East Greenwich Introduces 2017 Budget: Second Straight Year of Zero Tax Increase

east greenwich web6MICKLETON — The East Greenwich Township Committee introduced their 2017 municipal budget at their meeting on March 20, and for the second year in a row it, contained no tax increase.

CFO Kate Coleman listed East Greenwich’s projected surplus at about $1.5 million, a $300,000 increase from 2016. The community had less than $16,000 for its surplus in 2014. Mayor Dale Archer announced that it was the first time the community had introduced its budget as early as March in 10 years.

Coleman, also CFO for Salem County, joined East Greenwich in January. “She has done a phenomenal job,” praised Archer. “She has really hit the ground running.”

Committeeman Stephen Bottiglieri noted that East Greenwich had to borrow money to make its debt payments in 2014, but has paid back about $1.9 million over the past two years. “It’s a lot of hard work from all departments,” said the committeeman. “It’s done by a lot of individuals working together.”

“When we asked department heads to tighten their belts and make cuts, they did that,” Bottiglieri added. Archer mentioned that the community was in the process of rebuilding its police and fire departments.

“We lost five police officers through layoffs and retirement in 2014, and have replaced about all of them since that time,” the mayor explained. “We had some fire trucks that were struggling and breaking down, and now there is money for a fire truck in the budget.”

East Greenwich Fire and Rescue recently added a 1994 E ladder truck from the Bellmawr Fire Department for $100,000. Bottiglieri said repairs to the East Greenwich truck would have run about $40,000 to $50,000.

“I am honored and privileged to give back to the residents of our community,” Archer said proudly. “This is what it’s all about at the end of the day to be servicing this town.”

Elsewhere, the Committee adopted a capital ordinance that would appropriate $15,000 from the Capital Improvement Fund balance for an updated telephone system. Bottiglieri noted that the current system was dated, and had been in place since 2001.

In resolutions, the Committee passed a resolution re-establishing a Green Team Advisory Committee. They also authorized the East Greenwich Police Department to hire two Special Law Enforcement Officers, Arthur Ettore, 19, and Richard Seehausz, 25.

“We’re excited to have these two individuals join our police force as we continue to grow,” commented Archer. “It’s one of our proudest moments to see young people start their careers here.”

In discussion items, the Committee considered a formal request for a School Resource Officer for the Kingsway Regional High School District. Archer pointed out that Kingsway was unable to renew their current SRO due to a $2 million budget deficit.

East Greenwich Police Chief Chris Everwine said, “It makes absolutely no sense to me to not have an officer in that school in this day and age.” Archer supported giving money to Kingsway for an officer.

“Our kids are at risk in 2017, and we are willing to pay our fair share for an SRO,” the mayor commented. “But we and the (Woolwich) mayor (Alan Schwager) are the only towns willing to help pay for an SRO.”

by Robert Holt

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