SWEDESBORO- At their meeting on April 21, the Swedesboro Council adopted the community’s 2014 municipal budget after a public hearing.
Homes that were assessed at Swedesboro’s average of just over $186,000 will see their tax rate increased by 3 cents per $100 of the home’s value.
The tax hike added up to about an extra dollar a week, or $52 a year, according to Swedesboro Mayor Tom Fromm. Councilmember Sam Casella gave credit to the Finance Committee for a successful budget.
“Those guys have looked at a lot of numbers and did a lot of work,” Casella praised. “I’m very happy with the budget.”
In the public portion of the meeting, a familiar issue in Swedesboro returned to the spotlight. Franklin Avenue resident Trish Sutcliffe noted that trucks were still speeding down their street at speeds between 45 and 60 miles per hour. “We hear them speeding through the area at 5:30 a.m., they’re that loud,” said Sutcliffe. “It’s like a race track out there.”
Fromm supports the addition of stop signs on the street. “I think it’s time to pursue two or three stop signs on Franklin,” he commented. “We just can’t live with this stuff anymore.”
The community has been plagued with speeding for years, and there is a four-ton weight limit on trucks passing through Franklin Avenue. But Fromm explained that Gloucester County wouldn’t allow Swedesboro to lower the speed limit on the street if they don’t enforce the current speed rate.
Woolwich Police Lieutenant Joseph Morgan said that there is more of a police presence on Franklin Street, and ticket writing has increased. “Trucks are coming through that aren’t from here,” he added.
Casella observed that some of the truck drivers are directed there by Global Positioning Systems, and don’t know that the community’s rules have changed. Fromm argued that the GPS systems weren’t a factor. “There can be zero tolerance,” stated the mayor.
Sutcliffe offered to get petitions signed from their neighborhood regarding the matter. “We can ask for stop signs from the County on that street,” Fromm noted. “We can get them for the whole neighborhood.”
For Public Works, Fromm announced that pre-job meetings had begun for the addition of crosswalks to Swedesboro. Franklin, Mechanic, and South Street are some of the proposed locations for the crosswalks.
In his Garbage and Recycling report, Councilmember George Weeks pointed out that the community was recycling a slight bit less than in 2013, and had thrown out a little less. “That’s a good sign,” Weeks observed. “We have about 33 percent recyclables, around the national average.”
Councilmember Joanna Gahrs noted in her Parks and Recreation report that this year’s Christmas parade was in the discussion stage. “They’ll be drawing fire trucks from all around,” said Councilmember Patrick Wilbraham. “That’s the main attraction.”
In Street Lighting, Casella reported that a lot of the community’s electrical poles were leaning, and Atlantic Electric was coming out to look at them. And in Economic Development, Councilmember Diane Hale announced that two new businesses, Three Palms Tanning, and a consulting firm had come to the community.
And Municipal Clerk Tanya Goodwin mentioned that she was interested in running the Swedesboro Intern Program again this year. “They were great kids,” Goodwin said. “That was a great program,” added Hale. “It opened up the eyes of a lot of those kids toward government last year.”
Council also approved an ordinance that would turn Ashton Avenue into a one-way street. Casella suggested that residents need a warning of the upcoming change. It takes 20 days from the adoption of the ordinance for it to take effect, according to Fromm.
“People are creatures of habit,” commented Hale. “They’ll say, ‘It was never this way before.’”
Later Fromm announced that he and Hale had met with someone who had expressed an interest in the vacant Interpac building. “It’s a brewery,” explained Fromm. “They are from North Jersey, and they have roots here.”