March 5, 2019 Regular Meeting

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STILLWATER TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE MEETING

March 5, 2019 Regular Meeting

A REGULAR MEETING of the Stillwater Township Committee was called to order by Mayor Chammings at 7:05 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, Committeeman Gross, Deputy Mayor Scott, Committeeman Fisher, Mayor Chammings, Municipal Clerk Lynda Knott, Attorney Angelo Bolcato.

EXECUTIVE SESSION:

After the reading of the following Resolution to enter into Executive Session, a motion was made by Mr. Scott, seconded by Mr. Fisher and carried by roll call vote to adopt the resolution permitting the Committee to go into Executive Session at 6:34 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: Personnel

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. Scott, seconded by Mr. Morrison to conclude the Executive Session at 7:00 p.m., unanimously carried by roll call vote.

REGULAR SESSION:

PRESENTATION: Tim McDonough and Stacia Scaduto

Community Energy Aggregation – Concord Energy Services

Mr. McDonough, Consultant, Concord Energy Services (and Mayor of Hope Township) provided a background on the aggregate. He noted Hope Township participates in the cooperative and it has provided a true savings to the residents at no cost to the township. The program is overseen by the BPU and less than 10 percent of Hope residents have opted out of the program, with some opting back in. Positive resident comments can be seen on the Hope Facebook page. JCP&L is favorable to the program and there are no changes for them as they do not generate electricity, they only transmit it. The JCP&L profit and loss is not affected at all.

Stacia Scaduto, Consultant, Concord Energy Services, provided a presentation outlining the following topics concluding with a question and answer period:

-Energy Deregulation: Option to choose the supplier on your electric bill.

-Statewide BGS Auction (Basic Generation Service Electricity Supply): BGS 2018 auction winners – energy suppliers for residents of New Jersey, rate determination made by the State.

-Aggregation/Community Aggregation: Replaces default rate with a new price based on the community’s local usage; bulk purchase electricity from a third-party supplier; communities are able to obtain rate reductions on their energy costs; consumer protections not normally available in individuals’ contracts with third party suppliers.

-Aggregation Process: Ordinance/Resolution/Agreements; bid documents are prepared and submitted to BPU and Division of Rate Counsel; energy auction and selection of winning bidder; outreach to residents including mailings, public meetings, in-state call center, video and customized webpage and municipal webpage information. Auction process is repeated at conclusion of the contract. Contract terms could be 12-month, 18-month or 24-month, one municipality has a 22-month term.

-Aggregation Details: Once a supplier is awarded there will be an initial 30-day window for residents to decide if they would like to participate; anyone choosing to participate will be enrolled in the program and enjoy the savings. Residents can decide at any time after the program begins to discontinue participation with no termination fees or penalties and there is no automatic renewal. The program is only available to those who are not currently with a third-party supplier and who do not have solar, noting there is a different process for those with solar. All current services, delivery, meter readings, billing, payments, etc. are still serviced by through the utility. All service-related questions and outage issues will be addressed through the utility and there will still only be one bill per month. Budget billing is offered in the program and there are no fees to participate in the program.

-Why do this?: Money savings, consumer protections (no predatory contracting, no fees); flexible participation, all current services are still provided by the utility; budget billing; and all outreach is done by Concord Energy Services team and is tailored to the individual municipality.

A sample bill was provided and reviewed. Every month, JCP&L will still include their rate so you can compare it to the rate being paid.

In response to questions from the public, Ms. Scaduto stated outreach is to all residents regardless of whether or not they currently have a third-party supplier, and residents generally see savings within six months. Public hearing meetings and outreach is conducted by Concord Energy.

The Committee agreed this item will be added to the next agenda for further discussion and public input.

If it is determined an ordinance will be introduced, Ms. Scaduto will be asked to be at the public hearing for the ordinance adoption. Ms. Scaduto will provide a model ordinance for the Committee and Township Attorney review.

MINUTES:

Regular Session Minutes: February 19, 2019

Executive Session Minutes: February 19, 2019

Mr. Scott made a motion to approve the minutes as listed, seconded by Mr. Gross.

Roll Call Vote: Mr. Morrison, yes, Mr. Gross, yes, Mr. Scott, yes, Mr. Fisher, yes, Mayor Chammings, yes

RESOLUTIONS:

2019-046 Awarding Lawn Maintenance Contract to Stillwater Lawn Service

2019-047 Authorizing the Mayor to Execute Agreement with Garden State Fireworks

REPORTS:

Stillwater Volunteer Fire Department Report of February 2019 and YTD

Sussex County Board of Health Report of January 2019

ACO Report from 12/2/18 through 2/19/19

Tax Collector Report of Receipts – January 2019

Convenience Center Income Report of January 2019

Mr. Scott made a motion to accept the reports as submitted, seconded by Mr. Gross.

Roll Call Vote: Mr. Morrison, yes, Mr. Gross, yes, Mr. Scott, yes, Mr. Fisher, yes, Mayor Chammings, yes

BILLS LIST #4: $869,935.84

RESOLUTION 2019-048 PAYMENT OF BILLS

Mr. Scott made a motion to adopt Resolution 2019-048, seconded by Mr. Mr. Gross.

Roll Call Vote: Mr. Morrison, yes, Mr. Gross, yes, Mr. Scott, yes, Mr. Fisher, yes, Mayor Chammings, yes

AMENDMENTS TO AGENDA: None

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Mr. Scott reported on the DPW and Recreation Commission (RC). Clean Up Day, Stillwater Day and field usage were discussed at the last RC meeting. The rain date for the fireworks will be in October, in conjunction with the Historical Society Fall Festival.

Mr. Gross reported the fire department February report was provided.

Mr. Morrison reported the Planning Board meeting for February was cancelled.

Mayor Chammings will meet with Matt Cleaver’s supervisors on Wednesday, March 13th at the Municipal Building at 6 p.m. to discuss the final approval for his Eagle Scout project. A proclamation will be done for Mr. Cleaver at a future Committee meeting.

Mayor Chammings received a thank you letter for her bus route follow-up, making sure roads were cleared as needed during an early school dismissal due to the snowstorm on February 20th. She asked for a copy of the letter to be forwarded to the DPW to thank them for their assistance as well.

Mayor Chammings reported that she will be meeting with Mr. Bolcato, Ms. Knott, Ms. Holenstein and Mr. Holzhauer to discuss the Plymouth Lake dam assessment process on Thursday, March 7th at 2:45 p.m. at the Municipal Building.

OPEN PUBLIC SESSION

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.

OLD BUSINESS:

Swartswood Fire Department Building:

Mayor Chammings reported discussions regarding the acquisition of the building have been very positive. She noted the trustees have requested that one of the sheds located on the property be moved to the church property to be used for storage by the Knights of Columbus. Mayor Chammings had no issue with the request. She stated Ordinance 2019-02 will outline the acquisition. The Durango has been moved inside the building and the DPW will look at the recessed area near the septic, possibly placing a plate over it. The interior pipes and water restoration are being addressed; oil has been delivered to the building. A line item will need to be created for the building. Mr. Bolcato is working on a contract between the township and fire department for the transfer of the building. Mr. Bolcato will review the survey to determine if it is adequate or if a new one will need to be done. Mayor Chammings thanked Mr. Bolcato for his assistance with the process. Mr. Fisher asked for a public statement to be made to the newspaper exonerating members of the fire department, other than the two in question. Mayor Chammings stated a reporter was present at the meeting and his statement would be duly noted. Mr. Fisher felt the public/Facebook comments made against the fire department as a whole were very unfair. Mayor Chammings felt at this point, many realize it was two people who brought the department down not all of the members. The acquisition of the building is moving in a positive direction and that in itself makes a statement.

NEW BUSINESS: Introduction (Public Hearing and Adoption – March 19, 2019)

ORDINANCE 2019-01

CALENDAR YEAR 2019 ORDINANCE OF THE TOWNSHIP OF STILLWATER, COUNTY OF SUSSEX, NJ TO EXCEED THE MUNICIPAL BUDGET APPROPRIATION LIMITS AND TO ESTABLISH A CAP BANK

(N.J.S.A. 40A: 4-45.14)

WHEREAS, the Local Government Cap Law, N.J.S. 40A: 4-45.1 et seq., provides that in the preparation of its annual budget, a municipality shall limit any increase in said budget up to 2.5% unless authorized by ordinance to increase it to 3.5% over the previous year’s final appropriations, subject to certain exceptions; and,

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A: 4-45.15a provides that a municipality may, when authorized by ordinance, appropriate the difference between the amount of its actual final appropriation and the 3.5% percentage rate as an exception to its final appropriations in either of the next two succeeding years; and,

WHEREAS, the Township Committee of the Township of Stillwater in the County of Sussex finds it advisable and necessary to increase its CY 2019 budget by up to 3.5% over the previous year’s final appropriations, in the interest of promoting the health, safety and welfare of the citizens; and,

WHEREAS, the Township Committee hereby determines that a 1.0% increase in the budget for said year, amounting to $22,641.36 in excess of the increase in final appropriations otherwise permitted by the Local Government Cap Law, is advisable and necessary; and,

WHEREAS the Township Committee hereby determines that any amount authorized hereinabove that is not appropriated as part of the final budget shall be retained as an exception to final appropriation in either of the next two succeeding years.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT ORDAINED, by the Township Committee of the Township of Stillwater, in the County of Sussex, a majority of the full authorized membership of this governing body affirmatively concurring, that, in the CY 2019 budget year, the final appropriations of the Township of Stillwater shall, in accordance with this ordinance and N.J.S.A. 40A: 4-45.14, be increased by 3.5%, amounting to $79,244.75, and that the CY 2019 municipal budget for the Township of Stillwater be approved and adopted in accordance with this ordinance; and,

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, that any that any amount authorized hereinabove that is not appropriated as part of the final budget shall be retained as an exception to final appropriation in either of the next two succeeding years; and,

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, that a certified copy of this ordinance as introduced be filed with the Director of the Division of Local Government Services within 5 days of introduction; and,

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, that a certified copy of this ordinance upon adoption, with the recorded vote included thereon, be filed with said Director within 5 days after such adoption.

Mr. Scott made a motion to introduce Ordinance 2019-01, seconded by Mr. Fisher.

Roll Call Vote: Mr. Morrison, yes, Mr. Gross, no, Mr. Scott, yes, Mr. Fisher, yes, Mayor Chammings, yes

ORDINANCE 2019-02 Introduction (Public Hearing and Adoption – March 19, 2019)

STILLWATER TOWNSHIP ORDINANCE

ORDINANCE #2019-02

AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE ACQUISITION OF CERTAIN REAL PROPERTY LOCATED IN THE TOWNSHIP OF STILLWATER

WHEREAS, the Local Lands and Buildings Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:12-1 et seq., provides that a municipality may, by ordinance, provide for the acquisition of real property or an interest therein by purchase, gift, devise, lease, exchange, or condemnation in the manner provided in the Eminent Domain Act, N.J.S.A. 20:3-1 et seq.; and

WHEREAS, Swartswood Volunteer Fire Department has offered to donate its real property, including all buildings and improvements and the cell tower lease, located at 931 Swartswood Road, Stillwater Township, New Jersey and identified as Block 1703, Lot 21 (the “Property”) to the Township of Stillwater and the Township Committee has determined that it is in the interest of the Township to acquire the Property from the Swartswood Volunteer Fire Department for Township purposes; and

BE IT ORDAINED, by the Township Committee of the Township of Stillwater, Sussex County, New Jersey, as follows:

Section 1. The donation by the Swartswood Volunteer Fire Department of its Property known as 931 Swartswood Road, Stillwater Township, New Jersey and identified as Block 1703, Lot 21, as shown on the Tax Map of the Township of Stillwater for public use is hereby accepted. The acquisition is subject to the Township and Swartswood Volunteer Fire Department entering into an agreement and the Mayor is authorized to sign the agreement upon the recommendation of the Township Attorney.

Section 2. There is hereby appropriated the sum of $10,000.00 for the costs and expenses for the acquisition of the Property.

Section 3. Severability. If any provision of this ordinance or the application of this ordinance to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the remainder of this ordinance shall not be affected and shall remain in full force and effect.

Section 4. Repealer. All ordinances or parts of ordinances or resolutions inconsistent or in opposition to the provisions of this Ordinance are hereby repealed in their entirety.

Section 5. Effective Date. This ordinance shall take effect after publication and passage according to law.

Mr. Scott made a motion to introduce Ordinance 2019-02, seconded by Mr. Gross.

Roll Call Vote: Mr. Morrison, yes, Mr. Gross, yes, Mr. Scott, yes, Mr. Fisher, yes, Mayor Chammings, yes

ATTORNEY REPORT:

Mr. Bolcato is pleased with the progress being made with the Swartswood Fire Department building being transferred back to the township. He sees the future community uses of the building as a positive for the township. He thanked the Committee for their support and introduction of the ordinance.

Open Public Session:

At this point, this portion of the meeting was opened to the public.

Jan Bonavita, 918 Dove Island Road expressed concern with disrespectful statements made against and non-recognition of the fire department trustees that are working for the benefit of the township toward transferring the building. She expressed dismay with the public comments made by Mayor Chammings and Mr. Morrison on social media. She thanked Mr. Fisher for his support of the Swartswood Fire Department members/trustees and acknowledging their public mistreatment. She proceeded to read a prepared statement.

ATTACHED HEREUNTO: Statement by Jan Bonavita

Click here to read memo read into record

Kathy Draghi, 1016 Route 619 thanked the Committee for getting to this point with the fire department building. She asked for clarification on the payment for the oil, the $10,000 appropriation for the acquisition, and the non-payment of taxes. Mayor Chammings and Mr. Bolcato indicated the $10,000 was to cover costs for a survey, title insurance, closing fees, etc. Mrs. Draghi stated she did not feel the level of accusations by Mrs. Bonavita was warranted. She did not feel the average Stillwater resident had any animosity toward the members of the department.

Mr. Scott expressed concern with the former members not coming before the Committee to try and save the department. Mayor Chammings noted trustee Vinny Kornmeyer did attend a meeting in the past. After further discussion, Mrs. Bonavita stated the mistreatment of the members and the Committee acquiring the building are two very separate issues.

There being no further members of the public wishing to speak, this portion of the meeting was closed.

BUDGET DISCUSSION:

Salary and Wages, final review:

Dana Mooney, CFO, was present.

Scenario 1:

-Regenerated $300,000 in surplus

-Increase amount of Capital Improvement Fund to $120,000; Total budget: $3,597,392.23

-$40,000 increase from 2018

-Levy: $3,000 increase from 2018

-Using $770,000 of surplus – would still have $2,804,000 remaining in surplus

This option does not fully fund many items and equates to a .12% levy increase.

Scenario 2:

-The same amount of Capital Improvement Fund as Option 1; pulling oil/stone into current fund allowing oil and stone to be done as soon as the budget is adopted, through the co-op. One-hundred thousand will be put in reserve each year for the purchase of emergency vehicles to fully fund the purchase when needed.

-The same amount of debt would still be paid down.

-Increase amount of surplus used allowing for a zero increase.

-Ms. Mooney discussed the Recreation Commission request for playground equipment, confirming that $20,000 remains in the budget for last year and an additional $40,000 was requested for this year.

Mr. Morrison asked if the $72,000 in the Open Space Trust could be used to fund some of the items for the park. Ms. Mooney agreed, noting there is $4,000 remaining in the Pond Brook Park ordinance that can also be used.

Following discussion, the Committee was in favor of Scenario #2. Ms. Mooney would revise the figures for Committee review, increasing the surplus amount used and decreasing the levy.

Tax Collector: Deputy Tax Collector Position Request

Ms. Rutnik, Tax Collector was present. She submitted a memo to the Committee in August requesting a part-time Deputy Tax Collector to assist her in the office. The State has implemented various procedures and extended the time period for the Senior Freeze, in addition to the Homestead Rebate which requires an additional mailing and payments in May and November. Ms. Rutnik indicated Mrs. Wunder is interested in the position and has tax collecting knowledge spanning many years. She has dealt with the public and the collection of payments, interest, questions, mail, etc. Ms. Rutnik felt Mrs. Wunder would be a benefit to the tax office as she is a full-time employee and is available to the public. She would also like to teach Mrs. Wunder to post payments to the system helping the office to run more efficiently. The appointment is made annually and Ms. Rutnik asked the Committee to appoint Mrs. Wunder; noting compensation would be a Committee decision.

During Committee discussion, it was noted that another employee expressed interest in the position. It was also noted the position is not an established municipal title and would have to be created by ordinance. The Committee agreed Mrs. Wunder should submit a letter indicating she is also interested in the position. Concern was expressed with Mrs. Wunder’s current workload and increasing it. Ms. Rutnik stated Mrs. Wunder is currently performing many of the duties. Ms. Rutnik stated she could not work additional hours herself as she is employed in another municipality. Ms. Knott expressed concern with the effect on the receptionist and decreasing her workload as she also assists with tax collection.

Employee Percentage Increase:

The Committee discussed the percentage increase for employees and determined it would be three percent, not including contracted employees.

Attorney Report: After reviewing the survey for the fire department property, Mr. Bolcato indicated it would have to be updated. Mr. Bolcato left the meeting at this point.

Budget Discussion:

Ms. Mooney provided the revised budget figures, indicating an .87 cent increase per household with an assessed value of $204,800.

Ms. Mooney included the four-hour salary for the Finance Clerk into the budget. A decision has not been made on the Deputy Tax Collector appointment so no compensation has been included for the position.

The Committee discussed the request for four additional hours for the Finance Clerk. The Committee discussed the future of the position and the possibility of making one full-time CFO position rather than two part-time positions (CFO/Finance Clerk). The four hours would increase the Finance Clerk to 29 hours per week.

Mayor Chammings made a motion to provide an additional four hours to the Finance Clerk, seconded by Mr. Morrison.

Discussion:

Mr. Fisher stated the Committee has provided the Finance Clerk with salary increases and additional hours over the past few years and he felt the department was becoming very expensive to operate. He questioned the reasoning behind the request. He suggested having the Finance Clerk spend two hours of her time at night with the CFO as her mentor. Mr. Scott felt the Committee was investing in the employee for the future and he questioned how it could be guaranteed she is going to stay. He suggested an agreement with the employee. Mayor Chammings stated the increase in salary for the additional four hours is $4,417.00 for a total annual salary of $38,536.00 including the three percent annual increase. The CFO annual salary is $35,484.00 for 11 hours per week. The Committee discussed the future of a full-time CFO office without an assistant and investing in an employee vs. over expending the department. Mayor Chammings felt it was worth the investment and Mr. Fisher expressed concern with the cost of the department and whether or not the additional hours were necessary. Ms. Mooney felt the Finance Clerk could handle the workload of a full-time position in the future and she would also be available to mentor her.

Roll Call Vote: Mr. Morrison, yes, Mr. Gross, yes, Mr. Scott, yes, Mr. Fisher, no, Mayor Chammings, yes

Buildings and Grounds:

Mayor Chammings asked for a line item to be created under Buildings and Grounds for the Swartswood Fire Department property as the process is moving forward. A line item also needs to be established for revenue from the cell tower to be used for building maintenance. Ms. Mooney noted unless it is a dedicated trust, revenue could not be specifically committed for maintenance. Taxes for 2019 owed to the county, school, library etc. total $15,812.16. Additional funding will also be needed for repairs and upgrading of the building. Funding for Ordinance 2019-02 in the amount of $10,000 would come from capital or possibly a reserve for property acquisition. Ms. Mooney will review the matter with the auditor and attorney.

There being no further business, Mr. Gross made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 10:35 p.m., seconded by Mr. Fisher. In a voice vote, all were in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Wunder

 

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