All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: February 24, 2011
A regular meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 8:00 p.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 and the Morris County Daily Record on December 8, 2010, by emailing them the annual resolution adopted by the Council on December 7, 2010. The annual resolution, which included this meeting date, was advertised in the Randolph Reporter, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph, and in the Morris County Daily Record on December 16, 2010.
Deputy Mayor Guadagno
Also Present: Township Manager John Lovell and John Miller, an attorney from the Law Office of Edward Buzak
Mayor Mitsch led the Pledge of Allegiance.
OPEN TO PUBLIC
Seeing no one from the public, the public portion was closed.
COUNCIL AND MANAGER REPORTS
Councilman Algeier reported that he attended the first Homeland Security Preparedness Task Force Meeting recently. They received information as to how the state police is structured, their command and control, how they are departmentalizing various functions, and how they interact with the counties and municipalities. There was a lot of discussion about the fact that New Jersey has qualified for federal emergency assistance 13 times in the last five years due to storms. The members learned that if an application for emergency aid is denied, there is an appeal process that could be initiated. The Councilman noted with interest that most of the communication between the state police and municipalities is done through the county, however he noted that neither he nor the Township Manager hear often from the County Emergency Management Coordinator. Councilman Algeier asked Manager Lovell to look into that issue. Councilman Obremski, who is involved in the emergency preparedness group through JCP&L, had earlier indicated to Councilman Algeier that there will be a planning meeting soon and noted that elected officials and administrators are not usually invited. Councilman Algeier believes it is crucial that township officials know how a community fits into the county’s plan, will bring this to the attention of a freeholder and has asked the Manager to look into this as well.
Councilman MacArthur thanked Manager Lovell and Mr. Soccio for meeting with the newly elected Council members to teach and review various aspects of the budget. The Councilman noted that he has heard various people in the community commenting on how well the streets are cleared after a snow storm compared with surrounding towns.
Councilman Loveys stated that he has read about some kind of emergency alert system that will utilize Facebook and Twitter and he believes that group will be reaching out to towns and municipalities.
Councilman Obremski reported that the Council should have received a 2010 report from the MAC Committee with an explanatory paragraph. He encouraged the other Council members to review the report so that the Council can discuss this issue at a future meeting.
Mayor Mitsch noted that the Lt. Governor’s meeting with local businesses, which was scheduled for February 25, has been postponed for a couple of weeks. The Mayor will pass along the details when she gets more information.
Deputy Mayor Guadagno reported that he and Councilman Obremski will be presenting and question and answer session for the students at the high school on Friday.
COMBINED ACTION RESOLUTIONS
Councilman MacArthur made a motion to approve the Combined Action Resolutions. Councilman Obremski seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Guadagno
(1) Tricky Tray, Mendham Township Home and School Association, April 29, 2011, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at the Meadow Wood Manor, 461 Route 10, Randolph
(2) On-Premise 50/50, Mendham Township Home and School Association, April 29, 2011, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at the Meadow Wood Manor, 461 Route 10, Randolph
(3) Off-Premise Merchandise Raffle, Randolph Chemical Engine Company #2, May 7, 2011, 9:00 p.m., 340 Route 10, Randolph
(4) Off-Premise Merchandise Raffle, Greek Orthodox Community Center of Randolph, June 26, 2011, 12:30 p.m., 1447 Sussex Turnpike, Randolph
(5) On-Premise 50/50, Randolph High School Ice Hockey Booster Club, March 31, 2011, 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Meadow Wood Manor, 461 Route 10, Randolph
(6) Car Raffle, St. Matthew the Apostle Parish, July 2, 2011, 6:15 p.m., 335 Dover Chester Road, Randolph
REVIEW AND SET PROPOSED AGENDA FOR MARCH 3, 2011 REGULAR MEETING
Councilman MacArthur noted that, while he generally is supportive of the proposed improvements to the Public Works facility, he would like to know if there is any documentation available for review that shows specific estimates and the like before introduction of a bond ordinance.
Manager Lovell responded that the original architect on the project provided a budget. The Manager will provide that document and a cost item breakdown to the newer members of the Council.
Councilman Algeier asked what is being planned for the high school football team.
Manager Lovell responded that a plaque will be presented and each member of the team will receive a proclamation. He may also present each team member with a Township pin.
Councilman Algeier reminded the Manager that the newly appointed tax appeal attorney should be scheduled for an upcoming meeting to meet the Council.
Manager Lovell responded that he will check with the new tax appeal attorney as to his availability.
a. Township Computer System/Server Replacements
Manager Lovell noted that the Township needs to make an investment in new equipment quickly as it is absolutely necessary at this time. The organization will not be operational if the servers go down. The servers are currently at capacity. The Manager is seeking the Council’s authorization to move forward with this acquisition. The purchase of this equipment will be done either through the MCCPC or a state contract and there will not be bidding for this project. Labor will be provided by technicians from the Board of Education.
Mayor Mitsch asked how long the process will take from start to finish.
Manager Lovell responded that the process will take possibly up to two months or so before it is in place after the Council makes their decision.
Councilman Obremski made a motion to approve the funding for the system server replacements in Town Hall. Deputy Mayor Guadagno seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Guadagno
b. DPW Maintenance Building
Manager Lovell reminded the Council that one of the goals is to be in the new maintenance facility by January 1, 2012. There is an architect on board, he is preparing the final plans, and the Manager will be ready to go out to bid in a matter of weeks. The Manager believes it is an appropriate time to move forward with a bond ordinance. He would like to introduce the ordinance next week and have it adopted a month later. Financing for this project will be split with the Board of Education funding 33 percent, the Township’s general obligation funding 40 percent, and the water fund and sewer fund each providing 13.5 percent. A draft bond ordinance has been prepared and is on the agenda for next week’s Council meeting for introduction. Manager Lovell noted that the Council is not locked into the project until the ordinance is up for a hearing in a month.
The Manager noted that the other aspect of this project will be an inter-local government services agreement between the Township and the Board of Education. Manager Lovell will be meeting with the Board of Education in two weeks. That agreement must be in hand before any construction contracts are awarded.
c. Liquor License—1380 Sussex Turnpike
Manager Lovell stated that there were some questions at the last Council meeting on the status of information received and whether or not that information as distributed. The Township Attorney and Township Clerk went through the files and provided documents to the entire Council. The Township Clerk was contacted by the attorney for the purchaser who provided additional documents. The one issue that needs to be clarified is the past problems with the license that was held by the owners of Obsessions. That license was subsequently sold to Stone Fire Grill. That is not the license being sought by the purchaser. The purchaser is seeking a person to person transfer of the liquor license once owned by Cerilli’s Restaurant and does not place the license at any location at this time. At such time as the purchaser chooses to activate the license, he must appear before the Council for a hearing. Another point referenced several times is that while Mr. Stavrakis is one of the owners of Obsessions, the company leasing the building at this time operates a teen night club.
Robert C. Williams, the attorney appearing on behalf of 1380 Sussex Turnpike LLC, noted that he has provided an amendment to the application indicating that in 2005, the license held by Mr. Stavrakis was given a 70 day suspension, which was served. Since that time, Mr. Stavrakis has not operated a liquor license. Mr. Stavrakis meets every qualification in the statutes and regulations. When Mr. Stavrakis sold his license in 2005 to Stone Fire Grill, he was qualified to hold a license and nothing has changed.
Councilman Algeier stated that he believes the holding of a liquor license is somewhat of a public trust. In Randolph there are a limited number of liquor licenses, and alcohol is subject to being abused on premises which can cause problems in the community. Therefore, when the Council approves a license to a person, the Council expects that person to operate that license in a trust and to be of good character and not have caused problems in the community. The Councilman asked Mr. Williams if that was his assessment as well.
Mr. Williams responded that he would not use the definition of public trust. He believes that when you have a license, you surrender your 4th Amendment rights under the Constitution and agree to abide by Title 33 and Chapter 13 of the New Jersey Administrative Code. The holder of a liquor license is subject to scrutiny that no one else would be subject to because they have the privilege of serving alcohol.
Councilman Algeier asked if the person granted the privilege of owning a liquor license should handle that privilege in a proper manner.
Mr. Williams responded that if the license holder does not operate properly, they are disciplined. He noted that Mr. Stavrakis held a liquor license in the community for over 20 years, from 1985 to 2005, and during that 20 year period maintained a good record. There were some instances during that period when Mr. Stavrakis was disciplined and served his penalty. Mr. Williams believes that if the Council goes beyond that to say what type of person should hold a license, case law in New Jersey is very clear on that issue.
Councilman Algeier responded that he is not saying what type of person should own a license. However, the Councilman Algeier was active on the council during the hearings on the Obsessions liquor license in 2003 or 2004 and remembers the penalty was a 75 day suspension, which he believes to be a heavy penalty.
Mr. Williams responded that a 75 day suspension is a steep penalty.
Councilman Algeier continued that a steep penalty would indicate a very serious offense of series of offenses. An appeal of the suspension was filed, however the appeal was dropped. That suspension stands on record as a valid finding by the Town Council in 2004. The Councilman recalls that the Stavrakis brothers were deeply involved in the management of Obsessions and allowed problems to occur by their lack of attention to security. While Councilman Algeier recognizes that the license would not be going to the same operation, the license will be held by a person who seemed to have very little regard for the community at that time and he would have trouble voting for somebody with that type of attitude.
Mr. Williams stated that he disagrees with Councilman Algeier and doesn’t think the Councilman can hold the past against Mr. Stavrakis. Mr. Stavrakis is a 50 percent owner of the entity trying to buy the liquor license. Mr. Williams indicated that there is no case law for the Councilman to say that his client is unfit to hold a liquor license in New Jersey. Mr. Williams stated for clarification that the 70 day suspension came about as a result of four charges from January 2004. The Council at that time found his client not guilty on the first charge. The second count had nothing to do with the service of alcohol since they were holding a teen night that evening, but because the building was licensed to serve alcohol, anything that occurs on the premises is subject. What occurred that night was that some kids from out of town came to the premises and started a fight. The third offense occurred because somebody drove into the parking lot with a six-pack of beer in the vehicle and the Council determined that it was management’s responsibility to know that somebody under age was drinking in the parking lot. The fourth offense was that the Council determined that the uniforms worn by security personnel were not adequate.
Councilman Algeier noted that if counsel thought these were good arguments, he should have appealed to the ABC who may have over-ruled the Council or reduced the suspension, but that was not done.
Mr. Williams responded that he did appeal.
Councilman Algeier countered that the appeal was dropped.
Mr. Williams responded that the appeal was dropped because the license was sold.
Councilman Algeier noted that Mr. Williams appears to be going back and forth over whether the penalty was served or appealed. The Councilman stated that in 2004 the Council made a finding, that finding was never over-turned, and now that is part of the record. It appears that Mr. Williams’s arguments go to whether or not the suspension was appropriate, and the Councilman noted for the new members that there was more to the events than what was recounted by Mr. Williams.
Manager Lovell read the official charges into the record.
Charge 1: That on or about June 21, 2003, Licensee or Licensee’s employees, agents, or servants did allow, permit or suffer, patrons, or other persons, to Congregate on the Premises Outside the Confines of the Building and Engage in Fighting with bottles and baseball bats such as to be a nuisance involving the public safety and requiring police intervention in violation of N.J.S.A. 33:1-31 subsections (a), (g) and (h), N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.6(a)(2), N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.6(a)(3), Randolph Ordinances Sec. 4-81, Sec. 4-82:(1) and Sec. 4-82:(3), and the Township of Randolph’s special conditions in Paragraphs 3 and 7 of the renewal resolution enacted June 5, 2003, for Licensee’s liquor license. The minimum penalty for this charge is 30 days license suspension per the penalty schedule of N.J.A.C. 13:2-19.11(h), code NUIS2, and 10 days license suspension per the penalty schedule of N.J.A.C. 13:2-19.11(h), code ORDIN.
Charge 2: That on or about July 21, 2003, Licensee or Licensee’s employees, agents, or servants, did allow, permit or suffer, Persons Under the Legal Age to Purchase or Consume Alcoholic Beverages on the Grounds Outside the Building of the Licensed Premises, in violation of N.J.S.A. 33:1-31 subsections (a), (g) and (h), N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.1(a), Randolph Ordinance Sec. 4-81, and the Township of Randolph’s special conditions in Paragraphs 3, 4 and 7 of the renewal resolution enacted June 5, 2003, for Licensee’s liquor license. The minimum penalty for this charge is 15 days license suspension per the penalty schedule of N.J.A.C. 13:2-19.11(h), code PULA, and 10 days license suspension per the penalty schedule of N.J.A.C. 13:2-19.11(h), code ORDIN.
Charge 3: That on or about August 22, 2003, Licensee or Licensee’s employees, agents, or servants, did allow, permit or suffer, patrons, or other persons, specifically “Bloods” gang members, to Engage in Fights With Knives in or Upon the Licensed Premises and on the Grounds Outside the Building of the Licensed Premises, such as to be a nuisance involving the public safety and requiring police intervention in violation of N.J.S.A. 33:1-31 subsections (a), (g) and (h), N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.6(a)(2), N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.6(a)(3), Randolph Ordinance Sec. 4-81, Sec. 4-82:(1) and Sec. 4-82:(3), and the Township of Randolph’s special conditions in Paragraphs 3 and 7 of the renewal resolution enacted June 5, 2003, for Licensee’s liquor license. The minimum penalty for this charge is 30 days license suspension per the penalty schedule of N.J.A.C. 13:2-19.11(h), code NUIS2, and 10 days license suspension per the penalty schedule of N.J.A.C. 13:2-19.11(h), code ORDIN.
Charge 4: That on or about the period from June 5, 2003, through September 16, 2003, Licensee or Licensee’s employees, agents, or servants, failed to employ two (2) uniformed security personnel consisting of outside security, off-duty police officers, or uniformed employees of the licensee, to accomplish the purposes of the special conditions set forth in Obsessions’ latest liquor license renewal resolution passed June 5, 2003, in violation of N.J.S.A. 33:1-31 subsections (a), (g) and (h), N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.6(a), Randolph Ordinance Sec. 4-82, and the Township of Randolph’s special conditions in Paragraph 7 of the renewal resolution enacted June 5, 2003, for Licensee’s liquor license. The minimum penalty for this charge is 10 days license suspension per the penalty schedule of N.J.A.C. 13:2-19.11(h), code ORDIN, plus any other additional penalty under N.J.A.C. 13:2-1.1, et seq. and N.J.S.A. 33:1-1, et seq.
Councilman Napoliello noted that he was on the Council at that time and remembers specifically the commotion caused that evening at Obsessions. Inasmuch as Mr. Williams is making it sound like what happened that evening wasn’t a bid deal, in fact multiple police departments had to be called in to handle the situation.
Mr. Williams responded that he did not say it was not a big problem, however it had nothing to do with the sale of alcohol. The problems arose from the teen night.
Mayor Mitsch countered that it speaks to the judgment of the owners and their responsibility, and that is why this discussion is taking place again this evening. The Mayor was also on the Council in 2004 and agrees with Councilman Napoliello. She recalls a stabbing having taken place that evening. The Mayor stated that it doesn’t matter that alcohol was not served that evening, it was still mayhem at that location.
Councilman MacArthur noted that he was not on the Council in 2004 and is relying solely on the records of the event. He asked Mr. Williams to verify that the charges have nothing to do with the serving of alcohol.
Mr. Williams responded that alcohol was not being served that evening.
Councilman MacArthur stated that one of the four charges was for alcohol being consumed on the premises. As the Councilman understands the record to read, there was a suspension that was appealed and dropped, and there was also a set of conditions imparted. The conditions were appealed and that appeal was not withdrawn. The Councilman cited a letter from the Director of the Division of the ABC dated May 23, 2006, upholding those conditions because he saw a connection between those charges and a liquor license.
Mr. Williams responded that his client abided by those conditions.
Councilman MacArthur countered that although Mr. Williams said the charges had nothing to do with the liquor license, he would suggest that the Director of the Division of the ABC disagrees and allowed the conditions to be upheld because he did see a connection between those charges and the holding of a liquor license.
Mr. Williams noted that the conditions were imposed in 2005.
Councilman MacArthur noted that the letter is a ruling on the appeal of the conditions dated May 23, 2006.
Mr. Williams stated that the license was sold in October 2005.
Councilman Algeier asked how Mr. Stavrakis complied with the conditions if he didn’t own the liquor license.
Mr. Williams responded that his client didn’t have to comply because it was moot.
Councilman Algeier noted that Mr. Williams had just said his client had complied with the conditions earlier.
Mr. Williams responded that his client did comply with the conditions because from February 8, when the appeal was stopped, the conditions were in place, there was no alcohol being served, so the point was moot.
Mr. Miller stated that the conditions were stated in a resolution that was adopted in 2005. He noted that not only did Mr. Stavrakis not agree or comply with the conditions, the conditions were appealed. Mr. Miller has a letter in the file showing an appeal was filed on July 1, 2005, appealing that resolution with those conditions.
Mr. Williams asked what the result was.
Mr. Miller responded that the result was that the appeal was eventually withdrawn due solely to the fact that the liquor license was transferred, however the appeal was still in place and still in tact and still active until that transfer took place.
Mr. Williams agreed that the conditions were on, but that the letter came after the license was transferred.
Councilman MacArthur asked if, in the ABC Director’s view the charges that resulted in the conditions related to a liquor license, regardless of whether alcohol was served that night or not, would Mr. Williams agree or disagree that the conditions are related to the holding of a liquor license.
Mr. Williams responded when the Director of the ABC says these conditions are acceptable under the rules and regulations, he would agree there is some relation. He reiterated that the first charge was dismissed and his client was held responsible for the other three charges. While he understands the Council’s concerns and their responsibility to ask these questions, he doesn’t believe it has anything to do with Mr. Stavrakis’s right to own a liquor license. These questions would be more appropriate if, at some point, Mr. Stavrakis comes back to the Council with plans to place the license at a location. At this point in time, Mr. Stavrakis and the other people on the license have an absolute right to own a liquor license in New Jersey and to say they don’t is discriminatory. Mr. Williams noted that the Council did not charge his client in 2005 and never said he was an irresponsible owner and wanted him disqualified. To do so now is a big leap.
Councilman Algeier stated that he was not aware that they could do that at the time.
Councilman Obremski asked if the requirements are met for the application and ownership of the license before the Council tonight, can the Council say no.
Mr. Miller responded the Council can say no.
Mr. Williams responded that Council would have to show that the person asking for the transfer is not qualified to have a license. He noted that Mr. Stavrakis meets every qualification and has done everything required under the law. Should the Council deny the transfer, an appeal will be filed and it will likely cost everyone involved, including the Township, a lot of money.
Mayor Mitsch stated that her frustration comes about because, while she understands that Mr. Stavrakis is applying for a transfer only of the license, Mr. Williams was before the Council a week ago and made absolutely no mention of the incident that occurred just a few years ago. She believes Mr. Williams is still attempting to minimize the incident as though it was not a serious incident in the town. The Mayor stated that as a Council member and resident of the town, she takes her responsibility to the other residents seriously.
Mr. Williams stated that he is not trying to minimize the incident, he is merely trying to put it in the perspective of ABC law.
Mayor Mitsch suggested he step away from the absolute strict interpretation of the law for a second and recognize that there are families with children that live close to the club.
Mr. Williams stated that he agrees with the Mayor in that those families are entitled to live there peacefully. However, Mr. Stavrakis is not asking to put the license at that location.
Mayor Mitsch responded that she realizes that he is not asking to place the license at that location. She would have preferred that Mr. Williams and Mr. Stavrakis been more forthcoming a week ago by recognizing that Mr. Stavrakis had an issue with a different liquor license in the more recent past.
Mr. Williams stated that if he had had the papers in his possession ahead of time that had been distributed to the Council, he would have addressed it last week.
Mayor Mitsch suggested that if there had been properly uniformed security personnel inside and out in the parking lot on the evening in question, things may not have gotten so out of hand.
Councilman Loveys stated that he is in complete agreement with Mayor Mitsch. His biggest concern, legalities aside, is that Mr. Stavrakis did not appear to have any recollection of the incident last week. Mr. Stavrakis last week mentioned an employee with a criminal background.
Mr. Williams responded that they disclosed the information.
Councilman Loveys countered that was because the Council asked about it.
Mr. Williams reiterated that his client is applying for a person to person transfer, there are no plans to place the license at a location at this time, his client and the others fulfill state requirements, and to deny a transfer will likely bring about a costly appeal.
Councilman MacArthur asked Mr. Williams if there is any difference in a town’s burden when removing an existing license once it is granted than when reviewing a new license application.
Mr. Williams responded that a new application has nothing to do with the history of a license because they start anew. The Council’s sole decision tonight is whether or not the applicant has met all of the criteria to hold a liquor license in the state. He believes that everyone would agree that everything submitted was letter perfect.
Councilman MacArthur responded that he is not sure he agrees with that, however that was not what he was asking. As Mr. Williams understands the law, is there any difference in a town’s ability to remove an existing license versus denying a new license application.
Mr. Williams responded that, when terminating or revoking a license, there are certain guidelines by the state ABC to say the license is over.
Councilman MacArthur asked if that criteria is different than what the Council has this evening.
Mr. Williams responded the criteria is different.
Councilman MacArthur noted that it sounds difficult for a governing body to take away a license unless there is a series of significant problems in a compressed period of time. He asked Mr. Williams for his opinion as to why the state includes the section of the application which speaks to violations within the past ten years if a town is not allowed to consider those violations during the approval process.
Mr. Williams responded that one reason may be that if a license has been revoked, that person is statutorily barred from owning one for two years. The applicant must also disclose other licenses he owns. Mr. Williams noted that the form has been the same for 35 years and he is not sure why some of the questions are on the application.
Councilman MacArthur asked if Mr. Williams was suggesting that the question about a suspended license has no bearing on the decision regarding the application.
Mr. Williams responded that he believes the question gives a town the opportunity to look into the history of the applicant to see if there was any criminal problem. However, the information does not act as a bar to the transfer itself.
Manager Lovell suggested the Council seek advise from the Township Attorney as opposed to Mr. Stavrakis’s attorney in Executive Session. There has already been a statement made that there may be a costly appeal. The Manager feels it would be best to adjourn the discussion this evening and discuss the situation with Mr. Buzak on March 3 and put this issue on the agenda for a future meeting.
Mr. Williams noted that he didn’t want to give the Council the impression that he was trying to minimize the incident or Mr. Stavrakis’s responsibility.
Mr. Miller asked if Mr. Stavrakis has any intent to open an adult night club or bar in the township.
Mr. Williams responded that his client has no plans to open anything right now, and has never considered opening a go-go bar.
Councilman MacArthur asked if there were any plans to bundle the license with Confetti and sell it.
Mr. Stavrakis responded that at this point there is no plan to do anything with the license. However, if in the future the right concept came along, such as a steak house or catering hall, the license may be bundled with the building. It is not his intent to operate the business.
d. Clothing Bins at DPW Complex
Manager Lovell undertook some research regarding the clothing bins currently situated at the Public Works facility. He has learned that there was an agreement signed by members of the police department and permission was given by Mr. Kerwick to place the bins at that location. Initially proceeds from the bins were provided for the DARE program and then for the school resource officers program. Currently the proceeds, amounting to approximately $13,000.00, are sitting in an account that is accessed for police needs as they arise. An ordinance now exists that governs clothing bins. The Manager believes that if the Township contracts with an entity to place bins on township property, that is the equivalent of a lease and, under local public contracts law, should be handled through a bid process.
Manager Lovell noted that he doesn’t have a problem with locating bins at the Recycling Center. Should the Council decide to place bins at that location, the Manager believes it is appropriate to then prepare bid specifications and advertise. Once the sealed bids have been received, there will be an opening and the contract will be awarded.
Councilman Algeier asked what will happen with the bins currently at the Recycling Center and the clothing that has been placed inside.
Manager Lovell suggested the police make arrangements with the company to remove the bins immediately.
Mayor Mitsch opened the meeting for public comment.
Mike Conway, representing American Recycling Technology, stated that the bins at the Recycling Center will be removed immediately and asked to be informed of the bidding process so his company can participate.
e. 2011 Budget
Manager Lovell’s included the following:
- Following discussions with the Council in which they shared their insights, the Manager began to prioritize cuts to reach various levels
- Level 1 is a 3.3 cents tax increase, which was the amount stated in his budget message of February 10, 2011
- In order to achieve that 3.3 cents there is a gap of $306,439.00 that needs to be closed
- Level 2 is 2.8 cents, Level 3 is 2.3 cents, Level 4 is 1.8 cents, and Level 5 is 1.3 cents
- At 3.3 cents, the average assessed homeowner would see a tax increase of $111.54 for the year, or $9.34 per month
- Each decrease of a half penny increases that tax bill by $16.90
- The Manager realizes there are certain recommendations the Council is not yet willing to embrace, such as a fee for leaf collection
- Items considered sacred to the Council have not been cut
- The first level of reductions deal with staff changes that come about through retirements that were proposed in Executive Session
- The first level of reductions are found in Engineering, Planning & Zoning, Police, Streets and Roads, Capital (Seeing Eye), Capital Outlay (uniforms), Recreation, and Revenue (interest and cost on taxes)
- Level 2 proposes bonding the road overlay to a greater extent
- Level 3 begins to consider staff reductions, cuts the funding for the Freedom Festival Parade and carnival, eliminates the cost for half of the generator, and cutting surplus—in lieu of a staff reduction in Parks, fees could be generated for field maintenance
- Level 4 would eliminate the fireworks at the Freedom Festival, reduce staff in court, and further draw down the surplus
- Level 5 eliminates senior and recreation programs that do not generate revenue, removes the balance of the generator, reduces group insurance and social security, and eliminating the Municipal Alliance Committee
- Although done in other areas of the state, the Manager does not embrace the concept of employee furloughs
- Council needs to decide at what level they feel comfortable regarding the budget and the Manager will carry out those decisions
- The Council is certainly welcome to make changes to the Manager’s proposed document
- State aid is remaining constant from last year’s number
Council comments, questions and answers included the following:
- The Manager was asked to explain the generator expense (the current generator is over-utilized and over-committed—the money in the budget will be used to purchase a second generator—it is a $100,000.00 project and the money will be raised over two years)
- Explain the change to the Road Overlay Program (the program is currently listed for $700,000.00 and it will be funded by $350,000.00 in cash and $350,000 in bonds—the change would increase the bonding amount by an additional $142,000.00)
- Is this the first time the Township has bonded for road overlay (no—before the Manager’s arrival the town traditionally bonded for road overlay—since his arrival the town has gone to and maintained a cash program until the last year or so)
- Doesn’t Kiwanis fund the Freedom Festival (the Township funds a portion of the parade costs as well as costs for set-up, clean-up, and security)
OPEN TO PUBLIC
Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, reported that she attended a recent performance at Brundage Park Playhouse and found it to be delightful. Mrs. Stewart asked the following questions pertaining to the proposed budget:
- Is a budget meeting still scheduled for Saturday, February 26 (yes, at 8:30 a.m.)
- What does S/W stand for in the budget memo (salary and wages)
- Can she get an explanation for Footnote 2 from the budget memo
- How would transitioning to a civilian administration in the police department save money
- She suggested the possibility of freezing salaries and wages
Mrs. Stewart stated that she does not think a tax increase of $111.00 is unreasonable and that even during a recession the public expects costs to rise.
Manager Lovell responded salaries have been frozen for all staff with the exception of the police department who is in the final year of their four year contract. A request was sent to them twice asking them to consider concessions inasmuch as all other employees have agreed to certain sacrifices, but their response to that request has not been favorable as yet. In response to Mrs. Stewart’s question about transitioning to a civilian administration in the police department, currently administrative functions are being done by lieutenants and sergeants at a steep cost to the township. Many of those same functions could conceivably be done by a civilian workforce.
Maria Martorana, 1 Wilkeshire Boulevard, asked about the anticipated time line for the new DPW maintenance facility.
Manager Lovell responded that right now the project is in design and getting ready to go out to bid. A bond ordinance will likely be introduced next week and adopted in April. Simultaneously, the Manager needs to have an agreement between the Township and the Board of Education that puts together all of the arrangements that have been agreed to. Manager Lovell anticipates being in a position to award a contract in May and expects that construction will take approximately six months.
Mrs. Martorana asked if there was still a deficit to be made up with the 3.3 cent increase in the budget.
Manager Lovell responded that with the 3.3 cent increase, a $306,000 deficit exists and his memorandum shows his recommendations to the Council to achieve that goal.
Mrs. Martorana stated that the Board of Education got an increase in state aid of $700,000.00.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public portion was closed.
COUNCIL AND MANAGER COMMENTS
Councilman Obremski reported that he is scheduled for storm alert for Friday night but does plan to attend the Saturday morning budget meeting.
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 move into Executive Session at 9:40 p.m. Councilman Algeier seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Guadagno
Councilman Algeier made a motion to return to Public Session at 10:35 p.m. Councilman Obremski seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Guadagno
Mayor Mitsch adjourned the meeting at 10:35 p.m.
Donna Marie Luciani