A $33.4 million school construction project will move forward after a court-ordered recount found no change in a tightly contested proposal from the South Hunterdon Regional School District.
The board of education was seeking approval to issue bonds to construct a new middle school to house grades 5 to 8 and to make comprehensive improvements to Lambertville Elementary School to provide upgraded facilities for its pre-K to grade four school building, including but not limited to HVAC, electric, plumbing, improvements to ancillary areas and construction of a new entry.
The Nov. 2 vote was extremely close, with 1,773 yes votes and 1,771 no votes. Voters in Lambertville and Stockton overwhelmingly want the project to be approved, but voters in West Amwell are against it.
After results came in, Superintendent Anthony Suozzo thanked voters who supported the proposal. But just a week later, attorneys for a group of West Amwell Township residents, including the mayor and members of the township committee, asked for a recount, citing potential errors in the counting of machine and paper ballots. The Hunterdon County Board of Elections and the Hunterdon County Clerk’s Office opposed the measure.
On Dec. 10, Judge Michael F. O’Neill of the Superior Court of New Jersey of Vicinage 13 ordered a recount to move forward, citing the incredibly close vote tally.
In a Dec. 14 letter to O’Neill, the Hunterdon County Board of Elections noted that the recount had been conducted, with no change in the result.
About $6.7 million of the $33.4 million to fund the project will come from state funds.