A Message From Our Mayor Tony Perry: 

This June, the Township is expected to break ground on our Municipal Complex. The existing Town Hall was built almost 60 years ago and understandably the Township has grown significantly since that time and the current building does not meet today’s needs or standards. For example, 60 years ago Middletown didn’t have any female police officers. While I’m proud to say that we now have the most female police officers in all of Monmouth County, the current Police Department in Town Hall doesn’t provide he necessary amenities for them. The building also doesn’t meet current Court standards dictated by the State. To rehab the current facility would cost the town between $15-20 million and would still be tremendously outdated and inefficient. For these reasons, the governing body opted to do a Public-Private Partnership at a Guaranteed Maximum Price. This means that there will be no cost overruns—absolutely none. What the building costs today is the same amount it will cost when we’re cutting the ribbon for its grand opening in the summer of 2021.

As the 16th largest municipality in the State of New Jersey, Middletown should be able to provide our residents with a one- stop-shop to get a new or renewed passport, dog license and pay your taxes in a centralized location rather than going to three different buildings scattered across town. The new complex will also offer free and convenient meeting spaces for community groups and local organizations, as well as the opportunity to provide shared services with the County and our surrounding towns.

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A few questions for our mayor:

Q: What are some of the key drivers causing the need for this project now?

A: A key driver is the inadequacy of the current facilities. For example, when the current Town Hall was built almost 60 years ago, Middletown had a 28 member Police Department and no female police officers. As of 2018, Middletown has 126-member Police Department, including 12 female officers and 12 Special Officers, and that number is growing each year. Currently the facilities for female officers, particularly the locker room and shower facilities, are inadequate even for the number we have now. This is a change that must be made.

There are substantial portions of both the Main Town Hall and the Johnson Gill Annex that are below grade, thus creating a poor-quality working environment and one that can become more problematic over time relative to air quality and mold. The lower level of the main Town Hall building floods regularly with any large rainstorm event. This requires untold man hours to resolve each time.

Another key driver is the lack of environmental consideration in our existing buildings. Our buildings to date are extremely energy inefficient, resulting in a great waste of money, especially for natural gas and electricity. Repairs and upgrades to the existing buildings, largely due to their age, are merely band aids and not the best use of money over time. The new building will include the latest in efficient design and construction and will benefit township residents and taxpayers for generations to come.

Q: Why build a brand new building instead of renovating what we have?

A: Due to the age of the buildings on site, renovation is not a viable option. A major renovation to the current main Town Hall build- ing would mean that the Police, Court and Administration would have to move to temporary facilities since their functions cannot cease or shut down. Finding space that could accommodate Municipal Court and Police operations and meet their very unique requirements would be very difficult to do. This would mean a substantial cost to lease such space for approximately two years. In many cases, renovating and trying to retrofit old buildings and bringing them into compliance with today’s standards for safety, security, efficiency and ADA compliance is more expensive than building something brand new.

Q:What about doing an addition to the existing Town Hall?

A: At a minimum an addition to the existing Town Hall would need to be about 23,000 sq. ft. and cost approximately $11 million. This would only be enough to bring workers out from the basement level and address some of the Police Department’s inadequacies. It would not allow us to consolidate all offices and departments, address the issues relative to the Municipal Court, or address the very costly functional issues with the existing buildings. Such a project would result in annual debt of about $660,000 per year on top of our current annual operating costs of more than $300,000 per year going forward.

Q: Why use a sale leaseback arrangement rather than conventional Municipal financing?

A: There is a growing trend nationwide, even worldwide, to do public projects in this fashion. For example, New Brunswick, Jersey City as well as Gloucester and Union Counties have used the Public-Private Partnership, also known as a P3, approach. The idea is that private development companies can usually build public projects more efficiently that the public sector can. This is largely due to the fact that most public agencies are not generally in the “development business” on a day-to-day basis. A key feature that P3 projects usually have is what is known as a GMP or Guaranteed Maximum Price. This means that once a price is quoted by the developer/builder, that amount it set. There can be no cost overruns or change orders which increases the costs during construction. The risk for any cost overruns are borne by the builder not the taxpayers. By making annual lease payments we avoid borrowing and adding Municipal debt. We will also be developing pad sites so the Township can offset some of the construction costs with revenue from either the sale or lease.

Mayor Tony Perry

Mayor Tony Perry generally holds open office hours on the second Wednesday of the month from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM at Town Hall, 1 Kings highway. Visitors are seen on a first-come basis. Mayor Perry is also available by appointment. Please call 732-615-2024 for more information.