STILLWATER TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES
March 3, 2020 – Regular Meeting
A REGULAR MEETING of the Stillwater Township Committee was called to order by Mayor Chammings at 7 p.m. noting the meeting date, time and place were duly published in the New Jersey Herald and posted at the Town Hall and advised those present that this meeting was being held in compliance with provisions of P.L. 1975, Chapter 231, Sections 4 & 13.
Roll Call was taken and the flag was saluted.
PRESENT: Committeeman Morrison, Committeewoman Rumsey, Deputy Mayor Scott, Mayor Chammings, Municipal Clerk Lynda Knott, Attorney Angelo Bolcato ABSENT: Committeeman Fisher
BUDGET DISCUSSION: Valerie Dolan, CPA, Dana Mooney, CFO and Tammy Leonard, Finance Clerk
The CFO discussed individual budget worksheet pages she adjusted for previously decided changes and organizational purposes for the Township Committee and pubic.
Mrs. Dolan, Auditor, stated she has looked at the capital and debt plans together and they were similar. There is a lighter capital budget plan for 2020. Mrs. Dolan suggested the Township is in the position to bring down the Capital Improvement Fund by $30,000.00 to $70,000.00 and use those funds to pay down debt. The debt payment amount would go from $265,000.00 to $295,000.00 and that amount could pay off several small notes. There are three (3) or for (4) larger notes that may not be able to be paid off though the budget process that could be converted into bonds to structure debt payments. Mrs. Dolan believes the Township is in a good financial position said she would like to see the Township move toward more of a pay as you go structure and be mindful of what is added to debt.
Mrs. Dolan said the Stillwater Township proposed budget is down slightly from 2019 to $3,821,601.94 which is a .16 decrease in the budget but there will be a one percent (1%) increase in the levy. The average home (valued at $205,000) in Stillwater Township will see an increase of $11.22 in 2020 for municipal tax.
Ms. Mooney discussed open balances in ordinances and said she will be cancelling a lot of these balances after the budget is adopted.
Mayor Chammings asked how to budget for the potential of a substantial raise for an employee who is moving into a certified supervisory position. There would also be a need for education expense. Ms. Mooney said she would raise the salary line to $300,000.00 to incorporate any raises and/or extra pay. 2020 is a year where there will be 27 pays periods. This increase in the salary line will result in a slightly higher levy (1.46%) or a $16.27 increase per average home in Stillwater Township.
A brief discussion ensued regarding the use of vacant/abandoned home fees and the CFO and Auditor will look into any possible dedication by rider uses sanctioned by the State.
The CFO asked Mayor Chammings and the Township Committee if they planned on introducing the budget on March 17, 2020. Mayor Chammings asked for a motion. A motion was made by Mr. Scott to introduce the 2020 Budget on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 seconded by Mrs. Rumsey. Roll Call Vote: Ms. Rumsey, yes, Mr. Morrison, yes, Mr. Scott, yes, Mayor Chammings, yes.
A discussion was held regarding Municipay an on-line payment platform the Township is considering using. Ms. Rutnik, Stillwater Township’s Tax Collector, as in attendance for the discussion. Ms. Rutnik said she has called many of the municipalities in the County and the majority use Municipay with no issues.
Ms. Mooney said the program would cost the Township nothing and the residents who chose to use credit cards would pay 2.65% of the transaction. E-Checks or Debit cards would be charged a flat $1.50 fee. Ms. Rutnick asked Ms. Mooney how long it would be until the Township could be on line with the program. Ms. Mooney said it should be relatively quickly since Mr. Bolcato had previously reviewed the forms/program/etc.for Stanhope Borough. Mr. Bolcato asked Ms. Mooney to send him the documents on Stillwater’s behalf and Ms. Mooney will do.
MINUTES: January 7 and 11, and February 8, 2020 Budget Meetings February 18, 2020 Executive and Regular Meeting Minutes
A motion was made by Mr. Morrison to accept the minutes as presented, seconded by Mrs. Rumsey. Roll Call Vote: Mrs. Rumsey, yes, Mr. Morrison, yes, Mr. Scott, yes, Mayor Chammings, yes.
RESOLUTIONS: 2020-045 Awarding the fireworks contract to Garden State Fireworks, Inc. for Stillwater Day 2020 2020-048 Mayors’ Appointment of Amanda M Borkstrom as a Member of the Stillwater Area Voluntary Fire Company with Committee Concurrence 2020-049 Mayors’ Appointment of Trevor M Havens as a Member of the Stillwater Area Voluntary Fire Company with Committee Concurrence
2020-050 Mayors’ Appointment of Stephanie A Leenstra as a Member of the Stillwater Area Voluntary Fire Company with Committee Concurrence 2020-051 Mayors’ Appointment of Ashley S Hebble as a Member of the Stillwater Area Voluntary Fire Company with Committee Concurrence
2020-052 Mayors’ Appointment of Michele E Hess as a Member of the Stillwater Area Voluntary Fire Company with Committee Concurrence
A motion was made by Mr. Morrison to adopt the resolutions as presented, seconded by Mrs. Rumsey.
Mrs. Rumsey questioned the minutes received from the Fire Department noting the above new members would become members upon the receipt of legal documentation regarding the dissolution of the EMS. Mrs. Rumsey said the Risk Manager needs a complete list of members to ensure everyone is covered under the Township’s insurance. Mr. Morrison also reacted and said anyone else can join immediately and questioned the reason why these applicants were different? Fire Chief Sugar who was in attendance said he would ask the Company Officers their reasoning for the verbage.
Roll Call Vote: Mrs. Rumsey, yes, Mr. Morrison, yes, Mr. Scott, yes, Mayor Chammings, yes.
BILLS LIST #4: $840,402.19
RESOLUTION 2020-053 PAYMENT OF BILLS
Mr. Scott made a motion to adopt Resolution 2020-053, funds permitting, seconded by Mrs. Rumsey.
SUSSEX COUNTY, NEW JERSEY
RESOLUTION ADJUSTING THE 2019 LOSAP CONTRIBUTION AMOUNT TO ACCOUNT FOR INCREASES IN THE CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (“CPI”)
WHEREAS, the Stillwater Township Committee deems it appropriate and necessary to act to ensure retention of existing members and to provide incentives for recruiting new Volunteer Firefighters and First Aid Squad members; and
WHEREAS, in order to achieve this goal the Township, adopted Chapter 80 of the Township Code (Ordinance #2002-7), creating a Length of Service Award Program (“LOSAP”), pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-182, et. al., which provides tax-deferred income benefits to Volunteer Members of the Fire Department and First Aid Squad; and
WHEREAS, the Township’s LOSAP program does not provide for increases in the LOSAP contribution amount to account for increases in the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”); and
WHEREAS, the Stillwater Township Committee has determined that it is in the best interests of the citizens of Stillwater Township to provide the Volunteer Firefighters and First Aid Squad members with increased LOSAP benefits consistent with the CPI determined by the Director of the State of New Jersey: Division of Local Government Services;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Stillwater Township Committee, the amount of the LOSAP benefit provided to each qualifying member of the Stillwater Area Volunteer Fire Company (SAVFC) and the Stillwater Emergency Rescue Squad, Inc., (SERS) shall be increased as follows:
Mrs. Rumsey made a motion to adopt Resolution 2020-054, seconded by Mr. Morrison.
Roll Call Vote: Ms. Rumsey, yes, Mr. Morrison, yes, Mr. Scott, abstained, and Mayor Chammings, yes
RESOLUTION 2020-055 Authorizing a Shared Services Agreement with the Township of Montague for the Services of a Qualified Purchasing Agent
Mr. Scott made a motion to adopt Resolution 2020-055, seconded by Mr. Morrison.
Roll Call Vote: Ms. Rumsey, yes, Mr. Morrison, yes, Mr. Scott, yes, and Mayor Chammings, yes
RESOLUTION 2020-056 Authorizing the Award of Contract for Architecture
Mr. Scott made a motion to adopt Resolution 2020-056, seconded by Mr. Morrison.
Mayor Chammings discussed this resolution is for the services of a Stillwater resident who has offered his services for no charge to do the architectural drawings for the men’s and women’s rest rooms at the Stillwater Community Center. Mr. Bolcato has reviewed the contract and the adoption of the resolution is subject to an agreed on addendum and proof of insurance.
Roll Call Vote: Ms. Rumsey, yes, Mr. Morrison, yes, Mr. Scott, yes, and Mayor Chammings, yes
RESOLUTION 2020-057 Establishing Committee Departments Liaisons
Mayor Chammings noted the initial liaison assignments needed to be adjusted and this is the updated resolution.
Mr. Scott made a motion to adopt Resolution 2020-057, seconded by Mr. Morrison.
Roll Call Vote: Ms. Rumsey, yes, Mr. Morrison, yes, Mr. Scott, yes, and Mayor Chammings, yes
Mr. Scott reported the Recreation Commission will meet next on April 6th and before that on April 4, 2020 is Stillwater Clean-Up Day with a free shredding service and drop off of four tires at no charge. Mr. Scott said that Stillwater Day is Saturday, June 13, 2020 and finishes up with fireworks at dark.
Mr. Scott also reported he met with Mr. Sylvester and team representatives at Veterans Park to go over the field schedules. Mr. Scott said Mr. Sylvester would still like to see the parking lot paved but that project is not on the schedule for 2020.
Mr. Scott discussed that Recreation Commissioners Tara Tosti and Alicia Gardner are planning to use the Community Center for children’s’ programs.
Mrs. Rumsey reported a Public Safety Meeting was held on February 20, 2020 at the Stillwater Community Center with members of the Fire Department and CERT. Mrs. Rumsey noted Mayor Chammings attended from 7:00 to 7:15 as OEM Coordinator and addressed the group. At 7:15 Mayor Chammings left and Mr. Fisher joined the group. The group discussed each entity’s responsibilities in an emergency. The CERT organization is working on a questioner to send to residents to help establish a critical care and other “needs” list to better serve our community.
Mrs. Rumsey read a letter from the Chief and Deputy Chief of the Hampton Volunteer Fire Department thanking Stillwater for aid during a house fire.
Mrs. Rumsey also noted the Stillwater Strategic Planning Meeting was to be held on March 5, 2020.
Mayor Chammings reported the Planning Board re-organized on February 19, 2020. Karen Puccio is the Chair and Bob Pierce is Vice-Chair. Bill Haggerty and Joe Golden are the professionals for 2020.
Mayor Chammings also reported she attended a meeting with the Board of Public Utilities on February 25, 2020 regarding Centurylink and the need to update the voice lines. Mayor Chammings noted the voice and DSL lines are on in the same and she believes the DSL needs to be addressed as well.
Mayor Chammings spoke regarding the Corona Virus saying the most important thing anyone can do to prevent the virus is to wash your hands. Mayor Chammings said 8 to 10 people have been tested in New Jersey and all were negative and there are no confirmed cases in New Jersey – only in Washington and California. Both Kittatinny and Stillwater Schools sent letters to help in preventing the spread of the virus.
Mayor Chammings also reported the Fire Department will be installing four cameras in the Community Center – two in the bays, one in the front office and one upstairs in the meeting room.
Mayor Chammings thanked the Sussex County Sheriff’s office and SLAP for the good job painting the meeting room of the Community Center.
AMENDMENTS TO AGENDA
OPEN PUBLIC SESSION
At this point, this portion of the meeting was opened to the public.
Marcia Bradley, 913 Hillcrest Road reported she had attended a Fredon Township Committee meeting and she was asked for Stillwater Township’s resolution for CERT to review and said they would be interested in a tri-pod CERT similar to the tri-pod for the fire companies. Mrs. Bradley said she would be attending the Hampton Township Committee meeting later in the month to speak with them.
Mike Neiman, 927 Middleville Road, was there on behalf of his client to see if the Township Committee was passing legislation to change the administrator of flood damage prevention for the Township. Mayor Chammings said if he waited until after the open public session they would introduce the ordinance which is the first step in changing the law.
Donna Price, 931 Maple Avenue, thanked Mayor Chammings for her comments on Facebook after the last meeting and the adoption of the unfortunate resolution regarding the second amendment. Mrs. Price believes that resolution protects people for breaking laws already passed. Mrs. Price said she was so uncomfortable for having to state her name and address before she spoke and was scared leaving the meeting. Mrs. Price also noted the rise in her electric bill over the years and brought information regarding a pilot solar program for the community which was distributed to the Township Committee for their review. Mrs. Price said she uses trails a lot and some of the other area trails have road markers showing travelers points of interest including local food establishments and suggested Stillwater Township consider markers on the trails in our area.
Kathleen Marshall, 1015 Route 619, wanted to go on the record she is protesting resolution 2020-025 regarding the 2nd Amendment. Ms. Marshall is very concerned with the reasoning of Legislator Parker Space’s explanation of the resolution and that this reasoning nurtures fear. Mrs. Marshall would like the Township Committee to consider adopting the resolution minus the whereas regarding the red flag laws.
Lauren Marshall, 1015 Route 619, said she was at the meeting on January 21st and would have liked to express her opinion of the resolution but her voice was not heard. She was so uncomfortable by some of the crowd at the meeting she could not speak her mind.
Janice Bonavita, 918 Dove Island Road, said she and her husband attended the Sussex County Freeholder’s meeting when they adopted a second amendment resolution. Mrs. Bonavita reported the meeting was very well attended and felt the meeting was more balanced because it seemed to have an equal number of people from both sides of the issue.
Joseph Bonavita, 918 Dove Island Road, discussed the process he had to go through to obtain his legal gun purchase card. Mr. Bonavita feels legal gun owners are not to be feared as they are well educated with the rules and regulations of being a responsible gun owner.
There being no further members of the public wishing to speak, this portion of the meeting was closed to the public at 9:44 p.m.
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 202 OF THE CODE OF THE TOWNSHIP OF STILLWATER (KNOWN AS “FLOOD DAMAGE PREVENTION” ARTICLE IV ADMINISTRATION) TO CHANGE DESIGNATION OF THE LOCAL ADMINISTRATOR FROM THE CONSTRUCTION OFFICIAL TO ENGINEER FOR THE ZONING & PLANNING BOARD, OR DESIGNEE OF THE TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE
WHEREAS, the Township Committee of the Township of Stillwater has reviewed Chapter 202, Article IV, “Flood Damage Prevention,” Administration and has determined that this section should be modified in order to replace the designation of “Construction Official” to “Engineer for the Planning and Zoning Board or the Designee of the Township Committee.” NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED, by the Township Committee of the Township of Stillwater that Chapter 202, Article IV, Administration “Flood Damage Prevention,” shall be changed to replace the designation of “Construction Official” wherever it appears in Article IV with “Engineer for the Planning and Zoning Board or the Designee of the Township Committee.”
Conflicts & Severability. If other ordinances, parts of ordinances or other local requirements are inconsistent or in conflict with this ordinance, are hereby superseded to the extent of any inconsistency or conflicts, and the provisions of this ordinance shall apply.
Continuing Validity. All provisions of this Ordinance not changed in accordance herewith shall remain in force and effect.
This Ordinance shall take effect upon final adoption of publication as may be required by law.
Mr. Scott made a motion to Introduce Ordinance 2020-02, seconded by Mr. Morrison.
Township Entrance Signs:
The Welcome to Stillwater signs will move forward once the budget has been adopted.
Community Center Signage over bay doors at Community Center:
The signs over the bay doors at the Community Center will be reversed – looking at the building on the left bay the sign will read: Stillwater Area Volunteer Fire Company. The sign over the right bay will say: Swartswood Station 2. The Clerk will get an updated quote from EM Signs and at least two other vendors. These signs will also move forward once the budget has been adopted.
The soil ordinance introduced in 2019 is being amended and will be re-introduced at the meeting of March 17, 2020.
Mayor Chammings said the Township Committee is aware the Recreation Commission’s fees are changing but the Committee knows other fees that will need to be amended shortly and wants to make all the changes at the same time.
2020 Safety and Loss Control Grant Program:
The Township could receive 1% of the Township’s total assessment from Statewide Insurance Fund as part of their grant program for certain loss prevention services/products. Security camera for the municipal building and other items will be applied for in 2020.
Land Sale Letters
Mr. Bolcato has prepared letters for the successful bidders with the clause the new lots must be merged into their existing lots and also a letter for the one bidder, who was not a contiguous land owner, denying the bid. The Township Committee told Mr. Bolcato to send out the letters.
DPW Wood Chips
The DPW has been proactively trimming trees so in a storm there is not so many limbs in the road. This project has created a large pile of wood chips. Mr. Raff will be looking at some dates in April where residents can come to the DPW yard and have their trucks or buckets loaded.
At this point, this portion of the meeting was opened to the public
There being no members of the public wishing to speak, this portion of the meeting was closed.
ATTORNEY REPORT: Mr. Bolcato reported during the Community Center transaction a lease between United Telephone and Swartswood Fire Department was discovered. Mr. Bolcato researched the lease and found an easement was granted to United Telephone in 2002 or 2003 and the lease is no longer in effect. Mr. Bolcato has asked United Telephone to cancel the lease.
After the reading of the following Resolution to enter into Executive Session, a motion was made by Mr. Morrison, seconded by Mrs. Rumsey and carried by roll call vote to adopt the resolution permitting the Committee to go into Executive Session at 10:03 p.m.
WHEREAS, Section 8 of the Open Public Meetings Act, Chapter 231, P.L. 1975 permits the exclusion of the public from a meeting under certain circumstances; and
WHEREAS, this public body is of the opinion that such circumstances presently exist.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Committee of the Township of Stillwater, in the County of Sussex and State of New Jersey as follows:
1. The public shall be excluded from that portion of this meeting.
2. The general nature of the subject matter to be discussed is as follows: Attorney Client
3. As nearly as can now be ascertained, the matter or matters to be discussed at this time will be disclosed to the public when such matters are resolved.
There being no further business to attend to, a motion was made by Mr. Fisher, seconded by Mr. Morrison to conclude the Executive Session at 10:33 p.m., unanimously carried by roll call vote.
There being no further business, Ms. Rumsey made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mr. Morrison at 10:34 p.m. In a voice vote, all were in favor.
Lynda Knott, Township Clerk
Stillwater Township offers residents a Recycling and Convenience Center for household trash and recycling.
Residents are able to view property tax information through the Municipal Software Inc. system. You may find a property by entering the property’s location or block, lot and qualifier.
Stillwater Township posts all information about bids and proposals for township projects on a dedicated page.