BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, NJ - Bernards Township officials learned this week that the township will receive a $250,000 state grant to install a generator capable of powering the municipal building, and creating a haven for residents, if there is another prolonged power outage such those that lasted for a week or more following Superstorm Sandy, and also after a hurricane and early autumn snowstorm the previous year.
The generator's installation would be part of an overall project to make the historic town hall at 1 Collyer Lane into a warming spot and "command center" in case of a major emergency or townwide blackout. The building's municipal court and main meeting room also has been renovated to upgrade electronics, improve the communications systems, and provide the capability for residents to plug in electronics to "power up" during a power outage.
Assemblyman Jon Bramnick 'championed our cause'
Bernards Township Mayor John Carpenter credited State Assemblyman Jon Bramnick (R-Dist 21) with securing a grant for the generator through the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Carpenter said that Bernards Township was first in line in applying for the grant soon after Sandy struck the Somerset Hills area especially hard in late 2012.
The township was given every indication that the state would provide the grant until a little over a month ago, the mayor said. At that time, Carpenter said the township was notified that after reconsideration, the state had decided not to award the grant money to Bernards Township.
The mayor said township officials contacted Bramnick. The assemblyman had attended many of the meetings held by township officials in conjunction with local police and school administrators held in a small room in the police station after an old generator proved inadequate to heat and power the town hall during Sandy.
"He took up our cause, and realized this was not right," Carpenter said at Tuesday's Township Committee meeting. He added he believes that Bernards eventually received the grant because Bramnick "championed our cause."
Parts of the historic municipal building were rewired to prepare for installation of a specialized generator, township officials said.
Nevertheless, Township Administrator Bruce McArthur said the generator won't be ordered until the township has the grant money in hand.
The plan has been to transfer the old generator to the township's Department of Health building on South Finley Avenue once the new generator arrives at the town hall.