MTC Meeting Minutes 09-13-11 Print E-mail

Montville Township Committee Regular Meeting

Tuesday, September 13, 2011, 7:00 p.m.

Montville Township Municipal Building, 195 Changebridge Road, Montville, New Jersey

7:00 p.m. – Statement of Open Public Meetings Act Compliance read by Committeeman Tim Braden

Roll call Township Committee:

Present:           Committeeman Tim Braden

                        Committeeman Don Kostka

                        Committeeman Scott Gallopo

                        Committeewoman Deb Nielson

                        Chairman James Sandham, Jr. (arrival 7:30 p.m.)

Also present:   Frank Bastone, Township Administrator

                        Adam Brewer, Management Specialist

                        Anthony Barile, Township Engineer

                        Robert Lowenfish, Treasurer/Director of Finance

                        Thomas Mazzaccaro, DPW/Water & Sewer Director

                        Robert Oostdyk, Township Attorney

                        Gertrude Atkinson, Township Clerk


1.      Litigation:  Lotta Lettuce

2.      Contract negotiations:  PSE&G

3.      Litigation:  Tax appeal – Bl 57.1/L 6 – Morris Plaza 350

4.      Litigation:  Stefanelli

5.      Personnel

Motion:  Nielson.  Second:  Kostka.  All in favor except Sandham - absent.  Resolution adopted.

At 7:00 p.m. – Closed Session.  At 7:30 p.m. – Public Session.

Chairman Sandham read the Statement of Open Public Meetings Act Compliance again for the record.

Prayer and Pledge of Allegiance led by Committeewoman Nielson.



Chairman Sandham opened the public hearing.  Hearing no comments, Chairman Sandham closed the public hearing.  Motion:  Nielson.  Second:  Braden.  All in favor.  Motion approved.

Motion to adopt ordinance:  Nielson.  Second:  Gallopo.  Roll call vote – Braden, yes; Kostka, yes; Gallopo, yes; Nielson, yes; Sandham, yes.  Ordinance adopted.


Chairman Sandham opened the public hearing.  Hearing no comments, Chairman Sandham closed the public hearing.  Motion:  Gallopo.  Second:  Nielson.  All in favor.  Motion approved.

Motion to adopt ordinance:  Nielson.  Second:  Braden.  Roll call vote – Braden, yes; Kostka, yes; Gallopo, yes; Nielson, yes; Sandham, yes.  Ordinance adopted.



ATTORNEY:  No report.

FINANCE:  No report.

ENGINEER:  Anthony Barile, Township Engineer, reported on the road resurfacing program.  They are ready to go out to bid with the list approved at last meeting.  Meeting with the Roads Supervisor – they are behind with the repairs of the streets due to the hurricane.  Would like to put off the bidding of the bulk of the resurfacing until spring.  We will review the list for any streets that need no or minimal repairs and have the Co-op pave those streets.  The bulk of the list – we will go out to bid in the Spring for that.

Township Committee – ok.  Barile will report back at next meeting with which roads will be paved by the Co-op.


NO. 1 – 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION:  Irwin Paster, Chairman, 4th of July Committee, requested a decision tonight so they can move ahead with the 4th of July. 

Township Committee discussed 2010 overtime:  DPW $11,382.  Police $14,337 – based on 50% comp time.

Richard Cook, Chief of Police, stated they need as many people as they can get to work.  They have no substitute patrolmen.  Morris County Park Police assist at the event.  Explorers are used mostly for parking.  They cannot man traffic posts alone.

Paster stated he will speak to Officer Mooney sometime tomorrow about the progress of the comp time issue for next year.

Committeeman Kostka asked if the July 4th event usually breaks even or makes a profit.  Paster stated they usually have a little bit left over to start off the next year. 

Committeeman Braden proposed they fund the event the way they have funded it this year at $25,000 – the whole event.  Committeeman Gallopo agreed.  It should be part of our budget so we don’t have to do this every year.

Frank Bastone, Township Administrator, stated it is approximately $11,000 DPW overtime and approximately $14,000 police overtime assuming the PBA is going to agree to the 50/50 split on comp time.  Braden stated I am proposing to contribute $25,000 to the 4th of July celebration period.

Paster stated if we don’t get the agreement on the comp time then I can’t see us having a 4th of July celebration, because we want to do the whole thing like we always do. 

Committeeman Gallopo asked you want an all or nothing deal?  Paster stated what is the celebration without a parade?  Braden asked wouldn’t you take that back to your committee?  Paster stated we discussed this before we came in here tonight.

Committeewoman Nielson stated I would hope that the 4th of July Committee would not draw a hard line in the sand.  Paster stated I have a feeling we would work it out. 

Motion made by Braden that the Township fund the 4th of July celebration in the amount of $25,000.  Second:  Kostka.

Discussion:  Gallopo stated he would also like to make that a permanent part of the budget going forward – a line item.  Bastone stated we can work that out.  Sandham stated it is a standing budget commitment.

Braden stated I just want to be clear - if what is involved here is canceling the parade and the amenities in order to get the number down, I would not be in favor of that.  That is my all or none – that’s understood.

Sandham stated this Township Committee is looking for everybody to be a participant in making this a good celebration, including the 4th of July Committee, the Township Committee, the Police Department, and the DPW.  If everybody comes together, we will have a great celebration like we do every year.

Roll call vote – Braden, yes; Kostka, yes; Gallopo, yes; Nielson, yes; Sandham, yes.  Motion approved.

ITEM NO. 2 – BEST PRACTICES 2011 CHECKLIST:  Bastone stated you have the 2011 best practices inventory mandated by State statute for your review.  It has been prepared by me and the CMFO in consultation with the Department Heads.  It has been submitted to the State.

Sandham stated aid is reduced based on your score.  We are in the 92% percentile, so no decrease in aid.  I would like us to come up with a game plan to address some of the numbers.

Gallopo stated we should be working on a pay to play ordinance quickly.  Sandham stated he would like to see how many municipalities have adopted that.

Gallopo asked about the joint meeting with the Board of Education.  We had one last year.  Braden stated they have had the subcommittee meetings.  Bastone will schedule a joint meeting.

NO. 3 – CONSTRUCTION FEE WAIVERS – HURRICANE DAMAGE:  Bastone reported they received a letter from the Department of Community Affairs stating that we may waive fees for permits for work done as a result of this event.  The state permit surcharge fee is also waived.  Recommendation is to do this.  There should be a time period on it, and that it is because of Hurricane Irene.  Time period – a construction permit is good for one year.  Give them six months to get the permit – application by March 31.  It will be up to the Construction Code Official as to the permits.

Nielson requested that we keep a list of the fees that were held in abeyance so we know how much the storm cost us. 


            WHEREAS, the Uniform Construction Code permits the waiver of fees for work performed as a consequence of a natural disaster, including the New Jersey State Permit Surcharge Fee, when the local Code Enforcement Agency is waiving its fee pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:23-4.19; and

            WHEREAS, the Township Committee of the Township of Montville find that it is appropriate for construction fees to be waived for work performed as a consequence of damages caused by Hurricane Irene.

            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Committee of the Township of Montville, in the County of Morris and State of New Jersey, that the Construction Official is authorized to waive construction code fees for work performed as a consequence of damages caused by Hurricane Irene through March 31, 2012.

Motion:  Braden.  Second:  Nielson.  Roll call vote – Braden, yes; Kostka, yes; Gallopo, yes; Nielson, yes; Sandham, yes.  Resolution adopted.

Post on website.

NO. 4 – SCHEDULING OF MORRIS COUNTY DISPATCH DISCUSSION:  Bastone stated the issue is going to involve significant discussion.  I don’t want to shortchange it.  I want to make sure we are giving it the amount of time and effort that it is due.  I know the fire departments already advertised for the meeting two weeks from now.

Township Committee consensus – move to meeting of October 11, 2011.  Reimburse fire departments for advertising costs. 

PUBLIC PORTION:  Chairman Sandham opened the public portion.  Hearing no comments, Chairman Sandham closed the public portion.  Motion:  Braden.  Second:  Gallopo.  All in favor.  Motion approved.

RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING CONSENT AGENDA NO. 2011-CA15:  Motion:  Nielson.  Second:  Braden.  Remove Item A from consent agenda.  Motion:  Sandham.  Second:  Kostka.  All in favor.  Roll call vote – Braden, yes; Kostka, yes; Gallopo, yes; Nielson, yes; Sandham, yes.  Resolution adopted.



            WHEREAS, a Performance Guarantee was issued in the form of Letter of Credit No. 2923 issued by Valley National Bank in the amount of $245,802.60 and cash in the amount of $27,311.40 to the Township of Montville on behalf of Larry Gage, the developer of a development known as Block 51, Lot 30 (Park Lane Estates); and

          WHEREAS, Larry Gage has requested that the Township accept a bond reduction of the cash bond from $27,311.40 to $8,193.42 and the Letter of Credit from $245,802.60 to $73,740.78, which is the current amount required for posting.

            WHEREAS, by memorandum dated August 9, 2011, the Township Planner has reviewed the request for a reduction and has recommended that the Performance Guarantee be reduced.

            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Committee of the Township of Montville, in the County of Morris and State of New Jersey, that the Township of Montville hereby accepts a reduction in the Performance Guarantee on behalf of Larry Gage from cash in the amount of $27,311.40 to $8,193.42 and Letter of Credit from $245,802.60 to $73,740.78; and

            BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the cash shall be released as follows:

            Current cash guarantee amount posted                                            $27,311.40

            Less:   Amount to be transferred to engineering inspection fee

                        to cover deficiency                                                                  $  5,439.96

            Less:   Engineering inspection fee to be kept on account                      1,000.00

            Cash refund amount                                                                           $12,678.02

            Reduced cash performance guarantee to remain posted                 $ 8,193.42


           BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Committee of the Township of Montville, in the County of Morris and State of New Jersey, that the following tax sale certificate redemptions be processed by the department of Finance:

Block 52.2 Lot 31

28 Skyline Drive

Premium Money                                                                                  $15,000.00

Lien Redemption Certificate #10-00012                                             $15,557.68

Total Payment                                                                                     $30,557.68

To:       Lien Times, LLC

Block 76 Lot 8 Qualifier C001D

1 Vanderhoof  Road

Lien Redemption Certificate #10-00013                                             $ 1,223.61

To:       Dennis Moeller

Block 171 Lot 20

2 Karen Road

Premium Money                                                                                  $10,100.00

Lien Redemption Certificate #07-00030                                             $58,301.57

Total Payment                                                                                     $68,401.57

To:       Robert Rothman


           WHEREAS, the Township of Montville is required to make a Declaration in consideration of the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection, Green Acres Program’s agreement to provide funding in connection with Montville Open Space Acquisition Project  # 1421-96-073 as approved on December 2, 1998; and

            WHEREAS, the Declaration contains the Township’s Recreation and Open Space Inventory (ROSI) and as a result of the Starkey Park acquisition it is necessary to amend the Declaration of Encumbrance dated January 12, 2010 and filed on March 16, 2010 with the Morris County Clerk in Book 21507 at Page 1397.

            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Committee of the Township of Montville, in the County of Morris and State of New Jersey, that the appropriate municipal officials are hereby authorized to execute the Amended Declaration of Encumbrance to the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection, Green Acres Program in the form attached hereto.


            WHEREAS, the Township of Montville requires temporary construction easements in connection with the Plausha Park Water System; and

            WHEREAS, twelve property owners have executed temporary construction easements and presented them to the Township for acceptance.

            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Committee of the Township of Montville, in the County of Morris and State of New Jersey, that the appropriate municipal officials are hereby authorized to execute Temporary Easement (Construction of Plausha Park Water System) applicable to the following properties:

Block 105, Lot 7 – 2 Redding Place

Block 105, Lot 5 – 12 Barney Lane

Block 106, Lot 16 – 38 Barney Lane

Block 106, Lot 15 – 40 Barney Lane

Block 106, Lot 5 – 13 Redding Place

Block 106, Lot 6.01 – 13A Redding Place

Block 106, Lot 6 – 15 Redding Place

Block 106, Lot 7 – 17 Redding Place

Block 106, Lot 8 – 19 Redding Place

Block 106, Lot 9 – 21 Redding Place

Block 113, Lot 1 – 47 Two Bridges Road

Block 113, Lot 3 – 55 Two Bridges Road


            WHEREAS, Conklin Farm, 65 River Road, Montville, New Jersey, has applied for a special permit to have their annual Fall pumpkin picking event to be held from Saturday, September 17, 2011, through Monday, October 31, 2011; and

            WHEREAS, the Township Committee finds that the farm sale would be unobjectionable provided that the following stipulations be adhered to:

1.      Six signs only placed in compliance with the Traffic Safety Officer’s and Zoning Officer’s recommendations.  Signs must be removed by November 1, 2011.

2.      Compliance with the Montville Township Health Department’s food licensing regulations.

3.      Compliance with the Montville Fire Prevention Bureau’s Regulations.

            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Committee of the Township of Montville, in the County of Morris and State of New Jersey, that a permit to Conklin Farm for a Fall pumpkin picking event to be held from Saturday, September 17, 2011, through Monday, October 31, 2011, shall be issued.


CONSENT AGENDA ITEM H – RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING A PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE TOWNSHIP OF MONTVILLE AND MASER CONSULTING, P.A.:  Environmental consulting services Glenview Woods parcel.  Not to exceed $5,500.00 as per proposal dated 07/28/11. 

CONSENT AGENDA ITEM I – RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING A PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE TOWNSHIP OF MONTVILLE AND LADDEY, CLARK & RYAN, LLP:  Legal services Lotta Lettuce litigation.  Not to exceed $12,000.00 as per letter agreement dated 01/21/11.

CONSENT AGENDA ITEM J – RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING A PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE TOWNSHIP OF MONTVILLE AND ARCHER & GREINER, PC:  Legal services Lotta Lettuce litigation.  Not to exceed $30,000.00 as per letter agreement dated 08/24/11.


            WHEREAS, 2012 Local Aid Funds are available through the New Jersey Department of Transportation; and;

            WHEREAS, the Township Committee of the Township of Montville has identified the River Road and Church Lane and Stiles Lane/Vail Road as the Township’s priority projects for 2011.

            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Township Committee of the Township of Montville, in the County of Morris and State of New Jersey, formally approves the grant applications for the above stated projects.


            BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Township Administrator and Clerk are hereby authorized to submit electronic grant applications identified as MA-2012-Montville Township-00289 and MA-2012-Montville Township-00290, respectively, to the New Jersey Department of Transportation on behalf of the Township of Montville for the River Road and Roads Resurfacing - Church Lane and Stiles Lane/Vail Road projects.

            BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Township Administrator and Clerk are hereby authorized to sign the grant agreements on behalf of the Township of Montville and that their signature constitutes acceptance of the terms and conditions of the grant agreements and approves the execution of the grant agreements.


            WHEREAS, in 2008, New Jersey Transit offered an Elderly and Persons with Disabilities Transportation Program; and

            WHEREAS, the Township of Montville submitted an application for a Ford E-350 Supreme Minibus; and

            WHEREAS, the Township of Montville has been awarded a Ford E-350 Supreme Minibus Rear Lift – VIN# 1FDEE3FS6BDA63550;

            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Committee of the Township of Montville that the appropriate Township officials are herein authorized to execute a grant agreement with New Jersey Transit for the Ford E-350 Minibus valued at $45,700.


CONSENT AGENDA ITEM N – RESOLUTION APPROVING OPEN AND CLOSED SESSION MINUTES:  Regular meetings 05/10/11; 05/24/11; 06/14/11; 06/28/11; 07/12/11; and 08/09/11.

CONSENT AGENDA ITEM O – RESOLUTION APPROVING THE LISTING OF BILLS AND SIGNING OF CHECKS:  Listing of bills approved; and the Mayor and Township Clerk are authorized to sign the checks.


            WHEREAS, certain cash bonds have been posted with the Township of Montville to secure the performance of obligations; and

            WHEREAS, the Engineering Department has verified that the improvements, the installation of which were secured by the cash bonds, have been installed in a satisfactory manner and has recommended the release of cash bonds.

            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Committee of the Township of Montville, County of Morris and State of New Jersey, that the following cash performance bonds shall be released:

LOCATION                  PURPOSE                  AMOUNT/DATE          RETURN TO

3 Marguerite

(for 28 Jacksonville)    Inlet Construction        $400.    /  1-06             Jennifer Colombo

B. 40.1, L. 10                                                                                       3 Marguerite Lane


6 Dahl Drive                Soil Stabilization          $200.     /  2-06            M. & M. Rojo

B. 52.1, L. 3                                                                                         6 Dahl Drive


37 Kanouse Lane        Soil Stabilization          $2,190. /  2-06             Montville Acres

B. 59.01, L. 8.04          Driveway                     $2,450. /  2-06             820 Morris Turnpike

                                                                                                            Short Hills, NJ 07078

35 Kanouse Lane        Soil Stabilization          $2,000. /  4-06             Montville Acres

B. 59.01, L. 8.3                                                                                    820 Morris Turnpike

                                                                                                            Short Hills, NJ 07078

9 Boonton Ave.            Driveway                     $500.     /  4-06            J. & A. Bineau

B. 33, L. 48.1                                                                                       9 Boonton Avenue

                                                                                                            Boonton, NJ 07005

St. Malo &

Michelle Way               Road Opening             $550.     /  4-06            SDC Cable Services

                                                                                                            Sharpe Development Corp.

                                                                                                            15 Redding Place


75 Stony Brook           Soil Stabilization          $1,000.  /  9-06            V. & R. Polise

B. 21, L. 4                                                                                            75 Stony Brook Road


10 Oak Lane               Soil Stabilization          $300.     /  9-06            N. & C. Uy

B. 153, L. 10                                                                                        10 Oak Lane

                                                                                                            Pine Brook

110 Route 202            Road Opening             $810.     /  11-06          Stephen Sharpe

B. 56, L. 9                                                                                            15 Redding Place


99 Taylortown Rd.       Road Opening             $150.     /  6-09            C. Drake Contracting

B. 33, L. 33                                                                                          P.O. Box 275


            BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this Resolution shall be forwarded to the Chief Financial Officer.

Motion:  Sandham.  Second:  Kostka.  Discussion:  Sandham stated regarding Kanouse Lane he believes there is a dedication of property by Montville Acres.  Barile explained this is not the return of the performance bond.  This is for individual lots. 

Roll call vote – Braden, yes; Kostka, yes; Gallopo, yes; Nielson, yes; Sandham, yes.   Resolution adopted.


NO. 5 – CERTIFIED MUNICIPAL FINANCE OFFICER:  Bastone stated this is a discussion as to the selection for a CMFO.  The Township Committee previously authorized me to advertise the position, which I have done.  We have had an exchange, which is in your packets, primarily between Mr. Kostka and me concerning the process, and we need to make a determination as to which of the two recommended processes we are going to follow.  In my opinion, I should conduct the interviews and make a recommendation to the Township Committee.  That is in accordance with our code.

Kostka suggested using the same process they used for the interim CFO.  There is a lot of talent here on the dais.  It was a subcommittee of the Township Committee that went through all of the resumes and chose who to interview.  They then recommended names to the Township Committee, and they decided.

Sandham stated his opinion is he would let Mr. Bastone narrow it down to two to four and then the Township Committee could meet those candidates.

Bastone stated he was looking to use the auditor’s expertise.  Kostka stated he spoke to the auditor.  He is limited in what he can do. 

Gallopo asked is Mr. Lowenfish going to be part of the selection process?  Bastone stated he has not discussed it with him yet.  Gallopo stated Mr. Lowenfish was valuable because he found gaps where there should not have been gaps. 

Bastone stated he is looking to have someone in place by 01/01/12. 

Braden stated he is on the fence as to what I think the Township Committee’s involvement should be here.  He agrees there is expertise here we should take advantage of.  I am willing to listen further.

Gallopo stated he wants the Township Committee, Mr. Lowenfish, and Mr. Vinci involved.  Nielson stated she is fine with the four or five top selections.  I don’t think the Township Committee needs to be involved if we give Mr. Bastone more criteria. 

Sandham stated he would like the Administrator to do the first round of interviews and then the Township Committee once it is narrowed down.  Braden stated he would like to see the Township Committee involved. 


Kostka stated he learned that when you e-mail the Township Committee – there is a blind copy to others.  I did not know this.  I contacted our attorney and asked him if we should be addressing this.  Should we be making the public aware of this?  It includes the Administrator and the Township Clerk.


Sandham stated we have received reports from both the Administrator and the OEM Director.  We will review them.  Sandham spoke about the first responders.  We appreciate the efforts of our employees and the first responders.  We have good employees and good volunteers. They are not perfect.  We can look at what we can do better, better communicate and better service our residents.

Bastone stated they have two guests this evening:  Scott DiGiralomo, Director of the Morris County Department of Law & Public Safety.  He will go through the FEMA process.  Also present – John Hroncich, Operations Manager, United Water Jersey City Reservoir. 

DiGiralomo explained the FEMA process:  First, register with FEMA.  Bastone stated there is a handout on the back table with FEMA information. 

DiGiralomo stated within a week you will be contacted by a FEMA inspector.  What you are eligible for is based on criteria.  Maximum is about $20,000 to $30,000.  The Small Business Administration has very low interest loans to do additional work.  FEMA looks at – do you need a place to stay while the work is being done.  Businesses are eligible for loans – not grants.  The FEMA disaster recovery center is at the PAL building in Parsippany and open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.  They can look at your application status, and you can ask questions there.  The disaster food stamp program is also there.

Robert Dudek, 1 Sheffield Street, Pine Brook, stated he filled out the SBA loan application last night.  It is a very long process.  Don’t get discouraged.  The system is very overloaded.  Remember your password, and they give you a reference number.  I spoke to them and they said if you are not approved, there are other options.  I did get a very nice phone call from the SBA that they have all of our information.

Hearing no further comments or questions, DiGiralomo stated he will stick around in case anyone has questions.

Hroncich went over statistics for this area:  normal rainfall for 100 years of data - month of August 4.56”.  Month of September 1999, Hurricane Floyd, 10.84”.  Month of August 2011, 14.1”.  Before Irene, 7.0”, then during Irene, another 7.1”.  Rockaway River flow entering the reservoir - Hurricane Irene – peak Sunday 7 p.m. – 5,744 million gallons per day.  Irene was double than any storm we have had in the last 100 years. 

The reservoir long wall is about the size of a football field that comes to a spillway.  The water has been spilling all year (did sketch).  We also have a headwall at four feet.  The overflow to the spillway is five feet from the second spillway.  Level in spillway – 164 million gallons per day.  By Sunday night, 7:15 p.m., the reservoir was at the point of the secondary spillway.  We are requested by NJ Dam Safety regulations to have an emergency response plan.  We notified downstream users Sunday night of a high water warning.  An hour later we saw the gauge coming down.  It continued to drop.  When Lee came through it rose again, but not to the extent of Irene.

Sandham stated you are supposed to notify downstream users.  Did that include Montville?  Hroncich answered yes.  Sandham stated he has a press release from Parsippany that they were notified at 4 p.m. Sunday.  Hroncich stated that was the failure of the retaining wall in Lake Hiawatha.

Sandham stated he believed that caused the flooding in Montville.

Hroncich stated that is a Parsippany issue.  We operate the dam.  We don’t control that wall.  One of the lessons learned in this event is that we need to be clear in communicating the information.  When we say overtop, we are referring to the floodwall, not the spillway. 

Gallopo stated United Water issued an advisory to municipalities downstream.  We did not receive a call.  We did not get the call until our OEM called United Water.

The spill gates – there is data on the National Weather Service sites.  There are three sections in the reservoir where measurements are taken.  Discussion regarding measurements, their locations, meanings and times.

Hroncich stated the dam is 100 years old.  Every year we inspect it, and the DEP does their inspections.  Post tensioning is in place.  The dam is in good shape.

Gallopo stated bottom measurements – at what point do you have to issue an elevated alert?  Hroncich stated they were approaching the reservoir coming over the top of the secondary dam.  At that point, we made notifications.

Gallopo stated the DPW, Police, and emergency services did an excellent job alerting our residents.  The alert our Police put out is different than the press release on Parsippany’s website.  Gallopo read the Parsippany press release. 

Hroncich stated when we notified, we didn’t know how high the elevation was going to become.  In emergency situations, you try to be as safety conscious and conservative as possible.   We did call back within an hour to rescind that – that the elevation was starting to drop. 

Gallopo stated we didn’t receive that alert until a significant time later.  We need to reconcile what Parsippany received directly from United Water.  We did not receive that phone call.  We will leave that as an issue to be resolved later.

Second, if you are at 100% capacity prior to the storm, hurricane season, at what point should you be lowering the level?

Hroncich stated the reservoir is a water supply reservoir.  It is not a flood control reservoir.  DEP dam safety regulations – we are not allowed to release water. 

Sandham asked to you have the ability to lower the water?  Hroncich replied yes, there are floodgates.  Braden asked did you release the water?  Hroncich stated there was a voluntary request from the Governor to release water.  We released about a foot.

Braden asked can you release water from the top?  Hroncich answered no.  Braden asked how much water could you have let go in five days with a projection of up to 12 inches of rain? Are you going to tell us that DEP regulations don’t allow you to do it?  Hroncich answered correct.  Braden asked what is your capacity right now?  Hroncich answered 100%.  Braden asked if we have a hurricane in the next week are you going to lower it?  Hroncich answered if the DEP asks us to do so.

Nielson stated thank you for coming here tonight and taking questions from us.  You certainly have to acknowledge that 100 years ago when this was built as a water supply it was in the middle of nowhere.  You acknowledge that the groundwater was high, the reservoir was full.  You did not ask the DEP for relief?  You had to know there was going to be a problem.  As a utility, you need to be proactive.  You caused downstream homes to be damaged.  We need to work together to make sure this does not repeat itself.  There was ample warning that this was a hurricane.  I think we need to contact our legislators to put pressure on you to handle it.

Kostka stated the saddest part is the people in Lake Hiawatha and Pine Brook had to endure this damage to find out you don’t really have a plan.  Hroncich stated if the reservoir and the dam were not there and Hurricane Irene hit, you would have had the same result.  That is the reality.

Sandham stated we knew a storm was coming and somewhere between 100% and 80% is a number that United Water should be comfortable with lowering the reservoir without causing a drought condition where you would have 10% more capacity utilized by the reservoir and not end up in our neighborhood.

Hroncich stated it is not an exact science.  Sandham stated it is discouraging that those statistics are not known ahead of time.  That is the message that needs to get back to your company, that we need a plan to be in place beforehand.  We are going to work on our side with our legislators. 

Nielson stated to me it is a capitalistic greed situation that you did not lower the water.  In any other year, you would have been happy to have 80%.    

Nick Marino, 9 Normandy Road, Pine Brook, asked what is the percentage of the reservoir when it is considered a drought?  Hroncich stated there is a curve the State says where if the level goes to a certain point it is a drought warning, etc. 

Marino stated we had all this rain – the company I work for had a plan.  It seems like you didn’t have a plan until that day.  40 years my parents owned the home and not a drop of water in their basement.  You have to be proactive.  If you are at 100%, you can’t go into hurricane or a wet season with that much water.

Hroncich stated we were preparing well in advance.  We opened up the release works below the dam before the storm.  The pipes and the valves are not large enough to release water at a very fast pace. 

Marino stated there was a wave of water.  Something should have been done.  You had a week plus notice.  We had lack of prior notice.

Pat Demetrio, 12 Normandy Road, Pine Brook, stated 38 years never had water in my home.  I find it extremely disrespectful that you would say that hindsight is 20/20.  We knew what was coming for seven days.  You are in the water business.  That is exactly the point.  If you said you could not release any water without the permission from DEP.  My question is when and did you make a request to the DEP to release water.

Hroncich stated basically the DEP does not allow public drinking water to be lowered in advance of a storm event.  Demetrio stated and you made no request?  You knew it was coming.  You made no overtures to your regulating body what do you think, should you be overriding your regulations?

Hroncich stated we were planning for the event.  Sandham stated it is incumbent upon this Township Committee to get the DEP as well as United Water to respond ahead of time.

Tom Sylvester, 21 Normandy Road, Pine Brook, stated if the DEP doesn’t allow you, how did you dump water beforehand?  Hroncich stated the Governor allowed us to.  It is not a flood control reservoir.  Pipes are not big enough to release that much water.  The mud gates are intended to release pressure if the dam fails.  We did release water.  That was all the pipes could handle at that point.

Sylvester stated if the dam is in danger of bursting, are you going to release water?  Hroncich answered yes.  We would have to activate the ERP if the dam was failing or there was a breach.

Sylvester stated you are measuring the amount of water coming into the reservoir.  You should be able to calculate the levels and warned everyone downstream.  Hroncich stated you can’t predict what is going to happen. 

Sylvester stated you could have been able to predict what might have happened and let us know sooner.  Your not being proactive is inexcusable.  We don’t get one drop of that water for drinking.  It all goes down to Jersey City. 

Heddy Belman, 21 Lancaster Avenue, Pine Brook, stated she would like to begin by thanking this town.  The fire departments were amazing.  Who makes the decisions to release the water?  Hroncich answered the DEP dam safety in Trenton. 

Belman asked is it made in conjunction with town officials?  Monitoring is one thing.  Being proactive and doing something about it – it never has to get to an emergency.  Blaming this on Hurricane Irene is shortsighted.  It was human error.  I have lived there for 34 years and not a drop of water.  There is a lot to be said about what we do going forward, and not label it a 100-year storm. 

Bob Engle, 9 Lancaster Avenue, Pine Brook, stated he heard rumors that other towns let dams go into the Rockaway River – some of the lakes.  They can let them go but you can’t release it once it hits your dam?  Hroncich stated right, because they are not a public water supply dam.  I didn’t know that was the case.

Joanne Conrad, 6 Normandy Road, Pine Brook, stated she has been there since 1972.  We need to do something to properly distinguish, identify, and label what caused the damage.  Homeowners insurance will not cover them if they don’t have flood insurance.  We need to identify the problem and collectively come up with a game plan to re-categorize the damage as human error, and build retention basins, etc.  We need to protect the safety of the residents and the property values.  We are imploring you to step forward and get the right parties to claim ownership of this problem so these homeowner insurances will pay for the damage to the homes.

Spyros Demetropoulos, 5 Sheffield Street, Pine Brook, asked how does the DEP work with the Governor?  Hroncich the Governor is essentially the DEP’s boss.

Demetropoulos stated we had 8” of rain.  At the reservoir it was over two feet than the record high.  When you said it was just flowing over at 7 p.m., it doesn’t make any sense.  Hroncich stated rainfall precipitation levels are different all over.  Whatever comes down the Rockaway goes over the top of the spillway.

Demetropoulos stated 100-year flood – you would think you would be over a couple of inches more than the record, not two feet.  Hroncich stated we released 5.8 billion gallons at the peak, then it started to come down Sunday evening.

Sandham asked how would you release water if there was going to be a catastrophic failure?  Hroncich stated we would notify the downstream users and have met with the OEM’s.  There are mud gates that we could open, but that is minimal. 

Sandham stated if there was going to be a failure; we have no way of controlling it.  That is something that we need to figure out, and maybe United Water needs to do something to mitigate that circumstance for a safety concern. 

Nielson stated you have plans on file with the State.  There must be maps of what would happen to the towns downstream if the dam fails.  Hroncich stated the OEM Directors have the maps.

Lt. Rudy Appelmann, OEM Director, Montville Township, stated at 7:15 p.m. patrols notified us the water was rising in the Normandy area.  The Police & DPW responded to the area.  We started formulating a plan for voluntary evacuations.  8:14 p.m. – Parsippany Police notified us that water was going to be released from the Jersey City Reservoir.  Left message for Mr. Keith Wood and one of the operations managers, John.  8:34 p.m. – Mr. Wood stated the dam was in danger of overtopping and they lost track of monitoring what was coming into the dam.  8:40 p.m. – began to do voluntary evacuations.  10:10 p.m. – Mr. Wood called back and said the situation rectified itself and the water level actually dropped two inches.  We continued with evacuation notifications.

Sandham stated he wants to understand if the floodwall in Lake Hiawatha had anything to do with it.  Barile stated flooding is all a matter of timing.  Each watershed has its own characteristics – time of concentration is different for each river.

Nielson stated I know you went door to door and handed out flyers.  One of our things to do this year is to institute a Honeywell alert.  Would that have helped?  Appelmann stated it certainly wouldn’t have hurt.  The best way at that time was to go down the street and door to door.  We felt this was the quickest way.  Nielson stated I think it is something we need to move up on our priority list. 

Sandham stated residents made the observation they thought it was mandatory.  If it were mandatory, would we have had better results?  Appelmann stated it is more of a wording issue.  I can’t make you leave your home no matter what. 

Gallopo stated I think the Honeywell system is an idea that has significant merit.  We had to deploy a dump truck.  I would like to take a look into if we should have a high wheel vehicle in the traffic division. 

Appelmann stated I had a meeting with OEM in Morris County this morning.  Surplus property program with the National Guard is up and running.  There may be high road vehicles available.  Maybe we could take advantage of that.

Nielson stated you do a great job.  We should educate ourselves and our public about potential disasters when there are none. 

Dudek stated you mentioned reverse 911.  You have to register with cell phones.  Without power, you are finished.  We have to know are we prepared if this happens again?  The OEM and fire departments were unbelievable, but there is just so much we can do.  We need to know we are prepared. 

Belman stated the water started coming up through the storm drains at 7 p.m.  It was not Hatfield Creek.  It was coming from Changebridge Road. 

Shari Schwamb, 28 Buckingham Circle, Pine Brook, stated we received no notification at all.  I called 911.  When we left at 11 p.m. at night, there was no one around.  23 Buckingham also received no notification. 

Braden stated I think this makes the case for an emergency notification system. 

Cynthia Spekhart, 22 Normandy Road, thanked the police for everything.  This is now the 4th flood.  First hit in 2007.  Garbage pickup fantastic this time.  2006 – storm drains replaced on Woodmont.  1984 statistics rival Hurricane Irene.  The storm drains move the water down quicker.  Ever since then, the storm drains back up, and it is not the first time the roads have been flooded.  Montville Township issues that we can address and look at – storm drains, Lake Hiawatha wall, Jersey City Reservoir, and hurricane.

Kim Riter, 15 Normandy Road, Pine Brook, stated she looked into United Water because they have a two-family home that sits on top of the Rockaway River where it was washed away by Route 287.  Timeline – two sewage lines ruptured in Boonton.  Was there raw sewage?  Would like to ask the town officials to look into that timeline and get back to us.

Nicole Engle, 9 Lancaster Avenue, stated alert system – Parsippany did a fantastic job with texts – because we didn’t have power.

Bastone stated they had a “Lessons Learned” meeting on September 8.  Participants were the operational departments that were involved:  OEM, Administration, Police, DPW, three Fire Departments, and First Aid Squad. 

Preparation – there needs to be an SOP set up between the State of NJ for planned releases from all bodies of water.

Emergency Operation Center – need to install six additional telephone lines in the command center.

Gallopo stated the EOC was closed at 6 p.m. Sunday.  Was there a discussion whether to keep that EOC open through Sunday night?  Applemann stated we felt we had weathered the storm and it was the opinion of everyone there that the EOC itself would be shut down, and we would monitor everything through the dispatch center.

Braden asked whose decision is it to open the OEC?  Appelmann answered it depends on the situation.  In an event like this, it is myself.  In other events, it could be the shift commander, who would then notify the emergency management coordinator.

Sandham stated Fairfield had sandbags available for their residents to pick up.  Might want to look into.  I lived through the 1984 flood in Lincoln Park.  They had opened up the floodgates and notified everyone downstream.  Here - I just can’t get in my mind what happened to cause the water to come at that speed and we didn’t have notification in one form or another.  Need to handle the notifications downstream. 

Gallopo stated preparation – the Township Committee and surrounding municipalities should recommend to the Governor that an SOP be developed for United Water.  There has been a lot that has been done in the last two weeks.  Our Township Committee, other mayors, Congressman Frelinghuysen, and Senator Pennacchio have been discussing this.  This is about changing DEP regulations.  More importantly, United Water leases these reservoirs.  The DEP can review their permits and change some of their operational procedures.  Westwood hired Boswell Engineering to do a complete review and petition their elected officials to get this done.

Sandham asked do we have flood maps of where is affected if we hit 7 feet, 8 feet, etc.  That would be a good tool.

Bastone stated communication – website – valuable tool:  provide warnings, river information, FEMA information.  The issue is people with no power.  Hand delivered information to the area.  Reverse 911 system.  Communication with Jersey City/United Water.  Follow up meeting with Jersey City regarding emergency response plan. 

Sandham stated I would ask that United Water have a redundant notification plan so that we know for sure.  I would ask that you take that message back.  Gallopo stated get us on the call list so we don’t have to rely on Parsippany for the information.  We were not called directly.

Kostka stated I understand the conversations were recorded.  Would like reconciliation between that statements made by United Water and what the tapes actually say.

Bastone stated response – JCP&L, NJ Natural Gas, PSE&G need to have specific instructions for people as to how to handle these situations of power being off, coming back on, etc.  Evacuation, shelter, facilities.  We did contact the high school so people would have access to showers and spoke to the first aid squad in case the high school was not available.  Braden stated perhaps at a joint meeting with the BOE we can talk about the use of their facilities for showers – specifically the high school.

Sandham stated we should have it all pre-approved – the use of the schools.  JCP&L – we have to deal with as well.  The BPU is now going to do hearings on JCP&L’s response.  There are hearings on September 26 and 27. 

Nielson stated we should put that on the website and if people can’t make it, they can leave their comments.  The Administrator should make an official comment, and we can offer our individual comments.

Bastone stated recovery – local and FEMA assistance, debris collection.  Braden stated the debris collection is going to end.  We should let the residents know when so they know to get their stuff out.

Bastone stated they will make the deadline the end of October.  Gallopo asked are we satisfied how we performed with the debris collection?  Bastone will look into the hours of the transfer station.

Braden stated the residents I talked to were very appreciative of the additional collections.

Bastone stated lessons learned – we talked about the response and the action items.  JCP&L was probably the biggest frustration because of a lack of information.   

Recommended action items:  Establishment, at a level higher than us, of all reservoir lake draw downs.  Installation of six phone lines.  Police Department establish an SOP for emergency events.  Formalization of process for Jersey City Reservoir emergency response plan.   Electric and gas utilities need to provide specific instructions and procedures for handling gas and electric service in emergency situations.  Police Department to inventory all emergency services for available resources for emergency response so we know what we have on hand, such as vehicles, boats, etc.  Establish a policy in advance for use of the first aid squad showers if there is a conflict with the school.  Lobby Morris County to have additional transfer station hours automatically.  Utilization of the NOAA information for early notification and planning.    Added a couple others here based upon this evening’s conversations. 

Kostka asked if all the fire departments were out there.  Bastone stated they were all there.

Herb Eggers, Pine Brook Fire Department Chief, stated on Sunday they assisted Towaco.  Sunday night, Montville and Towaco assisted us.

Appelmann stated:  44 evacuations, 95 pumpouts, 37 fire calls.  

Gallopo asked about the response from the fire departments.  Eggers stated this is all volunteer services.  They were fortunate the storm hit on Saturday and Sunday.  The Township Committee should look into volunteers being released for emergency situations.  Gallopo stated if coordination was done beforehand would that have helped?  Eggers stated not really because you don’t exactly know when you will need people.  There is a statute, 40A:9-160.1, that states you have to release people.  A lot of towns do that.

Bastone stated he received two calls for immediate assistance from the fire department.  I responded immediately to both of those situations by releasing the employees.

Engle stated detours, MPH, something needs to be done with the speed limits on Konner and Gathering.

Sylvester stated Honeywell alert – most of us have cell phones.  Something like that could have been done.  He thanked the fire departments and Township employees.

Karl Feaster, 4 Leeds Avenue, Pine Brook, asked why was the EOC closed at 6 p.m.?  It seems that is when the crisis was, and why wasn’t it reinstated to help the fire departments?

Appelmann stated at 1 to 2 p.m. in the afternoon the rain stopped and the wind wasn’t as strong.  The calls were not coming in as much and the request for services wasn’t there.  We were not aware the water was coming up.  Things could be handled through the normal dispatch.  It was re-evaluated throughout the storm.  We were talking and all in contact.  The communication was there.  We got the call at 7 p.m. from the patrols that the water was coming up quick.  At 10:30 p.m. we were told everything was good – the reservoir had leveled off.  Everything was still being coordinated.

Belman stated there was a preliminary study from the Army Corp. of Engineers from 1988.  When is the last time it was updated since 1988?  It was discussed here.

Barile stated there have been regional plans over the years for comprehensive flood control for the whole northern part of the State.  Each plan has a price tag.  The last plan was the tunnel project.

Belman stated but it was checked that these areas were ok.  There was a priority list.  The storm drains are an issue and whatever was fixed on Changebridge, the problem is worse, not better.  Somehow we saw it coming from Changebridge.

Barile stated there hasn’t been anything done on Changebridge.  Catch basins are connected to the creek.

Demetropoulos stated I ask you to create a committee:  Township Committee, Administration and residents to ensure that these action plans are put in place.  We need to keep focus on this as a town.  Years back we rerouted storm drains to go out in the back of Konner Avenue.  That needs to be studied – if that helped.  I would volunteer to be on any committee.

Jim Schmidt, Pine Brook Fire Department, stated the three fire departments and the police communicated very well.  You would be out of your mind if you went to County dispatch.  I ask you to reconsider it.

Nielson stated the action items – some are specific to water issues.  Some pertain to all emergencies.  They need to be in place.  Can we get a timeframe on these as to when they will be put in place?  Establish priorities, etc.  Bastone stated they will need to talk about some priorities.

Meeting adjourned at 11:50 p.m.  Motion:  Nielson.  Second:  Gallopo.  All in favor.  Motion approved.

Respectfully submitted,


Gertrude H. Atkinson, Township Clerk

Approved February 28, 2012

Montville Township Committee


James Sandham, Jr., Mayor (2011)

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 28 February 2012 )
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