Council moves $120K to fix rec building roof

| 28 Mar 2019 | 01:40

    WEST MILFORD – Township Council members unanimously approved moving some $120,000 from the Open Space Trust Fund to fix the roof on the recreation building and to renovate a playground.
    The money for the roof, estimated to cost around $108,000, was initially put into a fund to acquire more open space for the township, but could be moved to either a recreation or historic preservation use, officials said.
    The discussion came about early on in Wednesday night’s special budget meeting when the council was deciding on whether to bond for $11,000 in playground renovations.
    Councilwoman Ada Erik said she opposed using the money from the open space trust that was earmarked for land purchases because she wanted to hear from both the Open Space and Historic Preservation committees before using the money.
    The township has more than $1 million in the trust fund that can only be used for purchases, but following a referendum several years ago, the money coming in from the 0.5-cent open space tax is now split three ways between purchases, recreation and historic preservation.
    The split brings in about $50,000 to each of those line items in the budget.
    She said she was concerned that recreation had spent the lion share of the funds in recent years to pay for projects, and would only support the move for the playground if the money was bonded for and put back into the fund.
    Later in the meeting, however, when discussing the serious leak issue of the roof on the recreation building, Erik said the council should move the entire $108,000 cost of fixing the roof from the open space fund to expedite the repairs.
    The township spent about the same amount of money on fixing the floor of the building last year and members are very concerned that the leaks could ruin the new wood flooring.
    Mayor Michele Dale said she visited the building and noticed areas of where the new floor was “buckling” due to the leaks in the roof.
    Councilmen Lou Signorino and Pete McGuinness said that the issue needed to be dealt with quickly to preserve the floor, and that there needed to be a way to do it faster than going through a bond process.
    By moving the funds from open space, the township can directly go out to bid and fix the roof.
    Erik said that the difference between the projects was important, and that because the building’s need was an emergency, it was okay to use the money for that.