Byram Residents Call for Referendum After Town Authorizes $11 Million Building

Byram is known as the Township of Lakes.

Byram is known as the Township of Lakes.

A group of five long term residents of the small township of Byram in Sussex County have issued a call for a referendum on November’s ballot. The referendum aims to allow voters to reject an approved up to $11 million expenditure for a new municipal building by putting it to a public vote.

Harvey Roseff is one of five residents who spearheaded a petition aimed at putting the measure on the ballot. That petition has garnered 435 signatures, exceeding the 144 needed for referendum position rights.

“This sum provides no additional services and yields no real improvement in efficiency while driving taxes substantially higher,” Roseff told PolitickerNJ via email correspondence.

According to a press release issued by Roseff and his fellow petitioners Joann Smith, Shelly Wilcock, John Gallagher and William Koellhofer, the final cost of the plan is unknown until building plans are drawn. They say that is an example of “putting the cart before the horse.”

In their call for a referendum, the petitioners claim that if the full $11 million is approved, it could lead to a ten percent tax increase for Byram residents.

“The Town Council and Mayor should follow prudent management oversight practices as taxpayers do in buying and building homes, kitchen upgrades and cars,” they wrote.

PolitickerNJ reached out to Byram Township Manager Joseph Sabatini for comment. He released the following on behalf of Byram Mayor James Oscovich and town council members.

“The Mayor and Council has not yet had the opportunity to review and discuss this release as a group, and can offer no comment at this time,” he said.

The population of Byram is about 8,000 residents. The ordinance (#24-2016) was heard at the July 19 council meeting.

“We seek for the public now to have their say in a public referendum vote,” Roseff said. “It would be unfortunate if a Mayor/Council, after authorizing such an extravagant sum, would deny the public their request to vote.”