Evesham Township has what township manager Tom Czerniecki describes as a “unique opportunity” to move its Department of Public Works to a more desirable location at no cost to taxpayers.
However, that move would be a short trip, since the new location Czerniecki is suggesting is catty corner to its current space at 501 Evesboro Medford Road.
At the July 26 meeting of the Evesham Township Council, Czerniecki said the township has come to a potential purchase agreement with the owner of a property at 100 and 120 Sharp Road that houses warehouse and office facilities diagonally opposite the current DPW Yard.
Czerniecki said the move isn’t meant as an expansion of the DPW’s operations, as the township isn’t looking to add more trucks or employees, but rather it would eliminate some of the inefficiencies and potential dangers that come with operating the township’s DPW services at its current, smaller location.
According to Czerniecki, just some of the problems the DPW runs into at its current location include the growing amount of recycling material that comes into the facility, the proximity of offices near garages and the limited amount of space for both township vehicles and residents’ vehicles to occupy at the same time.
Czerniecki said those issues can lead to DPW employees being forced to direct traffic, as well as having to constantly empty and refill smaller dumpsters that can’t be replaced with larger receptacles due to limited room.
By leaving behind the DPW’s current location of 5.2 acres and three structures with 35,000 square feet of floor space, Czerniecki said the DPW could move to the new location that has 15 acres with six structures and 50,000 square feet of floor space.
Other new features of the property include double-sided bays on some of the buildings, a lower utility cost, more space for recycling containers and backup generators.
“By the time we’re fully built out and we’re desperately looking for a new facility, we won’t find one,” Czerniecki said.
Czerniecki said the township would bond to purchase the entire property for $6.1 million — a figure which Czerniecki said fell between two separate appraisals the township ordered.
To purchase the property at no cost to Evesham’s taxpayers, Czerniecki said the township would continue to lease parts of the property to already existing tenants, which is estimated to bring in $7.2 million, using existing rental rates, by the end of the 23-year life of the bond used to purchase the property.
Over that same time period, Czerniecki said the township would sell the former DPW yard for an estimated $1.8 million and gain an estimated $1.5 million in property taxes on the property.
During those years, he said the township could also lease a portion of the new property’s office building for an estimated $770,000, with an additional $330,000 in property taxes.
Czerniecki said together, the estimated revenue would come to $11.6 million over the period of the bond, and compared to the $9.9 million in costs the township estimates for debt service and other bonding fees, Czerniecki said the township could actually realize a potential profit of $1.7 million with the move.
Czerniecki also said he wanted to stress to council and residents that his proposal was realistic and used conservative figures, and while he didn’t want to “guarantee a profit” from moving the DPW due to the possibility of unforeseen circumstances, he said as of now that’s what his model was showing.
“In my career, I have not encountered this where we can come to council and say ‘here is something for your future and it’s not going to cost you anything.’ This is called planning, so you don’t have to respond to emergency situations,” Czerniecki said.
Mayor Randy Brown thanked Czerniecki and others for their work on the proposal, and characterized it as financially “smart” for the community for decades to come.
Later in the meeting, council approved the first reading for the ordinances needed to authorize the acquisition of the property and bond for the funds to make the purchase.
The public hearing and potential final adoption for those two ordinances is scheduled for council’s Aug. 16 meeting.