Council hikes maximum award for business assistance grant to $10,000

Township buys three new dump trucks, accepts bids for road paving

Council passed a resolution at its Sept. 13 meeting to increase the maximum amount of the Small Business Assistance Grant Program, which provides COVID relief for businesses.

The new amount ranges from $5,000 to $10,000.

“We have not exhausted the funds that we were awarded, so this is an opportunity to provide some additional dollars to our businesses here,” said Council President Orlando Mercado.

Triad Senior Associate Jakob Botticello clarified that for businesses that have already applied, there is no need to do so again because the grant program will retroactively reward money. The amount a business can receive depends on how much they have spent in the past two months.

“If they spent $0 to $10,000 [in the past two months], the award stays at $5,000,” Botticello explained. “If they spend $10,000 to $20,000, the award goes to $7,500. If their expenses exceed $20,000, it goes to $10,000.”

New businesses are also welcome to apply at https://glotwp.com/cdbg/.

In response to resident Pete Heinbaugh’s question at the meeting on whether COVID relief funds could also be used to help with rental or mortgage assistance for residents, Botticello confirmed that it could be done if the township wanted to discontinue the business assistance program and redirect the funds to something else. He noted that the township had not received additional funding, but because the number of business applicants was overestimated, there were still funds left.

During public comment at the meeting, council’s decision to purchase three new dump trucks was questioned by resident Paul Krug. He asked whether the Public Works department already owned dump trucks in the sizes listed, whether or not council had seen an inventory, and if the trucks were past their useful life.

Though Mercado did not see the inventory of trucks from the Public Works department prior to approving the resolutions, he said he trusts the judgment of the department’s supervisor and that of Business Administrator Tom Cardis with regard to the capital budget and the need to buy more items.Cardis added that the township did have dump trucks, but he didn’t have an inventory on him at the time of the meeting.

“These requests come from the supervisor of vehicles,” Cardis explained. “… I have a great deal of respect for him. I don’t ever remember a situation where he put in something that he did not need. And sometimes, we have to tell him no.

“In this case, I believe these are necessary because they are aging vehicles.”

Cardis then offered to send Krug an inventory of the vehicles with their ages and mileage in the near future.

Continuing the conversation around the Market to Affordable Program, resident Ray Polidoro asked what the tax rate would be for a home converted from market to affordable, and how the township would determine it. He reminded council that with the program, there would also be a deed restriction to keep the houses affordable for the next 30 years. And he asked how the township would make up for the lost revenue if the tax value is assessed to be at a lower rate.

The council did not have exact answers, but Solicitor David Carlamere guessed the tax rate would be reassessed and said Polidoro’s question about the tax rate would be a good one for the tax assessor.

During council comments, Mercado announced that the township would not celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in person due to rising COVID cases, and that the annual pumpkin festival scheduled for Oct. 3 has been cancelled due to lack of volunteers and resources.

In upcoming events, there will be a drive-in showing of “The Karate Kid” at Camden County College on Sept. 25. There will be food trucks and activities starting at 5:30 p.m., and the movie will start at dusk.

The next council meeting is Monday, Sept. 23, at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will be livestreamed.