Council Meeting [09/01/2021] – Action on Water Quality – Northwood Dock – New Police Committee

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The council meeting below is listed in order, so you can easily watch the video and tune to the right time to see the full live and detailed information.

Summary of what Residents need to know:

  • Hopatcong Water Quality 2021 CoverAction on Water Quality: The Borough passed both an Ordnance and Resolution to purchase and install three of the seven needed well filtration systems to meet the new DEP standards on PFAS. The first of the newly purchased carbon filtration systems will be installed on the three biggest wells within the system, the remaining will be purchased in the future. (Background Information)

  • Northwood Dock: Several residents spoke out regarding being opposed to the Hopatcong Street right-of-way Ordinance. After the council listened carefully to the comments and sought creative solutions, the council delayed the decision for 30-days in the hopes that Northwood Association would be able to take over responsibility for the dock.

  • New Police Committee: The Borough has established a new Police Committee to keep the Governing body current on police activity. The mayor selected Councilmen Bradley Hoferkamp as Chairman and added Ryan Smith, and John Young to serve on the Police Commission.

Highlights of 09/01/2021 Council Meeting: Watch the Full Video

Council Member Updates:

  • Linda SmithHopatcong Senior of the Year Linda Smith was honored by being selected as the Sussex County Senior of the YearThe Center for Prevention will be doing Narcan training on September 9, 2021, between 3:00 and 7:00 PM at the Community Center
  • The Community Center is seeing an increase in people looking for the Recovery Coach Services
  • Linda Smith was selected Sussex County Senior of the year based upon her extraordinary work with the Hopatcong Seniors Inc.
  • The new dog park opening has been a HUGH SUCCESS based upon public feedback and now has a Facebook page called “Friends of Jefferson Dog Park”
  • The basketball program is currently on hold, due to access issues to Basketball Facilities that are still under COVID restrictions that limit external playtime
  • The newly installed sound mitigation on the Police Firing Range is working well, and they have added an old car to simulate police interactions (note: The car is not for target practice)
  • A reminder that Sussex County Day is September 9, 2021, at the fairgrounds

Administrators Report:

  • The DPW is working hard to repair all of the catch basins to prepare for the upcoming road work. All residents affected by the work will be notified shortly
  • The Ordinance (24-2021) and Resolution (R2021-121) on the agenda tonight is for the purchase and install the carbon filtration systems for the three biggest wells to reduce the current levels of PFOS that no longer meet the changed state requirements.

Public Comment:

  • Resident complained about the Jet Skis and Boats in the Crescent Cove area, due to the noise that happens at all hours. The resident asked for boat restrictions on the lake, speed limits, and limitations of hours that boats can launch
    • Answer: The Borough has been working with the State Police about enforcement issues, Morris County Sheriff will now have a new boat on the lake. Jet skis are a problem all over the lake. While the lake is state property the Borough is very involved as the quality of the lake is important. The mayor promised to talk to the owner of the Arrow Crest regarding boat launches
  • Resident asked about the number of bids that were received for the Hudson Sewer project; had a question on check for Seniors Inc. Birthday Party
    • Answer: Borough Administrator indicated that there were several bids, but did have the information in front of him
  • Resident complimented Councilmember Hoferkamp for the new Jefferson Dog Park, Councilmember Roberts for her work at the Community Center, and the Council for continuing to keep taxes low
  • Resident asked if there will be Garbage pickup tomorrow; is there another internet service we could get in Hopatcong; has anyone approached Hudson Farms about the fall charity walk
    • Answer: The storm should not delay garbage pick-up; any interested in better Internet Service should check with Planet Network, and complete the survey to help speed their movement into town.

Bills:

During the approval of Bills for payment Councilmember Jennifer Johnson requested that the following bills be removed from the approval list. While they were removed on the first vote, the Council conducted a second vote to include the above bills for payment.

21-01230 08/12/21 ORIENTAL TRADING COMPANY, INC.

Halloween supplies for event

1,200.33

21-01231 08/12/21 ORIENTAL TRADING COMPANY, INC.

supplies for Santa event

1,793.17

21-01232 08/12/21 DELUXESM Deluxe small Business Sales

Halloween Bags

648.72

21-01264 08/17/21 HOPATREC HOPATCONG RECREATION

Halloween candy/supplies

1,077.48

 

Ordinances:

Introduction

  1. Ordinance 25-2021, Capital Funding for Water Utility improvements [Passed]

CAPITAL ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR VARIOUS WATER UTILITY IMPROVEMENTS, BY AND IN THE BOROUGH OF HOPATCONG, IN THE COUNTY OF SUSSEX, STATE OF NEW JERSEY AND APPROPRIATING $742,414.06 THEREFOR FROM GRANT PROCEEDS RECEIVED PURSUANT TO THE FEDERAL AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN TO PAY FOR THE COST THEREOF

Final Hearing

  • Ordinance 23-2021, Vacating a portion of Hopatcong Street right-of-way [Delayed 1-Month]

ORDINANCE PARTIALLY VACATING A PORTION OF HOPATCONG STREET RIGHT-OF-WAY
IN THE BOROUGH OF HOPATCONG, COUNTY OF SUSSEX AND STATE OF NEW JERSEY

Public Hearing on the ordinance:

    • Hopatcong Northwood AreaResident spoke in opposition to the ordnance citing that the Northwood section just celebrated 100 years and is older than Hopatcong. Part of their past plan was to provide lake access to residents that do not have lake-front homes. There are about 40 homes that have right of way. This ordnance if passed will restrict their ability to the lake, post office, and the dock. He urged the council not to vacate the right of way for Hopatcong Street that allows residents to access the lake, the post office, fish, and launch boats. That dock has always been a benefit to the community.
    • Resident mentioned that it would take $1,500 to repair the Northwood Dock and that she is against vacating the right of way. Additionally, requested if it could be pushed for another month.
    • Resident indicated that the estimate gathered for dock repair of $1,500 was from Triple-A Docks to replace the poles, and for residents to replace the wood and nails. The dock is not currently deemed unsafe. The biggest problem is the closing of the fire lane, and the possibility of more parking in this area that prohibits fire access.

Council Decision: After Council discussion including the Borough Attorney, the Council selected to hold the final decision one month until October 6, 2021, meeting in the hopes that the Northwood Association could take control of the dock.

Borough Attorney provided three reasons why the Borough would vacate the right of way.

        1. Street bisects the Restaurant and the Septic System
        2. The right of a way is more characteristic of a parking lot vs. borough road
        3. Liability of Borough owning the dock that they don’t control
  • Ordinance 24-2021, Capital Ordinance for funding of improvements to Firehouse 3 [Passed]
    CAPITAL ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR VARIOUS BUILDING IMPROVEMENTS ON FIREHOUSE 3 IN THE BOROUGH OF HOPATCONG, COUNTY OF SUSSEX, STATE OF NEW JERSEY; APPROPRIATING $80,000 THEREFOR FROM THE GENERAL CAPITAL FUND BALANCE TO PAY FOR THE COST THEREOF

Resolutions:

  • R2021-119, Refund for a tax overpayment and cancel future property tax for 100% Disabled
    Veteran [Passed]
  • R2021-120, Establishment of a Police Committee [Passed]

    • Note: The stated reason for the establishment of a Police Committee is to keep the Governing body current on police activity. The mayor selected Councilmen Bradley Hoferkamp (Chairman), Ryan Smith, and John Young to serve on the Police Commission.

  • R2021-121, Award of the PFAS remediation system [Passed]
  • R2021-123, Authorizing additional hours for the Violations Clerk [Passed]
  • R2021-124, Creating responsibilities and compensation for a Recreational Aid [Passed]

Councilmember Jennifer Johnson asked why this is being presented at this time, and not during the annual budget process. Additionally, what additional events is the Recreation Department planning to justify the proposed $4.00 an hour raise as the ultimate burden falls on the taxpayers.

Councilmember Johnson further explained that with this increase and the four bills that were questioned the total is over $11,000 in taxpayer cost and maybe a little excessive, rather could the monies be used for capital improvements to the ball fields repairs.

The Councilmember further discussed the limited activities of the Recreation Department, citing the closure of the Summer Camp over the last two years due to COVID. She also reinforced that is not for canceling any actives, but rather feels the monies are a little excessive.

Council discussion revealed that this employee is handling multiple job duties, and the supervisor for this position requested a civil service desk audit of the position due to new duo job duties, civil service changed the classification and the recommended pay scale which is out of control by the Borough.

Final Result: The council passed the resolution based upon the recommendation based upon civil service recommendations, with Councilmember Johnson voting No.

Old Business: None

New Business: None

Mayor's Comments:

Mayor Michael Francis focused his comments on the following five topics as an update on what is happening in the Borough of Hopatcong:

Community Center:

The mayor visited the Community Center for multiple sessions, including the Wednesday Hope and Serenity House Narcan Training, and learned first-hand from residents about local families that are using this training to save lives.

He encourages all residents to attend the free Narcan classes, as it reinforces the necessary education.

Crescent Cove:

The mayor is still awaiting the DEP decision on the use of the GeoPro to eliminate localized HABs. They are still trying to regulate a product that is not regulated. He continues to work on the approval with the DEP.

Jefferson Field Dog Park:

The new launch of the dog park (project handled by Councilmember Hoferkamp) has been a simple joy based upon the mayor’s visit to the park and discussion with the residents.

Water Quality:

The Borough is still working on the water issue that was brought about by a change in DEP standards. He emphasizes that the water and quality has not changed over the last 20+ years, just the DEP lower standards. The mayor also covered the new $10,000 fee imposed by the DEP that is required as part of the Borough’s action already underway to help correct the problem. The mayor has asked the DEP to waive the fee.

COVID:

The mayor asks everyone to be please careful, as Hopatcong saw a 10x’s increase in cases from July to August. One DPW employee has tested positive, and some decisions need to be made in the future to protect our employees.


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