NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

Retired Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr. Inducted to Rutgers’ Board of Governors
Welcome Back From Iraq Cpl. Timothy Missel, USMC

The Mayor’s Corner: City Employees/Citizens Praised, Governor’s Budget Cuts, Future of New Middle School, Freedom Pier Progressing

The Mayors Corner

First I want to commend the City Employees and the citizenry for their efforts and patience during the recent historical snowfalls. I think the job of snow removal and  displacement was excellent in comparison to the surrounding communities that I was forced to venture into during the storm. Our guys worked long and hard hours through the night to make the streets as safe as possible and their efforts did not go unnoticed.

Pine Grove Tower Ad Secondly I’d like to address Governor Christie’s recent budgetary statements and remark on the impact they will have on our own budget preparation. Simply put, his declaration of a fiscal state of emergency and his program freezing is causing not only our municipality but all municipalities throughout the state to face what we knew was already inevitable, an executive order to become more self sufficient and less reliable on State monies for bailouts.

As we move forward with our 2010 budget we are taking the approach that we must become more self sufficient and that we must do more with less. The City is a business, charged with providing the best possible services to its citizenry in a fiscally responsible manner and however painful the upcoming months will be, the difficult decisions must be made.

There is no worst time than now, since the times of the Great Depression, to be charged with governing a small community such as ours. It seems that small town New Jersey gets lost in the mix when we reach out for assistance in difficult economic times and what adds to the frustration are the news articles informing that a City like Camden is awarded 29 million in housing rehabilitation and neighborhood stabilization monies that Gloucester City had jointly applied for with the Camden County Improvement Authority and were denied. That coupled with the 65 million that Camden City received for property tax relief and the fact that the new Mayor wanted to double the salaries of her personal staff makes me physically sick.

With that said, you asked about the future of the New Middle School. I have reached out and spoke with the Regional Director of Intergovernmental Services for the Governor’s Office and questioned Peter Sheridan Jr. as to the impact that the Governors Budget Plan would have upon the responsibilities of the School Development Authority (SDA). Mr. Sheridan advised that this item would be separate from the announced mandatory School Aid cuts and required surplus usage, but that he would have to conduct some research and get back to me with an answer as it relates to the future plans of our New Middle School Construction. The work on the final cleanup of the site is proceeding and we will continue to move the project forward until we are told otherwise.

The snow has stalled several projects an according to future weather predictions it’s going to be around for some time. However on Thursday we met with 6 interested contractors for the walkway and fencing necessary to make freedom pier publicly accessible. The preconstruction meeting was held at City Hall and ended with a frozen job walk on the pier itself. It is believed that all of the contractors will bid on several alternative designs inclusive of brick pavers or stamped concrete, and aluminum or steel fencing.

If you like ClearysNoteBook to ask Mayor James a question for his March column send it to [email protected]

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