All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: March 20, 2008
A regular meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 7:00 p.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 Morris County Daily Record and the Randolph Reporter on February 21, 2008, by emailing them the meeting notice. The meeting notice, which included this meeting date and time change, was advertised in the Randolph Reporter, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph, on February 28, 2008.
Councilwoman Price (arrived at 7:10 p.m.)
Deputy Mayor Metz
Also Present: Township Manager John Lovell
Manager Lovell stated that the Township Attorney would not be in attendance.
Mayor Napoliello led the Pledge of Allegiance.
PRESENTATION: Board of Education Budget
Members of the Randolph Township Board of Education, including Christine Carey, Mike Neves, Thomas Keane, and Ethan Blynn, presented the Board’s tentative budget adopted March 5, 2008, to the Council. The final budget will be adopted on March 26, and there will be a public vote on April 15, 2008. Highlights touched upon included:
- Completion and preliminary results of a parent survey
- Athletic, academic and fine arts accomplishments from 2007 and 2008
- Ranking on HSPA scores compared with other districts in New Jersey
- $57 million proposed tax levy for 2008
- State funding increase of $2.4 million
- Revenue and expenses
- Several areas of focus, including upgrading science department K-12, transition for special education students, offering new courses, improving textbooks and technology, improvements to auditorium, purchase of new instruments for music program, improving athletic facilities, and personnel issues
- Capital improvements necessary to move to a modified block schedule
- Fire alarm system upgrade
- Improvements to boys’ locker room at the high school
- Wireless network in the middle school
- Air conditioning units at the middle school
- Reducing staff by a total of 10.25
- Expenditures, including personnel which accounts for 85 percent of the budget, mandated special education spending, uncertain energy costs, miscellaneous expenses such as school and office supplies, co-curricular and extra-curricular expenses, transportation, and professional development
- Spending per student as compared with similar districts
- Four percent cap in spending
- Voter approval of the budget will amount to approximately a $236.00 increase on the average assessed home
Councilman Algeier asked if the addition to the high school and the capital costs figure into the calculation for spending per student.
Mr. Neves responded that some facility costs do go into that figure.
Councilman Algeier asked if the teachers’ contract has been settled.
Dr. Keane noted that there is a tentative agreement at this time, however it has not been made public.
Councilman Algeier asked about the parent survey, specifically how many people responded, what percentage that encompasses, and how information about the survey was circulated to the public.
Ms. Carey responded there were 1,650 responses out of 3,300 families in the district. Information regarding the survey was done through email, RAM-Alert, PTA packets, the website, and the Randolph Reporter.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: February 16, February 21, February 28, and March 6, 2008
Councilman Algeier made a motion to approve the minutes as presented. Councilman Obremski seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Councilman Algeier (abstained on February 28)
Councilwoman Mitsch (abstained on February 21)
Councilman Obremski (abstained on February 28)
Councilwoman Price (abstained on February 16)
Deputy Mayor Metz (abstained on February 28)
OPEN TO PUBLIC
Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, noted that there were copies of the entire proposed school budget at the library for public inspection. Mrs. Stewart stated that she has reviewed the school budget, supports it, and encourages the council to support it as well.
Lee Whilden, 82 Radtke Road, reiterated her belief that the Mayor should not receive an increase in salary beyond that of the rest of the Council as it is contrary to the council/manager form of government, and she encouraged the Council to obtain an opinion from the Township Attorney on this point.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public portion was closed.
COUNCIL AND MANAGER REPORTS
Councilman Obremski stated that he will not be at next week’s meeting as he will be on a business trip.
Councilman Algeier distributed copies of an article from the Star Ledger concerning the interplay between DEP regulations and the affordable housing requirements. He is concerned about the possible impacts to Randolph. The Councilman asked the Manager to invite a representative from the Morris County Planning Department to the presentation the Highlands Council is offering in Randolph on March 25.
Councilwoman Price reported that the Board of Health tracked down recalled meat, which has since been disposed of. The Councilwoman also noted that there is a recycling initiative on-going at the high school to increase awareness of the importance of recycling.
Deputy Mayor Metz reported that the Landmarks Committee is attempting to get a map showing all the historical points of Randolph onto the web site. There was discussion at the Landmarks Committee meeting concerning a policy or ordinance whereby the Committee should receive notice of any proposed changes to a home over 50 years old. Also, a resident attended the Landmarks meeting who owns property adjacent to the DPW site and is in the process of restoring his home. The resident has learned that the township intends to install a chain-link fence at the DPW site and he is concerned that this will affect the value of his property.
Manager Lovell responded that he has met with the property owner and discussed the issue with him.
Councilwoman Price stated that she doesn’t believe there is an ordinance in place stating that the Landmarks Committee be notified of work done to a home 50 years or older. She believes it to be more of a policy of communicating with the Committee when there are proposed changes to such a structure so that the Committee can contact the property owner in case there are historical issues, or possibly to take pictures if the structure is to be torn down.
Mayor Napoliello asked that research be done to see if there is such an ordinance.
Councilman Algeier suggested if an ordinance exists, perhaps incorporating a date of structures built prior to 1925 be used.
Mayor Napoliello distributed an article from the Star Ledger indicating that budgeting will be worse next year throughout New Jersey, especially as it pertains to pensions.
MUNICIPAL BUDGET WORK SESSION
Manager Lovell highlighted Council Letters 12-08 and 13-08, touching on the following points:
- Breakdown of part time employees and hours worked per week
- Recreation programs and fees, including scholarships
- Updated operating expense sheet showing actual expenditures for the prior years versus budget year
- Equalization table for Morris County
- Decrease in state aid
- Impact of pension costs
- No DOT funding towards the road system this year
- Possible immunization program in Health Department
- Increase in court sessions
- Fuel costs and conservation measures
- Remediation work at Brundage Park in response to a violation notice from the DEP
Proposed reductions totaling $284,000.00 to the budget include:
- Reduction in catering and holiday parties
- Reduction in Tax Assessment
- Reduction in Planning and Zoning operating expenditures
- Eliminate the annual dinner hosted by the Economic Development Committee
- Reduction in amount for distressed properties
- Reduction in Fire, Other Expense
- Reduction in Police, Other Expense
- Reduction in Road, Other Expense
- Reduction in Recycling Salary and Wages, and possibly closing the Recycling Center one day a week
- Reduction in Snow Removal, Salary and Wages
- Reduction in Fleet, Salary and Wages
- Reduction in Recreation, Other Expense
- Elimination of a Country Fair in 2008
- Reduction to the Municipal Alliance Committee, Other Expense
- Reduction in appropriation for Data Processing/Network Switches
- Transfer cost of equipment to Water and Sewer budget
- Reduction to Rescue Squad
- Removal of down payment for Public Works garage from Capital Improvement Fund
- Reduction for Special Election from Capital Outlay
- Reduction in Reserve for Uncollected Taxes
- Removal of $4,000.00 contribution to Senior Club
The Manager noted that it is important to retain some flexibility in the budget to handle unforeseen problems that may occur during the year.
The budget as presented stands at a 3.9 cent increase. Options for the Council to consider at this point include:
- Move forward and introduce the budget as presented on April 3
- Instruct the Manager to amend the budget further
- Take no action at this time to see if state aid numbers are going to be amended
Discussion by the Council touched on the following:
- Of the 3.9 cent increase, less than a penny is municipal and more than 75 percent of it is state imposed
- Had the state held everything flat, the increase would have been .9 cents, which represents 1.7 percent
- The Manager has pulled surplus from Water and Sewer, reduced the surplus, and reduced the Reserve for Uncollected Taxes in order to make the budget work as a result of the state impacts
- Each penny represents approximately $33.00
- Considering scaled down changes to the Senior/Recreation building
- Concern over reductions to the road overlay program not being able to maintain enough roadway per year to keep pace with deteriorating roads
- The possibility of charging corporations when they utilize police cars for daytime traffic control as well as increasing the administrative fee and imposing a gas surcharge
- Support of closing the Recycling Center one day per week
- The increase in police pensions over last year
- Possible negative growth in Randolph
Deputy Mayor Metz expressed concern that the budget was increasing over last year’s budget over and above the state impacts. He requested a breakdown of those expenses.
Councilwoman Mitsch supported introducing the budget as proposed.
Councilman Algeier noted that a breakdown of the expenses requested by Deputy Mayor Metz would be helpful. Should the breakdown hold no surprises, he would support introducing the budget as proposed.
Councilman Alpert agreed with introducing the budget.
Councilman Obremski noted that an explanation of the expenses would be helpful.
Councilwoman Price stated that she would support the budget as proposed.
Mayor Napoliello supports introducing the budget on April 3.
Manager Lovell stated that he will begin drafting a budget message which will include a further breakdown of expenses.
COMBINED ACTION ITEMS
Councilwoman Price made a motion to approve the Combined Action items. Councilman Alpert seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Metz
A. Authorizing Donations to be Used for the Traffic Advisory Committee and Considered a Dedication by Rider to the 2008 Budget
WHEREAS, the State of New Jersey Department of Community Affairs promulgation regulations under N.J.S.A. 40A:5-29 for donations to the Traffic Advisory Committee; and
WHEREAS, the funds received in this account are to be used strictly for projects designated by the Traffic Advisory Committee; and
WHEREAS, such donations for the Traffic Advisory Committee are to be accounted for in the General Trust Fund of the Township of Randolph.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Township Council of the Township of Randolph, County of Morris, State of New Jersey, that the donations for the Traffic Advisory Committee be placed in the Township’s General Trust Fund and be considered a “Dedication by Rider” to the 2008 Budget of the Township of Randolph per N.J.S.A. 40A:5-29 for the sole purpose stated above.
(1) Off-Premise 50/50, Minutemen Sports Club, June 4, 2008, at Meadow Wood Manor, 461 Route 10 East, Randolph, From 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
(2) Social Affair Permit, Randolph Chemical Engine Co. #2, May 3, 2008, Beefsteak Dinner, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
(3) Tricky Tray, Randolph High School PTSA, March 26, 2008, at Meadow Wood Manor, Route 10, Randolph, From 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
OPEN TO PUBLIC
Lee Whilden, 82 Radtke Road, stated that she believes the Landmarks Committee should be notified when an older structure is undergoing change, however she doesn’t believe the Landmarks Committee has any power regarding the structure. A true landmark or historic district has very strict standards to which to adhere.
Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, asked questions regarding recycling, specifically the town saves money by having less curb-side pickup and if non-residents using the Recycling Center increases the town’s costs.
Manager Lovell responded that the town achieves significant savings from recycling by not having to pay a tipping fee at landfills. It is his opinion that curb-side collection is preferable to residents driving to the Recycling Center because the town has a vehicle and goes around collecting recycling. However, when people use the Recycling Center and separate their mixed paper from newspaper, there is a savings to the town. Regarding non-residents using the Recycling Center, perhaps a better job could be done policing that issue, however he believes that would equate to more garbage being strewn along the roadways.
Mrs. Stewart supports closing the Recycling Center one or two days during the week as long as it is not during a weekend and is well publicized. Mrs. Stewart would also support a return fee on cans and bottles. She would like to see more educational efforts directed at the residents about the importance of recycling. Mrs. Stewart supports the budget.
Seeing no one else from the public, the public portion was closed.
COUNCIL AND MANAGER COMMENTS
Councilman Obremski reported that members from the Traffic Advisory Committee and representatives from township departments met with the Director of the Police and Fire Academy to discuss the driver simulation program and efforts to move forward with a municipal program allowing township employees who drive township vehicles to attend a four hour program. A member from the JIF was also present and supports the program.
Mayor Napoliello suggested that in future elections, signs on public property should be prohibited. He asked if an ordinance existed addressing this issue.
Manager Lovell responded that he will discuss this issue with the Township Attorney to get a policy in place.
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. Teamster Contract
B. Land Acquisition
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.
Deputy Mayor Metz made a motion to move into Executive Session. Councilwoman Mitsch seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Metz
Councilman Alpert made a motion to come out of Executive Session. Councilman Obremski seconded the motion, and a voice vote in favor of the motion was unanimous.
Councilman Algeier made a motion to authorize the Manager to move forward with the settlement with the teamsters. Councilman Obremski seconded the motion and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Metz
The Mayor adjourned the meeting at 9:45 p.m.
Donna Marie Luciani
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:
Councilwoman Price (arrived at 7:10 p.m.)
Deputy Mayor Metz
Also Present: Township Manager John Lovell
Manager Lovell stated that they met with a mediator and settled the teamster contract at 3.75 percent for three years, which is the same percentage as the other bargaining groups. He was able to build in language concerning emergency call out time. Disability insurance was capped at ten years as opposed to five years for all other employees. This issue will be revisited in the future to try to get it down to a five year cap. The threat of privatization for these services was discussed during negotiations.
Tom Russo reported that the Council had authorized him to offer $620,000.00 for the property at 107 Everdale Road. The property owner presented a counter offer of $660,000.00.
The council authorized the amount of $650,000.00 but suggested offering $640,000.00 first.
Councilman Algeier asked for an update concerning the situation with the police.
Manager Lovell responded the attorney representing the police chief will be contacting the Township Attorney with a retirement offer. The Manager reported that the FOP is in complete melt-down at this point. The President of the FOP has the support of about half the membership. The dispute with Sgt. Yarzab continues. There will be a new police ordinance introduced in April which will address a revised promotional process and the process for internal affairs investigations. On a positive note, the police department will receive certification in the summer, which is something promoted by many different groups including town managers, JIFs, MEL/JIFs, and police chiefs around the state.
Mayor Napoliello asked the Manager to get an opinion from the Township Attorney regarding the salary increase for the mayor.
Donna Marie Luciani