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TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE

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TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE ...

    The Minutes of the Workshop Meeting of the Township Committee of the Township of Cranford,

    County of Union, State of New Jersey on January 22, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in Room 108.

THIS MEETING IS IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE “OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT” AS ADEQUATE

    NOTICE OF THIS MEETING HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY FAXING THE ANNUAL SCHEDULE OF

    MEETINGS TO THE CRANFORD CHRONICLE, THE CRANFORD EAGLE, AND THE STAR LEDGER, BY

    POSTING SUCH ANNUAL MEETING SCHEDULE ON A BULLETIN BOARD IN THE TOWN HALL

    RESERVED FOR SUCH ANNOUNCEMENTS AND THE FILING OF SAID NOTICE WITH THE TOWNSHIP

    CLERK OF CRANFORD. FORMAL ACTION MAY BE TAKEN AT THIS MEETING

Present: Mayor Michael A. Plick

     Commissioner David W. Robinson

     Commissioner George J. Jorn

     Commissioner George T. McDonough

    Absent: Deputy Mayor Robert I. Puhak

Leslie Murray represented the Cranford Chronicle and Robert Zullo represented the Cranford Eagle.

    There were seven (7) members of the public present.

PAYMENT OF BILLS

    Township Administrator Schmid explained that the newly enacted “Prompt Payment Law” requires

    payment of bills related to construction projects be done within a certain time frame. In order to

    ensure compliance with the new law, “payment of bills” will be added to all public meeting agendas.

    Clarified that the Township Committee will continue to authorize payment of bills during its Official

    Meeting, however if a circumstance arises that requires authorization before an Official Meeting can

    be conducted, listing the item on the Workshop Agenda provides the Township Committee with the

    opportunity to take such action.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

Mayor Plick opened the public comments portion of the meeting and asked if there were any questions or

    comments.

Albert Makatenas, 608 Willow Street, spoke in opposition to the closure of Miln Street in connection with

    the Post Office Plaza Project. Stated that he has met with the Postmaster, and the Postmaster is opposed to

    the street closure. Feels misstatements regarding the project have been printed in the newspapers, citing

    the Postmaster’s position on this matter as an example. Feels the closure of the street will create traffic

    and parking problems, especially for those traveling east on North Avenue. Discussed the estimated cost

    for this project and feels funding should be used for other projects.

Mayor Plick responded, stating that the Post Office Plaza Project is an item for discussion on the

    Workshop Agenda. Stated that he has also discussed the matter with the Postmaster, and confirmed Mr.

    Makatenas’ statement regarding the Postmaster’s opposition to the street closure.

Hearing no further comments, Mayor Plick closed the public comment portion of the meeting.

Review January 23, 2007 Official Meeting Agenda

    Resolution 2007-108 Township Clerk Rowley discussed the need for the Township Committee to approve consent agenda

    items before taking action on Resolution No. 2007-108, which authorizes an award of contract to

    Hatch Mott MacDonald for inspections services for Phase 2A of the Northeast Quadrant Stormwater

    Management Project. In order to comply with Pay-to-Play law, The Township Committee must first

    designate certain firms to provide engineering services before an award of contract can be made.

    Resolutions 2007-112 Commissioner Robinson discussed the change order regarding the Centennial Avenue Streetscape

    Project. Seeking clarification as to the total cost to date for the project, and how much more in

    additional costs can be expected.

    Resolution 2007-120 Discussion held as to the award of contract for EMS billing services to Pre-Hospital Management

    Systems. Mayor Plick seeking profit and loss information regarding emergency services.

Township Administrator Schmid explained that Finance Director Grady was unable to prepare a

    profit and loss report for the Township Committee for this meeting, but strongly recommended that

    the Township Committee award the contract to Pre-Hospital Management Systems.

Commissioner Jorn seeking clarification as to the maximum billable amount.

Commissioner Robinson asked if other vendors were contacted for estimates.

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    Township Administrator Schmid confirmed that other vendors were contacted, and that Pre-Hospital Management Systems had submitted the best quote.

    Township Committee resolve to adopt the resolution at the Official Meeting on January 23, 2007.

Resolutions 2007-113 and 2007-114

    Commissioner Jorn requested that Resolution No. 2007-113, authorizing an award of contract to Carl Woodward, Esq. to serve as municipal attorney, and Resolution No. 2007-114, authorizing an award of contract to Robert Donovan, Esq. to serve as municipal prosecutor, be moved to roll call vote.

Ordinance 2007-4 and 2007-5

    Discussion held as to the proposed ordinances related to parking in the area of the Calvary Nursery School.

    Commissioner Jorn seeking clarification as to the hours in which parking would be restricted.

Mayor Plick provided clarification. Ordinances to be introduced on January 23, 2007.

On motion of Commissioner McDonough, seconded by Commissioner Robinson and passed, the

    following resolution was adopted by roll call vote:

Resolution No. 2006-92.1:

    BE IT RESOLVED that the Township Committee will go into closed session to discuss a personnel

    matter within the Zoning Department; a legal matter regarding the Cranford Crossing Redevelopment Project; contractual matters pertaining to labor attorney services, legal services required for finalization of 2006 pending legal matters, Township health insurance, and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection; and for the review of closed session minutes of December 19, 2006; the minutes of which will be released at some time in the future at the discretion of the Township Committee

    Recorded vote: Aye: Mayor Plick, Commissioners Robinson, Jorn and McDonough

    Nay: None

    Abstained: None

    Absent: Deputy Mayor Puhak

On motion of Commissioner McDonough, seconded by Commissioner Robinson and passed, the

    Township Committee returned to open session at 8:05 p.m.

Update by Cranford-appointed representatives to the Hyatt Hills Golf Course Commission

    Paul DiGiano and Joan Varanelli of the Hyatt Hills Golf Course Commission were present.

    Mayor Plick seeking an update as to the operation of the Hyatt Hills Golf Course and the potential for revenue to Clark and Cranford.

    Paul DiGiano discussed the operation of the Hyatt Hills Golf Course, stating that it has had a solvent start, but is responsible for the reimbursement of $2,000,000 to General Motors. Also discussed other costs that are expected, such as its share of property taxes, and the eventual need for capital improvements to maintain the facility. Explained that he could not be certain that any revenue would be directed to the municipalities, as funds need to be set aside for capital projects, property taxes and the reimbursement to General Motors. Feels that past statements which indicated that revenues would be directed to the municipalities were “political rhetoric”.

    Mr. DiGiano also feels the Township Committee should consider designating one of its members as a liaison to the Hyatt Hills Golf Course Commission. Feels it would help improve communication between the Township Committee and the Commission.

Commissioner McDonough seeking clarification as to the $2,000,000 owed to General Motors.

    Mr. DiGiano explained that funds were borrowed from General Motors for start-up costs for the golf facility. Further explained that the Commission is attempting to negotiate this amount with General Motors.

Mayor Plick discussed the budget issue facing the Township and the need for the Township

    Committee to have financial information to determine if revenue would be allocated to Cranford.

    Commissioner Robinson discussed statements made by previous elected officials as to anticipated profits.

    Mr. DiGiano to provide the Township Committee with financial information. Also discussed an issue concerning property taxes. Stated that the Hyatt Hills Golf Course Commission is questioning the amount of property taxes being charged, as they do not feel it is accordance with that of a recreational site.

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    Mayor Plick discussed the new part-time Executive Director position that has been created by the Hyatt Hills Golf Course Commission. Seeking information as to the need for the position.

    Mr. DiGiano spoke in support of the establishment of the position and the hiring of Bob Hoeffler to the position. Discussed Mr. Hoeffler’s abilities and his commitment to the Hyatt Hills Golf Course.

    Feels Mr. Hoeffler has a good relationship with General Motors and could provide assistance with upcoming negotiations regarding the amount that is owed to General Motors.

    Commissioner Robinson questioned why General Motors would be willing to negotiate the reimbursement amount.

    Mr. DiGiano feels that General Motors has been satisfied with the operation of the golf course and would be willing to negotiate.

    Mayor Plick expressed concern with the need for a paid position. Feels one of the Commissioners appointed to the Hyatt Hills Golf Course could handle the negotiations.

Paul DiGiano discussed Mr. Hoeffler’s ability to negotiate with General Motors and the relationship

    he has with the Hyatt Hills Golf Course Commissioners. Feels very strongly that Mr. Hoeffler is needed for negotiations. Also feels this position is temporary.

Commissioner McDonough discussed Mr. Hoeffler’s involvement as a Commissioner to the Hyatt

    Hills Golf Course. Feels his services are needed and that he is the best person to continue to perform certain functions.

    Joan Varanelli feels an organization should not rely on one individual to handle certain functions. Stated that she was opposed to the establishment of the position, as the financial audit indicated that there is a need for the Hyatt Hills Golf Course Commission to reduce its operating costs.

    Mayor Plick feels the position of Executor Director is not warranted, and those appointed to the Hyatt Hills Golf Course Commission should be handling these functions. Also discussed the right of the governing body to make a change regarding the appointment of representatives to the Golf Course Commission. Concerned that Mr. Hoeffler has been hired as a paid employee because he was not reappointed to the Commission. Also concerned that the Township has not been receiving any revenue from the golf course.

    Commissioner McDonough volunteered to be the liaison to the Hyatt Hills Golf Course Commission, as suggested by Mr. DiGiano.

    Mayor Plick seeking information from the Hyatt Hills Golf Course Commission as to whether the Township can anticipate revenue from the golf course, and an explanation if no revenue is anticipated.

Commissioner Jorn seeking a current status report as to revenues, and the Commission’s plan going

    forward.

    Joan Varanelli feels that improved communication between the Township Committee and the Hyatt Hills Golf Course Commission is needed. Seeking direction from the Township Commission as to a time frame for providing reports and updates.

    Mayor Plick suggested the Hyatt Hills Golf Course Commission submit quarterly reports to the Township Committee.

    Mr. DiGiano reiterated his suggestion regarding the designation of a Township Committee liaison to the Commission.

No action was taken concerning a Township Committee liaison.

    On motion of Commissioner Jorn, seconded by Commissioner Robinson and passed, the Township Committee returned to closed session at 8:45 p.m.

    On motion of Commissioner McDonough, seconded by Commissioner Robinson and passed, the Township Committee returned to open session at 9:35 p.m.

Recommendation by Union County re: Proposed reduction of speed limit on Walnut Avenue

    Discussion held as to the County’s recommendation regarding the proposed speed limit ordinance for

    Walnut Avenue. The County has recommended the Township consider reducing the speed limit to 25 mph on a portion of the roadway, as opposed to the entire length.

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    The Township Committee was agreeable to the County’s recommendation. The ordinance, with

    revisions, to be introduced on February 13, 2007.

Proposed sale of Property, 85 Johnson Avenue (continued discussion)

    Discussion held as to the use of the proceeds for the sale of the property of 85 Johnson Avenue.

    Commissioner Robinson and Commissioner McDonough both feel the proceeds should be used towards non-depreciating capital improvements.

    Further discussion as to the process for the sale of the property to be held at the January 23, 2007 Conference Meeting.

    Proposed direction and focus of the Downtown District Management Corporation (DMC) for 2007 (continued discussion)

    Mayor Plick seeking input from the Township Committee as to the focus and direction of the DMC. Discussed situations in which the DMC Director is involved in matters not related to the downtown. Feels the objective of the DMC is to assist the current downtown business owners and attract new downtown businesses. Also feels the DMC should work with the Chamber of Commerce more frequently.

    Commissioner McDonough does not feel the focus of the DMC needs to be overhauled.

    Commissioner Jorn feels the DMC is functioning well. Discussed its current operation and the split of salaries between the Township and the DMC.

    Commissioner McDonough seeking specifics as to how the DMC should work with the Chamber of Commerce.

    Mayor Plick provided an example, stating that the Chamber of Commerce has suggested a breakfast seminar be organized to provide assistance with the application process for individuals interested in opening a new business or improving or renovating property.

    Commissioner McDonough feels Township professionals are providing assistance to business owners. Feels the difficulty business owners are experiencing lies with the planning and zoning process, not the DMC.

    Township Administrator Schmid suggested a potential survey of downtown property owners to generate feedback regarding the Special Improvement District.

    Mayor Plick discussed the option of the DMC having complete authority over the DMC Director and its operations.

Tony Mack, downtown property owner, feels there is not a problem with the application process.

    Feels the issues are parking and attracting shoppers to the downtown.

    Commissioner McDonough discussed the potential partnering of the DMC and the Chamber of Commerce to handle marketing of the downtown.

Further discussion necessary.

Cranford Crossing Parking Garage-Retrofitting of Automated Revenue Collection Machine

    Township Administrator Schmid explained that the technology that would allow the machine to accept bills was not available when these machines were originally purchased. Discussed the cost to upgrade the existing machines. Feels the goal is to increase the purchase of Smartcards. Discussed an option to partner with a local bank to assist with Smartcard purchases. Discussed the requirements for credit card purchases. Explained that the total cost to upgrade the machines would be approximately $13,800. Feels a bond ordinance would be needed.

    Commissioner Robinson seeking potential of recouping the cost to upgrade the machines.

    Township Administrator Schmid explained that the cost was recouped for the machines located in other parking lots in approximately one year. Stated that she would confirm with Finance Director Grady as to available funding for upgrades and the cost associated with a bond ordinance.

Proposed establishment of a parking system (continued discussion)

    Township Administrator Schmid stated that she would be meeting with Chief Mason, DMC Director Prunty, and Finance Director Grady to develop a plan to present to the Township Committee.

    Commissioner Jorn feels the parking garage permit fees need to be comparable to surface parking permit fees.

01/22/07 5

    Update re: Post Office Plaza Project

    Mayor Plick feels the Township Committee needs to make a decision regarding the Post Office Plaza Project.

Township Administrator Schmid explained that the Police Department’s recommendation to close

    Miln Street was related to improvements to North Avenue proposed by the Department of

    Transportation. Explained that the Department of Transportation has decided not to move forward with the proposed improvements. As a result, the Police Department is no longer recommending the closure of Miln Street.

    Discussion ensued. The Township Committee agreed to move forward with the original plan for Post Office Plaza that was proposed.

Discussion held as to the potential need for additional parking spaces.

    Township Committee resolve to move forward with the original plan and to add parking spaces, if necessary, at a later time.

2007 Capital Budget requests

    Discussion held as to the capital budget and uncompleted capital projects.

    Commissioner Jorn provided his suggestion as to the projects to be undertaken, which would total approximately $500,000.00. Also seeking clarification as to the sewer infrastructure project being requested by the Engineering Department.

    Discussion held regarding the status of the Orange Avenue Soccer Field improvements. Township Administrator Schmid feels there might be grant funding associated with this project.

    Township Administrator Schmid also discussed options if the Township Committee were to cancel a project, explaining that funds could be reallocated to another project or could be used to lower debt service.

    Commissioner McDonough feels the Township should only budget for projects that are absolutely necessary.

Discussion held regarding technology requests.

Commissioner McDonough to meet with Information Systems Manager Emmanuel Chiobi to discuss

    technology needs.

    Commissioner Robinson seeking a better understanding as to the rationale for capital budget requests.

    Township Administrator Schmid explained the process with capital purchases, stating that it is lengthy procedure. Feels it is good practice to have Township Committee authorization in place if it is expected that a piece of equipment is at risk for breaking down.

Commissioner Robinson feels the Department of Public Works’ request for a new forklift should be

    included in the Capital Budget, in addition to the projects listed by Commissioner Jorn.

Discussion held as to the replacement of windows in the municipal building.

    Mayor Plick feels the Township needs to use a phased-in approach regarding window replacement. Agreeable to the projects suggested by Commissioner Jorn and Commissioner Robinson. Also feels the technology requests should be reviewed.

    Township Administrator Schmid to compile a list of projects to be included in the 2007 Capital Budget, with related cost information, as recommended by the Township Committee. List to

    available for discussion at the next Township Committee meeting.

Minute Approval

    On motion of Commissioner Robinson, seconded by Commissioner Jorn and passed, the Closed

    Session Minutes of December 19, 2006 were approved by indicated vote of the Township Committee. Recorded vote: Aye: Mayor Plick, Commissioners Robinson, Jorn and McDonough

    Nay: None

    Abstained: None

    Absent: Deputy Mayor Puhak

E-mail Correspondence

01/22/07 6

    Discussion held as to a request by Boy Scout John Gilmartin for an Eagle Scout Project, which

    would entail a river clean-up and the creating and posting of “no littering signs in the area of the

    river. Seeking Township Committee authorization to move forward with the project.

Commissioner Jorn is seeking information as to the location of signs. Concerned with posting on

    County and private property without proper authorization. Also feels the signs should have a more

    positive slogan, such as “Keep Cranford Clean”.

The Township Committee agreed to allow Mr. Gilmartin to proceed with the project, provided that

    proper authorization for the posting of signs is obtained, and a more positive slogan is considered.

    Township Administrator Schmid to advise Township Engineer Marsden of the Township

    Committee’s decision.

COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

Commissioner Robinson

    ? Stated that he met with Finance Director Grady regarding the 2007 Budget. Explained that

    there will be a delay in adoption of the budget because of the need for State-Aid information.

    Also discussed the CAP requirements and the potential impact on the budget.

Late Starter-Special Meeting

    On motion of Commissioner Jorn, seconded by Commissioner Robinson and passed, a Special

    meeting will be held on Monday, February 5, 2007 at 7:00 PM, Room 108 of the Cranford Municipal

    Building, to discuss the 2007 Municipal and Capital Budgets.

Recorded vote:

    Aye: Mayor Plick, Commissioners Robinson, Jorn and McDonough

    Nay: None

    Abstained: None

    Absent: Deputy Mayor Puhak

PUBLIC COMMENTS

    Mayor Plick opened the public comments portion of the meeting and asked if there were any questions or

    comments.

Barbara Krause, 20 Pittsfield Street, provided an update regarding the Union County Air Traffic Noise

    Advisory Commission, stating that the final Environmental Impact Study in connection with proposed

    revisions to the air traffic route will not be completed until March or April of 2007. Also stated that Air

    Traffic Controllers do not support the revisions proposed by the FAA.

Mrs. Krause also discussed concern with signs that are posted on telephone poles. Feels it is sight and

    sign pollution.

Mrs. Krause seeking a status update as to the requirements for outside organizations to utilize the high

    school for special events.

Mayor Plick stated that Deputy Mayor Puhak was to follow-up with the Board of Education on that

    matter.

Mrs. Krause discussed the Post Office Plaza project and is pleased that the Township Committee has

    decided to move forward with the original proposal. Seeking clarification as to scope of the project.

Mayor Plick stated that he would confirm the specifics of the original proposal with the Township

    Engineer.

Mrs. Krause feels the Township Committee needs to reconsider the Riverfront Redevelopment Project.

    Feels there is dense redevelopment on South Avenue and the property should be left to private

    development. Feels termination of the Interim Cost Agreement provides the Township with an

    opportunity to reconsider the need for the project.

Mrs. Krause also seeking an update as to her suggestions for improvements to the municipal building.

Mayor Plick responded, stating that there will be budget constraints this year. Discussed the need for the

    Township Committee to consider window replacement for the municipal building.

Hearing no further comments, Mayor Plick closed the public comment portion of the meeting

    .

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On motion of Commissioner Jorn, seconded by Commissioner Robinson and passed, the Township

    Committee adjourned at 11:12 PM.

     Respectfully submitted,

     Tara Rowley, RMC

    Dated: January 22, 2007 Municipal Clerk

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