Municipalities, school districts participate in pooled equipment leasing

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — The municipalities of Irvington, Roseland and West Caldwell and the public school districts in Belleville, Cedar Grove and Livingston are participating in the Essex County Pooled Government Equipment Leasing Program to purchase approximately $11.9 million of new equipment, according to an Oct. 21 press release from the county. This new program enables municipalities and school districts to take advantage of lower interest rates when they lease equipment through the Essex County Improvement Authority. The municipalities and school districts are able to obtain lower interest rates because of the county’s Aaa bond rating.

“Earning a Aaa bond rating can be an ambiguous accomplishment to the public, but today demonstrates how the county’s fiscal strength can be used to benefit our municipalities and public school districts. Using our bond rating and backing from the county, money for equipment can be borrowed at lower interest rates, which translates into savings for our residents,” Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. said. “With operating budgets being stretched thin, we are happy to offer this program to help our municipal and school district partners obtain the equipment they need to address our residents’ quality of life, enhance public safety and provide quality education for our students.” 

The Belleville Board of Education intends to borrow $3.5 million to purchase fire-rated classroom chairs and a new acoustic system for the high school, and install a synthetic grass playing surface on Clearman Field.

“We thank the county executive for this program because finding funds for school districts is a difficult task. This program is beyond amazing and will allow us to make these significant improvements for our students,” Belleville Public Schools business administrator Matthew Paladino said.

The Cedar Grove Board of Education intends to borrow $112,493 to purchase equipment for 300 Chromebooks for students.

“This will allow us to purchase Chromebooks for our fifth- through 12th-grade students, which will give them the ability to take the computers home in addition to in-school usage. Technology is a very important part of our school,” said Cedar Grove Public Schools business administrator Michael DeVita.

The township of Irvington intends to borrow $4,274,117 to purchase a variety of trucks, vans and cars for various departments; upgrade computer and communication equipment for the police and public safety departments; purchase security cameras for the recreation department; and purchase a traffic message/radar board, mobile surveillance tower and two fire pumpers.

“The rates we are getting through this program speak for itself. We are going to use this for everything we can use it for in Irvington,” Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss said.

The Livingston Board of Education intends to borrow $2,575,009 to purchase 2,040 laptops for students, computer equipment, smartboards, three vans and four school buses.

The borough of Roseland intends to borrow $290,000 to purchase SCBA air packs, cylinders and supplies for the fire department.

“Thank you to the county executive for this program, which will allow us to purchase the much-needed equipment for our fire department at a rate that is more fiscally responsible,” Roseland Mayor James Spango said.

The township of West Caldwell intends to borrow $1,150,500 to purchase a fire engine and turn out gear for the fire department; trucks, a tractor and salters for the public works department; a marked car, interview system and portable radio batteries for the police department; and a message board.

“The county’s Aaa bond rating is a tremendous achievement and I thank the county executive for his leadership and this opportunity. We would have to make these purchases anyway, however, being able to do this at a better rate because of the county’s strong financial footing is beneficial to us,” West Caldwell Mayor Joseph Tempesta said.

Based on state statutes, the bonds for municipalities will be paid over a 10-year period and bonds for school districts will be paid over a five-year period. School districts can repay bonds to purchase school buses over a 10-year period.

DiVincenzo recently extended the financing ability of the ECIA to assist the city of Newark with the replacement of 18,000 lead service pipes in its water system. The $120 million bond issue provides the city with the capital needed to speed up the pipe replacement program to 24 to 30 months instead of the original 10-year timeframe. The same initiative has been extended to the municipalities of Belleville, Bloomfield and Nutley, which purchase water from Newark.