Palmyra Council discusses ongoing borough projects at April 1 meeting

Council receives updates for the ongoing Temple Boulevard improvement project and efforts to keep track of groundwater levels leading to basement flooding throughout the borough.

At its meeting on Monday, April 1, Palmyra Borough Council discussed ongoing projects throughout the borough, including improvements to Temple Boulevard and groundwater monitoring.

The meeting began with a reading of correspondences addressed to borough officials, including a letter from the commissioner of the state Department of Transportation and a letter from Richard Dreby announcing his resignation from the land use board.

In her letter, NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti informed the council of a grant to aid with the ongoing Temple Boulevard improvement project.

Last year, the borough was awarded a $250,000 Municipal Aid Grant for the project aimed at road work, student and pedestrian safety, drainage, and aesthetic improvements for Temple Boulevard. Given the magnitude of the project, officials have continued to pursue additional grant opportunities to offset the total cost, expected to reach $1 million.

“I am pleased to inform you that Palmyra has been selected to receive funding from the New Jersey Department of Transportation fiscal year 2019 Municipal Aid Program for the Temple Boulevard reconstruction phase project in the amount of $260,000,” said Gutierrez-Scaccetti in her letter.

In another letter addressed to borough officials, Palmyra Fire Chief and security officer at Palmyra High School, Richard Dreby, announced his resignation from the borough’s land use board.

Dreby, who has remained heavily involved in his community, holding a variety of titles and positions, had to step down from this particular posting due to a conflict with New Jersey law.

“I am resigning my position on the land use board due to the law stating that I cannot sit on the board as I hold an official position within the Borough of Palmyra. Although disappointing, I am not in a position nor am I willing to give up the two positions that I hold,” said Dreby in his letter.

During professional updates, borough engineer William Kirchner provided an update on the installation of several piezometer wells meant to measure groundwater levels throughout the borough. The piezometers were installed last month in response to several reports of basement flooding from residents.

“We found groundwater levels to be basically what everyone’s been telling us. If you live near the creek or near the river, you have a very high groundwater table, and if you’re up here in the higher parts of the borough, it’s much lower,” said Kirchner

According to Kirchner, water levels will continue to be monitored monthly. He predicts a benefit of this monitoring will come in the form of timing construction projects in town relative to water levels. When the water table is high, a considerable amount of money is spent just pumping water out of holes dug during a project.

“If the weather would cooperate and we can get the water table to drop back down, we can save quite a fortune on construction projects,” said Kirchner.

Councilwoman Michelle McCann inquired about providing a method for the general public to have access to information about water levels in their part of town to better prepare for possible flooding. Kirchner agreed to provide a summary of the information gleaned from piezometers throughout the area to Borough Administrator John Gural to put up on the borough’s website.