BRICK – After a candidate stated that the township’s government has grown too much, the mayor countered that services were needed, and that the tax rate has still gone down.
Independent mayoral candidate, and former Republican councilman, Anthony Matthews said during the Oct. 24 council meeting that Brick’s government had grown and not been reduced under the current mayor’s tenure.
Mayor John G. Ducey replied that the municipal tax rate is down one-half cent, despite the addition of 35 township employees hired in 2013.
There are currently 429 Brick Township employees, up from 394 employees as of Jan. 1, 2013, Ducey said.
Those numbers include 11 additional police officers, 10 special police officers, eight EMS workers, and six Building Department employees, he said.
“We had to create an entire Building Department, and we wanted to have the most police officers we’ve had in the history of Brick,” Ducey said.
Prior to January 2014, the township had an agreement with Toms River to take over building inspections here. When the agreement ended, Brick took over the inspections, and in May 2014 the administration increased the cost of inspection and permitting fees.
“As of Jan. 1, 2014, when I became mayor and I had to stand here and say, wow, as of tomorrow we don’t have any inspectors coming because Toms River cut us off as of that date. We had to hire them,” Ducey said during the council meeting.
“We have more employees, but because we’ve reined in spending in areas where it’s not necessary, it’s very nice to see that the taxes have decreased,” Ducey said.
In other news, the governing body authorized an award of bid for roadway improvements to Village Way, located in the Midstreams section, to Meco, Inc. for $263,303.
Nine bids were submitted that ranged from Meco’s – which was the lowest responsible bid – up to $314,193. Ducey said that the scope of the work for this project includes milling, base repair, asphalt paving, replacing inlet grates and curb pieces, removal and replacement of drainage pipes and structures, installation and replacement of concrete berms and other miscellaneous work for the project area.
Additionally, the council authorized an award of proposal for an energy broker/consultant to Concord Engineering of Voorhees, New Jersey, as needed for the solar array at the former landfill on Sally Ike Road, said Council President Art Halloran.
“The township is not a third-party provider and does not have the infrastructure to directly utilize the electricity produced by the solar array,” Halloran explained. “We have to utilize services of an energy broker/consultant to assist us with finding a third party provider to provide the township with the energy it directly utilizes at its facilities at a contracted kilowatt per hour rate.”
Concord Engineering is best suited for the township’s needs because their proposal reflected an ample amount of procedural information and a good amount of New Jersey based references, he said.
There would be no cost to the township because Concord would be paid based on the hourly rates provided, or have it converted into a percentage of kilowatt hours used that would be included with the payment made to the third party supplier, Halloran said.
In more celebratory news, Ducey presented Coach Bob Auriemma with a proclamation that named Oct. 25, 2017 “Bob Auriemma Day.” Auriemma also received a key to the Township of Brick for his 54 years as an ice hockey coach.
With 729 wins, Auriemma is the winningest hockey coach in the history of New Jersey, and was admitted into the ice hockey hall of fame, Ducey said.
“He and Coach Warren Wolf founded the Brick ice hockey program which has grown into one of the most successful programs in New Jersey,” the mayor said.
Auriemma was accompanied at the council meeting by his wife, Irene, and many of his five children, 19 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.
The next council meeting will be on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.