Chatham Township Committee Feels 'Misled' Over Environmental Commission's Sapling Sale
Friday, March 15, 2013 • 7:16am
CHATHAM TOWNSHIP, NJ - Discussion was dominated at the Township Committee meeting on Thursday night by the Chatham Environmental Commission’s proposed sapling sale.
After several lengthy disagreements over the proposed sale, many of the committee members expressed feeling that they had been misled by the environmental commission.
The original discussion and update on the status of planning the sale was for the Committee to decide if they were officially going to propose a formal resolution. This had to be done due to a $4,000 grant that is associated with the saplings.
Originally, the Committee members (other than Committee member Kathy Abbott, who is a member or the environmental commission) were under the impression that the $4,000 grant provided from Investor’s Savings Bank was part of the Shared Service Agreement with Morris County Soil Conservation District, to subsidize the
price of the trees and lower resident costs.
Although the money is indeed part of the project, according to a representative from the Morris County Soil Conservation District and the proposed agreement with the Township, it will be used to pay for any potential trees that may not be purchased (up to 80 trees). Additionally, the trees will be then officially owned by the Township and brought back to the County where they will stay for up to two years and cared for until the town has the means
and area to plant them properly where they see fit.
In the event that residents purchase all of the 400 trees, the $4,000 grant can be renegotiated with Investor’s Savings Bank to be used for other purposes or simply given back.
Ten different species of trees have been selected and will be announced at the next committee meeting. The mandatory info sessions that are required to purchase saplings will be held on Saturday, March 23 at 9 a.m., Wednesday, March 27 at 7:30 p.m., and Monday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. The trees will be sold for $20, $25 and
$30 depending on type of tree.
Also on Thursday night’s agenda was a presentation from the Morris County Freeholders Board on the county budget.
Thomas Mastrangelo, in his first term as the Director of the Morris County Freeholders, gave the presentation. He very proudly spoke of the County’s ability to not raise the operation budget for the county for the first time in 15 years and that they have reduced the tax for the Open Spaces Act; Chatham Township has many
areas that fall into this category.
With the new budget the county still maintained its services and had savings in healthcare costs, pensions and salary expenses (he insisted that no layoffs had take place to cause the loss of 63 employees).
Morris County also provided 500 thousand meals to senior citizens, and the numbers have continued to increase. Also, $17.8 million in aide was given to Morris County College and Morris County Technical School combined.
In addition to projects that are already underway, the county has also begun a multi- year strategic plan for 2014 and 2015. This plan is taking many things into consideration such as the Affordable Healthcare Act.
Committee Member Bailey Brower expressed his disappointment with several of the county's decisions, including several shortcomings with the shut-in program that ended roughly a year ago.