Holmdel officials introduce bond ordinance to fund local improvements


HOLMDEL – The Holmdel Township Committee has reintroduced a bond ordinance that failed to win approval from a two-thirds majority of the governing body when it was initially up for adoption on July 13.

The reintroduced bond ordinance is the same legislation as the one that failed to win approval several weeks ago.

Municipal officials are proposing to appropriate $2.81 million for capital improvements and to authorize the issuance of $2.67 million in bonds or notes to finance a portion of the appropriation.

The ordinance proposes:

• Road improvements, including curbing, milling, paving, drainage and site preparations, Bethany Road intersection improvements, Indian Hill School crosswalk installation, Newman Springs Road and Cross Road crosswalk installation. The planned road improvements accounted for about $1.68 million of the $2.81 million appropriation;

• Public safety building improvements, including Holmdel Police Department locker room renovations and emergency services building improvements. The planned public safety building improvements accounted for about $600,000 of the $2.81 million appropriation;

• Recreational facility improvements, including but not limited to improvements at Allocco Park, improvements at Bayonet Farm, improvements at Ackerson Park and improvements at the Holmdel Swim Club;

• Public safety equipment; public facility improvements; and information technology equipment.

Committee members reintroduced the bond ordinance during a meeting on Aug. 10.

A special meeting has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 24 so the committee members may consider adopting the ordinance. Four “yes” votes out of five committee members are needed to adopt a bond ordinance.

During the July 13 meeting of the Township Committee when a motion was made to adopt the bond ordinance, Mayor Greg Buontempo, Deputy Mayor Cathy Weber and Committeeman Prakash Santhana voted “yes.”

Committeeman Tom Critelli and Committeeman D.J. Luccarelli voted “no.”

Because four “yes” votes were needed to adopt the bond ordinance, the motion failed in the 3-2 vote.

In recent months, there has been discussion at the Township Committee level regarding the possible construction of a synthetic turf athletic field in Holmdel.

An advisory committee has been examining the township’s recreational needs.

Funding for a synthetic turf field was not included in the bond ordinance that was before the Township Committee on July 13.

In voting “no” on the motion to adopt the bond ordinance that evening, Critelli and Luccarelli both said they believe more needs to be done for recreation.

When the bond ordinance was included on the Aug. 10 meeting agenda, it was the subject of discussion before action was taken.

Critelli began the discussion by stating, “We are not against paving roads and buying safety equipment, but we believe we can do it all (by including $1.5 million for a turf field in the ordinance). By adding money for a turf field, we are not adding debt. You are giving authorization to borrow money down the road, maybe in 2022 or 2023.”

Critelli then made a motion to increase the bond ordinance by $1.5 million for future use. Luccarelli seconded the motion, which meant the committee members had to vote on the proposal.

Before the vote on Critelli’s motion was taken, Santhana said, “an unspecified bond ordinance is dangerous. It adds to the debt with no idea how (the money) is going to be spent in the future.”

Buontempo said, “an unspecified bond is a no go” and added, “we have been investing in recreation.”

The mayor said he would support a public discussion at a time when a plan for a synthetic turf field is placed before the governing body, if such a plan is proposed.

There is no plan for a turf field before the governing body at this time.

On a roll call vote on Critelli’s motion to add $1.5 million to the bond ordinance, Critelli and Luccarelli voted “yes” and Buontempo, Weber and Santhana voted “no,” meaning the motion failed and the additional money was not added to the bond ordinance.

A motion was made to introduce the bond ordinance as written and Buontempo, Weber, Santhana, Critelli and Luccarelli voted “yes,” with Critelli saying, “I am excited the mayor indicated there will be a public discussion of a turf field if a plan is put forth at some point.”

The bond ordinance will be considered for adoption on Aug. 24.