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Westville Reducing Polling Districts

By Sara Martino

NEWS Correspondent

Westville voters may be going to a different polling place, and possible re-districting could occur, according to an announcement during the February Borough Council meeting.

Permission from the Gloucester County Board of Elections was given for the change of venue from three poll locations to one.

Also, instead of the Borough having five separate districts, 1 through 5, re-districting may reduce the total to three districts.

St. John’s Church Hall, which has been used for many years as a polling location, will be renovated for additional handicap accessibility and other minor improvements to become the main voting site.

Donna Domico, Public Works Director, said arrangements will be made for senior bus trans-portation to St. John’s. This move should save the expense for the use of the Fire Department Hall and St. Anne’s Church Hall.

A letter from Freeholder Stephen Sweeney asking for support of Senate Bill 2356, which proposes a regionalized tax assessment pilot program, was supported by the governing body.

Borough Solicitor John Alice said the vote does not mean agreement with the consolidation of municipal assessors; it is merely a show of support for the bill.

“Presently, there are 24 assessors in the county. If consolidated with the county, there would only be one office responsible for the assessments of all the municipalities,” Borough Administrator William Bittner said.

“Westville’s assessment is due next year, and would cost $150,000. According to the bill, if consolidation is accomplished, the county would pay for the assessment charges. I see no downside in supporting the bill,” Bittner said.

Council President Michael Ledrich, who ran the meeting due to Mayor Russell Welsh’s absence, said, “If Westville partakes of the pilot assessment program, it would save expenses for Westville in the long run.”

A public hearing was held for approval of a $313,485 bond ordinance to remediate an underground storage tank on Borough- owned property in the Public Works area.

The Borough had been ordered to remove and clean up the affected area, tainted by gasoline and other contaminates, and has been investigating where outside sources may be responsible for some of the ground pollution.

The NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and other governmental bureaus agree that off-site contributed to the pollutants, and Westville may be reimbursed for some of the remediation costs.

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