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Dem Council Candidates: Don't Spend Open Space on Fields Project

In a letter to the editor, Democratic council candidates Mark Hines, Greg Newcomer and Brian Sattinger urge the current council not to spend money from the trust fund on the fields project.

To the Editor:

The Moorestown Township Council has . The intent of this public hearing is clear: to hold a vote to utilize the Open Space, Recreation, Farmland Preservation, and Historical Preservation Trust Fund for funding artificial turf fields, parking lot improvements and other enhancements at fields. It will take only a simple majority vote (3 votes out of 5) to appropriate and deplete the current balance of this fund, now at approximately $1.6 million.

We oppose this expected action and ask council to refrain from doing so. It is clear the majority of Moorestown citizens do not want the fund used in this manner. 

The Trust Fund is important to the people of Moorestown. Moorestown taxpayers have overwhelmingly supported this fund, with the expectation that it be used for acquiring and preserving open space. Residents want this fund to be available for open space purchases when opportunites are made available.

In just one instance, the prompt acquisition of open space by this trust fund prevented the development of up to 180 dwellings (the acquisition of the 129-acre Benner Farm/Swede Run Fields, which cost the township $3.2 million in 2005). The additional required services and burden on the school system would have made a major impact on our taxpayers.

Using the Trust Fund to purchase open space has kept our taxes low, and has strengthened the financial stability of our town. And consistently we have received significant matching dollars from the state and county on those acquisitions. Using the Trust Fund for open space purchases is the most fiscally responsible use for this fund.

Moorestown Council: We ask that you do not vote to release Trust Fund monies for the athletic field improvements. 

Greg Newcomer, Brian Sattinger, and Mark Hines — Democratic candidates for Moorestown Township Council

Have an opinion? Send letters to the editor to local editor Rob Scott at rob.scott@patch.com. Include your name and address. 

diehardrep May 19, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Ed, Where did you get the figure of 27 million for the new town hall? Could you tell us how you calculated that amount, or is it just a made up number that you like to throw out there? Also, your blogs are very clear in that you don't want any projects done in town but astro turf. No dam, lights, parking, town hall, library, police, etc. because they would raise your taxes. But, you don't mind paying more taxes for astro turf. After all, you said the money should be bonded, and of course, that would raise taxes. You also said if they were (forced?), GBT should take the funds from MSOS, but you would rather they bond it. What do you mean by forced? Do they not have a choice? You obviously don't care about any project but turf even if you have to pay for it. Maybe it didn't occur to you that other people care about other things, not turf.
Third Base Coach May 19, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Diehard- Anything new with the GOP candidates? Other than hearing that button is running, the political atmosphere seems rather tame as of late? I think Ed and company are at the lacrosse tournaments. They aren't ignoring you. I think ed's claim is $18m for the town complex plus interest? Don't know if it would less expensive to rehab library like they are doing with the Rec center?
diehardrep May 19, 2012 at 09:30 PM
It is quiet out there, but six months is a long way off. Haven't heard much from the rep candidates, just their ad above. The dems are a little more vocal, but even they are being coy. So, Button is running? Well, shut my mouth. Never thought he would do it without the other two. Looks like thunder in them thare clouds. Is he running on his record, or somebody elses?
Cash May 20, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Mr mayor, Patch, or Rob could you confirm that John Button is running for reelection for town council? If so, state his running mates.
Lenola Rules May 20, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Cash girl? Either the patch has no idea if John button is running again, this is old news, or people in town really don't care. What do you think if button is running as an independent really does to this years election? Do you know of his running mates? What about those republicans that like him / running mates, you really think they will cross that line and vote for him/mates? But find out for yourself and ask at town hall if your that interested.
Buzz May 20, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Im guessing Monday nights meeting will show the contrast between button and the the GOP candidates. What does button prove by deciding to run now?
No New Taxes 2012 May 20, 2012 at 10:45 PM
What a joke - Button running again.....don't make me laugh so much? What will be his calling card - VOTE FOR ME: 1. I will raise your taxes, count on Button for that. 2. I will have a drink with you. 3. I will tare down perfectly good public buildings and make taxpayers pay for new ones. 4. You can bet, if I am elected, nothing will happen with Moorestown Public Library. 5. Who cares if traffic in town is bad. We can order another study which will not help anyone.
Talk of the town May 21, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Where did you have a drink with him? PJ's? Are you suggesting that "they" shouldn't have demo the town hall and police buildings before having a agreed plan? Will they have a plan by the end if the year? Agreed, nothing happened with the library. Are we then going to go back and rehab it or convert it to that "justice center" with police and courts that one of their vendors planned? What else NNT? Whoops you forgot the athletic fields "issue" ? Could you believe that this keeps going and going ...?
Ed Nice May 21, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Hey diehrad I missed you. Will I see you at the meeting tonight? I hope there are no altercations this time. $18 million with interest is 27 million it's just like HomeBrew saying 2.8 is $4 million. Can you show a different number? As for projects, I said I support lots of projects when the money is there and the users contribute just like Jordan/ciacco required for the fields. Fair is fair is what I am saying and I have offered to help many times. Bonding for KIDS doesn't require new taxes. It gets paid for with OS/REC taxes and sponsorships. That is why it is the only project that can be done right now. What no diehard Reps or diehard Dems will admit is they have to raise taxes for town mahal and there is NO money being contributed by those who want them. To me that's as selfish as it gets. MSOS says NO to sports. Town hall people say NO to sports but both want us to pay taxes for what they want! That's a joke and outright selfish. If you can explain to me how Town mahal won't raise taxes while Jordan/ciacco say that we can't afford fields, let me know.
Ed Nice May 21, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Hey NNT we all know you don't like JB. Someone told me about this guy Ed Carilli that hangs out at the library and complains all the time about traffic in front of MFS. Sounds a lot like you. Why don't you tell everyone how is JB supposed to fix the library without new taxes?
John K May 21, 2012 at 01:40 PM
I think what the K.I.D.S. people fail to get is that those of us supporting the Open Space side of the issue are not necessarily opposed to paying to have safe and good quality fields and recreation facilities available for the children in town to use. We just don't want to have them paid for by raiding a fund that was established for a different purpose. It's not an "either/or" proposition. Moorestown is a wealthy community that can afford excellent schools, playing fields, public services and facilities (including the library and township offices). It is for this reason that lots of us choose to live here! If need be, float the necessary bonds or raise the revenues to pay for them honestly, not by resorting to a backroom financial shell game. My children have all graduated from our schools and their days of playing T-ball, youth soccer, street hockey, etc. are also long over, but I still plan to vote in favor of our school budget and pay my fair share of taxes needed to make these opportunities available for today's kids too. I just do NOT want it done at the expense of depleting the monies set aside for the purchase and preservation of open space in Moorestown.
KJL May 21, 2012 at 01:50 PM
John, I cannot speak for all of the supporters of KIDS but I do know that many of us fully grasp the Open Space side of the argument and wish it had not come down to the cash option. The idea of a bond has been discussed, debated, and ultimately rejected because of a minority opnion on Council. The Open Space Fund could easily have handled a portion of the annual debt service as has been proposed in several recent Council meetings without adversely affecting the Townships abiity to preserve farmland and acquire Open Space. The lack of compromise on the part of some members of Council is to blame for this predicament, not the supporters of KIDS.
Ed Nice May 21, 2012 at 04:04 PM
KJL is right. How does Jordan say she will do it in the fall but today makes no sense when we have the bids in hand ready to go. This political game has gone on too long. Bond it and use a portion of our OS/REC taxes for development just like they do for acqusition, maintenance, farms and just like they did for Pryor turf and lights. If MSOS really cared about all taxpayers this is what they would support because it is what is fair. Fields get fixed. Money left over. Each side gave a little.
HomeBrew May 21, 2012 at 04:41 PM
I believe one reason Ms. Jordan advises waiting is because the low bidder to syn-turf WB-N is too busy to get to the project now. Which is a strange development, considering that this is what we read in Patch when KIDS bids came in: "[Kevin] Loftus [KJL], along with township manager Scott Carew, attributed the marked disparity primarily to the woeful state of the construction industry in today’s economy. Loftus, who owns a construction company in Cinnaminson, said contractors 'are absolutely dying. There’s not enough work and too many contractors.'” http://moorestown.patch.com/articles/field-improvement-bids-670k-cheaper-than-estimates
Ed Nice May 21, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Good excuse HB! I was at the last meeting when Carew said the bidder gave a 30 day extension which wouldnt be necessary if Jordan/ciacco weren't playing political games and now you say Jordan thinks we should scrap the money we spent on the bids wait 3-5 more months and then go out to bid again which will cost more money and by then the fields would have been completed. Was her reason that by the fall we wouldn't have to make a bond payment and maybe she and new council members might do it next year and claim to be heros for political gain?? Jordan always has some excuse whether too many balls in the air or town hall is more important even though we don't have the money and taxes will go up for it. Why isn't town hall delayed until we have the money?? Next excuse??
KJL May 21, 2012 at 04:56 PM
HomeBrew, I am starting to think you have a man-crush on me! I'ts creeping me out! This is a public contract issue so let's take a quick test on public contract law. Question #1 - What is a Bid Bond? Hint, it is the document that provides insurance to the Owner (twp) that the bidder will complete the work if awarded. If the contractor does not, then the bonding company is obligated to do the work. Question #2 - What is Contract Time? Hint, contract time is the number of calendar days after the issuance of Notice to Proceed that the contractor must complete the project or suffer liquidated damages. Question #3 - What does a Township do if a bidder refuses to complete the work as bid and in the time frame provided in the contract? Hint - The Township awards the contract to the second lowest bidder. The Township then pursues a claim against the surety firm that provided the bid bond to the contractor and gets reimbursed for the difference betwen the low bidder and second low bidder. Question #4 - What should a contractor do if they are too busy to do the work? hint - Don't submit a bid! Because once you submit a bid, you are obligated to do the work for the amount of your bid and in the time frame contained in the contract. Bottom line Homey is that the contractor is not legally allowed to claim that he is too busy. This is public contract law. Please tell me that Jordan didn't really use this is an excuse to vote against the project....did she?
Ed Nice May 21, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Kevin I think she makes it up as she goes along. None of what she says makes any sense. One minute she doesn't want to burden people then next she is raising taxes and using money from the utility fund to cover it up to raising taxes for town hall. Is it a burden or not? Im getting dizzy trying to keep up. Maybe HB we can discuss at tonight's meeting. Will you be there? Councilwoman Stacey Jordan advocated a compromise: split the amount used from the utility surplus in half, bringing the tax increase down to a more agreeable $50.
HomeBrew May 21, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Not a man-crush, KJL, I assure you. Just admiration for a true artist of the BS. You make it clear that you know a lot about public bidding, contracts, etc., so maybe you can help us all understand what Mr. Carew meant by this: "Jordan was concerned about the timing of the projects after Carew noted the workload of at least one of the low bidders could delay the start of the project. If work doesn’t get underway until mid-summer or the end of summer, she worried, it could lead to the fields being shut down in the fall, when they’re more heavily used." http://moorestown.patch.com/articles/council-delays-fields-project-decision-again
JustWondering May 21, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Actually, KJL, you are confusing a bid bond with a performance bond. But no matter. Anyone can be an expert on this forum! Wouldn't have called you on that if you hadn't been so dismissive and arrogant in your response to HB.
KJL May 21, 2012 at 05:58 PM
BS? What did I say that was BS? As for your question about Carew's comment, you should ask Carew. But in subsequent Council discussions, Mr. Carew also made the point that the contract requires a 150 calendar completion which means that regardless of when the project starts, it will conflcit with either the spring or fall season so Jordan's "concern" became moot.
KJL May 21, 2012 at 06:05 PM
The bid bond provides insurance to the Owner that the contract will be exectued and the bid amount will be honored or that penalties assessed for reneging on the bid offer will be paid. The performance bond assures that once the contract is executed, that the work will be completed. While my prior post was not properly worded and I stand corrected, the point that the contractor cannot back out of the bid without penalty if awarded the work during the prescribed award period is correct, right?
diehardrep May 21, 2012 at 07:14 PM
KJL, I am not particularly against a shared cost regarding needed upgrades and repairs to WB, N and S. I do, and I'm sure many others also, have difficulty with paying for astro turf which is clearly a desireable improvement. I don't buy into the safety issues, but wonder if that portion of the cost were funded or treated separately, would that end the impasse. It is unfortunate that a meeting of the minds cannot be reached, privately among the spokespersons for each involved entity, so as to spare the people of Moorestown, the pain of so much distain over the past year. I've heard you state in response to Homebrew, that the public has gotten information on the clubs contributions, as well as the sponsorship pledges. I apologise, but can't seem to find much information on that, just some comments that were made. If a compromise were to be reached how are the entities obliged to an agreement? Has there been any discussion of this? It doesn't seem that the public is very clear on this point.
KJL May 21, 2012 at 07:37 PM
I am not an attorney so I am not sure I can answer your question from a legal perspective. However, from a practical perspective, I am sure the same questions were posed before the existing turf field was buult and to the best of my knowledge, none of the three clubs involved have ever reneged on their commitments to the annual payments for the existing turf field. As much as the Council and Manager at the time of the first field being built had faith in the character and integirty of Hill, Alvarez, Dickey and the clubs they represent, I firmly and wholeheartedly believe that the current Council and Manager should have the same level of faith in the character and integrity of McCarthy, Johnson, Dalmass and the clubs they represent in building the turf fields. I'm sure I will take a beating for such naivete but that is how I feel. As for your comments about safety, there is an abundance of research and propaganda on both sides of the issue so no sense continuing that part of the discussion. However, the ability of turf field to hold up under excessive use if being reproach. A presentation was made last year by TDG that explained that the Township would have to build three new grass fields to provide as much playing time as a turf field if proper rest and rotation were followed. The three fields would cost more than four times the cost of the turf field to construct.
KJL May 21, 2012 at 07:38 PM
As for your comment about separating the turf costs, I am not sure I understand but would it suprise you to know that only 39% of the construction costs are for the turf work?
Ed Nice May 21, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Hey diehard are you now a deal maker too? I think for once we agree that its a shame that after $1 million of private money Jordan/ciacco still want more from taxpayers instead of using the tax money of ours they already collected that sits in the bank and be done with this. Even NNT will like NO NEW TAXES. What is the reasone you keep bringing up turf and calling it astro turf? Is that meant to remind people of the VET?? Were you against turf when your fellow Reps put in the first one or when Jordan/ciacco voted YES to turf Pryor?? Is anyone else as tired as me of trying to keep up with the moving targets and excuses!!
diehardrep May 21, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Ed, No, I am not attending tonights meeting. I gave up on that circus a couple of months ago.Right now, I am too tired to answer all of your other beyond reality points. I mean, get real. We're supposed to contribute personally to building a town hall and library when we are already paying for them with our taxes? Sports fields are different, they are needed, but not required. Being over seventy, I wonder how I ever survived playing stick ball as a kid on parking lots, streets, and back yards without astro turf. God, I loved those days.
Ed Nice May 21, 2012 at 08:23 PM
I was hoping we could finally meet again. LOL!! Your latest is now that Town hall is required but fields are not? Do families move to town for a town hall over fields? I know the schools are number one but come on town hall? If you said a nice downtown pub now you would have something. Were those parking lots paved or gravel???? LOL!!!
diehardrep May 21, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Ed, I guess what one considers a need is dictated by how much one desires it. I wonder what the community as a whole, feels is needed over what is desired, their own Town Hall, and Library, or turf, good playing fields excepted.
Ed Nice May 21, 2012 at 09:12 PM
I guess it comes down to who wants to raise the money to support what they value more. If the sports groups can pay 50% why can't the library or town groups pay the same and lower?? Why do you as a diehard have double standards for your Reps? Even ciacco will probably want 100% LOL!!!
diehardrep May 22, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Ed, Please get real. The residents of just about every town in NJ contribute to their sport programs, both as volunteers, or financially because they understand that sports is not a function of government. Libraries and Town Halls are both a function and responsibility of government. They are supported with taxes out of necessity. How is that a double standard? Where is the ordinance or statute that requires any local government to fund sport programs? Most communities provide the land and basic needs of all recreation activities as a service to its residents, but they are not bound to do so. Every town expects its sports organizations to seek financial donations and volunteer support to round out their needs. It has always been that way. No one in their right mind would refute the efforts, or deny the praise due to those who give to recreation for the sake of our kids. But, don't confuse the necessity of one with the desire to accomplish the other. What do you expect of a responsible government when tough decisions have to be made concerning the need vs the cost of things due to limited resources? And, please don't sell me the crap that using the OS fund doesn't cost anything. Build a ball park in your back yard from your savings account, and tell me it was free.

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