BOARD OF HEALTH
September 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 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
ABSENT: Mr. LaMontagne
PROFESSIONALS: Mr. Hopper
Mr. Ostrow, REHS
Mrs. Campbell, Secretary
Mr. Tom Romans (8:10pm)
APPROVAL OF RE-ORGANIZATION MEETING MINUTES
Moved by Mrs. Spiech and, seconded by Mrs. Tracey and, agreed by all present, the minutes of the re-organization meeting of July 21, 2005 were approved.
APPROVAL OF REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
Moved by Mr. Harris and, seconded by Mr. Ackerman, that the minutes of the meeting of July 21, 2005 be approved. Mrs. Spiech requested confirmation that the members indicating a preference to retain our own Board Attorney did not represent an official vote. Mrs. Campbell replied that it was not a vote. Regarding page 4, Mr. Harris asked if there was a time frame for the State to implement the school nutrition initiative. Mr. Ackerman answered that the program was to be in effect by the beginning of the 2006 school year. There being no further questions or discussion, the minutes of the regular meeting of July 21, 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 asked when the
unconditional rating was given to one of the youth camps. Mr. Ostrow replied that one week prior, a soccer camp missing certain credentials, certificates and first aid supplies was issued the conditional rating. The Township Administrator had been notified since the camp was leasing the property from the Township.
Mrs. Spiech inquired if snake bites were reportable. Mr. Hopper replied that they were not. Mrs. Spiech then asked if the ferret sent for rabies testing had been put down. Mr. Hopper answered that unfortunately, it is the only way to test if the animal is rabid.
Mr. Ackerman noted that, on page 2, an unsatisfactory rating had been given to a public bathing facility. Mr. Ostrow did not have the particulars as Mrs. Homler made this inspection.
Mrs. Spiech asked Mr. Ostrow to detail the interview he took part in with the Bergen Record. Mr. Ostrow explained that The Record was doing an article on the Ford Motor Company. The reporter viewed some of the archived files and interviewed Mr. Ostrow regarding the clean-up of the old Mahwah facility. The piece was originally scheduled to run in late August but, Mr. Ostrow had yet to see it in the paper.
Mrs. Spiech requested additional information regarding Domestic Partnerships and the fees collected. Mr. Hopper explained that by law, and since July of 2004, our department issued these to same-sex couples or opposite sex couples over age 62. We collect $28.00 for each, and a Certificate of Domestic Partnership is issued.
Mr. Ackerman asked Mr. Ostrow for details on the Inter-Municipal Council meeting regarding the Ramapo Watershed. Mr. Ostrow explained that Chris St. Lawrence (Ramapo Town Supervisor) has been invited several times to our Council meetings but, has not responded. The Inter-Municipal Council wants to collect fees, but since they have been unresponsive to our requests, administration is not looking favorably upon joining this coalition. Mr. Ostrow’s opinion is that we have a vested interest in remaining involved and “in the loop”.
Mr. Harris asked if construction had begun on the new wastewater treatment plant. Mr. Ostrow answered that the lines were already going in a mile off the NJ state line; they are visible from the Thruway exit ramp for Route 17. Mr. Harris shared his understanding that this was to be a very advanced treatment facility; this being the case, it would probably not do much harm to the river. Mr. Ostrow agreed that the quality of the outfalls can be better than the river itself; what concerns him is the inevitable development based on the projected expanded capacity. Unlike Mahwah, development in this area is not restricted by the Highlands Preservation Act.
Mr. Harris inquired what percentage of the township was still on septic. Mr. Hopper stated that approximately 80% of the developed property in town was sewered. Mr. Harris noted that polyethylene pipe had been laid on Wyckoff Avenue and asked if anyone knew to what purpose. Mr. Ostrow suggested it might be for communications, but that Mr. Campion would know definitively.
Mrs. DeSilva asked if there was going to be another cross-connection constructed in town for United Water. Mr. Ostrow replied yes; additional supply would be required due to the eventual shutdown of several production wells in Fardale. Effective January 1, 2006, the State is instituting a more stringent limit on arsenic levels; the wells in question will not comply.
Mr. Ackerman wanted to know if the tenant application for Alliance Hand and Physical Therapy was a medical facility; no.
There being no further questions or discussion, the Health Activities Report was unanimously approved.
PRESENTATION TO TOM ROMANS
Mrs. DeSilva warmly greeted Mr. Romans and thanked him for coming to the meeting. In recognition of his nineteen years of dedicated service as Attorney to the Board of Health, Mrs. DeSilva presented Mr. Romans with a plaque commemorating same. The Board members offered a round of applause in congratulations. Mr. Romans thanked the Board for their kindness, and recounted some of the memorable cases that presented during his tenure.
APPROVAL OF HEALTH OFFICER’S REPORT
Moved by Mr. Harris and, seconded by Mr. Ackerman, that the Health Officer’s Report be approved.
Mrs. Spiech noted that Mr. Hopper was attending numerous meetings. Mr. Hopper agreed and explained that the State receives substantial funding from the CDC to combat bio-terrorism; as a condition of that funding, it is required to hold regular meetings with their county and local partners. Roles and responsibilites are examined at these meetings. Since the state funds positions in the county health departments (to manage planning, epidemiology, risk communication etc,) it wants to ensure that the Local Boards of Health are relating and inter-facing with them.
A prevailing concern is the elimination of federal funding; will the state be willing/able to bear the cost of fulfilling [the partnership requirements] of the Public Health Practice Standards?
Another concern is the changeover in State Administration. As the Acting Governor vacates his office, so does the Commissioner of Health and, the present Deputy Commissioner of Health has announced his retirement effective this October. A new administration may have different priorities which will change the complexion and mandates of public health.
Mrs. Spiech inquired if Avian flu was discussed at these meetings. Mr. Hopper answered yes, and that Dr. Bresnitz (the State Epidemiologist) often attends. The State is preparing for a potential massive outbreak through education and by attempting to increase the vaccine supply. But, vaccine production is a profit driven enterprise and, an avian specific vaccine may never be made. A worst case scenario will be a repeat of the 1918 epidemic when millions died. The 1976 Swine flu scare on the other hand, turned out to be a non-event; thousands of people were inoculated against a disease that never presented.
In reference to our upcoming clinic, Mr. Hopper stated that we had already received 500 doses of flu vaccine from Sanofi-Pasteur. We are also expecting 150 more doses from FFF Enterprises (Chiron). He also noted that this month we had received nearly $8700.00 in reimbursement from Medicare for our 2004 clinic which more than covers the cost of the program. Our 2005 clinic is scheduled for October 28.
Mr. Harris inquired as to the results of the TopOff 3 excercises. Mr. Hopper stated that the POD model was not deemed viable for wide-spread distribution of medication. The State is now considering other options, including distribution at supermarkets or other public venues. Mr. Ackerman was concerned that a New Orleans scenario could be repeated here if talk did not translate to action; New Orleans had emergency plans that did them little good. Mr. Hopper agreed that there was a lot of talk, but evaluation and drills were being performed to back it up. He suggested that any planning was better than none, and that we learned from our mistakes.
Mr. Hopper will begin preparing the budget this month for submission by mid October. This year, he wishes to request funding for additional staff; the last time we hired an inspector was in 1988 when Mrs. Homler came on board. We are hard pressed to inspect all our food establishments as required. Mr. Ackerman asked how many licensed food establishments were in town; approximately 140-150. Mr. Hopper stated that this was an increase of at least 50 in the last 10 years. He also asked the Board to consider how much the population had increased in the last 17 years. Mr. Ackerman conceded that the population had grown, but was not convinced that there was a commensurate increase in commercial activity.
Mr. Hopper noted that the impact of new food establishments on the work load is only one aspect; resident complaints, septics, site plans, etc. have increased as well. The State Health Department is also requiring more CEU’s from inspectors to maintain their licensure; this pulls staff from the field into the classroom.
Mrs. DeSilva suggested that Mr. Hopper increase the budget to cover the anticipated increase for hiring an attorney. Mr. Ackerman
voiced his objection to hiring a full time attorney. Mr. Hopper explained that the retainer only ensures that we have an attorney at our disposal; we would be billed hourly in the event of a legal
proceeding or representation. Mr. Hopper will survey other Boards of Health in an effort to determine what the prevailing rate of compensation is.
Mr. Hopper advised that the first budget meeting is scheduled for next week. Addressing the personnel issue again, Mr. Harris suggested that a summer intern, possibly a 4th year college student, might be an affordable option if our request for a full time inspector is denied.
Mr. Ackerman requested a comparison of the year to date figures in our Health Activities Report to the same period last year. The group then entered a broad discussion on the staffing issues faced by the department in the past two years, and other events which might distort/invalidate such comparisons. Mrs. DeSilva reiterated her conviction that additional personnel was needed to ensure the public health.
There being no further questions or discussions, the Health Officer’s Report was unanimously approved.
New Cingular Wireless; 269 East Crescent Ave, Block 127, Lot 7
Application for a proposed cell phone tower on the site of the existing Apple Ridge Country Club pool and tennis court. Having received the required certification that the proposed radio frequency emissions do not exceed State limits, the Board of Health has no objection to this application.
Moved by Mr. Harris and, seconded by Mrs. Spiech and, unanimously agreed by all present to pay the bills for July and August.
REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEES
Mr. Ackerman reported that he had spoken to both Dr. Montesano and Ed Deptula. Dr. Montesano has sent an email to each school principal, advising them of our desire to access the school vending machines and directing them to cooperate fully. Dr. Montesano did suggest that Mr. Ackerman wait 2-3 weeks until the school year is in full swing and,
the machines are fully loaded. At present, approximately 98% of the vending machines are owned by Pomptonian. The remaining 2% are owned by independent companies who revenue-share with various school groups (such as the athletic department).
Mr. Ackerman perused the school menu offerings (available online at the district website) and expressed his disappointment in the lack of healthy choices - he opined that the menu was loaded with fats and starches. The State’s initiative does not take effect until next September (2006), and Mr. Ackerman’s understanding is that these will be guidelines, not mandates. He is committed to working on the vending choices first, as the State initiative is not addressing this issue at all.
REPORT OF ATTORNEY
7/14/2005 Healthy New Jersey 2010 UPDATE.
_________News Release from Dept. Health & Senior Services
A report on New Jersey’s Health Goals for 2010.
7/2005 From: John O. Bennett, GASP Consultant
The Clean Indoor Air legislation (S-1926) may not pass again this year because the Governor is not supporting it. Mr. Hopper asked the Board to consider passing another resolution in favor of this bill as we have done for the past several years.
2005 MAYORS WELLNESS CAMPAIGN SUMMARY
This campaign will be introduced at the League of Municipalities in November. It encourages healthy lifestyles, especially for children but for seniors as well.
August 2005 Dr. Frank Kavanagh, DVM
Letter announcing his resignation as a participating vet effect 12/31/05 absent an increase in reimbursement to $21.00 per animal.
1) Resolution #05-13
2005 Salary Ordinance
Introduced by: Mr. Ackerman
Seconded by: Mr. Harris
Roll Call: 5 ayes, 2 absent
There being no further comments or discussion, a motion to adjourn at 9:20pm was made by Mr. Ackerman, seconded by Mrs. Tracey and, agreed by all present.
The next meeting is scheduled for October 6, 2005.