Manee Place is a small low-lying street off Holmdel Road with 10 homes, where the high water table and poor soil is unfavorable to septic systems. In 2008 Manee Place residents petitioned the town for sewers, and a motion was passed by the Township Committee to create a funding ordinance.
Five years later, nothing has been done, and the 2012 governing body has picked up the request. On August 16, a financial framework was approved by a 3-1 vote, which will allow officials to draft an ordinance and formally re-visit the topic with the street's residents.
"We're not saying we're going to do it," said Mayor Patrick Impreveduto, one of five voting members on the Committee. "Manee Place people have a right to tell us what they want. If the nine people that are on this block say, 'We don't want sewers,' well, you know what, its your neighborhood. I'm going to vote with you. If they say we want sewers, well it's up to them."
But the township's longtime engineer, Ed Broberg of T&M Associates, said his professional recommendation is to put Manee on the sewer map. "It's clear in my mind -- very clear in my mind -- that this area needs this kind of sewering." The hookup would be simple, he said. Each home, equipped with a sophisticated ejector system, would be hooked up to a 2-3 inch main buried shallow in the street.
The assessment ordinance, which has not yet been formally introduced, lays out what the township's contribution will be to the project's cost after the project's completion. It is computed by comparing the assessment of the homes' value with sewers against the actual cost of the project. The lower number is then divided by the property owners on the street.
On August 16, the Township Committee agreed that the the township would kick in 10 percent, or $2,500 per property, not to exceed $25,000, over 15 years.
"It could be less than this," Township Engineer Ed Broberg. "It could be nothing. It could be more than this."
Officials stressed nothing has been decided. The residents of Manee Place will be surveyed on their preferances once again, publicly noticed of the pending legislation and a public hearing.
No one is sure how the block will take the news. Since their petition was submitted, two of the properties have changed hands, and one resident who built a new house there has since had to put in a mound system that is said to have cost more than $50,000. Others are frustrated by the lack of government action. "I have two residents who call me on a monthly basis," said Township Clerk Maureen Doloughty.
The availability of a sewer main will mean that all residents will be required to demolish their septic tank at their expense, pay a $1,000 hookup fee to the town, and participate in sewer maintenance costs and quarterly fees.
Township Committeeman Larry Fink, who is leaving the Committee in November after 12 years, did not vote in favor of drafting the ordinance. He indicated he was still interested in the further research he requested from the engineer in 2008.
Fink also said he was concerned about what happens next. "By taking action tonight, we are advancing ultimately towards installing sewers in that neighborhood."
Township Administrator Andy Katz said that was not the case, that the vote was just a necessary step to allow township officals to engage in a formal process to examine the situation and begin the public process with the residents.
Mayor Impreveduto, Deputy Mayor Eric Hinds, and Committeeman Joseph Ponisi voted to pass the motion. Committeeman Greg Buontempo was absent.