Friday, January 16th, 2015

The 2015 capital budget proposed by the Morris County Freeholders again focuses on the county’s infrastructure, while also meeting critical capital needs in the areas of education and public safety.

Members of the Capital Budget-Facilities Review Committee outlined the $25 million capital budget during the freeholders’ Jan. 14 work session in Morristown.

The committee chairman, Freeholder David Scapicchio, said the proposed capital budget continues the county’s enhanced program of road resurfacing, and provides nearly $6.2 million for the repaving of 32 miles of county-maintained roadways within 20 Morris County communities.

“For the second year in a row, our capital budget will allow us to repave more than 30 miles of county roads,” Scapicchio said. “That’s double the previous five year average.”Scapicchio said the capital budget also earmarks almost $2.9 million for the construction of four bridges, the design of four others and the construction of two culverts.

Bridge construction projects are scheduled for Main Street over the Harmony Brook in Mendham Township; Ironia Road over Burnett Brook in Randolph; Combs Hollow Road over a tributary to India Brook in Mendham Township; and Flanders-Drakestown Road over the South Branch of the Raritan River in Mount Olive.

Also in the capital budget, said Scapicchio, is $1 million for the design and construction of an access road from West Hanover Avenue to the Central Park of Morris County campus in Parsippany. When it is completed, the road will serve as the primary entrance to and egress from the Central Park complex. He noted the road’s construction is contingent upon a land management agreement being reached between the county and the state.

Scapicchio called the proposed spending plan a long-range planning tool that anticipates and addresses the county’s current and future capital needs while also allowing the county to reduce debt an average of $10 million per year for the past three years.

Freeholder Director Kathryn DeFillippo, said the capital budget includes $2.85 million for the County College of Morris and just over $2 million for the Morris County School of Technology.

“These dollars are for academic facility improvements for County College and to assist the School of technology in meeting its capital improvement needs,” DeFillippo said. “It is important to ensure our students have a high quality learning environment to support the high quality education CCM and the School of Technology offer.

”Freeholder Doug Cabana, liaison to the Morris County Park Commission, said $1.2 million in the budget will pay for general park improvements within the 18,730-acre county park system.

The capital budget also provides $1.13 million for the Sheriff’s Office for various vehicles and the construction of an equipment storage facility behind the Public Safety Training Academy in Parsippany, said Cabana, who also serves as liaison to Law and Public Safety.

He noted $597,700 is allocated to the Department of Law and Public Safety to upgrade and maintain public safety and communications equipment, to make improvements to the academy’s firing range and Life Safety Complex, and to purchase new self-contained breathing apparatuses for the county’s Hazardous Materials Response Team.

According to Cabana, the capital budget also addresses security concerns involving the county government’s information technology system by allocating $2.27 million to increase the county’s cyber security defenses and to “future-proof” the county’s IT infrastructure against a wide range of potential threats.

Overall, Freeholder Director DeFillippo said the 2015 capital budget permits the county to responsibly respond to its most significant infrastructure needs, both now and in the future.

“After a comprehensive review of the long term requests made by each county department, the Capital Budget Committee developed a responsible long term capital improvement plan that includes significant annual infrastructure investments in road resurfacing, bridge improvements, road construction and park system improvements,” DeFillippo said. “Our long term capital improvement plan also supports and facilitates the county’s ongoing overall capital improvement debt reduction initiative.”

Some capital budget highlights are available online at
http://morriscountynj.gov/transparency/finance.asp.