January 16, 2021 Special Budget meeting

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Stillwater Township Committee 
January 16, 2021 Budget Meeting #3

A SPECIAL BUDGET MEETING of the Stillwater Township Committee was called to order by Mayor Chammings at 9:00 a.m. noting the meeting date, time and place were sent the New Jersey Herald and posted at the Town Hall, on the Township’s website and advised those present that this meeting was being held in compliance with provisions of P.L. 1975, Chapter 231, Sections 4 & 13.

The flag was saluted.

Roll Call: PRESENT: Mayor Chammings, Committeewoman Rumsey, Committeeman Fisher, Deputy Mayor Scott, Committeeman Morrison (9: 10 a.m.), Municipal Clerk Lynda Knott, CFO Tammy Leonard, Fire Chief Steven Sugar.

Mayor Chammings started with the OEM budget. Mayor Chammings said the increases in the OEM budget are due to incorporating the CERT budget into the OEM budget.

Mr. Scott questioned whether CERT is fully funded by the township. Mayor Chammings said yes, the Stillwater CERT was formed by resolution and works under the direction of the OEM. Mr. Scott asked if CERT would provide monthly rep01ts to substantiate the budget use. Mayor Chammings answered they would. The Clerk noted CERT already repo1ts their activities to the township. Mrs. Rumsey added the Stillwater CERT has been working to establish a CERT tripod with Hampton and Fredon.

Mr. Scott asked what the OEM gear line was for. Mayor Chammings said CERT is wearing used Swartswood gear and they should have vests to identify them.

The Township Committee is satisfied with the OEM budget as presented.

The fire department budget requests staited with fire department aid and rent which total $55,000.00. The figure looks like an increase but really represents the combination of fire department and ems aid combined because of their merger in 2020.

Chief Sugar explained they rearranged some of the operating expense lines to simplify the lines for them but no increase was requested and the bottom line for operating expenses is exactly the same in 2020. A new line item was added for mobile internet service allows officers to see exactly where their equipment and members are at any time and also other signed on departments or services.

Mr. Scott asked about defibulators and why town hall or the community center still does not have any. Mayor Chammings explained in order to have defibulators township employees must be trained and a CPR training was going to happen but COVID happened first. Mayor Chammings added CERT now has 5 or so members trained in CPR and some could be ordered for the township.

Chief Sugar said he has five (5) new members attending fire school and they have CPR training there.

Mr. Morrison suggested adding $2,000 for training for town hall employees to be trained in CPR. The CFO said the OEM training line can be increased for CPR training.

There is no change to the First Responder’s budget for 2021.

Mrs. Rumsey has a second option to propose for the fire department’s operating expenses. Instead of the fire department coming to the CFO for every purchase their operating budget would be released to them quarterly and the fire department would be responsible for their own purchases. Mrs. Rumsey said it was how all surrounding fire companies operate.

Mr. Scott said it was okay with him as long as the fire department was able to show the township committee where the funds were being spent.

Mr. Scrudato, the fire depa1tment’s treasurer, said it is very difficult for him not to purchase from November to when the following year’s budget is adopted and having their funds available is a big plus.

Mrs. Rumsey, Mr. Scott and Mr. Fisher said they were all in favor with the second option.

Mr. Morrison had reservations regarding this new option. Mr. Morrison feels it creates a lack of accountability and the lack of accountability is what destroyed Swartswood fire department. Mr. Scrudato said he should be able to put together a rep01t in quick books to satisfy Mr. Morrison and have accountability to the Stillwater residents. Mr. Morrison stressed this report must be presented quarterly.

Mayor Chammings said she is okay with the second option with the quarterly repotting. Mr. Morrison said it is fine.

The next fire depa1tment section is the vehicle maintenance section. No increases were requested for 2021. The only change is the 2001 Ford E350 42-81 will be replaced with the new pick-up truck when received in line 01-201-26-315-219.

The Township Committee was satisfied with the 2021 vehicle maintenance requests from the fire department.

There were no changes in the Public Health Services lines that include Hepatitis B vaccines and fit testing.

The only change in the LOSAP for emergency volunteers is the fire department and ems lines are merged to mirror the merger of the two departments.

Capital expenditure requests were discussed starting with the annual replacement of five sets of turn-out gear ($19,000) and eight each SCBA bottles ($10,000). Chief Sugar said they have five new members now but the new gear is for replacement of existing gear or for new members who continue to be active members of the department after fire school. These items are scheduled for replacement in amounts decided by the fire department and township committee annually to keep the need at a steady level and be easily budgeted for.

The proposed Seagrave Rescue Pumper was the next item for discussion. Chief Sugar had previously presented this pumper and another competitor’ s rescue pumper at a Township Committee meeting in the fall. The price proposed at that time is no longer valid and Chief Sugar said the salesman is in the process of recalculating the cost of the vehicle. The Seagrave salesman will have the new cost by the first meeting in February. The delay is caused by Seagrave’s ability to received current prices from all of its pa1ts vendors. Chief Sugar said the salesman believes the pumper’s price will come in under $800,000.00

Mayor Chammings discussed the possibility of holding off the purchase until later this year to allow the township more time to add to its down payment. A discussion of the potential ways to market the truck(s) to be sold was held .

Mayor Chammings asked the CFO if the purchase order could be signed to keep the price quoted. The CFO said no purchase order could be initiated without financing in place but she would confer with the auditor to see if the contract could be signed to lock in the price.

Mr. Fisher said research should be done to see if there if there is an USDA grant to help with the financing of the fire apparatus. Mr. Fisher feels the price of the pumper is very steep and the township committee should keep in mind the DPW also needs vehicles in 2021. Mr. Fisher also asked how much longer will it take to pay off the 2017 pumper. The CFO answered less than 10 years because all items must be paid off in 10 years.

The CFO asked for clarification on which vehicles the fire department would be eliminating to make room for the new rescue pumper. Chief Sugar said the 2003 Pierce (42-62) and the 1998 RD Murray (42- 61). Chief Sugar noted the fire department would like to take over the Murray instead of the township selling it.

Mr. Morrison said he is completely opposed to the fire department taking over the Murray. Mr. Morrison said the reason he suppo1ted the new rescue tanker was to ensure the fire department has the necessary equipment to do their job and replacing two vehicles with one new vehicle would save money. If the fire department keeps the Murray it will not keep costs down. The Murray will need funds to keep it running and if the fire department is spending money on the Murray they will come to the township for funds for something else and it will defeat the purpose. Mr. Morrison said if the fire department wants to keep the Murray the township should just replace the 2003 pumper with a like pumper for $400,000 or $500,000.

Chief Sugar asked what if he purchases the Murray outright. Mr. Morrison said it should be a clean break. The township will not insure it and it will not be going to fire calls. Mr. Morrison added he was sorry to have brought up the replacement of the pumper last year. Chief Sugar said the agreement was to replace the two trucks for one and they will honor that agreement.

Mayor Chammings asked what financing the new pumper would cost the residents . The CFO answered it would cost the average home owner ($206,000 average home value) $35 a year for 10 years for a $600,000 financed item.

Mayor Chammings thanked Chief Sugar and Mr. Scrudato for their time and effort in submitting and presenting their budget requests.

The next discussion was for the Recreation Commission capital request s. The main capital request is to pave Veteran’s Park parking lot at the cost of approximately $21,000.00. Mrs. Rumsey feels it would take away the country feel of our parks. Mr. Scott feels it is a lot of money to be spent at this time.

Mayor Chammings asked the CFO if there was any funding left in green acres. Mrs. Leonard said $2,000 and the amount is included in the $6,975 in old ordinance funds which can be used for this purpose.

Mayor Chammings said to add another $5000 in reserves for parking lot maintenance. Mr. Morrison agreed with maintenance but is also against paving saying he agrees it would eliminate the country feel of Stillwater parks. Mr. Fisher added the parking lot will still need to be maintained and agreed with his colleagues on a park parking lot maintenance line . $5,000 will be added to the $6,975 to begin the 2021 budget year with $11,695 set aside for park parking lot maintenance.

The clerk has submitted a request for advanced codification services from General Code. This proposal includes an editorial/legal analysis by the attorneys at General Code and submittal of a report of their findings. It also includes an ongoing code maintenance plan for the governing body to decide what if anything they wish to update. The cost of this service is $6,000.00. Mayor Chammings noted the clerk had submitted this proposal earlier in 2020 but has brought it back to discuss for budgeting purposes.

Mayor Chammings agrees the updating and maintenance of the legal code of Stillwater Township need to be done. Mrs. Rumsey asked the clerk to get an updated quote because the one presented has expired.

The clerk said she already has one and the price has remained the same.

The other proposal brought to the township committee by the clerk is the digitalization of township files beginning with the building department. The Clerk feels the building depa1tment would benefit from being digitalized especially with the 500 plus OPRA requests received for building information in 2020. The other half of the proposal deals with the day going forward. Simply stated after the files are digitalized there must be a way to access the data. Konica Minolta offered two suggestions – one they own and maintain the files or the township could lease cloud space and maintain the files themselves.

The clerk feels the cloud would be most beneficial to the township because it allows the township personnel to add to files as new activity happens to prope1ties and allows the township to be able to let the public have access to files vi1tually and hopefully cut down on OPRA requests . The proposal dates have expired and Mrs. Rumsey has asked for them to be updated so they could decide if they were interested.

The clerk noted she has checked with Konica Minolta and they prices are good but will have them put it in writing.

There being no fu1ther business, Mrs. Rumsey made a motion to adjourn the budget meeting at 10:12

a.m., seconded by Mr. Scott. In a voice vote, all were in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

Lynda Knott, RMC

 

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