Hopewell Township adopts $4.3 million bond ordinance to fund improvements

Keith Cincotta of Hopewell checks out what’s left from the three day Hopewell Ladies Auxiliary Plant Sale at the Hopewell Fire Department on May 11.

The Township Committee in Hopewell Township has adopted a $4.38 million bond ordinance to fund capital improvement projects throughout the municipality during 2019.

Following a public hearing for the ordinance on June 17, committee members voted 5-0 to adopt the bond ordinance.

Mayor Kristin McLaughlin, Deputy Mayor Michael Ruger, Committeeman Kevin Kuchinski, Committeewoman Julie Blake and Committeeman John Hart voted “yes” on a motion to adopt the measure.

“Without the bond issue nothing moves forward. The roads program cannot happen, we can’t get public works the trucks they need, and the police department does not get their vehicles. All of the items this bond will go to are things that are needs, not wants,” McLaughlin said. “For example, police cars run 24/7 and have a life expectancy. If our department does not have good working cars they cannot respond to calls. These are necessity items for the township.”

According to the ordinance, $3.28 million will go to the road maintenance program and the chip seal program. Road maintenance will include improvements to Van Brunt Road, Denow Road and Bull Run Road.

“We have a roads program that is planned out for a number of years. Our engineer tells us what roads are priority one, two and three. Every year we aim to take care of, at a bare minimum, priority one, it would be really wonderful if we could get into priority two, and we know priority three will rise to the top as the others get taken care of,” McLaughlin said. “Our roads program has also been helped by state funding, but is still not as much as we could use. We are a big township … with a lot of roads to maintain.”

She explained that $600,000 in grant funding from the state Department of Transportation has allowed officials to start catching up on the road program which has been underfunded.

The Department of Public Works would receive $503,500 for tandem trucks and equipment; the police department would receive $134,071 for utility vehicles and equipment; the Building Department would receive $446,025 for administration building equipment, firebreak and preliminary expenses related to the construction of a senior and community center; and Information Technology would receive $16,073, according to the ordinance.

“We have a very thorough process where we sit down with (a representative of) each department,” McLaughlin said. “We go through each department’s list and talk through needs and wants. We hope to provide the needs and this year there were not many wants.”

She said officials bonded for an amount that would allow them not to take out more than the town would be returning.

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