Borough Meeting Highlights 12-17-2020

Borough Meeting Highlights 12-17-2020

Dear West Wildwood Neighbors,

The monthly Borough meeting was rescheduled and held on Thursday, December 17th at 5:00 pm via Zoom and approximately 30 individuals attended. Mayor Fox, Commissioners Golden and Korobellis and Municipal Clerk Donna Frederick were present. Solicitor Bittner was absent.

The clerk announced that two NJ DEP waterfront development permits were issued authorizing existing bulkhead docking facilities at West Bay Marina & C Marina. Another DEP waterfront application for proposed docking facilities was received for 28 Lake Road.

Several resolutions were passed related to upgrades to the BOWW’s tax software program, shared services with the CMCMUA for solid waste and recycling services, the appointment of a risk management consultant, etc. The borough engineer will begin design services in regards to the reconstruction of the ADA ramp for the police department access.

Resolution #2020-086 – dismissed the condemnation action for the property located on 26th Street. The property has been sold and the new owners have assumed the NJ DEP violations. Action can be taken by the new administration in the new year. Access to this property is required for the Living Shoreline Project.

Resolution #2020-087 – reapproval of the police department rank and file contract between the BOWW and FOP Lodge #7.

Resolution #2020-088 – reapproval of Chief Ferentz’s contract between the BOWW and Chief Ferentz.

In an interest to save time Mayor Fox waived the reading of department reports.

Mayor Fox commented on the Fair Housing agreement. At the hearing, a resident had challenged some of the language in the agreement as presented. The judge agreed and his comments were incorporated into a revised agreement. The judge ruled in favor of the settlement and all documents

are prepared and ready for the new administration to pass zoning and development resolutions and ordinances related to the agreement.

Mayor Fox commented on the Frederick’s lawsuit. He expects it will be dismissed in the next few months as a frivolous lawsuit.

Each of the outgoing commissioners thanked the BOWW employees, citizens, fire department, Ladies Auxiliary and others in addition to congratulating the newly elected commissioners.

Per Mayor Fox, “nothing happened” regarding his ethics violations.

Much of the public comment section included discussions related to the police and police chief’s contracts. There will be a significant financial impact as a result of the contracts. Most notably, as the $17,590 monthly payment to Michelle Douglas (Ferentz’s attorney) will be satisfied in September 2021, the police chief’s new employment contract states this amount will be added to Chief Ferentz’s payment to satisfy her judgement ($22,631/month). Commissioner Golden previously agreed to this arrangement with Commissioner Maxwell and Chief Ferentz; however, this was never disclosed to the taxpayers. Commissioner Golden also commented that accelerating the payments to the Police Chief may avoid her from calling in the outstanding balance. Many residents felt some or all of the $17,590 per month should be used for infrastructure improvements, offset other borough expenses or savings to taxpayers.

Although the commissioners were not aware of the financial impact of the police officers’ contracts, it was stated that the first 4 years (2021-2024) will result in salary increase of $20,000 per year and a $30,000 increase in 2025. Negotiations related to deferred costs for health coverage for 25-year employees and sick time buybacks could result in an additional $15,000.

Estimated total financial impact was calculated as follows:
Year 2021 – $73,000
Years 2022-2024 – $231,000
Year 2025 – $241,000

In addition, sick time buybacks and deferred health care costs could be incurred.
Commissioner Golden was questioned as to why Chief Ferentz’s accelerated payment was included in her employment contract. He stated Solicitor Bittner advised it be included rather than have the police chief amend her legal settlement. A taxpayer requested the legal judgement be separate from her employment contract. Commissioner Golden could also not provide an expiration date on Police Chief’s previous contract and could not explain the urgency in creating a new contract.
Although Commissioner Golden agreed to reconsider the police chief and police contracts at the November meeting, he said no changes were made to either contract other than typos and correction of misspelled words. With regards to the police officers’ contract, Commissioner Golden said he gave his word to the FOP and would not go back on his word.
The final workshop meeting will be held on December 28, 2020 at 8:00 am via Zoom. We will forward the link as soon as we get it.
We urge you to listen to the audio from the meeting to have a better understanding of actual comments which is available on the CTWWW.org website. The highlights are also available on the CTWWW website at https://ctwww.org/borough-meeting-highlights-12-17-2020/

Have a very Merry Christmas,
The CTWWW Advisory Council

The CTWWW Advisory Council

Trish Sinnott – President
Mary Anne Welsh – Secretary
Jim Bannan – Director
Susan Czwalina – Treasurer
Vacant – Director
Vacant – Director
Vacant – Director