MAHWAH — Inflation of building materials and other pandemic-timed challenges have added several million dollars to plans for a new Department of Public Works complex, according to township officials.

The average Mahwah homeowner would now pay a total of $1,925 over a 23-year span, adding in the increased costs, following the Township Council’s vote on Oct. 21 to move forward with the project.

A roughly $84 annual impact on the average property, as valued at $300,000, was broken down by Mahwah CFO Joseph Kolvalcik during two council meetings.

The ongoing labor shortage for such skilled projects is also adding up to 20% in expenses, Mahwah Township Business Administrator Ben Kezmarsky said, as the town now looks to plan phase two of the DPW complex.

Bids came in earlier this year for the entire project at $27.5 million dollars, just as prices were spiking and materials were out of control, he said.

So, the town rejected those bids and broke the project into two phases.

New bids for phase one, essentially site work and relocating the town's salt shed, then came in at $6.4 million — about $300,000 higher than what was first estimated.

With current materials and labor costs, phase two was being estimated at $25.9 million.

All in, the entire project was now expected to run upwards of $33 million, Kezmarsky continued.

The township already has borrowed $27.5 million for the DPW project, which cannot be transferred to rehabilitating the current facility, under federal finance laws.

“As of right now, all we have is an idea, we don’t even have plans,” Councilman George Ervin said, while questioning how the project materials might be tweaked to reach better cost-effectiveness.

"This is our legacy project," he continued, "But I don't want part of that legacy to be debt that's going to have to be paid long after we are gone."

“Understand that this is a need,” Councilwoman Kim Bolan said during the same session, saying the current DPW facility is not fully up to code.

She said that between the Oct. 7 and Oct. 21 council meetings, she “priced out” DPW projects in other states and found Massachusetts towns smaller than Mahwah were paying even steeper prices for similar structures.

Kolvalcik said all signs point to some type of shortage continuing to be an issue for the next couple of years — adding he’s waiting to build a deck at his own house, as prices currently are soaring.

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