The Republican-dominated Frankford town council voted to approve an ordinance to eliminate the township’s construction department.
According to the New Jersey Herald, councilmember Sam Castimore explained the vote by citing the negative population growth, and “If there's no growth, there is no construction.”
For those Frankford residents who remain and, to Castimore’s surprise, wish to perform some construction on their existing home, the approval process will be more cumbersome.
If the measure is passed, according to State law all permits must go through the state Department of Community Affairs. Frankford Township must provide the state DCA with office space, a computer, and a desk. The DCA will provide a tech assistant for two to four hours a week that Frankford must pay for. Frankford would lose revenue from construction permits, which would instead go to the State.
Alternatively, the DCA could force Frankford residents to go to a neighboring municipality for permits and inspections.
There are currently three towns in Sussex County that do business this way. Lafayette is one, but it is reverting back to municipal control. The other two are Fredon and Andover.
There’s a public hearing on this issue on May ninth at seven o’clock at the Frankford municipal building.
There is a two-year, unexpired term on the township council up for election in 2017. Three Republicans have filed to challenge for that position in the June primary. No Democrats have filed, but it is possible for a Democrat to run a write-in campaign for that seat. He or She must get to twenty-five write-in votes to appear on the November ballot.
Though contracting its construction department, Frankford is at the same time expanding its town council from three to five positions. Four Republicans have filed to appear on the June primary ballot to challenge for those two seats. One Democrat has filed, Mike Leonard. As noted above, other Democrats may run for the open seats as a write-in on the primary ballot.