MICKLETON — The East Greenwich Township Committee finally adopted its 2014 municipal budget during their meeting on Aug. 12. The community has been working with the state of New Jersey to balance its budget, which once showed a near $500,000 deficit.
A home assessed at East Greenwich’s average value of $267,359 will see their taxes go up by $24. Township tax rates will be increasing to 29.9 cents for each $100 of the assessed value of the home.
Committeeman Stephen Bottiglieri said the 2014 budget took a lot of time and effort. “We were without a CFO for a large part of 2013, and that budget was a disaster,” Bottiglieri commented. “Now is the time to start working on the 2015 budget.”
“We may have dodged a bullet by deferring that bond payment,” East Greenwich Mayor Dale Archer observed. “We will still be strapped and face budget problems next year.”
East Greenwich saved $325,000 for its budget by deferring the bond payment.
Elsewhere, after a public hearing, the Committee approved an ordinance that called for the registration and maintenance of vacant, abandoned, and foreclosed properties in the community.
“Any vacant properties not being taken care of would be registered with the Construction Office,” explained Deputy Mayor James Philbin. “If the properties are in need of grass cutting and other maintenance, the property owner can be identified and notified.”
“The town can complete the maintenance, and bill the owner,” Philbin continued. “If they can’t find the owner, the town can put a lien on the property.”
Archer called the measure a way to hold property owners accountable. “The goal is for them to clean the house up and get rid of it,” commented Archer. “It’s working.”
Vacant properties can be registered each year in East Greenwich for $600.
The Committee also passed a similar resolution that declares the existence of unfit buildings. Archer called the structures health and safety hazards.
“If these owners do not maintain their properties, the township will step in and do what’s right,” Archer maintained.
Another resolution authorized the appointment of Robert DeMarzio Jr. as a member of the Environmental Commission after the Committee accepted the resignation of Kamala Wedding from the same organization. “She’ll be sadly missed,” Archer praised. “She’s done a phenomenal job with the Environmental Commission.”
In other departments, Archer was not pleased that a shared services deal with Kingsway High School has fallen through. The plan would have used East Greenwich’s Public Works garage to house Kingsway buses, and allowed the township to use Kingsway mechanics to provide quicker service on police cars.
Archer said the decision not to pursue the idea was made by the school board. “This was a huge opportunity, to say the least,” lamented the mayor.
Also, Philbin mentioned that the East Greenwich Day Parade would be held on Sept. 20. The township has not held a parade for nearly a decade.
In Public Safety, Committeeman Sam Giordano moved to authorize the East Greenwich Police Department to get three quotes for the purchase of two refurbished police vehicles.
And the Committee made it a point to acknowledge stellar work by the local police in saving a woman’s life on Aug. 11. East Greenwich Patrolman Kyle Messick and Lieutenant Charles Barone used the overdose nasal spray Narcan to revive an unconscious woman in Paulsboro, a night before the meeting.