For the second time in about a month, the Township Council on Monday approved a $545,500 bond ordinance on first reading that would allow the township to purchase 12 new police vehicles.
The measure was approved by a 6-0 vote (Councilwoman Crystal Evans did not attend Monday's meeting).
It is expected a public hearing on the bond ordinance will be held at Council's Nov. 28 meeting.
The 12 vehicles being sought by the township for use by the police department are 10 "pursuit-rated," four-wheel-drive Ford sedans and two sport-utility vehicles, according to Business Administrator Tom Cardis.
Council initially approved the police vehicle bond measure on first reading during its Oct. 12 meeting, setting the governing body up for a public hearing on the matter during its Oct. 24 meeting.
The measure was tabled by Council President Glen Bianchini on Oct. 24, however, after Cardis requested more time to review analysis on bonding and leasing options. Several residents, including former Councilwoman Maureen McLaughlin, questioned the prudence of bonding for the cars during the Oct. 12 meeting, prompting Cardis to promise a review of the purchase options.
Cardis explained Monday night that car leases for government entities are not the same as they are for individuals—governments keep the cars at the end of the lease period, while individuals return them at the end of the term.
The township would effectively be paying Ford Motor Credit Co. for the 12 vehicles over a four-year period at a 5.375 percent interest rate had officials opted for the lease route, he said.
Bonds are running at about 2.75 percent at this time, according to Cardis.
Cardis also noted that any money spent on a vehicle lease would count within the 2 percent budget-increase cap imposed by Gov. Chris Christie's administration, but bonding does not.
The township will aim to pay off the bond debt for the 12 vehicles in 10 years. If it takes 15 years for the township to pay off the bond debt, it would make the bonding option more of a "break even" situation when compared to the leasing option, Cardis said.
The township currently holds about $50 million in outstanding bond debt, according to Cardis.
In other news
Two weeks to the day before a new single-stream recycling operation is to begin here, the Township Council approved a resolution allowing the township to re-enter an agreement with Camden County that promises to save the township money on waste disposal.
The agreement applies only to recyclables collected from township homes.
The county's agreement with ReCommunity Recycling, a Charlotte, NC-based company that operates a facility on Mount Ephraim Avenue in Camden, will result in the township receiving 55 percent of the balance in months where the average commodity revenue for township-delivered recyclables is in excess of $75 per ton.
ReCommunity processes recyclables after they are delivered to its Camden facility, then markets those materials—newspapers, glass bottles, corrugated cardboard, plastic containers, and more—to commodity vendors.
Based on its agreement with ReCommunity, Camden County shares the remaining 45 percent of the balance in months in which the average commodity revenue exceeds $75 with the North Carolina-based operator.
In months where the township's average commodity revenue falls below $75, the county assumes responsibility for any costs or fees associated with the township's use of the Camden facility, according to the shared-services deal between Gloucester Township and Camden County.
The agreement runs from Jan. 1, 2012, through Dec. 31, 2016.
Council also approved two resolutions as part of its consent agenda for Monday's meeting that will allow the township to advertise for professional and banking services solely on the official township website.
The following professional services are being sought: energy consultant, Zoning Board solicitor, Zoning Board engineer, general engineer, streets engineer, sidewalks engineer, recreation engineer, redevelopment engineer, storm drainage engineer, redevelopment planner and engineer, bond counsel, labor counsel, workmen's compensation insurance counsel, auditor, public defender, municipal court prosecutor, economic development consultant, computer and computer network consultant, media consultant, and finance consultant.