November 23, 2011 at 10:23 AM
MILLBURN, NJ - Millburn officials are putting aside nearly $1 million to make improvements to the stormwater drainage system, roads, curbs and sidewalks due to Hurricane Irene.
The Township Committee last night introduced an ordinance setting aside $800,000 from its capital improvement fund.
Under questioning from residents of the South Mountain area, committee members assured those attending the meeting they will spend as much as necessary for flood mitigation.
“We will either bond or allocate more money to it,” said Committee member Robert Tillotson.
Several residents also suggested municipal officials solicit a second opinion on planned improvements being designed by Hatch Mott MacDonald, the engineering firm the township has been using.
Mayor Sandra Haimoff explained that Hatch Mott MacDonald has worked in the South Mountain area before and is the most knowledgable of the systems there. She did, however, endorse the idea of passing the suggested improvements by another firm.
Officials also reported on progress on several flood-related fronts. The township has posted a report on its Web site, www.twp.millburn.nj.us/
Township Administrator Timothy Gordon said he met with municipal, county and state officials regarding the Morris Avenue bridge to determine what could be done to desilt the Rahway River south of I-78. State officials are looking at whether or not the bridge is designated as historical, he said.
He said he also has spoken with officials for the City of Orange to get a written agreement allowing Millburn to reduce water levels of ponds in the South Mountain Reservation when there is a threat of flooding.
Haimoff said a meeting of communities located in the Rahway River watershed is scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. at Millburn Town Hall. Members of the public will be allowed to observe.
In other business, the committee introduced a bond ordinance to put aside $8.5 million for the construction of a parking deck on Lot 2 in the downtown. Committee member James Suell explained the ordinance moves money to have it available. He said the committee is months away from starting the actual project.
The governing body introduced another ordinance amending the wording of its policy on indemnification for township officials.
In addition, the committee passed an ordinance authorizing an easement on township lands to Jersey Central Power & Light. Committee member Thomas McDermott explained the utility wants to tie into a transformer near the Hilton Hotel and the line will cross township property. Under state law the municipality is obligated to give the right of way.
Following the open meeting, the committee went into closed session for anticipated litigation against JCP&L in connection with the extended power outages that occurred as a result of Hurricane Irene.