MICKLETON — Due to the impact of COVID-19, the April 14 meeting of the East Greenwich Township Committee was broadcast electronically on Facebook Live for the second month in a row. The meeting was not open to the public.
East Greenwich Mayor Dale Archer’s update noted that the town was at zero for COVID-19 positive individuals on that day, and its overall total was 26. “With 26 out of a town consisting of close to 14,000 residents, we are certainly seeing the curve being diminished by the social distancing we are seeing on a consistent basis,” the mayor commented. “It certainly makes a definite impact here in East Greenwich Township.”
The highlight of the April 14 meeting was again no tax increase for the East Greenwich residents. Archer explained, “Last week we introduced out 2020 budget, and we were very proud to announce that it was our fifth year in a row with a zero percent tax increase.”
Archer continued, “Currently the budget is in review with the state of New Jersey. However, we may not be able to adopt the budget by the end of the month due to the COVID-19 troubles as it is supposed to be on the agenda on the 24th of this month.
“We will not make any changes to our budget,” Archer stated. “The budget is what we already said it would be. This will be the 2020 flat tax increase for the fifth year running.”
“The tax dollars in regard to our tax rate, which will be coming out in July, unfortunately will not be done at an appropriate time this year,” the mayor mentioned. “We’ll be sending out estimated tax rates for the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year.”
“We’ll be taking estimates down from the schools, but most likely the school budgets have not been finalized. Archer noted that the town will be proceeding with a zero percent tax increase. “But everyone out there listening should know that this represents only 11 percent of your tax dollars.”
He added that before budgets are finalized, residents will be receiving estimated tax bills for Fiscal Year 2021. After that, any overpayments will be returned to the taxpayer or used as credit.
Elsewhere, in new business, after a public hearing, the Committee approved a bond ordinance to exceed municipal budget appropriation limits and establish a CAP Bank. Archer noted that this CAP Bank of two percent was just a precaution that is asked for by the state of New Jersey every year, and the township would not be needing it.
They also adopted a bond ordinance that provided for various 2020 water and sewer utility improvements. This would allow for new water meters to be installed in the older sections of town like Clarksboro,” Archer related. “This gives us the opportunity to no longer walk when we read your water meters, and we can drive down the street and read the water meters.”
Another bond ordinance provided funding for the repaving of Jessup Mill Road from an New Jersey Department of Transportation grant, and paving of an additional section of the Little League field and soccer field parking lot, and the Kingsway football field parking lot. “We take the bond out, pay that off, and then we are reimbursed by the state of New Jersey,” Archer said.
The Committee adopted amendments to the East Greenwich Township Police Department rules and regulations and hiring and promotional procedures. They also authorized the township to hire one lieutenant and two sergeants within the police department.
A traffic lieutenant was created in this resolution to help with East Greenwich’s speeding issues. “We are very strict, we are trying to slow things down here in the township,” Archer commented.
Also, the Committee authorized the execution of X-Tel Communications agreement with East Greenwich. “This is for our phone system,” Archer observed.
Finally, the Committee adopted a late notice that applications for grant money from NJDOT in 2021 would need to be submitted earlier than usual.
by Robert Holt