Committee eyes changes to $3.4M capital bond

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PETERSBURG – Township committee took its first look at a proposed $3.4 million capital bond Monday, with members discussing potential changes and debating the need for $1.5 million in road repaving.


Township engineer Paul Dietrich last month presented a list of items for bonding totaling $4.1 million. Since then, $700,000 for a mandated tax revaluation has been removed, with officials saying that will be paid for in a bond next year.

At the top of the list is $1.5 million for repaving of township roads, which Dietrich said are in deplorable condition. That level of funding will repave almost 4.5 miles of roads, he said.

“We haven’t had a paving project in the last three years,” Dietrich said. “The streets just continue to get worse.”

Dietrich said he would like to see the township put $750,000 toward road repaving every year. He has asked for twice that amount this year to catch up, he said.

“We have 22 miles of streets we need to do over the next 20 years,” he said.

But Committeeman Tony Inserra said he would rather wait a year or two to start repaving. He said the township might receive more money in Energy Receipts Taxes from hosting the B.L. England power plant in the future.

“We might have some of that money coming back,” he said. “We don’t have the money right now. Let’s wait on B.L. England for a year or two.”

Inserra was referring to a push by the League of Municipalities to end the state’s skim of Energy Receipts Taxes. Deputy Mayor Curtis Corson, Jr. said that legislation was a long shot though. Waiting a year or two to start paving could end up costing the township more, he said.

“Why bond anything? Let’s just wait for (money from) the electric company,” he said.

Corson said there is the possibility some of the worst roads will deteriorate in the next two years, forcing the township to completely reconstruct them instead of repaving.

“It will cost us $300,000 to reconstruct a half-mile of roadway,” Corson said. “We can repave a mile for $340,000. If we don’t repave and watch our infrastructure crumble we’re going to double the price.

“Take a look at the roads. Do you roll the dice and not do them? If we don’t do them we gotta start asking ourselves if we want to snow plow because pretty soon we’ll be plowing snow and asphalt.”

The bond also includes $750,000 for the purchase of three new trash trucks and 10,000 trash containers (another $380,000 of that cost will be paid by recycling grant money), $300,000 for a new boat ramp in Strathmere, and $160,000 for lights and other improvements at the Amanda’s Field baseball fields.

Mayor Richard Palombo said the amount for lighting might go up if the township also includes lighting of the Somers Avenue field. Girls softball is played there, he said.

“We told girls softball if they wanted the lights they have to raise the money,” Corson said.

“We’re not going to have better facilities for the boys than the girls,” Palombo said. “So that number could actually increase.”

On the chopping block is $80,000 for reconstruction of the parking lot at Township Hall. Dietrich said he included the money because the concrete is cracking.

Palombo said he would rather spend the money to pave more roads.

On the other side of the ledger, likely being added to the bond is $100,000 for a new roof on Township Hall. Corson said there are leaks in the building already and another storm might cause major damage.

Other items in the bond are: $125,000 for a snow plow and spreader, $95,000 for a roadside boom mower, $95,000 for a mower for recreation, $65,000 for a miniature dump truck, $50,000 for building and facility security, $45,000 for an emergency generator for the rescue squad, $60,000 for two pickup trucks, $30,000 for a vehicle fueling system, $30,000 for a vehicle lift, $14,000 for digital radios, $12,000 for a loader bucket, $9,500 for new carpet in the Township Hall meeting room, $7,000 for a groundskeeper mower, $6,500 for an emergency shelter, and $6,000 for the playground on Golden Oak.

Dietrich said the Golden Oak playground is the last one in the township to receive improvements. Committeeman Jay Newman said he and a group of friends petitioned for the playground and basketball court when he was a boy.

“That tells you how long it’s been,” he said.

Dietrich said the playground would have to be removed soon without improvements.

Township committee will discuss the bond at its next meeting scheduled for Monday, Feb. 25.

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