Ending months of delays caused by COVID-19’s impact on state and municipal governments in procuring necessary funds, Cherry Hill Township Council unanimously adopted its fiscal year 2021 operating budget on Oct. 27.
During council’s latest public meeting on that date, Mayor Susan Angulo officially revealed that residents would not see a municipal tax hike for the ninth consecutive year, continuing the policy enacted during the two terms of her predecessor, Chuck Cahn.
“As I have previously announced, there will be no municipal tax increase,” she said. “We are very proud that the township is able to protect taxpayers who invest in our services that the community expects and deserves.”
According to the 2021 Municipal Data Sheet, the general appropriations amount for the new budget comes in at just over $74 million. Just over $42 million of that total arrived through the local tax levy.
“Every budget represents priorities; every budget represents choices,” stated Council President David Fleisher. “And this budget ensures that the appropriate investments in public safety, our roads, our trash collection, in our recreation and open spaces, are reflected in this budget.”
In concert with the budget adoption resolution, council duly passed an ordinance allowing the township to exceed budget appropriation limits and establish a cap bank. The cap bank essentially functions as a “rainy-day fund” for township coffers. Per state law, the maximum allowable budget overspill is 2 percent.
“From a budgetary perspective, this does not mean the budget is exceeding (its) cap. It actually is the opposite: The fact that we are under the cap allows us to bank (funds) for potential use in the future,” Fleisher noted.
A full breakdown of the latest municipal budget can be found on the township’s website at: https://www.cherryhill-nj.com/DocumentCenter/View/9743/FY-2021-Budget-As-Introduced-.
Council also gave its unanimous consent to legislation that allows the Cherry Hill Police Department to receive new, comprehensive crime-tracking software related to its incident-based reporting systems. Cost of the overhaul is approximately $679,000.
According to Fleisher, the move was necessary due to upgrading requirements mandated by both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the New Jersey state police. These new systems are required to be fully operational by Jan. 1.
“This is to replace our UCR (Uniform Crime Reporting system), which has been around since the 1920s. It’s outdated and antiquated. This will be a more consistent crime-reporting platform that will accurately record each offense within a jurisdiction,” noted Chief William “Bud” Monaghan.
“One of the issues with the UCR is that it would only record the highest-level offense, not every offense a person had committed.
In other news:
- Councilwomen Sangeeta Doshi and Michele Golkow issued a proclamation to the township’s Side by Side team, which works alongside the police department to provide support for victims of domestic violence. The proclamation was in recognition of the team’s service during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.
- Cherry Hill American Little League’s 16U Senior League New Jersey state championship victory squad was also presented with a proclamation by council members Jennifer Apell and William Carter.
- Council also honored retiring municipal employee Judy Molinaro for her 33 years of service, and declared Oct. 28 as Judy Molinaro Day in the township.
- Council also moved to authorize the extension of its one-year contract with Voorhees Animal Orphanage for all sheltering services, beginning Jan. 1, in an amount not to exceed $37,800.