FLEMINGTON, NJ - Practicing what one could call government-distancing, Flemington Borough held an official “GoToMeeting” session on the Internet in a special council meeting Wednesday.
The call-in/log-on program allowed the participants to interact remotely while taking care of town business.
Mayor Betsy Driver and borough clerk Sallie Graziano were at town hall while the borough council, borough attorney Tara St. Angelo and Flemington OEM coordinator Brian McNally, plus a few residents, attended the meeting virtually.
Although sound was intermittently an issue, the governing body was able to take care of the necessary business to keep the borough running and the employees paid while borough offices remain closed to combat the coronavirus.
Driver opened the meeting, noting, “this has been an incredibly interesting week” and adding, “there is no mayor’s handbook for dealing with a pandemic.”
An important take-away from the meeting is that the Flemington Borough website should be the go-to place for information. She explained that any information put up on the site will have been vetted by the Office of Emergency Management.
In the approximately 35-minute session, Resolution 2020-69 extending the temporary budget, which was passed initially at the reorganization meeting in January, was extended. The measure will allow employees to continue to be paid until a final budget is approved.
Resolution 2020-70 accepting the library renovation bids also passed, one for the lump sum and one for the guardrail. The council was advised it needed to act on this because once the request for bids closes the borough is bound by law to take action within a certain timeframe.
There was a temporary sick leave policy established that St. Angelo said has been mandated by the State Assembly. The borough’s workplace-distancing policy follows the state civil service guidelines during a public health emergency.
Resolution 2020-71 provides that an employee who contracts covid-19 will not to need to use sick pay or flex time to be paid. This will also apply if an employee needs to care for a child or family member that comes down with the virus.
Driver said all employees are subject to immediate recall if necessary.
Resolution 2020-72 extends the grace period for water and sewer payments from 10 days to 30 days. Driver noted this might be extended again, but at the moment they are going out 30 days.
In case members of the governing body become ill, Resolution 2020-73 temporarily lifts the requirement for multiple signatures on borough issued checks.
Finally, the special meeting that had been scheduled for March 25 was canceled.
The second reading and public comment sessions for Ordinance 2020-2, which establishes a mixed-use/multi-family overlay district south of Route 12 and Ordinance 2020-3 permitting social clubs and certain theater uses in the downtown business district had been on the agenda for the March 9 council meeting. It was adjourned when over 50 people came out to participate, exceeding the fire marshal's room capacity.
The meeting had been relocated to the larger space at the historic courthouse. The meeting will be re-noticed when it is again safe to hold public meetings.
The regular borough council meeting on March 23 has not yet officially been canceled.
There was a public comment period included in the meeting. No one spoke about any of the issues discussed.