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TOWNSHIP OF MAHWAH
SPECIAL WORK SESSION MEETING MINUTES
FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2005

The meeting was called to order at 7:20PM by Council President Richter who read the Open Public Meeting Act Statement as prescribed by law. Notice was advertised in The Record on May 16, 2005 stating this meeting would be held on Friday, May 20, 2005 at 7:00PM at the Municipal Offices, 475 Corporate Drive, Mahwah, New Jersey.

Notice of this meeting is posted on the Municipal Bulletin Board. The minutes of this meeting shall be available in the Municipal Clerk’s Office.

Salute to the Flag.

Present: Councilmembers Alderisio; DiGiulio; Kelly; Paton; Roth and Richter
Absent: Councilmember Calandrillo

Also present were the Business Administrator Brian Campion (8:45PM), and Municipal Clerk Kathrine G. Coletta.

2005 MUNICIPAL BUDGET; DISCUSSION
Roth stated the Finance Committee is intent on offering some suggestions to come to closure with regards to the 2005 Municipal Budget. Roth stated it was imperative to pass an Operating Budget so the State will not step in and impose fines.

Roth gave an overview and Amendments proposed for the 2005 Municipal Budget. Roth stated the Police Addition Project and Department of Public Works positions removed by attrition were issues which he feels have caused contention and needed to be taken off the table in order to come to an agreement about the Budget.

Roth does not think the Police Addition Project should be approved yet, as he has many unanswered questions.

Roth believed that the Police Department roof and repair of the Evidence Room should be included in the Budget.

Roth stated the $533,000.00 previously budgeted for the site work on Miller Road and King Street should be utilized for this project, and it should be included in the budget so this project can move ahead. Roth stated there are a variety of ways to financially make this happen, and he suggested asking Administration to find the best way.

Roth said in summary what the Finance Committee proposes is to make the $200,000.00 cut in Capital for the roads, remove $1.2 Million temporarily from the Budget until the Police Department Addition Project is thoroughly ready to consider, add $150,000.00 for the Police Department roof and repair of the Evidence Room, add the $533,000.00 previously budgeted for the site work on Miller Road and King Street, and keep the
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May 20, 2005
Page 2

approximately $230,000.00 in reductions to Operating Expenses as is with no changes to the cuts Council previously agreed upon.

Richter stressed that the Police Department Addition Project is only being put on hold in order to pass the Budget. After the Budget Meetings are completed, this item will be scheduled for a Work Session Meeting to discuss further.

Kelly was disappointed Administration was not present at this meeting.

Kelly stated Council needed to make sure the money for the Health Department for the vaccines was in place. Roth concurred.

Kelly stated he was very happy to see that the $533,000.00 previously budgeted for the site work on Miller Road and King Street would be left in the 2005 Municipal Budget. Kelly did, however, have issue with using the monies that were previously bonded for the Police Department Addition Project. Kelly stated there were other Departments originally assessed to cover their respective portion of the site work on Miller Road and King Street. Kelly stated if Administration were present at the meeting, he could have asked them for further clarification concerning the possibility of using the monies that were previously bonded for the Police Department Addition Project, or the Seized Funds as proposed. Kelly has concerns with regard to the way the Seized Funds should be utilized.

Roth cited a memorandum of April 13, 2005 from the Business Administrator stating all portions amounts of this project were identified in this memorandum, and $267,000.00 was allocated for the site work from the seized funds, as authorized by the County Prosecutor. Roth stated he was suggesting two alternatives which Administration could further advise Council.

Kelly is not comfortable finalizing Roth’s suggestions without consulting Administration first. Kelly stated there are too many questions with regard to dollar figures. Roth stated he would like to see Council agree on an Operating Budget, and stressed that Administration could then address Kelly’s concerns with regards to the $600.00 figure discrepancy.

Alderisio did not recollect hearing $267,000.00 was allocated for the site work from the seized funds, as authorized by the County Prosecutor.

Alderisio stated there is no question of seismic issues in regards to the proposed Police Department Addition Project. Alderisio further stated the $150,000.00 proposed to be allocated for the Police Department roof and repair of the Evidence Room would be

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May 20, 2005
Page 3

completely wasted once the Police Department Addition Project inception. Alderisio was aggravated over the delay in beginning the Police Department Addition Project.

Richter stated there are many issues that still needed to be discussed with regards to the Police Department Addition Project, and it should be done outside of the Budget Process.

Roth cited a letter from Chief Batelli to the County Prosecutor dated January 13, 2005 delineating how the Seized Funds would be used with regard to the Police Department Addition Project. Roth stated, in this letter, one of the Line Items was $265,000.00 for the site work on Miller Road and King Street. This was confirmed in a subsequent letter from the County Prosecutor dated February 16, 2005. DiGiulio stated the monies agreed upon by the County Prosecutor were intended for the complete Police Department Addition Project, not portions thereof.

Roth stated the total cost of the Police Department Addition Project is currently estimated at $2,467,350.00. Roth stated $1.2 Million will come from the Seized Funds and $1.3 Million would come from the Tax Payers. Roth stated this will, in fact, affect the Tax Rate because the $1.3 Million would be obtained through Debt Service.

Paton stated he felt the Police Department Addition Project Presentations, and materials submitted for Council perusal, were woefully inadequate. Paton stated a more complete vision of the Police Department Addition Project in the form of a Final Formal Proposal was needed prior to any sort of approval. This Final Formal Proposal should include some of the hidden costs such as office furniture, Clerk of the Works fees, etcetera. Paton concurred with the $150,000.00 to be allocated for the Police Department roof and repair of the Evidence Room.

Richter stated the fact that Council had been discussing the Police Department Addition Project this evening for the past 50 minutes, rather then attempting to pass the Budget is a prime example of why the Police Department Addition Project should be taken out of the 2005 Municipal Budget Process and tabled for reconsideration at a later date.

Richter reiterated that there are many issues that still need to be discussed with regards to the Police Department Addition Project, and in order move forward intelligently with this project it should be done outside of the Budget Process.

Kelly stated while it is true that there are many unanswered questions, Council needed to take responsibility for not coming up with the answers to these questions in a more timely and orderly fashion.

Kelly stated the Police Department’s portion of the Addition Project was $1,935,050.00 Million with the site work on Miller Road and King Street removed. Kelly said the work
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May 20, 2005
Page 4

needs to be done, and further stated the fact that the Police Department was incurring all the reproach for this Addition Project with regard to the Budget Process was unwarranted. Richter stated the Police Department was not being held accountable for the unsettled Budgetary Process.

Roth stated Kelly’s figures concerning the Police Department Addition Project were incorrect. Roth stated in total the Police Department Addition Project is $2.5 Million.

On a motion by Roth, seconded by Paton, the following Amendment to the 2005 Municipal Budget was voted on:
1. $1.2 Million removed for the Police Department Addition Project.
2. $533,000.00 added (previously budgeted for the site work on Miller Road and King Street)
3. $150,000.00 added for work related to the Police Department roof and repair of the Evidence Room.
4. $230,000.00 as Council’s reductions to Operating Expenses.
Roll Call Vote: Alderisio, no; Calandrillo, absent; DiGiulio, no; Kelly, no; Paton, yes; Roth, yes; Richter, yes. Motion failed.

Richter stated if no action is taken tonight, this would have to be continued to a meeting after June 1, 2005. Richter cautioned Council to take the time constraints involved seriously as the State and County will eventually become involved if a decision is not made concerning the 2005 Municipal Budget. Richter asked for another motion.

On a motion by Alderisio, seconded by Kelly, Amendments #1 and #2 (previously voted on for the 2005 Municipal Budget) were recommended for a vote.

Council reiterated their concerns over the inclusion and/or extraction of the Police Department Addition Project with regard to the 2005 Municipal Budget.

After Council discussed the possibilities of further amendments being made to Amendments #1 and #2 of the 2005 Municipal Budget Richter called for a recess of the meeting at 8:25PM.

Richter reconvened the meeting at 9:05PM.

Alderisio and Kelly withdrew their motion of Amendments #1 and #2 (previously voted on for the 2005 Municipal Budget).

On a motion by Alderisio, seconded by Kelly, the following motion was made:

Amend the 2005 Municipal Budget as it currently stands with the additions of:
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May 20, 2005
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1. The removal of the $1.2 Million (appropriated and as revenue) for the Police Department Addition Project.
2. The addition of 1 Department of Public Works position at $35,000.00 due to a Department of Public Works Employee that retired.

Roth asked if Alderisio wanted to add the $150,000.00 added for work related to the Police Department roof and repair of the Evidence Room at this time. Alderisio is reluctant to do this, as he sees it to be a waste of money. Roll Call Vote: Alderisio, yes; Calandrillo, absent; DiGiulio, yes; Kelly, yes; Paton, yes; Roth, yes; Richter, yes. Motion carried.

The Business Administrator stated this must be advertised at least three days prior to the June 2, 2005 Public Meeting if this was the date Council desired. Council concurred to schedule the Public Hearing for the June 2, 2005 Public Meeting.

Roth asked Richter to advise the Township Attorney, in order to avoid potential fines and punitive action, to contact the State and inform them Council had come to a decision on the 2005 Municipal Budget that would go for a final vote on June 2, 2005. The Business Administrator stated he would do this.

Richter asked the residents if they had any questions on the Police Department Addition Project to please send it in letter form to the Municipal Clerk or Administration. Richter stated this would provide feedback to Council with regard to residents concerns, so Council could move on with the Police Department Addition Project at a later date. Richter assured the public that the seized funds are secure and available for future use.

PUBLIC PORTION
On a motion by Paton, seconded by Kelly, the meeting was open to the public at 9:18PM. All in favor. Motion carried.

Mr. Steve Tsotsoros of 600 Wyckoff Avenue stated the Township Police Officer did not need to be present at Council Meetings, and it would be better for him to be on duty else ware. Richter stated the Police Officer was present at the Council meeting to protect and serve the public in attendance.

Mr. Allan Kidd of 111 Miller Road stated he felt the 2005 Municipal Budget could still be cut tremendously. Mr. Kidd suggested charging the Township Library for the maintenance the Township provides, rent which could amount to approximately $200,000.00 per year, and other costs the Township should not have to tolerate.

Mr. Kidd stated Council does have control with regard to these potential charges to the Township Library.

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May 20, 2005
Page 6

Mr. Kidd stated at all the Budget Hearings most Department Head’s stated they could cut their Budget if they had to. Mr. Kidd challenged Council to make the Department Heads do so in order to save the Tax Payers money.

Mr. Kidd commended Richter, Roth and Paton for their hard work to cut the budget, but Mr. Kidd felt there was still more to cut.

Mr. Kidd questioned Calandrillo’s absence from the recent meetings. Richter stated she was on vacation. Mr. Kidd stated Council Members should be present at the meetings because they are being paid to do so and receive Health Benefits from the Township.

Mr. Kidd stated if Council could not cut the Budget sufficiently they should pass last year’s Budget and save the Tax Payers money.

Richter stated Alderisio said the Reserve Fund for the Library is currently $300,000.00. Mr. Kidd stated we should use the $300,000.00 to lower Township Taxes. Alderisio stated the $300,000.00 was in the Building Fund in the form of donations.

Mr. Kidd said the Township should limit its financial support of the Library by $300,000.00 by cutting maintenance to the Library, and charging rent for the Library. Mr. Kidd reasoned if Council cut the Library by $300,000.00 due to their Surplus Fund, and charged for maintenance and rent (which should realize another $300,000.00), Council could cut the Budget by $600,000.00. Richter stated this process is not as simple as Mr. Kidd has stated. Mr. Kidd asked Richter if she would consider a proposal delineating his strategy. Richter stated she would review it.

Mr. Kenneth DeFerrari of 69 Maysenger Road stated everyone needed to realize that Council has to view the Township as a business when taking the Budget into consideration, and for Council to please keep the Township “stock-holders” happy.

Mr. Lou Guarneri of 128 Mac Leish Court voiced concerns over the Police Reconstruction Project. Mr. Guarneri did not believe the Township really knew why they needed this project, and there were many financial and mechanical questions left unanswered.

Mr. Frank Russo of 22 Olney Road stated the Budget was raised 18% last year and 24% this year and next year will probably be higher. Mr. Russo accused Council of making the tax payers pay “compound debt.”

Mr. Russo stated attrition needed to be enacted with regard to Township Employees retiring in the Police Department to save the tax payers money.

Special Meeting Minutes
May 20, 2005
Page 7


Mr. Albert Kidd of 851 Darlington Avenue stated the Township squanders money and it is being grossly mismanaged.

Mr. Kidd asked what the tax increase would be. The Business Administrator stated it would be 24%.

Mr. Kidd could not understand why the Polo Fields could not be utilized by the Township Residents.

Mr. Kidd stressed the fact that the $200.00 a month the Township is currently collecting for rent on the Township property on East Ramapo Avenue is a waste of potential revenue to the Township.

Mr. Kidd was upset that Paton suggested more sidewalks when the Township is in a budgetary crisis. Richter stated funds for this project were previously reserved. Mr. Kidd felt the money could be used for the Route 202 sidewalks and curbs that are in very poor condition, or for lowering Township debt.

Mr. Kidd said all spending should stop, unless absolutely necessary.

Mr. Kidd stated the excess of vehicles purchased by the Township wastes tax payers money.

Mr. Kidd stated the Company No. 1 Firehouse should not have been renovated if the Police Department was in such bad condition. Richter stated the Police Department stated the Company No. 1 Firehouse was in greater need, so they declined to have the work done at that time.

On a motion by Kelly, seconded by DiGiulio, the meeting was closed to the public at 9:40PM. All in favor. Motion carried.

Richter asked for all information concerning the Budget to be given to the Municipal Clerk prior to June 2, 2005 for distribution.









Special Meeting Minutes
May 20, 2005
Page 8

On a motion by Alderisio, seconded by DiGiulio, the meeting was adjourned at 9:41PM. All in favor. Motion carried.

Respectfully submitted,


Kathrine G. Coletta, RMC/CMC
Municipal Clerk

KGC/mcr











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