Swedesboro agrees then disagrees with fire service agreement with Woolwich

by Robert Holt and Karen E. Viereck
swedesboro logoSWEDESBORO — At their meeting on Jan. 19, the Swedesboro Council gave Mayor Tom Fromm the authority to enter into a revised Interlocal service agreement for fire service with Woolwich Township with the Woolwich Fire Company. The current deal between the two towns was going to end on Jan. 31.
However, the agreement was put on hold later in the week when the Woolwich Township Committee made a counter offer on the agreement concerning the budget that Swedesboro did not find acceptable. The two municipalities have until the end of February to settle the agreement.
Swedesboro has agreed to refurbish a Woolwich Fire Company truck as part of the terms. “We are looking to work out a five-year agreement that will increase our contribution to 30 percent in 2017,” explained Fromm at the January meeting after getting Council’s authority to approve the original agreement. “We have to revisit this agreement every year if we don’t get this deal.”
Councilmember George Weeks questioned why Swedesboro would fix the truck if Woolwich doesn’t enter into the five year agreement. Fromm called it doing Swedesboro’s “fair share.”
“It’s also our responsibility to maintain the equipment if we’re going to use it,” the Mayor commented.
In Public Safety, Fromm noted that he hoped to get Woolwich’s new police chief to attend an upcoming Council meeting and introduce himself to the members. Officer Richard Jaramillo took over for the retiring Chief Russell Marino in January.
“Let’s see if we can get off to a great start with the new chief and have a relationship with him that is similar to our one with Chief Marino,” Fromm said. “We can remind him of our priorities in town regarding speeding and parking issues.”
Council had issued a proclamation naming January 9, 2016 as “Russell Marino Day” for the retiring chief.
In other resolutions, Council approved an agreement with Gloucester County for Emergency Response Communication Radio equipment. Fromm noted, “We request a certain number of radios, and the county supplies them for free and provides training.”
Council also inactivated the license of Swedes Liquors until they submit the proper paperwork to make it active again.
Elsewhere, in his finance report, Fromm mentioned that he will be looking over early budget reports, and expects to have the town’s new budget submitted as soon as possible. In Garbage and Recycling, Weeks said he was still awaiting the final numbers from 2015.
For Environmental, Councilmember Sam Casella reported that the Committee has discussed doing an event at this year’s Outdoor Living and Garden Show. The Councilmember also pointed out they were reevaluating the community’s summer kayaking events, and were considering charging for them due to increasing costs.
Casella added that he had composed a letter to the Port Authority for Council to sign requesting an artifact from the World Trade Center.
In Parks and Recreation, Councilmember Joanna Gahrs said that discounted ski tickets to Jack Frost Big Boulder were now available for Feb. 7 and Mar. 6.
For Economic Development, Councilmember Diane Hale listed about 75 to 80 in attendance at Swedesboro’s January Jazzfest event. The next Jazzfest is scheduled for Feb. 20.
Hale also pointed out that the town was trying to get its website updated. “We’re getting together a list of local businesses, but the government section is not currently user-friendly,” observed the Councilmember.

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