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








Learn About Dorothy Day, A Candidate For Sainthood

January 20, 2017

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - A former co-worker of Dorothy Day will discuss the life of the co-founder of The Catholic Worker at 7:30 pm on Monday, Feb. 6, at Faith Lutheran Church 524 South St.,  New Providence.

By any measure, Dorothy Day lived a fascinating life. She was a journalist, activist, single mother, convert, Catholic laywoman, and cofounder of the Catholic Worker Movement.

Taking ...

Free Public Wi-Fi in Union County Parks and Facilities

The Watchung Stables is one of six new sites in Union County Parks that offer free public Wi-Fi access. There are now a total of 11 county parks and facilities that offer free Wi-Fi.

“We are committed to ensuring that our recreation facilities are up to date and welcoming to a broad range of activities.” said Chairman Bruce Bergen. “Whether it is surfing the ...

Lance, Pascrell Bill Will Keep ‘Blue Lines’ in Towns

NEW JERSEY --- U.S. Reps. Leonard Lance (NJ-07) and Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) today took up the cause of many New Jersey municipalities and law enforcement groups by proposing the Blue Line Use Exception (BLUE) Act (H.R. 566).  Legislation that will permit ‘blue lines’ to be displayed on roadways. 

“One hundred thirty five police officers died in the line of duty in ...

New Providence Historical Society presents 'History Talks' Sponsored by Wells Fargo

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - “History Talks” is a new series of speakers in 2017 presented  by the New Providence Historical Society covering topics relating to New Providence, Union County and New Jersey.

On February 16, 2017, Edward Eckert will give a presentation on the History of Nokia Bell Labs, sponsored by Wells Fargo. For decades, the legendary research center has given birth ...

Thank You Westfield!

January 14, 2017

Almost five years ago Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss, opened its doors in Westfield, thanks to the vision and generosity of Dr. Gerald Glasser and the leadership of Keith Hertell, our first board chair, and all the other founding board members.  We opened our doors on the  third floor of the First United Methodist Church and started our program.

Since then we have served over ...

Union County Clerk Recognized for Tech Achievement

January 14, 2017

UNION COUNTY, NJ -- Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi was nationally recognized for her leadership in the use of electronic recording technology.

Rajoppi was presented with the national 2016 eRecording All-Star Trailblazer Award, a competitive recognition sponsored by the global business solutions company Corporation Service Company. The Trailblazer award recognizes a recording office that has ...

Determined Ciattarelli Kicks Off GOP Gubernatorial Campaign, Vows to Beat Cancer

January 20, 2017

BRIDGEWATER, NJ – GOP gubernatorial candidate and state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli minced no words when he greeted hundreds of supporters at his kick-off reception last night, just two weeks after a Statehouse press conference where he announced that he was undergoing radiation and recovering from a Nov. 15 operation for throat cancer.

Standing behind the podium in the ballroom at the ...

It’s Go Time.

This one goes out to all the juniors out there. 

I can feel you squirming in your seats, “Who me?” Yes, you!  The time has come to turn that college dial up a notch.  “But I still have so much time left!”  But you really don’t.  Ideally in a year from now you’ll be sifting through acceptance letters and weighing college options ...

Mayor's Round Table on the Road with the Rotary Club of Berkeley Heights: Volunteerism Makes a Difference in the Community

GILLETTE, 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. This month, the Mayor's Round Table went on location and were guests of the Rotary Club of Berkeley Heights on Dec. 16 at Chimney Rock Inn in ...

Determined Ciattarelli Kicks Off GOP Gubernatorial Campaign, Vows to Beat Cancer

January 20, 2017

BRIDGEWATER, NJ – GOP gubernatorial candidate and state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli minced no words when he greeted hundreds of supporters at his kick-off reception last night, just two weeks after a Statehouse press conference where he announced that he was undergoing radiation and recovering from a Nov. 15 operation for throat cancer.

Standing behind the podium in the ballroom at the ...

Ciattarelli Announces Successful Throat Cancer Surgery, Scales Back Gubernatorial Campaign Temporarily

TRENTON, NJ - State Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, R-16th, a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor, announced yesterday that he had undergone successful surgery for throat cancer in November, and will be curtailing his campaign schedule temporarily.

Gearing up for a primary campaign against several other Republicans who want to run for New Jersey, Ciattarelli, a Hillsborough ...

Back Pain & Sciatica: Fix it Forever

Back pain is the second reason after the common cold for visits to the doctor: 80 % of the American public has back pain of sufficient intensity to seek care and treatment. Sciatica, pain shooting down the leg, is often related to back pain and is successfully treated with non-surgical and natural treatment.

Before any treatment can begin for your back and leg pain an accurate diagnosis and ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_bd37898e032bac06e6b4_371fc5cf8d8c357dbfd0_76b7f922a204345de300_stem_saturdays

Sat, January 21, 9:30 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

STEM Saturdays

Education

Carousel_image_ab47a99fb67878d8c53c_njsda_logo_300dpi_for_print

Sat, January 21, 10:00 AM

New Jersey School of Dramatic Arts, Bloomfield

Free Sample Acting Classes at NJ School of ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Carousel_image_31b89cfc8f95d0132151_unknown-7

Sat, January 21, 10:00 AM

Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts, Berkeley Heights

Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts Winter ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Sun, January 22, 1:00 PM

Ogden Memorial Presbyterian Church, Chatham

Concert on Main: Eunbi Kim, pianist

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_bddd72347d3c520cd69f_42e7e1156d4a48780f51_healthy_combo

Mon, January 23, 9:30 AM

Berkeley Heights YMCA, Berkeley Heights

Healthy Combo- New Program!

Health & Wellness

Mon, January 23, 2:00 PM

SAGE Eldercare, Summit

Caregiver Support Group for Spouses

Health & Wellness

Berkeley Heights Strikers FC Wins 3 X 3 DTS Tournament

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Berkeley Heights Strikers FC girls U8 team won the Girls 3v3 indoor Tournament "U8 Girls" bracket held at DTS Soccer Centers in Somerville.

The Strikers, a festival team of 17 first and second 1st graders representing the Berkeley Heights Youth Soccer Club, entered two teams in the bracket. The "blue" squad went ...