Friday, November 7, 2008

Follow Up Borough Council Mtg 11-6-08

Well people if you thought the pre-election Council Meeting was short, the post-election Council Meeting was long and filled with more politicking than any resident could bear. But bear it we did!

On the upside, a Troop of Boy Scouts were present earning themselves Badges for their attendance. The Mayor asked them to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Privilege of the Floor-Several residents spoke their concerns regarding the deficit, purchasing signs for the Parks by the Recreation Commission, the hopes that the Councilmen-elect will "hit the ground running," the lack of the Matawan Parks not being handicapped accessible and a Volunteer Fireman who was fired and felt he was treated unjustly. It was interesting to note the Recreation Commission unanimously voted no to utilizing the monies from their events to make the Parks accessible to the handicapped. If one handicapped child/adult is denied access to our Parks someone must speak up for them. What good are pretty signs denoting a Park if one child/adult is denied access to it because of their handicap? Maybe the signs should also read, NOT HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE.

The Volunteer Fireman spoke at length about the injustice he has suffered. It seems he may have done himself a disservice. Mr. Aaron, Borough Attorney explained he was not sure if the Fireman jeopardized his request for an impartial review by the Council by reading his statement. Accordingly, the Fireman was instructed to continue to follow the proper procedures as outlined by the rules and regulations. We found this whole matter to be disconcerting as this was not the first time this Fireman has had issues with the Borough Volunteer Fire Department. We will continue to follow this matter to its conclusion, if possible.

The Agenda items were eventually voted on with no surprises. Penalties for the Parks was established and can now be enforced by Matawan Police Dept.

2008 Budget - There seemed to be some discrepancies regarding the 2008 Budget deficit and the dollar amount that was transferred. Councilman Cannon originally stated he thought the deficit would be reduced to zero. Mayor Buccellato stated he thought we had borrowed from the 2009 Budget to the tune of $100,000. to accomplish this reduction. Councilman Cannon then amended his statement. We believe the deficit was lowered but to what extent we are not sure. We are not sure what the deficit will be by December 31st. It would be great if everyone talked straight so we, the residents, could decipher what they are saying. We will follow up on the Budget and keep you posted.

Matawan Police Dept. - The Resolution for the Police Chief to Undertake Preliminary Interviews for Class I Officers was passed. Councilman Mendes stated the Police Chief cut the Police Dept. Budget by $40,000. which constitutes a give back to the Budget. Kudos to the Chief.

Hiring of Attorney for and on Behalf of the Board of Fire Officers for the Borough of Matawan. This relates to the Fireman previously mentioned. The amount authorized was limited to $2,000. The Attorney will only be utilized if needed.

THINK about this.......there was more discussion and debate on the amount authorized of $2,000. for the attorney than there was over awarding a no bid contract to Maser Consulting of $300,000+. This is an example of why we needed a Council who would prioritize appropriately. A little late to "pinch pennies."

Let's see less politicking and more action on the part of the Council. Keep in mind you are working for the residents of Matawan.


Main Street Manny said...

Prioritize appropriately? The most important department in this borough cut their budget $40,000.00. That to me is not prioritizing anything. The police are understaffed and work in horrible conditions. Yes they received a few new cars but from what I understand they still have several that are worn and getting worse. Yes kudos to Chief Alston and Lt. Gallo and Smith for their hard work on the budget and being able to work with the minimums they are given. I still question the hundreds of thousands maybe millions of dollars in wasted equipment at the road department? They do nothing all day and yet still have been given top line equipment (I am not talking about the Street Sweeper) the last several years. When Fred Carr is history as of January 1st or very soon after (if not something is really wrong here) I doubt that department will be such a priority. Especially when the Road Department Supervisor is no longer driving Mr. Carr all over town or camping out in his office all day. Like I have said several times, the police need help and should be a priority.

matawan advocate said...

main street manny, What we meant by "prioritizing" refers to time spent on possibly spending $2,000. versus awarding a $300,000. no bid contract. We believe contracts of that magnitude should go out for bid.

Understand the Road Department Supervisor has been out pending surgery on his foot. Don't know anything about Fred Carr driving him around. However, if he requires surgery on his foot that may explain it. If you know the details, please provide them for discussion.

The Matawan P.D. has the largest Budget line item at over $2million dollars and that was after the previous Chief had made cuts. We are currently experiencing difficult economic times. In a "perfect world" all Departments would get everything they need. Unfortunately, this is not a "perfect world." Taxpayers can only bear so much. Residents are talking about consolidating services. This is one area we doubt would be in the best interests of Matawan. First of all,the Union would fight it. Second, what level of protection would residents get from joining with another town. Our fear is that Matawan would get less following a merger. However, this is the biggest budget item and it is great to see cutbacks being made. The only cutbacks we see would be in salaries and that would require no increases. Tough call. If the County took over all the Borough and Township Police Depts, kept the local Depts and added Police to the County Budget perhaps that would help. Reality is don't know if this is feasible.

Thanks for your comments.

Main Street Manny said...

Matawan Advocate first I would like to say that I agree with most of the things you bring to the board. You must have misunderstood. Mr. Carr gets caddy service from the R.D. Supervisor. What I am saying is there is definate favortism there. Yes the police department is the most expensive budget in town. Most likely most is from salary looking at the equipment they work with. This is the only department that is there 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year. The officers work holidays, miss birthdays and anniversaries, are there in the rain and snow. They confront every situation you throw at them and find an answer. Some may not like the answer but it is not a fair world. They deserve every penny they get and more. I am a supportor of shared service but the police department should not even be a thought in that process and if it is they should be the absolute last. When they go then the council will be gone too. Also be aware that ifs shared service begin it will be the beginning of the end of Matawan Borough. It will be a snowball effect and all the services will soon be shared. Our identity as a Borough will be gone. How would you feel to be a resident in Matawan and get the police services that residents say in Millstone have (which is much less populated and has little to no traffic). They call the police and could wait up to 45 minutes for a response because the state police are coming out of Hamilton Township. If you let the county take over the salary of the officers it is the first step that we will lose OUR officers. Next other officers who do not know the town or the people will be coming in to fill open spots in the schedule and our officers will be pulled to do the same in other places. These officers from other places could care less about us a community of Matawan Borough. There are hundreds of other things to share service. Everything from Fire Departments (they have a lot less calls a year then the police) to Papers and Pens. This includes insurance (which is the #1 problem in this town and needs an immediate solution). I must say lets start with consolidation inside first. What I mean is the 5fire departments or the first aid services with other towns so you know that someone will be coming rather then sitting sick and hoping that the first aid can get a crew together which happened to my deceased wife. How about all the secretaries in the town hall? There are more people working in there then ever before. The old town hall had 3 or 4 women downstairs and 2 upstairs. Now everyone has an assistant and are also considered supervisors when they are alone in certain departments. I do not understand. Sounds like another way to boost salary. Start at home before we go outside looking for solutions.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what streets the DPW is picking up leaves from this week?


Anonymous said...

This is for Main Street Manny.... The old Boro hall has a Records Clerk and a Secretary in the Police Dept. The Court has a full time Clerk and a part timer. The Court is mandated by the State.

matawan advocate said...

Thanks Anonymous for the information.

Main Street Manny said...

Anonymous I think we misunderstood. When I said Old Boro Hall I meant when boro hall was on Main Street(pre Broad Street). There were alot less employees then in the building and it ran just fine.