Government

Berkeley Heights Mayor Addresses Resident's "Slush Fund" Accusation at Council Meeting

Mayor Bob Woodruff confronts Tom Maciejewski on the definition of "Slush Fund". Credits: Bobbie Peer
d101edc531155d155118_tomfbpost.jpg
Post from Berkeley Heights Community Forum by Tom Maciejewsk.
d101edc531155d155118_tomfbpost.jpg

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – A solid portion of Tuesday’s Township Council meeting was spent providing explanations to the Township’s accounting and budgeting process with regard to Capital Expenditures and a recent bond ordinance introduced at the July 26 meeting and subsequently approved at Tuesday’s meeting.

This discussion was the administration's reaction to posts to a community forum Facebook site initiated by resident and Libertarian Township Council Candidate Tom Maciejewski regarding the $1,058,000 bond ordinance and if the Township really needs a garbage truck upgrade for $100,000.

“My interpretation of the point he [Councilman Ed Delia] brought up [at the July 26 council meeting ] was that the town will and has in the past received funds for one project, but then, through the use of ordinances, use(d) the money for something else,” the post said.

Sign Up for E-News

Maciejewski's post continued, “Is this money really a 'slush fund' that kind of skirts the rules allowing money to be approved for one thing and then spent on whatever floats a boat later on?”

Mayor Bob Woodruff took this accusation seriously and thought it was necessary to address this allegation at the public meeting in the following manner as shown in this video from Tuesday's meeting.

Woodruff also wanted it to be clear that the average tax increase per household for  this Capital Expenditure bond is based on the assessed value of the property and not population numbers, as verified by Township CFO Mike Marceau. Maciejewski had posted on the forum the capital expenditure cost to be “about $70 for each man, woman and child in town.”  

Woodruff verified the Township of Berkeley Heights average tax increase on this particular bond for the first three years of the bond,[interest only] will be $0.91 per household and in the year 2020, the cost goes to $26.77 per household and stays around that level until 2026, when it goes down to $25.99.

To further explain the capital expenditure process, Council President Jeanne Kingsley said the capital budgeting and planning process is based on a five year rolling capital plan. “You anticipate each year what your capital needs will be so we can manage interest payments so they are relatively level and constant so tax payers don’t see significant increases or decreases in their tax bill each year,” said Kingsley.

"We look at how much short term debt we can take on, and then we prioritize what it is we are going to spend the money on with the goal of keeping our debt service payments level," she said.

“We are taking on short term debt of $1 million but we have $2 million of short term debt that we are paying off,” said Kingsley, explaining that they manage the debt service while also managing the capital needs.

“Every year we look at our needs, re-access the needs based upon wear and tear and make decisions on what we spend money on and who will get what to do their job better,” said Kingsley.

So, when the purchase of the hook truck came into question during the Capital Budget meetings, re-addressed at the July 26 council meeting and again at Tuesday’s meeting, the entire council except for Councilman Ed Delia supported the bond ordinance and the purchase of the hook truck [that will serve to repurpose a 2003 garbage truck to be used for plowing, salter, brine, chipper body, garbage truck].

During the public hearing, Maciejewski questioned Marceau’s responses to his allegations that, in the past, the council used unspent roof repair money to pay for the municipal redevelopment studies. Marceau responded that the unspent money was used for the dispatch that was over budget and the redevelopment studies were paid from Section 20 of the same bond ordinance which allowed for up to $100,000 in engineering fees.

The following video is Maciejewski addressing the council and their answers during the Public Hearing at Tuesday's council meeting.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

TAPinto Spotlight on Business Features New Providence Dentistry

July 17, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - TAPinto "Summer Spotlight on Business" features local businesses and their owners who are important to our communities. Follow this column to receive a fresh perspective on small business owners and their unique needs while shining a spotlight on their stories.

This edition features New Providence Dentistry, operated by Dr. Beth Herko and her staff of ...

Avoiding 10% Tax Penalty

Do you want access to money from your retirement accounts but aren't sure of the real costs involved?

Most retirement accounts have a set age requirement you must reach before making penalty-free income distributions, which is usually 59.5 but can sometimes be as early as age 50. If you decide to access your accounts earlier, you could face penalties ranging from 10%-25%, which is not ...

Enjoy a Lifetime of Discovery in Union County Parks

July 18, 2018

July is National Parks and Recreation Month, and Union County residents are invited to celebrate this year by exploring “undiscovered” programs and activities found throughout the nearly 6,200 acres of the Union County parks system.

“Union County was one of the very first counties in the United States to establish its own county-based park system for nature conservation and ...

Union County Honored for History Projects

ELIZABETH, NJ - The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that two national achievement recognitions for history projects have been presented to the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, a division of the Department of Parks and Recreation.

“Union County is rich in history, and this Freeholder Board is committed to engaging the public with ...

Union County College Foundation’s 3rd “Close the Gap” Campaign Surpasses Goal

CRANFORD, NJ – With over 150 guests and volunteers in attendance, the Union County College Foundation surpassed their goal and raised nearly $55,000 at their 3rd Annual Close the Gap Campaign cocktail reception. Held on July 11, in the Richel Student Commons at the College’s Cranford campus, this campaign was developed by a small group of dedicated community volunteers to support the ...

ReNew Salon and Spa Welcomes Senior Stylist Joan Mormilo

GILLETTE, NJ - ReNew Salon and Spa welcomes Senior Stylist Joan Mormilo to their staff. Mormilo brings with her over 20 years of excellent customer service in the salon and spa industry.

She has extensive product knowledge, focuses on keeping up-to-date on industry standards and practices, believes in mentoring young stylists, and is a team player who strives to ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 12, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_c8cb6b45d2b342be3cbb_nancy_ori

Sat, July 21, 10:30 AM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Cuba: Observations of a Photographer

Arts & Entertainment Travel

Sat, July 21, 10:30 AM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Cuba: Observations of a Photographer at NPML

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, July 22, 2:00 PM

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Moths and other Pollinators

Education Green

Carousel_image_634bcda860ed17650f72_93a8625c-ce9d-413f-a61e-4b2df4fe0604

Tue, July 24, 3:00 PM

Grillestone Restaurant , Scotch Plains

Hear the Story of Amelia Earhart, America's Most ...

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Carousel_image_e6c7d5b8a558926ee4c5_8e2f7c3f3d7547130a87_swim_team_2

Tue, July 24, 5:30 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Summit Area YMCA Swim Team Tryouts July 24th

Health & Wellness

Special June Episode of 'Berkeley Heights Here & Now' Features 6th Annual Street Fair

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – The Berkeley Heights Communications Committee (BHCC) today announced a special edition of Berkeley Heights Here & Now is available on the Township website, www.berkeleyheightstwpnj.gov.

 

The special episode features the 6th Annual Berkeley Heights Street Fair held on June 24 and includes onsite interviews with attending residents/visitors, event ...

And Over Here is the Dining Hall 2

My very first job in admissions was while I was still an undergraduate myself as a tour guide.  Very early on they indoctrinated us with some tricks of the trade.  It’s a dining hall, not a cafeteria.  A residence hall, not a dorm.  If you have to divulge some negative bit of information, sandwich it between two positives.  There were instructions for glossing over ...

Women Have Special Financial Needs That Advisors Overlook

Women have special financial needs that advisors overlook in two ways: 1) advisors don’t always acknowledge the different planning needs women have and 2) advisors don’t always communicate well with female clients – especially if the client comes to a meeting with her husband. It’s very common for a male advisor to spend much or most of the face time in meetings talking to ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...