Budget Discussions Continue, Change of Use Redefined on Council Agenda Tonight

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Along with the ongoing budget concerns that were voiced for the first time last week, the Borough Council will vote on an ordinance that will  redefine the "change of use" clause in the Land Development Code for Metuchen. According to the notes provided on the ordinance that will be brought before the Council tonight, this redefinition is "To eliminate site plan review or technical review committee when a new business plans to open in Metuchen provided that use is a permitted use in the zone." This 'change of use' affects the opening of new businesses. It will determine what types of businesses are allowed in different areas of town and should have a huge impact on whether or not the empty places on Main Street remain that way for long or not.

53 Comments

It won't save us any money to merge with Edison. It will cost us more, and the value of our houses will go down. If you think the Metuchen cops and teachers make too much money, Edison's make even more. They're paying their old school superintendent to sit home and do nothing! Their schools are crumbling and overcrowded and only get high ratings because of all the extra classes the kids attend after school. The good times in Edison were a mirage. Even with all the commercial ratables, the real reason they had more money way back when was because Tony sold off township owned land every year. No more of that. No more jobs at Ford or Revlon or Westinghouse.

Watch next year, playingright into the hands of Corzine and merging. Welcome to Edison Township.

Please tell me how the hardowrking employees are being screwed over? The Administrator suggested a raise and the Council unanimously supported it after a healthy conversation and review. No one got screwed over.

True, but it can't be fixed overnight and the remedy should be with reason. Screwing over the hardworking Boro employees is not the answer, it will be counterproductive. They need to look to the future, next year will be much worse by lowering the cap percentage. Why not try and get back as much of our tax dollars from Trenton that we can. We sure pay enough to the state. Lets get some back.
If we don't want the aid it will just be given to some town or city. Trenton does not care how careful you are with spending.

You're equating Morrison with O'Brien? I really need to get my TV adjusted. Again, it is Dyas I see exhibiting Ed-like behavior.

O'Brien governed during a booming economy and did not leave enough money behind for a rainy day. That's not Morrison's fault.

Leaf bags - most people say the bags they got are not enough to do the job anyway. No loss.

Bottled water - bring your own, or, there's a water fountain in the lobby.

Sand/salt - they put down too much anyway. Conserve our resources and use less. Educate the morons who blow their snow into the street.

Voters were tired of O'Brien and his tactics. It seems that he is back, but in a Republican suit. Those zero tax increases all of those years is part of the problems we are facing now. No surplus, no rainy day fund, save $9.50 a household that will help, penny wise dollar foolish. Same baloney, just names and faces have changed.

Man I must have been getting a different meeting broadcast to my house. Dyas, aka, "leave it to the professionals" was the one who was out there.

Taxes are rising everywhere, so we all have to feel the pain. What a crock.

Dyas did an excellent job last night, as did Mr. Manley. But Morrison seems out there. Just an observation. But lets look at this from a practical and realistic aspect. The Metuchen mantra has always been on the cheap, very frugal, sometimes penny-wise and dollar-foolish. A very small amount of workers who get the job done, workers who are underpaid in comparison. Maybe other companies or other agencies are getting rid of people and freezing salaries, but then again maybe those agencies have more people than they need, and make a decent wage.

I don't recall anyone saying anything about reducing the staff. They reviewed the topic of reducing raises, and decided against it. I didn't get a raise this year, but my taxes will still go up.

Oh, yes, forgot about that! That did get glossed over. Let's go to the videotape!

The administrator and CFO overspent last year to the tune of $624,000!!

Why should anyone think the adminsitrator and CFO know what they are doing after that fiasco? Where did they think that money came from? Santa?

Clearly some voters wanted fresh eyes on borough government. Clearly, we needed it.

Didn't Boerth mention at the beginning of the meeting that Manley had found an error on the CFO's worksheet? What was that all about? Didn't the CFO AND Administrator make a $624,000 mistake just last year? How's it been working out for Metuchen to just trust everything these two say?

Administrator tells the Dept. Heads what they can and can't say. The Bill and Becky show hasn't worked out so hot and now look at the mess.

I am so grateful that the Reps keep digging and challenging the assumptions.

Waldron made those comments to justify the fact that Metuchen officials should at least demonstrate to the public that it was reviewed. He didn't suggest actually laying anyone off. The public deserves to know that all aspects of the budget were reviewed including salaries and head count. The result of that review is that there are no redundant positions and generally a well performing staff that appears under paid in relation to their counterparts in similar positions throughout the County. Therefore, Mr. Waldron, along with the other Reps accepted the Administrator suggested raises.

You fail to understand the difference between discussing something and acting upon something. It's obvious that the Dems spent too much time under O'Brien when nothing was ever discussed and now don't have a clue how to conduct a reasonable conversation that explores all sides of an issue and then finds the answer as a group. It's OK though because 1 by 1 you'll all follow Ed into retirement.

Cutting items from the budget without finding out if it can be done. The administrator formulated the budget based on prior years, department head input and rules set down by Trenton. Republicans are suggesting that the administrator and department heads have no idea what they are doing. How do three people relatively new to the process think they can do better. You got to have some faith in the people who put this budget together. You can't just do things on a wing and a prayer. Talk about political angles, the Republicans are really playing this angle to the max.

Correct, but now the Republicans are talking the same B.S. Say one thing to get relected and they say another once elected. Lets see how you maintain staff next year. Republicans are castrating the budget and next year will be very difficult. The only way to make up the budget deficit next year will be to cut staff. That means cops, DPW and anyone else to balance the budget.Without the pension deferral this year, they would have had to layoff people. They have done a complete flip flop, they campaigned on maintaining the staff, but now talking a different tune. Waldon says well everyone is laying off or reducing staffs, so we must do the same. There goes your quality of life and service.

Dyas should be more informed, he has been there over ten years. He should know ever item in the budget cold. So should Boerth.

Isn't Dyas the guy who didn't want a public budget meeting? Isn't he the one who said that the Boro Administrator puts the budget together and that is good enough for him?

Didn't he say that a couple of meetings ago?

Isn't that on tape? So now he is the budget expert?

Firefighter retirement was not set up properly to begin with. Town has to vote on it. We never did.

http://www.nj.gov/dca/lgs/losap/program_info/about_losap.pdf

Funny that it's true that you and I could have done the analysis that the Reps did. That means the Dems could have done it too. Instead they did NOTHING, proposed NOTHING. 8.5% tax increase was the best they could do.

Dyas seems to be one of the few on their who understand the issues. Sorry, but he and his views seem 100% on while its amateur hour with the rest of those guys.

Right, Repubs know how to run things, thats a laugher...

Isn't Dyas on the ballot this November?

Yes please do watch the meeting. What will you see? You will see Camarrano tee up the salary discussion. You will see Morrison begin to speak on his research and the conversations he's had with the Administrator. You will see Morrison take a breath and in that half a second you will see Dyas go off like a half cocked lunatic who was obviously posturing and playing politics. He was sent out to be the attack dog because he's not seeking re-election and instead behaved like a dog with rabies. Frothing at the mouth before Councilman Morrison even finished speaking. After Manley asks Dyas to tone it down, Morrison finishes the research and data and states he is not comfortable making a change to the raises. Camarrano says the same thing. Weber agrees. Waldron agrees. Manley agrees and reminds the Council and the people that he was once one of the Borough employees and that he will not forget that. Mayor states he has consensus and they moved on. The Dems are trying really hard to find every political angle to play on this one, huh? I think it is quite clear that both Dems and Reps supported the staff and will do so into the future.

And while we think of the future, let's talk of the past. Who was it that suggested laying someone off this year? Dems. Who was it that reduced the DPW staff from 30 to 22? Dems. Who tried to cut the police force by 2? Dems. Who spent more money on toys and buildings and less on the staff? Dems. Who put money aside for Firemen retirement but instead used it to balance the budget? Dems.

If you want to know what the future under Dem leadrship holds, just look at the past.

Boro employees don't always stick together. Some years ago during another budget crunch they were given a choice - they could all give up a paid holiday or one person would have to be laid off. Guess which option they chose? So long, new guy!

You or I could have done the budget analysis that they Republicans did. They eliminated leaf bags, water, and then just reduced line items without knowing what goes in to them. I agree reviewing the budget is very important, but I disagree that they went about it the right way. Give us some real cuts. At this point they can have my $30 a year and let the workers (and the councilmen) keep their water.

After being there for 12 years, both Dyas and Vahalla should know exactly what is in every budget line item. That they don't, says a lot.

The new council members just wanted to look at everything in the budget, which they should. This crap about "relying on the professionals" is passing the buck. What is the council there for if not to determine whether the "professionals" are doing their job? How can they know that if they don't know where the money is going? Next year they just need to start sooner.

How is cutting office supplies and bottled water going to hurt Metuchen?

Hard to believe ,but the worm has turned. The Democrats are now the ones speaking out on behalf of Borough employees. All Borough employees should watch last nights meeting and come out and support the Democrats. This town for many years has balanced the budget on the backs of employees, by reducing the work force and paying people poverty wages. The town has been getting a bargain and now these new guys come in on their white horses and want to screw the workers. To save what $20.00 bucks a year on the average home. Vote democrat, at least they will save your job.

What percentage of the budget is the $624,000 extra they spent last year?

According to the budget letter from the Administrator he cut spending by 5.5% NOT 10%. What kind of leadership is that on the part of the Mayor? Tell the Administrator to do better. If the Mayor was working on it in September why then did it take until late February for the preliminary budget to be released and until early March for the public to be "allowed" to see it? So the Mayor worked on it for 5 months and then gave the Council 7 days to prepare suggestions and is confused that he didn't just get consensus? Poor leadership and management skills. Very poor.

wrong the Mayor and council president directed the Borough Admin. to cut the entire budget or all departmenst by 10%. That was before the Republicans evn looked at the budget. They think they know better and want more cuts, just to look good. Theor cuts will actually hurt Metuchen in the long run. Lets give some credut to the Mayor, way back in Sept. of 2008 he ordered the cuts of 10% knowing that 2009 was going to be a problem. That is foresight.

Not a big show, you meant to say a BIG NO. Nothing, that's what the Dems proposed. NOTHING. 8.5% tax increase seems good to them. Spend up to the most allowable under NJ guidelines. Yeah, that's a good measurement of success. NJ is nearly bankrupt and the Metuchen Dems want to march right along with Corzine's boondoggles. Nothing is what we got from the Dems. NOTHING. Where are their proposals? Where did they publish suggestions? I don't agree with everything the Republicans put out there but I give them credit for trying. Throw ideas against a wall and see what sticks. It's how business works and I am glad to see someone trying it in town. Do nothing Dems are on their way out and it couldn't happen soon enough.

Of course they had to cut this year's budget by 10%, last year's was inflated by $625,000 we didn't really have.

No one wants to cut heads or services, so all we can do is nibble away. In many instances, the proposed "cut" was merely holding spending to the same amount as last year.

I liked the idea of charging for the commuter bus, but that seemed to get discarded quickly. Other towns charge for theirs, why can't we?

Vahalla once proposed charging for metal and bulk pickup. Other towns do that as well. If you want it picked up you pay a fee, or you can bring it to the recycling center yourself. Sounds reasonable to me. We bring our paper there ourselves anyway. Easier than remembering when to put it at the curb.

They talked about planting replacement trees but have no idea what they're talking about. You really can't plant replacement trees on Amboy until some of the existing trees die. If you plant young trees in between the mature trees, the young trees won't thrive because they don't get any sunlight. Unfortunate, but true. I'd love to know how they came up with the figure that we've lost 6,000 trees.

How long they going to use that excuse? Oh, we didn't know, didn't have time to review, nobody told us...

Really getting old. They want the credit for reducing spending but are afraid to make the only choices that do reduce spending, cutting heads and cutting services.

Seems like a big show to me...

Actually my boss told me to cut my budget 15% and didn't care about specifics. Just do it. You can try to play politics over the budget talks but it's not useful to the intelligent and informed people of Metuchen. Will, Chris and Justin tried and in everything they published stated they may not have all the info. The others just sat there and said no, no, no. Doesn't take any effort to say no. Please tell me what innovative idea you heard from anyone other than the 3 of them?

Save the people, cut the trees!

The Republicans approach to these budget cuts is pretty sad. Unless you're going to eliminate items, you can't just go in and say I'm reducing this line number by X% unless you know what specifically you're going to cut in that line item OR you come up with a more efficient way to do something. In some spots they are just cutting numbers based on "3-year avg." To get to the average at east one year had to be higher than that.

Cut where it is specific, like water (bottled or cooler) and not just based on where you hope we'll be.

We must live nearby, i think I have the same nieghbors as you.

If your road is icy and slippery it's probably because your neighbors blew or shoveled their snow into the road after the town plows came by and cleared it. My neighbors do it, why not yours? The same neighbors whose lawn service blows grass clippings into the road every week. The same neighbors who cost the town extra money in tipping fees because they put their recyclables in the garbage.

The other guys failed to increase the borough contribution to the first aid squad for the last 12 years. Somehow I think that is worse. We are paying Edison more per call than the first aid squad is costing us, even with an increase in the borough contribution.

As far as the Shade Trees, volunteers could easily dig holes to plant trees. Last year the Shade Tree Commision had more volunteers than it needed for the Arbor Day tree planting. Those volunteers should be put to use instead of being turned away.

I can't fill in at the first aid squad without getting certified, but all I need to dig a hole for a tree is a shovel I already own.

The town spends $300 per tree for them to be planted by a contractor. Only $100 of that is for the tree itself. The rest is for digging a hole.

Last year they wanted to cut the library

thanks, my kids appreciate that

now my little girl sees those councilman around town and she always points out that he's the guy who wanted to cut the library funding. (shes is big library/book person, one of her favorite places, that and the Raconteur)

Vote for me I saved you $28.00 a year. But took away trees that beautify the town, and leaf bags to help you with leaf pickup. I aslo want to take away snow melting materials, so don't call when your road is icy and slippery, we don't have any sand/salt. I saved you $2.30 a month. Arent't I wonderful. What a place this town has become.

We must not have watched the same meeting.

March 23 council meeting. The only ones making any sense at all are the Democrats. They had the 2009 budget reduced by 10% or more from 2008 budget. Very responsible and needed. The Republicans want more cuts, although admirable and politically correct, very unrealistic and very irresponsible. The town must still operate and must still provide services,some of which are vital.

Just can't cut for the sake of cutting. God forbid something happens and the town is not prepared. Dyas was great tonight as was Camarrano, and the borough attorney.

They made sense, the Republicans are only looking for votes at anyones expense. Part timers who have really no idea how government works.

Ask Mayor, what happened to the money. Blew it on fees to engineer. All gone, and nothing to show for it. Probably a project that will never happen, at least not in our lifetime.

About that ramp, where is the $750,000 placed in escrow to engineer the ramp? Why isn't the project shovel ready? Wal-Mart is built and open for business. You would think they could have drawn some plans by now.

If they have wait staff and tables, it's not direct-to-customer, and not fast food.

FAST-FOOD RESTAURANT -- An establishment whose principal business is the sale of prepared or rapidly prepared food directly to the customer in a ready-to-consume state for consumption within the restaurant building, or consumption in vehicles either on or off the premises. For the purpose of this definition, a fast-food restaurant may include fast-service techniques designed for higher speed and volume of customer turnover, including but not limited to prepayment by the customer at the time of ordering and in advance of the serving of such food, multiple cashier lines, and numbered or preset menus. Fast-food restaurants include any such use designated for higher speed and volume of customer turnover that requires parking in excess of that required for eating and drinking establishments by § 110-154.

They are tastee to eat, but may be considered "fast food" in Metuchen. And we both know that whether something is prohibited or not, the many busy body reviews and committees in Metuchen Borough Hall have killed many a good business plan (see soccer dome replaced with hoped for but yet to materialize and non-revenue producing ramp to 287). Technically, there was no ban. In practice, there is clearly a ban. It's all based on the composition of the many planning and zoning committees and their whims of the day as dictated by Borough Council. Is the atmosphere to new business in Borough Hall changing or not. Until there are actual businessmen on Borough Council, and not just lawyers, I doubt it. And I'm a lawyer.

You could have always opened a Steak n Shake franchise in Metuchen. There is no restriction on franchises. Never has been. Old rumors die a slow death around here.

"Fast food" is prohibited - no McDonalds, no Wendys, no Burger King, etc. Most fast food places are franchises, so that must be where the misconception came from.

Back in the 70s Burger King wanted to open in the spot that now has Friendly's, which is also a franchise. The town equated fast food places with litter and traffic, and zoned them out. We used to joke that the sevice had Friendly's had to be slow, since they couldn't serve fast food.

Will your Steak n Shake franchise serve flavorful and juicy turkey burgers? Since the Duchess closed you can't get a good turkey burger around here. At most places they are dry and tasteless.

Thats great! Can I open a Steak n Shake franchise in Metuchen then? It would be the most popular place in town!

Could it really be that our government is going to be responsive to the world around them and do something about all of the empty storefronts? Kudos to them!

About time!!!

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Recent Comments

  • Anonymous: It won't save us any money to merge with Edison. read more
  • Anonymous: Watch next year, playingright into the hands of Corzine and read more
  • Anonymous: Please tell me how the hardowrking employees are being screwed read more
  • Anonymous: True, but it can't be fixed overnight and the remedy read more
  • Anonymous: You're equating Morrison with O'Brien? I really need to get read more
  • Anonymous: Leaf bags - most people say the bags they got read more
  • Anonymous: Voters were tired of O'Brien and his tactics. It seems read more
  • Anonymous: Man I must have been getting a different meeting broadcast read more
  • Anonymous: Taxes are rising everywhere, so we all have to feel read more
  • Anonymous: Dyas did an excellent job last night, as did Mr. read more

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