Millburn Township Committee Plans to Raise Employees' Salaries

Township Committee member Ted Bourke presents a proclamation to David Sotnick and Lisa Jacobs, repesentatives of Down the Block. The non-profit agency provides short-term assistance to households facing unexpected financial setbacks. June will be Down the Block Month. Credits: Patricia Harris

MILLBURN, NJ – The Township Committee is on the road to increasing salaries of township employees for the next three years, following completion of negotiations with the employees’ unions. The governing body introduced an ordinance Tuesday night that sets out wages and salary range schedules for civil service workers from 2013 through 2016. A public hearing on the measure will be held Tuesday, June 3, at the next scheduled committee meeting, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

“The percentage of raises is pretty moderate,” said committee member Sari Greenberg in explaining the ordinance. Given the responsibilities employees are taking on, “It’s not a big hit to us,” she added.

An analysis of the salaries and salary ranges shows less than a 1 percent increase for each year. The salary range for the business administrator, for example, will rise from $127,720 - $194,398 in 2013 to $135,139 - $205,690 in 2016. The salary range for the fire chief will rise from $121,603 - $152,499 in 2013 to $128,666 - $161,357 in 2016. Township Committee members earn a salary of $7,500, and that amount will remain constant through 2016.

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In other business, the governing body introduced an ordinance increasing the fee for fire inspections and providing for a re-inspection fee. Mayor Robert Tillotson explained that fire inspectors are often called several times to the same location, and the new fees are meant to encourage users to be ready for inspection. The committee also introduced a $2.6 million capital ordinance to use for improvements in the fire and police departments and the public library, as well as various other township buildings, parking lots and roads.

Among the projects is the renovation of the historic Parsil House located at 361 White Oak Ridge Ridge, which is to be turned into a museum. A $400,000 bond ordinance that was introduced provides for road improvements to Hartshorn Drive and replacement of a generator at police headquarters. Also at the session, the governing body adopted four ordinances.

The first authorizes the township’s acquisition of a conservation easement and deed restriction from the Far Brook School. A second ordinance revises fees for documents and records requested through the Open Public Records Act, bringing them in line with state law. A third ordinance limits parking on Walnut Avenue and allows for 2 hour parking on the east side of the street from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The fourth ordinance requires accurate house numbering in an effort to provide adequate emergency services.

Committee member Ian Mount reported township administrators met in a mediation session with representatives of the contractor for the parking garage built in the downtown, Dobco, Inc. All items on a punch list are to be taken care of within 60 days and the contractor’s additional charges for change orders have been reduced, he said. “We’re looking at a close out in short order,” Mount said.

The committee also spent a half hour discussing possible adoption of a complete streets policy. Such a policy, adopted by other municipalities and counties, encourages pedestrian-friendly development and promotion of bicycles and public transportation.

Several members expressed concern the language of the proposed policy is too vague, while others worried its provisions would be too restrictive. Committee member Ted Bourke said he would like to look at some of the concepts in conjunction with a traffic study he and Greenberg are conducting in the downtown.

Jerry Fried, a former mayor of Montclair, described his town’s efforts to reduce car traffic, and Environmental Commission chair Jennifer Duckworth encouraged the committee to adopt a policy. Ultimately, the committee asked the township’s attorney to draft wording in keeping with the state’s policy.

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