The vice president of the company that was awarded a bid to complete construction of a splash park, pump house and bathrooms at the Traders Cove site says the company has already invested money in the project, and urged council members to reconsider a later vote that rescinded the bid award.
Randolph Seitter, vice president of Stoneridge Aquatic Construction of Feasterville, Pa., penned a letter to council members last week asking them to reconsider a Jan. 3 vote that rescinded the $643,200 bid awarded to the company Dec. 30. A Republican-led council Dec. 30, but a Democrat-led council after being sworn in and taking a majority.
Councilman Dan Toth, a Republican, put forth motions Jan. 3 to rescind not only the bid to Stoneridge, but a larger, $3 million bid to complete construction on the larger park site. Only the smaller bid was rescinded, however. Township attorney Jean Cipriani said at the time that rescinding either bid could lead to litigation.
"We did incur costs and had expected to be awarded the project which would have allowed us to recover some of those initial costs," Seitter said in his letter.
Seitter said his company's bid was "considerably lower" than other bids for the same project, and included the construction of restrooms for the park, which are required to be installed before it can open to the public. He also said, as township officials have asserted for some time, that the splash park could generate revenue for the township.
"I think that they jumped the gun," said Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis, referring to the council's action to rescind the contract.
Acropolis said Toth, by offering up the motion to rescind, "rushed to undo a legally binding contract."
Toth said that for him, voting to rescind the splash park vote had to do with the troubled economic times.
"In these troubling economic times, it would not be financially prudent to take on another project that 'may' be a revenue stream," Toth said in an e-mail. "Even so, what many fail to speak about when they talk about revenue streams are the sometimes-greater expense streams, which can easily throw a project into the red."
Toth said the talk of no bathrooms being at the site was "grocery store fodder" and bathrooms are still planned for the park. Grant money is available to assist in paying for the bathrooms to be constructed, he added.
Acropolis maintains the subtraction of the splash park was wrong move.
"I thought it was the right time to do a splash park," he said. "That was the revenue component."
But Toth said for him, it also came down to the fact that he did not see support for the splash park in the community.
"If economic times were better, the majority of the taxpayers may have been more receptive to a splash park, but most are more concerned with their local officials being able to keep their taxes stable so they can afford to live in Brick Township, especially after the recent referendum and revaluation drastically adjusted property taxes throughout town," he said.
Council President John Ducey also agreed that abandoning the spray park idea was in the township's best interests.
"The difficult economics that we have are forcing everyone to make difficult choices," Ducey said. "During these trying financial times it would not be fiscally prudent to build a waterpark at the taxpayer's expense."