BOT Meeting recap 9-10-12

brief unofficial recap of the September 10, 2012 BOT Meeting

The following is a brief unofficial recap of many items that occurred or were discussed at the September 10, 2012 BOT Meeting.  Official minutes will be posted online at www.southorange.org when they are available or the video can be viewed on-demand at southorange.org/videoViewer.asp

Note: Trustee Gould was absent from the meeting



Essex County Surrogate's Office shared information about what they do (probate of wills and non-will estates, guardianships, adoptions etc)

Public Comments

  • Alyssa Aronson - questioned the development of Valley Street
  • Joe Boswell - Shared concerns about a recent burglary at his property and requested a gate on Finlay Place - will be reviewed by Transportation Advisory Committee and at the next Public Safety Committee.


Village President's Declaration

Village President declared that he has re-constituted the Public Information and Marketing Committee, changing it so that all appointments are done solely by the Village President, instead of with the advice and consent of the Board of Trustees.


Ordinances on Second Reading

Ordinance 2012-17: Ordinance approving amendment to financial agreement between SO Village and New Market Square, passed 5-0  (Note: as a result of this agreement, the tax payment of $94,105.85 to South Orange in 2011 will increase to $318,126 in 2012)


Ordinances on First Reading

Ordinance 2012-10:  Bond Ordinance to appropriate $2,546,952 passed 5-0 (Note:  This is a reintroduction of a previously passed ordinance that needed to be reintroduced due to a procedural error)


Consent Agenda

16 items on Consent Agenda,  passed 5-0.  These items included an award of a contract for an asbestos assessment of Village Hall, a contract for the purchase of new weapons for the Police Department and a contract for the reconstruction of Fairview Avenue.


Public Comments

  • Robert Chandross - Thanked Tony Grenci for following up with PSE&G to repair street lights, inquired about the status of the payment from the vendor of an upcoming street fair and inquired about the status of SOPAC - suggesting a new Board should be installed if the building is taken back.



  • Village Hall - contract awarded earlier for an Asbestos assessment; a separate contract for an asbestos abatement will likely follow.  Identified state contract vendor for the Trailers for staff.  At the next BOT meeting on Sept 24 the Architect & Construction Manager will share a presentation of the latest drawings, timeline and budget for the project.
  • Special Improvement District Board meetings are occurring each week.  Subcommittees have been created.  The SID Board had training on Sept 10.  SID Board met with DPW Director met last week to identify areas of services that will be transitioned from DPW.
  • West 3rd St Property Acquisition - Awaiting engineer's estimate for environmental remediation.  Need to determine whether Open Space money should be used.  Village Clerk, Robin Kline, will contact members of the Open Space Committee to see if they can reconvene and discuss.
  • SOPAC restructuring - Village Administrator has been meeting with SOPAC and is looking at leaseback arrangements for the building
  • Received proposal for a financial analyst
  • Street Fair - Application was made last Fall.  One meeting was held then and interim administrator approved the application pending county approval and proof of insurance.  At the August 13 BOT Meeting, the BOT (excluding myself) agreed to waive the requirement for the vendor to pay any costs.


Finance & IT

  • Audit has been distributed and is awaiting comments
  • C3 replacement  - alternative has been identified  (MetaRhythym) for content management on website; still looking at alternatives for Reverse 911 system
  • Requested Munidex to see if they can provide a replacement Cash Management system
  • Budget Workshop date to be scheduled in late October
  • Recommendation will be forthcoming for hosted email and storage solution



  • Reviewed personnel policy and handbook. Final draft will be presented at October 12 meeting
  • Performance Evaluations - all dept heads will be completed within next 2 weeks. (by Sept 21)


Planning & Zoning

  • Meeting on Sept 19


Public Safety

  • Proposed Traffic Light at Raymond/Scotland - residents to be notified of Oct 10 County Freeholder meeting being held in Maplewood so they can provide public comments to the County. Village Engineer to provide his input at Sept 24 BOT meeting
  • Quality of Life issues by Meadowbrook - carried to Public Safety meeting in October
  • ICMA Best Practices report - draft report received by the BOT in July.  BOT noted some errors and omissions that need to be fixed by ICMA before finalizing the report.  In addition, ICMA has requested that the Police Department review and validate the data in the report.  A meeting is scheduled with the PD this week to review.
  • SOFD Recognition Ceremony - Ceremony to recognize firefighters that have gone "above and beyond" to be held in October in honor of Fire Safety Month.



Agenda Process Policy Recommendation - Legal Committee presented documented version of agenda process that is already being followed.  A suggestion was made to modify the schedule to have the Village Clerk send a request for items a few days earlier and to update the request form to copy the full BOT on all requests.  Another suggestion was made for the Clerk to provide a draft of the agenda when soliciting requests, so the BOT knows what items were already listed.

Marylawn Susan G. Komen Tie a Ribbon Campaign - ribbons to be installed downtown in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month (and removed by the end of the month)

Staff Communication - Trustee Rosner noted that internal communication is lacking and he suggested returning to the prior meeting format of Regular Meetings and Conference Agenda. 

Board of Education updates - Trustee Rosner suggested that the BoE come periodically to share an update with the BoT, as they had done historically.

Zoning Exemption Bill for Colleges and Universities - Hearing potentially being held on Sept 24 to potentially hear the legislation (S-1534/A-2586).  The Board agreed that the Village President should contact Seton Hall to have them share their opposition.  (as was done in Princeton)

Newcomers Day & Health Fair - In February 2010 at a Budget Workshop, the BoT previously agreed to combine these events into a single day.  Later that year, the BoT agreed to combine both events together with Celebrate South Orange in order to maximize participation and minimize costs.  Earlier this month, the BoT learned that both events were scheduled again as separate events for this month with no discussion by the Board.   Since the events are already scheduled and advertised, they will proceed for this year, but not again going forward.

New Business

The Village and PBA have agreed, in principle, to a settlement of a 3 yr contract, providing 2%/year salary increases with additional "steps" to reach top pay.   While the attorneys are working out the formal contract language, the Village Administrator requested permission to process retroactive payroll payments with this increase in advance of the formal contract ratification.


For any questions or comments, please post below or email me at mgoldberg@southorange.org

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Tom Morris September 11, 2012 at 05:22 PM


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