Home Cherry Hill News Township to participate in sustainability pilot program

Township to participate in sustainability pilot program

Cherry Hill is becoming a national leader in sustainability.

Council approved a two-year pilot program with Sustainability Dashboard Tools, Inc., to allow for the tracing of several resources, including electricity, water and fuel, Business Administrator Lenore Rosner said at the Monday, April 8 meeting.

The dashboard is being funded entirely through a $10,000 grant.

“It will be a way that we can track our costs for our gas and our office product,” she said, replying to one of the concerned residents in attendance. “It will not cost taxpayers any dollars.”

No ordinances will be established, as it will just be a tool to track consumption and set targets, she said.

Resident James Berry stood to oppose the dashboard, citing a concern that the affects of the Sustainable Cherry Hill organization are “disproportionate” to council members.

Berry’s main question was, “Is Cherry Hill considering or discussing that before an existing house can be sold, that it must first meet a sustainability standard?”

Mayor Chuck Cahn responded that council has never had such a discussion. Cahn said that he is proud to support the pilot program, as it will help the township to cut costs.

Jack Braunstein announced his support for the program.

“I think it’s a terrific idea and a no brainer,” he said. “This seems like it will pay off in the long run, many fold.”

Jack was one of several students who came to the meeting to the support the sustainability initiative in the township.

Sustainable Cherry Hill’s executive director, Lori Braunstein, sent her appreciation to the township for taking a long-term view.

“It’s not just what you’re measuring…but the great thing about dashboards is the way that information is presented visually,” she said. “It’s wonderful to engage the community, the employees, in seeing what’s going on.”

Controlling vacancies

Also at the meeting, an ordinance was approved on first reading to allow for stricter regulations on owners of vacant properties.

Cahn said that the ordinance is another positive step for how the township is being run.

“This is an important quality of life issue in all of our neighborhoods,” he said.

The ordinance will hold owners accountable for maintaining the properties, “which is long overdue in this town” and will have a “tremendous impact,” Cahn said.

According to a release, there are about 145 houses in Cherry Hill currently that are considered vacant. Through the ordinance, the township will have more leverage in making sure that the homes are secure and maintained.

The second reading and public hearing is slated for Monday, April 22’s meeting.

Special recognitions

Cahn and Councilman Jim Bannar gave several proclamations at the meeting.

First on the agenda was Gerald Smith, a Merchantville resident who on March 3 came to the aid of a woman in distress. A suspect allegedly snatched her purse and attempted to flee. Smith nabbed the suspect and held him until police arrived, ensuring the safety of the purse. The suspect was subsequently taken into police custody, Bannar said.

In turn, Cherry Hill owes Smith a debt of gratitude, and named Tuesday, April 9 “Gerald Smith Day,” Banner said.

Additionally, several members of the police department, office of emergency management and township employees were recognized for a culture of safety and for their hard work during and after Superstorm Sandy last fall.

Next meeting

The next meeting of the Cherry Hill council is slated for Monday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m. at town hall, 820 Mercer St.

Any residents with concerns or questions can contact the mayor’s office at (856) 488–7878 or by email at MayorCahn@chtownship.com.

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