BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A pair of change orders, a contract for asphalt and milling services, the acceptance of emergency management funds, the awarding of three legal services contracts and the cancellation of sewer bond ordinances dominated the resolutions at the most recent meeting of the Bridgewater Township Council.
The council approved three resolutions regarding contracts for professional legal services to the township, which were approved jointly by a combined 5-0 vote. The first was for the position of municipal public defender, given to Britt J. Simon for an amount not to exceed $20,000.
The second was for first alternate municipal public defender, awarded to Daryl J. Kipnis, not to exceed $7,000, while the third was for second alternate municipal public defender, awarded to Scott C. Mitzner, not to exceed $2,400.
Bridgewater Mayor Matthew Moench commented that there is a new prosecutor, along with a recommendation for one to two alternate prosecutors. There had been no alternates for the public defender’s office in Bridgewater, and these resolutions would provide for extra public defenders, including in cases of court scheduling conflicts.
Councilman Timothy Ring asked if the public defender position was exceeded in the budget, but Moench said that a fee of $200 was charged per client, with those monies going into the public defender’s fund.
The council also unanimously adopted the appointment of commissioners to the Somerset County Joint Insurance Fund (JIF), with township administrator Michael Pappas to serve as commissioner, and Thomas Genova to serve as alternate commissioner.
The council authorized the adoption of the updated Multidirectional Hazard Mitigation Plan for Somerset County. Moench said there was some Office of Emergency Management (OEM) work to do in the township, with a few positions to be filled regarding the Emergency Management Council.
“It’s a topic we’ve been actively working on, to make sure we’re up to speed,” Moench said.
Councilman Allen Kurdyla informed his colleagues that he would not support the resolution, as he had requested information on the plan and the items to be addressed, and had only received a synopsis and not what the plan looked like.
“My heart and soul is with OEM,” said Kurdyla, who added that he would vote against the resolution if it was not tabled.
Bridgewater Police Sgt. John Edwards said Bridgewater is one of the few municipalities in the county that is not involved in the plan. He said that if the resolution was not approved, the township would lose funds, and added that the measure has to be adopted by mid-February or else the county will take over.
“This is the first step,” said Edwards.
The resolution was subsequently approved by a 4-1 vote, with Kurdyla casting the lone dissenting ballot. The township’s governing body then authorized the township’s OEM to accept $10,000 in federal funds from the Emergency Management Performance Grant, which passed unanimously.
The council unanimously ratified the awarding of a contract to American Asphalt and Milling Services out of Kearny for Country Club Road improvements - Section I (Route 28 to 1,400 feet north of Route 28) in the amount of $130,457. The contract will be funded through the 2018 New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Municipal Aid Grant.
Council president Howard Norgalis said that stretch of road has been worked on several times, and Kurdyla asked why it couldn’t be redone in concrete to last longer. Pappas said he had spoken with the township engineer, who believed the resolution to be an appropriate step.
Pappas also said that concrete would last longer but would also be more expensive.
The council also approved a pair of change orders, the first for the BWT-5 (Harding Road and Byrd Avenue) Improvement Project, at a decrease of $15,529. The project will be handled by JTG Construction out of Newark, at a revised cost of $251,321, and will be funded through the township’s 2018 Capital Fund.
The second change order was for the Garretson Road Improvement Project – Section V (the western driveway of Bridgewater-Raritan High School to Downey Road), at an increase of $26,148. The project will be handled by Top Line Construction Corp. out of Somerville, at a revised cost of $720,701, and will be funded through the 2018 Capital Fund and NJDOT Municipal Aid Grant.