Upgrades to water lines in the pipeline


Kearny officials want to end the flow – not go with it – so they authorized spending up to $3.75 million for various water main improvements and related road repairs at last Tuesday’s special Town Council session.

That’s the amount of bonds the town will sell to finance the work which, officials hope, will, ultimately, save the town money now being spent to fix an increasing volume of breaks to the town’s aging water-distribution system.

The town will use $25,000 from its capital improvement fund and an emergency appropriation of $175,000 to cover a $200,000 down payment required by the state’s Local Bond Law.

Debt payments on the bonds will be made over the next decade.

Of the total amount to be borrowed, $750,000 is earmarked for interest payments and professional fees for engineering and architectural work associated with the bond issue.

Although the town recently awarded a five-year water services contract to Suez North America to run its water system, handle billings and respond to local water emergencies, Mayor Alberto Santos said that water utility improvements like those included in the newly-passed bond ordinance “remain the responsibility of the Town of Kearny.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, the mayor and council also agreed to file an application with the N.J. Board of Public Utilities, the state Department of Environmental Protection and N.J. Local Finance Board for final approval of its Aug. 9 contract with Suez. Kearny previously abolished its water utility whose employees got new jobs, some with the town and some with Suez.

Santos said that under the new agreement with Suez, Kearny also retains the right to set local water rates which may or may not be affected by the pending improvements to the water system.

In recent years, Santos said, “there has been a gap in [water] revenues” – a gap “which we’ve closed a bit,” and hope to continue to narrow under Suez, he added.

As listed in the bond ordinance, the locations where rehabilitation work will take place are: Devon St. (Bergen Ave. to King St.), Elm St. (Bergen to Garfield Ave.), Peden Terrace, Elm St. (Quincy to Oakwood Aves.), Elm St. (Quincy to Midland Ave.), Forest St. (Oakwood to Midland), Davis Ave. (Bergen through Wilson Ave.) and Davis Ave. (water improvements only, Wilson through Dukes St.).

The council passed another bond ordinance, authorizing spending up to $2.1 million for various capital improvements that will fund, among other things, a two new Fire Department rigs, air packs and computers, along with renovations to the municipal Health Department building on Kearny Ave.

It also updated town regulations governing the operation of pawn shops and “precious metal dealers” by expanding coverage of “second-hand goods” to include electronic gift cards, GPS devices, computers, cell phones and clothing valued at more than $1,000 and by requiring shop owners to electronically input sales records into a digital data base accessible only to police to be used as a tool for the recovery of stolen goods.

And it authorized town CFO Shuaib Firozvi “to accept donations and expend funds for the Town’s 150th anniversary golf outing,” Oct. 3, at the Minebrook Golf Course in Hackettstown, “provided that any specific expenditure disbursements shall not exceed the amount of donations on hand at the time of the expenditure.”

Proceeds from the golf tournament, which will serve as the kickoff for next year’s anniversary observance, will be used to sponsor community events to be held during 2017 as part of the anniversary celebration.

Golfers should anticipate a 9 a.m. shotgun start and there is a $125 registration fee that covers golf, cart, continental breakfast, lunch and prizes. Bus transportation to and from the tournament is available.

Non-golfers are invited to partake in a post-tournament luncheon at 2:30 p.m. at the Lithuanian Catholic Community Club, 10 Davis Ave. A $50 payment is requested.

People may also opt to become anniversary sponsors or patrons by making varying financial pledges.

To learn more about the golf outing, sponsored by the Kearny Sesquicentennial Committee, chaired by the mayor, call 201-955-7983.

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