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.

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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