Rescue Squad Update

Hi,

I sorry for the very long post but I wanted to update everyone on the South Orange Rescue Squad and the status of our headquarters.

We have moved out of the Third St building that was our home of 43 years to make room for the 3rd and Valley redevelopment project. Until our new building is constructed, we are operating out of temporary quarters in an apartment and garage on 4th Street.

Our mail is (hopefully) being forwarded but the mailing address is:

South Orange Rescue Squad
13 Fourth Street
South Orange, NJ 07079

As many MOL readers are aware, a few weeks ago the South Orange Board Of Trustees voted to change the way construction of our new headquarters is being handled.

Originally, Jonathan Rose (the developer of the 3rd & Valley project) had agreed to re-build our headquarters as part of the development. They later decided that it would be better to move our headquarters off-site and to contribute $1.1 million towards the project as payment for the value of our current building, which they will be knocking down in the next few days. The town would also get additional parking spaces in the parking deck being built where our previous building was located (and where the new one would have been).

Last month the BOT decided that it would be quicker, easier and cheaper for us to handle the project ourselves because we are not a municipal agency but rather a private 501c3 organization. We have much more flexibility in working and negotiating with builders, contractors and architects than municipal governments do and aren't subjected to the same bidding requirements, etc that can cause big delays in public projects.

So the board voted to have Jonathan Rose pay the money directly to us, to be used towards the construction of the new building. The town has agreed to sell us the parking lot next to the Firehouse for $1, which is the same thing as what was done in 1968 for the land on 3rd Street that we have now been evicted from.

Once Jonathan Rose closed on the 3rd and Valley property a week or so ago, we were able to access all of the plans, reports, etc that have been done regarding the new building.

After evaluating all of it, we have decided not to continue the contract with the architect that Jonathan Rose had hired and instead bring on a local architect who has extensive experience designing these types of Rescue Squads and Fire Stations. Due to the fact that the town had not yet decided on a final design plan, 90% of the architect’s contracted work had not been completed so we were not losing much ground or money by doing this.

The new architect is currently preparing drawings to submit to us for approval next week, and once we OK them he will start immediately on the actual construction documents.

The big question of course, is the budget and if we will have enough money to get it built.

Of the $1.1 million that Jonathan Rose is contributing, approximately $70,000 has already been spent on surveys, soil samples, geotechnical work, engineering reports, legal fees, architects fees, etc. so the actual amount we are actually getting is $1.03 million.

We are retaining the same engineering firm, which has already completed about 80% of its contract-- so most of that money will not have to be re-spent.

Between architects fees and the builder’s overhead and profit, we will be spending another $180,000 to $200,000 before we even start to build. Site work (excavation, connecting to sewer, water, power, etc) will also be very expensive, so we are expecting to only have about $700,000 left for actual construction.

Once the architect completes about 50% of his construction documents, we can price it out with builders and negotiate a contract.

While we are hoping of course to get it all built with the money provided by Jonathan Rose, that may not be possible. That amount was never intended to be what it would cost to construct a new building—it was the value of the additional space gained by removing the Rescue Squad HQ from the 3rd and Valley project—essentially payment for our old building.

So we plan on appealing to you—the public—for help. We will be organizing some fundraisers to try and raise some money for the construction and will have info on some of them soon.

Additionally, if anyone has any fundraising experience and some free time… we need your help.

We are all volunteers and our main focus is of course is providing high quality free emergency medical care to the community. But we have no administrative staff. So all of the other things that go along with it-- fundraising, accounting, maintenance, recruiting, training, etc has to also be done by the same EMTs who are responding to calls (in addition to all of them having families and careers).

In addition to all of that, now we also have to manage a major construction project. So we could definitely use some outside volunteers who might be able to help with things like organizing fundraising ideas and events—both for this building project and our regular operating budget as well.

We are funded by tax-deductible donations and 100% of funds donated go towards providing free Emergency Medical Care to members of the community.

So although you may see our building reduced to a pile of rubble within the next week, we are still here.

Just call 911.

Thank you,

Dan Cohen
Captain
South Orange Rescue Squad

Thanks for the update, Dan.

SORescue said:


We have moved out of the Third St building that was our home of 43 years to make room for the 3rd and Valley redevelopment project. Until our new building is constructed, we are operating out of temporary quarters in an apartment and garage on 4th Street.



Thank you for the informative update. Can you share the cost of the "temporary quarters" and whether the Village is paying for that, or if that is another amount that needs to be subtracted from the $1.03M you are receiving?


Thanks so much for the facts and truth. We are all excited for you to have the new home you deserve.

I wonder if one of the project managers in town would be willing to help the Rescue Squad with this project. Unfortunately, I have zero expertise that would be useful to this project.

Steve said:

I wonder if one of the project managers in town would be willing to help the Rescue Squad with this project. Unfortunately, I have zero expertise that would be useful to this project.


I know a PMP certified project manager that is well versed in SO.

Dan,

What you are really saying is that in their infinite lack of wisdom our intrepid BOT has entered into an arrangement under which the squad will be short changed and the public put in the position to have to pay for a good part of a new building that should be fully paid for by the developer. Good show, BOT, what will you do to us next?

Torpey, who had zero experience with building anything, agreed to an amount that was not based on anything substantive. And the development attorney, too, was flying by the seat of his pants. And instead of proceeding with due diligence, Torpey in his "just get it done" mindset, put the Rescue Squad into this predicament. That will be his legacy. Not a taj building with a shelter.

Plus, when Goldberg tried to raise some questions about the amount of money, he took every opportunity to berate him. Of course, other BOT members went blythely along with Torpey. Torpey can now hang a Torpey "man of vision" honorary plaque on the rental garage and rental apartment.

Unfortunately, now we have another SOPAC-like situation. Build it, then fund raise. Look how that worked out.

Doesn't sound like a good deal to me. You should have held out for more money.

No good deed goes unpunished

Dan - Thank you for the update and good luck.

Thanks for the update Dan and I don't believe this to be your fault. You have just revealed what the posters on MOL have been saying for over a year. For the record, the $1.1m WAS intended to replace the building and the redevelopment attorney confirms this with his statements to the BOT. While it is clearly Torpey's fault for this extensive delay and waste of funds, he is not fully responsible for coming up with the replacement cost. We know the VP is a know it all and likely pushed the low numbers to get a deal done, but the redevelopment attorney is responsible. He clearly did not have enough due diligence done and has put the village in a bad position. Now the RS is in a bad position and Mr. Torpey has all the sudden gone very quiet. If he was a true leader he would admit his mistakes and be at the front of the fundraising efforts to make up for the villages failures. It's a shame, this whole mess could have been avoided.

Just in case there is any question about the funding and the Attorney's comments.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRnczU6CzDA

Ok. Here is the transcript of the video. The exchange is between the Redevelopment attorney that got SO into this mess and Trustee Goldberg.

Village redevelopment Attorney: " I think... Because it's not a particularly complicated bldg., I mean there's an elevator, that's probably the most expensive thing in it. Um, it's a big garage with a building on top. The SENSE is that $1.1m SHOULD BE A PRETTY GOOD NUMBER and we'll be able to fine tune that pretty quickly.
(Directed to Michael Goldberg) "You sound doubtful"

Michael Goldberg: "I am doubtful... I just think maybe construction alone, but by the time you fit it out and again design and architects and all that stuff...."

The attorney's comments are empty. He had no clue what the bldg. would cost. He guessed. Clearly the refinement never occurred. He and the firm he works for should be held responsible for this. Is the village going to sit idle knowing they got bad representation?

let's not turn this into a bash fest. if you want to do that-there are 12 other threads for you.

Let's focus on helping the Rescue Squad get what it needs. I'd like to volunteer to build a professional website for the rescue squad, get the seo right, and hopefully increase the viability and donations for the squad.

Let's do both.
Let's help volunteer efforts that serve the interest of our community to fulfill their mission, even (or perhaps especially) if their interests were mishandled.
But let's also not give lazy and/or incompetent people a pass for squandering trust and tax money.

I think the village should immediately make them whole for whatever money was wasted while the *****around gang debated this for months. The bad deal was $1.1M, we should at least pitch them the 70 grand we burned.

The Village President is a member of the rescue squad. I'm sure he's been delivered a similar message very clearly. grin

I said a while back that this burden shifting was coming.

I hope this didn't happen, but what if the squad doesn't raise enough money? Do they keep renting the temporary space? Does Torpey pay up for his role in this, does the development attorney pay anything, or will the village and thus the taxpayers be forced to help out?

If the Rescue Squad isn't able to raise enough money, I don't think that it can obtain a loan for the shortfall. It seems that the only course of action that the Rescue Squad has in that case is to ask the Village for a loan, to cover the shortfall.


What about Maplewood pitching in, especially since the Rescue Squad services their town as well?

Or what about saying enough to the CCR and giving that money to the Squad? That would help.

So rescue,
I think people will be more receptive to funding the rescue squad than sopac, so you may not be in as much a quandary.

Regarding space, what is it that you actually need -three garage bays, with about a thousand sq foot of built up space for equipment including a place for squad members to rest?

Let's see what cost estimate the architects come back with, but you might be able to get by with $1 mln - since the land is already paid for.


newstead77 said:



Regarding space, what is it that you actually need -three garage bays, with about a thousand sq foot of built up space for equipment including a place for squad members to rest?

Let's see what cost estimate the architects come back with, but you might be able to get by with $1 mln - since the land is already paid for.

They also need a radio and equipment for the ambulances. Mainly, there is an exhaust system that hooks up to the trucks that indoor garages with attached living space need to have, you see it in FD buildings and ambulance bays. I don't know how much both of those go for, so they might not necessarily put them over budget, but seeing the transcript above about the elevator being the most expensive part it seems to me like the attorney didn't figure in the specific needs of a squad.


They should already have the radio and equipment - as they are currently operating. They would only need to move it to the new building.

Regarding exhaust, yes - I've seen that many times as I used to park in rescue lot. I'm sure it costs something but their budget of a million isn't insignificant either.



Was anything of use salvaged from the old garage? Perhaps the blower from the old exhaust system or anything like that?

The rescue squad needs rescuing, the village is lacking a village hall, and a web site update is apparently too difficult a task for someone who makes a living as a web developer.

Do I have this right?

The people of South Orange really need to file a restraining order against the V.P. He's dangerously stupid.

dave said:

The rescue squad needs rescuing, the village is lacking a village hall, and a web site update is apparently too difficult a task for someone who makes a living as a web developer.

Do I have this right?


Pretty much spot on.

ETA we also have a vp that doesn't have a clue and could care less about the residents

best1 said:

The people of South Orange really need to file a restraining order against the V.P. He's dangerously stupid.


I nominate @best1 for poster if the month and by default villager of the month.



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