SWEDESBORO — The Swedesboro Council introduced the borough’s 2014 budget at their meeting on March 17.
Homes assessed at Swedesboro’s average of just over $186,000 will see a tax rate increase of 3 cents per $100 of the home’s value.
According to Mayor Tom Fromm, the average homeowner would pay about an extra $52 a year, or $1 per week. “It’s a good budget in this day and age,” Fromm commented. “The 15 percent increase in health care got us this year, or there wouldn’t have been an increase.”
Councilmember Dave Flaherty credited Fromm and the Councilmembers for coming together on the budget. “We are able to do things that we were never able to do,” Flaherty observed.
In Public Safety, the Council recommended to Woolwich Police Lieutenant Joseph Morgan that the local police issue a crimelog for the community. Councilmember Sam Casella asked that the Council be informed about certain crimes so they could reassure businesses and residents. “If a crime involves a weapon, violence, or assault, we would like to be notified,” stressed Fromm.
“When there’s crime in Swedesboro, we want to know about it,” added the mayor. “We’d rather that people know about it than be a victim.”
Councilmember Patrick Wilbraham suggested including the crimelog on Swedesboro’s website.
The Councilmembers also expressed concerns about the condition of the town’s roads after the hard winter. Casella called for Gloucester County trucks that repair potholes to spend a day in Swedesboro, while Councilmember Diane Hale questioned the condition of Swedesboro’s street sweeper.
Fromm said he was informed that the County has two pothole trucks, and they are scheduled for use days in advance. The mayor also noted that the town has asked its engineer for concepts in making the Intrapac building on Ashton Avenue public parking. Swedesboro is considering turning Ashton into a one-way street.
In resolutions, the Council approved asking the state legislature to make the two percent cap on interest arbitration awards permanent. “This resolution was sent out to all of New Jersey’s mayors by the League of Municipalities,” Fromm explained. “The cap was set to expire on April 1, and this would be sent to Trenton to make it permanent.”
In departments, Casella reported that the Environmental Commission had finalized 2014 kayaking events for July and August. In Economic Development, Hale announced that the Olde Kings Blues Knite was scheduled for April 26, and this year’s Outdoor Living and Garden Show will take place on May 17.
The Councilmember also mentioned that Autism Awareness Month is in April, and Swedesboro’s Light It Up Blue campaign will return. Area businesses are encouraged to participate.
Parks and Recreation Representative Councilmember Joanna Gahrs touted the success of the recent Father-Daughter Dances in the community. Gahrs pointed out that some people were upset that their children couldn’t come to the events due to fire code regulations.
Elsewhere, Municipal Clerk Tanya Goodwin noted that a recent rabies clinic had gone well for the community, with 87 shots being recorded. And Councilmember George Weeks said that Gloucester County representatives would be attending Swedesboro’s next Board of Health meeting with regard to senior services.
Also, Fromm added that Bill Goodwin has resigned as Water Treatment Operator, but had agreed to stay on until a replacement can be found for the position.