SWEDESBORO — The Swedesboro Council adopted its municipal budget during its meeting on April 16. The budget contained a 2.4 cent tax increase for the average Swedesboro home valued at $172,000, or about $42 a year.
Mayor Tom Fromm explained that a number of factors contributed to the increase, including a new dump truck, sidewalk repairs, speed bumps, capital improvement projects, and more aid to the fire company.
The budget was adopted after a public hearing. Councilmember Sam Casella thanked Fromm and the team for putting the new budget together. “It’s a really hard job,” he acknowledged.
In other news, schoolteacher Lynne Bussott came to the meeting as a volunteer for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. This group is a national, grassroots, non-partisan movement that was formed after the Sandy Hook shootings in 2012.
Bussott asked the Council to proclaim the first Friday in June (June 1) “National Gun Violence Awareness Day.” Bussott, a gun owner, says Moms respect the Second Amendment, but hopes to reduce gun deaths through awareness, sensible legislation and gun safety.
Bussott also requested that Fromm review a “Mayors Against Illegal Guns Statement of Principles”. She proposed that Swedesboro turn their town orange with flowers, spotlights and ribbons on June 1. Orange is the color worn by hunters in the woods to protect themselves from gunfire.
The Council recognized “National Gun Violence Awareness Day” in the form of a resolution. Fromm said he would help in any way he can with the effort.
Also, Council heard a presentation from Bob Anderson of the Curb My Clutter recycling program. Anderson, who has been in the business for 30 years, noted that 85 percent of clothing in the United States winds up in landfills. He claims that clothing and used electronics found in landfills is worth billions of dollars annually in recycling and refurbishment.
Residents use the program by texting their name and address, and scheduling an appointment for a pickup. If customers send pictures of their discarded clothing and electronics, they become eligible for a reward, a $10 gift card from Amazon.
Anderson called CMC an “on demand” service. The program works with larger markets for recycling, refurbishment and resale. The photos can help CMC identify the highest market values for their products.
Councilmember George Weeks supported Curb My Clutter, saying that whatever CMC takes in can be claimed by Swedesboro at the end of the year toward a recycling grant. “I think a pilot program will be a benefit for everybody.”
Council agreed to move forward with a pilot program pending approval of the agreement. A 12 month pilot program is currently in effect in Woolwich Township.
In other news, Council agreed to a request from Lake Park Cemetery President Robert Gahrs regarding posting signs that would invite townspeople to an Eagle Scout Project presentation dedication ceremony on Memorial Day. The project included plants, benches and a seating area in the cemetery, and would be dedicated to the military.
Elsewhere, for Public Works, Fromm reported that the department was short on employees, and was interviewing for temporary positions. “They’re very shortchanged,” commented the mayor.
For Parks and Recreation, Councilmember Joanna Gahrs said that 430 children attended the recent Easter Egg Scramble on March 24. Also, Fun Day was scheduled for June 9, from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Locke Ave. Park. Gahrs mentioned that a block party was being discussed for Oct. 20, but had not been set yet.
In Street Lighting, Casella noted that he had heard good comments about the lights from Autism Awareness Month in April. For Municipal Alliance, Councilmember Diane Hale said the department had remaining funds that had to be spent before June 30.
by Robert Holt