Minutes of Special Commissioners Meeting - December 4, 2015
Prior to the opening of the Special Meeting, Mr. Groon led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
The Special Meeting of the Board of Commissioners, Borough of Wildwood Crest, Cape May County, New Jersey, was held in the Municipal Court Room at 9:30 a.m. On roll call, the following answered to their names:
Gould – Yes Cabrera – Yes Groon - Yes
Mr. Groon read the following statement: In compliance with the Open Public Meeting Act, Chapter 231, P.L. 1975, the notice requirements have been satisfied as to the time, place and date of holding said SPECIAL meeting by posting notice on the bulletin board in the Borough Hall and by mailing and FAX transmitting same to the Gazette-Leader, the Herald and The Press on November 20, 2015 at 3:00 p.m.
Mr. Groon next announced the one-way in and the one-way out method of ingress and egress in case of emergency.
The Mayor and Commissioners decided to move the Public Commentary portion up in the agenda since the courtroom was filled.
Mike Hawthorne, 102 E. Preston Avenue, felt that going to vote was a waste of $17,000 and suggested painting the medians. He wanted to know what studies were done to prove it would be safer. The Mayor indicated that nothing was done specific to Wildwood Crest. He further indicated the idea was presented by the Planning Board and the police and engineer were consulted. The Mayor also mentioned that he received complaints from senior citizens over Pacific Avenue and how unsafe it is. Lastly, Mr. Hawthorne indicated that emergency vehicles may have a harder time getting by.
Rita DiUrso, 6210 Park Blvd., indicated that the islands were beautiful, but worried about the trees and bushes with blind spots. The Mayor indicated the trees would not be a hindrance and would be cleared by the engineer. Ms. DiUrso also wanted to know if the vote could be done when more people are around and the Mayor indicated that state statutes preclude this from happening.
Gerry Mainardi, 305 E. Atlanta Avenue, asked about traffic studies and if they were done. The Mayor indicated again that nothing specific to Wildwood Crest. He indicated that they were able to look at surrounding neighbors and professionals, as well as the exposure of Seaview Avenue. Mr. Mainardi then wanted to know about on-going maintenance. Commissioner Cabrera indicated that Public Works would be able to absorb the minimal upkeep. The Mayor added that parking would not be affected at all with the project. Commissioner Gould referenced 44 accidents on Pacific Avenue in the last 3 years.
Joe DiUrso, 6210 Park Blvd., wanted to know if the accidents referenced by Commissioner Gould were auto or pedestrian. It was unknown.
Janice Morey, 8500 Bayview Drive, indicated the painted medians in Ocean City looked less than impressive and would like this to go to a vote.
Aileen Kennedy, 122 E. Sweetbriar Road, opposes the medians. Ms. Kennedy indicated that Ocean City spent approximately $164,000 on paint for medians and bike lanes, and buffer lanes, and that we could do the same and money could be used elsewhere.
Valerie Mainardi, 305 E. Atlanta Avenue, asked where traffic would be diverted to if it left Pacific Avenue.
Angela Littner, 302 E. Atlanta Avenue, indicated she was against the medians and asked why spend the money that the Borough doesn’t have.
Janet Moran, 321 E. Preston Avenue, asked if people doing u-turns on the street would create more problems.
Angela Littner, 302 E. Atlanta Avenue, again asked why the Borough would spend the money. The Mayor indicated that pedestrian safety was paramount.
Dan Kelly, 6409 Pacific Avenue, indicated Pacific Avenue is a raceway and was for the medians.
Donna Cifichello, 215 E. Buttercup Road, indicated she was not in favor of the medians. She further indicated that it was more difficult to see where cars are parked so close to the block ends. The Mayor then added that medians provide a different safety factor for pedestrians and that parking will be reviewed with respect to the above.
Rita DiUrso, 6210 Park Blvd., agreed with the aspect of edging out onto the street with regard to safety.
John Szczerbinksi, 201 E. Columbine Road, indicated that he witnesses near accidents all the time on Pacific Avenue and that it is unsafe and was in favor of the medians.
Patrick Davenport, 7501 New Jersey Avenue, Chairman of the Planning Board elaborated that Pacific Avenue was looked at with respect to three areas of concern: raising property values, making it safer and beautifying the Avenue. He indicated the Planning Board looked at the property values on the northern portion of Pacific Avenue and they felt they needed to rejuvenate the area. They conferred with other towns about medians. Mr. Davenport further indicated that medians are known as “safe havens” and they looked at many studies including the Department of Transportation and there was overwhelming information in support of medians. Lastly, they looked at how the Borough invested in the beachfront and Centennial Park and if they put the investment in Pacific Avenue, it could beautify the area.
John Boland, 8704 Seaview Avenue, asked if it would be safer. The Mayor also added that the south end of Pacific Avenue is narrower by approximately 10 feet.
Jack Morey, 5901 Ocean Avenue, commended the Governing Body for being conscientious about safety. He also commended them for the duties they perform as elected officials because often, they are targets of criticism. He further pointed out that they have done a wonderful job at beautifying the community from the parks to the lakefront and Wildwood Crest seems to be developing its own culture and personality. Lastly, he commended the Commissioners for being fiscally responsible; for being frugal when needed and for spending when opportunities arose. He encouraged all to go and vote.
Aileen Kennedy, 122 E. Sweetbriar Road, indicated that a study was done in Ocean City and it was determined they needed a left turn lane. She asked why the current proposal has no turning lane and if it could be considered. The Mayor indicated they had no problem with following up on this suggestion. Commissioner Cabrera indicated that they had no issues with creating turning lanes. The design phase came to a halt when the Bond Ordinance was petitioned.
Gene Mulligan, 6511 New Jersey Avenue, stated he was against the medians. He further went on to say that not allowing turning lanes will make it worse and the debt went from 28 million to 40 million dollars. He indicated that folks with fixed incomes can’t face rising taxes. The Mayor then indicated that with regard to debt that increased was due to New Jersey Avenue. It was planned for five years in advance and they were able to time it with Bonds that were expiring when the debt was due and there were no increases in taxes. The Mayor then went on to add that the debt is high, but to undergo a major project without impacting the taxpayer was done with great loan terms. Mr. Mulligan then indicated they were going to fight this and felt it was improper to spend the money in this regard.
Gerry Mainardi, 305 E. Atlanta Avenue, asked why the cost for a special election was so much. The Mayor indicated it was due to the machines, ballots, advertisements, etc. He then indicated that the Clerk had a breakdown of expenses if he would like to see it.
Commissioner Cabrera then added that debt increases with improvements.
Mike Quinn, 209 E. Pittsburgh Avenue, indicated that this should go to a vote. His only concern was where traffic would go. The Mayor then added that it was unfortunate to have a strict timeline because of the Pacific Avenue ADA project. He then added that Pacific Avenue has been pretty safe over the years; however, since a new law passed in New Jersey, people are at risk and to not recognize that would be a mistake.
Janice Morey, 8500 Bayview Drive, asked what the cost is per household per year for this project would be. The Mayor indicated $11.00.
Marie Nickerson, 8801 Bayview Drive, wanted to know about the maintenance costs over a year. Commissioner Cabrera indicated it would be nominal and would be absorbed in Public Works without increasing the budget.
John Boland, 8704 Seaview Avenue, wanted to know if this would a real election with absentee ballots. It was confirmed by the Mayor that it would be a valid election.
Mike Hawthorne, 102 E. Preston Avenue, indicated the town is in fact beautiful and he loves living in this municipality.
With there being no further comments from the public, the Clerk asked the Governing Body if they would like to hold a Special Election and the following vote was recorded:
Gould – No Cabrera – Yes Groon - Yes
With the majority vote for Special Election, THE CLERK READS THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE:
RESOLUTION NO. 541-15
RESOLUTION OF THE BOROUGH OF WILDWOOD
CREST PROVIDING FOR A SPECIAL ELECTION TO BE HELD ON TUESDAY, JANUARY
26, 2016, FOR REFERENDUM ON BOND ORDINANCE NO. 1222
WHEREAS, on October 7,
2015, the Governing Body of the Borough of Wildwood Crest adopted Bond
Ordinance No. 1222 entitled “Bond Ordinance Providing for the
Improvement of Pacific Avenue in and by the Borough of Wildwood Crest,
in the County of Cape May, New Jersey, appropriating $2,700,000 therefor
and authorizing the issuance of $2,571,000 Bonds or Notes of the Borough
for Financing such Appropriation”; and
on October 23, 2015, the Borough received a petition requesting that the
Ordinance be put to referendum; and
on November 4, 2015, the Borough Clerk notified the petition submitter
that the petition was unable to be certified and informed the submitter
how to make the petition compliant; and
on November 12, 2015, the Borough received a newly circulated petition
requesting that the Ordinance be repealed in its entirety or put same to
vote of the citizens of Wildwood Crest; and
in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:74-13, “the Clerk shall, within
five days after such refiling, make a similar examination of the amended
on November 16, 2015, the Borough Clerk certified to the Committee of
Petitioners that the petition was reviewed and it was in proper form and
did contain the requisite number of signatures of registered voters and
certified the petition to the Governing Body on same date; and
N.J.S.A. 40:74-14 provides that a referendum shall be held and
call for a special election to be held not less than 40 nor more than 60
days from the final date for withdrawal of the petition, unless a
general election or municipal election is to be held not less than 40
days nor more than 90 days thereafter, and at such election such
ordinance shall be submitted without alternation to the vote of the
electors of the municipality; and
the Borough, absent a decision of the governing body, to withdraw the
ordinance, must call a special election for referendum on Bond Ordinance
No. 1222 in order that the vote of the people may ultimately decide the
fate of the ordinance.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED,
by the Board of Commissioners of the Borough of Wildwood Crest, County
of Cape May, State of New Jersey as follows:
The recitals hereto are hereby incorporated herein as if set
forth at length.
A special election of the legal voters of the Borough of Wildwood
Crest shall be held on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm
at the established polling places for districts 1-5.
Said election is to be held for a referendum on Bond Ordinance
No. 1222. In accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:74-17, the question
shall be put to the voters as follows:
vote upon the public question printed below, if in favor thereof mark a
cross (x) or plus (+) in the square at the left of the word YES, and if
opposed thereto mark a cross (x) or plus (+) in the square at the left
of the word NO.
A “YES” vote to ratify this Ordinance would provide the funding
to complete the Pacific Avenue Street Improvements, including additional
landscaping, grass, and concrete medians, appropriating $2,700,000
therefor and authorizing the issuance of $2,571,000 Bonds or Notes of
the Borough for Financing such Appropriation.
“NO” vote would defeat the Bond Ordinance in entirety and require
the introduction of a new ordinance for Pacific Avenue Improvements.
The Clerk is hereby authorized and directed to cause notice of
said election to be published in accordance with N.J.S.A.
40:74-16 in at least two of the newspapers published in the municipality
and the publication shall be not more than twenty nor less than five
days before the submission of the ordinance or proposition to be voted
The Clerk is hereby authorized to coordinate the necessary
efforts for holding a special election with the Cape May County Clerk,
the Cape May County Commissioner of Registration and the Cape May County
Board of Elections.
Mr. Cabrera motioned, seconded by Mr. Groon, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.
Vote: Gould – No Cabrera – Groon – Yes
THE CLERK READS THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE:
RESOLUTION NO. 542-15
WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:4-58 permits transfers between budget appropriations during the final two (2) months of the fiscal year;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Commissioners of the Borough of Wildwood Crest, County of Cape May, New Jersey, that transfers between 2015 budget appropriations be and the same are hereby authorized as follows:
Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.
Vote: Gould – Cabrera – Groon – Yes
Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the attached bill list as properly authorized, and submitted, be paid.
Vote: Gould – Cabrera – Groon – Yes
The Mayor then opened the floor for any last public commentary.
Mr. Dennis Travascio, 112 E. Louisville Avenue, indicated to all that applications for mail in ballot were available on line and you simply fill it out and a ballot would be mailed to you. The Mayor also indicated that applications were available in the Clerk’s office as well.
With nothing further from the public, Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera that the meeting be adjourned. All were in favor. The meeting was adjourned at 10:46
Dated: December 28, 2015
Patricia A. Feketics, Borough Clerk