Plans for Community Broadband, Emergency Vehicle, and Garage on Hold as $20.4 Million Bond Ordinance Fails to Gain Full Support

Plans to develop a business and implementation plan for a community broadband system, as well as funds for an emergency management mobile command vehicle and a new roads department garage, are currently on hold in Edison. The reason for the delay is because a $20.4 million capital improvement bond ordinance failed to gain full support from the Township Council.

During a five-hour meeting, the Township Council discussed five different bond ordinances totaling $71 million. Some council members expressed concerns about the large number of high-cost projects, leading to the failure of the capital improvement bond ordinance and the uncertainty of whether the projects will be reconsidered.

Edison officials explained that capital projects are managed in a way that avoids excessive increases in debt service from year to year. Short-term financing and the municipal budget are used to pay down some of the debt, while permanent financing may be postponed for several years.

The $20 million bond included funds for various projects such as police equipment, emergency management, public works equipment, building improvements, small park improvements, road department garage, lighting and sound systems in Papaianni Park, community broadband, technology, drainage and stormwater projects, road paving, vehicles for the animal shelter, furniture and equipment for the renovated Toth Center, and code enforcement.

Some council members raised concerns about the lack of funds for downtown areas and questioned the cost of certain items. Others expressed support for specific projects, such as the emergency management vehicle and broadband development. The Council’s failure to pass the bond ordinances for improvements to the water main system and township-wide water meter replacements further added to the divide.

Despite the disagreements, an $18 million bond ordinance for pump station rehabilitation and repairs for the sewer utility was approved, as well as a $15 million bond ordinance for a gravity and pressure collection system assessment and rehabilitation. However, there is still a significant amount of work to be done within a given timeline.

The failure to gain full support for the bond ordinance raises questions about the future of these projects and whether alternative funding options will be considered.