Minutes for June 24, 2012

7:30 PM Borough Hall




Present:  Commissioners – Caputo, Mancuso, Richards, Sentowski, Shertzer, Spoto, Terhune, Wright; Recreation Director – Flynn; Swim Director – Conlan; Board of Education Liaison - Mitchell


Absent: Commissioners - Bednar; Borough Council Liaison – Gormally




A motion to approve the May 22, 2012 Minutes was made by Kim Terhune and seconded by Deb Shertzer.  Al l present voted in favor.


Beaches – Some residents have been complaining that the annual swim test is very stressful.  Kids that have passed several years in a row or have participated on the swim team for a period of time are still subject to a high level of stress every year as they go through the process to re-pass the test.  The assessment process is viewed as uneven and seems to be far more extensive than the requirements outlined in the test specifications.  In addition, the requirement for passing the test does not seem to be clear to all sailing program participants.


After discussion of the issue, the commission members present agreed to ask the beach director to consider a “survival” test in lieu of a “technique” test for those children who are not interested in joining the swim team.


Dede Conlan responded that technique is an important part of the assessment process, as she believes that good swimming technique leads to safe swimmers.  To ensure consistency of assessment, only certain experienced guards give the tests.  Dede will work the guards who do the testing to make sure that the assessment is more uniform in future.  She does, however, feel strongly that the test must be administered each year for children 12 and under to ensure appropriate beach safety.


The Commission also expressed concern that the rule allowing children 10 or over to be dropped off at the beach unsupervised is exposing the Borough to a high level of risk.   Dede Conlan agreed that this age was very young but explained that she had fought to have it increased from 8 several years ago.  A proposal to change the ordinance to the age of 12 or 13 will be reviewed in August for implementation in 2013.  Deb Shertzer will research current ordinances in preparation.


Beach visitor passes that do not have expiration date must be accepted at all beaches.  Dede Conlan will follow up and make sure this happens.


The Birchwood Beach facility is littered with garbage and is a poor reflection of our town when teams arrive for meets.  Lifeguards are expected to clean up the beach area at the beginning and end of each day but it is difficult to clean the parking lot end of the beach, as there is no access. Celia Flynn will put in a work order with DPW to get the area cleaned up and to cut down the overgrown weeds/plants/trees by the wall to within 6” of the top of the wall.


Island Beach will be open on the Fourth of July.  Tag checkers will be on duty until 6pm.


Director’s Report

The Fourth of July will be run the same way as last year.  Midvale dock will be closed from about noon to about 6pm.  However, there will be a canal from Midvale to allow people to get out into the lakes in their boats.  Island beach will be closed at 8pm and swimming will be allowed until that time.   Dede will hire guards to cover this time period.


 Mark Caputo is concerned that if a beach is “open” to the public, lifeguards are always required.  He will check the code and inform Dede Conlan and Celia Flynn as soon as possible.


Deb Shertzer will help with the races at the club.  The swim team will send out a request for help at the upcoming meet and in their next weekly newsletter.  Approximately 4-5 teenage volunteers are required.  Pete Sentowski will coordinate with the Swim team.  Brandon Smith has agreed to act as Head Marshall.   


Two volunteers will be needed at Island Beach to set-up for fireworks viewing.   Lydia Spoto will coordinate with Deb Bednar to recruit volunteers.   Dede Conlan will provide a floating rope as a barrier to ensure there is no swimming at the beach after 8pm. The parking lot will cleared at 6pm.


Next year the details of this event will be worked out between The Recreation and Beach Directors and the Events Committee outside the monthly Recreation Commission meeting.


Summer camp starts next week and registration has gone well to date. 


Celia Flynn reported that Track and Girl’s lacrosse have been consuming a huge amount of her time with their financial administration requirements.  If the Commission continues to run these programs under its oversight, we need to be able to provide support for the programs and will have to examine our staffing levels to meet these needs.  This issue will be a priority for both the Finance and Sports Committee and a recommendation will be forthcoming.


Recreation Committee Reports - Due to time constraints, it was decided that there was not enough time to present these reports at this meeting.  It was agreed that all reports would be distributed to the Commission via email as pre-reading for the next meeting.  The entire July meeting will be dedicated to their review.


Other Business – The commission discussed the growing number of requests for free weeks of camp as fundraisers for Mountain Lakes organizations and recreation programs.  As our camps are non-profit and are managed very tightly within the revenue generated from fees, all present felt that it was not viable for the Commission to honor these requests in future.  Mark Caputo made a motion that the Commission will not offer free weeks of Recreation Camp to any organization for fundraising purposes.  Nicole Wright seconded the motion.  All present were in favor.


Meeting was adjourned at 9:35pm.


Action Items


1.     Dede Conlan will work with the lifeguards who do the swim testing to make sure that the assessment is more uniform on future.  Dede will also instruct all lifeguards to accept any Beach Visitor Pass that do not have expiration date.

2.     Deb Shertzer will conduct research on current ordinances regarding the minimum age that children can be at the beach unaccompanied. A proposal to change the minimum age for unaccompanied children to 13 will be discussed at the August meeting for implementation in 2013. 

3.     Celia Flynn will put in work order with DPW to get the littered beach area cleaned up and to cut down the weeds/plants at the wall to within 6” of the top of the wall.

4.     Dede Conlan will hire guards to work at Island Beach from 6pm to 8pm on the Fourth of July.

5.     Mark Caputo will research the code to ensure that town beaches comply with State requirements when lifeguards are not on duty. 

6.     Pete Sentowski will recruit 4-5 volunteers from the Swim program to help run the Fourth of July fun races.

7.     Lydia Spoto will recruit 2 volunteers to set up Island Beach at 6pm on the Fourth of July.

8.     For the Fourth of July, Dede Conlan will provide a floating rope for Island Beach as a barrier to ensure there is no swimming after 8pm.

9.     Nicole Wright will send out a copy of each subcommittee report as pre-reading prior to the July Recreation Committee Meeting.



The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 17th.