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Bulk Trash Fee, Other Ordinances Approved by Council

Other ordinances approved Tuesday night by Lawrence Township Council increase the fees charged for recreation programs and emergency medical services and create new fees for zoning permits.

During their four-hour-plus meeting Tuesday night (Dec. 18), members of Lawrence Township Council approved the four ordinances that were introduced at the Dec. 4 council meeting, including the one creating a user fee for bulk trash pickup. The passage of the bulk trash fee came despite vocal opposition from many township residents.

Also during the meeting, council agreed that the agenda for future meetings should be revised to allow an additional period of public participation toward the end of the meetings – something that has been requested by many township residents since July. Speakers during that second public comment period will be limited to three minutes.

Among the other business that took place at the meeting, the chief of the Slackwood Volunteer Fire Co. made a presentation about why the fire company’s aging snorkel fire truck needs to be replaced, and Township Manager Richard Krawczun provided an update on the deer hunt that the Mercer County Park Commission will be holding soon in Mercer Meadows Park.

A detailed report of the council meeting, with a full audio recording of the meeting, will be posted in the coming days.

 

Richard December 20, 2012 at 01:55 PM
I agree....they had the nerve to give themselves raises...their salaries are more than Beverly Hills, Ca. ...l! This fee is already included in our taxes....that is double taxation......
grill master December 20, 2012 at 02:06 PM
This is taken from the minutes of the 3-20-12 meeting. Which can be found here: http://www.lawrencetwp.com/documents/BoardsAndCommittees/Minutes/2012/TC_Mar20.pdf "Ms. Harle proceeded to read a long list of cost-saving ideas for Council’s consideration, to help offset the $2.2 million needed to preserve some of the available surplus funds, expand revenues and alleviate the tax burden in Lawrence, which included the Mayor and Council giving up or reducing their salaries until the financial crisis is over, the Municipal Manager and the Department Heads freezing their salaries or taking a pay cut, cutting employees to a four-day work week, merging more departments and eliminating positions over $80,000, billing taxes monthly instead of quarterly, placing exempt properties on the tax rolls, enacting renter fees and fees for students who attend educational institutes and use municipal services, merging the Recreation and Office on Aging Departments and transferring the Health Department over to the County Health Department. Ms. Harle stated she feels there is a lot of room for reduction and that the Township is going to have to try and come up with additional revenue even if it is a one-time shot being it is better than nothing, and taking away the garbage service is not going to solve their problem. She indicated that they are going to have to try and get things more under control this year so that they do not have a bigger budgetary problem next year."
grill master December 20, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Ms. Harle is a former council member, so I would imagine she has first hand knowledge of why this town is strapped for money. Here is Dick Krookzun's response to him taking a pay cut/freeze: "Mr. Krawczun stated he would like to address one other issue of a personal nature with regards to him taking a wage freeze or a pay cut. He indicated that he understands the resident’s frustration on that particular issue, but he would like to point out as the Township Manager his base salary is lower than his predecessor, who left in July 2005, he serves as the Chief Financial Officer but does not collect a full salary, as he only receives a portion of that salary, he fills in as the Community Development Director; a position that would be compensated at the Department Directors level and he does not take health benefits, that saves the taxpayers money. Mr. Krawczun advised if the Township had three full-time positions all receiving benefits the cost would easily be a few hundred thousand dollars or more and he can provide them those numbers, if needed. He understands that there is a lot of emotion; but he also thinks there should be a bit of fairness and he wants everyone to understand that he wears three hats in the Township and that he dedicates himself both professionally and personally to each of those positions, as he takes his job very seriously and tries to fill all three of those positions to the best of his ability." What BS, this is why we get the shaft.
Chief Wahoo December 20, 2012 at 02:25 PM
So basically he is saying that the town is in even worse financial situation, since he must do the job of 3 people even though people need jobs as unemployment in state is over 9%. Doesn't take health benefits means someone else in household is most likely a public leech. He is stealing your hard earned money , are you just going to hand it over to him with a smile. That's why he tried to bully the 17% tax increase. So he would not be exposed.
grill master December 20, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Well if he doesn't take a full salary as CFO, which he is paid about $180K currently, I'd hate to see how much he would make if he was taking the full salary!
JefeDeJefe December 20, 2012 at 03:09 PM
How do we vote out this entire council and force Mr. Krawczun's removal from his position? The Council-Manager form of government seems to prevent voters - with its overlapping elections - from discharging council members who fail to do the will of the voters.
Let's Dance December 20, 2012 at 03:39 PM
The Twp Mgr stated at the Council meeting that if he ran the Township like a business, which is what many residents have said they want, he would cut the police because they are the largest part of the budget. Hmmm...Council has previously stated that while they may be the elected officials who alone have exclusive power, they always do what the Twp Manager recommends because he's so brilliant....so why isn't Council cutting the fat police salaries and benefits that are the biggest municipal expense??? Stop the fear tactics, it's a cushy well paid job and we live in a town where the most reported type of crime involves loose change taken from an unlocked car. They will say anything to preserve their cake job, benefits and perks they get. Don't be fooled. The fat cats at the top should be the first cut and the rest need a dose of reality and more realistic union contracts. Thank you RK and Council for the wake-up call that came via the referendumn to raise taxes 17%...now you are all exposed and the residents are seeing red.
Victor December 20, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Fees like recreation fees are normally discretionary-you use the service and you pay the fee. You have the option not to use the service. This fee appears to be an intentional end run on closing the budget gap and is a tax. Governor Christie during the election said there were only 2 town municiplaities in NJ that asked for a variance and suggested voters vote against the increase.Lawrence did that. I wonder if the Governors office might provide some legal advice to town residents who would like to challenge this fee since it is not needed to cover the cost of service, it is being levied as a tax which has legal implications.
Your Kidding December 20, 2012 at 04:15 PM
The new fire truck is going to cost over 1 million, that's right, 1 million dollars. Do they really need it. What about getting a different kind of truck like the other two have. When is the last time they really used it at a fire. I'm talking a real fire, not all the fire alarms. Can't they call mutual aid from other towns who have this type of ladder truck. Oh I forgot, the leader of the council is a member there. Done deal I would imagine.
Let's Dance December 20, 2012 at 04:26 PM
and he admits at the meeting to being a lifetime member but sees no conflict of interest in being involved. Are you kidding me??? It's the good old boys at work again...robbing the hood. The only good news I can share is that I have heard he doesn't plan to run again and his term ends next year. Now that's what I call real property tax relief! I would gladly pay to have that trash removed!!!
ashley farina December 20, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Seriously a fee!?? We have to buy new recycle bins when your people damage them from throwing them. You already raise taxes. There a fee for taking down over the allotted 5 tree a year rule despite Irene and Sandy being the cause. You tried to fine my family for stink bugs, hello they are everywhere. And now a bulk trash fee, what are You going to do for us?! We pay and pay and PAY for every little thing you can come up with, just what are WE getting in return besides another bill in our mailbox? .
ashley farina December 20, 2012 at 05:59 PM
And further more there is a fee for moving out of state, you all received raises and bonus' for what reason I will never know. I think someone needs to come in and do the books, where is the money going because road conditions, side walks, trees leaning on live wires from Sandy STILL on carter road, are all NOT being taken care of!! You want to talk money, how Lawrence Township NEEDS money, take a cut in pay and then have a serious township meeting.
Linda December 20, 2012 at 06:32 PM
I have an idea, how about the people who keep voting for these incompetents pay all these fees? The same liberal spenders, election after election retain these council positions, how dumb are the constituents in this town? If any of these people were in the private sector they would have been fired for their incompetence. Richard Krawczun in the worst! He couldn't manage a child's piggy bank! In the meantime he is talking about how nobel he is to settle for his meager salary of $180,000???
larry December 20, 2012 at 07:45 PM
The reason he is not running for re election is because he knows the Dem's are finished next election give the Republicans a chance they can not do worse
IMHO December 20, 2012 at 08:48 PM
We can't afford to allow these Council crooks to complete their term. We have to get these criminals out now!!! Any ideas how we remove this trash out without litigation? Do we need to write to the Governor? Someone please educate us citizens on how we remove these morons from office. They are a disgrace & insult to the term “elected officials”. The council does not represent the town citizens so we need to get them out of office. There are attorneys residing in the township … someone please help us on the legal process to change the Council.
Lynden Arden December 20, 2012 at 08:52 PM
I just want to thank the cheapskates in Lawrence who couldn't muster the extra bucks for the shortfall. Now all of Lawrence has to be inconvienced by a bulk trash pickup fee! What's next, taking my own garbage to the dump? Next time when council tells you there is no more to cut listen up!
relo December 20, 2012 at 09:05 PM
testing
relo December 20, 2012 at 09:09 PM
With all the extravagant spending on employee compensation, and residents telling the council to get rid of longevity pay, and have a pay freeze for all township employees, the council insists on sticking it to the residents. While raising some fees has to be part of the solution, it should only occur AFTER compensation is addressed.
Ira L. Marks December 20, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Personally I think the fee hike in ambulance services is a far worse fee than the bulk trash removal fee. G-d help us all if we need to call a LT ambulance from both a medical and financial standpoint.
grill master December 21, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Being cheap or not has nothing to do with it. We don't NEED a bulk trash pickup service! It's nice to have, but not needed and as Max pointed out, we are already paying for it through our taxes. It's not like the sewer fee, where we all need to use the sewer system. The only thing this fee is, is a money grab. Krookzun refuses to make the cuts he needs to because it will hurt his salary and he is too chicken to stand up to the unions, so he made up this fee to fill in for his mismanagement of the finances of this town. Oh and that Puliti is a real piece of garbage. Gee, lets see...he is a member of the Slackwood fire company, don't you think he will do whatever he can to buy his buddies a new firetruck to play with?
Cowboy December 21, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Clueless!
grill master December 21, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Is the ambulance service fee an annual fee, regardless of whether you use it or not? NO, its not. So how do you figure it's worse?
2big kp December 21, 2012 at 07:48 PM
If we refuse to pay for bulk trash pu what r they going to do? Its not a tax so they cant put a tax lein on our property, r they going to arrest us for not donating to there personal luxury payroal. I agree with the others who would like info on haveing these crooks removed please help before we r broke and homeless while these fat cats are laughing all the way to the bank. The ambulance fee increase is a shame as older residents who cant afford the salaries of these fat cats will lay at home with chest pains broken bones etc because they cant afford an ambulance ride, you people who voted for this have no I repeat no concience. You should all be ashamed of yourselves and should resign immediatley so competent people can come in and straighten out our house.
J P December 22, 2012 at 07:15 PM
I have an idea: everyone bring your bulk trash to the mayors and leave it there. Let him deal with it.
KK on the Job December 23, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Do you buy Home owners insurance, Car Insurance, and or Health insurance. You don't buy these items be cause you plan to have an Accident, have a Heart Attack or have you roof ripped of by a storm. NO you don't. You buy them in the event of something like this happening. For you question of when was the last time the Snorkel have been fires where The Snorkel has been used. There were pictures on the patch to prove it. Does it get used every day, no thank god. Does it get used every month no but it does get used. Every type of truck has its job and the other trucks that you are talking about serve a similar purpose but not the same. Why should other towns support our towns and put a strain on there resources. They have a truck to cover there town and if it's not there they cant uses it. Where he is a member he has not stepped in the station for a fire call in years and is so far out of touch. Sir i hope you never need a Cop an EMT or the Fire Department but we need to have them there if they are needed.
Wyatt December 23, 2012 at 06:19 PM
What planet do you come from? Here is a bit of unofficial information. The police department has lost over 10 positions over the past few years. The police department went from around 70 officers to just below 60. Two Lieutenant positions have been lost. a Sergeant position lost. a Captain position lost. a Deputy Chief position lost. There are about another 10 officers who can retire within the next 18 months starting with two in mid 2013. No replacements have been hired to replace these retiring officers as of yet. Four officers transferred to Hamilton and non have been replaced. Add all that up and your upwards of a million dollars in salary, benefits and pension. The officers salaries are average for surrounding towns of similar size and below most of them. The comment about the most reported type of crime being loose change taken from unlocked cars just shows how out of touch you are. The town doesn`t have anymore to cut. Pay your $55 for bulk trash and stop the whining.
grill master December 23, 2012 at 07:44 PM
No, I think you are clueless, Cowboy. Prove what I said is wrong. So we should just keep throwing money at the police and fire departments, right?
Overtaxed December 23, 2012 at 08:19 PM
What kind of a local government is it? Charging for something many people won't use! What kind of nonsense people form such a people-unfriendly and non-effective municipal council? 17% municipal tax increase attempt just a few months ago!!! Don't the council and manager have a hearing problem? Sure they do, as they don't listen to the residents overwhelmingly speaking against any more fees, taxes and all other nonsense coming out of their council meetings. Do they know what a shame is? No, they don't! It is time for all of them to go. The sooner the better!
relo December 24, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Wyatt doesn't want to admit that the reason the police force is being reduced is because we can no longer afford them given their exhorbitant compensation - exceeding $160,000 in salary and benefits for a patrol officer. He makes the lame point that because neighboring towns overpay, we should too. I have a suggestiion - encourage our $100,000 + cops to leave, go to those neighboring towns, so we can hire two $50,000 cops. That will solve the staffing problem. The cops are making out like bandits- pun intended. The question is, does Krawszun have the backbone to stand up to the police union in the current contract negotiations.
VPPD December 24, 2012 at 02:37 PM
what happened to yesterdays trash pickup due to tuesday being a holiday? they can't get the regular trash picked up and now they want to make us pay for bulk.

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