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Update Regarding Proposed Project at Shongum Lake & Special Assessment

Posted: May 5, 2023

Shongum Lake Property Owners Association (“SLPOA”) has been conditionally awarded a loan from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) to perform the dredging of strategic areas within Shongum Lake.

NJDEP has conditionally awarded the amount of $5,000,375. The loan is repayable at two percent (2%) interest, over the course of twenty years. The law governing the NJDEP loan program requires that Randolph Township act as co-applicant and co-borrower on the loan, and specially assess all of those properties that benefit from the project. The assessment would be made against all of the approximately 801 properties that have a license or a lake right to use Shongum Lake. The amounts assessed would be used to pay-off the loan over the twenty-year period.

SLPOA approached the township and asked if there would be support for the township to act as co-applicant and co-borrower on the loan for the strategic dredging of Shongum Lake. The township council deliberated on the dredging, and otherwise improving, the lake. There is clearly value to the properties within the Shongum Lake project area from having a well maintained and viable lake. The township council further reflected and believed there is a broader benefit to the entire community in terms of maintaining property values across the township by seeing the lake sustained as a natural resource and a place of recreation.

Randolph Township and SLPOA relied upon a preliminary appraisal report prepared by Holzhauer & Holenstein, LLC (“H&H”) to estimate the benefit to each of the properties that have a license or lake rights to use Shongum Lake. The H&H appraisal report determined that there are three distinct categories of benefit and recommended that the assessment be made on a tiered basis, including lakefront, canal access, and lake community.

Randolph Township required that SLPOA demonstrate a minimum of two-thirds of the approximately 801 properties are in favor of the project and the special assessment. On February 9 the township received a total of 538 petitions in favor of the proposed project satisfying the township’s requirement in order to contemplate authorizing a co-borrower agreement and special assessment ordinance.

This evening the township council considers the introduction of the necessary special assessment ordinance, which will allow the process of the strategic dredging of Shongum Lake to continue. It should be noted that such a special assessment is not reflected as township debt. In addition, all the costs associated with this project will be covered by SLPOA as part of a deficiency agreement, which will be considered by the township council at its meeting of May 18, 2023.

The legislative process the township council must follow includes ample opportunity for public input, including the public hearing on this special assessment ordinance (scheduled for May 18), the public meeting to determine assessments once the project is completed and total costs are certified, and finally a public hearing on the confirmation of the assessments.

Randolph Township has prepared frequently asked questions about the special assessment process .