NUTLEY, NJ - TAPinto Nutley spoke with several Nutley Township employees who attended the 102nd Annual New Jersey State League of Municipalities Conference at the Atlantic City Convention Center November 14-16, 2017

Frank DeMaio, Township Recreation Director, Parks and Recreation Department, told TAP he attended several classes to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

DeMaio attended classes on sustainability, health and wellness and a class called ‘An Eye in the Sky: Benefits of Drone Use.’ FAA regulations allow municipalities to set their own codes for recreational flyers or hobbyists. Drones used for commercial or municipal purposes must complete a registration with the FAA.

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Regarding the class: ‘Sustainability: Best Practices for Parks & Recreation’, DeMaio said he learned additional information on how to extend the life of turf and trees. “Because of the way we will be up-keeping the Owens Field, we will get more years than the warranty out of that turf.” DeMaio said.

He also stated that the Parks Department is looking into planting perennials vs. annuals in the spring.

Meredith Blank said she and Donna Feaster attended classes to earn CEUs required to process birth, death and marriage records for the citizens of Nutley. She shared that their office has processed 162 marriage applications to date. Once records are processed in the township they are sent to the state for recording.

Blank and Feaster are both Clerks and Registrars of Vital Statistics in the Nutley Public Affairs Department.

Edmund B. Brown, Nutley Tax Assessor said. “I attended but paid my own way. I did this because I wasn’t there to take any CEU classes.”

According to Brown, he has already completed his recertification as an assessor, which is required every three years. “I will be taking CEU classes in 2018.”

At this year’s conference Brown attended the class he said he looks forward to every year: An update on ‘what is going on with assessments’; including what changes in the laws are currently ‘on the books.’ Brown is also the tax assessor for the Borough of Franklin Lakes.

Sal Ferraro, Township Engineering Department, attended to spend time with vendors, learning about new equipment and technologies available to municipalities to improve efficiencies.  

Ferraro said: “We have been spending a lot of money on our roads. I looked at a ‘crack seal’ machine that injects liquid asphalt and seals in order to extend the life of roads by five to seven years.” Currently the Township has been outsourcing this service and Ferraro is looking to bring it in house.

“Our underground utilities are old.” Ferraro said the price of robotic camera equipment used for sewer and pipe investigations has dropped in recent years. “Our next step is for some of the vendors I talked with to come to Nutley and demo their equipment.

In his role as Municipal Recycling Coordinator, Ferraro was interested in a new recycling truck that is compartmentalized to pick up both glass and paper, which would allow the municipality to consolidate to ‘one run’. Currently there are two Township trucks, one for paper and one for glass. 

(Note: Ferraro said that Pennoni, the contracted Township engineering firm, had recently completed the update of tax maps as required for the state. The next step will be to overlay zoning maps reflecting zoning changes onto the new tax maps.)

Township Clerk, Eleni Pettas, RMC – Municipal Clerk (973) 284-4955 said she and Township Attorney Alan Genitempo both attended the class: ‘Impact of Micro-Breweries’. Pettas said the topic was brought up at the last Board of Commissioners meeting by an individual wishing to open a micro-brew in Nutley. According to Pettas ‘many components and guidelines must be addressed when setting up these businesses in a town including zoning, water, policing etc.’

New Jersey township clerks are required to earn a certain number of CEUs in order to renew their license; which occurs every two years.

“This conference is a great tool. It allows us to be aware of what is coming up and what other municipalities are doing.” Pettas said she always attends the classes offered on OPRA (Open Public Records Act), which are her “favorites.” 

Mike Luzzi, Superintendent of Public Works, has been attending the conference for around 20 years. Luzzi did not take any classes, however he spent his time on the exhibit floor researching new equipment.

Luzzi said: “A lot of our equipment is getting old. We could use a new sweeper.” Luzzi said the Township currently owns two sweepers. “We go out at 5am three times a week when the sleepers are running.”

Maintenance and repair work on Nutley’s sleepers is done by the two Township mechanics. The Township’s supervising mechanic, Jimmy Santangelo, also attended the League Conference.

PSE&G started replacing gas mains throughout the Township in August and work is continuing through the end of year. Regarding recent road patching done by the utilities company, Luzzi said: ‘The current work is temporary until the entire work is done. Do you think I would leave my roads looking like that? Curb appeal means a lot.”

According to Luzzi, Roman Asphalt was contracted by PSE&G to repave the impacted streets ‘probably in the spring.’

PSE&G has published Nutley Street Sweeping and Upgrade work schedules on their website. Click here to learn more about the PSE&G work in Nutley.

Other educational offerings listed on the conference program included:

  • Liquor Licensing & Economic Development
  • Schools & Municipalities: Working Together for Children’s Health
  • Next Generation of Professionals for Electeds
  • The New Downtown Paradigm – Attracting Customers & Business
  • Affordable Housing Update
  • Creating Dynamic Content with Social Media
  • Key Principles for Effective Community Engagement
  • Ethics for Local Government Employees
  • Leveraging the Cloud for Less Taxing Tax Assessment
  • Planning for Millennials
  • Addressing Heroin & Opiate Abuse in Your Community
  • An Agenda for the New Governor

This year 16,000 municipal government workers attended to learn from 100+ educational sessions and over 700 exhibitors. East Rutherford Mayor Jim Cassella was sworn in as President of the NJ League of Municipalities at the conference.

The Executive Board consists of 20 mayors from across the state. Mayor Colleen Mahr of Fanwood was elected to the position of First Vice President, and Mayors James S. Perry, Sr., and Janice Kovach of Clinton Town serve as Second and Third Vice Presidents, respectively. Other mayors serving on the executive board include Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia, Steven Fulop of Jersey City and Ras Baraka of Newark. Members of the board were elected by their fellow mayors.

Handouts from some of the education sessions can be viewed here:

OPRA & Right to Know: Recent Developments & Strategies

2017 Update on Open Public Records Act Cases by: Carl R. Woodward, III, Esq., League Associate Counsel