EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - In what was viewed by many as a surprise, the East Brunswick Township Council was unable to approve the second procedural vote on an ordinance authorizing issuing approximately $1.5 million in bonds to fund upgrades and repairs to the Crystal Springs Aquatic Center on Dunhams Corner Road.
The ordinance required a minimum of four votes to pass. The vote failed by a 3-1 margin in favor of passage, with Councilwoman Camille Ferraro absent. In voting against the ordinance in the second vote, Councilwoman Nancy Pinkin specifically voiced opposition to the addition of a new slides and the spray park. Pinkin's position was that although the maintenance of the park and the additional building for rest rooms and storage was warranted, the additional other amenities were unnecessary, and added debt that potentially could put pressure on the aquatic center to break even in future years.
Pinkin noted that the facility has finally achieved break even and some small degree of profitability, and the added expense the debt assumes would place that at risk in future years, gieven uncertainties with things such as weather and future attendance.
When asked if Pinkin would accept a revised ordinance that would only issue bonds in the amount of the needed maintenance and repairs, Pinkin said she would consider that. In noting their disagreement with Pinkin, both Council President Jim Wendell and Councilman Michael Hughes noted that they felt the time to undertake the expansion was now, Wendell noted that with interest rates at historic lows, the time to raise the money by selling bonds was now, and Hughes voiced concerns about whether the cost of the project would increase if the added amenities such as the spray park and additional slide would be built in a separate project in future years.
It is expected that the ordinance would be reintroduced at a future meeting, however it is now unlikely that any work would be able to commence before the winter stops work for this season.