Twsp. Attorney, Larry Cohen will not be present this
Lydia Magnotti, Township
Mrs. Magnotti said, ?Let the record
show that Mayor Felter will not be here this evening, however, Administrator
James Leach is present. Also present is
Chief Financial Officer, William Eagen; Deputy Clerk, Patricia Dale; Lt. Eric
Wilsusen; Shawn Hopkins; Sgt. John Kessler; Interim DPW Director, Edward Haack;
Recreation Director, Grace Rhinesmith and Roland Sparling.
Council President Yocum asked everyone to rise for the Pledge of
Yocum said, ?This Budget meeting of February 27,
2007 commencing at 6:30 p.m. has been properly noticed in accordance with the
Open Public Meetings Act by notice to the official newspapers of the Township
on February 16, 2007.
2007 Municipal Budget Overview
Department of Public Works (27-A)
Haack came forward and presented a Budget Briefing for the Council that
included a list of the projects completed in 2006, a list of projects for 2007
and equipment that the DPW would like to purchase. Some of the equipment was funded in the 2006 capital budget but
was not purchased because they would like to go to bid to obtain a better
price. Haack told the Council that an
additional $75,000 has been requested for an exhaust extraction system and
ventilation in the old portion of the garage.
This would replace a small exhaust extraction system that does not cover
the entire garage, which was pointed out by the OSHA Inspector as
necessary. Haack said that they would
also like to add heat to the new portion of the garage that is being utilized by
the Police Department and Recreation Department. This can be accomplished for about $50,000. Leach said that under Garage, the number was
lowered to $50,000, if that is the number the Council approves. Haack said that they were looking to repave
the entire lot. In 2006, the Recycling
Center lot was repaved but the lot around the DPW building was not done. Haack said that the new DPW offices are
completed except for a couple minor electrical items. Now they are looking to work on the outside of the building and
paving the lot. Leach said the item for
furniture has been changed to zero because all the old furniture was moved back
that the underground storage tanks were removed, monitoring wells were in and
additional contaminants were found so the State is requiring some additional
reporting and testing. Merz asked if
the $30,000 is for remediation and permitting and Haack said they will have to
spend the $30,000. Leach said that this
has been ongoing and they have the permits with money being spent every year.
asked about snow equipment, which was $25,000 and has been dropped to
$15,000. Leach said they will use money
from the prior year. Birmingham asked
if the Recreation Trust can be used for part of the bonding for the remediation
of Berkshire Valley Park at $145,000.
Haack said that it is a mandated expense and he does not feel it will be
reduced. Leach said that in the
Recreation Budget, rather than bonding, many things have been shifted over to
the Recreation Trust. Birmingham asked
about the leasing of the garage to the Board of Education and if Pequannock has
busses there too. Haack said they are
not using the space this year. Eagen
said that they are receiving the $50,000 each year from the Board of Education. The original estimate for the work at
Berkshire Valley Park was very close to $200,000, however, by using a plan that
requires less trucking of material the number is down to $145,000.
Yocum said that perhaps they
should phase the DPW parking lot paving over a two and a half year time period
and phase in the furniture over a two year time period. It is fine to save funds but it is not good
to have people working in less than adequate conditions. Phasing in the paving would allow $10,000 to
be put toward furniture. Sanchelli said
that phasing the paving may cost more.
Haack said that the paving may be broken into thirds and it could be
included with the road program so they will end up paying the unit prices for
road paving. Haack said that he has the
County Co-Op prices for paving this year and he is interested in going out to
bid early in the year to see if they can do better with the price. If they do not, they can go back to the
County Co-Op. It is about $65 per ton
for the HMA superpave and it is $62.85 for the I5. Paving contractors are looking for work and it might be
advantageous to go out to bid. Hardy
said he agrees with Yocum and they should try to move the paving plan over 3
years and move some money into the furniture account. Leach said that $50,000 had been recommended for the paving of
the DPW lot. Yocum said they can drop
it to $30,000 and go to $10,000 on the furniture over a two year time period.
Leach said that the next item is
on Page 9 and it is $300,000 for road resurfacing. Haack stated that there are roads left over from 2006 that were
not repaved because the price of asphalt last year went from $36 to about $43 a
ton. Haack said that they would like to
see the number up to $400,000 to $500,000 a year in resurfacing or they will
never catch up. Haack said that they
have listed streets that can be done for the $300,000 and again, he would like
to put the work out to bid. New Jersey,
Alabama, Mississippi, Delaware, Georgia and Pennsylvania are from the water
main and Leach said those should come out of the Water Capital. Birmingham asked about Ridge Road and Haack
said this is the new DOT grant. Work
will begin at the upper end as soon as the snow is gone. Haack said that the work on Minnisink Road
is going to be advertised tomorrow and it will be bid in March. Leach said that there is money in prior year
Capital to make up the $25,000 for Minnisink.
Leach said that this year they have put zero for Guard Rail replacement
and Reflective signs because they have money from last year. The $25,000 for Ridge Road is needed and it
is this year?s DOT grant. The $100,000
is also needed for Drainage Projects. The
Council asked about the various drainage projects and Haack said that they are
essentially small. There are about 5
siltation chambers that were purchased last year that have not been installed
yet. Eagen said that there is not money
in Water Capital for the paving projects.
The Council reviewed other
changes to the Budget. The $60,000 for
the forklift goes to zero. The $150,000
for the 20-ton dump truck goes to zero.
The $5,000 for silicon hoses goes to zero. All are as per Leach?s memo.
Leach said that there is a plan to purchase a truck every other
year. There are funds from last year to
purchase the dump truck. Yocum said
that the Council will receive updated pages for the DPW after tonight?s
Yocum and the Council thanked
Haack and said that he is doing an outstanding job. Haack left the meeting at 7:10 p.m.
Tax Appeal Report
reported that the town had approximately 200 County appeals with about $53
million under appeal. All the appeals
have been resolved and the town lost about $3 million in ratables. There were another $53 million in State
appeals and as of now, $15 million have been settled. Of those, about $300,000 has been lost. Hopkins said that they are now going into the larger appeals with
the largest being Kite Industries or the new A&P shopping center at $22
million. The next biggest appeal is
Seneca Gardens at $7.7 million and then Weir, the owners of marinas around Lake
Hopatcong, which total $3.8 million.
Hopkins said that the contact with the revaluation company was that they
would defend the appeals and their appraisals at the State Tax Court. They have done a good job but Hopkins said
that he is going to request an expert appraisal in addition to their
representation. This is especially
important for the largest appeals at $22 million; $7.7 million and $3.8 million
because they represent such large values.
An expert opinion would be around $4,000 for the review and summary
appraisal. Hopkins said that the other
appeal is Sun Air Lakeside Camp, which is only assessed at $1 million. Value-wise it doesn?t make sense to get an
appraiser but they are in the Highlands and that may come up. Hopkins said that as far as he knows, there
has not been a decision on the Highlands in the Tax Court as of yet. West Milford, received a very detrimental
judgment from the Passaic County Tax Board because a resident went in and said
they were in the Highlands with 20 acres that could not be subdivided. The Board gave 90 percent off the
value. Hopkins said that the town
appealed to the State Board and a settlement was reached so there are no
judgments on record yet. Hopkins said
the Expert Appraisal will be about $4,000 per case or $16,000 for the 4
cases. Yocum asked that a motion be
placed on the March 7 agenda for a not-to-exceed $16,000 number. Eagen said that the money is there in the
reserve for appeals. Hardy asked
Hopkins for a readout of the valuations that the company gave and the final
valuations that were settled. Hopkins
said yes and as it stands now, they lost 1/10th of a percent. Yocum thanked Hopkins.
Department of Communications (29-A)
Wilsusen stated that the Capital is down.
The Police vehicle radio replacement phase-in program is completed. The Township Computer equipment number is
the same and the Police Computer equipment is the same. The only new project is the Police phone
logger recorder system to replace a 10 year old system. Wilsusen said that last year the old system
crashed 3 times and the machine is obsolete.
The Communications for various departments, which include the fire
departments and rescue squads, is down to $24,600. Birmingham commented that the County is pushing to consolidate
dispatching and is there any way the town could pick up a few smaller towns for
shared services. Wilsusen said that the
County is looking to create a whole new communications center. They have started their own Department of
Public Safety, which took over Emergency Management, the Police Academy and now
the Communications Center. Leach said
that he and Eagen attended some shared services meetings where this was
discussed and right now it would not be cost effective for the town. Eagen said that the towns that are looking
to go into the County system are those that have an obsolete system and are
looking at major capital expenses.
Right now all the towns are on incompatible systems and they are trying
to unify the bands so eventually there will be the infrastructure in place for
everyone to go on board if they choose to.
Wilsusen said that as part of the Morris County Interoperability Radio
System all the towns received a radio from the County that operates on their
adjourned for recess at 7:30 and reconvened at 7:35.
Department of Recreation
Rhinesmith said that the Recreation Department?s initial submission was a
little high so they have gone through it and have come close to last year?s
budget. With regard to the Capital
budget, the Department is swamped with projects. The Capital projects include fencing, paving Ralph Ackerson Field
parking lot and one special request for a mule. The mule is a go-cart, which is used for getting around the
summer camp and also for special events like Jefferson Day. Rhinesmith said that recently a school bus
was purchased for the summer camp and it needs work because it is not allowed
to look like a school bus. In the past,
$30,000 was spent on busing for the summer camp and by having their own bus,
$10,000 to $15,000 will be saved.
Rhinesmith said she would like to hire a bus driver for the summer and
also train one of the camp directors.
Yocum asked how the contracted landscaping is working and Rhinesmith
said that they are finding that they can do a lot of it themselves. The most difficult part is Waters? Edge
where there are difficult slopes that are too steep. Between $17,000 and $18,000 was spent on the contracting. Sparling said that their machines are not
set up to go up and down the curves.
This contracting goes out to bid each year and Eagen said last year it
was $15,000. Yocum asked for a
breakdown of the $25,000 for school bus repairs and Rhinesmith said it was
reduced to $10,000. Leach said that the
original number for Capital was $440,000 and they got it down to $146,400 with
$26,400 coming from Recreation Trust.
The total out of Capital is $120,000.
said since the Ropes Course was a phased project, what will happen if no money
is put in it. Rhinesmith said that half
the course is completed and usable.
They wanted to expand the area and types of activities, so they will do
that next year. This year they are
going to focus on lake development.
Rhinesmith and the Council discussed the permanent restrooms at Lakeside
and Ralph Ackerson Fields. Hardy asked
about a hookup for Ralph Ackerson Field and Rhinesmith said they have a well
and will install a septic. Birmingham
asked if they can apply for ADA grants for the restrooms. Rhinesmith said they can apply but she is
not sure what the success will be.
Yocum asked what items have been pulled from Capital and are being paid
for by the Recreation Trust. Safety
fencing at Prospect Point Park for $5,000; players benches and backstop at
Chamberlain for $2,500; and bleachers for Fireman?s Field, Berkshire Valley
Park and Lakeside for $20,000. Eagen
said that with the tax point, a half a point would give $162,000 in the
Recreation Trust. If the Council wants
to increase it above the 140 from last year it should not have a significant
impact on the levy. Eagen recommended
between 140 and 162. Leach said that
the other money this year is earmarked for the Lakeside Field expansion. Yocum asked if the paving project at the
Ralph Ackerson Field will be the parking lot and the access road that goes all
the way to the concession stand.
Rhinesmith said yes and it will be totally handicapped accessible. Birmingham said that the ADA grant may be
open to them for this reason.
Birmingham asked about Phase 2 of the Dogwood Park upgrade and
Rhinesmith said that Phase 2 is just some individual pieces to enhance the
park. Pieces have been moved around
from other parks. Rhinesmith said that
right now only the Creative Playground is a problem and all the other
playgrounds are up to ADA standards.
Sanchelli asked why the leaf vacuum was taken out and Rhinesmith said
they were trying to cut back the budget.
Yocum asked if any of the storage sheds at the recreation facilities are
in need of work. Sparling said that at
Waters? Edge a pit should be dug around the well and Bilko doors installed
instead of the shed that is currently there.
At Waters? Edge there are currently two storage sheds; one for
electrical, one for soccer and baseball now wants one. Yocum said that with increased vandalism,
secure storage areas should be developed at the recreation facilities. Rhinesmith said that she is interested in
self-storage units because then the equipment is in a solid building and it is
not being held at individual homes.
Birmingham asked about irrigation and Rhinesmith said that the only
plans are for Berkshire Valley Park.
Yocum thanked Rhinesmith and Sparling for their budget cooperation.
asked if the Council is in agreement with the recommendations for Recreation
and the Recreation Trust up to this point.
Eagen said that if they do one point for Recreation and Open Space and
cut it in half there will be $162,000 for the Trust. Yocum asked if other municipalities have expressed an interest in
looking around Camp Jefferson.
Rhinesmith said that she hosted a district meeting last week with groups
from Sparta, Hunterdon County and Morris County. The summer day camp takes trips on Tuesdays and the other camps
were invited to rent the facility on Tuesdays to raise revenue. Yocum asked how many children attend the
camp at no cost because of low income.
Rhinesmith said she is not sure but they collected $3,000 to $5,000 and
they sent close to 12 children at no cost with the donations. There is work planned for the lake including
hydroraking. Rhinesmith spoke about the
cabins and the various town organizations that utilize them. The Council spoke about the trail around the
lake and Sparling said there are concerns about accessibility should someone
get hurt on the trail. Rhinesmith said
that there is grant money and perhaps a plan to connect to Mahlon Dickerson in
said that there is $44,000 left from last year?s ordinance for the Fire Trucks
and the Ambulances. There is also
$50,000 in each account for Fire Company No. 1 and Fire Company No. 2 from the
installation of generators. Leach said
they would like to reappropriate that money and use $30,000 toward the
emergency generator for Fire Company No. 1.
Leach said there is $2,000 remaining and $7,000 from the 2005 additions
to the municipal building and $28,000 from a 2004 ordinance for a total of
$49,000 which would be reappropriated to the garage. A storage building will be built for the police since they are
taking up a heated bay in the garage.
Haack feels that for $50,000 a pole building can be constructed.
said that a date is needed for the Water and Sewer Capital. The Council decided to hold the next Budget
meeting at 6:00 on March 7 prior to the Regular Council meeting. Eagen said that if there is a need to apply
for extraordinary aid they can introduce on the 21st. Eagen said he will contact Ferraioli to see
if he is available for the March 7 meeting.
opened the meeting up to the public and asked if anyone would like to come
forward with a question or comment and seeing no one come forward, he closed
the public portion of the meeting.
Motion: Change start time of March 7, 2007 meeting
to 6:00 p.m.
Motion: Yocum, second Sanchelli
Mr. Hardy Aye
Mrs. Merz Absent
Vice President Sanchelli Aye
Adjournment at 8:10
Motion: Sanchelli, second Hardy
Mr. Hardy Aye
Mrs. Merz Absent
Vice President Sanchelli Aye
Dated: February 27, 2007
Lydia Magnotti, Township Clerk Richard W. Yocum,