Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pay to Play in Matawan

Several months ago Councilman "Bud" Mullaney made a noble gesture stating he was going to research a Pay to Play Ordinance to be adopted by Matawan Borough. What happened?
Since that time Councilman Mendes voted on paying bills from a business owned by his family. Councilman Mullaney hasn't presented any invoices to the Borough to date but was vague when asked. We are aware the Borough no longer purchases tires from Mullaney Tire, but what other services have they provided, if any. In the event of any impropriety, recently, Key Auto Body (Mendes' family business) was advised they will no longer provide towing services to the Borough. Several other Matawan based firms will be requested to provide towing services. This was a responsible move on the part of the Council.
Borough Council members, NOW IS THE TIME to create a Pay to Play Ordiance in Matawan. Keep in mind election time is coming in November. None of us have forgotten Vic Scudiery, Chairman of the Monmouth County Democratic Party, donated $8500. to Mary Aufseeser's unsuccessful re-election special election campaign. Do we residents want other people who don't live in Matawan to financially influence the outcome of our elections? We think not! Matawan is not for sale.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Matawan Council Workshop Follow Up

Bond - in finance, an interest bearing certificate issued by a government or business promising to pay the holder a specified sum on a specified date; it is a common means of raising capital.

Debt - an obligation or liability to pay or return something.

Taken from Webster's Unabridged Dictionary


Matawan Borough Council worked diligently through the Workshop Agenda last night and completed the entire Agenda.

The following items will be on the Agenda for the next Council meeting:

Recreation - Parks - It appears there is an ordinance on the books in Matawan regarding the Parks. It will be amended to read more than 15 persons require a permit. Permits are available at the Matawan Borough Community Center, 201 Broad S. Matawan Police Dept. will be enforcing these rules. Park hours will be from 6am to 8pm.

Memorial Day Parade - Will be held on Monday at 11am.

Stipends - Various charities requesting stipends will be on agenda for Council Meeting vote.

Interlocal Services Agreement - Board of Education - Payment for bus services for Summer Camp Program.

Police Department - Chief Alston presented the Council with data showing a cost savings in hiring Special Class II Officers. This will most likely take place in Oct.

Police Cars - A request of 3 new Police Cars. One Police Car was recently totalled in an accident and will be replaced when insurance payment are received. Two police cars requiring a list of specs, once received, will be ordered.

Towing Ordinance - Councilman Mendes had to step down from the dias. Key Auto Body, who has been providing towing services to Matawan is owned by Councilman Mendes' family. In order to avoid any conflict of interest Key Auto Body will no longer be providing towing services to Matawan. Other Matawan firms will be contacted to provide towing services.

Resident Request - Various locations will be tied in to Matawan's sewer system. The cost will be added to the 2007/2008 Road Program.

Fire Department - The Fire Department has requested more time to provide information. Item was taken off agenda.

General - Fire Alarm System will be awarded at Tues. meeting.

Habitat for Humanities - Borough fees will be waived following a Council vote on Tues.

Road Program 2007-2008 - Will be discussed further when Councilman Cannon returns to discuss funding.

State Wide Development fees - Mandated by NJ State Gov. Corzine, Matawan is to collect fees for the State. Ordinance will be presented to Council on Tues for vote.

COAH Administrative Agent - There are 5 proposals. The lowest bid was from Piazzo & Associates, Princeton, NJ. Ordiance will be presented to Council on Tues for vote.

Health Insurance - It was decided to move forward with a new Administrative Agent for the Medical Plan for Borough employees.

During the Public Comment a resident raised the question of why the insurance wasn't handled thoroughly in the past and why wasn't the Council informed of a potential savings of $150,000. It appears loss runs were not provided to prospective Insurance Agents and it was reported that if loss runs were provided a fee of$100. was requested by the previous Agent.

Comment - The purpose of definitions of Bond and Debt, the way the Council intends to pay for all these items is to use Bonding. While all of these items are needed, how much additional is it going to cost taxpayers? We have yet to hear of any cutbacks, only additions. Excluding the Police Dept. which has requested the use of Special Class II Officers in lieu of Police Officers there have only been additions. Since the Budget cannot be changed due to the Discretionary Aid from NJS, bonding is the only way the Council can pass their agenda.

Hope to see you at the next Borough Council meeting......

Monday, August 25, 2008

Matawan Borough Workshop Meeting 8-26 @ 6:30

THE BELL WILL TOLL FOR MATAWAN, if this Council doesn't stop the spending.

Do you want a say in how your tax dollars are being spent? Then you owe it to yourselves to attend this meeting. Important issues will be discussed. You can ask how much the 2008 Road Program will cost, how much the new hook and ladder will cost and any other items that will be discussed at this workshop. Keep in mind it is August and if the Road Program is to be implemented it must be soon. Once the asphalt plants close for the Winter, we will not be repaving any streets. Considering the high cost of asphalt, this could be a good idea.

There will be a Workshop Meeting of the Matawan Borough Council on Tues., August 26th at 6:30pm at 201 Broad Street. The Agenda is not on line as yet. When it is published, we will post.

As promised, the following items are on the Workshop Agenda:

1. Recreation
a. Rules & Regulations/Park Hours
b. Memorial Day Parade (day- Sunday or Monday)
c. Stipends
d. Interlocal Services Agreement - Board of Education

2. Police Department
a. Special Class II Officers
b. Police Vehicles
c. Towing Ordinance

3. Resident Request
a. Vacation of Easement - Clinton & Orchard Sts.
b. Sewer Line
1. Mill Road
2. Spring Lawn & Charles St (Aberdeen, NJ)
3. Park Avenue Sewer Line

4. Fire Department
a. Update on Needs Assessment
b. Ladder/Bucket Truck

5. General
a. Fire Alarm System ($14,500)
b. Habitat for Humanity - Waving of Fees
c. Road Program 2007/2008
d. State Wide Developmet Fees
e. COAH - Administrative Agent
f. Health Insurance

Hope to see you there....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Commentary - Wonders will never cease. Last night's workshop/meeting was a poor example of municipal government in action. It is more like a 3 ring circus than a Council. Mayor Buccellato is telling everyone that the Borough is operating at a DEFICIT, a negative balance of $398,000. and yet the Council is still adding projects to the list of items they want to BOND. What is going to happen when year end rolls around and we are dealing with a larger deficit? Will our taxes rise again? It is becoming more and more obvious that this Council lacks the knowledge to budget properly and set priorities . Do they think we property owners are made of money? As was apparent by the residents from Oak Knoll Drive who came to the meeting to question the increase in their property taxes. Mayor Buccellato made arrangements for them to meet the following night with the real estate appraiser to discuss their revaluations. What will happen next year when all these BONDS have to be paid back coupled with the deficit which is increasing daily? If you think the property tax increase is high now wait till next year. There are more homes for sale in Matawan than ever before. If spending continues we just might be seeing more foreclosures. Ironically, certain factions of the press do not even report on the deficit. Perhaps a growing deficit of $398,000 isn't newsworthy.

More to follow.....

Monday, August 18, 2008

Matawan Borough Council/Workshop 7pm 8-19-08

NOW HERE THIS......Is Matawan's Borough Council finished playing games? It is time for everyone to stop the nonsense and get down to business. Looking at the Workshop Agenda, which was apparently cut short (it is being held the same night as the Borough Council meeting) the only noteworthy item on the Agenda is a Medical Presentation. What is difficult to understand is why the same Council members who were demanding immediate action on the hook and ladder truck, the dams, Court relocation, renovation of Police Building, etc. were too busy to attend a Workshop meeting last week. Thus causing all these important issues, excluding the Medical Presentation, to be delayed. By the way, there is no such thing as immediate action in government.

The Agenda for the Borough Council meeting is another disappointment! Under New Business, Ordinance 08-14 Establishing a Recreation Advisory Committee will be voted on. This has been pending for a long time. What is the big deal with the Recreation Committee?

Following this meeting, we can only hope the Borough Council starts behaving like "public officials", or should we rephrase that to say we hope they start acting like adults and get on with Borough business. The clock is ticking and everyday without progress puts Matawan in a bigger financial hole.

Hope to see you there .......

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sharkfest the Aftermath

Sharkfest began with a memorial service for the victims of the infamous shark attack. Matawan's Mayor, a local minister and several area residents attended the ceremony.
Terhune Park was the setting for the Sharkfest festivities. There was something for everyone. Face painting for the kids, sand art, rides, educational information about sharks, a guided tour of the site of the attack, a movie re the incident, shark jewelry, food (no shark on the menu) and information from the Matawan Historical Society. The Matawan Alliance, The Matawan Historical Society and its sponsors did a wonderful job.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sharkfest 8-16-08, 5pm to 10 pm

Sharkfest will be held Saturday, 8-16 from 5pm to 10pm at Terhune Park. A movie will be shown at 8pm at the Matawan Borough Community Center, 201 Broad Street. There will be vendors and rides for the children.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Matawan Workshop Meeting 8-19 Tues. at 7pm

The Matawan Borough Council Workshop meeting has been rescheduled to 8-19, Tues. at 7pm. To be followed by the Matawan Borough Council regular meeting at 7:30pm.

Let's see some teamwork from the Council in lieu of policking. If they can stay on target perhaps they can get through the Workshop Agenda. If they contnue bickering, politicking, playing the blame game, then they are doing a disservice to the residents of Matawan. What is more important than discussing the acquisition of Fire Department equipment? Switch items on the Agenda, Mayor. As the Recreation Committee has been sitting on the Recreation Ordinance for such a long time, why not switch that on the Agenda to the end. Park Rules & Regulations should not take that much time and would start the process to give residents relief from their current problem.

If the Council is serious about the welfare of Matawan, then they will act in a professional, dedicated manner, putting politics and personal agendas aside. Council people try to familiarize yourselves with correspondence/data on the Agenda. All too often we have witnessed delays in the Agenda as one Council person or another has stated they didn't get the memo, email or data. Come on now, let's get your stuff together.

When it comes to improving Matawan too many Council members argue, criticize and point their fingers at others. Let's say "NO" to partisanship!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Borough Workshop CANCELED, NO QUORUM


Guess the Medical Insurance presentation isn't important enough (Matawan is already in the negative of $300,000 for medical benefits)
Guess the discussion to purchase a new hook & ladder truck isn't important enough
Guess the Recreation Ordinance and Park Regulations weren't important enough

What could be the reason for last minute cancellation.....were they not given enough notice?
Council members have an emergency happening tomorrow?
Are so many of them on vacation?
Is the Council playing some kind of game?

Knowing the arrogance of this Council, they probably won't even give residents a reason. Afterall, they have arrived late to meetings and never even acknowledged their tardiness to the public who were patiently waiting.

Shame on you Council members who led us to believe a new Hook & Ladder was so important. Not important enough for you to get the ball rolling on this acquisition.

Hope everyone remembers these antics at election time.

Matawan Borough Workshop Wed., 8-13 at 7pm

Workshop meeting to be held on Wed., August 13th, at 7pm at 201 Broad St., Matawan Borough Municipal Center.

The Agenda will include a presentation on Medical benefits.

Discussions will follow on:
1. Orlowski Easement - retaining wall

2. Recreation
a. Recreation Ordinance
b. Park Rules & Regulations, including Park hours

3. Clinton Street one way (between Broad & Orchard)

4. 150 Main Street Alarm System

5. Vacating Easement regarding Broad Street property owned by Borough

6. Mill Road resident sewer connection

7. FIRE DEPARTMENT - Discussion in reference to fire apparatus
(per previous Council meeting, assume this refers to new Hook & Ladder truck)

It is good to read the process will begin with the discussion added to the Agenda.

The one question that has yet to be answered by the Council is where is the money coming from for all the projects they have listed on their Agenda? No change can be made to the 2008 Budget and we are already operating at a decifit of $300,000. for medical only. Wonder what the overall deficit is now? Good question for the meeting.

If you are concerned about the purchase of a new Hook & Ladder, as well as, other Agenda items you might want to come to the meeting to hear for yourself what your Council is planning and what it will cost us.

Hope to see you there.....

Monday, August 11, 2008

Matawan Borough Council 8-6-08, Part 2

Mayor's Report - For some reason Mayor Buccellato was to read a statement, but deferred to James Aaron, Esq., Borough Attorney. Based on what the Borough Attorney stated it appeared it had to do with the purchase of fire apparatus. We hope the Council majority heard and listened so that the purchase of this much needed equipment is done correctly.

7 - 11 Update - Mayor Buccellato instructed the Borough Attorney to contact 7-11 Corporate offices asking for an update on the fencing of their property. This is long overdue. It goes back to the previous Administration when the previous Mayor reported 7-11 would be fencing in their property. This was to prevent day laborers from using Borough property as toilet facilities. In the interest of public safety & health, this matter continues to be a problem.

Recreation/Redevelopment Committee - Councilman Bunyon advised that Ms. Elizabeth Aguilar has resigned and Joseph Altomonte (the other applicant) will be replacing her as part time Recreation Director beginning Aug. 16, 2008, with the Council's approval. Councilman Mullaney, read a statement from his son, Michael Mullaney requesting the position be advertised to possibly get more applicants. The Council voted to approve Mr. Altomonte, with only Councilman Mullaney voting against. Welcome Mr. Altomonte, we wish you the best of luck. Please feel free to contact this Blog should you require additional volunteers. We would be pleased to help.

A problem presented itself involving authority to contact the Borough Attorney. It seems a volunteer from the Recreation Committee had done so, thus possibly incurring charges for the Borough Attorney's time. The Council voted in favor of the Recreation Committee Chairman, Councilman Bunyon, as the only authorized person to communicate with the Borough Attorney. Councilman Mullaney was the only nay vote.

Finance, Education & Personnel Committee - The 2008 Budget was adopted along with the amendment including the $200,000. in discretionary aid from Trenton.

Technology, Sanitation/Recycling Committee - Councilwoman Clifton reported the purchase of approximately $25,000. worth of computer equipment for the Matawan Police Department. The money for this equipment was taken from a bond that is in place.

Recycling - Dumpster is still available for tree branches, brush, etc.
We hope the dumpster becomes a permanent fixture as residents are limited to what can be thrown in with the household garbage.

Safety Committee - Councilman Mendes asked the Mayor for a progress report on the relocation of the Borough Court. Mayor Buccellato brought him up to speed. It seems to be moving along.

Streets & Roads, etc., Committee - Councilman Mullaney advised the much needed STREET SWEEPER has arrived. Looking forward to seeing clean streets in Matawan again.
Kudos to Councilman Mullaney for his efforts in securing this much needed sweeper.

Payment of Bills - Mayor Buccellato asked Councilman Cannon if he wanted to place on hold NJ Transit parking fees. Based on the discussion that ensued, the Mayor stated Matawan doesn't have a signed agreement to pay NJ Transit in place. The Borough Clerk was in agreement. Councilman Cannon put a hold on that payment which was in the amount of $16,700.

Commentary - Logically speaking, does this mean Matawan should be reimbursed for previous payments made to NJ Transit without a signed agreement?

As stated previously, it was a long meeting. We are still waiting to hear some discussion on important issues, i.e., water treatment plant, progress on the Transit Village, Beacon Study of Main St. implementation (with or without modifications), and so on.

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

Friday, August 8, 2008

Notes from the Matawan Borough Council Meeting

"Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their government, for whenever things go so far wrong as to attract their notice, they can be relied on to set things right."
-Thomas Jefferson

Came across this quote on a website called, "We the People Reports" It is true today even more so than when it was originally said.

The Council meeting was extremely informative to both the Council and the public. The Agenda was lengthy but we will try to condense it. We did say try, right?

1st Privilege of the Floor - Habitat for Humanity of Western Monmouth spoke about their current project in Matawan on Broad Street. Currently a vacant lot where Dunkin' Donuts is on the corner. The Borough agreed to waive fees, when possible, to assist the organization.

Gravelly Brook Park - Residents of Villa Nova Place, whose property backs up to the Park, spoke at the meeting. Their complaint is the appearance of an organized soccer league with approximately 80-90 people from outside of NJ utilizing the Park, littering, being boisterous, parking in front of fire hydrants, and with no toilet facilities you can guess what else. These residents stated they have never had this problem in previous years and this has become a "quality of life" issue. Following discussions with the Council it was decided the Borough Attorney would look into restrictions and the legality of posting signs. It was finally decided to take the soccer nets down until this situation is resolved. More to follow as information becomes available.
A Broad Street resident had issues with a neighboring home renovation project. There were survey issues which the Borough Administrator, Fred Carr was instructed to handle. It is our understanding the situation is currently being remedied.

A property owner on Orchard St. who claimed that he was paying taxes on a Borough owned easement to his property, was looking for clarification. Mayor Bucellato immediately asked the Tax Assessor (who was in the bldg) to join the meeting and with the assistance of the Borough Attorney, James Aaron, Esq. the Assessor explained to the homeowner that he was not paying taxes on the easement. The easement increased the value of his property, thus his assessed value increased following the re-assessment.

Commentary - Kudos to the Mayor for promptly TCB (for those who don't remember Elvis, that means, Taking Care of Business.

2008 Budget - Approved and adopted to include the $200,000. given to Matawan in discretionary aid from Trenton. The amendment added the discretionary aid to the Budget. Currently Matawan is operating with medical deficit of $300,000. up from the $125,000 we started with at the beginning of 2008.

Commentary - Now that no additions can be made to the Budget, the majority Council will have to bond for all the projects they want prior to the election. So folks, either way, we are going to see larger tax increases continuing next year and the following years to pay for these projects, if passed. Well that is the downside. The upside is we will have the larger scale 2008 Road Program, a new Hook & Ladder truck, renovation/relocation of the Police Department, relocation of the Matawan Municipal Court, possibly restoration of Gravelly Brook Park.

We'd like to see some progress with the Transit Village and some tax relief in the years to come before we are all forced to sell our homes. Problem as we see it with the Redevelopment Committee, as we have stated before, is that Councilman Bunyon is well intentioned, but inexperienced. Councilman Cannon will be retiring to Florida and doesn't have a financial interest in Matawan. Cannon wasn't on the original Redevelopment Committee as he has often said. But that was before the Council involved in the Silver Oaks lawsuit was vindicated. Mayor Buccellato had stated at his swearing in that he wanted to form a Redevelopment Advisory Board made up of residents. Some professionals would be great. As the only person on Council with experience is the Mayor and he only votes when there is a tie. We would also like to see the Beacon Main Street Study implemented to some degree and a citizen's advisory committee established. Afterall, we did PAY for that report, why haven't we utilized it to date?

More to follow, we did preface this by saying it was a lengthy meeting....going to watch the Olympics!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Good Time Was Had by All

Another great event in Matawan. The Matawan Police Department along with the Matawan-Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce did an outstanding job. Serving hot dogs and water was Matawan's Finest Police Force. We'd rather get a hot dog than a ticket any day. Donations from Stewarts on Route 79, Rita's Ices and other local vendors were a big help. There was face painting for the children along with games with prizes. It was nice to be able to meet and greet our fine Police force. Don't let it get out but they were fabulous hosts for the National Night Out Against Crime. Did we see Chief Alston smiling? Could be. The Chief and Matawan's Finest deserve the Borough's appreciation for a job well done. Can't wait for next year's event.

Rosemary Conte of the Chamber of Commerce did a superb job producing the Matawan American Idol Contest. All participants were remarkable. What made it special was observing Rosemary hug and encourage each contestant. The winner was one of Matawan's residents, Ms. Dantoni, a student of Matawan Ave Middle School. She was the only contestant to accompany herself by playing the guitar. Other participants came from surrounding areas with two participants from Matawan.

Matawan Borough Council Mtg 8-6-08 @ 7:30pm

Borough Council meeting tonight at 201 Broad Street at 7:30pm. The 2008 Budget is one of the items being passed. Matawan has received discretionary funds from Trenton. However, the Council may BOND for whatever they deem necessary, thus raising property taxes. Keep in mind BONDS MUST BE PAID BACK.

This year alone the majority Council has jumped all over the place with their list of projects they want to bond. Due to the Borough operating at a DEFICIT, the only way to get the funding is through bonding. To date the majority Council has not prioritized in order of importance what needs to be done vs. their personal agenda. In a perfect world we would have all our roads paved, Gravelly Brook Park restored, Main St Bldg restored, a budget that operates in the black, not RED, a new hook and ladder truck, the Dams in Matawan repaired and a functional Borough Council. BUT we are not in a perfect world. How can the Council members (who we remind you, were voted into office) bond all of these projects and tax us out of our homes. At this time the economy is in an undeclared recession. Doesn't our Council read the newspapers, watch TV, buy food, fill up their cars and understand taxpayers are financially stressed? Apparently not! How could they in good conscience add to our tax burdens? Residents don't get pay increases to match the ever increasing property taxes in Matawan.

We will be anxious to hear tonight where the money is coming from for all the projects. We will be anxious to hear how much of an increase to our taxes all of these projects will cost. There just might be more homes for sale in Matawan, only problem for homeowners will be who can afford to buy into Matawan's taxes.

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

Monday, August 4, 2008

Part Time Recreation Director Resigns

We were sorry to hear that Liz Aguiliar has resigned from her position as the Part Time Recreation Director of Matawan. Liz has done a fine job under difficult circumstances and Matawan has lost a competent person. Liz took on the Matawan Memorial Day Parade on very short notice and did an outstanding job. Also the July 4th Fireworks Display and once again did a great job.

For the record this will be the third (3) Director to have left this position in a short time. There is obviously a problem. We'd like to see Councilman Bunyon do a thorough evaluation of the problem that continues to plague the Recreation Committee. Action must be taken to avoid Matawan losing such qualified, outstanding Directors.

At the next Borough Council meeting on Wed., August 6th, 2008, the Council will be voting to accept Ms. Aguiliar's resignation and to hire yet another part time Recreation Director.