Entries for January, 2017

UCCF 1/26/17: New Vendor for Paratransit System

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

2017-82: Authorizing the County Manager to award a contract, pursuant to competitive contracting law N.J.S.A. 40A:11-4, to MPC Bus Corporation, Brooklyn, New York, for the provision of transportation services in the form of Routing, Scheduling & Dispatch and Road Operator Services for the Union County Paratransit System for the contract period of January 27, 2017 through December 31, 2017 in the total amount not to exceed $4,196,217.

UCCF 1/26/17: Non -Contractual Salary Ranges

Monday, January 30th, 2017

Impacting 1,523 county employees:

2017-100: Amending Resolution Number 2013-908, authorizing the 2017 Non-Contractual Salary Ranges, which are adjusted based upon the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous twelve months, which increased 3.2%.


UCCF 1/26/17: Revaluations?

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

The letter:


UCCF 1/26/17: Union County Navy

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

2017-97: Authorizing a payment to Brown & Brown, the County’s General Insurance Agent of record, to renew the Marine Insurance Policy covering UC Marine 1 and UC Marine2, Union County Police Fire Boats, with the Atlantic Specialty Insurance Company from January 22, 2017 through January 21, 2018 in an amount not to exceed $14,980.

UCCF 1/26/17: Summit Rail Trail

Friday, January 27th, 2017

2017-101: Authorizing the County Manager to enter into a license agreement with the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the City of Summit for Parkline Development of a “Rail Trail” allowing non-motorized uses on the portion of the Rahway Valley Railroad line falling within the City of Summit and County of Union.


UCCF 1/26/17: UCIA Pushing Courthouse Costs

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

There were several topics covered at tonight’s freeholder meeting that we will get to in separate blogs over the next week but of most urgency was the question of how much it will cost to finish building the Courthouse on Cherry Street.  The last change order had a January 4, 2017 completion date with a total cost of $37 million:


This is what the site looks like now:

Which is why on tonight’s agenda there was an executive session for:

Attorney-Client privileged communications and discussion of issues relative to on-going negotiations and potential Agreement with Zurich American Insurance Company and Shared Services Agreement with the Union County Improvement Authority (UCIA) relating to the Union County Family Courthouse.
Though the UCIA seemed to have already settled on a plan of action:

Which these guys might have been sent to communicate to the board:

But before they got to listen to them:

Debt Payment History and Freeholder Meeting Tonight

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

The real cancer in Union County is not the accelerating taxes but the unbridled and non-voter-approved debt that has been piling up so that even the massive tax increases we have gotten fall within that sieve of a budget cap.  Even with recent historically low borrowing costs debt payments since 2004 have skyrocketed:

UC-Debt Payments

Though there is no new bond ordinance on tonight’s freeholder meeting agenda to pay for the fiasco that is the building of a courthouse through the UCIA they will huddle over it:



2016 Property Tax Data

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

The Division of Community Affairs (DCA) updated property tax data for 2016 and we have another record but how did municipalities in Union County fare?

Paring down the DCA spreadsheet we get these at the top:


Pensions and UCIA PERS Refunds

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

P.L. 2007, c. 29, which became effective on January 1, 2008, was reform legislation “designed to ensure the system serves career public employees rather than political appointees” and to “cut out the entrenched core of abuse that has been corrupting our pension and benefits systems from within.” One of the components of the new law, N.J.S.A. 43:15A-7.2,  excluded professional services contractors, such as municipal lawyers, architects and engineers from enrolling in the state’s PERS pension system.

A lawyer in Cumberland County tried to get around this provision with the help of his employers and was caught which basically meant that the contributions he made into the New Jersey Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) were returned to him.  The attempt to game the system was deemed to be ethical by the Local Finance Board last month.

Which brings us to the Union County Improvement Authority (UCIA) check registry for 2016 with these intriguing entries:


Berkeley Heights Transparency Threatened

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

In an age where towns are being pushed for Open Government,  Berkeley Heights has chosen to take a step backward, a step towards secrecy.