A few weeks back, there was an article written regarding the lack of commitment by Bergenfield’s Council as it relates to road conditions on Highgate Terrace. As the administrator for Bergenfield, I usually do not participate in editorial writing, however, I felt compelled to write a rebuttal because the information provided over the past weeks and months regarding the continuance of this project have been so wrong, I felt that it was important to set the record straight.
On my first days as the administrator, back in March, 2015, while being briefed on the number of outstanding projects that needed attention, one of the first projects referenced was to complete the second phase of Highgate Terrace. At that point, the budget was still being formulated, however the Council was 100% committed to having this project completed.
As with any project of this magnitude, there are a series of events that need to take place before shovels can go into the ground. In this case, when the weather finally broke and spring arrived, United Water and PSE&G contacted my office to advise me that they were scheduling work mandated by their regulatory agency (BPU). This work was of the highest priority and subsequently took precedent over other work. In fact, some of this work is still taking place in this area of town. As a result, the Borough needed to slow down the process to ensure that our project would be the last work conducted in this area. It would be poor planning on my part if I were to schedule paving and mason work prior to having one of the utility companies dig up the new road. Each utility company was provided a letter that specifically identified the Borough’s intent to pave Highgate Terrace. This subsequently places a moratorium on preventive road work for 5 years. In addition, the Council supported my initiative to change the Borough ordinance as it relates to road opening permits. This, too, was important because too many roadways are not being properly repaired and this ordinance better ensures against this in the future. If you are wondering why other roads in town were paved during this time, it was simply because they were funded by grant dollars that the Borough was in jeopardy of losing had the work not begin.
In the months leading up to October 20th, the Council approved the engineer to design the work, and the Borough went out to bid. The bids received were reviewed, and subsequently the Council awarded a contract to Gotthold Paving to proceed with the work on Highgate Terrace. They will begin working shortly.
I recognize that a project such as this seems to have taken a long time; however, when you take into account the process I briefly outlined, the job moved accordingly. I find it unproductive when individuals criticize the Council and write misleading editorials in the hopes of upsetting residents. Nothing good comes from it. In the end, the Council has been and will continue to serve the residents of Bergenfield to the best of their ability, and as the administrator, I too am committed to ensuring that the Borough provides the best services available.
Corey Gallo is Borough Administrator for the Borough of Bergenfield.
By Corey Gallo, Bergenfield Borough Administrator