EAST GREENWICH — At their meeting on Feb. 14, the East Greenwich Township Committee reported that 2017 budget talks were ahead of schedule and making good progress. East Greenwich is coming off a year in 2016 where the town saw no tax increase, but its budget was not introduced until May.
On this night, Mayor Dale Archer announced that every Committee member had a rough draft of the community budget in front of them. He noted that he didn’t want to discuss the budget highlights until everything had been finalized.
“I encourage directors to have discussions with their department heads to see if they are copacetic,” Archer commented. “It’s a tribute to all of your hard work to have a draft of the budget at this early date. It’s amazing.”
Archer said he hoped to introduce the budget in March. East Greenwich CFO Katie Coleman listed a budget surplus of $1,440,000 for East Greenwich at the end of 2016, up from approximately $1.2 million in 2015. The town’s surplus was listed at less than $16,000 for 2014.
“It’s hard to pick up where someone else left off,” observed Committeeman Stephen Bottiglieri. But it’s easier to carry over from your own previous year.”
In resolutions, the Committee approved submission of a New Jersey Department of Transportation grant for the Swedesboro Avenue Phase II project. Archer explained that one side of the avenue had already been paved with an earlier grant.
Another approved resolution authorized the performance bond reduction for site improvements at The Gatherings. Also, the Committee accepted the renewal of its Edmunds and Associates Software and Backup Agreement for 2017.
An approved ordinance enabled the Committee to update its phone system for $15,000. Bottiglieri noted that the previous system had limited ability, and had been in place since the municipal building was opened in 2001.
Elsewhere, the Committee awarded the bid for 2017 vehicle maintenance, towing and repairs to Riehl’s Towing. They also passed a resolution commemorating and congratulating Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland Counties Municipal Joint Insurance Fund on 25 years of successful operations.
In community news, Archer reported that hot yoga and sushi businesses were coming to town soon, along with a new Inspira facility. He also noted that the Cinder Bar was looking to add a patio.
Archer also said he was excited to see East Greenwich Fire and Rescue adding a 1994 E ladder truck from the Bellmawr Fire Department at a cost of $100,000. Bottiglieri pointed out that necessary repairs to an East Greenwich truck would have cost in the area of $40,000 to $50,000, so it was a worthwhile purchase.
Bottiglieri estimated that some of the newer ladder trucks may cost in the area of $625,000.
by Robert Holt