Layoffs Planned Under Borough's Shared Services Proposal
Construction department's potential move to Madison met with criticism from residents.
A proposed move to share services with Madison's Construction and Land Use Department would lay off Chatham Borough employees and send residents to Madison to obtain permits.
Maria Maramonte, who works as a technical assistant in the borough's Construction and Land Use Department, said she thought the move would be "an injustice to residents" and she hoped the borough would not move the service to Madison.
"I feel this would be an inconvenience," she said, and as far as quality of service, would be of "no benefit for the residents of Chatham."
As far as costs to the department, Maramonte said her salary alone was paid for by fees that came into the department.
Mayor Bruce Harris said, "You've hit on two of the things we're concerned about," namely quality of service and costs. State-mandated tax caps mean the borough must look at cost-saving options, he said.
"I think you should consider the service to the people of Chatham," Maramonte said. "I would appreciate you considering all the options."
Wendy Chen, a Center Avenue resident, said she, too, was against the borough moving their construction services to Madison. During a recent home renovation, she said, she visited the department in the borough almost daily, and found them very helpful and considerate as she navigated through the process of getting the necessary permissions and inspections.
"I feel like this service is invaluable," Chen said. "Without this department, I would have no idea how to go through this."
Chen said she did not believe she would feel comfortable going to Madison with her questions. "This building department is the symbol of the Chatham Borough community," she said, and she wanted it to stay in Chatham Borough.
The council took no action on the proposal Monday, but said they may address it early in the new year.