January 11, 2007 Budget Review Meeting - Home

January 11, 2007 Budget Review Meeting

Date: January 11, 2007

JANUARY 11, 2007

Mayor Katz called the meeting to order at 6:10 P.M.

Present:  Councilmember Rudolph, Councilmember Kates, Councilmember Gussen,    Deputy Mayor Parker, Councilmember Feit, Councilmember Honis, Mayor Katz.

Absent: None.

Also Present: Municipal Manager Fall, Assistant to Manager Aportela-Hernandez.

Adequate notice of this meeting has been provided by adoption of Resolution No. 466-06 and Resolution 1-07 setting the 2007 meeting dates, mailing a copy to THE RECORD, THE SUBURBANITE, THE BERGEN NEWS/SUN BULLETIN, THE CONNECTION,  THE JEWISH STANDARD and SU GIA filing a copy in the Township Clerk’s Office and posting it on the Municipal Building bulletin board and the Mayor hereby directs that this statement be included in the minutes.

Mayor Katz opened the meeting for good and welfare.

Mr. Art Vatsky commented that to pickup grass as part of solid waste is not against State DEP policies.

Mr. Henry Frisch commented about the Governor’s recent position with respect to a 4% absolute increase on tax rates.

Mr. Brian Aberback questioned whether the 8.5% increase discussed at the last meeting was related to the tax rate or appropriations.

There being no other persons who wished to speak, Good and Welfare was closed by unanimous consent.

Mrs. Fall advised that she did not agree with Mr. Vatsky with respect to the allowance of grass clippings to be included in solid waste pickups.

Mrs. Fall clarified that the approximately 8.4% was on the proposed appropriations.


C. Gussen asked for a discussion about the budget process, how decisions were made by the Council regarding changes to the proposed budget.

C. Kates explained that the Council reviewed the budget document page by page; if no Councilmember had a question then Council would move to the next page.  If a Councilmember had a question or comment it would be discussed.

Mrs. Fall further explained that if there was a majority agreement to make the change, then the budget would be changed - or agreement could be to hold that item, or a new item, for further discussion as part of the wrap up.

C. Feit advised that he and C. Gussen had reviewed the budget and had formulated questions which he would provide hard copy to Mrs. Fall.

Mayor Katz asked Mrs. Fall to write to CSX to asked them to forgive the lease payments the Township pays to cross the RR tracks with sewer lines and fire alarm wire.  Mrs. Fall will write to CSX.

Mayor Katz asked Mrs. Fall to determine if the current sewer jet vac could be retrofitted with a sewer TV camera.

Mayor Katz asked Mrs. Fall to determine the cost of expanding the outside maintenance contract for the landscaped traffic islands.

Mrs. Fall advised Council that the Environmental Commission’s request had been revised to $4,000 - they anticipated requiring matching funds for a possible grant.

C. Rudolph discussed the possibility of allowing the private haulers currently providing service directly to the residents to remove the recyclables at curbside and have the haulers keep the revenue generated by the recyclables.  Mrs. Fall advised she would review this with Mr. Turitz.

C. Gussen asked that Mrs. Fall provide a listing of the model numbers and make of all equipment being requested to be purchased in the 2007 budget.

DM Parker advised as an update to her report last week that her agency was able to derive significant savings in the area of medical benefits by becoming part of the larger County employee pool.  She did not believe this would be applicable to the Township since the Township was already part of the larger State Health Benefits pool but she would provide the information about the consultant to Mrs. Fall.

C. Gussen shared with the Council a discussion he and Mrs. Fall had about possible savings by negotiation of the natural gas transportation costs up to the NJ State line.  C. Gussen provided Mrs. Fall with the information which will be researched.

DM Parker asked Mrs. Fall to obtain from the Health Officer the list of mandated programs required to be provided by the Township as well as a listing of the other services provided.

C. Gussen discussed his desire for a program based budget.  Mrs. Fall explained that the current budget document is the one which has been in use for over 20 years and the same format was used in 2006 and provided to the new Councilmembers immediately thereafter their election.  Mrs. Fall explained that she would review the possibility of a format change for the next budget cycle and further review with Council, but that it would not be possible to go back.  All staff members who work on the budget preparation are fully engaged in their current work.

C. Gussen asked Mrs. Fall if she could provide costs for the larger programs funded i.e. garden debris pickup.  Mrs. Fall responded that she would do so but it would take time given all the work underway.

Council completed their review of the Other Expense Budget through Account 600 - Health and Human Services and then undertook a philosophical discussion of the Budget.

Mrs. Fall reiterated that the budget as presented provides the funding for the current level of services, which has been the basis of the budget presented to prior Councils.  In this budget, no program expansions were contemplated.

Council discussed their philosophical approach and the consensus of Council was to request that Mrs. Fall present to them a zero percent overall growth budget from 2006 which would require  approximately $4.5 million decrease and a four percent overall growth budget from 2006 which would require approximately $2.25 million decrease. 

Mrs. Fall discussed with Council that based upon the major areas of increase, contractual salaries, debt service, deferred charges - pension, medical benefit costs and the BCUA anticipated costs, that reductions such as these would definitely involve layoffs.

Mrs. Fall noted that there were current vacant positions funded as well as a vacancy which would be filled through promotions in the Police Department effective February 1st.  Mrs. Fall advised she had held the moving forward on all vacant positions and promotions as she anticipated discussing salary and wages with Council tonight.

Council determined to temporarily freeze all vacant positions until the next budget meeting on January 18th, including the promotions, to give the Council a chance to review the two requested scenarios.  DM Parker asked if this would impact the certification list to which Mrs. Fall replied no since the disposition date was not until early March 2007.

On a motion made, seconded and unanimously carried, the meeting was adjourned at