BOARD OF HEALTH
July 21, 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 8:17 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: Mrs. Homler, REHS
Mr. Ostrow, REHS
Mrs. Campbell, Secretary
APPROVAL OF REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
Moved by Mrs. Spiech and, seconded by Mr. Wasson and, agreed by all present, the minutes of the meeting of June 2, 2005 were approved.
APPROVAL OF HEALTH ACTIVITIES REPORT
Moved by Mr. Ackerman and, seconded by Mr. LaMontagne, that the Health Activities Report be approved.
Mrs. DeSilva asked for clarification on the food and dairy sample figures reported on page 4. Mrs. Campbell explained that those figures marked with an asterisk indicated items submitted for testing in May, but for which the results were not received until June; there were 11 such items pending. The remaining figure would indicate reports for items that were both submitted and results received in the current month.
Mr. Harris stated that some of the tenant applications (ie. MDX Solutions) appeared to be duplications. Mr. Ostrow stated that these were probably amended applications from the same tenant. Mrs. Homler added that sometimes an application is returned to us with
clarification or supporting documents. These are not necessarily amended applications, but they still require a second review by this department and therefore appear in our monthly activity report. Mr. Harris requested that, for clarity, applications received for subsequent review be so designated on the report.
Mrs. DeSilva asked Mrs. Homler to detail the violations resulting in the Conditional ratings issued in June. Mrs. Homler replied as follows:
The Store had an abrupt change of ownership. The new owner “inherited” most of the violations and, was not able to remediate all of them in the 2 day interval between her initial visit and the re-inspection.
Tirreno’s Conditional rating was not a matter of housekeeping (which was found to be satisfactory), but of equipment. The owners had removed a utility sink which was required of them in their kitchen plan review. A plumber is scheduled to replace the sink; Mrs. Homler explained she could not change their rating until the job was completed.
Travel Centers has been Conditional for quite some time. Most of the violations have been corrected, but not all. The manager (Wendall Marshall) had informed Mrs. Homler of his intention to address the remaining violations over the 4th of July weekend. Travel Centers is scheduled for a re-inspection next week.
There being no further questions or discussion, the Health Activities Report was unanimously approved.
APPROVAL OF HEALTH OFFICER’S REPORT
Moved by Mrs. Tracey and, seconded my Mr. Harris, that the Health Officer’s Report be approved.
Mr. Wasson asked Mr. Ostrow to update the Board on the Crossroad’s co-generation application which is presently before the D.E.P. Mr. Ostrow explained that this was a renewal application for the facility’s air pollution control permits. So long as the operating and emission standards were no less restrictive than the prior application, our Department had no objections. Mr. Ostrow further explained that while the State elicits our comments on these applications, our comments are not binding.
Mr. Wasson inquired who the owner of the property was. Mr. Ostrow stated that Garden Homes, (the Wilf Brothers) bought the property from the prior owner (D’Agostino) during a bankruptcy proceeding. Mr. Wasson asked if Garden Homes had any intention of improving the undeveloped acreage. Mr. Ostrow had heard speculation that Garden Homes wanted to approach the council for a zoning variance to allow retail. In Mr. Ostrow’s opinion, a retail operation
would put considerable stress on the township’s resources.
Mr. Ackerman wanted to know if the feral cat population on Route 202 had dispersed. Mrs. Homler replied that the shelters had been removed and she had not observed any felines in the area. Mrs. Spiech was interested in the reactions of the restaurant owners to the letter Mr. Hopper had sent them. Mrs. Homler replied that the owner of the River Palm came into our office. He expressed his original sentiment that, caring for the colony was the humanitarian thing to do. After receipt of our letter and, a conversation with his insurance carrier, he has changed his mind. There are now signs posted on his property prohibiting the feeding of any animals or aiding the woman who was caring for the colony.
The owner of the Mason Jar expressed the same initial reaction but, is now denying the woman access to his property. Mrs. Homler expressed some surprise that the woman (a Mahwah resident) had not contacted our department after being “evicted”.
Mrs. DeSilva noted that Mr. Hopper and Mrs. Homler had met with Alice Schroeder and Adele Alfiere of Bergen Community Health Care. She relayed to the Board that Mr. Hopper has invited Ms. Schroeder and Ms. Alfiere to our September meeting and, asked the Board to consider any questions or topics they would like to cover at that time.
Mr. LaMontagne inquired if BCHC provided us with an annual report or only quarterly reports, such as the one received this month. Mrs. Campbell offered that Mr. Hopper tabulated those figures in his Annual Report.
Mr. Ackerman wanted to know the criteria for a Mahwah resident to use the nursing services. Mr. Ostrow replied that the program clinics were primarily for senior citizens and pre-school children, and open to any Mahwah resident in those demographics.
Mr. LaMontagne was interested in making a comparison to services provided this quarter to those provided last year. Mr. Ostrow suggested that BCHC might be able to provide those figures and, to leave a message for Mr. Hopper requesting same. Mr. Ackerman asked what we were paying for BCHC’s services. Mr. Ostrow estimated their contract was approximately $17,000 per year, but it was a line item on the budget that could be easily verified.
Mr. Ackerman further inquired what the cost per person was. Mrs. Campbell replied that on a monthly basis, that figure would vary according to what services were performed and how many clients utilized them. Mr. Ostrow was of the opinion that the program was very cost effective; in-house services would incur the expenses of salary, benefits, and supplies.
There being no further questions or discussion, the Health Officer’s Report was unanimously approved by all present.
Moved by Mr. Harris and, seconded by Mr. Ackerman and, unanimously agreed by all present to pay the bills for June.
REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEES
Speaking for the committee on school nutrition and childhood obesity, Mr. Ackerman informed the membership of the State’s new initiative regarding this issue. He suggested that the committee postpone research or action until definitive measures were taken by and/or approved by the State. If our Board deems the State’s actions limited or insufficient, we can then further pursue the issue locally.
Mr. Ackerman continued that we could and should focus our attention on the vending machine issue which, to the best of his knowledge, is not being addressed by this initiative. Mr. Ostrow and Mrs. Tracey had contradicting information from independent sources - they were of the understanding that candy and highly caffeinated drinks were going to be banned. Further fact finding will need to be done. Mr. Ackerman, with the Board’s approval, offered to take a census of the existing vending machines in the schools and what they were proffering. He hopes to accomplish this prior to our next meeting.
REPORT OF ATTORNEY
Mrs. DeSilva solicited recommendations from the members regarding the hiring of a new attorney. Mr. Harris queried if we were required to maintain an attorney on retainer and if price was an issue. Mrs. DeSilva said price was an issue from the standpoint that it was not a lucrative position. This was making it difficult to find someone willing to sign on.
Mr. Ostrow explained some of the historical reasons why the Board had its own attorney. Before the township converted to the Faulkner form of government, there was often contention between the different Township Boards and between the Boards and the Township Council. He cited one incident where the Planning Board actually sued the Town Council.
Mrs. DeSilva expressed her conviction in the value of having an attorney on retainer; someone rehearsed not only in the general issues and concerns of Public Health, but familiar with (and
commited to) matters unique to our Board and the Township. Mr. Ostrow agreed, and referred to the drawn-out Shoreco litigation which Mr. Romans steered us through.
Mr. Ackerman was not optimistic about finding a replacement, given the requisite monthly attendance at our meetings, historically nominal billing hours, and a minimal retainer fee. Mrs. DeSilva suggested that we may need to determine what other towns are offering and possibly increase the retainer amount. Mr. Ackerman countered that, as a Board, we should first determine whether to maintain the status-quo (by replacing Mr. Romans), or to solicit representation on an as-needed basis.
Mrs. DeSilva, Mr. LaMontagne, Mr. Wasson and M r. Harris indicated a preference for having our own attorney. Mr. Wasson suggested that determining the going rate may, in effect, make the decision for us. The general consensus was agreement, and the members will make inquiries during the course of the next month as to retainer fees offered by other Boards.
5/31/2005 BERGEN COMMUNITY HEALTH CARE 1ST QUARTER REPORT
6/07/2005 From: John Hopper to Mr. Robert Belisonzi, Mason Jar
6/07/2005 From: John Hopper to Mr. Joseph Antone, River Palm
Letter urging restaurant owners to disallow the feeding/care of feral cat colony located on these properties.
6/15/2005 NJDHSS REPORT ON CONFIRMED HIV/AIDS CASES
Confirmed AIDS cases reported through December 31, 2004.
6/26/2005 From: John Hopper to Mayor Richard Martel
Memo recommending the reappointment of Mr. Harris to the Mahwah Board of Health.
6/2005 Ramapo Ridge Reporter (Internal school newsletter)
Article reporting on the new indoor air quality monitoring program at Ramapo Ridge School, submitted by the Tools for Schools Committee.
Mrs. DeSilva requested suggestions on how best to commemorate Mr. Roman’s years of service. Mr. Harris felt a plaque was apropos, and the members all agreed. Mrs. Campbell will convey this information to Mr. Hopper.
Mrs. Tracey asked if the Township Website was updated to reflect the most recent approved minutes. Mrs. Campbell stated that it was.
Mrs. Homler reiterated her concern that the schools still did not have a recycling program in place. Mr. Ackerman stated that recycling had become an expensive proposition. Mr. Harris agreed, stating that there was virtually no market for certain recycled products (ie. brown and green glass) which drives up the over-all cost of these programs. The group entered into a broad discussion on the scope, logistics and viability of recycling.
There being no further comments or discussion, a motion to adjourn at 9:10pm was made by Mr. Harris, seconded by Mrs. Tracey and, agreed by all present.
The next meeting is scheduled for September 1, 2005.
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