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Prevailing Wage May Not Apply To All New Fort Monmouth Construction

EATONTOWN: One of the major hurdles in finalizing deals with prospective Fort Monmouth developers may now be cleared.

The Attorney General's Office, which provides legal counsel to the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) Board, examined the entity's prevailing wage rate clause and found that it does not apply to all new development at the fort.

The New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act which "affects prime contractors and subcontractors who perform work on any state or political subdivision construction contracts which exceed the current contract threshold amount," according to the New Jersey Department of Labor.

"Covered workers must receive the appropriate craft prevailing wage rate as determined by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development," according to the New Jersey Department of Labor.

A recent addendum to several requests for offers to purchase (RFOTP) issued by FMERA states that prevailing wage will apply "only to the extent that a project includes public work," or if "the applicant receives financial assistance from FMERA, the state or any other state entity.

"The updated language reflects how FMERA now reviews contracts and projects on a case by case basis to determine the applicability of prevailing wage requirements in each case," said Rachel Goemaat, spokesperson for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which oversees FMERA.

"With the requirements to pay prevailing wage and with the 20 percent low income set aside for residential units, developers are just finding it too difficult for projects to be made profitable," Connelly said in April.

The clarification of the prevailing wage statute could help get several projects moving, including two in Eatontown; Howard Commons and Parcel B.

Responses to the RFOTPs for these two properties were originally due months ago, but were extended to July so the prevailing wage statute could be examined.

Eatontown Administrator George Jackson said at the most recent Eatontown Council meeting that he feels this is a positive step.

"That language has been amended and I know that's a positive move for our efforts to get qualified bidders and very competitive bidders," Jackson said.

In Tinton Falls, it appeared that a deal between a potential developer for its new town center at Fort Monmouth, Lennar Corporation, and FMERA was not going to move forward. However, now that the prevailing wage language has been softened, FMERA expects to present a purchase and sale and redevelopment agreement for the property at a future board meeting for approval.

Read more from: Eatontown

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