NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - For many years Somerset County's road department has kept a remote garage in North Plainfield right next to the very cramped borough Public Works garage. For each of those years borough officials have secretly, and not so secretly, coveted the county's building to address the terrible shortage of space for its public works vehicles, supplies and personel.
Today, Somerset County Freeholder Peter Palmer turned over the property to North Plainfield Mayor Michael Giordano, selling it for the budget-busting sum of one dollar. Or at least budget-busting to hear Giordano say it.
"If anyone wants to make a donation to help buy this new building, you can pass it right up here," said Giordano with a smile.
"We're happy to help North Plainfield expand its public works space," said Palmer. "We're glad we could do it."
The new space more than triples the existing space of the borough garage next door, adding six vehicle bays and significant storage space for tools, materials and supplies.
Borough Administrator David Hollod said that the town has set aside money in the capital budget to study the best use of the property, and discussions are underway to build a salt dome on the property to share wtih the County and possibly neighboring municipalities.
"When we salt county roads we have to bring it in from the other side of the county," said Palmer. "This partnership will mean our trucks don't have to go back and forth wasting gas and time during bad weather."
According to Borough documents from when the capital budget was passed over the summer $50,000 was put in the 2014 capital budget toward the salt dome, and another $50,000 to design and implement the consolidation of the two properies.
Over the next two years, fiscal 2015 and 2016, the borough will issue bonds for up to $600,000 additional dollars to bring the new building and property up to code and to match modern public works needs.