TOMS RIVER – At the end of 2017, the Township Council passed a few bond ordinances that will fund projects throughout the near future. Included in these ordinances are plans for new buildings, vehicles, and infrastructure improvements.
One ordinance appropriates $3,445,440, and bonds $3,273,168 for equipment and vehicles for the following departments: Public Works, Police, Township Engineer, Parks and Recreation. The items include an automated trash truck, roll off truck, robo cans, survey van, two Triplex greens mowers, two rear loaders with plows, a screener, three utility body crew trucks, two 4×4 pick-up trucks with plows, three wheel loaders, and some equipment for replacement vehicles.
A second ordinance appropriated $7,547,750, and provided the issuance of $7,170,362 in bonds for various items: Opticom for the fire department, roof replacement for Town Hall and Public Works, resurfacing a playground, basketball, and tennis courts, sprinkler and well upgrades, fence replacement, boat ramp and related work at Gilford Park, improvements at municipal buildings, paving paths at the golf course and Winding River, and computer software and hardware.
This ordinance also includes an Opticom project, which came from a purchase in conjunction with the Joint Board of Fire Commissioners, business administrator Paul Shives said. These are the devices on emergency vehicles that change the traffic patterns so they get green lights. This is the township’s share to make sure that township vehicles are outfitted with it, such as the paid ambulance squad.
The designs of two buildings are also on this ordinance. One of them would be for the headquarters for the police first aid squad, Shives said. The ambulances are parked outside the police department at night when not in use. They also need a redundant communication system in case of a power failure.
The new building will be located on Church Road next to the J. Mark Mutter Records Center that was completed in 2015.
The other building project is the first aid building in Ortley Beach. The ordinance provides for the “initial schematic design” for a new building. The old building came down after suffering damage from Superstorm Sandy.
There are challenges to building on this property, Shives said. It is a small piece of land, and they want to make the most of it. The idea is to have a bay for an ambulance, another for fire apparatus, and a meeting room area over the bays.
A third ordinance would appropriate $3.6 million and bond $3,420,000 for paving and roadway projects.
The fourth ordinance would appropriate $650,000 and issue $617,500 in bonds for drainage improvements.
The difference between the amount of money appropriated – to be spent – and the amount that is being bonded is the township’s down payment.
The township spends about $3-3.5 million every year on paving projects, Shives said. When it comes to paving and drainage, they prioritize the worst roads first.
The township seeks out grants or alternative funding for as many projects as possible, he said. One wrinkle is in the Ortley building. The Township Council had already started the steps to have the building demolished before Sandy did the job for them. That meant that the Federal Emergency Management Agency would not reimburse them for the project. However, if the building is to be flood-proofed, there is FEMA money available for that.