Monroe Township adopts 2019 municipal budget

Mayor Rich DiLucia recognizes future challenges

One of the most well-known rallying cries from the American Revolution was “No taxation without representation,” meaning the colonists wanted a say in how the government was working. This is a statement that has carried into the modern world as Americans elect individuals who they believe have their best interests in mind.

Take the 2018 mayoral election for example, Rich DiLucia won his race by more than 1,400 votes. One of the pillars of his and his ballot-mates’ campaign was to hold the line on taxes. On June 24, their words came to fruition as the township adopted its 2019 municipal budget with no tax increase.

“At the six-month mark, I’d like to thank the council, my BA Jill McRea, Christine Scola in human resources, Joe DiLolle, my deputy mayor, and Sue McCormick, my secretary, and all the directors for the hard, diligent work they’ve done in accomplishing what I believe has been many steps in the right direction to make Monroe Township a great town to live in,” DiLucia said.

Councilman Cody Miller also thanked the business administrator, the chief financial officer and the department heads for their work in keeping the tax rate stagnant.

“Kudos to everyone who worked diligently to accomplish this. I think this is a wonderful thing for the township,” he said.

Both Miller and DiLucia acknowledged that there will be challenges ahead when looking toward next year’s municipal budget. DiLucia noted the cost of trash and recycling, snow removal, gas, electric and township employees’ salary as costs that can and will increase going into next year.

“In this situation there’s no way to look for additional money unless we find a way to bring in revenue,” he said. “That revenue under our tax system is pretty much contained to bringing in rateables. I know that we’re going to have to entertain developers that have a legal right to come in and build houses, with houses come children. I love children but the fact of the matter is when you bring in more children you put a greater burden on the school and school taxes which represent approximately 57 percent of your tax dollar.”

DiLucia’s goal is to bring in rateables, or new businesses, to the township. With this goal in mind he, along with council, brought in an economic development specialist to put their name out to businesses and let them know Monroe Township is open for business. He believes the Black Horse Pike is prime location for new businesses to come to town.

In other news:

  • Council passed a resolution to revisit and rewrite the master plan. Council Vice President Joe Marino said it’s been 10 years since it has been revisited.

“This is something I campaigned on back in 2017,” he said. “There’s areas in this town where we need to control growth, control how we develop it.”

Chair of the environmental commission, Ryan Rebozo, also weighed in on the resolution.

“I’m encouraged to see council take steps to move forward to addressing and updating our master plan. You mentioned an important part of planning the growth of the township for the next 10 or so years, I’d like to ask council consider including our environmental resource inventory when this process is taking place,” he said.

The environmental resource inventory highlights and quantifies the resources in town from geology soil to water resources and contamination sites and everything in between.

“Getting these into the planning process up front will help save a lot of issues down the road. Proper planning, using the best available information we have is only going to be helpful. The environmental commission is here to help and provide our expertise where we can,” Rebozo added.

  • Deb Bender, along with Nick Mercado, pitched a pilot program for “Curb my Clutter” which would be a free way for township residents to have old clothes, handbags or shoes picked up at their house and properly recycled or donated instead of having those items fill up trash, causing garbage removal prices to skyrocket. Bender and Mercado said televisions and electronics could be picked up as well for a small fee. This was simply a matter for discussion in the work session, no action was taken on the pitch.
  • The next council meeting is scheduled for July 22. The work session begins at 7 p.m. and the regular meeting will follow at 8 p.m. Both sessions take place at the municipal building and are open to the public.