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Jefferson Township
Jefferson Township, N.J. • 1033 Weldon Rd, Lake Hopatcong NJ.
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Roll Call
Roll Call

Present                                     Absent

                        Mr. Hardy

Mrs. Merz

                  Mr. Sanchelli

Vice President Birmingham         President Yocum

            Larry Cohen, Township Attorney

                        Lydia Magnotti, Township Clerk

 

            Mrs. Magnotti said, “Let the record show that Mayor Felter and Administrator Leach are present.  Also present is Chief Financial Officer, William Eagen; Director of Public Works, Jeff Elam; and from our auditing firm, James Cerullo.

 

Salute to the Flag

Vice President Birmingham asked that everyone rise for the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Notice of Presiding Officer

Vice President Birmingham said, “This Workshop Council meeting for March 9, 2005, commencing at 7:30 p.m. has been properly noticed in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act by notice to the official newspapers of the Township on March 3, 2005.”

 

Trophy Presentation by the Jefferson Girls U14

          Morris County Youth Soccer Undefeated Champions

            Birmingham asked the Morris County Youth Soccer Champions to come forward and he commented that some of the girls have been on the championship team for three years.  The Coach credited the soccer program with its training and camps for the girls’ rise as undefeated champions.  The team presented their trophy to Felter.  Felter stated that it will be an honor to place the trophy in the trophy case in the lobby.  He thanked the girls, their parents and coaches for all their hard work and sportsmanship.

 

Appointment of Firefighter to Fire Department No. 2

          Michael P. DeLoreto

            Michael DeLoreto came forward along with his parents and Chief Cahill.  Birmingham presented DeLoreto with a Certificate of Appreciation along with a Township pin and pen.  He thanked him for providing his services to the Township as a firefighter.  The Council offered their congratulations and thanked him for his service to the town.

 

Discussion of the 2005 Municipal Budget with Jim Cerullo

            Birmingham announced that the Council has had five budget sessions and it is a difficult year with State aid and extra pension monies that originally the State had provided.  The town is also in the middle of the revaluation process, which was ordered by the Courts.  Birmingham stated that Cerullo will be giving a breakdown of the Budget which will be introduced later this month.

 

            Cerullo gave the Council the Annual Debt Statement, the Current Fund and the                (57-A)

Budget sheets for 2005.  He started with the Total Net Debt as of December 31, 2004 - $12,703,108.96, which represents amounts that have been borrowed or debt that has been authorized for various capital projects in the Township.  Everything is on track with the State allowing up to 3-1/2 percent of the equalized valuation, which is almost $69 million.  The debt is a little over $12 million, which is .64 percent and last year it was .68 percent.  Cerullo stated that in the last year of the general indebtedness for general improvements, there was permanent financing of the temporary debt.  For the water utility, since the interest rates are still low, it would be a good time to permanently finance the water utility debt.  Cerullo moved on to the second sheet, which goes over how the Township performed last year with the surplus.  He explained that the town would generate surplus from anticipated revenues and they do better during the year or if funds are appropriated and not expended.  The surplus is set at $1,956,000 for the year.  On page 3, it was anticipated that $1,813,000 would be generated, approximately $143,000 more was returned to surplus than anticipated in the 2004 budget.  However, the ending Surplus including Interfunds is $3,682,510 so the Surplus is down $172,624.

 

            Cerullo explained that they cannot expect the same dollar amounts in State aid that were received in 2004.  Township should receive watershed aid but it is recommended that the Township apply for extraordinary aid as a backup.  Since the watershed aid only affects a handful of municipalities, it may be pulled back or cut.

 

            Cerullo recommended that the town raise the cap to 3.5 and pass the Ordinance to bank any money that is under the cap so it can be used in future years.  The way the expenditures are now, they will only be using 1 percent higher than the 2.5 cap.  It will add $105,000 to the cap.  The garbage budget had some surplus.  Cerullo did not have the water utility numbers yet.  The sewer utility surplus had a small decrease and Ferraioli feels they may have to consider a rate increase in the sewer utility.

 

            Felter stated that the Budget is still a work in progress and may have to be reduced again by the time it is introduced.  He promised that they will not be using any gimmicks because when he came into office he was faced with situations that are still being resolved.  No one wants to reduce services such as plowing roads, recreation and senior services.  Felter reminded everyone that $800,000 involves pension, health insurance and other items from the State that they have no control over.  The town is in very good shape financially as far as debt service and the way money is spent.  Birmingham commented that debt service is dropping even with no increase in State aid, the borrowing ratio to the ratables is lower than it was last year.  Felter stated that when he took over, the debt service was a little over 1 percent, so it has been cut close to half of what it was.  Felter thanked Cerullo and Ferraioli for steering the Administration in the right direction as far as the debt service, reissuing bonds and moving to permanent financing.  The Budget will be introduced at the March 16, 2005 meeting and the application for discretionary aid has to be in by March 28th.

 

Recess

            The Council adjourned for recess at 8:10 p.m. and reconvened at 8:22 p.m.

 

Concerned Responsible Individuals to Save Picatinny

 (C.R.I.S.P.)                                                                                                 (58-A)

            Richard Waibel thanked the Council for allowing them to explain the BRAC (Base Realignments & Closures) process and how it may affect Picatinny.  Jay Decker and Richard Waibel proceeded with a Powerpoint presentation and passed out informational packets that explained BRAC and C.R.I.S.P.  Decker asked the Council to consider a Resolution in support of Picatinny.  Birmingham suggested putting a link to C.R.I.S.P. on the Township’s website.  Felter suggested having the presentation for C.R.I.S.P. put on the Jefferson Highlights cablevision show.  He stated that Picatinny is very important to the future and it is the base for the New Jersey Center of Excellence for Homeland Defense.  Felter added that it contributes $2 to $2-1/2 billion to the economy of New Jersey.  He thanked Decker and Waibel for spearheading this organization as well as Congressman Frelinghuysen.  The local freeholders have been involved as well as Senator Bucco and the Chamber of Commerce, so the more the Administration and Council can do the better.  Decker stated that Secretary Rumsfeld is a key player in the decision of whether or not Picatinny is on the list.  Sanchelli stated that since Picatinny is unique and has such advanced technology, it seems unlikely that they would close it.  Waibel stated that there have been closure recommendations in the past that have been waived off at the last minute.  Sanchelli asked if Picatinny is working with C.R.I.S.P. and Waibel stated that the base is not permitted to participate with C.R.I.S.P.  Cohen stated that his partner, Jim Courter, was the Chairman of BRAC in 1997.  He saw firsthand the political pressures that come into play anytime a facility is in danger of foreclosure in a state because it is detrimental to that state.  Governor Cuomo came to their office at that time because there were two bases that were vital to the economy of New York State that were on the list.  Every facility that was on the list that was recommended for closure ended up closing except for one.  The key point is to avoid that list because once you are on it, it is an extremely difficult and political fight.  Decker stated that this time the analysis is going to focus on virtual movements, meaning that installations may change who they report to or who they are linked with.  Today you do not have to move people in order to have them as part of an organization.  Things can be done virtually.  Cohen stated that there may be some consolidations but everyone may realize that Picatinny is on the cutting edge of development for weaponry.  Waibel stated that there are many speculative lists and some include Picatinny, Monmouth, Aberdeen, Huntsville.  All those bases cannot be closed and one or two would have to stay open.  Cohen stated that the base has a right to make a full presentation before the commission and a portion of the commission must visit the facility and they will also listen to governmental leaders of the State.  Hardy asked if they have met with any other towns and they stated that they have been to Dover and they will be in Wharton next week.  Waibel offered the Council a sample Resolution and he stated that if they cannot visit certain towns, they will be sending a letter and sample Resolution.

 

            Leach left the meeting at 9:03 p.m.

 

Merz commented that an article in the local newspaper should educate about exactly what Picatinny is and how a closure will adversely affect the area.  People should also hear about how they have avoided being closed in previous years.  The letter writing process is very important for average citizens of the municipality.  Waibel left the Council sample letters that can be reproduced and distributed for Secretary Rumsfeld and the President of the United States.  Merz asked if there is any reason why the people that work at Picatinny cannot send letters as residents of the municipality and Waibel stated that they may.  Felter stated that they will distribute the letters to the Legions, VFW Posts and Senior Centers.  Magnotti stated that she can send the letters and the Resolution via email to all the Morris County Clerks.  The Resolution will be placed on the March 16th Agenda.

 

            Sanchelli left the meeting at 9:13 p.m.

 

Resolution:

Resolution #05-32:  Authorize Passage of Consent Agenda                                    (59-A)

            As modified with removal of Award of Contract to Specialty Automotive.  Cohen must prepare a special Resolution since bids were rejected.  Cohen reported that he will have the Resolution at the next meeting.

Motion:  Merz, second Hardy

                        Mr. Hardy                           Aye

            Mrs. Merz                      Aye

                        Mr. Sanchelli                                 Absent

            Vice President Birmingham   Aye

                        President Yocum                   Absent

 

Work Session Items:

Draft Conservation Easement Ordinance (Planning Board Response)

            Merz reported that because of the snow the Planning Board did not meet.  There was no discussion of this matter.

 

S1701 New Law for School Budget District Caps (Chapter 73)

            Hardy asked that this matter be placed on the next work session on April 13th because he will not oppose this until there has been a discussion.  Cohen stated that this would be to amend the law in certain areas.  The Council received and read the Minutes from the Board of Education.  Magnotti stated that she will ask Sanchelli if he has information about the proposed amendments.

 

S1702 – Establishes Lower Limits for Yearly Municipal Budget Appropriations Increase

            Felter stated that he has no problem with this right now although there may be some fine tuning eventually.  He feels that Jefferson can be an example for many districts.  Birmingham asked the Council if they all concur with Felter that they can all live within the cap.  Merz stated that she likes the idea of being a model municipality and living within it.

 

Miscellaneous/Public Portion

            Birmingham asked if there were any members of the public that would like to come forward with a question or comment and Mr. Bagnati of 30 Summit Road came forward.  He told the Council that when he crossed the bridge on Oak Ridge Road into Jefferson yesterday during the storm, the roads were clear.  The DPW did a wonderful job clearing the roads.  He then stated that Oak Ridge Road in Passaic County is in horrible condition.  Birmingham commented that the Administrator is in contact with officials in Passaic County to do something about the condition of the road.

 

Birmingham asked if there were any other members of the public that would like to come forward and seeing no one, he closed the public portion of the meeting.

 

Adjournment at 9:22 p.m.

Motion:  Merz, second Hardy

                        Mr. Hardy                           Aye

            Mrs. Merz                      Aye

                        Mr. Sanchelli                                 Absent

            Vice President Birmingham   Aye

                        President Yocum                   Absent

 

Dated:  March 9, 2005

 

Attested:                                                         Approved:

 

 

 

 

_________________________                ___________________________________

Maria E. Pivirotto, Deputy Clerk              Richard W. Yocum, Council President

 


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