Daily Archives: February 14, 2012

January 18th meeting of the Middletown Library Board sets the tone for the year. The Demands, the Numbers, and the Possibilities Part 1

by guest blogger Linda Baum

This is my second post about the 1/18/12 Library Board meeting. See my January 24th post to read about the controversy over the Board’s leadership. A lot has happened since the January meeting, as you all know. Library Trustee Sherry Miloscia resigned from the Board for personal reasons effective January 20th. Trustee and Board President Randall Gabrielan resigned from the Board effective February 7th. Seven out of nine members remain, and the Township Committee now has majority control of the Board with 4 out of 7 votes. If they fill the two empty seats, the Township will have 6 out of 9 votes and a two thirds majority.

******

The January 18th meeting was the first for the newly expanded 9-member Board. The five new faces on the Board presented a challenge for Library Director Susan O’Neal, who is to be commended for responding to a great many questions with patience, good humor, and

expertise.
Throughout the meeting, there was harsh, often aggressive criticism from the new Township appointees, who had clearly decided in advance what their collective approach would be. They seemed ready to air all of their complaints on day one. There wasn’t time for all of it at that meeting, but “just wait till the next meeting”, as an anonymous commenter on this blog warned.

The next Library Board meeting is this Wednesday, February 15th at 7:30 p.m. at the main branch on New Monmouth Road. I encourage you all to attend. (FYI, the meeting actually begins at 7:00 p.m., but the Board will go into closed session for about a half hour right after the meeting is called to order.)

Much was discussed at the January meeting, which ran almost 5 hours. Since there is incorrect information “out there”, I wanted to provide all the facts, making this my longest post by far. I organized topics by heading to make things easier for readers, and had to break up the post into three separate parts for the blog, each still long. This is part one.

THE PARKING LOT EXPANSION

Early in the meeting, it was announced that resources now exist for the parking lot expansion that was put on hold last year. The initial traffic study for the lot expansion has already been completed by Maser Consulting. The key parts of the project are improvements in safety (more lighting, traffic calming, crosswalks), more handicapped spaces, a drop off zone for short term parking, and additional parking spaces (approximately 35 more spaces).

The project is expected to cost roughly $122K-150K. Available monies include reserves, largely from expense savings that the Library was able to achieve last year, plus state aid monies.

Recall that per the 2011 agreement with the Township, the Library has two options for paying for capital improvements – they can pay cash or pay the debt service on bonds/notes issued by the Township. Libraries are not allowed to themselves issue debt, so the two payment options may not represent anything new. The Board has always preferred to save up until they have enough money for a project rather than to incur debt and pay interest. The Township does the opposite.

Also, the Library is now required to use the Township’s consulting engineer, T&M Associates, for any engineering work. T&M is not on retainer with the Township, so will bill for its services. Since the work is being directed to T&M without competitive bidding — the Library Board would normally request bids/quotes for this job — the cost could be higher than what the Library would otherwise pay.

THE POSSIBILITIES: “Restricting” about $150,000 in reserves for the lot expansion is to be discussed at the Board’s February 15th meeting. Since, by law, library reserves that are restricted for capital projects cannot be taken by the Township, the new trustees are sure to be opposed to it. I suspect they will make the case for allowing the Township to sell bonds/notes to raise money for the work. I suppose the new trustees could take a different tack and say the lot expansion isn’t necessary. However, part of the reason for the project is to improve safety, and I don’t think the Township would want to be seen as being against that.

Aside from leaving more reserves on the table for the Township’s use, the Township would benefit from the debt sale in several ways that I won’t get into here.

THE NUMBERS: If the Library pays cash for the lot expansion, their current budget will show the total cost of the project, or about $150,000. If the Library pays debt service, the budget for each of the next 20-25 years will show the lower debt service payment, say $15,000. The latter option results in a higher budget in future years, but a budget cut of about $135,000 for the current year.

A $135,000 cut in the Library budget increases the “take” by the Township by MORE than $135,000 — by $162,000. Here’s why. Per law, the Library can keep a portion of its unrestricted reserves equal to 20% of its annual budget. If the budget is cut, that “frees up” some additional reserves on top of the amount cut from the budget. In short, for every $1 cut from the Library’s budget, the Township increases its take by $1.20. A CAVEAT: The new Board could vote to hand over 100% of the Library’s reserves to the Township. If so, then one dollar cut from the library’s budget is just one dollar of reserves available for the taking.

State aid monies are off limit to the Township, so would remain with the Library. Any restricted reserves are protected, but can always be unrestricted by a willing Board.

THE 2012 BUDGET

Ms. Murray objected to the 2012 budget being approved in December before the new Board came in and said that it should be re-opened.

Ms. O’Neal pointed out that the Township typically requires the Library Board to have the budget for a year in place by October of the prior year. The Township didn’t need the Library’s 2012 budget as early as usual, so the Board had a couple of extra months to incorporate more finalized information. So the December approval was later, not earlier, than usual. Ms. O’Neal emphasized that the budget was adopted in line with required procedure, not in anticipation of a different point of view, as has been suggested by anonymous commenters.

Board president Randy Gabrielan advised that the budget is a planning document only that is not written in stone.

And while it wasn’t said, the budget for a year is supposed to be ready before the start of that year — that is the way most well run organizations do it, even if the Township doesn’t.

Because the January agenda was already full, Mr. Gabrielan suggested that a detailed discussion about finances be postponed until the February 15th Board meeting.

Marjorie Cavalier suggested that specific financial issues might be better handled by an ad-hoc committee. There was agreement that the Finance Committee would be reconstituted, and Ms. Murray will be on it.

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Filed under Board of Trustees, Finance Committee, library board, Linda Baum, Middletown Library, Randall Gabrielan

Lautenberg, Menendez, Pallone Call on President to Reconsider Plan to Close NOAA Sandy Hook Lab

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 14, 2012

WASHINGTON—One day after the Obama Administration released a budget plan that eliminates funding for the fisheries lab at Sandy Hook, U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), today called on the President to reconsider his decision to close the lab. The members vowed to work through the Congressional appropriations process to restore funding for this successful research facility.

“Today, the research that is performed at the NOAA lab produces vital information on marine species that serves as a foundation for our economy and jobs across the region,” the Congress members wrote to President Obama. “We will work to prevent the closure of this facility during the upcoming appropriations process and we ask that you reconsider your position. The NOAA laboratory at Sandy Hook is a vital facility and maintaining it will allow the important scientific research that is performed in one of the country’s most unique and biologically diverse environments to continue.”

A copy of the letter’s text is below:

February 14, 2012

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to express our strong opposition to the proposal in your Fiscal Year 2013 Budget to close the NOAA Fisheries Service James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory at Sandy Hook, New Jersey. The closure of this lab would have a negative impact on NOAA’s ability to carry out its mission and damage progress that has been made in fisheries-based scientific research.

The NOAA laboratory, dedicated in September 1961, was the first federal scientific laboratory devoted solely to research on marine recreational species. The opening of this lab reflected the importance of acquiring scientific information to support the sustainability of marine resources that are greatly important to coastal communities. Today, the research that is performed at the NOAA lab produces vital information on marine species that serves as a foundation for our economy and jobs across the region.

The NOAA laboratory at Sandy Hook performs critical research that not only supports New Jersey marine habitats, but also provides greater insight into the issues our nation faces in maintaining a clean and sustainable ocean environment. The decision to close the NOAA laboratory will put all of this critical research at risk and limit our understanding of how we can best protect the ocean environment and the ocean-based economy.

This past September, NOAA staff including Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries Eric Schwaab celebrated 50 years of important achievements made at the NOAA laboratory at Sandy Hook. Now, just a few short months later, your budget proposes to put an end to the important work that is done at the lab.

We will work to prevent the closure of this facility during the upcoming appropriations process and we ask that you reconsider your position. The NOAA laboratory at Sandy Hook is a vital facility and maintaining it will allow the important scientific research that is performed in one of the country’s most unique and biologically diverse environments to continue.

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Filed under budget cuts, Congressman Frank Pallone, fisheries, NOAA labs, President Obama, Sandy Hook, US. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, US. Sen. Robert Menendez

Vin Gopal Announces Candidacy for Monmouth County Democratic Party Chairman

Receives overwhelming support across Monmouth County from more than 100 Democratic Leaders and the unanimous endorsement of the Monmouth-Ocean AFL-CIO Central Labor Council

February 14th, 2012

Contact: 732-299-5625

LONG BRANCH – Democratic activist and local businessman Vin Gopal formally announced his candidacy for Monmouth County Democratic Party Chairman with the support of more than 100 Democratic Party municipal chairs, mayors, elected officials and local leaders.

After serving as the Monmouth County Democratic Party Chairman for 24 years, Victor V. Scudiery recently announced that he would not seek another term as the County Chair.

“Victor has led our party with courage and integrity, growing this county’s Democratic organization and helping to elect dozens of Democrats throughout the county” said Gopal. “I know that he will continue to support Democrats after June as he focuses on his other business and charitable endeavors.”

In an impressive show of support, elected Democrats throughout Monmouth County signed a letter touting Gopal’s record of fundraising and organizing. These Democratic party leaders are encouraging fellow Democrats to support Gopal, citing his recent bid for the New Jersey State Assembly, where he received the most votes of any Democratic legislative candidate in Monmouth County. Gopal was also the only Monmouth County Democratic Legislative Candidate who received an endorsement from the Asbury Park Press and his team was able to raise over $200,000 for his campaign.

Gopal has spent the last six years organizing and fundraising for Democratic campaigns throughout Monmouth County. Gopal has hosted over thirty fundraisers, which helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Democratic candidates for municipal and county races. Gopal’s aggressive fundraising efforts have helped the Democrats win elections in key municipalities and his grass roots organizing has led to the formation of new Democratic Clubs in Colts Neck, Neptune City, Little Silver, West Long Branch and other municipalities.

Joe Caliendo, Chairman of the Middletown Democratic Party, which has 92 County Committee seats and would be crucial to any candidate’s effort to become the County Chairman, has endorsed Gopal, stating: “I am supporting Vin Gopal because he brings energy and experience, a combination we need for the Monmouth County Democrats. I will let our delegation know why I am supporting Vin this June as Victor Scudiery’s successor.”

Gopal currently owns and operates several businesses, including a chain of community publications supported by over 200 advertisers that reach over 35,000 homes and businesses each month. He also owns and operates a retail embroidery and sign store in Hazlet that serves more than 1,000 customers per year. Gopal serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Northern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Trustees of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth County and is President of the Hazlet Business Owners Association. Gopal also volunteered for many years as an EMT for rescue squads in Freehold and Colts Neck.

A graduate of Penn State University, Vin Gopal is a former legislative aide to New Jersey Assemblyman Herb Conaway and former fundraiser for Newark City Councilman Ron Rice, Jr. He resides in Long Branch, NJ.

Please see below for full text of endorsement.

Dear County Committee Member:

“With news that Monmouth County Democratic Party Chairman Victor Scudiery will retire in June, we fully endorse Vin Gopal as the next county chairman.

We believe that Vin, as County Chairman, will best carry on the work that Vic Scudiery started and will help lead our party toward Democratic victories across the county. While Vic’s generosity and commitment can never be replaced, we know that the Monmouth County Democratic Party under Vin will emphasize a new vigor, fresh perspective and a bright future for all Democrats.

We are confident that Vin will provide the leadership we need because he has a proven record of fundraising, organizing, and party-building. Vin has hosted over thirty fundraisers for municipal and county candidates, helping to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. Vin has also been the driving force in the formation of many new Democratic Clubs such as West Long Branch, Colts Neck, and Neptune City. Additionally, Vin has built alliances statewide that will move Monmouth County forward.

As a candidate for State Assembly this past year, Vin was the only Democratic legislative candidate from Monmouth County to win the endorsement of The Asbury Park Press. He was also the highest vote-getter of any Democratic legislative candidate in Monmouth County this year. Vin has been there for every one of us and we are confident he will be an outstanding party chairman who will unite Democrats across this county.

Based on all of these reasons and many others, we are proud to stand with Vin Gopal today and we will stand with him in June at our convention. We all look forward to urging our respective county committee members to support Vin because he is the best person to lead our party.”

Signed below.

DEMOCRATIC MUNICIPAL CHAIRS

Bill Shenton, Aberdeen

Amy Quinn, Asbury Park & County Dems Vice-Chair

Luis Pulido, Belmar

Ed Cicchi, Bradley Beach

Rick Ambrosia, Colts Neck

Matt Cohen, Fair Haven

J.J. Mistretta, Freehold Township

Rebecca Kane, Highlands

Andy Bace, Hazlet

Tony Orsini, Holmdel

Steve Morlino, Howell

Robert Napoli, Interlaken

John McCarthy, Keansburg
Bob Bergen, Keyport

Daniel J. O’Hern, Little Silver

Mike Ryan, Lake Como

Gerry Ward, Manalapan
Florlee Wan, Matawan

Joe Caliendo, Middletown

Jackie Dollive, Neptune City

Jim Mowczan, Neptune

Janice Robbins, Ocean Township

Ed Zipprich, Red Bank

Ann Baker, Roosevelt

Dina Long, Sea Bright

Norma Rosenbloom, Shrewsbury Borough

Ed Nolan, Shrewsbury Township

Michael Lee, Tinton Falls

Ken Connors, Union Beach

Eric Brophy, Wall Township

Larry Shapiro, West Long Branch

ELECTED OFFICIALS

Aberdeen Mayor Fred Tagliarini

Asbury Park Mayor Ed Johnson

Belmar Mayor Matthew Doherty

Bradley Beach Mayor Julie Schreck

Neptune Mayor Randy Bishop

Lake Como Mayor Mike Ryan

Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long

Roosevelt Mayor Beth Battel

Shrewsbury Mayor Ed Nolan

Spring Lake Mayor Jennifer Naughton

Aberdeen Deputy Mayor Margaret Montone
Asbury Park Deputy Mayor John Loffredo

Neptune Deputy Mayor Eric Houghtaling

Aberdeen Councilman Greg Cannon

Atlantic Highlands Councilman Roy Dellosso

Freehold Borough Council President George Schnurr

Hazlet Committeeman Joe Belasco

Highlands Councilman Chris Francy

Highlands Councilwoman Rebecca Kane

Highlands Councilman Kevin Redmond

Holmdel Committeeman Larry Fink

Interlaken Councilman Robert Napoli
Keyport Council President Christian Bolte

Keyport Councilman Kenneth McPeek

Keyport Councilman Joe Sheridan

Keyport Councilwoman Joy-Michele Tomczak
Lake Como Councilwoman Marni McFadden-Lee
Lake Como Councilwoman Patricia Tzibrouk
Little Silver Councilman Daniel J. O’Hern
Neptune Committeeman Kevin McMillan
Neptune Committeewoman Mary Beth Jahn
Red Bank Council President Art Murphy

Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich

Red Bank Councilwoman Kathy Horgan

Red Bank Councilwoman Juanita Lewis

Red Bank Councilwoman Sharon Lee

Spring Lake Councilwoman Janice Venables

Spring Lake Councilwoman Priscilla Reilly

Spring Lake Councilman Bob Drasheff

Mike Beson, Democratic Leader

FORMER FREEHOLDERS

Former Monmouth County Freeholder Amy Mallet

Former Monmouth County Freeholder John D’Amico

Former Monmouth County Freeholder John Villapiano

LABOR LEADERS

Monmouth Ocean AFL-CIO CLC – Official Unanimous Endorsement
Wyatt Earp
Mike Ryan

Pete Geronimo

Chuddy Whalen

Joe Caliendo

ADDITIONAL ENDORSEMENTS

“As Democratic leaders in Red Bank, we proudly support Vin Gopal as the next county Democratic Chairman. Vin has supported Democrats in Red Bank for years, helping us raise money and helping us organize our campaigns. He would make an outstanding chairman and we plan to inform the Red Bank delegation about our support.”

Red Bank Democratic Party Municipal Chairman & Councilman Ed Zipprich

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna
Red Bank Council President Art Murphy

Red Bank Councilwoman Kathy Horgan
Red Bank Councilwoman Juanita Lewis
Red Bank Councilwoman Sharon Lee

Red Bank Democrats Vice Chairwoman Lauren Niccosia
Red Bank Democratic Club President Barbara Boas

Red Bank Democratic Club Secretary Deborah Marks

“As Democratic leaders in Middletown, Monmouth County’s largest municipality, we proudly support Vin Gopal as the next county Democratic Chairman. Vin has supported Middletown for years, helping to raise money for our municipal candidates and helping the party any way he can. We will urge the 92 member Middletown delegation to support Vin Gopal this June for county chairman.”

Joe Caliendo, Middletown Democratic Party Municipal Chairman

Sean F. Byrnes, Former Middletown Township Committeeman (2008-2011)
Marilyn Tuohy, Middletown Democratic Party Vice-Chairwoman

Marilyn Maguire, State Committeewoman
Don Watson, Middletown Democratic Club President

John Amberg, Middletown Democratic Party

Marilyn Michaels, Middletown Democratic Party
Linda Baum, Middletown Democratic Party

James Grenafege, Democratic Nominee for Middletown Township (2011)

Mary Mahoney, Democratic Nominee for Middletown Township (2010)

Mike Morris, Middletown Democratic Party

“The Manalapan Democrats join Chairman Gerry Ward in fully endorsing Vin Gopal for County Democratic Chairman. As 3 former Democratic Mayors, we give Vin our 100% support and we know he will work hard to help Democrats win across Western Monmouth.”

Former Manalapan Mayor Michelle Roth

Former Manalapan Mayor Beth Ward
Former Manalapan Mayor Drew Shapiro

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Filed under AFL-CIO, candidacy announcement., Chairmanship, Democratic Party, endorsement, Hazlet Business Owners Association, Middletown NJ, Monmouth County NJ, Victor Scudiery, Vin Gopal

Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, I hope it is full of joy, happiness and love for all those you care about today!

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