SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The South Orange Board of Trustees voted unanimously Feb. 22 to approve an ordinance allowing the village to bond more than $1.7 million, which will be used to pay for numerous improvements. But the village has already completed many of these improvements, according to village Administrator Barry Lewis Jr.
According to Ordinance No. 2016-05, which was passed on first reading Feb. 8 and on final reading Feb. 22, the village can now issue negotiable bonds in the principal amount of $1,738,500. The overall cost of the improvements, including down payments, is $1,830,000.
According to Lewis in a Feb. 18 email, all the projects these funds cover are either completed are in progress.
According to the ordinance, the funds will be used to pay for IT and communications equipment and systems, namely the acquisition and installation of computers and communications equipment, including but not limited to servers, computers, wireless network equipment and antennae, software systems and video broadcasting equipment; police network and communication hardware and software, namely the acquisition of network and computer hardware and software for police department operations, including but not limited to a CAD/RMS radio system and radio console replacement; and roadway upgrades, namely the reconstruction, repair and repaving streets, curbs and sidewalks including but not limited to Kingsland Court, Kingsland Terrace, Rynda Road and Ridgewood Road.
So, why is the board only now passing a bond-issuance ordinance for work that has already been completed? Well, a nearly identical ordinance was passed on final reading April 22, 2013, to issue the same bond amount for the same projects. However, a clerical error left the ordinance in limbo.
“Under the Local Bond Law, a bond ordinance, after public hearing and adoption, is required to be published in the newspaper,” Lewis said. “Our bond counsel, in reviewing the documentation on this ordinance for purposes of funding discovered that the prior village clerk had not published the 2013 ordinance.”
Despite this technical issue, work began on the projects.
“Many of the authorized projects have been undertaken and completed or are in progress,” Lewis said. “Nothing was held up because, until the recent discovery, there was no knowledge of any defect in the proceedings.”
Therefore, in order to cover all the bases, the village’s bond counsel advised issuing a second ordinance and post it in the newspaper, according to Lewis.