Click here to view information: Rancocas Valley Girl Scouts Flyer
NOTICE OF PENDING ORDINANCE #2017-011
AN ORDINANCE OF THE TOWNSHIP OF LUMBERTON AMENDING AND SUPPLEMENTING CHAPTER 157 OF THE TOWNSHIP CODE ENTITLED FLOOD DAMAGE PROTECTION
Notice is hereby given that the aforesaid ordinance was introduced and passed upon first reading at a meeting of the Township Committee of the Township of Lumberton, County of Burlington, State of New Jersey, held September 12, 2017. It will be further considered for final passage after public hearing thereon, at a meeting of said Township Committee to be held in the Lumberton Township Municipal Building, 35 Municipal Drive, Lumberton, New Jersey, on September 26, 2017, beginning at 7:30PM. During the week prior to, up to and including the date of such meeting, copies of said ordinance will be made available at the Clerk’s Office in said Municipal Building to members of the general public who shall request the same.
Click below to view Ordinance in its entirety:
Please take notice that the Burlington County Board of Elections has approved the relocation of Districts 1, 6 and 9 Election Polling Places beginning on the June 6th Primary Election. The sample ballots will have the polling places listed as follows:
District 1 previously at EMS Building is moved to
Municipal Building Court Room
35 Municipal Drive
District 6 previously at Ashbrook School is moved to
Municipal Building Community Room
35 Municipal Drive
District 9 previously at Ashbrook School is moved to
Municipal Building Community Room
35 Municipal Drive
By Danielle DeSisto, BCT Staff Writer
LUMBERTON — The township has filed a formal complaint against the Mount Holly Municipal Utilities Authority, continuing its fight to be involved in the MUA’s decisions that impact the town’s ratepayers.
The complaint filed with the New Jersey Local Finance Board argues that the MUA failed to “consult and review” with Lumberton officials before approving its 2017 capital budget and programs, and that officials also were not briefed on previous budgets.
The township was not invited to participate in the development of the capital plan, and did not review or approve the proposal, according to the complaint.
The complaint alleges the MUA certified that it had reviewed the documents with Lumberton and other towns it serves in its submission to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.
The municipality is requesting a full audit of the authority’s budgets and capital plans from 2012 to 2017 and of all payments made by the MUA to Mount Holly Township during that same period, as well as full monitoring of the 2018 budget process.
Township officials have made multiple requests to the MUA for Lumberton to be recognized as a host community with appointment power and representation on the authority’s board, and for residents to receive the same discounts as Mount Holly ratepayers. Lumberton entered a sewer service agreement with the MUA in 1986.
The discount enjoyed by Mount Holly residents, paired with rising rates, has divided the MUA and some of the towns it serves, particularly Lumberton. Eastampton, Hainesport, Westampton and parts of Moorestown also have sewer service agreements with the MUA.
Mount Holly residents receive a 33 percent discount on sewer connection and meter fees, and a 25 percent discount on sewer flow rates, compared with the other towns serviced by the MUA, according to Lumberton Mayor Sean Earlen.
“It’s very troubling that the Mount Holly MUA has repeatedly approved budgets, rate increases and capital improvement plans without proper notification to Lumberton and other affected communities, thus circumventing public participation,” Earlen said. “Equally troubling is that for several years the Mount Holly MUA falsely certified that proper notification was made.”
As part of its capital budget documentation, the MUA is asked to confirm whether each municipality or county affected by the actions of the authority had participated in the development of the capital budget and reviewed or approved the plans. The MUA indicated that the towns it serves were involved and approved the 2017 budget, but Lumberton officials said they were never consulted.
The MUA’s attorney, Tom Coleman, said in a letter to Lumberton’s attorney on May 12 that he could officially confirm that “no special notification was provided to the Township of Lumberton or any other municipality served by the Authority at or before the budget was adopted.”
Coleman added that MUA Executive Director Robert Maybury was planning to implement a new policy to ensure that affected towns receive information prior to the adoption of future budgets.
Coleman declined to comment Thursday.
“So basically, they knew they needed to consult with the townships on an annual basis, and they didn’t,” Lumberton Township Administrator Brandon Umba said. “So how can we be sure that they are going to change this behavior if they knowingly didn’t do it in the past and the fact that they refused to contact us before we hired an attorney?”
Maybury said towns served by the MUA receive notification by mail of rate hearings every year.
Lumberton chose to reach out to the Local Finance Board because it is the only body that can force the MUA to abide by regulations and properly audit and monitor the authority. Officials hope the board’s review will prevent future conflicts.
The Mount Holly MUA has repeatedly said its township ratepayers are entitled to discounts because the municipality is a host community to the authority’s facilities. Representatives have also said Mount Holly has bonded for the construction and multimillion-dollar upgrades of those facilities since the plant was built in 1948.
Lumberton Township would like to thank Haley Werner for all of her fundraising efforts to install a “Thin Blue Line” down Municipal Drive in support of the Lumberton Police Department.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Postponed Due To Weather – NEW DATE
September 30, 2017
Lumberton Township Opens
New Bryan Freeman Park Tennis Courts
Lumberton, NJ – May 19, 2017 – The Lumberton Township Committee opened its newly refurbished Tennis Court located at Bryan Freeman Park in the Bobby’s Run section of the Township, this Friday completing its yearlong project to renovate recreational areas in this part of town. This project consisted of replacing both playgrounds and tennis courts located at Bryan Freeman Park, as well as the playground at Turnbridge Drive.
This overall project is a continuation of the Township Committee’s commitment to refurbishing the Public Parks and Playgrounds throughout the Town, with this past year focusing on the Bobby’s Run section of town. All of these projects were funded in part by grants from the Burlington County Municipal Park Development Program. Even though this grant program excludes tennis courts, the Township was able to refurbish them by using our municipal funds, which were set aside to refurbish the second playground at Bryan Freeman Park. The second playground was covered by grant savings due to the installation of the township’s canoe launch coming in well under budget.
Mayor Sean Earlen stated, “the grand reopening of our tennis courts located at Bryan Freeman Park rounds out the recreational projects we initiated during the 2016 capital budget; my colleagues and I are proud to have these playgrounds as well as the tennis courts now open for our residents to enjoy.” “Since taking office as a Member of the Township Committee back in 2012, I have been committed to improving Lumberton’s recreational activities and I am proud to say that during that time we have spent well over a million dollars to accomplish that goal, with over $875,000 of those funds coming from grants provided by the Burlington County’s Municipal Park Development Program,” added Mayor Earlen. “It is no wonder why Lumberton Township has been ranked 17th in the top 25 Townships in South Jersey by South Jersey Magazine; it is because we take pride in our town.”
To date, Lumberton Township with the support of the Burlington County Freeholders have constructed a brand new playground, Community Garden and Dog Park at the Village Green, created a Canoe Launch on the Rancocas Creek, added sports fields at our Municipal Building Complex and refurbished the Turnbridge Park and Bryan Freeman Park’s Playgrounds and tennis court.
Bryan Freeman Park will be open from dawn to dusk, seven days a week to be enjoyed by Township Residents.
Lumberton Township Committee & Township Schools Partner To Host Students For “Be A Municipal Official For A Day” Program
March 30, 2017 – Lumberton Township – At the March 28, 2017 Lumberton Township Committee Meeting, students from the Young Republic, the student government for the Lumberton Middle School, took the helm of Township Government as part of the “Be a Municipal Official for a Day” program. Last year, students from the Lumberton Middle School formed the Young Republic, a democratically elected student government, with elected officials from two parties, the Blue Party and the Gold Party. These elected officials have adopted a constitution and Bill of Rights for their fellow students, in addition to having the responsibility of representing their classmates before School District’s Administration and the Board of Education. During Tuesday Night’s Township Meeting each student elected official was paired with one of the Township’s Elected or Appointed Officials, to conduct an actual Township Committee Meeting.
“Since being appointed Mayor back in the beginning of 2016, Township and School Officials have conducted quarterly meetings to discuss various matters between our two organizations and one idea was to engage our local students on the role of the local government in their community,” stated Mayor Sean Earlen. “Tonight we welcomed these students to the Township Municipal Building, took them on a tour of our departments and had them shadow our local officials through our regular township meeting, allowing them to truly take part in conducting the business of Township Government with our Township Committee Members affirming each of their actions,” added Mayor Earlen.
Prior to the start of the Township Meeting at 7:30pm, each student was given the opportunity to sit down with the Elected or Appointed Township Official they would be shadowing, to discuss their role in the meeting and how each would contribute to enacting the items on that evening’s agenda. Students that evening took part in adopting a capital ordinance to assist both the Police and Public Work’s Department with purchasing equipment, they approved resolutions to cancel unused capital fund balances, to correct an employee’s salary, to issue a tax refund to a disabled Veteran, to clean up Township paperwork issues and paid the Township’s bills.
“We hope that tonight was a great learning experience for our local students and that most importantly they had fun running their Town’s government for a day,” concluded Mayor Earlen.
Here are the Students’ Names and the Positions they held:
|Mayor||Jacen Januseski||Sean Earlen|
|Deputy Mayor||Kimberly Kraska||Jim Conway|
|Committee Member 1||Rohan Patel||Lewis Jackson|
|Committee Member 2||Griffin Gaughan||Kristin Januseski|
|Committee Member 3||Hailey Timmons||Mike Mansdoerfer|
|Twp. Administrator||Vivian Bui||Brandon Umba|
|Chief Financial Officer||Devin Fox||Robin Sarlo|
|Twp. Clerk||Prattasha Masheat||Debra Shaw-
|Twp. Solicitor||Carolina DeJoseph||George Morris of
|Police Chief||Joshua Pechin||Chief Anthony DiLoreto|
|Police Lt. Office
|Ian Phillips||Lt. Ed Begolly|
|Police Lt. Patrol||James Humphreys||Lt. Nicholas Peditto|
|EMS Chief||Mason Conger||Chief Jamie Wood|