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Hamilton MUA officials present new building plan to governing body

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — Hamilton Township Municipal Utilities Authority Executive Director Stephen Blankenship, along with board Chairman Frank Tomasello, appeared before the Hamilton Township Committee at its Monday, Dec. 3, meeting to discuss the authority’s plans to move its current administrative office, located on Ken Scull Drive in Mays Landing, to its 11.7 acre property on Old Egg Harbor Road that formerly housed its treatment plant and now includes maintenance and storage buildings.

“The current administrative building was constructed in the early 1980s,” Blankenship said. “It is in a residential area with no available on-site parking. It makes sense to relocate to a site where we can house our entire staff from a managerial point of view, and it also increases operational efficiencies. It can also be more ADA compliant than what currently exists.”

Under the plan, a 3,700-square-foot addition would attach to the existing operations building to house the administrative staff.

Blankenship explained the options for the current building. “We could try to sell the existing building as is, have it demolished to sell it as a residential property or demolish it and create a parking lot to benefit the downtown area,” he said.

The new building is expected to cost about $2,285,000. “We plan to borrow $2 million from the New Jersey Environmental Construction Trust,” Blankenship said. “It’s a 20-year loan with 75 percent at zero interest and 25 percent at the market rate. It should average out to about 1 percent.” The remaining amount would be covered within the existing budget.

Blankenship said they plan to apply for the loan by June and expect the process, including approvals from the Hamilton Township Planning Board and Pinelands Commission, to take about 18 months.

With a large contingent of towing company representatives in the audience, the governing body also introduced an ordinance to increase fees for towed vehicles. Under the new law, the towing companies will charge $140 per basic towing service, an increase from the present $115. Basic towing service is defined as the removal and transportation of an automobile from the incident scene to the contractor’s storage lot at the request or call of authorized personnel or members of the Township of Hamilton Police Department as may be required when said automobile is abandoned, disabled, damaged in accidents, illegally parked, recovered after being stolen or, in the case of emergency, from a highway, street or other public or private road, or from a parking area or storage facility.

The proposed ordinance also raises storage fees from $20 to $40, administrative fees from $15 to $35 and the yard fee will rise from $35 to $40.

A public hearing on the ordinance will take place at the Dec. 17 meeting.

Also at the meeting, Atlantic County Utilities Authority Executive Director Rick Dovey gave an annual budget presentation. Dovey told the governing body that the rate for yard waste collection services for the township will increase by 1.64 percent effective March 1, raising the annual fee for that service to $117,567.

The rate for recycling service will increase by 1.67 percent as of Jan. 1, with a projected annual cost of $361,143.

The township contracts with Waste Management for regular trash collection.

Dovey added that the total tipping fees for all waste types for the township for 2018 is $620,228.

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