Township adopts bond ordinance to address drainage, old equipment

The Tabernacle Township Committee adopted a $1.07 million bond ordinance to make improvements to a variety of roads and replace a 25-year-old backhoe at its Sept. 23 meeting.

Mayor Joseph Barton said the road improvements would include the following unless the committee amends it:

  • Reconstruction and/or resurfacing Laurel Drive, Pin Oak Court and Fork Neck Road.
  • Improving drainage on Laurel Drive, Hawkin Road and Eldorado Drive.

Township Administrator Doug Cramer said the backhoe is replacing 25-year-old machine whose parts are becoming scarce to come across, and to which repairs are becoming more costly.

Why it’s included in this bond is it’s more effective to pour our money together because we get a better bid on our bond interest by combining these equipment, roads and drainage to give us a more appealing amount for bond purchasers to bid on,” he said. 

Cramer went on to say through new state Department of Environmental Protection regulations, municipalities would need to act more diligently on maintaining stormwater drainage to alleviate flooding.

Committeeman Stephen Lee IV questioned what happens to the older machine once the new one arrives. Cramer said he will put up for sale in an auction, along with a detailed explanation on repairs or cosmetic damage that needs to be addressed.

I was at an auction the other day, and an older machine went for about $8,000,” he said. “We have a few more attachments.

It was later revealed the machine he saw sell for $8,000 was previously used by Medford Township a number of years ago.

With the new backhoe, complete with a front-loader, Barton added it can help the township clear blocked roads of tree debris in the event of a storm. The new machine would also be safer to operate.

Resident Fran Brooks spoke during public comment before the ordinance’s public hearing, commenting on the township’s CFO Rodney Haines saying the township was “overbonded.”

Haines replied stating that he never said it, and instead said the township has to be mindful that it needs to make payments toward projects when it does capital ordinances.

He later added the bond ordinance to be within reason.

In other news:

  • The township is looking for a permanent solution to speeding complaints on Lee Drive with a contractor, but are awaiting on the arrival of speed radar signs.
  • Repairs on Flyatt Road should conclude by the end of October.
  • Husband and wife Stewart and Fran Brooks spoke during public comment to request more transparency from the committee to the public and other township officials.
  • Tabernacle Fire Company Chief Andy Cunard said the company received a $2,400 grant from Wawa to purchase 83 combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Some will be handed out during Fire Prevention Night on Oct. 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the firehouse (76 Hawkin Road), others will be on the trucks.
  • As a result of litigation filed by Fran Brooks following a Government Records Council complaint, the township agreed to reimburse her $50 for an unsubstantiated special services charge, on top of $646.50 in attorney’s fees.
  • A free flu shot clinic will be held at Seneca High School on Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. to noon, administered by county health officials. Completed paperwork is required prior to getting a shot. Visit www.Co.Burlington.NJ.US/Flu to download and complete the necessary paperwork.
  • Lee said he’s working with a government relations manager to get Verizon FiOS service in the township after he said the cable company incorrectly told residents the township committee and mayor are keeping Verizon from starting in the township.
  • Residents who sustained damage from the June 19 and 20 thunderstorms can apply for 30-year home disaster loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration. To learn more or apply, visit DisasterAssistance.gov.

The next committee meeting is scheduled for Oct. 28, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall (163 Carranza Road).