Franklin plans to borrow $1.6M for road project


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"This is one of those hard decisions people elect us to make."
Franklin Councilman Nick Giordano

FRANKLIN — Franklin is already a year behind on last year’s proposed 11-year plan to repair all borough roads and Administrator Jim Kilduff said it’s going to take a $1.6 million loan to help the borough catch up.

The council voted unanimously to adopt a motion and turn it into an ordinance to authorize borrowing the money.

The borough received a grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation to start the project, but Franklin's contribution also needs to be substantial. The project failed to get off the ground when only $275,000 of the necessary $400,000 was budgeted for the first year.

The $1.6 million will get the borough back on track with the plan and take it through 2016, when enough of the debt will be paid off so the borough can borrow more in order to complete the project without raising its debt ceiling.

“We have a lot of ability to borrow,” Chief Financial Officer Monica Miebach said, noting that Franklin is well below the allowable debt limit. While she said she doesn’t condone borrowing up to that limit, this bond will still leave the borough plenty of head room.

Council members were hesitant to commit to the loan, but weighed it against the necessity of new roads, many of which have already outlived their 10 to 15-year lifespan.

“Whenever we have this conversation about debt it’s a hard pill to swallow,” Councilman Joe Limon said.

“There are times you have to take out a mortgage, Mayor Paul Crowley said. “This is one of them. We can’t just keep fixing potholes.”

Councilman Dave Fanale echoed the sentiment.

“This all needs to get done," he said. If there’s no money in the account, we need to go out and borrow.”

There will be a public hearing before the ordinances final reading at a future council meeting.

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