All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: February 12, 2011
A Special Meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 8:30 a.m. by Mayor Mitsch. 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 on January 19, 2011, by emailing them the Special Meeting Notice. The Special Meeting Notice, which included this meeting date, was advertised in the Randolph Reporter, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph, on January 27, 2011.
Deputy Mayor Guadagno
Also Present: Township Manager John Lovell
Mayor Mitsch led the Pledge of Allegiance.
OPEN TO PUBLIC
Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, stated that she hopes that funds for the celebration of public events will be restored to the proposed budget since she believes that the July 4th celebration is an important event for the community.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public portion was closed.
DISCUSSION—2011 DRAFT BUDGET
Manager Lovell’s comments included the following:
- In the two weeks since the last budget meeting the Finance Director has had the opportunity to better refine the levy cap as it is not as restrictive as originally thought and contains a great deal of flexibility
- At this time there is a $306,000.00 deficit in the Manager’s proposed budget
- Remediation and demolition at Cohn Farm has been added to the proposed budget for $100,000.00
- There are a couple of pending employee retirements that will impact the organization but will also allow for reorganization and potential savings
- The celebration of public events has been placed back into the proposed budget
- The number for state aid has not yet been received, and if the numbers are down again things may need to be pulled from the proposed budget
- The proposed tax increase at this time is 3.3 cents, which will have a dollar impact on the average assessed home of $111.00, or approximately $9.34 per month
- Randolph is still well below the levy cap
- Going back into the budget appropriations to achieve a $306,000.00 reduction is not easily achieved
- The Manager sees six options available to the Council—(1) reduce staffing; (2) reorganization; (3) increasing the tax levy; (4) bond capital improvement programs; (5) reduce the Reserve for Uncollected Taxes; (6) reduce the amount in surplus
- The municipal court, the police department, public works, and park maintenance staff will likely be impacted if Council opts to go in the direction of staff reductions
- Possible reorganization will be discussed further in Executive Session
- Council can increase the tax levy to up to 4.2 cents and still remain within the levy cap
- Bonding capital improvement programs essentially defers the cost of operating the town to a future year
- The Reserve for Uncollected Taxes is used to pay for successful tax appeals and may force the town to tax anticipation notes
- Drawing down surplus will have impacts in the future
- The Manager’s recommendation will likely be a combination of options 2, 3, and 4, although he has reservations about recommending option 4 in that he considers the road overlay program an annual operating expenditure which should not be deferred
- Many surrounding towns are considering larger tax increases
- Several revisions have been made to the proposed budget since the last meeting
- The summary document in the proposed budget reflects the figures that have been adjusted
- The Manager reviewed the various department budgets and fees
- Randolph did not receive a grant from the DOT for the Franklin Road project which will now be deferred to 2012
- The town is getting tighter and tighter on surplus—whereby once the town was able to save as much as 8 percent of the budget and return it to surplus, now the figure is closer to 3 percent
- Surplus is generated from several sources—new development during the course of the year, the Reserve for Uncollected Taxes that remains from prior years, and revenue
- Surplus is used to offset the next year’s tax rate
- State aid is anticipated to be similar to the amount received last year
- The Parks Committee and Recreation Committee are reviewing a proposal to increase fees to cover the expense for field maintenance
- A proposal to start charging the Board of Education for the use of the fields has been abandoned
- The only significant increase in services is found in labor contracts dealing with white collar and police arbitrations
- In the past the Township has paid for interpreters to be used during court sessions—the town will be implementing a new system with a language line through the telephone system which will require an investment of some dollars initially but should pay for itself within a year
- The town continues to try to contract services for building and grounds whenever possible—costs were higher than expected in 2010 which, to some degree, reflects the age of the municipal building
- The Manager is concerned about the cost of gasoline and fuel in the coming months
- The municipal building has had a tremendous increase in therms consumed and the reason for this is being investigated
- The boilers in the municipal building may need to be replaced shortly and they will look to zone certain parts of the building
- The computer equipment is getting older and is becoming an issue for support and maintenance
- The Health Officer is being shared with Roxbury and they share in some of that cost
- During 2011 the Manager expects to contract with Roxbury for construction code services
- The Manager is interviewing candidates for Mr. Stromberg’s replacement due to his pending retirement—Mr. Stromberg serves as the fire sub-code official, fire prevention duties, he serves as the coordinator for the various fire companies, and he is the Emergency Management Coordinator
- Possible reorganization of the police department will be discussed in Executive Session
- The Manager did not receive a favorable response from the FOP regarding his request they give back the final year of their contracted increase
- The Manager believes the Police Chief has done a good job of adjusting his department with the decrease in manpower
- County dispatch is a new line item for which Randolph is paying
- Bill Kerwick has notified the Manager of his plans to retire this year which will have an impact on the organization which the Manager will discuss further in Executive Session
- The Manager will be considering reducing operating hours at the Recycling Center
- The brining system has made a dramatic impact on the use of road salt and has kept the Township in a good position and within budget throughout the harsh winter
- Numbers have been trending downward in both garbage collection and recycling
- No changes are being proposed to the budget for the Municipal Alliance Committee, however the focus and funding of the committee may need to be re-evaluated
- The Township was hit harder than expected on health insurance this year due to the new national health plan
- Money is always put in contingency in case an emergency should arise during the year
- Deferred charges are down in 2011 because the Master Plan has been paid off and the Finance Director retired a great deal of debt in 2010
At this point, the Manager suggested Council move to Executive Session to discuss plans for reorganization.
OPEN TO PUBLIC
Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, noted that Florham Park is trying to institute a ban on smoking in public places and reiterated her desire to see the Council adopt a similar ordinance for Randolph.
WHEREAS, Section 8 of the Open Public Meetings Act, Chapter 231, P.L. 1975 (N.J.S.A. 10:4-12) permits the exclusion of the public from a meeting under certain circumstances; and
WHEREAS, this public body is of the opinion that such circumstances presently exist.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of the Township of Randolph, in the County of Morris, and State of New Jersey, as follows:
1. The public shall be excluded from the following portion of the meeting.
2. The general nature of the subject matter to be discussed is as follows:
3. As nearly as now can be ascertained, the matter or matters to be discussed at this time will be disclosed to the public at such time and under such circumstances as are prescribed by law.
4. At the conclusion of the closed Executive Session, the Council may reconvene in public session for the purpose of taking formal action on matters discussed in closed session or on any other matter as permitted by law.
Deputy Mayor Guadagno made a motion to go into Executive Session at 11:00 a.m. Councilman Obremski seconded the motion and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Guadagno
Councilman Algeier made a motion to come out of Executive Session at 12:10 p.m. Councilman Obremski seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Guadagno
Mayor Mitsch adjourned the meeting at 12:10 p.m.
Donna Marie Luciani