The Livingston Township Council agreed to move forward with plans to put solar panels on three township buildings at the Monday conference meeting.
The solar panels - which are intended to generate electricity - are proposed for the roof of township hall, the public library and the senior and community center.
Bids on the project went out in December, and Township Manager Michele Meade said the low bidder was ESMA Solar Company, who would do the work for $467,234, which was less than expected.
Meade said energy consultant Steve Winter Associates estimated the solar panels would be an asset for 25 years. The energy consultant said it would take about 12½ to pay off the solar array on the township hall and 14 years to pay off the solar array on the library.
Meade said the project "looks like it makes sense" since the construction costs are fairly low.
Councilwoman Deborah Shapiro said the township should move ahead with the project since "given the cost of electricity, which we know is not going down." The council agreed to award the contract at the next meeting on May 7.
Officials also discussed getting pre-paid procurement cards for certain employees to purchase smaller, necessary office items.
Meade said the cards are intended to be used for unexpected needs - such as batteries - and purchases made with them would have greater accountability since all transactions will be recorded as they are made.
The cards would be restricted to set amounts at specific stores and township supervisors would distribute cards on a limited basis, Meade said.
Currently, township workers handle small purchase items by paying out of pocket and then waiting for a supervisor’s approval to get reimbursed.
Shapiro said she was concerned the procurement cards could be misused by workers for private purchases.
Meade said procurement cards could make it easier to check what was bought and to follow up on items that are bought. She added employees who abuse the cards would be made to pay back the township.
Deputy Mayor Rudy Fernandez said procurement cards would be useful for other situations as well, such as the purchase of small, needed items during an emergency like the October unexpected rainstorm and blackout.
The council members agreed to further discuss the issue at the next meeting.