Unexpected state funding cutback shorts Byram

Byram. The township council also passed an ordinance allowing backyard chickens and introduced a new anti-nepotism ordinance, among other business.

| 13 Oct 2020 | 06:34

The New Jersey state government decided to pull back an expected 54 percent increase for the Garden State Trust Fund, resulting in a $22,745 shortfall in state aid for Byram, said township manager Joseph Sabatini the Oct. 6 council meeting.

After Nov. 1, he said, the council will need to adjust its 2020 budget to make up for the shortfall.

The Byram Township Council passed ordinances, a resolution, and discussed issues, Oct. 6, during their meeting.

Backyard chickens allowed

The council voted 3-2 to pass an ordinance allowing residents to keep chickens in their backyards. Councilmen Jack Gallagher and Harvey Roseff voted against the ordinance.

The new ordinance allows up to four female chickens on any residential lot, according to specific requirements.

Nixing nepotism

A public hearing on Byram’s new anti-nepotism ordinance, which the council introduced with unanimous approval, will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 20.

Sabatini said that, as a result of New Jersey Best Practices requirements, Byram’s current anti-nepotism policy needs to be codified in an ordinance.

Fiber optics wanted

The council unanimously passed a resolution calling on the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and Verizon to act in the best interests of all citizens, including those in rural areas, and provide FiOS (fiber optics) throughout the state.

Mayor Alexander Rubenstein said the resolution will be sent to the Board of Public Utilities. Public comment ends Oct. 15.

Rubenstein also said he commented at both public comment calls regarding the Verizon FiOS system statewide franchise renewal. He said he was surprised at the lack of participation during the statewide hearing: five or six people attended the first call, and eight or nine the second.

Energy aggregation

The council unanimously passed an ordinance to establish a government-private energy aggregation program and electricity supply for residents.

Roseff said the ordinance only begins the process and enables price discovery, and that the council will take no action until the council learns the prices.

In other business
Fees: The council unanimously passed an ordinance to change the fees charged by the construction department and animal control.
DPW breakroom improvements: Township manager Joseph Sabatini said the HVAC has been completed. The gutters were installed, and he signed a purchase order for the generator hookup.
Parks improvements: Officials agreed to interview companies regarding the overall design and improvement of township parks. They hope to complete interviews during executive sessions on Oct. 27 and Nov. 9.