Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 53
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

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N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

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Weichert, Realtors

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Iris Interiors

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Weather Forecast

Township Committee Considers Successful Bond Sale and Salt Use

Ellen Gilbert

At a relatively brief meeting on Monday morning, Township Committee members heard reports on a “fun” bond sale, and the use of a disproportionate amount of salt on icy roads during the recent bad weather.

The $8 million bond sale involved seven bidders, according to Chief Financial Officer Kathy Monzo, and the winning 4.018 percent interest rate offered by PNC Capital Markets earned the distinction of being the lowest in the state during the last 30 days. Ms. Monzo noted that the sale reaffirmed the Township’s triple-A bond rating, a fact that was duly noted in a Moody’s & Standard & Poor’s rating report.

Township Administrator Jim Pascale pointed out that the financial community’s interest in participating in the bond sale was the result of Township Committee efforts, in recent years, “to make proper financial decisions which set aside an adequate surplus” of available money. He also lauded the “very minimal” amount of money represented by the $48,900 (out of a total of just under $34 million) in budget transfers approved by the Committee at Monday’s meeting. Described as “housekeeping,” the money moved from the Township Committee’s budget to other Township departments reflected expenses for items like unanticipated road repairs, personnel changes, college tuition reimbursement, and continuing education fees.

“Unanticipated” was also the byword of Public Works Superintendent Dan Hansen’s report on the “completely different” kind of storm that recently hit the area. He described the scenario, which included a combination of snow, rain, and ice as a “no-win situation” in which 450 to 500 tons of salt, at a cost of $60 a ton, were used. Although there are no immediate storms in the forecast, he said that the department would be purchasing another 500 tons of salt to be ready for whatever the new year may bring.

In response to Committeewomen Liz Lempert’s question about whether salt and water are used to treat area roads, Mr. Hansen discussed the department’s salt-only policy. While some neighboring communities apply salt and water to roads in a pre-storm, “anti-icing” effort, Mr. Hansen described that policy as labor-intensive, not necessarily effective, and highly wasteful when a predicted snow storm turns out to be just rain. Nor does he believe in additives, which only intensify salt’s already-corrosive effects. “We do the best we can,” said Mr. Hansen, describing the numerous phone calls his office received from residents complaining about treacherous local roads during the recent storm. After 38 years of experience and going regularly to conferences to update the department’s operations, he still admits that “Mother Nature always wins.”

While there were no formal reports by Committee members at the meeting, Township Attorney Ed Schmierer announced the arrival his first grandchild, “a doll” named Genovieve Anne.

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