MICKLETON — Mayor Dale Archer announced the first annual East Greenwich Day Parade at the Township Committee meeting on March 11.
East Greenwich Township has hosted a parade in the past, but has not held a parade for nearly a decade. “This will come at no cost to the taxpayers,” Archer explained. “The Parks and Recreation Committee are financing it on grant money and private funding.”
Archer opened up the parade to the public, and to any people who had a cause and wanted to walk. “This event is about bringing our community together and creating lasting memories for our children,” said the mayor. “We want to restore the community back in East Greenwich.”
The tentative route for the parade route starts at the Shady Lane Complex, goes up Shady Lane Road to Kings Highway, then south to the Samuel Mickle School grounds. The event is scheduled for Sept. 20.
Deputy Mayor Jim Philbin commented, “Based upon our current financial hardship, it is wonderful that the township can find the resources to give back to our community without any cost to our taxpayers.”
As far as the East Greenwich budget, earlier in the meeting the Committee approved an ordinance that would amend the township’s salary ordinance. “We have a temporary budget, and needed to add money to our fire department,” clarified Archer.
The financial report from Committeeman Stephen Bottiglieri was not encouraging. “We are still working with CFO Bob Law to close out our 2013 budget so we can prepare the 2014 budget,” explained Bottiglieri. “We ran a significant deficit in 2013, and it is likely to increase in 2014.”
“Mr. Law is working 110 percent to get our budget done accurately,” Bottiglieri added. “It’s important to try and find out where mistakes were made in 2013, and see that they are not repeated.”
Elsewhere, the Committee approved a resolution endorsing the submission of a tonnage grant application. “This is for our Environmental Committee for some of the recycling that we do,” mentioned Archer.
In his Public Works report, Archer pointed out that winter weather, overtime, and constant use of road salt has “wreaked havoc on the community budget.” The mayor praised the efforts of the department for keeping the roads clear.
The Committee also discussed possible shared services with Kingsway High School regarding the use of East Greenwich’s Public Works garage. The garage, located on Wolfert Station Road, could house Kingsway’s buses and become a full service mechanical garage.
“The opportunity will open doors for a long term shared service with the township to utilize Kingsway’s mechanics,” Archer said. “Furthermore, the site would be equipped with a wash center that could attract additional revenue from other townships within the region.”
“We’ll be able to have quicker service on our police cars, and all we’ll be paying for is labor,” he added.
During the public portion of the meeting, Gatherings Homeowners Association President Meg Cossaboon inquired as to whether promised improvement work by developer Beazer Homes had been progressing. “Beazer makes a lot of promises,” she said.
Archer noted that he and Deputy Mayor James Philbin had recently met with the Gatherings Homeowners Association for 90 minutes and pointed out that a lot of ordinances have been violated at the community.
“We will not tolerate developers dictating to us or our residents,” Archer declared. “We got the certificates of occupancy stopped last month, and I think they got the message.”
Cossaboon thanked the Committee for their continued support.
And the Committee discussed the withdrawal of a complaint by local developer Ron Zeck. Archer called it a big win for East Greenwich, crediting Township Solicitor Mark Shoemaker for reaching out to Zeck and preventing a potential lawsuit.
Shoemaker also told the Committee that they had no legal obligation to record their executive sessions. Committeeman Tom Decker had a differing opinion, saying, “I believe this is more of a transparency issue, and it comes close to crossing the line.”