Minutes of Mayor and Council

Mayor Jeff Parrott called the meeting to order, and requested the Clerk to call the roll. Upon roll call, the following members of the governing body were present:
Mayor Parrott, Committee members Sytsema, De Boer.

The following members were absent: None.

Mayor Parrott led the assembly in the Salute to the Flag.
Mayor Parrott stated, “This meeting is being held in compliance with the provisions of the Open Public Meetings Act, Public Laws 1975, Chapter 231. It has been properly noticed and posted to the public, and certified by the Clerk."

The governing body gave consideration to the status of budget preparation for calendar year 2003.

Contribution To First Aid Squad
Mayor Parrott invited representatives of the First Aid Squad to come forward and discuss their budget request for calendar year 2003.

Township Administrator Jim Doherty reviewed the written budget statement of the First Aid Squad, and informed that his preliminary discussions with the First Aid Squad representatives indicated a request for a 2.5% increase, which would raise the contribution up to $25,000.

Mr. Bill Haines inquired of the governing body would be willing to pay for the costs of fuel, for the vehicles. Mayor Parrott stated that this suggestion would be evaluated, and a response offered, after due consideration.

Mr. Sytsema inquired when it appeared that the next ambulance would need to be purchased. The representatives of the First Aid Squad indicated their belief that the year would be 2004.

Wantage Fire Department Budget Request
Mayor Parrott invited Wantage Fire Chief Marc Blaine to join the meeting at this time. Chief Blaine presented a detailed review of the Fire Department’s budget request for 2003. The requested increase in operating expenses amounted to approximately 12%.

After due consideration, the members of the governing body asked Chief Blaine to see if he could work within a 6% budget increase for this year. Chief Blaine agreed to re-work the budget numbers to see if this was going to be possible.

With respect to capital purchases for 2003, the members of the governing body agreed to continue with the existing long-range capital plan, calling for the purchase of a Fire vehicle in this calendar year. The governing body also agreed to give further consideration to the purchase of a surplus vehicle from the federal government that could be re-fitted and utilized as a vehicle for fighting brush fires.
Chief Blaine also suggested that it would be appropriate to begin planning for the location and installation of strategic underground water storage facilities for firefighting purposes at various residential development sites of the community. Chief Blaine estimated that a 10,000 gallon underground water facility would cost in the area of $50,000 to purchase and install. The members of the governing body agreed with the wisdom of the suggestion, however, the concern over tax impact was a matter that required further study of this suggestion.

Sussex Fire Department Ladder Truck Purchase
Mayor Parrott invited representatives of the Sussex Fire Department to join the meeting at this time, to discuss the possibility of an interlocal agreement between Wantage Township and Sussex Borough for the joint purchase of a new ladder truck for the Sussex Fire Department.

At this time, the following individuals joined the meeting: Sam Rome, Bob Regovich, Sussex Fire Chief Mike Clark. Also present: Auditor Earl Snook; CFO Lorraine Card.
General discussion took place regarding anticipated costs, needs justification, and funding options for this project. It was generally determined that the cost burden on Wantage Township would amount to approximately one cent on the local portion of the tax rate for the next ten years, beginning in 2004, if Wantage were to agree to the suggested cost-share formula for this project.

The members of the Wantage governing body expressed general consensus for further consideration of the project, but requested that a firm commitment be obtained from the Sussex Borough governing body regarding their ability to meet the financial obligations being incurred. Concern was expressed that the Wantage taxpayers not be placed in a position of having to bear a greater burden of the cost on the vehicle if Sussex Borough’s future financial status were to prevent them from honoring any agreements made in the year 2003.

General discussion took place regarding options that could be employed to ensure Wantage’s financial responsibility in the proposed project.

Mr. Doherty suggested that Chief Clark meet with the Sussex Boro governing body, and inform them that “confidence was high” that Wantage would be willing to contribute toward the purchase of a ladder truck, and that if Sussex Borough were willing to provide the same consensus of opinion, that it would be in order at that time to arrange for a joint meeting among the two towns and the Sussex Fire Department to prepare more formal arrangements.

Mayor Parrott requested the representatives of the Sussex Fire Department to work with representatives of the Wantage Fire Department, and reduce the needs analysis/justification for the purchase of this vehicle to writing, so that the general public would have the benefit of being kept informed regarding the projects that will be affecting their tax structure for this year.

Ms. Joanne Kanapinski requested the right to address the governing body at this time. Mayor Parrott recognized Ms. Kanapinski, who made a request that the governing body give consideration to providing her with additional compensation in calendar year 2003. Ms. Kanapinski expressed her belief that she had worked 80 hours above the anticipated work hours that had originally been anticipated for the year 2002, when her salary and workweek had been formulated.

Mayor Parrott assured Ms. Kanapinski that her request would be considered.
There being no other items for the consideration of the governing body at this time, Mr. Sytsema moved to adjourn the meeting. Mr. De Boer seconded the motion.

Upon roll call,
Ayes: De Boer, Sytsema, Parrott Nays: None Absent: None Abstain: None
It was agreed that the next budget work session would be held on January 24, 2003 at 9:00 a.m.
Mayor Parrott declared this meeting to be adjourned.
James R. Doherty, Clerk