North Bergen eyes $550,000 of ARP funds for sewer project

This would be the first of the federal COVID-19 relief funds that the township has spent

North Bergen is putting federal COVID-19 dollars to work investing in its sewers. The Board of Commissioners have voted to introduce a capital ordinance that would appropriate $550,000 for a local sewer improvement project.

Federal funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) will facilitate sewer improvements part of the 57th and Kennedy Boulevard Project. As part of the plan, the township received $17.8 million in ARP funds.

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In an interview with the Hudson Reporter, Chief Financial Officer Robert Pittfield broke down the details of the ordinance after the board’s Dec. 8 meeting. According to Pittfield, the project aims to address “a major sewer infrastructure problem” in that area.

“There is a major improvement occurring at 57th Street and Boulevard, by the Avalon project,” he said. Work has been ongoing for some time and now the project is nearing completion, Pittfield said. “It should be almost done.”

Federal funded

The project is fully funded by ARP monies, according to Pittfield.

“We’re going to use some of the ARP money we got to do those improvements to that infrastructure,” he said.

The unspecified improvements to the sewer infrastructure in the area aims to reduce combined sewer overflows and flooding, among other storm water management improvements.

“That’s the goal,” Pittfield said. “We are going to look at using some more money for other sewer and infrastructure improvements across the township.”

In terms of ARP spending, this is the first time the township is utilizing the federal funds. However, Pitffield anticipates utilizing those funds for future sewer improvements as well.

“We haven’t spent anything yet,” he said. “This is our first expenditure, but I think what that our priorities will be sewer infrastructure improvements and the offset of revenue loss we are allowed to take in our budget.”

Future ARP spending?

Other ARP spending will go toward dealing with revenue loss spurred by COVID-19 as well as another type of infrastructure improvement. Details are still being worked out.

“We may consider also doing some fiber optic installations,” he said. “That maybe in 2022 or 2023… As the months progress, I’ll be learning a lot more about specifically what it entails.”

North Bergen’s $17.8 million was part of a larger $424,614,802 of ARP funding allocated to Hudson County. Of the roughly $424.6 million allocated to Hudson, the county government received $130.4 million. The other $294 million went to municipalities. Jersey City received the most funds at about $145.8 million, followed by Bayonne with $39.2 million, Hoboken with $27.2 million, West New York with $26.8 million, Union City with $26.4 million, North Bergen with $17.8 million, Kearny with $4 million, Secaucus with $2.2 million, Harrison with $2 million, Weehawken with $1.4 million, Guttenberg with $1.1 million, and East Newark with $255,403.

A public hearing on the ordinance will be held at the next board meeting in December. The North Bergen Board of Commissioners will meet next on Dec. 22 at 11 a.m. at the municipal chambers in Town Hall at 4233 Kennedy Boulevard. For more information, go to northbergen.org and click on the event on the calendar webpage.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com. 

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