Toms River Councilman Provides Insight into Township Business Agendas
by Jeffrey J. Carr, Toms River Council, Ward 3
Toms River–Another summer has come and gone. As we move into autumn most of us focus our attention on fall clean-up and school activities. Children are back in school and fall sports have started. Days are getting shorter and nights are getting cooler. I hope everyone had a nice summer and remind everyone to drive safe and pay extra attention to children now that school is back in session.
In general, the Township Council meets twice a month. These meetings are held at Town Hall and are open to the public. Many of the items that appear on the agenda are housekeeping items that need to be reviewed and approved by the Council in order for the Township to maintain its daily activities. Approving purchases of certain items is often one or several of these agenda items. At the last Council meeting, approval was granted for the purchase of front-load and roll-off containers for the Department of Public Works. We also authorized the Purchasing Division to advertise and receive bids for the removal and replacement of several overhead doors at the public works facility. In addition, we approved the awarding of a contract to provide janitorial supplies and pool chemicals. While these may seem like insignificant items, they are important in keeping the Township operating much like would be the case with any local business. There are many detailed items to review and approve which are often taken for granted. Your Council provides oversight through this means. However, many of these items are initially reviewed and approved as part of the overall budget process.
In addition to the detailed purchases of small or what may be viewed as less significant items, the Council is also responsible for approving major capital improvement items. On this past month’s agenda we authorized the Purchasing Division to advertise for and receive bids for the construction of a Records Storage Building. As a municipality we are required to maintain various records of the Township. They include such things as birth certificates and marriage licenses. Records of Council meetings, Planning Board and Board of Adjustment meetings are maintained. Tax records, property maps and ordinances must be properly stored and maintained. A new Records Storage Building is planned which will hold and maintain these records as required by law. Besides housing the Township’s important documents, records removed from Town Hall will free up valuable office space which can be used more efficiently.
Often times there are agenda items that require review and approval by the Council. The process can often be long and detailed before an item reaches the agenda. It may originate from a department with a need, from the Township engineer’s office as a major infrastructure improvement or from the residents of the Township through input at Council meetings or the various committees of the Township that residents are members of. The Mayor’s budget is then formulated with the input from the various Township Departments. Once prepared, the budget is reviewed by a budget sub-committee of the Council before being presented to the full council for presentation to the public with final adoption by the Council. Whether it’s an expenditure item or a revenue item, sound fiscal management is a major responsibility of the Council when acting on behalf of the citizens of Toms River. Whether it be the purchase of janitorial supplies or approval to seek bids for a Records Storage Building, the Council is responsible for the fiscal management of the Township.
To find out more about what is happening in your Township and with your Council please visit the Township website at www.tomsrivertownship.com. Also, feel free to send me your thoughts and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.