Proposed Cherry Hill Township FY 2018 municipal budget includes tax cut

The average Cherry Hill resident is expected to see a reduction of about $22 in their municipal tax bill.

Cherry Hill Township residents could see a reduction in their municipal taxes as part of the township’s proposed Fiscal Year 2018 municipal budget.

At its meeting last Monday, Cherry Hill Township Council approved its Fiscal Year 2018 budget on first reading. The proposed budget includes a reduction in municipal taxes from last year. Township officials said the average Cherry Hill homeowner will see a reduction of approximately $22 in their municipal taxes for 2018 if the budget is adopted on second reading.

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The proposed tax cut comes after five consecutive years of no municipal tax increase. Prior to the introduction of the budget, Mayor Chuck Cahn said there were several factors allowing the township to cut taxes while maintaining all of its services. He credited the township’s fiscal responsibility over the past six years as a big reason for reducing taxes.

The township’s preliminary budget is also lower compared to last year. The proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget totals $69,108,027. This is $232,953 less than the Fiscal Year 2017 budget. The total tax levy is $44,232,968.

“Taxes are down and the total budget is less,” Cahn said. “But at the same time, we are investing more back into our neighborhoods and into our quality of life.”

“In short, we are spending less, but doing more to make Cherry Hill a stronger, more vibrant place to live,” Cahn added.

More specific information on the municipal budget will be made available prior to the second reading and public hearing. The township will publish the budget in the Courier-Post on Sept. 14 as required by law. Residents will also be able to review the budget in the clerk’s office prior to the second reading and public hearing, which is scheduled for the Council meeting on Monday, Sept. 25.

Council adopts amended Kennedy Hospital redevelopment plan

Council unanimously adopted several amendments to the redevelopment plan for Kennedy Hospital during last Monday’s meeting.

The amended redevelopment plan includes a number of changes, one being the installation of a helistop on top of the new patient tower.

Lisa Dutterer, chief administrative officer for Kennedy University Hospital in Cherry Hill, spoke during the public hearing of the ordinance and explained how a helistop will help the hospital better transport patients who need to be transferred to another hospital. Patients are flown from Kennedy to other hospitals when they have a traumatic injury or condition requiring specialized, life-saving care.

“We fly patients out because they are in need of care that cannot be provided at a community hospital,” Dutterer said.

If a patient currently has to be flown from Kennedy to another hospital, a helicopter lands on the open fields at Cherry Hill High School West. To land the helicopter, the fields need to be cleared, and township EMS, police and fire need to be dispatched to the site to coordinate the landing. The process could take up to two hours to complete.

Dutterer said the helistop would allow the hospital to transport patients via helicopter without the hassle of landing on the Cherry Hill West field.

Dutterer also explained Kennedy will only be flying patients out of the hospital and not accepting incoming trauma patients from other hospitals, as it is not recognized as a level one trauma center.

“We will not become a trauma center,” Dutterer said. “Our clear intention, as it has always been, is that we will be flying patients out for that level of care that can’t be provided at a community hospital.”

Other amendments to the redevelopment plan include the addition of a façade sign along Chapel Avenue, increasing the maximum building height from 75 feet to 88 feet and reducing the minimum front yard setback along Chapel Avenue from 80 feet to 40 feet.

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