Byram will not apply for special emergency to cover $120K shortfall

Byram. To avoid greater involvement by the state in the township’s budget, the Byram council decided to use funds from its capital expenditures budget line that were not fully used.

| 23 Nov 2020 | 06:22

Byram Township will use funds from its capital expenditures line to cover a $120,000 budget shortfall, and not apply to the state for special emergency status.

The township council unanimously agreed on this remedy at their Nov. 16 meeting. Township Manager Joseph Sabatini said the original capital balance came from a transfer of $450,000 for 2020 expenditures that were anticipated but not entirely used.

He said the township will request grant funding through the CARES Act to get most of its Covid expenditures reimbursed. However, he said, the township has shortfalls on revenue side, in investment interest and state aid.

Sabatini said a special emergency would spread the $120,000 shortfall over the next six years. The township would not contribute any money the first year and pay back one-fifth of the amount over the next five years. It would essentially put their budget in the state’s hands for the next six years and subject the township to an annual budget review, he said.

Currently, the state reviews the township’s budget once every three years, and the township completes a local budget exam in each of the other two years.

Councilman Harvey Roseff asked how much of the $450,000 has been spent. Sabatini said it was minimal, and he would have to check the details.

In other business
Backyard chicken ordinance: The council to act on the recently passed backyard chicken ordinance referendum at its next meeting, after receiving a petition asking for a referendum. But most council members objected to paying for a special election, which would cost $25,000. The council may decide to repeal the ordinance and, in its place, modify the zoning code to allow the planning board to grant variances for backyard chickens.
Salaries: On its second reading, the council unanimously approved the amended ordinance for administration and hourly positions salary and wages for 2018-21.
East Brookwood additional access: The township council decided to bring back engineer Cory Stoner to review an additional access road by the Quick Chek for the East Brookwood community and review the scope of the necessary permits.
Municipal building project: Mayor Alexander Rubenstein said the Nader Group had delivered the design documents that day for the municipal building project. Township Manager Joseph Sabatini said they are expecting a report related to the geo-technical work that was done, and should receive an estimate within a week. After discussion, the council decided to get an estimate for the cost of an estimator’s services, and to take more time to look at the design documents.
Gas survey: On behalf of the council, Councilman Harvey Roseff will talk to Elizabethtown Gas representative Gary Marmo regarding the company’s commitment to survey 400 houses in the Byram section in Lake Mohawk. Roseff mentioned going to the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) if necessary.