maisch again came forward and said he has not had water in his basement in nine years. He felt that if it was groundwater seeping into his home, it would be his responsibility, but since it is sewer water, the Borough should be responsible for correcting the situation.
Mr. Job said the problem could be from a lateral. It could be cracked due to age or tree roots. A determination cannot be made until an investigation and study is done. Mr. Job asked Mr. Maisch how often this has happened. Mr. Maisch said he has lived there 11 years and it only happened twice in the last two years.
Mayor Torre said this Governing Body will make this problem a priority and will look for solutions.
Anthony Dioguardo, 140 Burr Pl., came forward and asked what the function was of the pump station at Franklin and Route 17. Mr. Heck said it handles Route 17, Oldfield and a few other streets. It does not handle Burr Pl. Mr. Dioguardo said that as soon as the rain stopped and the water over the manhole went down, his basement began to empty out with the sump pump. Mr. Job asked if the water came out of fixtures or the floor. Mr. Dioguardo said it came from the floor.
Angelo Talignani, 146 Burr Pl., came forward and said there is water in the front of his home by the manhole cover during different times of the year. He asked if this stormwater drain is cleaned out. Mr. Heck said yes, it is.
Georgia Hall, 166 Burr Pl., came forward and asked what steps will now be taken and how long will it take. Mayor Torre said the Borough Engineer's study could take some time. The Governing Body will be speaking with the Building Inspector this evening to see what steps can be taken to locate illegal sump pump hookups. Mr. Job said that it will take approximately 60 days to do the study because you have to monitor flows for at least 30 days to see a pattern.
Angelo Talignani again came forward and asked if the Borough has a plan showing a layout of the pipes in the Borough. Mr. Heck said there are plans which show the majority of pipes in the Borough, including Burr Pl.
Borough Attorney Ralph Chandless recommended that the Borough declare an emergency based on a public health crisis in order that if any action taken later, possibly this evening, may require such a declaration in public session, then this will already be done.
Councilman Link motioned, seconded by Councilman Pepe, and unanimously carried, to declare a public health emergency on Burr Pl., but not limited to Burr Pl.
Joann Raleigh, 142 Burr Pl., came forward and said that the water that comes into her home is from the main line and is not rainwater or groundwater. She urged the Governing Body to act immediately.
Andrew Chermark, 145 Burr Pl., came forward and also urged the Governing Body to take action as soon as possible.
Anthony Dioguardo again came forward and complained that there is constantly the smell of raw sewage coming from the manhole cover between 138 and 140 Burr Pl. and at times the odor gets so bad in the summer that the smell gets into his house when the windows are open. Mr. Job said there are no interconnections between the sanitary and storm drains. They are separate systems. You do get animals, leaves, etc. in the storm drains. When these materials decompose, especially in the summer, they smell just like sewage. The only way to know for sure is to have it tested.
Susan Tebbenhoff again came forward and asked if their street could be cleaned as there is toilet paper and other debris on the street. She also mentioned the patch of water that is often in the middle of the street. Mr. Job said that matter, which is groundwater, is not part of this health emergency. That matter is something that is difficult or almost impossible to address. The Governing Body wish to concentrate on the sanitary sewer. He said he will look at the situation when he visits the site. Mayor Torre requested Mr. Heck to have the street cleaned.
Jerry McDowell, 348 Harrison Ave., came forward and said there has been talk of expanding or relocating the library to a larger lot and asked if any action has taken place towards this goal. Mayor Torre said a steering committee has been formed to explore the idea of a new library. The first priority is to find a location for a new library. Mr. McDowell felt the present library is much too small for the Borough. He also asked if there would be any improvements made to Woodland Park. Mayor Torre said the area where the fields are has worn down substantially and something must be done. At this time he did not know what and how much would be done. Ms. McDowell asked if the Governing Body will again seek public input from those who use the park. Councilman DiPisa said we still have all the input that was given when public meetings were held on Woodland Park improvements. He said that whatever the majority of Borough residents want is what will be done.
Betty Gulino, 147 Burr Pl., came forward and asked if illegal sump pumps are found, is there a fine and a reinspection to ensure compliance. Building Inspector Terry Naletko said the fine can be up to $250.00 per week. He said he generally notices the illegal sump pumps when doing an inspection of a house for a resale. He said that most of the time, the present seller bought the house with the illegal sump pump and did not realize it was illegal. He will inform the seller to immediately remove the sump pump and will do a reinspection. This is usually complied with. He said he can also do inspections for the sump pump when any other type of permit is issued.
Harry Maisch again came forward and thanked Mayor Torre, Mr. Heck and his Department for their assistance during this flooding crisis.
There being no one else wishing to speak, Mayor Torre closed the meeting to the public.
RECESS FOR CAUCUS:
Mayor Torre announced the Governing Body will now recess for Caucus.
There being no further business to come before the Mayor and Council, 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 May 13, 1998.
Barbara Maldonado, RMC