BYRAM TOWNSHIP, NJ - The biggest topic among the council and public at the Feb. 5 meeting was Ordinance No. 1-2013.
According to the township agenda for that night it is, “An ordinance to exceed the municipal budget appropriation limits and to establish a cap bank (N.J.S.A. 40A: 4-45.14) for calendar year 2013.”
“This memorandum is the result of the request to provide a table of budget data as it relates to the Appropriations Cap for the last ten years. The creation of the attached table was a time consuming task as it required analysis of the Cap calculations for budget years 2003-2012, retrieving the data from the municipal minute books and to create the summary table that best meets the request for data. The table contains the raw data from the Appropriations Cap Calculation for each budget year as well as the appropriations data from the adopted budget,” was a statement derived from an email from township manager, Joseph Sabatini, which was sent to each council member.
From the Township of Byram Ordinance No. 1-2013 - “The Local Government Cap Law, N.J.S. 40A: 4-45. 1 et seq., provides that in the preparation of its annual budget, a municipality shall limit any increase in said budget up to 2.0% unless authorized by ordinance to increase it to 3.5% over the previous year’s final appropriations, subject to certain exceptions; and, N.J.S.A. 40A: 4-45. 15a provides that a municipality may, when authorized by ordinance, appropriate the difference between the amount of its actual final appropriation and the 3.5% percentage rate as an exception to its final appropriations in either the next two succeeding years; and, the Mayor and Council of the Township of Byram in the County of Sussex finds it advisable to increase its CY 2013 budget by up to 3.5% over the previous year’s final appropriations, in the interest of promoting the health, safety and welfare of the citizens.”
This topic did not sit well with resident, Harvey Roseff, who wanted the council to present why they believe it is a good idea.
“It is smart fiscal planning,” said councilwoman Nisha Kash whose statement was than seconded by councilman, Scott Olson.
“It gives us the flexibility and a good fiscal tool,” stated Olson.
“Every article in the paper showed it will not affect the towns taxes,” said councilwoman Marie Raffay.
“This is about more spending not taxes,” said Roseff to the council. "More spending means more taxation. Let’s talk about decreasing taxes, instead of spending $30,000 a year on a lawyer, and we could give the fire department new equipment, or fix the roads. It is a very high amount for a homeowner. What is this year‘s budget looking like?”
“This is the way you perceive it, we perceive it another way,” said mayor Jim Oscovitch to Roseff.
At that moment the meeting was interrupted by a brief argument between Oscovitch and Roseff when Oscovitch stated, “You went and told the senior citizens their taxes were going up. My mother-in-law goes to those meetings she reports information back to me.”
“You are continually going above the cost of living,” said Roseff.
Oscovitch shot back with, “Stop with the scare tactics, Harvey.”
“We sit on the tax bills,” said Roseff.
Resident Donna Griff, who was formerly a councilwoman for eight years in the township, then spoke to the council after Roseff’s time on the floor.
“I want to applaud the council,” said Griff as she spoke through the microphone. “It is in all the laws and agendas, the public has access to every bill. I think it is a great idea and important to use.”
Griff then turned around to look at Roseff and stated, “It also causes the town a lot of money when people like you, Harvey, are in a lawsuit with the town which needs to stop because it is too much now,” as several citizens had clapped for Griff before she sat back down and said, “I am not sorry.”
Roseff is involved in an anticipated/pending litigation known as “Roseff et.al. vs. Byram Township et.al.” which has been a topic in executive session for several months now.
More information on the Roseff case will be released to the public once it is considered a public matter.
Citizens can access the information on Ordinance No. 1-2013 through the Byram Township Website by clicking here
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