SALEM COUNTY BOARD OF CHOSEN FREEHOLDERS
FEBRUARY 16, 2005 MEETING MINUTES
At 7:31 PM, Director Charles R. Sullivan opened the meeting with a moment of silence followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Director Sullivan stated the meeting was in compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act.
On roll call, the following Freeholders were present: Lee R. Ware, Beth E. Timberman, Bruce L. Bobbitt, R. Benjamin Simmermon, Jr., C. David Sparks, Jr., Susan A. Bestwick and Charles R. Sullivan. Quorum was present.
Motion was made by Mr. Ware that the reading of the Minutes of February 2, 2005 meeting be dispensed with and that the Minutes be received, approved and recorded in the Minute Book. Mr. Bobbitt seconded his motion. The motion to accept the minutes carried by hand vote of 7/0.
There was no motion to waive the Rules of the Board.
Citation Congratulating Charles M. Miller, III upon His Retirement was read.
Freeholder Bestwick was momentarily excused from the meeting at 7:35PM and returned 7:38PM.
Carl Wentzell of Emergency Services made a presentation.
Terry Layfield of Information Technology made a presentation.
Ron Rukenstein of Planning Board made a presentation.
County Planning Director Ron Rukenstein gave a presentation on the New Jersey Fast Track Permitting Law (Fast Track) and its potential impact on Salem County. He stated that while there are some portions of the Law that could be better and more appropriately support Salem County’s overall development and preservation plan, that requesting it be amended would be far better than repealing the entire law. He voiced concern over the appearance that a third party, paid for by the applicant could seemingly have control over the permit approval process. He stated that the Fast Track law would benefit those portions of the County that are poised for and desire development like the Riverwalk project in Penns Grove and other redevelopment areas including Salem City, Pennsville, Penns Grove, Carney’s Point, Woodstown, Elmer. He said that the law did not apply to those areas of Salem County that are targeted for preservation like Upper Pittsgrove, Pilesgrove, Pittsgrove, Quinton, Alloway and Mannington. Any change in the application of this law to those areas would first have to be authorized by the municipality by amending the Master Plan and Smart Growth Plan.
Freeholder Bobbitt inquired if Fast Track opened the floodgates for developers to Salem County. Mr. Rukenstein said that only the western portion of the County was effected and that he did not condemn the law. He said that better responsiveness and predictability was what was needed from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on permit applications. Freeholder Bestwick inquired if Fast Track allows non-home rule changes to planning areas. Mr. Rukenstein said that such changes happen now under the regular rules and that Fast Track did not change that for the better or worse. Director Sullivan noted that developers do not have carte blanch, but must send copies of the applications for expedited permit review to the clerk of the municipality and clerk of the County where the project is proposed. Freeholder Sparks said that he did have concerns over Fast Track and that nothing in Salem County is not environmentally sensitive. He said the State needs to look at its own agencies for lack of responsiveness. Freeholder Simmermon said that the western County is in the way of Fast Track. He suggested Ron Rukenstein could assist each local municipality. Mr. Rukenstein said the local towns are complaining about the length of time it takes to obtain permit approvals, but that the DEP is not listening. He offered to work with whomever is designated by the board in reviewing specifics of the Fast Track law and formulating recommendations for a review. Freeholder Bobbitt inquired of the Board if Fast Track merely needed slight adjustment. Freeholder Sparks said he was not sure the whole Board was ready for a single statement. He urged forwarding comments to the appropriate review authority before the March 1st deadline.
Frank J. Cianfrani, Chief, Regulatory Branch, US Army Corps of Engineers – Public Notice to solicit comments and recommendations concerning issuance of a Department of the Army permit for work located at the following areas:
Lewes and Rehoboth Canal, Sussex County, DE
Public Notice of General Permit Issuance in the State of DE
Beach Thorofare, City of Margate, Atlantic County, NJ
Mullica River, Galloway and Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic County, NJ
Maria T. Usas, Section Supervisor, Fiscal Resources, Grants Management & Review Program, Office of Financial Services, Department of Health and Senior Services – notice of grant award to provide financial support for the provision of a variety of services for senior citizens
Deborah Pinto, Chief, Office of Local Environmental Management, Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Local Environmental Management – notice that the County’s written request for a no-cost time extension of the 2004 CEHA contract is approved
Maura McManimon, Acting Executive Director, Office of Smart Growth, Department of Community Affairs, Office of Smart Growth – notice of amendment to Agreement 00-6070-00 to increase the time period allowed for the expenditure of Agreement funds and completion of the project
Patricia A. Polansky, Assistant Commissioner, Division of Aging and Community Services, Department of Health and Senior Services – notice that the State Division of Aging and Community Services has completed the annual programmatic and fiscal desk assessment of the Salem County Office on Aging
James A. Crawford, Executive Director, South Jersey Transportation Authority – copy of the February 15th agenda
Gordon Dahl, Executive Director, South Jersey Economic Development District – October 4th quarterly meeting minutes
Cumberland County Department of Planning & Development – Public Notice on the final Cumberland County Cross-Acceptance Report to be held on February 24, 2005
Cape May County – resolution supporting Assembly Bill No. 3531 concerning annual increased funding from alcohol excise taxes to the alcohol education, rehabilitation and enforcement fund
Monmouth County – Resolution opposing proposed New Jersey State Assembly Bill Number 3415 regarding impervious coverage restrictions
Pittsgrove Township – resolution of Parvin State Park Appreciation Committee indicating opposition to plan to relocate Almond Road around main park area
Joseph P. Federici, Jr., County Engineer – memo regarding the realignment of Almond Road to provide parking on the same side of the road as Parvin State Park entrance
Mark R. Brunermer, PE, CME, Pittsgrove Township Engineer – copy of a letter to Salem County Engineer, Joseph Federici, P.E. regarding bicycle paths throughout Pittsgrove Township
Herbert W. Roeschke, Public Health Coordinator – notice of grant award for Early Intervention and Case Management
Salem County Association of Local Government – January 27th Minutes & notice of February 23rd meeting
Salem Branch Report for December 2004 (Railroad)
Ranch Hope, Inc. 2004 Annual Report
For the Month of December
Nursing Home – Complete HealthCare Resources
For the Month of January 2005
Office for the Disabled
Emergency Services Staff Meeting
Shelter of Hope
Veterans Services & Interment
Weights & Measures
Community College Board of Trustees January 13th Minutes
Cultural & Heritage Commission January 20th Minutes
Economic Development Advisory Committee January 24th Minutes
Office on Aging Advisory Council February 15th Agenda
Library Commission January 2005 Minutes
Motion was made by Mr. Ware that the Correspondence, Departmental Reports, and Committee/Commission Minutes be received and filed with Mr. Bobbitt seconding his motion. The motion was carried by a vote of 7/0.
PAYMENT OF BILLS & CLAIMS
Motion was made by Mr. Ware that all Bills and Claims, when properly signed and audited, be paid and charged to their respective accounts. Motion was seconded by Mr. Bobbitt, which was carried by a hand vote of 7/0.
Motion was made by Mr. Ware that the Treasurer’s Report be received, filed and made available to the public. Motion was seconded by Mr. Bobbitt, which was carried by a hand vote of 7/0.
The Clerk of the Board/Administrator read resolutions in block by committee with Board concurrence.
ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEE – Sullivan, Ware, Bobbitt
R2005-108 Finance Resolution Cancellation of Check (Check # 38287)
R2005-109 Finance resolution Cancellation of Check (Check # 37582)
R2005-110 Finance Resolution Requesting Transfer of Funds (Total - $65,100)
R2005-111 Emergency Temporary Resolution Prior to Adoption of Budget – County of Salem
R2005-112 Resolution between Salem and Gloucester Counties for the Provision of Medical Examiner Services for the Period of January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2005
Mr. Ware moved for adoption of the five resolutions with Mr. Bobbitt seconding his motion. The motion for adoption of the foregoing resolutions carried a vote of 7/0.
BUILDINGS & GROUNDS COMMITTEE – Simmermon, Ware, Bestwick
No business came before this committee at this meeting.
COUNTY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE – Bestwick, Sullivan, Sparks
R2005-113 Resolution Setting Term for Member of the Salem County Library Commission
Mrs. Bestwick moved for adoption of this resolution with Mr. Sparks seconding her motion. The motion for adoption of the foregoing resolution carried a vote of 7/0.
HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE – Sparks, Timberman, Simmermon
R2005-114 Resolution Authorizing an Inter-Local Agreement between the Salem County Board of Chosen Freeholders and Certain Municipalities of Salem County for the Provision of Transportation Services under the Senior Citizen and Disabled Resident Transportation Assistance Act, and Title XIX Funds of the Social Security Act (Carney’s Point, Lower Alloways Creek, Penns Grove, Pennsville, and Pittsgrove)
R2005-115 Resolution Authorizing Freeholder Director and Clerk of the Board of Chosen Freeholders for the County of Salem to Sign the 2004 Interlocal Agreement for Local Municipalities (provision of public health services of a technical and professional nature - Elmer, Carney’s Point and Penns Grove)
R2005-116 Resolution Authorizing Contract for the Administration of the Alliance to Prevent Alcoholism and Drug Abuse for the Year 2004
· Township of Carney’s Point in cooperation with Carney’s Point Municipal Alliance - $13,634.98
· City of Salem in cooperation with Salem Municipal Alliance- $10,376.39
· Borough of Elmer in cooperation with Elmer Municipal Alliance - $5,525.54
· Township of Upper Pittsgrove in cooperation with Upper Pittsgrove Municipal Alliance - $5,563.81
Mr. Sparks moved for adoption of the three resolutions with Mrs. Timberman seconding his motion. The motion for adoption of the foregoing resolutions carried a vote of 7/0.
JUDICIARY COMMITTEE – Ware, Bobbitt, Simmermon
R2005-117 Resolution Authorizing a Memorandum of Understanding between the County of Salem and the County of Gloucester (housing of juvenile/family crisis cases)
Mr. Ware moved for adoption of this resolution with Mr. Bobbitt seconding his motion. The motion for adoption of the foregoing resolution carried a vote of 7/0.
PLANNING & TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE – Timberman, Sullivan, Bestwick
No business came before this committee at this meeting.
ROAD & BRIDGE COMMITTEE – Bobbitt, Timberman, Sparks
No business came before this committee at this meeting.
Ethics Reform – Director Sullivan read the following statement. "On November 17th, New Jersey Governor Richard Cody announced the appointment of a new Special Counsel for Ethics reform. Former Supreme Court Justice Daniel O’Hern and Law Professor Paula Franzese were appointed to jointly serve as Special Counsel for Ethics Reform.
They were charged with conducting a thorough ethics audit – an audit of the ethics rules, statutes, regulations and codes of conduct that apply to all employees of the Executive Branch and the State Authorities. They were directed to present a comprehensive plan to improve and strengthen the ethics rules within 120 days of their appointment.
The Salem County Freeholders and their employees are currently bound by the State Mandated Ethics Rules. The administration committee has determined that it would be in the Counties best interest to suspend consideration of creating a "Local Board of Ethics" until the committee has had the opportunity to review the new State Ethic Rule and Regulations. If the new guidelines are comprehensive enough to address the concerns of the Freeholder Board, the County will be able to save taxpayers monies by continuing to be bound by the State Ethics Rules. If, the new Ethic Rules and Regulations do not address the concerns of this Freeholder Board the feasibility of creating a "Local Board of Ethics" will once again be considered by the Administrative Committee."
NEW BUSINESS There was no new business.
Mr. Sherman Hampton of Salem City inquired if Salem County Nursing Home issues still existed according to a recent news article. He inquired about corrective actions taken in light of the newspaper allegations. Freeholder Bestwick said she didn’t read the "Currant Events" newspaper column with the Freeholder Director agreeing it was not a credible source of accurate information. The Director said that the most recent state audit does not show any of the concerns alleged in the press, but confirmed that employee absenteeism continues to be a problem but is not effecting operations due to coverage by contracted staff. He suggested that questions be posed directly to the appropriate Freeholder chair via letter. Freeholder Bestwick said she would be glad to give a long list of Nursing Home improvements and financial support given to the Nursing Home and invited all to visit. Mr. Hampton said that a newcomer to Salem thought the Nursing Home must be a dump and stated that if there were employees who didn’t want to come to work, then the County should find some people who did and get rid of the rest. Director Sullivan said the nursing care is exemplary.
Ms. Rose Smith of Pennsville Township said she selected the Nursing Home ten years ago for a family member after looking into all others. She said the care is good and staff great. She said at that time there was not enough funding for "pleasantness" for the residents. She said she has no qualms now about putting family members in the Nursing Home. She inquired about paying housekeepers and an outside service at the same time.
Mr. Emerson Eisele of Upper Pittsgrove said that six months had elapsed since he suggested becoming an environmental commissioner. He suggested an alternative plan to develop an environmental committee of Freeholders and State representatives. County Counsel said that the state statutes currently permit only municipalities to create environmental commissions but will review if the County can create such a board in connection with the County Planning Board.
Director Sullivan thanked Boy Scout Josh Foster of Mannington Troop 37 for attending the Freeholder Meeting as part of a merit badge requirement.
R2005-118 Resolution Authorizing the Exclusion of the Public from a Meeting of the Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Salem
Mr. Ware moved for adoption of the resolution at 08:35 PM with Mr. Bobbitt seconding his motion. The motion for adoption of the foregoing resolution carried a vote of 7/0.
MOTION TO ADJOURN
The Board reconvened at 9:09 PM and Mr. Ware moved for adjournment of the meeting, with Mr. Bobbitt seconding his motion. With the motion properly moved and seconded and approved by all seven members, the meeting adjourned at 9:10 PM.