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: January 29, 2011

A Special Meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 8:30 a.m. by Mayor Mitsch. 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 December 10, 2010, by emailing them the Special Meeting Notice. The Special Meeting Notice, which included this meeting date, was advertised in the Randolph Reporter, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph, on December 19, 2010.

Councilman Algeier
Councilman Loveys
Councilman MacArthur
Councilman Napoliello
Councilman Obremski
Deputy Mayor Guadagno
Mayor Mitsch

Also Present: Township Manager John Lovell

Mayor Mitsch led the Pledge of Allegiance.


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


Manager Lovell’s comments included the following:

  • Toward the end of last year’s budgeting process, he learned that Randolph would be receiving about $550,000.00 less in state aid which required revisions to the proposed budget and a search for additional revenue sources
  • Last year’s budget was adopted and came in under the 4 percent levy cap
  • The Library provided to the town a one-time payment of $300,000.00 to go towards the site plan improvements proposed at their site
  • There were also significant cuts in staffing, notably three eliminated police officer positions through attrition, two clerical positions, two mid-level supervisory positions, and four dispatch positions in anticipation of moving to the County 911 system
  • Other staff changes include downgrading a full time health inspector position to part time, contracting the health educator position to a private contractor, operating with one less police sergeant, and not filling a vacant part time supervisory position in Community Services
  • This year the town faces very serious financial issues, including tax appeals but most notably in that the town is not generating revenues to the degree that it needs to be
  • The Manager and Council have been guided by Randolph’s Mission Statement as they begin every budget process
  • Two documents from the State of New Jersey define the way in which the budget will progress—the levy cap worksheet and the 2011 state revenue numbers
  • The Finance Director advises that there should be some flexibility on the tax rate, more than what was anticipated because the new levy cap has been designed to embrace debt
  • If state aid is reduced again this year, more drastic cuts will have to be taken
  • The current proposed budget is speculative and subject to change
  • Currently there is a gap of about $400,000.00
  • Tax appeals are still a factor in Randolph Township, although the Manager senses there will be some stabilization in 2011
  • The Reserve for Uncollected Taxes has been hurt from last year’s tax appeals which has an impact on what needs to be raised in reserves—the reserve will increase 9.57 percent
  • Often tax appeals cover multiple years because they are moving so slowly through the court, which requires additional funds to be set aside
  • The Township is facing significant increases in state pensions, both for PFRS an PERS, amounting to 19.32 percent
  • There is an increase of 10.76 percent in health insurance this year
  • Mr. Soccio is working on capital debt and will keep it as stable as possible
  • There are no major capital outlay projects for the fire company this year
  • It is the Manager’s belief that the volunteer rescue squad must be maintained, although it does cost the town to do so since it creates depth in the system to address the needs of the community
  • The police department is going back to its core functions, which are patrol and investigation, due to the economic climate
  • Randolph’s 911 dispatch services will be handled by Morris County as of February 1, 2011—this will impact the budget initially with a 7.13 percent increase but will reduce costs in the long term due to liability, staffing, and technology issues
  • The police officers are in the final year of their contract—the Manager has asked the FOP to consider give backs to the township in light of the economy but he does not anticipate a positive response
  • Total increase in appropriations for 2011 comes to $1,223,150.00, a 10 percent increase
  • Many department budgets are down due to cut backs in staff throughout the organization and salaries have not increased
  • The Board of Adjustment and Municipal Court showed declines in revenue
  • There has not been any significant money coming in from interest on investments
  • Most other areas of revenue generation did fair well
  • The proposed budget shows a 2.7 cent increase in the tax rate and a budget gap of about $466,000.00
  • Steps that can be taken to close the gap get painful right away and there are no easy answers
  • The department heads have been given the budget information and have been instructed to review the information and to think of areas where revenue can be generated
  • The prevailing thought is that if the entire community benefits from a service, it is a function of the tax base; if a small segment of the community benefits from a service, revenues should either be increased or created for that service
  • Theoretically the gap could be closed with a tax increase, however he is very aware that many residents sacrifice to live in Randolph and increasing taxes may force many to move away
  • The Manager reiterated his annual budget challenge to the Council and staff:

(1) Will this action compound or increase Randolph’s budget challenges in 2012 and beyond

(2) How does the value of the reduction compare with the expectations placed on the Township by the public

(3) If this expenditure is deferred for a year, can and will the organization catch up in the future

(4) Will this decision make Randolph a stronger community five years from now

Manager Lovell noted that this document reflects recommendations made by him and the Finance Director. The budget is a policy document the Council adopts each year and only the Council can make that determination.

Manager Lovell brought forward several department heads to make their presentations to the Council.

a. Darren Carney

Mr. Carney’s comments included:

  • There is a rather large expenditure for data processing for new servers and police computer upgrades
  • The Board of Education IT Department performs IT consulting for the township
  • The current servers will no longer be supported by Microsoft
  • The recommendation is to replace the ten current servers with three new servers—one for the police department, one for the rest of the municipal offices, and one to serve as a back-up
  • Currently the fire walls are not supported and must be rebuilt from scratch if they go down
  • It has been recommended that the fire walls be replaced with a support contract in place
  • New software will need to be purchased for the new servers
  • These system upgrades are necessary in order to make the system function properly

Manager Lovell stressed the immediacy of this issue and asked that he be allowed to move this purchase forward at this time.

The Council indicated they will review the material presented and will be prepared to discuss authorization to proceed immediately at the next Council meeting.

b. Bill Kerwick

Mr. Kerwick’s comments included:

  • His organization has become so service oriented that approximately 32 weeks out of the year they provide leaf collection, branch collection, or snow removal
  • After allowing for vacation time, that leaves approximately 17 weeks to do other service requests that are necessary
  • The proposed maintenance facility will help the organization tremendously
  • Randolph provides Denville with the brine solution through a shared service arrangement—Denville replaces the salt and purchases a product to enhance the salt brine
  • He is requesting the purchase of an add-on to his brine making machine that will automate the process, which is significantly less than a new automated machine
  • He is hopeful that Denville will share in the cost of the add-on apparatus
  • Entering into a shared service arrangement with other towns for the brine solution is complicated due to space limitations and DEP and EPA regulations
  • He is trying to obtain an old oil tanker truck that can be converted to a spray system and also used as a transfer vehicle for the brine solution going to other towns if other shared service arrangements were made
  • The truck washing system is working well—the water that goes into the holding tanks is pumped into the brine maker for brine
  • Having other towns participate in the truck washing facility is difficult because of the amount of waste water that would go into the septic system
  • Randolph has a shared service agreement with Jefferson on the purchase of a crack sealing machine—Jefferson does not use it as much as was anticipated due to a manpower problem—Randolph enjoys use of the machine year round
  • Crack sealing has been able to save many roads from having to be resurfaced
  • Randolph’s resurfacing program is very aggressive, however state aid will likely be reduced in this area which will require Randolph to take on more of the cost
  • Staff will need to be diligent in picking the roads that need to be resurfaced
  • Due to a recent statute, the contract for the purchase of asphalt now floats with the oil market
  • The harsh winter we are having will have an impact on the roads and the study of road conditions last fall will need to be redone in the spring
  • The entire work force participates in the leaf and branch collection programs because it is so labor intensive
  • A major aspect for operation is water and sewer
  • The biggest issue in sewer has to do with the pump stations and keeping them operational—there are dollars in a fund that can be used for replacement parts
  • There is also an aggressive leak detection program in place
  • Oil prices continue to impact the operation
  • Further cuts may be necessary at the Recycling Center

c. Chief Robert Mason

Manager Lovell noted that the police department is going through a transition at this time. There is a significant budget increase associated with the dispatch 911 service going to Morris County.

Chief Mason’s comments included:

  • The department is looking at a two-year window to keep the dispatch system functional in case things don’t work out
  • Once the switch to Morris County takes place, when residents come into the police department after regular office hours, there will be a phone they can use that will connect them directly with Morris County Dispatch
  • To minimize hours when the office may be empty, the secretarial staff is going through a trial period shifting their hours where one will be working 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m. to see how the system works out
  • There will likely be times during the evening when a police officer is not in the building
  • A system has also been put into place where the lobby can now be used as a safe room in dangerous situations
  • To further enhance security, cameras in the parking lots have been upgraded
  • The pay phone has been moved outdoors so that everyone will have access to that phone and will be able to call 911 on that phone as well
  • The main floor of the Municipal Building will be locked until 7:00 a.m., the doors will be locked at 4:30 p.m., and the doors will re-open on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday to accommodate evening meetings
  • In 2010 the size of the department was reduced to 37 officers, however with injuries and medical leave the department operated with between 34 and 36 officers
  • Productivity in many areas was increased
  • For the second year in a row the department operated beneath budgeted overtime, in 2010 by 24 percent
  • There was a significant savings in Salary and Wages due to not replacing officers or dispatchers as they left
  • The department received a grant from the JIF to move towards accreditation, which is ongoing at this time
  • There was an increase in motor vehicle summonses and for motor vehicle actions
  • The department significantly increased their use of calming devices and decoy cars in 2010
  • Going forward, it will take creativity to figure out how to meet objectives without the necessary manpower available
  • Possible considerations include the use of interns, civilianizing certain positions, and mergers with other towns
  • The police force is focusing on core functions such as patrol and investigation—community programs have had to be scaled back or eliminated
  • The only external unit other than patrol and detective bureau is support services which is a combination of traffic and community service
  • In 2011, the department is looking to defer the replacement of weapons
  • There are several anticipated retirements throughout the department in 2011—6 out of 11 superiors and one officer are eligible
  • Goals for 2011 include weathering the retirement transition, completing the accreditation process, completion of the evidence room project, and the successful transfer of the dispatch center to Morris County

d. John Van Brunt

Mr. Van Brunt’s comments included:

  • 2010 was a good year regarding revenue, bringing in approximately $1.4 million
  • Major cuts were made in operating expenses in 2010
  • The department is now at the point where all of the recreation programs are covering their costs
  • He is trying to come up with ways in which the recreation programs can contribute more towards park maintenance for their use of the fields and parks
  • Park maintenance is already off-set by several camps and clinics and rental fees for the parks and pavilions
  • Administrative fee costs also help to offset park maintenance costs
  • There may be consideration of charging for utility expenses
  • Community Services is a very difficult area to consider cuts
  • Randolph does not charge the residents who use the bus service for shopping and medical appointments—often the people who use this service offer a small donation
  • It is a vital service for the people that use it
  • It is getting difficult in trying to find additional revenue sources—administrative fees for sports programs may be increased
  • Membership fees at Randolph Lake will likely be increased this year
  • He will focus more this year on recouping utility costs and maintenance costs
  • Many costs can not be recouped, such as the amount of time spent maintaining the trail system or working out the details of the deer hunts in town
  • Over the last two or three years, revenues have increased and staff has been cut
  • Many areas can not get any lower without causing safety issues and complaints from residents
  • Shared services for park maintenance is not likely to be viable for Randolph

Manager Lovell’s comments included:

  • The impending retirement of Mr. Van Brunt this year will impact the organization
  • He must figure out where the organization can generate more income to cover all costs, including park maintenance
  • He needs to consider if certain operations can be moved to the private sector
  • Facilities such as Randolph Lake and the Artworks Studio have done well in the past but must remain viable and cover their costs
  • Community services like dial-a-ride are vital and serve many residents who have spent a lifetime paying taxes to this community and now are in need of this service and wish to remain in the community
  • The Community Services building is going to go through a transition this year with the renovations proposed for that site

Manager Lovell provided a document to the Council showing each department and each employee’s salary and benefit information so that the Council can see how much each employee costs the organization. Employees with benefits are expensive, with police officers being the most expensive.

e. Mark Caputo

Mr. Caputo will give his presentation to the Council at their meeting on February 3.


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


Mayor Mitsch adjourned the meeting at 11:45 a.m.

Donna Marie Luciani
Township Clerk