Mount Olive Township Council Minutes
May 21, 2001
The Special Meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council
was called to order at 7:30pm by Council President Rattner
with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
According to the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate Notice
of this Meeting has been given to the Mt. Olive Chronicle
and the Morristown Daily Record. Notice has been posted at
in the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road,
Mt. Olive, New Jersey, and notices were sent to those requesting
ROLL CALL: Present: Mr. Heymann, Mr. Guenther, Mr. Sohl,
Mr. Spino, Mr. Scapicchio, President Rattner.
Absent: Mrs. Kelly
President Rattner: Mrs. Kelly excused herself due to the
appearance of a conflict since she’s an employee of
the Board of Education. I would also like to acknowledge
the attendance of Mr. Strillacci representing the School.
We also have a couple of people that served on the Subcommittee
to review the School Budget: Mr. Nick Geiger, Mr. Scott Ireland,
and I’ve been told Hank Titone is on his way—we
may be out of here before he gets here—but he was part
of it too. With that, we have one Resolution to discuss and
vote on tonight. And that is the Resolution to Certify the
Tax Levy for the School District Levy. Mr. Heymann, would
you move that Resolution.
RESOLUTIONS – NON CONSENT
Resolution RE: Certification of Tax Levy (School District
Mr. Heymann moved for approval of the Resolution and Mr.
Guenther seconded the motion.
President Rattner: Before we open it up to the Public, I
would like Mr. Scapicchio, the Chairman of the Budget Subcommittee
for the Council will make a short statement which will describe
the activities and the result.
Mr. Scapicchio: I’ve prepared a Statement that I’ll
hand out to the Press: As a result of the Township’s
2001/2002 School Budget being defeated by the voters on April
17th, the Township Council is required to review the defeated
Budget, and to certify the School District Taxes at the original
amount that appeared on the Ballot or a reduced amount. A
Committee of both the Township Council and Board of Education
met on May 8th and May 15th to discuss the defeated Budget.
Based upon these meetings, several phone conversations between
Board President Rob Mania and myself, together with the review
of numerous documents pertaining to said Budget submitted
by the Board, the Township Council School Budget Committee
and the Board of Education Subcommittee have come to an agreement
on a reduction to the original School Tax Levy of$ 775,000.
The revised amount to be levied for taxes will continue to
provide the Township’s Children with a thorough and
efficient education for the 2001/2002 school years. If the
Committee’s recommendation is accepted tonight and
the Resolution adopted, the Township Council’s tax
levy reduction of$775,000 represents 19% of the increase
tax levy that was defeated by the voters. The rational provided
by the Committee to support the levy reduction was accomplished
without opening a classroom door, touching a pencil or piece
of paper, and does not include any decreases in budget appropriations
that affect the classroom in any way. More specifically,
the Committee, through their negotiations with the Board
of Education, has identified additional revenue sources and
appropriation reductions in non-instructional line items.
These amounts are set forth on “Attachment A” to
the Resolution to be acted upon by the Township Council this
evening. On behalf of the School Budget Committee Members,
it is our recommendation that the Township Council adopt
the resolution before them this evening. And they are as
follows: On the Revenue Side, Surplus Anticipated: Projected
surplus in excess of 3% of 2001-02 Proposed General Fund
Budget as per recapitulation of balances, $250,000; Miscellaneous—which
was Line item 10-1XXX – Increase for other additional
recurring revenue items not anticipated and the reallocation
of food service retained earnings accumulated as a result
of the General Fund Budget Subsidizing the payment of health
benefits for food service employees, $244,144.00. Appropriation
Reductions: Line Item 11-000-310-30; Transfer to Deficit
(Food Service) The June 30, 2000 audit reflects $384,253
of available retained Mr. Scapicchio (cont’d): earnings.
The 40% portion of health benefits budgeted in the General
Fund can e charged to the food service operations. That amounted
to $55,856.00; Line Item 12-000400-390 Other Purchases Professional
and Technical Services: School bus garage parking lot is
not a necessity at the current time: There was $25,000 allocated
for Engineering for that service. Line Item 12-000-400-450,
Construction Services, School bus garage parking lot is not
a necessity at the current time, there was a $200,000 number
in the Budget for the paving of that parking lot. Bringing
the total appropriation reductions to $280,856.00 for a Grand
total of $775,000. On behalf of the School Budget Committee
Members, it is our recommendations that the Township Council
adopt the Resolution before them this evening.
President Rattner: Thank you, Mr. Scapicchio. Mr. Strillacci,
would you like to say something representing the School Board?
Mr. Strillacci: Thank you, Mr. Rattner, Council members.
I didn’t know I was going to be speaking—I thought
Mr. Mania would be here. But, I would like to just talk to
you in general terms, and first I would like to compliment
the Committee—I think did a fantastic job. There certainly
was, for varied reasons in the Town, and, obviously, when
you see what the vote was, dissatisfaction with the Budget.
So, you had the job of doing something about it. We certainly
put forth what we thought was a valid Budget. But, things
had to be done, and I think we went about it in the right
way, I think it was, was reached, whereby—and I think
that we will be able to accommodate these cuts—and
as Mr. Scapicchio says, stay away from classes, of course,
our intent. Of course you must keep in mind what Mr. Scapicchio
read on these items, may or may not be agreed with, and also
may not be the cuts that are actually made. The School Board
has met, and we have not determined the actual cuts we will
make yet. But, I would not say that these would be, at this
time, way out of line. Again, I am sure we are going to try
to stay away from classrooms, and, keep in mind one thing,
gentlemen, and I think you can see by what you said, some
of this is just deferred money. If we don’t do the
parking lot this year, it’s going to be done another
year; if we don’t buy a bus this year, it’s going
to be bought next year, and so on and so forth. But, again,
I would like to compliment you. This is the way this Town
should work. Thanks very much.
President Rattner: Thank you, Mr. Strillacci. Now we’ll
open it up to the Public. Is there anyone from the Public
who would like to make any comment or questions on the Budget
Proposal? Seeing none, I will close the Public portion and
ask for Council Comments?
Mr. Heymann: I have no comments.
Mr. Guenther: Mr. Scapicchio, can you explain the “Miscellaneous
10-1XXX” Item?” I had a hard time understanding
Mr. Scapicchio: Basically, what we’re saying here
is, there are miscellaneous revenues that we believe were
under-estimated that will, in fact, be revenues that can
be counted on, and then there was a reallocation of food
service monies that were retained. And what that refers to
is, there was $384,000 and some change available in their
Food Service Account. My understanding is, this Food Service
Account operates similar to our Water & Sewer Utility
in that it is a self-sufficient fund. There was a surplus
that has been built up over the years in that fund and, there
was also a portion of health benefits that were being taken
from the General Fund to be paid for for the Health Service
Employees. And that’s basically what that is, Bernie.
It’s basically reoccurring revenues that they didn’t
anticipate that we believe they can anticipate. Did I answer
Mr. Guenther: Yes.
President Rattner: Anything else, Mr. Guenther?
Mr. Guenther: No.
Mr. Sohl: I would just also like to thank the Committee
and the effort that the Council members that were on that
Committee put in. And, also add, I know Gary Higgins, our
Township Auditor played a key role helping to get things
started, and quickly review a rather lengthy and extensive
amount of information. It’s never an easy task to take
on a School Budget, which dwarfs ours to some degree, and
we spend a fair amount of time doing that one as it is. So,
again, I’d like to thank all that participated, and
helped get us to where we are today.
Mr. Spino: I’ll let you make the comments.
Mr. Scapicchio: I have nothing to add.
President Rattner: First thing I want to do is, from the
Council, thank the people who were on the Committee, who
represented the Council. That was Dave Scapicchio was the
Chairman, Council members Ron Heymann, Earl Spino. We had
private citizens—again, Mr. Scott Ireland, Mr. Nick
Geiger, Mr. Hank Titone, and we had our Township Auditor,
review and look at the Accounting Items, Mr. Higgins. This,
obviously, is a very large task that has to be done in a
very short period of time. It is under Statute that we have
to do it. The School Board is charged with putting together
a Budget, putting it up to the Voters, the Voters then have
the opportunity to Vote Yes or NO, when it votes “Yes” it
just goes on from there, when it votes “No” it
is given to the Township Council to make a recommendation,
and we get a total of four weeks from the time it is actually
voted on. That includes the time to accumulate all the data
to get a basic understanding, and then make the recommendations.
It sounds like, “Oh, it’s a nice simple way to
go.” But there are a lot of questions, there’s
a lot of data as you’ve heard, the Members on the Subcommittee
had a lot of questions because we don’t look at the
School Budget unless it goes down, and then we just do a
cursory review because it’s a separate Government that
puts us together. So, there was a lot of data to review,
and a lot of questions which then the School Board and their
professionals had to answer. Basically, they had to defend
their Budget all over again to people that don’t understand
everything that’s in there. But, I think it’s
a credit—I know from our team the amount of work, the
dedication that they put in. I hear the same thing came from
the School Board side because the School Board had to be
very responsive and they understood that they had to get
the answers back quickly because we didn’t have much
time. And they didn’t know where the questions were
coming from, or how many were going to come. So I think this
was just a credit to all our citizens in Town. I think that
our citizens and especially our children are well served,
and looking at this summary, I’m confident that we
did the best that we could under the circumstances, and I
think everybody, when the Budget is actually in effect, we’re
going to find out that we all together, cooperatively did
a good job. With that, Roll call.
ROLL CALL: Passed unanimously
Motion made for adjournment. All in Favor, none Opposed.
The Meeting was adjourned at 7:45pm
Steven W. Rattner
I, LISA M LASHWAY, Township Clerk of the Township of Mount
Olive do hereby certify that the foregoing Minutes is a true
and correct copy of the Minutes approved at a legally convened
meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council duly held on
May 22, 2001.
LISA M. LASHWAY
Mount Olive Township Clerk