The governing body awarded a $18,000 Non-Fair and Open Contract to McManimon, Scotland, Baumann, LLC for special redevelopment counsel services for Hunter Building Supply under Resolution 289-17.
Under New Jersey law, a contract can be awarded by a municipality without going out to bid for contracts over $17,499 if certain criteria are met. These requirements include that:
- The contractor may not have made a “reportable contribution” in the previous year
- The contractor may not make a reportable contribution during the term of the contract
- The contractor must certify that no reportable contributions were made during the one year preceding the award of the contract
Certain documents, such as a Business Disclosure Entity Certification, Determination of Value statement, a Political Contribution Disclosure Certification, and a Stockholder Disclosure Certification must be filed along with the resolution and contract. These requirements are in place to ensure that there were no political contributions made to any member of the governing body or their political party.
The non-fair and open contract was confirmed by Andrew Casais, the borough clerk, when resident Dave Robertson inquired about the resolution. Mr. Casais stated, “The borough chose to use the alternate process which is you solicit based on who you want and they submit the requisite paperwork which is usually more than what’s required when you do it through a fair and open process.”
The municipality has used the firm of McManimon, Scotland, Baumann, LLC as special counsel for previous development issues – most notably for Meridia at Roselle Park and the Sullivan property and wished to continue using the firm is a similar capacity for the property on the corner of Locust Street and West Webster Avenue.
The municipality will pay the expense for the counsel services but, as previously stated by the Chief Information Officer Ken Blum and reiterated on October 19th, once a developer is named after a redevelopment plan is conducted, that developer will reimburse Roselle Park for the expense of the attorney.
If the contract was below $17,500, there would have been no need to use the non-fair and open contract but the borough clerk stated he would have recommended to have it on as a resolution to provide transparency.
This is the second step to having development at Hunter Supply. Last year, council approved a study to determine if the property qualified as an area in need of redevelopment. Such a designation is a requirement to have a development apply for Payment In Lieu Of Taxes or PILOT – an incentive to have a builder develop a property and pay an annual fee that is less than taxes. It is a motivating factor for town governments since even though payments are less than taxes, almost all of it goes to the municipality as opposed to ⅓ if taxes were paid on a property.
No official word has been given as to what is planned to be built on the property next to the little league fields but it is surmised that it will be either apartments or mixed use with commercial use on the first floor and residential above and that PILOT will be sought by the as yet unnamed development.