State delays might raise project costs for libraries in Cranbury, other towns

BY Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2 | Jun 4, 2018 | MonroeNow

CRANBURY — A plan to construct a free-standing library in the township is facing a delay since the state has yet to determine the rules to apply for a portion of the $125 million bond voters approved in November for library projects.

For Cranbury and other libraries that were hoping to get their projects underway the delay could result in an increase for costs.

“You already see costs in general going up in different areas,” said Cranbury Committeeman Daniel Mulligan, who is one of the governing body’s two liaisons to the library. “Petroleum costs are going up, the cost of asphalt is up by 20 percent. Just to build the parking lot is going to cost us more money as we wait. Our costs are definitely going up because of their delay.”
The delay centers around state departments and agencies having not yet reviewed documents to create the rules for awarding funds for library projects, the New Jersey State Library said in a statement.

“As a starting point for future conversations that will take place with Governor Murphy’s staff the State Library has completed their work on draft regulations,” according to the statement. “The anticipated earliest possible target date for solicitation of applications would be fall 2018. Once posted, our goal is to allow a three-month window for the application period.”

The funding program is being administered by Thomas Edison State University, which oversees the State Library. The concept is being modeled after the recent higher education construction program called “Building our Future Bond Act,” the statement said. The money is awarded as a matching grant to recipients that received approval. It is also the belief that already projects started will not be eligible to receive funding as a reimbursement.

“It’s taking a lot longer and as a result we are waiting on [the state]. We have a project ready to go. We put together a fantastic proposal I think,” Milligan said. “But we really need the final rules, we need the final timeline when would be able to apply for funding. We wanted to have it done this spring since that was intimated to us, but it looks like it’s going to roll into late this year or maybe next spring.”

Cranbury library has raised more than $2 million to help cover the cost for a new facility. Last year the library received a bid to build a new library at a little more than $3 million. The library would be built on Park Place, Mulligan said, adjacent to The Cranbury School and business district. The library is currently housed in the K-8 school.

“This is something that will only benefit the community. We send a lot of money in personal income tax to the state,” he said. “This [grant program] is one instance we finally as taxpayers are able to take advantage of all that money we send that typically goes elsewhere.