WARREN, NJ - Bids for Warren's new 26,565-square-foot municipal building have come in higher than originally anticipated, approximately $2.44 million higher.
An ordinance was introduced at the last Township Committee meeting to amend the initial $4.75 million prior ordinance increasing the appropriation to $7.19 million and issuing $6.83 million in bonds for the project.
The township went out to bid for the project on July 8, receiving 17 submissions that ranged from $5.949 million to $7.77 million, for the three-story building, according to Township Administrator Mark Krane.
Krane said that, based upon analysis prepared by auditors, the additional bonding from the $2.44 million cost increase would account for approximately $24.50 of a total $86.50 per average house if the township were to bond for 15 years.
The average house in Warren is assessed at $690,295.
One Warren resident spoke at the meeting regarding the cost increase. “This started as just something for the police department and then it expanded,” said Joe Lakatos. “No big deal. We’ll just tax and spend our way out of here like it is nothing.Easy come easy go, what the heck,” he added.
“I believe that first cost estimate was an estimate for an appropriation based on what we thought we could do with that at that time, but when you go to bid you find out the facts, and sometimes they are harder to take,” said Mayor Michael Marion. Marion added that the committee is not happy about the cost, but that the new complex is what is best for Warren's future. And the time to do it is now when Warren has a AAA bond rating and interest rates are low.
"We have a township that its many committees are comprised of volunteers. We can’t have a meeting, because there is not a meeting room to meet in. We’ve asked these volunteers to run our organizations, and we can’t provide a place to meet,” said Committeeman George Lazo.
“If you’ve been in our building, you’ll know that it is over 100 years old, you will know that it is not ADA (Americans with Disabilities) compliant, and our contention is we need to move into the future, and this is the proper way to do it,” said Marion.
The public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 13.