Western New Jersey

Move of Phillipsburg town workers on hold... for now

Everyone expected in new building by late-July

PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - A deadline for the big move at Philipsburg's municipal building has come and gone, but the employees are still there, and so is mold. The town's' mayor, Stephen Ellis, said, for now, changing conditions are allowing workers to stay.

Workers will be moving. Ellis said he signed the lease on the new building Thursday night. Ellis also told 69 News the improved conditions at the current building will allow the town to move employees at a more controlled pace instead of everyone getting out at once.

In the meantime, the temperature is rising, and the air conditioning units at the municipal building are doing a lot more than just keeping workers cool.

"What we did is we took remedial action,” said Ellis. “We cannot turn on the chiller because we could have the same problem as last year."

The building has a serious mold problem. The upstairs floor is closed, and so is the basement.

Originally, everyone was to be out of the building by June 30, but window unit air conditioners bringing in fresh air and negative pressure fans removing the mold have been keeping the levels down.

An air quality report submitted to Ellis shows an environmentalist said it's appropriate to occupy the building.

"Right now, we are somewhat confident that we are safe in here,” added Ellis, "but that doesn't say we are going to stop our effort to move, which I signed the papers with intent to lease with option to buy yesterday."

That building, on South Main Street, will allow all employees except for the police department to move.
Employees working in the areas with the worst air quality will move first.

The town is still under monthly monitoring, but Ellis said with a plan in place, it won't be hit with daily fines of $10,000 from the state.

"As long as we keep taking that next step, putting one foot in front of the other and they feel we are making a good faith to move everyone out of here," said Ellis.

There is a town council meeting next Wednesday, and once approved, employees will start to move. Ellis said he believes all people will be in the new building by the third week of July.

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