Stafford To Bond $7.6M For Vehicles, Paving, Equipment

Stafford Town Hall (Photo by Jason Allentoff)

STAFFORD – The Township Council introduced three ordinances that would bond $7,611,250 for a variety of vehicles, road projects, equipment and technology.

The three ordinances calling to bond these projects passed on their first reading. They will have to pass on second reading at a future Township Council meeting.

“Since 2011, we have tried to reduce the capital debt,” Mayor John Spodofora said. He thanked Business Administrator James Moran and the council for their hard work determining what parts of the township departments’ needs would be funded this year.

“They look at every dollar we spend very carefully,” he said.

Moran said that in 2009 there was an excess of $170 million in debt. Currently, it is $124 million. Of that, about $5 million of the debt is being paid off by grants.

Councilman William Fessler said that paying off that debt has been an annual challenge.

“That’s one of those things that hits us every year,” he said.

Stafford Township Council Meeting Room (Photo by Micromedia Publications)

The bond ordinances listed the money to be appropriated for each project, and the bond amounts that were expected to finance them. They also usually listed the lifespan of the items being purchased. Part of the rules in bonding money is that items have to have a usefulness of more than just the year that they are purchased, since it will be paid off over several years.

The largest of the appropriations was $5,430,000 for various capital equipment, although $4,956,250 of it will be bonded. The rest is coming from $243,750 in New Jersey Department of Transportation grant and a $230,000 down payment for that DOT grant.

The projects would be as follows:

Department of Public Works: Total estimated cost of $472,320, of which $448,704 would be bonded. The average period of usefulness on the items would be 8.8 years. Items include: one leaf vacuum truck, new and replacement grounds equipment; vehicle maintenance equipment; trash and recycling cans for automated pick-up; replacement of the Municipal Building’s air conditioning chiller; computer-controlled lighting system; two vehicles for mosquito spraying; two vans for custodial services.

DPW fuel tanks, costing approximately $1,759,354, with $1,674,558 in notes, expected to last 20 years.

2017 paving program, including paving and drainage for Mermaid Drive, and the paving of municipal parking lots. This is expected to cost about $766,590. The $243,750 DOT grant would go toward this project. The rest would be made up with $522,840 in bonds.

Courtyard reconstruction at the municipal building, including replacing concrete sidewalks, construction of a stage and seating area, and site lighting. The estimated cost would be $521,556, with $495,478 in bonds. The expected usefulness is 15 years.

Police range facility, costing $1,145,000, with $1,087,750 in bonds. Its expected usefulness is 15 years,

Information technology costing about $112,135, of which the town will bond $106,528. The technology has a useful lifespan of about 5 years.

Parks and recreation improvements consisting of playground equipment replacement or repair, and sodding fields. The cost is expected to be $51,250, and it would be covered by $48,687. The expected usefulness is 15 years.

Police department equipment including 4 four-wheel drive patrol vehicles, and emergency equipment. The cost is expected to be $246,795, paid for with $234,455 in bonds, with a usefulness of five years.

Bulk scanning of permanent records, with a cost of $255,000, paid for through $242,250 in bonds, with an expected usefulness of five years.

Township vehicles including ones for zoning, tax assessor, uniform fire safety, construction code, and police detective bureau, with a total cost of $100,000, paid for with $95,000 in bonds, with an average usefulness of five years.

A separate bond ordinance would appropriate $1.8 million for the second phase of the Mill Creek Road and Paul Boulevard water main replacements. It is expected to be funded through the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust Financing Program. This is a partnership of the State Department of Environmental Protection and the NJ Environmental Infrastructure Trust. It provides low rate loans to municipal bodies for drinking water or clean water programs.

The last bond ordinance was for $855,000 for various water and sewer improvements. The improvements include but are not limited to:

A water and sewer mason dump truck

A vac-truck

A utility truck

The retrofitting of an existing camera truck

Purchasing water and sewer utility equipment, including small tools, generators and pumps, two electronic signage boards, and various pipe parts.