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Warren Committee Proceeding With Plans for $4.3M Municipal Annex Expansion

Tax revenue from redevelopment of former knitting mill expected to cover most of cost of new police and municipal offices.

An architecht's rendering of a proposed new municipal annex in Warren Township. By Linda Sadlouskos
An architecht's rendering of a proposed new municipal annex in Warren Township. By Linda Sadlouskos
Warren Township officials agreed on Thursday night to move forward with plans for a 25,000-square-foot annex to house the police department and municipal offices that would be built on the location of two old trailers said to be leaking and in need of replacement.

The $4.3-million addition, which Mayor Gary DiNardo said when taking office that he would like to see started with a groundbreaking during 2014, would for the first time make the municipal complex compliant with disability laws, and would modernize the police department facilities, officials said.

"We need new police facilities," DiNardo said. "The lower floor is not up to today's standards." 

The municipal complex is at 46 Mountain Blvd. in Warren.

Following a discussion on the project at Thursday night's Township Committee meeting, DiNardo said the first step is for Township Administrator Mark Krane is to investigate bonding rates and other financial preparations.

Krane said the bonds to be sold would have a life in the range of 15 to 20 years. 

But, over the length of the life of those bonds, DiNardo said a "huge portion" of the debt will be covered by the anticipated redevelopment of a former knitting mill on Dubois Road, off Mount Bethel Road, that is due to be turned into a 35-unit housing complex.

Because the housing redevelopment is considered a pilot program, the arrangement would mean that about 95 percent of property tax revenues would go directly to the municipality, the mayor said.

Initially, the tax impact of the new municipal construction would be about $50 to $65 per household for initial costs, DiNardo said.

DiNardo also said the style of the annex would be similar to that of the neighboring Warren Township branch of the Somerset County library.

Shortly before becoming mayor, DiNardo said he had been working on the plans for the new building space off Mountain Boulevard, and he hoped to present a report with a cost analysis to the Township Committee by the end of January. Thursday's presentation also included drawings.

DiNardo said the present municipal offices are located in a building complex that is about 100 years old.

Last year's mayor, Victor Sordillo, said the historic building at 46 Mountain Boulevard will be maintained as meeting space for community groups and some boards.

Following the presentation and discussion by the Township Committee, a resident asked if the project is a "done deal." 

"Close to it," Sordillo said in response.

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