Several Montville Township Commitee members expressed disappointment Tuesday that the Montville Township Board of Education is no longer interested in a joint project to pave the parking lot at 86 River Road.
The parking lot is shared between the township and board of education and committee members have been discussing paving the entire lot, with both entities funding the project, for several months. While discussing the project at the township committee meeting Tuesday, Township Administrator Victor Canning said the board of education had indicated that they will not be participating in the project and will not be paving the portion of the lot surrounding the board offices. Mayor Tim Braden explained the project so far.
"We divided up the parking lot at 86 River Road and determined common areas, board of education leased areas and areas that we determined to be the obligations of the board of education," he said. "Although they do have the money in the bank, they declined to enter into an agreement with us to do the project."
Montville Public Schools Business Administrator Jim Tevis explained on Oct. 16 that the board did not want to spend money from the district's escrow account on the project.
"The board of education side at this time is not going to be done," he said. "To do the board of education side at this time would literally eat almost every single dollar of our escrow. We feel it's important for us to maintain that escrow account as high as possible."
The township, however, will move forward with paving its portion of the lot. According to Interim Township Engineer Mark Mantyla the township will spend approximately $60,000 to complete two phases of milling and paving of two areas of the parking lot. Mantyla said the township received a low price of $64 a ton for the paving materials. Braden said the portion of the lot that is leased by the board of education is in full "disrepair."
Township Committee Member Deborah Nielson asked if the board would be willing to reconsider, but Braden said he explained the benefits of completing the project along with the township, including lower rates and costs, as a joint project. Nielson was concerned about future liability if the entire lot is not paved.
"At some point, there is liability for the public visiting that site and to keep up the facility, it's cost-effective to do the entire job at one time," she said. "We, the township committee, handed them a building envelope in a site that had been vacated for many, many years and we understood they wanted to put the $1.5 million into the building and the interior improvements."
But Nielson said exterior improvements are allowed to be made as well with the escrow account.
"I don't know if we could reach out to them one more time to encourage them to work with us to have a professional-looking project out there," Nielson said.
Committe Member Don Kostka said he was present at the meeting where the mayor had asked the board again if they could collaborate on the project.
"Our mayor couldn't have made it any clearer in terms of the benefit of them joining us to do the paving," Kostka said.
The committee ultimately advised the attorney to draft a resolution to move forward with the township portion of the project. Mantyla said the paving of the initial two phases is expected to be complete by the middle of November.