New Jersey ought to put its infrastructure cash into the sewer | Mulshine

It is seldom that Jeff Tittel and I agree on an environmental issue. But here we agree:

“Windmills off the coast don’t keep floods out of people’s cellars,” Tittel told me the other day.

Watery cellars are a subject he is very familiar with. Tittel lives in Lambertville, one of the many cities in New Jersey that have been flooded when Hurricane Ida dropped about 10 inches of rain on the region.

Tittel himself had the foresight to buy a house on relatively high ground, but his neighbors closer to the Delaware River got a good bath.

The issue of wind turbines came up because so many of our politicians used the storm as an example to argue that we need to switch to less fossil fuel generation.

But that’s an argument for another day. For now, it’s about what we’re going to do about the flooding that inundates New Jersey every time a bad storm hits.

I recently wrote about Cranford this Union County town full of lovely Victorian houses that Flooded by Irene in 2011 and then Ida almost exactly 10 years later.

In the case of Cranford, the blame is not on the people who built houses on the Rahway River during the Revolutionary War. The guilt rests with those who paved the land upstream, thereby channeling the rainwater into the city.

The only solution to this is a word that is buzzing around a lot in Washington these days: infrastructure. In the case of the Rahway River, a plan is needed to drain the reservoir upstream from storms, local officials say.

But that costs money. And there is a lot of money to be had in the laws before Congress now. The Biden Administration American establishment plan, which is part of a $ 3.5 trillion spending plan that includes social services such as daycare. Republicans support a $ 1.2 trillion bill that sticks to traditional infrastructure.

Child care is a goal worth striving for. But first things first. And New Jersey is full of things that should be done first. Many of them are in Lambertville

Like Cranford, Lambertville was first settled before the Revolutionary War.

“Washington’s army marched through here and crossed at Lambertville,” Tittel told me. “My point is that there were houses on Ferry and Swan Streets even before the Revolutionary War.”

Much has developed in the hills above the city and the sidewalk will not take in water, he said.

“The soil in the forest will soak up four inches of rainfall during a storm,” he said. “You cut this forest and for every morning you get a million gallons of drainage.”

But Delaware floods are only a small part of the New Jersey problem. A much bigger problem is in the older towns of North Jersey.

Steve Lonegan, the arch-conservative ex-mayor from the Bergen district who ran for national offices several times, told me about the flooding in Hackensack, where he runs a restaurant in Ida, the basement of which was flooded.

“Me and Tittel are on the same page in that regard,” said Lonegan. “This should be the number one infrastructure problem.”

Virtually all older cities have Mixed channel systems that transport both sewage and rainwater. They work well when it’s not raining. But when it rains heavily, the effect is similar to what happens when knowing what hits the fan.

“I have a video of the sewage lifting those big iron manhole covers,” Lonegan said.

But Hackensack has a lot under construction, he said.

“I don’t even know how to add these buildings to this system,” he said. “The sewer system is 100 years old.”

It was worse in Hoboken, said Tittel.

“You get sewage on the streets,” he said. “They even have a pump to send it into the river.”

That’s not the kind of topic politicians like to talk about and our governor doesn’t talk about it. said Tittel.

“He’s talking about windmills and reducing greenhouse gases,” said Tittel. “But we have a serious flood problem. Climate change is part of it, but poor land use patterns and overdevelopment are causing it. “

Whatever the cause, it won’t stop by itself. Ida was particularly bad, but the remnants of Hurricane Henri a week earlier caused severe flooding in Hoboken and other cities in North Jersey as well.

That will happen as long as hurricanes work their way up the coast.

Forever, in other words.

So we’d better start planning.

Rowlesburg talks stimulus cash and sewer mission | Information

ROWLESBURG – Rowlesburg City Council spoke briefly about the stimulus money coming from the US government and what they can do with it.

Rowlesburg is set to receive $ 240,000. Half of the funding should take place this year, the second half in 2022.

“We really don’t have a lot of influence because we can only spend it on three things,” said City Councilor Eric Baumgardner. “Most, if not everything, goes into the wastewater project.”

Baumgardner meant that economic stimulus funds were earmarked for sewers, water and broadband. However, since then the government has added more categories for which the funds could be used.

– Support the public health response by funding “COVID-19 aids, medical expenses, behavioral medicine, and certain public health and safety personnel”.

– Replace lost public sector revenue: “Use funds to provide government services to the extent that revenue has declined due to the pandemic.”

– Combat negative economic impacts by responding “to economic damage to workers, families, small businesses, affected industries and the public sector”.

– Bonus payment for key workers, also known as hero pay, by offering “additional support to those who have and will bear the greater health risks because of their service to critical infrastructure sectors”.

The sewer project is still in the design phase at Thrasher Engineering in Bridgeport.

Preston County’s Economic Development Agency is the administrator of the project. EDA Executive Director Robbie Baylor said there are still many unknowns about the project.

“Part of the discussion is how much money we can get from the sellers,” said Baylor. “We’ve seen things come out of the West Virginia Public Service District in terms of projects, which really makes us look at the cost of this project.”

Baylor said the PSC and the Infrastructure Council have tackled some projects and cut funding because construction costs seem out of proportion or the size of a rate increase is insufficient.

“We have to be very careful how it looks,” said Baylor.

One of these points is whether you should modify the existing lagoon system in Manheim or build a new sewage system.

“If we build a new plant, it will be expensive,” said Baylor.

One question she has tried to answer, but has failed, is if the churches and they use the stimulus money as a counterpart, it will reduce the amount of funding if the sellers reduce the amount of money the church can receive.

“If that happens, there is no benefit,” said Baylor.

Kylie Radcliffe, a project engineer at Thrasher Engineering, said she has no set date for completing the design phase.

“Much depends on the availability of funding,” said Radcliffe. “We get everything coordinated and check all possible sources of funding.”

She said it was definitely a multi-phase project as nothing had been done to the system since the 1985 flood.

“We have three top priorities that we will work on first,” said Radcliffe. “The first is the parking area where we will probably want to replace these pipe sections.”

The second priority would be the expansion of the pumping stations, the third the expansion of the lagoon system or, if necessary, the construction of a sewerage system.

In other matters, the Rowlesburg Council passed a new parking ordinance on Monday after second reading.

Baumgardner said the regulation needs to be updated.

“It hasn’t been updated since the 1980s and there were a few things to add,” said Baumgardner. “One of the changes is that the board members of the parking commission have no term limits.”

He also said park board members didn’t have to live much in Rowlesburg town, but one person would need a 26425 zip code.

Another change is that exotic pets are not allowed in the park.

“We allow dogs, but they have to be leashed and then cleaned,” said Baumgardner.

Georgia metropolis of Stonecrest is raining cash. Some went down the sewer

“There was a feeling of ‘what the hell is going on?'” His attorney Max Richardson told me. “That didn’t make any sense. For marketing? What marketing?!? It smelled funny.”

Richardson advised his client to put a stop order on his check.

“Me, it all smelled like a bloody setback,Richardson said.

Richardson wasn’t the only one to spot the stench. An attorney who conducted a review of how Stonecrest distributed $ 6.2 million in funds for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) recommended people with subpoena and arrest powers to sweat people at Stonecrest City Hall bring.

Stonecrest Town Hall

Photo credit: Google Maps

Photo credit: Google Maps

Stonecrest City attorney Winston Denmark and a small team studied the program for two months and found that at least five other companies had given in and paid the 25%. There were two other marketing firms that raised the money as well, and all of them started last year when it was discovered that a Brink truck filled with federal money was driving into Stonecrest on I-20.

“There is no evidence that the so-called ‘marketing’ services were ever performed and it is not known where the money actually went,” Denmark wrote in its findings. “While this investigation cannot definitively conclude that this is a ‘kickback’ program, the appearance of such a system is overwhelming.”

In a press conference on Thursday, Lary said that if something was “not in line” he would be “the first to apologize”.

“There was never any intention of sitting back or filtering money back or any of that nonsense,” he said. He also announced that he would not resign but would rather take a break because of recurring cancer.

Tee Foxx’s name was all over the report. It called her a “City Advisor and Subcontractor at Jacobs”. Jacobs is the personnel company that provides employees for Stonecrest. This is a recently created city without real workforce.

According to the report, Foxx received $ 12,000 last year for delivering face masks to the city. She contacted companies to increase the 25% fee to be sent to recently launched marketing firms. In September, a company called OCC Consulting Group was formed and three months later it received two checks for a total of $ 30,980. Foxx is listed as the company’s business manager. Iris Settle, who worked for Jacobs and was Stonecrest’s chief of staff, is listed as the secretary of the OCC.

Settle and her brother William Settle, Director of Business Development at Stonecrest, were also employees at Foxx Entertainment. Both Settle siblings worked with Jacobs until recently.

I know, I know this is all getting confusing You almost need a scorecard to keep track of things. Hardworking reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Zachary Hansen, even created a seven-page cheat sheet to keep track of the blending of all the characters involved in this saga.

“It appears that Ms. Fox had a relationship with the city because of her role as CEO of Foxx Entertainment, and those internal relationships have been used to win cheap awards from the city,” the audit found.

Foxx referred me to their attorney Scott Grubman, who said Foxx vehemently denies any wrongdoing. “We look forward to all the facts that we believe will rid Ms. Foxx of any wrongdoing.”

Oh yeah, Foxx, who helped Lary at his “I didn’t do anything wrong” press conference Thursday, was also listed as the chief financial officer and secretary for Municipal Resource Partners. I say “was” because it was recently removed from that company’s foreign minister listing.

Municipal Resource Partners, the company founded last year to pay out the CARES money, was to receive 8.5% of the federal money, or about $ 2,000 for every check issued. It would have been more than $ 500,000 if all of the $ 6.2 million had been paid out. And most of it was.

By comparison, DeKalb County distributed funds through its own employees and let Citizens Trust Bank disburse the loan programs. Receipts show that the bank charged about 5%.

This is a screenshot of Wednesday’s special meeting in Stonecrest.

Photo credit: City of Stonecrest

Photo credit: City of Stonecrest

The report goes through all sorts of interesting issues. There was $ 20,000 in personalized wellness programs for Stonecrest residents. $ 20,000 for stress relief programs; 3,000 USD for “COVID self-care stress packages with candles, butter, oils and tea”; $ 20,000 for “Financial Services Education For Higher Net Earners”; and US $ 3,500 “to provide healing hands and massages to anyone in town seeking therapeutic holistic wellness massage.”

The massive New Birth Missionary Baptist Church received $ 160,000. And the Arizona’s Steakhouse – which was owned by the teenage daughters of New Birth Pastor Rev. Jamal Bryant – received $ 250,000, the largest grant for any business.

It all reminds me of the frenzy that occurs when someone throws a pile of money into the air in a nightclub.

J. Tom Morgan, former DeKalb District Attorney, said, “I think this is just the tip of the iceberg. We will see all of this. When you have that much money on that little oversight, there will be corruption. “

Senator Emanuel Jones of the Democratic State, who passed laws limiting Lary’s power earlier this year, said, “When they got the money, (Lary) and his troops couldn’t help each other. A lot of money is missing and we have to find out whose pockets it went. “

About the author

ajc.com