Cherry Hill Township Council approves four bond ordinances on first reading

The four bond ordinances will be considered for final adoption on Monday, Nov. 27.

The Cherry Hill Township Council approved four bond ordinances on first reading at its meeting Nov. 14 that will allow it to appropriate up to approximately $10.2 million and authorize the issuance of up to $9.6 million in bonds to complete multiple capital projects.

The ordinances reflect how much the town is able to borrow, not necessarily what it will spend on the following projects.

The first ordinance appropriates $2.97 million and authorizes the issuance of $2.82 million in bonds or notes for township equipment, information technology equipment, improvements to parks, recreation and buildings, and improvements to various municipal-owned buildings. Some of the possible improvements could include personal computer replacement, playground equipment or turf field replacement.

The second ordinance appropriates $4.22 million and authorizes the issuance of $3.83 million of bonds and notes for road improvements, sidewalk improvements, traffic signal upgrades and storm drainage improvement projects.

The third ordinance authorizes the issuance of $2.19 million of bonds to finance the acquisition of land. The bond ordinance does not pertain to any particular property, according to the township’s Chief of Staff Erin Gill.

The fourth ordinance authorizes the issuance of $743,650 in bonds for miscellaneous sanitary sewer improvements that include installation, improvement or replacement of sanitary sewer conveyance systems if needed.

The four bond ordinances will be considered for final adoption on Monday, Nov. 27.

Resident concerned about the cutting of trees

Fred Astmann has been voicing his concerns at previous meetings about PSE&G leaving trees through Cherry Hill in “unacceptable conditions” after conducting trimming to prevent trees from causing damage to power lines. At the most recent meeting during public comment, Astmann voiced his concerns to town council.

“The homeowner owns the trees but the utility can come in, disfigure the trees any way it wants and leave it to eventually break and die, with the homeowner footting the bill. It just doesn’t seem to make sense,” Astmann said.

Astmann also read a letter from Thomas Walker, director of the state Division of Energy, dated on Oct. 26 to the town council. The letter states that although utilities have a right to cut any limbs that may affect service, in most cases the utility company has to notify the homeowner of any tree cutting and obtain permission.

Astmann fears this is not the case and questions PSE&G’s oversight. In comments made to The Sun, after the Oct. 10 meeting, PSE&G communications representative Brooke Houston responded to reasons why the trees were being trimmed. She explained that due to ongoing issues that have compromised the health of trees, trees had to be maintained and trimmed. She explained that bacterial leaf scorch has affected the health of oak trees and the emerald ash borer has damaged numerous ash trees. Two days after the Oct. 10 meeting, the council reached out to PSE&G, and it was determined that it was out of the council’s jurisdiction, according to Gill.

Council President David Fleisher responded to Astmann’s concerns at the Nov. 13 meeting by saying, “Fred, I know we have had a couple issues over the years, that one way or another we make some progress on, we will put this one on the list.”

Council passes series of resolutions

Council passed 47 resolutions during last week’s meeting, one of which will help preserve a historic landmark. Council approved a resolution to accept $50,000 of grant money from the Camden County Open Space, Farmland, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund for the preservation and stabilization of Bonnie’s Bridge, the last surviving stone bridge in Camden County.

“I am happy to see we were able to accept the $50,000 dollar grant to save another piece of our history, Bonnie’s Bridge.” “It is something I am happy to support,” Councilman Brian Bauerle added.

Another resolution permitted the hiring of two new Class I officers to the police department. Chief of Police William Monaghan explained two officers were hired, Francis Guarnere, Jr. and Alisia Mardino. Mardino is a Cherry Hill resident.

“So it ties in to our goal to bring people along trying to recruit from our town first.” Monaghan said.

Another resolution authorized the township to enter a shared service agreement with the Haddonfield to provide domestic violence counseling service. Haddonfield will reimburse the township $2,500 annually for the services rendered under the agreement.