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Clean up issues continue

Cleanup after the snow storm

How about a one or two day effort by residents and the township to chip and haul away broken branches and other debris left in the wake of our Halloween snowstorm? If we (residents), drag our stuff to the roadside, then we (the township) can bring out a chipper and help us (all of us) clear our properties. I see it’s being done where roadway access or power lines are impacted, what would it cost to make a few more passes to help residential clearing? 

 

 

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LV Taxpayer November 17, 2011 at 12:39 PM
My neighbor was dragging 4" limbs from the BACK of his property to the curb, where they sit, almost 3 weeks later. Again, why should the TAXPAYER pay for his landscaping? If he can't afford to maintain property that has trees on it (yes, trees need regular maintenace), they maybe he shouldn't live there? I'd rather the town spend DPW money on salt to make the roads safe... Folks need to take repsonsibility for themselves and we should give the Nanny (state) her walking papers!
LV Mom November 17, 2011 at 02:10 PM
@LV Taxpayer: You are correct, your neighbor should not be doing it, but unfortunately not everyone abides by the laws. However, your statement about if you can't afford to maintain the property you shouldn't live there is totally ludacris. When I moved here with my spouse, I didn't plan on us getting divorced, nor did I plan on the housing market crash. We bought when the market was high and are unable to sell our home. I pay the exhorbatant taxes as well, and am not asking for everyone to pay my, as you put it, landscaping bill. I have the property to stock pile it (quite high currently), as do others, and agree that your neighbor should not be moving his stuff to the street if he has someplace to put it, but for those who do not, and cannot afford to hire a company to do it, during extreme situations, need help.
LV Mom November 17, 2011 at 03:06 PM
Plus, if the value of my home has declined by $100,000, why do I pay MORE in taxes?? Maybe if our taxes were cut we could afford to pay for our own "landscaping"
LV Taxpayer November 17, 2011 at 03:54 PM
You pay MORE taxes because everyone wants "the town" or "the state" to do things for them and to give them things. Gov't should provide roads, safety and that sort of thing. Please know that I simpathize with anyone suffering hardships of ANY kind. I CAN tell you that one of the households on my street that has a big pile of limbs at the curb just sided their house, 2 of the others just bought brand new cars. I don't think they fit into the 'hardship' category. This is a choice they are making on how they want to spend their money, and why should they spend their money when they can spend mine and yours instead?
Hookerman November 17, 2011 at 11:34 PM
After much thought, I have to agree with Taxpayer on this one. Mom, in the same paragraph, you complain about the government not picking up your branches, but then you also complain about your exorbitant taxes. Who do you think is going to pay for this branch pick up??? Asking the town to perform a service they don't currently perform is not going to make our taxes go down. If you're not able to maintain your own lawn on your own, then you'll have to hire a lawn maintenance service. And speaking of services the town currently performs, do we really need Xmas tree pick up? If we're all able to haul these trees to our homes, aren't we also capable of hauling them away? The town should provide an area of depository for our trees, but do we really need them to pick them up for us? If we're looking to cut the budget, I think that would be one service we can eliminate.
Joseph Keyes November 18, 2011 at 12:29 AM
Again, these are extraordinarily destructive events we’re talking about, not landscape maintenance. We already pay privately for virtually every service in our township except DPW and police. The most important function government serves is looking after the well being of its residents. That needs to be front and center in WT’s budgeting. Mr. Tobin had a great suggestion—residents should attend WT budget meetings to find out where our money is being spent and where we can find enough to cover these emergencies in the future.
LV Taxpayer November 18, 2011 at 01:07 PM
2 articles in yesterday's Ledger - Front page "Treasurer blames weather for shortfall amid fears that mid-budget cuts are likely" and pg.27 - "Towns: Storm cleanups may mean higher taxes". Read that last headline again. Does anybody here STILL not get it? Anybody???
Hookerman November 18, 2011 at 01:12 PM
I don't know that I'd call the storm; "extraordinarily destructive". It was a typical Nor'easter that unfortunately brought a lot of wet snow with it. We on the mountain experienced the same thing 3 years ago, but for the rest of NJ (Including those in the valley), this was the first taste of a very early Fall snow storm. The branches I see on the side of the road are typical size limbs that may have fallen with any bad storm. I wouldn't consider that extraordinary since I'm always clearing downed limbs after the various storms that come through the mountain. One thing seems certain... the weather has gotten a lot more harsh lately. Blame it on El Nina or El Nino (or maybe the religious nuts are right and the end of the world really is coming), we humans have to adapt pretty quickly if we are to survive. We can't be calling out the government every time we have a few limbs down in our yards.
LV Mom November 18, 2011 at 01:34 PM
@LV Taxpayer: Your statement about paying more taxes because everyone wants more done for them just doesn't make one bit of sense. As Joseph has stated, we don't get anything more from paying more, so what exactly are you referring to? I have my own well and septic, I pay for my garbage, so like Joseph said, other than DPW and Police, what am I paying for? And as before, I agree with the fact that some people just do it for whatever their reasoning is, but as it is always said, "why should everyone be lumped together for what 1 (or several in this instance) are doing?"
LV Mom November 18, 2011 at 01:38 PM
@Hookerman: At what point did I complain about the government not picking up my branches? I never said any such thing. I merely stated that during an extreme emergency situation like this "MAYBE" they could do something about it. And as for your statement about hiring my own lawn service, you apparantly didn't read the whole blog, as I explained my personal situation and cannot afford to hire someone. I do this work MYSELF, even though I should physically not be. I am not, and never have, asked for any handouts from the town. I also dispose of my Christmas tree on my own property as well, but as usual, some of you just don't get what is going on.
LV Mom November 18, 2011 at 01:44 PM
@LV Taxpayer: I'm sorry, but I can't afford to buy a newspaper every single day, so maybe you can explain a little more in detail. Unfortunately things like that are "luxuries" to some nowadays. I have to worry about paying my mortgage, keeping food on my table, trying to pay for extremely high oil to heat my home, and putting clothes on my childs back.
LV Taxpayer November 18, 2011 at 09:36 PM
Here's the gist of the "Towns:" article: Towns have a finite amount of money budgeted for weather-related expenses, usually for snow plowing (OverTime pay), salt and salting (more OT pay), etc. This year, they've spent some of that money already on storm cleanup (trees blocking roads, etc.). More OT pay. They probably won't have enough money left in that budget to adequately plow the roads and salt them, so they're gonna have to raise our taxes. Again. So do you think they should spend EVEN MORE of that budget on individual homeowners' cleanup? People seem to think that there's some infinite pot of money that "the town" can just dip into whenever somebody needsor wants something, like Obama did with his trillion dollar bailout. But there isn't. We either pay more TAXES or go deeper into DEBT. Which would you prefer?
Tracy Tobin November 19, 2011 at 01:32 AM
Just for residents information not a comment on any previous posts. Based on State Law/regulations/practices if the Township declares that the recent storm damage constitutes an emergency situation requiring additional expenditures above the approved 2011 budget, and the State accepts that claim, the town can "borrow some funds from the 2012 Municipal Budget". Any funds used that way are deducted from the maximum of a 2% increase in the 2012 tax levy, which makes a tight budget situation in 2012 even worse. It is not a loan to be used in 2011 without being repaid. Interestingly enough, the State gets revenues from the utilities each year. Many years ago some of that money went back to municipalities. Have to wonder if some of that money could be made available to help the towns with storm related costs. Unlikely, as the State announced that anticipated State tax revenues for this fiscal year are coming in lower than projected (surprise). No matter how you slice it, the towns and the State are in for fiscally tough times for at least the next 2-3 years.
LV Taxpayer November 19, 2011 at 01:27 PM
OK, so if a tree falls across a road or on some other state or township property, the state or town needs to pay for its removal. Rather then borrow from tomorrow to do that, the money should be reallocated from some less important, previously approved budget category. I'm sure there's some money out there that's been budgeted for some discretionary effort(s) that could be repurposed. Conversely, if a tree falls on a private homeowner's property, then the homeowner should finance its removal. This will preserve our entire 2% for 2012.
wtgodot November 19, 2011 at 04:22 PM
I've seen fresh driving around in a truck most days. And I don't see lame Tobin out doing anything except blabbing about things he doesn't know about. goodwork WT
Love LV November 19, 2011 at 07:38 PM
3 weeks - count 'em - 3 weeks after the storm and you guys should drive down Pheasant and Mallard and check out all the debris blocking the sidewalks and in the streets. It's outright dangerous for the schoolkids in the dark mornings and driving at night! This is ridiculous, 3 weeks later. JUST CLEAN UP YOUR MESSES EVERYBODY! PLEASE!!!
cecile marie November 20, 2011 at 11:32 PM
What do we pay taxes for if not this clean-up? We pay higher taxes than anyone I know in any other state yet we have no public sewer or water, no public lighting, the fire and emergency serices are volunteer, and all I can see our taxes pay for is an average school system, road maintenance, and police. Next year, if we have a drought, everyone will be screaming about all the dry debris from this year's storms and the fire danger it will pose. Better to get it cleaned up now. Many people are physically unable to clean it up or have no equipment to do so. This sounds to me like a perfect use of tax dollars and it will benefit everyone.
LV Mom November 21, 2011 at 01:34 PM
Thank you cecile marie. They keep saying there is nowhere for the money to come from, yet they expect me to pull money out of the air to pay someone to do it . All day long I get calls and mail for money for the police, fire, etc. I feel for them, but yet they don't seem to understand I don't have a job, and I am struggling to survive. A statement made by Governor Christie was, "people in New Jersey don't have a problem paying their mortgages, they have a problem paying their taxes." Well this is an understatement. We have the highest taxes, medical, all around everything in this country (probably other than gas). My reasoning, UNIONS. It's about time they live like the rest of us with no raises in 5 years, higher insurance costs, food, gas, etc., etc., and the quote, "BE LUCKY YOU HAVE A JOB."
cecile marie November 21, 2011 at 02:20 PM
Well, can't agree with that statement about the unions. They exist to protect their members (very few of them left anymore) and we simply don't have a union to join. It does seem to me those in positions of power point to unions, minorities, immigrants, muslims, and those on welfare (whoever is in the public eye and under suspicion) in order to keep us pointing fingers at each other instead of them. Let's not fall into the trap of blaming each other and figure out a solution. How about eliminating waste? People keep discussing tax increases versus cutting spending as a way to pay for things but the one thing no one discusses is how to do more with less. It takes more effort but makes sense. Let's look at how our local tax dollars are spent and figure out how to get more out of them. Every dollar spent should be scrutinized, and that includes our basic government structure right here in Long Valley. Do we really need the number of employees we have? What do they each do? Could we combine some of our "services" with those of other townships or the county and save money? Local school administration is one that immediately comes to mind. As to where the money goes, look no further than the politicians who put money into their friends pockets and when they leave office (often before) the friends they help into office line their pockets. Just heard a guy on the market news use the term "crony capitlaism". We need to start a separate thread on this subject though.
LV Taxpayer November 21, 2011 at 02:35 PM
@LV Mom: You hit it right on the head. We can thank the NJEA and the PBA for the rediculous taxes we have, given most of our tax dollars go to schools and police. Last year they were running an AD for a LV Patrolman (bottom of the ladder) position. For starting salary, it said "to $86K", I kid you not. Most cops in our town earn well over $100K. Not bad for a town with such a low violent crime rate. It's not like they're putting their lives on the line every day like in Newark or something. Here's a fun exercise - go do this link: http://php.app.com/NJpublicemployees11/search.php and click the "agency/town" dropdown. Choose "West Morris Reg H S Dist". Click Search. Now click on the column header to sort on 'base salary...". Scroll down and look where your tax dollars are going. Also, notice there are 336 of these employes at West Morris alone. PLUS, add to these salaries the fact that they only work 6 or 7 hrs/day, and 9 months / year. AND they play very little toward their benefits..All this effectively increases their salaries by about another 30% over the common working slob. You can do the same for the police in town by using the "Pension" dropdown to get an idea of how much of our tax dollars to go fund them. Now,don't get me wrong, I like policemen and teachers and think they provide a very valuable service to the community but, as their employer, I think we should have more say in how much they make, etc.and not be stongarmed by their unions.
Hookerman November 21, 2011 at 03:25 PM
Let’s clarify something here…. we’re not talking about limbs that have fallen on public property or on public roads, we’re talking about limbs that have fallen on residents’ private properties, and they have hauled them onto the sidewalk and left them there, blocking the path of pedestrians. Since they’ve now been sitting there for 3 weeks, haven’t these people figured out yet that the town is not going to pick them up??? It’s extremely inconsiderate of these people, and causes a safety hazard. I think what the town needs to do at this point is put out some kind notification to residents that they need to remove these limbs that were left on sidewalks or at the curbs, otherwise they will be fined.
LV Taxpayer November 21, 2011 at 03:37 PM
@Cecile: You ask "what do they each do?" Here's 2 examples I can relate to you in the last 2 days. Yesterday, I was out walking and passed 2 LV Police cars parked driver-to-driver in the lot outside the EMS building on Flocktown. 45 minutes later, on my way back home, guess who was still there? Official business I think not. This morning, 4 township employees came to pick up the branches on our street, which were mostly small and in neat little piles. Took the 4 of them about 10 minutes. My grandmother could've done it herself in 5. But then again, they're in no hurry to finish because they get paid the same hourly rate no matter how long it takes them. In fact, the FASTER they go, the MORE they'll have to do on any given day, so where's the incentive to hussle? DPW should be outsourced. Why pay these guys to sit around, waiting for something to do, racking up a pension, sick days, etc.? If it snows, pay a contractor to plow. That would breed price competition and the job would get done amazingly quickly, since time is money to the private sector. Same with chipping brances and filling potholes. Only pay for these capabilities when you NEED them, rather than all year long with pensions and benefits. It's crazy, it really is crazy.... Talk about waste...
LV Mom November 21, 2011 at 03:39 PM
@Hookerman: You still don't get it. Instead of complaining about it, have you addressed any of your so called neighbors and told them yourself? Probably not.
LV Mom November 21, 2011 at 03:44 PM
@LV Taxpayer: Shockingly, we seem to agree on something. I also believe that is a substantially high salary for such a low crime area. I have a relative through marraige who works in Mt. Vernon, NY (where they just had the funeral for Heavy D-can't even imagine that mess), who earns that. As much as I love the teachers as well, some of them are making over $100k and I can say I didn't particularly care for some of their attitudes and treatment of children. I do believe the Unions cause much of this. Example, why no one wanted Walmart in this state. They are not union employees and are paid, and get less, than those who are.
LV Mom November 21, 2011 at 03:51 PM
@cecile marie: I'm sorry I cannot agree with you with regards to Unions. I believe they are the main problem to the high costs associated with living in this state. At one time they were there to assist, but like the welfare system, have gone off the deep end and spiraled out of control. Union employees are probably the only people not suffering in this economy right now. They continually get raises, more benefits, etc., while the normal working person, as I stated above, gets no increase in pay, pays out more for costs like insurance every year, and is told to be lucky they have a job as there are hundreds lined up to take it. I can't support that. It's just like the saying, "the rich keep getting richer, while the poor--and even those who weren't poor before--myself for one--are getting poorer." I believe salaries is the biggest spending of our tax dollars and needs to be controlled. Like the issue on another blog about teachers and state workers receiving unpaid sick & vacation time when retiring. One of my most angering salary issues, are those who "drive" trains in NY. They earn $65/hr! To sit on their rears??? That is totally ludacris. Then all they do is threaten to strike for more money and benefits. Sorry, I used to be a working class slob over 40 hrs. a week, doing ten peoples jobs, busting my a**, with no such opportunities.
LV Mom November 21, 2011 at 04:00 PM
@LV Taxpayer: Again, I'm with you. One word again for this, UNION. They don't have such issues in states that don't have them. I also see the same thing with regards to the police. I am in no way bad mouthing them, but we all know this town has "virtually" no crime (one reason I live here, and if I didn't have a young child, would have moved a long time ago). I even witness this type of thing on I80. For a number of Saturday's, they had one lane closed Eastbound and all I ever saw was a truck with about 10 people just standing around. Come back several hours later, still in the same place just standing around. Never saw a single thing being done. One word again, Union. When my ex asked someone to do something at his previous place of employment, the response from a UNION employee was, "not my job." If I, as a non-union employee was asked to do something and made that statement, I would have been out of a job faster than you can say your name.
LV Mom November 21, 2011 at 04:03 PM
@Tracy: I'm sorry I cannot agree with your statement that they are out continuously, as I have never seen anyone doing any such thing, and trust me, I drive around alot.
cecile marie November 21, 2011 at 04:17 PM
@LV Taxpayer: Thanks for the link. After TRYING to live here quietly for the last 12 years, I am now becoming politiically active and seek to improve this township and get fairness for all (where the township committee wants it or not). If anyone has other links to public information, I would be most appreciative. Transparency is key to keeping our public officials honest and holding them accountable. For those of you who have not attended any of the public meetings, it is more interesting than television so come join. In the two meetings I have attended thus far I have learned a lot. About the police and workers we see taking breaks - unfortunately, they are very public when they sit by the side of the road. Those of us in corporate jobs can hide in our offices, visit someone down the hall and have a personal chat, so I am not willing to condemn them directly nor demand they work every minute of every day. I am however, surprised at the pay rates. Again, perhaps we can combine the police force with another? Same with the township road crews? Seriously, let's take this discussion to another thread. I am posting it now under "How to make Washington Township Government more efficient".
Hookerman November 21, 2011 at 04:48 PM
No, because I'm out running very early in the morning when everyone else is asleep, and furthermore, it's not just my neighborhood, I've seen them all over the town. If the town is not planning on picking these limbs up, then these residents should know that they are responsible for removing them.
Angel November 21, 2011 at 07:22 PM
A few days after the storm, we called the town to see if tree branches (from trees on the easement) would be picked up. We were told "No". For the safety of our family & neighbors, we arranged for the branches to be cut & hauled away. All of this was done in a timely manner & we have subsequently paid the bill. Today, I witnessed the DPW in our neighborhood chipping the branches that many of our neighbors have left on their sidewalks & curbs since the storm!! I think I'm going to send the bill that I paid to the town.....it's not right.

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