All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: March 25, 2010
A work session of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Mayor Alpert. 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 19, 2010, by emailing them the Special Meetings Notice. The Special Meetings Notice, which included this meeting date, was advertised in the Daily Record on March 22, 2010.
Councilman Algeier (arrived 7:30 p.m.)
Councilwoman Price (arrived 7:02 p.m.)
Deputy Mayor Mitsch (arrived 7:05 p.m.)
Also Present: Township Manager John Lovell and Township Attorney Edward Buzak
Mayor Alpert led the Pledge of Allegiance.
OPEN TO PUBLIC
Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, noted the agenda was different than normal in that it listed Executive Session before Open to Public and Council and Manager Comments.
Manager Lovell responded that he anticipates a short Executive Session.
Mr. McGrath, a teacher at Randolph High School, stated that his class has begun a pilot program where students take on an assignment that benefits both the community and their learning experience. One of his students is on hand to give a summary of her project.
Stephanie Mygas, a student at Randolph High School, gave a summary of her project, which is to create an exhibit at the Randolph Historical Museum detailing the political history of Randolph. The exhibit will open on April 11 and she invited all council members to attend.
Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, stated that more money will need to be added to the budget in the future for senior services as Randolph’s senior population increases. Mrs. Stewart also stated that the Council should not cut $29,000.00 from the budget for the celebration of public events. She noted that in this economy, residents need to be able to attend affordable celebrations.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public portion was closed.
COUNCIL AND MANAGER REPORTS
Councilman Metz reported that he and Councilmen Napoliello and Obremski attended a Morris County legislative breakfast. They obtained information on the Governor’s plans for the budget as well as information that may be helpful in school budgets.
Councilwoman Price reported that the Community Services Advisory Committee is making progress on building the data base that will reach out to faith based organizations and other community service organizations for their spring cleaning and helping neighbors programs. The Councilwoman attended a recent School Board meeting where they were discussing the 10.2 percent tax increase. One option the School Board is looking at is opening up contracts with the unions and asking for salary freezes.
Councilman Metz updated the Council on the county bus transportation issue. A meeting was held recently and attended by representatives of the County College of Morris as well as the local bus company, and they provided statistics in favor of keeping several local routes. NJ Transit will hold a public hearing on March 26 at the Morristown Senior Center.
Mayor Alpert reported that he and Manager Lovell attended the 120th anniversary of the YMCA honoring Clyde Butts, a major benefactor of the YMCA.
Manager Lovell reported that Randolph has received a AAA bond rating. This is the second increase in the bond rating since he came to Randolph. Receiving the AAA bond rating in the height of an economic recession speaks volumes to the leadership that exists in the Township. The Manager recognized Michael Soccio for the huge part he plays in Randolph’s economic stability. There are only twelve other towns in New Jersey with a AAA rating.
REVIEW AND SET PROPOSED AGENDA FOR APRIL 6, 2010 REGULAR MEETING
Manager Lovell’s comments on the proposed agenda for April 6 included:
- There is an introduction of an ordinance to install a sewer on Mac Spar Road, which has been approved by 2/3 of the property owners there and will be a 100 percent special assessment
- There will be an ordinance introduction for land acquisition on South Salem Street adjacent to the EA Porter site
- There will be an ordinance for introduction that will authorize the acceptance of a deed dedication for Hertz Homes for open space
- There will be no action taken on the shared services with Mendham Township and Mendham Borough until we receive feedback
- There will be a Board of Education presentation at 7:00 p.m.
A. 2010 Budget Revisions
Manager Lovell’s comments included the following:
- The reduction in state aid to Randolph is $531,325.00
- There is also a $211,000.00 deficit that had to be closed in order to be within cap
- He will present suggestions to the Council for cutting the budget both in public session and Executive Session for personnel decisions
- He proposed not increasing the tax rate beyond the allotted cap for municipalities, which is a four percent cap on the levy
- There should be a larger than anticipated reserve for uncollected taxes should the current plans for the Board of Education budget be approved by the voters
- Approximately $800,000.00 must be dropped from the budget in order to balance
- Randolph must find new sources of revenue and permanent appropriation reductions that will place it in a position where it is not facing a greater crisis in 2011 and beyond
- There will be a broad spectrum of changes in the way Randolph does business as a result of the proposed reductions, however he believes we can continue to meet the needs of the residents effectively
- He charged the staff with coming up with ideas to cut their budgets, and everyone cooperated with that request
- John Van Brunt has offered the following cuts from the Parks and Recreation Department: tax support for all youth sports programs; elimination of one group from the day camp program; reduced tennis court coverage; reduction in park maintenance; cut-back in seasonal personnel and overtime; changes in personnel
- A change in taxation approved by the voters last November will ensure the upkeep of the parks and trails in Randolph
- DPW offered the following suggestions: reducing the rock salt budget due to the success of the salt brine solution program; charge residents a fee to pick up leaves and branches
- Three vacancies in the Police Department will not be filled at this time
- Money collected from Mendham Township and Mendham Borough for animal control services can be used to pay a portion of the salaries for animal control personnel
- The Library Director indicated the Library is carrying a healthy surplus and suggested the Manager request from the Library Board an increase to their donation toward improvements and renovations proposed for that facility
- Reconsider the budget for funding public celebrations and perhaps choosing either fireworks or parade for the Fourth of July celebration
- Adjusting the amount in tax appeal surplus this year
- Reduce proposed police vehicle purchases from five to four and eliminate the purchase of evidence lockers
- Health insurance costs should be reduced due to a reduction in personnel
- He proposes the Township no longer pay for employees to attend conferences unless earning a significant amount of CEU’s, as well as no longer paying for hotel accommodations or travel expenses
- He will address a number of proposed staff reductions and transitions in Executive Session
- The above proposed reductions and anticipated revenue brings the amount to $873,067.00
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. Personnel/2010 Budget
B. Open Space 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.
Councilman Napoliello made a motion to move into Executive Session at 7:49 p.m. Councilman Metz seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Mitsch
Councilman Obremski made a motion to return to Open Session at 8:50 p.m. Deputy Mayor Mitsch seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Mitsch
OPEN TO PUBLIC
Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, reiterated her belief that the funds for the celebration of public events should not be cut.
Manager Lovell responded that nothing he has suggested tonight has been an easy decision. The Council will be wrestling with many issues before the budget is finalized. The Manager believes that this round of cuts will not be the final round and that another series of cuts and adjustments will be necessary in 2011. The Council will consider the Manager’s information given tonight and meet again on April 6 for further discussion and action. The Manager defended his suggestion on not funding the celebration of public events since it is optional and employees are facing layoffs.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public portion was closed.
COUNCIL AND MANAGER COMMENTS
Councilwoman Price asked about the amount of money being cut from the celebration of public events budget.
Manager Lovell responded that he suggested the entire budget of $29,000.00 be reviewed and discussed.
Councilwoman Price noted that Kiwanis has offered to fund the parade, however that was with the support of the town in terms of security and DPW efforts. The Councilwoman suggested it may be difficult for Kiwanis to carry out the parade if funding is pulled by the town.
Councilman Napoliello stated that this year the budget discussions will be more difficult than he has ever experienced as a Councilman.
Councilman Obremski reported that, while at the legislative breakfast, he asked why municipalities are the tax collectors for the local school boards and county, and yet they bear the sole responsibility of refunding successful tax appeals. One of the legislators responded that he wasn’t aware that it worked in that way and suggested it was something that could be looked into. Anthony Bucco, Jr. would like to meet with Councilman Obremski to discuss the issue, and Councilman Obremski has asked Michael Soccio to provide a report on Randolph’s exposure on tax appeals.
Mayor Alpert adjourned the meeting at 9:10 p.m.
Donna Marie Luciani