502 Millbrook Avenue, Randolph, NJ 07869-3799
Tel: 973.989.7100Fax: 973.989.7076

All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.

Minutes: February 16, 2008

A budget hearing of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by Mayor Napoliello. This meeting is held pursuant to the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act. Adequate notice of the meeting has been provided by posting written notice of the time, date, location and, to the extent known, the agenda of the meeting in Randolph Township. This notice was posted on the Bulletin Board within Town Hall, it was filed with the Township Clerk, and it was provided to those persons or entities requesting notification. Notice was also provided to the Randolph Reporter on February 5, 2008, by emailing them the special meeting notice approved by the Council on January 31, 2008. The special meeting notice which included this meeting date was advertised in the Randolph Reporter, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph, on February 7, 2008.

Councilman Algeier
Councilman Alpert
Councilwoman Mitsch (arrived 9:05 a.m.)
Councilman Obremski
Deputy Mayor Metz
Mayor Napoliello

ABSENT: Councilwoman Price

Also Present: Township Manager John Lovell

Mayor Napoliello led the Pledge of Allegiance.


Presentation by Friends of the Randolph Animal Pound

Bob Gordon, Reservoir Avenue, spoke on behalf of the Friends of the Animal Pound and their desire to see improvements made to the animal shelter in Randolph to at least bring it in line with standards for municipal facilities. They are aware of the possibility of regionalizing shelter services within Morris County and asked that the Council keep the Friends of the Animal Pound informed of any future developments regarding the pound.

Councilman Algeier stated that he supports a regionalization study. He also noted that, while there are several facilities in Randolph that are in dire need of improvement and renovation, the council is also committed to providing the community with an improved animal pound.

Woody Hedden, Reservoir Avenue, also spoke on behalf of the Friends of the Animal Pound.

Councilman Alpert reiterated the fact that the council wants to see an improved animal shelter, however at this time the regionalization study is ongoing and nothing will be decided until after the study is complete.

Seeing no one else from the public, the Mayor closed the public portion of the meeting.


Manager Lovell stated that the budget is an important policy document of the council designed to protect tax dollars in the community. The draft budget as presented reflects the recommendations of the Manager, not the Township Council. The Manager noted that many people fail to recognize that tax money collected by this organization is used not only for town operations but also for both school and county operations.

The Manager’s summary review touched on the following topics:

  • The proposed local budget is $26,709,862.00. The water and sewer budgets combined is $7,811,571.00
  • Both the police pension and municipal employee pension increasing
  • An increase in accumulated leave benefits
  • Health insurance is increasing about 8 percent
  • Providing money in the budget to insure computer licensing is fully up to date
  • The possibility of obtaining police consulting services
  • Funding the Freedom Festival Parade with possible repayment by the committee once donations have been received
  • Celebration of a Fall Festival
  • Capital Improvement Program reflects improvements to various township properties and buildings
  • Energy efficiency improvements
  • Maintaining the Reserve for Uncollected Taxes at its current level
  • Limited or negative commercial ratable growth
  • Limited residential development
  • Probable tax appeals during 2008 and beyond
  • Healthy water and sewer funds
  • No discretionary aid from New Jersey for 2008
  • Interest on deposits is lower due to interest rate changes and money the township distributed early to the Board of Education to cover their expenses
  • Although new development has decreased, there has been an increase in homeowners expanding and upgrading existing homes
  • Additional 1.7 cent increase required for the pension systems, and 2.2 cents for the balance of the budget for a total of 3.9 cents, or approximately $131 additional taxes for the average home in Randolph Township
  • Randolph remains well below the cap on appropriations as well as a new cap on how much municipal taxes can be increased

The Manager reiterated his philosophy when preparing a budget of looking several years into the future. He presented the following challenges to the council to consider while finalizing the budget:

  • Will this action compound a tax rate increase in 2009?
  • How does the value of the reduction compare with the expectations on the township by the public?
  • If we defer an issue for a year, can the organization catch up?
  • Will this decision make Randolph a stronger community five years from now?

Councilman Algeier asked if solar alternatives would be considered if the Solar REC Program does not come into play.

Manager Lovell responded that the purchase of solar panels is an expensive project and would have to be a money-maker for Randolph for him to consider purchasing them.

Public Works Review and Capital Projects—Bill Kerwick

Bill Kerwick, Director of Public Works, summarized the following points concerning his department for the council:

  • Public Works is a reactionary department, responding to residents’ needs and requests
  • During his time in Randolph, miles of roadway requiring maintenance has increased from 87 miles to approximately 150 miles
  • There is concern about the ability to maintain fleet with present manpower, therefore he is requesting one full time or one part time mechanic
  • Increase in the budget to cover increase in the cost of asphalt for the road overlay program
  • Slight increase for street sign materials
  • Possible outsourcing of a function of recycling
  • Increase in street sweeping
  • Shared services and equipment with local municipalities
  • Various equipment purchases or replacements
  • Possible construction of a new Public Works Garage in 2009, the cost of which would be shared with the Board of Education and the Water and Sewer entity
  • Wash-bay facility on a parcel of land owned by the Board of Education, shared with them, to bring Randolph into compliance with storm water regulations
  • The increased cost of fuel
  • The renovation and removal of gas pumps
  • Snow removal budget is in good shape to date
  • Slight increase in the amount of leaves removed from curbside

Mr. Lovell noted that Mr. Kerwick has been involved in shared purchases with other local municipalities for some time. He suggested posting potential purchases on the Co-op website to see if other towns would be interested in sharing those costs and equipment.

Mr. Lovell stated that while more money has been put into the road overlay program, due to the increased cost of asphalt fewer roadways will be replaced or repaired than in prior years. This concerns him when he considers the problem five or ten years in the future. At this point, Randolph is probably not spending enough on road overlays, however it is the maximum of what we can afford to spend at this time.

Councilwoman Mitsch suggested educating municipalities participating in the Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council on the idea of shared equipment and services for large equipment used by Public Works.

Manager Lovell responded that Randolph holds an annual luncheon for the members of the Co-op where an educational component is included. It is his sense that more elected officials and administrative personnel are becoming more attuned to the concept of shared services. The Manager is very pleased with the initiative of the Assistant Township Manager to get the website for the Co-op operational. He will continue to try to get the word out to officials in other towns.

Mr. Kerwick stated that he is also trying to spread the concept of shared services in his role of Regional Director for the Public Works Association of New Jersey.

Councilman Algeier suggested perhaps Council members could talk up the Co-op at some of the functions they attend. The Councilman also suggested Mr. Kerwick contact surrounding municipalities to alert them of the possible construction of a wash-bay facility in Randolph.

Police Review and Capital Projects

Lt. Don Smith presented an overview of the police budget, touching on the following subjects:

  • The Chief’s concerns with overcrowding in the office, infrastructure issues, and manpower
  • Lack of storage space
  • Current radio system is in failure mode
  • The need to re-wire the offices
  • Possibly increasing officer headcount by one
  • Possibly reinstating resource officer at the middle school
  • Replace/update MVT units in patrol vehicles
  • Replacement of a Suburban
  • Purchase of a fingerprinting system

Manager Lovell noted that the replacement of the radio system is included in the budget. He would propose expediting this funding appropriation and consider placing it on an agenda this spring to get the system in place as soon as possible.


Health Department: Code Enforcement, Animal Control, Review and Capital Budget

Mark Caputo, Health Officer, provided the council with an outline of three divisions, including the direction, problems and solutions, shared services, accomplishments and priorities of those divisions.

Animal Control:

  • An increase of wildlife coming into contact with neighborhoods
  • The importance of remaining diligent in the prevention of the spread of rabies
  • With the possibility of a regionalized animal shelter, the importance of keeping animal control services separate from kenneling services
  • Shared services in place currently with Dover and Rockaway Borough
  • Possibility that, should regionalization not work out, expanding shared services to other local municipalities
  • Outdated animal shelter
  • Highly trained and experienced staff, however many are nearing retirement age
  • Possible problems with regionalization of animal shelter, such as less control over policy decisions, funding from the county and the loss of control over appearance and construction specifications of new shelter, the issue of a self-sustaining facility, and the possibility that Randolph would become an animal warehouse for unwanted animals
  • Preparation of a “best practices document” for all four proposed regions
  • Cat and dog licensing

Code Enforcement:

  • Construction of new homes is slowing
  • Residential renovations are on the upswing
  • Some increase in commercial building activity
  • Lower revenue source from building permits
  • Possibility of raising permit fees
  • Difficult to predict necessary level of staff
  • Possibility of shared services for staffing with local municipalities
  • Possibly introduce cross-training of staff in building and health


  • Health insurance costs keep increasing
  • Possibly offer various immunization services to residents as a self-sustaining program
  • Possible shared services for public health nursing
  • 2006 flu clinic was completely self-sustaining and operated at a surplus—2007 results are expected to be the same, however they are awaiting Medicare reimbursements
  • Utilization of web site to conduct survey to gauge interest in immunizations

Mr. Lovell noted that he will consider reinserting the immunization program if another revenue item will offset the cost. The Manager also stated that he doesn’t foresee keeping the construction department staff at its current level and is looking at merging with other towns or privatizing more aspects of that department.

Parks and Recreation Review and Capital Projects

John Van Brunt, Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, touched on the following issues related to his budget:

  • As population increases, demand for programs increases.
  • Starting to see flattening out of demand and population
  • Sports that used to be considered single season are becoming multi-season
  • Tax dollars for recreation programs have been frozen since 2000—increases since then have been generated through increased fees from participants
  • Parks have been well maintained—some parks are reaching an age where more maintenance or renovation is required
  • Adjustments made in Community Services for increased demand for medical transportation
  • New online Recreation registration system implemented in January working well—revenue is directly deposited to bank account and will increase interest revenue
  • Electronic registration has eliminated need for increased staff

Manager Lovell stated that the park system is an investment and that it is crucial to maintain those parks in the future. He is exceptionally proud and pleased with the facilities and the way Mr. Van Brunt operates them.

Councilman Algeier reiterated the fact that the parks must be maintained, which is why he suggested renaming the Parks Development Trust Fund to the Parks Development and Redevelopment Trust Fund. He asked when some money from that fund might be available to invest in other projects.

Mr. Van Brunt responded that in 2013 a large part of the debt service will be finished.

Councilwoman Mitsch noted that she often receives compliments from non-residents on the parks facilities Randolph enjoys and complimented Mr. Van Brunt on the operation of those facilities.


Lee Whilden, 82 Radtke Road, stated that she would like to see recreation programs available to all children in Randolph and asked if provisions were in place for those children whose parents could not afford the fees.

Manager Lovell responded that there is a scholarship program in place. These scholarships are raised by various groups and organizations within the community.

Mr. Van Brunt responded that his department waives fees for families who can cite financial hardship.

Seeing no one else from the public, the public portion was closed.


There were no council comments.


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:

a. The Learning Center v. Randolph
b. Homeland Security

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.

Councilwoman Mitsch made a motion to move into Executive Session. Councilman Alpert seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:

Councilman Algeier
Councilman Alpert
Councilwoman Mitsch
Councilman Obremski
Deputy Mayor Metz
Mayor Napoliello

NAYS: None

ABSENT: Councilwoman Price

Councilman Obremski made a motion to return to Public Session. Deputy Mayor Metz seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:

Councilman Algeier
Councilman Alpert
Councilwoman Mitsch
Councilman Obremski
Deputy Mayor Metz
Mayor Napoliello

NAYS: None

ABSENT: Councilwoman Price


The mayor adjourned the meeting at 12:25 p.m.

Donna Marie Luciani
Township Clerk

E X E C U T I V E    S E S S I O N

An executive meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order by Mayor Napoliello.

Present for the executive session were:
Councilman Algeier
Councilman Alpert
Councilwoman Mitsch (arrived 9:05 a.m.)
Councilman Obremski
Deputy Mayor Metz
Mayor Napoliello

Absent for the executive session was: Councilwoman Price

Also Present: Township Manager John Lovell

The Learning Experience

Manager Lovell reminded Council of an application by the Learning Experience that was denied by the Planning Board after many years in a review process. Following the denial of the application, there was a zone change where residential use was placed ahead of professional office use, and this property was located within that zone change. The Learning Experience is suing the Town Council as well as the Planning Board. There have been discussions between the attorney representing the Learning Experience and the Planning Board Attorney.

A sub-committee was formed consisting of the Planning Board Attorney, Mike Guadagno, Darren Carney, and Councilman Algeier to discuss potential settlement and litigation. One of more significant issues of this application was the impact of traffic to the area. There is a law that says you can’t deny applications for off-site traffic issues, therefore it will be difficult to sustain the planning board denial of the application. The Learning Experience feels that it was spot zoning because, even though 7 other properties are impacted, theirs was the only developable site. Their lawyer has suggested a possible resolution to the issue in that they would withdraw the day care center proposal permanently and turn it back into office use, however they do not want to have to go before the planning board with all of the hearings and expert testimony that goes with it. In order to accommodate what they are proposing, there would need to be a change in the ordinance dealing with floor area ratio, in addition to an ordinance reverting the property back to P/OR.

Councilman Algeier asked for a sense of the council as to whether they wanted to proceed with these ordinance changes and try to resolve the case without going to litigation.

Manager Lovell stated that he believes it to be a sensible solution, however the council should expect a negative reaction from the surrounding neighbors.

The council voiced an opinion to move forward with drafting the new ordinances.

Councilman Algeier suggested asking the Learning Experience to cover the township’s cost incurred to rezone this property.

Homeland Security

Councilman Algeier suggested improving security at the table for council members as well as staff in attendance at meetings. He also requested the Manager conduct a homeland security exercise in 2008.

Manager Lovell responded that he would like to undertake an exercise dealing with a possible county disaster.

Councilman Alpert suggested applying for a grant for the new police radio system under the homeland security program.

Councilman Algeier noted that the police have been scheduled to qualify at the shooting range on Wednesday nights, and he believes this will create a problem with the court night. He cautioned the Manager that this information did not come from the judge.

Manager Lovell stated that he will look into this issue.

Donna Marie Luciani
Township Clerk