All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: March 10, 2016
A. OPENING OF BUDGET MEETING
1. Call to Order
A budget meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 5:00 p.m. by Mayor Hirniak. 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 4, 2015 by e-mailing them the annual resolution adopted by the Council on December 3, 2015. The annual resolution, which included this meeting date, was advertised in the Randolph Reporter, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph, and the Daily Record on December 10, 2015.
2. Roll Call
Deputy Mayor Carey (arrived at 5:30 p.m.)
Also present: Township Manager Mountain
3. Pledge of Allegiance
Mayor Hirniak led the Pledge of Allegiance.
B. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Judith Stewart, of 114 Everdale Road stated that she found several typos in the budget document in which she informed Jessica Losey so they can be corrected.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public portion was closed.
C. DEPARTMENT PRESENTATIONS
1. Health Department—Mark Caputo
Mark Caputo presented the following information:
- Recycling—with the economy of China in a downward trend, recycling commodities are affected. The drop in oil prices also affects the plastic market. These factors cause a “negative rebate” as opposed to getting a little in rebates. They have again locked onto the Morris County MUA’s contract for recycling marketing; the MUA advised that the township should be prepared to pay a little to dispose of bottles, cans, and mixed paper. Worst case scenario is probably to pay approximately $10-$20 per ton for the single stream recycling. The price for scrap iron has also declined; therefore, costing slightly more to dispose. A request is included for the replacement of the cardboard compactor; the current machine is over 20 years old which makes obtaining replacement parts difficult.
- Solid waste—the contract is about to expire; he is currently working with the Purchasing Agent to get the Request for Proposals out by mid-summer. Both the solid waste and the recycling contracts will be reviewed at the same time.
- Construction Official—the new technical assistant has progressed nicely. A temporary part-time assistant was added to cover the office duties due to the switch to the permitting software, Data Spatial Logic. The shared service agreement with Roxbury for the Construction Official continues to be successful; this position is mandated by the State.
- Public Health Nursing—staff consists of one full-time nurse and two part-time nurses. The participation with the Adult Vaccines for Children (AVFC) program continues to increase. Flu vaccines continue to be popular, but are not part of the AVFC program.
- Animal Control—the renovation of the former Seeing Eye site is complete. The staff and volunteers are currently revising shelter protocols. Animal Control services are provided 24/7 to the five municipalities. The staff continues to ensure that revenues for dog and cat licensing remain at a consistent level.
- Environmental—a supervising health inspector resigned in 2015, the position was posted, and was filled by promoting the Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS) to the supervisory position. The REHS position has been filled within the last month.
- Shared services—Mark reviewed the various shared service agreements.
- Privatized services—recycling is now contracted with Blue Diamond which provides significant savings.
- Curbside solid waste collection—currently in the last year of a 5 year deal. The contract is all inclusive; this was change was made in 2010.
- Dumpster service contract—the township provides solid waste services to the apartments and some of the condominiums; also included are the municipal buildings and fire houses.
- Health Educator—Kristine Wilsusen continues to be contracted for approximately $22,000.
- Electrical inspection—utilizing BIU for privatized electrical inspector services with the Construction Department.
Mayor Hirniak asked if there were any other downward trends in 2015; Mark Caputo replied that there were not.
Councilman Loveys asked about the “negative rebate” and where that is included in the budget book. Manager Mountain explained that it doesn’t affect the township contractually, and that it is included under contractual services. Councilman Loveys suggested monitoring the resident recycling stickers more closely due to the increase in cost. Manager Mountain responded that the stickers should be checked, but he didn’t feel anything further needed to be done at this time until it is determined if this trend is temporary. Mark Caputo explained that signage, especially for the electronics recycling, has been added to specify the acceptable materials. He also spoke to the Recycling Center staff to have them more closely monitor the items being dropped off.
Councilwoman Veech commented on the recycling cost of $10-$20/ton versus the solid waste cost of $100/ton; she felt that even if the recycling cost has increased slightly, it is still better than having those recyclables in the solid waste collection. Manager Mountain agreed, but felt that the situation should be monitored.
Councilman Guadagno asked if the cardboard compactor is still needed with staff to run the machine. Mark explained that the benefit of having the compactor is that there is savings on the trucking of the materials. Also, by eliminating it, residents would need to be educated to break down all cardboard boxes. There was also some discussion on the Freon-containing units.
2. Police Department—Chief David Stokoe
Chief David Stokoe presented the following information related to the operating budget:
- Supplies—slight increase requested.
- Printing—slight increase requested since last year the budget was nearly exhausted. This is used to print the warning books for motor vehicle enforcement as well as in-house forms used on a daily basis.
- Dues and Licensing—decrease in budget due to leftover funds each year which could be utilized elsewhere.
- Legal Services—increase requested due to ongoing litigation within the Department, as well as some significant personnel issues with which legal counsel was needed for guidance and direction.
- Continuing Education—increase requested due to the anticipation of two new Sergeants this year who will need supervision training, as well as in-service training for officers.
- Police uniforms—increase due to the two new Sergeants and one patrol officer; there is also the possibility of one other Sergeant retiring, and being replaced. This line item is also used to outfit the Crossing Guards.
- Communications—small increase—these funds are used to purchase portable radio batteries and microphone packs for MDVR.
- Support Services Unit—increase requested—these funds are used to maintain and update all street and traffic signs.
- Detective Bureau—all supplies for the investigations are purchased from this line item.
- Police computer services—decrease in budget due to the move to the County Records Management System, the Department is no longer required to maintain the contractual computer systems.
- Traffic Advisory Committee—has been generous with giving back to the Department, and working with the Department. Increase requested to assist the TAC and the PD with the Distracted Driver Awareness Month initiative as well as Put the Brakes on Fatalities.
Councilwoman Veech asked if any funding was needed for the new bail reform. Chief Stokoe replied that he would be addressing that in the Overtime discussion.
Councilman Forstenhausler stated that the 2015 budget for Other Expenses was $193,000 but the actual was $148,000 which is $45,000 under. This year’s request is for $200,000 which is $7,000 higher than 2015; he asked why the request is higher than what was actually requested and spent in 2015. Chief Stokoe explained that he is trying to ensure that the Department has adequate funds in the event unforeseen things arise. Manager Mountain added that the estimated expenditures is not a final year end figure; Darren Maloney concurred.
Chief Stokoe presented the following information related to Capital Improvement:
- Seven items are consistent from 2015; the budget request remains the same in 2016. They are: soft body armor, weapons replacement, MDT tough books, mobile digital cameras, radar laser speed measurement devices, ALPR license plate reader, and the live scan digital fingerprint machine.
- Rifle Grade Body Armor—the Department purchased some in 2015 for active shooter situations. The request is to begin to set aside funds because this body armor has a 5 year life. There are currently 17 sets of armor, as well as ballistic helmets and other items.
- Police Radio Infrastructure—this is the communications lifeline; it is aging significantly. The $57,000-$58,000 in 2015 will hopefully carry the Department for the next five years; the units are very expensive.
Councilwoman Veech asked if any funding was needed for the Department to put equipment on the future cell tower. The Chief explained that, with the move to the County dispatch, there is no need for equipment on the future cell tower. Councilman Loveys asked for clarification regarding the radio infrastructure. Chief Stokoe explained that the Department maintains the radio units in the vehicles, and the portable radios carried by officers when outside the vehicle.
- Portable Message Sign—there is currently one sign; an additional sign would provide greater coverage and flexibility for the township. If additional signs are needed currently, they need to be borrowed from the County or another municipality.
- Body Worn Cameras—no funding is requested for 2016; however, the Chief wanted to introduce the topic to the Council and will likely be requesting funds in 2017. This is a new piece of equipment to law enforcement, and one highly publicized currently. There are cameras in the primary patrol vehicles. There are still a lot of policy and procedure aspects that need to be worked out throughout the state, from the Attorney General to the County Prosecutor’s Office. The Chief is going to begin researching the appropriate equipment for the Department.
Councilman Forstenhausler stated that he felt it was a good idea to begin to research the body worn camera equipment. His concern/question was that if the Department does purchase them prior to being required to have them, the purchase might not meet the requirements. The Chief explained that the Attorney General’s guidelines are already in place, but the policy and procedures relate to issues such as what situations one is recording, how they’re recorded, if the people need to be notified they’re being recorded, etc. He further explained that many of the concerns of Councilman Forstenhausler have been already addressed because the cameras are operational in some areas of the State.
Chief Stokoe presented the following related to the Capital Outlay:
- Two items are consistent from 2015—a $3,000 increase in total from last year for the purchase of a new vehicle, and furniture replacement.
- DWI Breath test instrument—the State is in the process of selecting a new breath test instrument which will be implemented later this year; he has been told it could cost as much as $20,000. The State will no longer service or support the current machine. The Department is already having difficulty getting the State Police to service the existing unit, as well as training new operators in the existing unit because they have already begun a transition period to a new test instrument.
- L-3 MDVR Burner—this is related to the in-car camera system; there is a significant amount of video from the system, this will streamline and make the discovery process more efficient.
- 75th Anniversary Celebration—he asked that the funding originally requested for the anniversary celebration instead be allocated for thermal imaging equipment, as well as additional equipment for active shooter and active violence bags.
- Station Renovation Study—conduct a study to evaluate the aging Police Department, and determine the options and best solutions for the Department.
Chief Stokoe presented the following related to Overtime:
- In 1995, the Department had 41 sworn officers. Even though the town has grown and developed since then, there are currently 36 officers. He explained that just because there are currently 36, the amount established to be the maximum staffing level, it does not mean that there would be a decrease in overtime. Although the Department is well-staffed, it doesn’t leave room for the issues that arise daily when managing a Police Department.
- For the past twenty years, the town has always preferred to spend more money annually on overtime, rather than hiring more officers. A significant number of officers would have to be hired in order to drive down the overtime cost; this would be significantly more costly than paying overtime.
- Things that drive the overtime—large scale events, major incident investigations, investigations, supervision, and shift shortages.
- He and the Manager review overtime on a monthly basis to assure that it is being utilized in a responsible way, and that any unused funds go back into the municipal budget at the end of the year.
- Overtime is not pensionable; it is not given to senior officers at the end of their career, it’s not granted or filled on anything other than a case by case basis and what the need of the Department is at the time. An officer’s pension is based upon his annual base salary.
- Primarily, overtime is only authorized in instances of shift shortages, investigations, and supervision and unexpected incidences. Currently, patrol is the biggest driver of overtime because the demand on the roads has to be met. The minimum number of patrol officers is four; if an officer is out sick or on vacation, the void has to be covered. Some of the provisions in the collective bargaining agreement require overtime when people have vacation time, etc.
- Other overtime factors include investigations, incidents that occur close to the end of shifts, as well as last day of a shift when all the reports need to be completed.
- Supervision—all actions need to be supervised to ensure that matters are handled appropriately and in a responsible manner. Supervisors need to make sure that officers are performing to the standards of the Department, and that they are completing assignments as outlined in the Department policy. Supervision continues well beyond the end of the shift, and does create overtime.
- He has always been conscientious of overtime; he and the command staff have worked hard to manage the overtime in a responsible, and appropriate manner.
- In 2015 the following affected overtime—arrests and productivity, vacations, sick time, and time off where minimum staffing is affected.
- With a younger police department, many of the officers are getting married and starting families. FMLA leave and child birth—at least five officers in 2015 that took a month off due to the birth of children; that created shift shortages.
- Disciplinary matters resulting in reassignments and suspension also affect overtime.
- Road coverage for fire arms training and qualification, and mandatory police training schools affect overtime. There were several medical issues in 2015 requiring officers to be out. Three officers are in the military reserves which creates staffing level shortages; one officer was deployed last August, and is expected to return in May or June.
- Even with the challenges, the Department came in approximately $10,000 under the overtime budget in 2015; approximately $309,000 was spent.
- He reviewed the current issues within the Department resulting in overtime.
- Two issues needing consideration for 2016, the tentative agreement with the collective bargaining agreement for the next four years, with both the superiors and the officers, they will see salary increases. The other concern is the new bail reform legislation; it is set to begin in Morris County in the next few months. Everything related to an arrest, from reporting and processing, is going to have to be completed and sent to the Prosecutor’s Office and the courts within 24 hours.
There was a brief discussion on the Crime Index, and to what it relates.
Councilman Guadagno asked if “calls for service” meant calls to 911. Chief Stokoe explained that it is for any call seeking assistance that comes into the Police Department. The figure includes calls for the Fire Department since the police also respond.
Councilwoman Veech asked if there were still police officers in the schools. Chief Stokoe stated that there are not, but he is a huge proponent of School Resource Officers (SROs); he would like to see, at a minimum, officers in the middle school and high school. The Chief explained that he has had conversations with the school personnel about having the SROs, but they currently do not see the value or the need. Chief Stokoe explained that he has tried to work around the situation by instructing his officers that each school in town is to be visited at least once per day by an officer who stops in, walks around the school, and ensures that everything is okay. The value is that officers become familiar with the school and the staff, and the officers are seen in the schools as a positive thing, not just when something negative happens. Councilman Napoliello asked if new officers would have to be hired if the SROs were put back in schools; the Chief stated that he would have to hire more officers because the officers assigned to the schools would be in the schools for the 180 days. Deputy Mayor Carey commented that she remembers the community outcry when the officers were removed from the schools. Councilman Forstenhausler asked how many additional officers would be needed if the SROs were put back in the schools. Chief Stokoe stated that he would need one additional officer per SRO; if there was one in the high school and one in the middle school, he would need to increase the force by 2, for a total of 38 officers. The SROs agreements are usually a cost split between the township and the Board of Education. Councilman Guadagno felt that it is the school’s responsibility to determine if they need/want SROs, and not the township’s.
Councilwoman Veech asked if the Municipal Judge would be required to spend more time with the new bail reform legislation. Chief Stokoe stated that his understanding is that it will be more of a Superior Court Judge making the decisions. The Chief explained more of the process as he understands it.
Councilman Forstenhausler stated that the Fire Department has a lot of thermal imaging cameras. He asked if the police have a fairly regular use for them. Chief Stokoe replied that they don’t have a regular use for them, but it would be good to have them available immediately. If they were not able to purchase the one thermal imaging camera, then the Department would continue to rely on the Fire Department’s camera.
Councilman Loveys asked who evaluates the need for vehicles. Chief Stokoe replied that vehicles are the largest expenditure the Department has on a yearly basis. The primary response cars are used 24/7, resulting in a lot of wear and tear. They work closely with the DPW to evaluate the condition of the vehicles; they have implemented a maintenance program with the DPW. The Chief explained in some detail the wear and tear on the vehicles.
D. REVIEW OF OTHER BUDGET CONSIDERATIONS
1. Library Funding
Due to time limitations, these reviews were moved to the March 19th budget meeting.
E. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Seeing no one from the public, the public portion was closed.
F. COUNCIL COMMENTS
There were no Council Comments.
G. EXECUTIVE SESSION
There was no Executive Session.
Councilman Guadagno made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 6:45 p.m. Councilman Forstenhausler seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Carey