NEW JERSEY COMMISSION ON
CAPITAL BUDGETING AND PLANNING
|LOCATION:||Committee Room 11
State House Annex
Trenton, New Jersey
|DATE:||October 1, 1999
MEMBERS OF COMMISSION PRESENT:
B. Carol Molnar, Chair
Assemblyman Louis A. Romano
Michael R. Ferrara
Margaret M. Villane
Anthony F. Annese
Robert A. Roth
(representing Senator Bernard F. Kenny Jr.)
(representing Senator Robert E. Littell)
(representing Assemblyman Francis J. Blee)
MS. B. CAROL MOLNAR (Chair): I'd like to call the meeting to order. In accordance with the Open Public Meeting law, the Commission has provided adequate public notice of this meeting by giving written notice of time, date, and location, and the notice of the meeting has been filed at least 48 hours in advance by mail and/or faxed to the Trenton Times and The Star-Ledger and filed with the Office of the Secretary of State.
We will now take the roll call.
MR. SHIDLOWSKI (Acting Executive Director): Mr. Martin Davidoff. (no response)
Mr. Anthony Annese.
MR. ANNESE: Here.
MR. SHIDLOWSKI: Mr. Robert Roth.
MR. ROTH: Here.
MR. SHIDLOWSKI: Caroline Joyce, representing Senator Littell.
MS. JOYCE: Here.
MR. SHIDLOWSKI: David Rousseau, representing Senator Kenny.
MR. ROUSSEAU: Here.
MR. SHIDLOWSKI: Jerry Traino, representing Assemblyman Blee.
MR. TRAINO: Here.
MR. SHIDLOWSKI: Assemblyman Romano.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: Here.
MR. SHIDLOWSKI: Gail Alexander, representing Treasurer Machold.
MS. ALEXANDER: Here.
MR. SHIDLOWSKI: Edward Troy, representing Commissioner Mintz.
MR. TROY: Here.
MR. SHIDLOWSKI: Ms. Margaret Villane.
MS. VILLANE: Here.
MR. SHIDLOWSKI: Mr. Michael Ferrara.
MR. FERRARA: Here.
MR. SHIDLOWSKI: Ms. Carol Molnar.
MS. MOLNAR: Here.
MR. SHIDLOWSKI: We have a quorum, Madam Chair.
MS. MOLNAR: Thank you.
The next item is the Executive Director's report.
MR. SHIDLOWSKI: I just have a few things to say, Madam Chair. I wanted to speak mostly about the change in the original agenda for today.
The Juvenile Justice Commission has been rescheduled for November 12. They have just appointed a new executive director, and he wanted some additional time to prepare for this meeting. He wanted to make the Commission's request personally.
The Commission on Higher Education has also asked for a delay. They are also rescheduled for November 12. There has just been a recently enacted, $550 million higher education capital improvement plan, and in light of that, they need to evaluate their position.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has withdrawn their capital requests. They will be seeking alternative funding.
The only other thing that I would like to say -- a little housekeeping matter. The OLS Hearing Unit has requested that when Commission members and folks who are giving testimony speak, please, to press the microphone button so that we can eliminate any errors in the transcription.
Okay. That concludes my report.
MS. MOLNAR: Thank you.
Regarding the November 12 meeting, we've added two additional departments , Juvenile Justice and Higher Ed, which will be seven departments. I would like to request that we also start that meeting at 9:30 a.m. on the 12th of November, since it is a full agenda.
Is that all right with the Commission members? (affirmative response) Okay.
I want to thank Paul for moving our meeting here. There are some water problems in the old room. This is the former New Jersey Supreme Court Chambers, and I think it is excellent. I've always been lobbying to get this room for Commission meetings, so it is great being here. So I thank Paul.
Today's agenda, we will take it slightly out of order. We're going to take the Department of Agriculture first, and then the other two departments, the State Library and Department of Law and Public Safety.
So, I'd like to welcome Secretary Brown.
S E C R E T A R Y A R T H U R R. B R O W N JR.: Good morning, Chairwoman Molnar and Commission members. Certainly, I want to thank you for the opportunity to come before you today and present the Department of Agriculture's capital budget request for Fiscal Year 2001.
As you know, my Department works very closely with all segments of the Garden State's multibillion dollar food and agriculture industry. The projects in our Fiscal Year 2001 capital requests provide the program support necessary to continue some important services to the several facets of this very diverse industry.
My first request is for $150,000 to replace some of the aging infrastructure at the Philip Alampi Beneficial Insect Laboratory in West Trenton. This facility is where we develop and mass-produce insects that control harmful agricultural, forest, and other weed and insect pests without becoming pests themselves.
The use of beneficial insects offers a double benefit. While harmful pests and weeds are controlled, the amount of chemicals released into the environment is significantly reduced or eliminated. Moreover, as Federal actions continue to severely limit farmers' access to specific chemical pest controls, biological controls become increasingly important.
Successful mass production of these beneficial insects and their survival in a laboratory environment demands precise temperature control. However, one of the two boilers and both of the cooling towers which control the environment in the lab are original equipment, dating back to the lab's construction in 1984. One of the two cooling towers is always in operation, and when the temperature exceeds 88 degrees, both must be running. Although one of the boilers has been replaced, the other is leaking. If the boilers and/or the cooling towers fail, years of work could be jeopardized.
With the requested capital appropriation, we could replace one cooling tower and leaking boiler in the coming fiscal year, followed by replacement of the second cooling tower in the year 2002.
Another of our Fiscal Year 2001 capital requests pertains to information technology. Since we are sharing a building, you will probably hear a similar request from the State Health Commissioner, Christine Grant. Over the last several years, we have significantly improved our use of modern information technology. These improvements have had a positive effect on our delivery of service to our varied constituencies. However, information technology changes very rapidly. To make sure that we are making the best possible use of the technology, we must constantly assess our hardware, software, and program application systems and the infrastructure that supports them.
As a result, the Department is now converting to a new operating system on new servers. To derive the optimum benefit from this conversion, the Department must upgrade the building wiring that carries the flow of information from our servers to the programs, and eventually, to our constituents. Replacing the existing wiring and transfer equipment will increase processing speed tenfold. This increased speed will allow for greater and more efficient database applications, facilitate the use of larger data files, and most importantly, support the newer information technologies in which we are investing.
As I've already mentioned, we share our office building with the Department of Health and Senior Services. Therefore, our two Departments are submitting simultaneous capital requests for upgraded data wiring. For our part, NJDA is requesting $450,000 to rewire the first, second, and third floors of our office building and the first floor of the attached laboratory building.
My third capital request for 2001 may sound familiar to some of you, because it focuses on the glass greenhouse that is attached to the health and agriculture laboratory. Constructed well over 30 years ago, the facility's temperature controls are obsolete and malfunctioning. The lighting needs to be upgraded through the installation of high-intensity sodium lights. Shading and ventilating controls need to be replaced.
Because of the extent of these renovations, this year we are seeking $200,000 to replace the greenhouse, using the existing foundation. With this new structure, we will be able to offer a broader array of plant disease testing, expanded varietal identification, and verification of the presence of endophytes in pasture grasses -- a fungus which can be toxic to grazing farm animals.
My remaining 2001 capital request concerns the continuing development of the Horse Park of New Jersey at Stone Tavern, which some of you have visited. Over the years, I have updated this Commission on the Horse Park's development. You and your predecessors have heard how the equine industry and the private not-for-profit groups have worked together to design, construct, and operate an equine recreational and educational facility that has no equal in the state. Overall, this Commission has been supportive of these efforts.
Today, I ask again for your support for the further planned development of the Horse Park into the finest facility of its kind on the entire East Coast. In the current fiscal year, we have received funding for construction of a 150- by 250-foot covered work area which will eventually be attached to a 250-foot by 400-foot indoor arena. The indoor arena, which will offer permanent seating for 2500 spectators and increase the Horse Park's ability to hold multiday shows of national and international significance, as well as shows of nonequine nature. It would also permit year-round use of the park, which, in turn, increases the funds available for the park maintenance by the Horse Park Board of Trustees, the not-for-profit organization which operates and maintains the Horse Park.
For these reasons, I am requesting $1 million in Fiscal Year 2001 to fund architectural design, engineering, site work, permits, and fees associated with the construction of the indoor arena. I would anticipate an additional request for funds to begin construction of the arena in FY 2002.
Another important facet of the Horse Park's benefits to all New Jerseyans is its use as a venue for educational and recreational equine events throughout the year for both young and old. From 4-H events and Scout badge seminars to equine instructions for the handicapped, the Horse Park does a fine job developing, scheduling, and coordinating seminars, clinics, and other educational events. Despite the tremendous variety of these events, the Park lacks a large area usable as a classroom and often limits the number of participants that are available to participate. Therefore, I am seeking your approval of an $80,000 appropriation to buy a 28-foot by 54-foot double-wide trailer-classroom for the Horse Park.
These turnkey trailers come ready to use, including restroom facilities, heating and air-conditioning, chalkboards, and other classroom amenities.
Madam Chairwoman, that concludes my Fiscal Year 2001 capital budget request. I have several key staff members with me today and would be pleased to answer any questions that you or the Commission members may have. Again, thank you very much for this opportunity.
MS. MOLNAR: Thank you, Secretary.
Any questions or comments from Commission members?
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: I'd be only too happy to let someone go first if they -- because I usually jump on. Just let me ask the important question here, Secretary Brown. I watch you very affectionately on television. I don't know who gets more of a play, you or the Governor. (laughter)
SECRETARY BROWN: The Governor, of course.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: No. You're on for a few more seconds than the Governor. She's just toasting with a glass of milk. (laughter)
Obviously, I'm sure everyone has the question on their mind when we talk about beneficial insects -- congers up, obviously, the bad insects. Now, do you or your Department have anything to do with this entire mosquito problem that we're going through right now?
SECRETARY BROWN: Well, certainly, we work and coordinate our activities with the Department of Health, DEP, and other agencies in putting out sentinel birds like they've done up in Connecticut and New York to see if there is any spread coming into New Jersey. But we have a Mosquito Commission, that is under DEP, that works primarily with the control of mosquitos.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: Well, you know, you represent -- allow me, Madam Chair -- a group of people who are, let's say, homespun. You have farmers, people who know of the old remedies. Now, I understand, and perhaps you may help us, there are some over-the-counter vitamins or herbs that humans should take which, when coming through the perspiration pores, set up a barrier of -- what would the right word be? -- onerous type of smell that the mosquitos don't like. Have you ever heard that in your--
SECRETARY BROWN: No.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: --glory days as a farmer?
SECRETARY BROWN: No, I haven't. But we do have a Division of Animal Health that works in getting the word out to equine owners in the State of New Jersey that they should have their horses vaccinated to protect them from the Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
Now, the one that you referred to, probably up in New York, is a newer strain. This Nile strain of encephalitis is something that has never been found here in the states. And so that is something entirely new that we're looking at, and we're watching it very carefully, because they really don't know exactly how it is transmitted. They were talking about possibly birds carrying it south as they migrate, and it could come down through New Jersey, and we'll be keeping a real close watch. If anybody finds any dead birds, they should report it right away to the local health folks so they can take a sample of it and diagnose whether or not it did succumb to encephalitis of some type. But as far as the herbs go, I really don't know, Assemblyman.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: Well, you know, you should have twisted it a little bit to say, yes, there's a strong possibility, so that every board would be interested in providing you with the capital funds you're requesting. (laughter) But in any event, I know I will support it.
Just one final thing. Farmers are out in the fields. Now, they're talking about the disease being spread by ticks. How do they protect themselves? Is there anything that we can learn from one another that suggests that farmers know how to handle these types of situations, you know, people who work in the field all day?
SECRETARY BROWN: Well, it is certainly true, and I think that's true of the entire hunting season that starts tomorrow, so people will be out in the woods walking around. So it certainly is going to be good advice for them to use as many of the protective materials that we do have -- the OFFs, the Cutter, and those spray types of insecticides -- and keeping your clothes tightly around your wrists and your ankles and your waist to keep insects from getting onto your body. Again, everyone should be taking extreme precaution until we have the first couple of frosts.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: Well, if you find any home-style remedies or whatever suggestions, I think you should pass them on.
I have no further questions, Madam Chair.
MS. MOLNAR: Thank you, Assemblyman.
Any other questions?
MR. FERRARA: Secretary, the indoor arena. In the current budget, there was a million dollars added for the Horse Park itself, which I thought might have been for the design of the new-- Can you tell me how that million is being used?
SECRETARY BROWN: Yes. Michael, that is for a work covered area. It's a covered work area. It's a building that has a roof and arena within it. It doesn't have any sides on it or have seating capacity. It is strictly a work area, and normally, a work area, when you put the whole package together, becomes part of the entire project area. If you have an indoor arena, you have a work area where everybody gets their training and warming up horses and things, before they go into the main arena during horse shows.
As you know, as we sit here today, the Governor's vision of saving 500,000 acres of farmland in the State of New Jersey is a real challenge, and it's great. I think that we're going to be saving 500,000 acres. We've set aside $500 million to put into agricultural land preservation. So I think what we're doing is, we're just adding to the infrastructure so that-- Because we're losing land in other parts of the state. We lost a large chunk of land up in Gladstone when Beneficial sold off a huge chunk of land that was used for a lot of equine activities.
So we hope that we are going to fill a gap so that other counties can utilize our facilities. It should be the nicest facility on the East Coast. We can keep it busy on a 12-month basis after we get it all put together. And the last part of the puzzle, of course, is the arena, the indoor arena.
MR. FERRARA: Is the covered work area-- I know there's an open arena now. Are they the same thing or this was a new-- You're building a new covered area?
SECRETARY BROWN: Yes, that's correct. We have four arenas now, open arenas, and this would be a fifth with a cover over it so we could use it in inclement weather, but it doesn't have any seating or any of the other things where you can--
MR. FERRARA: Okay.
SECRETARY BROWN: --use it for major shows.
MR. FERRARA: Second question on the same issue. Last year, when this project was submitted, its total cost was estimated at 6.5 million, and now it's 10 million -- the 9 million plus the 1 million. I'm just curious. Is it a different design, expansion?
SECRETARY BROWN: Yes. It includes a lot more amenities. Since the last year, we've visited several states, looking at different arenas. We're much more serious about it, and we've come up with an arena which we feel now would be more suitable than the one we originally thought of, and plus the fact that the cost is going up. And when you do business with the State versus a private contractor, there's a lot of difference, and the price goes up substantially.
MR. FERRARA: Okay. Thank you.
MS. MOLNAR: Any other questions?
MR. ANNESE: Good morning, Commissioner.
SECRETARY BROWN: Good morning.
MR. ANNESE: I'd like to ask a few questions about the educational facilities you're proposing. When I see the word trailer, I think what comes to my mind is a temporary facility. Is that what you have in mind? Is this temporary, or is this something in anticipation of a more permanent structure? Or what is the life expectancy of this trailer that you are proposing?
SECRETARY BROWN: Let me refer that to Lynn Mathews.
Lynn works with our equine program and spends an awful lot of time on the educational aspects of the children throughout the equine program.
L Y N N B. M A T H E W S: The trailer that we're proposing-- We have a life expectancy as long as the Park. We thought it would be better just in case, 20 years down the road, we decided to move it to another area in the Park, rather than building a permanent structure. So we chose to go with the double-wide. People live in them. It's just like a double-wide trailer.
MR. ANNESE: The word temporary wouldn't apply then, if I'm looking at this?
MS. MATHEWS: No. It just isn't nailed to the ground. It is moveable, if necessary, on the Park grounds.
MR. ANNESE: I see.
SECRETARY BROWN: It's like those trailers-- They put two together and make a house out of them. Basically, that's the same type of thing.
MR. ANNESE: Okay. That's my only question.
MS. MOLNAR: Any other questions or comments? (no response)
If not, I'd like to thank you for coming today.
SECRETARY BROWN: Thank you very much. I've enjoyed it.
MS. MOLNAR: We will consider your requests.
SECRETARY BROWN: All right.
MS. MOLNAR: Our next department is the State Library. I'd like to welcome Jack Livingstone.
J O H N H. L I V I N G S T O N E: Good morning. Thank you very much, Madam Chair and members of the Commission. To my left is Mike Scheiring, the Vice President of the Thomas Edison State College.
I appreciate this opportunity to appear before you to discuss the State Library's capital budget request for Fiscal Year 2001. We are an affiliate, as you know, of Thomas Edison State College, and in the last two years we've moved three capital budget projects toward completion. We have a fourth project underway, and a fifth is now ongoing.
I'd like to depart for a second to give you my unqualified thanks for last year's support for two of our major capital budget projects which literally lifted the State Library out of the technological dark ages. You can be assured that, in the last 12 months, the funding that you approved has made a tremendous difference in the operation of the State Library. It has permitted us to move forward with the new technological circulation system at the Library for the Blind and Handicapped, answering the concurrent problem of Fiscal Year 2000, Y2K problems. It has permitted us, at the State Library building itself, to upgrade our technology so that we can become a full partner in our own Library's 2000 project that has built an infrastructure for public libraries across the state to be able to reach the Internet at no cost. So it's made a tremendous impact, and we're deeply appreciative of that.
The State Library fire-suppression system is reaching the last stage of installation. The telecommunication wiring and Audiovision broadcast equipment work that has been done at the Library for the Blind and Handicapped is completed. The Fiscal Year 2000 funding of $329,000, as I mentioned, to the Library for the Blind and Handicapped for the acquisition of the Y2K compliant circulation system is now underway, with the installation of new software scheduled for later this month. That system is going to be ready and operational by the 1st of December. The first year's portion of the computerized research system for the State Library patrons and staff is installed and operational, with the second year's equipment now on order.
As I've already mentioned, this is a marvelous thing that the Commission has done for us and opened the door for us to become compliant with the rest of the Library's technological needs.
The Library's 2000 plan has built an electronic infrastructure in our State's public libraries. This plan was framed as a partnership, building on local investment and local strengths. It is practical, it is cost-effective, and it is working, and has received recognition as a model for other states in this country. As we direct this massive effort, it becomes essential that several capital project needs still must be met if the State Library is to continue to participate.
For Fiscal Year 2001, our first request is for $400,000 for an architectural-engineering study to review and update the building renovation program for the State Library. The Commission recommended the funding of this project for Fiscal Year 2000. The study, which would inventory library collections, determine growth rates, and specify the impact of technology of the Library's services both to State government and to the libraries of the State, is a necessary first step in updating the State Library for the future. By spending the $400,000 in Fiscal Year 2001, the State Library will gain a year, thereby cutting a year from the planning-to-construction phase at an estimated savings of $600,000. Should the Commission elect to fund the entire State Library project in Fiscal Year 2001, this request could be withdrawn.
The second priority is the complete renovation of the State Library at a cost of $15 million. The State Library has been working under a severe handicap in trying to meet the informational needs of State agencies, the Legislature, and the Executive Branch by working in a 34-year-old building designed and outfitted for an earlier age. For example, the Library needs to be properly wired with Category 3 cable for voice and Category 5 cable for data communications. Equipment such as servers and PCs, which are necessary to provide Internet access and access to documents and other vital publications, are not a part of this request, but are in the third capital project.
The State Library is one of New Jersey's research treasures, contained in a building that is functionally obsolete. The original furniture, now over 34 years old, is still in use. It is unsightly, often broken and patched, and not ergonomically designed for today's technology. The public is sitting on the same chairs, working at the same tables, walking on the same tile as in 1965. The lighting is a patchwork of fixtures and luminescences. Microfilm cabinets are not only old, but were not designed to store today's CD-ROMs. Wall leaks have caused plaster to crumble, leaving pockmarked walls. The wear caused by thousands of people using the Library each year for over 34 years has left its mark. We are living with the physical remains of a mighty research institute that's old, outdated; with unserviceable furnishings, work stations too small to hold a computer and related equipment; with broken chairs, and original lights and ceilings.
The renovation project begun in the 1980s was but a down payment on the long-range needs of the State Library facility. Fiscal Year 2001 will be a unique opportunity for these necessary renovations. With the State Archives vacating a portion of the building soon, it will be possible for complete renovations to occur while the State Library remains open and operational.
The State Library serves the Legislature, the Executive Branch, the State agencies, the libraries of New Jersey, and the people of the state. An updated and fully functional building is necessary to do this job.
To summarize, the building needs to be completely wired for technology. Furniture designed for computers and associated hardware is required, and conventional furniture must be replaced. New and altered space needs require changes in stack areas, office space, and meeting rooms.
This is a huge undertaking for which continuity and commitment of the State will be required. For that reason, it is proposed that one appropriation be provided for overall funding of the project permitting the hiring of one architect, the preparation of one set of construction documents, and then, phased, floor by floor construction by one set of contractors.
There has been no discussion regarding funding alternatives for the State Library project. Nevertheless, the State Library would be most willing to enter into discussions with the State Building Authority, if requested to do so by the Commission.
Finally, $400,000 is requested as a third funding year towards the computerization of the State Library. To give you some insight as to use levels, the number of content hits that we now get via the Internet, through both our CyberDesk reference service and at the Library for the Blind and Handicapped Web page, was over 1.1 million for the Fiscal Year 1999 -- a 100-percent increase over the previous year.
The funds provided to date have purchased new terminals, PCs, and printers for staff and users, with more on order; statewide access to Informé, a Spanish language database. Ninety-five thousand dollars has been spent on compact discs and access to new on-line services in all units of the library. A 360 CD so-called jukebox is now installed in our computer room with file servers, racks, cabinets, bay networks, computerized microfilm readers-printers, digital imaging equipment, software, site licenses, antivirus packages, and many more things.
Current year funding will permit purchase of an additional tape drive, tape backup software, monitors, racks, and cabinets, as well as other software. It will also provide new PCs to replace the remaining dumb terminals; replacement of older PCs for staff and users; replacement of photocopy machines with those having networking capability; a self-checkout system interfacing with the circulation control system; and a variety of other databases, equipment, and furnishings to make operational the entire package.
For Fiscal Year 2001, the capital budget request funds would be used to enhance and continue the electronic databases and new statewide service initiatives. Also, a critical planned upgrade of the State Library's 10-year-old on-line catalog and circulation control system to a state-of-the-art system would be funded. The vendor has already notified us that upgrades and support of the existing system will be discontinued beyond Fiscal Year 2001. Without the new integrated library system, the State Library would be excluded from the statewide resource sharing system, which is an electronic interlibrary loan system now in place for finding resources in the major catalogs of the major universities, public libraries, and colleges all over the state; and the State Library is housing and funding this project.
I trust from the above that the Commission will understand that a continuing capital investment is going to be needed to replace obsolete equipment and to provide for new developments unforseen at this time. Today's technology is changing so rapidly that all our libraries must make a continuing investment in this technology in order to serve the information needs of the public. The State Library's position is no different as it works to open its collections through the Internet to all New Jersey residents.
This is a new era for the dissemination of information. Already, much that was available in published format is only provided electronically. The latest hardware and software are essential for the State Library to properly serve our clientele. This capital investment will ensure that we can effectively prepare our citizens for the new century.
Again, thank you very much for this opportunity to make this presentation. Be happy to answer any questions.
MS. MOLNAR: Thank you.
Any questions or comments from the Commission members?
MS. VILLANE: Has the State Library entered into any discussions with the Secretary of State's Office and Treasury about doing a renovation project for all of the buildings: the State Library, the Museum, and the Auditorium?
MR. LIVINGSTONE: We had some discussions with regard to the overall project that I think you're referring to. It seemed to us -- and the advice that we were getting was that we should move forward on our own as quickly as we possibly could.
MS. VILLANE: Because the Secretary of State's Office came in and asked us for money to do a renovation of the Museum, and there could be efficiencies if the projects were joined together -- efficiencies in construction. So those conversations are no longer taking place?
MR. LIVINGSTONE: Nothing has happened along those lines.
Mike, maybe you can answer that.
M I C H A E L S C H E I R I N G: There had been discussions -- oh, probably almost a year and a half, two years ago -- with Assistant Treasurer Mortimer on that very subject. And that same topic came up from the point of view of the possibility of an approach taken where the remaining part of the campus would be done under one package. But again, there really has not been any movement in that area at all. Our needs are pressing today.
MS. VILLANE: Okay. Thank you.
MS. MOLNAR: Assemblyman.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: My first question is, was that building erected as a library, or was there a different purpose to that building when it was constituted?
MR. LIVINGSTONE: The building was designed as a library when it was opened in 1965.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: I see all this wiring -- of different wiring that you're doing. I have to suppose, maybe wrongly, that all this is reviewed by OTIS. There's a new name, though, now.
MS. VILLANE: OIT.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: Pardon me?
MS. VILLANE: OIT.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: OIC, yes. Yes, it is. OIT, okay. I have to be careful, because then in the minutes who knows how that's going to come out. (laughter)
I have another comment, though, especially something like a library, all right, where we're talking about responsible, intellectual individuals having been involved or knowing about libraries. Has there been any attempt on a so-called public-private partnership where someone might pay for a series of shelves or room or whatever the case may be? Has anyone from the outside, any university or philanthropic organization, offered to pay for any of this?
MR. LIVINGSTONE: No.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: Has anybody attempted to secure that money?
MR. LIVINGSTONE: We have talked with people, such as Summit Bank, who have helped us in-- Mainly, however, have helped because we were interested in getting help for public libraries who were in some desperate straits, and they responded, for example, with Camden City, with some complete renovation of the childrens' room in that area. But nothing has been discussed about working in partnership to pay for some part of the State Library reconstruction or renovation. No.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: I've said it on many other occasions. I'm very cautious as to finding someone with enough money who will put their name on top of the library, you know, and I don't want to place the constraints of what the names might be.
But one further point, if you will allow me, Madam Chair. Now we have that $45 million--
MR. LIVINGSTONE: Construction.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: --construction.
MR. LIVINGSTONE: Public library construction.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: I mean, are you involved in that with the local libraries?
MR. LIVINGSTONE: We will be running that program. Yes. We will be managing that program once it gets started.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: Now, I wonder, at the same time, because I've known from seeing a lot of old libraries, one of the greatest problems they have, aside from proper air control, you know, and keeping the documents, is ADA, you know, assistance to the disabled or the aged. I wonder if through your efforts you can lobby, whether it be to the Federal government--
I know of grants that they used to have for the removal of architectural barriers to the handicapped. That was a Federal program. And I see my good friend David Millstein here, which I'm sure he'd be only happy to work with you. That if the money might become available, in a certain amount of these renovations, from other sources, it would prove to go a long way in reducing the overall costs not only for yourself, but you as the key person on the cutting edge to push for items of that nature. Because people have a tendency to look aghast or to forget about the rules of barrier-free public buildings. So I just offer that, and I firmly believe as I get older -- that's only in chronological age--
MR. LIVINGSTONE: I understand. (laughter)
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: --I can see it better. And the little things that people can do to make life better for people who are handicapped entering the building, which are so small, almost no cost whatsoever, but yet people refuse to see it, only because they can't see it. They don't understand what an elderly person goes through to enter into a public building.
I wouldn't even cite a situation where, during a period, they had in Newark -- for people to go for immigration. And at that time, they were doing a renovation to the building. Now, even during a temporary aspect of the construction they could have, maybe, providing some-- Well, they ended up picking up wheelchairs and carrying them up a flight of steps with the people in there. You know, you've said to yourself, "How far are we going to go with this?"
MR. LIVINGSTONE: Yes.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: But I just offer that. I mean, who can be against libraries?
MR. LIVINGSTONE: No one.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: No one. That's what I'm trying to say. And so, you have to reach out there and hope that you have somebody who doesn't know what to do with their money. When they pass on, they may want to leave it to a worthwhile institution, and you can't find a better institution than the State Library. You know, the universities have donors. They have benefactors. We need a few people for the library.
You might even take, for example, West Publishing Company, which does all the law book work. Perhaps, they might want to come up with something for furniture, equipment, or a certain aspect of the building where they would get a plaque on the wall. They can be noted.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
MR. LIVINGSTONE: Thank you.
MS. MOLNAR: Thank you for your empathetic comments, and you have a ways to go, though, before you're elderly.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: Aw, thank you.
MS. MOLNAR: Mr. Ferrara.
MR. FERRARA: Yes. Basically, just one question. In Page 2 of your statement, "for 2001, our first request is for 400,000 for an architectural-engineering study to review and update the building renovation program for the State." And then the next paragraph, the second priority is, "to complete renovation at a cost of 15 million." Wouldn't it be better to wait until the study is done to come up with how much money is needed to actually do what's needed in the Library rather than ask for both at the same time? It would seem to me the A and E study is going to tell us what needs to be done.
MR. LIVINGSTONE: Well, we've got a pretty good handle on the overall cost of the project at the present time. What we need, however, is an up-to-date study that will allow us to know some of the internal things that we're going to have to make changes on and some of the overall renovations within the framework of the building. Now if we move forward without funding the 15 million, yes, we can have an architectural study done, but then the question-- This has happened once before, years ago, where we had the study done, and then nothing was ever funded. Then the study is so old, you need another study done.
MS. VILLANE: How did you come up with the $15 million?
MR. LIVINGSTONE: We--
MR. SCHEIRING: Maggie, the $15 million was based on that prior study that Jack is referring to. It could be updated by both the estimates.
MR. LIVINGSTONE: Right.
MR. SCHEIRING: So that it is based on the cost of the estimate study that was done several years ago.
MS. VILLANE: So it could actually cost more than $15 million if you had the A and E study for 400,000 done, and they say, "Well, it's going to cost $20 million."
MR. SCHEIRING: That's correct. But again, the objective here is that that's the best estimate we can give at this point in time, and it's probably in a reasonable ballpark. The cost design study is -- really do a programming study to find out in today's library world what should that program look like and then refine that cost number.
MR. LIVINGSTONE: I think that's a pretty fair study.
MS. MOLNAR: Any other questions or comments?
MR. ROUSSEAU: Just one comment. How long would it take to do the update of the study?
MR. LIVINGSTONE: I would say, probably, we could do that within six months.
MR. ROUSSEAU: Okay, thank you.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: Madam Chair--
MS. MOLNAR: Yes.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: --I would like to say, you know, we're talking about-- Everybody's talking about the money, back and forth, as the total cost keeps rising, escalating. But I think the only way to go -- because somewhere it has to end, somewhere you have to put a cap on it -- would be a consultancy involved in a design-build where, having established what you're looking for and having an architectural engineering planning group, whatever the case might be, with a cap. And that they would have to, let's say, provide you what you're looking for, but at a cost below which, or rather say, at a cost with a cusp that they could not go above. Design-build is a relatively new concept, but that is what is used, basically, in most of these cases.
And just in finality, I can't help but believe the Federal government has certain moneys available to these sort of activities when we're talking about libraries. And if there isn't, by the time you get this built, perhaps you can lobby for our own, I should say, representatives to come up with something for this great undertaking.
MR. LIVINGSTONE: We are lobbying for that right now. There is no Federal money for this, not a single dollar.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: Well, a strange thing about all this. Federal money does appear sometimes at the tail end of a bill -- attached to a bill, if you will -- that might take care of this situation in New Jersey. Oh, I just offer that, because money is becoming a premium--
MR. LIVINGSTONE: I understand.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: --but I'm with you 100 percent.
MR. LIVINGSTONE: Thank you.
MS. MOLNAR: Thank you, Assemblyman.
Any other questions or comments?
If not, I would like to thank you and your staff for coming today.
MR. LIVINGSTONE: Thank you.
MS. MOLNAR: We will consider your request.
Our final department is the Department of Law and Public Safety. I'd like to welcome Tom O'Reilly.
T H O M A S J. O ' R E I L L Y: Good morning, Chairwoman Molnar, members of the Capital Budgeting and Planning Commission, and Executive Director Shidlowski. On behalf of Attorney General Farmer, I would like to thank the Commission members for their continued support for our Department's capital budget. I would also like to acknowledge, at this time, Paul Shidlowski, for his assistance both in the Department of Law and Public Safety and also to the Juvenile Justice Commission.
This past year, we have moved ahead with a variety of capital projects that have benefitted the Division of State Police. We have completed roof, sewer, and dock replacements. The Division of State Police has purchased portable radios, which are the patrol officers' communication lifeline in emergency situations. The State Police has also been able to replace obsolete equipment and data network infrastructure with equipment that is now able and capable of operating the computer-aided dispatch system and records management system, and it is also Y2K compliant. I want to thank you for your support for those past initiatives.
I would like to take, at this time, an opportunity to highlight several of the FY 2001 requests. Recent events have emphasized the need to significantly improve the Division of State Police automation and data processing systems. At a crucial time in the State Police's history, we are unable to provide basic information to those who ask. In response, we developed a three-year technology action plan, which was prepared by an outside consultant. I'd be happy to make a copy of that available to you if you would like. This report developed a technology plan that will support numerous institutional changes to the Division's recruiting, personnel, promotional systems, and operational procedures.
The new data processing systems and infrastructure upgrades funded partially through this request will assist in collecting information that will be required and will enable the Division to comply with future data collection mandates, both internally and externally. The plan also provides for an evidence tracking system and for the installation of mobile, digital computers for each of the State Police patrol vehicles. This capital request will fund an essential link in the reforms that we are undertaking at the State Police.
One of our major goals this year is to focus on diversity within the ranks of the Division of State Police. In particular, we must ensure that all of our existing State Police facilities equally accommodate our female troopers. Our request contained in the 2001 capital budget request will fund the design and construction costs for 30 facilities requiring these renovations. Right now, the lack of those accommodations is a severe handicap on the Division in terms of the assignment of the female officers that we currently have.
Several capital budget items on our list address critical repairs, fire and life safety issues, HVAC systems, and roof replacement systems. One major initiative this year contained in the budget request is for the State Police laboratories. The State Police operates four laboratories. These are located in Little Falls, Trenton, Sea Girt, and Hammonton. These labs provide expert forensic examinations in the areas of toxicology, ballistics, and DNA.
DNA's value to society and law enforcement increases with every scientific breakthrough and every advancement. As technology advances, DNA will routinely be applied in more and more investigations. In our 2001 submission, we have requested funds for the construction of a new 60,000-square-foot facility at our West Trenton Headquarters that would replace our existing forensic laboratory and its associated office space. This would also allow us to consolidate out of some temporary lease space that we located several years ago at Sierra Park. By constructing a new lab, the State would save approximately $600,000 in those annual leasing costs that are associated with the Sierra Park facility.
Our next project continues to be the replacement of the radio system equipment. This radio system is critical not only in terms of officer safety, but also in terms of allowing the police officers to be dispatched to citizen calls for service and help. The 2001 request is the last phase of the radio replacement project. The $1.9 million will purchase approximately 300 additional portable radios and associated equipment. The remaining $6 million requested will be used for massive system and infrastructure upgrades, which will eliminate dead zones. I think we've all experienced in the last couple of years with cell phones the phenomena of dead zones, and that problem is something of a real significant operational concern within the Division of State Police.
Each year the Division of State Police flies over 1400 medevac missions servicing the citizens of New Jersey. Many lives depend on this service. As recent as last week, the State Police helicopters were used to aid flood victims in northern New Jersey and central New Jersey. The existing six helicopters in the fleet are not interchangeable. The Sikorskys currently used for the medevac operation are not suitable to perform law enforcement and government support functions. The Bell aircraft, the older ones, cannot perform the medevac function. Hurricane Floyd highlighted the need to have aircraft that can address multiple missions. In addition, it should be noted that the fleet ranges in age from five to seventeen years, the medevac being some of the older ships that are there which receive constant and continuous service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The last two FY 2001 projects for the State Police include money for repairing and resurfacing roads and parking lots of our facilities, and the construction of a motor vehicle repair garage and a radio electronics maintenance shop at Division Headquarters. Those two buildings will support critical operational needs in terms of keeping our fleet maintained and ready to go and also maintaining the communication system I mentioned before.
In addition to the Division of State Police, there are two projects we are requesting this year, on behalf of the Division of Consumer Affairs -- proposed renovations to, and the replacement of, outdated equipment for the Office of Weights and Measures' metrology lab, and the comprehensive licensing and the case management tracking system for the Division's Office of Consumer Protection, Office of Weights and Measures, and the Bureau of Securities. The protection of New Jersey's citizens from consumer fraud is the basis of this request. This will provide critical equipment that will allow us to maintain standards that will prevent consumer fraud in the future.
Those are highlights of some of the projects that have been requested by the Department of Law and Public Safety. I thank you also for your willingness to defer the Juvenile Justice Commission presentation until the next meeting. As Paul indicated, the Executive Director designee has asked to have an opportunity to review some of those priorities. And the Department and the JJC will return at a future date.
Thank you for your attention.
MS. MOLNAR: Thank you.
Any questions or comments?
MR. ROUSSEAU: About seven years ago, I guess it was seven or eight years ago, the Legislature enacted a law that provided a $1 surcharge on all registrations -- I think it was all registrations, so that raises about $5 million to $6 million a year to support the medevac program. And what it was, it was to support the operating costs of the medevac program. Whatever was left is supposed to be sitting in a fund for replacement of the helicopters, as it's needed. Do we know how much money is sitting in that fund?
MR. O'REILLY: There is approximately about $600,000. Unfortunately, as the operating expenses of the medevac continue to increase, that stable funding -- and you're correct, it's about $5 million a year -- has not kept up with the costs associated with the program. In addition, at the time that bill was passed, we were operating at, I think, about 18 hours a day. We since have gone to 24 hours a day, which is also added to the operating cost. Unfortunately, the aircraft is starting to experience a lot of fatigue. Two, three months ago, we actually had two of the three medevac ships down, because of stress fractures and the rotors, I guess you would call them, and some of the frame issues. And we've had to go out and you have them-- I think it's called Magnaflux through something in terms of getting it done. But when those go down, it's like about a $200,000 to $300,000 maintenance bill every time you have them done. So, unfortunately, the fund has been able to keep up with the operating cost, but the original intent of creating a sort of sinking fund or revolving fund is not materializing.
MR. ROUSSEAU: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: Madam Chair.
MS. MOLNAR: Assemblyman.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: You're to be complimented, No. 1, because I know you have a guiding hand about the mobile data computers and the State Police patrol vehicles. I think that's in keeping with the high tech and what's needed; as you say, an essential link in reforms that you are undertaking at this time. I go back to my old topic. I think we took care of the State Police vehicles in a lease program, if I'm correct, Mr. Ferrara?
MR. FERRARA: Yes, it is.
MR. O'REILLY: Yes, sir, that's correct.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: So I see you pay no attention to it, because it's being regarded in another context?
MR. O'REILLY: Yes, Assemblyman. Hopefully, that fix was over a two-year program, and there's a provision in the State budget in terms of out-years, assuming the appropriation keeps up, that it will be a permanent fix as a three-year and a five-year replacement cycle, as being managed accordingly under a line of credit.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROMANO: All right. Thank you very much.
MS. VILLANE: I have a question.
MS. MOLNAR: Maggie.
MS. VILLANE: Tom, the radios that you want to purchase, is that for all of the troopers, or is it just for the road troopers?
MR. O'REILLY: The portable radios will complete the three-year program, which will result in approximately 1000 portable personal radios. The priority assignment of that, Maggie, will be to those in uniform or on the road responding to calls. In addition, there are other radios that are available for individuals who are doing detective work or raids, that type of thing.
MS. VILLANE: Okay. Because as a Vice-Chair of the JMC, because we're an agency that funds the security in the building, we pay for the radio that goes with the trooper. So this is separate from that?
MR. O'REILLY: That's separate. It would be the same where, like, with the Turnpike, Parkway, those-- That is why there is 1400 men and women who are functioning in the uniform side of the Division of State Police. That's why we'll cap this request at approximately 1000. The other balance of the staff will be equipped under the contract arrangements.
MS. VILLANE: All right. So through the agency funding, we will continue to pay for all the equipment that that trooper needs?
MR. O'REILLY: I would hope you would, yes.
MS. VILLANE: We will. (laughter)
MS. MOLNAR: Any other questions or comments?
MR. FERRARA: Just one question. On the technology enhancement program, is any of that for maintenance people, additional personnel, salaries, or other noncapital?
MR. O'REILLY: Mike, approximately, within that total, there's approximately $1 million that represents the second-year maintenance from the first year and about $500,000 that would be available for personnel services yet to be determined, whether that would be consulting services or employee FTD type of services.
MR. FERRARA: So that--
MR. O'REILLY: About 1.5.
MR. FERRARA: That would really not be something that the Commission would want to recommend as a capital item, correct?
MR. O'REILLY: That's appropriate. Yes.
MR. FERRARA: Thank you.
MS. MOLNAR: Any other questions or comments? (no response)
If not, I'd like to thank you, Tom, for your presentation.
MR. O'REILLY: Thank you very much. I appreciate the opportunity.
MS. MOLNAR: The Commission and staff will be considering your recommendations.
Other business -- is there any old business or new business, etc.? (no response)
If not, our next meeting is October 22. I believe that one will be at 10:00 a.m. There are five departments. The OIT will be there, Office of Information Technology.
Any other questions or comments? (no response)
If not, gee, we broke the record, our meeting is adjourned.