Common Council, Mayor Radest, and the City staff have been working since April to plan for the reopening of Summit in a smart way that protects public health and supports our local businesses. We have spent many hours listening to Summit businesses and SDI to create plans that will assist our businesses as they reopen and that will revive our downtown. Many of these measures are also available to businesses beyond the downtown and I hope that they will take advantage of this increased operational flexibility. I am thrilled that many of these plans are coming to fruition, with 16 sidewalk café and outdoor dining permits approved as of this week, and more on the way. I hope to see you as we all begin enjoying Summit safely in the coming days and weeks. – Marjorie Fox
The next Common Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 23 at 7:30PM. Members of Common Council, Mayor Radest, and city staff will be participating electronically in this meeting. For this and all future electronic meetings, members of the public will be able to comment by video or audio conference. The access codes and instructions for public comment on the Zoom platform will be posted on the city website prior to the meeting.
Every Common Council meeting is broadcast live on HTTV Verizon channel 30 and Comcast channel 36 and 34. The meeting will also be broadcast live on the City of Summit YouTube Channel.
At the June 23 meeting, Common Council will hold a public hearing and vote on a bond ordinance to fund the city’s share of the flood mitigation facilities project for the Joint Meeting of Union and Essex Counties. The Joint Meeting is an entity comprised of 11 municipalities that operates a wastewater treatment plant. To fund its share of this project, which will ensure the continuous operation of this facility during storms, Summit will be issuing a bond ordinance to borrow $2,375,000 from the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank. FEMA has committed to reimburse 90% of the costs to the municipalities over the project period.
Council will also introduce nine ordinances. When an ordinance is introduced, the public hearing, discussion by council, and vote on that ordinance are all deferred to the next meeting, which will be on July 8.
The Finance Committee will introduce four ordinances. Two of those ordinances will appropriate funds and authorize issuance of bonds or notes. The first ordinance appropriates $4,225,000 and authorizes the issuance of $4,023,000 in bonds or notes. This bond ordinance authorizes the issuance of bonds or notes to finance the projects in the city’s Capital Plan, which was adopted at the June 9 meeting as a part of the 2020 Municipal Budget. This ordinance is passed each year following the adoption of the 2020 Municipal Budget and allows our bond counsel to issue bonds or notes when it is financially advantageous for the city to do so. For each capital project, with the exception of a few smaller projects completed in house, council must pass a resolution to authorize the award of a contract for the project. The second bond ordinance appropriates $710,000 and authorizes the issuance of the same amount for sewer utility improvements. Once again, bonds will be issued when it is financially advantageous and council will vote to authorize the award of a contract for any sewer authority capital project.
A third Finance Committee ordinance will appropriate $380,000 from the Parking Utility Capital Improvement Fund for the rehabilitation of the Broad Street Garage. These funds are currently available in the Parking Utility Capital Fund, so no borrowing of funds is necessary. This essential maintenance work is being completed now while the Broad Street Garage is not in use, which will significantly reduce the cost of the project by eliminating the need to work on weekends and evenings.
The final ordinance establishes salary ranges for all city employees. This ordinance is introduced annually following the passage of the municipal budget. This ordinance does not award step increases or cost of living increases for individual city employees this year.
The Safety Committee will introduce three ordinances. The first ordinance amends city code to limit parking on the west side of Waldron Avenue to two hours and to prohibit parking on the east side of Waldron Avenue. This ordinance is in response to a petition from residents of Waldron Avenue to address use of their street for parking by commuters and shoppers, narrowing the street and making it difficult to exit driveways safely. Three ordinances authorize the addition of stop signs to reduce motor vehicle accidents and enhance pedestrian safety: (1) creating four-way traffic stops at three intersections at Tulip Street and Ashland Road, Tulip Street and Prospect Street, and Maple Avenue and Ashland Road; (2) installing a stop sign at the previously uncontrolled intersection of Cleveland Road and Windsor Road; and (3) installing a stop sign at the intersection of Wallace Road and Rose Lane.
Finally, the Capital Projects and Community Services Committee will introduce a single ordinance to authorize the public bidding to lease the city property at 7 Cedar Street.
Council will vote on a Safety and Health resolution to confirm the appointment of a police lieutenant to fill the vacancy caused by the promotion of Captain Richard Proctor earlier this month.
Finance will introduce three resolutions. The first resolution will authorize the city to execute an agreement with Union County to receive reimbursement of COVID-19 related expenditures from the federal CARES Act funds. The second resolution will authorize the waiver of the 2020 Sidewalk Café Application Fee to assist businesses as they reopen. This waiver is retroactive and those businesses that have already paid these fees will be reimbursed. This waiver does not apply to lease payments required for the expansion of premises for a sidewalk café with a liquor license. Finally, council will consider a resolution that authorizes contractually obligated salary increases for certain union and non-union employees.
Council will hear two Community Programs and Parking Services resolutions. The first would reinstate parking fees and permits beginning on July 15. Council has suspended parking fees since March 24 and has elected to delay reinstatement of parking fees for the first month of the reopening to assist businesses. The second resolution will authorize the use of two quadrants of the Village Green for the Summit Area YMCA Summer Camp. The camp will share the Village Green with fitness classes and with members of the public who wish to use the Village Green.
The Law and Labor committee will introduce two resolutions to authorize lease/license agreement with Roots Steakhouse for a sidewalk café. Because this application involves the expansion of the footprint of the premises for the purposes of a liquor license, the applicant must enter into a lease agreement, which requires approval by council. The second resolution authorizes execution of a sidebar agreement with the Teamster Local 469 to allow city employees to donate unused accrued sick leave to a city employee who requires an extended medical leave and has used up his accumulated sick leave.
Lastly, the Capital Projects and Community Services Committee will introduce four resolutions. First, council will hear a resolution authorizing the acceptance of the city’s Affordable Housing - Mt. Laurel Midterm Report. This report is required by our settlement with the Fair Share Housing Center and details the city’s efforts to provide for new affordable housing units as well as rehabilitation work on existing units. Second, at the request of Summit House, Roots, Fin, and Fiorino’s restaurants, the council will consider a resolution to authorize the temporary closure of sections of Maple Street to allow for outdoor dining from June 24 to August 30. Springfield Avenue and the alleyways north and south of Springfield Avenue will remain accessible. This closure would be contingent on approval by the State Department of Transportation because road closures of more than 48 hours require its approval. If the street closure goes into effect, restaurants using the roadway will discontinue operating sidewalk cafes on Maple Street. Next, council will vote on a resolution to execute an agreement with Union County to accept a grant from the Union County Municipal Infrastructure Project for $77,000 for the Huntley Road Area Improvement Project, which will include repaving, curbing repairs, and drainage improvements of Huntley Road, Clark Street, Caldwell Avenue, Eaton Court, and Willow Road. Finally, council will consider a resolution to authorize submission of a grant to fund a Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction pilot project. The city proposes to conduct a waste audit to determine the composition of waste disposed of at the transfer station. This information will allow the city to develop a waste reduction and waste diversion plan.
To view the complete Common Council agenda, go to https://www.cityofsummit.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_06232020-751?html=true.
Agenda preview (pdf): https://www.cityofsummit.org/DocumentCenter/View/4480/Fox-Council-President-Preview-062320
Next Common Council Meeting: Wednesday, July 8, 2020.