Business & Finance

Sparta Township Council Votes to Increase Fees, Discusses Improvements to Permit Process

a7dea6c584a66eb172b6_9505c88a099b046a97af_IMG_0193.JPG
William Curcio and Richard LaRuffa address the township council regarding fee ordinance Credits: Jennifer Dericks
8a116115c59f73bf8fc2_IMG_9652.JPG
Sparta Township Council 2016 Credits: Jennifer Dericks
a7dea6c584a66eb172b6_9505c88a099b046a97af_IMG_0193.JPG

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta residents and contractors will be paying more for projects and repairs.  Many of the fees collected by Sparta Township for licenses and permits will be going up after the council voted to amend the relevant ordinances.

The measure did receive the attention of William Curcio, who came to address the council.  Curcio, former township manager began his remarks stating he had not returned to the chambers to speak on township business in “the 39 years since I’ve been out of town hall.”

Addressing the question of permit costs Curcio said it is a “very bad idea especially at this time.  Fewer people will get permits.”  He went on to say there are two things that deter people from getting permits, “cost and time.”

Sign Up for E-News

“Every time you add to the cost people say, ‘Why should I get a permit?’” Curcio said. 

The process is also time consuming, requiring at least two visits to town hall to drop off and then pick up the permit.  “Sparta is among the quickest, but it is not quick,” Curcio said. “It’s 2017.  I can get an elephant overnight from California but it takes two weeks to get a permit.”

Curcio suggested the council move to an electronic system that would allow people to apply  online.  His suggestion included having a menu with each permit so the applicant would know what they need and know up front the cost of the permit they are seeking.

 “Eastern Propane annually spends about $30,000 in permits fees but it’s really $60,000 when considereing cost of time,” Curcio said.  “It’s actually a tax without changing the tax rate.  It affects the good people who get permits not the bad people who don’t get permits.”  Curcio said he is retiring as Executive Vice President of Eastern Propane at the end of the year.

Continuing the discussion of improving the process Curcio also suggested the council consider a program of self-inspection.  He used the example of a licensed plumber installing a hot water heater; the home owner hires the licensed plumber and can have the option of having the plumber self-inspect or have the town inspect.

Councilman Josh Hertzberg asked if the town would certify the contractors.  Curcio said there are licenses for all trades.  Those licenses would be in jeopardy if something goes wrong.  Curcio said the state already allows self-inspection for some areas.  He also said “the propane industry can self-inspect on major projects, without even needing to go through the town.”

“Penalties would have to be very stiff on self-inspection,” Curcio said.

Mayor Christine Quinn said, “It is also about marketing to educate as to why inspection is good.”

Curcio agreed, “Building and Zoning should be known as enforcement, they should be renamed Consumer Protection.”

Richard LaRuffa next came to the microphone.  “As an engineer, I don’t have to design something that is the best.  I have to design something that is safe.”  That is what is required of a licensed contractor regardless of the trade.

After the two speakers left the council chambers there was additional discussion among the council members.  Hertzberg said “I’m all for looking at better ways to do things.  I don’t know the math but I’m sure the manager does.”

Quinn said, “It’s important that we have Bill (Close) look at the fees and process for online to see if we can do it better.”

As they were discussing whether or not to table the ordinance, Hertzberg said “I’m good with this as long as we’re look at ways to make it better in the future.”

Councilman Gil Gibbs at first wanted to table the resolution but then said, “I know Mr. Close put a lot of work into it. I will support it if it is reviewed in six months after the process is reviewed.”

Quinn said, “I support the manager’s proposal but want to work to re-look at it when processes are addressed.”  She asked to have the matter added to the list of technology issues to be reviewed.

Councilman Jerry Murphy said he wants to look at a portion of the ordinance dealing with fire inspections based his “recent personal experiences.” Murphy said, “Some of these things are punitive.”

“I don’t think you should be judge and jury of your own work,” Quinn said. 

“The issue of self-inspection is not an issue with this ordinance,” Township Manager Bill Close said.

The ordinance was approved by a vote of 3-1; Quinn, Hertzberg and Gibbs voted yes, Murphy voted no.  Councilwoman Molly Whilesmith was attending her son’s band concert. 

The Fees addressed in the ordinance:

Animal Control –

  • Replacement dog license reduced from $5 to $1,
  • Delinquent fee will be $5
  • Each cat/dog impounded $30, each cat/dog redeemed $10, daily maintenance $10, returned check fee $20

Health Regulations –

Farmers Market License $75 (new)

Building and Housing $15 per fixture, new or replaced stove, fireplace, water heater, boiler, furnace, a/c, pool heater, oil/propane tank or gas lines $100, additional appliance on the same permit $75, Plumbing fee to $15

Fire Protection and Prevention –

Certificate of smoke detector, carbon monoxide and fire extinguisher; Inspection application filed prior to 10 days before closing $50, less than 10 days before closing $100, exception for buyer in short sale or foreclosure $50.

Permit Fees –

Permit fees for Life Hazard Inspections shall be a provided in the New Jersey Uniform Fire Code.  Commercial occupancies not meeting Life Hazard Inspection criteria 20-500 square feet $25, 501-11,999 square feet $50.

Land Use-

  • Minor Subdivision lot line adjustment application fee $250,
  • Minor subdivision including lot line adjustment two or three lots review inspection escrow $1,200 plus $25 per lot for minor subdivision other than lot line adjustment.
  • Upon submission of preliminary major subdivision: Review inspection escrow $2,500 plus $50 per lot.
  • Upon submission of final plat: Review inspection escrow $2,000 plus $50 per lot.
  • Subdivision amendment: Application fee $500: Review inspection escrow $1,200
  • Site Plan Amendment: Application fee $500, Review inspection escrow $$1,200

The changes went into effect, unless specified in the ordinance, at the date of the approval of the ordinance.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Sparta

Sparta Police: No Seatbelt Stop Leads to Drug Arrest

July 21, 2018

SPARTA, NJ –A Newark man is facing drug charges after a traffic stop on Route 15 north.  On July 18 around 11:15 a.m. Cpl. Marc Rubino stopped a white Acura because the driver Ishmel Graham was not wearing his seatbelt according to police.

When the officer spoke with the 21-year-old Rubino smelled marijuana.  Graham told Rubino he had pot in the car police report.

When ...

Sparta Police: Wanted Man Gets Additional Charges

SPARTA, NJ -  A man from Hackettstown with an active warrant faces additional charges when officers stopped him because the registered owner of the car had a suspended license.  On July 2 around 2 a.m. Police Officer Ericks Finley stopped a car registered to Shanicqui Nelson on Route 15 police said.

The driver Shaun Reid, 36 was also found to have a suspended license and an ...

Sparta Police: Road Rage and Racing on Route 15 End in Arrest

SPARTA, NJ – A man from Plainfield was stopped for racing on Route 15, going 93 MPH in a 55 MPH zone.  Sparta Police Officer Erick Finley was able to stop one of  two cars racing on July 6 around 11:45 p.m. police said.

Driving a four door Chevy, Santos Vides-Guardado, 21, told Finley that he and the other driver had gotten into an argument that led to the two men racing each ...

Why Did Freeholders Reject Dr. Howard Burrell's Nomination to SCCC Trustee?

July 21, 2018

Editor:

Outgoing Freeholder Director Jonathan Rose announced on Facebook that Howard Burrell was deemed “not acceptable” by the Sussex County freeholder board to serve as trustee of Sussex County Community College. 

Why did the freeholders decide that Dr. Burrell is “not acceptable?" After all, the freeholders’ own search committee nominated Dr. Burrell to ...

No Dog Beach on Lake Hopatcong?

Hello Editor, 
 I have spent considerable time trying to find somewhere on Lake Hopatcong to bring my dog for a swim.
What I have found is ridiculous - this lake has approximately 28 miles of shoreline and I found NO PLACE am allowed to bring him.  Am hoping you can make the public aware and maybe someone will know more than me and inform where dogs are allowed?
Many thanks for ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_bdb5745746764dec42d1_sparta_historical_society

Sun, July 22, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Sussex County Views: The Art of Toni Chaplin

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_42776b9cbb4ed47ca5de_paintbrush-pallet-

Mon, July 23, 10:00 AM

Sparta Public Library, Sparta

Watercolor Workshop

Arts & Entertainment

Tue, July 24, 7:00 PM

Kinnelon Public Library, Kinnelon

Northern NJ Libertarian Party Monthly Meeting

Government

Carousel_image_5a2a62fbc9dcb34622ce_img_9102

Tue, July 24, 7:30 PM

Town Hall, Sparta

Sparta Township Council Meeting

Government

Carousel_image_43e01e4e18a7a89ca0c9_paintbrush-pallet-

Fri, July 27, 10:00 AM

Sparta Public Library, Sparta

Watercolor Workshop

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_499d1dd211c2bd6b0cb1_img_6497

Sat, July 28, 8:00 AM

Newton Moose Lodge, Fredon

Newton Moose Lodge Sunday Breakfasts

Food & Drink

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, July 28, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Carousel_image_4795040bf6b6301f766b_adoptionevent2

Sat, July 28, 2:00 PM

Montville Animal Shelter, Montville

Summer Adoption Event at the Montville Animal ...

Home & Garden Other

Carousel_image_499d1dd211c2bd6b0cb1_img_6497

Sat, August 4, 8:00 AM

Newton Moose Lodge, Fredon

Newton Moose Lodge Sunday Breakfasts

Food & Drink

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, August 4, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Newton High School FFA Students Dominate at State Convention

July 11, 2018

LONG BRANCH, NJ - The Newton FFA Chapter won several of their events at the 89th New Jersey State FFA Convention in May at Monmouth University. The students brought home several awards competing against the best in the state.

Freshman Kirk Avondoglio took first place in the state FFA Creed Public Speaking competition.  The event requires participants to recite the creed in front of a ...

US Junior Amateur: Chinn Earns Medalist and Top-seed honors, Misses Rain Delay, after Second Day of Stroke Play

July 18, 2018

Tuesday’s Second Round Scores, playoff participants (8 for 3 spots)

Wednesday’s Round of 64 matchups

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Kelly Chinn of Great Falls, Va., continued his stellar play Tuesday morning and missed an afternoon four plus hour rain delay on arguably Baltusrol Golf Club’s toughest layout, the Lower Course.

After shooting a five under 66 on the Upper Course Monday, ...

What You Need to Know About the Mortgage Process

Highlights:


Many buyers are purchasing a home with a down payment as little as 3%.


You may already qualify for a loan, even if you don’t have perfect credit.


Take advantage of the knowledge of your local professionals who are there to help you determine how much you can afford.  This means call Team Nest Builder’s Lynn Garafola at 973-222-3777 ...

You DO NOT Need 20% Down to Buy Your Home NOW!

The Aspiring Home Buyers Profile from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what’s required to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. The results of the survey show the main reason non-homeowners do not own their own homes is because they believe that they cannot afford them.

This brings us to ...

Get Rid of Your E-Waste This Saturday in Sussex County

Team Nest Builder knows it’s easy for e-waste---tv sets, printers, laptops, etc.--to pile up. Here’s your opportunity to rid yourself of it in Sussex County! It’s the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority E-Waste Collection Event! The scoop:

DATE:

Saturday, July 21st

TIME:

7 am - 2 pm

LIMIT:

Up to 5 Units per vehicle at no charge.  Scale charges for ...

4 Top Tips for Kitchen Remodels

Getting ready to remodel your New Jersey home's kitchen? Team Nest Builder shares these top 4 tips for maintaining your sanity (and budget)!

Expect the Unexpected

Even the best-laid plans go awry during a kitchen remodel--be prepared!  Add a 10% cushion to your finanical plan for problems that may arise. In case something happens, this could save your time and budget.

Make A ...

Get Out and Garden During FREE Open Gates Weekend

Team Nest Builder wants you to discover the beauty and diversity of Morris County’s Community Gardens through the people, plants, and planting techniques that make gardens thrive. It's Morris County Community Garden FREE Open Gates Weekend!

Tour the many gardens, discover how to start one in your town, and learn more about growing your own food. Enjoy food tastings and demonstrations ...

Homes More Affordable Today than 1985-2000

Concerned that your family will no longer be able to afford the most precious piece of the American Dream – your own home? Let Team Nest Builder assuage your fears...

It’s not just a home’s price that determines its affordability--it’s also the monthly cost determined by the price and the interest rate on the mortgage used to purchase it.

Today, mortgage interest ...

Be a Triathlon Volunteer!

Summertime is here and upon us Sparta residents, bringing a variety of exciting events to our area. Well, Pass It Along is BACK with the 9th Annual Triathlon at Lake Mohawk Country Club, located in Sparta, on Saturday, July 28, 2018!

This athletic event draws in several hundred people, both participants and spectators, to Lake Mohawk. Volunteers are needed to assist with the event in ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.

 

 

The Sussex County Freeholders July 11 meeting video

NEWTON, NJ - The Sussex County Freeholders July 11 meeting video

 

Fight Summer Slide with United Way’s Free Literacy Calendar

July 21, 2018

MORRISTOWN, N.J. – Studies indicate that students lose the knowledge equivalent of one month of instruction per year due to summer learning loss. United Way of Northern New Jersey Success By 6 is helping parents combat this summer slide with a free calendar that promotes literacy. Featuring bright children’s artwork, the calendar offers daily ideas tied to reading, ...