BOARD OF HEALTH
December 1, 2005
The regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Board of Health of the Township of Mahwah, held at the Municipal Offices, 475 Corporate Drive, Mahwah, New Jersey, was called to order at 8:03 PM by President, Wendy DeSilva. The Opening Statement was read according to the Sunshine Law and was followed by Roll Call.
PRESENT: Mrs. DeSilva
PROFESSIONALS: Mr. Mason, Attorney
Mr. Hopper, Health Officer
Mrs. Homler, REHS
Mrs. Campbell, Secretary
APPROVAL OF REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
Moved by Mr. Wasson and, seconded by Mr. Harris and, agreed by all present, the minutes of the meeting of November 3, 2005 were approved.
APPROVAL OF HEALTH ACTIVITIES REPORT
Moved by Mrs. Spiech and, seconded by Mrs. Tracey, that the Health Activities Report be approved.
Mr. Ackerman noted that two Hepatitis B cases were reported and asked if this was significant. Mr. Hopper replied that it was not abnormal for the period. He further explained that there are better reporting mechanisms in place; labs now notify health departments directly upon diagnoses of Hepatitis.
Mr. Harris inquired how inspections of underground storage tanks were accomplished. Mrs. Homler replied that Mr. Ostrow handles the bulk of the tank inspections. She explained that the Building Department does an initial inspection during removal of a tank. If a problem (leak) is detected, the inspector (usually Dan Mariella) will contact us, and we obtain a spill number from the DEP.
Mr. Harris asked how a leak is detected if it occurs under the tank. Mr. Hopper replied it is most always evident by smell alone. Samples of the soil can also be excavated and tested. Mr. Mason offered that it was permissible to retire a tank in place if it was less than 500 gallons. Tanks over 1000 gallons (usually commercial) are typically removed and require soil testing. Mr. Ackerman asked if there was routine testing of underground tanks - or if testing only took place when a removal was in progress. Mr. Hopper answered that periodic testing was mandated for certain commercial tanks such as at gasoline stations, but not for residential tanks (i.e. for home heating oil).
Mr. Harris asked why Mahwah Florist had received a routine food establishment inspection. Mrs. Homler replied that because they sell fruit baskets and candy, Mahwah Florist falls under the state’s definition of Retail Food Establishments and must be licensed and inspected as such.
Mrs. DeSilva asked for more information regarding the sewage back-up on Mac Arthur Boulevard. Mrs. Homler replied that the backup was discovered by a patron of one of the Ramapo Centre restaurants at approximately 9:30 on a Saturday evening. Raw sewage was coming up out of the toilet and out of the floor drain as well. It was quickly determined that the adjacent facilities were also affected. The DPW was summoned to snake the line and examine the main clean-out. This inspection did not reveal which establishment was causing the back-up. On Wednesday, she followed up with the Centre’s property management agent who agreed to schedule regular maintenance on the lines.
There being no further questions or discussion, the Health Activities Report for November 2005 was unanimously approved.
APPROVAL OF HEALTH OFFICER’S REPORT
Moved by Mr. Ackerman and, seconded by Mr. LaMontagne, that the Health Officer’s Report be approved.
Mr. Harris noted Mr. Hopper’s new commitments as Trustee to the New Jersey Maternal Child Health Consortium and as President of the New Jersey Health Officers Association. Mr. Hopper explained that the Child Health Consortium did not represent a big time commitment - they met four times per year. As an executive member of the Health Officers Association for the past eight years, Mr. Hopper has successfully balanced the work of the Association with the duties of his position. Being an officer will likely entail longer days, and definitely more time in Trenton. Mrs. Spiech inquired if Mr. Hopper received a stipend from the Association; Mr. Hopper responded no, this was a volunteer position.
Mr. Hopper advised the Board that the Clean Indoor Air Act is expected to pass over the lame duck session of the legislature.
Casinos will be exempted. Also, the Senate Health Committee this day unanimously approved a bill to increase the tobacco age of sale to 19.
Mr. Hopper stated that the Health Officers Association is working on obtaining a stable source of funding for public health state-wide. The current system is dependent on local tax dollars.
Mr. Wasson inquired as to the Association’s position on shared services. Mr. Hopper replied that the County Executive is currently campaigning to absorb more municipalities into the County health system. The Health Officers feel that with only 15 health jurisdictions serving all 70 of Bergen County’s municipalities, we are already the most “regionalized” public service.
Mr. Hopper noted that the NJHOA has released a professionally produced DVD, designed to raise public awareness of Public Health. They will also be sponsoring a state-wide essay contest in the schools; students will be encouraged to write about the role of Public Health with IPods going to the winners. Mr. Ackerman asked who funded these activities. Mr. Hopper stated that the Association underwrites its activities with dues collected from the members. The first week of April is designated as Public Health Week and presentations to the winners will be made at that time. The Association is planning plenty of press and public relations to coincide with these events.
Mr. Hopper apprised the members that our department’s Budget Hearing had taken place on November 30th. Both the Mayor and the Business Administrator seemed receptive to our need for increasing staff with a part-time person, but the ultimate decision lies with the Town Council.
Today Mr. Hopper notified both Bergen Community Health Care and HARP relative to our contract decisions for 2006. Mr. Hopper will make every effort to make the transition as smooth as possible and will arrange for a representative from HARP to attend one of our meetings early in the New Year.
Mr. Hopper noted that Mr. Ostrow had made an inspection at the CHS Hansen facility (previously noted in error as the Sally Hansen facility. As suspected, carbon filters were not being changed regularly. The facility is on notice that it must maintain effective control over odor emissions or face the consequences.
Mrs. DeSilva had received a call from a resident who informed her that he had contracted pneumonia after receiving a shot at our clinic. Mr. Hopper said he had been apprised of this situation and had issued the required paperwork reporting a Vaccine Adverse Event. Mr. Ackerman asked if the town faced any potential liability. Mr. Mason offered that general immunities apply to government entities which make it difficult for individuals to sue them successfully.
Mr. Hopper remarked that all clinic participants are required to sign an informed consent, but these did not necessarily render us “bullet-proof”.
There being no further questions or discussion, the Health Officer’s Report was unanimously approved.
Vista Bahn Estates
Moved by Mr. Ackerman and, seconded by Mrs. Spiech to table approval of this site plan pending receipt of additional information from the engineer. Mr. Ostrow has concerns regarding the specifications of the ejector pumps being installed in the homes and has requested this information from LaPatca.
Moved by Mr. Harris and, seconded by Mrs. Tracey and, unanimously agreed by all present to pay the bills for November.
REPORT OF ATTORNEY
Mr. Mason distributed copies of an article regarding the possible pandemic, new vaccine technologies and governmental response which appeared in a recent issue of Scientific American. The group discussed the concerns of a possible avian flu pandemic. Mr. Hopper re-iterated that for individuals, the best defense will probably be the use of masks and effective hand washing techniques.
Health Officer Services Contract with Paramus for 2006
Introduced by: Mr. LaMontagne
Seconded by: Mrs. Spiech
Roll Call: 7 ayes
Garden State Laboratories, Inc. 2006 Contract
Introduced by: Mr. Harris
Seconded by: Mr. Ackerman
Roll Call: 7 Ayes
Reappointment of Marianne Campbell as Registrar
_of Vital Statistics for a three year term (NJSA26:8-13)
Introduced by: Mr. Wasson
Seconded by: Mr. LaMontagne
Roll Call: 7 Ayes
REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEES
Mr. Ackerman had met with a representative from Pomptonian, who suggested that menu changes were coming soon in response to the new school nutrition initiative and possibly sooner than the state’s initiative would require (calendar 2007). Mr. Ackerman also said that he found fewer carbonated drinks in the vending machines than he expected to find, everything offered was sugar loaded and no dietetic substitutions were offered.
Mr. Ackerman would like the committee to meet with Pomptonian, accompanied by the new Health Educator. Mr. Hopper said he would assist with those arrangements. Mr. Ackerman asked if the Board of Education had a nutritionist on staff. Mrs. DeSilva replied that to her knowledge, they did not. Mr. Hopper stated that this was a function of the caterer. Mr. Ackerman opined that this situation probably represented a conflict of interest.
Mrs. DeSilva had recently received the anti-smoking campaign material that is put out by Phillip-Morris each year. She advised the Board that she found it to be much more substantive than in prior years. Mrs. Tracey agreed, and had also brought in the same material to share with the members.
Mr. Hopper requested the Board’s permission to change the date of the January meeting from January 5 to January 12. The members agreed that a change to this date would be acceptable.
There being no further business or discussion, a motion to adjourn at 8:55pm was made by Mr. LaMontagne, seconded by Mr. Ackerman and, approved by all present.
The next meeting is scheduled for January 12, 2006.
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