MICKLETON — During their July 11 meeting, the East Greenwich Township Committee passed a resolution accepting a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant for fire equipment. FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighting Grant authorized $265,650 in federal funds to be awarded to East Greenwich Fire and Rescue for the purchase of protective turnout gear and air packs.
Mayor Dale Archer was excited because not only would the township’s volunteer firefighters have better protective equipment, East Greenwich taxpayers would not face an impact from the purchase. Archer also expressed thanks to Congressman Donald Norcross for offering FEMA grant writing workshops that aided the community in acquiring the funding.
In other news, the Committee adopted an ordinance providing for local capital improvements in the amount of $873.000. Archer listed some of the projects as lighting for the soccer and baseball fields, a security fence around the police department, three taser guns, equipment for a police vehicle, a dump truck, and multiple street pavings in the area.
During the public hearing for the ordinance, Mickleton’s Christopher Fay questioned what kind of impact the improvements would have on local taxpayers. Archer mentioned the town’s zero percent tax increase over the past two years, and East Greenwich’s increased surplus. “I’m as fiscally responsible as I can possibly be,” said the mayor. “In my opinion we have a serious safety issue with the kids and the people who attend these games, and the lights are a must-have. It is our goal to reach a zero percent tax increase again next year.”
Committeeman Stephen Bottiglieri, who is also East Greenwich’s financial director, expressed reservations with the spending. “We have increased our bond rating, and put aside $100,000 for capital improvements,” he told Fay. “We adjust for these expenses, and $875,000 should not have a negative impact on our future taxes.”
“But things happen.” Bottiglieri added. “At this point I share your concerns.”
Elsewhere, the Committee adopted a resolution authorizing East Greenwich’s renewal of their contract for membership in the Gloucester, Salem, and Cumberland Counties Municipal Joint Insurance Fund. The contract covers three years.
The Committee saw a presentation from TRICO JIF earlier in the meeting. Deputy Executive Director Paul Forlenza noted that JIF now covered 36 towns, and was working on cyber security in the future.
“I’m proud to say we’re a part of JIF,” Archer commented. “You have been readily available anytime we’ve needed anything.”
In other resolutions, the Committee approved the hiring of a seasonal employee for the Public Works Department. They also authorized the purchase of a 2017 Ford F350 pickup truck with a plow and a 2017 Ford 450 dump truck with a plow and spreader through state contracts.
Another resolution authorized the hiring of Class II Officer Jordan White as a full-time Patrolman. Archer was part of the interviewing process.
“I was impressed with your poise, maturity and work ethic,” he said of Patrolman White. “To know that you’re going to be patrolling the streets of East Greenwich for the next 25 years instills a comfort level in me.”
“I was impressed with your vision for this position,”added Deputy Mayor Jim Philbin. “You worked hard in the past year and a half to get into the best condition you are in today.”
by Robert Holt