HomeMoorestown NewsSustainability is the word for Moorestown Township

Sustainability is the word for Moorestown Township

Sustainable New Jersey could soon be making its way to Moorestown Township. Two local groups in Moorestown have teamed together to bring the certification process to Moorestown and make the township a greener place to live.

The Moorestown Environmental Advisory Committee and Economic Development Advisory Committee presented a joint plan to the Moorestown Township Council last week to approve the registration into the sustainable program.

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The council agreed to sign up for the program, but that does not assure that Moorestown will be given certification for Sustainable New Jersey. To receive its certification, the township needs to implement several programs and ideas that are listed on the Sustainable Jersey website. Each program is given a “point” value and the township will receive its certification when it reaches 150 points.

Chester Dawson, chairperson of the EAC, said certification into the program will open up new grant opportunities for the township from anywhere from $1,000 to $25,000.

“There are 360 communities that are registered in the Sustainable New Jersey program, about 62 percent of municipalities in the state,” Dawson said. “But only 90 of those communities have been certified.”

Cherry Hill, Dawson said, is at the forefront of the Sustainable New Jersey drive in South Jersey. The township has annual meetings and frequently hosts programs that attracts wide spread participation in its residents, Dawson said. If Moorestown can generate these participation numbers in its residents it could easily reach certification, he said.

It also likely wouldn’t cost the township any funding, Dawson said, as Moorestown is already doing several initiatives that will gain them points in the certification program.

The program itself is independent of the state government, Dawson said, and is supported by corporations in the state who fund the grant awards. WaWa and PSEG are two of the larger corporations who support the program, Dawson said.

Jake Der Hagopian, chairman of EDAC, said the group has approached Tom Ford, director of community development, to be the liaison for the township for Sustainable New Jersey.

Acting Township Manager Tom Merchel supported the resolution, but advised the group that it would be better to focus on the larger grant opportunities instead of the smaller awards, because they can cost the township more in taxes in the long run.

Council approved the resolution unanimously.

In other township news:

n Township representatives are still considering a reassessment of properties throughout Moorestown to bring the home values more in line with today’s market. The township participated in a revaluation of its home values in 2007 just before the housing market crashed.

Township Tax Assessor Dave DeKlerk estimates that it would cost the township anywhere between $190,000 to $250,000 to complete the reassessment. When the revaluation was completed it cost the township $583,000, he said.

So far this year the township has lost $592,000 in tax appeals this year, Merchel said. Since 2007 it has lost about $3 million in appeals. In a normal year, prior to 2007, the township would like on average about $30,000 in tax appeals, Merchel said.

This would at least give the township a better defense in these tax appeals, he said, and would bring home values in line with the current market.

n The township is weighing an option to remove several pine trees from the outside perimeter of the library. The trees, Merchel said, are damaging the library’s roof, clogging its gutters, and contributing to the building’s water damage problem.

The trees, which will be cut down when the new library is eventually constructed, would cost about $11,000 to be brought down and have their stumps ground.

Environmental representatives in the township have agreed that they should be brought down and have outlasted their usefulness at the site, Merchel said.

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