September 22, 2009 - Open Session Minutes - Home

September 22, 2009 - Open Session Minutes

Date: September 22, 2009
Time: 7:00 PM

MINUTES OF THE OPEN SESSION MEETING OF
THE TEANECK TOWNSHIP COUNCIL
HELD IN THE MUNICIPAL BUILDING COUNCIL CHAMBERS ON
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2009

ROLL CALL

Present: C. Gussen, C. Hameeduddin, DM. Parker, C. Katz (arrived at 7:05 p.m.), C. Toffler, Mayor Feit.

Absent: C. Honis.

Also Present: S. Turitz - Ferrara, Turitz, Harraka, & Goldberg, Esqs; W. Broughton, Municipal Manager;   L. Aportela-Hernandez, Municipal Clerk; J. L. Evelina, Senior Clerk.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

MAYOR'S ANNOUNCEMENT

Adequate notice of this meeting has been provided by adoption of Resolution #342-08, setting the 2009 meeting dates and Resolution #283-09, amending the 2009 meeting dates, sending a copy to THE RECORD, THE SUBURBANITE, THE BERGEN NEWS/SUN BULLETIN, THE JEWISH STANDARD, and THE COUNTY SEAT 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.

At this time, Mayor Feit made a motion to move Communications from its initial place on the agenda since members of the two organizations seeking endorsing resolutions for their Bergen County Community Development grant applications were present.  Council concurred.

COMMUNICATIONS

1. Requests for Endorsing Resolution - BCCD Grant Applications.

 a. Interreligious Fellowship for Homeless Families.

 Ms. Mackey appeared on behalf of the Interreligious Fellowship for Homeless Families, and provided a brief summary with respect to the organization and the application in question to Council.  Council authorized the Clerk to draft a endorsing resolution for the grant application for the October 6, 2009 Consent Agenda.

 b. Teaneck Women Train & Work.

 Claire Scarano appeared on behalf of the Teaneck Women Train & Work organization and provided a brief summary with respect to the organization and the application in question to Council.  Council authorized the Clerk to draft a endorsing resolution for the grant application for the October 6, 2009 Consent Agenda.
 

The Clerk read Resolution #311-09 into the record authorizing Council to enter into Closed Session.  C. Gussen made a motion to complete the balance of the Open Session agenda based on the number of audience members present.  Council concurred and decided to move forward with the Open Session Meeting.

PUBLIC HEARINGS AND ADOPTION OF ORDINANCES

None.

MEETING OPEN TO THE PUBLIC FOR GOOD AND WELFARE OR PUBLIC INPUT ON ANY MATTERS ON THIS AGENDA

Mayor Feit inquired whether any member of the Council has any comments prior to opening the meeting to any comments from the public.

No comments by Council were made prior to public comment.

Mayor Feit declared that any members of the public wishing to be heard at this time shall come forward and state their names and addresses for the record.  Comments shall be limited to five minutes per person.

Nancy Cochrane - 527 Maitland Avenue - spoke about and in favor of the Garden Club/Greenhouse Committee.  She requested an energy audit of the greenhouse.

Carol Dolch - 296 Lindbergh Boulevard - spoke about and in favor of the Garden Club/Greenhouse Committee.  She requested that Council continue same and meet with the respective members.

Sheldon Labronowitz - 1424 Lozier Place - spoke with respect to Ordinance 4151 (rent control) which is scheduled for hearing and adoption on October 6, 2009.  He requested a decrease in percentage.

Lou Schwartz, Former Councilmember - spoke about and in favor of the Garden Club/Greenhouse Committee.  He stated that if discontinuing the Club is a matter of money, the members are prepared to do what is necessary to save the Club.  Further, he requested a discussion with Council in an effort to save the Greenhouse.

Irwin Brownstein - 497 Hemlock Avenue - stated that he has been a resident of Teaneck for over 50 years.  He coordinates school events with Hawthorne School on behalf of the Garden Club/Greenhouse Committee.  The Club is comprised of a diverse group of people.  The students and school representatives are responsive and grateful for the Club. 

Christina Markenson - 274 Grayson Place - Greenhouse Member - spoke in favor of the Garden Club/Greenhouse Committee.  She informed Council that many members of the Club are retired members of the community who value the Club.

Joan Davis - 976 Alpine Drive - stated that Council is unable to communicate with the Township and needs to be in touch with the land; spoke about and in favor of the Garden Club/Greenhouse Committee.  She expressed that in these economic times, clubs such as the aforementioned should be valued by the Council for the people.  She expressed her opposition to the new Council Meeting Schedule formatting, as she wants to contribute to each of the various items listed.  She suggested a discount and/or exemption for all the residents who are suffering as a result of partial income, not just veterans.  She questioned if there is local contribution to the Bergen County Community Development Block Grants that are listed for endorsement under the Consent Agenda.  She questioned if the Council is lobbying with the organizations to obtain more taxpayer money.

Len Schwartz - 41 Irvington Road - spoke about and in favor of the Garden Club/Greenhouse Committee.  He suggested that if Council does not have a plan for said structure once the utilities are terminated, as he expressed that this area, once unused, could result in liability.

Carol Gottlieb - 328 West Englewood Avenue - spoke about and in favor of the Garden Club/Greenhouse Committee.  She stated that this service is the only service that gives back to the taxpayers, and this Club receives no funding from the Township.

There being no further persons wishing to speak at this time, Mayor Feit declared that the public comment portion of the meeting is now closed.

Mayor Feit inquired whether any member of the Council or the Manager wishes to respond to the public comments or whether a member of the Council wishes to remove any item from the Consent Agenda and have a separate discussion thereon.

Mayor Feit suggested that members of the Garden Club/Greenhouse Committee contact the Manager in an effort to further discuss the matter.  He explained the Rent Control percentages in an effort to explain the balance the percentages provide.  He spoke about the tax rates which are regulated by the State, and arbitrarily changing rates are not within the Council's control.

C. Toffler expressed her feeling that there was a lack of communication with the Council and the Garden Club/Greenhouse members.  She clarified her previous comments which she felt were misunderstood with respect to the Club.  She referenced an incident wherein her husband went to the Garden Club to purchase plants and was told that certain plants "could not be sold, as they belonged to members only".  She stated that after the aforementioned public comments, she understood that certain members grow their own plants which are not for sale and feels that there was a misunderstanding between her husband and the individual he spoke with at the Club.  She suggested the Garden Club begin fundraising, as does the Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corp.  She referenced free services to residents.  She suggested that the Board of Education contribute funding, as the students prosper from the Club. 

C. Katz expressed full support for the Garden Club/Greenhouse Committee which he referred to as a "jewel of Teaneck".  He stated that the people who maintain the grounds put their heart into the Club, and for that, he fully supports same.

DM. Parker stated that Council needs to communicate with different entities within the community.  She confirmed that the Club is fully funded for this year, and there have been no cuts and/or votes, to date.  She offered her apologies to the public on behalf of the Council for the lack of communication.  She reminded the public that the consensus of Council previously supported a 5.5% increases in an effort to preserve rent control itself since it has an annual sunset clause. 

C. Hameeduddin also apologized to the public.  He reminded the public that Council's contact information is available on the website, and he urged the public to contact Council in the event of questions.  He also expressed his support to decrease the percentage in rent control. 

Mr. Turitz advised that Council could amend the percentage at the time of hearing and adoption.  He advised Council to proceed with the Hearing on October 6th.  At that time, Council may pass the Ordinance or amend same prior to adoption. 

C. Gussen referenced the Softball League that seemed like an extraordinary expense when services for children were being affected as a result of these economic times.  He did not express support for the Garden Club/Greenhouse, as he is not certain where dollars would be best suited.  He stated that the budget is about prioritization of funds in the interests of the taxpayers as a whole.

Mr. Broughton informed Council that the entire Township is undergoing an energy audit in an effort to find the reasons why the Township pays what it pays for its utilities.

PRESENTATIONS

Christopher P. Statile P.A. - CSX Pedestrian Bridge Rehabilitation.

Mr. Statile conducted his presentation of the rehabilitation of the pedestrian bridge over the CSX railroad in the vicinity of Windsor Road and Palisade Avenue.  The purpose of this hearing was to satisfy the guidelines associated with the $500,000 earmark appropriated by Congressman Rothman in 2004.  He presented pictures to Council, and he suggested that the Council approve the following:  the repair of all spalls in the East abutment, the cleansing and coating of bearing seats, the replacement of all stairway hand railing in compliance with ABD and IBC, the installation of a complete lighting system for the entire length of the bridge and stairways, the construction of drains to prevent water from running into abutments and stairs, the sealing of the deck surface, the installation of blast plates on the underside of super structure over tracks, the replacement of deck joints, the cleansing and reseal of other deck joints, the closure of gaps in existing chain link fence, the replacement of all bearings in compliance with load requirements and the cleansing and painting of all structural steel.

Mr. Statile informed that there is existing corrosion under the bridge which was inspected twice.  He also informed that no specific construction details have been drafted, to date.

DM. Parker questioned the life expectancy of the renovations, and Mr. Statile responded approximately 30 years.

The Mayor opened the meeting for purposes of public comment.

Joan Davis - 976 Alpine Drive - stated that she did not hear a description of the bridge that warrants the expense.  She questioned why staff from the Department of Public Works could not perform all of the suggested repairs.

Mr. Statile responded that the work needed is not normal maintenance work and not in the scope of existing Township employees.

Mr. McKearnin, the Township Engineer, confirmed that the bridge continues to deteriorate and is in dying need of repairs.

Mayor Feit questioned Mr. Statile if the federal grant money would cover his firm's role, and Mr. Statile responded affirmatively.

CONSENT AGENDA

All matters listed below are considered to be routine in nature by Council and will be enacted by one motion.  There will be no separate discussion of these items.  If any discussion is desired by Council, that particular item will be removed from the Consent Agenda and will be considered separately. 

MINUTES

August 18, 2009 - Closed Session Meeting (C. Katz - Absent) - Approved For Content Only.
September 8, 2009 - Closed Session Meeting - Approved For Content Only.

RESOLUTIONS

294-09  Appropriate Funds - Capital Improvement Fund - County Road Program, County-Wide ADA Ramps & Curb and Sidewalk Construction.
295-09  Ratify Payments - Chief Financial Officer - August, 2009.
296-09  Refund Tax Overpayment - Block 6002, Lot 6 - 2009.
297-09  Refund Tax Payments Pursuant to State Tax Court Decisions - Various Properties - 2007 &    2008.
298-09  Refund Tax Payments - Veteran's Exemption - Block 2309, Lot 1 - 2008 & 2009.
299-09  Refund Tax Payments - Veteran's Exemption - Block 3201, Lot 17 - 2008 & 2009.
300-09  Refund Tax Payments - Veteran's Exemption - Block 5412, Lot 10 - 2007, 2008 & 2009.
301-09  Endorse BCCD Grant - Lozier Place Sanitary Sewer Replacement.
302-09  Endorse BCCD Grant - Sylvan Terrace Roadway Improvement.
303-09  Authorize Professional Services Contract - Schwanewede/Hals Engineering - County Road Program, County-Wide ADA Ramps, Curb & Sidewalk Construction.
304-09  Authorize Submission of Grant Application for TMAASA - Governor's Council on Alcoholism   & Drug Abuse - 2010.
305-09  Authorize Renewal of Plenary Consumption Liquor License - #0260-33-022-007 - 2009/2010.
306-09  Authorize Encroachment Into Public Right-of-Way - 1399 Queen Anne Road.
307-09  Authorize Appointment to the Hackensack River Greenway Advisory Board.
308-09  Endorse BCCD Block Grant Application - AAH of Bergen County, Inc - FY 2010.
309-09  Endorse BCCD Block Grant Application - Jewish Center of Teaneck - FY 2010.
310-09  Endorse BCCD Block Grant Application - Shelter Our Sisters - FY 2010.

BILL LIST

The Clerk announced that the amount of the Bill List is $4,229,458.65.

Mayor Feit moved to approve the Consent Agenda, including the Minutes, the Resolutions, and the Bill List, and to dispense with the reading of same inasmuch as same has been posted on the bulletin board all day, except Resolution #312-09.  Authorize Execution of Settlement Agreement and Release - Graf V. Township of Teaneck, since the matter needed to be discussed in Closed Session before Council can take any action.  Seconded by DM. Parker and carried by the following:

In Favor: C. Gussen, C. Hameeduddin, DM. Parker, C. Katz, C. Toffler, Mayor Feit.

Opposed: None.

Abstained: C. Gussen (Check #155932), C. Katz (Entire Bill List, Resolutions C, F & L).

Absent: C. Honis. 

INTRODUCTION OF ORDINANCES

None.

MISCELLANEOUS

1. Teaneck Comes Together (C. Katz).

C. Katz requested that the Attorney look into meeting with the Charter School about a joint venture with Teaneck Comes Together for a youth center to be incorporated in the school's new building.

OLD BUSINESS

None.

NEW BUSINESS

None.

COMMUNICATIONS

1. Teaneck Comes Together (DM. Parker).

DM. Parker informed the public that Teaneck Comes Together will hold their Teen Explosion Event on October 4, 2009 at the Richard Rodda Community Center.

2. SCAB (DM. Parker).

DM. Parker informed Council that she is in receipt of an e-mail from former Mayor Jacqueline B. Kates on behalf of the Senior Citizen Advisory Board who is requesting a meeting with the Youth Advisory Board.  Council consented to the meeting.  C. Katz requested to be advised of the meeting date, once scheduled from DM. Parker, who confirmed that she will advise Council once the meeting has been scheduled.

COMMITTEE REPORTS - COUNCIL LIAISONS

1. Youth Advisory Board (DM. Parker).

DM. Parker congratulated new officers of the Board, which includes Samantha Wilkerson and Molly Voreacos as co-Chairs, Patrick Edmonds and Michael Pleasants as co-Vice Chairs, Ashley Edwards as Secretary, and Brian Thorn as Sergeant at Arms.

2. Financial Advisory Board (C. Toffler).

C. Toffler informed that the Board and the Council have scheduled a "green light session" community meeting on October 15 at 7 p.m. at the Rodda Center for the purposes of discussing future budgets. 

C. Toffler sent an e-mail to the Municipal Manager with the proposed flyer for the meeting in question. 

DM. Parker wants it noted on the flyer that the meeting is not an official Council Meeting.

Mr. Turitz suggested and the Council consented to the following language:  "sponsored by the FAB with the approval of the Township Council".

COUNCIL-LISTED ITEMS

1. Garden Club (C. Katz).

C. Katz requested no further discussion as a result of the aforementioned comments by the public and Council.

2. Recycling Brochure (DM. Parker).

DM. Parker provided a sample brochure from Montclair and suggested that the Township place a proposed brochure on the website for the public's knowledge.

TOWNSHIP MANAGER'S REPORT

None.

TOWNSHIP ATTORNEY'S REPORT

None.

Mayor Feit requested that the Clerk again read the Closed Session Resolution #311-09 into the record.

MOTION TO GO INTO CLOSED SESSION

C. Katz made a motion to go into Closed Session.  Seconded by C. Toffler and carried by the following vote:

In Favor: C. Gussen, C. Hameeduddin, DM. Parker, C. Katz, C. Toffler, Mayor Feit.

Opposed: None.

Absent: C. Honis.

CLOSED SESSION DISCUSSION

Mr. Turitz stated for the record that the proposed Settlement Agreement is regarding a civil action, specifically, a slip and fall which occurred at the intersection of Broad Street and Sterling Place.  After the  discovery and insurance recommendation, a settlement was offered in the amount of $22,000.  The Plaintiff  executed a full Release, and as per the cost benefit analysis, his opinion if for the Council to settle the matter.

The Mayor opened the meeting for public comment.

Joan Davis - 976 Alpine Drive - stated that the resolution did not provide a summary.

Mayor Feit closed public input.  He explained that legal issues are always reviewed thoroughly in Closed Session before taking any action.  C. Gussen confirmed that such cases are an on-going process where Council is fully informed every step of the way in order to make the best decision for the Township.

C. Gussen made a motion to approve Resolution #312-09.  Authorize Execution of Settlement Agreement and Release - Graf V. Township of Teaneck.  Seconded by C. Toffler and carried by the following vote:

In Favor: C. Gussen, C. Hameeduddin, DM. Parker, C. Toffler, Mayor Feit.

Opposed: None.

Absent:  C. Honis, C. Katz.

ADJOURNMENT

At 9:20 p.m., Councilmember Gussen moved to adjourn.  Seconded by Councilmember C. Toffler and carried by the following vote:   .

In Favor: C. Gussen, C. Hameeduddin, DM. Parker, C. Toffler, Mayor Feit.

Opposed: None.

Absent: C. Honis, C. Katz.