Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Reporter's Notebook-Council Oct. 21, 2009

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Reporters’ Notes of AP City Council Meeting of Oct. 21, 2009
Surveillance Camera Contractor Chosen - Drug Areas w/ be Covered
Noise Ordinance Scrapped for Nuisance Ordinance
Sackman Requests Parking Req’t Cut Back for 500 Cookman Project
Avenue A Lots- Dispute Continues

Don Sammet Carter Sackman’s request to rehab buildings on Cookman, call it 550, but it’s actually sev’l buildings, Add 5th flr,
Future of Lake Av issue w/ parking req’ts for (Sackman’s) rehabbed buildings, which will mean 31 new residential units.
The planned pkg deck was for new residential units, no pkg deck no accommodations for new residents… refers to his memo of last week. Sackman and partner aware of Sammet’s concerns:
Now Carter speaks, Sackman Enterprises:
Don did good job explaining. This project will revitalize the Cookman core, acknowledges there are some problematic characteristics.
Sackman has vested interest seeing it come back, since he runs Steinbach building across the street. Working w/ ltd am’t of parking avail for the site. By revitalizing 500 w/ create a desire to revitalize Lake View area. So need closer lk at reducing the 1.5 pkg spots/ per unit req’t/ reduce to 1.0. Wd ask for project to be presented to planning bd.
David Weiner (with Sackman) – submitted list asking for q’s
Terry Reidy –
Very excited about dev of Carter’s block/ very enthusiastic about it. Amendment (reduce pkg spot req’t) shd be forwarded to pbd for review.
Only the governing body can adopt the amendment.
Sammet has layed out very clearly concerns, pls be sure to include his concerns when sending to PBd.
Council will pass resolution to pass amendment to planning bd.

Chambers are filled with protestors supporting Eva Horvath’s bid to include 3 lots in West Side, Ave. A site in her quest to develop affordable housing there. Note: Mayor Ed Johnson points out, during the public portion, that the neighbors who hope to move into the housing will be initially section 8 renters, until such time that they can save up a deposit and obtain mortgage financing.

Bids for Revaluation – Fred Raffetto – city atty
AP ordered by state div of taxation to conduct reval of all properties, was to be for 2008. Mon Cty bd of taxation and state heard city’s request for extension, granted. Tax maps hv to be updated. Map update in progress, they w/incorporate brand new block and lot numbers. Proj. 65% complete now. Can’t enter into contract w/ reval grp until maps completed. Put out to bid effective for 2010 – 3 bidders, certified…(he names all three) impossible to carry out for 2010. City reps determined best interests of city revise bids for tax yr 2011, wd encourage more competitive bidding – were 8 other bidders interested who cd not mk the 2010 deadline. Undertaking best efforts to hv done by 2011.
Irony of all of this says Reidy, if complied w/ orig reval order in 2008, we’d be in such deep trouble now. W recession in plc now those values would be so inflated. Homeowners wd be filing appeals since value of homes wd be less than assessments. He dealt with this issue in Montclair. All those successful appeals wd have to be blt into the budget for refunds to residents.
Our properties w/ better reflect the revals with later reval.

RGA – waiting for them.

Noise ordinance committee report –
Reidy: city has introduced a noise ordinance – any adopted mst be in strict compliance w/ state guidelines. In july council intro’d noise ord in compliance w/ state. Last 5 mos spent analyzing valuing impact of ordinance/ mst recently formed subcommittee, kinmon, bruno, loffredo, officers who use the decibel meter. Compared to entertainment areas in other muni’s. Long Branch adopted noise ord and then unadopted it. Overly restrictive in terms of businesses. Instead adopted a nuisance ordinance. Kinmon contributed that.
Council wanted to know what does 50 or 70 decibels sound like? Did measures.
Held mtg of subcommittee, s/be lkg at nuisance instead of noise. He interviewed businesses, residents Thurs oct 15th, opp for them to talk among each other.
Productive meeting – open exch of ideas, commitment to wk together…giv process 30 days to review, more monitoring, then design ord reflects commitment, which all brings us to this mtg tonight.
J Loffredo – surprising what the meters showed.,
Reidy – residents asked they hv input into whatever ord considered. We hv an ord tonight I recommend we carry it, since we don’t have alternative ready. Mtg is nov 12th, next mtg of council nov 16th. That’s the soonest I’d recommend we do it. Have benefit of this 30 day period. Some commitment on part of businesses to wk w/ residents.

Tom Gilmour – Commerce Dir for the city. 2 resolutions:
UEZ changes, converting processes to computer in DCA now. Bd recommends increase funding $15k in mktg fund, façade increased by $10,000. May take awhile to get funding approval from SAG program.
Mayor: city stands to get grant admin. Budget appr’d in july/ no new funds.
Polar Bear plunge Sons of Ireland.
Charging $100 a wk for ads on city’s signs
Launched new web site this afternoon – w/ be ads taken on the site.
Old marquee will come down, pieces Madison Marquette wanted they’d taken from it.
Scavenger event spec events com hasn’t looked at yet.

RGA is here: Stocky man in maroon shirt w/ RGA logo takes seat at table with Reidy, Raffetto and Chief Kinmon – City bid on surv. Cameras. First time was issue w/ how specs were drafted. Redid bid. Robert Spray from RGA is second consultant city hired to prepare bid. Previous one was fired by city.
Chief: cpl yrs now in making, made mistakes, learned quite a bit. Recommend tonight that bid be awarded and move forward
Spray: they wrote bid and took I bids. Owner can’t be here this evening/ 2003 estab. / all emp hv hands on exper., he has 16 yrs exper in industry, wk’d for large integrator. Done large casinos. Mich casino. Malls consulted for.
Spray: started w/ lowest bidder’s proposal – nj business systems, missing lot of eq’t, didn’t supply lot of paperwork req’d. seems as if possibly bid this based on prev RFP not this one. Ex. 8 wireless camera installations instead of 9. Missing 2 cameras for Police Station, etc.
Next lowest bidder the AVRIO Group - no alternatives or deviations, all req’ts present, checked w/ city of Pittsburgh. Also supplying a yr free maintenance. So they recommend AVRIO be awarded contract.
Reidy -- 15 companies bid on the contract. Lowest $215,000, AVRIO Group of Easton, Md. $233k/ highest bid was $601,000. Award is on low end of the spectrum.
Mayor – scope of work include trans ctr and rest of city?
Chief – yes, as well as cell blk area things like that.
Mayor: asking about middle school, can we tie into that system?
Chief – not sure
Mayor: bangs and prospect has a camera we’d like to tie into.
Spray: system we’ve specked out and being proposed “extremely expandable”… can feed them thru the wireless system.
Bruno: where monitors set up at?
Chief – at police station dispatcher
Bruno: Hypothetically, if we decide to go to a 911 system w/ they tkover, or wd we hv someone here do it?
Chief – if we cd record, we cd go bk and review. But for r/time for officers on street, something we’re thinking about/ meantime mks sense to hv in dispatch center. We do hv watch commanders respons be in stations at all times. They’d be in watch commanders quarters though.
Bruno – thought it’d be more of a preventative if watched live.
Just like cameras in center now
Mayor: sometimes just presence is a deterrent
Bruno – then why not put up dummys
Reidy – valid pt. way set up now monitors w/ be in dispatch ctr. Time it changes we’d be obligated to say this is how monitoring of cameras will wk.
Bruno – don’t want collecting dustr
Reidy – that w/ not happen
Bruno – if we wnt to that system w/ they wk to report drug deal going down or wait til t’w to see the video tape?
Commit people everyday to watch?
Reidy – right now hv staff dedicated for that now.
Henderson – images can be put on sev’l screens.
Bruno – re. possibility of our going to 911/ we’d hv to pay people to watch these monitors anyway.
Chief – there wd be an add’l duty. No conversations w/ sheriffs dept about transferring cameras to freehold and hvg them monitor for us/ prob wd discuss that in future. We w/ not decrease cov’g, w/ find a way to mk it wk successfully.
Mayor: as part of this plan like to see us move forward w/ Bd of Ed, and to provide for going to county system, for how we’d maintain security of system.
Reidy – award for tonight is for installation, etc. doesn’t include hooking into the schools. But we’re hearing is flex. Enuf to accommodate that.
Spray: lot of cities dozens of cameras, can steer camera at something that’s happening, and go back and review tapes when something happens.
Interfaith, UEZ, sev’l grants and Madison Marquette
During the break Asbury Radio spoke to city officials and Spray, who said initial system will include 35 cameras, which includes 12 new cameras. So the new vendor will be networking existing cameras and new ones. There are two separate systems right now. Cameras will be placed in crime areas on the West Side as well as elsewhere in the city, say police.

Sue Henderson – attended landing of Columbus, lessons from Lou, grt photo of john lying in boat, and the bag pipes at ceremony for fallen firefighters.

Raffetto – not be tkg action on any matters covered in executive session.
3 – 4 minute break follows
PUBLIC SESSION – three mins., one time at mic

Hazel Samuels – 1706 Park Ave – employee of the city - ongoing efforts to fight led poisoning. Understand the effects of childhood poisoning, effects can be irreversible. Neurological effects, IQ loss. We hv to fight this terrible situation in our community our numbers are off the charts. Saturday is lead safety festival at the Middle School. Children 1 – 6 are admitted for pony rides, face painting and pumpkin paintings, breakfast w/ be included, as well as lunch. Each child w/ go home w/ pail of fruit – not candy. Parents urged to come and learn about how to eliminate hazards. Please tell those you know w/ children. 10 AM at Middle School.

Carmen Johnson, 32 Avenue A – fighting for Miss Ava to keep those lots for affordable housing. Have sister living with who is disabled. Her proposal w/ give a lot of women like myself a chance to have their own.

Crystal Atkinson – springwood ave – behind springwood there are 6 townhouses, where she lives. This morning when I got up they were cutting all the shrubs on city-owned property behind the complex. No privacy. Your backyard is all open. They cut shrubs so low all you see is people. Is there some way they can stop and maybe replant them? Just to have a little bit of privacy.

Bruno: maybe they cd make it 6ft hi.
Reidy – we’ll follow up first thing t’w morning.

Stacy Williams – 114 Borden Av – to address miss ava’s opinion. Seen her plans. She’s affording us opp as res of west side, ability to own our own homes thru section 8. Three lots as opposed to 18 city has. Give us a chance to say this is mine. Right now we’re like desolate soldiers. Sure there’s lot of things that can be tweaked in her proposal, help her…She’s (Ava) been on Ave A since 1995. She was in Bicentennial Debates, kicked their butts. If your honor cd be a mediator, sit down between the two.

Don Johnson – Ave. A
First meeting I came to you gave her 3 lots, now taken back. Didn’t other people have more time.
Mayor – clarify
Reidy – gov body took 3 lots out of the mix so ms. Horvath cd submit proposal to dev affordable hsg on those lots.
Were part of orig part of overall plan.
Subcommittee gave report last mtg about what’s happened over last 10 mos. Recommended 3 lots be put back into the mix. She was given oppor over the 10 mos.

Dorothy Moore – lives in rooming house, stays w/ sister, she’s very sick. She’s been trying to get section 8 since 95. not getting no help of no kind. Don’t hv even $20 once rent is paid. In favor of Horvath plan.

Linda Bradley – here to spk for community and ms ava. Lives in Bradley sales.? Need more affordable housing.

Everton Barham – Ave A – here to support Mrs. Ava’s cause. All have confidence in her. Her cause w/ benefit us all. Yes she can!

Katherine Plumber – Don’t quite to say no. in favor of Horvath.

Shaqoi Robinson, - born and raised on Ave A, bought house in 62, sold house five yrs ago. Remember day, I was about 14 yrs old, my grandmother was pillar of community, Mother Wells, she didn’t have any problems w/ Ms. Ava. Nobody wd spk to her. What’s this white lady coming here for drugs…? But we’re not pointing at her anymore. We want her there

Keith johnson – Sewell Ave – I’m a licensed chef. David Jones is his grandfather (Bruno notes that he knows him). If I die my kids got something. That’s the chance you should give her.
Theretha Jones –
Questions re. process
Mayor: yr ago originally approached w/ plan. Those lots were held in limbo to let Ms. Horvath come up w/ plan over 10 months. Lots put into pool. Subcommittee reported…
Jones – I was employed by city of ap when Horvath bought properties. No dev for 30 yrs been vacant. Is Interfaith Neighbors monopolizing dev in this area? I could name some other developers sitting here where things aren’t improving. I’m concerned about the West Side.
Mayor – things I’m hrg tonight mk me wnt to push for a quality plan…I’m not lkg at personalities, aft 40 yrs of failed starts, lies and corruption and empty fields. I want to see something happen, want to mk sure a yr from now we’re not sitting here going bk and forth at this mic, but in your living rooms on Ave A. To know it’s not falling apart, you’ll be proud to own and able to sell.
LZ Walker, Jr. – Ave A resident of 40 yrs – members of family live there now. Giving three lots to interfaith and other orgs you’re not going to see any of us there. We know other houses they’ve blt. They don’t come from here, from other areas very few. Give us affordable housing.

Tina - Avenue A – give her another chance to bld on those lots
Carl Brown – DeWitt Ave – living in hotel, can’t afford rent on DeWitt. Pls help her out.
Cerise Gerillo – noise ordinance – city of ap already has nuisance code on bks. Hasn’t been used for noise complaints. Has noise ord on bks for some time pls enforce. Wd also like to invite mayor and council to noise meeting. None showed up. Loffredo says he was in his office.
Sharon Gilbert – Ridge ave, Neptune – Jst want to show support for Horvath. Say Yes we can.
Rev john Bradley, Ministerial Alliance – I love to hear the voices of the people. Don’t know Miss Eva. Respect Interfaith’s track record. I support whatever is best for people of the community. I believe u hv at heart the community. Some of council I don’t see in the community, some wdn’t come on west side. Mr Bruno I know you’re out there, you’re always out there. Turn lights on your car, but I know you’re out there. We need something done on west side thnk if ms eva has a good plan, say let’s see if we can incorporate it into the plan.
George Thomas – family on Ave A – beautiful lady, give her a chance.
Tori Butler – grew up on Ave A – give lady a chance.

Ava Horvath – Avenue A – do you work for interfaith neighbors on part time basis? Richards says no. Mayor objects to pt of order.
Please before u give away these lots, plan for 10 yrs, if u give away u’ll be ruining the chance of building anything on the 4 lts adjacent. You’ll hv 3 big houses no one here can afford, as opposed to 7 homes section 8 recipients can buy. I tried to submit 3 grant applications, tha’t s why last grant applic submitted directly to you. Interfaith she says laughed at them when they asked to be part of the effort and for them to help her. Interfaith has 18 lots you gave them last month. They haven’t blt a thing. We need these 3 lots in order to make our project happen. Give us hearing, postpone this decision. We haven’t had that in the 10 mos.
James bellenger – avenue A – you’ve hrd from these people …wd enable 8 affordable houses be blt, under $100,000 each lkg for oppor to own a house.
Mayor – reprimanded Ava for talking out of turn.
Bellenger – many on section 8, portions of which can be set aside to allow them to buy a home, only way they can dod it.
Mayor – if you’re on section 8 u can set aside then have to get financing for the home. How long wd it take them to set aside enuf..
Bellenger - 4 – maybe 5 yrs/ varies w/ rates. Pls take a hard look this.
John Sally – Asbury ave – just giv her a chance. These affordable homes, know what it’s like to be homeless.
Hazel darling – prospect ave – been here 42 yrs graduated with mr. sanders, just giv ms eva a chance.
Charles perry – w/ all the building going on can Asbury residents get some…
Mayor – building for Springwood av, Samuels has put together workshops on first time homebuyers, and jobs for potential buyers, residents to be business owners in the new businesses to be in the new buildings. So we’re going to be wkg in next weeks to get contractors from area
Jay scott – Asbury ave – pushing and pushing and no where to go. Hard to pay rent and eat and live. So shd giv this lady a chance help these people, min. wage jobs are struggling.
Wells – Neptune city – give eva a chance.
Elaine Morris – born and raised in ap, lives in farmingdale now, jst met eva/ she talks like knows what she’s doing, give her a chance.
Ed Simon – locksmith 3rd and Main – heated debate tonight. I hv before council tonight first scavenger hunt, search for key to city of Asbury park. Spec events mtg Tuesday, wnt kids come out to main st. hv trolley system go up and down main st. throwing candy. w/ come up w/ plan for how w/ stop on main st. , in touch w/ the Berkeley and Madison Marquette. Trolley as candy distribution center. Ask for all your support.
Mayor- mk sure you include businesses on North Main street as well.
Simon – trying to close that gap, wnt all involved
Marano – 8th ave – what’s big problem passing a noise ordinance tonight, what’s the real reason yu won’t pass this noise ord.
Mayor – committee was here in this room, asked rather take our time and get it right rather than fast and wrong. Rita if you knew. Calls ban fireworks, ice cream trucks and train whistles.
Marano – why not enforce state ordinance.
Bruno – we were talking outside and it’s like 60 decibels.
Mayor – we are not going to hv a volley of screaming, if you’d like to talk at the microphone, but we’re not going to hav a screaming match.
Marano – the state gives me $30,000 to live in my house. If we didn’t get state aid it would cost me how much to live in my home.
Bruno – it’s the problems we have in these towns, we’re a city not suburbia.
Woman in the crowd defended Rita and called Bruno “disrespectful”.
Jerry Scarano – Long Branch - Borden st. houses w/out house numbers. One of most important office in city hall is tax assessor, which has been missing an assistant for months and months. Sort of disgrace when city of ap has no one in tax assessors office when call up. Saw Larry (Fishman) in eminent domain film 350 units would come online every year.
Reidy – everyone take out pens and paper – “I agree with Jerry Scarano” it’s oct 21. I agree on the tax assessor’s office been without assistant for awhile. So why? Going bk and forth w/ assessor on qualifications, cd we move someone internally, job posted last week. Expect to be filled in next two weeks.
Henderson, Loffredo, Johnson, Bruno present –
Council man Sanders not present

Approval of minutes from past meetings –
Bill resolution – 732,281.10 including money to bd of ed – appr’d

Liquor license for tap room – approved for another location/// ?
Polar bear plunge appr’d
Sustainability committee – that council is approving appts to it.
Open space grant re. springwood park – all yes
Masonry pillars to remain in right away – all yes
Oct. 25 – 31 lead poison prevention week
Grant $114,974. for 2010, mental health grant
Temp sen ctr Philips seaview rental agreement 2010 1,400/ mo.
Reidy - Expect break grond on new senior ctr, past ord last mtg to fund $3Mn toward one flr of building, for senior center which city w/ own, which will also include 8 units of affordable housing open to non-seniors as well. Funding piece from city is now in plc. Total is under $9 million.
In conversations w/ interfaith neighbors lkg for jobs for AP residents is part of their mission statement/ bids to go out 2010 and ground breaking as soon as ground is warm enuf, March?

Discretionary aid for road improvements – all yes.
Video surveillance system – all yes.
Resolution sackman project goes to PB w/ Don Sammet’s comments.
Authorize resubmission of bids – all yes
UEZ – mktg program increase it by $15k, façade improvement program increase by $10k.
Ordinances for intro – dec 16th hraring – transfer prop dewitt av to coastal habitat for humanity, avenue a transfer lots to housing alliance inc// all yes!
Denise Richardson – Ridge – nice so many people turned out to get something done on ave a. But she’s had a chance. If you all come down hereto your council mtg you’d know things are starting to change. No reason we shd stop what’s happening now. If u knew the truth you wdn’t be pushing against what city trying to get done. Just reach out to me or any of members and you’ll see things are getting done. So many things getting done on west side never been done before. Speak up here on regular basis way you’re spkg up tonight. Need to be here at every city council mtg and speak up for your rights. I’m here to mk sure things continue to move on the West Side.

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