It’s a new decade, but Moorestown Township Council’s priority is the same, according to Mayor Lisa Petriello. It is once again focused on maximizing value to Moorestown taxpayers.
“As with 2019, 2020 is going to be another busy year,” Petriello said.
Capital improvements are at the forefront of council’s 2020 agenda. Petriello said come spring, dozens of roads will be repaved, a pedestrian pathway will be installed along Strawbridge Lake and the township will tackle stormwater improvements at the lake and throughout town.
Council may also make changes to township codes based on recommendations proposed in the Master Plan re-examination report. According to the mayor, council budgeted funds to follow through on a variety of recommendations, and the office of Community Development is poised to execute those.
Residents can look forward to new construction permitting software that will go live in the first quarter of 2020. That software will feature a public portal to accelerate the permitting process for both residents and businesses.
In terms of the upcoming budget, council doesn’t anticipate new spending proposals and is working on creative ideas to generate revenue outside the tax base. One idea under consideration is to bill developers for the township’s legal time spent reviewing their proposals.
“As always, we need to ensure that we are maximizing the value of every tax dollar,” Petriello noted.
Several of the township’s largest undertakings will come to a head in 2020. Council has awarded contracts for the dredging and cleanup of the children’s pond at Strawbridge Lake, work that will be completed by spring. The mayor anticipates upgrades at the township’s two water treatment facilities — Hartford Road and Church Street — will be completed.
As for Moorestown’s affordable housing plan, there still is work ahead. Petriello said as the township continues to work toward a compliance hearing, it still needs to complete some zoning changes and select a developer for the Centerton Road and Nagle sites before gaining final approval of the plan before the court. At this point, the mayor added, township lawyers are preparing for a hearing in March, though an official date has yet to be chosen.
In terms of the Lenola Project, Moorestown has found itself in a bit of a holding pattern as it waits for the New Jersey Department of Transportation to execute a grant agreement. In June 2017, the township received a $971,500 federal Transportation Alternative Program grant. The area from the western boundary of the Pennsauken Creek where the township borders Maple Shade, to the Lenola Road intersection, is due to receive aesthetic and infrastructure upgrades. In January 2018, the township changed engineers after learning about a DOT program that reimburses engineering costs if the Moorestown uses one of the state’s engineers.
But the township doesn’t have federal confirmation of the second grant yet. Petriello said final approval will save the township hundreds of thousands of dollars on engineering and design costs.
“We are eager to move this project along pending the state agreement so the area gets the upgrade it deserves,” she added.
Council learned in 2019 that it can work together to get things done for residents, the mayor said, a lesson that will be carried into 2020.
“Our council has been working better and better together as a group, and I hope that trend will continue,” Petriello acknowledged. “There is too much we need to accomplish to keep our community moving forward.”
To stay up-to-date on township happenings, visit https://www.moorestown.nj.us.