The Stafford Township Council on Tuesday, introduced and approved on first reading an ordinance to bond up to $1.75 million to rebuild the Mill Creek Community Center destroyed in Superstorm Sandy last year.
The amount to be bonded will only be for the true construction and associated costs not covered by FEMA and the township’s insurers, Township Administrator James Moran said.
When asked by Councilman Robert Kusznikow why the number was so high, Moran said it was based on an estimated construction cost of $250 per square foot for a 6,000 sq. ft. building and the additional expenses such as architectural and design fees and the site work, including landscaping.
“There is bid documentation out there showing $250 per square foot is the going rate for commercial construction in the state of New Jersey,” said Moran.
Councilman Stephen Fessler, who said he works in the construction business, felt the $250 number was a high and $200 per square foot might be possible.
Mayor John Spodofora said that since the project has not even entered the
design or bidding stages there was “no way” to accurately estimate the final
“Right now we just want to get started on the project,” he said.
He also stated the actual amount that eventually will be bonded will be for the actual cost and after they settle with FEMA and the insurers.
Spodofora said the insurance companies and FEMA keep “dueling” with the township and each other over who is going to cover what and how much each will pay out.
In answer to Kusznikow question about what they had seen to
date, Moran said “Zero.” “It is the same for us as it is for many of our
homeowners,” he added.
Kusznikof also noted that there was “seed money” for the project in the $250K donated to the township for the community center by actor Alec Baldwin shortly after Sandy.
“That is correct, Bob,” said Moran.
That's why the current bonding ordinance is capped at $1.75M and the not the estimated $2M the reconstruction could cost, Moran said.
Moran said the township’s estimate for the eventual pay outs from all parties is between $600,000 and $800,000. That will go directly to reducing the actual bond.
The community center on Mill Creek Road was declared a total loss after Sandy when it was flooded, the floors buckled and the foundation shifted.
The former Town Hall on Bay Avenue, which now houses the township’s Recreation Department offices, is being utilized as a temporary site for some of the programs and meetings that were formerly hosted by the Mill Creek Center.