Saturday, April 11, 2015

MONEY MATTERS




On the agenda are 21 resolutions from the Corporation Counsel resulting in a total of $613681.70 payment already made or authorized as owed. Of this amount there are 8 resolutions for new professional service contracts in the total amount of $80000.00. Among the rest there is a resolution ratifying the payment of 116088.00 to the firm of Antonelli Minchello PC which is in addition to the monthly retainer when they were the Corporation Counsel.

The payments seem to be for year 2014 although I am not sure how much may be for this year to date. How much more has to be added to this amount through professional salaries for the Corporation Counsel’ office and services could be obtained by OPRA.

One wonders what our total legal costs are if we include the costs of settlements of suits. I am sure that this is a very disturbing drain on our finances and perhaps a little transparency regarding the nature of litigation-I am not including workman’s comp- against the city would be in order.

On a subject not related to this agenda but in my mind is a matter of criminality is the condition of several of the streets that I usually drive on and have been recently repaved. Watchung Ave from Leland up the hill and over to Woodland was done about three years ago. Not only have the multiple openings that were done within a few weeks after the job was finished not been properly according to our own ordinance resealed; but the pavement in other areas is developing many cracks in the roadway that would suggest either substandard work and/or engineering. I do not feel that it is proper to disregard this condition and wed should have a public information.

Woodland Ave from Watchung south to the city line was repaved during the McWilliams administration. Its condition today suggests that the whole ISIS army with tanks have been on that street. Even if it were 16 years ago that the street was paved it should have had a life of more than 20 years and not be in the state that it is. Part is due to no preventive maintenance, much in not enforcing our road opening ordinances, and perhaps substandard work and supervision.

At best the tax payer be damned. If there is not sufficient funds for preserving our roads in the budget, if our infrastructure is being allowed to deteriorate then a better evaluation of our tax needs and allocations of funds is needed. This includes a strict oversight of how funds were spent, something that was lacking in the previous administration.

1 comment:

  1. There is no question that the city roads do not receive optimal preventive maintenance, but very few municipal roads receive that level of treatment. Simply too expensive. That makes the quality of the initial work ever more important.

    Related to your comments about "substandard work and supervision" on the road projects:

    1. Insufficient preparation work - there is virtually no "cut and patch" before or after the surface is milled. The new surface is put down over the old problems and they break through. Soft areas should be cut out, new base material installed to eliminate the softness, and then the new layer applied.

    2. Quality of the work: I doubt that the city has a full-time inspector on any of the paving jobs. Having no engineering staff, this would require payments to the consulting engineers and is probably not done, except for spot checks.

    The inspectors help assure that asphalt is put down at proper temperature (not less than 110 deg.); seams between each pass do not cool before the next pass can be applied and knitted into the first (this failure is evidenced by seams that open within a few years); the material is actually applied in the thickness specified (a contractor shaving .25 inch off the required thickness is pocketing the savings from material not purchased); and any number of other construction-related or material-related issues that the inspector should observe.

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