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Legal Q & A

 

Garbage Collection and Municipal Court Administrator Certification

Deborah M. Kole
League Staff Attorney


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Deborah M. Kole, League Staff Attorney

Q I know that the law requires that a municipality must either provide garbage collection to an apartment complex or reimburse the complex for the cost of private trash collection. However, the complex in our town provides trash collection twice a week, and we only provide collection once a week to our other residents. They want reimbursement for all their garbage collection costs, but we feel that the municipality is only responsible for about half the cost, since we only provide collection half as often. How should this reimbursement be calculated?

A The New Jersey Appellate Division has indicated that this calculation is actually a two-part process. In a July 24, 2006 unpublished opinion, D.D. Residential v Twp of Hamilton (Docket No. A-6016-04T2), the New Jersey Appellate Division considered the appropriate method for calculating the reimbursement amount in a similar situation. The municipality provided collection once each week, and the residential complex sought full reimbursement for its three-times-per-week collection.

The court noted that the law provides for reimbursement of actual cost of collection, limited by what the cost of the service the municipality actually provided would be. As the statute says, the complex should be reimbursed “…for the solid waste collection service that the municipality chooses not to provide” (N.J.S.A. 40:66-1.4 b.). The law does not require the municipality to pay for any extra services that the complex gives its residents beyond this level. Therefore, the municipality would only have to pay the “hauling” cost of once-per-week collection.

However, the Court also found that the second part of garbage collection cost, the disposal cost or “tipping fee,” would be calculated on the actual cost of that service to the complex. This fee was based on the volume of solid waste actually collected, and should be the same no matter how many times a week it was collected. The Court pointed out that, for some undefined reason, the per unit “tipping fee” in the fact situation before it appeared to be roughly twice as high per unit as the municipality paid, and therefore remanded it back to the trial court to examine whether it was being accurately and appropriately calculated.

Therefore, while the “hauling cost” part of your municipality’s reimbursement should be limited to the cost of what it would be for once-per-week collection, the “tipping fee” reimbursement should be based on actual cost, as long as that cost is reasonable under the circumstances

 

 

Q Our municipal court administrator has just retired, and we would like to hire her assistant as her replacement. However, the assistant is not yet certified, and I have been told that she can only be appointed for one year terms until she is certified. Is this true? If it is, would such service on an interim basis count toward tenureOur municipal court administrator has just retired, and we would like to hire her assistant as her replacement. However, the assistant is not yet certified, and I have been told that she can only be appointed for one year terms until she is certified. Is this true? If it is, would such service on an interim basis count toward tenure?

A Actually, while the law requiring certification of municipal court administrators became effective on May 25, 2006, most of its requirements are not compulsory until the fifth anniversary of that date, in 2011. Beginning on that anniversary date, no one may be appointed to the position of municipal court administrator unless he or she is certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court. Until that date, individuals who are not certified may be appointed, and have five years from their date of hire to become certified. After the fifth anniversary date of the law, uncertified individuals may only be appointed for interim one year terms. They may be reappointed for up to four more interim one year terms. Time served as an interim court administrator, however, does not count toward tenure.

The requirements for certification include graduation from high school, a combination of two years of either full-time government employment performing duties related to those of a municipal court administrator or higher education, completion of training, the passing of an examination, and payment of any required certification fee. Time served as an interim administrator does count towards the higher education/experience as a court administrator requirement for certification.

Therefore, you may appoint the individual on a regular, not an interim, basis, and she will have five years from date of hire to become certified.

This column is for informational purposes only, and is not intended as legal advice.

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