CRANFORD, NJ – The Cranford Township Committee approved Ordinance 2017-05 at Wednesday night’s meeting, which authorizes the township to use $3,988,500 for public improvements.

According to Mayor Thomas Hannen Jr., a large amount of money appropriated in the ordinance will be used to repair the traffic light at the corner of North Union Avenue and Alden Street.

“I would like the public to understand the fact that the township of Cranford is going to have to spend approximately $400,000 to replace a single traffic light,” Hannen said. “It is a one-time expenditure. If residents would like to take a look, they can see that at one point there was actually an extension cord strung up there in order to keep the light working. A traffic light incident almost caused a municipality to go bankrupt because of the injuries sustained in that traffic accident. On the recommendation of the police department and the public works department, this became a priority for us to do this year.”

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The committee approved the ordinance, with Commissioner Andis Kalnins voting “no” for budget purposes and all other members voting “yes.”

“Over the last couple years, we’ve tried to put in place a plan that we would spend about $3.4 million, which is the amount that we pay off in debt each year to keep our debt level flat,” Kalnins said. “That allows us to do certain things, like the ability to purchase Birchwood, which hopefully we are in the process of selling as soon as possible so that we can get out of that debt. I think we could make some more hard choices to reduce this down to a more acceptable number.”

Hannen thanked Kalnins for his comments, but disagreed with his point of view.

“I appreciate Commissioner Kalnins’ comments, but we have some major issues that we need to improve,” Hannen said. “I think we put together a plan that reflects the priorities of the township committee in getting that accomplished. As I indicated, this is a one-time expenditure. There’s only two traffic lights in Cranford, including this one, that belong to the township of Cranford.”