Before going through item agendas at its June 9 meeting, Evesham Township Council acknowledged Cherokee High School valedictorian Katrina Le and salutatorian Emily Smith for their academic accomplishments in a year of uncertainty.
Le was captain of Cherokee’s math team, a member of its debate team and part of the student movement against cancer program. Le has also given back to her community as a volunteer teacher for the Vietnamese American cultural education center and a math tutor for students.
The valedictorian will continue her success at Northeastern University in Boston, where she’ll study bioengineering.
Smith is also involved in varied extracurriculars on top of her academic achievements, including the Cherokee theater program and the executive board for student council. The salutatorian will attend Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts, this fall to study corporate finance and accounting.
“I am so proud of our valedictorian, salutatorian and all the graduates this year. it’s not been easy to be a student through these last 16 months,” said Mayor Jaclyn Veasy. “And to still be the valedictorian and salutatorian, and have a class of over 500 students, it’s just a testament to how strong they are.”
After the two top Cherokee students received their certificate of recognition at the council meeting, the board announced Celeste Yeany the winner of the human rights slogan contest. The Human Rights Advisory Council sought a slogan that would best encompass diversity, inclusion and equity, as a mantra for the township.
“I’m just happy that the Human Rights Advisory Council was formed to broaden the scope of diversity and what it means,” Yeany told council. “The slogan is: ‘respecting diversity, preserving dignity.’”
Following Veasy’s acknowledgment, the Pinelands Preservation Alliance group gave a presentation on a rain garden proposal. As flooding and runoff are ongoing issues in Evesham, the purpose of a rain garden would be to help reduce the amount of drainage and filter pollutants carried in stormwater runoff. Besides the residential benefit, a rain garden helps build a habitat for species such as butterflies and bees. If approved, it will be placed at the Blue Barn Recreation Center in Marlton.
Township Manager Robert Corrales came to the podium at the meeting to present the Marlton capital budget, providing council and residents with information on what is intended to be purchased through the financial plan.
The difference between the capital budget and the township 2021 budget — introduced at the last council session on May 26 — is that the latter outlines the revenue funds Evesham expects to receive, along with expenditures such as personnel and general operations.
“The capital budget, on the other hand, is a budgetary mechanism that allows municipalities to fund the extreme to purchase large and expensive equipment,” Corrales explained. “Also to initiate major projects, such as facilities and infrastructure improvements.”
A capital budget has expenditure plans for up to six years in the future, and funding is specific to a certain category, meaning it may not be used for personnel or general operating costs.
Within a capital budget, officials take larger costs and spread them out over several years for projects such as road repairs, drainage challenges and facility improvements. This year, the capital budget is about $5.6 million, according to Corrales.
In other news:
- A second reading was held for an ordinance to amend a no-parking area with appropriate signage along a section of Kettle Run Road, a request made by the Evesham police.
- Council approved official designation of the aforementioned township human rights slogan: respecting diversity, preserving dignity.
- Council also authorized temporary emergency appropriations, meaning Evesham enacted a temporary 2021 budget to cover the period from Jan. 1, 2021 to the date of the final budget’s adoption.
- The board passed cancellation of property taxes for the owner of Block 51.01, Lot 1, a disabled veteran.
Council closed out the June 9 session by reminding the public about open positions on the planning, zoning and senior-citizen advisory boards.
“I always say, it doesn’t matter how long the agenda is, our meetings always run about this long,” Veasy noted. “To me, it just shows that we’re a very active town doing a lot of things, and I appreciate all the presentations that we’ve had this evening.”
The next Marlton council meeting will be on June 23 at 7 p.m. For more information, go to https://evesham-nj.org/.