According to a tentative shared services agreement for the 'Field of Dreams' currently under review by the Mayor and Council and the Board of Education (BOE), the funding for the joint project would come entirely out of the municipal budget in exchange for the Borough's use of the field. However, school programs will have priority over its use.
The annual cost to homeowners for this field is estimated to be between $62 and $70 per year for 10 years on an average house valued at $410,000.
The Mayor and Council had previously discussed that if the Borough receives a grant for 75 percent of the cost they will have to fund approximately $600,000, plus the fees to the grant writer. In order for the Borough to apply for grants, there first has to be a memorandum of understanding between the Borough and the BOE, as well as a lease agreement between the two.
Should the Borough consent to this agreement, in addition to funding the entirety of the project, it will also be responsible for obtaining all of the permits and approvals, soliciting bids and supervising the construction.
Under the agreement, the Borough will also be responsible for contracting an engineer to design the project, with the BOE reserving the right to make revisions while stipulating that the Borough cannot modify the design without the consent of the BOE.
Any lawsuits or action arising from the construction of the project shall be litigated by the Borough without any financial contribution by the BOE. Additionally, all cost overruns will be the burden of the borough.
Voters will have their say on the field — which could cost up to $3 million to build at David E. Owens Middle School -- when they cast their vote on the referendum on November 6.
The referendum is a non-binding referendum meaning that even if it passes, the Mayor and Council still has the authority to decide whether or not to move forward on it.
The Mayor and Council agreed that the language of the referendum should reflect that only an amount up to $3 million would be authorized for the proposed project — any projects that exceed the cost of $3 million would be put off.