MAYOR AND COUNCIL
WORK SESSION AND AGENDA MEETING MINUTES
July 11, 2023
CALL TO ORDER
SALUTE TO COLORS
Mayor Zdichocki invited all those present to stand in a salute to the colors.
MAYOR’S STATEMENT AS TO COMPLIANCE WITH P.L. 1975
Adequate Notice of this Meeting has been provided according to the Open Public Meetings Act, Assembly Bill 1030. Notice of this Meeting was included in the Annual Meeting Notice sent to the New Jersey Herald and the Daily Record on January 4, 2023 and was placed on the Official Bulletin Board in the Municipal Building and on the official website of the Borough of Stanhope.
In the event the Mayor and Council have not addressed all items on this Agenda by 10:00 PM and they are of the opinion that they cannot complete the Agenda in a reasonable time period, the Mayor and Council may exercise their option to continue this meeting at an agreed to date, time and place. Please turn off all cell phones for the duration of this Meeting.
Mayor Zdichocki – present
Mayor Zdichocki invited Eric Keller, Borough Engineer, forward to give his report.
Stanhope School Crossing Study – Eric Keller, Borough Engineer, stated the School Crossing Study report has been updated in accordance with feedback provided by Chief Pittigher. It is Mr. Keller’s understanding that Chief Pittigher will contact the Borough Attorney to determine if there is a need for an ordinance for the designated school crossings. Currently, there is no ordinance. A resolution will also be requested to accept the plan.
Sagamore Road/Spencer Street Improvements – Mr. Keller stated draft construction plans for the Sagamore Road/Spencer Street Improvements Local Aid project have been submitted to NJDOT Local Aid through their PMRS system. He has coordinated with the DPW Superintendent and the DPW is wrapping up the inlet repairs. The installation of the Eco-compliant inserts will be done after Schifano Contracting has completed their work. Administrator McNeilly stated the inserts are in stock and ready to go. The decision to wait on the installation is a good idea. This will prevent any damage being done by the milling of the road. Mr. Keller stated this project is scheduled for this summer. The FY2022 Local Aid grant was awarded by NJDOT for Spencer Street and Sagamore Road in the amount of $141,000. The updated estimate for this work based on the 2023 County Cooperative unit prices is just under $125,000, subject to final calculation of asphalt price and fuel price adjustments. Mayor Zdichocki asked Mr. Keller if the grant could be used to hire traffic safety people, as opposed to having the DPW provide that service. Mr. Keller stated this was not part of the grant. Administrator McNeilly stated the need for flaggers for this project is very low. The road needs to be paved prior to school reopening. Mayor Zdichocki stated there had been a discussion previously regarding the inclusion of flaggers in the grant applications going forward. Administrator McNeilly stated he is of the opinion that flaggers have been included for the Grove Road and Elm Street project. Mr. Keller stated he can check with the NJDOT because he will be contacting them to see if they can expedite the process in order for the work to be done before school resumes.
Lenape Road/Woods Avenue/Lepont Street Improvements – Mr. Keller stated the construction plans for the Lenape Road/Woods Avenue/Lepont Street Improvement, which is a Borough funded project, have been finalized. The plan is to coordinate the work on these streets with the Sagamore Road project this summer. The project will include limited curb repairs, as well as milling and resurfacing. Based upon the 2023 County Cooperative unit prices, the engineer’s estimate for this project is $126,700.30, subject to final calculation of asphalt price and fuel price adjustments.
Sunset Avenue/Ridge Road/Overhill Road Water Main Replacement Project – Mr. Keller stated the USEPA documents for the Sunset Avenue/Ridge Road/Overhill Road Water Main Replacement Project have been completed in coordination with the Borough Administrator. Comments have been received on the specifications for the general conditions required by the USEPA which are being addressed. Administrator McNeilly stated the authorization to go to bid will be requested once there is confirmation that the grant funds are available. The completion date has been opened up to provide more flexibility. Mr. Keller stated additional restrictions had to be added such as Buy American, Russia & Belarus, Davis Bacon Act requirements and some Federal regulations. The Buy American will be a bid item with this job due to the amount of pipe, if that is the way we go. Mr. Keller stated he has met with the DPW Superintendent to review the construction documents and the final revisions are being made. The construction plans were already submitted to the USEPA for their review. The Borough is still waiting for the funding to be received.
NJDOT Local Aid Grant Application 2024 – Mr. Keller stated the grant application for the NJDOT Local Aid Grant 2024 has been prepared in conjunction with Millennium Strategies. Administrator McNeilly stated the resolution was uploaded today. Mr. Keller stated the application is for the milling and resurfacing of Main Street along with the fancy crosswalks. The estimated construction cost for this project is $306,358.88 including contingencies and construction inspection. The grant application seeks the full amount of the project, though it is probable that the Borough will not receive the full amount.
Stormwater Infrastructure Inventory & Mapping – Mr. Keller stated the work for the Stormwater Infrastructure Inventory and Mapping project has begun and is about halfway done. There has been some difficulty in finding the outfalls through the overgrown vegetation. They may need to be done closer to winter time. This work will create a digital record of this information and it builds upon the paper files previously prepared by the Borough DPW and Mr. Keller’s office.
Salt Shed – Councilman Thornton asked Mr. Keller why he was looking at the Salt Shed with the DPW Superintendent. Mr. Keller stated he was looking at the trusses as a result of an inspection by POSHA. There are a couple of damaged trusses. Mr. Keller will try to find out if there is a low cost, simple solution.
Release of Bond – Councilwoman Kuncken asked if the bond has been released for the Delaware Avenue project. Mr. Keller stated he has not released the bond due to the fact he is waiting for the maintenance bond to be received. Mr. Keller will follow up on this.
Sunset Avenue/Ridge Road/Overhill Road Water Main Replacement Project – Councilman Riccardi asked, barring any additional comments by the EPA, what is the next step for the Water Main Replacement Project. Mr. Keller stated until the actual funds are received, the Borough cannot go out to bid. Administrator McNeilly stated, due to the fact we are now into July, the window for construction this season has passed due to the fact that above ground piping will have to be done for this project. This above ground process has been used in the past on Brooklyn Road. The Borough will be able to go to bid and set the date to begin once the weather remains above freezing. The expected start date for construction is April 2024. The bid packet will be prepared and approved and ready to go as soon as the funds are received. Mayor Zdichocki asked if Administrator McNeilly has reached out to anyone to move the process forward. Administrator McNeilly stated this is being done. It is a heavy-duty bureaucratic issue on one side and an office of one on the other side. Administrator McNeilly is of the opinion that no one is withholding anything or dragging their heels. It is a very complex document that needs input from the engineering side, the finance side and administrative side. None of this was envisioned when the cardboard check was presented. Mayor Zdichocki offered to make a call if that would help the process. Administrator McNeilly stated he is of the opinion that is not necessary. Everything they have asked for has been sent to them as fast as possible and in turn they respond back as well. Once funds are approved and we receive the letter stating so, the Borough can move forward and spend funds which are allocated and then apply for the reimbursement.
Mayor Zdichocki thanked Mr. Keller for attending this evenings meeting.
Fire Department Gear Donation – Administrator McNeilly stated a memo was received from Assistant Chief Ellicott asking for permission to donate expired gear to Hunter Space for distribution to Fire Departments in the southern states. The Stanhope Fire Department has participated in the donation process in the past with the governing body’s permission. The donation can be approved by resolution. Mayor Zdichocki asked if the expired gear could be used by the Borough’s volunteers who are not going into the fire. Councilman Wronko stated the expired gear can be used by volunteers not going into a fire. However, volunteers on traffic or road work do not need gear. Those volunteers just wear the vests. Mayor Zdichocki is of the opinion there should be gear kept aside for those volunteers doing outside work. Administrator McNeilly stated this same issue was brought up last time a donation was discussed. The Fire Department does have equipment for that purpose such as car fires etc. Mayor Zdichocki stated five (5) new sets of gear were recently purchased. Councilwoman Kuncken stated the gear is replaced on a rotating schedule.
Mayor Zdichocki called for a straw poll vote asking for approval to donate the equipment to Hunter Space for distribution to southern states. The results are as follows: Councilwoman Kuncken – yes; Councilman Wachterhauser – yes; Councilman Wronko – abstain; Councilman Riccardi – yes; Councilman Thornton – yes; Councilman Romano – yes. Approval was granted to move forward with the donation. A resolution will be prepared for the next scheduled meeting.
Dell Road Park & Musconetcong Park – Administrator McNeilly stated the Borough has received a grant of $71,000 for the Dell Road Park improvements. The cost estimate for the improvements totals almost exactly that amount. Ben Shaffer is the state vendor for the equipment. This vendor is part of the co-op and therefore no bid is required. The mulch area of the playground will be expanded slightly and there will be stand alone pieces of equipment added to the park. The swing and the metal slide will be staying. The system will allow for additional equipment to be added to it in the future should funds become available. The equipment being replaced is 25 years old.
Administrator McNeilly stated when the representative from Ben Shaffer was inspecting the Dell Road Park, he also inspected the Musconetcong Park. Some issues were noticed in the area of the playground with the equipment for the 5-12-year-old children, which is located closest to Well #2. Some parts have been ordered and will be installed when they are received. The area of the playground designed for the 0-5-year-old children is over 25 years old and is in bad shape. The ground is in good condition and will not need any work done there. The cost to replace this area of the playground equipment is $44,000. The CFO has confirmed there is a trust with funds in the amount of $26,000 that were dedicated for recreation purposes which could be used for this project. The balance of $18,000 could be utilized from the capital improvement fund.
Mayor Zdichocki took a straw poll vote asking for approval to replace the 0-5 age group equipment at Musconetcong Park for a cost of $44,000. The results are as follows: Councilman Romano – yes; Councilman Thornton – yes; Councilman Riccardi – asked why did the representative from Ben Shaffer inspect the Musconetcong Park when he was here for the Dell Road Park. Administrator McNeilly stated the representative is a former playground inspector and we asked him to take a look at the park. The playground is safe at this time but it does have age related deterioration. Councilman Riccardi asked if perhaps the Borough should wait to see if a grant would be available next year in order to replace the equipment at that time. Administrator McNeilly stated if a grant is available next year, the Borough will apply in order to add onto the existing equipment. The equipment at the Dell Road Park is one size fits all. It does not have areas for specific age groups. Councilman Riccardi – yes; Councilwoman Kuncken – yes; Councilman Wachterhauser – yes; Councilman Wronko – yes. Approval was granted to fund the $44,000 cost for the improvements to the Musconetcong Park Playground. A resolution will be prepared for the next scheduled meeting. Administrator McNeilly showed the plans for the playground to Councilman Riccardi, who was not present at a prior meeting when the plans were reviewed. Administrator McNeilly explained that the new equipment will fit in exactly the same location as the current equipment. The area is not being expanded upon. The Borough DPW will remove the old equipment and the new equipment will be installed without any interruption to the use of the park. Councilwoman Kuncken stated the equipment being purchased has been designed so that additional pieces can be added to it in the future if the opportunity arises. A resolution will be prepared for the next scheduled meeting. Once the purchase order is submitted, it may take until the fall or early winter for the equipment to be delivered and installed. Councilman Wachterhauser asked if pictures and information could be added to the Borough website for the residents to see. Administrator McNeilly replied that he will ask the vendor for electronic pictures that could be posted.
Sparta Road Lamp Post – Councilman Riccardi asked Administrator McNeilly for a status update on the replacement lamp post for Sparta Road. Administrator McNeilly replied he has no updated information on the delivery at this time.
Police Department Vehicles – Councilwoman Kuncken asked Administrator McNeilly to speak about an email which he and the Public Safety Committee received from the Police Chief regarding vehicles. Councilwoman Kuncken stated the Chief needs to be notified that Councilman Wachterhauser is on the Public Safety Committee. Administrator McNeilly stated he will do that and stated, as everyone is aware, supply chain issues are still occurring. There are problems trying to obtain pickup trucks, dump trucks and police cars. Up until now, we have been able to manage the police car issues due to the fact enough time has been allotted in the scheduling of replacements. The schedule calls for two cars this year but we were only able to get one. That vehicle is currently being outfitted and taken care of. The last time vehicles were replaced occurred four (4) year ago. The challenge is with the second car. The price increases for 2023 are a problem due to the over inflated costs. The second issue is the lack of Ford utilities. Unless one is reserved with a purchase order, the only way to obtain a vehicle is to pick up one that no one wants, which already has the dealer added equipment and most likely will not be the desired color along with other negative aspects. Winters Ford has sent a notice that the dealers can only receive police vehicles after providing a purchase order from the municipality. The Police Chief’s email also stated that the Taurus which has been being utilized for road detail is not in good shape. However, it is being used to prevent a police car from sitting on the side of the road. In the past, the Borough would have purchased the vehicles through the co-op but now without a purchase order this is not an option. Administrator McNeilly stated he forwarded the email to the Chief Financial Officer today to see what can and cannot be done from a financial standpoint. An answer will be forthcoming. It could be early 2024 before a vehicle can be acquired. The pickup truck needed is already 18 months behind schedule. Fortunately, the existing vehicle is being well maintained and it is not abused so there is a little bit of room there. Councilwoman Kuncken thanked the Administrator for informing the governing body.
Dispatch Work Group – Administrator McNeilly asked the members of the dispatch work group to meet after the meeting to finalize that.
Pickup Truck – Councilman Romano asked if there was any updated information available regarding the pickup truck. Administrator McNeilly stated not at this time and with the large dump truck there won’t be a contract number so that will have to go out to bid but that is for next year. Councilman Riccardi stated the purpose of purchasing through the co-op is for towns like Stanhope who need to purchase just one vehicle as opposed to a fleet. Administrator McNeilly agreed but stated the Morris County Co-op has not bid on vehicles for the last two cycles.
Dell Road – Mayor Zdichocki asked if the issue for the homeowner on Dell Road has been taken care of. Administrator McNeilly stated he will follow up with the DPW Superintendent. At a minimum the pipe should have been taken care of. The signed release has not been addressed as yet. Attorney Leo has provided the document to the Administrator and the DPW Superintendent but the document has not been given to the homeowner as yet.
Playground Equipment – Mayor Zdichocki stated this subject was discussed previously during the Administrator’s Report. There was no need for further discussion.
Fire Department Bucket Drop – Mayor Zdichocki stated the Fire Department has informed the governing body that they will be conducting the bucket drop on the raindates of July 14-16 due to vacations of members. This will enable more members to attend.
Pig Roast – Councilwoman Kuncken stated the Pig Roast was held on June 23rd. It was an interesting event this year. Never before in the history of the event have we had to postpone it due to air quality from the fires in Canada. We did not get cooperation from the weather with our raindate. The Fire Department and the Ambulance Squad were able to obtain some additional pop-up tents. Shakey Jakes did the best they could to cover the area and the people made the best of it. Councilwoman Kuncken thanked everyone who participated and bought tickets for the event. Special thanks were given to Councilman Romano for his help drying off all the chairs and to Councilman Wronko for his assistance in picking up and delivering the tents.
Land Use Board Redevelopment Resolution – Mayor Zdichocki stated the Land Use Board has adopted the Redevelopment Resolution for block 11207 lot 8 which recommends redevelopment for the location. A copy of the resolution was provided to the governing body. Councilman Riccardi asked if the study was received. Administrator McNeilly stated the study was emailed to the governing body several weeks ago. The Land Use Board held the hearing last night and heard comments and crafted the resolution, which was forwarded to the governing body. As per the Borough Attorney, now that the Land Use Board has recommended redevelopment, the governing body needs to adopt a resolution determining the redevelopment area, which would be the concurrence with the report. That redevelopment resolution will be sent to the DCA and notice will be sent to the property owners within the same circle, and within ten days after the resolution is adopted. The DCA will have 30 days to approve and then an ordinance will be introduced by the governing body to implement the redevelopment plan. The plan will be prepared by the Planner and then work will begin on the pilot which is done by another ordinance. Administrator McNeilly stated if the governing body chooses to move forward, after reviewing the Land Use Board resolution, he will have a resolution prepared for the next meeting on the 25th. This process just states the area needs to be redeveloped. It does not determine what will be developed.
Mayor Zdichocki took a straw poll asking if the governing body members want to move forward with a redevelopment resolution. The results are as follows: Councilwoman Kuncken – yes; Councilman Wachterhauser – yes; Councilman Wronko – abstain; Councilman Riccardi – yes; Councilman Thornton – abstain; Councilman Romano – yes. The governing body agreed to move forward with the resolution. Councilwoman Kuncken asked, for the benefit of the audience members, that the property in question be identified. Mayor Zdichocki stated the property under discussion is the Stanhope House.
Mayor Zdichocki offered the following resolution which was read by title.
PAYMENT OF BILLS
Resolution 131-23 RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF THE BOROUGH OF STANHOPE AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF BILLS
WHEREAS, the Chief Finance Officer has certified that funds are available in the proper account; and
WHEREAS, the Chief Finance Officer has approved payment upon certification from the Borough Department Heads that the goods and/or services have been rendered to the Borough;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Stanhope that the current bills list, dated July 11, 2023 and on file and available for public inspection in the Office of the Chief Finance Officer and approved by the Chief Finance Officer for payment, be paid.
Councilwoman Kuncken – yes
Councilman Thornton – yes
Councilman Riccardi – yes
Councilman Wachterhauser – yes
Councilman Romano – yes
Councilman Wronko – yes
All items listed on the Agenda for July 25, 2023 were approved.
CITIZEN’S TO BE HEARD
Mayor Zdichocki opened the meeting to the public after advising attendees that there is a five (5) minute time limit for each speaker.
Seeing no one from the public wishing to speak, Mayor Zdichocki closed the public portion of the meeting.
On motion by Councilman Romano, seconded by Councilman Thornton and unanimously carried by voice vote the meeting was adjourned at 7:40 P.M.