Private roads repairs will carry levy for resident

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:14

    WEST MILFORD-Township officials are considering upgrading private roads via a road assessment program. West Milford Township Engineer Richard Mc Fadden approximates the cost at $3.5 million for every two and a half to three mile stretch of road paved. Another $70,000 to $80,000 is the estimated salary for an additional engineer, according to McFadden, who said the township cannot manage the project with its current staff. All costs will be assessed to homeowners who live on the upgraded streets. Poor conditions can hamper emergency vehicles that need to access the roads. An upgrade can drastically reduce the time of arrival of police, fire, and ambulances, says Acting Township Administrator Kevin Byrnes. At the last council meeting of June 16, Councilman Joseph Elcavage echoed Byrnes concerns. Elcavage asserts property values increase almost immediately when the property is on a paved road. According to Byrnes, the program is a continuation of one initiated in 1978. Byrnes says it was popular through the late 80s. By the early 90s, it began to peter out. It was finally stopped by former councils, he says because of a change in philosophy. They did not want to commit to a 25 percent contribution the township was making at the time. A few years later, a new committee was formed. They changed the percentage rom a 25-75 split (the town paid 25 percent and property owners paid 75 percent) to a 10-90 percent split. The cost to homeowners rose to 90 percent. Since that time projects on private roads have slowed down. He suggests the same program be reincorporated with some changes. Formerly, requests were granted on a first come first serve basis. Byrnes suggests requests be made by conditions of roads. The streets in the worse condition first, and so on. The council has not yet decided on how to cover costs. Options include 100 percent of costs be covered by homeowners. Another option calls for the community to pay for drainage and stone, with the township covering the cost of paving, according to Councilman Elcavage the roads include; Kitchell Lake Road, 1.4 miles; Applegate Court, 400 feet; Hanover, Princeton, and Lyons, 3900 total feet; Belmar Court, 300 linear feet; Awosting, 3.4 miles; Starlight, 3000 linear feet; Belle, Irving, and Sycamore, 3000 linear feet total. The estimated time for completion is eight to 10 years, according to Mc Fadden.