Wednesday, November 13, 2019

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Why Was Highgate Terrace Completion Announced Two Weeks Before Election?

I have to take exception to the article on Bergenfield’s reconstruction of Highgate Terrace in the October 22, 2015, edition of your paper (“Bergenfield Council Awards Highgate Terrace Bid.”)

The Borough Council, several years ago, recognized the fact that Highgate Terrace better resembled a rural road in a backward third-world nation than a residential street in a modern American community. The Council was faced with the dilemma of investing a hundred thousand dollars on a simple paving job that would last five years at best, or investing over seven hundred thousand dollars and rebuilding the road, which should last at least 20 years before needing repaving. After extensive discussions with the Borough Engineer it was decided that rebuilding the road was the sensible solution. However, we knew the Borough could not afford to tackle the project at one time and so a two-phase project was decided upon. The Borough Engineer was additionally tasked with recommending which section of Highgate would be done first based solely on good construction management.

Now, just weeks before the election I read how the mayor is pushing to have work done on Highgate before the winter. Where has he been for the past two years? He finally makes a public statement about Highgate Terrace after the council awarded a contract for the work to begin. In fact, when he first ran in a special election for mayor he attacked Councilwoman Kornbluth for having her street paved (Councilmember Kornbluth lives on Highgate Terrace).

As Chairman of the Public Works Committee (the department responsible for road maintenance), the rebuilding of this road has been a priority. When dealing with budget constraints, undertaking such a project is a slow and methodical process but the council accomplished this without any support of the mayor.

Thank you,

Charles K Steinel, Councilman