After months of heated debate and community involvement, the potential purchase of the Global property as the next town hall could become a reality at tonight's council meeting.
The purchase is just one item on an agenda made that much longer by the of July's meeting due to a malfunction in the air conditioning system.
The process to purchase the Global property started a while ago, but picked up recently at what have been meetings. The emotions have spilled outside the walls of the current building as residents have circulated a that figures to be presented to the council tonight. The goal of the petition is to convince the council to not buy the property and find an alternative to the current plan.
According to the resolution, the purchase price is $5.265 million, which is less than the $6.9 million the council allocated not only to buy the building but also pay to fix the Global building and move to the new location. An appraisal of the Global property on the township's website, the appraised value of the 5.31 acre site is listed as $7.05 million.
Councilman William Gotto said he and fellow Councilman Robert Nicastro have been busy over the past week talking with members of the community to give them as much information about the purchase as possible. Gotto said that because the ordinance that allocated the money listed the specific block and lot of the Global purchase, tonight's action can be done by a resolution and not as an ordinance.
If the resolution is passed tonight and the agreed upon sale price goes through, that would leave roughly $1.6 million for the renovation and moving costs. A report commissioned by the council to analyze the costs of getting the Global building move in ready put that figure at around $1.8 million. That includes $1.187915 million for work that needed to be done immediately and $653,500 thousand that needed to be done in the first five years. The report also adds $285,250 in years six through 10 of the building.
Members of the council have said they would not bond any additional money for the purchase and costs associated with the building. Gotto said the difference would be made up through a combination of factors. That includes some items that will not need to be done right away, some that can be done for lesser costs, and some work that could be done in house without having to pay an outside company.
Gotto has been at the forefront of this issue over the past few months and has also taken a fair share of criticism as the process has gone on which he said was not his goal. He also knows whatever happens tonight it is not the end of his work on the dais. "I don't like being an orchestrator of an issue that divides the town," he said. "I do believe that doing what we've set out to do is an accomplishment that I don't think many people have had the opportunity to do."
Seeing the building purchased will be one big step in the process, but moving past there Gotto said he looks forward to seeing residents of the town going to the new town hall in the future. He believes that when they see the finished product with the various services all in one location, the work will be worth it. "I don't think I'm really going to be happy until that's complete," he said.
The public portion of tonight's meeting is scheduled to start at 7:30 and Howell Patch plans to bring you live updates throughout the meeting.