Government

Council Passes Final Adoption of the 2014 Budget At Last Week's Meeting

May 12, 2014 at 2:27 PM

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Berkeley Heights Township Council passed the resolution to adopt the municipal budget at last week's meeting with appropriation and authorization of $11,595,813.35 for municipal purposes and $1,059,797 for a minimum liability levy.   

Resident Tom Foregger addressed the Council during the Hearing on the Budget and asked many questions regarding specifics of the increases in the adopted budget.

Mayor Joe Bruno along with the council answered the line by line questioning by Foregger.

Sign Up for E-News

There has been an addition of part time temporary staff in the Finance Department, Sewer Department and DPW said Mayor Joe Bruno.

Increase in salaries include -- Tom McAndrew, Superintendent of Wastewater Treatment Plant is a new salary; Jorge Casacuberta, Assistant Director of Public Works is now a full year salary. 

Part time office help was hired to work in the clerks office to handle the many OPRA requests said Bruno.

"We anticipate more legal challenges for the OPRA and things like that. It has gone up every year over the past two or three years," said Bruno.

"We have to assume that the OPRA demands are going to increase," said Councilman Kevin Hall.

"We are in the middle of a potential initiative with the library and Little Flower. I have reason to believe, as long as that exists, there will be continuing litigation, that was one of the considerations [for $100,000 legal fee budget]," said Councilman Bob Woodruff.

The overall budget is going up 3.5% over last year's level. This $456,412.18 increase will mean a tax boost of about $79 on the average township home assessed at $307,000, said Bruno at a previous council session.

"We have spent many evenings on the budget. The process is fair and open and everybody has the right to come down and take a look at what we do," said Bruno.

Resident Carol Matula addressed the council of her concern of decreased revenues. I think the council needs to understand that if the revenues are going to decrease then the tax payers are going to pay that portion said Matula.

"We have to look at alternative sources of revenues. As a council, we are. We are looking at grants and other opportunities to bring increased ratables to this town. You can not cut services and have your infrastructure go away.  It is a delicate balance. Keeping the debt at a common level takes a lot of work," said Council President Jeanne Kingsley. 

"I think it's a testimonial to this council that we keep the debt service the same. We have spent less money every year, taking more debt service off then we put back on," said Bruno. "This year, we are spending a lot of money towards the roads."

"There is always money to spend on improving our township. We do not do it willy nilly," said Bruno. "We try and keep the debt service even so you don't have the big spikes up and down. I think that is prudent planning."

"We are trying to take care of the issues at hand because they have not been taken care of for years. That is why we do what we do and spend the money that we spend," said Councilman Craig Pastore.

"Our 5-year capital plan addresses the fact that things need to be taken care of and it evens out the cost," said Pastore.

The council had promised to restore bulk pick-up and remediate the streams. The additional costs associated with the snow removal, salt and pot hole repairs were not anticipated last year and the expenses have already been paid to keep the streets clean.

The budget is a working document that we can't exceed said Bruno.  "It's an open process. Nothing is being done that you don't know about."

"It's a budget that had a lot of thought put into it. Our CFO put a lot of work into it and I commend Mr. Marceau and Ms. Cavanaugh.   Reworking the numbers and getting us to where we are. We have an approximate $79 increase on the average house, $7 library tax, $134 County tax and $234 from the school system," said Bruno.

Kingsley clarified in the Council Reports that during the debate it was mentioned that there would be three clocks in town.  "This was Mayor Bruno's vision, however, the Beautification Committee is working on one clock and only one clock. This is the best way to enhance the look of the town and get the right support of the town," said Kingsley. 

A resolution was passed to accept the donated labor, services and equipment for the installation of the four-faced clock at Peppertown Park by Rick Froio and Ed Perez of Interstate Electric Co., Jim Delia of Earthwork and Boulderscape Services, LLC, Joseph Franchino of JL Franchino, Inc., James Ramentol of GRA Architects, and Kevin Sullivan of Chestnut Tree Experts.

"Individuals that have paid to have their names on the clock are also adding their labor and assistance -- this is how the Beautification Committee has been as successful as it is. You get people in town appreciating what the end result is. It is saving the town substantial amount of dollars and I want to thank those individuals," said Woodruff.

Resident Gerald Kuzmik addressed the council during the Citizens Hearing to ask who was responsible for the maintenance of the library. During the heavy rain storm, the gutters were hanging off the roof and he asked who should be addressed about cleaning out the rain gutters and whose negligence is it.  

The property belongs to the township and it is their responsibility to maintain said Bruno.  Stephanie Bakos, Director of the Library, advised the council that recent tree work caused a leader to disconnect and caused that water issue.  She further advised that the library roof, leaders and gutters are scheduled for replacement in the near future. 

Kuzmik voiced his concern that items discussed at council meetings do not receive proper follow-up. He referenced the storm drain cleaning at the corner of Springfield and Plainfield as well as the State grant reward for the Passaic River clean-up.  

"Water run off on the corner of Springfield and Plainfield -- who will take the bull by the horn? Because it is still not clean. These are things that we talked about in the past. After two months, we need action." 

The street corner in question are county roads and follow-up has been made said Bob Boccino, Director of Public Works.

Kuzmik also requested an update on the flooding issue between the surrounding towns and the State Grant reward for the Passaic River Clean-up. "What is the progress of the dialog with the towns? What is the feedback on getting the progress of the clean-up?" 

"Until we have confirmation that the money is available, it is difficult for everyone to get together to come up with an action plan because we don't have the timing of when we will get the money," said Hall. 

"There is active dialog with Amy Wagner with the County. The County is communicating with the DEP. There is feedback," said Hall. "It is frustrating because it is a priority for us and we want to move forward."

"This money is coming from the State of New Jersey. They have not adapted their budget yet.  The money is not there yet. We won't get the money until the budget is adopted," said Bruno.  

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights








Free A Cappella Workshop in January

December 7, 2016

Free A Cappella Singing Lessons Offered by Women’s Chorus

The Hickory Tree Chorus chapter of Sweet Adelines International invites women singers to register for its free “Sing A Cappella Series” of vocal workshops. Women will learn to sing chord-ringing, fun-filled, four-part a cappella music, Wednesdays, 7:15pm, January 4, 11, 18, and 25 at The Shrine of St Joseph, 1050 Long ...

Four Years to the Day After Tragedy, Documentary 'Newtown' Screens in Summit Dec. 14

SUMMIT, NJ - 'Newtown', a documentary by Kim A. Snyder that chronicles the aftermath of the deadliest shooting of schoolchildren in American history -- a shooting that took the lives of 20 elementary school children and six educators -- will be screened locally on December 14 at MONDO. The film's showing coincides with the four-year anniversary of the tragedy in Newtown, CT, ...

Berkeley Heights PAL Runners Win Team 11-12 Boys USATF Regional Championships

On November 20th, hundreds of runners lined up for the Junior Olympics Cross Country Regional Championships in Greystone Park in in Morris Plains, New Jersey. It was blustery cold, winds were upwards of 30-40 miles per hour and the grounds where covered with sleet.

The 11-12 3000 meter Boys WolfPack runners of Patrick McGrath, Chris Marinko, Nick Yarad, Jackson Levine, and Aidan Linde were ...

Norris McLaughlin & Marcus Welcomes Chief Operating Officer 

BRIDGEWATER, NJ –  The Bridgewater-based law firm Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A., is pleased to welcome Richard J. Levy as its Chief Operating Officer. Levy brings decades of management experience, most recently as the CEO of Myelin Health. 

“On behalf of Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, we are pleased to welcome Rich to our management team as our ...

Our Town

December 5, 2016

To the Editor:

The past few years have brought on a numerous number of debates, the Redevelopment Act, new town hall, change in our downtown area, the Supreme Court ruling on COAH to name a few. Many of you know I do not agree with some of the above BUT I am only one person. I have learned to sit and study the different situations to understand them by researching.
The other thing that we ...

Letter to the Editor by Edmund Tom Maciejewski

Dear Editor,

 

In accordance with a ballot question that was passed in November 2005, Berkeley Heights switched from a Township Committee form to a Mayor-Council-Administrator form of government under the Faulkner Act or OMCL ( Optional Municipal Charter Law ).

There are 4 categories of municipalities under the Faulkner Act. The Mayor-Council-Administrator form that was chosen by ...

Beckerman’s Theory of Everything

Any armchair theoretical physicist knows that Stephen Hawking has pursued a lifelong quest to come up with a Theory of Everything. This all-encompassing theory would tie together general relativity (large scale and high mass galaxies, stars, etc), quantum theory (quantum mechanics, quarks, atoms, subatomic particles), and Newtonian physics (gravity on small bodies, gas laws, electromagnetism) to ...

The Mayor's Roundtable November Edition

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Mayor's Round Table is a monthly show hosted by Dr. Donald DeFabio, who sits with Mayor Robert Woodruff to talk about current issues that affect the township as well as answer questions submitted by citizens. 

Included in this episode are discussions regarding the next step to creating a Peppertown Park committee; Board of Education ...

Shannon's six week transformation story

Shannon just finished her 6 Week Transformation, here were her results: 

Dropped 2 Pant sizes
Energy Level went from a 2 to a 9
Confidence level from a 5 to a 9

She was very happy and satisfied with these results, but the best result was taking her focus off the scale! For years Shannon only measured her success for her health by weight loss.

When we sat down in the ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_6435a3c7c84d3883aa2e_animal_shelter

Thu, December 8, 5:00 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Give Back & Help a Local Animal Shelter

Giving Back

Carousel_image_96fe69a843c33a88747d_dab3f69e0779f6f216b2_merry_fitness

Thu, December 8, 5:00 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Merry Fitness – A Program To Get You Through The ...

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_4a22d837468954939e05_knitting

Thu, December 8, 6:30 AM

Berkeley Heights YMCA, Berkeley Heights

Knit With Friends- Donate Gifts- Keep One, Give ...

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

Carousel_image_0f22b4fc6757a5672de7_18770b072e31ebc2054a_040

Thu, December 8, 9:00 AM

Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Summit

Holiday House Tour & Boutique to Benefit ...

Home & Garden

Thu, December 8, 9:30 AM

Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Summit

Holiday House Tour to benefit Reeves-Reed ...

Arts & Entertainment Home & Garden

Carousel_image_d5ddab0d259a295c0a15_20d17dee9fefa83e1abc_mahjong

Thu, December 8, 12:30 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Mah Jongg

Arts & Entertainment

Which is Best: Lump Sum or Pension Annuity?

Is a lump sum offer from an employer a better choice than a pension annuity for life? The former provides an immediate up-front amount (say $300,000), but the pension annuity gives you a stream of payments for life (example: $1,350 per month). A number of employers dangle a lump sum offer to employees in part to remove future liabilities from their balance sheets. It’s tempting for ...

Local Students Lend a Hand at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Gov. Livingston seniors Hannah Probst and Gillian Mitreuter walk in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade for the second yea.. Last year they were a part of the 'All star' baseball clown group and this year they were a part of the first ever Girl Scout float group.

"It was such an honor walking with the Girl Scout's inaugural float as we were both Girl Scouts ...