July 7, 2009 Workshop Meeting Minutes
|Date:||July 7, 2009|
MINUTES OF A WORKSHOP MEETING OF
THE TEANECK TOWNSHIP COUNCIL
HELD IN THE MUNICIPAL BUILDING COUNCIL CHAMBERS
TUESDAY, JULY 7, 2009
Mayor Feit called the Workshop Meeting of the Teaneck Township Council to order at 7:06 p.m., and asked all those present to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance.
Present: C. Gussen, C. Hameeduddin, C. Honis, C. Katz, C. Toffler, Mayor Feit.
Absent: DM. Parker.
Also Present: S. Turitz - Ferrara, Turitz, Harraka & Goldberg, Esqs.; W. Rupp - Ferrara, Turitz, Harraka & Goldberg, Esqs.; W. Broughton, Municipal Manager;
L. Aportela-Hernandez, Municipal Clerk; Colleen Loschiavo, Clerk Typist.
Adequate notice of this meeting has been provided by adoption of Resolution #342-08, setting the 2009 meeting dates, sending a copy to THE RECORD, THE SUBURBANITE, THE BERGEN NEWS/SUN BULLETIN, THE CONNECTION, THE JEWISH STANDARD, THE COUNTY SEAT and THE COURIER TIMES, filing a copy in the Township Clerk’s Office and posting it on the Municipal Building bulletin board, and the Mayor hereby directs that this statement be included in the minutes.
Mayor Feit welcomed back Mr. Turitz from his vacation.
GOOD AND WELFARE
John Wexler, 957 Garrison Avenue - a motor vehicle crashed into his house on February 17, 2009 at 8:45 a.m.; speeding is an ongoing problem at the intersection of Garrison and Sagamore Avenues; there is a need for 25 mph signs as well as police enforcement due to the fact that most drivers think this is a main thoroughfare; Stop signs are not enough, motorists constantly ignore them.
Debbie Eilyahoo, 1023 Garrison Avenue - a four-way Stop sign at the top of Standish Road is not a good idea; a family member was killed using a four-way Stop sign; these signs are confusing and cause increased disregard for the Stop sign; this causes more danger to children; the problem needs to be analyzed in order to come up with the best option.
Alan Sohn, 752 Cottage Place - four-way Stop signs cause four-way accidents; discussed the budget and suggested a multi-year budget be put in place; increases are higher than the rate of inflation; suggested greater use of the Financial Advisory Board; important to have a fully functioning Financial Advisory Board and the residents need to be more involved at these meetings.
Art Vatsky, 950 Garrison Avenue, corner of Sagamore - wants to assists Council with safety measures in Teaneck area; referred to 09/21/05 when Council advised the Manager to do a series of seven steps to improve safety in this area; feels accidents have been reduced due to the action taken; public should know that the Teaneck Police Department maintains a pin map which locates where any accidents take place within the Township; this better assists the Police Department to identify where there is a further need for safety intervention; a systematic problem can be solved systematically.
Howard Rose, 575 Northumberland Road - happy to hear that residents have done research concerning Garrison and Sagamore, hopefully this matter can be put to rest; spoke of an incident with the Building Department when he requested a file folder for a property on Cedar Lane; felt he was not treated with respect; feels there is a poor mode of communication; understands they are inundated with work but they need to perform more professionally; was disappointed in the turnout for the Fourth of July Parade; each year there seems to be a decline of spectators; next year Council and residents should do more to advertise this event.
C. Gussen made a motion to Close the Good and Welfare Portion of the Meeting to the Public. Seconded by C. Honis and carried by the following vote:
In Favor: C. Gussen, C. Hameeduddin, C. Honis, C. Katz, C. Toffler, Mayor Feit.
Absent: DM. Parker.
C. Gussen - discussed the Stop sign issue indicating that at the last meeting this topic was discussed at length; the Manager was directed to increase enforcement; there is no plan to put a four-way Stop sign in that intersection.
C. Hameeduddin - indicated this is an enforcement issue; does not know how the public was misinformed about a four-way Stop sign being installed in that area; there is no support for a Stop sign on Garrison Avenue.
C. Katz - not pursuing a Stop sign; investigating other options; not sure of the exact solution but Council's goal is to make the area a safe one.
C. Toffler - knows the Manager has discussed this matter with Chief Wilson; she has not witnessed any enforcement at this point, there must be tougher enforcement in this area in order for safety to be increased; the parade fell on the Jewish Sabbath, that is probably why the turnout was not as large as it might have been; strongly supports multiple year budgeting; the Budget Subcommittee is planning to work on this as soon as possible.
Mr. Broughton - a preliminary study of this area is being conducted by the traffic bureau; study has indicated drivers are exceeding the speed limit minimally; they will continue to study the accidents; speed is not the issue, running the Stop sign seems to be the problem; regarding the Building Department, rude behavior by any Township employee is unacceptable; understands the Building Department is very busy; he is working with Mr. Gluck to make the Building Department more "user friendly"; if there is a problem, do not hesitate to speak with a supervisor or come to the Manager's office and someone will assist you.
Financial Advisory Board.
The following Financial Advisory Board Members were in attendance:
Laurence Bonnemere, Joseph Steinberg, Patrick O'Brien, Arnold Balsam, Judy Schaffer,
Henry Frisch, Howard Rose.
Mayor Feit explained the purpose of the meeting was to have a dialogue together.
Mr. Bonnemere, Chairperson - going into the third/fourth year as the FAB Chair; one of the issues they have encountered is the Board itself did not having a critical mass; they have not been privy, legally or otherwise, to review financial documents in a timely manner.
Mr. Rose - would like Council to give them a parameter or authority to set parameters; would like to see the group expand in some directions that are budget-related in general.
Mr. Frisch - after spending much time over the last few years, does not know if he wants to continue to be part of this Board; would like guidance from Council indicating whether or not this Board is in fact needed; if they are needed, how can they be the most helpful to Council.
Mr. Steinberg - wants to know what Council wants from the Financial Advisory Board; would like a specific directive and the authority to complete their duties; ran into legal/political roadblocks in the past.
Mr. O'Brien - wants Council to tell them the best way to present ideas; would appreciate more feedback from Council; how much interaction with the public is permissible.
Ms. Schaffer - wants to know what is the solid purpose of the group; feels many business professionals would get involved if they witnessed problems being solved.
C. Katz - Council did a great job assembling great talent for this Board; it is up to the Board to bring different ideas to the table; would like the Financial Advisory Board to come up with ideas on how to generate revenue; after ideas are generated, Council will give direction; would appreciate any input on how to better navigate some of these issues; Advisory Board Members are not permitted to communicate to the residents without first obtaining Council's permission.
C. Toffler - would like the Financial Advisory Board to be an active Board; they are a group of terrific minds which should be put to use; the Chair of any Advisory Board can set the parameters for retention of members pertaining attendance; asked Mr. Turitz what the legal limitations are concerning the Financial Advisory Board viewing the budget prior to the public viewing the material.
Mr. Turitz - stated that he had previously addressed this question to the former Manager; until budget is presented to the Council, it is the Manager's budget; does not mean the Manager cannot share certain information with the Financial Advisory Board with Council's permission; sharing of information is up to the Manager's discretion; once budget is presented to Council, the situation is different, as it is then a public document.
C. Toffler - hopes the Budget Subcommittee will work hand-in-hand with the Financial Advisory Board as a research team; suggested an Excel spread sheet system so that the budget will be easier to use and understand; has volunteered to be the Council liaison for the Board of Education; wants to find a way to work with the Board of Education and the Financial Advisory Board to try and identify shared services; wants to come up with a clear plan for Financial Advisory Board to work with the Budget Subcommittee.
C. Gussen - feels Council has done a poor job communicating constant feedback and direction to the Financial Advisory Board; the Council liaison needs to have a more formal presentation of what has transpired at the last meeting; need to discuss the items so the Council can provide necessary feedback; policy decision is up to Council; how to be more cost-effective goes back to Financial Advisory Board; would like to be part of the Budget Subcommittee; Financial Advisory Board and Budget Subcommittee working together should be advantageous to the Township.
C. Hameeduddin - thanked the Financial Advisory Board Members for serving on this committee; have not been managing expectations well; when budget failed, asked Board of Education to sit down with Financial Advisory Board and was rebuffed; majority of cost savings will come from salary and benefits and how we move forward; government is not the same as private industry, it's run differently; does not think the Board of Education piece will work in this venue, should be taken out.
C. Gussen - keep Board of Education in case new Superintendent or Board of Education wants to work with Council; suggests expanding the scope for expanding opportunities for generating revenue.
C. Hameeduddin - goals must be realistic, smart, and time-warranted; no statutory authority over the Board of Education; we need to concentrate on things that we can fix, things that are within our budget.
C. Gussen - is in favor of the idea of an outside auditor to review the school board budget; he has no pride of ownership for the budget; is open for any and all ideas on the subject; prior Manager had a pride of ownership over the budget and did not want others involved, leading to problems; another set of eyes can only help; hopes the discussion this evening will alleviate the frustrations the Financial Advisory Board has had up to this point.
Mr. Rose - agrees with having experts come in with ideas on how to better handle the budget; liaison for Board of Education and the Financial Advisory Board should be one in the same to have the expertise and information needed for both organizations; can an individual be called in to assist the Financial Advisory Board if they have expertise in the field.
Mr. Frisch - wants to hear specifically from Council and Mr. Broughton as to what is expected from the Financial Advisory Board.
Mayor Feit - each individual must decide whether or not they want to remain on the Board; need to address attendance criteria; Council feedback comes after a Board has discussed an idea or situation among themselves and then presents it to either the Clerk or Council, it will then be discussed at a meeting; Advisory Boards may confer with each other for ideas; establish subcommittees so that certain items of importance may be discussed at a meeting; written communication through your liaison is best; regarding the budget, you can find information from other towns through the newspaper and by going to their web sites; there is information out there and as members of the public you are entitled to obtain the information from any public entity.
Mr. Turitz - Boards are Advisory Boards to the Council, written communication is exempt from OPRA; need to exercise caution when going to outside sources for information.
Mr. Langford - requested a list of priority projects for the upcoming year.
C. Toffler - feels this discussion was very productive and they have given the Financial Advisory Board the information they requested.
Mr. Bonnemere - thanked Council for meeting with the Financial Advisory Board face-to-face and for allowing him to serve on this committee; Financial Advisory Board will meet on July 15th and the Budget Subcommittee will attend this meeting to kick-start the program; it has been a privilege to serve on this committee but does not necessarily want to serve as Chair of the committee.
MOTION TO VOTE
The Clerk read into the record a resolution authorizing a formal vote at a Workshop Meeting, since no formal votes can be taken unless 2/3 of the members present, but no fewer than five authorize to do so.
C. Katz made a motion to adopt Resolution #229-09, Authorize a Formal Vote at a Workshop Meeting. Seconded by C. Gussen and carried by the following vote:
In Favor: C. Gussen, C. Hameeduddin, C. Honis, C. Katz, C. Toffler,
Absent: DM. Parker
PUBLIC INPUT ON RESOLUTIONS ON THIS AGENDA
Joan Davis, 976 Alpine Drive - Resolution #232-09 - how can we apply for a grant which costs $22,000 to apply for when there is no guarantee we will receive it; we have the talent in the Township to complete this energy-efficient conservation study; it is a new era and we need to shift gears and take a look at the environment.
C. Katz made a motion to close Public Input on Resolutions on this agenda. Seconded by C. Honis and carried by the following vote:
In Favor: C. Gussen, C. Hameeduddin, C. Honis, C. Katz, C. Toffler,
Absent: DM. Parker.
Mr. Turitz - Resolution #232-09; Township was advised late last week of their eligibility for a $160,000 Stimulus Grant however, there was a tight timetable; the cost to file preliminary application is $2,750 and the application is due by August 10th, once reviewed and approved, we then have 120 days to file a formal application of $20,000; if the grant is approved, the Township will get back the $22,750; it was important to get it on this Agenda because of the tight time frame.
C. Gussen made a motion to approve the resolution(s) listed below and to dispense with the reading of same inasmuch as it has been posted on the bulletin board all day. Seconded by
C. Toffler. .
#230-09 Authorize Closure of Beverly Road/Garrison Avenue Parking Lot - 2009 Farmer's Market.
#231-09 Authorize Execution of 2009 Community Development Block Grant - Road Resurfacing of St. Mark's Place, Walden Street, Berkeley Street, and Terrace Circle.
#232-09 Award Professional Service Contract to Phillips Preiss Shapiro Associates, Inc. For Professional Planning Services for the Township of Teaneck in Connection With An Application For An Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant.
Carried by the following vote:
In Favor: C. Gussen, C. Hameeduddin, C. Honis, C. Toffler,
Absent: DM. Parker, C. Katz (at time of vote).
1. Meeting Format.
Mr. Rupp discussed a preliminary draft he has prepared for the streamlining of Council Meetings; suggested single public hearing on introducing ordinances; will increase speaking time for the public input from three minutes to five minutes; it is not a state mandate for roll call to open or close public input or for public input multiple times at a meeting; there is no need for a separate vote on the bill list, raffles, etc., if it is on the Consent Agenda; statutorily there are two types of meetings, open and closed; no statutory concept between a regular and workshop meetings, agenda indicates they both contain the same items; no need for special concept for two types of meetings; the purpose for this change is to do away with duplication of procedures; can prepare a more detailed ordinance change and format after receiving Council input.
Council concurred and Mr. Rupp will continue working on this change with the Clerk.
2. Parking (River Road/Town-wide).
Mr. Turitz requested a few minutes in Closed Session in terms of legal issues with parking.
Mayor Feit indicated there is no interest in pursuing changes town-wide.
C. Gussen discussed the area for resident parking permits should be available to all Teaneck residents, but must be further discussed in Closed Session.
C. Hameeduddin stated that this is a case of the needs of a few versus the needs of many.
3. NJDOT Requests - Additional Mitigation Sites.
Mr. Broughton indicated that he is waiting for additional information required regarding this topic from the Township Engineer and will relist this item for the August Workshop.
4. Forest/Sussex and Sagamore/Garrison - Speed Issue.
Mayor Feit stated that his had been discussed earlier in the meeting.
5. Historic New Bridge Landing Commission.
Mayor Feit - there is an issue between the Commission and Bergen County regarding the placement of a walkway on the other side of the Hackensack River; the County reached out to the Mayors from several towns to try and help negotiate an amicable solution; questioned whether Council wanted to get involved with this matter; consensus was to leave the matter alone.
1. State Senator Joe Pennacchio - Request for Endorsing Resolution - Transparency in
Council requested the Clerk reach out to Teaneck's state legislators for feedback to determine whether or not to further pursue.
2. Request for Parking Restrictions.
Letter received by the Township Manager regarding street sweeping on Sanford Street near the senior citizen's area; cars are being parked there making it impossible for the street sweeper to come through; Council authorized Mr. Broughton to proceed with a review of this request..
3. E-mail from Patrick Crowley, SCAB - Rent Control.
Council agreed to discuss the Rent Control ordinance at the Workshop Meeting in August.
(Items listed at request of the Councilmember as noted in parenthesis. Backup provided if available. Council to determine whether to discuss, list for discussion at an upcoming meeting, or not discuss).
1. Webmaster (C. Toffler).
C. Toffler discussed with Patrick McGilloway the possibility of having a web master, someone who would monitor, edit, and enter new information on the website; suggested Dara Picard for the position; Ms. Picard is interested in volunteering at this point on a trial basis but would eventually want to be paid when money in the budget becomes available.
C. Hameeduddin - would like the Township Manager's opinion as to whether or not we need a webmaster; if it becomes a paid position, an interview process would be required since we are a Civil Service municipality.
Mr. Broughton - the posting and editing of items on the website has been delegated to each of the Department Heads; feels it is important that they are hands-on with the website for their particular department; it's too premature to have a discussion about a webmaster.
C. Gussen - would never vote to pay someone to maintain the website; feels the Manager's idea of having the Department Heads handle their part of the website is very empowering; if the Department Head feels he/she cannot handle it, then they will delegate that task to someone who they feel is capable of handling the task.
C. Toffler - the Department Heads are not writers and they are not editors; this is a writing job; feels a nice website will be ruined; completely disagrees with this plan; feels it is not being handled professionally.
Mr. Broughton - some of the issues with the website do have to do with Patrick; sat with Patrick and explained exactly what was needed; the website is a work in progress and it will take a little more time to have it completed; it must be right when it goes up; can't keep coming up with a new format; the final website must be completely functionable.
C. Hameeduddin - there have been at least eight meetings about this website; it has been brought to his attention that Patrick is not delivering in a timely manner.
The majority of Council determined not to proceed with retaining a webmaster at this time.
2. Teardown of the PAL Building (C. Toffler).
On hold until the August Workshop Meeting.
C. Katz left the meeting at 9:06 p.m.
TOWNSHIP MANAGER'S REPORT
1. Establish Budget Subcommittee.
Mr. Broughton wants to establish the Budget Subcommittee; Councilmembers Gussen and Toffler volunteered to be part of the Subcommittee. Mr. Broughton will advise them of a meeting date.
2. Potential Closed Session Item - Personnel.
Mr. Broughton informed all present this item would be discussed in closed session.
TOWNSHIP ATTORNEY’S REPORT
Mr. Turitz reported that COAH has advised that the 45 day commentary period has elapsed and no one has objected to our third round submission to COAH; this is significant toward final certification, however there are still requirements, hurdles and additional expenses in order to receive final certification; no action tonight; will list it for action at the next meeting.
2. Potential Closed Session Items - Status of Litigation & Pending Grievances &
Mr. Turitz stated that there are some items that he must review with Council in a Closed Session.
Mrs. Aportela-Hernandez read into the record, Resolution #233-09 authorizing Council to enter into Closed Session to discuss personnel, contract negotiations, and litigation.
Mayor Feit made a motion to adopt Resolution #233-09. Seconded by C. Honis and carried by the following vote:
In Favor: C. Gussen, C. Hameeduddin, C. Honis, C. Toffler,
Absent: DM. Parker, C. Katz.
At the conclusion of the Closed Session, Mr. Turitz reported that no formal action was taken.
On a motion made, seconded and unanimously carried, the meeting was adjourned at 10:16 p.m.