RANDOLPH, NJ - With the budget process well under way in Randolph Township, Police Chief David Stokoe and Health Officer Mark Caputo presented their 2018 operating budgets, capital improvements and capital outlay plans. Township Chief Financial Officer Darren Maloney also presented considerations for the library budget and the reserve for uncollected taxes.
Because of a “relatively young department,” Stokoe suggested increasing the Continuing Education and Conference line items from $10,200 in 2017 (actual expenditure of $9,630) to $10,500 to allow for additional in-service training for new officers. While the department plans to hire three more officers this year, Stokoe lowered the budget for uniforms, confident he can recycle equipment.
The police department plans to upgrade and purchase E-Ticket equipment, which significantly increases efficiencies according to Stokoe. E-Tickets decrease the amount of time on a car stop -- one of the most dangerous locations for an officer -- and “gets the unfortunate motorist” on their way quicker, he added.
Capital improvements for the police department include battery back-ups for traffic lights, as well as pedestrian crossing signals at the Freedom Park trail system and Sussex Turnpike/Church Road trail systems.
Stokoe also presented the purchase of four new vehicles -- a pickup truck which is useful in emergency situations, two utility vehicles and one sedan -- and corresponding equipment under capital outlay for 2018.
Vehicle recommendations are not always based on the age of the vehicle, he explained. The police department confers with mechanics in the DPW on service records and mileage, mentioning that some vehicles may have high mileage but good service records and do not need replacement.
A new DWI breath test instrument has also been proposed in order for the police department to process arrests in-house.
The Board of Health operating budget suggested slight increases in printing/advertising, dues/licenses and travel/conference/education. Health Programs requires an increase from $23,500 in 2017 (with an actual expenditure of $16,448) to $24,700 for 2018. This increase reflects the flu vaccine and the high-dose formula used by Randolph, recommended for the senior population, Caputo explained.
The council did push back on the purchase of a new official seal; however, Caputo assured them the seal is used often and the department brings in $25,000 through vital statistics. For example, when the department issues a death certificate, they must seal 10 separate copies, Caputo detailed.
Caputo oversees not only the Board of Health, but also inspection of buildings, recycling, solid waste and animal control. Animal Control also plans to purchase a 4WD Ford Explorer outfitted with appropriate equipment in 2018.
CFO Darren Maloney explained the formula-driven library budget based on an equalized valuation by the state. The township charges the library for expenses incurred, such as library employee health insurance.
When explaining the reserve for uncollected taxes, Maloney said the township does not have a “low collection problem.” In fact, the township received 99.41% of all taxes in 2017, “so this flows into the surplus,” he said. He continued, by relying on conservative revenue expectations, the township regenerates the surplus each year where other towns do not have this option.
“We stick to a disciplined budget by maintaining this number,” Mountain added.