SWEDESBORO — The Swedesboro Council discussed the number of dying trees in the area at their meeting on Sept. 16. Some members of the community attended the meeting to offer complaints.
Councilmember Dave Flaherty mentioned that the Shade Tree Department had been examining the trees and cutting some back. Flaherty described many of the trees as 20 years old, and said they were starting to rot.
Flaherty estimated there were 26 dead trees in the community. “You can remove trees, but you have to put in a replacement,” he explained. “They have to come down, but the estimates may come in heavy. There’s not much of a growth area between the sidewalk and the curb.”
“We can’t take money out of the budget because of something the developer is responsible for,” commented Mayor Tom Fromm. “Maybe we can reach out to Gloucester County to see if they have any available funds.”
“Whoever planted those trees didn’t do it right,” suggested Flaherty. “These trees were doomed to fail.”
Elsewhere, after a public hearing, Council adopted an ordinance that established a Joint Municipal Court with Woolwich Township and South Harrison Township through a shared service agreement. Council also adopted a resolution that requested the appointment of Judge William Golden to the Woolwich Municipal Joint Court.
One more resolution was approved that authorized Fromm to sign a Teamsters Union contract. Fromm explained that the matter was supposedly taken care of earlier in the year, but no one from the union had ever signed the contract.
In reports, for Public Works, Fromm mentioned that a new truck for the department had arrived. The mayor also noted that Maybrook and Chestnut Streets are listed as potential streets to receive New Jersey Department of Transportation grants.
In fire company news, Councilmember Mary Alice O’Blennis noted that a fire company wine tasting event scheduled for October had been scrapped for now. O’Blennis reported that the town’s Fire Prevention Event was in October.
In Parks and Recreation, Councilmember Joanna Gahrs said the Holiday Village plan for the upcoming holiday season was coming along well. The department is trying to coordinate the Woolwich Township event at Locke Ave. Park with the Swedesboro Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting to create a whole day of events for the area on Nov. 30.
Gahrs wanted to point out that residents needed to be aware that the Spotted Lanternfly had been seen in Gloucester County. The Spotted Lanternfly has been described as a threat to over 70 different plant species, including fruit trees, grapes and hops. Individual Lanternflies have been spotted in National Park. “They’re very colorful. You can’t miss them,” Gahrs pointed out. “You can kill it, but you’re supposed to report it.”
For Environmental, Councilmember Sam Casella reported that A Taste of Woolwich event had been held on Sept. 13 and seen fair attendance.
In Economic Development, Councilmember Diane Hale noted that the department’s meetings would be starting up again. Hale mentioned that Conrail is looking into liability and lease fees regarding Third Street railroad track and public parking. She questioned why Conrail gets to lease the property to us, yet they pay no local taxes.
Fromm observed that he wanted to discuss the possible ban on plastic bags in many towns. “We would like ANJEC (Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions) to give us a presentation before the state does anything.”
“We don’t have that many businesses in town that use plastic,” observed Hale. “We need to start educating people. Hale said she took a trip to the Omni Recycling Center to learn more. “Do not leave the caps on the bottles when you recycle,” she added. “Lids and caps just clog up the system. Shredded paper and Styrofoam just clog things up.”
by Robert Holt