TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE by gabyion

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									       The Minutes of the Workshop Meeting of the Township Committee of the Township of
Cranford, County of Union, State of New Jersey on April 13, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. in Room 108.

THIS MEETING IS IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE “OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT” AS ADEQUATE
NOTICE OF THIS MEETING HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY FAXING THE ANNUAL SCHEDULE OF
MEETINGS TO THE CRANFORD CHRONICLE, UNION COUNTY LOCAL SOURCE, AND THE STAR
LEDGER, BY POSTING SUCH ANNUAL MEETING SCHEDULE ON A BULLETIN BOARD IN THE TOWN
HALL RESERVED FOR SUCH ANNOUNCEMENTS AND THE FILING OF SAID NOTICE WITH THE
TOWNSHIP CLERK OF CRANFORD. FORMAL ACTION MAY BE TAKEN AT THIS MEETING

Present:        Mayor David W. Robinson
                Deputy Mayor Mark C. Smith
                Commissioner Mark P. Dugan
                Commissioner Martha Garcia

Absent:         Commissioner Daniel J. Aschenbach

There were one hundred and forty-eight (148) members of the public present. Leslie Murray represented
the Cranford Chronicle.

PAYMENT OF BILLS
Commissioner Dugan questioned the cost for the repair of gas lamps located at Eastman Plaza. Discussed
the fact that the Township Committee decided to shut the lamps off temporarily for the purpose of cost
savings.

Township Administrator Schmid explained that the repairs occurred prior to the temporary shutdown.

Commissioner Dugan seeking clarification regarding costs related to Avaya.

Finance Director Grady explained that the cost is for maintenance of the communications system.

Commissioner Dugan seeking clarification regarding expenses being paid to ZIP Systems.

Finance Director Grady clarified that ZIP Systems is the contractor that provides maintenance for the
Community Center elevator.

Commissioner Dugan seeking clarification regarding costs associated with Maraziti, Falcon & Healy.

Township Administrator Schmid explained that Maraziti, Falcon & Healy is the firm that provided legal
services for the Riverfront Redevelopment project when the Township was negotiated with the S.
Hekemian Group. Informed the Township Committee that this expense will be paid out of the escrow
funds.

Commissioner Dugan seeking clarification regarding the cost for robotic cameras for TV35.

Township Administrator Schmid explained that the purchase of the robotic cameras was authorized by the
Township Committee at a previous meeting.

Commissioner Dugan discussed the cost for the purchase of several min-towers.

Finance Director Grady explained that this cost pertains to equipment purchased by the IT Department.
Funding for the purchase is being provided through a previously adopted bond ordinance.

Mayor Robinson discussed funding the Township received for Self Contained Breathing Apparatus
(SCBA) equipment for the Fire Department. Commended Fire Chief Dolan for obtaining grant funds.
Also discussed costs associated with energy efficient light bulbs.

Review April 14, 2009 Official Meeting Agenda

Resolution No. 2009-156
Barbara Bilger, Chamber of Commerce, discussed Resolution No. 2009-156 which authorizes various
street closures in connection with the Chamber of Commerce’s “Classic Cruiser Nights”. Discussed the
fact that the request was made in February with no action by the Township Committee. Also mentioned
that various retailers were contacted by the Chamber of Commerce concerning the event.

DMC Director Prunty discussed the need to obtain retailer input and the fact that the matter was
addressed at a Roundtable Retailer Meeting held by the DMC at the end of March.
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Discussion ensued as to closure of streets and parking lots for the event and concerns expressed by
retailers.

The Township Committee was agreeable to moving forward with the street closures as requested by the
Chamber of Commerce.

Resolution No. 2009-154
Discussion held regarding Resolution No. 2009-154 which authorizes the Mayor and Township Clerk to
execute a lease agreement with the Board of Education in connection with the use of Memorial Field.

Commissioner Dugan discussed the bond ordinance that authorizes the appropriation of funds for the
installation of artificial turf at Memorial Field. Feels Resolution No. 2009-154 should be adopted prior to
approval of the bond ordinance.

Resolution No. 2009-154 to be moved to roll call vote prior to the adoption of ordinances.

Mayor Robinson discussed revisions to language that need to be made to the Memorial Field lease
agreement.

Ordinance No. 2009-11
Mayor Robinson discussed Ordinance No. 2009-11 which authorizes the appropriation of $606,500 to
install synthetic turf at Memorial Field. Explained that four (4) affirmative votes of the Township
Committee are required for adoption. Requested that the Township Committee inform him of any
opposition to the ordinance in order to allow the item to be tabled. Mentioned that Commissioner
Aschenbach has indicated that he would not support this ordinance. Requested that the Township Clerk
review minutes to determine Commissioner Aschenbach’s voting record with respect to bond ordinances.

Further discussion April 14, 2009.

On motion of Commissioner Dugan, seconded by Commissioner Garcia and passed, the Township
Committee continued the Workshop Meeting in Council Chambers in order to accommodate the
number of public in attendance.

Mayor Robinson provided a summary of budget reductions to date. Also discussed mandated spending
increases.

PUBLIC COMMENTS
Mayor Robinson opened the public comments portion of the meeting and asked if there were any
questions or comments.

Anthony Weiners, NJ State Police Benevolent Association (PBA) President, discussed the potential for
layoffs and furloughs within the Police Department. Feels balancing the budget through the reduction of
law enforcement personnel is the wrong approach. Stated that government’s main responsibility is to
provide a safe environment for all of its citizens. Feels a reduction in staff would cause an increase in
overtime and would also place an officer in harm’s way. Urged the Township Committee to reconsider
furloughs and layoffs within the Police Department.

Bill Lavin, NJ State Firemen’s Mutual Benevolent Association (FMBA) President, discussed Cranford’s
tradition of supporting public safety. Feels the primary obligation of government is to keep its residents
safe. Urged the Township Committee to maintain current staffing levels. Also feels shared services for
public safety would be an unsafe practice. Discussed the loss of two (2) New Jersey firefighters this year
because of undermanned departments. Stated that there is a direct correlation between understaffed
departments and loss of life.

John Polk, CWA Local 1031 Secretary Treasurer, discussed the negotiations process with respect to
CWA employees. Stated that he met with Township officials on March 31, 2009 and was not informed of
the Township’s intent to distribute Rice Notices to employees. Feels CWA and the Township are close to
reaching an agreement and does not want to file an unfair labor practice. Stated that he would like the
negotiations process to continue.

Mayor Robinson explained that the decision to issue Rice Notices to employees was made after CWA’s
meeting with Township professionals. Also explained that the Rice Notices issued were not performance
related.

Mr. Polk asked the Township Committee to refrain from balancing the budget on the “worker’s backs”.
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Robert Dragonette, 46 Rutgers Road, discussed occasions in which he needed the service of both the Fire
Department and the Police Department. Urged the Township Committee not to reduce staffing levels in
these departments.

Penny Andrews, 7 Harvard Road, discussed a fire that occurred on North Union Avenue which was next
door to her place of business and the fact that the Fire Department was able to save her building. Stated
that she understands that reductions are necessary, but feels public safety staffing levels should remain
intact.

George Ennesser, 123 Roosevelt Avenue, discussed his property tax bill and the fact that the Board of
Education is the biggest portion of the bill. Asked if the Township Committee has coordinated efforts
with the Board of Education to reduce costs.

Mayor Robinson discussed efforts between the Board of Education and the Township Committee to
reduce costs. Explained that the Board of Education’s budget is the only budget that is independently
voted on by the residents. Also informed residents that the Board of Education will be presenting its
budget during the Township Committee’s Official Meeting on April 14, 2009. Discussed the
establishment of the Board of Education/Township Committee Alliance and its efforts to address costs.
However, explained that the Township Committee does not scrutinize the Board of Education’s budget.

Deputy Mayor Smith discussed the County portion of the property tax bill and the fact that the County
has deferred its pension payment.

Gerry Grillo 4 Seneca Road, discussed potential furloughs for employees. Feels the impact of furloughs
and layoffs will be much greater for employees than the average taxpayer. Discussed an incident that
occurred at his home in which police services were needed. Feels the Township Committee should obtain
the opinions of Cranford residents before implementing furloughs or layoffs.

Mayor Robinson stated that the Township Committee has requested and obtained input from Cranford
residents over the past few months. Explained that the Township Committee is discussing ways to reduce
the amount of the projected spending increase. Stated that the goal of the Township Committee is to
implement the lowest property tax increase Cranford can bear without a disproportionate impact on
services.

Discussion held concerning the impact of tax appeals on the municipal budget and the fact that Mr. Grillo
has filed a tax appeal.

John Laezza, 361 Lincoln Avenue, discussed State mandated increases. Feels the goal of the Township
Committee to have a zero (0%) percent increase in property taxes is fiscally imprudent and will
eventually bankrupt the Township. Stated that he does not believe in penalizing Township employees
because of increases associated with mandated costs. Urged the Township Committee to stay within the
permitted four (4%) percent CAP levy.

Deputy Mayor Smith discussed costs associated with the Police Department, Fire Department,
Department of Public Works and health insurance, stating that these areas comprise fifty (50%) of the
municipal budget. Explained that it would be impossible to achieve a zero point increase if fifty (50%)
percent of the budget is “untouchable”.

Wesley Ditzel, NJ State Firemen’s Mutual Benevolent Association (FMBA) Bargaining Representative,
spoke in support of the Fire Department and discussed the current bargaining agreement. Referred to
various articles published in the newspaper in connection with tragic fires. Feels citizens would not
support a reduction in public safety staffing levels. Stated that the safety of the citizens and the Fire
Department would be at risk.

George Ennesser, 206 Locust Drive, spoke in support of the level of service provided by the Fire
Department and Police Department and urged the Township Committee not to reduce those budgets.

Hearing no further comments, Mayor Robinson closed the public comment portion of the meeting.

Mayor Robinson discussed the agenda and the order of business explaining that there would be another
opportunity for public comment later in the meeting.

On motion of Commissioner Garcia, seconded by Deputy Mayor Smith and passed, the following
resolution was adopted by roll call vote:

Resolution No. 2009-96.15: BE IT RESOLVED that the Township Committee will go into closed
session at 8:00 PM to discuss contractual matters in connection with the Riverfront Redevelopment
Project and the NJ Transit Lease Agreement, and personnel, legal and contractual matters in connection
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with the 2009 Municipal Budget, the minutes of which will be released at some time in the future at the
discretion of the Township Committee:
Recorded vote:
Aye: Mayor Robinson, Deputy Mayor Smith, Commissioners Dugan and Garcia
Nay: None
Abstained: None
Absent: Commissioner Aschenbach

On motion of Commissioner Garcia, seconded by Commissioner Dugan and passed, the Township
Committee returned to open session at 11:10 PM.

On motion of Commissioner Dugan seconded by Deputy Mayor Smith and passed, a Special Meeting of
the Township Committee was scheduled for Monday, April 20, 2009 from 6:00 PM to 7:15 to discuss the
2009 Municipal Budget.

Recorded vote:
Aye: Mayor Robinson, Deputy Mayor Smith, Commissioners Dugan and Garcia
Nay: None
Abstained: None
Absent: Commissioner Aschenbach

2009 Municipal Budget

Review cost savings suggestions submitted by employees and residents
The Township Committee reviewed the list of cost savings suggestions submitted by Township
employees and residents as follows:

         Elimination of vehicles for department managers;
         Elimination of summer help;
         Elimination of DPW Foreman stand-by pay
         Elimination of DPW Forman position;
         Reduction in idling time of equipment;
         Elimination of outside contractor for lawn maintenance. Discussed potential for service being
          provided by DPW;
         Elimination of outside contractor for janitorial services for municipal facilities;
         Eliminate rental of Cleveland Plaza for the Police Department Juvenile Bureau and relocate to the
          Municipal Building;
         Eliminate fireworks on 4th of July. Commissioner Garcia informed the Township Committee that
          a letter requesting matching funds for fireworks from Union County would be mailed this week.
          Finance Director Grady discussed overtime costs associated with the Fourth of July firework
          display.
         Increase parking fines;
         Elimination of projects such as Veteran’s Flagpole and the installation of artificial turf at
          Memorial Field. Mayor Robinson explained that both of these projects were funded through
          private contributions;
         Reduce capital improvements;
         Potential salary freezes;
         Increase revenues. Ordinance authorizing an increase in sewer charges to be added to the April
          14, 2009 Official Meeting agenda;
         Institute a “Budget by Rider” in lieu of dedication of the budget for construction code element;
         Conduct a staffing analysis to identify if positions can be eliminated and have all Collective
          Bargaining Agreements expire in the same year;
         Refinance debt
         Increase Conservation Center fees;
         Sell Township property;
         Raise engineering fees for driveway, road opening and sidewalk permits;
         Potential reduction in Police Department fleet. Discussion held regarding the use of Township
          vehicles on weekends. Finance Director Grady confirmed that approximately seven (7) vehicles
          are used on weekends because those employees are on call;
         Potential out-sourcing of certain services to realize cost savings. Mayor Robinson seeking
          additional revenue be included in the budget for child care programs being offered by the
          Westfield YMCA. Finance Director Grady to include in the next budget summary;
         Review potential for shared services opportunities for engineering services with the Borough of
          Garwood. Commissioner Garcia to follow up;
         Elimination of Township cell phones;
         Elimination of salaries for the Township Committee;
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         Reduction in IT staff;
         Implement assessments for Centennial Avenue improvements. Township Administrator Schmid
          informed the Township Committee that the Victorian lighting that was installed cannot be
          assessed;
         Reduce utility costs by shutting off every other street light. Mayor Robinson discussed the fact
          that the Township Committee investigated this proposal in 2008, however PSE&G informed the
          Township that it does not have this capability;
         Increase senior citizen membership fees for the Swim Pool Utility and Recreation and Parks
          programs. Commissioner Garcia discussed the fact that Recreation and Parks fees were adjusted
          recently.
         Reduce uniform costs for crossing guards.

In addition to the above listed cost savings suggestions, the Township Committee also discussed
downtown maintenance and the cost allocated to the Township and the Downtown Management
Corporation (DMC).

Commissioner Dugan discussed the potential for the DMC to hire its own part time employee for
downtown maintenance.

Discussion held with respect to Cranford Crossing and the potential for amending the redevelopment plan
to allow dental and medical offices as permitted uses in the first floor retail space. Discussion also held
concerning the potential lease of space at Cranford Crossing for an arts center.

Commissioner Garcia provided clarification regarding the leasing of space at Cranford Crossing for an
arts center vs. medical offices, explaining that the leasing of space for these two uses is unrelated.

James Wozniak, 214 Scherrer Street, Police Department Superior Officers representative, seeking
clarification regarding the suggestion of a “budget by rider”.

Commissioner Dugan explained that this is an accounting technique and while it will assist in managing
the budget CAP, it will not reduce taxes.

Mr. Wozniak also discussed the installation of artificial turf at Memorial Field.

Mayor Robinson explained that the cost for the installation of artificial turf at Memorial Field is being
funded through private donations and listed the organizations that have made donations to fund the
project.

Steven DiPaolo, 7 Dorchester Avenue, FMBA representative, seeking clarification regarding the
suggestions for cost savings submitted by Township employees and how the Township Committee will
proceed with those suggestions.

Mayor Robinson explained that the suggestions that are not feasible will be disregarded, but feels there
are some items that may be considered.

Mr. DiPaolo discussed the potential for the Township to offer an incentive for retirement.

Mayor Robinson discussed legal requirements in connection with retirement incentives.

Discussion held regarding the potential sale of Township property.

Mayor Robinson discussed issues facing the Township with respect to the sale of property. Explained that
careful consideration is necessary due to COAH obligations and the current real estate market.

Mr. Wozniak asked the Township Committee to empathize with the Township employees with respect to
the cost reductions being proposed. Feels more consideration should be given to the sale of Township
property.

Deputy Mayor Smith discussed his concerns with selling Township property to balance the budget
because the amount of Township property is finite.

Commissioner Dugan explained that the main reason the Township has refrained from selling property at
this point is because of the impact to the Township’s COAH obligation.

Mr. Wozniak discussed decisions of previous Township Committees that he feels resulted in excessive
spending, such as hiring a Clerk of the Works for the Northeast Quadrant Stormwater Management
Project. Also discussed his frustration with the constant turnover of Township Committee members.
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Deputy Mayor Smith feels Township Committee turnover is necessary in order to prevent the same
individuals from serving and making those “bad” decisions referred to by Mr. Wozniak.

Leo Schaeffer, 211 South Avenue, Firefighter, seeking clarification as to the amount of cost reductions
needed at this point.

Mayor Robinson discussed the reductions necessary for the Township to be in compliance with the tax
levy CAP and the Township Committee’s goal for a zero point tax increase.

Thomas Hart, 366 Retford Avenue, Fire Captain, discussed the impact a zero point increase would have
on the 2010 budget. Referred to comments made by former Township Administrator John Laezza and
Mr. Laezza’s opinion that the Township could be facing bankruptcy in future years if there is a zero point
increase this year.

Mr. DiPaolo also discussed concern with a zero point increase and its impact on future budgets.

Mayor Robinson mentioned that, in addition to various State mandated spending increases being faced by
the Township, the State has also reduced the amount of aid it provides to the Township.

Review potential revenue increases

Zoning permit fees
Mayor Robinson discussed his support for establishing a zoning permit fee.

The Township Committee was agreeable. Ordinance to be introduced April 28, 2009.

Parking fines
Discussion held regarding a potential increase in parking fines.

The Township Committee was agreeable to the following fines:
Overtime meter fine - $25.00
Emergency No parking - $30.00
Permit Parking Only - $30.00
Overnight Parking - $30.00
Prohibited parking - $30.00
No parking School Hours - $30.00

Engineering Update

Replacement of Baldwin Court /High Street Footbridge
Deputy Mayor Smith informed the Township Committee that the Baldwin Court/High Street Footbridge
should be complete by April 20, 2009.

Reconstruction of Holly Street
Deputy Mayor Smith discussed the reconstruction of Holly Street and informed the Township Committee
that the project will go out for bid in July.

Courtroom Security
Deputy Mayor Smith informed the Township Committee that State mandated upgrades to the Municipal
Court is scheduled to begin in approximately three (3) weeks.

Panels B-G
Deputy Mayor Smith mentioned that the replacement of Panels B-G in the Municipal Building is also
scheduled to begin in three (3) weeks.

Grant applications from Stimulus Funds
Deputy Mayor Smith informed the Township Committee that there is no report concerning Stimulus
funds at this time, however efforts are ongoing.

Proposed parking ordinances – Benjamin Street and Lincoln Avenue West
The Township Committee was agreeable to the proposed parking ordinances for Benjamin Street and
Lincoln Avenue West. Introduction scheduled for April 14, 2009.

Proposal to retain a legislative agent to assist the Township in obtaining funding through the
Federal Stimulus Package
Item carried to April 14, 2009 Conference meeting.
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Email/Correspondence

Request by Historic Preservation Advisory Board for the printing of brochures and a sign for a table at the
street fair
Item removed from the agenda.

Late Starter - Insurance quotation obtained by Freewheels in connection with request for a
skateboard/BMX exposition
Item carried to April 14, 2009.

Minute Approval – Closed Session Minutes of March 9, 23, 24 and 31, 2009
Approval carried to April 14, 2009.

PUBLIC COMMENTS
Mayor Robinson opened the public comments portion of the meeting and asked if there were any
questions or comments. Hearing no comments, Mayor Robinson closed the public comment portion of
the meeting.

On motion of Commissioner Dugan, seconded by Commissioner Garcia and passed, the Township
Committee adjourned at 1:15 AM.

                                                         Respectfully submitted,


                                                         Tara Rowley, RMC
Dated: April 13, 2009                                    Municipal Clerk

								
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