Woolwich Joins Fair Funding Lawsuit

woolwich plaque webWOOLWICH TWP. — During the Woolwich Township Committee meeting on Jan. 16, Deputy Mayor John Carleton announced that Woolwich had joined a lawsuit against the New Jersey Commissioner of Education regarding fair funding for schools. The Newtown Petition for Fair Funding was filed in early January.

Carleton said that East Greenwich, Swedesboro, and the Kingsway Board of Education are among the towns supporting the lawsuit. These towns want the Department of Education to allocate state aid provided by the legislature in compliance with the School Funding Reform Act of 2008 for the next fiscal year.

Many New Jersey school districts are currently receiving much more aid than they need under the SFRA, while groups involved in this litigation have experienced tremendous growth and remain severely underfunded.

Elsewhere, under new business, the Woolwich Fire Company made a  request to purchase new apparatus. Speaking on behalf of the firefighters was Chief David Valichka.

Valichka was asking to buy a forcible entry door prop. “We’re looking to benefit from things that will help our residents,” Valichka explained. “One of the things we’ve found on calls is that we have to force doors.”

The chief pointed out that the fire company would get a lifetime of use from the door because they can take a lot of beating. “The police also encounter forced doors, and they can use the door if they choose,” Valichka added.

He noted that the steel door cost an estimated $9,100, and the fire company has leftover funding from 2017 that can be used to pay for it. Valichka said the firefighters would have go to Camden County to train if they didn’t purchase the door, and they would rather remain local to not miss any calls. The Committee moved to authorize the funds for the purchase.

In liaisons, Carleton reported that the Woolwich Fire Company responded to 43 calls to service in December 2017. He said there were no fire-related fatalities in Woolwich for the year.

Under finance, Committeeman Dan Battisti mentioned that department budget meetings were about to begin. In his police report, Battisti announced that the Woolwich Township Police Department responded to 20,000 calls during 2017 for the first time in their history.

For Parks and Recreation, Committeeman Vernon Marino listed a Riverwinds pool party in February and an Easter Egg Hunt in March as upcoming events. For Streets and Roads, Marino noted that the department was attempting to schedule a meeting regarding speed limit concerns around the town.

Committeewoman Gina Marie Santore reported under Trash and Recycling that discussions are ongoing regarding Woolwich’s waste management contract. For Construction and Zoning Code Enforcement, newly appointed Woolwich Mayor Jordan Schlump listed 444 zoning permits as being issued in 2017, up from 400 in 2016.

Schlump pointed out that some liaison contacts had changed for 2018. The mayor said he wanted to make sure people knew the right person to give them corrective action.

“Make sure people know who is the point of contact,” commented Solicitor Mark Shoemaker. “It’s part of the chain of command.”

In resolutions, the Committee allowed the establishment of a change fund in the Finance Department, and approved making an elevation within the Woolwich Township Police Department.  They also authorized the designating of contact persons for the Employment Practices Liability Attorney Consultation Service of the Municipal Joint Insurance Fund.

by Robert Holt

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