Mayor Mike Halfacre and the Fair Haven borough council got tough Monday night with its engineering firm for presenting a contract change order that would cost the borough an additional $67,000 for work on its $480,000 River Road streetscape plan.

“We’ve got issues,” Halfacre told principal engineer David M. Marks of T&M Associates in Middletown, which is responsible for the sidewalks, lighting, and new curbing on River Road in the downtown business district. “This is well over what the project should cost.”

The disputed charges include additional landscape ties, pipe for electrical wiring that was originally to come from Jersey Central Power & Light, and other items the borough is being billed for that the mayor insists were “not specified in the contract.”

Councilman Jonathan Peters insisted that T&M “deliver on what was promised. These problems come from T&M.”

Council members also expressed frustration that certain items were absent from in the engineer’s tally. Among them: a credit arising from the replacement of the Memorial Park sidewalks, which were to have been brick until the council acceded to residents who petitioned the governing body for brick instead.

“We should see a credit for not getting the concrete,” Halfacre said.

“We’re not happy with the performance of the borough engineer,” Halfacre told redbankgreen yesterday. In general, he said, the firm’s streetscape plans were not detailed enough to allow proper bidding and construction supervision was lax, permitting mistakes to be made in laying the sidewalks.

The streetscape plan has been debated for the past year and snagged repeatedly over whether the sidewalks would be brick or concrete. The council decided to stick with brick only for Memorial Park, despite entreaties from several River Road business owners.

Marks did not return a phone call from redbankgreen seeking comment.

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