HomeSicklerville NewsGloucester Township Council adopts $6.2 million bond for this year’s capital budget

Gloucester Township Council adopts $6.2 million bond for this year’s capital budget

At Monday night’s meeting, longtime municipal clerk Rosemary DiJosie retired after serving Council for 22 years.

Nancy A. Power is sworn in as Gloucester Township Council’s municipal clerk. Standing by her husband Fred (right) and son Dalton (left), Power’s predecessor, Rosemary DiJosie who served as clerk for 22 years, holds the bible beside Mayor Dave R. Mayer.

At its Jan. 22 meeting, Gloucester Township Council adopted two bond ordinances on second reading. The funds, part of this year’s upcoming capital budget, will benefit various pieces of capital equipment and construction and completion of capital improvements, including an almost $6.2 million bond and a $1.4 million bond, specifically designated for stormwater drainage improvements.

Of the $6 million bond, roughly $2 million would be used to finance the reconstruction of various township sidewalks, including Cherrywood Drive, Hillcrest Lane, Coles Road and John Road. These projects have a period of usefulness for up to 10 years.

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Roughly $72,876 would be set aside for improvements of recreational areas, including the township pool and recreation center, which also have a decade-long period of usefulness.

Other projects include the installation of traffic signals and street lighting, costing around $169,000 for a five-year period of usefulness, and improvements to township buildings such as the municipal hall, recreation center and public works building, costing around $898,300 for 15 years.

Also, roughly $1,195,264 would be designated for the police department, encompassing patrol rifles, computers, radio equipment, mobile data terminals, body cameras, traffic safety equipment and all-wheel drive vehicles, configuring a period of usefulness for five years.

The drainage-related bond would benefit the replacement of stormwater piping at Cherrywood Drive and Kelly Driver Road and the replacement of the headwall at Signey Lane. This period of usefulness is set to last 40 years.

At last Monday night’s public hearing, Gloucester Township residents raised questions regarding some of the bonds’ expenses, such as a $500 printer and $3,500 for six weed wackers and two blowers.

“We’re going to be paying for (the printer) over the next 10, 11 years, and we’re not going to have that printer in 10 years,” resident Sam Sweet said.

Business administrator Tom Cardis said the township’s list of purposes encompassed in its capital bonds have met the state’s guidelines under local bond law regarding what can be capitalized.

After Sweet asked if the township’s potential inability to meet the debt service amount could lead to increased property taxes, Cardis explained how Council would avoid that circumstance.

“(Bonds) are outside the appropriation cap, and then there’s a calculated adjustment under the tax law decap. They are included, but there’s a differential that allows them to exceed the 2 percent (property) factor,” Cardis said. “You’re talking about defaulting on the debt, and that’s something that is not acceptable under any circumstances, so that would not happen.”

Like the first ordinance reading, residents inquired why these investments couldn’t potentially come from general funds, particularly the surplus money.

According to Cardis, that balance is unknown until the annual financial statement is completed in February. Also, considering these capital projects require several years or permanent years of financing, these investments must be made through the bond market, according to state laws. General surpluses are ordinarily not used to invest in capital projects.

Councilman Orlando Mercado outlined the risks of burning through a surplus, explaining the benefits of previous capital budget purchases, such as the 2013 bid for a BearCat, an armored vehicle that came into use during the barricaded incident in the Brittany Woods area two weeks ago.

“We don’t go willy-nilly on putting things in the capital budget,” Mercado said. “We’re planning for tomorrow.”

In other news:

• After serving as township municipal clerk for 22 years, Rosemary DiJosie retired, as Monday, Jan. 22, marked her final meeting. Mayor Dave. R. Mayer, Chief W. Harry Earle and members of council, including the business administrator and solicitor, expressed their admiration and gratitude to DiJosie. Surrounded by her family, Nancy A. Power was sworn in as the township’s new clerk.

• Council passed a resolution to submit a grant application for the NJ Local Aid Infrastructure Fund Grant for improvements on Johnson Road.

• Council passed a resolution to accept a State Homeland Security Program Subgrant from the state Police Office of Emergency Management. The grant, which is worth $20,022.09, will enhance the township’s ability to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from acts of terrorism, natural diseases and other catastrophic events and emergencies.


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