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Committee Passes on Loan for New Street Sweeper

After spending $13k, the township must decline a loan for a new street sweeper

The township committee was one vote shy of getting a new street sweeper through the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust 2012 Loan Program at Thursday’s caucus meeting.

“You talk about the services that people have come to expect. We live in a town like that. We live in a great town," Committeeman Sean Sharkey said. "But unfortunately these are times when we’re going to have to cut back on things that we expect. I can’t justify it.”

In May, the township received a loan of up to $326,000 for a sweeper that was priced at $225,000. The township would have to bond for the sweeper and would receive the money back the following year, Township Administrator Veronica Laureigh said.

The township would pay it back over a 10-year period at $31,000 annually, Mayor Gary Quinn said.

Public Works Director Casey Parker emphasized the importance of purchasing a new street sweeper for not only aesthetic reasons but for the safety of residents traveling on roads where there’s a heavy built up of silt and sand, he said.

Public Works is required under storm water management rules and regulations to identify streets that need to be cleaned at least once a month, Parker said.

“I think the need is there to acquire a street sweeper so we have another piece of equipment in our stock,” Parker said.

The department has three street sweepers on hand currently, Parker said. One is a 1987 mechanical sweeper, which is rarely used; another is a 2001 dual purpose sweeper that is used primarily to clean catch basins; and the third is a productive 2004 sweeper air regenerative unit.

“It certainly is not enough to keep pace with the roads we have and sweep the streets as much as I would like to sweep them and keep them at a condition that I feel is needed,” Parker said of the 2004 sweeper.

“I do think we need that second sweeper and getting this grant opportunity, I think is a wonderful opportunity and we should try to hold onto that,” he said.

By law, the township is only required to sweep streets where the speed limit is  at least 35 mph but if Public Works limited their sweeping, basins could get blocked, Parker said.

“You get a large accumulation of silt and sand on the roadways. If you don’t get that off, eventually the runoff will take that to your storm drains, which would lead to your lakes,” Parker said.

Lacey Township has about 150 to 160 miles of streets, Parker said. To effectively sweep each street, Public Works has to make two passes each way and that could take a couple months.

“All we need is the right equipment to do the job because the work is out there,” Parker said. “We’re here to maintain the town and one of the very important aspects of that is keeping our streets reasonably clean,” Parker said.

With 0 percent interest on 75 percent of the loan, the township is presented with an opportunity that would have been “nice savings” for the residents, Mayor Gary Quinn said. Also, the township had already expended $13,000.

“Inevitably we’re either going to cut the service out or you have to provide Casey with the tools to do the job or not to do the job,” Committeeman David Most said.

Sharkey could not see spending the money on a sweeper when the township has turned away several other capital requests, including fire trucks and rescue equipment.

“We are a business,” Quinn said. “Part of running a business in this capacity is having to borrow money for equipment.”

There is township equipment that is falling a part, Quinn said. The township will be looking at a larger investment over a shorter period of time in the future.

“This is a no brainer,” Lacey resident Robert Capparelli said in a letter to the township. Capparelli is the Superintendent of Public Works in South Plainfield. “These grants are very difficult to obtain, very competitive, and a drawn out process that should be pursued at the fullest extent possible. They’re a win-win situation for the taxpayers.”

Forked River resident Regina Discenza encourages other residents to rake the storm drains outside their homes to help Public Works.

“There’s got to be a better way than spending that money,” she said.

The sweeper needed four votes to pass. Committeewoman Helen DelaCruz was absent from the committee meeting but has expressed her opposition to purchasing a new street sweeper in the past.

A second ordinance for the sweeper will not be on the committee’s agenda for Dec. 22.

gettin by December 09, 2011 at 12:25 PM
I know the township means well by trying to keep the streets clean but on my street, all the sweeper does is extend the gravel that has accumulated in a small, one foot wide area to that of about 4 feet wider than it was just being left alone. I'm sure the township can just target those areas with a lot of traffic to make sure problem areas are addressed properly with the equipment they already have.
GB Shore December 09, 2011 at 01:12 PM
Agreed, gettin by. How about you take crews and do it the old fashioned way by taking brooms and shovels and keeping key basin area points clean? I am so sick and tired hearing from Gary and others on the TC "this is what our residents expect". Sean put it correctly. These are tough times and as the Rolling Stones sang, "You Can't Always Get What You Want". People need to stop whining and tighten their belts and hunker down....just like you are managing your own household budget....yeah, I'd like to buy this or that but I don't because times are tough...this sweeper is not a necessity...it is a luxury, period.
patricia doyle December 09, 2011 at 01:46 PM
Agreed with both. I live on Beach Boulevard, a street with no curbs. The county sweeper comes through and knocks gravel all over the road. Sometimes I have to ask them to come back and clean the gravel off the road. Doesn't sound very productive, does it? Casey said himself last night (go watch the meeting and check) that "we could make do with what we have." So, that's what we need to do. We are in needs versus wants mode. Just because the budget resolved without layoffs this year does NOT mean we are out of the woods. We resolved the 2011 budget ONLY because we (1) magically "found" money that we didn't know we had, and (2) deferred additional school tax, the worst accounting trick possible. Next year, there won't be found money, and we have almost maxed out our ability to defer school tax Only a year or two left on that (check with our CFO, Adrian Fanning). So that leaves us a year or two out with the same unresolved deficit, and by 2012, we may be facing serious employee layoffs, no choice. That is what Helen and Sean are trying to avoid. If there is one comment I would add, it is that Helen and Sean need to start hammering home this point about this deficit every time they make a voting decision, so that Lacey citizens clearly understand why they are voting the way they are. But as for last night - Kudos, Sean! Well done!
CrusaderRabbit December 09, 2011 at 02:01 PM
I'm not sure I understand. Was this to be a loan for the street sweeper or a grant? Robert Capparelli said in a letter to the township “These grants are very difficult to obtain, very competitive, and a drawn out process that should be pursued at the fullest extent possible. They’re a win-win situation for the taxpayers.”
patricia doyle December 09, 2011 at 02:09 PM
Good catch, Don. It was a loan, not a grant.
LT Guy December 09, 2011 at 03:15 PM
If the Director of the DPW (and sworn to by the Township Administrator) hadn't lied (yes, the word is lied) about the sweeper being a compliance issue, the 13K loss referred to in the heading of this story would have been avoided. Funny, every place I've worked during my career, lieing to your superior was normally addressed with disciplinary action. I guess for public employees (especially in Lacey) it's a different story.
Donna December 09, 2011 at 03:17 PM
Agree with Sean. Thank you for voting "NO"! GBShore is right...why not do things the old fashioned way to save the taxpayers some money. I think this is one of the first times Casey didn't get his new equipment. One less loan we have to pay for, now they should eliminate the rest of the bond money they are still spending on the road on the railroad right-of-way. Come on Sean...make that suggestion!
nancy fortin December 09, 2011 at 03:33 PM
This is a perfect example of "can't have our cake and eat it, too! You either want (some of) the service and pay the taxes - or forego (some of) the service and keep our taxes where they are. You cannot have it both ways!
Tim O'Connor December 09, 2011 at 04:19 PM
It was hard to sit and listen to the Mayor lecture Mr. Sharkey last night at the Town Council Meeting! Back when the street sweeper was originally discussed and voted on, during an open public meeting, we were all told Lacey would loose funding from the state if we did not purchase this sweeper! Our sixth Town Council Member, Veronica went on a rant that was either a bold face lie or pure incompetence to make that point. At the following Town Council Meeting Mr. Vaccaro pointed out that the scare tactics used by the Mayor was flat out wrong. The only roads that fell under the state mandate under the Storm Water Management Funding were commercial roads with a speed limit above 35 miles an hour. Mr. Vaccaro pointed out in that second meeting all roads in town that fall into that category are either a state or county roads here in Lacey. Then last night the mayor scolded Mr. Sharkey, that he needs to do his home work on items being voted on. So in this case, based on what the Mayors lecture boiled down to is we should not believe what we are told by him! I have been saying that for years!
IM an OP December 09, 2011 at 04:30 PM
How are the tax appeals coming along? Has the town won any? Where will this money come from? Bonding? 600 plus?
Silver dollar December 09, 2011 at 04:32 PM
Remember By law if the speed limit on your street is not 35mph or higher dont expect to see a street cleaner . I hope this is not used as a political ploy for next years council election?
IM an OP December 09, 2011 at 04:32 PM
Don thats the plan they dont want you to understand just like they just raised the rates at the LMUA 12 Commissioners at the OCUA getting 5 k a yr with FREE BENEFITS AND PARKER is still TAKING
patricia doyle December 09, 2011 at 05:49 PM
I agree Over Taxed. But let's keep Lacey to Casey's word last night - he can "make do" with what he has. So make do. That's fine until the economy picks up, and our budget deficit has resolved. Helen and Sean, please keep explaining the state of the budget to Lacey resdients - the message that our deficit is not resolved needs to get out there.
IM an OP December 09, 2011 at 06:00 PM
thats great "wait until the economy picks up? " lol yeah Great so Gary boy can increase taxes? please wake up I thought you republicons were against big govt and taxes and just how are these so called "services" going to be PAID for? by raising YOUR taxes cant you ppl see the LMUA was a TAX INCREASE?
Tim O'Connor December 09, 2011 at 06:02 PM
Hey over taxed, you mean if the Mayor is either incompetent or lied to us isn't a campaign issue?
stop crying why you always crying December 10, 2011 at 12:44 AM
tax rates have never been lower hows that working out? Hows the Bush tax cuts doing for creating jobs? How do republicon repukes expect to Pay for the 2 wars and medicare part d retired cop on a public pension? teacher perhaps ? who think that only You deserve yours? conservatives lol please right wing religious nut jobs who are supposed to be against Govt but want to tell ppl what to do because of THEIR beliefs lol could you tell me one republicon policy that works? corp welfare? subsidies to corp america? lobbyists? how about fracking? or Koch brothers? wanting to get rid of the epa and the dep how about the sec great job under the Bush admin welcome to reality
White Honor December 10, 2011 at 01:32 AM
Forked River resident Regina Discenza encourages other residents to rake the storm drains outside their homes to help Public Works. If the people who move to town from staten island and jersey city who blow leaves in to the street and blow the snow too STOP it might help !!!!!!! and why is Committeewoman Helen DelaCruz was absent from the committee meetings / Maybe she would like to get paid to come . She was not at the maymoral day service !!!! Is she sick ? Should I send a card ? And has anyone seen the rail trail in waretown / 30 feet off RT9 a 50 and 40 MPH road / highway is that safe and cuts across clayton and alot of other Unsafe sites . Someone will get killed buy a car crash or runs off the road that ends up on the trail .
Steve December 10, 2011 at 01:47 PM
It's the same old thing....spend, spend, and spend..ok here it comes, TAX, TAX, and more TAX.. These people just don't get it and unless people start calling, emailing, and or attending the township meetings and expressing their dissatisfaction they will continue to spend and tax. The election wasn't that long ago.
feddupp December 10, 2011 at 07:11 PM
Well we couldnt win it on the last township election but its a good thing we won it on the previous. All the taxpayers in this town should be republican or democrat should be thankful to have Sean and Helen on the comittee. The other members just want to keep spending and spending. When will they ever get the message thats its not their money to spend. It is ours, the tax payers. If they want to run their own household budget that way, fine, but they really need to get it together when it comes to town business. I hope that Sean and Helen will keep up the good work and votes when is comes to this years budget!!!!!
White Honor December 10, 2011 at 08:52 PM
@Tim It was hard to sit and listen to the you at last night at the Town Council Meeting! My god man you can GO ON and ON and ON . It was funny at the end . Even know what you talk about might be right ? or wrong ? . Your point get's lost after that much time .
patricia doyle December 10, 2011 at 09:49 PM
Let's not forget Gary Vaccaro, who brought it to the TC's attention that the argument that the street sweeper had to be purchased or they would be out of compliance was a false argument. The claim that the township was required to sweep every street in town once a week, as stated by the Township Administrator, was not accurate. It has only been since that time that the Republican majority has "flipped flopped" on its reason why they needed to but a street sweeper in the first place. Although Gary was not elected, he has helped the township be more prudent and thoughtful about their spending in these difficult financial times. It's ironic that he was portrayed by the Republicans as a "tax and spend" Democrat. Who's really the tax and spend party? We should really encourage Gary to run again, as we need someone like him - intelligent, thoughtful and conservative - on the township committee.
White Honor December 11, 2011 at 04:42 PM
As a Former member US NAVY HONOR GARD White plays a role with many an honor society for university and college graduations. Honor societies that use white in honors regalia The official pages of known Honor societies, organizations, and clubs that use white in their commencement ceremony practices So next time you see a service member have white gloves on a flag / or a service members coffin . I hope you see what a close-minded person you R and not 4 libert but for youself . Now go Google that PLease stick to the topic ...

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