OCEANPORT: The borough council has taken its largest step toward building a new borough hall and municipal complex.
An $11 million bond ordinance was unanimously adopted by the Oceanport Council during its Jan. 16 meeting that will cover the acquisition and rehabilitation of the buildings in the 900 area of the former fort, which is located off of Main Street. The funding would also cover any design, planning and engineering work associated with the project.
Borough Administrator Ray Poerio has said that because the original municipal building was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the borough will likely be receiving over $5.5 million from FEMA to help cover the cost of the construction of the new complex. The old borough hall site will also likely be sold, and the revenue generated from the sale will also be used to offset construction costs.
During Thursday's meeting, the borough was awarded with a $250,000 grant from the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders that will be used toward the acquisition of the municipal complex for the preservation of open space.
These three things will give the borough $7.2 million toward the project which has an estimated cost of $8.4 million. Additional improvements such adding LED lighting, improving the HVAC of the buildings and repaving the parking lot could raise the cost of the project by a total of $2 million. Poerio called these types of improvements "alternates" and said the council will have final say on which ones are incorporated into the project.
Poerio also announced that the local finance board has granted the borough a waiver from the 5 percent cash down payment requirement for the project. If that waiver had not been granted, it would have resulted in a "huge tax increase," Poerio said.
Poerio said that the municipal complex's current price tag would result in the the owner of a borough home assessed at the average of just over $440,000 seeing a $7 per month increase on their tax bill.
The new municipal complex will be situated on 13 acres and include several buildings totaling over 40,000 square feet. There are 10 buildings on the site currently, but three will be demolished to make way for more parking. The remaining buildings will be renovated to make way for several borough functions:
• Building 901 for borough offices, municipal court and library
• Building 918 for a senior/community center
• Building 977 for the police department and office of emergency management
• A former kennel that would utilized as a borough storage facility
• The buildings currently utilized by the borough's department of public works
The next step for the borough is to actually purchase the land from the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) which currently owns the property.