2013 Municipal Budget Discussion Resumes Tonight
Lawrence Township Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. today, Tuesday, Aug. 21. Copies of the meeting agenda and Township Manager Richard Krawczun’s explanatory memo are available for review.
The next meeting of Lawrence Township Council will take place today, Tuesday, Aug. 21, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the municipal building at 2207 Lawrence Rd. (Route 206).
Copies of the meeting agenda and Township Manager Richard Krawczun’s explanatory memo can be downloaded from the township’s website or viewed from the Patch media box at the right.
According to Krawczun’s memo, discussions about the 2013 municipal budget will continue at this meeting.
Listed on the meeting agenda for council’s consideration tonight are:
- 25 resolutions, authorizing various actions from the hiring of “special counsel” in the Simone Investment Group’s lawsuit against Lawrence Township to the refunding of escrow funds;
- three ordinances due for adoption;
- three ordinances due for introduction, including one concerning funding for the pending township-wide property revaluation;
- one bid award and one bid rejection.
During the last meeting held July 17, Krawczun advised council members that – using estimated numbers and educated guesses – it was projected that the township will have a municipal budget shortfall of $932,008 for 2013.
Two possible ways to address such a budget gap were then discussed by Krawczun at that July 17 meeting: the layoff of nine additional municipal employees during 2013, including four more police officers; or the complete elimination of municipal government involvement in garbage collection in favor of a system whereby residents would be responsible for securing their own individual trash haulers.
The July 17 meeting concluded with a complaint from resident Amy Davis about public participation taking place at the beginning of council meetings and there being no opportunity for the public to offer comments and ask questions later in the meetings, particularly after the township manager has given his report.
“I’m always riveted by the manager’s report at every council meeting, similar to the agency I work for. We have our executive director’s report first thing in our meetings. Immediately following that we open it up for public comment. So I really find it disturbing that – you see I’m attending every council meeting and I intend to do that for quite some time – that after I listen to the manager’s report, which is filled with very insightful information, [there is no public comment period]. I think there are several of us here that would like to comment on that and ask questions but unfortunately every month we are not afforded that opportunity,” Davis told Mayor Jim Kownacki.
“With all due respect, in the future, yourself and the council members, please seriously consider adding public comment after the manager’s report at every meeting and before executive session, like other public bodies do,” Davis continued. “I’d really appreciate it. I think some other people would as well.”
There followed a brief but heated exchange between Davis and Councilman Greg Puliti, with the councilman telling the resident: “The reason that we have public participation at the beginning of the meeting and then the manager gives the report to council is so that council can digest what the manager tells us and we get to ask him questions and be informed and be able to answer questions of the public at the next meeting. It’s his time for interaction with council, because we go back to him in the morning, and I say, ‘Rich, OK, go back to this, go back to this, go back to this.’ That’s why we’re up here on council. Certainly, with all due respect, at the next council meeting, we’ll take questions at the beginning of the meeting and answer them thoroughly.”
That exchange between Davis and the council can be found beginning at the 1:05:45 mark of the July 17 meeting audio, which can be found in the media box above.
For Municipal Budget Background, See:
- Aug. 20: “Lawrence Cops Seeking Transfers to New Department”
- Aug. 2: “Council Sends Out Appeal to Tax-Exempt Groups”
- July 20: “Council Authorizes $199,500 More for Legal Services”
- July 18: “Council to Ponder More Layoffs, Ending Garbage Pickup”
- June 21: “Cuts to Township Brush Collection Schedule Proposed”
- June 11: “Township to Seek 'Voluntary Contributions' from Tax-Exempt Organizations”
- May 24: "Amended Municipal Budget Adopted, Layoffs to Happen"
- May 24: "Letter to the Editor: 'Day of Reckoning' for Lawrence"
- May 18: “Letters to the Editor: Police Chief Should Retire”
- May 16: “Township Council Moves Forward With Layoff Plan”
- May 14: “Letter to the Editor: ‘Don’t Give Up the Ship”
- May 2: “Patch Readers: No Cuts to Police”
- May 2: “Township Council to Decide Budget Changes by May 15”
- April 25: “Balancing Lawrence Township’s Budget”
- April 20: “Help the Council Balance the Budget”
- April 20: “Council Gets an Earful in Wake of Referendum's Defeat”
- April 18: "Tax Increase, School Budget Shot down by Voters"
- April 16: “Governor Weighs in on Municipal Tax Referendum”
- April 16: “Sample Ballot for Tuesday’s Election Contains Error”
- April 13: “Letter to the Editor: Resident Opposed to Tax Hike Urges Council to 'Go Back to Drawing Board'”
- April 12: “Municipal Tax Referendum Forum to be Held Tonight”
- April 11: “Letter to the Editor: Township Manager Explains 'Need' for Tax Referendum's Approval”
- April 10: "Letter to the Editor: Municipal Tax Referendum is 'Best Option to Preserve Services With the Least Cost'"
- April 2: "Residents Grill Township Officials on Tax Referendum"
- March 28: “School Budget, Municipal Tax Referendum Subjects of Rival Meetings Thursday”
- March 26: “Municipal Budget Introduced, Stage Set for Tax Increase Referendum”
- March 26: “Last Chance to Register to Vote for School Board & Tax Referendum”
- March 20: “Township Manager Answers Tax Referendum Questions”
- March 14: “Trash ‘User Fee’ Would Be Mandatory If Tax Referendum Is Voted Down”
- March 8: “Usage Rate for Sewer Bill to Increase 15 Percent”
- Feb. 23: “36 Layoffs, Recreation Cuts Rejected by Town Council”
- Feb. 9: “Details of Tax Referendum, Other Alternatives Given”
- Jan. 18: “Township Manager Presents Proposed 2012 Budget, Recommends Referendum to Exceed Tax Increase Cap”