17 May Borough Meeting Highlights 05-07-2021
Dear West Wildwood Neighbors,
The fifth monthly borough meeting of 2021 was held on Friday, May 7th at 7:00 pm via Zoom and approximately 17 individuals attended. Mayor Ksiazek, Commissioners Banning and Segrest, Municipal Clerk Donna Frederick, Deputy Clerk Carl O’Hala, Solicitor Lyons, CFO Elaine Crowley and Auditor Scott Barron were present.
Notification was received from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regarding a development permit for 529 West Poplar Avenue to construct a single-family home. They have also received an application for a permit for replacement of approximately 50 linear feet of bulkhead at 517 ½ West Poplar Avenue.
Various ordinances and resolutions were announced relating to the Fair Share Housing program, 2021 budget. The first reading of a bond ordinance #592(2021) for capital improvements and a refunding bond ordinance #593(2021) for the funding of the remaining portion of the Ferentz litigation judgment balance. The second reading for these two ordinances will be at the June 4, 2021 Borough meeting. The public is welcome to comment on these ordinances then. Several other resolutions were passed and can be heard via our audio on the CTWWW website. Resolution #2021-068 was tabled and a late agenda item resolution #2021-076, amending the capital budget, was added.
The commissioners provided department reports and will be available on the borough website.
Commissioner Segrest (Revenue and Finance) gave the following high-level summary of the 2021 budget:
• Local purpose tax rate (Borough) increased 6 cents
• School tax rate decreased 4.8 cents
• County tax expected to increase 1 cent
• Net estimated impact to the total tax rate is a 2.2 cent increase
• The estimated total tax rate should be approximately 1.814 (in 2020 the pre-pandemic rate was 1.792).
What does this mean to you? If your property is assessed at $246,000 you should see an increase of $54. Likewise, a property assessed at $400,000 should see an increase of $88. To calculate your expected tax increase, find your current assessment on your most recent tax bill and divide it by 100. Take that result and multiply it by .022. That’s it!
The Borough will seek approval from the Local Finance Board in Trenton for an $800,000 emergency bond to create permanent financing for the remainder of the $1.7 million judgment in favor of Police Chief Ferentz. While the police chief has not called in the outstanding balance, her new employment contract (negotiated by the previous administration) accelerated the monthly payments to her from 13 years to 3 years. In reality, this change will constrain future budgets significantly. The emergency bond, over 5-7 years, should provide some relief from the accelerated payments. It will also eliminate the risk of a 60-day notice of calling in the balance due on the judgment.
Next, a $1.8 million bond ordinance was introduced in order to set up funding for several near-term capital projects as follows:
• A Avenue – $380,000 – paving
• Pine Avenue – $443,000 – paving and drainage work
• Municipal Building – $275,000 – ADA ramp
• Taggart, Lake Avenue and Neptune Avenue Parks – $470,250 – bulkheads
• Intrusion and infiltration projects – $83,600 – control sewer flow rates
• Tideflex valve replacements – $52,250 – maintain valves controlling flood waters
• Public works dump truck and a new police vehicle – $118,750
Commissioner Segrest’s (Revenue and Finance) full report can be viewed on the Borough website for additional information.
Commissioner Banning (Public Safety) announced the Borough is accepting applications for two (2) full-time police officers and two (2) Class II officers. His report can be viewed on the Borough website.
Mayor Ksiazek (Public Works) requested that all trash be kept within receptacles with lids as the borough is experiencing a problem with wildlife. Ordinance #454 (2006) will be enforced with a warning first and then a fine. Help your neighbors that are here for the weekend only by returning their trash cans to their house. He reminded everyone the borough’s yard sale will be held on Saturday, June 5th (rain date of June 6th) followed by free bulk trash collection on Monday June 7th. The bulk trash collection is limited to 5 household items and excludes construction debris. Plans are also in the works for the annual 4th of July parade. More details to follow as the date gets closer.
Public comments included the following:
• A request to consider reopening the borough office for business on Fridays during the summer months. Call Borough Hall if you need something on a Friday and someone will get you the help you may need.
• The hiring of more police officers was discussed. Currently there are six; police chief, sergeant, and four patrol officers. When the police department is fully staffed it would be six full-time officers and two Class II. The police chief does not patrol and the sergeant patrols as needed.
• An update of The Living Shoreline project was given. Mayor Ksiazek reported the unfinished engineering report will cost an additional $50,000 to $60,000 to complete and would allow the permit process to move forward. Other alternatives are being
considered including working with the DEP and The Army Corps of Engineers on a dredging project and possibly using dredging materials to build up the shoreline.
• A request was made to consider allowing the monthly meetings go back to in-person as COVID restrictions are being eased. They will consider it pending CDC guidelines for social distancing from 6ft to 3ft. Borough Hall is currently limited to 29 people.
• An outside firm, General Code LLC, was hired to handle codification services and updating it on a regular basis at a cost of $23,400 for the initial codification and then there will be a maintenance fee annually.
• Resolution #2021-073 extended a paid sick time leave an additional 8 days for an employee of the borough. The solicitor indicated it was not appropriate to discuss it in this forum due to privacy laws but the commissioners fully vetted the issue.
• There are no new litigations involving the Borough.
• The commissioners were applauded by a taxpayer for the wonderful job they are doing.
We urge you to listen to the audio from the meeting to have a better understanding of actual comments which is available on our website.
The CTWWW Advisory Council
Trish Sinnott – President
Mary Anne Welsh – Secretary
Jim Bannan – Director
Susan Czwalina – Treasurer
Vacant – Vice President
Vacant – Director
Vacant – Director
Vacant – Director