HomeMullica Hill NewsTownship looking to achieve bronze certification from Sustainable Jersey

Township looking to achieve bronze certification from Sustainable Jersey

Bronze or silver certifications show proof of a municipality's efforts to be green.

Members of the township’s environmental commission and green team informed the township they are working to both make Harrison Township sustainable, and to keep the bronze certification.

During the July 15 township committee meeting, Environmental Commission Chairman Mike Gonserkevis said the group won’t know until the end of the year if the township achieved silver status, but it could still apply the same initiatives for bronze.

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“In order to achieve some of the sustainable actions, our ordinances we have in place aren’t in line with that they’re looking to achieve,” he said. “Sustainable Jersey tries to bring the whole state together with the language of the ordinances. It’s so that every municipality that has that ordinance is similar.

Sustainable Jersey is a nonprofit organization that promotes municipalities and schools to be more environmentally-conscious and to become more sustainable. In its certification program, it awards governments and schools for their efforts to be green, and promotes it to residents with bronze, silver and gold certifications.

Certifications are good for three years.

Going into 2020, if we want to maintain bronze, we need to step it up,” Gonserkevis said. The township received bronze in December of 2017. “We’re trying to get silver this year. If nothing else, we want to gain more points to buffer it.

Some of the actions the township would need to complete include categories of health and wellness, green design, food, emergency management and resiliency, and waste management, to name a few.

Mayor Louis Manzo inquired if the installation of the aerating fountain in the Mullica Hill Pond can count toward certification, to which Gonserkevis agreed it would because it’s considered public outreach and education. He added the fountain can help promote the health of the pond and its installation gives the environmental commission an opportunity to teach residents how it helps aquatic life within.

Committeeman John Williams inquired if the school district’s sustainable actions can count toward the township’s, and Gonserkevis said it can only be applied if the township and schools work together on an action.

Plastic bags for example, they give you points for if you offer reusable bags,” he said. “What the chief is doing at the police department with the disposable drug box, that’s something that’s a staple and it’s a priority item.”

Gonserkevis said the commission will be working mostly in August and September to see what things the township can do to get points towards bronze or silver certifications.

In other news:

  • Police Chief Thomas Mills said there are plans to convert the intersection of Ellis Mill and Richwood Roads to a four-way stop. Currently only one of the roads has a stop sign. Mills said he was not given a start or end date for the reconfiguration.
  • Manzo provided further clarification on how blueplate – and other properties in the historical district on Main Street – could use Payment in Lieu of Taxes funds. A detailed explanation on how PILOTs work in the township can be view by visiting www.HarrisonTwp.US.
  • The township is requesting approval from the state’s historical preservation to tear down the main structure of 5 S. Main St. (next to Old Mill) due to weathered walls and a buckling structure.
  • Inspira was announced to be finished with the hospital in mid-November.
  • Joe Henry of Hardenbergh Insurance presented to the committee on the township’s compliance with JIF’s safety standards and their standing with employee health and wellness. He added the township has just over $9,000 in financial incentives from JIF to only go toward safety programs.

The next township meeting is scheduled for August 5, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Court Room (114 Bridgeton Pike).

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