NEWTON — For the first time since the public began learning recently of the dozens of coronavirus-related deaths of Sussex County residents in long-term care facilities, the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders today will have an opportunity as a board to hear from the county professionals who have been keeping the information under wraps for the last three weeks.


However, whether the public will get an opportunity to hear what these professionals — who have stopped responding to inquiries from the New Jersey Herald — have to say remains to be seen. That's because, according to the meeting's agenda, the update will take place behind closed doors for reasons listed simply as "Matters Required by Law to be Confidential" and "Matters Relating to Public Safety and Property."


The public, however, will have an opportunity to weigh in on these and other matters during today's meeting, which will be held remotely due to the ongoing virus epidemic starting at 4:30 p.m.


Members of the public wishing to listen in or address the board during the two public comment portions of the meeting will be able to do so by calling 973-310-7191.


Today's meeting will also include a hefty dose of other business more traditionally associated with the work of the freeholder board — just more of it than usual — as the board deliberates on what will amount to over $68 million in proposed capital expenditures.


The most notable of these will involve a vote on a resolution to allow the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority, for which the county is the financial guarantor of last resort, to proceed with $47 million in bonding for an upward expansion of the county landfill off Route 94 in Lafayette.


Officials with SCMUA say the landfill expansion project, which is expected to be completed over the next four years, will extend its useful life to the year 2060 and be covered by what are known as "tipping fees," or the costs charged for dumping solid waste at the landfill.


The balance of proposed expenditures to be deliberated on today involves four proposed bond ordinances, each of which will be the subject of a final public hearing and vote in its own right.


The first of these is a $14.8 million bond ordinance, of which just under $6 million will be covered by grants, for general capital projects including but not limited to the acquisition of dump and sweeper trucks, bridge and roadway engineering and construction, the replacement of voting machines, improvements to the Sussex County Judicial Center, and the replacement of hardware and equipment related to the Sheriff's Office 9-1-1 emergency dispatch system.


The three other proposed bond ordinances include a proposal to appropriate $2.8 million for facilities improvements at Sussex County Community College's main campus in Newton and at SCCC's Public Safety Training Academy in Hampton; $895,000 for capital improvements and facilities upgrades at Sussex County Technical School; and $2.3 million for a countywide road resurfacing program.


Eric Obernauer can also be contacted on Twitter: @EricObernNJH or by phone at 973-383-1213.