West Milford adopts bond to revamp first responder communications

| 11 May 2022 | 10:27

The need for improvement of West Milford’s first responder communications system, long recognized by the Office of Emergency Management and acknowledged by Township of West Milford officials, is getting attention through a bond ordinance adopted by the Township Council on May 4. The total amount provided to replace aged existing system is $2,535,000.

The funds being provided will pay for acquisition and installation of antennas, cabinets, dispatch console system, and mobile radios, together with all studies, planning and design necessary in accord with plans and specifications that are on file in the township clerk’s office.

Police officer Michael Webber met with the council in an executive session last month. Meeting minutes recently released said Webber gave Mayor Michele Dale and the West Milford Township Council details regarding a community funding request that he submitted to Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D5) and the House Appropriations Committee.

The township is trying to get a grant to supplement the cost of the adjusted radio system used by police and other first responders. Officials are hopeful that the township will be selected to receive the grant which would ease the taxpayer’s burden.

The executive meeting minutes said members of the public should feel free to contact Gottheimer or anyone else on the Appropriations Committee asking for their support for West Milford to receive the requested grant. Dale said receiving the grant would help meet a huge cost burden.

The report said the exact amount of the available money in the grant that the township hopes to receive is yet to be determined. Webber submitted the required documents and a letter and will advise the mayor and council when he receives further information. Dale indicated this type of request was meant to go forward towards improving infrastructure. She thanked Webber for his help in applying for this grant and for working on other grant requests in the past.

Also included in the bond ordinance is self-breathing apparatus for use by township fire departments. The purchase in the amount of $131,000 will include all accessories and attachments.

The Department of Public Works parking lot and three roads will be improved through $1,812,000 available in the bond ordinance. They are Lake Short Drive North at Upper Greenwood Lake, Van Orden Road in Newfoundland, and Gould Road in Macopin. The road work will include all sidewalks, curbing, crack sealing, guide rail installation, structure appurtenances, milling and drainage.

Historically when some community developments were built as far back as the 1920s the roads within them were “private,” meaning that they were not eligible for township municipal service. Some developers continued to care for the roads and in some cases lake associations assumed the private road responsibilities. Currently people living on private roads in lake communities can ask the township to allow them to undertake a road construction project and pay for the cost as an assessment over 10 years. Residents on five roads have successfully submitted petitions for assessed road construction projects over 10 years that were approved.

The estimated cost is $1,500,000 to construct Hanover Road, Alpine Court, and Beverly Court for the entire length of the road and a portion of Lyons and Princeton roads. The amount bonded is $1,428,000. The township is contributing $1,136,500 of the cost.

As reported earlier, the bond will also include $454,000 for installation of the traffic signal at the intersection of Greenwood Lake Turnpike and Union Valley Road in Hewitt. The money provides for all studies needed in connection with the light, surveys, planning and design, engineering work and materials in accord with plans and specifications on file for $454,000. Additionally, $500,000 is appropriated for improvements to Germantown Road, inclusive of the $332,000 being received from the New Jersey Department of Transportation as a grant-in aid of financing the improvement.