ELIZABETH, NJ - The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders' special meeting to discuss bonds for an almost $60 million project was canceled just hours before it was supposed to start on Tuesday.
The Freeholders were expected to vote on a resolution regarding bonds for the Roselle Mind and Body Complex, a construction project that will include a new school, library and a community center in the borough.
“The Special Meeting was canceled on advice of County Counsel,” Union County Public Information and Communications Deputy Director Tina Casey said in a statement after TAP inquired why the special meeting was canceled.
Several Roselle residents attended the last Freeholders' meeting to raise concerns about the cost of the project. In 2016, the Freeholders approved the issuance of bonds for the project from the Union County Improvement Authority not to exceed $59 million.
According to the 2010 Census, Roselle's median household income was $58,041, and 8.2% of its population live below the poverty line. (By comparison, the 2010 Census recorded Scotch Plains' median household income at $104,873, while Fanwood's median household income is $127,450.)
Opponents of the Roselle Mind and Body Complex are concerned that 1) their taxes will go up and 2) if Roselle defaults and the County guarantees the bonds, then every municipality in Union County will be responsible for paying off the bonds. One opponent, Anthony Esposito, a long-time resident of Roselle, has distirbuted a letter to every mayor in Union County
Union County Clerk of the Board James Pellettiere said the resolution regarding the bonds would not change the intent, timeline or cost of the project. He added that the resolution would not amend the 2016 ordinance. Although it's "customary" to have included the slated resolution language into the original ordinance, it can be adopted separately by the county, he said.
“This is just adopting language for the board to adopt consent for the project to move forward,” Pellettiere explained.
In 2014, Roselle announced the development of a state-of-the-art community center to be located at the corner of Chandler Ave. and Harrison Ave. Currently, the 100,000 sq. ft. Mind & Body Complex is designed to include the following:
- Community center
- Fitness center, pool, media and technology room
- Early childhood learning center (22 classrooms)
- New library
- Computer lab
- Full security system
- Multi-purpose room
- Gymnasium, cafeteria, auditorium
- 6 group instruction rooms
- Secured outdoor playground