Council re-purposes bond money to buy bus for seniors

Metuchen senior citizens are getting a shiny new bus soon.

Borough council at the Oct. 5 meeting approved re-purposing money from two older bonds to buy a new bus to transport senior citizens. The bus, equipped with a lift, will be a back-up to the main bus, according to Borough Administrator Jennifer Maier. The current back-up bus is in disrepair, Maier said.

“Our back-up bus is ready for the graveyard,” Maier said. “When our main bus goes down, it’s a real problem.”

The borough’s senior center can transport up to 20 senior citizens a day, Maier said. The borough provides the bus service to drive seniors to various activities like doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, even hair appointments, Maier said.

Metuchen’s Senior Center is for residents 60 years and older. Cathy Ostermueller is the director of the senior center.

Council approved taking $49,000 from two bonds: one for about $1.9 million that was floated in 2011, and one for just over $1 million floated in 2012. Council financed $944,760 of the first bond for improvements and other purposes, according to borough council agenda from earlier this month. Council financed $770,070 from the second bond for the same given purpose. It’s not clear for exactly what projects the bonds were originally intended.

Many times Council floats bonds for projects, but has money coming in from other sources. In those cases, Metuchen only needs part of the bond for the given project, Maier said. That leaves money that can be re-purposed for other uses. Council has the authority to  re-direct proceeds through a legislative process that requires the passing of an ordinance (two readings of which occur in public) and a 20-day period before acting on the new spending.

Council is now in the 20-day waiting period before it can go shopping for a bus. The waiting period ends on Oct. 28, Maier said. “We are putting the specifications together now … then we will buy a bus, but we have to get competitive pricing first,” she said.

Metuchen also has to work with its bond counsel, McCarter & English, when re-purposing bond proceeds for other uses than originally intended, Maier said.

Overall, Council approved re-purposing $310,000 in bond proceeds at the meeting. For example, Council also approved re-allocating $30,000 from a $854,064 float from 2013 to buy police radar equipment.

 

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