No action on municipal budget

The municipal budget was discussed at council’s April 23 meeting, however the council took no action.

Mayor Randy Brown asked the council to consider supporting state Senate bill 1896 in March. At the previous meeting, the mayor and council unanimously decided not to introduce the budget.

According to Brown, there have been no recent updates from the state on the bill.

“The mayor and council were hoping it was gaining traction with other municipalities to raise the taxes in order to refund tax appeals,” township manager Bill Cromie said. “They hope the legislation will be acted upon in May.”

The township is currently working with a temporary budget based on the 2012 adopted budget.

“Myself and the council are not comfortable with introducing the budget at all,” Brown said, adding he is day-to-day on the decision.

The 2013 proposed budget was introduced in March with a $59 per year tax increase on the average assessed home of $271,200.

“I should be calling for a tax decrease, and we’re calling for an increase because of all of these other entities,” Brown said.
The tax levy increase stems from the township’s responsibility to pay more than $1.5 million in tax appeals. The township receives 15 percent of tax dollars, but is required to pay 100 percent of the tax appeals, according to Cromie.

The proposed $32.8 million budget includes a spending decrease of $26,571 from 2012.

“We’re doing a very good job in keeping taxes low for the municipality,” Cromie said.

According to Cromie, the statutory deadline for the budget introduction has passed and, “towns miss it from time to time,” but the township will not see a penalty as a result.

In other news:
• The township council provided staff with suggestions for the 9/11 Memorial project, according to Cromie.
The township is slated to begin discussions with architects and contractors for preliminary designs in the near future, Cromie said.

• Council authorized permission to acquire $3 million in bonds for capital improvements, including the repavement project beginning with Cambridge Park and general improvements of buildings and grounds, according to Cromie.

• The smoking in public parks ordinance passed unanimously on first reading. The hearing and adoption is scheduled for May 7.
Lahn Kim, the fourth-grade girl from Jaggard School who wrote the letter to the mayor and her classmates, attended the meeting.
The ordinance will go into effect 20 days after its adoption.

• The contract to reconstruct Memorial Playground was awarded to Byler Builders, LLC of Clayton, Del.
According to Brown, the demolition began April 24. The park is scheduled to be re-opened on Memorial Day, Cromie said.

The next township council meeting is scheduled for May 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Evesham Township Municipal Building, located at 984 Tuckerton Road.