Utilities Department, Director Position Created

Manchester Town Hall (Photo by Micromedia Publications)

  MANCHESTER – The Township Council formed a new department of utilities and created the position of utilities director during a recent meeting.

  Business Administrator Brandon Umba explained that “about a year ago when I started here in the township the mayor had directed me to review the Department of Public Works and utilities and under that review, there were 18 employees and that does include the director of public works and when those two departments were merged and currently under the structure, we have 11.”

  “No foremen are currently employed and out of those employees we only have one that has a level II license and you need a level III license to run a department so with that we are using Water Resource Management, which is a private company in order to have a licensed operator for the town,” Umba added.

  Umba said, “the regulatory officer before was the person that upheld the license and under our current contracts that person has to make a thousand dollars less (per year) than the director of public works and the utility superintendent – so $2,000 less since they are beneath that person.

  “We are trying to get someone with a level III license and it is very difficult to get someone under that structure. We have interviewed individuals to try and be a regulatory officer for the town but it hasn’t panned out,” Umba added.

  The business administrator said the recommendation of the administration was to create a director of utilities “which is something we had prior to 2016 and I explained to council members that there is no shortage of things that need to be done in the water and sewer department.”

  Councilman Craig Wallis cast the lone vote opposing the ordinance that established the new position. He said after the meeting that he voted against it as he felt it was unnecessary expense. “This is not going to save us money it is going to increase expenses.”

Repainting Water Tank

  During a later meeting the Council passed a resolution authorizing execution of a change order for Allied Painting Inc. for the painting of the water storage tank on Route 37. Umba said this was being paid for by a Department of Transportation grant. “It was under budget.”

  He noted that in a resolution that increased fees in the Recreation Department the “only fee that is increasing is the tumbling class and that is from the tumbling school – not us – they contract with us and it is for $10 so it isn’t that the township is increasing fees.”

Health Needs

  Councilman James Vaccaro missed three council meetings during the summer due to illness in his family, including his own bout with COVID-19. Due to his recent illness the councilman enhanced his message for residents to maintain COVID-19 health protocols and for the administration to “aggressively pursue a hospital or village type medical center or a hospital sponsored primary care and wellness facility to be housed in Manchester Township.”

  “These facilities are now being built in various parts of Ocean County and Monmouth County. Why not Manchester Township? As I’ve said before this facility would be well supported and available to residents of adjacent townships, boroughs and towns. No one should travel great distances to receive superior medical care,” the councilman added.

  He said that such an addition would net the community “a great ratable with the expectation of attracting medical and professional businesses as well as professionals that would relocate and move into Manchester Township.”

Proposed Park

  Vaccaro also noted his attendance along with Council President Joan Brush at a recent public hearing held at the Manchester Library and hosted by the Ocean County Parks and Recreation Department. The hearing concerned a proposed regional Ocean County Park that would exist on land along Route 571 in Manchester Township. 

  “The meeting was sparsely attended and provided facts about the project and allowed for the public to express their individual concerns and opinions about the project,” Vaccaro said.

  “I asked for the County Commissioners give consideration to add a dog park to the project since the residents of the east section of Manchester now take their dogs to Robert Miller Airport as it has the closest public dog park,” the councilman added, saying the proposed park was being further reviewed following the input provided from those who spoke during the forum.

  He noted it was also pending Pinelands Commission approvals. Vaccaro also said that a species study, traffic study and potential further public sessions were ahead for the proposed park.