All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: February 23, 2013
A. OPENING OF BUDGET MEETING
1. Call to Order
A special meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 8:30 a.m. by Mayor MacArthur. 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 January 18, 2013 by emailing them a special meetings notice. A special meeting notice which included this meeting date was advertised in the Randolph Reporter, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph on January 24, 2013.
2. Roll Call
Deputy Mayor Loveys
Also Present: Township Manager John Lovell and Finance Director Michael Soccio.
3. Mayor MacArthur led the Pledge of Allegiance
B. MANAGER’S REPORT
1. 2013 Municipal Budget Presentation
Manager Lovell’s comments included the following:
- He will be referencing the following documents which each member has a copy of: the Budget Book, the Capital Improvement Program with modifications from previous Council input, and the Water & Sewer Budget.
- Once done with the budget review and discussion, there will be an Executive Session to discuss tax appeals, FOP contract negotiations, and an ongoing police investigation.
- He reviewed the Randolph Township mission statement: “The Randolph Township Municipal Organization strives to make the Township of Randolph the best it can be by providing effective governance, enhanced customer services, and excellent community facilities.”
- The document is not complete because the State’s revenue numbers for municipal governments have not yet been received. It is expected that there will be no change.
- The budget will need to be adjusted as there is a gap of $345,000. He will be passing out a memorandum outlining how those budget adjustments will be achieved.
- It is within the 2% levy cap.
- In the proposed budget, there are no major service reductions or changes from the past year’s operations.
- The Township is in a stronger fiscal position this year, 2012 was a very good year because the Council, through conservative fiscal policies, placed the organization in a position to benefit immediately as there was an uptick in the economy.
- Each year before the surplus amount is set, the Finance Director moves dollars into a reserve against tax appeals. Because of this, the Township has maintained its AAA rating.
Manager Lovell referred to:
- Schedule A and noted that the Construction Department revenue had a one-time windfall performance in 2012, which will not happen again. The reason for this was the solar energy project at the CCM campus.
- Schedule B, the Levy Cap calculation. There is not much flexibility in the levy since it is confined by the cap. The Finance Director explained that the number to look at is the maximal allowable, and coming as close to that number as possible is ideal.
There was discussion on health care costs, the anticipated changes in the future, and the impact on the organization.
Mayor MacArthur asked the Manager to go through the mechanics of the levy cap calculation line by line so everyone could get a better understanding.
Manager Lovell explained the following:
- The first thing is to enter the prior year’s levy. The adjustments are then provided by the State, and if there is something that qualifies from that adjustment, those dollars are included as a deduction.
- A 2% cap increase is added to the balance, and an adjusted tax levy is determined.
- The Finance Director then determines what the needs are and then looks at the budget. If it is determined that some adjustments are needed, they are made.
There was much discussion about debt service. Councilman Hirniak requested to see a calculation that shows the total authorized debt, the total issued debt backed out of that calculation, what is actually being serviced, and what would be serviced if all the debt that was authorized was issued. Finance Director Michael Soccio stated that he can provide this at the next budget meeting.
There was also much discussion about tax collections and tax appeals. The Finance Director increased the amount of reserve from last year due to the anticipated increase in the number of tax appeals. More information regarding tax appeals would be addressed during the Executive Session.
Manager Lovell explained that there was trend information for the last 10 years of the budget as well as a multi-year trend on the property tax levy information. He also explained that there are several upcoming projects that will generate some growth in the ratable base. There was also some discussion on the trend information for surplus.
Manager Lovell stated that he and the Finance Director recognized that the budget was off by approximately $345,000 and felt that the budget could be balanced, without cutting Township services, by looking at three areas:
- To use some additional surplus
- Reduce the reserve of uncollected taxes to 8.1%
- Making some cuts to the Capital Outlay Projects
There was some discussion related to these three areas and more discussion took place in the Executive Session.
The Manager explained the 2013 Water & Sewer budget, and the four projects that need to be completed:
- Phase I of the Butterworth project
- Phase II of the Butterworth project
- A rebuild to the Knightsbridge pump station
- The Mount Freedom Collection System
There was discussion about the dry sewer lines that are in the Township and the Water & Sewer Master Plan. The Manager suggested that a study be undertaken to determine the cost & benefit of a project to connect the dry sewer lines and possibly update the Master Plan. The Engineering Department could conduct such a study.
There was also discussion regarding debt authorizations for projects, the surplus, and bond rating. Council members asked the Finance Director to provide them with a summary from the last time the Township was reviewed and rated AAA by Standards and Poor.
Manager Lovell reported that the 2013 water budget was decreased this year due to the Township being very aggressive on leak detection and leak repairs. Every year a company comes in to determine if there are any leaks in the system, this has resulted in being able to account for 99% of all water. The Manager also stated that he felt it very important to undertake a system wide study this year to strengthen the water system as the last analysis was completed in approximately 2000.
C. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Seeing no one from the public, the public portion was closed.
D. EXECUTIVE SESSION
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:
FOP Contract Negotiations
Ongoing Police Investigation
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 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.
Councilman Guadagno made a motion to move into Executive Session at 11:25 a.m. Deputy Mayor Loveys seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Loveys
Councilwoman Veech made a motion to return to Open Session at 12:15 p.m. Councilman Napoliello seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Loveys
NAYS: Councilman Guadagno
Councilwoman Veech made a motion for adjournment at 12:15 p.m. Councilman Napoliello seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Loveys