Township Layoff Plan Calls for Elimination of 171 Positions
Plan calls for elimination of garbage and recycling pickup, 29 police officers
Township officials have submitted a layoff plan to the state Civil Service Commission that calls for the elimination of 171 positions, including deep cuts to the Public Works and Police departments and the elimination of trash and recycling pickup.
The township currently employs 369 people.
The plan, described in a letter to the commission by Deputy Business Administrator Juan Bellu, calls for the elimination of 29 police officers, eight crossing guards and three dispatchers, as well as administrative staff within the Public Safety department. The Public Works department will lose 25 sanitation drivers, eight truck drivers, eight mechanics, eight laborers, five equipment operators and one department head and deputy department head, as well as a number of other employees. That move will result in the elimination of trash and recycling pickup.
The document also states that park maintenance operations will be eliminated and clerical personnel within a number of departments will be laid off. Additionally, a number of inspectors, officers and clerks within the Land Use and Community Development department will get the ax.
"After an extensive analysis of the financial status of the Township it has been determined that it is necessary for the Township to reduce costs," Bellu wrote in the letter, which was addressed to Robert M. Czech, chief executive officer of the Civil Service Commission. "This is due to additional constraints placed upon the Township due to the recently passed 2% tax levy cap, and declining revenues in all areas over the past 2 years. This will result in the elimination of certain functions and titles within the organization."
Bellu wrote that one-time revenues, including a donation of more than $1 million from the Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority and a $4.4 million refund from the state to the township, helped stem layoffs during 2009 and 2010. Those revenue sources will not be available this year, Bellu wrote.
"The Township will be unable to balance its 2011 budget at current staffing levels, if a referendum is not passed by the taxpayers," wrote Bellu.
Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis has said taxpayers will be able to vote April 27 on a referendum which would allow officials to exceed the spending cap and retain certain services. The details of the referendum have yet to be decided by the township council.
"This is exactly what the 2 percent [cap] intended to do, which is to give residents a chance to vote on which services they want and which they don't want," said Acropolis on Tuesday. "There are pros and cons to both sides of the issue."
"Whatever the voters decide, we've got to present a balanced budget to the council," Acropolis added. "I believe that was the governor's intent and the Legislature's intent."
Acropolis said two unions representing township employees – the Transport Workers Union and Teamsters – have opened their contracts for renegotiation, and "some Brick residents will look at that" when considering how to vote on the referendum.
A township council meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday night at 7 p.m. The layoff plan is not listed on the agenda for the meeting posted on the township's Web site.