Montville Township Committee Special Meeting with the Board of Education
Tuesday, June 23, 2009, 7:00 p.m.
Montville Township Municipal Building, 195 Changebridge Road, Montville, New Jersey
7:10 p.m. – Statement of Open Public Meetings Act Compliance for the Township Committee read by Chairwoman Deborah Nielson: “As required by the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate Notice of this meeting has been provided which Notice specified the time and place of the meeting to the extent known at that time. The Notice was posted on the bulletin board at the Municipal Building, mailed to The Daily Record, The Star Ledger, and The Citizen as well as other newspapers and it was placed on file in the Township Clerk’s office. This meeting has been properly noticed to the public in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act.”
Roll call Township Committee:
Present: Committeeman Art Daughtry
Committeeman James Sandham, Jr.
Committeewoman Jean Bader
Committeeman Tim Braden
Chairwoman Deborah Nielson
Also present: Frances Vanderhoof, Director of Finance
Anthony Barile, Township Engineer
Thomas Mazzaccaro, DPW/Water & Sewer Director
Martin Murphy, Township Attorney
Gertrude Atkinson, Township Clerk
Roll call Board of Education:
Jon Alin, President
Karl Feaster, Vice President
Also present: James Tevis, School Business Administrator
Dr. Gary Bowen, Superintendent of Schools
Statement of Open Public Meetings Act Compliance for the Board of Education read by Mr. Tevis.
Pledge of Allegiance.
PRESENTATION BY THE RELAY FOR LIFE COMMITTEE: Debbie Hasbrouck, Sylvana Dalia, and Kristen thanked the Township for their approval of the event and presented a plaque to the Township Committee and to the Board of Education. The event raised $155,000. They are looking forward to the Township and BOE allowing them to have it again next year.
NO. 3 – 86 RIVER ROAD PROJECT: BOE President Alin, stated they agreed on the rider to the lease. The bid opening is tomorrow. They received a letter from the Fire Department stating that they do not want to be doing any of the project with us. They will be doing their part of the roof, and we will be doing our roof. That will be a problem when the two roofs meet. The letter was dated June 14 and addressed to the architect and the BOE.
Chairwoman Nielson asked the Fire Commissioners in the audience if they have gone out to bid yet.
James Woltman, Fire Commission, stated the bid opening is July 23.
Committeeman Daughtry asked if the BOE opening tomorrow has options.
School Business Administrator Tevis answered no, it is one flat roof.
BOE Member Grau stated it was his understanding when they met with the fire department and when the two architects talked, that is when it changed.
Woltman stated the fire department has a truss roof proposed.
Nielson stated she thought our preference was a truss roof.
Jim Berry, Fire Commissioner, stated Mr. Alin called him and asked for drawings.
Daughtry stated he asked for a copy of the plans for a truss roof, and they were being sent to the BOE.
Tevis stated when the two architects talked that is when it changed. We started out originally with a truss roof for the whole building. I did not get the plans. I don’t know if the architect got them.
NO. 1 – HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS COURTS: Alin stated our thoughts were to jointly repair the tennis courts.
BOE Member Ritschel stated she was at the Recreation meeting. What they had recommended we do is contact the tennis association, and they may be able to help us raise funds: 1/3 BOE, 1/3 Township, 1/3 tennis association. Ken Young was going to contact the association.
Daughtry stated matching funds are unknown. We were given numbers in the Fall. I still think it is good that we work together. We lost the courts at Manchester.
Alin stated the issue is we had $15,000 in the 07-08 budget to repair cracks, and more money in this budget to repair cracks. We are going to have to repair them sooner than later.
Daughtry stated approximately $500,000. Is the BOE going to approve in next year’s budget?
Alin stated they have not thought that through. We wanted to bring it here to see if you were interested.
Committeeman Sandham stated he has a hard time spending this money in a year where they have cut police cars and staff at town hall. The maintenance is what I would see spending.
Committeewoman Bader stated our budget is struggling. I don’t know if we have funds to put aside for extras. We have roads that have to be redone.
Committeeman Braden stated they have a Recreation Commission. It has priorities. Every time something like this comes up we are circumventing the Recreation Commission. I would defer to the Recreation Commission. I know this is not their #1 priority. Agree with Sandham and Bader. I just don’t think the dollars are there.
Grau stated they cut staff positions also. We are experiencing the same problems you are.
Ritschel asked if there are funds from the State for tennis courts. Tevis answered no. Ritschel stated getting back to the Recreation Commission, they can fundraise and see how much they raise. That can be something for the future. The problem now is that we need to repair them.
Sandham suggested an interlocal agreement. The Township can go to bonding and the BOE can pay it back. Alin stated they tried that once and it didn’t work out too well. We could revisit that.
Daughtry stated the taxpayers are spending $15,000 a year to keep the courts repaired. If you spend that much on bonding each year, you would end up with new tennis courts.
Grau stated he does not think that is legal. You are circumventing the budget/referendum process.
NO. 2 – HILLDALE SCHOOL ACCESS ROAD: Tevis stated there is a water pipe that is blocking access. We have been working with Mr. Mazzaccaro, and we are going to put a driveway at the end of Hilldale Road. I was hoping the Township would lend us manpower and equipment to put fresh stone down. I would notify the surrounding residents. This is our only way to get equipment access to that back field – and EMS, etc. The road would only be used for maintenance access. To prevent runoff – retaining walls. He will send Mr. Bastone copies of the letters to the four surrounding residents. They are only looking for manpower from the Township.
Thomas Mazzaccaro, DPW/Water & Sewer Director, stated they can work that in at a quiet time. The pipe owner is Jersey City Public Water – 100 years old. The pipe is inspected all the time. It is maintained properly.
NO. 4 – SHARED FACILITIES: BOE Member Demetropoulos stated sharing broadband – are we moving forward with that?
Daughtry stated the Township changed carriers. We should compare what you are paying for access to what we are paying. The Township has also challenged the Verizon Fios statewide franchise agreement. We pay for broadband access for our pump stations.
We also worked out an agreement with Cablevision. We want to make sure you are getting the same rate we do.
Alin asked Mr. Tevis to get together with Mr. Bastone on this.
Nielson stated shared facilities – basketball invoices from the BOE 2007 – custodians.
Frances Vanderhoof, Director of Finance, stated it was originally $14,000 then reduced to $9,000. I do not have anything for 2008.
Tevis stated it is only for when a custodian has to be called in – Saturday. In April there was a revision to the bill that he gave to Maryann Witty.
Sandham stated in 2002 he sat on the BOE. We came to an understanding that the BOE would not charge the Township for reasonable services. We agreed at that time that we would not charge back and forth. I have copies of documentation from that period of time.
Alin asked Mr. Sandham to give Mr. Tevis the copies so he may distribute them to the BOE. He requested Mr. Tevis put on the finance committee agenda. Mr. Tevis will get together with Mr. Bastone on that.
NO. 5 – JOINT SAFETY: Alin asked if there is money for additional sidewalks around the schools. Sandham stated in our budget there is a set amount for roads and sidewalks. There is a five-year plan. We can review it to see if we can do some of the sidewalks around the schools sooner. We are also trying to get the Safe Routes to Schools Grants. We are always willing to come up with matching money for grants, etc.
Nielson stated our top priority is to get the sidewalk in by Lazar School. Unfortunately, we did not get the grant for two years. We did have an anonymous donor pay for ½ of the cost of the sidewalk by Cedar Hill School.
Demetropoulos stated the roads that are deemed hazardous by the Police Department – I request that you look at them first. Sandham stated the funding is for road resurfacing, so that will not help with the sidewalk end of it.
Daughtry asked who writes the BOE’s grants. Alin stated it depends. Daughtry asked if there is some way they can have dialogue and apply together for grants; such as, the Safe Routes for Schools Grants. Alin answered yes.
Anthony Barile, Township Engineer, stated we are still waiting to hear about this year’s Safe Routes to Schools Grant. There was BOE involvement in this grant application.
Nielson stated maybe we can send a plea/resolution.
BOE Superintendent Bowen stated he was asked by the Township Administrator to write a statement verifying the BOE’s viewpoint for that grant.
NO. 6 – EVERY DROP COUNTS WATER CONSERVATION EDUCATION PROGRAM: BOE Member Cortellino stated it is my understanding that the Township Committee has eliminated the program. Sandham answered yes.
Cortellino stated I am hoping we can set up a subcommittee to explore jointly funding the program.
Sandham stated clearly it was a budgetary decision this year. We all recognize the benefits of it. The hope was that the BOE could incorporate it into the science curriculum.
Braden stated we don’t feel we should be involved in the curriculum of the schools. We throw it to you to try to get it in your curriculum.
Cortellino stated water conservation is clearly the Township. As a board member, I would be willing to consider paying for the program. We have no obligation to provide that curriculum, but I think if we work together to jointly sponsor it – and set up a subcommittee to explore it. The BOE did pay for the buses.
Bader stated a suggestion was made that a video be made that could be show in the classes. That would be another alternative.
Subcommittee set up: Karen Cortellino, Charles Grau, Deb Nielson, and Tim Braden. Alternate – Jackie Ritschel.
NO. 7 – TAX LEVY PAYMENT SCHEDULE: Grau stated they went through this several years ago. The first six months of 08-09 we did not get any tax money at all. Starting in January, the schedule got a little better. It was almost never on time. We think you have an obligation to pay us under the statute. If you don’t have any money at all, I can understand this. I see reports that you do have money. This is BOE money. We have not gotten any State aid in June. I don’t understand why we can’t get it in a more timely fashion, except for July and August.
Nielson stated if we need to comply with regulations, we will. Our Administrator is not here tonight, and we will leave it with him.
Vanderhoof stated I do not have any tax money in July and August. Grau stated I agree with you for July and August.
Vanderhoof stated when the money is requested, I send it down. We have made an agreement with a bank – we get 3% on our money. The BOE is only getting 1%. This is tax dollars. Maybe you can go out for proposals and get 3%.
Grau stated we will ask Mr. Tevis to follow through. If you have money invested in the bank, you should give it to the BOE so we can invest it.
Sandham stated let the two Administrators handle this. What has to come out of this is a realistic schedule of what the payment cycle will be.
Bader asked what the State statute is. Vanderhoof stated she will get the statute to Mrs. Bader.
Frances Work, 4 Brook Valley Road, Towaco, spoke about the Every Drop Counts program. She has been on seven of those trips. It is hands on. They remember everything they learn. The program is excellent. The children really benefit.
Meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m. Motion: Sandham/Ritschel. Second: Bader/Palma. All in favor. Motion approved.
Gertrude H. Atkinson, Township Clerk