Moorestown council adopted a bond ordinance related to improvements for Cox and McElwee roads at its April 25 meeting, a vote that only applies to funding for the project.
After the township authorized engineering firm Pennoni to submit a New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Municipal Aid Grant for the 2021 and 2022 fiscal years, the firm was awarded DOT funds in the amount of $415,000 for road repairs.
For the township to complete the project to NJDOT standards, Cox and McElwee roads will need to be widened, increasing the cost of the repairs. The bond ordinance calls for the issuance of $460,750 and council agreed to proceed with funding on Feb. 28.
The public hearing was opened on March 28, then continued to April 11, when it was reopened. Upon closing the public hearing, council allowed for the ordinance to be continued until to April 25, for further deliberation and a final vote.
Township Manager Kevin Aberant explained that since April 11, Public Works Director Don Lloyd and Ken Shine, project manager for Pennoni, met with residents of Cox and McElwee roads to show them what improvements were being proposed.
“I will acknowledge, and council (is) familiar, a lot of times council will adopt a bond ordinance and then the staff just moves forward with it,” Aberant explained. “For most projects, there’s not a lot of other input.”
“My suggestion would be that when Pennoni gets to the point that they’re about 50 percent with their design, we add that as a discussion item …” he added. “We can let the residents know in advance that that’s going to be scheduled, and then we can have some input from the public and input from council at that time.”
Aberant suggested the same process before the project goes out to bid.
“I welcome council’s continued deliberation, but my suggestion would be to move forward with the additional public input as I’ve outlined, and I think we can incorporate a lot of the suggestions that were made,” he said.
“I really believe the engineers will be able to come up with a plan that avoids or at least minimizes any adverse effects and maintain(s) integrity of the historic roadway, while they’re going to also have to take some of those safety concerns into consideration,” said Deputy Mayor Sue Mammarella.
Earlier in the meeting, Mayor Nicole Gillespie recognized Moorestown resident Saima Bhutta and the Muslim Federation of South Jersey for their service to the community, and commemorated the holidays of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr in an official proclamation.
“This past year, they have led countless clothing and supply donation drives to help hundreds of Afghan refugees located in New Jersey,” she said.