Township May Borrow $6 Million For Infrastructure Repairs, Park Improvements
Discussion at Monday night's Haverford Township Commissioners work session centered on uses for a $6 million bond the township may secure.
A $6 million bond, which the township will likely use to pay for park improvements and emergency infrastructure improvements in 2012, was the main topic of discussion at Monday night's Haverford Township Commissioners' work session.
Some of the bond funds will go towards obligatory immediate improvements, but others could be used for less immediate needs or improvements the township would like to make, Township Manager Larry Gentile said.
The $6 million number was devised by estimating:
- $1.5 million for Naylors Run sanitary improvements caused by Hurricane Irene damage. "That's a must," Gentile said.
- $2 million for park improvements, of which $500,000 would be committed immediately. "With just Paddock Park alone, it's a quarter million to make those repairs," Gentile said.
- $2 million for the township road program, which is done every other year.
- A few hundred thousand dollars for storm repairs that needs to be made, and for others that have been made and will be reimbursed.
The $6 million does not include funds for improvements at Juniper and Meadowbrook, as the township is hoping to receive a mitigation grant from FEMA for damages caused during Hurricane Irene. The grant application calls for $6 million worth of work alone in the Juniper/Meadowbrook area.
If the grant is not approved—which the township could wait one to two years to find out—the township could take a much less aggressive course of action and repair damages for approximately $1.5 million, Gentile said.
Second Ward Commissioner Mario Oliva initially questioned the decision to borrow money to pay for improvements that are not absolutely necessary, such as the $2 million in park improvements.
Gentile noted that the township is not locked into using the funds for park improvements or other purposes, but park improvements are one of the projects the township would like to undertake.
And with an interest rate between 1.5 and 3 percent, it makes sense to borrow now while money is cheap, Sixth Ward Commissioner Larry Holmes said.
"Money has never been cheaper—we're not going to find cheaper labor and more hunger in the construction business than in this economy," Holmes said. "… We're not talking about luxuries … we're talking about capital expenditures we as a board already know we need to do. … We have serious infrastructure issues in our township and if there was a time to do it, it's (now)."
The money could be available as soon as April 1, if at next week's regular meeting, commissioners select an underwriter and pass an ordinance to advertise a special meeting. The commissioners have already passed a resolution to ensure that any money the township spends on improvements before the bond funds are received will be immediately reimbursed.