Western New Jersey

Phillipsburg town council president against move to Freeman Elementary

VIDEO: Phillipsburg municipal workers...

PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - Phillipsburg Town Council President Todd Tersigni  says he hasn't been inside the municipal office building since mold was discovered last year.

"I will not step foot in there. I made it clear [the employees] needed to be out of there. For me to go back in there I would be called a hypocrite," Tersigni said. 

Tersigni says he's heard complaints from employees about working in the mold-infested building and is concerned for their well-being.

"I stated on the record in an open meeting, it's only going to take one person to get sick to create chaos in the town, he said.

Last week, Phillipsburg Mayor Stephen Ellis said he agreed to a lease swap with the school district.

Town employees will soon set up shop in the old Freeman Elementary School until a permanent solution can be found. That solution would preferably be downtown and in walking distance for many residents.

"We didn't leave any stone unturned downtown looking for a new municipal building," Mayor Ellis said.

Tersigni says he's concerned about the condition of the old elementary school.

"Being empty for two years, there could possibly be environmental issues," he says. 

He says a better answer is to rent space from Warren County Community College.

"It has a clean bill of health and it's ready to go and it's ready to move in. There's no renovations that could cost millions of dollars," he said.

Mayor Ellis says the cost to rent from the college is about $400,000 over three years, which is an unnecessary expense for the town.

He adds the town will save money leasing offices from the school district and they will use those savings to eventually build a new municipal hall.

He says he hopes to have employees move into the new building next month.

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