Council OKs $2.5M In New Bond Debt

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The Verona Town Council approved an ordinance on Monday night, May 21, to issue $2,501,500 in bonds, mostly for road improvements in town.

The bonds would finance drainage improvements on Cole Road near the Eagle Rock Reservation, sidewalk and manhole repairs throughout town, and several larger projects. The town is seeking almost $1.8 million to reconstruct two sections of Personette and Sunset avenues, Otsego Road, Hillwood Terrace, Highland Terrace, Peters Lane and Park Place. Another $435,000 would go to reconstructing Linden Avenue from Pompton Avenue to Wildwood Terrace.

The town expects to receive a $210,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation for the Linden work, and $108,738 in Community Development Block Grant funds for Personette.

The Council was in agreement that the road work needed to be done. But there was much debate over three other items on the agenda: a $55,000 draw-down account for shade tree removal and replacement, the acquisition of a four-wheel drive vehicle for the Verona Police Department ($38,500) and the replacement of a 2001 four-wheel drive vehicle with a 2-yard mason dump truck with plow ($55,000).

Councilman Kevin Ryan questioned why these items were being funded out of the town’s capital budget and not its operating budget. “I can’t see paying a bond that goes 10 or 15 years for a car or a truck,” said Ryan, who noted that Verona’s current debt service is 11% of the budget and 17% of the total tax levy.

But Town Manager Joe Martin noted that Verona can legally bond for items that have a useful life of five years or more, which all three items are expected to have. Martin also said that, while the state allows towns to have bond debt of up to 3.5% of equalized property value, the percentage in Verona is currently 1.1%.

The town would seek to begin work on the road projects this fall.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected].

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