I am willing to provide the most generous reason: folks want to help their community. Anything else would be a less altruistic reason.
Today, the Millville Public Library had its groundbreaking of the expansion. Y’know, golden shovels, politicians, photographs. I wanted to see this. I like the library. I came out to support it.
I was early. I waited. Then the politicians and the politically connected began arriving. Former mayors, former city commissioners, municipal engineers, and those who like to shake hands. We even had a current city commissioner on hand.
People shaking hands, smiling, and making small talk. Finally, the shovels appeared. Things still didn’t happen.
No scenario could be clearer. We were in the parking lot. This section of the parking lot was cordoned off with orange traffic cones. Right on the other side of the cones there was a van that had broken down. Two guys were trying to push it. They were not successful. I watched. Others watched. Some small talk about the van situation was heard. Lots of folks looked at this situation. No one moved.
A minute later no shovels had moved either. I scurried over to the van. Cindi Cooke was there helping the two guys push. I showed up. We got the van moving, around the corner, and stopped to where the car was that would jump the van. Cindi and I walked back to the shovels. Too late. The two or three minutes it had taken to move the van was enough time for the shovels to do their work. Presumably the politicians smiled and the photographs were taken. I missed it all. Everyone was headed for treats.
So, a parking lot full of politicians . . . folks who smile and have their pictures taken for the newspaper, web sites, and social media were all there. Not one of them helped the community today.
Remember this when they ask for your vote or tell you who to vote for.
Short meeting with nothing much of note. No comments at all from the public.
Commissioner Sooy mentioned he attended a Zoning Board meeting. He stated the Zoning Board has become an advocate for those who are applying for variances. Stated that the Zoning Board criticized the City Commission.
Sooy went on to state that he began reading up on the Zoning Board. He found out there the Zoning Board is permitted to have four alternates. He stated there are only two. He wants another two presumably to better represent this Commission.
Commissioner Sooy is incorrect. There are four alternates to the Zoning Board.
It is the Planning Board that has but two alternates. The Commission indicated it would like to increase the Planning Board to have four as permitted by law.
I have no issue with this other than Mayor Orndorf remarked stated that the reason it was needed is that during summer months lots of projects come. But that reason is moot if the Zoning Board is already full. Just sloppy governing. It is obvious this Commission wants its picks on the boards. That is fine.
It has been a few weeks since I’ve been here and thought I would celebrate the weekend. 🙂
First up was the Hemmingway Rites Goode. This is Missin Spirits’ take on the Hemmingway daiquiri. Never a fan of grapefruit, this was fabulous! The lime, allspice dram, passion fruit, and bitters did their job to balance the acidity of the grapfruit. This is so good it is a cocktail I would order again. Tasty.
Not feeling anything specific from the menu, I asked the new bartender to select something for me. She (and Steve) were all hyped up on their version of the mint julep . . . of course made with rum.
I had had plenty of these last weekend. I’m going to say it, mine were far better. I can handle rum replacing the bourbon. It was the rest of the preparation that waned, specifically the mint. I believe it was muddled much harder than mine. It was not discarded as the poem states (I can handle that it wasn’t). But the bouquet was lacking. Nothing minty about this. The volume didnt seem great either. This went down quickly and nothing was left to suck up. Not their finest offering, imo.
It’s been several months since I’ve been in Mission Spirits. I believe it was right before Christmas since I last had a rum cocktail.
I peeked in on their Facebook page and had seen a video of this cocktail. I was impressed. It was nice seeing Steve again. Jay and Ash were not there. A new bartender (have forgotten her name) was also on hand. I asked Steve about this. It’s at the top of the current menu.
They had this water pipe made for them by a guy in New York. Apparently, Tommy Chong promoted him. Mission Spirits needs more than one of these. It is a time-consuming process to build the cocktail but oh so satisfying.
The drink itself is solid! Yes, heavy on the smoke, the two rums and allspice do well bracing against the smoke. This is a hearty cocktail.
Commissioners McQuade and Sooy are presenting a change in an ordinance to permit a landscaper to place debris at the curb. Currently, the landscaper needs to remove the debris. If I were to clear the same thing from my own home, I can place it at the curb.
New Jersey passed a law last July that requires municipalities to inventory and replace all lead water pipes within 10 years. Lots needs to be done. Looks like it is about $1,000,000 to do this. Cumberland County also has issues and wants to pump Commercial Township to Millville. Will need to be decided later.
She suggests the Commission bank the COLA adjustments, which is permitted, for a rainy day fund. Commissioner Sooy voted against doing this in his previous stint on the Commission, but stated they should do it this year since it can be kept for three years. He made the argument that he wouldn’t want to leave a bank of money for the next Commission. Why? If he is willing to have this rainy day fund, wouldn’t it be equally good for whatever Commission? Silly politics with that reasoning.
Whether it makes sense for any Commission to have this bank of money has yet to be determined.
The budget lady (Marcy?) posited that Commissions should raise taxes yearly. Does that jive with this Commission’s plan for the future of Millville? That is a horrible policy!
Millville received $1.7 million from American Recovery (COVID cash) to help balance budget last year.
Salary and wages, insurance, pension contributions, and utilities all going up next year. Not much wiggle room in those areas.
Commissioner Hewitt laid the groundwork that this budget coming up is not this Commission’s budget. Rather, it is a budget that is being passed on from the previous Commission to them. Politics at play. You have a month from now, four months from when you were seated to have influenced the budget. This is this Commission’s budget.
Commission McQuade lauded the Streets & Roads department for snow removal and potholes filled. He also stated there was a clean-up on the south side of the railroad tracks near the tavern. Have been in touch with the railroad for supplies (bags and stuff) to help with this.
Commissioner Sooy stated there is a resolution to increase CME by $70,000. This is due to a change in “scope services” provided. Will be using them for inspections like at the expansion of 4 Seasons. Seems like a lot of money to ensure drainage is completed properly. Mediation on the Wheaton property is coming up. Meeting with lots of developers This is becoming a refrain heard at every meeting. It is far better to say nothing and then present the pay-off than to string along like this and not have anything to deliver.
Mayor reported that the new city planner began this week.
Betty Monteleone spoke.
Commissioner Romanik did not return call for a donation to his church for Ukraine.
Four Commissioners and city solicitor are not returning calls.
Branch pick-up is too early. Need more pick-ups. No communication regarding this.
Stated Mr. Patel pays $150,000 annually in taxes plus 3% hotel taxes on rooms. This is for the three properties, I believe, on 2nd Street. Quality Inn, another motel, and the senior daycare. Isn’t that the same amount NJMP pays?
Mayor Orndorf threw the city professional under the bus for the communication snafu. She stated she was just copied on e-mails, not addressed directly. This delfection is not good. Stand up and take responsibility.
Roger Patel spoke. He wants to put in sinks and cabinets into 24 rooms at the Quality Inn to qualify for extended stay program. This will permit people to stay and cook a little in the room. Extended stay is several days, not permanent residences. Twenty-five rooms already have these. He wants a construction permit to add these. He spent $10,000 lawyer fees to meet the planning board deadline. Planning board said it was not needed.
The gist of it is that the city is not coming through with what he needs. He’s out money and has $90-100,000 of supplies held up because he can’t get this job done. It sounds like the construction department is a mess. Brock is surprised that the lawyer would not have called him. Business owner just wants to add some cabinets and sinks. The city is making this entirely too difficult for a business to enhance his property.
Commissioner McQuade stated Mayor Orndorf and Vice Mayor Sooy are working on bringing businesses to Millville. Be patient and wait a year for the pay-off, he says. Remain in your lane and stop promising.
Public Comment on Agenda Items Ms. Broomhall suggested that the illuminated sign ordinance should be reviewed by the new city planner before it is voted upon.
Reports of Commissioners Commissioner Romanik publicly acknowledged the workers of the Parks and Recreation Department. On 9 March No Trespassing signs were placed at the soccer complex on Bogden. The signs have since been torn down. Sounds like the no trespassing is for the wooded area, which concerns me.
9 April is opening day for youth sports as well as Easter Egg Hunt. 23 April youth entrepreneurial fair. Twenty children 8-17 needed.
Millville Public Library has hired Ogren for the expansion.
Commissioner Hewitt stated there will be police patrols for the soccer complex. Provided police, fire, and EMS reports.
Commissioner McQuade stated Streets & Roads have filled all reported potholes. The department will be picking up bags of leaves on Wednesdays throughout the month. Went through all that the department has picked up this past month.
Commissioner Sooy recieved the tax report. The budget will be introduced tonight. It is not voted on until next meeting. The demolition of the old rescue squad building is held up for a second quote for asbestos removal. Stated building should be down within 60 days. Mediation for the Wheaton property will occur before the month is up.
Mayor Orndorf attended the induction of 1975 football team to the South Jersey Sports Hall of Fame. A lot of interest in the city. We are moving forward. Lots of good stuff happening. Absolutely no details.
An Ordinance amending Millville City Code Chapter 30 (“Land use and development regulations”), Article XXIII (“Signs”), Section 259 et. seq. in order to add § 30-262N regulating digital signs. Passed with the understanding the new city planner will review prior to next meeting.
An Ordinance to exceed the Municipal Budget Appropriation limits and to establish a Cap Bank in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:4-45.14 for CY 2022. Seems like this is a workaround of the public voting on referenda for projects. Passed.
Resolutions Resolution approving 1st Amendment to Purchase and Sale Agreement with Levoni America Corporation to reflect the actual size of the property as approximately 8.26 acres with dimensions of approximately 600′ by 600′. This is land directly past the soccer complex on Bogden.
Resolution appointing Jason Witcher to serve as Municipal Court Judge for a three year term for an annual compensation in the amount of $80,000.00. Renewed his contract that the previous Commission did not.
Resolution authorizing a Professional Services Contract retaining Roux Associates, Inc. pursuant to a Non-Fair and Open process in an amount not to exceed $6,700.00 for a one year term for the preparation of an annual report for the municipality’s polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) pollutant minimization plan (PMP).
Resolution authorizing the purchase of various equipment and installation for (5) 2022 Ford Utility Interceptors, from Vineland Auto Electric, 382 S. Delsea Drive, Vineland, NJ 08360 for a cost of $60,269.03. All the electronics, lights, sirens, etc. for police cruisers.
Resolution awarding a contract to Neri’s Construction and Rental, Inc. to Demolish 1729 East Main Street and 420/422 North 3rd Street in the amount of $58,649.00. Does this place a lein on these properties?
Resolution authorizing a First Amendment to Professional Services Contract with CME Associates for further engineering projectsin an additional amount of $70,000.00 for a new not to exceed amount of $90,000.00. Inspections on residential construction and public works projects.
Resolution rescinding Resolution No. 284-2021 and terminating the Letter of Intent between the City of Millville and Herb-A-More for the sale of certain municipally owned property located at the James R. Hurley Industrial Park, more specifically a part of Lot 11, Block 125.03 to Herb-A-More. Company did not get licensed. Freeing up the land for other projects.
A Resolution approving the City of Millville to sponsor CUT International Short Film Festival in the amount of $5,000.00. So much for having city’s businesses kick in as discussed when this was first brought up. Using leftover UEZ money.
Resolution granting request by the Positive Vibes Community Group to adopt Waltman Park for the purpose of providing community clean up services.
Public Comments Katherine Ocera (?) spoke about intersection of Whitall and South 3rd Street. Lots of accidents. Her light has been taken out twice. Neighbor lost his porch, etc. Add four-way stop. Commissioner Hewitt promised to discuss with police department.
Donna Stiles, coordinator of homeless services at Trinity at the Hope Center. They host Code Blue. Host Millville Care and Share, which is a lunch program.
Dominic Francesco was offended regarding comments made by the Commission specifically Commissioner Hewitt. Sat down with Peter Wine. Stated that Mr. Wine is not opposed to the voluntary advisory board.
Pastor Steve Harris provided idea for Commission to always put the best forward. Used the advisory board as an example. This should have been hammered out of the public’s eye. Create a procedure for proposals. Wants a memorial on the Wheaton property to all those who worked there.
Betty Montleone wants to know what will happen to the property next to Jim’s Lunch. Regarding the budget, cut the departments, not raise taxes.
Mary Messick spoke highly of Code Blue. Commission eeds to communicate beyond the computer. Not everyone has access.
Comments of Commissioners Commissioner Romanik highlighted the winenrs of the winter photo contest. Tree City designation again. Parks Department is looking for seasonal labor.
Commissioner McQuade highlighted there were 22 in attendance at the Commission meeting.
Commissioner Sooy stated CUT film festival is 21-22 October. We’re realigning city staff.