The township council tabled a resolution Monday concerning maintenance of police equipment—and their reasons centered on concerns over continued discussions about the new county police dispatch system.
The resolution is for a proprietary maintenance contract with New World Systems for $52,085 to continue maintenance of software equipment in the police department, and it is a yearly contract.
“We are in year three of a five-year contract, which will expire in 2014,” said township administrator James Naples.
Councilman Howard Norgalis said he has always been against this renewal because the technology is from 2003, and is out-of-date.
“I think we need to look for something else for the future,” he said.
But council members expressed further concerns about whether this contract should be awarded while the county is still considering a new dispatch system and police merger.
If the township were to show its support for the proposed police merger, said council president Allen Kurdyla, they should not be paying for software maintenance of a system that is not used by the county.
“We would have to put money toward the change,” he said.
But at this point, the county has not put out any new information about the proposed merger.
A feasibility study released in April on the proposed system showed a consolidated police department could save about $44 million over the next 10 years, and the county municipalities currently have about a month left to weigh in on their thoughts about the proposed merger.
The merger as proposed takes what would become a county-wide police department and divides it into five precincts, with Bridgewater being in Precinct 3 with Branchburg, Raritan, Somerville and Bound Brook.
Savings for Bridgewater residents could be upwards of $4.4 million.
Kurdyla asked to move the resolution to the Aug. 6 meeting while information is gathered as to when the decision on the merger could be made.
“Can we put this off to get some firmer direction as to what our anticipated costs would be if we chose to go to the county?” he asked. “One item would be the time frame, if the county time frame is a year or two out.”
Councilman Matthew Moench agreed with the decision to table the resolution, but said that even if the county decision is made quickly, maintenance still needs to be done until the change takes affect.
“Unless they say they are going to change in a month or two, we still need maintenance for the system we have,” he said.
Naples said that if the merger happens, county representatives have said it will take about two years for the set-up to be complete anyway.
And council members said they would still like to hold off until they get a little more information.
“To make a decision on maintenance, and I do believe it is required, I would like to make a decision knowing this may be the last time we do it,” Kurdyla said. “I don’t like having a lose end out there.”
The resolution will be heard again Aug. 6.