By Peter Elacqua
COLTS NECK – The Township Committee has appointed former committeeman Edward Eastman Jr. to fill a vacancy on the governing body.
Eastman, who is an attorney with the firm of Davison, Eastman and Munoz, Freehold Township, was appointed at the committee’s Jan. 27 meeting and was sworn in by Township Administrator Kathleen Capristo.
The vacancy was created when Republican Committeeman Jarrett Engel resigned from the governing body effective Jan. 4.
The committee had 30 days to fill the vacancy and selected Eastman from among three individuals who were presented by the Colts Neck Republican Party to fill the position. The other two individuals submitted were Christopher Short and Frank Rizzuto.
The term Engel was serving will end in December 2017. Eastman has been appointed to serve for 2016. The remaining year of the term will be on the ballot in the November general election. Eastman or any other individual may file to run for the final year of Engel’s term.
Eastman served on the governing body from January 2009 through December 2011. When asked what it is like to rejoin the committee, he said, “It is the same as before. The room is the same, but people are sitting in different places.”
“I know about the budget and the confines about what the budget has in store for us,” Eastman said. “There are only so many dollars to go around to keep us under the 2 percent (tax levy) cap and that is a challenge, but I enjoy challenges. I manage an office of 22 lawyers. Participating in the management of a law office of that size is about the same as participating in a municipality the size of Colts Neck.”
During the meeting the committee honored Engel, who served in office from 2008-15 and was Colts Neck’s mayor in 2012. Mayor Thomas Orgo presented Engel with a plaque on behalf of the committee.
“You are all in good hands with these gentlemen,” Engel said. “I can tell you that I have never met a more honorable group sitting at this table. I have been able to work with a group of folks whose sole responsibility is to make decisions. That is where you find out the true character of an individual. They will continue to do an outstanding job.”
In other business, the committee adopted a bond ordinance that provides for capital improvements for municipal roads and the police station. The capital improvements amount to $2.74 million.
Road improvements will account for $2.24 million and the remaining $500,000 will be used for improvements to police headquarters, according to municipal officials.
Roads included in the program are Muhlenbrink Road, Stonehill Road, Laird Road, Fireside Drive, Spruce Lane, Seedling Drive, Twin Lakes Drive, Deborah Drive, Lindy Lane and Big Beech Lane, and the parking lot of the Colts Neck First Aid Squad headquarters. According to the ordinance, the $2.24 million appropriation is not limited to those roads.
Improvements may consist of excavation, milling, paving, reconstruction, the sealing of pavement cracks, repairs to and/or the installation of curbing and driveway aprons, resetting utility castings, drainage work, landscaping and aesthetic improvements which may include seeding and installing top soil.
Improvements at police headquarters may include interior and exterior renovations, ramp installation, electrical, plumbing and heating work, ventilation and air conditioning system improvements, flooring improvements, painting and the acquisition and installation of furnishings and equipment.
The ordinance states that the maximum amount of bonds or notes to be issued for the improvements is $2,398,095. The remainder of the $2.74 million appropriation will be paid by the committee.
Resident Jeff Sauter asked the members of the governing body when the work would begin.
Committeeman Russell Macnow said the road work likely begin by either late spring or early summer. He said the $500,000 earmarked for the police station improvements will be placed into a fund until 2017 when officials hope to appropriate a similar amount in order to perform all of the work at the police station at the same time.