Washington Township Mayor Joann Gattinelli delivered a budget presentation at the May 8 council meeting where a resolution was passed to introduce the municipal budget on first reading.
One of the aspects Gattinelli touted during her presentation was the drop in municipal purpose tax. In the past two years, the purpose tax rate stayed steady. For the 2019 budget that number will drop. The latest public record has the average home valued at $210,358; for that home, residents can see their purpose tax drop $5 for the year.
“Due to a modest increase in appropriations and the anticipated increase in revenues due to the redevelopment and economic development in the township, the introduction of the 2019 municipal budget allows for the township to reduce the 2019 tax rate,” Gattinelli said. “This in turn will lower the local purpose tax for every township household. All of this will be achieved with an increase in services to our residents.”
Gattinelli attributes her success to working with the department heads to ensure all operational revenues and appropriations were consistent with the needs of residents.
“A detailed cost-benefit analysis of each situation was considered,” she said. “As in previous years, a reasonable surplus was used to balance the budget. However, due to the amount of surplus in the reserve and the efficiency in managing operations in 2019, it is anticipated the amount of surplus used will be regenerated, thereby maintaining the surplus to a prudent governmental standard under generally accepted accounting principles and best practices.”
Gattinelli also addressed the capital improvements council has on the docket for the coming year. These include 13 fully fitted police vehicles; the restoration and reopening of Washington Lake with walking and bike paths for residents; upgrades at Washington Lake Park including Americans with Disabilities Act compliant swings, tennis court and roller hockey rink upgrades and implementation of the bike share program.
Gattinelli concluded her address by saying, “We strive every day to keep Washington Township a great place in which to live, work and raise a family.”
The 2019 budget will be up for adoption at the June 5 meeting.
In other news:
- Economic development consultant Nancy Mozzachio gave an update on the economic development committee’s first-quarter activities. Some activities included the Black Horse Pike broker’s road show where she showed off seven locations along the Black Horse Pike while giving a demonstration of their geographic information systems mapping tools; she had a meeting with a group that develops hotels and offices across the nation and identified multiple sites worthy of consideration; and five economic development meetings were held this quarter. Quite possibly the most important thing to come out of the first quarter is the meeting with an industrial company that is currently located in Gloucester Township that generates approximately $20 million in annual sales and is interested in moving to Washington Township. A move is contingent upon a sale of its existing building. There are two sites in a development zone big enough to accommodate a 65,000 square-foot building. She is looking to arrange a workshop with township officials to discuss a timeline for completion. If this company comes to the township, it will bring roughly 100 jobs. In the future, Mozzachio looks to hold a road show similar to the one that showcased vacancies on the Black Horse Pike, but for the medical hub that is Washington Township.
“These tours are critical to filling space,” she said.
Mozzachio is also in the process of interviewing local students for unpaid internships to assist with data, synergy and Shop Washington Township outreach.
- Gattinelli presented two proclamations, one to the Township Tornadoes basketball team, the gold medal winner in the Spring Games Basketball State Tournament division 9, and one to Eagle Scout Ryan Craig.
- The following Washington Township police officers were awarded at the Gloucester County Police Banquet on May 6: Rob McGovern, Matt Franchi, Mike Longfellow, Mike Gizelbach, Kevin Convery, Dan Spataro, Brian McNeany, Ryan Kelly, Anthony Aquilino, Matthew Barnett and Gary Egizi.
- The next council meeting is scheduled for May 22 at 7 p.m. at the municipal building.