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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. Birmingham

                        Vice President Sanchelli

President Yocum

                        Twsp. Attorney, Larry Cohen will not be present this evening

                        Lydia Magnotti, Township Clerk

 

            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.

 

Salute to the Flag

Council President Yocum asked everyone to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Notice of Presiding Officer

Council President 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)

            Edward 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 in.

 

Haack said 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.

 

            Sanchelli 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 meeting.

 

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

            Hopkins 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)

            Eric 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 frequency.

 

Recess

            The Council adjourned for recess at 7:30 and reconvened at 7:35.

 

Department of Recreation

            Grace 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.

 

            Merz 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.

 

            Eagen 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 the future.

 

Capital Items

            Leach 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.

 

            Leach 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.

 

Miscellaneous/Public Portion

Yocum 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

Mr. Birmingham                      Absent

      Vice President Sanchelli         Aye

President Yocum                    Aye

 

 

Adjournment at 8:10 p.m.

Motion:  Sanchelli, second Hardy

Mr. Hardy                                 Aye

      Mrs. Merz                                Absent

Mr. Birmingham                      Absent

      Vice President Sanchelli         Aye

President Yocum                    Aye

 

Dated:  February 27, 2007

 

Attested:                                                                     Approved:

 

 

 

 

_________________________                            ______________________________

Lydia Magnotti, Township Clerk                              Richard W. Yocum, Council President

 

 


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