NEWTON — The Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders has postponed a vote on a proposed multi-million dollar expansion of the county landfill off Route 94 in Lafayette to allow time for other funding sources to be explored.
The resolution, which was pulled from the county freeholders' agenda Wednesday at the request of the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority, would have allowed the authority to proceed with $47 million in bonding to enable an upward expansion of the landfill.
"We're going to re-look at some of the project details and asked for it (the resolution) to be administratively tabled because we wanted the opportunity to explore additional funding options that might be available for us," said Thomas Varro, executive director of SCMUA, on Thursday.
Officials with SCMUA believe the landfill expansion will extend its useful life to the year 2060 and anticipate that the costs will be covered by tipping fees — that is, the fees charged to county residents, municipalities and businesses for dumping waste at the landfill.
Because the county serves as the financial guarantor of last resort for SCMUA, all bonding by the authority must, by law, be approved by the county freeholder board.
Varro declined to put a timeframe on when SCMUA might be ready to resubmit its request to the freeholders but said he anticipates taking up the matter over the next month with the authority's board of commissioners, who would have the final say on that.
In other business Wednesday, the freeholders unanimously approved four bond ordinances totaling $21 million for capital improvement projects in the county.
The largest share of this money includes $14.8 million, of which just under $6 million will be covered by grants, for general capital projects and equipment purchases including the acquisition of dump and sweeper trucks, bridge and roadway engineering and construction, and the replacement of voting machines.
The money also will pay for parking garage improvements and staircase renovations at the Sussex County Judicial Center; repairs to the exterior of the Historic Sussex County Courthouse located next-door to the main judicial center; and hardware replacement and equipment purchases related to the county's 9-1-1 emergency dispatch system.
The three other bond ordinances approved Wednesday will provide $2.3 million for a countywide road resurfacing program; $895,000 for capital improvements and facilities upgrades at Sussex County Technical School; and $2.8 million for facilities improvements at Sussex County Community College.
The money for the county college consists of $2.48 million for the main campus in Newton and $320,000 for upgrades to SCCC's Public Safety Training Academy in Hampton.
Eric Obernauer can also be contacted on Twitter: @EricObernNJH or by phone at 973-383-1213.