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NOTICE OF A MOUNT LAUREL COMPLIANCE HEARING ON THE HOUSING ELEMENT AND FAIR SHARE PLAN OF THE TOWNSHIP OF LUMBERTON, COUNTY OF BURLINGTON
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that on October 2, 2018, beginning at 2:00 p.m., the Honorable Ronald E. Bookbinder, A.J.S.C., will conduct a “Compliance Hearing” In the Matter of the Application of the Township of Lumberton, A Municipal Corporation of the State of New Jersey, bearing Docket No. BUR-L-407-14 (“the Action”), at the Burlington County Courthouse located at 49 Rancocas Road, 7th Floor, Mount Holly, New Jersey 08060.
The purpose of the Compliance Hearing is for the Court to determine whether the Township of Lumberton’s Housing Element and Fair Share Plan (hereinafter “Affordable Housing Plan”), adopted on August 15, 2018 by the Township’s Joint Land Use Board, and endorsed on August 28, 2018 by the Township Committee, satisfies the Township’s obligation to provide a realistic opportunity to satisfy the Rehabilitation, Prior Round (1987-1999) and Gap + Prospective Need (1999-2025) components of its “fair share” of the regional need for housing affordable to low and moderate income households pursuant to (i) the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”), N.J.S.A. 52:27D-301 et seq., (ii) applicable substantive regulations of the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing (“COAH”), (iii) the Settlement Agreement entered into between Fair Share Housing Center (“FSHC”) and the Township of Lumberton, approved by the Court at a properly noticed Fairness Hearing on May 2, 2018, and memorialized by an approval order entered by the Court on that same day and (iv) other applicable laws. If the Court determines that the Township has satisfied its obligation to provide a realistic opportunity to satisfy its Rehabilitation, Prior Round and Gap + Prospective Need components of its “fair share,” it will enter a Judgment of Compliance and Repose, which will give Lumberton protection from all Mount Laurel lawsuits through July 1, 2025.
To facilitate this procedure, the Township has presented to the Court, and placed on file with the Township Clerk, a copy of the Affordable Housing Plan and various other related documents. These documents are available for public inspection at the office of the Township Clerk located at the Municipal Building, 35 Municipal Drive, Lumberton, NJ, during normal business hours.
The Affordable Housing Plan and additional documents on file in the Township’s Municipal Building describe how the Township will address its “fair share” of the regional need for low and moderate-income housing as established pursuant to the Court-approved Settlement Agreement between the Township of Lumberton and FSHC dated November 21 2017.
The various elements of the Township’s Affordable Housing Plan can be summarized as follows:
The Township has the following Fair Share obligations:
a. A Rehabilitation Obligation of 3.
b. A Prior Round Obligation (1987-1999) of 152.
c. A Gap + Prospective Need Obligation (1999-2025) of 332.
All interested parties are hereby given an opportunity to appear and be heard at this Compliance Hearing. Objections or comments by any interested party must be submitted in writing 10 days before the hearing which is on or before September 23, 2018 by 9:00 a.m. with the Honorable Ronald E. Bookbinder, A.J.S.C. at 49 Rancocas Road, 7th Floor, Mount Holly, New Jersey 08060, with copies of all papers being forwarded by mail or e-mail to:
Linda A. Galella, Esq., Parker McCay, P.A., 9000 Midlantice Drive, Suite 300, Mount Laurel, New Jersey 08054 email@example.com
Kevin D. Walsh, Esq., Fair Share Housing Center, 510 Park Boulevard, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002 firstname.lastname@example.org
Special Master Elizabeth C. McKenzie, PP, AICP, Community Planning and Development, 9 Main Street, Flemington, New Jersey 08822 email@example.com
Brian M. Nelson, Esq., Archer & Greiner P.C., Riverview Plaza, 10 Highway 35, Red Bank, New Jersey 07701
Debra Shaw-Blemings, RMC, Municipal Building, 35 Municipal Drive, Lumberton, New Jersey 08048 firstname.lastname@example.org
This Notice is intended (1) to inform all interested parties of the existence of an Affordable Housing Plan adopted and endorsed by the Township and its Joint Land Use Board, and of documents on file that explain the specific manner in which the Township proposes to address its “fair share” of affordable housing; and (2) to explain the consequences of court approval of the Township’s Affordable Housing Plan; namely, immunity from any Mount Laurel lawsuits through July 1, 2025. This Notice does not indicate any view by the Court, the Special Master, the Township, or FSHC as to whether the Court will approve the manner in which the Township proposes to satisfy its fair share.
NJ Homestead Rebate Update
The State of New Jersey has increased the 2015 Homestead Benefit for those that qualify and a credit has been posted to the 4th quarter tax amount due November 1, 2018. Revised payment coupons for November were mailed on August 28, 2018 to those residents that qualify for the credit. If you have any questions regarding your credit please contact the Homestead Benefit Hotline at 1-888-238-1233.
SOLAR REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
To: Lumberton Township Committee
From: Solar Review Committee
Date: Friday, July 6, 2018
RE: Solar Report and Recommendation of Award
Background: Notice to Vendors was made via publication on March 30, 2018 to receive Request for Proposals for a solar project that would provide options to Lumberton Township is develop a solar project or projects with the primary goal of reduced rate electricity. Secondary goals include land lease alternatives and providing solar power street lighting along municipal drive. The project was advertised as a competitive contracting proposal process pursuant to guidance provided in New Jersey Statutes, N.J.S.A. § 40A:11-4.1 et seq., and Local Finance Notices 2009-9, -10 and -11. The complete Request for Proposals package is attached hereto as Exhibit A and incorporated herein. The RFP permitted the use of lands at the closed municipal landfill as well as the Township’s facilities along municipal drive as space to provide opportunities for solar initiatives. The RFP was open to an award to multiple vendor each of whom was directed to maximize use of available lands and supply as much solar energy power as each was capable of generating at the lowest possible rate to the Township in the proposal. The specification required no municipal start-up costs for this project.
A pre-submission meeting was held on site on April 9, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. The meeting included a description of the project, a question and answer session with Township representatives and a site tour were conducted. The meeting was conducted by Environmental Resolutions, Inc. and Township Administrator Brandon Umba on behalf of the Township.
Potential vendors had until April 20, 2018 to raise questions concerning the proposal guidelines. No potential vendors submitted questions.
The Township granted an extension for the submission date to supply each vendor with additional power usage figures.
RFP Opening. At the time and place for receiving proposals, two bids were received. The vendors were:
- Solar Sense
- Advanced Solar Products
Please note, the second vendor’s submission was rejected for arriving approximately one hour late.
Committee evaluations. The review committee each individually scored the remaining submission. This submission only proposed a land lease option for the landfill site and did not propose to sell electricity to the Township at a reduced price.
Recommendation. The review committee evaluated the Solar Sense proposal and determined that the overall economic benefit to the municipality is $985,613 over fifteen years ($61,230/year) for a straight lease purchase of the landfill lands to construct a solar field. This project would not affect the municipal buildings and would allow the Township to re-advertise for a solar project at the municipal. The review committee recommends that the second project be advertised solely as a power purchase agreement and that one of the requirements of the vendor would be to install appropriate lighting along municipal drive. The review committee recommends that this secondary project be advertised after the completion of the new emergency services building so that the rooftop may also be considered for solar paneling.
ELECTION POLLING PLACES
01 – Municipal Building, 35 Municipal Dr., Court Room
02 – Bobby’s Run School, 32 Dimsdale Dr., PAC
03 – Bobby’s Run School, 32 Dimsdale Dr., PAC
04 – Lumberton Fire House, 561 Main St., Bay Area
05 – Lumberton Fire House, 561 Main St., Bay Area
06 – Municipal Building, 35 Municipal Dr., Community Room
07 – Municipal Building, 35 Municipal Dr., Court Room
08 – Municipal Building, 35 Municipal Dr., Court Room
09 – Municipal Building, 35 Municipal Dr., Community Room
10 – Lumberton Fire House, 561 Main St., Bay Area
February 27, 2018 – Lumberton Township – Tuesday evening, the Lumberton Township Committee introduced its 2018 Municipal Budget, which lowers the Local Tax Levy by 1.7% or roughly 1/2 penny for every $100 of assessed value. This represents a local tax rate decrease from last year’s 0.411 to this year’s 0.406 or more simply a roughly $16 savings to the average assessed home of $299,734.00. The amount to be raised in taxes through this budget equates to an overall reduction of $95,997.44, taking the total tax levy from $5,690,279.02 in 2017 to $5,594,281.58 for 2018. In all, the entire budget appropriations for the 2018 Budget is $8,750,904, which is $37,032 less than the $8,787,936 appropriated in the last year’s 2017 Adopted Budget.
“We are extremely proud to introduce this year’s budget, which reduces the burden on our local taxpayers again for a second year in a row while maintaining all of our core Township Services, including staffing our Police Department at its increased level of 21 Sworn Officers,” stated Mayor Mike Mansdoerfer. “I would like to congratulate the Township Committee, all of our Municipal Staff, especially our Township Administrator Brandon Umba, who have worked tirelessly to implement this tax cutting municipal budget”, added Mayor Mansdoerfer.
“Since the national economic downturn, our Township has made strides to stabilize our Municipal Budget to ensure minimal impact on our residents, while maintaining all core municipal services at levels expected by our taxpayers,” stated Mayor Mansdoerfer, liaison to the Township’s Finance Department. “In that time the Township has been able to consistently decrease our total annual budget to the tune of $1,644,931 during the last 10 years (2008 Budget = $10,395,835 and the 2018 Budget = $8,750,904) and this year’s budget culminates all of our past efforts by providing local tax relief to our residents for the second year in a row,” explained Mayor Mansdoerfer.
“When I joined the Township Committee last year, my goal first and foremost was to provide tax relief to our residents and even though we as Township Committee Members do not control the School or County budgets, we do our very best to ensure that our local tax rate provides relief to our taxpayers,” added Deputy Mayor Kristin Januseski, who also is a liaison to the Township’s Finance Department. “Additionally, even while providing a tax decrease for a second year in a row, our Administration through its fiscal practices increased our Township’s surplus to $2,920,454. 27,” stated Deputy Mayor Januseski. “Having the fiscal minds like Mayor Mansdoerfer and Administrator Umba leading our finance team is such a hidden asset for our residents and taxpayers. They drill down on every penny and have developed sound financial planning for Lumberton for years to come,” she concluded.
In addition to introducing the Township’s 2018 Municipal Budget at the February 27, 2018 meeting, the Township Committee also adopted a capital ordinance to authorize $400,000 toward an addition to the new Emergency Services Building. This addition is needed due to the very recent increase in volunteer members to the Township’s Emergency Squad and Fire Department. Since the Township has been able to build up its net surplus to close to $3 million, the Township Committee made the decision to add this addition now in order to meet the needs of our volunteer first responders without burdening any of our Township’s taxpayers.
“The fact that we have been able to provide our residents with a tax cut for a second year in a row, while funding construction of a new Public Safety Building and provide for a much needed addition to this new building due to the significant increase in our volunteer first responders, is a true testament to hard work of our Township Committee and staff,” explained Committeeman Jim Conway. “Through our efforts a number of commercial and residential projects within the Township are in the mix and it is because of our fiscal responsibility as a governing body that these developers find Lumberton Township attractive,” added Committeeman Conway. “As we continue to build on our successes, I know that Lumberton’s future is a bright one, because our local leaders are setting a blue print for a community that is affordable, and a great place to live, work and raise a family,” concluded Committeeman Conway.
Lumberton Township has set its Budget Adoption hearing for 7:30pm on Tuesday evening March 27, 2018 at the Lumberton Municipal Building, 35 Municipal Drive, Lumberton, NJ 08048. Residents are encouraged to attend.
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The Following Is An Update Letter From Mayor Earlen & The Township Committee Regarding The Mt. Holly MUA
Friends and Neighbors,
Earlier this year, I wrote to you on behalf of the Township Committee in response to the many complaints we received from Lumberton residents regarding the 40% increases in the Mount Holly Municipal Utilities Authority’s (MUA) sewer bills over the past three years. At that time, we pledged to work to address the unfair billing rates charged by the MUA and the absence of any Lumberton representation on the MUA board. We appreciate the overwhelming support you have expressed for our efforts to fight for what is fair for Lumberton residents. I am writing to give an update on these efforts.
As you may recall, the Township Committee has raised three issues with the MUA, beginning with the decision to increase Lumberton’s residential and commercial sewer rates by more than 40% since 2013. Second, Lumberton residents do not share the same “host town” benefits that Mount Holly residents enjoy, even though the MUA’s sewer processing facility is physically constructed in Lumberton Township. Mount Holly residents enjoy sewer rate and connection fee discounts of 25% below the rates paid by Lumberton residents. Third, although Lumberton is the largest town that the MUA serves, our township has never been represented on the MUA Board and therefore, we believe that our concerns are not being appropriately or adequately represented. The MUA Board is currently comprised of individuals appointed by the Mount Holly Township Council only, including several Mount Holly Council members. As such, it is little surprise that Mount Holly residents enjoy such generous discounts at the expense of Lumberton taxpayers. Lumberton Township has been fighting to receive the same “host town” sewer rate reduction as Mount Holly residents, along with two seats on the MUA Board so that Lumberton’s rights are properly represented.
Sadly, we have had to resort to hiring a special counsel and filing numerous Open Public Records Act requests in order to gain answers to the concerns raised by our residents. The documents reveal that Mount Holly Township consistently uses the Mount Holly MUA to fund the municipal budget. That means the exorbitant fees paid by Lumberton residents are being used to fund Mount Holly Township. Over the last several months, we have also learned the following about the MUA.
- In addition to charging Mount Holly residents and businesses lower rates, the Mount Holly MUA Board makes a yearly payment of $365,150 to the Township of Mount Holly as a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT). In fact, in 2013, two months after the MUA voted to raise Lumberton’s rates, the Board passed Resolution 2013-67, which amended its budget to increase that PILOT amount from $240,150 to the current $365,150.00. When asked how the MUA will fund this increase, the Deputy Director of Finance stated (as recorded in the minutes of August 8, 2013), “the recent rate increase will cover the additional appropriations.” To put this in perspective, the Mount Holly Town Council appoints its own members to the Mount Holly MUA, who in turn send hundreds of thousands of Lumberton ratepayers’ dollars back to the Mount Holly Council for their budget. This is just wrong and unjust to the hard working residents of Lumberton.
- In what we believe to be a hollow attempt to satisfy one of our complaints, the Mount Holly Township Council, without any consultation with the Lumberton Township Committee, appointed one Lumberton resident to the MUA Board. It is our opinion that this is a callous act to give the appearance of openness and cooperation when in fact nothing could be farther from the truth. This new Board member has not contacted any member of our Township Committee, nor Township administration to discuss your complaints or what is right and just for Lumberton’s ratepayers.
- Now, to our amazement and disgust, this week the Mount Holly MUA notified Lumberton Township that it is increasing sewer connection fees AGAIN. Already amongst the highest in the Burlington County, this additional increase in connection fees presents an even greater barrier to growth for Lumberton businesses and developers, putting Lumberton at a disadvantage compared to its Mount Holly neighbors.
We began this effort to ensure that Lumberton’s residents and businesses receive fair treatment and relief in their billing and connection fees, and open and honest representation on the MUA Board. Now, we also believe that the MUA owes Lumberton ratepayers an explanation as to why it cannot be afforded the same benefits that Mount Holly residents enjoy and why the Mount Holly MUA is balancing the Mount Holly Township budget on the backs of Lumberton residents.
Why is it that the Mount Holly MUA’s rates are so much higher than others in the region? What makes it so much more expensive to process sewage in Mount Holly than elsewhere in Burlington County? Please be assured that the Lumberton Township Committee intends to find out why and will continue to fight for Lumberton’s residents and businesses. We ask for your continued support in this cause as we work to keep pressure on the members of the MUA Board to do what’s right. To voice your concerns, contact the Mount Holly MUA at email@example.com or by calling 609-267-0015.
Sean W. Earlen
Lumberton Township Introduces 2017 Budget with a 3% Tax Cut
Once Adopted this Budget will Equate to Roughly a $30 Saving
to the Average Assessed Home of $292,917.00
March 15, 2017 – Lumberton Township – Tuesday evening, the Lumberton Township Committee introduced its 2017 Municipal Budget, which lowers the Local Tax Levy by 3% or roughly 1 penny for every $100 of assessed value. This represents a local tax rate decrease from last year’s 0.421 to this year’s 0.411. The amount to be raised in taxes through this budget equates to an overall reduction of $169,950, taking the total tax levy from $5,860,229.02 in 2016 to $5,690,279.02 for 2017. In all, the entire budget appropriations for the 2017 Budget is $8,787,936, which is $128,561 less than the $8,917,497 appropriated in the last year’s 2016 Adopted Budget.
“We are extremely proud to introduce this year’s budget, which reduces the burden on our local taxpayers while maintaining all of our core Township Services, including staffing our Police Department at its increased level of 20 Sworn Officers,” stated Mayor Sean Earlen. “I would like to thank Committeeman Mansdoerfer, our Liaison to the Finance Department, our Township Administrator Brandon Umba and the rest of the Township Staff, who worked tirelessly to implement this responsible municipal budget”, added Mayor Earlen.
One main element impacting the 2017 Budget and future budgets is the total annual debt payment, which decreased from $1,197,575 to $702,117, allowing the Township to close on a capital bond for the cost of its new Public Safety Building, without impacting local taxes. Using this sizeable gap in debt payments, the Township was able to structure its new capital bond so that annual payments remained within that gap, eliminating any tax impact to the Township’s taxpayers. Additionally, due to the Township’s recent credit rating increase from Standard and Poors, Lumberton taxpayers realized an additional savings of $479,569 in interest payments over the life of the 25 year bond that was acquired to cover the cost of the new Public Safety Building. This savings would not have been achieved without the credit rating increase from AA- to AA.
“Since the economic downturn, our Township has made strides to stabilize our Municipal Budget to ensure minimal impact on our residents, while maintaining all core municipal services at levels expected by our taxpayers, all while our ratable base decreased,” stated Committeeman Mike Mansdoerfer, liaison to the Township’s Finance Department. “In the past 10 years, Lumberton’s ratable base has dropped by over $56 million, the lion share or roughly $47 million of that loss has come in the last 5 years, causing significant impact to our municipal budgets during that time. However, even with that ratable loss, the Township has been able to consistently decrease our total annual budget to the tune of $1,197,204 in the last 10 years and this year’s budget culminates all of our past efforts by providing tax relief to our residents,” explained Committeeman Mansdoerfer.
“The fact that we have been able to provide our residents with a tax cut and fund the construction of a new Public Safety Building is a true testament to hard work of our Township Committee and staff. Though it is always hard to predict future budgets, we are hopeful with our ratables stabilizing or even increasing as we suspect, that our future budgets will remain flat over the next several years,” concluded Mayor Earlen.
Lumberton Township has set its Budget Adoption hearing for 7:30pm on Tuesday evening April 25, 2017 at the Lumberton Municipal Building, 35 Municipal Drive, Lumberton, NJ 08048. Residents are encouraged to attend.
Burlington County to start cost-saving energy aggregation program for some towns in fall
Mt. Laurel Sun Article, July 16, 2016
Burlington County Freeholder Mary Ann O’Brien has announced that the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders’ cost-saving Energy Aggregation Program will go into effect this September, with participating residents expected to see savings in their October electric bills.
“This Energy Aggregation Program allows Burlington County to make a ‘bulk purchase’ of energy supply at a rate that is guaranteed to be lower than what residents are currently paying to their electric company,” O’Brien said. “We can then offer that lower rate to our residents in participating municipalities. This will help to decrease the ever growing cost of utilities, an issue particularly important to those on a fixed income.”
The Freeholder Board hosted a competitive auction on Tuesday, June 14 to determine the program’s new fixed rate.
“I am pleased to announce that this process has enabled us to obtain real savings for our residents,” O’Brien said. “Customers of Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L) will recognize a savings of at least 20 percent over their current rate, with customers of PSE&G recognizing a savings of at least 5 percent and Atlantic City Electric (ACE) customers seeing a savings of at least 13 percent; for an average of more than 12 percent in savings over 14 months.”
O’Brien said combined this means a total savings for residents of more than $2.8 million.
“One of the great things about this program is that, by law, it must offer our residents the lowest available rate,” O’Brien said. “This means that if at any time the default utility rate were to fall below the rate we received at auction, participating residents would receive that lower rate. That way, the savings are guaranteed.”
O’Brien said now that the aggregate rate has been determined, residents in participating towns will receive the lower rate, or they may ‘opt out’ of the program to either their current utility rate or to a third party provider.
“In that way, this plan not only lowers costs but also expands consumer choice by providing residents with a third option not currently available to them,” O’Brien said.
The Burlington County Bridge Commission will partner with the Freeholders to execute the energy aggregation program, providing technical and professional support and services.
This program was made available to all municipalities in Burlington County. Ultimately Burlington City, Cinnaminson, Florence, Lumberton, Moorestown, Palmyra, Southampton, Riverside, Woodland, and Wrightstown all chose to participate in this first round of the program. Those municipalities that have not chosen to participate in this initial launch will have an opportunity to do so in subsequent rounds of the program.
“This program is part of our long standing effort to fight for lower utility costs on behalf of our residents, a fight in which we have had many successes,” Freeholder O’Brien said. “For example, many will remember our public battle to stop New Jersey American Water from increasing water rates by 20 percent in 23 of our municipalities. We gathered more than 11,000 signatures from residents, and confronted the BPU through the mail and in person. When the smoke had cleared, their bid for a $95 million per year rate increase had been cut to less than a third of that amount.”
Please Click on the Below Link to Access the Outreach Kit for the Burlington County Energy Aggregation Program.
Lumberton Township Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for it’s Two Newest Playground at Bryan Freeman Park in the Bobby’s Runs Section of Town
Lumberton, NJ – October 31, 2016 – After two months of construction, the Lumberton Township Committee is set to open its newest playgrounds as part of its Phase 1 refurbishment of the recreational parks located in the Bobby’s Run section of the Township. Phase 1 consisted of replacing both playgrounds located at Bryan Freeman Park, as well as the playground at Turnbridge Drive. The Turnbridge Park officially opened last weekend.
In Phase 2 is also underway and will completely refurbishing the tennis courts located at Bryan Freeman Park This overall project is a continuation of the Township Committee’s commitment to refurbishing the Public Parks and Playgrounds throughout the Town, all of which have all been funded in part by grants from the Burlington County Municipal Park Development Program.
Mayor Sean Earlen stated, “the grand opening of these last two new state of the art playgrounds located at the Bryan Freeman Park rounds out the Township’s 2016 playground reconstruction plan and my colleagues and I are proud to have all three playgrounds now open for our residents to enjoy.” “We have been very fortunate over the years to receive well over $875,000 worth of grant money provided by the Burlington County’s Municipal Park Development Program. As you drive throughout the Township it is great seeing all of the completed projects being enjoyed by our residents and visitors to our great town,” added Mayor Earlen.
To date, Lumberton Township and the Burlington County Freeholders have teamed up to construct a brand new playground, Community Garden and Dog Park at the Village Green, a Canoe Launch on the Rancocas Creek, sports fields at our Municipal Building Complex, and now the refurbishment of Turnbridge Park and Bryan Freeman Park’s Playgrounds.
“Partnering with the Burlington County Freeholder Board has been a no brainer decision for the Township Committee,” added Committeeman Jim Conway, who serves as one of the Engineering Project liaisons to the Township Committee. “This year in particular has been extremely good for Lumberton Township as participants in the county’s Park Development Grant Program due to the fact that several of our past projects provided by these grant funds finished well under budget and we were permitted to use all of our leftover grant money to refurbish three playgrounds in the Bobby’s Run Section of the Township,” stated Committeeman Conway.
Bryan Freeman Park will be open from dawn to dusk, seven days a week to be enjoyed by Township Residents.