Council Discusses Fire Alarm Ordinance at Work Session
Thursday, March 21, 2013 • 7:03am
LIVINGSTON, NJ – At Monday, March 3’s conference meeting, the council gathered to discuss several topics, including the hotly debated fire alarm ordinance.
During the work session, council members recalled previous citizen testimony, considered recommendations from the fire chief and township manager, and reviewed false alarm statistics and administrative costs.
After lengthy discussion, the council drafted another ordinance proposal. The initially stated annual fee of $50 would be changed to a one time registration of $30, and a $10 fee would be charged on an annual renewal basis.
False alarm fines were changed to reflect a first time fee of $100 with a $50 increase for each additional offense.
The fire alarm ordinance will be re-introduced at the next council meeting scheduled for April 8.
In addition to revising the fire alarm ordinance, council members also discerned possible effects that budget changes would have on certain programs.
Councilwoman Debra Shapiro addressed the library representatives by asking what would happen if their budget was “held flat.”
Larry Bergmann, a co-president of the library board responded by stating, “not good.” He explained that there are fixed expenses that cannot be moved such as utilities and payroll. “The only controllable expenses are materials,” said Bergmann. “If you don’t keep your collection current you will never catch up.”
Shapiro then asked if some of that cost could be shifted to fundraising. Bergmann replied by saying that, “Friends of the Library is already funding many programs, but you never know what that is going to bring in.” Friends of the Library is a fundraising group dedicated to supporting the Livingston Library.
Library Assistant Director Amy Hyfler also commented on the expectations of their library patrons. “They learn to expect getting things they want in a timely manner, cutting that would be backsliding.”
Police Chief Craig Handschuch was also asked similar question in regards to the Community Policing program. Shapiro asked what, if anything, could be reduced or eliminated.
Handschuch responded by saying, “I don’t think we could hold the quality.” He also explained that the officers in that unit are sometimes “reassigned in an effort to reduce overtime in the Patrol Division.”