Committee members bid farewell to a now-former member, discussed latest occurrences in the state

Former committeeman Vincent Gangemi, Sr., vacated his spot to be with his family and to focus on his health

Committeeman Vincent Gangemi, Sr., officially relinquished his position on Dec. 3 from the Harrison Township committee for his health (Krystal Nurse/The Sun).

By KRYSTAL NURSE

The Sun

UPDATE: On Dec. 5, Township Clerk Diane Malloy rescheduled the meeting to Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Court Room.

At their Dec. 3 meeting, Harrison Township committee members and those from the public were notified Vincent Gangemi, Sr., relinquished his position as committeeman, effective immediately, due to his health.

Mayor Louis Manzo read Gangemi’s letter, in which Gangemi wrote, in part, “I find it most important in my remaining years that I spend those years with my family and closest friends. The time spent with residents at township events have been the most rewarding, joyus years of my life outside of my family.”

Manzo added Gangemi not only had a part in the township committee, but also in Harrison Township as a whole as he’s worked and lived in town his entire life. He added the township will look into ways to formally recognize Gangemi’s service as both a member of the committee and resident.

“You have thought of it and put it first like you would with family, and everybody recognizes that,” said Manzo. “Whether or not we agreed with you, we always respected your opinion.” Manzo added the township will recognize Gangemi in the future.

Gangemi has served on the township committee since 2016.

He added his doctor recommended he cut down on what he does to better assist with his pulmonary fibrosis.

“That being said, it is what it is, and we have to live with it,” said Gangemi. “It’s been a pleasure to be with you people here.”

Committee members formally accepted his resignation from the committee and wished him well.

Harrison Township committee members wished Gangemi, center, well as he vacated his position, effective Dec. 3, as committeeman. Gangemi served for two years (Krystal Nurse/The Sun).

In other news, the township committee rescheduled the Dec. 17 meeting due to Manzo’s absence for family matters. Manzo proposed they discuss the reorganization of the township government for 2019, during the final December public meeting, reflecting what occurred in 2017. Township Clerk Diane Malloy notified the committee she will put out a notice on the meeting’s new date when a space and time are identified.

The January reorganization meeting date was not announced.

Manzo, prior to the roll call votes, gave an in-depth explanation on Ordinance 42, which passed on first reading and addresses the distribution of medicinal marijuana (Manzo used the state’s term cannabis).

“This long explanation is that the planner [of the Joint Land Use Board] has done research and we determined that, unanimously, the community would be in favor of having a cultivation operation (a greenhouse) — remember the current law says it’s legal for medicinal use right now, so we’re only worried about that — and we would be open to an alternative treatment center or dispensary,” said Manzo.

The ordinance restricts the creation of a recreational marijuana business. He added the law can be changed at any point, but currently says no recreational operations within township limits. Tomlin Station Business park is the only designated zone for medicinal marijuana due to its location away from residential developments, and it’s an underdeveloped section of the township.

Committeeman Jeff Jacques inquired about the security of the cultivation operations, and Manzo responded a building in Woodbridge, which he toured, and most in the state have top-of-the-line security systems and have separate sections for obtaining prescriptions, dispensing and the growing of cannabis.

A public hearing is scheduled for the ordinance at the next committee meeting.

The township also passed a resolution, unanimously and enthusiastically, to support the state legislature in addressing any of the 32 recommendations by private sector experts and professors within the “Path to Progress” that will alleviate the issue of taxes in the state and save its pension program, which Manzo said Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-NJ3) says is at risk. The 37-page report can be found on www.PathToProgressNJ.org.

In short, Manzo said the report includes addressing the Cadillac Tax (40 percent tax on employer-sponsored health-care premiums exceeding $10,200 per year for singles and $27,500 for families) and could, in turn, help the state “save around $2 billion on a $37 billion state budget.”

Township Administrator Mark Gravinese said the Route 322 Raccoon Creek bridge repair project by the state Department of Transportation won’t start until the end of January as detours and temporary road markings will need to be set up on the Route 322 Bypass and Clems Run to accommodate the tractor-trailers that will use the detour.

Harrison Township residents are being encouraged to keep an eye on their emails and the township website for a notice on the next, and final, public meeting of the year.

Editor’s Note: The Mullica Hill Sun will publish the new meeting date on its website, www.MullicaHillSun.com, and social media pages.