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Cary Africk: Stop The Edgemont Morass

Former councilor says this project must move forward—and now.

 

For the third time, the Township Council has rejected bids for the construction at Edgemont Pond because the cost estimate was exceeded.

From the beginning this project has been mishandled. Mistake after mistake has been made, going on for four years. A Green Acres Grant is funding the project, and we’ve been unable to even spend other people's money!

This is also the third time that the town has looked to refurbish the pond. The first two were failures. This one is headed in the same direction.

Perhaps eight years ago the pond was drained and THEN a bid request was sent out. A budget of $250,000 had been set up. The bids came in three times that amount. The pond stood empty for a year until the administration decided to do "whatever $250,000 would buy, " i.e. nothing.

This is similar to the first attempt perhaps 15 years ago. The pond was simply refilled.

This time we had the money, secured by former Township Manager Joe Hartnett.

The project was put out to bid for an engineering firm to prepare an RFP. I looked at the proposals. The least qualified, least experienced one was chosen.

They prepared an RFP for construction, which was sent out.

A winning bidder was chosen. In reviewing their proposal I discovered the he had bid the wrong materials because our purchasing department failed to send him the right specification update.

We re-bid and the project came in $20,000 over the $800,000 budget. We rejected that bid. How in the world did we do that? $20K could have easily been found!

Then we came up with the idea of testing the sediment, hoping it would come out contaminant-free and we could re-bid and get a lower price.

We did and came in with dramatically higher bids. This where we are now.

Other mistakes compounded the situation. Failing to apply for permits in a timely fashion, failure to send in payment for permits, etc., etc.

Since the grant was given to us about four years ago, we've had to renew it twice.

All the above was sent to the current Township Council by me, and the only one responding was Councilor Robin Schlager who, after questioning Township Manager Marc Dashield last night, got a simple response from him: “don’t worry.”

It’s time to move this project forward.

jim August 24, 2012 at 01:33 PM
I heard they were going to make it a landfill to generate some income to pay the parking authority.
Stuart Weissman August 24, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Well that would then throw the whole hydroelectric self-reliance plan out the window.
Cary Africk August 25, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Stu, You know the town really did discuss buying some type of "demonstration" hydro powered thing. They migh have, but I'm not sure. They did buy some wind generator that has about enough power to light a night light. The town was interested in buying things that are "symbols." Doesn't matter if it works for real people, or even if it harms real people.
Stuart Weissman August 25, 2012 at 03:45 PM
I know these 'symbols' are usually obtained through grants, like electric car charging stations, but there are so many grants available for things Montclair needs that it becomes a supreme waste of energy. California is a perfect example of this. Crosswalks beep for the blind, yet government workers are paid in IOUs.
Crafty Spiker August 25, 2012 at 04:51 PM
How about turning out a couple hundred people to Edgemont Park who care as much about the park as you do? That might get some attention.
Cary Africk August 25, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Crafty, What I care about is the Town blowing almost $1MM that was given to them because the organization can't put one foot in front of the other.

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