At the Moorestown Township Council meeting on Oct. 6, Deputy Mayor Stacy Jordan asked that a resolution be made to use the surplus gained by liquor sales for tax relief purposes. This sparked some controversy within the meeting, however the resolution was adopted by most of the council except Councilman Greg Newcomer.
Jordan started the meeting discussing the surplus Moorestown had gained for this year. Jordan asked that a resolution be made to use the surplus for tax relief purposes. She brought out mailed fliers made from citizens asking for tax relief to support her cause.
“We’ve been talking about tax relief. I’d like to make a resolution tonight that we use our surplus for just that, tax relief,” Jordan said.
Councilman Phil Garwood agreed with Jordan. However, Newcomer didn’t feel it was fair to adopt a resolution that night. He wanted to wait to see what citizens would suggest they do rather than adopt a resolution where citizens wouldn’t have a say.
“I believe it is critical to have town hall meetings where people from the town come in and discuss various things such as the use of the surplus, where we get the ideas from all of the smart people in town. I would say it is a wonderful thing to use it for tax relief, but I think that we should include the town and the town’s people in that decision. I think we should get as much information as we can before we make a decision like this,” Newcomer said.
Jordan felt the citizens were able to not only speak their ideas that night, but had been given months of opportunities to suggest what to do with the budget, including the surplus.
Township Manager Scott Carew concurred with Jordan, saying there were at least 15 meetings that citizens were allowed to attend.
“We do want involvement. We’ve been giving them plenty of opportunity,” Carew said.
Citizens had their say on the matter. Nancy Newcomer, council candidate Edmond George and Robert Zieniuk agreed with Newcomer. They wanted the council to give notice and time for citizens to have their say.
“I would respectfully ask that you reconsider that decision. It makes it appear that you don’t want to hear from the citizens of Moorestown. Whether it be to save the money for tax purposes or not, I ask that you consider raising it for the next township meeting,” Nancy said.
George felt the fliers Jordan was referring to were not a valid representation of all Moorestown citizens. Zieniuk, like Nancy, felt council should hold off on a decision.
“I think this is not transparent. Not to say I wouldn’t support it, but I think it should be put out for the other members of Moorestown citizens. There are a lot of people who don’t know this is coming up tonight. What is it going to hurt to put it on the agenda for next week?” Zieniuk asked.
However, other citizens disagreed. Michael Locatell, Kathy Sullivan and Greg Adams felt the decision to adopt a resolution for keeping the surplus money for tax relief purposes was a good idea.
“I don’t think that we need a town meeting to decide what to do with the surplus. Keep the money in the bank for tax relief, rather than spend the money on whatever new toy. We should sit on the surplus and as projects come up we have money in the bank,” Locatell said.
Sullivan felt the money should be saved for “a rainy day” because something might come up that normally taxpayers would pay for, but because of the surplus they can use the surplus money and not the taxpayers’. Adams had a little bit of a different view on the money, though he did still support the money being used for tax relief.
“If we keep the money for pet projects, it will be nothing but trouble. I think we should use it for the taxpayers until it is gone,” Adams said.
Ultimately, the council approved the resolution to use the money for taxpayer relief that night.
In other news:
• Proclamations were given to Cynthia Maahs-Knobbs for her retirement from Fire District №2 and Barbara Rich for her contributions to the community. Though not present, citizens wanted to hear Rich’s proclamation and after it was read she received standing applause from the audience and the council. Council members spoke highly of Rich at the meeting as well.
• The next Moorestown Township Council meeting will be Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m.