CLARK, NJ - The Clark Police Department has evolved over the years to keep up with the latest trends, techniques and technology for law enforcement. Today Clark Police have upgraded their cars and equipment to include body cameras, in-car dash cameras, video monitoring and license-plate readers. They even get social with the community on Facebook and at local events.
Perhaps the only vital piece of equipment that hasn’t evolved to meet the needs of the Clark Police today is the building in which they are housed according to town officials.
Mayor Bonaccorso and Clark’s Business Administrator John Laezza, have a plan to change that and made it known in a bond ordinance they presented to the Clark Town Council on Monday night. The ordinance if passed would fund the preliminary work needed to pave way for construction of a new Clark Police Headquarters.
“It (bond ordinance) gives us money to do some preliminary work in front of the police station with regard to parking facilities because we believe that the new police station should be behind the present police station and then after that’s built they could just move in to the new one and knock that down and make the front to accommodate what we want our facility to look like,” said Laezza. “When we get an architect’s plan and costs, we will be introducing an ordinance to construct a police station.”
Laezza told the council that Chief Pedro Matos requested some updates be made to the current building to improve work conditions. According to Laezza after investigating the costs to install a modern HVAC system, upgrade bathrooms and locker rooms, replace windows and bring the jails up to current code, the cost would be between 1.5 and 2 million dollars.
“Spending two million dollars on a building that was built in 1958 would still be an old building… so I think what we have here now is the opportunity to do something for the future of Clark. My responsibility and the Mayor’s responsibility is to maintain the infrastructure, and that’s not only streets and roads, but it’s the buildings where we do our business for the municipality,” said Laezza. “It’s a necessary project; it’s a necessary next step in the evolution of Clark.”
Anticipating the outcry of the public in concern for how a new building might impact local taxes, Bonaccorso assured residents they won’t find their tax bills heavier because of this project.
“We can bond this for a twenty to thirty-year life, depending on what he (Laezza) feels at the time would be appropriate. So, your taxes aren’t going to go flying through the sky because we put a new police station up,” said Bonaccorso. “We’re paying off three million dollars a year in debt service. In the meantime, if you think about all of the miles of roads that we did, all the equipment we bought for this town, the new Library and the two-turf fields…you never heard us come to you at a meeting and say taxes went up this year because of debt service. Because John has paid principal and interest from the day we got here. Other administrations were just paying interests and letting it roll. “
The public hearing on this ordinance will be held on July 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Clark Council Chambers.
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