HIGHTSTOWN: Discussion resumes on temporary offices

The council resumed a discussion about creating temporary administrative offices during its June 17 meeting.

By Amy Batista, Special Writer
HIGHTSTOWN — The council resumed a discussion about creating temporary administrative offices during its June 17 meeting.
   Borough Clerk Debra Sopronyi said she and the superintendent of Public Works had been working on a proposal.
   ”We have been working on some information gathering with the costs of how to revise the Public Works building as best from the administrative stand,” Ms. Sopronyi said.
   Employees have worked in cramped quarters in the Public Works building since Hurricane Irene hit the borough in August 2011. Lexington Insurance has estimated the borough would receive $1.9 million to rebuild or refurbish the Borough Hall. Developing temporary facilities for employees is part of the borough’s claim.
   Councilwoman Gail Doran requested newly appointed interim Borough Administrator James LeTellier, who also serves as police director, be included in the discussion about the offices.
   Council President Larry Quattrone said it was best for Ms. Sopronyi to have Mr. LeTellier review the plans.
   ”Council doesn’t even want to see it,” Ms. Sopronyi asked.
   Mayor Steven Kirson advised Ms. Sopronyi to proceed with her with presentation.
   ”We have the ability to purchase trailers at considerably less than leasing one,” Ms. Sopronyi said.
   The trailer would be stationed along the fence of the Public Works property and would house the superintendent, foreman and secretary of Public Works. The trailer would not require any water and sewer hookups, according to Ms. Sopronyi.
   ”They would still use the facilities in the Public Works building,” Ms. Sopronyi said. “Then we would rearrange the administrative offices inside.”
   Councilwoman Lynne Woods said she found nothing in it different from what the council had introduced months ago.
   ”So basically this is the exact plan we had discussed, what, eight, nine months ago?” Ms. Woods said.
   During the Nov. 19, 2012 meeting, Borough Engineer Carmela Roberts reported on various locations to relocate borough employees. Her report consisted of exploring the option of using temporary trailers for a period of up to three years and suggested leasing one trailer to provide four offices, bathrooms, a kitchen area and a large open area. She said another trailer could provide six offices.
   At that time, Ms. Roberts said this would leave room for one office to be used as a meeting room and for two offices to be used for storage space. She also said it would cost $12,000 to $16,000 for a company to deliver the trailers, install footings and handicap ramps and make them ready for occupation.
   According to Ms. Sopronyi, the new plan is similar to the one previously discussed but does not require placing several trailers on the Public Works property.
   ”This is just one trailer that is 10 by 44 feet,” Ms. Sopronyi said. “We are not going to connect the buildings.”
   Ms. Doran said, “I would love to give our borough administrator the chance to take a look and develop a plan. I think this is some good foundation and information.”
   Mr. LeTellier said, “I will review this where both parties are concerned. It is a high priority that we get this space moving forward.”
   Ms. Sopronyi said, “We appreciate it.
   At the April 1 Borough Council meeting, the governing body voted 4-1 to authorize payment of $3,310 per month for the borough to locate its administrative offices at 100 and 102 Mercer St. The landlord there is Mel Adlerman.
   During that same meeting, the council passed a bond ordinance to halt further funding of the Borough Hall project.
   According to Mayor Kirson, this discussion would be revisited.