BOARD OF HEALTH
March 3, 2005
The regular monthly meeting of the Board of Health of the Township of Mahwah, held at the Municipal Offices, 475 Corporate Drive, Mahwah NJ, was called to order at 8:00 PM by President, Wendy DeSilva. The Opening Statement was read according to the Sunshine Law and was followed by Roll Call.
PRESENT: Mrs. DeSilva
Mrs. Tracey (8:25pm)
PROFESSIONALS: Mr. Romans, Attorney
Mr. Hopper, Health Officer
Mrs. Homler, REHS
Mrs. Campbell, Secretary
APPROVAL OF REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
Moved by Mrs. Spiech and, seconded by Mr. Ackerman and, agreed by all present, the minutes of the regular meeting of February 3, 2005 were approved.
APPROVAL OF HEALTH ACTIVITIES REPORT
Moved by Mr. Wasson and, seconded by Mr. LaMontagne, that the Health Activities Report be approved.
Mr. Ackerman requested additional information on the unsatisfactory bathing water samples reported in February. Mrs. Homler stated that the samples taken at this time of year are from the public indoor pools. The reports are sent directly from the lab to the Health Department and are reviewed by one of the inspectors. The lab tests for chlorine and pH levels, and Standard Plate Counts for bacteria. A minor deviation from an acceptable level might warrant a phone call. A high Standard Plate Count or other violation may warrant an inspection, and usually a re-sample of the water.
Mrs. Spiech asked Diane how the Health Department handled a tenant’s insect infestation complaint. Mrs. Homler stated that Stu Ostrow handled the incident noted in the report, but that, in general, we contact the owner of the property and require them to contract with a D.E.P. certified exterminator. Proof that service took place (ie. a paid bill) is required. The inspector then follows up with the tenant to ascertain if the problem has been abated.
Mrs. DeSilva requested clarification on the food establishment inspection rating system. She noted that spot checks and pre-operational inspections conducted in February were not rated. Mr. Hopper explained that only an official Chapter 12 inspection (wherein a placard is issued to the operator of the establishment) receives a rating.
Mr. Ackerman asked about the nature of pre-operational and spot check inspections. Mrs. Homler replied that [pre-ops] usually uncover minor items overlooked by the establishment ie., choking posters, towels and soap at the hand-washing stations, etc. Spot checks are usually follow-ups to recent inspections to ensure that specific requested changes have been made.
Mrs. DeSilva asked for more information about the unsatisfactory rating of the South Side Diner. Mrs. Homler stated that she found grossly unsanitary conditions on initial inspection; (no heat, no hot water, vermin, etc.) The owner agreed to a voluntary closure. The owner met with Mrs. Homler the next day to go over the violations she found and to discuss what was required to bring the establishment back up to Code. The diner was subsequently re-inspected (satisfactory) and reopened for business.
Mr. Ackerman requested clarification on how the inspection figures were tabulated in the monthly report. Mr. Hopper explained that the figure for total inspections noted include: routine inspections, re-inspections, spot checks, and pre-operational inspections.
HEALTH OFFICER’S REPORT
Moved by Mr. Harris, and seconded by Mrs. Spiech, that the Health Officer’s Report should be approved.
Mr. Hopper advised that he had recently registered our Board with the State, in accordance with the New Jersey Public Health Practice Standards. He is presently completing the Local Health Evaluation Report which includes a 90 question questionnaire, submitting a listing of all programs, inspections, services and audits completed, a listing of all staff members with their credentials and CEU’s, and a listing of all our ‘partnered’ agencies.
Mr. Hopper then requested if the Board would consider amending the meeting date for April. A Department of Homeland Security TOPOFF (Top Officials) Exercise is scheduled for April 7 at Leonia High School. The exercise will simulate a large scale, biological attack, and the school will serve as the designated distribution point for antibiotics. Mr. Hopper, and other health department officials in the area have been invited to participate in the program as “patients” and observers.
The Board was agreeable to changing the meeting date to Tuesday April 5th or Wednesday April 6th. Mrs. Campbell will confirm availability of our meeting room with the Administrator’s office; Mr. Hopper will then email the Board members and notify the Bergen Record of the meeting date change.
Mr. Hopper related that he has been attending bi-monthly meetings of the Bergen County Public Health Partnership and provided Board Members with a comprehensive list of the Partnership’s accomplishments during the past year.
Next year Mr. Hopper will assume the presidency of the New Jersey Health Officer’s Association and will be spending a considerable amount of time in Trenton. Two of the Association’s main objectives this year are passage of the Clean Indoor Air Act and obtaining alternate sources of funding to pay for state mandated initiatives and programs.
Mr. Ackerman asked if the activity at Ramapo Ridge School was subsiding. Mr. Hopper replied he had just spent time on the phone the preceding day with a mother whose child has been out (ill) for a month. But, the Tools For Schools program is moving forward and the B.O.E. has established a committee that will be responsible for implementing the program’s recommendations. Mr. Hopper requested that the Health Department be included in the committee proceedings and suggested to Mr. Deptula that information be disseminated via the district website. There has been no abnormal incidence of illness among students in the school this year.
Mrs. DeSilva brought up the problem of students smoking at the High School. Mr. Hopper advised that Andrea Petho (Assistant to Principal) has requested that the Health Department enforce the law against smoking on school grounds. Mr. Hopper expressed his opposition to taking punitive action against a minor who has developed an addictive behavior. He asked the Board for their input regarding the situation.
Mr. Ackerman felt that if a student did not want to be educated and/or to modify their behavior, punitive action should be initiated. Taking students to court would demonstrate a clear message.
Mrs. DeSilva agreed, and added that detention as a punitive measure was not working. Mrs. Spiech asked if this was not the
domain of the police. Mrs. DeSilva noted that the Oakland Police had recently issued a summons to an Indian Hills High School student for smoking on school property. Mr. Hopper offered that the smoking ban on school grounds was a state law and that the
school could summon the police and/or go to the police station and sign a complaint against a student who was breaking the law.
Mr. LaMontagne asked for clarification of this Board’s role in the equation. Mr. Hopper replied that the Board could adopt an ordinance and be responsible for its enforcement, but that our limited resources were already taxed. After more discussion, there was a general consensus that remedies already exist and the school is not availing itself of those remedies. Mrs. DeSilva will convey the points made by this Board to Mrs. Petho and invite her to attend our next meeting.
Mrs. Spiech asked for information on the new Avian flu. Mr. Hopper replied that we may experience a flu pandemic similar to that of 1918 and the CDC is monitoring the situation carefully. Mr. Wasson added that the CDC was very concerned with human-to-human transmittal of the virus, but that none had been documented thus far.
Mr. Hopper advised the Board that Chiron Company is again being permitted to produce flu vaccine. Because of the contamination issues they experienced in the 2004-05 season, Mr. Hopper felt that there will be some reluctance [on the part of public health agencies] to use them again. If this bears out, there may be significant cost increases and supply/demand issues associated with purchasing the vaccine from Aventis.
Mr. Hopper also advised the members that the department had submitted several new articles for inclusion in the township’s Spring Newsletter including one item on Vital Statistics and another on locating immunization records.
Mr. Wasson inquired if the township was using more chlorine in the drinking water. Messrs. Wasson and Harris agreed that the taste and smell of the water was disagreeable in the Fardale section of town. Mr. Hopper had not been made aware of any recent changes to the water treatment. Mr. LaMontagne offered that United Water was supplementing the township’s water supply through a pumping station located on the Apple Ridge Country Club property; perhaps it was filtering over to other sections of town. He further expressed his own extreme dissatisfaction with the quality of United Water’s product as compared to the Mahwah aquifer water he once enjoyed.
There being no further comments or discussion, the Health Officer’s Report was unanimously approved.
Moved by Mr. Wasson and, seconded by Mr. Harris, that the bills for February be approved for payment. Mr. Ackerman questioned the payment to Dr. French for rabies vaccine administration. Mr. Hopper explained that participating vets are reimbursed three dollars per animal vaccinated. There being no further comments or discussion,
the bills for February were unanimously approved for payment.
REPORT OF SUNSHINE COMMITTEE
Mrs. Spiech reported that she had sent a donation to the Don Bosco Ladies’ Guild on behalf of Mrs. Hallissey. She had also visited Mr. Ostrow while in the hospital, bearing a gift package of treats on behalf of the Board. Mrs. DeSilva and the members thanked Mrs. Spiech for taking care of these matters.
REPORT OF ATTORNEY
Registration Form, Local Boards of Health of New Jersey
Mr. Hopper will submit the required registration online.
Public Health Partnership Report, April - December 2004
Bergen Community Health Care, 4th Quarter Report
Mr. LaMontagne inquired more information on how the figures for visits were derived. Mr. Hopper provided that information and advised that the State requires much statistical tracking; that tracking is presented in BCHC’s report.
West Bergen Mental Healthcare, 2004 Annual Report
Mrs. DeSilva commented that many students use the services offered by West Bergen.
2/4/2005 (to) Joseph Komosinksi, State Registrar
Mr. Hopper has notified the State Registrar’s Office of the new appointment in our office.
There being no further comments or discussion, a motion to adjourn at 8:55 was made by Mr. LaMontagne, seconded by Mr. Wasson, and agreed by all present.
The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for April 5th, 2005.
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