All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: February 11, 2017
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 Carey. 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 December 2, 2016 by emailing them the annual resolution adopted by the Council on December 1, 2016. The annual resolution, which included this meeting date, was advertised in the Randolph Reporter, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph, on December 8, 2016, and the Daily Record on December 6, 2016.
2. Roll Call
Deputy Mayor Forstenhausler
Also present: Township Manager Mountain and Darren Maloney
3. Pledge of Allegiance
Mayor Carey led the Pledge of Allegiance.
B. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Seeing no one from the public, the public portion was closed.
C. REVIEW OF FOLLOW-UP REQUESTS FROM PRIOR WORK SESSIONS
Manager Mountain asked the Council if anyone had questions they did not get to ask at the end of the budget meeting on February 2, 2017.
Councilwoman Veech asked if Russ Newman was able to provide the schedules for each of the programs, as requested. Manager Mountain replied that they had not done a full master schedule, they would provide that in 2018. However, he did ask Darren Maloney to get the Brundage Park Playhouse schedule from Russ. Darren stated he had not yet received it; Manager Mountain will follow up with Russ and then will distribute it to the Council.
Manager Mountain reported the following:
- There was a previous discussion on the staffing levels. He reviewed the staffing levels since he became the Manager in 2014. For full time employees, the one position in the Clerk’s Office was changed in 2016 from part time to full time; therefore, there is one additional full time person. For part time employees, there are two additional positions, with the proposal for a third in 2017; the two added since 2014 are a 10 hour/week position in construction due to the increase in building permits, and the second is a part time inspector in the fire department due to the number of inspections increasing. The position proposed for 2017 is one that will work in conjunction with the fire department, but report to the Manager; it is more of an administrative than a clerical position. He does not anticipate requesting any additional staff at this point; he feels the current staffing is adequate.
- Police Staffing—the officers who were sworn in within the last year were replacing officers that had left. All the changes in the police department since 2014 have been replacements for retirements or officers who left. He and the Chief feel the staffing is adequate. Councilman Guadagno appreciated the Manager’s explanation about staffing; however, he felt that when you add part time positions, they often turn into full time, and that concerned him. Manager Mountain stated that no part time position would ever change to full time without him obtaining the approval of the Council.
Councilman Loveys asked if Manager Mountain knew what other neighboring towns were doing with the fire departments as far as managing the increased workload and paperwork. Manager Mountain replied that most of the towns are evaluating the same issue; some have added a paid person, generally a full time person. However, smaller towns are still trying to manage without a paid person. Councilman Loveys asked if the position was one that could be shared with other towns. Manager Mountain replied that he would not look to do that unless the workload became such that a full time position was being considered; he explained that the person will be paid hourly, only for the time needed.
Councilman Forstenhausler added that the part time fire inspector was added in 2016; the inspector generates income since more inspections will get done and there will be more fees, and fines, plus the safety within the township will be improved. Councilman Forstenhausler explained that all businesses in the township are supposed to be inspected each year, and prior to the part time inspector being hired in 2016, the Fire Official was unable to get to all businesses in addition to his other responsibilities. Councilman Forstenhausler also discussed the new part time position, and explained that purchasing is much stricter than it used to be. In addition, the state requires many inspections each year to much of the fire equipment; these inspections need to be managed and monitored in order to ensure the safety of the firefighters and the residents. Councilman Forstenhausler felt the part time position was needed.
D. REVIEW OF CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS
Manager Mountain explained that he was not going to review those items in which department heads had already discussed. He presented the following:
- Replace Personal Protective Equipment—former Chief Cohrs reported last year, and again this year that the department is in a multi-year, multi-phase plan to replace equipment/gear which is outdated. The requested $60,000 would continue the replacement schedule. Prior to the start of the replacement program, an analysis showed that 74% of the inventory was greater than 10 years old.
- Replace Inspector’s Vehicle—the fire inspection office has two vehicles, a 2005 Ford Escape and a 2003 Crown Victoria which both have over 100,000 miles. The mechanics are evaluating which vehicle would be replaced by the new one. All of the inspectors are also firefighters; this would be an SUV purchase to allow space for gear to be kept in the vehicle in the event they needed to respond to a fire call while on duty. The higher cost is due to it being an SUV, and it needing equipment such as a light bar.
- Replace SCBA Equipment—this is the breathing device. They are looking to not only replace, but also to upgrade the equipment so it has a mounted thermal imaging camera that is part of the unit. The original request was much higher, but the Manager reduced it to $60,000 and spreading out the total and the replacement over several years.
Councilman Forstenhausler asked for clarification on where funds which are set aside each year in anticipation of a purchase are held, and if there was a way for the Council to view the amount of the funds. Darren Maloney explained that they are held in the Capital Improvement Fund; it is in the general ledger. It would only be seen in the audit each year. However, Darren explained that he could provide the Council with a copy of the general ledger for each Capital Fund; the Council asked for him to provide each of them a copy.
- Extraction Tool—this is the specialized tool that is part of the rescue vehicle. The current tool is approximately 30 years old; it can be replaced on the existing vehicle. The original request was much higher, but the Manager reduced it to $75,000 in 2017 and the same will be requested in 2018. If the tool is cheaper than expected, at the time of purchase, the budget request will be lowered.
- Replacement of Hose—the Manager reduced the budget request to $30,000; this will replace older stretches of hose. Councilman Forstenhausler asked if there were any funds budgeted for the demolition of the old animal shelter behind the DPW facility. Manager Mountain replied that there was money encumbered last year; those funds can be used this year to stabilize the building until there is an intended use. In the future, Fire Chief Moschella will be presenting the department’s proposal for the site.
- Turn Out Gear—in 2015 the squad began a multi-year replacement schedule. They are requesting $12,000 in 2017, and $12,000 in 2018 and then they will be fully replaced.
- Remount of Ambulance 93—this was originally proposed as a full replacement of the ambulance for $175,000; however, they felt the option to remount the body on a new chassis was a more efficient option. The budget request was lowered to the $85,000.
- Portable Radios—new radios are cycled through to replace older radios.
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors—these are the meters that attach to the jump bag so the first responder can determine if there is carbon monoxide present in a house or at a site. This request is for two detectors.
Buildings and Grounds
- Replace Phone System—the current system is about 15 years old; it is functional, but no longer a system that is easily maintained or supported. He had Dave Emmons and Darren Carney evaluate options; the technology has changed significantly, and it is much more of a computerized system now. It is possible that the cost is lower than what is projected; he has spread the cost over a two year period, $100,000 in 2017 and the remainder in 2018.
- Network Wiring—the wiring in the municipal building was done many years ago, in the early stages of wiring a building for computers. It is no longer efficient; Darren Carney and Dave Emmons provided an estimate of $55,000 to completely rewire the building.
- Randolph Lake Repairs (listed in the book under Parks Improvements)—budget request is for $65,000 for improvement to the building; the exterior will be renovated and the windows will be replaced. Funding will be from the Open Space Fund, but it will be overseen by Buildings and Grounds.
- Gas Pump Area Repairs—this will complete the investment on the upgrade at the public works garage.
He spoke to Tom Spring about the asphalt zipper; he has been told that the pricing is going to be higher than what was budgeted. It will be approximately $10,000 more per municipality; the original request was for $85,000. It will go through the bid process; the other two municipalities were made aware of the increase in cost and they are amenable.
Councilman Loveys stated that he felt that some of the budget items did not follow the items addressed in the facilities master plan. Manager Mountain replied that the out years in the draft book did not pick up the facility master plan request, but it should have. When the final book is produced as part of the budget introduction, it will reflect the out years; he is currently comparing the facilities master plan with what is in the budget book. Councilman Loveys expressed his concern; Manager Mountain will take the facilities master plan spreadsheet and explain the status of the items.
Councilman Guadagno supported the upgrade to the phone system since he has been requesting this for years. There was a short discussion on the type of system.
Councilwoman Veech noted that in 2018, the Improvements to Municipal Owned Properties increases to $362,000, she asked for clarification. Manager Mountain explained that $150,000 is for the phone system, the DPW security system, the skylight repairs, the security cameras for the municipal building, and the septic replacement at the VFW.
Darren Maloney distributed a copy of the Capital Improvement balance funding spreadsheet, and provided an explanation. He also explained that the capital portion, which is part of the monthly reports that the Council receives, is the spending portion. There was a discussion about some of the specific items on the spreadsheet in order to clarify for the Council. Manager Mountain added that he would supply a spreadsheet that actually has a breakdown of the items that have a reserve so it is not as confusing.
Manager Mountain presented the following related to Capital Outlay:
- Police Station Renovation Study—that was money that was in last year’s budget; however, it got pushed to 2017. This is not a new request for 2017.
- Purchase of Computer Equipment for Fire—the request is for additional tablets; they are important for giving the individuals in the field access to the data. There are also improvements needed to the system to allow the tablets to be functional from a wireless standpoint.
- Laser Color Printer for the Health Department—this replaces an existing printer.
- Buildings and Grounds
- Police Shed—there are a number of digital sign boards which are presently kept outside which can be affected by the elements in the long term. It was felt that a shed was needed to protect the signs.
- Town Hall Wall Removal—the walls outside by the steps are deteriorating. This is a plan to remove the walls and landscape with a smaller wall and more landscaping.
- Community Center Loud Speakers—will replace the sound system which often fails; the speakers will be portable.
- Community Center Railings Phase II—there is a grant pending before the county community development program to do additional railing work; the budget request is for the matching portion of the grant.
- Town Hall Carpeting/Flooring—funds have been budgeted in prior years as part of a multi-year process for replacement of the current flooring. This will be done in stages.
- Town Hall Furniture—this is a continuation of the replacement of some of the furniture within town hall.
- Art Center Upgrades—management of the aging building, there is no specific project planned.
- Animal Shelter Repairs/Equipment—no specific project planned, this money is budgeted for any maintenance or repairs.
- Community Center Flooring—main room flooring is worn, will be sanded down and buffed.
- Archiving—part of a long term program of archiving. Donna Luciani added that the files for the Building Department are nearly all scanned; however, the paper records for building need to be maintained forever. Other departments have also been archiving documents, and those paper copies do not need to be kept. An outside company, Foveonics, does the archiving.
Councilman Forstenhausler asked if the unused $7,500 in the 2016 budget for the fire training facility had been encumbered for 2017, and confirmed that there was no addition funds budgeted for 2017. Manager Mountain stated that it had been encumbered, and that after speaking with Chief Moschella, neither felt a need for an additional funding request for 2017.
E. COUNCIL QUESTIONS/DISCUSSION
Councilman Loveys asked for clarification regarding the budget of $2.3M for the 90 acres project. Manager Mountain explained that there is a Request for Proposal which will go out in approximately two weeks for a design consultant. Concurrently, the steering committee will meet to discuss the process: once the designer is in place, he/she will take the concept plan from the parks master plan and determine the feasibility of the various elements. There will be a discussion with the Council regarding the elements that will be part of the final design, and then a design, a specification, and the cost of the project will be determined. The $2.3M was the maximum that could go on a debt element for the project; it does not mean that it will go up to the maximum. This is the capital plan, there will ultimately be a funding ordinance. The Manager expects the timing of the design and discussion with the Council to be summer, with the bid for construction going out in the fall. Manager Mountain further explained that the majority of the funding related to the parks master plan is cash, there are some projects that would be done through debt service.
There was a short discussion on lowering the surplus.
Manager Mountain reported that the school is looking at the property adjacent to their property, and are working to come to an agreeable price. He and Darren Maloney will discuss how that project will happen in terms of the capital plan. He explained that if the school can reach an agreeable price, the township would enter into an inter-local agreement with the school in which they would agree to repay the purchase price to the township over a five year period.
Councilman Guadagno asked what controls the state has on the general capital budget. Darren Maloney explained that there are restrictions as to what can be put into the capital improvement fund. Manager Mountain added that the funds have to be accounted for correctly. Darren explained that there are regulations on surplus within the capital fund; the only limits the state puts on anything with capital, is the amount that can be bonded for.
F. FINAL DIRECTION TO MANAGER ON FINALIZATION OF BUDGET DOCUMENT
Mayor Carey thanked everyone involved in the budget process, and directed Manager Mountain to proceed. The Manager explained that the next step is to prepare the budget for introduction on March 16, 2017, with adoption of the budget scheduled for April 27, 2017.
G. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Roman Hirniak of 26 Ridge Road commented that residents have expressed the need for an overhang over the door to the Community Center; he asked if that was included in the budget. Manager Mountain explained that it is not in the budget, and that he and staff members have been trying to determine a way to add it without ruining the look of the building. The Manager also explained that the request is not for an awning just over the doorway, it is for a covered area from the door to the parking lot. He stated that if they are successful with the county grant for the additional railings, and a reasonable design can be found that would provide protection as well as aesthetics, it could be something included in next year’s budget.
Mr. Hirniak commended Manager Mountain and Darren Maloney for preparing the budget for consideration by the Council, with no increase in the municipal tax levy, and without reducing services.
Judith Stewart of 114 Everdale Road stated that she felt it was a solid budget.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public portion was closed.
Councilman Guadagno made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 10:35 a.m. Councilwoman Veech seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Forstenhausler