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May 14, 2007


A Special School Budget Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Roxbury was held on May 14, 2007 at the Senior Center at Horseshoe Lake at 8:00 pm.


 OPEN PUBLIC MEETING STATEMENT                                                                    

Notice is hereby given that A Special Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Roxbury scheduled for Monday, May 14, 2007 at 8:00 PM.  This is to allow the Township Council to discuss the 2007 defeated School Budget. 


Adequate notice of this meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Roxbury was given as required by the Open Public Meetings Act as follows:  Notice was faxed to the Daily Record, the Newark Star Ledger and the Roxbury Register on May 9, 2007; notice was posted on the bulletin board in the main hallway of the Municipal Building on May 9, 2007.


ROLL CALL:  (Present) Councilwoman Kathy DeFillippo, Councilmen Richard Zoschak, Fred Hall, Jim Rilee, Martin Schmidt, Tim Smith and Mayor John Ciaramella


ALSO PRESENT:  Christopher Raths, Township Manager, Anthony Bucco, Township Manager, and Janet Rieth, Deputy Township Clerk


Thomas Ferry, Auditor from Ferraioli, Wielkotz, Cerullo & Cuva arrived at 8:00 PM.


 At this time the Board of Education opened their meeting.





New Business: None



Old Business:  None






  1. Review of 2007 Operating School Operating Budget


Mr. Raths advised that there are three resolutions before Council tonight for a total revision of $204,000.00 or one tax point.  One resolution reflects the straight revision of $204,000.00; one  reflects a revision of $124,000.00 and $80,000 for services to hire a qualified special education supervisor and the third for $154,000 and $50,000 for hiring a special education supervisor.


Mr. Bucco advised that the school district receives extraordinary aid, which is not budgeted, in the approximate amount of $250,000. Therefore, the auditor, Tom Ferry,  has recommended that  $150,000 could be increased in revenue in the budget.  There is an additional $54,000 that could be saved as a result in the decrease in the transfers to cover deficit in the “Enterprise” fund and the auditor believes that the food service Enterprise fund will have sufficient retained earnings based upon its prior years figures and would be able to sustain a decrease of $54,000.  That is the total of the $204,000 revision to the budget.  The two modifications to that would be if Council decides to provide the School Board with $50,000 to help offset the cost of hiring the special education supervisor, or whether the Council decides to provide the Board with $80,000 to help offset those costs.  


Dennis Mack, Superintendent of Schools, commended Tom Ferry on the excellent job he has done.  Mr. Mack further discussed the possibility of opening the school in Berkshire Valley for special education and that a full time administrator would be needed for that location. The current cost of special education is $2.7 million and any chance to defray those costs is appreciated.  While they welcome the $50,000, that amount would not put an administrator in the special education  building.


Mr. Badini, Board of Education President, stated that the Board appreciates all the work that has been done and hopes that the Council will allow the $80,000.


Mrs. Castriotta, Board Member, questioned if there is a written report of what the auditor found.  Mr. Ferry stated that he made a recommendation to the Mayor and Council, which Mr. Bucco explained tonight.  Mr. Bucco advised that a formal written report was not prepared. The only report that he prepared and addressed to the Council was the two line items which were discussed tonight. Mr. Rilee advised that an analysis of the budget was not done.


Mr. Ferry gave the Board of Education and the public a synopsis and advised that extraordinary state aid, approximately $250,000.00, is given at this time of year.  Historically this has gone into surplus.  Mr. Ferry stated that the Board could use some of this surplus so it does not impact on budget line items. The other line item is the Enterprise fund, which is the cafeteria. The State of New Jersey allows a certain dollar amount to be put in the budget in case the food service has a deficit.  This fund has approximately $100,000.00, which is enough of a cushion to absorb decreases. 


Mr. Hall explained what has taken place in the Township in the last 7 to 8 years.  In the last 8 years there have been five failed school budgets and the net impact of all of these reductions is approximately $2.7 million. Mr. Bucco stated that  the Council has decided not to fund the special question that was on the ballot.


Discussion ensued regarding the use of the Berkshire Valley building.  Mr. Smith stated that there is no set date to open the building, but it is hoped that there will be a sense of urgency and that is part of the reason that the Council is taking less of a reduction.  Mr. Mack stated that special education is a high priority of the District and it would be a high priority to get the building reopened.



Robert Bednarcik, Condit St., Succasunna, commended the Board of Education and the Township Council and is impressed that the Community is working together.  He is glad to hear that there may be a special education facility in the Township.


Robert Kluska, Emmans Road, Flanders, stated that he totally supports all of the expenditures for the education of the students and discussed various concerns with the school budget.


Mrs. Chesler, Righter Road, Succasunna, stated that taxes are driving seniors out of town and this is why seniors vote against the budget.


Ralph Nappi, Landing, spoke about various concerns with the budget, especially the cost of special education students.   


Mel Prestamo, Reger Road, Succasunna asked if once an individual plan is written for a special needs student and the parents agree to the plan, can the school district do anything about the spending.  Mr. Mack stated that once the plan is written the school district has no say in how much money is spent.


Mr. Rogers, 20 Main St, Succasunna, discussed the cost per student for busing and asked if there is a seat provided for every student who is eligible.  Mr. Badini stated that a seat is not provided for everyone.  The district takes into account those students who may be driving. 


Ann Matheson Patricia Road, Flanders, stated that she wants the schools to stay strong and feels that the Council and School Board are doing a good job. 


Debbie Kleinsorgen, 28 Joyce Drive, asked that the Council think of the students when considering reductions.


Mrs. Chesler, Righter Road, Succasunna, stated that none of the seniors want anything essential cut from the budget.


Mr. Bednarcik, Condit Street, Succasunna, asked what the cost is per student in Roxbury and where it ranks in Morris County. Mr. Mack stated that at the high school it is approximately $13,000.  The elementary schools are lower, but it is towards the bottom in the County.  Mr. Mack further stated that Roxbury has the lowest starting teacher salary in Morris County.


Greg Somjen, Cornhollow Road, Succasunna, thanked the Council and the Board of Education for the effort they have put in to bring this to a conclusion. 


Ed Kirchgessner, 27 Honeyman Dr, Succasunna, stated that he does not want the seniors blamed for the budget defeat.


Mel Prestamo, Reger Road, Succasunna stated that apathy, not the seniors, defeated the budget.


Judy Waldron, Mechanic Street, Succasunna, stated that she does not blame the Board of Education.  She puts the blame on those who let this town grow out of proportion.


Mr. Zoschak stated that the State of New Jersey recently passed a law to help the Boards of Education and municipalities.  Boards of Education can now join the Joint Insurance Fund and Health Insurance Fund to help with insurance costs.


Mr. Smith stated that, on the last Master Plan, the places where housing can be built were drastically reduced.  Certain types of development will not bring children, but will bring ratables, which will help reduce taxes.  He agrees that academics are very important, but he also feels that extracurricular activities are  important and it is difficult to find the balance when looking at where to cut money from the budget.


Mrs. DeFillippo stated that there is a silent majority that did not come out to vote. She further stated that she hears what the public is saying, that they want to be able to compete with other towns, but we have to be careful about spending the money.


Mr. Hall stated that the largest growth in Roxbury Township happened between 1990 and 2000 when there was a 17% to 19% increase in the residential population.  Since 2000 that has decreased to 2% to 3% on a yearly basis.  The reason this happened is due to zoning and proper planning to eliminate as best as possible, a high residential growth in the Township.  The Council also purchased property for open space.  He further stated that we must accelerate our shared services opportunities.


Mrs. Castriotta, Board of Education Member, stated that trying to get apathetic people to come out to vote is a very difficult situation.  This is something that needs to be looked at for the future. 


Mr. Rilee stated that there are steps that can be taken to get more people out to vote. He feels that the time of the Board election must be changed; however, at this time, this is not supported by the School Board Associations of New Jersey.  Mr. Rilee further stated that mandates, such as the cost per student for Special Education students, tie the hands of both the Board of Education and the Council.


Mayor Ciaramella thanked everyone for the effort that was taken.


07-175     A Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Roxbury Pursuant to N.J.S.A.   18A:22-37 Certifying to the Morris County Board of Taxation the Amount of $45,666,113, (Including $43,503,488 for General Fund Expenses and $2,162,625 for Debt Service) to be Raised by Real Property Taxation to Provide a Thorough and Efficient System of Education for the Roxbury Township School District for the Fiscal Year 2007-2008


Mr. Zoschak made a motion to adopt Resolution 07-175.  Mrs. DeFillippo seconded the motion.


Mrs. DeFillippo stated that while she understands that the $80,000 would be more helpful, she cannot support that because the majority rules and the budget did not pass.


Mr. Zoschak  stated that nothing was taken away from the children.


Mr. Badini asked if the Board of Education cannot hire a special education supervisor with the $50,000, can anything else be done with it.  Mr. Bucco stated that the Council is making recommended cuts through certain line items and increases to line items in regard to anticipated revenue.  The Board of Education does not have to accept those specific recommendations.  The Council will be authorizing a tax levy and what they do with it is up to them. The resolution recommends that the Board pursues the course of action for the special education supervisor and uses the $50,000 towards that, but they are not required to do that by law.   


Roll Call:

Mr. Zoschak – yes        Mrs. DeFillippo – yes

Mr. Hall – yes               Mr. Rilee – yes

Mr. Schmidt – yes         Mr. Smith – yes

Mayor Ciaramella – yes


Motion carried 7 - 0



APPROVAL OF MINUTES                                                                                             
















INTRODUCTION AND ADOPTION OF RESOLUTIONS                                           

07-175    A resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Roxbury pursuant to N.J.S.A.

            18A:22-37 Certifying to the Morris County Board of Taxation the amount of   $45,696,113 (including $43,533,488 for general fund expenses and $2,162,625 for debt service) to be raised by real property taxation to provide thorough and efficient system of education for the Roxbury Township School District for the fiscal; year 2007-2008

   Previously discussed and adopted












At 9:40 PM Mr. Rilee made a motion to adjourn the Special Meeting.  Mrs. DeFillippo seconded the   motion.


 All In Favor - yes                                                                                                                


Submitted By:




BettyLou DeCroce

Township Clerk


DATE:                        September 25, 2007

ROLL CALL:            Mr. Rilee – yes Mr. Smith – yes

                                    Mrs. DeFillippo – yes   Mr. Hall – yes

                                    Mr. Zoschak – yes       Mayor Ciaramella - yes