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Freehold Borough Council Votes to Repave Local Roads

Three council members agreed to pass a resolution that would repave and do other various roadway repairs to local roads, one council member voted no, and two abstained from voting.

Freehold Borough Council members all agree that West George Street, Stillwell Place, the Court Street parking lot, and Douglas Road are in need of improvement and repairs. However, how much to spend on those repairs does not have all of the council members seeing eye-to-eye.

At the Monday Freehold Borough Council meeting, board members voted on whether or not to pass a resolution that would award Earle Asphalt Company a contract to fix issues on discussed streets. Earle was the only company that bid to perform the repairs for $865,913.13. The resolution states that a grant in the amount of $175,000 would be applied to that cost.

Before voting, council members voiced their opinions on the bid from Earle.

“We got one road construction bid for roughly $866,000. Last year we had 17 bids for half the amount of work. I don’t know if this makes sense to you, because it certainly doesn’t make sense to me. I’m going to vote no tonight. Again, I am for all the road improvements they are going to do, my problem is one bid. That’s just not right,” said Councilman George Schnurr. “Taking municipal government out of the equation, if you were going to have work done on your home for one-tenth that amount, for $86,600, wouldn’t you get a second quote? Of course you would."

In response to Schnurr’s explanation, Councilman Jaye Sims provided his reasoning for voting yes to the resolution.

“Throughout the course of the current year, I sat in one resident’s driveway on Douglass Road and watched water just constantly fill up as a result of some of the heavy storms. This has been an ongoing issue for the last few years and I just feel that at this point, we need to go forward with this as well as other issues on some of our other streets regarding flooding. It is just an issue that we need to address as soon as possible. At this point, to put our residents through more waiting to address this issue is just not fair."

In the end, the resolution was passed with three 'yes' votes from Sims, Councilman Kevin Kane, and Councilman Michael DiBenedetto. Councilman John Newman abstained from voting because his running mate is one of the principals of the company doing the work. President Sharon Shutzer also abstained from voting because she lives on one of the streets that would be repaved. Schnurr was the only member of the council to vote against to the resolution.

Nicholas J. Palumbo October 02, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Well - its nice to see the counsil at least questioning something and sharing differing view points. I for one, am not happy with the one bidder thing. However, if the contractor has to be Earle Construction, I am not worried about the quality. However, I think the counsil would have been wiser to toss the bid out and re-advertise with the hopes of getting more bidders and a better price. ...... Well, I guess thats the way it goes huh?
Jackie Condie October 02, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Agreed. Making a financial commitment of this magnitude based on one quote? No, no, no... not comfortable with that at all.
Marc LeVine October 02, 2012 at 09:30 PM
This is not the sort of bid solicitation, review and awarding I am comfortable with as a former Councilmember or as a taxpayer. Earlier in the day, Councilman George Schnurr called me at home to share his frustration over this matter. We both agreed that in the present economy, where contractors are still begging for jobs like ours, a more agressive solicitation approach would have surely brought in more and lower bidders than EARLE Construction. These are our tax dollars. While I sympathize with the residents on weather battered Douglas Road, had this effort of rounding up more and less expensive bidders (as quickly as possible), the dollars to be paid out would be considerably less and - in the end - the council finance committee would have a slightly less challenging job of keeping our taxes lower. I commend Councilman Schnurr for bringing this to one taxpayers attention (at least) and standing up for our hard earned tax dollars. I also commend Councilwoman Shutzer for - at least - abstaining. Councilman Newman had little choice but to do the same. After all his GOP running mate this year is Maryann EARLE. Sound familiar?
Team Sheen October 03, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Just sayin.....
Dan Xavier October 03, 2012 at 11:20 AM
Say what you will about Councilman Schnurr, but I commend him for actually standing up for common sense and the taxpayers on this issue by requiring a multi-bid review process. In fact I find it very interesting that more of the "yes-voting" council representatives didn't do the same. I also thought it was bizarre when during the public meeting Councilwoman Shutzer actually accused Councilman Schnurr of "grandstanding" (in her traditional schoolmarm fashion) because he dared offer a dissenting opinion...and then she promptly abstained from making the difficult vote herself. Great leadership - way to make the tough calls!
Bountybros October 03, 2012 at 11:30 AM
I hope Mr. Schnurr does not sit on the TAX BOARD because we might get taxed on our WATERFRONT property every heavy rain we get. Thank you Mayor and Council
Mike October 03, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Marc, I have to agree with you and George here. Working in the construction industry, I have never heard of a town giving such a large contract out without competitive bidding. I think this puts Freehold at a true disadvantage with what they are paying. I have seen Earle lose many bids buy sums over 100,000, that could be a huge saving for the Boro. I understand the frustration of the residents of Douglas, but as a town, keeping taxes down or saving money should be everyone's priority. I also think the residents of Douglas wouldn't be so upset if this problem had been addressed in a timely fashion, now the entire town will pay a price for this issue taking so long to be fixed. I also believe it is illegal to not put the bid out to the public, not a good look council! Also it would be nice to hear Mrs Earle view here, since it would be a direct effect on her as a tax payer and business owner
Diane October 03, 2012 at 03:50 PM
It should be the responsibility of "town council" as a whole to obtain the appropriate number of bids and make a determination in a timely manner. For those of you that cast blame on one "town council" member or commend one "town council" member, that seems ridiculous.
Mike October 03, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Diane, I don't think anyone did that.

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