More than a year ago, Cherry Hill residents sought the creation of a community energy aggregation program that would give them the option of purchasing a 100-percent renewable electricity alternative through the township, which would purchase renewable energy at discounted bulk rates for customers in its jurisdiction.
Residents approved the program in November, and in the new year, the township will work to make the idea a reality, along with other sustainability goals. Mayor Susan Shin Angulo noted that there are two major parts to the initiative: educating the public about its options and finding a way to make it happen.
“We want to make sure we have the right renewable-source energy company that will work with us, so we’re looking into all of that … while making sure we have the right messaging for everyone,” Shin Angulo explained.
While there are a number of considerations regarding the project, she stressed the importance of getting the message to residents, to commercial property owners and to seniors in the community.
Other sustainability initiatives include reaching Energy Gold certification for Sustainable Jersey; an increase in renewable energy; EV (electric vehicle) fleet conversions and ordinances; and a township sustainability roadmap that shows areas where people can walk or bike, as well as trails that may lead into other towns.
In other news, since the township opted out of marijuana sales in 2021, council has been working on a measure that would regulate marijuana on the township’s terms rather than those of the state.
“Cherry Hill is in a great position because we have not opted in, which is allowing us to have conversations without obligation,” the mayor explained. “Draft regulations have been developed and are under review by council, and we are actively considering the best options that fit not only our town, but also the town we are working towards in the future.”
Shin Angulo anticipates a formal regulation will pass this year.
As for other 2023 initiatives, the township will work on a number of capital improvement projects, including the sanitary sewer slip lining program to help repair pipes, the Society Hill pump station replacement and ADA ramp improvement program, and the state-funded Chapel Avenue Phase 1 Road Improvement program.
The mayor also cited a grinder pump station installation at Cherry Valley and Point of Woods that will help move sewage, and repairs to Covered Bridge Road. And the deadline to apply for the first wave of Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) grant program for nonprofits and businesses seeking funds lost due to COVID will come at the end of January.
The council’s reorganization meeting will take place Jan. 4 at 7 p.m.