Is It Partisan Politics or Is it Just Hard to Run A Town During a Recession?


It certainly doesn't bring out the best in anybody--money discussions, especially during an official recession (it sure feels official, doesn't it?), create heat wherever they happen. Monday night's Borough Council budget review meeting showed that they were not immune to reactionary talk.

When the conversation turned to the seemingly innocent topic of adding to the 12-years-and-running static budget for the Emergency Medical Service in town, the Council erupted into what felt an awful lot like partisan political sides. Councilman Christopher Morrisson had asked about improving upon the $12,000 EMS budget (Morrisson is the liasion and an avid supporter of the EMS).  So the conversation veered off into "What Will We Cut To Make That Happen?" and a suggestion to take monies from the Shade Tree budget forced Democrats to say they wouldn't support that type of cut, although Councilman Richard Weber took a moment to ask for compromise amidst the difficult exchange. Eventually, the Councilmen turned to Borough Administrator William Boerth to find a way to shift points amongst the various budgetary elements.

Since the meeting was called to continue the balancing of the town budget, it was an appropriate discussion that volleyed back and forth, between Democrats and Republicans, but the forced politeness of their tones showed that the demands of this changing economy were taking a toll on our town. Hopefully, as these conversations begin to draw to a close, the Council will find a way to support policies over plants, services over supplies, people over politics.


They knew about it - they counted it as revenue, and spent it, then later learned they weren't supposed to do that.

Right, they all (Dems & Repubs) knew about it very early on. It was only late in the year, around election time, that it became a political football.

Even now, after how many explanations from Coucilman Morrisson, it is still used as a club to attack political opponents.

I guess our politics now are starting to equal the fighting going on in Edison. How grand.

If we didn't know about the $624K problem until late last year, how could it have been accounted for when the budget was passed and taxes set?

4:04: What are you smoking? Last year's budget was inflated by $624,000!!

Facts? Don't you know facts don't matter.

"As for the big changes and spending cuts the REpublicans promised, EPIC FAIL"

Did they really promise as you say? I just went to Justin's website and his campaign material is still up. Looks to me like what transpired was exactly what he said needed to happen. The Council certainly worked harder and scrutinized everything. Department Heads did come before Council and present their budgets. He said they needed to rein in capital spending and I think I heard them say at one of the meetings their capital expenditures were reduced by 60% this year. That's HUGE!

Sounds to me like you're just playing politics and trying to distort the facts. Thankfully the facts are still available on the web.

Republican wanted that fool of an auditors head long before he was fired. Especially after his arrogant presentation to the council.

The look on Councilman Morrisons face was priceless.

Auditor is fired, then republicans were notified and asked to vote on a new one.

Budget was created, then given to the republicans to comment on.

See a pattern?

Right, thats what happened.

Can I have a hit of what you are smoking? Must be really good.

Given a budget and asked to sign off on it is not being part of the process of building the budget.

Please, nobody is left out of the budget process. They all went along with the budget and signed off on the "business as usual" budget. Nothing is done "without knowledge of our elected council members" That is just complete BS.

Oh, of course theres was some blather from the new guys but they fell right into lockstep and did just what the Democrats would have done.

No change at all. Get ready to write a bigger check.

As for the big changes and spending cuts the REpublicans promised, EPIC FAIL

Last year's budget was plugged with an extra $500K in extraordinary aid, that will not re-occur this year (teh aid came as a result of the budgeting error surround the $654K payment & repayment from the Board of Ed).

Revnues are down and they spent all the surplus. No provisions to add or bef up the surplus.

Whats new? Things are done without the knowledge of our elected council members. The residents voted for a change by electing 3 republicans, yet they are left out of the process of building the budget. They are given the budget once it is complete.

Mayor shouldn't be working with Administrator on the budget. Look at the Borough Code under duties and responsibilities of the Borough Administrator:

N.Prepare the annual operating and capital budgets and submit them to Council at a date and in accordance with the procedures established by Council

If its less than the 08 budget, why are the taxes going up?

I would like to applaud Mayor Vahalla and Bill Boerth on putting together a budget for 2009 that was about $500,000.00 less than 2008 budget. That was way before the rest of the council came up with their insignificant, irresponsible cuts. Great forsight by the Mayor. Not too many towns in New Jersey with a budget lower than previous year. Everything continues to rise, this must have been difficult in this environment.

Bill did indeed, and I have to laugh, when I cut and pasted the numbers, I must have went down and not up.

And I love it when people say that debt to other departments like social security and medicare is not included in their numbers. Gee, I would love to be able to not include my mortgage or my car payments in what I owe too, but it is not right.

Sad thing is that our government is kept in check best when there is a president from one party and congress is controlled by the other party. Basically if they can't get anything done, we are better off because they won't work together, thus they can't spend as much. Clinton had Newt. Look out when one party controls both.

Maybe because the numbers under Clinton did so well? Unemployment down, poverty down, debt to GDP down, 25 million new jobs, he ran up some very impressive economic stats....

That is true, debt to GDP is probably a better thing to look at, but I do find it funny that people say that the national debt went down under Clinton.

Not sure what world they come from, but they just don't accept facts.

Shouldn't really be looking at the actual dollar amount of the debt but the % of debt to the economy as a whole. Actually a more relevant number and better indicator of financial soundness

It is all a matter of the definition. The Wikipedia data was taken from the White House budget data -- See Page 127 for the table.

Yeah, I guess our treasury isn't a good place to get information on how much debt our govt. is in.

Great wiki link. Very informative. Thank you!

The source that you refer to defines debt to "Includes legal tender notes, gold and silver certificates, etc.". So every time a dollar bill is printed, the "debt" goes up.

Check out the chart on Wikipedia:

The public debt (the debt held by everyone except for Federal Government entities like Social Security) did indeed drop in the late 90s.

Not sure what the relevance of this discussion is to the current situation, but these are the facts.

09/30/1999 5,656,270,901,615.43
09/30/1998 5,526,193,008,897.62
09/30/1997 5,413,146,011,397.34
09/30/1996 5,224,810,939,135.73
09/29/1995 4,973,982,900,709.39
09/30/1994 4,692,749,910,013.32
09/30/1993 4,411,488,883,139.38
09/30/1992 4,064,620,655,521.66

Those are the correct numbers. The person who pointed out that the debt and deficit are different is exactly correct. The debt grew under Clinton - TRUE. The budget deficit became a surplus under Clinton - ALSO TRUE

The federal debt and the federal budget deficit are two different things.

Clinton was prez from 92-00

On a federal level, the debt did go up.

09/30/1991 3,665,303,351,697.03
09/28/1990 3,233,313,451,777.25
09/29/1989 2,857,430,960,187.32
09/30/1988 2,602,337,712,041.16
09/30/1987 2,350,276,890,953.00
09/30/1986 2,125,302,616,658.42
09/30/1985 * 1,823,103,000,000.00
09/30/1984 * 1,572,266,000,000.00
09/30/1983 * 1,377,210,000,000.00
09/30/1982 * 1,142,034,000,000.00

Clinton did a good job but the national debt did go up under him. I don't understand why people believe that it didn't. I guess if you use accounting tricks you can work it out that way, but according to the treasury department, our debt did indeed go up.

On the Federal level, the debt did not go up -- it went down. That is the definition of a surplus. To be clear -- in the last years of the Clinton Administration, the national debt shrank year over year. They even stopped issuing 30 year Treasury Bonds for a while, which caused all kinds of concerns on Wall Street about how they would price other debt.

As for the current situation -- it is, indeed, very difficult. Personally, I would be in favor of raising taxes on those of us who are fortunate enough to be in the top 10% of income earners to keep the overall economy afloat, rather than borrowing as we are now. But, that does not seem to be politically feasible. In the long run, there should be also be some significant cost controls, through a restructuring of some basic elements of our society, like how health care is run and financed. But again, politically this seems to be very difficult to even discuss.

I wish I knew the answers ...

Same in Edison,the school board gives out iron clad contracts that allow people to stay home and get paid and then wonder why the bonds can't get passed. Take responsibility and own up to your mistakes and change the way contacts are negotiated.

State workers are loyal to their pension credits. They're not going to quit.

I am getting so sick of tired of council and board members saying "the majority of the budget" is contractual. Well, who negotiates those budgets? The school board does. The city council does.

You can't work the contracts and then come back and say oh, its according to their contracts.

Here is a clue, man up and take responsibility. You sign a bad contract, take responsibility for it, don't just shrug your shoulders when taxes are raised and say it wasn't your fault, because yes, it was your fault.

They're proposing that people stay home one day a month. If that one day kills their loyalty and work ethic, they didn't have much to begin with.

A friend's Dad worked for the State and used to brag he could get his work done in an hour and then sit in his office all day reading books. So some of them have no work ethic to lose.

Metuchenites like to think they live in a bubble. State and federal politics, of course, directly impact Metuchen. So, to say "I only care about Metuchen budget" is fairly silly.

I only care about the Metuchen budget.

A factual correction to your correction.

The US deficit did go up under Clinton. That is a fact. You can use accounting tricks, but if you owe more than when you started, sounds like debt to me.

Oh, and those tax cuts that Bush put in, seems Obama is keeping them too.

Again, if you are against the Bush borrow and spend strategy, you should be against that same strategy right now, right?

One factual correction -- the Federal budget deficit did not go up under Clinton. In fact, it went down -- to zero, and the Feds actually went into surplus for a time. That all went away with the Bush tax cuts, and his borrow and spend strategy.

That seems odd. Why wouldn't they want volunteers?

Maybe your husband needs to rethink his political party? I remember when the republicans posted they are looking for people, even going as far as seeking dedicated candidates for council. Seems like they are interested in bring politics to the people.

GO ahead get rid of employees see where that will get you. The ones left will do less, the ones who were furloughed will have a real great loyalty and work ethic when they return(right). There has to be a better way. They must reduice spending and these stupid wasteful programs. Those wo work also contribute to the economy, taxes, sales tax and so on. No money no tax. Workers will always find ways to get over on the employer. This is a bad idea.

Who knows what is really going on in town. My husband has been trying to get involved on a volunteer basis with his political party at the local level. He emails, calls, only to be put off for weeks at a time. He wants only to volunteer his time in a meaningful way. Finally, it looks at though he'll get involved at the county level, because apparently, they actually want help. Metuchen politicians want no volunteers, no advice, nothing but control over their ridiculously little domain.


1> Check todays news, seems like the Governor is taking on the unions, layoffs and furloughs. Read the article about the 10 union presidents who got themselves arrested protesting agianst the Governor.

2> Europe's reaction? Are you kidding me? The guy who siad we are on a [ath to hell is the EU president who USED to be president of Czech REpublic. His governemnt was overthrown just last week. He has never and will never like Obama, doesn't matter he is gone. Every other governemtn in Europe supports us. Don't the facts rather than the rhetoric tell you something?

3> Companies leaving NJ, uh, clue for you, companies are leaving every state. The economy shrank 6.3% in the last quarter of 2008. Where are all the companies going? Mississippi? South Carolina? Not showing up in thenumbers, their numbers look much worse than ours.

4> Abbott districts? Again, see todays paper. The Corzine plan to get rid of the Abbott Funding Plan recieved court approval yesterday. Seems to me he's taking on the issue head on. And getting it done.

Move, stay, I could give a crap, if you don't like it go where you want. I like it there, warts and all, more than anyplace else so I'm staying.

And very excited about the postive changes we are finally starting to see.

Again, read the paper, here is the article. It seems like the Governor is doing exactly what you want. I know it burns you up to half to give him credit, but if you have any intellectual honesty you would give him is due

Corzine gets OK for 2-day furloughs
Union protest brings 4 arrests in Trenton
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Tensions over Gov. Jon Corzine's attempt to get concessions from state employees boiled over yesterday when four union members were arrested for disrupting a Civil Service Commission meeting just before it passed an emergency rule granting state and local governments the power to furlough workers.

The arrests were the latest in a tug of war between Corzine and union leaders over workers' rights as the bad economy robs the state budget of revenue. The commission's decision will allow the governor to furlough workers for one day in May and another in June to help balance the current state budget.

Corzine, who also has proposed continuing once-a-month furloughs for another year, applauded the decision.

"Everyone is struggling to live within their means in a severe national economic circumstance," he told reporters yesterday. "It's a tough choice, but it's the right choice."

The governor, who also asked for public employees to forgo their negotiated pay raise of 3.5 percent, has threatened to lay off up to 7,000 state workers unless he can save $500 million through wage concessions from state worker unions.

"It's not a threat, that's just what we'll have to do," he said.

Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said furloughs and wage freezes are "painful" but better than the alternative.

"We don't have to look any further to our neighbors in New York, where Governor Paterson has already initiated plans to eliminate the jobs of 9,000 state employees," he said in a statement.

William Dressel, executive director of the League of Municipalities, said the decision provides towns and cities much-needed flexibility in managing personnel costs.

"We were delighted to see the civil service commission take action today," he said.

But Hetty Rosenstein, state director for the Communications Workers of America, blasted the commission for pushing through an emergency rule.

"It's historic in its outrageousness," she said. "Our worst union busters haven't tried to do this."

Emotions ran high both inside and outside the Trenton meeting room yesterday.

Paul Pologruto, treasurer at Local 1032, said there were hundreds of workers outside the building, many wearing union shirts, hats and jackets and chanting "No furloughs" and "No justice, no peace."

State Police said one union member -- identified by Rosenstein as Ken McNamara, 38, president of Local 1037 -- grabbed the microphone at the front of the room before he was arrested.

Video of the event shot by NJN Television shows McNamara being wrestled to the ground by state troopers. Another union member was hit in the arm as he resisted being escorted out the door.

Three more people were also arrested: Patrick Kavanagh, 36, president of Local 1032, Paul Alexander, 57, of Gloucester Township and Shawn Ludwig, 38, of Barrington, according to State Police spokesman Sgt. Stephen Jones. All four were charged with disorderly conduct.

Corzine dismissed union concerns the police were heavy-handed in their arrests.

"Some people like to get arrested to try to get publicity about their cause," he said.

Rosenstein said the commission was not justified in passing an emergency rule because the state's fiscal situation did not meet the "imminent peril" requirement. She complained the union was given less than two days' notice about the meeting, but Civil Service Commission spokesman Mark Perkiss said all regulations were followed while creating the emergency rule.

The emergency rule will last for 60 days. The commission also began the process of setting another rule that would allow furloughs to continue through June 30 of next year.

Statehouse Bureau reporter John Reitmeyer contributed to this report. Chris Megerian may be reached at or (609) 989-0208.

Jobs have been leaving NJ for a lot longer since 2008, why do you think that is? That is a fact.

When has Jon (or any other politician) taken on the teachers unions? When has any politician taken on the public employees union?

He keeps wanting to add people to our public health insurance program, how do we pay for that?

I know, just keep raising taxes. That works, right?


1> Check todays news, seems like the Governor is taking on the unions, layoffs and furloughs. Read the article about the 10 union presidents who got themselves arrested protesting agianst the Governor.

2> Europe's reaction? Are you kidding me? The guy who siad we are on a [ath to hell is the EU president who USED to be president of Czech REpublic. His governemnt was overthrown just last week. He has never and will never like Obama, doesn't matter he is gone. Every other governemtn in Europe supports us. Don't the facts rather than the rhetoric tell you something?

3> Companies leaving NJ, uh, clue for you, companies are leaving every state. The economy shrank 6.3% in the last quarter of 2008. Where are all the companies going? Mississippi? South Carolina? Not showing up in thenumbers, their numbers look much worse than ours.

4> Abbott districts? Again, see todays paper. The Corzine plan to get rid of the Abbott Funding Plan recieved court approval yesterday. Seems to me he's taking on the issue head on. And getting it done.

Move, stay, I could give a crap, if you don't like it go where you want. I like it there, warts and all, more than anyplace else so I'm staying.

And very excited about the postive changes we are finally starting to see.

THe Govenor has been cutting spending, but he has not done what he campaigned on. He said he was going to take on the unions. He tried that for about a month and got slapped around and gave it up.

So you say the last 8 years blew out the budget and think we should continue doing so at an even faster pace?

My point is no matter what the spending is on, it needs to be less. We flat out can't pay for it. No politician has cut spending. The deficit went up under Reagan, Clinton, Bush (both) and is going up under Obama. Look at Europe's reaction to our budget. They said we are going down the path to hell, and they like Obama. Doesn't that tell you something?

Companies are leaving NJ, why do you think that is? Taxes. People are leaving the state, why? Taxes. Keep on with the pensions, keep on with adding people to our healthcare system and guess what? The only people left in NJ will be like those in Newark. Who will be left to pay for the schools in the Abbott districts?

Sure, say "if you don't like it here, move" and guess what, that is already happening. You don't have to wait to see the results.

Someone needs to tell the Mayor there is a water fountain on the second floor of Borough Hall! LOL!

Yeah, ok

Keep revising history to fit your political agenda

Where were you when our last president decided to blowout the budget? THe Governor has been cutting spending, what is it three budgets in a row lower than the previous one? He's cut spending, shrunk the state workforce, and done what has needed. In the absolute worse evnvironment possible.

Seems like you are more concerned about political parties than about getting things done.

It was an option. The town could have either paid into the fund or put off the pain for tomorrow. Guess what? Tomorrow is now today. Now Jon has decided that doing this again is a good idea. Lets put off the pain for another day. Guess what? It doesn't work.

Yeah, its all the rich folks fault. Lets just keep spending more and more, the rich will pay for it. Guess what? That doesn't work either.

Many kids go to two year college first then transfer to four year colleges.

Can't we all just get along for the betterment of the town. The schools are getting worse, our taxes keep going up and Main St contiues to go vacant. Its time to make a change and let the republicans try and save the town from its own demise. The current administration is even worse than the previous.

But the superintendent's salary is!

Funny that I send my children to St Francis? Maybe I like my kids to actually be able to say the word "Christmas". I made a choice that I felt was right for my kids and it shouldn't be mocked. What's funny is how the High School ratings keep dropping and no one seems to care. News falsh Metuchen, the schools are not that great.

It wasnt an option. Get real. Every single entity that had pension contributions was told to put them off for a number of years.

Oh pity the poor rich folks, they have to pay taxes now and can't keep their money holed up in the United Bank of Switzerland.

"It wasn't an option, Christie Todd slashed the money going to the towns all over NJ and told them to not contribute to the pension funds to make up the difference."

Yes, it was an option. Some might believe that circumstance forced the issue, but it was an option. It put off the pain. Now we are feeling that pain. Happens all the time.

In terms of spending, why do you think that governments keep spending more and more money? Could it be that quite a few voters pay no taxes as it is and have no problem making other people pay for more and more services?

I believe that in our last national election, the majority of voters paid no income tax at all. If you are a politician, why would you care about raising taxes when the most voters pay no taxes as it is? Your base still won't pay taxes.

The saying used to be "No Taxation without Representation"

Today it should be "No Representation without Taxation"

It doesn't matter who got us in this position, because the fact is, we are in this position. What matters is how do we get out of this mess.

Increased spending doesn't seem to be a very bright idea.

St Francis is an elementary and middle school, not a high school. You've got to comapre apples to apples. More interesting would be Bishop Ahr, St Joes, Union Catholic college rates versus MHS college rates.

It wasn't an option, Christie Todd slashed the money going to the towns all over NJ and told them to not contribute to the pension funds to make up the difference.

Get your facts straight.

Why is it so funny that someone sends their kids to St. Francis? I really can't blame them with our HS ratings dropping. Only 60% of grads are going to a four year college? Yikes, talk about a bad return on a investment.

I wonder if there is any money availible from the Feds or other groups for the trees?
I would like to see a really big fundraiser for EMS, I think that is something we could all get behind.

She told the towns to stop paying! It was an option and Dem Ed jumped at it. Where did the money go? Lets blame the employees now, right?

Was a surplus and now a deficit? Where have I heard that before, oh right


And who engineered the Pension debacle? Christie Todd Whitman, she cut the income tax on the high end folks and cut the the money going to the towns to pay for it, so she told the towns to stop paying the pension payments.

They have been borrowing from pension funds for decades, at one time Metuchen was given about two or three years of not having to contribute their share. They used the so called savings to provide zero tax increases, know that at some point they would have to pay it back, well now they have to pay it back and don't have the money. So now they have to defer it again. Very poor planning by Trenton and Metuchen. Metuchen has little or no surplus, that is not very smart from a fiscal standpoint. They need to create a surplus or a savings account. Something to fall back on. The tax increases for the Municipal portion of the taxes have been relatively moderate. Most of our tax bill is for education and the county. Metuchen's share is about $1500.00 per household, that pays for all Borough departments and programs. Not really too bad. It is the school tax that is the bigger burden.

New Jersey has a balanced budget law already

Hence the huge cuts Corzine has had to make and the layoffs of state workers he has in the works.

I would fully support merging with other cities under Trenton's request as long as they wrote into the state constitution that we must balance our budget (and not use tricks like putting off debt into the future, borrowing from pension funds etc.) and lower taxes.

Give me a reason to consolidate and I will. Don't expect me to support consolidation so Trenton can save money only to spend it in Newark and other large towns.

The spending is what is out of control.

Merge with Edison, pay $3 a ride for the shuttle.

Talk about scare politics, ths sky is falling if anyone watched the show on Monday night. People have said alot only to change their mind and views. So, the "wall" may not be built afterall. This council is indirectly or directly going to cause a merge with Edison, start shutting down recreation and senior programs, see what happens after that. Slowly but surely Metuchen will have no choice but to merge or consolidate. It can no longer afford to exist as it once was. Too many egos in the way.

Even more ridiculous, there IS a water fountain on the second floor!! Turn left after the police records window. TV probably walks by it all the time! Nice cold water.

That bill is DOA. Never going to pass. In the article the towns complaining about money problems are the larger towns, not the smaller ones. No proof it will save any money.

Didn't Manley say he would "build a wall" around Metuchen during the debate? There was an article in the Sentinel not too long ago too. Both parties expressed strong opposition and Camarrano even testified in Trenton. Stop trying to play scare politics. Not going to work.

Republicans trying save pennies at what expense. Seems a little short sighted. Total grandstanding, throw something at the wall and see what sticks. Lets merge with Edison and get it over with. Article in Home News today 29 doughnut hole towns facing forced merging. It is coming and the Republicans are falling for it hook line and sinker. Just to save all of us $20.00.

Looks like two of us double posted today. I wonder if it a server problem?

Don't forget the shower that turns into a pool. I think that cost extra.

While his comment is ridiculous, I find it even more ridiculous that we built an $8 million dollar castle that doesn't have a water fountain on the 2nd floor. Good thing we got the inlaid tile flooring and arched windows. Oh and the superior HVAC system too.

While his comment is ridiculous, I find it even more ridiculous that we built an $8 million dollar castle that doesn't have a water fountain on the 2nd floor. Good thing we got the inlaid tile flooring and arched windows. Oh and the superior HVAC system too.

And how about this? The planning and zoning board can require builders to plant or save certain trees in exchange for awarding variances. But what happens? The builders sell the house, and the new owners come in and cut down the trees. In order for the restriction to continue to apply to future property owners, the town has to record the resolution at the county clerk's office, but they rarely do it.

You forgot one. The STC also has Dyas by the cohonies and during some lengthy meeting were able to hypnotize him to believing some seriously wild data. 6,000 trees destroyed in Metuchen? Since when? The dawn of time? Let's run some numbers:

Including State, County and Metuchen roads there are 52 miles of roadway. Which means 104 miles of curbing. Which means 549,120 feet of curbing. There are 5,000 houses in town, let's say 75% have driveways. According to ordinances you can't plant 10 feet on either side of the driveway so take away 80,000 potential feet. Plus you can't plant 25' on either side of an intersection so let's deduct another 20,000 potential planted feet. That leaves 449,120 feet for trees. Our ordinances state shade trees are to be planted 30-35 feet apart. Let's go with 32.5. So add this all up and that means IF every available foot of curb side had a tree on it (and we know they don't) there would be 13,819 trees in town. So Mr. Dyas are you telling us that 43% of Shade Trees have been lost? That is insane. If in fact the 6,000 trees lost includes trees on private property that the town has allowed to be developed well then I would say you're using phony data to support your cause and scare people. Deal with what is within the purview of the Shade Tree Commission and nothing more.

Good for a laugh - Vahalla quote in Sentinel. Yes, Tom, they can do what they did in the past and bring their own water or continue the water cooler sevice but pay for it themselves! Campbell school employees don't get free water - they have a water club and buy it themselves.

"I think some of the cuts are things that can discussed," said Metuchen Mayor Thomas Vahalla, a Democrat, in a telephone interview about the budget. "Cutting water coolers at borough hall would save some money but they're minimal.… It's an interesting effort but there are some things that you have to look at and [consider] how this will affect operations. There's no water fountain on the second floor, so what are employees supposed to do? Walk down? Bring their own?"

Agree there

And you send your kids to St. Francis when we have the Metuchen schools? Haha, thats funny.

That is your choice to send your kids to St. Francis. Your kids are eligible to go to the Metuchen public schools, and paying for the public education system is required of all property owners. Paying for transportation to the school is not required, it is a choice we made and maybe we should change that choice.

The people who use the school bus should pay for it?

How about this? I send my kids to St. Francis. Why should I have to pay any money into Metuchen public schools?

If we are going to a pay to use model, lets be fair.

7:02, the STC must be powerful, they plant maple trees that there is supposedly a moratorium on, they plant trees within 25 feet of corners and 10 feet of driveways in violation of the borough ordinance, they have the Mayor running all over town dissing the Woodwild Park Association, which spends its own money to insure and care for a nice wooded area that is open to the public, they have the town attorney spending 20 hours on research and spending money we don't have on a title searcher and surveyor, all to assert their authority over two trees that were a traffic hazard and were going to be replaced with two other trees all along, on a tiny piece of property that even town-issued documents say is owned by the Woodwild Park Association.

Oh, and best of all they turn away volunteers who want to help plant trees.

Well you get my sentiments. I myself can go 50/50 in cost sharing of both for now and I see two things happening. First, the Boro eliminates the funding for the commuter bus and we do a pay as you go. I saw them talking about that at the previous BC meeting to Monday night.

The second and tougher is we all have to show up en-mass at a school board meeting and say no. The majority finally tells the minority no. Fully expecting that the BoE says no in return, there is nothing you can do unless they exceed their cap. Then it is up to us to vote the School Board budget down should they exceed the cap, which I am sure will happen this time and turn it over to to town council for action. Either way you get to remember the BoE members at the polls and the council members who failed to make the appropriate reductions.

On this one something tells me that the BoE is going to make darn sure they do not exceed the cap. Where they take the cuts or how they assess costs is their business but busing is a variable in options not a fixed one.

I think the parents that want bussing should pay the full cost. Same goes for the commuter shuttle. You want a ride to the station, pay for it.

Edison now charges $3 a ride for their shuttle, with a 50% discount if you buy a pass.

Edison Light Transit

The Edison Light Transit Commuter Shuttle (ELT) is a limited, special transit shuttle bus service to and from the Edison Train Station. These commuter shuttles provide round-trip service mornings 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and evenings 5 p.m. to 8 p.m, Monday through Friday*.

Cash fare is $3.00 per ride. Prepaid bus passes offer riders a 50% discount on the normal cash fare. Passes sold in $15 and $30 denominations may be purchased by mail or at the Township Licenses & Permits window on the first floor of the Edison Municipal Building during regular business hours and at the Stelton Family Restaurant at 433 Planfield Ave. between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Good point. It is still 1.5 million and a 10.10% increase. You tell me how much of that the taxpayer should be paying as opposed to the parent. Political is it not?

The last official stop on the shuttle on the brochure is at Grove and Woodside. But it also says "Flag the shuttle anywhere along the route and the shuttle will stop for you." If there are regular "flaggers" at certain spots, I guess they have become additional stops. I've been told that people walk down Oakland from the apartments in Edison to wait at Grove and Henry, and some do the same at Grove and Woodbridge. So they have walked a bit to get to the shuttle route.

Why can't they pay $1 a ride? Other towns charge for theirs, why can't we?

School busses are not required, we have "courtesy" bussing. Only kids who live more than 2 1/2 miles from school are required to be bussed.

Shuttle interest. I am almost embarrassed to say that the shuttle is the nicest or greatest thing that I have ever seen done by a community since giving out Xmas presents on the fire truck when I was a kid in the early 60's in New Jersey.

In the morning, you get picked up at designated spots some less then 2,000 feet from the train station (believe me some people had enough beef on them that they should be walking that distance).

On return at night, if you have a residence that is along the pre-determined route and because the driver practically knows everyone you are dropped off right off/right by your home (and only if you reside directly on the pre-determined route). That is dependent on who is on the bus with you and which way the driver opts to turn next. It is darn near a personal taxi service.

I heard one fellow thought he was being discriminated against but I pointed out to him that the driver only makes stops for people who happen to live along the pre-determined routes. It did not happen for you because you live outside the zone of the pre-determined route. Is the bus jammed you bet. I realized a couple of years ago that this was not going to last forever. But darn is it great.

You save money by recusing headcount and cutting services. Still waiting to hear those proposals...

It is a show, its like Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, the biggest welfare state in the nation, telling us she is a fiscal conservative....

Its a joke.

Good show?? So the republicans on council trying to save money for the town is funny to you?? You prefer when the Dems had all of the seats and nobody went through the budget? o.k.

The first aid squad holds fundraisers to supplement their budget. Wouldn't it be possible for the Shade Tree Commission to do the same?? The tree lined streets are part of the character of the town. I wouldn't want to be short sighted. However, I would always choose a reasonable budget for the first aid squad over trees. BUT I would have not problem donating money for a tree or two. I am sure that many residents would do the same. For certain sized donations, they could offer a small plaque at the base of the tree.

These Repubs give good show

Reminds me of the all the DC Repubs who now are suddenly concerned about spending too much...

Ha, what a laugher

I wish that I had more information about the shuttle. I've seen the flyer that they send out and it wasn't quite user-friendly enough to pursue. Do commuters have to wait at particular spots? Will they drop you off or pick you up closer to your house if you ask? Can families with children use it to get downtown and back home on cold or rainy days?

I think we might use it more often and create less traffic downtown (and save money on commuter parking) if I had more information.

Is the shade tree Commission that powerful?

I do not disagree with giving EMS it's fair share. Several years ago, I would have said cut the leaf bags, cut the commuter bus and put it into EMS instead. Seems common sense to me. Now, I say cut out both and keep all spending flat or for EMS a very modest increase of 5%. The fund raisers are going to have to carry the day. The wallet via my property is closed.

Let's see, in the the Boro we have negotiated salaries/pension increases; increased fuel prices; more fire equipment & fire department building repairs; and oh yeah the real budget the schools. Let's see over at the school we have the same negotiated salaries/pension increases a ghastly 10.10% increase with a toto of 1.5 million in expenses for the buses. Does anyone understand that we are required to provide the busing services not the funding? Teachers compensated at negotiated rates for moderating club activities; and chaperoning events. It has got to stop.

Mayor threw out numbers haphazardly during the debate last night and Manley seized on them. I think he said that given the number of calls Edison does for us at $25,000 that would mean our own EMS should cost us around $21,000. We only give them $12,000. Give EMS their fair share and let's move on. They haven't had a raise in 15 years and do a heck of a job for the town. Mayor and Dyas act like someone is cooking the books at EMS or they're common criminals. Why didn't they ask the Fire Department for an accounting of what they do with the money they collect in donations from the townspeople? I am sure we could get a print out from A&P liquors.

We use Edison because Metuchen can not provide the service, no other reason. It is important to have an ambulance to render first aid and transport the patient to the hospital. Thank goodness our police force is quick to respond, at the police dinner many awards were given out for saving lives using the defibrillator.

First Aid Squad is a private entity. They do not have a budget that is controlled by Metuchen or the State. Over the years Metuchen provided them a CONTRIBUTION from the Borough budget. This contribution has not increased for 12 years or so. It should have been, but it wasn't, even when times were good. The former Mayor was not a fan of emergency services. This is not the time to increase the contribution or make up for the years they did not get one. Maybe a small increase is in order,but it should not come from cuts to operating budgets of the Borough, or by cutting valuable employees pay. It seems that Chris is indeed trying to make up for the past in one swoop. Metuchen First Aid is not able to provide service during the daytime due to lack of members, not lack of money.

They can only service the Borough at night and sometimes on the weekends, that is why Metuchen contracted with Edison, to make sure our residents received timely first aid. The contract with Edison is actually very inexpensive compared to what it would cost to hire a full time ambulance service.

Chris is being a good advocate for the area he oversees. Everyone respects that. The trees are also an issue for the people who want trees. Planting maples when we are trying to dissuade further planting of them in right of way is stupid if that happened. I think Rich Dyas pointed out last year that the town has lost over 6,000 trees in the past generation. That is a big number. Look at the previous post here on trees both cutting and composting pros and cons. What I want to see of my officials is that we maximize what we can do for our town in the time we have.

Consolidation of services is almost here whether we like it or not and no one in Edison is going to give a hoot about planting more trees in the Metuchen sub division or Boro which I hope we can remain; let alone quickly removing graffiti.

So let's try and address both issues as best we can. Because, if/when the DPW and Police/Emergency Services merge I woul still like to know Metuchen is a special place.

I heard the Reps asked for mingled seating and the Dems said no. They are very good at saying no.

Maybe they need to change the seating arrangement?

Should definitely take money away from the Shade Tree people who don't even follow their own rules. Info you get from building dept on permitted trees says there's a moratorium on maples. What did the Shade Tree people plant last year on Arbor Day? Maples. I guess the rules only apply to some people.

The show was already running all day under the article on last week's meeting.

Here we go!!! Show time!!!

Forced politeness? You're too kind.

The Borough contribution to the First Aid Squad is only $12,000 and has been the same for the last 12 years, a very important point. They fundraise for the rest. We pay Edison more per call than our First Aid Squad is costing us. And who's responsible for that? Not the people who have only been on council for one year or one month.

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