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Cherry Hill Council introduces bond ordinances for turf, roads and other capital projects

Cherry Hill Township is moving forward with capital projects for 2016 with the introduction of four bond ordinances at last Monday’s meeting.

Council passed each ordinance on first reading at the meeting, including two involving major projects the township has discussed over the past few months.

One bond ordinance will appropriate $3.3 million for the installation of turf fields at high schools East and West. The bond ordinance for the turf project comes about a month after the township approved a shared services agreement with the Cherry Hill Board of Education for the project. The township is managing the construction of the fields. Residents will be able to use the facilities when high school teams are not using them.

The township is not paying the entire cost of the project. Township director of communications Bridget Palmer said the school district would reimburse the township for half of the cost.

Another bond ordinance will appropriate $8.2 million for the township’s road maintenance program. Increasing the amount of money going into road maintenance was something Mayor Chuck Cahn and township officials discussed in great detail during the fiscal year 2016 budget process.

The township has more than doubled its road maintenance budget compared to 2015. Last year’s bond ordinance for road maintenance appropriated only $3.6 million.

Cahn said during the budget process in the summer, road maintenance was an area residents wanted the township to focus on more.

“We hear it all the time about our roads,” Cahn said. “Now, we’re serious about it.”

The township also approved bond ordinances for general improvements to parks and municipal buildings and for sanitary sewer improvements.

The four bond ordinances were included in the capital budget council approved in September.

“Everything listed was approved and discussed with the FY16 budget,” township Chief Financial Officer Michelle Samalonis said.

The second reading and public hearing for all of the bond ordinances will be at the next council meeting on Nov. 23.

Bogart’s Law adopted

Council passed on second reading Bogart’s Law, a new ordinance prohibiting the operation of pet stores from selling commercially bred animals. In the new ordinance, pet shops may only offer for sale animals obtained from an animal care facility or an animal rescue organization.

Cherry Hill resident Alan Braslow and a small group of animal activist were on hand to support the ordinance. Braslow has helped transform a Cherry Hill pet store named Pat’s Puppies into P&T’s Puppy Love Adoption Center where only dogs from rescue organizations are made available for adoption.

Braslow said he believes the adoption center is the future of what pet shops will look like for years to come in Cherry Hill and surrounding communities. He informed council during public comment the adoption center has had success in just the first few weeks of opening.

“About 16 dogs have been adopted in the last two weeks,” Braslow said.

The new ordinance was named Bogart’s Law after Councilwoman Melinda Kane’s cat Bogart, whom she adopted from an animal shelter five years ago.

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