East Greenwich Addresses Vacant Township Properties

east greenwich webby Robert Holt

MICKLETON — During their meeting on July 22, the East Greenwich Township Committee introduced an ordinance that would require registration and maintenance of properties that had been abandoned, foreclosed, or vacant in the community. Abandoned properties in the area can be registered annually for $600.

Mayor Dale Archer expressed pride in the ordinance. “This township is no longer going to allow unfit buildings to remain erect when they could present a safety hazard to the community,” commented Archer.

Deputy Mayor James Philbin worked on establishing the ordinance. “This will bring some accountability to property owners and mortgage companies to register their land with the community,” Philbin explained. “We have no contact information with some of these owners.”

The Committee also discussed an Unfit Structure Ordinance. “If we identify a home that is desperately in need of repair and is deemed uninhabitable, this gives us the opportunity to take action against the homeowner,” stated Philbin. But the deputy mayor pointed out that more funds may be needed to deal with a homeowner who is unwilling to comply with issues found related to his property.

“We will do anything we possibly can to work with a homeowner,” maintained Archer. “But in a worst-case scenario, the home may be torn down.”

Elsewhere, after a public hearing, the Committee tabled an ordinance that would allow them to refinance a bond payment of $500,000. The ordinance could not be adopted because it had been approved by the state, and only three Committee members were able to attend the meeting.

Action was expected to be taken on the matter at a future date. The measure would cost East Greenwich more over the long term, but saved the township $325,000 in its recently introduced budget.

East Greenwich Township had a budget deficit of $495,000 at one point, and turned to the state of New Jersey for assistance. Archer said East Greenwich took the advice of state officials in introducing the bond ordinance.

“It’s not something that we wanted to do, but it was a necessity,” noted the mayor.

In resolutions, the Committee authorized the purchase of a Vermeer Brush Chipper for $45,633 through a state contract. “We have not had a chipper that has been working since November of last year,” said Archer. “We are in need of one desperately.”

The Committee approved the hiring of Elizabeth McBride as a crossing guard, and they also passed a resolution that would share the community’s Construction Department services with Paulsboro.

Philbin noted that Paulsboro’s building inspector retired this year, creating a need.

“We’ll handle their inspections, and this shared service will save money for the Township, and for Paulsboro,” added Archer.

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