Mayor’s Message — Events, parking spaces and budget update

Mayor Joann Gattinelli reviews Shred Day, distracted driving awareness month, new veteran parking spots and the proposed municipal budget

Mayor Joann Gattinelli (left) attended Washington Township’s Shred Day where residents were invited to confidentially destroy unwanted documents at the Municipal Building.

Shred Day

On Saturday morning, April 8, I attended Shred Day at the Municipal Building. Although it was a chilly morning, we had a fantastic turn out. It was wonderful to see so many residents taking advantage of these shredding services to not only dispose of unwanted paper goods, but to recycle and promote “going green.” I brought some of my own papers to shred, and then spent some time saying hello to residents and handing out flyers with information about recycling and upcoming community events. After only three hours of shredding, we shredded 21,478 pounds of paper! Thank you to all those who came to the event, and thank you to our Parks and Recreation Department for organizing this event. I am proud knowing the residents of Washington Township are serious about recycling and going green.

Pictured from left were Mayor Joann Gattinelli, Sen. Steve Sweeney and Councilwoman Angela Donato at the second annual benefit for Distracted Driving Awareness Month at Adelphia in Deptford.

Second annual Benefit for Distracted Driving Awareness Month

On Monday, April 10, I was present for the second annual Benefit for Distracted Driving Awareness Month along with Councilwoman Angela Donato and state Senate President Steve Sweeney. This event took place at Adelphia in Deptford. Attendees enjoyed great food, dancing, prizes and live entertainment. All of the proceeds benefitted the Toni & RJ Foundation Scholarship Program. I was happy to attend this lively event to bring awareness to such an important cause, to inform everyone the dangers of distracted driving.

Wounded Warriors Family Support parking spaces

On Wednesday, April 5, I was proud to reveal the new Combat Wounded Warriors Family Support parking space with President of Washington Township Chamber of Commerce Maureen Pasternak, Police Chief Patrick Gurcsik, Business Administrator Jason Gonter and Robert Timmons. There are now three parking spaces designated for veterans. These locations include the police station, the Municipal Building and the senior center. Jason and I discussed this project early on in the administration, and he knew the Wounded Warriors Family Support donates signs to honor the many veterans who have transitioned back to civilian life. We wanted to be involved in this initiative to honor our veterans in Washington Township. Jason was very passionate about this project due to the fact that his father, along with other family members, is a two-tour Vietnam veteran, and I was happy to collaborate with him to accomplish this project. Thank you to everyone involved, including our Public Works Department who painted each space with purple outline.

Budget update

At the council meeting on April 12, I was pleased to present the preliminary 2017 capital and operating budgets. As was consistent with our predictions, we are not anticipating an increase in the 2017 municipal budget, while still improving and increasing municipal services. The surplus is coming from the prior years’ balances plus any reserves added based on prior years’ operations, less any previous surplus used. We still have two small group budget workshops at 11 a.m. on April 20 and 27 for those interested in discussing further. Please sign up by emailing mtahan@twp.washington.nj.us, or calling (856) 589–0520, ext. 287, to reserve your space.

Joann Gattinelli is the mayor of Washington Township. She can be reached at mayorgattinelli@twp.washington.nj.us.