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December 21, 2010

COUNCIL MINUTES

The Mayor and Council of the Borough of Point Pleasant Beach met at 6:30 PM with Mayor Barrella and Council Members Tooker, Hennessy, Rizzo, Cervino, Lurie and Dyer present. The Municipal Clerk read the notice indicating compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act.

Department Head memos and correspondence were discussed, with items moved to agenda for action; Clerk Ellsworth asked for Mayor and Council’s direction on agenda items for January 1 and January 4, 2011 Council Meetings, so she can get both to Council 48 hours in advance; Code Enforcement Officer’s request to amend the sign ordinance was held for January 4th and her memo regarding recouping legal fees was moved to closed session.
Councilman Dyer: met with American Traffic Solutions about installing cameras on traffic lights to slow traffic and generate revenue (Brick is averaging $70K-80K/month/light – municipality is charged a fee – some revenue goes to County and State - about 60% goes to town) – asked Council to authorize Administrator Riehl and Chief O’Hara to contact American Traffic Solutions about installing test cameras in order to get a projected revenue – Chief O’Hara has identified four locations for the tests (Attorney Riordan: concerned that company that does the test run would have an advantage during bid; Mayor Barrella: need a caveat that test company share all data with the borough – this data would be part of the RFP package, available to all other bidders).
Mayor Barrella: asked that item 1/v be held. Clerk Ellsworth pointed out a typographical error in item 1/dd.

Motion by Councilman Lurie, to enter closed session to discuss four litigation matters (ACLU, Wells Fargo, Mullen & Levine and tax appeals) was seconded by Councilman Dyer and carried by the following roll call vote.
VOTE: Council Members Tooker, Hennessy Rizzo, Cervino, Lurie, Dyer ….YEA

Closed session began at 6:47PM and ended at 8:10 PM.

Mayor Barrella called the regular meeting to order at 8:14 PM. Present were Council Members Tooker, Hennessy, Rizzo, Cervino, Lurie and Dyer.

Motion by Councilwoman Tooker to approve the minutes of the June 15, July 6, July 20, July 27, August 17, and September 7, 2010 Council Meetings was seconded by Councilman Hennessy and carried by the following roll call vote.
VOTE: Council Members Tooker, Hennessy Rizzo, Cervino, Lurie, Dyer ….YEA

Councilwoman Tooker presented a proclamation to Animal Control Officer John “Muskrat Jack” Neary. She also thanked the other people who helped with the turtle relocation during the lake dredging, including Karen Mills, Ed Donoghue, and Pete Ritchings.

Mayor Barrella presented awards to Point Pleasant Beach High School students for painting downtown business windows for the holidays.

Consent Resolution A (Authorization for Scott Kenneally, Esq. to enter into a settlement of Jenkinsons’ tax appeals, as discussed in closed session) was considered.
Mayor Barrella: explained that Jenkinsons filed tax appeals on all of their properties, to have their tax assessments reduced by about 50% - proposed settlement calls for the town to concede approximately $500,000 to $560,000 in property tax refunds (2008-2010) and to reduce their (2011) assessments by roughly 23-24% – Jenkinsons/the Storino family would concede the 2007-2008 years for which they also filed appeals.
Anne Lightburn, Point Pleasant Beach (PPB): believed her property is over-assessed – asked what Council will do to re-adjust assessments for the average person, for the entire town, to level the playing field (Mayor Barrella: discussed with Tax Assessor – perhaps a reassessment, rather than a revaluation).
Dave Cavagnaro, PPB: asked when reimbursement would take place (Attorney Kenneally: settlement is not final – when it reaches final settlement, a judgment from the court would not be issued for at least 45 days; Mayor Barrella: there are mechanisms to look to for paying this as we don’t have the money – in this year’s budget, the increase in uncollected taxes is about 3 times the 2% levy cap – this would be about 5 times over that – if we were to credit this against future property taxes, our reserve for uncollected taxes, which is no longer a waiver item, would be devastating) asked if this would be a drain on the 2011 budget (Mayor Barrella: Council might decide to borrow the money to pay for it).
Kristin Hennessy, PPB: clarified that Jenkinsons was originally seeking a 50% reduction, and the recommendation is to settle at 23% (Mayor Barrella: settlement is whatever Messrs. Kenneally and Carpenter manage to work out) clarified that, if Council rejected, Jenkinsons pursued with the County Tax Board and municipality lost the appeal, town could be looking at $1.2M.
Glenn Paesano, PPB: assuming Jenkinsons is correct, that they are over-assessed, and it’s 5% of the value of properties in town, could the new rate be applied to the rest of the town or would each property have to be reassessed (Mayor: clarified Mr. Paesano’s question for Tax Assessor Carpenter, asking, if 5% of the property values were reduced by 23%, is it possible to just reduce all property values by 23%; Tax Assessor Carpenter: everyone has the option to appeal appraisal, obtain an attorney and go to tax court – does not have the authority to unilaterally reduce – looking at options of doing reassessment).
Motion by Councilman Cervino to close public participation was seconded by Councilman Lurie and carried by the following roll call vote.
VOTE: Council Members Tooker, Hennessy, Rizzo, Cervino, Lurie, Dyer….YEA
Motion by Councilman Cervino to authorize settlement was seconded by Councilman Hennessy and carried by the following roll call vote.
VOTE: Council Members Tooker, Hennessy, Rizzo, Cervino, Lurie, Dyer….YEA

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PERIOD (NON-AGENDA ITEMS) WAS OPENED AT 8:49 PM.

Don Betz, PPB: commended Albert’s Marine on the job they are doing at Lake Louise – doesn’t think the first contractor should be paid – the lowest bid is not always the best.
Joellen Arrabito, PPB: attended the ACLU hearing on Friday regarding prayer at Council meetings – dismayed at the decision – disturbed that Judge made decision prior to hearing both sides – started a petition and will go house to house – many people feel their rights are being violated – asked Council to appeal – man is fallible, need to acknowledge that we look to a higher authority – asked why one person’s feelings/beliefs are more important than others.
Dave Cavagnaro, PPB: on December 9th, someone vandalized the tree in the gazebo – pulled off the decorations and actually tried to set fire to it – asked public to call the police if they see anything strange; thanked tax clerk Jennifer Coyne who takes it upon herself to send out emails to keep groups appraised of changes in tax and garbage pick-up schedules; asked for update on Sea Coast Oil property and other property on Cook’s Lane (Sea Coast Oil still in litigation – courts are overwhelmed with foreclosures – was originally delayed due to environmental problem on the property); on behalf of Beautification Committee, thanked Councilman Cervino for his support and work on Council; wished all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Dorothy O’Reilly, Pt. Pleasant: mix-up with the Judge’s decision and the Constitution – saying a prayer doesn’t constitute establishing a religion – it’s a free speech issue – not imposing beliefs on anyone – it’s in our tradition, our government, our military – ACLU is trying to destroy our faith – as one town after another caves in to their demands, we are losing a tradition that has made us strong, and one of the greatest countries in history (Mayor Barrella: outrageous that a Judge would issue an opinion on an issue like this verbally; Councilman Dyer: seemed like questions were slanted toward the opinion that Judge gave – disconcerting that Judge stated that this falls in line with what was written in the Constitution, as far as separation of Church and State – there is nothing in the Constitution for separation of Church and State – spoke about first prayer in Congress in 1774 –Thomas Jefferson referred to wall between Church and State, but never a separation – government cannot force religion upon the people – our liberties are being taken away – Council represents the demographics of the town – it’s democracy, the right to pray).
Ron Doran, PPB: attended the hearing – thanked Attorney Riordan Councilman Dyer, and the Alliance Defense (ADF) people – Judge had it all wrong – hundreds of people are praying for Point Pleasant Beach, for the right to express its belief and give an invocation - people are praying for wisdom, guidance and direction – offered to donate up to $200 to pay for Court transcript (Mayor Barrella: without reading Judge’s opinion, doesn’t know if the policy that’s been put into effect can be fixed to Judge Grasso’s satisfaction – Mr. Doran and Mr. Wolber would like to appeal – the problem with appealing is not our Borough Attorney’s fees, because a lot of those fees are being picked up by the ADF, but the fact that the Judge could award the ACLU attorney’s fees, more than $40,000 for the first lawsuit filed – that is an enormous number and if you double it and start taking it to appellate courts, the financial risk is very difficult – $40,000 is somebody’s job in this town – it’s the ability to collect grass clippings – as an attorney, need to look at what the Constitution says – NJ Constitution refers to God Almighty – would be hard-pressed to find that Councilman Cervino’s invocation violated any Constitution).
Joel Wolber, PPB: this is a big deal – it is incumbent upon us to say the nonsense stops here – let’s fight it – we’re not going to lose.
Gene Moran, PPB: the principal is more important than $40,000 – sometimes you have to bite the bullet and do what is right – residents will stand behind you (Councilman Cervino: has gotten emails from Massachusetts and Louisiana – was in the “New York Post” the other day – invariably all the comments harbor the same sentiment that Mr. Moran expressed) somewhere along the line, you have to stand up for what you believe, even though it’s inconvenient (Councilman Dyer: ADF will pay the cost of any lawyer – but at appellate court, town can be sued for ACLU legal costs – have to look at this from a legal standpoint).
Patti Ascolese, PPB: doesn’t understand why we can’t just keep the prayer and add a prayer for the Jewish people, instead of going through all of this; as Chair of the Boro Animal Welfare Committee (AWC), complained about Beach AWC trapping in the Boro and housing cats in the Beach trailer – asked why Boro wasn’t notified (AWC Trapping Coordinator, Lisa Muller: was approached by a friend/Boro resident, who was concerned that there were kittens that would reproduce – she gave her friend Ms. Ascolese’s phone number and was told she did not respond to several phone calls – her friend asked if she would do it as a favor and paid for it – it did not come out of Beach AWC fundraising) owner of Garden State Auto contacted another person from Boro AWC about a month ago and was put on the list –received a call from a friend of Garden State Auto about a week prior to their last meeting, asking if they gave the Boro AWC $1,000-2,000, would it move them up on the list – told them that wasn’t fair, but invited them to speak at their meeting – nobody showed up – heard two days ago that Beach AWC accepted the money, trapping Boro cats and housing them in the Beach (Lisa Muller: not talking about the same people; Mayor Barrella: asked if there is any way towns can coordinate and share some services, if Boro is backlogged and Beach has the ability to trap tomorrow and vice versa ) cats in the Beach should be prioritized (Mayor Barrella: asked Councilwoman Tooker to speak with AWC and Boro Council liaison and work out protocol).
Max Gagnon, PPB: being squeezed by the oceanfront – for a long time we’ve overlooked a lot of things down there – spoke about litigations he instituted (and won) on over-parking in Parkway lot and selling spaces at Pancake House’s illegal lot – Judge imposed a fine of $25,000/car, which has never been collected – we have got to let those people know that they are costing every resident a lot of money in extra police, extra first aid calls, etc. – financial problem is generated by what the Boardwalk has done to us - we’re not required by law to provide extra services to these people – let’s cut it out – we can’t afford them.
Kristin Hennessy, PPB: expressed her support for Council to appeal Judge Grasso’s decision – can’t put a price on our American freedom, freedom of religion, First Amendment Constitutional rights – this issue is much larger than any one of us – as Mr. Wolber said in his letter, “let’s not make PPB the poster child for allowing the ACLU to trample all over our Constitutional rights and our Constitutional liberties” – Alliance Defense Fund is willing to fund this and provide lawyers – they have won 82% of their cases – there are other national organizations that are equally interested in taking this on – the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) provides advocacy in situations like this – the Alliance Defense Fund won three cases, around the country, defending the right to have sectarian prayer at the start of a municipal meeting – urged current and 2011Council to pursue this on behalf of the residents of PPB, and American citizens as well; as a past active member of the Beach AWC, is aware that there is a very long list of cats in the Beach that have not been addressed – Beach AWC needs to focus on Beach cats – Council made a decision in October to share the cost of the water hook-up – not the responsibility of Beach residents to house Boro cats in tax-payer funded trailers – in 2009, Boardwalk businesses contributed $4,000 and, as of August 2010, Beach AWC had done nothing to assist them.
Motion by Councilman Cervino to close public participation was seconded by Councilman Hennessy and carried by the following roll call vote.
VOTE: Council Members Tooker, Hennessy, Rizzo, Cervino, Lurie, Dyer….YEA

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PERIOD (NON-AGENDA ITEMS) ENDED AT 9:43 PM.

Ordinance 2010-53 (Trucks over 4 tons excluded on Borough streets), Ordinance 2010-54 (Lake Louise Dredge Bond), and Ordinance 2010-55 (Parking Boxes Bond) were considered on second reading. Mayor Barrella opened the hearing to the public.
Dave Cavagnaro, PPB: asked if specs on Ordinance 2010-55 have been done for the bids - asked for criteria (Mayor Barrella: asked that Mr. Cavagnaro be provided with the bid specs; Administrator Riehl: the award of contract in on tonight’s agenda) company has a good service record.
Motion by Councilman Dyer, to close public hearing and adopt Ordinances 2010-53, 2010-54 and 2010-55, was seconded by Councilman Cervino and carried by the following roll call vote.
VOTE: Council Members Tooker, Hennessy Rizzo, Cervino, Lurie, Dyer ….YEA

Clerk Ellsworth added items to Consent Resolution 2; Councilman Lurie noted that item 1/b is a similar situation to the Wine & Dine ABC License – asked that owner address Council; Councilman Hennessy: questioned Fire Company expenditures; Lee Kelly, PPB: questioned Southern BBQ ABC license renewal – have been in violation of ordinances throughout the year – equipment has been parked on lot for years – the place is a shambles, a disgrace – has spoken to everyone on Council about it – nothing has been done – the place burned down almost 10 years ago – owner is using the lot as a parking lot (Mayor Barrella: asked Chief O’Hara to sit with Code Enforcement Officer to determine where each of their lines of responsibility begins and ends, and address some of this; Councilman Rizzo: invited anonymous complaints – numerous violations on that property); Dave Cavagnaro, PPB: asked why this ABC license must be approved tonight - clarified that they did what they were supposed to do in a timely manner; Kristin Hennessy, PPB: asked Council to vote separately on item 1/a – Governor signed 2% cap into law as a hard cap to protect the taxpayer – asked what kind of property tax increase there would be if Reserve for Uncollected Tax is exempted – don’t have a revenue problem, have a spending problem – asked when we were going to look at ways to cut spending instead of looking for ways around the rules (Mayor Barrella: uncollected taxes, as discussed, were the Storino appeals – this is not spending – this is money that is being ripped away from PPB, that we can’t replace – and when that money goes away, it’s not only our share – we have to pay back the school and county portions – spoke to Assemblyman Wolfe, who said he would support this exemption – Beach 2% cap is $117,000 – uncollected taxes went up $341,000) residents are demanding that Council be more conservative - there are opportunities for shared services (Building Department is working on shared services arrangements with the Boro) word of the year is “austerity”; Bill Knapp, PPB: asked about cost of item 1/ee (prior bond ordinance that was not fully expended that will cover the balance of cost).
Motion by Councilman Dyer, to close public participation, was seconded by Councilman Cervino and carried by the following roll call vote.
VOTE: Council Members Tooker, Hennessy Rizzo, Cervino, Lurie, Dyer ….YEA
Motion by Councilman Lurie, to approve items listed below, was seconded by Councilwoman Tooker and approved by the following roll call vote.
CONSENT RESOLUTION 1
a) HELD for separate consideration (Support to exempt ‘Reserve for Uncollected Taxes’ from 2% cap)
b) Renewal of Southern BBQ ABC License
c) Payment to ESI Equipment for specialized Fire Truck equipment ($20,812)
d) Refund dewatering bond ($520)
e) P O to the Fire Store for thermal imaging cameras ($12,000)
f) P O to Absolute Fire Protection for fire trucks maintenance contracts ($12,700)
g) Payment to PBCC for prepaid postage ($3000)
h) Payment to Absolute Fire for Blitzfire Combo Pkg ($2190)
i) Payment to Absolute Fire for radio system installation ($2909.80)
j) Payments to Schulman, Weigmann from BOA escrow ($225)
k) Payment to Seely Equipment tailgate spreader ($2300)
l) Payment to Brick Utilities for November bulk water usage ($47,080.23)
m) Payment to Kevin Riordan, Esq. for professional services ($5780.36)
n) Salary Adjustment for E Farrell for RMC certification
o) Refund road opening bonds ($3000)
p) Refund unexpended BOA escrow acct balances ($6,269.88)
q) Payment to Galvin Law Firm from Planning Board accts ($642.50)
r) Payments to T&M Assoc from escrow accts ($2129.50)
s) Approval of Payroll #25 ($228,374.71)
t) P O to Xtreme Machine for Ranger Polaris ($8263.18-funds donated)
u) P O to Xtreme Machine for equipment for Ranger Polaris ($3282.43)
v) HELD [Request for Legislature and Governor to repeal or substantially modify 19:27A-1, et. seq.,
(a.k.a. Uniform Recall Election Law)]
w) Water/Sewer Adjustments (4 accts)
x) Progress payment #4 to JAC for Lake of Lillies dredge ($297,136)
y) Payment to Schulmann, Wiegmann from BOA escrow ($325)
z) Award contract to Albert Marine for Boston Ave bulkhead replacement ($26,000)
aa) Authorization for Borough Engineer to bid Channel Drive project
bb) P O to Winner Ford for 2011 Police interceptor ($23,318)
cc) P O to ICOP for ICOP video system and car installation ($5248.11)
dd) P O to Dell for 3 desk top computers for PD ($3648.17)
ee) Award contract to Devo & Assoc for pay stations ($499,777.03)
ff) Approval of computer generated vouchers ($485,639.30)
CONSENT RESOLUTION 2
a) Emergency Appropriation – Debt Service
b) Transfers between 2010 budget accounts
c) Authorize Paul Weaver to work in capacity of Construction Official during absence of CO Gardner
d) P O to Woszczak Mechanical for emergency water service replacement at 406 Richmond ($4200)
e) Appt of seasonal Class II special police officers (12)
f) Payment to Plainfield Consultation for police psychological exams ($3575)
g) Payment to Meridian for police physical exams ($3588)
h) Payment to Brick Cardiovascular for pre-academy testing ($3250)
i) Payment to Birdsall Engineering for Lake Louise engineering services ($200,000)
j) Payments to Galvin Law Firm from BOA accounts ($1285)
k) Payments to T&M Associates from BOA escrow accounts ($3080)
l) Payment to Montenegro & Thomson from BOA escrow acct ($286)
m) Support of A2657/”Seaside Lodging and Rental District Act” (Imposing taxes on certain lodging
properties for tourism promotion therein)
n) Approve Durand Lodge ABC Social Affairs Permit App for 1/29/11
o) Approve Curb cut request – 11 Niblick St
p) Authorization for the Borough Administrator and Police Chief to work with American Traffic
Solutions to proceed with a test program of cameras on traffic lights at various intersections with the
caveat that all testing data be provided to the Borough for bid purposes
VOTE: Council Members Tooker, Hennessy Rizzo, Cervino, Lurie, Dyer ….YEA

Consent resolution item 1/a (Support to exempt ‘Reserve for Uncollected Taxes’ from 2% cap) was considered.
Mayor Barrella: not the ideal situation for PPB because it means a raise in taxes – the option is $340,000 of non-expense cutting, which translates into at least 4 officers – not easy choices – even if this happens, we are looking at cutting $500,000.
Resolution for “Support to exempt ‘Reserve for Uncollected Taxes’ from 2% cap” was defeated by the following roll call vote.
VOTE: Council Member Tooker, Lurie….YEA
Councilmen Hennessy, Rizzo, Cervino, Dyer….NAY

COMMITTTEE REPORTS

Councilwoman Tooker: Boardwalk businesses are not allowed to trap cats, per ordinance –Councilman Hennessy got the donation from the Storinos - Lisa has been in discussions with them for a long time – they haven’t been ready; dismayed at the lack of a flag at Veteran’s Park (Mayor Barrella: John Trout assumed responsibility – not an excuse but asked Vince Castin for a heads up on future events) police used to take care of it (Chief O’Hara: haven’t done so since they put a light on it and we don’t have to put it up and take it down everyday); announced Shad Tree paver sale to honor a loved one; JIF seminar coming up in Wall at the end of January – get $250 off insurance bill for every Council person who goes – encouraged all Council Members to attend; senior nutrition program at Masonic Lodge has been closed due to funding issues – not all of those who took advantage of the program can be transported to the Lavallette location – encouraged donations to help the seniors in town; wished all Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy New Year; hoped to see everyone at reorganization meeting – extended invitation to party at Martell’s afterwards – encouraged committees to set up donation jars and literature at the party.

Councilman Hennessy: wished all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year; thanked Councilman Cervino for his three years of service – pleasure to serve with him.

Councilman Rizzo: Mr. Kelly and Mr. Gagnon brought up some interesting things tonight; spoke about “recouping legal fees” on agenda – hired people to do a job and they’re not doing it – when you file a complaint, you’re told “take them to court” – permits are not being obtained – encouraged filing of complaints with the town; wished all Happy Holiday; a pleasure serving with Councilman Cervino.

Councilman Cervino: at his first meeting, he explained that politics comes from two words, “poly” which means “many” and “tics” which means “blood sucking creatures” – that was a joke, politics remains an honorable profession – unfortunately, not enough people may want to get involved because of the high-pitched vitriolic rhetoric experienced in this chamber – has a severe negative impact on this community and on this Governing Body – always been his preference to have thoughtful discourse – hopes Council does not disregard their core beliefs because of any type of retaliation or action; thanked professionals, Clerk Ellsworth, Administrator Riehl, Chiefs O’Hara and DePolo, Elaine Petrillo, Mike Gardner, John Trout, and all the people who have been so kind and gracious to help him; wished Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

Councilman Lurie: thanked Councilman Cervino for his three years of service – pleasure to serve with him; Lake Louise homeowner came up with idea to dredge outfalls a little deeper to help water quality – contractor has agreed to do this for free; wished all Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Happy, Healthy New Year.

Councilman Dyer: thanked Councilman Cervino – hats off to anyone who runs for Council – receive miniscule pay – appreciated Mr. Cervino’s wisdom and comments; wished all Merry Christmas.

Mayor Barrella: been proud to sit next to Councilman Cervino for three years.

Administrator Riehl: offered Best Wishes to Councilman Cervino - wished all Happy Holidays.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PERIOD OPENED AT 10:33 P.M.

Vince Castin, PPB: recited an ode he composed, entitled “Christmas and Council 2010.”

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PERIOD ENDED AT 10:39 P.M.

Motion by Councilwoman Tooker to adjourn the meeting was seconded by Councilman Dyer and carried by consensus of those present.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:39 P.M.


Published February02, 2011 | Council Minutes | 1156


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