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Brick Council Authorizes $34M in Solar Project Bonds

Bonds will not be repaid by taxpayers, however

The township council voted to authorize $34 million in bonds which will fund the construction of a solar field at the former French's Landfill site in the township's Herbertsville section.

Though the township will borrow the money, it will be the company that will redevelop the former federal Superfund site.

The council voted 6-1 in favor of the project, with Councilman Jim Fozman representing the sole 'no' vote.

Though the bond authorization allows for the bonds to be repaid over a period of up to 20 years, the redeveloper's agreement calls for the money to be repaid in 15 years or less.

Over those 15 years, Standard Alternative will own the solar array that is expected to be built at the site, but will pay annual lease payments to the township and provide the township will heavily discounted electricity.

After the 15 year lease ends, the township will take full control of the solar array and will be able to use the energy produced to fully cover the township and BTMUA's energy bills and generate additional revenue, officials have said.

The solar panels have a working life of between 20 and 30 years, according to Sam Faivus, president of Standard Alternative.

Some of the details of the deal – specifically, whether the town should share in the profits of the solar renewable energy certificates revenue generated by the site – are still being worked out. If the prices of the certificates, known as SRECs, rise significantly they could be worth millions of dollars.

But while the idea received broad council support, Fozman said the deal with Standard Alternative was not as good for the township as he would have hoped.

"Solar fields are good. There's nothing wrong with solar fields," said Fozman. "I didn't like the art of the deal."

Fozman said he was concerned that the SREC program would end in 15 years, just as the township would take full control of the array.

"I was looking for a better deal out of this whole thing," he said.

But Council President John Ducey said the governing body is working on a revised deal – the details of which can not yet be revealed due to ongoing negotiations – with Standard Alternative that could produce additional revenue for the township.

"The terms are better than what we had before Jan. 1," said Ducey, adding that an offer to share in potential SREC revenue is already on the table.

The landfill site, located off Sally Ike Road, is .

The township has owned the site since the 1970s. The landfill itself had operated from the late 1940s to April 1979.

Chief Wahoo March 28, 2012 at 10:35 PM
i hope we all can agree, there is NO difference between Republicants and Demorats
Seen Enough March 28, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Now remember, the new council told us during the previous meeting they don't like being unfairly singled out no matter what their campaign platform was. Please don't pick on them. What a town first Wolf napping during BOE meetings now this....
Kevin Koch March 29, 2012 at 12:41 AM
It seems as though every time I read the Patch it's being reported about how Brick is spending more and more money every damn day. I am so sick of hearing about Traders Cove, The Ice Palace, Foodtown, French's Landfill, now the friggin solar panels. You, our elected officials are reading this very post. How can you, our councilman and women, our neighbors, consciously continue to spend money we don't have. Bond this, bond that. How about BONDING MY ASS for the future of our town! Stop spending, and START CUTTING OUR FRIGGIN TAXES, AS YOU PROMISED..................... Everyone on here is telling you this. Open your ears and do it for the love of GOD!!!!!!
Kevin Koch March 29, 2012 at 12:45 AM
Definitively time for another referendum... Joe Lamb, let's rock..
Kevin Koch March 29, 2012 at 12:47 AM
And shouldn't the council be worrying about how to save our Public Works Department rather than solar panels? So far out of touch it's friggin pathetic.
Can't handle the truth March 29, 2012 at 03:34 PM
that's why the more tax money they get, the more they spend. tax and spend, tax and spend. they will never look out for the people. why should they. they keep getting voted back in, from stupid people with just their ideology the most important thing to them.
Can't handle the truth March 29, 2012 at 03:36 PM
me too Rose. i would leave tomorrow if i could.
Can't handle the truth March 29, 2012 at 03:40 PM
In this state your right, CHIEF WAHOO
Can't handle the truth March 29, 2012 at 03:42 PM
WATER BILL IS GOING UP AGAIN. THEY TELL YOU TO CONSERVE , THEN WHEN THE REVENUE GETS LOW . THEY RAISE PRICES. WHAT THE HELL DO THEY WANT FROM US PEOPLE??? BLOOD NEXT????
Jim March 29, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Amen brother.
John C March 30, 2012 at 01:25 AM
of course it is the same they are both redevelopment sites so the town could control what was built rather than let a developer run wild with the sites.
John C March 30, 2012 at 01:25 AM
bye see ya
John C March 30, 2012 at 01:27 AM
yeah Sal the Financial Advisors for the town, come on now you know how this works. and the info has been on the patch and repeated at ever town meeting and article on the topic
John C March 30, 2012 at 01:28 AM
enough with the referendum nonsense for every darn project....nothing will ever get done. Vote for the candidates that you think will make the best decisions for the town
John C March 30, 2012 at 01:31 AM
I guess he should have made up a number just like you do with alll the crazy numbers you make up and pull out of the air Joe.
J.JONES March 30, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Hey John C..A referendum is the only way the tax payers get a say on what we agree or disagree on how they spend our money..And as far as putting the right people in office we have tried over the years and continue to get screwed no matter party we talk about ..Its all B.S. AND WHAT CAN I DO FOR ME ..NOT FOR THE PEOPLE OF BRICKTOWN ..
Sal Petoia March 30, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Sure, John C, you got yours but the hell with those of us who have to foot the bill. What's wrong with letting the people decide by referendum? After all, it's their money, right? Maybe you believe just because somebody wins an election that they are endowed with a magical ability to spend money wisely. Frankly, the track record of elected officials hasn't been too good. I will trust the will of the people before I trust any elected politician!
George March 31, 2012 at 12:01 AM
This deal doesn't pass the sniff test
johny9179 March 31, 2012 at 03:17 AM
I purchased my house in 2009 and my taxes are put into my payments. in the 2 plus years my monthly payments have gone up over $275 per month due to increased taxes.At this rate it will not be feesible to stay. Also, we continue to put solar panels up and in return were suppose to save money. I hope councilman know its not illegal to lower taxes.
johny9179 March 31, 2012 at 03:22 AM
what ever happened to the resivour saving us all kinds of money. its just a glorified jogging track/dog walking track
Sal Petoia March 31, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Johnny9179: It was never intended that the reservoir would save money. Its purpose was to protect the residents by providing water during a prolonged drought. Remember the water rationing days? Further, if the reservoir wasn't built there were plans to develop the land for residential use, so if you consider the impact of more school kids and services being avoided, the reservoir does in a way save us money. Plus, it's a great place to walk around and get some exercise. Go and enjoy it!
Reality March 31, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Sal - I don't think most of us on here necessarily expect(ed) the reservoir would save money. What we are questioning is the FACT that ONLY BTMUA customers actually pay for the upkeep/staffing at the site. In these tough economic times, many BTMUA customers can no longer afford to subsidize luxuries - especially for others who are not sharing in the financial burden. We are looking for our govnerment entities to cut back, rather than expand, and to cost us less, not more. ABy the way, I do agree with previous posters that we need to start cutting from the top at the BTMUA.
RedHeadTaxpayer March 31, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Standard Alternative's facebook page says it was founded in 2011. Do you think it's wise to hand 34 million dollars over to a company with no track record?
Sal Petoia March 31, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Realty: My post is only in defense of the reservoir. One day water will be a very important a commodity. Who ever thought that people would be willing to pay over a dollar for a bottle of water? But they do. The reservoir gives Brick residents an edge over surrounding communities when a lack of rainfall requires limits on consumption and water rationing. So, a "luxury" it is not. It's insurance that provides uninterrupted service to all of us. Of course... I'm somewhat biased, having served as a commissioner when the reservoir was being planned and built. But I do agree that there are many areas where savings can be implemented or where poor decisions, both at the MUA and at the township, have caused the expenditure of more money than was necessary. I opposed the acquisition of the Ice Palace purchase and chaired the SOS campaign to let the people decide the issue. I am in agreement with many on this site who have doubts about spending $34 million for the solar panels. Maybe it's a good deal, but without more facts, I am not yet convinced. What is troubling is that this deal was pretty much done under the Republican controlled council. I would have expected the newly elected Dems to have put a hold on it until they thoroughly researched it, unless it was too far "down the road" for them to have blocked it. My take is that when it comes to elections, we need a wider field of candidates, and we'll only get that under a non-partisan form of government.
Sal Petoia March 31, 2012 at 05:26 PM
LBH: Despite every public project having a commemorative plaque, you're probably right.... we should not have had the plaque at the reservoir, which by the way did not cost $20 thousand. But you are wrong when you say the reservoir was a waste of money. It has been relied on several times when high tides caused the river intakes to be shut down to prevent salt water intrusion, and also when the river was temporarily contaminated due to upstream pollution flowing down from other towns. Customers are rarely aware of those events. It must be nice to just go to your faucet and use the water without thinking about what allows you to do that. Since the reservoir has been on line, have you ever faced water restrictions? Other towns have. Maybe you are right that the county should be involved in regional reservoirs. Take that one up with the freeholders! I am also a proponent of looking into desalination methods since I predict one day upstream building will put severe limits on use of the Metedeconk as the primary water source. 70% of our water comes from the river! Don't know where you get the idea that the reservoir was a "publicity stunt" for Scarpelli and Newman. The reservoir project was begun before Newman or any recent Democrat was on the MUA, but it was built under their tenure. You say the reservoir was a "big money maker for the politically connected"? Perhaps you would like to explain that one further! Would you have preferred a development there instead?
Sal Petoia April 01, 2012 at 01:49 PM
LBL: You obviously have a problem with local Democrats, and that's okay... we're all entitled to our opinions. But before you criticize, at least get your facts straight. Dan Newman was found innocent by a grand jury of dodging his sewer costs. The error was the BTMUA's fault long before Dan was appointed as a commissioner. Similar situations existed along Mantoloking Road when the MUA was anxious to get the job done and went in and did the work (installing the sewer lines to buildings) with the expectation that the paperwork would catch up later. As such, the sewer costs in some cases were never put on the quarterly bill. And since you are so enlightened, why not go to the MUA yourself and find out who the contractors were. You may be surprised (or disappointed) to find that many are associated with the Republican side of the house. As to the cost of the plaque, now that you have the price correct, it was/is part of the wall that is built around the flagpole. So following your logic maybe we shouldn't have had the wall, or the flagpole. How about the walkways? Since you think this was a useless project maybe we should not have put walkways so people could enjoy walking around their reservoir. One must assume that you equally disagree with any commemorative plaques at the town hall, the board of education building, the schools, etc. How about if you start a campaign to collect all the bronze plaques in town, melt them down and sell the material as scrap?
Sal Petoia April 01, 2012 at 02:08 PM
LBL: You are so far off with your insinuations. Let me enlighten you. The reservoir came in under budget and on schedule. $2 million was saved in the excavation process. Your Republican friends were ready to award a contract for that amount, but I and others argued that all of that soil was a saleable commodity that a contractor would make even more money by selling it. One Republican commissioner complained that if we had to go out again with bids we would lose three months on the schedule. Those of us opposed to spending $2 million won out, and our engineer was successful in finding a source for the soil. Monmouth County Reclamation Commission agreed to remove the soil at no cost to the BTMUA so that they could use it to cap their landfill in Tinton Falls. $2 million, my "friend"… $2 million!!! Saved! Would you like to complain about that? No "thanks" necessary…. we were just doing the job we were appointed to do.
clamdigger April 01, 2012 at 02:41 PM
yes you are right, it's a business suite,not a residential address as some people have posted.
George April 01, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I agree with you Sal this bonding issue sounds too good to be true.
George April 01, 2012 at 08:32 PM
There are way too many unanswered questions with this 34 million dollar bond issue.

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