Secaucus considers $6.5 million bond for new senior center

Other highlights include funds for road improvements and an electric garbage truck

Secaucus is considering a multi-million dollar bond ordinance for various improvements across town, which will include more funds for the new senior center.

The $6,535,000 ordinance was introduced at a Town Council meeting in late July, with an upcoming hearing this month. Mayor Michael Gonnelli was absent at the July 26 meeting, so Third Ward Councilman Bill McKeever chaired the meeting.

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The ordinance includes funds for the completion of various public improvements, and the acquisition of new or replacement equipment or machinery, new information and technology equipment, new communication and signals system equipment, and new automotive and electric vehicles including apparatus and equipment.

Roads and senior center improvements

After the meeting, Town Administrator Gary Jeffas explained the gist of the bond ordinance to the Hudson Reporter. One of the biggest items was another approximately $1.5 million for the new senior center at 101 Centre Avenue. 

“This is essentially due to cost overruns,” Jeffas said of the previously estimated $7.8 million project. “We didn’t start building yet.”

The cost estimate has increased due to inflationary prices.

The architectural estimates, now that they are able to drill down more, they just said that with everything else, costs are increasing, so we had to put more money into that,” Jeffas said. 

The other major object of the bond ordinance is approximately $2 million for various road paving projects. 

“We’re going to be repaving five roads this year,” Jeffas said.

Roof repairs, Millridge Field improvements, and electric vehicles

Other highlights of the bond ordinance includes roof repairs to the recreation center in the amount of approximately $500,000.

We have a basketball recreation center that we have to redo the roof,” Jeffas said. “It’s a big barrel roof. So there needs to be some shoring up with the steel structure and a new roof on it due to age.”

Another approximately $520,000 will further pay for already-completed improvements to Millridge Field.  

“We approved a project a couple of years ago where we do in the field with turf,” Jeffas said. “It’s a flood area so we had to raise it a bit. Based on cost estimates, we need a little more money for that one.”

Another big ticket item in the bond ordinance is approximately $1 million for new police vehicles. 

“We applied for a really nice grant on a total electric 25 yard garbage truck,” Jeffas said. “The state granted us that… A large number in that overall vehicle purchases was taking advantage of that grant.”

Grant offsets price of electric garbage truck

Jeffas said the grant helps offset the cost of an electric garbage truck to the point that is cost as much as a diesel truck, which costs considerably less.

“Hypothetically, if a truck would normally cost $500,000 electric, you could buy the same truck in diesel for $250,000,” Jeffas said. “So what the state would do is give a grant of $250,000 so you can essentially buy the electric vehicle at the same cost to the taxpayer as the diesel.” 

In order to get the grant, the town has to retire their current diesel garbage truck, drill a hole through the engine block, and show the state that the truck cannot be used again. 

The council also introduced another ordinance that would see a $30,000 down payment for improvements to the town’s swim center. Another ordinance introduced is one that would see the removal of a bus stop on Meadowlands Parkway.

Additionally, the council adopted ordinances related to new flood plain management regulations to bring the town in compliance with the state, as well as changing parking meter pricing and hours, among others.

The introduced ordinances will be heard at the next council meeting on August 23 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers in Town Hall at 1203 Paterson Plank Road. For more information, go to secaucusnj.gov.

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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