I hope this message finds you and your family healthy and safe.
The next Common Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 24 at 6:30PM and will not be open to members of the public. As these are extraordinary times, these changes to the Common Council meeting are intended to protect public health.
Every Common Council meeting is broadcast live on HTTV Verizon channel 30 and Comcast channel 36 and 34. To provide for public input, Common Council will accept comments and questions in advance of the meeting and during the meeting by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To have a question read during the meeting, the full name of the sender must be listed in the body of the email. If possible, include a few words indicating the topic of the question or comment in the subject line of the email. Only emails properly identified with the full name of the sender will be read publicly during the meeting.
The most important business at the meeting will be the introduction of the 2020 Municipal Budget, as well as budgets for the Parking Utility, Sewer Utility, and Summit Downtown Inc. The proposed Municipal Budget total is a 0.1% increase over the 2019 budget. The proposed capital budget is the leanest capital budget the city has passed in over a decade, which will allow us to control our debt service burden while still maintaining city facilities and infrastructure.
Council will also authorize temporary appropriations to keep the city running until the 2020 budget is passed on April 28. State law requires the city to use “emergency temporary appropriations” to fund government operations before the budget is adopted; this resolution is not in response to the Coronavirus or any other emergency situation.
The budget presentation that is usually given by our City Administrator, Michael Rogers, will be posted before the meeting on the city website. During the meeting, he will provide an abbreviated presentation highlighting salient points. Following usual procedure, the public will have the opportunity to ask questions or comment at the budget hearing on April 28.
Council will hold a hearing and vote on an ordinance to authorize the city to increase its final budget appropriations by the statutorily permitted 3.5 % and to allow the city to bank any unused amounts for the next two years. This “cost of living cap adjustment" ordinance is not an expenditure of funds and does not affect the tax levy; rather this is a budgeting technique that allows Common Council to plan for unexpected expenditures in future years, if necessary.
On other matters, the Safety and Health Committee will introduce two ordinances to improve pedestrian and traffic safety. The first ordinance would authorize stop signs at Ashland Road and Tulip Street, Ashland Road and Maple Street, and Tulip Street and Prospect Street. These changes will make all three intersections four-way stops, which will reduce vehicle accidents and enhance pedestrian safety. The second ordinance will create a two-hour parking limit from 7AM to 7PM on the west side of Waldron Avenue and will eliminate on-street parking on the east side of the roadway. These changes are recommended by the Summit Police Department Traffic Bureau in response to a petition submitted by Waldron Avenue residents to alleviate crowded roadways caused by shopper and commuter vehicles. The hearings for both of these ordinances will be held on April 14.
The city is committed to providing affordable housing and two resolutions will be introduced to authorize execution of deed restrictions for a three-bedroom affordable unit at 123 Summit Avenue and a two-bedroom affordable unit at 412 Morris Avenue. These 30-year deed restrictions will allow the owners of the properties to satisfy their Mt. Laurel affordable housing commitments.
There is also a resolution to award the curbside recycling contract to our current contractor, F. Basso, Jr. Rubbish Removal. The city received only a single bid for its curbside recycling contract and the pricing reflects the global downturn in recycling markets. The two-year contract, which begins on July 1, will cost $1,015,200, a 123% increase from our previous contract. This is one of the largest cost increases in the 2020 operating budget. Also on the subject of reuse and recycling, council will consider a resolution to extend its contract for vegetative waste grinding and to increase the authorized amount that can be spent on this contract. This allows the city to grind fallen trees and other vegetative storm debris and beneficially reuse the materials, saving on disposal costs from storm response. The Capital Projects and Community Services Committee will introduce a resolution to set the 2020 fees for operating and maintaining the City’s sanitary sewer system at $289.00 for each household, making Summit’s fees among the lowest in the area.
Finally, the Capital Projects and Community Services Committee will introduce a resolution to add additional Hometown Heroes banner locations on Morris Avenue between Kent Place Boulevard and Broad Street to accommodate additional veterans and active duty military members seeking recognition. The resolution will also extend the time that banners are displayed from July 4 to August 15 in response to requests from veterans in the community.
Lastly, there are two Law and Labor resolutions to extend sick leave with pay for two Department of Community Services employees.
To view the complete Common Council agenda, go to https://www.cityofsummit.org/AgendaCenter
Next Council Meeting: Tuesday, April 14 at 6:30PM.