The money that the Township Committee would spend to restructure the Department of Public Works could be used to hire 50 more workers instead, the Wall Democratic organization says.
Wall Democrats on Thursday released a statement critical of the administration’s proposal to spend nearly $3.5 million to purchase automated garbage trucks and the trashcans they use, along with other sweeping changes to the DPW.
The plan, under consideration by the all-Republican Township Committee, . It calls for restructuring the administration says will make the DPW more efficient and better able to attend to infrastructure maintenance, where the department is currently behind.
Democrats say the plan is fiscally irresponsible, that money could be better spent hiring more workers and that the plan could be a precursor to outsourcing trash pickup, according to the release.
“This plan stinks to high heaven and leaves us with more questions than answers,” Democratic Chairman Eric Brophy said in the release. “To ask the taxpayers of Wall to support a $3.5 million expenditure at a time when our state’s economic climate is in a state of freefall shows just how fiscally irresponsible this Committee is.”
Brophy says in the release that the committee’s strategy of reducing the town’s workforce – a strategy the committee has previously touted – has failed.
“A result of the reduction in workforce is what has led to them having to spend $3.5 million ‘to get things done,’” Brophy said in the release.
But Township Committeeman Clinton Hoffman, who is in favor of the restructuring, defended the plan.
“We are seriously looking at how we do things and how we can be more efficient with the manpower we have,” Hoffman said. “That’s the very definition of fiscal responsibility.’’
Democrats say in the release that 50 additional DPW workers could be hired for the $3.5 million expenditure proposed in the plan. That would solve any problem in getting needed infrastructure improvements accomplished, the release says.
“We don’t need more garbage trucks, we need more workers,” Linda Edmonds-Faraci, vice chair of the Wall Democrats, said in the release. “Why should the town go into long-term debt on vehicles that have a lifespan of less than 10 years when we can invest in our neighbors and our community by hiring a few more DPW workers?”
Hoffman said the Democrats’ strategy doesn’t add up.
“When you hire more people, there’s the original cost, plus 2 percent the following year, and the following year,’’ Hoffman said. “They’re talking about adding $3.5 million to the budget. That doesn’t make any sense.”