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Bond Ordinance Information - New Construction Project
This past Tuesday, the Township Committee voted 4-1 to advance Mendham Township’s proposed new construction project to a public hearing. This project is long overdue. Tuesday’s hearing was the first of two votes on a Bond Ordinance which would set a $5 Million budget ceiling for the renovation of the Town Hall building and a new police facility in Brookside. The second vote will take place at the public hearing on the Bond Ordinance on Tuesday, October 27th at 7:30pm in-person and via Zoom.
Over the past 30 years, there have been multiple efforts and proposals to update these facilities. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, none of them have come to fruition. The Township, instead, adopted a “band aid approach” to address its aging infrastructure issues. Sadly, we are now at a tipping point and if we do nothing, we risk even more costly damage and deterioration of our facilities. Now is the time to act.
Due to years of deferred maintenance, the Town Hall building is in disrepair. The roof, the exterior walls, and windows are failing (all of which are red flags for mold growth). The boiler is beyond its anticipated life, the air conditioning uses coolant that isn’t even made anymore, and it doesn’t even cool the whole building. Additionally, the building is not ADA Compliant.
On the other side of the municipal complex, the police station has major operational deficiencies. Our Police Department currently occupies a converted 1960’s split level residence. The station does not meet the standards mandated by the New Jersey Department of Corrections. The building does not meet fire or building codes, and is also not ADA compliant. In addition to the residence, the Police Department also occupies two trailers and the Emergency Services Building’s Meeting Room and Showers.
Since April, the Township Committee has been working with architects and engineering professionals to evaluate the existing Town Hall Building and address the operational needs of the Police Department. Several plans have been proposed at different budget levels. The first proposal was to build a new building in the municipal complex to house Town Hall operations, the library and the Police Department. This plan was $8 Million. The Township Committee evaluated that proposal; however, was not comfortable with the cost and expressed the desire to maintain the existing structure that is the Town Hall building. The second proposal was a $6 Million proposal to build a new library and house the police department in the first floor of the Town Hall building. Although excited about this proposal, The Township Committee asked for a more economical approach.
Our priority is to address our infrastructure needs at a reasonable cost. The plan we are proposing is the most cost-effective solution we have found. The plan will upgrade the infrastructure of the existing municipal offices and the library, and construct a new police facility in the location of the existing residential structure adjacent to Town Hall on West Main Street. Both buildings will be made ADA Compliant. The budget for this plan is approximately $4.9 Million, $3.1 Million less than the original proposal.
The total project will cost approximately $200 per home annually for 15 years. However, the average homeowner will see only a $35 tax increase. This is because the Township has been responsibly paying down its debt for the past few years, so these new bonds will replace existing bonds that are paid off. Most of us dislike incurring more debt, however the feedback from residents has been nearly unanimous that both the Police Department Headquarters and the Town Hall are in need of immediate repair/replacement.
Additional documentation about this proposal can be found on the Township’s website. I encourage you to review the information and provide feedback.
Have a good weekend.
Mayor, Mendham Township