Freehold Borough officials will fund projects picked in participatory budgeting

FREEHOLD – The Borough Council is appropriating $100,000 to fund three municipal projects that were selected by Freehold Borough’s stakeholders during this year’s participatory budgeting initiative.

On Nov. 15, council members introduced a bond ordinance that will, if adopted, provide $100,000 for capital improvements and the acquisition of capital equipment. The ordinance authorizes the issuance of $95,000 in bonds or notes to help finance the costs. A down payment of $5,000 will cover the remaining costs.

A public hearing on the bond ordinance is scheduled for Dec. 6. The council members may adopt the ordinance that evening.

According to the ordinance, the improvements covered by the $100,000 appropriation will include the acquisition and installation of generators that will provide emergency power to traffic signals; the acquisition and installation of water bottle filling stations at two parks; and a trail extension project at Lake Topanemus Park.

The projects were selected by individuals who voted in Freehold Borough’s third annual participatory budgeting initiative.

Participatory budgeting allows Freehold Borough residents age 14 and older and Freehold Borough business owners to select projects they would like to see funded with an appropriation from the municipal budget.

According the Participatory Budgeting Committee, the project at Lake Topanemus Park will see a trail that runs behind the bandshell and ends at a gate extended behind a parking area and out toward Pond Road. The extension will connect to a trail that is across from the parking area. The estimated cost of the project is $32,000.

A traffic signal power generator will be installed at the Elks Point intersection; at the intersection of South and Main streets; and at the intersection of West Main Street and Park Avenue.

The project is intended to relieve the Freehold Borough Police Department from having to allocate resources at those locations when power is lost in town. The traffic signals at those three busy intersections will be powered by a generator until power is restored.

According to the Participatory Budgeting Committee, the estimated cost of the project is $32,000.

The third project selected by the borough’s stakeholders will place two water bottle filling stations at Liberty Park and one water bottle filling station at Veterans Park. Each filling station will have a place for a dog water bowl and a fountain for humans.

The estimated cost of the project is $14,700, according to the Participatory Budgeting Committee.