WOOLWICH TWP. — At their meeting on June 19, the Woolwich Township Committee spoke about the recent agreement between Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto regarding increased funding of local schools. The deal reallocates $46 million from overfunded to underfunded districts and gives the lesser funded communities $100 million in new state aid.
Committeeman John Carleton, the Committee’s Kingsway Regional High School liaison, explained that Kingsway was set to receive $8,860,900 under the state’s original budget. The new deal would give the school $9,686,533 for 2017-2018, a 9.2 percent increase, but Carleton noted that the figure was still far below the fair funding formula.
“Full funding would give Kingsway $18,669,673,” Carleton said. “This is a step in the right direction, but we’re still well below what we deserve. We still have a long way to go.”
Woolwich Mayor Alan Schwager expressed disappointment in the agreement. “It’s a shame that we are so grossly underfunded,” stated Schwager. “I find it disheartening that Senator Sweeney would agree to this kind of deal.”
The deal would also make a $25 million down payment on Pre-K expansion, according to Sweeney. The Senate President adds that the aid increases will grow after this first year. He believes the money will come from a millionaire’s tax, expected to be imposed by Phil Murphy if he is elected as New Jersey governor in November.
Carleton pointed out that current Governor Chris Christie still has to approve the reallocation plan.
During the public portion of the meeting, Woolwich Fire Company Chief Dave Valichka offered the Committee a plan to save energy at the fire company building. Valichka said he had received a price from a company that would cut their electric bill from about $1,200 a month to as low as $550 per month. “Someone will come in over the summer to change our lighting to LED,” he commented.
Deputy Mayor Frank Rizzi calculated a possible savings of about $7,000 a year, saying, “That’s definitely a good deal for us to do.” Schwager added, “This should pay for itself in a year.”
In his fire report, Rizzi listed 38 calls answered by the Woolwich Company during May. He said there have been 218 calls answered so far in 2017 compared to 210 at the same time in 2016.
Rizzi praised the local force for their recent efforts. “The Fire Company has been hopping and moving for the last month or two,” he said. “These guys have been answering big calls.”
In resolutions, the Committee made an elevation in the Woolwich Police Department, and authorized the appointment of Registrar of Vital Statistics. They also allowed the renewal of the Swedesboro Golf Assocation club liquor license.
Earlier in the meeting, Schwager spoke about attending the New Jersey Conference of Mayors in Atlantic City. Schwager explained that he was urged to put his business card into an American Water raffle that was taking place at the time.
“I won it,” said the Woolwich mayor. “I can give $1,000 to the organization of my choice.”
“I can’t think of a better choice than our Swedesboro/Woolwich Parent Teacher Organization,” Schwager announced. American Water added that they were happy to support the PTO.
by Robert Holt