Council says it’s ready for 2023’s challenges

Community praised for the way it dealt with hardships

JOSEPH METZ/The Sun. Council’s reorganization meeting focused on what could be a challenging year in 2023, but members believe the town is ready for what comes.

Deptford Township Council kicked off the new year with its annual reorganization meeting on Jan. 3, where the focus was on issues likely in 2023.

“It’s going to be a challenging year,” said Councilwoman Mackenzie Belling. “Every year is, and it should be. For us to be doing our jobs well as elected officials, we should be constantly challenging ourselves to find new ways to provide higher-quality services to residents with the least cost to taxpayers possible.

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“This year, it’s going to be heightened,” she added. “As individuals, we all know the pain of inflation, and municipal government isn’t immune to that. The services that we provide have higher costs in some instances and this year is going to be a challenge. 

“It makes me appreciative that this team has a longstanding (history) – certainly predating myself – of commitment to fiscal responsibility.”

Council faced major challenges in the past three years; along with COVID, the community was devastated by the 2021 tornado. Councilman Wayne Love praised the town for the way it faced the hardships.

“Deptford is a tough town,” he insisted. “That is one thing that we have seen, is the character of the town, when we’re going through challenges. Our responsibility, here on this board, is to stay focused and make sure we’re doing what we’re doing and that’s what we do. We’re a great board. 

“The mayor has great leadership,” Love added, “and we do everything the way they were supposed to. Part of our reorganization meeting is to refocus on those things.”

Each council member spoke during the meeting, and a common thread was how township management helped contribute to a state of readiness.

“I want to say that Deptford, and maybe I’m a little biased, is one of the best-run towns in the state,” said Councilman Phil Schocklin. “When DCA (Department of Community Affairs) grades us each year, we always do really well, and that’s really thanks to the employees. We couldn’t do it without any of you.

“We have to work together every year, and there’s not seven different plans going in seven different directions,” he added. “We have to come to a consensus to get something done. A few of us have been together a pretty long time and we kind of know where each other is, and we take opportunities to try and have our input and guide it in a direction we want to take it. 

“But you always need to be considerate of every other council person, and you need a consensus to move forward.”

Only one new official was acknowledged at the reorganization session: new township tax collector Kathy DiOrio, who was sworn in by Mayor Paul Medany. All resolutions passed with ease.

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