Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Follow up to Borough Council Meeting 5/19

It was our pleasure to witness two Matawan Police Detectives receiving an Award from no less than the F.B.I. Det. Sgt. Smith and Det. O'Boyle were acknowledged for their assistance in bringing to justice the armed bank robbers who held up the Sun Bank and other banks in the area. As residents, we are proud to have such dedicated and distinguished Detectives on Matawan's Police Department.

School Budget - There was a reduction of $500,000. to the School Budget offered by the School Board. The Council voted to accept their offer. Aberdeen's Council also voted to accept the Budget. When you are dealing witn millions, $500,000. doesn't even make a dent.

New Restaurant in Borough - AJ Pizzle LLC, is replacing the former Copperleaf Grill at the strip mall on Rt. 34 and Main St. We welcome new business in Matawan and wish them the best of luck.

Borough Attorney - The Council appointed James G. Aaron, Esq. of Ansel, Zaro, Grimm & Aaron with one no vote by Councilwoman Clifton. The fee was announced at $115. an hour, which matched the amount quoted by Pat Menna, Esq. However, no mention was made pertaining to phone calls. Mr. Menna had quoted unlimited phone calls at no charge. Since it wasn't mentioned, we have to wonder if Mr. Aaron also agreed to unlimited phone calls. If not, then we will be paying $115. every time a member of Council/Borough Clerk/Borough Administrator, etc. places a phone call.

Labor/Special Litigation Attorney - Scott C. Arnette, Esq. was appointed with one no vote by Councilwoman Clifton. Councilman Mullaney added Special Litigation to the Labor Attorney's position.

Comment: In the event one of the other attorneys have a conflict of interest, then we would utilize the Special Litigation Attorney. The way we see it, it gives The Arnette Law Firm LLC, another way to make money off of Matawan. The Democratic majority wants to add to Northgrave, et al., by re-appointing them as Redevelopment Attorneys and adding Environmental Attorneys to their firm. The appointment of any other attorneys has been held off. Councilman Cannon advised Councilman Mullaney that money must be certified by the CFO in order to go forward with appointing any additional attorneys.

Financial Aid from Trenton - What a joke! We will be receiving $17,000 +/- in State Aid. We did file for discretionary aid. We all sent letters to Trenton asking Corzine not to punish the small towns & boroughs in NJ. Let's hope he receives many, many letters from taxpayers and reinstates our financial aid package. As we all know we are facing financial problems in Matawan along with all the other small towns.

Grants - Maser Consulting will be filing for a Grant from the D.O.T. for a Road Program. Along with a previously mentioned grant application presented by Fred Carr, Borough Administrator, this will be the second Grant Maser will be applying for on Matawan's behalf. Any financial assistance we can get is welcomed. Remember Grants are free money (excluding the time put into the application and presentation), Bonds must be paid back. Good luck to Fred Carr and Bill White, Engr., Maser Consulting with their presentation.

The Preserve on Route 79/American Properties - A Resolution for Affordable Marketing of Rental Unit has been held for clarification.

Resolution 08-09 was introduced to create a position of Municipal Housing Liaison for the Purpose of Administering Borough of Matawan's Affordable Housing Program pursuant to the Fair Housing Act.

Signs in the Borough - A resident stated lawn signs are still be posted on his property. He has appeared before the Council last year requesting a solution from the Borough. We agree these signs are all over the Borough and there should be an ordinance preventing these unsightly advertising signs.

Cancer Care - A Resolution was passed to create the Matawan Cancer Research Program spearheaded by former Councilwoman Donna Gould. The purpose of this program is to provide transportation for cancer patients to and from Doctor appointments, chemotherapy, etc. Assemblywoman Amy Handlin was informed by the American Cancer Society of the lack of transportation for Cancer patients.

Matawan Alliance - Oh where, oh where has the Matawan Alliance gone? At the last meeting Mayor Buccellato asked Councilman Mullaney if he had any news concerning the Matawan Alliance. Councilman Mullaney replied no. Then Councilman Malley stated someone from the Matawan Alliance would be at the next Borough Council meeting. Needless to say no one showed up. A question was raised as to the money collected by the Matawan Alliance purported to be for a Memorial for the victims of the Shark attack many years ago. Last year Mary Mullaney (Councilman Mullaney's wife) spoke on behalf of the Matawan Alliance. Followed by Renata Bonelli of Synergy Bank. While Mrs. Mullaney attends Council meetings, she was not forthcoming with any information. The question is what the big secret....what happened to the Matawan Alliance and the money collected? They did a good job with the Sharkfest, Cafe Swing Night, Annual Night Out, etc.

Don't forget Matawan's Memorial Day Parade will be held on Monday, May 26th beginning at St. Clements Church Parking Lot.

Hope to see you at the next Council meeting on Thursday, June 5, 2008 at 7:30pm.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Matawan Borough Council Mtg 5/19 @ 7:30pm

At the Borough Council meeting tonight the Borough Attorney and the Labor Attorney will be appointed. Can't help but wonder if the rates of the new Borough Attorney are the same as Pat Menna, Esq. rates? Well, the Democratic majority say it is. We don't believe they want to tell us the truth! Somehow, some way Matawan is getting screwed. Wonder if we will hear what the attorney fees were from last year for the Redevelopment Attorney, the Labor Attorney, etc.
Redevelopment is going no where fast so we will be interested in hearing what it cost. Now if Redevelopment was in progress, the Developer would pay for the Attorney fees. As the Democratic majority has held up planning any Redevelopment, who will be paying for these fees? We all know the Redevelopment attorney is the same one who represented the Monmouth County Democratic Party's (Vic Scudieri) lawsuit to get Mike Cannon on the ballot. What work could they have done last year to incur an invoice? Perhaps we will find out tonight.

We find it amusing that Councilman Mullaney insists we have an Environmental Attorney on board just in case we need him. Isn't it in the Council's control to require the assistance of an Environmental attorney much like they did the Redevelopment Attorney last year? Wonder what the rates for an Environmental Attorney are on an hourly basis. One phone call could rack up a nice bill. Our question is if such a need arises wouldn't we request bids prior to hiring an Environmental Attorney? Didn't the Council vote against sending out for bids when they appointed Maser Consulting to do an expensive project? Does that sound prudent? Does that sound like we are pinching pennies?

Please don't tell us this is just politics? When we are told the Council is "pinching pennies" and appoints Attorneys, Planners, Engineers who are charging us more, not less. That isn't responsible government....does that sound like pay back?

Hope to see you at the meeting.....

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Matawan Borough Council Workshop 5/15 @ 7pm

Tonight there will be a Borough Council Workshop meeting at 7pm(better known as the "Clash of the Titans." ) The Agenda hasn't been posted. However, we believe discussions may include the School Board Budget, outcome of attorney review, progress on agreement for new Police Chief, relocation of Borough Court to name a few.
At each meeting Councilman Mendes and/or Councilman Mullaney attempts to place items on the upcoming Council Agenda without researching all the details. We trust that they have learned their lesson so as to prevent the outbursts of the last meeting. We suggest discussions with the Mayor prior to possibly placing the Borough in jeopardy. OOOOOOOOOOOOOh no, did we say discuss with the Mayor? In order to save time and money, the Council must communicate with each other, not just the Dems trying to add Resolutions during a Council meeting, but all the Council working in unison. Mayor Buccellato needs to stand strong to prevent the novice Council people from endangering the Borough. All of this is prohibiting the Borough from moving forward. The Democratic majority needs to communicate with the Mayor and not try to "slam dunk" last minute Resolutions. We all know they have the majority, thus the power, so let's keep in mind, is this the legacy they want to be remembered for in Matawan.
We have witnessed the Democratic majority attempting their electioneering at Council meetings. They present an ambitious program of moving the Court, the Police, Road Program, Gravelly Brook Park and so on. The only question is "WHERE ARE THEY GETTING THE MONEY?" Don't believe there is a taxpayer in Matawan (Republican, Democrat, Independent) who wants to see their taxes increased. How are they preparing us for next year's Budget? Did Councilman Cannon learn from the problems he inherited from his predecessor when the 2007 Expenses had to be paid from the 2008 Budget? Will Matawan be prepared to avoid this from happening in 2009?
We apologize for going on a tangent, however, it is disheartening to witness the Council's banging heads and preventing progress being made. Matawan needs a Council that works together regardless of what political party they belong....what they must remember is "they work for us, the residents of Matawan."
To those who believe we are bashing the Democratic majority, we are, at this time they are the ones who are delaying progress in the Borough and costing us money. If the Republicans were pulling these antics we would criticize them. We do try to be fair.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Matawan Council Meeting 5/6/08

Unlike this peaceful photo, the Matawan Borough Council meeting last night was far from quiet. Councilman Mendes' attempt to pass a Resolution without attorney review could have put the Borough in jeopardy had it not been for Mayor Buccellato refusing to allow it to be read. It appears when Mendes stopped, Councilmen Malley and Mullaney started bantering back and forth with the Mayor. Subsequently, Mullaney attempted to read the Resolution over the protests of the Mayor. Following a recess, Councilmen Cannon, Mullaney, Mendes, et al returned to the meeting. Mendes withdraw reading the Resolution. Realizing Councilman Mendes is inexperienced in such matters, Councilmen Mullaney and Malley should have known better. Councilman Cannon did not participate other than during recess speaking with Mullaney,Mendes, and Malley. Doesn't four council members in one place constitute a quorum?

Appointments - Councilman Mullaney attempted to move forward with some of the appointments and became adversarial when the Mayor reiterated his position to keep them on hold until a Borough Attorney had been appointed and could review the agreements. The Mayor mentioned something about attorney fees, asking Councilman Mullaney if he wanted him to continue, then the Democrats went silent. Makes you wonder what is going on. The Mayor requested a spreadsheet on attorney fees for the past few years from the CFO.

Speaking of attorneys, none of the appointments were made and are in review. Apparently, the Borough Attorney's agreement was received the afternoon of the meeting and there wasn't time to review it.

Here is what was accomplished:

Budget 2008 - Copy of the Primary Components of Tax Increase were made available to all who attended. Per year average municipal increase on homes assessed at:

Municipal tax portion:
$325,000. $234. $2,001.03
$347,200. $249.98 $2,137.71
$375,000. $270. $2,308.88
$450,000. $324. $2,770.65

This does not include the School Budget increase.

2008 Road Program - Per Councilman Cannon the road program will cost an additional $17.00 a year per household for a 1.4 million dollar bond.

Citizen's participation Grant - Fred Carr, Borough Administrator and William White, Borough Engineer will be presenting a request for a Grant to improve Clinton Street. We wish them the best of luck as the residents of Clinton Street deserve to have their Street improved. A question was asked if the grant would include sewer and water. The reply was no. Jerry Hourihan stated the water and sewer pipes are very old.

Recreation - The Appointment of a Part time Recreation Director and a Summer Program 2008 Assistant Director were made.

Approving of Funds for Flowers for Downtown Beautification
This will provide flowers for the pots along Main Street.

Survey Work - Authorizing Richard K. Heser, PC to provide professional services for surveying services.

Memorial Day Parade - the parade direction will remain the same as it has been for the last 50 years or so. It will begin at St. Clement Church and end at the Matawan Memorial Park.

July 4th Fireworks - The vote was even with abstentions, Mayor Buccellato cast the deciding vote to have the Fireworks. To be held on July 6th, pending written approval from a local church.

Sanitation - The dumpster still remains available at the DPW location (behind Key Auto Body) for the disposing of leaves, brush and branches. This is for residents only and proof of residence will be required.

Recycling - Matawan will be getting quotes for recycle bins.
Red Flex Program - A non-binding Letter of Intent will be sent to hold Matawan's place on the list for this program which provides photos of traffic violations. Further studies are being made as to the agreement and costs that may be involved.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Clean Up Day in Matawan

This past Saturday, Matawan's Environmental Commission held its annual Clean up Matawan Day. Among the participants were Robert Casagrande and his children, Sharon LaPorte and her children, Councilman William Malley and Mayor Paul Buccellato. While we did not see any representative from the Recreation Commission, nor former Mayor Aufseeser (who first introduced the Clean Up Event last year) the efforts of those who participated did not go unnoticed. Sorry if we misssed the names of all participants. Your efforts were certainly appreciated. One of the locations was Terhune Park where trash was picked up. We have trash bins at our Parks and in the Borough. We would like to remind everyone that it is just a short walk to drop the trash in the bin.
There were many residents lined up at the Borough dumpster behind Key Auto Body getting rid of leaves and branches.

A huge thank you to all who participated in this Community event. It was nice to see parents, leading by example, showing their children what community spirit is all about.

Remember, Make Matawan Glitter, Don't Litter!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Matawan Borough Council's Folly

Mark your calendar people May 6, Tuesday, 7:30pm, the Matawan Borough Council is holding their Budget meeting. You can expect them to tell us how much they are doing for us with our tax dollars. How they are saving us money.....pinching pennies....the usual BS. At least at this meeting you will be able to voice your opinion. Better have your say at the first Privilege of the Floor. If the Dems don't like the comments, they simply won't vote for a second Privilege of the Floor. Only speaking from past experience.

Here are the ways they are saving us money(sic.)
Appointment of Borough Attorney - Jerald Zaro, Esq. - Ansel, Zaro, Grimm & Aaron. Replacement for Pasquale Menna, Esq. There is still a question as to how Ansel, Zaro, et al, knew of Mr. Menna's prices for the position of Borough Attorney?

Appointment of Labor attorney- The Arnette Firm - Scott C. Arnette, Esq. Why have a Labor attorney when the Council doesn't bother to follow the Collective Bargaining Agreements? Or is this for when Matawan gets sued by other Borough Employees who don't get the "cushy" package received by others outside of the Collective Bargaining Contract?

Appointment of Redevelopment Attorney/Appointment of Environmental Attorney -William W. Northgrave, Esq., McManimon & Scotland, LLC. Hey a double header!You might remember them from the Monmouth County Democratic Party case when Bunyon dropped out of running for Council and the Party sued and won to put Mike Cannon on the ballot. Why are we appointing for a second year, the same Redevelopment Attorney when no Redevelopment is expected? What non-productive work was done last year? Don't recall any progress being made on the Redevelopment Program. This is definitely appearing to be payback. Why else would the Democratic majority want to appoint the same attorneys again and just in case there is no progress on the Redevelopment Plan , they threw in the Environmental for extra measure. Talk about hedging your bets.

What environmental issues are there in Matawan to warrant hiring of an Environmental attorney? Oh that's right we forgot, is this payback for the Monmouth County Democratic Party's financial support? How much more must we taxpayers payback? When does it end?

Appointment of Borough Planner - Maser Consulting -Joseph J. Layton, PP. AICP. We
already had a Study done by Beacon Planners. That report was originally paid for with our tax dollars, lost (only former Mayor Mary Aufseeser and Council Bud Mullaney reported receiving the Report) and we have yet to utilize the plans from that Report. Now the Council wants to hire another Planner to do WHAT? Save us money.....we don't think so! Implement the Beacon Study before any more Reports, Studies, Surveys are done. Let us get our monies worth.

Some other Resolutions to be voted on will be:

Rejection and Re-bid of Water Quality Test
Authorizing the Parade Route for Memorial Day Parade
Approving the Discharge of Fireworks in the Borough to celebrate Independence Day
Authorizing the Hiring of a Part Time Recreation Director
Authorizing the appointment of Summer Program Assistant Director, Summer Recreation Program 2008
Approving funds for Flowers for Downtown Beautification
Authorizing Police Dept to administer Examination for Lieutenant
Authorizing Mayor to Proceed to Execute and Implement the Current Proposed Negotiated Agreement with the IBEW. Why bother, when the Personnel Committee makes individual agreements without the authorization of the Council?

We will say one thing for this Council, they sure know how to spend money. But remember they are doing what is best for you and you will appreciate them....Kinda makes us think of "Big Brother."

They just don't get it. Council members were voted in (excluding Bunyon, who was appointed) and can be voted out! They can also be recalled by petition, just like citizens are presently signing for Corzine.

If any of this spending bothers you, by all means come to a Borough Council Meeting and speak. We are aware that work, children, etc., take much of your time. However, your silence is interpreted as you approve of how the Council is spending your tax dollars.

Lastly, we will be interested in hearing where they are getting the money for all these attorneys, planners, etc.
Hope to see you there.

What are the Democratic Majority Council Thinking?

Retirements - Why would the Democratic majority Council pass Resolutions for Chief McGowan and a Department of Public Works employee? Chief McGowan and the Dept of Public Works employee will both receive medical benefits for themselves and their dependents. That's right folks their dependents. In the case of Chief McGowan, he will receive medical benefits till he and his wife are eligible for Medicare. At that time, Medicare becomes primary and Matawan's benefits become secondary. Therefore, Matawan will be paying and paying and paying. McGowan will also receive payment for unused sick leave and unused vacation time. Is the majority Council aware that they set a precedent for the rest of the Public Works employees retirement. If you do it for one, then you must do it for all.

We are in favor of employees retiring. Only another Chief would appreciate what difficulties Chief McGowan encountered. But and that is a big BUT, what is wrong with the retirement package employees receive under the Union contract? Why make exceptions?

All in all we wish both the Chief and the Public Works employee all the best.

At a time when Matawan faces financial difficulties (we have all seen our taxes escalate) would the Council vote for Resolutions separate from the Union contractual benefits to employees who wish to retire? Why have collective bargaining agreements with Unions, only to have the Personnel Committee of Matawan Borough make separate deals with employees prior to the approval of the Council? WOW, has the Personnel Committee opened up a can of worms. We question the legality of going outside of the collective bargaining agreement set by the Union contract.

2008 Road Program - Why would the Council vote for the 2008 Road Program, with engineering fees already over $300,000, and that is not including the quote for the Road Program? Oil prices are already bordering on $4 to $5 a gallon. Why doesn't the Council work with the money left over from the previous Bond and perform a limited road program? Why not give the taxpayers a break? Why doesn't the Council get it? Are they trying to bankrupt Matawan?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What's Going On??????

According to an article in the Independent, Chief McGowan is retiring. We will verify the information and report back. Also there was a Resolution for a retirement agreement for what we believe is a Department of Public Works employee. More to follow........