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French's Landfill Redevelopment Contract Could Come Tonight

Contract had been put off previously

The township council could award a redevelopment contract at its meeting Tuesday night that will presumably lead to the installation of a solar farm at the former French's Landfill site.

Township officials began negotiations with Standard Alternative, LLC, a potential developer for the former Superfund site, last month.

The township plans to turn the site into a solar energy field after it is finished being capped, but the process of choosing a developer to install the solar field has been a bumpy one. Township officials that Pinelands Development would install a solar farm at the former landfill site and operate the facility for five years, but abruptly in July. In September, council members the sole bid placed in a second round of bidding.

The council is expected to enter a closed door meeting with a potential developer at Tuesday night's council meeting, then authorize the execution of a redeveloper's agreement for the site later in the meeting, according to an agenda posted on the township's website. Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis confirmed on Monday that the matter would be taken up at the council meeting.

Acropolis said the township is hoping that when all is said and done, the site should generate enough energy to cover the cost of all of the municipal government's electric bills, plus some left over that could be used to cover a portion of the BTMUA's bills.

Crews began working in August to place the final cap on the site, an action ordered by the federal government. It could take 12 to 14 months from start to finish to cap the 42 acre tract for good.

I know December 20, 2011 at 01:47 PM
Hey Dan, any details on the "abruptly canceled" deal? and now a "closed door meeting" and execution of an agreement all in one meeting?? does this mean there is no third round of bidding? the contract is just rewarded to a developer without the bid process?
TimeForChange December 20, 2011 at 01:55 PM
"The council is expected to enter a closed door meeting with a potential developer at Tuesday night's council meeting, then authorize the execution of a redeveloper's agreement for the site later in the meeting, according to an agenda posted on the township's website." Why does this have to be "closed door"? This is the kind of crap that has proven to lose the trust of the taxpayers. No transparency. This should read "back room" instead of "closed door". it is funny how they want to get this pushed through quickly, before the new council members come on board in January. Does anyone else smell fish? I do.
Daniel Nee (Editor) December 20, 2011 at 04:02 PM
Believe me, I wish this stuff was done in the open, but I've never seen a municipal governing body (out of many I've covered) negotiate a contract in public. Closed session meeting minutes can be obtained through an OPRA request at a later time, however, once it is determined that a need for privacy no longer exists.
TimeForChange December 20, 2011 at 04:40 PM
I hear you Daniel. It just leaves so much room for speculation, especially with the current council and mayor. They have lost the trust of the public, do things secretly, seem to be rushing things in now before January and so many other misleading tactics. Transparency would help to reestablish faith and trust. Why not tell us clearly, how was this company chosen? What are their credentials for qualification? Why the rush (the cap job is nowhere near complete)?
John C December 20, 2011 at 06:46 PM
By Law all contract issues are conducted in a closed session so that there is no information about the negotiations made public that could harm the person that is negotiating in good faith with the township. Any other company could submit a proposal to the township, but they should not be able to base their proposal on public negotiations with a third party.
John C December 20, 2011 at 06:53 PM
Dan and timeforchange, legally all contracts, personnel matters and litigation matters are held in a closed session. It is for the protection of the party dealing with the governing body. If the negotiations were public, a third party could drop in at the last minute and undercut the developer without spending any time or resources in the bidding process and negotiations with the town. Any potential developer had a chance to submit their best proposal when the town requested bids.
John C December 20, 2011 at 06:57 PM
Are there any objections other than those that are politically motivated that anyone would object to capping the site to stop the further spread in the groundwater of the toxins buried there and turning a blight on the environment into a green energy source that can benefit the towns taxpayers? Please state them below.
Daniel Nee (Editor) December 20, 2011 at 07:10 PM
If anyone objected to capping the site, it wouldn't matter much anyway. If the town didn't do it, the EPA would have, then sent us the bill ;)
John C December 20, 2011 at 07:48 PM
Exactly Dan, and unless I have missed it I have not seen an objection that is not wrapped in a political attack.
1stcav December 20, 2011 at 08:40 PM
I smell Feta cheese on this " Closed door " deal with this council being replaced in Jan. 2012.Is something being " pushed " through that wouldn't be otherwise ????
Scott Pezarras December 21, 2011 at 01:33 PM
The redeveloper's agreement is the start of the process, so that the federal grants that will run out on 12-31-11 can be utilized in the project. These grants will fund around 30% of the 'hard" costs of the project. The selected redeveloper will have to purchase 5% of the project's materials cost by 12-31-11 in order to "safe harbor" and secure the federal grant. This means a lower cost out of pocket to build the project and a higher revenue stream for the Twp. and cheaper rate on power for the Twp and BTMUA for the 15 years after the solar field is built. It means FREE electricity for the lifetime of the panels after 15 years, because the redevelopers agreement calls for the redeveloper turning the solar array over to the Twp after 15 years.
People Investigating Toxic Sites December 19, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Perfect plan to cover-up a toxic waste dump without doing any clean-up. Just cap the carcinogenic chemicals with solar panels and call the landfill "green"
John C December 20, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Your ignorance on the topic is quite clear and more than likely politically motivated as 2013 is a local election year and your party is slowly dropping political bombs along the way getting ready for the attacks that we will be seeing as the campain starts up. So tell us, you would rather that they begin digging up all of the toxic substances so that chemicals can evaporate into the air, breaking open rusting drums that are currently intact so they leak additional substances into the groundwater and then driving them by truck so that the entire community surrounding the area and along the trucks route is exposed to the chemicals and waste?

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