At its latest public session — believed to be the first of its kind held completely online — Haddonfield’s board of commissioners ensured that the borough could continue to operate without a finalized budget on the horizon for 2020.
During the April 14 meeting, the three-person body unanimously passed a resolution authorizing a temporary emergency budget appropriation to keep the borough afloat during the pandemic, until the state mandates a return to normal business.
According to the resolution, the borough is expected to operate with just over $14 million at its disposal.
“Because of the state finances and lack of a budget plan, as well as our own lack of a plan and deadline to finalize the new budget, we’re able to do this and make temporary appropriations through at least three-quarters of the year, which takes us through the end of September,” noted Commissioner for Revenue and Finance Jeffrey Kasko.
Commissioners also unanimously approved a pair of resolutions related to the long-awaited land swap between the borough and the board of education.
The first piece of legislation allowed for the signing of documents to complete the sale of borough-owned land on the Bancroft site, a 4.7-acre plot, for $3 million, and for the acquisition of 10.9 acres of board-owned land for $3 million.
The second piece of legislation paves the way for the borough to execute an agreement with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for a Green Acres grant in the amount of $1.5 million, to be used on its newly-acquired land.
“This is a long-term win for Haddonfield. I want to thank Sharon (Borough Administrator McCullough) and everybody involved for their hard work in getting this done,” said Mayor Neal Rochford.
Added Kasko: “It’s my personal feeling that the big win here is, Radnor (Field) will never be sold and it will never be developed.”
To conclude the meeting, Rochford offered his thoughts on the town pulling together during the first weeks of the crisis.
“Quite frankly, I’ve been overwhelmed by the community support for neighbors and friends,” he noted. “The whole array of people following the social distancing rules, it’s been tremendous. I can’t say enough about the police, EMTs and fire, who are still out there ready to man any emergency that comes up.”
Commissioner for Public Safety Colleen Bianco Bezich expressed her wishes for continued healing.
“I wanted to extend my heartfelt thoughts to everyone. Everyone I know seems to know someone who has lost work, lost income, lost a connection and are suffering either financially, physically or mentally,” she said. “I just want to encourage people to check in with friends and neighbors, and also to be considerate in thinking before you act.”
In other news:
- Commissioners issued a proclamation declaring April 24 Arbor Day in the borough.
- The triumvirate also approved a piece of legislation that enables two men, John Burger and Patrick Gorman, to become Special Law Enforcement Officers, Class II, in the event the police department needs them due to attrition caused by coronavirus.
- The board additionally authorized a change in the rate for non-payment of quarterly taxes, due on May 1. Should a borough resident not pay during the grace period between May 1 and May 31, they will be charged zero-percent interest.