EATONTOWN: The borough council has adopted a $7.7 million bond ordinance to finance three upcoming municipal projects.
The ordinance was introduced by a 5-1 vote during the Dec. 6 Eatontown Council meeting with only Councilman Albert Baginsky voting not to introduce it due to concerns with the overall cost and decision to renovate the existing municipal building.
Municipal Building Renovations
The first project listed in the bond ordinance is $4.7 million in renovations to the municipal building.
Several first floor spaces including the clerk's, tax and finance office, will have service windows closer to the front of the building so people would not have to come further into the building. The sewerage authority office would also move from the east side of the building to the west side.
The former borough court room will be renovated to include a training facility for the police, an interview room for the police and sewerage authority and a kitchenette for the police department.
The second floor construction office will be expanded by about 10 feet. This expansion will make the council public meeting room smaller and about three rows of seating would be lost, but officials have said it will be worth it to expand other facilities.
The building's entire HVAC system will also be replaced.
A 2-car sally port will be built between the borough hall and the firehouse next door. The sally port will be used to allow prisoners to be transported into the police department from the interior of the building instead the current situation where they are dropped off outside the building. The 1,000-square-foot structure will cost about $710,000.
Baginsky has said that he feels the borough should explore other alternatives for the municipal building including relocating elsewhere. However, the other members of council agree that the proposed plan is the best way to go.
"Plans for this building have been pushed aside for 10 years," Mayor Dennis Connelly said. "There's a time when things need to get done."
Resident Sara Breslow agreed with Baginsky and said the council should look to lease space elsewhere and that the cost to taxpayers to renovate the building is too high.
New Police Radio System
The second project is the purchase of new police radios for $2.9 million
The Eatontown Police Department recently presented a plan to replace their outdated and aging radio system with a new one by Motorola. Officers showed that they sometimes have a difficult time understanding each other on the current system and that getting replacement parts for their older radios is getting increasingly more difficult and expensive.
Connelly said he agrees that the radios needs to upgraded but said he wanted to possibly bring in a professional to study other possibilities due to the high cost of the Motorola system.
Purchase Of Land At Fort Monmouth
The final project is the purchase of seven acres of property at Fort Monmouth for $550,000 that could serve as a new home for the borough's department of public works (DPW).
The site is adjacent to the county's DPW yard at Fort Monmouth, which is accessible off of Broad Street through Nicodemus Avenue.
The borough's current DPW yard is located on Lewis Street.
Under a plan proposed earlier this year, the former personnel office on the Fort Monmouth site would be renovated to allow the DPW and office of emergency management (OEM) to operate there.
Several small buildings would be demolished to make way for a 15,000-square-foot maintenance bay with 11 bays for DPW trucks. Bays could be added or subtracted to include or exclude more bays.
A new salt shed is proposed as well as a recycling area for residents with a parking lot.
Impact On Taxpayers And Next Steps
Borough Administrator George Jackson has said the tax impact of the ordinance on the owner of the average borough home valued at $327,000 would be an additional $154 per year.
None of these projects will begin as a result of the passage of the bond ordinance, they must each be acted upon separately by council in the future, Councilman Anthony Talerico has said.