All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: January 25, 2020
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 Carey. 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 November 6, 2019, by emailing them the annual resolution adopted by the Council on November 5, 2019. 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 November 14, 2019.
2. Roll Call
Deputy Mayor Veech
Also present: Township Manager Mountain, Wayne Corsey, Russ Newman, and Tom Sweeney
3. Pledge of Allegiance
Mayor Carey led the Pledge of Allegiance.
B. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Seeing no one from the public, the public portion was closed.
C. DEPARTMENT BUDGET PRESENTATIONS
Manager Mountain thanked Darren Maloney and acknowledged the cooperation of the staff and volunteers who contributed to the budget book. He presented the below overview:
This is the municipal part of the budget; the township only controls the municipal portion, the school portion, which occupies about 70% of the tax bill is determined by the Board of Education. For several years there has not been an increase in taxes.
- The 2020 budget appropriation is $32,559,459. The cost drivers are:
- Salaries and Wages—it is about 30% of the overall expenditures.
- Leaf Hauling—in addition to the increase in volume due to the policy change which enabled a greater number of residents to have their leaves collected, the cost of the service has been going up. It’s been going up over the past two years, but it will likely be stabilizing.
- Recycling—there was no increase in this budget; last year it went up rather significantly due to China not accepting recyclables.
- Public Events—more of the events require security and the cost is borne by the Parks and Recreation Department.
- Increases in capital outlay and the capital improvement funds going toward infrastructure.
Darren Maloney reviewed the 2020 Statement of Operations:
- Fund Balance as of December 31, 2019—$7,357,954.70
- Moody’s looks at the combined surplus including water and sewer. It looks at the township’s ability to pay off their debt. Their guideline for Randolph is to have $12,000,000. There was a discussion on the sewer surplus and how that is reserved for sewer projects, it cannot be used to offset taxes. The strategy has also been to keep a larger balance in the sewer surplus for the pending RVRSA litigation that Randolph is a part of.
- It was another good year, and Darren expects this year to be the same.
Manager Mountain reviewed the 2020 Water and Sewer Funds:
- The township maintains separate accounts for both the water fund and the sewer fund; the sewer budget is the stronger of the two.
- There was an increase last year to the water rate and a decrease to the sewer rate.
- They have been very conservative as to what they are spending on the water utility, as far as capital, until they are more comfortable with where they will be with revenue.
1. Parks and Recreation—Russ Newman
Russ Newman reviewed the operating expenses for Parks and Recreation.
There were short discussions about the Randolph Lake Beach, the Coaches Training programs, adding events throughout the year, and the Freedom Festival and parade.
Russ reviewed with the Council his Capital Budget request for 2020.
Capital Budget Highlights:
- Brundage Park Complex—general improvements to Brundage Park Playhouse and improvements to the dressing room and restroom. There was a short discussion on the Brundage Park Playhouse facility and the cottages.
- Freedom Park—field lighting and baseball field drainage. There is existing funding already set aside for the baseball field drainage.
- Heistein Park—field improvements and concrete repairs to the pavilion.
- Randolph Park—field lighting, replacing retaining walls and renovating the snack stand.
- General Park Improvements
- Artworks—Alternate Facility—this is the third year that money is being set aside. There hasn’t been a location identified yet for a new facility.
- Old Tye Park—Manager Mountain explained that the plan is to develop this park as the Habitat for Humanity housing gets developed which will not be this year.
Councilman Nisivoccia asked for a status on the dog park. Russ explained that in last year’s budget there was some capital outlay which they spent at the end of the year for new equipment; the crews will be installing the equipment this spring.
Russ reviewed the request for the various parks equipment.
Russ thanked the Council for their support of the Parks, Recreation and Community Services department.
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Mike Vacca of Harmony Road commented that groups used to line up on his street for the Freedom parade and the last couple of years they haven’t been. He felt the parade has gotten shorter over the years; it used to be about an hour long and now it’s about a half hour. Mayor Carey explained that the Kiwanis Club sponsors the event and she would reach out to Geoff Price to see if they need help/volunteers.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public session was closed.
The Council took a short break.
The meeting reconvened.
2. Public Works—Tom Sweeney
Tom Sweeney reviewed some of the operating expenses and 2020 budget requests:
- Road Materials—a lot of asphalt work was done in 2019; he expects the same in 2020 with an increase in amount of asphalt they will be applying. He also noted that the cost of asphalt has increased from last year.
- Overtime was increased to include more time after work hours to meet residents’ needs with leaf and brush pickup in order to stay on schedule.
- Equipment Rental—the rental of street sweepers was needed to help assist in leaf collection in the fall. The township owns one street sweeper and rents a second one.
Councilman Forstenhausler asked why the leaves are picked up with a claw instead of a vacuum. Tom explained that the claw is a much faster process; there is a lot of maintenance required for the vacuums, especially if rocks and debris jam the vacuum.
- Leaf Hauling—the volume is now stable with the leaf collection; the budget needs to be increased to meet the financial end of the program.
- Rock Salt & Liquid Calcium—there is an increase in the rock salt and a decrease in the liquid calcium budgets. He does not plan to use as much brine as was used in the past since he feels the salt works much better with storms that are icy with snow.
- Condos—under Kelly Law the township is required to reimburse the condo associations for the cost of snow removal. With the addition of the Dawson Brook development, the numbers are preliminary.
Tom reported the following on Capital Outlay:
- Fleet—Diagnostic Tool—this is a fast, multi-system scan tool plus data graphing. It is a rugged, waterproof portable tablet that enables mechanics to scan, trouble shoot and repair various makes of trucks, loaders, backhoes and generators. In 2021 they will be able to use it for the police vehicles.
Tom reported the following on Capital Improvements:
- Replace Pickup #905—the budget request is to replace the 2012 Ford F350 with 71K miles which will be taken off main line and used for part-time plow drivers. This will avoid costly repairs and follow the seven year vehicle replacement plan.
- Replace Street Sweeper #972—the budget request is for the purchase of a new street sweeper to replace the current one that had very costly repairs in 2019 and resulted in it being offline for four months. It also had a chassis fire and has major rust in debris hopper and roof.
D. BREAK—10:30 a.m.
The Council did not break at this time since they already had taken a break.
E. DEPARTMENT BUDGET PRESENTATION
1. Water & Sewer/General Engineering—Wayne Corsey
Wayne Corsey reviewed the operating expenses for Engineering and Water & Sewer with the Council. He also reviewed his Capital Improvement budget request for 2020.
- Sewer—Jet Vac Truck—there are ten pump stations that they maintain and they have to contract out the maintenance; with this equipment they would be able to do it in-house. Wayne explained how the sewer jet vac truck works and explained that less man power would be needed for the maintenance. This equipment can be used by DPW, Water & Sewer, and Parks and Recreation.
There was a short discussion regarding the maintenance of the pump stations and how often this equipment would be utilized for maintenance and/or emergency situations. The funding would be coming from the sewer reserve.
- Farm and Arnold Road Sanitary Sewer—there is a portion of Arnold Road that has functioning sewer system, and there’s another portion that has a dry system that was never connected to sewer. Wayne explained that at the time that the dry system was installed, there was no water capacity. The plan would connect 15 different residents to the sewer system. There was a short discussion on the proposed project, which is the completion of a project started many years ago; therefore it is not a special assessment.
There was a short discussion on the fire hydrants recently replaced as well as the leak detection system report and relevant repairs.
Wayne thanked the Council for their support.
F. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Pat Robinson from the Randolph Reporter asked if the township or Council have considered applying for any of the grants that are opening for stormwater management. Manager Mountain replied that the state has been wrestling with the utility, the so called “rain tax.” He explained that the township is not prepared to move that way; the township has been managing expenses in a way which has not broken the budget. The township has looked into the two grants; one is very specific to lake management. Shongum Lake has applied for a grant which the township endorsed administratively; there is no cost from the township. The second grant is related directly to algae bloom protection; if it was strictly for stormwater management, they would have applied. The lakes that Randolph Township manages have not had the issues with algae. There are also very strict measurement requirements related to the grant which would create a cost to manage.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public session was closed.
G. COUNCIL QUESTIONS/DISCUSSION
Deputy Mayor Veech made a motion to appoint Dana Tamminga to the Economic Development Committee. Councilwoman Potter seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Veech
Deputy Mayor Veech reported that she has been talking with Manager Mountain about putting some money in the budget to hang a banner on Sussex Turnpike to advertise community events as needed. The Manager replied that the cost is not the issue since it would be relatively inexpensive, but the challenge will be to find a location.
Councilman Loveys had no comments or questions.
Councilman Tkacs had no comments or questions.
Councilwoman Potter had no comments or questions.
Councilman Nisivoccia had no comments or questions.
Councilman Forstenhausler had no comments or questions.
Mayor Carey reported that she didn’t see any discussion for the library on the agenda. Manager Mountain explained that it would be on the February 6th agenda.
H. EXECUTIVE SESSION
There was no Executive Session.
Deputy Mayor Veech made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 12:48 pm. Councilman Tkacs seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Carey