Haddonfield’s board of commissioners took a large step toward improving safety and security in the borough at its most recent public meeting, granting final approval of an extensive stormwater infrastructure upgrade and improvement plan to be included in this year’s final operating budget.
During that Sept. 8 virtual session, the three-member body passed, upon second reading, an ordinance appropriating more than $3 million in the expected budget, to fund nine separate projects to improve, upgrade, alter and add to the borough’s stormwater infrastructure.
On the docket for 2020 are the repair and replacement of the outfall by South Atlantic Avenue; pipe replacement on Heritage Road; installation of new inlets on Heritage, Upland Way and Lafayette Avenue; installation of an underground storage tank on Homestead Avenue; and installation of a new sump pump collector system and manhole reconfiguration on Homestead Avenue and Barberry Lane.
The outlay was necessary to both mitigate the effects of damaging storms that have hit the borough since June of 2019, causing damage to the existing system, and to prevent flooding and property damage from future heavy rain events.
“Over the next few years, we’re going to get a lot of work done,” said Commissioner Jeffrey Kasko. “All of those (construction projects), we hope, are going to make things more manageable. All of our water that flows as a result of these storms ends up in Newton Creek or the Cooper River. Getting water effectively and efficiently to those places are what this is all about.”
Once completed, the expected usefulness of the improvements is approximately 20 years.
A final reading and public discussion on the 2020 budget is expected for the board’s next public meeting on Sept. 22.
To further comply with state-mandated affordable-housing requirements, the three-member body also passed a pair of resolutions regarding two properties the borough intends to use for that purpose.
The borough is expected to close on a one-bedroom unit at 202 Haddonfield Commons for $189,000, plus all applicable closing costs. The property in question is a condominium within the complex that has stood on Haddon Avenue, between Wayne and Rhoads avenues, since the 1970s.
“This is the third purchase we’re making to satisfy these requirements. This will be a rental unit that will be operated by the nonprofit that we are forming,” said Commissioner Colleen Bianco Bezich.
In addition, the board consented to a tax exemption for the property previously purchased at 283 Lake Street. The move cancels taxes for the residence, effective July 24 and through Dec. 31, and also cancels tax collection on the site for the preliminary 2021 tax bill that would have been issued by Sept. 30.
In other news:
- The governing body issued a proclamation declaring Sept. 18 Prisoners of War (POW)/Missing in Action (MIA) Recognition Day in the borough, to honor the thousands of soldiers who served in the nation’s armed forces but never returned home. Since 1986, the national observance has fallen on the third Friday of September.
- In response to public inquiry about the Bancroft property or the status of the still-pending land swap between the borough and the board of education, Kasko said there was no news worthy of public revelation on the matter. He floated the possibility that at either the BOC’s second September meeting or a meeting in October, the borough might have more promising news.