Mayor Rob Greenbaum, left, presents resolution to Lisa Brett, with Council President Joe Nicastro
With the township as her backdrop, one of the lead players steps up to the mic and takes a bow in her final encore.
After 11 years of hard work and dedication, Lisa Brett of Budd Lake has stepped down as mayor’s assistant and special projects coordinator.
Township officials, and those who have worked with her outside the district, attended last month’s Mt. Olive Twp. Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 24, to recognize her efforts, congratulate her on a job well done and wish her success moving forward. The council and mayor passed a resolution commending her for her service since Jan. 1, 2012.
“You will be missed,” says Mt. Olive Twp. Mayor Rob Greenbaum. “I benefitted the most through Lisa’s efforts,” he says, “from picking lint off my suits… to telling me where I need to be.”
Agrees Council President Joe Nicastro, “She’s helped me for so many years.”
In the resolution it states, “Lisa brought a unique and invaluable skillset to the position, as demonstrated by her so many accomplishments. Lisa has had a vast array of responsibilities across multiple departments and has always been able to balance the myriad of assignments in a professional, organized and dependable manner.
“Lisa is best known for her out-of-the-box thinking and can-do attitude and has passion and excitement to every aspect of her work,” as stated in the resolution. “Lisa’s greatest accomplishment has been raising hundreds of dollars for the Recreation Department, creating a synergy between the township, residents and businesses, generating a social media presence that is hailed by others, planning special events for occasions like the 9-11 Remembrance, annual tree lighting, festival of lights and interfaith Thanksgiving dinner, coordinating hundreds of ribbon-cutting ceremonies and meetings for the mayor, and being instrumental in soliciting various donations and equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Morris County Sheriff James Gannon even attended the meeting and presented her with a certificate. “If you want something done, give it to a busy person,” says Gannon who has worked with her for seven years. “I don’t know how she did what she did. She’s a woman whose made the difference in people’s lives.” He mentions her role as founder of Jon’s Journey, a non-profit organization raising money for families of children undergoing brain surgery.
Brett then took the podium and shared her thoughts. “I usually don’t do this,” says Brett. “I like being on the other side,” taking photos and coordinating events. “The past 11 years has been my honor and privilege. It’s been an amazing ride. I’ve learned the best from everyone. They say your network is your net worth.”
Property Tax Reward Program
Dominic DeFalco of Fincredit Inc., a business solutions company, presented to the mayor and council a property tax rewards program that promotes local shopping and tax breaks to property owners. In business since 2010, Marlboro was the first town in New Jersey to use the program.
If the council approves the program, Mt. Olive township residents can receive a property tax reward card and earn points. The program patronizes local merchants, offers a tax credit to local property owners and rebate to local renters.
Merchants who sign up could offer a 10% discount to any card holders. Larger companies or contractors like plumbers can offer $200 on a job. The program is geared toward small businesses and mom and pop stores, he says.
To register, merchants would have to provide information to join the program and handle any transactions, most likely through an App where they can enter a customer’s phone number or card number.
To market the program, an employee at Fincredit can speak to merchants or the town can approach businesses directly, says DeFalco. So far, 26 towns out of 400 municipalities have signed up for the program, he adds.
“At this point we’re not even calling townships anymore; they’re calling us,” he says. Also, there has not been a town yet that signed up and dropped out from disappointment.
It has proved beneficial in Marlboro, where 35 merchants signed up and helped the residents save a combined $120K in property taxes, and yielded $1.2 million in sales for the businesses, pre-COVID. Monies are calculated annually with a fiscal year of May 1 through April 30.
He says a “good spender” can save between $400 to $600 on their property taxes annually with this program.
There is no cost to the township to participate, he adds. Cost will fall on sponsors and a $10 monthly fee paid by merchants who participate. Fincredit’s fee is $10K per year for a township to participate. Once a town gets 15 merchants, it can begin the program.
Unclear about the costs, township officials decided to consider and discuss further before making their decision that evening.
“I suggest let’s let everyone mull it over,” says Greenbaum. DeFalco agreed to send everything over in writing for the township to consider.
Mt. Olive Twp. Business Administrator Andrew Tatarenko announced that the car changing stations are being installed and should all be done by the end of February. One is already in at Flanders Park; two are being installed at Turkey Brook Park; and then there will be one at town hall and at the library.
Greenbaum presented the proposed 2023 Municipal Budget. Departmental budget hearings were held in November 2022 with a deadline of January 17 to present to the governing body. The municipal budget must be introduced by March 31 and adopted by April 28.
The mayor says the state does not have to review the municipal budget this year for its approval.
“We have no planned tax increase,” says Greenbaum. The projected municipal tax rate is .606 which is the same rate as in 2022. Municipal taxes on an average assessed home of $324,300 would be $1,966. There is no planned tax increase for the sanitation district and no hikes in water and sewer rates.
Keep in mind that property owners pay county, library, school, sanitation and open space taxes as well. Municipal taxes account for 18% of the pie. School taxes take up the largest portion of the pie, accounting for 69% of the total property tax rate by homeowners in Mt. Olive.
The general fund ratable base grew by $56.6 million or slightly by 1.73%.
“We haven’t had a tax increase since 2012,” Greenbaum shares in his budget presentation. “This will be our 11th sequential budget with no tax increase.”