Stafford to Replace Beach Haven West Water Main, Discuss Plastic Bag Ban, Look Into Dog Park

Jan 31, 2018

Stafford Township will spend $1.8 million to finish replacing the water main along Mill Creek Road and Paul Boulevard in Beach Haven West. The mayor and council passed a resolution relating to the construction financing program of the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust to be issued in the principal amount of $1.8 million.

A number of factors contributed to a 21 percent increase in the project cost, Township Administrator James Moran explained. First, the EIT’s delay over a paving issue pushed the work into the summer months, which then required an increased police presence, to the tune of $75,000. “They had granted us permission to do the project and pave the roads, and then rescinded their permission to pave the roads. … So we had to resolve that matter before we could move forward,” Moran said. Second, the design, by a prior engineer, was approved by the state, but it neglected to budget for milling and base coat, an oversight that amounted to $100,000 needing to be added to the contract.

On the bright side, Moran said, the original project estimate was $2.3 million, but the winning bid came in at $1.6, and from there it’s up to about $1.8, still well below original estimates.

During council reports, Councilwoman Sharon McKenna announced Christmas trees may be dropped off at A. Paul King County Park if residents do not wish to wait for curbside pickup. Public Works will come around and pick them up eventually, but the recent blizzard has had the department busy with other jobs.

On behalf of Stafford’s Green Team, McKenna said in February the council would discuss an ordinance for a ban on single-use plastic bags. “Our council will be very deliberative about how we move forward, and we look forward to any public input at any point.”

Mayor John Spodofora added, “Whatever we decide to do, we want to make sure it’s appropriate for Stafford Township.”

Later, during public comment, resident Barbara Reynolds thanked the governing body for considering such a measure. She also distributed window decals that read, “Got your bags?” and hopes the town will follow suit with Long Beach Island and plan screenings of the documentary “A Plastic Ocean.” She defies anyone to see the movie and not be moved by it.

On behalf of the Recreation Department, Council President Paul Marchal announced a new support group for people living with chronic illness, held every Monday at 1 p.m. at the Bay Avenue Community Center; a senior social group meets there Wednesdays at 10 a.m.; and a free lunch and learn is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 2, at noon, on the topic of “New Year’s Resolutions, Healthy Eating and Exercise.” The preschool programs Arts and Crafts and Kids in the Kitchen are offered at the Jennings Road Recreation Center, he noted. For more information, call Jason Hazelton at 609-597-1000, extension 8578. Coming up in March, a bus trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show (this year’s theme is “Wonder of Water”) departs at 11 a.m. and returns at 8 p.m. The cost is $56 per person. Call Jen O’Brien at extension 8557.

Councilman Alan Smith attended the Stafford EMS Squad 38 annual dinner, where he was impressed to learn that a dozen or more EMTs were recognized for having answered more than 200 calls in 2017. The new chief is Chris Strunk, Smith announced.

Councilman William Fessler shared a letter of thanks from Southern Regional High School Principal Eric Wilhelm to the community outreach program for its donation of 65 turkeys for holiday meals for families in need. For seven years, the outreach program has done the good work of collecting and redistributing food donations from businesses to food pantries, churches and other organizations that serve those in need.

In his report, Moran announced the DEP has approved all the permits for the East Road project, which should be underway in the fall (delayed due to right-of-way issues). Spodofora called it “almost a miracle,” after about 14 years spent trying to make the project happen.

During public comment, Gary Molarr of Rudder Avenue made his case for a municipal dog park. Currently he takes his dog to the Ocean County Airport, about 20 miles away, or he walks his dog at Lighthouse Park, “but obviously it’s not as good as a dog park,” he said. Other dog owners agree, he added. They say they would pay up to $20 a year, $10 per additional dog, in membership dues. The county park could serve as a good example of how to run a good park, he suggested.

“A dog park is almost like a cheap community center,” he said. “People come together, they sit down, they talk, they make friends – it’s really a lot of fun.”

Spodofora said officials would take his commentary under advisement and reach out to the county park to advance the conversation.  —V.F.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.