Home Government Mayor: Brick ‘Stuck’ With $78K French’s Landfill Mowing Bill

Mayor: Brick ‘Stuck’ With $78K French’s Landfill Mowing Bill

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Overgrowth at the former French's Landfill property on Sally Ike Road. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Overgrowth at the former French’s Landfill property on Sally Ike Road. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

After months of back-and-forth between Brick officials and the developer of a solar farm at the former French’s Landfill site on Sally Ike Road, the decision was made by the township council Tuesday night to spend $78,357 to hire a contractor to mow the overgrown plot of land.

Mayor John Ducey said Brick Standard, the solar farm operator, refused to foot the bill for the landscaping of the site because the contract between the company and the township states that Brick Standard is only responsible for the land beneath its solar panels – not the site as a whole.

“We were fighting with the solar field people because I didn’t think it should have been our responsibility to maintain this,” Ducey said. “It’s ridiculous that the solar field is responsible for the land under the solar field but not the rest of it. We’re stuck having to maintain this thing.”

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As the dispute between the township and Brick Standard simmered, the weeds continued to grow. The landscaping debacle was further complicated by the incline of the capped landfill site, which has a slope too steep for normal mowers to operate. That necessitated the township having to go out to bid to find the services of a company that operates remote motorized mowers. The township had looked into purchasing the mowers itself, but officials found that the equipment – and parts – could only be found and served by a company located in Sweden.

Joanne Bergin, the township’s business administrator, said the contractor, Burke Environmental, of Wall, told officials the job will take between 10 and 20 people and 45 to 60 days to complete.

“This is a fairly extensive process,” Bergin said, especially with the incline, which ascends one foot for every two feet of distance.

Cushioning the financial blow is the fact that the township will not likely face such a high bill in the future. After the initial landscaping job, the township will routinely keep the overgrowth under control, with future mowing projects costing “significantly less,” Bergin said.

Stormwater Project Also Approved

In addition to the landscaping project, the council also unanimously approved a $241,213 to Earle Asphalt to repair and improve stormwater basins at the former Superfund site.

Bergin said stormwater is currently collecting due to a failure of a previously-built stormwater management system. The township will seek to recoup the bill for the rebuild from either the engineering firm or contractor on the previous project once it is determined which party is responsible for the poor job.

The stormwater project is being completed in accordance with EPA requirements.

“Anyone who lives over there knows the water doesn’t drain, it turns into a lake and a mosquito pit,” Ducey said.


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  • Scott Right

    Trying to do the right thing with Solar and the taxpayers take a big hit. Love to see the payback projections on this place when it was proposed and now.

  • Average Joe

    Who the hell negotiated this contract? Where the hell was the township’s legal counsel, who should have properly reviewed the agreement and should have spotted something as obvious as this.Hate to say it, but I can see where Brick Standard is coming from.

    • Tom Russo

      How right you are. The mayor and council need to answer to this.

    • JW

      The Acropolis team cooked up this deal and they appointed the Gilmore law firm to be the town’s lawyers. They definitely screwed up bad on this and now we’re stuck with it.

      • Mac

        the deal wasn’t screwed up – it was handled by the Gilmore law firm and the taxpayers got what they always get from Gilmore law firm representation – simply call it another ‘bless the sheep daily middle finger salute’

    • Tom Russo

      How right you are. The mayor and council need to answer to this

  • Joseph Woolston Brick

    From the first day of this Solar Farm deal first covered by Brick Patch, I was leery. Something just didn’t quite sound right. I’m no financial expert but the “deal” just didn’t sit well with me and I suspect other people in town felt the same way I did. Now a few years later it seems as if the uneasiness felt by myself and others is coming true and that the French’s Landfill deal is becoming Foodtown part 2. I think it’s time for Brick to get out of this solar field business as quickly and cheaply as possible and find another use for French’s.

    • Douglas White

      Remember the company that cropped up out of nowhere that had little to zero experience, that won the contract? It certainly didn’t feel, sound or smell right from the beginning.

  • Tom Russo

    Mayor and council need to answer to this.

    • JW

      Technically, ex-Mayor Acropolis needs to answer- he and his council agreed to this rotten council and the Gilmore law firm signed off on this crumby deal. Now we are stuck with it because that’s what a contract does.

    • Joseph Woolston Brick

      Problem is, it wasn’t this mayor and council that started the whole thing, as usual it was the last Mayor and council that did. Good old Acropolis, the gift that keeps on giving!

      • Mac

        Simple solution. Have the township plant pot plants throughout the entire landfill, and the growth problem will take care of itself between all the trampling of feet and precision clipping that will follow.

  • Frank Rizzo

    The Greek money changer strikes again. Let it grow…who cares if they make solar power or not…the grass will die in the fall and then they can make power again.

  • MT

    Rent the property to a sheep farmer (not goats because they climb). Make money, have a tourist area and clean up all the grass. Yes sheep can climb hills.

    • Chief Wahoo

      Lots of sheep in Bricktucky….They get sheared every year by the public takers.
      ANARCHO-CAPITALISM

  • Mark Story Jenks

    I can’t recall the name of it at the moment, but there is a perennial flowering plant that highway departments across the country use, especially on steep embankments because it eliminates the need for mowing. It grows so thick that it chokes out all other weeds and it stops erosion and it is drought-tolerant. You can see it on either side of the parkway overpass on Cedarbridge road. It spreads quickly, too and is pleasant to the eye and benefits pollinators. I’m pretty sure it is a Legume so it would never require fertilizer, it gets its nitrogen from the air. Plant it once and forget about it. I am certainly no rocket scientist, but wouldn’t that make a lot more sense? When I remember the name of this plant I’ll post it.

    • Joseph Woolston Brick

      Kudzu would do the same but that would be a whole different problem. But it would work.

      • Mark Story Jenks

        I think Kudzu is a vine, and it might climb up and cover the solar panels. Crown Vetch is more bush-like, it doesn’t climb. But I think we both agree that there has to be a less expensive alternative to mowing, especially since it is going to require specialized equipment. For Pete’s sake, for that much money they could plant the whole place with those low growing evergreen bushes like the ones around the sign at the entrance of Brick Hospital.

  • Chief Wahoo

    It was the Red teams fault….No. It was the Blue teams fault….Vote for us !!!!

  • jo jo ormaz

    Simple solution, it’s already fenced off get a few goats let them eat it for free.

  • #@#.com

    theres hardly any weeds there now. They all died over the winter. If township parks and mantainance cant cut this, what can they do? A couple of guys with weed whackers is all you need.

  • #@#.com

    10 Mexicans, 1 day, $100 a day …..$1000. Job done

  • Mark Story Jenks

    The firemen could do a controlled burn. It would be good for them and cost a lot less then $78,357. I’m sure they would be happy with half that amount.

    • Frank Rizzo

      Make perfect sense to me…good thinking.

  • Cosmo J Occhiogrosso

    HOME DEPOT, total vegetation killer. Problem solved

  • Mark Story Jenks

    It was already a superfund site, that is why the township had to spend a fortune to cap it. I sure hope they don’t go spraying the whole place with Roundup. The active ingredient is Glyphosate, and now scientists are calling it a carcinogen. If they do that it will be a superfund site all over again in ten or twenty years. Not to mention the runoff with end up in the Sawmill Creek and Manasquan River. That is a fact.