MICKLETON- At their meeting on Feb. 24, the East Greenwich Township Committee authorized Solicitor Mark Shoemaker to send a 30 day notice letter to the bonding company for developer Beazer Homes. The action was due to uncompleted work at The Gatherings at East Greenwich.
The Gatherings is a 55 plus community located in Clarksboro. Despite timeframes that had been set for work to be completed, problems have been discovered in various locations, and drainage issues have been found across the community.
Gatherings Homeowners Association President Meg Cossaboon noted that letters went out to Beazer in June 2014, but there had been no response from the developer.
Gatherings Board of Trustees member Frank Cossaboon said that Beazer needs to be taught to care. “These are dangerous conditions,” Cossaboon stressed. “We want to see a binding agreement with the township absolving the HOA of any responsibility for drainage problems.
Homeowners have expressed concerns about flooding, soggy conditions, and icing on their property, sidewalks, and driveway aprons for years, according to the Cossaboons. Items on the Gatherings HOA punch list included major street drainage issues at Woodbury Court cul-de-sac, at 51 Woodbury Court, and at the clubhouse parking lot.
East Greenwich Mayor Dale Archer said not one nickel of the bond money would be released until the issues are resolved. “I’m thoroughly disgusted with the lack of effort and communication by the developer,” Archer stated. “These punch list items must be completed.”
“We will call them on the bond, and put them on notice of their failures,” Shoemaker added. Archer moved to give the solicitor the authorization.
Elsewhere, in resolutions, the Committee approved a resolution eliminating NJ Direct 10 from the medical plans offered by the State Health Benefits Plan. “This is looking at what we can do to save money for our budget,” mentioned Committeeman Stephen Bottiglieri. Archer estimated that East Greenwich could see $40,000 to $60,000 a year in savings from the resolution.
The Committee also discussed the state of their shared services trash collection agreement with Wenonah. East Greenwich brought their trash collection in house in 2011, and results have been far below expectations.
Early estimates saw the potential for an increase of $200,000 in revenue for East Greenwich from bringing their trash in-house, but Bottiglieri says the community is looking at a deficit.
Archer pointed out that the town’s contract with Wenonah expires at the end of the year. The Mayor explained that letting Wenonah go would cost the community $105,000 in revenue for a year. “Wenonah holds all the cards,” Archer explained. “Wenonah can shop around that contract at the end of the year if they want.”
Archer added that township trucks are breaking down, their warranties are expiring, and the community is struggling with maintenance costs. Bottiglieri said that sometimes it’s okay to just cut your losses.
”It’s not feasible to keep this going,” the Committeeman commented. It will take about 20 years for us to break even. All of our residents pay higher taxes to collect Wenonah’s trash.”
And the Committee approved putting out requests for qualifications for its website, and its IT technology. “Our IT contract with Kingsway is up, “Archer s, “and we are going to revise our website so it is user-friendly, and more accessible.”
Also, Archer commended the Public Works Department and Manager Anthony Rossett for their extra efforts during recent snowfalls around the time of the meeting.
He pointed out that Public Works was working despite losing one of their own. Archer asked those in attendance at the meeting to remember 54-year old township resident Thomas Archie, who recently died of a heart attack in his sleep.