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This is the independent WEB site for the Society Hill at Piscataway Condominium Association, located in Piscataway, NJ. This site is not sponsored, endorsed, or supported by the Association, the Board of Trutees, or the Managment Company. It is run by a former member of the Board of Trustees.

Much of the content from the prior Association's WEB site has been moved here. However, since this site is not connected to the management systems, it no longer supports on-line service requests, reminders, on-line payments and account history, and owner/tenant/vehicle updating.

If you are looking for the Association's official new WEB site, they don't really have one - it's just a payment portal for the monthly fees.

The current Board "Removal" Petition. The weekly Hill ZOOM Meeting.

The Jig Is Up, Tuesday 7PM ZOOM, Town Meeting Recap by Kevin Wine, Aug 15, 2022, 11:04 AM, reply, branch, edit

Over 2 weeks ago, I contacted the MCUA Edgeboro Facility (the Middlesex County dump) to see if they would accept contaminated soil. They said they would need to review the lab reports, so I sent them the ANS summary report that the Board had released since that was all I had. Last Thursday I heard back from the MCUA and was advised that the acceptance letter was ready for pickup, so I drove down to the Edgeboro facility and picked up the letter, along with a stack of weigh tickets. Here is the letter:

https://www.savethehill.org/Projects/Pond/2022-8-11_MCUASoilAcceptanceLetter.pdf

Note specifically the cost of $11/ton. Although I will measure the hill more precisely this week, I still estimate there are about 2,500 tons of soil in the Hill. The dumping cost would therefore be $27,500. The cost of hiring a trucking company to haul the hill to the dump is about $16,000. Therefore, my original estimate of $50,000 base cost to remove the hill is confirmed.

What is also confirmed is that we are being robbed. The Board approved a contract from A-Tech Landscape Design for $758,000. That is over 15 times the base cost. In other words, A-Tech is getting $700,000 more than it is costing them to haul away the hill. At this juncture, our Board of Trustees, President Tong Zhou, and Town and Country Management have some serious explaining to do. How do we get from a base removal cost of around $50,000 to a contract of $758,000 and then to a special assessment of $1,090,000?? Is the Board really that naive? And the management as well? Were they both just conned by A-Tech? Or is there more going on here? Is there something wrong with my estimates? I have the soil acceptance letter in hand, and a stack of weigh tickets - if we had a truck and permits, we could have hauled dirt to the dump starting last Friday, so I'm very confident the disposal cost is accurate.

Tuesday ZOOM Meeting
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The weekly Hill Zoom meeting is still on for Tuesday evening. The same link from last week still works, but here it is again for convenience:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89791797896?pwd=UWhsUlA0bzduNnFqdGlUSXVBT0dydz09

Township of Piscataway Meeting Recap
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Several members of the community, including 2 board members (Mincarelli and Thomas), met with Township of Piscataway officials on Monday to discuss the Hill. I was not in attendance (3PM on a workday, and I sensed they didn't want me there anyway), but I was on the zoom meeting Monday evening where the Township meeting was discussed. A more detailed report will probably be available soon, but to summarize my understanding for you now, it seems like the Town is agreeable to a deadline extension beyond November, provided that within the next 60 days the Board makes some positive progress towards hiring a professional engineer to properly manage the project.

Every indication is that the soil, although testing above-threshold for at least one substance, is not above any threshold as far as the NJ DEP contaminated soil standards are concerned. Therefore, the soil does not require any special handling or processing, and can be discarded at reasonable cost. Trustee Sanford's story about how the Hill has to be hauled to a special facility and de-contaminated is apparently false. The soil acceptance letter from the MCUA confirms this as well.

The next step is to request a special Board Meeting, during which the Board will be presented with the same information that was presented to the Town, and asked to engage an engineering firm to properly manage the project. As far as I understand, Board President Tong Zhou has already rejected the recommendation to hire an engineer, however he may reconsider this as pressure is clearly mounting. At the very least, this Board needs to answer to the owners over what appears to be brazen day-light robbery of over $700,000.

Petition Update
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As of now, we have about 220 signed petitions. 278 are required to formally demand the special election. A second petition mailing just went out over the weekend to the 310 owners that have not yet responded to the petition. With only a 20% return on the second mailing (half of the return percentage on the first mailing), we will have enough petitions.

If successful, the petition will not immediately remove the entire Board. There is a different procedure for that which requires 66% of the owners to vote for removal. The procedure we are following now with the petitions requires 51% of the owners to sign the petition, which would then require the Board to call a special meeting within 60 days. In that special election, the 6 trustees on the petition would have to run for their seats, against whatever other candidates are also nominated to run against them. This procedure is a "polite removal" in that is offers the named Trustees a second chance to explain themselves to the owners, and lets the owners decide if they should remain on the board or not. You could, for example, sign the petition, and then vote the same 6 trustees right back on to the Board.

As far as I'm concerned, even if this Board comes to its senses and resolves this crisis in a reasonable way, the very fact that they handled it the way they did, and continue to handle it, totally disqualifies them from leadership positions in this Association. Even if this is all just an innocent mistake, and they were somehow duped by the contractors or management, the fact that this even happened shows their total lack of experience and sophistication in operating a $1.3M maintenance, landscaping, and construction operation (this is the team that can't even water the grass). Add to that the fact that after the initial public outcry over a month ago, the Board did not immediately reconsider its decision, and further add the fact that President Zhou is still resisting efforts to consider alternative solutions, one has to begin considering there is more afoot here than mere innocence.

Keep in mind that this is not the first time we are being ripped off - it is just the first time it is this obvious and in our face. Your Board has already committed approximately $2,500,000 to their re-roofing project, at an average cost per building of $50k to $60k. Since they wiped up so much paranoia about the roofs (and yes there were issues with the roof), everyone seemed to be OK with that robbery. But that doesn't change the fact we were over-charged by at least 30%. Then there was the other A-Tech contract to replace some sidewalks 3 years ago - $40,000 for about $10,000 of work. Then there was the pool bonding/ground robbery - another $7k or $9k I forget - long story. Then they sold a $20,000+ loader for $4,000 to another contractor friend of management. And while all this was going on, they were busy trashing me and trashing my reputation to distract everyone from what they were actually doing. And they got away with it - until now.

Kevin

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Recent Highlights

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