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A Community by the River

Borough of Brielle, NJ


October 23, 2006

November 16 2006

October 23, 2006

Page 137

MINUTES OCTOBER 23rd, 2006 WORK SESSION START: 7:30PM

PRESENT: MAYOR NICOL, COUN. BOLGER, GARRUZZO, LENZEN, NOLAN, SCOTT & SHAAK, ATTORNEY MONTENEGRO & ADMINISTRATOR NOLAN.

ABSENT: NONE.

Mayor Nicol convened the work session in compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act and recognized the Administrator who advised the Council that he had nothing to report, but he advised the Council of an error on the Consent Agenda. The school crossing guard being hired was a “relief” and not “fulltime”.

The Administrator also advised that he had spoken with the Borough Attorney and the “Ad hoc” Committee report to the Council could be given in closed session.

The work session was adjourned at 7:31 p.m. on a motion by Coun. Garruzzo, seconded by Coun. Nolan.

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MINUTES OCTOBER 23rd, 2006 REGULAR MEETING. START: 7:32 P.M.

PRESENT: MAYOR NICOL, COUN. BOLGER, GARRUZZO, LENZEN, NOLAN, SCOTT & SHAAK, ATTORNEY MONTENEGRO & ADMINISTRATOR NOLAN.

ABSENT: NONE.

Mayor Nicol convened the meeting in compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act and asked for a motion, made by Coun. Shaak and seconded by Coun. Nolan, to accept and file the minutes of the October 9th, 2006 meeting; all aye. Note: Coun. Lenzen abstained.

Coun. Garruzzo, seconded by Coun. Lenzen, introduced Resolution 06-120 for passage of the Consent Agenda.

Resolutions:

06-120-A (see insertion).
06-120-B to appoint Eva Morgan, 651 Park Avenue, as a Relief School Crossing Guard with a retroactive effective date of October 16th, 2006.

Motions:

None.

Vote: Coun. Bolger. Garruzzo, Lenzen, Nolan, Scott & Shaak; all aye. No nays. Passed.

Coun. Garruzzo. seconded by Coun. Lenzen, introduced Resolution 06-121TO PAY BILLS: Be It Resolved, that the following bills be paid, and that the Mayor or President of Council be authorized to draw orders on the Chief Finance Officer, in the amount of same, for payment of the bills of October 23rd, 2006, as reviewed by the Finance Committee and as listed on the Resolution and the Computer Bill List amended thereto. Vote: Coun. Bolger, Garruzzo, Lenzen, Nolan, Scott & Shaak; all aye. No nays. Passed.

Resolution No: 06-120-A Date: October 23rd, 2006

BOROUGH OF BRIELLE
RESOLUTION

Whereas, on October 12th, 2006 Georgian Court University, 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, NJ 08701, submitted Raffle Application No. RA-2006-15, ID No. 243-5-15755 for an off-premise raffle to be held at the Manasquan River Golf Club. 843 Riverview Drive, Brielle NJ 08730 on April 23rd, 2007, at 7:30pm.

Whereas, the Brielle Police Department had indicated that it has no objection to granting this License.

Now, Therefore Be It Resolved, that the Governing Body of the Borough of Brielle directs the Business Administrator to sign the Findings and Determination and the Municipal Clerk is to issue the required License on behalf of the Borough.

CERTIFICATION

The foregoing is a true copy of a Resolution passed by the Mayor & Council of the Borough of Brielle at a Meeting held at Borough Hall, 601 Union Lane, Brielle, New Jersey, on October 23rd, 2006.

Witness my Hand and Seal of the Borough of Brielle, this 24th day of October 2006.

________________________
Thomas F. Nolan
Municipal Clerk

SEAL

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Mayor Nicol then announce that the time had arrived for the introduction and passage on first reading of “AN ORDINANCE ADDING SECTION 24-9.6 “STORMWATER MANAGEMENT”, TO ARTICLE IX “DESIGN STANDARDS”, OF CHAPTER 24 “LAND USE SUBDIVISIONS” OF THE BOROUGH OF BRIELLE’S LAND USE PROCEDURES”.

Coun. Lenzen, seconded by Coun. Garruzzo, introduced resolution 06-122 for passage on introduction and first reading of the foregoing ordinance. Vote: Coun. Bolger, Garruzzo, Lenzen, Nolan, Scott & Shaak; all aye. No nays. Passed.

Coun. Lenzen, seconded by Coun. Nolan, introduced Resolution 06-123 to authorize publication of the foregoing ordinance in the Coast Star Newspaper for a hearing to be held at 7:30 p.m., at Borough Hall, 601 Union Lane, Brielle, New Jersey, on November 13th, 2006. Vote: Coun. Bolger, Garruzzo, Lenzen, Nolan, Scott & Shaak; all aye. No nays. Passed.

Mayor Nicol then called for committee reports and recognized Coun. Scott who advised the public that the Borough would be picking up debris from the recent wind storm, but she asked that the public recognize the fact that brush collection had ended and only storm debris would be collected.

Coun. Scott cited her attendance at a recent seminar sponsored by New Jersey Recycling which focused on global warming, the impact of green house gases, and how recycling can help to alleviate the problem through a cooperative effort by business, government and the community. Coun. Scott anticipated having more detailed information in the next newsletter and on the web site.

Coun. Nolan was pleased to report that there had been no new cases of birds infected with the West Nile virus being found in the Borough. Coun. Nolan added that the new web site was now operational despite a few minor problems and he thanked Carol Stark and Coun. Scott for their efforts in helping to get the site up and running.

Coun. Lenzen cited the weekend boat fire and he praised the Borough’s Emergency Services for their prompt response. He also praised the U.S. Marine Reserve for having the foresight to tow the burning boat away from the dock in order to contain the fire.

Coun. Garruzzo was pleased to inform his colleagues that the 2007 budget requests received to date had adhered to his request for a 2% reduction in operational costs.

Coun. Shaak thanked Coun. Lenzen for recognizing the work of the emergency services and noted that it had been a major accident with two victims being ultimately airlifted to the Saint Barnabas Burn Center with one remaining in critical condition.

Coun. Shaak thanked all the agencies involved in this effort and added that the State Police had towed the craft to Fisherman’s Cove County Park where their experts would seek to determine the cause of the accident.

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Coun. Bolger congratulated the volunteer services for their selfless efforts on behalf of the Borough. He also noted that his wife, Mary Lou, had conducted a fund raiser for the Gift of Life Organ Donations and she had raised $10,000 for which Coun. Bolger remained grateful to his colleagues and the community, but more importantly he was grateful for the focus on organ donations.

Coun. Bolger stated that while organ donations at Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Philadelphia had increased 100% over 2005 levels, the increase still hardly made a dent in the list of those awaiting organs; he urged all residents to consider organ donation.

Coun. Bolger noted that Saturday was National Make a Difference Day and he had hoped to organize a town wide clean-up day in observation of that fact. Unfortunately, he had been distracted by the recent developments at the Brielle Library and it was to that topic that he now turned.

Coun. Bolger stated that he did not intend to argue the Borough’s position in this matter, and he noted that the Ad Hoc Committee would give their report to the Mayor & Council in executive session, but he wanted to shed light on the issue and provide the public with the facts which he believed “spoke for themselves”.

Coun. Bolger advised the public that he, along with Councilmen Garruzzo and Nolan, had been the recipients of numerous phone calls since this matter had begun. As a result of these discussions he at least had become aware that very few members of the public understood the issue. He had found these conversations productive and regretted that time had not permitted him to return every call, but he hoped to clarify the matter through his committee report.

Using a simple algebraic equation, Coun. Bolger explained that $127,500 had been set aside for the Library. This is how the budget process works and funds are allocated by department whether police, fire or first aid and that process begins in October of each year. At this moment the 2007 budget process has begun.

Coun. Bolger explained that in 2005 the Library had submitted a total request of $149,850. The Borough would provide $127,500 and the balance would be raised by the Library. Simply put, x = library funds, y = Borough subsidy and together they = z, the cost of operating the Library. The Borough subsidy is just that. The Borough appropriates funds on the assumption that they are needed. No one can predict to the penny the exact amounts required as some years are good years and some are bad, but what is not in dispute is the fact that the Borough never undertook to fund the Library’s operations at 100%.

The budget submitted to the Borough clearly indicated that the Association recognized that they would have to raise funds to support their budget. Coun. Bolger quoted from the Library Association’s Annual appeal that indicated that the money raised would be used to purchase books and meet other operational expenses.

At the end of December 2005 the Association had income in excess of its expenses in the amount Page 141

of $32,000. Coun. Bolger did not believe that this was the result of a conspiracy or anything untoward, but it did indicate that the Borough had given the Library too much money

Coun. Bolger went on to explain how, as Library Liaison, he had finally, after a delay of three months, gotten access to the Library’s financial statements, and uncovered the fact that the Library had been over funded and had surplus cash. The Borough had assumed that income equaled expenses. Now it appeared that funds had been transferred into a money market account and itemized as an expense. Without due diligence the Borough would not have known this.

Coun. Bolger added that despite this surplus the Association did not reduce its budget request for 2006. Ultimately Coun. Bolger’s concerns led to a review of the Association’s financial records for the period 2001 through 2005. That report indicated that between 2003 and 2005 $91,239.81 had been transferred into an interest bearing money market account. That was an average of $30,000 a year and that is public money provided by the Brielle Taxpayers.

Coun. Bolger noted that in 2005 the Association requested $16,000 for the purchase of books, yet they only expended $1,500 and then repeated the request in the 2006 budget. Coun. Bolger added that the public does not realize that most of the library services are provided by the Monmouth County Library and that Brielle Taxpayers pay the County $200,000 a year for these services which include all the children’s programs. Continuing in this vein, Coun. Bolger had ascertained that the bulk of the Borough’s funds, some $107,000 go for payroll.

Coun. Bolger offered that the Borough was trying to resolve these issues with the Association, but he reiterated that the Borough had no obligation to fund the Library’s operations at 100%. He also posed the question that he had previously posed to the Association during the Ad Hoc Committee’s deliberations. If the Library had a $32,000 surplus at the end of calendar 2005 why do they need the last quarter payment of approximately $30,000?

Coun. Bolger stated that he had been trying to resolve these matters since February and he emphasized that there is no distinction between public and private money. Rather he stated that there is a difference between ‘restricted” and ‘unrestricted” money.

Coun. Bolger cited the Jean Wetzel Memorial Endowment as an example of restricted money, but pointed out that the Library had been unable or unwilling to produce any evidence of what those restrictions were.

E. Bruce Wetzel being present interrupted Coun. Bolger to say that there were no restrictions on the funds as he did not think that was necessary at the time of the donation; he said that “was my mistake”. Mr. Wetzel also cited a $15,000 donation to the Board of Recreation which was used to purchase playground equipment for Carpenter’s Park. Mr. Wetzel said he was glad that the Recreation Commission had acted promptly or the Borough might have tried to seize those funds as well.

Coun. Bolger explained that no one wanted to hurt the Library, but he wanted to see a fair
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expenditure of tax dollars and he reiterated his question as to why the last quarter funds were needed when the Library had amassed $90,000 in surplus? In fact, all told, the Library held $193,000 as of the end of August 2006, the last figures made available to the Borough. Of this amount, $62,405 was in the operations account and with monthly expenditures running approximately $11,200, as they had in the prior year, Coun. Bolger could simply not understand why additional funds were needed.

In summation, Coun. Bolger pointed out that the Library had no written agreement with the Borough, but up until now both parties had functioned as a partnership to provide Library services to the residents of Brielle. The recent closure of the Library appeared to indicate that the Association wished to end that arrangement. If that were the case the Borough would seek a new partner.

Coun. Bolger reminded the public that the Borough provided the building, maintained the building and defrayed the cost of all utilities along with insurance, and free water and sewer. He added that many of the services provided at the Library were funded by Monmouth County.

In closing Coun. Bolger offered to make himself available to the public for questions even after the meeting and he thanked them for their attention.

Mayor Nicol then opened the meeting to the public and recognized Barbara Duska, 1023 Riverview Drive, who presented the Administrator with a binder containing all the pertinent data relative to the Riverview Drive Coalition’s ongoing effort to have the speed limit on Riverview Drive reduced to 25 mph.

Allison Honrath, 701 Howell Drive, inquired as to the status of drainage improvements on Borrie Avenue. Coun. Shaak advised that they should be completed prior to the November 15th freeze date.

Teresa Mazzeo, 941 Birch Drive, stated that she was a former Library Trustee and she had been “hand picked” by the Library Director. She alleged that the Library was in a state of confusion, there were no job descriptions, and employee morale was poor. Due to what she termed “mismanagement” by the Director she had resigned her position as a Trustee.

Ms. Mazzeo also alleged that the Director would not permit a Trustee to speak with any of the employees and he purposely concealed money. As a taxpayer Ms. Mazzeo stated that she supported the Borough’s decision to withhold funding.

Kerry Marotta, 830 William Drive, a former employee thanked the Council for their actions and stated that as an employee she had no voice and none of the Trustees had acted as an advocate for the employees. They had no rights, the work environment was hostile and business was conducted under a veil of secrecy. She urged the Mayor & Council to conduct a diligent investigation of the Director and the Trustees.

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Juliet Goldthwaite, 619 Rankin Road, another former Trustee, spoke on the issue of private versus public funding. She advised the Council that the Director had discouraged fund raising. She had served as a Trustee for nine years and prior to that service had been a volunteer at the Library. During that time there had never been a distinction between public and private funds. She had assumed that fund raisers helped to alleviate the burden on the taxpayers.

Ms. Goldthwaite also cited the low salaries paid to Library employees despite their credentials. This caused many qualified people to leave the Library. When Ms. Goldthwaite urged the Board to increase fund raising the Director had opposed the suggestion saying that if they were successful the Borough would reduce its appropriation.

In closing Ms. Goldthwaite stated that the Trustees had all worked hard on behalf of the Library and paid many expenses out of pocket. She had paid for the garden in front of the Library while serving on the Buildings & Grounds committee. She along with other Trustees had used their own telephone and fax machines and never sought reimbursement. The recent bad publicity was upsetting and Ms. Goldthwaite offered that if the Trustees acted improperly they had been influenced by somebody.

Peter Daly, a Trustee, was recognized and he felt that the Mayor & Council were remiss in permitting what he termed “personal attacks” by members of Council and the audience to continue.

Catherine Tully, a current employee, said that she had worked for the Library and felt as the pay was low, but now she was back and she was embarrassed by the recent events. She urged the Council to go forward and resolve these issues and cease the finger pointing.

Wende Deppeler, 519 Harris Avenue, cited a meeting with Finance Chairman Garruzzo and reminded him that the subsidy had been increased due to the low salaries paid to Library employees. She reminded Coun. Garruzzo that he had mused that they made less than his babysitter.

Referring to an earlier reference to a confidentiality agreement, Ms. Deppeler said that the Borough’s former Labor Attorney, Matthew Leahey, had suggested that the Association require such an agreement. She also said that all the financial information Coun. Bolger referred to was available in the Library’s Annual Report and she believed that there was nothing unusual in the Trustees having a “rainy day” fund in the event of an unforeseen development.

Shirin Harman, 644 Valley Road, a former Trustee, stated that she found these developments very upsetting. As a Trustee for eight and a half years, she had witnessed the Boards attempt to exclude Coun. Bolger from their meetings and she had been embarrassed by their conduct. Coun. Bolger, she noted, had always behaved in a professional manner.

Ms. Harman added that Coun. Bolger had not been at the Annual Meeting in May, but the Director had vilified him and the Council. “One does not question the Director”, she said. Ms.
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Harman also took exception to a quote by the Director in an October 19th newspaper article wherein he referred to the Trustees as “my board”.

A woman named Monica, whose last name was unintelligible, suggested that the public and private funds he mixed and the rainy day fund capped at an agreed upon number.

Candace Birkenhauer, 409 Osborn Avenue, stated that she had been employed at the Library for three years and had also been a volunteer. The Library was a private not for profit 501.C3 Corporation. Ms. Birkenhauer advised the Council that they needed to be cautious about the issue of donations. She did not believe that people would donate to the Library if they thought that their donations were simply being used to lower the tax rate.

Referring to the Borough’s provision of maintenance, she said that the bathrooms were filthy and there was no toilet paper, she called these conditions “unacceptable”. She also felt that there should be a formal agreement between the Borough and the Trustees, but she did not believe that it could be developed in “mid-stream”.

Coun. Bolger cited a conversation he had had with Ms. Birkenhauer and reminded her that the Library’s annual appeal letter specifically referenced funding operations. He also asked her about a $500 contribution her employer Fannie Mae had made to the Library as a match on her behalf. Was the money sent and if so where was it itemized in the revenue report?

Ms. Birkenhauer said that it could be accounted for and if necessary she would obtain a confirmation letter from Fannie Mae. She added that the $500 was a donation and did not belong to the Borough. She also cited a donation of 1500 cook books for sale by the Library, received on July 3lst. The donor would not have given them unless the money raised was earmarked for the Library. Ms. Birkenhauer hoped that the Council would work to resolve this issue as no one wanted to see the Library closed.

At this juncture Mayor Nicol suggested that the Council had heard many strong opinions voiced this evening, but now it was time to adjourn to Executive Session to deliberate.

Charles DiPerro, 311 South Street, reminded the Council that many people donated to the Library for a specific purpose and that option should be preserved.

Peter Bixby, 609 Oceanview Road, expressed his gratitude to Bruce Wetzel for making such a generous gift to the Library and he believed that his gift should be protected, but he acknowledged that Coun. Bolger was right to raise the issue of the transfers and he was concerned that it had been listed as an expense on the balance sheet. Mr. Bixby thanked the Mayor and noted that it was time to start to repair the situation. The Brielle Library was a jewel that had to be preserved and he urged them to begin that process.

Coun. Lenzen, seconded by Coun. Garruzzo, introduced Resolution 06-125 to authorize an Executive Session. Vote: Coun. Bolger, Garruzzo, Nolan Scott & Shaak; all aye. No nays. Passed.

Page 145 23rd October 2006

Whereas, the Open Public Meetings Act permits the exclusion of the Public from a meeting in certain circumstances; and Whereas, the Borough Council of the Borough of Brielle is of the opinion that such circumstances currently exist. Now Therefore Be It Resolved. by the Borough Council of the Borough of Brielle, County of Monmouth, State of New Jersey, on October 23rd, 2006, as follows:

1. The Public shall be excluded from discussion of and action upon the hereinafter specified subject matters.

2. The general nature of the subject matter to be discussed is as follows:
“Contract Negotiations” & “Potential Litigation”.

3. It is anticipated at this time that the above stated subject matters will be made public in the near future.

The Executive Session began at 9:20 p.m. and ended at 10:14 p.m. The session was adjourned on a motion by Coun, Lenzen, seconded by Coun. Garruzzo.

On a motion by Coun. Nolan, seconded by Coun. Garruzzo, the meeting was reconvened.

The Borough Attorney advised that the Mayor & Council were looking forward to the Trustees returning to the table to work to resolve all the issues discussed.

The meeting was adjourned at l0:15p.m. on a motion by Coun. Lenzen, seconded by Coun. Garruzzo.

Approved: November 13th, 2006

________________________
Thomas F. Nolan
Municipal Clerk

 

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