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Woodbridge Council Votes for $600K Bond for High School Night Lighting and Theatre Lighting

While the bond was passed, Mayor John McCormac said the payment for the project will come from anticipated PILOT projects still being negotiated.

Two of Woodbridge's three high schools will be lit up by the autumn. That's because the township council voted to approve a $600,000 bond to install stadium lights at and High Schools to enable them to have night games the way that has in its stadium for years.

The bond will also include improvements to to turn that school's auditorium into a professional theatre. 

While the borrowed money comes in the form of a 30 year bond, Mayor John McCormac persuaded the council that the improvements to Board of Education property will be paid in the form of 'Payment in Lieu of Taxes', or PILOT monies that will be coming from companies with whom the administration is in negotiation to move into the township.

The mayor said he couldn't reveal who the companies were, when they'd be moving into the township, or the amount of PILOT money he projected the township would realize.

His spokesman, John Hagerty, later said that the companies who would be involved with the PILOT program would move in before the end of 2012.

The $600k expenditure, McCormac said at the council meeting, is "very, very worthwhile."

Even though the bond ordinance was passed, the mayor said that "we will never issue a bond" for the project.

"We will get the money from the PILOTs," McCormac said, adding that it was only "temporary finance for a couple of years" until it was paid off.

Council President Gregg Ficarra called the bond ordinance a "short term funding mechanism."

"We have a guarantee of the PILOT; that money is assured," Ficarras said. "Or else we wouldn't be taking a chance."

Passing the ordinance quickly was necessary so the work could be done as fast as possible, so the schools to receive the night lit stadiums as soon as they were able.

Dozens of parents, teachers, and other interested residents and employees filled the council chambers last Tuesday, as they had for the previous council meeting before the ordinance was introduced. 

"It'll go a long way to give the kids what they need and want, and what the taxpayers deserve," said Ezio Tamburello, vice president of the , who was in the audience. "It's a total win."

Michael Cilento, principal of John F. Kennedy High School, one of the schools to receive the stadium lights, said that their installation was "overdue."

"On a Friday night, young people will be able to come [to games] with their families," he said.

Not everyone was pleased with the ordinance, which some thought appeared to be rushed.

Tom Maras, a frequent McCormac critic, said he thought the ordinance seemed like a way to dodge putting the issue before taxpayers.

Capital improvements for schools that need to be bonded are by state law required to be voted on by taxpayers in school board elections.

In addition to the two high school stadiums receiving lights, Woodbridge Middle School will have its auditorium revamped to serve as a theatre. With its improvements, the middle school will replace the , which had previously been rented for the use of community-based theatre groups.

McCormac had tried to , but when the board of the club rejected the offer, fearing a township takeover of their private organization and its property, the mayor looked elsewhere to provide a home for the theatre ensemble.

Tom Maras February 16, 2012 at 12:52 PM
When politicians tell their constituents things like: "We will get the money from the PILOTs," McCormac said, adding that it was only "temporary finance for a couple of years" until it was paid off.” Council President Gregg Ficarra called the bond ordinance a "short term funding mechanism." "We have a guarantee of the PILOT; that money is assured," Ficarra said. "Or else we wouldn't be taking a chance," And then add: Passing the ordinance quickly was necessary so the work could be done as fast as possible, so the schools could receive the night lit stadiums as soon as they were able, it is time to shine a light them!
Tom Maras February 16, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Will the McCormac/ Ficarra “Pilot” program land Woodbridge residents in the same shape as the piloting skills of Capt. Francesco Schettino’s did for the cruise ship “Costa Concordia”? Go to the links that fellow and decided if you should be looking for life boats and life preservers on the “SS Big Mac”! http://www.politickernj.com/tags/john-mccormac http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/science-updates/nj-open-space-preservation-will-suffer-if-governor-cuts-payment-in-lieu-of-taxes-program http://www.nj.com/sunbeam/index.ssf?/base/news-7/129456421582720.xml&coll=9 And, with a smile, we have: http://www.politickernj.com/tags/john-lynch As we all know, it’s for the children! Let’s hope Capt. Mac, unlike Capt. Schettino, remembers, “women and children first”, if his ‘pilot’ funding gets into shallow waters.
slyfox1961 February 16, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Mr. Maras, why are you so concerned? You are not even a property owner or taxpayer. If McCormac was against the lighting, you would be for it. Your apparant hatred of the current administration severly decreases your credibility. Everyone I spoke to thinks this is a much needed improvement to the town's infrastructure.
tweetiexx February 16, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Mr. Maras I am totally in support of you. It's a shame when Mayor McCormac is more interested in his own personal gain then the taxpayers. This is why Woodbridge is the safe haven for puppy mill stores and other questionable dealings. Slyfox1961 admit it.....you're Mac.
slyfox1961 February 16, 2012 at 06:31 PM
tweetieXX, your statememt makes no sense. How does lighting the school fields so children can play sports at night personally benefit MAC? To me, you sound like another one of Mr. Maras's many screen names.
tweetiexx February 16, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Get a life Mac. My statement make alot of sense to people who are victims of the Woodbridge government.
slyfox1961 February 16, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Wow, guess you told me! There is no way I can debate against such intellect and wit. But you never answered my question, so I will pose it again in case it escaped your keen senses: How does lighting the school fields so children can play sports at night personally benefit MAC?
Tom Maras February 17, 2012 at 05:20 AM
If slyfox is a composite screen name meant to represent you as someone who is as sly as a fox is cunning, you have made it into a definitive misnomer! You assume, falsely, that anyone who concurs with me is me. You call for tweetiexx to debate you. But, perhaps, as tweetiexx appears to be someone who cares about animals, they feel engaging you, an obvious unarmed opponent in a battle of wits, would be tantamount to animal cruelty! As to your query as to how Mac personally benefits from the school property lighting, imagine this possible scenario, if you can: A narcissistic megalomaniac gets adulation from kids and votes from a relatively small number of those who benefit from his benevolent gifting, at the expense of so many others.
Tom Maras February 17, 2012 at 06:15 AM
Dear crafty vulpine wannabe, my concerns about this township stem from a long-term admiration for it, and from a realistic sense of right and wrong. Why do you feel someone has to own property and pay taxes on it to have the right to be concerned about the community in which they reside? Do you believe all apartment dwellers and anyone living in a home they do not own and pay taxes on should be prohibited from questioning the actions of their elected officials? If you do, find a different country in which to live. As for your proclamation about my hatred of this administration, your ignorance of the truth of my motivations is only exceeded by your childish attempt to discredit them. While I have a strong disdain for this administration and, in particular, John McCormac, I do not hate it or him, but only some of that which they do. As for your claim of speaking to others who approve of John McCormac’s spending on lighting (or anything else, for that matter), please tell us their names and yours, so that all may know your credibility.

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