Frelinghuysen Township recently sold property it acquired several years ago in a tax sale for $1.4 million, and now town officials are planning to use those funds to pay down the municipal debt, make an allocation to the new fire department and applying some to the town surplus to address some immediate needs.
Mayor Keith Ramos said at the November 8 township committee meeting, where the proposal was passed, that during the past few years, $2.6 million in debt has been retired, a trend he said he’d like to continue by applying $1 million of the property sale proceeds to go toward reducing existing debt.
Ramos proposed directing $200,000 to the township’s fire department, which was established last year and is currently renovating the old town garage into a firehouse and outfitting fire trucks that have been donated.
“They’ve been pretty fiscally responsible, and this would give them a lot of breathing room,” Ramos said.
He said the department itself has not cost local taxpayers any significant money because the costs so far have been offset by savings on payments to neighboring fire departments.
The remaining $200,000, he said, should be directed toward the town’s budget surplus to be earmarked for renovations to the township municipal building.
In August, the township sold at auction a 30-acre parcel of land on Route 94 for $1.4 million. That bid was a half-million more than a bid from a May 10 auction of the same lot. That deal fell through, however, when the buyer failed to make a 10% down payment by the end of day the auction was held.
Frelinghuysen came into possession of the tract in February 2015 for $1 after a tax sale.
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.
Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.
Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.
Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.