HAMILTON TOWNSHIP - A new ordinance unanimously adopted by Township Committee on Monday makes it more difficult to add public jobs without the public’s input.
The new ordinances sets specific employment numbers for the township; if the committee wants to add more positions in the future it must do so through an ordinance that would require a public hearing, said Administrator Mike Jacobs.
"It's a major change," he said. "I think it's ground breaking and more towns should do it."
The move was a suggestion through the strategic planning process the township recently completed. Bruce Strigh, who chaired the Fiscal Vitality subcommittee, said the new rules would compel the current and future committees not to increase staff unless it was necessary.
By adding positions through an ordinance they would need to give a justification to the public, he said. Keeping staffing levels down is important because it saves taxpayers money on salaries and benefits, he said.
The township was forced to reduce about 20 percent of its work force two years ago when it faced a $2.4 million budget shortfall.
In 2007, the township employed 183 people, a number that has been reduced to 118 in 2011.
In other business:
--The township has acquired enough land across 13th Street for 75 to 80 parking spaces as part of its plan to expand its parking lot at the municipal complex, said Administrator Mike Jacobs. The township will spend up to $19,750 on an engineering study for the land
--Township Committee also agreed to allow the local PAL organization to continue to use the former senior center building on the Municipal Building's complex.
Committeewoman Amy Gatto said the organization uses the facility for various athletic and extracurricular activities and the building can also be used by other organizations. The township will also use the space for an emergency shelter if needed.
Trick or treat times were also set for 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 31. The Halloween parade will start tentatively at 6 p.m.on Oct. 30 and run on main Street from Old Harding Highway to Route 50.