All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: March 14, 2015
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 Veech. 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 19, 2014 by e-mailing them the annual resolution adopted by the Council on December 4, 2014. 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 24, 2014.
2. Roll Call
Councilman Forstenhausler (via phone)
ABSENT: Deputy Mayor Hirniak
Also present: Township Manager Mountain, Finance Director Darren Maloney, Ralph Carchia, and Police Chief David Stokoe
3. Pledge of Allegiance
Mayor Veech led the Pledge of Allegiance.
B. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Seeing no one from the public, the public portion was closed.
C. REVIEW OF FEBRUARY 28, 2015 BUDGET MEETING
1. Review of Follow-up Requests from Prior Work Session
Manager Mountain distributed a summary of the changes from the Draft Budget to the Revised Draft Budget. He explained that the Council had looked at the Road Overlay proposal request and while it was level to the prior year, it was not as aggressive as it could be. The Council had given direction for him and Darren Maloney to determine if there was a way to increase that program budget in a manner that wouldn’t greatly impact the proposed draft budget. The Manager explained the change proposed was an additional $135,000 toward the Road Overlay budget. He reviewed how it was achieved and what the impact would be:
- $90,000 was identified in 2012 and 2013 open Ordinances that had been designed for road overlay; the projects were closed under budget and there were balances in the overlay ordinances. The amendment of those Ordinances was recommended as part of the 2015 Capital program to re-appropriate that money to the roads proposed in this year’s budget.
- Darren Maloney reviewed the draft budget for the Library; the number was a place holder number. He analyzed and calculated the numbers, there was $27,000 less than the place holder had projected. That money was reassigned to the overlay program to avoid having to increase the levy significantly.
- Darren Maloney also made a few changes on the revenue side that were reasonable and amounted to $3,000.
- The remaining $15,000 is coming from a slight increase in the levy proposal.
The “Revised Draft Budget 3/14/15” reflects the changes discussed in funding toward Road Overlays as indicated below:
|Draft Budget 2/28/15||Revised Draft Budget 3/14/15|
|% Increase in Appropriations (2014-2015)||2.38%||2.43%|
|Change in Municipal Tax Rate (2014-2015)||$0.014||$0.01433|
|Impact on Average Residential Property||$46.35||$48.08|
|% Increase in Municipal Tax Rate (2014-2015)||1.92%||1.99%|
Manager Mountain further explained:
- The terms need to be defined when speaking about the various percentages that are used to describe budget increases. The main number that matters to him and Darren from a technical standpoint is where the budget is relative to the cap, and it is under the 2% cap. As far as they are concerned, there is no negative impact in terms of what needs to be met from a statutory standpoint.
- He is comfortable with the revised draft budget, particularly given the road conditions after the winter. The additional money will help the road overlay program.
- Two state aid projects are scheduled for 2015, Millbrook Avenue and Quaker Church Rd. There are also three county projects scheduled.
Mayor Veech asked if the $15,000 increase in tax levy drives the increase in appropriations. Manager Mountain replied that it did.
Councilman Guadagno asked for clarification on the total amount for the road overlay program with the revised draft budget. Manager Mountain replied that it would go from $810,000 in the original draft budget to $945,000. The $10,000 from the original $810,000 is supplementing the Quaker Church Rd. project, so the total for the general road overlay is $935,000.
Councilman Loveys stated he supports the increased budget for road overlay. He asked if there was a way to find the $15,000 somewhere else in the budget. Manager Mountain explained there probably was a way to find the $15,000; however, it is relatively minimal on a 29 million dollar budget. But if the Council wanted the Manager and Darren Maloney to find other places in which to take the $15,000, they would examine the budget and find them.
There was some discussion on the difference between Capital Outlay and Capital Improvement.
Councilman Forstenhausler expressed his concern that the increase in Municipal Tax Rate is 1.99% instead of 1.92% since the Council wanted to keep it close to 1.90%. Councilman Guadagno stated that he felt the money for the road overlay program is money well spent, both for the present as well as the future of the roads.
Mayor Veech asked Manager Mountain to state the percentages so it’s clear. Manager Mountain stated that it is hard to state the percentages because when the calculation is run, the levy is over 2%, but with the exclusions, it is within the levy cap. He stated it is easier to do the cap calculation with the dollar amount, and the budget is roughly $103,000 below cap.
Manager Mountain responded to the concerns Councilmen Loveys and Forstenhausler raised. He stated that they are both in agreement with the concept of addressing the roads. However, the question is whether they want him and Darren to go back and look at the budget, keep the $135,000 there, but look through the budget to find the $15,000 elsewhere so the budget numerically stays the same as what was presented on February 28, 2015. Councilman Loveys reiterated that he is in full support of investing in the infrastructure.
Mayor Veech summarized the options based on the above discussion on the $15,000:
- Go back to the draft budget and find the $15,000 somewhere else so there is no increase to the tax levy from the budget proposed on February 28, 2015.
- Accept the revised draft with the $15,000 and increased tax levy.
- The Mayor asked for a motion on one of the options.
Councilman Napoliello made a motion to find the $15,000 elsewhere in the budget. Councilman Loveys seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
NAYS: Councilman Guadagno
ABSENT: Deputy Mayor Hirniak
D. REVIEW OF OTHER BUDGET CONSIDERATIONS
Manager Mountain asked Darren Maloney to review the below items.
1. Library Funding
Darren Maloney explained that each year the state calculates, the “millage calculation”; the state requires municipalities to budget a certain amount of taxes for the library. Some towns give that full amount directly to the library, but that is not the way it’s done in Randolph. Since the township pays for things such as the library employees’ pensions, their healthcare, maintenance for the building, and other things, these amounts that are paid out are deducted from the amount the state requires the township to give the library. When the budget was drafted, the figure was $1,004,651.00. After doing the calculation, the actual number needed to budget for that item is $977,315.00 which frees up about $27,000 to use for the road overlay program.
Councilwoman Carey asked what other salaries are attributed to the library budget. Darren explained that 10% of Manager Mountain’s salary, a portion of his salary, a portion of the Assistant Finance Director’s salary, and a portion of Pam Vasta’s salary is charged to the library budget; it is consistent with last year’s percentages.
There was some discussion on the township revaluation related to the budget.
2. Reserve for Uncollected Taxes
Darren Maloney explained that all municipalities have to pay the full amount of the county and school levy to each entity. Since 100% of taxes aren’t collected, there will always be a cash shortfall for the municipalities. The state devised the Reserve for Uncollected Taxes to ensure that the municipality collects 100% of their taxes, and more. This reserve is a driver used to generate surplus; a couple of percentage points above what is expected to be collected are added, and at the end of the year that money goes into surplus. In 2014 approximately 99% was collected; the calculation for the budget is based on a 97.8% collection rate.
Darren Maloney explained that like the Reserve for Uncollected Taxes generates surplus, conservatively anticipating revenues also generates surplus. The key drivers for 2014 were the courts, construction code, and the electrical inspections; these will again be used as drivers of the surplus. As an example, in 2014 it was anticipated that the court would generate $250,000 in revenue, and $301,000 was realized. This was partly due to an increased police force and the implementation of a new electronic ticketing system. In the 2015 budget, $277,000 is anticipated from the court, an 11% increase over the prior year. Darren explained the anticipated revenues for construction code and the electrical inspections.
E. DEPARTMENT PRESENTATIONS—9:30 a.m.
1. Water and Sewer—Ralph Carchia
Ralph Carchia distributed a packet to the Council. He highlighted the below 2014 accomplishments for the Water and Sewer Department:
- Achieved 5% average non-revenue water loss
- PRV valve replacement/rebuild
- Dover water connection
- Hydrant/valves/meter replacements
- Infiltration & Inflow inspection Jackson Brook Interceptor
- 16 water main repairs
- Reconstruction of Animal Shelter rehab/VFW bathroom/Art Works studio entrance
- Water System Master Plan
- Awarded RFP for Knights Bridge/Butterworth Phase III design
- Performed leak detection audit for entire water system
Ralph explained the following Water and Sewer Capital Improvement plan for 2015:
- The Sussex Turnpike water line improvements
- Replacement of the existing 14" asbestos concrete pipe. The line is about 40-50 years old.
- The Harvey Terrace water line improvements
- It is not currently served by public water. The water lines will be installed in late 2015 or early 2016.
- Sewer improvements will take place the following year.
There was some discussion on the water connections for the future construction on Old Brookside Rd., as well as the meter for CCM.
Ralph Carchia explained the following Engineering project:
- Clover Lane drainage
- There have been some residents who have had some significant drainage issues. There is a drainage easement along the side and rear of #29 Clover Lane. Because of the alignment and the undersized pipe, the catch basins and manholes located on this property are consistently surcharging, flooding the property, the driveway and part of the roadway. The Engineering Dept has researched it and has come up with a solution. Repairing the pipe would require excavating the entire back yard to replace an inadequate pipe. Therefore, the solution is to bypass what’s going into the drainage system along the existing easement now, constructing a new easement along Clover Lane, and creating an outlet along Deer Run Dr. It also allows for the opportunity to do work in the roadway, reconfigure the drainage, and make the drainage more efficient.
Ralph explained some details of the Infiltration and Inflow program.
Councilman Guadagno expressed his satisfaction at the Water & Sewer improvements, particularly to the older sections of the township.
2. Police Department—Chief David Stokoe
Chief Stokoe explained the following:
- At the end of 2014, the staffing goal of 36 officers was reached. Over the last two years, the department has hired 12 new officers; he hired 8 of the 12 after taking over the department. His continued focus is to train and develop the newly hired officers and the newly promoted officers while meeting the challenges and demands of daily police work.
- He has requested 1.85% increase over last year’s operating budget.
- There is a significant increase in the supplies line item. That increase is attributed to the Mobile Digital Video Recording system (MDVR) upgrade; this is the in-car camera system in the police vehicles which is vital to the patrol function of the department. The system was starting to fail. The system was slated to be upgraded in 2015, but it started in 2014 due to the failing system. The system is now complete and working well.
There was a short discussion on body cameras; the Chief is confident that the in-car camera system is sufficient at this time.
Chief Stokoe continued, explaining the following:
- General Supplies is the catch all for the Police Department. When there isn’t money in other line items for the purchase of necessary things, the General Supplies budget is used.
- Dues and Licensing—with increased technology, there is an increase in dues and licensing obligations.
- Travel for the State Chief’s Convention—he would like to attend this year with other members of the command staff; it’s a very informative conference.
- Support Services
- Street signs throughout the township, speed limit, parking, street signs, etc. come from this budget. There are a significant amount of signs that need to be updated, they’re old and fading.
- By reaching the staffing goals last year, he was able to increase the size of the Support Services Unit. With an additional officer there, additional funds will allow for greater flexibility in the traffic calming devices that would be purchased and maintained. He is looking to purchase things to promote the department with the children and at community events.
- The RADAR equipment is repaired using funds from this line item.
- Detective Bureau—an officer was added to the Detective Bureau, so there is an increase in supplies and equipment.
- General Service Contracts—with the increase in technology and related purchases, the service contracts are purchased.
- Contractual Computer System has decreased because the records management system is no longer maintained in-house; it was transferred to the Morris County Communications Center last year.
- Uniforms—with the increase in number of officers, more money is needed for maintenance and upgrade of uniforms.
- Radio Tie Line—covers the phone lines being switched from the Police Department down to the Morris County Communications Center.
- E-Ticket—has decreased because the equipment was purchased in 2014; now that the department owns the equipment, a cheaper rate is paid for each summons.
Mayor Veech asked for an explanation of the overtime budget. Manager Mountain explained that he and Darren Maloney made a decision, with input from Chief Stokoe. They wanted to go through a full year at the full staffing level to determine where the department stands with respect to overtime. There was more discussion on the factors related to police overtime, and the basis for the budget request. The figure will be tweaked for the 2016 budget based on the findings from the full year. Chief Stokoe added to the explanation of the factors related to overtime.
Councilman Guadagno asked about dispatch, and the number for calling the township with a non-emergency. Chief Stokoe stated that 989-7010 goes to the Records Bureau. He stated that most people call 989-7000 and the communications officer can then forward the call. There was some discussion on the different township numbers versus calling 911 for a non-emergency.
Councilman Napoliello stated that he was okay with the overtime budget; he gave an example of an incident from years ago that resulted in a significant amount of police overtime. Chief Stokoe gave other examples of unexpected events that result in police overtime.
Councilman Loveys asked for clarification on the in-car camera system; Chief Stokoe provided clarification and a further explanation.
Chief Stokoe explained the Capital Outlay requests:
Compared to last year, the Police Department has some noteworthy additions, and some consistent requests.
- The consistent items:
- Vehicles—largest expenditure, slight increase from last year. This budget should allow for 4 new vehicles to replace older vehicles.
- Furniture replacement—trying to continue the process to replace the 20 year old furniture in the department.
- Promotional exam—two officers currently eligible for retirement are Sergeants and can leave at any time. He and the Manager felt it might be good to run a promotional exam later this year since the process is cumbersome and takes four months to complete.
- The new items:
- Video Acquisition Kit—gives the Detectives the ability to work with any video surveillance system and they can obtain the footage immediately.
- Squawk Box Upgrade—boxes located throughout police headquarters that allow for the ability to hear the radio transmissions inside the building of what’s going on out on the road, and officers inside can transmit out as well.
- Portable Radio Upgrade—when the switch to the county communication center was made, a limited number of radios were purchased; these are shared by the day shift and night shift which doesn’t allow for the Chief and the other administrators to have their own radios.
- Rifle Armor Plates & Carriers—the current, soft-bodied armor will not stop rifle rounds. The Rifle Armor Plates & Carriers would be placed in about 10 vehicles so in the event the officer responds to an area where the known threat might have a rifle, the officer could put it on over his/her existing uniform and have the added protection.
- Laptop Computers—the command staff does work from home after hours, and out in the field. He would like to purchase a laptop for each of the command staff to allow for the ability to log into the records management system from home or out in the field.
- Time Synchronizer—currently all the clocks, computers, security system, etc. in the department are all different. Since everything the department does is based on time, the time synchronizer would standardize time throughout the various devices within the building.
Manager Mountain explained that the Building and Grounds lobby upgrade that is listed was actually accomplished in 2014; the chart has not yet been upgraded. He further explained that two things need consideration, the Rosenfarb Park will require about $10,000 worth of improvement, and there is a need for about $5,000 to finalize the security system in the Police Department with the video monitors. He and Darren Maloney had already discussed that the chart be updated to transfer the $15,000 into the two above reference projects.
Councilman Guadagno asked about cameras on the buildings in the township, and if there could be guidance from the Police Department to the businesses about the type of camera to install. There was a short discussion about the possibility. Councilman Guadagno also asked if there were any cameras throughout the township, such as on lights at intersections. Chief Stokoe said there are no such cameras. Councilman Guadagno asked if there were any plans to add cameras. The Chief stated it would be a tremendous expense to install and maintain those cameras, and it would not be beneficial. There is money budgeted in the Parks & Recreation budget for cameras in the parks; Chief Stokoe fully supported installing cameras in the parks.
Chief Stokoe explained his Capital Improvement plan:
- It is consistent with last year with the exception of the addition of the automated license plate reader. He would like to put money aside to either replace the existing one or purchase an additional one since it’s been a great tool in the field.
F. BREAK—10:55 a.m. (5 min.)
G. COUNCIL QUESTIONS/DISCUSSION
Councilman Guadagno asked if there was a disposal system for prescription medications other than the twice per year collection since residents often report just throwing them in the garbage. Chief Stokoe explained they had been collecting household medications twice per year through the DEA’s drug take back in conjunction with the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office. The Chief explained that the DEA doesn’t look to be doing it. Since Randolph doesn’t have a full time dispatch, a drug receptacle cannot be placed in the lobby because there is no one to monitor it. There are Police Departments in the county, such as Denville, where anyone can drop off medications.
Councilman Loveys recognized Chief Stokoe for the professionalism he has brought to the Police Department. Chief Stokoe thanked the Council for their support.
Mayor Veech asked for an update on Revelstone. Manager Mountain explained that Revelstone is a dashboard software package that allows for the collection of data from all departments and analyze it in a way that can help make management as well as financial decisions. It is initially being implemented in the Police Department since they already have a fair amount of data collected. The Manager explained that baseline measures for the Police Department are currently being determined. He feels the program can be utilized by the management of each department to help them in their daily operation. The Mayor asked when the Council can expect to see data. Manager Mountain explained it would probably be several months since data is being collected now, similar to what is in the existing monthly reports, but ultimately it is hoped that multiple measures can be analyzed. Councilman Guadagno stated that he would like to see the information from the revaluation be included with the Revelstone program. Manager Mountain stated that he saw the greatest tie in for the data would be to the data logic program within the Planning and Zoning Department. The Manager explained that Revelstone is now an annual service fee which provides for IT support as well as utilizing their people to come in to help create the system.
Mayor Veech encouraged Council members to use their township email address for any township business.
Manager Mountain reviewed the overtime budgeted for Road Maintenance, Recycling, Snow Removal, and Water and Sewer. He stated that all the departments have been within budget for overtime.
Councilman Guadagno stated that he would like to see in next year’s budget book, the prior year’s budgeted money and actual money spent on projects. Manager Mountain said that information would be provided.
Councilman Guadagno asked for clarification as to where the sale of vehicles is indicated. Manager Mountain stated that it is under Miscellaneous Revenue Not Anticipated.
Councilman Loveys asked about the DPW deck mower for roadside mowing. He recalled that last year there was a request for a zero-turn mower and John Lovell had suggested sharing the mower that Parks & Recreation since they had one. Councilman Loveys wanted to ensure that there wasn’t duplication of equipment. Manager Mountain stated that he would look into it.
To recap, Manager Mountain explained that he will work with Darren Maloney to identify where the adjustment can be made on the $15,000, and he will follow up with a memo to the Council. His recommendation was that unless there is a need to discuss the adjustment, he will move forward with integrating that change into the budget for introduction on March 26. If there is a need to discuss the adjustment, it will be scheduled for discussion at the appropriate meeting. The Manager also recapped that March 21 is scheduled as a wrap up meeting, but it may not be needed. The introduction of the budget is scheduled for the March 26 meeting; the adoption of the budget will be at the April 30 meeting. The March 19 meeting was previously cancelled.
H. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Judith Stewart of 114 Everdale Road asked Chief Stokoe if the department has considered placing mannequins in the police car decoys that are used for traffic calming since people become used to it being an empty car. The Chief explained they had used one years ago, but he didn’t feel it helped one way or another; he felt the empty cars have been effective.
Mrs. Stewart stated that she has two concerns, one of which she has raised before with Manager Mountain. She stated that there are programs at the library when transportation is not available, and suggested that the new senior citizen bus could possibly be used for this purpose. The other concern is that the design of the entrance to the Community Center is poor for handicapped people. She felt a railing is needed between the entrance to the building and the ramp on the other side of the building for safety reasons. Manager Mountain replied that he will follow up and look into the situation.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public portion was closed.
I. COUNCIL COMMENTS
Councilwoman Carey asked if there would be a meeting with the Board of Education regarding budgets. Manager Mountain stated that on April 30th, the township budget will be adopted and the Board of Education will present their budget overview.
Mayor Veech reminded the Council about the email they received from Donna Luciani and Donna Brady regarding presentations for the staff by Russ Newman and Jeanne Montemarano on the Parks Master Plan; presentations will take place March 17th at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., & 3 p.m. At 7 p.m. on March 17th is the public meeting at the Community Center. On March 18th, a presentation to students is at 11:30 a.m., and presentations to spring, fall, and winter sports participants are at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Councilman Forstenhausler stated that he appreciated that he could attend the Saturday budget meetings via telephone since he had to work. He reported that after the last budget meeting, he met with Manager Mountain and Darren Maloney to review the debt service, and clarify his questions on the budget. The Manager emailed him the handouts for today’s meeting so he was able to follow along.
Based on a question from Councilman Napoliello, Manager Mountain re-stated that based on the direction he was given by the Council at this meeting, the increase in the tax rate will be $0.014 and 1.92% from 2014 to 2015. The Manager reiterated that this is the Municipal piece of the increase, and that the school increase is separate.
Mayor Veech thanked Darren Maloney for his work on the budget, and also for providing a seamless transition from former Finance Director Mike Soccio. Manager Mountain and the other Council members agreed.
Councilman Guadagno made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 11:30 a.m. Councilwoman Carey seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
ABSENT: Deputy Mayor Hirniak