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'Dialogue' Is On the Agenda for Holmdel Business Adminstrator

Holmdel's Andy Katz is making the rounds visiting civic groups to talk about Holmdel's budget situation in 2012.

Holmdel's new business administrator, Andy Katz, is planning to meet with two citizen groups a week over the next two months to meet to raise awareness about Holmdel's situation in 2012.

"My goal is dialogue," said Katz, who began his job at Town Hall on Sept. 30. It's an approach he's used before in other towns. "It's a way of reaching out and getting points of view," he said. Elected officials may also be present.

So far he's sent out letters to 60 Neighborhood Watch groups and attended a Captains Meeting. He said he'll visit the Half Century Club, the various homeowners' associations, even the athletic clubs. "Any reasonably-sized group who has an interest in the community," he said.

Katz said his role is to assist in assessing the community and making professional recommendations to Holmdel's leaders on its different options. Tough decisions must be made in 2012, he said.

At a CILU meeting on Jan. 9, to which he had accepted an invitation months earlier, Katz gave his candid perspective on the "significant financial difficulty" facing Holmdel Township with the continued loss of Lucent ratables on the tax rolls and the decrease in home values, as experienced nationwide.

"In Holmdel it's hit a point where some real significant decisions got to get made," Katz told CILU members. "As we are configured now, we are running $2.5 million short -- until, and unless -- property values come back up. I think it’s liable to be quite some time."

Questions were asked, and discussion flowed, about the township budget, the use of surplus reserves, the size of the police and local government, a comparitive analysis of the municipal tax rate vs. a similar town, and the Alcatel-Lucent Redevelopment Plan. 

Katz, and Township Committeeman Eric Hinds who also attended the nearly 2-hour meeting at the Community Center, took their time to explain how things work. The attendees appreciated the thoughtful discussion, several said.

Afterwards, Katz said he thought some common ground was found. "I think there was a pretty good line of understanding of what the [Township] Committee is facing right now," he said.

Tony Orsini January 19, 2012 at 02:52 PM
What Mr. Katz fails to understand, and I'll give him a bye on this since he is new to Holmdel, is that we don't SELL open space: we ACQUIRE open space. The voters passed a one cent tax years ago to fund this endeavor, not fund the easy way out of a defecit. He has not adequately assessed the quality of life impact losing the small amount of open space overdeveloped northern has.
Anthony Cooper January 19, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Thanks to Holmdel's new Administrator, Andy Katz, for his informative talk at CILU's recent meeting, where he introduced himself and then answered many questions about current Holmdel issues, including the Township Committee majority's proposed land sale to balance the 2012 budget. Increased Township openness and dialog are most welcome! However, it seems rather unfair to make this new Administrator carry the full burden of dialog, particularly about the 2012 Municipal budget problem traceable to the Township's excessive 2011 deferral in its paying school tax money to the schools, as discussed in the current "Independent". Rather, the Township Committee members should share this load of local meetings, and also rework its public meeting procedures to allow increased public input.
Thomas Scarano January 20, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Who was the Finance Chairperson last year?
Tony Orsini January 20, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Why does that matter, Tom? Since 2005 your party has contolled the TC. That first year spending increased $2 million and has not come down since. The Fink administration left you a sewer surplus, a pool club surplus, and the old police barracks property...spent, spent and sold, respectively. I assure you there is no one from this side of the aisle that would EVER consider selling open space. What your folks need to do is stop taking short cuts, roll up their sleeves, and get down to it...put in the kind of commitment that Larry Fink has over the years.
Thomas Scarano January 20, 2012 at 02:07 PM
The answer Tony is your idol.. Larry Fink
Cory January 20, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Doesn't the buck stop on the Mayor's desk? Doesn't the buck stop with the majority who really controls the actions of the Township Committee and administration through a 4-1 vote? This conversation is useless unless you offer solutions. It appears that all cost cutting has been exhausted or they wouldn't be in this situation suggesting unpleasant and knee-jerk options like selling land. Can I ask that bloggers offer a solution? Sadly, the TC may have to cut jobs, services....and wait for it....raise taxes. Ouch.
Thomas Scarano January 20, 2012 at 03:11 PM
actually the buck does not stop with the Mayor under our form of government. Last year Mr. Fink agreed with the Republican majority. Thank goodness we have a Republican majority who has the vision to explore all alternatives.
Tony Orsini January 20, 2012 at 03:58 PM
THE ENTIRE TC, TOM: 4 REPUBLICANS, 1 DEMOCRAT. Yet you presist in your partisan dogma of blaming the lone Democrat who was scoffed at when he proposed starting the budget process early. Mr. Fink does his homework, a good example to follow. The others would rather have shorter meetings and appoint no-shows to committees. No one is buying your mularkey. The people spoke last nite: the TC could not pass the ordinance due to the petitions because they did not have the 4 votes to override the petitions. The real battle is on Feb. 2nd. Prepare your bunker.
Practical Thinker January 20, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Andrew Katz is a very smart man. If every politician looking to get elected took the same amount of time that HE is - speaking with the residents - their perspective of the people's needs would be crystal clear. Too bad "silly season" is the only time they pop up! Congratulations to Andrew Katz for his sincere and up-front efforts to understand and be understood! Kudos! Andy!
rocco January 20, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Every little bit helps in saving money for the taxpayers.When I was on the TC ,we asked our staff to give back,police and public works staff did. I gave back my health insurance and paid it on my own. Others did not.I feel the TC committee members should give back half their salary, and NOT take health insurance.Most towns do not give health insurance to the TC.We all must do our part in this crisis, The TC also.: Money is tight to give back
Tony Orsini January 20, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Perhaps if the candidates were vetted via a candidates forum they could have been posed these questions: what would you do to cut costs/spending? Would you ever consider selling open sace? But NO! Republicans have the happy tradition of refusing to participate over the last 3 years counting on the bullet vote. And as for Larry Fink, correct, Tom: he IS a role model for local officials. You and your minions could not carry his lunch pail. As for me, I put in my 3 years plus a defeated school budget. Time for other genius to find the answers.
Thomas Scarano January 20, 2012 at 08:17 PM
So no answers Tony....thats it...only predictable rantings.
Tony Orsini January 21, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Your cartwheels and pom-poms are getting old, Tom. Got something intelligent to say?
Thomas Scarano January 21, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Thanks.....i am certain someone would be calling 911 if i tried a cartwheel...
Tony Orsini January 21, 2012 at 05:33 PM
LOL! Even if we held a township fundraiser to "Save Our Land" and people would pay for it? OK so maybe just a game of twister?

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