As the cost of blacktop rises, resulting in other towns pushing some of their paving projects to 2023, the Sussex Borough Council was concerned about whether it was worth postponing such projects, since there’s no guarantee that costs will actually decrease by next year.
According to Mayor Edward Meyer and Borough Engineer Harold Pellow, while the co-op the borough uses to purchase blacktop normally comes out quarterly, prices have recently been adjusted every two weeks.
Meyer said pushing a project to repave Brookside Avenue, which is slated to take place later this year, to next year would be helpful for the overall budget, but Council President Robert Holowach said he was concerned about postponing it.
“If it cost us 30 percent next year as opposed to this year and we’re doing it next year, we’re not going to fess up to making a mistake and the fact that we can’t afford it is not an excuse,” Holowach said. “I think we need to try to hold the line on doing the work that we said we’re going to do. I understand that causes complexities and things like that, but we as a borough have never been good at kicking the can down the road for anything. Every time we say we’re going to get to it next year, all of a sudden, we’re hiring engineers to look at buildings and that cost us a ton of money. I think this is a bad financial strategy.”
Meyer said Harrison Street, which was discussed in a previous meeting, is going to be paved with oil and stone, which is less expensive. Crack filling on the road will also help. However, with oil and stone, Sussex Borough would not get any grants from the state for paving.
Councilman Mario Poggi also disagreed with pushing the projects to next year.
“I think it’s a dangerous game hoping that things get lower,” he said. “Anything I’ve ever seen on the news says this is a long-term thing and to wish that things are going to be less next year, I think is foolish. I say we do Brookside like we plan. At least we know what today’s costs are.”