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Mayor May Get More Power Over Open Space Funds

If Fields of Dreams-motivated ordinance passes, some flood survivors could benefit.

In a Feb. 14 letter between Mayor James Barberio and Township Attorney John Inglesino, it appears Town Hall has come up with a way to link the with the plight of Lake Hiawatha flood survivors.

The Township Council is expected to consider on Tuesday a  and replace it with a Municipal Open Space, Recreation and Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

That ordinance was discussed in Inglesino's missive, which was hand-delivered to the mayor hours before the .

In the letter, the lawyer said he believes the township legally can use Open Space Trust Fund monies to pay debt service on bonds created for the purpose of funding the so-called Fields of Dreams proposal. The project, using a conservative estimate, is expected to cost approximately $4.5 million.

According to Inglesino, the law also permits the municipality to expand its open space powers via ordinance.

The attorney told the mayor that in his legal opinion, Parsippany's government has done all that is necessary under law to use the open space money for the fields.  

From Inglesino's letter:

It is also our view that the record can and should be strengthened in this regard. Therefore, we advise the township to hold a public hearing and adopt an ordinance specifically expanding the permissible uses listed in its Open Space Ordinance to include all of the statutorily permitted purposes [that] were recently expanded to include Blue Acres projects which may also be included in such ordinance. This would permit the township to use open space funds to acquire properties that have been "substantially damaged" by natural disasters such as floods.

's unprecedented flood have been raised as an issue in the ongoing Fields of Dreams debate. Many residents have said open space money should be used to help people who cannot return home rather than on turf fields, which some consider comparably trivial.

Other residents at all, insisting that the Open Space Trust Fund was intended to preserve natural spaces. Still others worry about .

There is an additional hurdle the turf proposal must clear: In order for the township to use open space funds for any project, the municipality under law must have an ownership interest in it. In the case of the fields at  and , the would have to cede 51 percent of its ownership of the fields to the township. This agreement, once signed, is irrevocable.

Before the school board can proceed with consideration of the idea, it first must get the approval of the state Department of Education. Even if such approval is granted, of giving the municipality majority ownership of school fields.

VietNam Vet March 12, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Patchlover, I so agree with you, he came to me at my house and asked for my vote when he ran and we had a little talk, from that I believed he was going to do the right thing by the town and taxpayers. Unfortunately he hasn't done much except take the surplus money from the sewer and water and put it someplace else instead of refund it to the residents who can really use it in this economy, but he is now looking to take Open Space money and use it for another one of his hair brained schemes. I can tell you now he won't get my vote again, he has lied to all of us and he needs to be stopped as well as the towns Lawyer, who is an idiot and a schemer just like the Mayor.
VietNam Vet March 12, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Brady, this Mayor is getting as bad as Odumbo[Osama] only on a smaller scale. This cannot be allowed to go through because he will have an unlimited amount of monies to play with anytime he wants to, then there will be no stopping this jerk.
Michael March 12, 2012 at 07:12 PM
For those of you who are concerned about what is happening in the City of Parsippany regarding the use of these funds, there is a group working hard to bring awareness to this and is prepared to do so legally. If you want to help please see this page http://parsippanyunite.com/make_a_contribution
JOHN RACIK March 12, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Remember when Social Security funds were redirected to general expenses for the feds ? Now we have funds that were allocated for a special purpose wanting to be allocated for another purpose: for bonding for an item that will require repairs before the bond is paid for. Trying to follow the flow of these funds gets very confusing. What happens to the land that these funds were supposed to purchase in the future ?
Dorothy March 12, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Lets think about this????? Is there any checks and balances???? Say i'm an elected official and whatever choice i make doesnt cost me a dime since I have a municpal budget to back me up and even if I make a mistake and it costs the TAXPAYERS millions. I also have an ordinance that will for my personal mistakes. What do I have to lose?
Jennifer McNulty March 12, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Natalie, those words are specifically in the opinion but not in the proposed Ordinance. There is no reference to the Blue Acres in Ordinance 2012:10
Jennifer McNulty March 12, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Mike, in all fairness to the timing of this article the proposed Ordinance has been available to the public for a month. It has been published on the Parsippany website and available through the Town Clerk since the day after the last Town meeting.
Jennifer McNulty March 12, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Can anyone either give another example of this certain wording or any reason to use it? SECTION 9. This Ordinance shall take effect immediately upon adoption by the Township Council and approval by the Mayor in accordance with applicable law and not upon final publication. It appears there is a particular reason to have this specific wording. Is the Town Council looking to act on this Ordinance if it is passed at the meeting.
parpardon March 13, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Michael, I went the web site parsippanyunited. It's nothing but a bunch of NIMBY. As McNulty has said the ordinance has been discussed. It has been made public. You are just to blind to see past the fact the you don't want this project. I have been to one of the council meetings and I thought it was pretty clear what the intention of the Administration and council. Shared services. Not to raise taxes. I have read the Township attorney's opinion that was posted online. The state statute is pretty clear. You and everyone here is just to blind to see it.
parpardon March 13, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Michael, I went the web site parsippanyunited. It's nothing but a bunch of NIMBY. As McNulty has said the ordinance has been discussed. It has been made public. You are just to blind to see past the fact the you don't want this project. I have been to one of the council meetings and I thought it was pretty clear what the intention of the Administration and council. Shared services. Not to raise taxes. I have read the Township attorney's opinion that was posted online. The state statute is pretty clear. You and everyone here is just to blind to see it.
parpardon March 13, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Paul Brown, talk about a bumbling idiot. I am sure you know what you are talking about. So far your the biggest jerk on this story. Can you read? Can you comprehend? Go on the town web site and find the opinion letter. It is pretty clear what open space dollars can be used for. Do you need a tutor to help you comprehend? You do make one good point. The economy is bad. The council and the administration find a way to upgrade our facilities without raising taxes and you complain. Paul Brown, for you everything is a scheme when you don't agree with it.
Kristen Ritter March 13, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Hey, ParPardon...Glad you have an opinion, but no need to be so rude. I say we ignore people on these threads who won't use their names. If someone has an opinion and feels they need to malign others...they should be man or woman enough to use their damn name!!
parpardon March 13, 2012 at 03:04 AM
John Racik, go to the town web site read the attorney's opinion letter and the state statute and it is pretty clear what Open Space Trust dollars can be used for. It is not like social security. OSTF dollars can be used for this purpose. I went online and read the state statute and it is pretty clear and simple to understand the open space dollars can be used for this purpose. You have a whole bunch of not in my back yard residents protesting it. All they want to do is find a way to kill the project. The Not In My Backyard residents will be untruthful and make you believe they have this love for open space when it fact they don't.
parpardon March 13, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Joe Raich, here is a guy who ran for Board of Ed, Assembly and so on. If I can remember told me and others that the town and BOE should consider sharing services. You are a joke.
Maurice Saunders March 13, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Kristen, well said!!!
parpardon March 13, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Kristen Ritter, I find it kind of odd that you would respond to me because I don't use my name when other do the same on this subject. What I have noticed is that you responded because I do not agree with you. That is beside the point. You have Dorothy, Patchlover, Jeff and even Paul Brown. Do you believe that these are the real names of these individuals? Is it ok for Paul Brown to be so rude? Read his comments. You didn't scold him. Ah, but his rudeness is ok because you might agree with him. Be fair.
Jeff March 13, 2012 at 07:52 AM
Be fair? I don't care if you are anonymous though I would prefer you to be civil as opposed to be bent on name calling as noted in your thread. It doesn't further your position and makes you seem desperate and mean. I voted for OSF, however, disagree that the intention was to use a disproportionate amount for buying BOE owned lands for turfing and then bonding it out for a long period of time. My view was that it was to ensure that we secure land from over development. If the true intention is not being followed - then it should be dissolved. Regardless, these are lawyer tricks that are being played out. It is curcumventing and disenfranchising those who took the time to vote for OSF. Why is it that no one wants to bring this up for a town vote? My guess is that there is too much concern that it would fail.
Bob Crawford March 13, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Parpardon Welcome back. Your return simply means that people who are raising questions about decisions recently made by the Mayor are getting a little too close to the truth for comfort. Folks, don't be distracted by Parpardon's personal attacks. Simply an attempt by him or her to take the focus of the conversation off topics that can't stand the light of day.
Kristen Ritter March 13, 2012 at 11:43 AM
It's everyone anonymous. Check out other threads where I write back to people like "Foil" etc. If people have something to say, get out from behind your computers and come to town council nd BoE meetings. Seriously. I think this kind of debate here is ok, but when it comes to name calling and I see people SO passionate...it's hard to go to meeting after meeting and as the same few people speak. For everyone who has so much to say about the BoE spending...at the budget approval session, there were fewer than 10 people in the room. Pathetic. At town council meetings, there are more...but there was only 1 I was at where FoD showed up in full force. All others, it's the same few people on both sides (probably about 10 people) who speak. All I'm saying here is that I often feel compelled to respond, but it's fast becoming a waste of time since what really matters in these heated issues is being "on the record," and that only happens when you speak at the microphone at these meetings. So, to people on both sides of the issue...come to the meeting tonight. And next Tuesday. And let's start directing our feelings at the people they should be directed at (Town Council, Mayor and BoE)!!! Believe it or not, the Patch is represented at each meeting so you'll end up here. However, not anonymous like Frank Drebin, Foil, Etc. I believe in the power of good debate and I'd love to speak face to face with anyone about it and answer any questions they have about my views.
Frank Drebin March 13, 2012 at 01:15 PM
STOP THE MADNESS !! Show up at the meeting and speak your mind.
Tom Wyka March 13, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Well said Kristen. BTW - I might wager that Parpardon does actually come to meetings. Could possibly even be on the dais itself. Just a thought. ParPardon - I've called Paul out for his remarks - even though I half agree with him. I want the fields turfed - but think that the BOE should not shirk responsibility. And there's a difference between "shared services" and just a disingenuous shell game with taxpayer dollars. I've even corrected figures and misperceptions in favor of FOD - that the FOD folks consistently fail to correct (e.g. useful life of the turf, etc.) But it's always been clear you've had a hopeless bias. Sure wish you find the courage to express yourself in the open - but won't hold my breath.
Michael March 13, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Jennifer and ParPardon. I understand the ordinance has been available for a month, they had to make it available. What is quite interesting is that it has been discussed for much longer than that behind closed doors as this administration and the town attorney went on a fishing expedition to try and find other towns that have used Open Space Money for Turf Fields. They have been working on this for a year now. In the Opra'd emails - this entire thing is about Turf Fields, unfrtunately Mr. Inglesino decided to redact all the work he and his partners did for the ordinance change for the fields. In fact Lake Hiawatha is not mentioned once. If anyone thinks this ordinance is not about the turf fields they are kidding themselves. ParPardon - sometimes the truth hurts - after all, a lot of what is on that site are the actual emails of the people in power right now.
Michael March 13, 2012 at 05:24 PM
I agree with Kristen and the same with Tom. The language and verbiage used by Parpardon sounds strangely familiar. I do believe this person will be there speaking tonight.
Natalie Davis (Editor) March 13, 2012 at 09:06 PM
@Jennifer: Indeed, Blue Acres is in the proposed ordinance that is on the website: http://www.parsippany.net/web_content/acrobat/proposed/2012-10-Intro-Legal-Ad.pdf SECTION 2. Township Code § 51-6 shall be renamed “Municipal Open Space, Recreation, and Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund” and is hereby amended as follows: A. There is hereby established an account that shall be known and designated as the “Municipal Open Space, Recreation, and Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund” which shall be maintained in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:4-1, N.J.S.A. 40A:5-1 and all applicable law. Funds from the Municipal Open Space, Recreation, and Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund may, as directed by the Township Council, be utilized for: (1) Acquisition of lands for recreation and conservation purposes; (2) Development of lands acquired for recreation and conservation purposes; (3) Maintenance of lands acquired for recreational and conservation purposes; (4) Acquisition of farmland for farmland preservation purposes; (5) Historic preservation of historic properties...; (6) Payment of debt service on indebtedness issued or incurred by a municipality for any of the purposes set forth in subsection (a), (b), (d), (e) or (g) of this section; or (7) Blue Acres projects.
Seriously? March 23, 2012 at 10:25 PM
@parpardon Are you serious? NIMBY? Are we talking about the same website? The webstie presents both sides. Gives facts and asks questions. There are loads of OPRed docs up there as well. I can't wait to see those un-redacted emials between Inglesino and Pietrowitz. He waived attorney client privelage the second Pietrowitz was on the e-mail. It appears that Inglesino directly helped the Fields of Dreams Committee. It is in my opinion that he should be disbarred or at the very least reprimanded. WOW!
Seriously? March 23, 2012 at 10:28 PM
@parpardon You said "The economy is bad. The council and the administration find a way to upgrade our facilities without raising taxes and you complain." Using your own words you made the point. They want to use $4,500,00 as they said. If the economy is so bad why were there never ANY other less costly proposals? Can you answer that?
Seriously? March 23, 2012 at 10:34 PM
@parpardon What do you do for a living character?
Seriously? March 25, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Keep an eye out for the un-redacted OPRAed e-mails between private citizen Mike Pietrowitz and Township Attorney John Inglesino. It''s sure to ruffle some feathers.
TJ Ritter April 02, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Please check out the updated website of www.parsippanyunite.com A new Fact Check section has been added. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact Parsippany Unite. Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don't believe is right. Jane Goodall
parpardon May 16, 2012 at 01:19 AM
I wanted to publicly apologize for any rude comments I may have made. I have come to terms with my issues and realized I have been way out of line with some of my comments. I look forward to working together to form a better future for Parsippany children. Once again please accept my apologiy and I promise to not revert back to my old ways.

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