Topic: COMMUNITY INTEREST
2016/2017 is Going to Really Stink in Hamilton
Lots of fur has been flying over the Mayor of Hamilton, Mercer County budget. Her own council has "trumped" her to approve something different than what she submitted. They felt her lack of understanding of fiscal responsibility to the town, with her new budget, would put residents at risk. The council members also boycotted the Mayor's ball this year and did not attend in protest.
The link below will take you to the budget that has been proposed.
This budget is setting off concering alarms amongst the residents. The lack of common sense and understanding by the townships leadership has residents in an uproar and gravely concerned about the future of the township.
The township is slated to spend $2.8 million more dollars than last year. They state in the budget that $1.4 million is slated to fund a debt service to fund capital projects.
There is $389,00 slated for pensions. How many of those retiring Hamilton employees will end up back on the payroll in the same job?
Well, currently today there are 15 double dippers
(see list here:(http://www.tammyduffy.com/ARTFASHION/index.blog/2357589/hamilton39s-ethics/)
on the Hamilton payroll. The residents feel that these 15 people should be taken off the payroll immediately. This double dipping is financially bankrupting the NJ pension system.
The township has selected a cloud service for the police body cameras that costs $100,000. They purchased 150+ cameras for the police force. This amount of storage is the bare minimum it appears. Why even bother to do the cameras if you cannot afford the storage? Who will manage this aspect of the body cameras for the township to ensure they do not go over their usage? The new IT director who knows nothing about IT? Or has the township rehired the retired IT director, who felt it necessary to destroy all digital records prior to July 2010 in the township? The companies selling these cameras make about a 15% margin on the cameras, but a 50% margin on the storage. They make their money on the storage. This $100,000 could easily turn into a $1,000,000 cost for Hamilton residents if this program is not efficiently managed.
A new plumbing inspector is being added at an undefined cost. One can only hope this does fix some of the issues that exist in the inspection process in the township. There is a Hamilton resident who one year ago installed an air conditioner. The township inspector failed the installation (this seems to be the status quo, everyone fails on the first inspection), and one year later the resident has not called for a re-inspection. There has been zero follow up from the township to this resident to ensure the household is being safely maintained.
The Mayor touts about the increase in construction activity. Yet, there is zero work being done on the aging, failing sewer system in the town. ( http://www.tammyduffy.com/ARTFASHION/index.blog/2355854/hamiltons-potential-building-moratorium/) If the township does not adequately monitor the stress on the existing sewer system, Hamilton residents will be floating in a sea of excrement in the very near future. In the 2016 budget the odor control mechanisms for the sewer plant have been removed. The residents of Hamilton had better go and get some clothes pin for they are in for a smelly year.
A few years back the Mayor hired a firm to submit grants on behalf of the township. So how are they doing, not good. Each year the budget demonstrates a significant drop in the grant dollars coming into the township. One resident commented," We wonder who the grant writing company is and how they are related to someone in the township?"
It is interesting to note that the total donations to the township year after year is exactly the same. Interesting no?
Other highlights from the budget that are interesting.
- SEWER: What are "other" expenses? $5M worth?
- Why do they think they will make so much more in vendor fees this year at Septemberfest? ($79K to 90K), we guess they are raising the fees at the event.
- Why do they think they will make so much more $$ at the library this year? ($74K to 241K, a 267% increase) what are the programs that will drive this? The old director mysteriously went on "medical leave" to take care of an ailing parent. A parent according to sources that she estranged from.
- Mayor's office, Clerks office, HR, Business Administrator, Legal, Engineering, Economic Development, Call Center all get raises. All other departments will see a decrease in their paychecks.
- Another $325,000 will be spent on new police cars.
- Shade trees: only $250 will be spent. We estimate this to be one tree. The mayor touts she is a tree hugger. She had wetlands destroyed to spend $500,000 on a gun range in the township and now wants to destroy a floodplain for a solar farm on Sweetbriar Ave. She is planting one tree in return. Great job Madam Mayor.
- $14M on Group insurance
- $1500 for photos with children of the mayor. Why is the marketing staff who get paid over $100K doing this at the events?
- $1.4M other insurances
- No funding for : Body Armor or other Drunk Driving Programs, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over ($38K before now nothing). Yet Hamilton had 40 alcohol related events in the schools this past year. Out of the 500+ municipalities Hamilton is listed as #10 with one of the highest alcohol related events. Yet, the Mayor has cut ALL of the programs focused on this public safety and health issue in the township.
- · This year's budget has a lot less streets being paved (21 vs. around 30) and not one street/road is in Yardville or Groveville. The streets being redone have council members living on each of them. So, if you are lucky enough to live on their streets, no more potholes for you. The other residents will have to resort to other ways of filling up their sinkholes in the making.
- Only $3,000 spent on background checks for new employees. What are they using Facebook and Twitter? No wonder there are people who have been arrested on the payroll. We guess Facebook is cheaper than the FBI, one less letter.
- HAMSTAT: Get rid of it. Make people do their jobs in the twp. Would save a quarter of a million of dollars!
- $20k to mow the lawn at Peter Rafferty Creek. There is $11,500 in the budget for new lawn mowers....why not use those vs. hiring someone?
- Removed STD prevention ($28K). Hamilton has one of the highest incidence of STD in the State. Why did the Mayor remove this? Hamilton has the 11th highest incident of STD in the STATE of NJ, out of the 565 municipalities for CHLAMYDIA. For GONORRHEA Hamilton is 10th out of 565 municipalities for the most cases. For Syphilis Hamilton is 27th in line for the most cases out of the 565 municipalities. Does the mayor not consider Chlamydia, Syphilis and Gonorrhea STD's that she removed the budget to support the education of these diseases?
- All Park improvements are listed as CRITICAL status for the improvement. $1M is slated for these improvements. This will cost residents more than what is budgeted. They just handed a lawyer and his plaintiff a very nice piece of discovery with this budget. We did not see a line item for lawsuits based on incompetence. The residents of Hamilton are certainly paying for the poor judgment of the leadership.