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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 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 , 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: “”
  • Aug. 2: “”
  • July 20: “”
  • July 18: “”
  • June 21: “”
  • June 11: “”
  • May 24: ""
  • May 24: ""
  • May 18: “”
  • May 16: “”
  • May 14: “”
  • May 2: “”
  • May 2: “”
  • April 25: “”
  • April 20: “”
  • April 20: “”
  • April 18: ""
  • April 16: “”
  • April 16: “”
  • April 13: “”
  • April 12: “”
  • April 11: “”
  • April 10: ""
  • April 2: ""
  • March 28: “”
  • March 26: “”
  • March 26: “
  • March 20: “”
  • March 14: “”
  • March 8: “”
  • Feb. 23: “”
  • Feb. 9: “”
  • Jan. 18: “”

 

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Chief Wahoo August 21, 2012 at 03:31 PM
the democRATS are starting to eat each other ....
Robert D. Weber August 21, 2012 at 04:22 PM
So, is the garbage collection issue now back on the table??? I thought the State of NJ was in the process of passing legislation that would prevent municipalities from balancing their budgets by forcing residents to contract for individual garbage collection??? A better option might be to bag the Township brush collection system, hire an independent contractor and then have residents pay for the removal of their brush to the Township Recycling Center?? Bob Weber
grill master August 21, 2012 at 04:57 PM
The legislation would make it illegal to charge a separate fee for trash collection. Now Crookzun has pulled out his next scare tactic...eliminate trash collection altogether. We should eliminate him as well as the trash collection. I'd rather pay for my trash to be collected than pay for this piece of trash to "manage" our town.
Let's Dance August 21, 2012 at 05:21 PM
The Twp Manager is patting himself on the back for finding a loophole in the legislation- since charging a fee is no longer an option, his idea is to eliminate it as a service all together. Here's my idea- eliminate his $190,000 position and let the Comptroller report at the Council meetings. That would help the budget and get rid of a lot of hot air!
Lawrenceville 4 Life August 21, 2012 at 06:08 PM
This is really a sad time for Lawrenceville. I personally believe that Richard has the best interest of the community in mind. With Christie dealing a bad hand of cards to municipalities each town is faced with a different set of circumstances on how it is affected. Obviously Lawrenceville was amongst the harder hit municipalities in the area. With that said, I really wish there was a way to deal with the situation without anymore layoffs. I am close friends with one of the female officers transferring out of Lawrenceville and know that she is devastated to leave this community as a public servant. She took great pride in Lawrenceville and was eager to better her community. What a shame to lose such a dedicated, educated and professional example of a home grown Lawrencian who decided to make a life in her home town. I speak against anymore layoffs and beg the manager and council to please find a way to hold onto our employees who depended on you for secure employment in their home town. All of you pride yourself on the strong sense of community we have in Lawrenceville. Laying off life long residents who are working towards a better community is a direct contradiction to that pride you enjoy spreading. Put your money where your mouth is and please let's not lose one more employee through layoffs. These poor people have had their worlds turned upside down. And Mr. Puliti you will never get my vote ever again. Your arrogance is beyond upsetting. God Bless Lawrenceville.
John Kelly August 21, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Thank you, Lawrence Patch, for such thorough and competent -- nay, above and beyond -- coverage of these manifold issues!
Chief Wahoo August 21, 2012 at 08:51 PM
life would have been so much easier for Dick Krawczun if the taxpayers would have just passed that darn referendum ......his ponzi could have continued uninterrupted
Out of Towner August 21, 2012 at 10:43 PM
I listened to the audio between Puliti and Davis, and as far as I'm concerned, Puliti owes Davis a public apology. He should be ashamed of himself for acting that way, in front of everyone and on public record. As far as I'm concerned he is an embarrassment to the council and as far as him being concerned for the residents, he's just blowing smoke. If he gets elected again it will be a joke. He probably won't run again because he knows he will get trounced in an election. Do yourself a favor Mr Puliti, ride off into the sunset, and let someone with a better sense of compassion take your place.
Sick of this bs August 22, 2012 at 04:45 AM
When will Puliti realize he doesn't run the council meetings? The Mayor does. Puliti sure does owe ms. Davis a public apology. He is exactly an example of what this towns government has evolved into, a closed minded, fascist, arrogant, self serving mess. We the tax payers are left to pay for and live in the trench that this current mess of a government is making for us. It's time for a huge change in elected officials. It's also time for a new police chief who can keep his department out of the everyday media. I personally do not think Mr. Krawzcun is the problem. I think his hands are tied with the inept council and chief.
Stinki Garbaage August 25, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Super weak leadership by Kownacki is what it is. He runs the meetings in a whisper. The most reluctant leader I've ever seen. He let's Puliti run the meetings. Happens all the time.
peggy valli August 26, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Look beyond the surface. Mayor Kownacki is a workhorse not a show pony for Lawrence. His energy is directed at doing good for the township 24/7. Our past Mayors had the good fortune to serve during better economic conditions than we find ourselves dealing with today. Mayor Kownacki was not voted to council for his public speaking skills but was elected for his honesty and his willingness to work hard.

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