Montville Township Committee Special Joint Meeting with the Board of Education
Tuesday, July 22, 2008 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 Chairwoman Deborah Nielson and Michael Donow, Acting School Business Administrator
Present from the Township Committee:
Committeeman Art Daughtry
Committeeman James Sandham, Jr.
Committeewoman Jean Bader
Committeeman Tim Braden
Chairwoman Deborah Nielson
Also present: Frank Bastone, Township Administrator
Frances Vanderhoof, Director of Finance
Anthony Barile, Township Engineer
Martin Murphy, Township Attorney
Gertrude Atkinson, Township Clerk
Present from the Board of Education:
Jon Alin, President
Karl Feaster, Vice-President
Karen Cortellino, Member
Matthew Kayne, Member
Jackie Ritschel, Member
Also present: Dr. Gary Bowen, Superintendent of Schools
Michael Donow, Acting School Business Administrator
Pledge of Allegiance led by President Jon Alin.
SPECIAL JOINT MEETING WITH THE BOARD OF EDUCATION:
NO. 1 – 86 RIVER ROAD: Jon Alin, Board of Education President, stated the board commissioned a new architectural evaluation of the 86 River Road building. We have a budget of $1.5 million. New construction would be over our budget. The most cost effective way to build would be to utilize the existing building – get it taken down to studs and build from there. There seems to be willingness on both sides and the fire department.
Questions – can we work out a lease arrangement for the land – i.e. 50 years, $1 a year?
Township Committee all agreed conceptually.
Alin stated our architect has one number of s.f., and the fire department has another number. Can we work that out with the fire department?
Township Committee agreed they made a commitment with the fire department as to the s.f. or floor area.
Frank Bastone, Township Administrator, stated we made a commitment to the fire department, but I think they are willing to compromise to share a foyer or something like that.
Alin stated we want to have our architect in to interview our staff and come up with a floor plan.
Bastone stated the numbers in the agreement were 3,744 s.f. in the old building for the fire department. 7,553 s.f. left.
Alin stated we would ask that the Township Committee spend the money on the demolition.
Bastone stated the fund in the budget included asbestos removal, demolition of the balance of the building, and outbuilding construction for certain pieces of equipment.
Alin asked would the Township Committee entertain just doing interior demolition?
Committeeman Daughtry stated $105,000 is the rough number in our budget. Asbestos funds have been spent. Demo fund $35,000 – do we transfer those funds to the BOE?
Committeewoman Bader stated I want to find out exactly how much the asbestos removal will cost.
Alin stated we are asking you to spend $70,000. Asbestos – x amount and then spend the rest of it on the demo. We are asking if you have $70,000 to spend.
Anthony Barile, Township Engineer, stated it would be my recommendation that if there are funds available that would have gone to the demolition, we should give it to the BOE. Bastone agreed with Mr. Barile.
Committeeman Sandham stated my perspective is pay for the asbestos removal and then leave it in a “gutted” position for them. Spend up to $70,000. If we can do it for less, then the rest of the money will come back to us for other capital projects.
Alin stated the estimate from the new architect is 8,800 s.f. That number will come down to 7,500 assuming we don’t work out something with the fire department.
Committeeman Braden asked was the $1.5 million not realistic for that library site? Alin answered apparently so.
Chairwoman Nielson stated she reflects Committeeman Sandham’s comments - if there is up to $70,000 to take it to the studs and the asbestos removal. If there is money left, it should be returned to the Township.
Bastone stated he will get the detailed information on the “hut” and the exact numbers.
Nielson stated the consensus of the Township Committee is to do the asbestos removal and spend up to $70,000 to get it down to studs.
Bastone stated the agreement with the fire department was the asbestos removal and the demolition. They would go out to bid and hire the contractor, and we were going to pay our fair share of that based on the percentages in the contract.
Braden stated those details could be worked out with the BOE.
Alin stated my understanding is if the fire department has the money, we work it out with them. If you have the money, we work it out with you.
Sandham asked Mr. Barile is the cost of just getting it down to studs more or less than complete demo? Barile answered it should be less expensive.
Sandham stated if it only takes $50,000, the leftover money should be used for other capital requests.
Nielson stated we have all agreed that we are responsible for the asbestos removal.
Alin stated you will do the asbestos and then fund the demo for the amount that is left.
Braden, Bader, Sandham, and Nielson agreed – the cost of demolition and asbestos removal up to $70,000.
Daughtry stated reminder, I am a contractor with the BOE.
Martin Murphy, Township Attorney, stated you have to abstain. Daughtry abstained.
Board of Education – will authorize architect to proceed.
NO. 4 – VALLEY VIEW SCHOOL BALLFIELD:
Bastone stated Montville Baseball/Softball Association is interested in doing improvements at Valley View School because they use the field back there.
Township – scrape the soil.
MBSA – fund two 75-foot safety fences. Donations of bleachers and benches.
Would like to get done before the school year starts.
Dr. Gary Bowen, Superintendent of Schools, stated I did speak to Frank Bastone about it. I recommend.
Jackie Ritschel, Board of Education Member, stated the residents that live around Valley View School are sometimes difficult with construction. Has that been discussed? Bastone answered no. We are talking dirt, fence, bleachers.
Braden stated there are not too many neighbors back by the ball field.
Michael Donow, Acting School Business Administrator, asked does this mean the Township does not want to proceed with the Hilldale field access? Bastone answered yes.
NO. 3 – BUSING SAFETY:
Karen Cortellino, Board of Education Members, stated recently an issue came up that some residents want their children to walk to school. The police department feels that the route is dangerous – Route 202. What if the family cannot pay for busing and they don’t qualify for assistance? I feel like we are denying them.
Sandham asked if the police department deems it unsafe, don’t we provide the busing?
Bastone stated we have discussed this before. The issue of who gets bused is the BOE’s decision. The Township gets involved if the BOE makes a determination to study courtesy busing. The Township does not get involved in subscription busing.
Cortellino asked whose responsibility is it? This is a moral discussion. Bastone stated the decision on busing is a BOE decision. I was asked to address this with the Township’s insurance carrier – the Joint Insurance Fund. They specifically said the Township has a liability with the roads. God forbid there is an injury, we are covered.
Sandham stated I don’t care who has the liability. If the police department in past studies has declared that Route 202 is unsafe, then I believe that is an unsafe route and they should be picked up for busing.
Bowen stated it does not automatically trigger by law courtesy busing. The BOE can determine it courtesy busing.
Alin stated one of the things we can do is lower/raise the standard for affordability. Do you have any plans for the future for additional sidewalks near the schools?
Cortellino stated I want to come to a solution.
Nielson stated there are developments in town that are coming before the Board of Adjustment and the Planning Board that sometimes will be required to put sidewalks in as part of their approval. Also, we applied for a grant for a sidewalk on Changebridge Road by Lazar School.
Ritschel asked has there been a study on sidewalks on Passaic Valley Road? Nielson answered no.
NO. 2 – TENNIS COURTS:
Alin stated the Recreation Commission’s #1 priority is a skatepark/tennis courts. What we had proposed at a prior meeting is if we could work together on those. If you are going to be spending a lot of money on building tennis courts, and if we are going to spend money on our tennis courts, there could be some synergy there.
Nielson stated we were supposed to get cost estimates from you on the repair of your tennis courts.
Alin requested BOE to put on their next agenda for those estimates.
Bastone stated the conceptual layout for Metro is six tennis courts.
Inge Blazina, 235 Brook Valley Road, Towaco, spoke regarding the busing – there are also underpasses.
I am entitled to courtesy busing, but the bus stop is in an unsafe area. My child also has to cross over an unsafe bridge. I sent an e-mail with several issues. I would like each of them to be responded to. We have to make it safe for all students.
Alin stated we will be discussing this at a policy meeting. We will report on it at our August 5 meeting.
Susan Perrapato, 11 Heritage Court, Towaco, stated I want to make a clarification. We are talking about having the BOE declare Route 202 unsafe. In May 2007, the policy committee deemed Route 46 as unsafe. That is a precedent.
We are hoping that both administrations will confer with each other. This has to be resolved at the BOE policy level. This has been declared by the Township and the County as unsafe. I feel the least costly resolution will to be to restore courtesy busing. I don’t know if we will ever see sidewalks. Unsafe bus stops must receive the proper attention. We need a clear blueprint for residents to know the process to present safety issues. Courtesy busing – I don’t know the initial reason for it. We would like to request that Route 202 be declared unsafe as well as Changebridge Road from Route 202 to the middle school.
Hearing no one further from the Public, Alin closed the public portion.
Alin stated the clear way to approach this is to contact administration. We have requested numbers from Mr. Donow.
The intent of courtesy busing was so all students could have a bus. Prior to that, not all students had that availability.
As far as your other questions, once the policy committee reviews them, the answers to the other questions will come out.
Meeting adjourned at 8:07 p.m. Motion: Ritschel. Second: Feaster. All in favor. Motion approved.
Gertrude H. Atkinson, Township Clerk