Swedesboro Introduces Series of Ordinances

swedesboro logoby Robert Holt

SWEDESBORO- At their meeting on Oct. 20, the Swedesboro Council introduced an ordinance that would require the registration and maintenance of a property that has been abandoned, foreclosed, or vacant.

The ordinance would give the borough more information in locating an owner that has not maintained the upkeep of a vacant property.

Council approved another ordinance that set the property registration fee at $500 for Swedesboro. Most towns charge between $150 and $500, while Woodbury requires $1,000.

Mayor Tom Fromm believed that Swedesboro might get some help from Gloucester County in the matter. “The County is also going to do something like this,” Fromm observed.

An ordinance that reduced fees for fences and wall permits from $50 to $35 was adopted after a public hearing. And one more ordinance authorized the appropriation of $35,000 from the Utility Capital Improvement Fund for repairs to the sewer system.

The pumps on the West Avenue system have been burning up, according to Fromm. The mayor indicated that the town had been “trying to fix things with a Band-Aid” for too long, and now it had become a real emergency.

Public hearings for the ordinances were scheduled on Nov. 3.

In an emergency resolution, Council awarded the contract for a West Avenue pump to English Septic. Garrison Enterprises, Inc. received a contract for sewer repairs at Raccoon Creek.

In other resolutions, Council approved a grant application with the New Jersey Department of Transportation for work on Broad Street and Park Avenue.

During the police report, Councilmember George Weeks observed that he had seen cars going through a stop sign by the library at swift rates of speed, putting pedestrians at risk. Helen Fromm noted during the public portion of the meeting that people needed to be educated on new crosswalk signs. “When you push the button and lights are flashing, someone is using the crosswalk,” Helen Fromm commented.

Councilmember Diane Hale commended the local police force on their work during the Oct. 18 Jazzfest. Mayor Fromm added, “They were going up and down the street patrolling, not just hanging out.”

The Woolwich Police Department was well represented at the meeting by Chief Russell Marino, Class I Officers Shane Stranahan and Curtis Rucker, and Class II Officers Sean Sturgis and Chad Lago.

Hale and Mayor Fromm both described the Jazzfest as the town’s “best ever.” Fromm said, “I couldn’t believe the crowds, or the buzz in town.”

Hale also reported that she was reaching out to the schools and local police on how they wanted to use available funding for assemblies and the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.

In Public Works, Fromm mentioned that the community had been proactive in testing their water systems for contaminants, and the results have come up negative.

For the pet census, Councilmember Joanna Gahrs listed 302 licensed dogs and 86 licensed cats in the community, along with 112 dogs and 24 cats that were unlicensed.

In finance, Fromm pointed out that 2015 budget sheets were being sent out, and suggested that the Councilmembers get their ideas in now.

“We’re getting tapped out for this year,” the mayor explained. “There’s very little wiggle room if an emergency happens between now and the end of the year.”

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