Chatham Borough Administrator Robert Falzarano will give a presentation on the proposed 2013 budget at the council meeting Monday night.
Chatham Borough Councilman James Lonergan previously predicted a tax rate increase of between 1.5 and 2.5 percent, caused mostly by declines in the tax base, in state aid and in the reserve for uncollected taxes.
"We've tried to make up the difference," Lonergan said. Because the tax rate increase is limited by the state, that difference has usually been made up through user-based fees, such as water and sewer rates.
Two ordinances will also be up for a first reading and vote. The first will grant consent for the non-exclusive use of public rights-of-way, and the second will alter the borough's lighting code.
The borough previously declined to vote on an ordinance changing the lighting code in December because of unresolved questions from the borough's professional planner Susan Blickstein. Borough Engineer Vincent J. DeNave said he and Blickstein discussed the ordinance in some detail after it passed the first reading in 2012.
"She provided me with six comments to the ordinance, and some are pretty important. ... I don't think we hit the mark there," DeNave said.
One example of Blickstein's comments is a clear distinction between residential and commercial lighting.
After the comments are discussed in detail, Borough Attorney James Lott will have to create new language for the ordinance before it could be passed, and therefore should be withdrawn and go through first reading again.
Council President Len Resto will also give a presentation on overnight parking, which has been a growing cause of concern in the borough.
In the council's Sept. 10 meeting, Resto discussed parking permits and coupon books as potential solutions for the growing number of cars being parked in borough streets overnight.
Currently the borough has an ordinance which does not allow street parking between 2 and 6 a.m. in order to maintain a village feel to the town.
“We don’t want Chatham to have an urban feel, like Hoboken or Jersey City,” Resto said. “But we want to grant space to those residents who have legitimate parking issues.”
Unlike 30 years ago when there might have been only one car per household, Resto said, many borough residents have up to four cars per house, while homes have space for only one or two cars at most. This forces residents to park cars out into the street or to past driveways onto parts of sidewalks, within pedestrian right-of-ways.
The agenda also includes a resolution establishing 2014 parking fees for permit-only parking lots in the borough.
All parking rates will stay flat, except for a $5 increase for train station parking.
The proposed rates, along with parking rates for the last two years, are below.Chatham Borough Municipal Parking Rates 2012 2013 Proposed in 2014 Lots No. 1 and No. 2, Railroad North and South $375 $420 $425 Lots No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5, Center Street East, Center Street West, Bowers Lane $195 $240 $240 Lot No. 6, Division Avenue $185 $230 $230
Mural for the Railroad Underpass
After months of planning, the council will vote on a resolution authorizing license agreement with New Jersey Transit which will allow a mural to be painted on the railroad underpass. The mural was designed and will be painted by Kenji Hasegawa, who teaches art at Washington Avenue School and Milton Avenue School.
“Kenji Hasegawa has taught art for years in Chatham, he’s an experienced artist and has specific experience working with murals,” Jen Kaplan of the Public Arts Council said. “We are extremely lucky to have found such a talented artist.”
The mural themes, which were chosen after massive public outreach yielded input from residents and approximately 20 community and borough organizations, blend together into what Hasegawa believes is an creative, yet accurate portrayal of the borough’s history.
Other Agenda Items
The agenda for the Monday meeting also includes a resolution to submit a tonnage grant application to the state Department of Education. Any funds received from the grant will be dedicated to a reciycling trust fund to help enhance recycling in the borough.
Several other resolutions will authorize events in the borough, including:
- The Fishawack Festival in June
- The Chatham Athletic Foundation gala on Saturday, Sept. 21
The council will also vote on a resolution authorizing an amendment to a shared service with Morris County for CSI InfoShare Records Management Services for road dispatching services at no additional cost to the current service fee.
The Chatham Borough Council meets at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Chatham Borough Municipal Building. A full copy of the agenda can be found in the Photos & Documents section of this article.