MICKLETON — At their meeting on April 22, the East Greenwich Township Committee denied an amended bond ordinance that would appropriate $272,000 for a number of capital improvements, and the acquisition of equipment. The township has severe budget issues, and wants to reassess its needs.
“We’re in dire straits,” stressed East Greenwich Mayor Dale Archer. “Our budget is a mess.” Some of the money was to go toward additional trash carts for the community, a 4-wheel drive vehicle for the police department, and necessary improvements to Swedesboro Road, according to Committeeman Stephen Bottiglieri.
The East Greenwich Police Department encountered another expense because their fingerprinting machine hasn’t been working properly. The problem appeared to be with the software, and upgrades run at $25,000 and higher.
East Greenwich Township Lieutenant Charles Barone mentioned that at some point the FBI and the New Jersey State Police would stop accepting their fingerprints because of the software. Bottiglieri commented, “We need a new system that can comply with state systems.”
“The no vote is to squash this ordinance until it can be redone,” said Committeeman Sam Giordano.
And after a public hearing, the Committee approved an ordinance that revised the rate on police-related services provided by officers who were off-duty. They also authorized advertising for a part-time accounts receivable clerk.
In discussion points, the Committee considered conducting an audit of the Length of Service Awards program for East Greenwich Fire and Rescue.
That program was established in 2003 and dates back to 1999, according to Giordano. “It’s a tax-deferred payment that goes to the volunteers as an incentive,” he explained. “There have been some issues with it.”
Giordano suggested that he and Bottiglieri form a committee to check on the validity and soundness of the program, and conduct the audit.
Another discussion item involved the possible closing of the administrative wing of the municipal building on Fridays. Municipal Clerk Sue Costill pointed out that only one employee would be working in that wing now, and feared that might be a security risk. Earlier in the evening the Committee hired Angelina Martin, who had previously worked in the Tax Office, for another full-time position.
“In my opinion, I don’t think that’s a safe environment,” Archer contended. “We’ll do anything we can to help out,” offered Barone. “Whatever is needed, we’ll do whatever we can to accommodate.”
Archer moved to temporarily close the administrative wing on Fridays.
At the start of the meeting, the Committee honored retiring Escrow Clerk Carol Mullen for her 10 years of service in the Construction Office. Zoning Enforcement Officer James Sabetta observed, “When Carol was out on sick leave, she would call and ask for her work to be brought home to her.” Committeeman Tom Decker said he was sorry to see her go.
Archer called Mullen a person who “makes the Committee look good on a daily basis.” “You will be sadly, sadly missed,” praised the mayor.
Mullen noted that she loved East Greenwich, and it was the town of her childhood.