Randolph Mayor James Loveys and the township council conducted the first 2019 budget meeting on Saturday, January 26, 2019.
The mayor and council heard presentations from the following department heads: Engineering Administrator Ralph Carchia, Director of Parks and Recreation Russ Newman, and Director of Public Works Tom Sweeney.
Future budget meetings are scheduled for Thursday, February 7, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, February 16, 2019, at 8:30 a.m. These budget meetings as well as all township council meetings are open to the public.
Snow Removal and Mailbox Damage
Posted: January 22, 2019
One of the unintended consequences of any municipal snow removal program is mailbox damage. In most cases, damage to mailboxes results from snow being displaced from truck plows into the township right-of-way. The township plow drivers make every effort to avoid such damage, however, sometimes the impact on mailboxes is unavoidable.
Residents are advised that it is the policy of the township to not replace mailboxes damaged during the snow removal process.
To guard against mailbox damage, we ask that residents ensure proper mailbox placement within the township right-of-way. Mailboxes should not protrude beyond the curb line into the street as to prevent any damage from plows removing snow from township streets. The United States Postal Service has guidelines regarding mailbox placement.
Questions? Contact the Randolph Township Engineering Department at 973.989.7066.
Morris County MUA Issues New Guidelines on Plastic Recycling
Starting this month, only plastic containers (bottles and non-bottle) coded 1, 2, and 5 are acceptable in residential curbside recycling. Look for the recycling symbol on the bottom of the plastic container.
The following are acceptable plastic bottle/containers:
Containers that are coded #1 (PET, Poly-EthyleneTerephthalate) include water, soda and salad dressing bottles, microwavable food trays, and peanut butter container.
Containers coded #2 (HDPE, High Density Polyethylene) include milk jugs, shampoo bottles, and butter and yogurt tubs.
Containers coded #5 (PP, Polypropylene) include ketchup and syrup bottles, and some yogurt containers.
Due to restrictions imposed by China on imported recycling commodities, the MCMUA’s market has been negatively impacted, and some plastic containers are no longer accepted in the curbside program.
Unacceptable plastic bottles/containers include the following:
Plastics with no container code (no number in a recycling symbol).
Plastics coded #3 (V, PVC Vinyl), which include cooking oil and mouthwash bottles, clear food packaging, and PVC piping.
Plastics coded #4 (LDPE, Low Density Polyethylene) used in plastic shopping bags and trash bags.
Plastics coded #6 (PS Polystyrene) used in disposable cups, plates, egg cartons, and clamshell take-out containers.
Plastics coded #7 (Other) used in three-to-five gallon water jugs and some food containers.
The MCMUA also requests that residents make sure their recyclable items are empty, clean and dry before putting them at the curb in reusable containers (loose, and not in plastic bags). There is only one exception for use of plastic bags: shredded paper can be placed inside of translucent plastic bags.
Freeholders Invite Public Input on Proposed 2019 County Budget
Posted: January 9, 2019
The Morris County Board of Freeholders will hold a special 2019 public county budget input meeting on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the Knox Room on the 5th floor of the Morris County Administration & Records Building, 10 Court Street in Morristown.
The session is designed to let county residents, mayors and other public officials from all 39 Morris County municipalities have a say in the budget-making process, to state concerns, make recommendations and ask questions of the freeholders’ budget committee, and its financial and senior staff.
Freeholders Heather Darling, Kathy DeFillippo and Deborah Smith, who comprise the budget committee, will be joined by the county’s professional staff at the session.
A letter regarding the ongoing deliberation of the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling on affordable housing and Randolph’s involvement in the same was referenced in a recent social media posting. The letter was neither produced nor distributed by the township municipal organization. The letter appears to have been authored by an independent group or individual for the purpose of misleading and instigating concern. The letter was not sent to all residents, but rather, to a targeted group of individuals in the community with the apparent expectation it would circulate virally through various communication media.
This statement was prepared to alert residents to the existence of the referenced letter, and to provide an accurate overview on the affordable housing issue. The following is a factual summation:
In 2015 the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the administrative process for reviewing municipal compliance with the state’s affordable housing requirements had become non-functioning and transferred jurisdiction over such matters from the state agency responsible for overseeing the state’s affordable housing rules, the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH), to the New Jersey Superior Court.
The Supreme Court ruling established a judicial forum as a substitute for COAH’s process for certifying a municipality’s affordable housing obligation. In accordance with the Supreme Court ruling, New Jersey municipalities were provided the opportunity to seek approval of their plans for development of affordable housing through a court filing termed a declaratory judgment action. Randolph filed its declaratory judgment action, along with the accompanying housing plan approved by the planning board in March 2016, as required by the court.
The responsibility for reviewing the declaratory judgment actions filed by the municipalities was assigned to one of the 15 judges appointed by the Supreme Court to review the matter. The judge assigned to decide Morris County municipalities’ affordable housing obligation is still in the process of reviewing motions and other technical issues associated with the matter. A proceeding to determine the obligations of Randolph and other towns with plans pending in Morris County has not yet been scheduled.
The matter remains before the court and involves litigation being contested by affordable housing advocates lead by the Fair Share Housing Center, the State Builder’s Association and developers with interest in local property. Therefore, since 2015 all discussion of this matter by the township council has been in executive session (closed to public). Under the law, executive session is the proper forum for municipalities to review and discuss matters involving litigation. Under the requirements of the law, the results of those discussions can and will be released at which time the litigation has concluded.
There has been limited public discussion on the issue because it is a legal matter and public discussion at this point in the process would undermine Randolph’s strategic position in the litigation.
At the center of the litigation is the methodology under which the court will use to determine the municipal affordable housing obligations for the period 1999-2025. The municipalities have proposed a methodology, which is believed fair and appropriate, and yields an obligation that would require less development. The Fair Share Housing Advocates, the Builder’s Association and interested developers are proffering a methodology that would require much more intensive and extensive development.
Randolph has met all of its obligations in the legal process and continues to work for the best possible outcome for the community.
The township is part of a legal defense consortium comprised of municipalities from across New Jersey. This consortium has represented the township’s interests since the beginning of the legal process and has helped keep legal costs to a minimum.
Litigation is always difficult to predict as far as timing, but it is believed the matter will be moving towards closure in the coming year.
As the mMayor advised in his reorganization address, the township will share more information about the matter in 2019 as is allowable given the constraints of the litigation process.
Uptick in Car Break-Ins Warrants Vigilance
Posted: January 8, 2019
The Randolph Township Police Department continues to experience incidents in which unlocked vehicles are entered during the overnight/early morning hours.
The actors go through the vehicles and remove items of value. In the past, some victims have had identification taken from the vehicle. These incidents are not isolated to just one section of town.
In addition, actors have been known to break into parked vehicles when valuables are left in plain view.
There are several ways to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.
Remove all personal belongings such as identification, wallets, purses, laptops and any other items of value from your vehicle when parked overnight. When parking at other times, make sure these items are not visible if someone is looking in your vehicle.
Always lock your vehicle, even in your driveway. We are a safe community, however, when an actor sees an opportunity to gain something, they will.
Never leave your keys or FOBs in the vehicle. Most vehicles stolen in Randolph are a result of keys/FOBs being left in an unlocked vehicle.
Report any suspicious incidents or people immediately by calling 9-1-1.
Annual Reorganization Kicks Off New Year
Posted: January 3, 2019
Randolph’s annual reorganization meeting was held January 3 at town hall.
Among those in attendance were Senator Anthony Bucco, Assemblyman Tony Bucco, freeholders Heather Darling and Deb Smith, County College of Morris President Anthony Iacono, County College of Morris Chair of the Board of Directors Paul Licitra, Morris County Prosecutor Fred Knapp, former mayor/councilmember Al Napoliello, Randolph Board of Education member Ann Standridge and Randolph Board of Education member-elect Robert Soni.
Councilman Jim Loveys, who served as deputy mayor last year, was selected by his peers to serve as mayor for 2019. Councilwoman Chris Carey will serve as deputy mayor.
Sworn-in to new 4-year terms were Mark Forstenhausler and Jim Loveys along with newcomers Lou Nisivoccia and Marie Potter.
Special recognition was given to outgoing council member Al Napoliello, who served on the council for 16 years and completed the last year of his term on December 31, 2018. Describing Al as the epitome of a civic leader, Township Manager Steve Mountain thanked him for his years of service and congratulated him on a well-deserved retirement from public life. “Al has has given his time and his mind to making Randolph a better place and the residents of the township should be grateful for his service.”
Mayor Jim Loveys also reflected on Al’s years of service and Senator Bucco presented a resolution in recognition of Al’s public service career passed jointly by the New Jersey Senate and Assembly.
Mayor Jim Loveys addressed attendees at Randolph’s January 3, 2019 reorganization meeting. The following is the text of his speech.
I’d like to thank all of you for attending tonight’s reorganization meeting and I wish everyone a belated safe, healthy and happy new year. It was felt this slight deviation from the past several year practice of a New Year’s Day meeting would provide the opportunity for attendees to spend New Year’s with family and friends without conflict.
Special thanks to my wife Karen and my daughter Abby for being here and sharing this night with me. Our daughters Chelsea and Anna, and our son James, are unable to attend, but I know they are with us in spirit. A commitment to public service places demands on family life and, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your continued support and understanding.
I congratulate my running mates on their victories in this past year’s election, Councilwoman Marie Potter, Councilman Lou Nisivoccia and outgoing Mayor Mark Forstenhausler. I look forward to working with each of you during these next four years. Councilman Forstenhausler, again I thank you for the leadership you provided this past year. It was a privilege to have served as your deputy. And I congratulate Deputy Mayor Carey on her nomination and selection. I’d also like to thank Al Napoliello and Mike Guadagno, who have just finished multiple terms as council members, 16 years and 8 years respectively. You both will be truly missed.
It’s difficult to express how honored I feel to serve this community as its mayor and I thank all of my council colleagues for their much appreciated support. I love this town in which my wife and I chose to live and raise our family 27 years ago and thank the many volunteers, past and present township council members, past and present township staff, and our public safety and emergency response personnel who have worked so hard to make Randolph such a great place to live.
One of the council’s first tasks will be the review and adoption of the 2019 municipal budget and capital improvement plan which is our guiding policy document for this and future years. As always, the goal is to adopt a financial plan which meets both the short and long term needs of the community while minimizing tax impacts and maintaining fiscally prudent reserves. Due to several years of responsible fiscal planning, and the diligent efforts of our township manager and staff, the tax levy for the municipal portion of our tax bill has not increased for the past two years. Three budget meetings are planned—January 26, 8:30 a.m., February, 7 at 5 p.m., and February 9 at 8:30 a.m. All will be held here at the municipal building, are open to the public, and your input is always welcomed.
There are many ongoing and new initiatives slated for 2019. Working with our township manager and staff, the following is some of what this council plans to accomplish:
Working with our economic development committee to complete a new economic development website including an updated community profile, videos marketing the community, and targeted data emphasizing Randolph’s qualities for those looking to locate/re-locate their business.
The timely completion of our new Veterans Community Park, currently under construction, located on Calais Road.
Existing park improvements—replacement of the basketball courts, improving the ingress/egress and overflow parking at Freedom Park, new field lighting at Brundage Park, and the completion of a new septic field at Heistein Park.
Awarding a contract and beginning site improvements at the Bennett Ave. property where Habitat for Humanity plans to construct 25 affordable housing units.
Completing the water main replacement, installing the sewer pump station, and beginning road improvements on Meadowbrook Road; completing the sewer pump station at CCM; and the Woodlawn Terr.-Schuman Rd. sewer extension. The completion of sewer improvements in the Mt. Freedom area, together with the adoption of two ordinances to be introduced early this year which support the approved Mt. Freedom Planning Study Update, helps set the stage for future development/redevelopment in the area known as the Village Center.
Working with the County of Morris on the replacement of the bridge on Combs Hollow Road leading into Mendham Twp.; the overlay of Dover Chester Road south of the intersection with Sussex Turnpike; and the overlay of a portion of Quaker Church Road.
I thought I might try to give you a much abbreviated version of, and perhaps shed some light on, our state’s affordable housing situation and where Randolph finds itself as a result. The New Jersey Supreme Court’s interpretation of our state’s constitution in the mid 1970s required municipalities to use their zoning powers to provide realistic opportunities for producing affordable housing to low and moderate income households. In 1985, our state legislature enacted the Fair Housing Act which created the Council on Affordable Housing, or COAH, to assess the statewide need, allocate that need on a municipal basis, and review and approve towns’ housing plans developed to address their fair share obligations. From 1999-2015, COAH failed to establish quota numbers and guidelines for municipalities. Therefore, in 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court ordered our state courts to assume responsibility. In essence, towns were forced to determine their own affordable housing obligations and could file their housing plans with the court, for final determination. This is essentially where our town stands today. Randolph continues to work with its legal, planning, and land use experts as matters continue to be reviewed by the court. Undoubtedly, our community will be faced with more residential development to help satisfy our affordable housing obligations in the future. As things continue to unfold we will be working to keep our residents informed of potential impacts on our community.
As mayor, I will serve on a work group comprised of township, board of education, and school administration representatives. Over the years, the township and the board of education have shared services and facilities, and continue to look for ways to increase efficiencies to better serve our residents, the most recent example of which is the replacement of a water main at Shongum School saving significant taxpayer dollars. We value our relationship with the school administration and the board, and the quarterly meetings provide an opportunity for discussion as well as working to identify and resolve any issues that may arise.
I continue to be thankful and appreciative for the opportunity to serve my community and all of our residents. I look forward to working with my fellow colleagues, our township manager, and township staff in 2019, all of whom I admire and respect, and will continue to be guided in my decision making by what is in the best interest of Randolph Township.
Thank you, and again, have a safe, happy, and healthy new year.
Mayor Jim Loveys
January 3, 2019
Township & Board of Ed Partner to Save Taxpayers Money
Posted: January 3, 2019
A new water main has been installed at Shongum Elementary School, replacing an antiquated, 50-year-old water main buried deep under the parking lot that has in recent years leaked repeatedly, disrupting traffic at the school. The water main has been patched with increasing frequency. Randolph Township and the Randolph Township Board of Education have partnered together to not only advance the timeframe of the project, but also greatly reduce the cost.
The water main project was initially planned as part of the 2019-2020 district capital projects, but due to the town’s assistance, the project is occurring now, with the only cost being the materials. This allows the district to put the savings towards other critical projects such as roof repairs at Shongum Elementary School. The new water main utilizes a more streamlined route to the school, eliminating having to tear up the parking lot for repairs and it includes a new fire hydrant to serve the school and the surrounding neighbors. The project will be completed in January.
“Since we had not bid the project yet, we estimate that having the town’s assistance on this will save between $100,000 and $150,000 that a contractor would have charged for labor,” said Gerry Eckert, school business administrator, Randolph Township Schools.
“We tried to come up with other solutions to make it more cost effective and less intrusive,” said Ralph Carchia, engineering administrator, Township of Randolph and project manager. “We were able to use the easement behind Cushing Court to install to the back of the building which is a more direct, shorter connection.” The main is also a larger six inch main as opposed to the existing four inch, allowing for greater water flow. Additionally, the new line will make maintenance much easier if it is ever needed.
The partnership between the Township of Randolph and the school district is a long-standing relationship that has contributed to many projects that have positively impacted the town and the schools and saved the taxpayers money.
“We share the same goal, and one constituency even though we are two separate entities. So, wherever there is an avenue for us to work together, and where the price can be brought down, we look to work together,” said Stephen Mountain, town manager, Randolph Township.
Through quarterly liaison meetings, representatives from the township and the school district are able to come together and discuss pending and potential projects. The township manager, mayor/deputy mayor, police chief, superintendent of schools, school district administrator and board of education leadership come together at these meetings to talk about the opportunities for synergies, to share services and work together, as well as projects they are involved in in their respective areas of which the other agency should be aware.
“In doing this water main as a joint effort, we were able to work together and have the board of ed purchase the materials, the town provided excavation and the crew to install the pipe, and district grounds keepers helped assist to fill everything in along the way,” said Andy Hurd, director of facilities, Randolph Township Schools. “As a team, we were able to realize that at a fraction of what it would have cost to replace the main with an outside contractor.”
Examples of past projects the town and district have partnered on include a fiber optic installation line for Randolph Township Schools, ongoing department of public works support for the district, security (including ALICE training, reunification drills, cameras), and fields/recreation department. Projects currently under discussion include some lighting projects for which the district may be able to provide labor to the town.