By Sara Martino
Thanks to the awarding of $100,000 in extraordinary aid from the NJ State Property Relief Act, the $280 increase for the average property owner in Westville this year will be reduced to a $130 increase.
The $280 tax increase that would have been necessary because of state aid cuts will not be realized in this year's property taxes.
A resolution was made and approved during last week's Westville Borough Council meeting to amend the 2008 Municipal Budget, totaling almost $2.5 million.
The amendment of the budget was approved by a vote of 5 to 1, and the adoption of the budget was also approved by a vote of 5 to 1, with Councilwoman Susan Rodgers casting a "no" vote on both resolutions.
Borough Administrator William Bittner said the local purpose tax is now decreased, but the average local property tax will see a $130 increase instead of the previous proposed $280.00 increase that would have been necessary if state aid was not received.
In other business, Mayor Russell Welsh and Council members honored Sergeant Richard Thomas with a proclamation upon his retirement from the Westville Police Department.
"Rick has served Westville since 1987 and we honor and commend him for his devotion to the young people and to the community," the mayor said.
Over the years, Thomas has also worked as the police dispatcher. He coached Little League and served as their president and was very active in soccer and basketball as well.
William Whinna IV was then sworn in as the new Police sergeant He thanked mayor and council, Police Chief Fred Lederer, William Bittner, and former mayor William Packer for all their help and guidance.
A resignation was accepted from Land Use Board Member Charles Murtaugh as a Class IV member due to his recent appointment to fill a Council seat vacated when Councilman Russell Welsh was sworn in as the new mayor following the passing of Mayor Michael Galbraith.
Another letter of resignation was accepted from Fritz Sims Jr. as a member of the same Land Use Board, and also from the Downtown Redevelopment Committee. No reason was read pertaining to the resignation. Eric Farley was appointed to fill the seat.
In closing remarks, Mayor Welsh said he never imagined that he would be sitting in the mayor's seat so soon in his life.
He quoted Galbraith's remarks about a town being like a crew racing on the river.
"Our number one goal is teamwork. A crew needs direction. Oarsmen should work together, "he said. "I will consider running in November for the unexpired term of mayor," he said.
"Some of my short term goals include building a stronger working relationship with our employees and department heads. We have the pending police merger to settle; library renovations; downtown business area; improvements to Thomas West Park; vacant properties and pond remediation," he said.
"The goals of the governing body are to seek solutions to benefit the residents who live in the 'Yellow Zone' of the redevelopment area along Timber Creek," he said.
Some of the people who attended the meeting later said all the residents in that area should have peace of mind, and not just the "Yellow Zone."
Source: Gloucester City News