502 Millbrook Avenue, Randolph, NJ 07869-3799
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All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.

Minutes: March 19, 2009

A regular meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Mayor Metz. 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 March 3, 2009, by emailing them the Special Meetings Notice. The Special Meetings Notice, which included this meeting date, was advertised in the Randolph Reporter, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph, on March 5, 2009.

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

ABSENT: Councilman Algeier

Also Present: Township Manager John Lovell

Mayor Metz led the Pledge of Allegiance.


Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, provided a copy of a newspaper article dealing with affordable housing to the Township Manager and suggested the Council obtain a copy for their information.

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


Manager Lovell provided information on the amended proposed budget for 2009. His comments included the following:

  • Throughout 2008 the Manager was very concerned about the 2009 budget, however he is very pleased with the budget he is presenting this evening
  • Total salaries are up 2.45 percent despite the fact that the union and police increases are 3.75 and 4 percent respectively
  • This is due to the fact that two full time positions and one part time position were eliminated
  • Total expenses for the budget come to less than one percent without imposing furloughs or layoffs
  • There has been a $60,000.00 reduction in state aid and the pension deferral program is not going to be mandatory
  • With the elimination of the pension deferral, dollars have been inserted back into the budget
  • With the pension payment this year, the PERS will complete its five year payback period, and as the police pensions were completed last year, Randolph should not see continued increases at the magnitude of the last four or five years
  • The snow removal budget will be increased by $100,000.00 due to the numerous ice and snow storms this year that have depleted the snow removal budget
  • The Reserve for Uncollected Taxes will increase by $69,000.00
  • Court security will increase by $7,000.00 to pay for the addition of retired police officers to provide security during court sessions, thereby eliminating the need for active police officers providing security and the cost of overtime for those officers
  • Buildings and grounds will be increased by $2,000.00 to cover the cost of a copy machine
  • The above items comes to a $911,152 deficit, which comes out to a 3 cent tax increase
  • Several items were then reduced or eliminated to bring the tax increase down
  • Surplus was reduced to the same level as last year
  • Fees and permits were increased by $35,000.00 based upon the fee schedule in place
  • There is a projected $12,000.00 in interest and costs for taxes not paid on time
  • A Public Works position that was being carried has been eliminated
  • Group insurance costs have decreased because there are two less policies to purchase
  • For capital outlay, $20,000.00 has been transferred from the Water and Sewer budget for the purchase of portable lifts
  • The total for those amendments come to $356,651.00, bringing the total down to $554,501.00, which is a tax increase of 1.9 cents
  • 1.9 cents comes out to about $62.00 for the average assessed household in Randolph, or a 3.2 percent increase
  • Further reductions were considered, including laying off personnel or mandating employee furloughs
  • Employee lay offs are not recommended since the Township is already running on a very lean work force
  • Furloughs for Police, Parks and Recreation, and Public Works would not be viable options
  • Furloughs in the remaining areas of personnel would not put a substantial dent in the 1.9 cent tax increase
  • The Township Manager and Finance Officer are very concerned about the cap levy in the years to come
  • Commercial tax appeals should start leveling off
  • Randolph has always been managed by looking two or three yeas ahead, thereby avoiding tax spikes

Councilwoman Mitsch asked about the anticipated cost for pensions and tax appeals going into 2010.

Mr. Soccio responded that the deferred police pensions are up to date and the last deferred payment for the PERS pension will be made in 2009. In 2009, the increase in police pensions was approximately $28,000.00. Provided the courts settle the remaining tax appeals in 2009, the money normally reserved for uncollected taxes will return to the normal rate of about one percent below the percentage of collection in 2010.

Councilman Napoliello asked why we shouldn’t expect more tax appeals.

Manager Lovell responded that he believes the commercial properties that wanted to file tax appeals have already done so. Regarding residential property, although there has been a reduction in the value of homes, the assessed value on these properties is still well below market value.

Councilwoman Price asked when Randolph is due for reassessments.

Manager Lovell responded that he would typically have expected to have gotten an order during the last year to begin revaluations. However, he believes the County Board of Taxation realizes this is not the time to undergo such an exercise and has put that plan on hold for perhaps a couple of years.

Mayor Metz asked about plans to finance the road overlay program.

Manager Lovell responded that there is a substantial program proposed in the capital outlay budget for 2009.

Mayor Metz asked for a document showing a breakout of tax appeal losses versus the non-payment of taxes.

Mr. Soccio responded that he will provide such a document.

Manager Lovell reiterated his belief that the only reason Randolph is in such a strong position this year is because the Council has been conservative in the way they have managed the Township over a period of years.


Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, commented on the school budget and that, if the budget fails, the Council and the Executive County Superintendent will have to make final decisions on that budget. She stated that she believes the Township Manager has done a very good job with the Township budget, the 1.9 cent increase is small, residents receive a lot of services for their tax money, and she supports the proposed budget. Mrs. Stewart suggested the Manager and Finance Office provide both the assessment mean and median for homes in Randolph Township.

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

Manager Lovell stated that there is a work session on March 26 where further budget discussions can take place. He also asked the Council to contact him at any time with questions or concerns about the budget. The Manager is planning to introduce the budget on April 2.

Councilman Obremski asked the Manager to provide a comparison of the budget taking it down another cent or so. The Councilman stated, however, that he was comfortable with the budget presented this evening and noted that he keeps the Manager’s questions in the forefront when considering the budget.

Manager Lovell responded that he will make such a comparison. He noted that it would mean laying off of personnel and he will start to identify those departments. If further cuts to the budget are desired, he encouraged the Council to cut appropriations rather than dig into surplus. If appropriations are cut, the Council should be prepared to face the fact that there will be reduced services in the Township.

Councilwoman Price stated that the Council needs to address additional funding for the Freedom Festival Parade.

The Manager responded that he is meeting with the head of the parade committee. After the meeting, he will provide the Council with a summary of that discussion to help them make any decisions regarding funding.


Deputy Mayor Alpert made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:10 p.m. Councilwoman Mitsch seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:

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

NAYS: None

ABSENT: Councilman Algeier

Donna Marie Luciani
Township Clerk