Voorhees Township Committee approves three ordinances

Township purchasing emergency response vehicles, authorizes sewer work

The Voorhees Township Committee approved three ordinances after second reading during its March 9 meeting at the Voorhees Town Center.

According to Administrator Larry Spellman, the committee unanimously passed two bond ordinances. The first bond ordinance totals $544,000, with approximately $406,000 being directed toward vehicles for the township police department and an estimated $138,000 for fire department vehicles.

The township plans to purchase six police vehicles and two fire-related vehicles for the specific departments through the bond ordinance. Although that is earlier than when many municipalities start the process of purchasing vehicles through capital projects, Spellman says the township does so in order the receive the vehicles more quickly.

“The way it works is that we’ll do the rest of our capital budget approvals when we approve the budget in April, but we do these temporary capital budgets early because all the townships in New Jersey are on the same timeline,” Spellman said.

“All the towns will traditionally submit them at the same time after dealing with their budgets and then you just end up getting in the back of the line for emergency vehicles and equipment.”

By doing the temporary capital budget, Spellman elaborated, the township will be able to receive the needed vehicles within four to five months, as opposed to eight or nine months if passed at the same time as most other municipalities.

“We’ve learned over the past few years that by doing it this way, we can receive the equipment we need much quicker,” the administrator added.

Spellman says the vehicles for the police department are part of the typical process for keeping updated vehicles for the department year after year. The township continues to purchase necessary equipment in order to bring the fire department up to reasonable standards; it became incorporated with the township a few years ago.

The township passed a second bond ordinance during the meeting, designating approximately $400,000 for various improvements to the township’s Sewer Utility System, including the rehabilitation and/or replacement of the Route 73 sewer main.

The final ordinance that passed upon second reading was the approval for a solar panel project at Voorhees Environmental Park, which is a portion of the former Buzby Landfill.

According to Spellman, the solar panel project will take up approximately 14 acres of land, of which the township owns 38 total acres. The panels will generate 3.5 megawatts of power, the largest amount of power Atlantic City Electric is able to currently receive into its grid.

The agreement comes with a 20-year lease, followed by two optional five-year extensions. According to the agreement with the Pennsylvania-based company, the township will receive $750,000 up front once the project is full constructed and begins to generate power.  After that, the township will receive $50,000 per year for five years, for a total of $1 million in revenue.

The township is hopeful the project will be completed by the end of the year.