BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Bridgewater Township Council recently passed several measures awarding contracts for new vehicles, accepting almost $8 million worth of new insurance premiums and authorizing road repairs.

Those resolutions were all passed by the township’s governing body Nov. 7.

The first resolution was for a $71,157 contract with Ford Cherry Hill for a 2020 Ford F450 extended cab and chassis truck, while the second was for a contract for a pair of 2020 Mason dump trucks with plows to Route 23 Automall in Butler. Both those measures were approved capital purchases.

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The council also authorized the execution of a collective bargaining agreement between the township and the Bridgewater Township Superior Officers’ Association (SOA). Naples said it is a four-year agreement, with a 2 percent pay increase for each of the next four years, plus contributions to Chapter 78, which requires all public employees in New Jersey to contribute toward the cost of their health care benefits based upon a sliding percentage of the coverage cost.

“It’s a very good contract for both sides,” said Naples.

Also authorized was the acceptance of a proposal from Horizon Blue Cross of New Jersey to provide medical, prescription, dental and vision insurance to the township, for a total annual premium of $7,895,118. Naples said the township’s previous healthcare provider, Qualcare, was bought out by Cigna, and that Horizon came back with the most effective plan, costs and provisions, which will begin Jan. 1. Council vice president Howard Norgalis said the new plan had to be equal to or better than the old one.

The council also approved an increase in the contract to municipal public defender Scott Mitzner. Naples said the contract had a hard limit of $20,000, based on a per session amount and not a budget increase.

He also said that Mitzner is called upon “as needed.”

The council also unanimously passed three professional engineering services contracts as a whole, all for local road improvement projects. The first was for $39,000 for the BWT-6 project including Tullo Road (from Washington Valley Road to Mallard Drive), plus the entire length of South Knob.

The second was $43,800 for the entire length of Hoffman Road.

The third road improvement initiative was for $75,000 for the two phases of the Twin Oaks project. The first phase will be for Twin Oaks Road from Foothill Road to Morningside Drive, while the second will be Twin Oaks Road from Morningside Drive to Steele Gap Road, along with Steele Gap Road from Twin Oaks Road to Newmans Lane.

A contract was also awarded to the Robert Wood Johnson Health Network for the Somerset Ambulance Shared Services Agency (SASSA) for daytime weekday ambulance services, at no annual cost to the township, for the years 2020, 2021 and 2022. Naples said RWJ had been the only qualified bidder, while Norgalis said the contract was in no way a reflection on the township’s own emergency crews.

Councilman Filipe Pedroso called it a “backup service.”

Lastly, the council approved extended Sunday hours of operation for plenary retail distribution licenses for Nov. 24, Dec. 22, and Dec. 29 of this year for Wegmans, Spirits of the Valley, Krisha Beverage and Buy Best Wine and Liquors. The final vote was 3-2, with both Norgalis and Pedroso voting against the resolution.