Fourteen units of the Megill Circle area of Fort Monmouth, which is located near Suneagles Golf Course in Eatontown, would be used as housing for quarantined by the New Jersey Department of Health Services (DHS) in the event that another location in North Jersey was at capacity.
FMERA Executive Director Bruce Steadman and Eatontown Mayor Dennis Connelly said the quarantine area would be run by the New Jersey Department of Health Services and that FMERA and borough officials were not given a choice about the project coming to the fort.
"This is a DHS project and not a FMERA project," Steadman said.
"This decision was made at a higher authority than any member of Authority," Connelly said.
Steadman said a Memorandum of Understanding agreement was made with the DHS for a 6-month term, followed by a possible renewal term of 6 months, but only if both parties agree to the renewal 30 days in advance. The MOU will expire on June 30.
Steadman said there is no lease for the property.
"The Attorney General's Office recommended that a MOU would be sufficient, and such an agreement could be signed by the FMERA Executive Director under the delegated authority already approved by the FMERA Board," Steadman said. "Therefore, additional formal Board approval was not required. However, FMERA staff notified the FMERA Real Estate Committee about the DHS project at Megill Housing Area, and it was discussed at two Real Estate Committee meetings (November and December) prior to the MOU being executed."
Some had questioned FMERA's ability to enter into the MOU without the board's approval, but Steadman said it was allowed to do so.
"This delegated authority process was amended a year and a half or two ago on recommendation by members of the Real Estate Committee to avoid the staff having to come back to the board for each and every simple access agreement and license agreement such as a soccer camp or due diligence access for purchasers for parcels," Steadman said.
Connelly said he wants residents to understand that only people who are possibly exposed to ebola and arrive by plane in New Jersey with no place to go would potentially be housed at Fort Monmouth.
"There was never going to be treatment there, it would just be used for quarantined people that were possibly exposed to ebola," Connelly said. "I do not believe any residents are at any health risk from the use of this property but it is just another delay in the sale of the property."