Courthouse Questions Deflected

By John Bury | March 27, 2017

Supposedly set to be ready for occupancy in a month:
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In response to a citizen’s question of the Local Finance Board wondering why a courthouse originally budgeted to to be ready for occupancy on December 19, 2014 at a cost of $33,380,000 wound up (as of now) set to be built April 30, 2017 at a cot of $44,997,581 Decotiis’ response continued to avoid the big questions:

  • Who messed up?
  • What about the bond on this project?
  • Is anything going to be done to reform the UCIA to curb these massive overages?

UCCF 3/23/17: Conflicted Budget Management

By John Bury | March 26, 2017

Can the Scotch Plains Business Administrator oversee the Union County budget?

That question has been asked and answered (the answer being ‘yes’) at freeholder meetings but the question that has not been answered (again and again)…
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is ‘how?’

Here is another place it was asked and the first response:
Continue reading “UCCF 3/23/17: Conflicted Budget Management”

UCCF 3/23/17: Mountain Biking at Watchung Reservation

By John Bury | March 24, 2017

All 37 commenters (many at the 5-minute limit) in chronological order:

Continue reading “UCCF 3/23/17: Mountain Biking at Watchung Reservation”

UCCF 3/23/17: $354,769,823

By John Bury | March 24, 2017

From tonight’s freeholder meeting:

2017-261: Resolution to exceed the County tax levy limit and to establish a CAP Bank (N.J.S. 40A: 4-45.14).
2017-262: Authorizing various county entity/entities to exceed the County Entity Budget CAP (P.L., 2015, c.249)
2017-263: Authorizing various county entity/entities to exceed the County Entity Budget CAP (P.L., 2015, c.249)
2017-264: Resolution Introducing and Approving the Annual Budget of the County of Union for the Fiscal Year 2017
Which resulted in this from that 2017 budget introduced tonight:

uc16budget

So with those resolutions to exceed tax levy limits over the years did Union County raise taxes the most they were legally allowed to in 2017?
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uctax

Better Know a Vendor: (1) Development Directions

By John Bury | March 22, 2017

In this first of a series we will look in detail at those who are hired by Union County to provide outside services through check registry data (going back to 2004) and past countywatchers reporting to get a picture of how your tax money is being spent.

First up: Development Directions, LLC  which has received over $54 million from Union County since 2004.

Continue reading “Better Know a Vendor: (1) Development Directions”

UCCF 3/9/17: 2017 Budget & Miscellany

By John Bury | March 16, 2017


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More Pay-To-Play:
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2017-220: Awarding a Professional Engineering Service Contract to T&M Associates of Middletown, New Jersey to provide ongoing LSRP Environmental Consulting Services associated with the Meisel Park Project, Springfield, for an amount not to exceed $49,600.00. (NJDEP Case 99-04-28-1512 and 01-08-29-1446-05; NJDEP Program Interest ID#t30838; Union County Engineering Project #201 1-030)

2017-222: Authorizing the County Manager to award a Professional Engineering Service Contract, through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, to Alaimo Group Consulting Engineers, of Mt. HoUy, New Jersey to provide Design, Construction Administration and Inspection Services for the Emergency Generator-Department of Public Works (DPW) Facility, Scotch Plains, New Jersey for an amount not to exceed $85,420.00. (Union County Engineering Project Number 2013-028)

2017-223: Authorizing the County Manager to award a Professional Engineering Service Contract, through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, to Maser Consulting, PA, of Red Bank, New Jersey to provide Engineering Design Services for Dam Repair Improvements for an amount not to exceed $82,108.00. (Union County Engineering Project Number 2016-043)

UCCF 3/9/17: Open Space Board

By John Bury | March 16, 2017

2017·239: Resolution amending Resolution 2008-46, a resolution amending the by-laws of the Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Public Advisory Committee, to reflect changes as per Union County Ordinance 755-2013 and the proper listing of the “labor” designation as per Resolution 110A-01.

2017·240: Re-appointing the following members to the Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund: Arthur Kobitz, Charles Eke, Michael DelSordi (public members) and Rose Checcio (democratic official) for a term beginning January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2019 and appointing Edward O’MaUey (public member) and Maria Carvalho (environmentalist) and Richard Capac (Business) for a term beginning January 1, 2015 through December 31,2017.

UCCF 3/9/17: Leaf Composting

By John Bury | March 15, 2017

2017-225: Amending Resolution Number 2016-692, (BA#44-2014) a contract awarded through advertised public bidding in accordance with the Local Public Contracts Law, NJSA40A:11-1 et seq., to National Fence Systems, Inc., Avenel, New Jersey approving Change Order Number One (1) increasing the original contract amount by $85,000 for a new total contract amount not to exceed $324,003.98.

2017-227: Authorizing the County Manager to award the proposed contract obtained through advertised public bidding in accordance with the Local Public Contracts Law, NJSA40A:11-1 et seq: Department of Engineering, Public Works & Facilities Management, to Simplicity Engineering NE Inc., 249 Union Street, Westfield, MA 01085 for the purpose of providing a Hydraulic Mobile Trammel Screen in the amount of $295,400.
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UCCF 3/9/17: Blind Hiking

By John Bury | March 14, 2017

Is this really the best use of funds to help our blind and autistic citizens? A $650,000 hiking trail? It looks like it will be of far more benefit to those building it then those who might be using it.

2017-237: Authorizing the County Manager to award the proposed contract obtained through advertised public bidding in accordance with the Local Public Contracts Law, NJSA40A:11-1 et seq: Department of Parks & Recreation, Division of Engineering, Pavelec Brothers Golf Course Construction, Inc., of Nutley, New Jersey, for the Sensory Trail Improvements Watchung Reservation, Borough of Mountainside, County of Union, New Jersey, for an amount not to exceed $652,444.85. (Union County Engineering Project Number 2016-006).

Prosecutor’s Office sends Letter to Berkeley Heights regarding OPMA Violations

By Tom Maciejeski | March 13, 2017

According to NJ Open Government Notes, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office advised the Berkeley Heights Library Board of Trustees that it violated the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) by discussing contract negotiations during a nonpublic session with the other party to the contract in attendance.

The Berkeley Heights Library Board went into an executive session during their meeting of January 16, 2017 using the OPMA exception of “Contract Negotiations”,  which is meant to be used only to negotiate strategy to use during the actual negotiations.   The Berkeley Heights Library Board of Trustees allowed in members of the  Town Council who represent the Counterparty, in this case the Town.

They discussed the $33,000,000 municipal building in a closed meeting removing a concerned and involved citizen from the meeting.