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February 3, 2009

 

A Budget Meeting was held by the Township Council of the Township of Roxbury on February 3, 2009 at 1715 Route 46, Ledgewood, New Jersey at 7:30 p.m. 

 

OPEN PUBLIC MEETING STATEMENT

Adequate notice of this meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Roxbury was given as required by the Open Public Meetings Act as follows:  Notice was faxed to the Daily Record, the Newark Star Ledger and the Roxbury Register on December 17, 2008; notice was posted on the bulletin board in the main hallway of the Municipal Building on December 17, 2008.

 

ROLL CALL (Present):  Councilmen Gary Behrens, Fred Hall, Jim Rilee, Martin Schmidt, Tim Smith and Mayor Kathy DeFillippo

 

Also Present:  Christopher Raths, Township Manager, Lisa Spring, Chief Financial Officer, and Janet Rieth, Deputy Township Clerk

 

Absent:  Councilman Richard Zoschak

 

REPORTS OF COUNCIL LIAISON REPRESENTATIVES, COUNCIL COMMITTEES AND NEW BUSINESS/OLD BUSINESS

A.  2009 Operating Budget Presentation

Mr. Raths advised that the budget, as recommended, would be 2.9 points, or a 3.2% increase, which would amount to an additional $58.00 per home, for a home assessed at $200,000.  He further advised that Roxbury’s tax burden is in the lower half of all other Morris County communities.

 

The budget objectives for 2009 are:

Ø      Minimize the increase in the tax rate

Ø      Increase in the 2009 Net Valuation Taxable of $18,890,112

Ø      Reduction in work force, through attrition, for a savings in 2009 of $280,000

Ø      Expanded shared services (Netcong garbage pick up, Mine Hill and Wharton health services) for additional revenue of $250,000

 

Mr. Raths stated that 90% of all employees are currently contributing towards their health insurance benefits, which offsets the health insurance cost by $100,000.  Additionally, several employees are opting for the 30% incentive by waiving the Township health care, saving approximately $108,000.

 

Our fund balance is higher than was projected due to a halt on spending in August, receipts from previous years taxes, and the Assessor’s efforts in adding ratables.  However, it is necessary to rely more on property taxes than in the past due to decreasing percentages of State aid and reductions in local revenue.  Lower interest rates and significant reductions in receipts from both Court & Construction have contributed to a decrease in local revenue in excess of half a million dollars, compared to 2007.

 

The Major Forces Driving the Budget

Ø      Contribution towards retirement

Ø      Health Insurance

Ø      Contractual Obligations/Wages

Ø      Utilities

Ø      Reduction in debt payment

Ø      Reduction in salary reserves

 

New Programs and Initiatives for 2009

            Privatize IT support for the Police Department

Ø      Better Utilization of Staff

Ø      Creates Opportunity to Reduce Man Power

            Privatize Detention Basin Maintenance

Ø      Township currently dedicates 490 hours per year to maintain basins at a cost of $17,903

           

Reorganization of Public Works/Water Utility

Ø      Elimination of Water Superintendent

Ø      Reorganize DPW and Utility functions

§         Mr. Blood would be DPW Director, in charge of Road, Sanitation, E&R and assistance in capital planning to buildings and grounds

§         Mr. Kobylarz, Township Engineer, will also assume the position of Director of Public Utilities

 

Mr. Raths advised that the following conditions contributed to the Township’s continued financial condition:

Ø      Freezing of State aid for the sixth year in a row

Ø      Level funding of local receipts

Ø      Forces driving budget

Ø      The inability to find further reductions in operating costs without             impacting services

 

B.  2009 Capital Budget

IT Department

  • The two laptops for the Patrol cars will cost $1,615.
  • Mr. Hall suggested that the Township should plan for capital expenditures for storage of email for OPRA requests.
  • Mr. Raths advised that he is not recommending the $12,000 for the audio system in the Council chambers.

 

Engineering

  • The $100,000 Righter Road resurfacing is for the area from Eyland Avenue towards the Randolph border.
  • Mr. Kobylarz, Township Engineer, will attend a future budget meeting for further discussion on the capital budget.

 

Buildings & Grounds

  • The Council asked for more information on the expected cost savings in heating expenses by replacing the windows at Town Hall.  Mr. Raths will provide the information.

 

Fire and First Aid

  • Mr. Raths stated that Engine #103, a 1979 vehicle, cost us approximately $12,000 in repairs last year and will likely need to be replaced soon, but due to the current financial constraints, he is not recommending that we replace it at this time.  Mr. Raths stated that he made a suggestion to Company #1 to trade in one of their two Ladder Trucks to offset the cost of a new vehicle.  Company #1 is exploring that option.  Recommendations have been solicited from the Engineering Department, as well.

 

Road Department

  • Mr. Raths stated that we will again be closing out old ordinances and applying the resulting $90,000 (approx.) to the “Top 50” road improvement list.   
  • The repair of catch basins is scheduled to begin in the spring with money from 2008 with no additional funds being appropriated in the 2009 budget for this project.
  • Mr. Blood, Assistant Public Works Director, advised that the 6-yard dump truck replaces the 1993 dump truck that is in bad shape.  This vehicle is used for sanding and plowing in the Township during the winter and hauling asphalt and dirt in the summer.
  • $390,000 is being requested for the following roadway resurfacing projects: Mildred Terrace, Carey Road, Corwin Street, Ballantine Street and Sue Court.  Mr. Blood, Assistant Public Works Director, discussed the criteria and selection process used in determining which streets were chosen as priorities.

 

 

 

Equipment & Repair

  • Truck Scanner – Mr. Blood, Assistant Public Works Director, stated that, presently, Equipment Repair has computer diagnostic equipment for cars, but not for the our heavy-duty trucks.  It is expensive to have this service done by an outside facility.  Mr. Blood stated that the purchase of a laptop computer and computer diagnostic software could save the Township an estimated $400 to $600 per month.  The Council would like Mr. Blood to contact the Board of Education and surrounding municipalities to discuss the possibility of shared services for this item.

 

Sanitation/Recycling

  • Mr. Raths stated there are ongoing discussions with several vendors regarding the possibility of purchasing a “One-Armed Bandit” automated trash collection truck.  This is being deferred to the 2010 budget until a detailed analysis is completed.

 

Parks & Recreation

  • Imagination Station - The Township is looking into possible grant monies for the replacement of the Imagination Station playground equipment.  Mr. Stierli, Director of Parks and Recreation, will attend a future meeting for further discussion.

 

Municipal Court

  • Mr. Raths advised that the amnesty program brought in approximately $25,000.
  • Mr. Raths stated that we are still exploring the best way to implement the acceptance of credit cards for tax, water, sewer and court payments.  We are continuing to get information from various banks, as well as looking into the possibility of using Community Pass.  Ms. Spring, Chief Financial Officer, advised Council members that Community Pass is unable to accept water, sewer, and tax payments.  Mr. Schmidt stated that the County is already utilizing a credit card system.  Mr. Rilee stated that we should contact the County regarding possibility of taking lead role to get a better credit card rate. 

 

Water/Sewer Utility

  • Mike Kobylarz, Township Engineer/Director of Public Works, will attend a future meeting to discuss.

 

MATTERS REQUESTED/REFERRED BY COUNCIL MEMBER, MANAGER, ATTORNEY OR CLERK

None

 

PUBLIC PORTION

Robert Kluska

274 Emmans Road, Flanders

Mr. Kluska stated that he had been told that the Township cannot dump leaves on a farmer’s field for environmental reasons.  However, he read a recent newspaper article regarding the fact that Chester picks up their leaves and gives them to a local farmer.  Mr. Blood, Assistant Public Works Director, stated that the Township has located a farmer in Hope who is approved by the NJDEP to take leaves.  We dispose of most of our leaves there, but we can only go there when the ground is dry, otherwise our truck gets stuck in the mud.  Mr. Blood will look into using the location that Chester uses.

 

Mayor DeFillippo closed the Public Portion.

 

DRAFT ORDINANCES FOR DISCUSSION

None

 

INTRODUCTION OF PROPOSED ORDINANCES

None

 

HEARING AND ADOPTION OF ORDINANCES ON SECOND READING

None

DRAFT RESOLUTION FOR DISCUSSION

None

 

INTRODUCTION AND ADOPTION OF RESOLUTIONS

None

 

COMMUNICATIONS

January 30, 2009

#4  Correspondence from William S. Helmer, Riverbank Power Corp., to Ms. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, dated January 19, 2009, re:  Riverbank Sparta, LLC Application for Preliminary Permit-Sparta Pumped Storage Project

Mayor DeFillippo asked what this has to do with Roxbury.  It appears that Roxbury was copied for informational purposes.

 

#8  Correspondence from Christopher Raths, Township Manager, to Township of Roxbury Construction Department, dated January 23, 2009, re:  recognition regarding a letter of appreciation from resident Dale Weaver (attached)

Mayor DeFillippo stated that the staff did a nice job.

 

#15 Mayors Fax Advisory, dated January 27, 2009, re:  Important New Information from the Division of Local Government Services

Council members expressed interest in Mr. Kuncken, IT Director, and/or Ms. DeCroce, Township Clerk, attending this seminar to gather data about managing e-mail for OPRA, records retention and the new E-Discovery rules.

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION

None

 

ADJOURNMENT

At 9:20 PM Mr. Rilee made a motion to adjourn the Budget Meeting.  Mr. Smith seconded the motion.

 

All In Favor – Yes

 

Submitted By:

 

 

__________________________

BettyLou DeCroce

Township Clerk

 

MINUTES APPROVED BY COUNCIL

DATE:                        February 24, 2009

ROLL CALL:            Mr. Schmidt – yes        Mr. Hall – yes

                                    Mr. Behrens – yes        Mayor DeFillippo - yes