All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: February 10, 2018
A. OPENING OF BUDGET MEETING
1. Call to Order
A budget meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 8:30 a.m. by Mayor Forstenhausler. This meeting is held pursuant to the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act. Adequate notice of the meeting has been provided by posting written notice of the time, date, location and to the extent known, the agenda of the meeting in Randolph Township. This notice was posted on the Bulletin Board within Town Hall, it was filed with the Township Clerk, and it was provided to those persons or entities requesting notification. Notice was also provided to the Randolph Reporter and the Morris County Daily Record on November 17, 2017 by emailing them the annual resolution adopted by the Council on October 10, 2017. The annual resolution, which included this meeting date, was advertised in the Randolph Reporter, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph on November 23, 2017, and in the Daily Record on November 21, 2017.
2. Roll Call
Deputy Mayor Loveys
Also present: Township Manager Mountain and Darren Maloney
3. Pledge of Allegiance
Mayor Forstenhausler led the Pledge of Allegiance.
B. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Seeing no one from the public, the public portion was closed.
Manager Mountain asked the Council if there were any questions or comments resulting from prior work sessions, and the items covered in those discussions.
Deputy Mayor Loveys commented that in the revenue discussion that there was an additional $170,000 in prepaid taxes. Darren Maloney explained that it was not for prepaid taxes, but for 2017 taxes; residents who paid 2018 taxes had to first pay the 2017 taxes, which resulted in a higher collection rate.
Deputy Mayor Loveys commented that in the past, funds for hydrant replacement and pressure-reducing valves were listed in capital improvement. He questioned why this was not the case in the 2018 budget. Manager Mountain stated that he would double-check, but he believed it was because the prior year had a balance. Deputy Mayor Loveys noted that it was listed in the capital outlay for Sewer and Water.
Deputy Mayor Loveys also noted that fire hydrants are listed under fire. Darren Maloney explained that the township is billed by Dover for fire hydrants.
Councilwoman Veech asked for clarification on the library budget. Councilwoman Carey replied that she attended a Library Board of Trustees meeting and had a conversation with some of the members; the majority of the budget, $700,000, is for library salaries.
Councilwoman Veech commented that there is usually a budget to support the fire department and rescue squad annual dinners; she asked how it was being handled in this budget. Manager Mountain explained that the fire department receives rent for the firehouses, and they pay for the dinner out of those funds. He explained that the rescue squad does the same.
C. REVIEW OF CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS
Manager Mountain explained that he was only going to present items that have not yet been presented:
- Replacement of obsolete personal protective equipment—they have created a schedule for a six-year plan where they pick up a portion. This equipment should not exceed ten year’s use.
- Replacement of Engine 52—this engine is nearly 30 years old; it is housed at Shongum Mountain Fire Department. The overall needs of the department for replacement of vehicles were reviewed; it was determined that rather than replacing this as a one-for-one engine, they would replace it with a utility vehicle. The estimated cost of a utility vehicle is $300,000 versus an engine that is approximately $500,000.
- Upgrade of the SCBA equipment—these are the breathing apparatus used by fire personnel when entering a building; this equipment is also replaced on a rotating basis. There is also new technology that allows the thermal imaging camera to be affixed to the headgear for the mask.
- Emergency Radio Equipment—the department installed a radio system around the year 2000; the system has served the department well. The equipment is now dated, and harder to replace. They are looking to upgrade the system over the course of several years; this is the first installment of the cycle to replace the system.
- Extrication Tools—this is the second year funding of a three-year plan; it provides for the equipment and newer technology. It is more portable, lighter, and easier to handle by the firemen.
Old Tye Park—this park is adjacent to the EA Porter site that is being rehabilitated. The park did not have full funding in prior capital budgets; he is looking to work in funding over time, so it stays in line with the capital plan for Parks & Recreation. There is minor site work that needs to be done to get the permitting as part of the EA Porter site.
- Turnout Gear—the squad indicated that increasingly over the past several years members have found themselves in situations where protective gear was needed. They would like to purchase a limited set of personal protective equipment for those members who might be in a situation that requires such protection.
- Remount Ambulance 93—the squad has four ambulances. This is a 1999 vehicle that is beyond its useful life; they have looked at it with the manufacturer and it is still in good shape. Instead of replacing the entire vehicle, they will remount the existing box part of the ambulance and put it onto a new chassis.
Deputy Mayor Loveys asked where all of the ambulances were housed. Manager Mountain replied that there is one at the municipal building, and he believed that all of the others were on Route 10.
- Portable Radios—this is to replace older radios, not a complete upgrade.
- Combi Boards—spinal immobilization boards—the State Department of Health has changed the protocol for the way spinal cord injuries are to be addressed; the new requirements make the current equipment non-compliant.
- Pagers—this is to replace the older pagers.
- CO Detectors—looking to purchase two detectors.
Municipal Buildings and Grounds:
- Security Upgrades to Municipal Building—enhancing the security cameras. To expand the cameras on the upper level; they are currently only located at the entrances and capture the people coming into the building. The request is to enhance those cameras to capture images in the hallways, and the courtroom. The cameras would be connected to the system in the police department.
- Replace Gas Pump—there was a small investment last year in the gas pumps at the DPW related to the computers. This is a replacement of the pumps themselves; there have been some maintenance issues.
- Storage Shed—the current open-air shelter behind the municipal building is used to store police equipment; that structure has become obsolete for housing the current equipment. The other issue is that, in addition to police equipment, there is currently fire and OEM equipment stored in the police department. In order to create additional space in the police department, some of this equipment could be moved to the storage shed; the portable electronic signs, the new police vehicle used for the trails, and other miscellaneous items would be stored in the shed. There was a brief discussion on the placement, and that it will not have heat/electric.
- Museum Asbestos Removal—some pipes in the basement were wrapped, but some of the wrap came off and exposed; it is not an occupied space, but sometimes people need to get in the basement. A full mold and asbestos test was completed for the entire building. The report came back that the first floor museum and the living area on the second floor, had no asbestos or mold. The basement area did have enough asbestos and mold to require mediation; however, it wasn’t felt to be an emergency, as long as it was closed off and ensured that anyone going in the basement was advised of the situation and provided with the appropriate breathing apparatus. Monitoring of the levels will continue annually.
Councilwoman Veech asked for a status update on the old animal shelter being used by the fire department. Manager Mountain replied that he spoke with the Fire Chief; the building has been stabilized, but the department has not come up with a long-term plan for how they want to move forward.
Mayor Forstenhausler added that many of the requests from the fire department and rescue squad, related to gear or equipment, are state mandated when they update their standards.
Councilman Guadagno stated that he felt the storage shed should not be located in the parking lot. He also asked for an update on the Water & Sewer shed. Manager Mountain replied that the structure is up, and they are finalizing the outfitting; they expect to move into the shed in 2018.
Councilwoman Veech commented on the Tamarack Camp. She asked where the revenue from the camp was indicated in the budget, and if any capital improvements were planned for which the township was responsible. Manager Mountain explained that the township is not paying for any capital improvements. Darren Maloney explained that the lease payments are part of the line item for recreation fees. There was a brief discussion, and the consensus was to make the revenue from the camp a separate line item. Councilwoman Veech also would like to see an indication of how far along the camp is in the overall lease. Later in the meeting, Councilwoman Veech stated that she just received the information, it is a 15-year lease that began October 2013 and the rent is $125,000 annually.
Buildings & Grounds:
- Miscellaneous furniture—each year there is a budget for replacement of furniture.
- Clerk Document Scanning—a recurring program managed by the Clerk’s Office; the spatial data logic system to copy documents into a digital format.
- Flooring—this is for updating the carpets in the municipal building; one project per year is expected.
- Animal Shelter Upgrades—this is for any issues that arise at the shelter.
- Art Center—a long-term solution for the Art Center is still being researched; however, the current building is old and occasionally has maintenance needs. Manager Mountain noted that a $5,000 budget for the maintenance of the museum was left out, but will be in the final budget document.
- VFW Floors—the flooring in the lower level is very uneven and is a tripping hazard.
- Hydro Static Testing—the breathing apparatus requires testing of the cylinders every five years to comply with the manufacturer and industry standards. The cylinders have a lifespan of 15 years; the current cylinders were manufactured in 2007/2008.
- Turnout Washer—this has been done as a third-party contract, which has become very costly and time consuming to manage. They want to purchase a heavy-duty washing machine that will allow the gear to be washed in-house. There was a discussion about where the washer would be placed; Councilman Guadagno felt it needed to be at one of the firehouses that has public sewer and water.
- Master Plan Revision—this is for the circulation plan.
Councilman Guadagno noted that there are other buildings at the animal shelter, and asked if there have been any inquiries from outside entities to use them. Manager Mountain explained that there have been some inquiries, but they wanted more space than what is available.
Councilman Guadagno asked for clarification on the circulation plan for the Master Plan. Manager Mountain replied that it is for the full intermodal plan, pedestrians and vehicles.
E. REVIEW OF TOWNSHIP DEBT POSITION
Darren Maloney provided the following overview:
- The state uses a threshold of 3.5% of the three-year average equalized valuation; Randolph is at 1/2 of 1%.
- General Fund debt—this is the only bonded debt that is left for the current fund. There are some un-bonded improvement authorizations in the capital fund; there is a little over $1M. He would like to pay that down with cash over the next few years; budgeting approximately $200,000 to $250,000 in future year budgets to pay it down.
Councilwoman Veech asked what the benefit would be to paying it down. Manager Mountain explained that normally it would accrue to a certain threshold where it’s big enough to be bonded. This is also ties to the strategy of not allowing the surplus to continue to grow to a point where there is too much cash on hand. The township is currently in the position to begin to pay it off with cash, barring any unforeseen emergency.
Darren clarified that the fire engine and rescue squad vehicle that will be purchased this year will be bonded, which is approximately $400,000.
Councilman Guadagno asked for clarification as to where the $1M is. Darren explained that it is in cash; it is an improvement authorization and part of a spending ordinance. There was a more detailed discussion to further clarify the cash versus bond spending.
- Water—debt service averages about $55,000 per year. In a bond he wants to issue later this year, he wants to add $855,000 for the Sussex Turnpike water line, and about $2.8M for the Meadowbrook Road water main project. He wants to fund these projects entirely this year due to the anticipated increase in interest rates. The bond sale will add approximately $210,000 annually to the debt service for water; it will be a 15-year bond.
- Sewer—the 2015 bond sale and the NJEIT loan that will be defeased at the end of 2019. The future projects are currently being funded with cash. There is $2.4M set aside for the Butterworth projects, which he would like to add to the bond ordinance for water and sewer.
F. REVIEW OF OPEN SPACE AND RECREATION TRUST
Darren Maloney provided the following information:
- Open Space—it is not part of the general budget or water and sewer budget. It is comprised of 2015 bond sale and the green acres trust loan, which also defeases in 2019.
- Financial Plan for the Ten Year Park Plan—this is an ongoing analysis that will be updated each year during budget preparation. The total fund balance that is listed is what is anticipated as the end of each fiscal year for open space. He explained in detail what his assumptions were for this year, since these differ each year.
Manager Mountain distributed a document that contained the 10-year financial projection for the Recreation Master Plan. He reviewed the document with the Council, noting those projects that increased in cost and those that were lowered in cost, or otherwise changed, in order to offset the increase.
The Manager also explained that money was set aside for lighting at Heistein Park to be offset with funding from the soccer club; it is still in discussion with the soccer club.
Darren Maloney asked the Council to look back at the Capital Program Budget book to comment on two projects:
- The Quaker Church Road project—he originally wanted to bond for $133,000 of the project, but since the township is in such a good cash position; he would like to pay for that in cash. He will be increasing the surplus budget by that amount.
- The Stormwater Repair project—he originally wanted to bond for $142,500, he now wants to pay for that in cash. He will be increasing the surplus budget by that amount.
Deputy Mayor Loveys referred to the open space trust fund analysis. He asked where the park improvement reserve balance comes from. Manager Mountain and Darren Maloney explained the numbers in detail.
G. COUNCIL COMMENTS, QUESTIONS & DISCUSSION
Councilman Guadagno stated that he is not comfortable with the water situation. The ten-year plan for the parks and recreation is well laid out; he asked if there would be a meeting to show the Council the ten-year projects for water. Manager Mountain replied that there would be a meeting. Councilman Guadagno felt that the water expansion is not aggressive enough.
Councilman Guadagno noted that China has blocked all their recycling projects. He asked if there is a plan in place for recycling if there is an impact. Manager Mountain replied that the subject has not been brought to his attention, but if it does become an issue, they will address it.
Councilman Tkacs asked if the Traffic Advisory Board would again have their stipend. Manager Mountain replied that they would; he did not review all the smaller line item budgets.
Councilwoman Veech explained to the Council members that when the meeting is changed to Tuesday night, she misses the Parks Committee meeting. In years past it was the policy of the Council to ask the committee to change their meeting to allow the Council liaison to attend. She explained that between her work commitments and the Tuesday night Council meeting, she would miss three Parks Committee meetings. She asked if other Council members felt that the committee meetings should change when there is a conflict with a Council meeting. The issue only affects the Parks Committee; no others conflict with the Tuesday Council meetings. Manager Mountain stated that he would discuss her concern with Russ Newman.
Councilwoman Veech thanked the Manager for forwarding the current Council work groups/committees list. She asked about the Highlands Conformance; Manager Mountain explained that it is a standing committee, and if the township gets active in the highlands again, it will be reinstated. She asked if anything has been done with the Ordinances Committee, and questioned the Finance Committee. The Manager explained that some of these committees are standing ones, and if there was a need to activate them, they would. Councilwoman Carey noted that the Recycling Committee was not on the list; Manager Mountain replied that it would be put back on the list. Councilwoman Veech noted that there are three Council members on the Calais Park committee, and she felt that could continue as a Council work group. Manager Mountain replied that it could be put back on as a work group since it will remain active.
Councilwoman Veech reported that she and other Council members attended the Rescue Squad dinner, and noted that there were a lot of young recruits. She was impressed with the group.
Mayor Forstenhausler stated that he felt the Manager and CFO did a good job with the budget. Regarding the budget, he noted that they had discussed the replacement of a vehicle with a dump truck; the dump truck is $170,000. He was not totally comfortable with the explanation as to why such an expensive vehicle was being purchased to replace a less expensive vehicle that is only used in the winter. He explained that while he did not object to keeping it in the capital plan, he would like a better explanation and a discussion before that money is spent. Manager Mountain agreed to the Mayor’s request.
Manager Mountain explained that since items were changed through discussion, he would submit to the Council an updated, un-bound draft for review prior to the budget’s final form for introduction. He reiterated that it would not change the impact on the tax levy, but it will change some of the revenue numbers; it will not require another meeting.
Mayor Forstenhausler added that he felt the analysis was excellent, and the intelligent and prudent use of cash to minimize debt is one of the things that makes the township financially strong and allows it to receive the AAA rating.
H. FINAL DIRECTION TO THE MANAGER ON FINALIZATION OF BUDGET DOCUMENT
The Council directed the Manager to finalize the budget; he will provide the updated, un-bound draft first as noted above.
I. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Mayor Forstenhausler opened the meeting to the public.
Judith Stewart of 114 Everdale Road stated that she appreciated that the budget sessions were open to the public, and felt that everyone does a good job with the budget.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public portion was closed.
Councilman Guadagno made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 10:25 a.m. Councilwoman Carey seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Loveys