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Gloucester City Council Urges Governor to Keep UEZ

By Sara Martino

NEWS Correspondent

Mayor William James and Gloucester City Council approved a resolution that will be sent to Governor Christie asking to remove any language in his upcoming budget that would freeze the Gloucester City Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) funding.

The UEZ was created in 2004 and, according to the resolution, has been a significant economic developmental tool for the business community.

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UEZ businesses earn tax incentives and exemptions on certain purchases need-ed to run their businesses.

Due to the designation of Gloucester City as a UEZ, many benefits have been created that generated hundreds of new and full time jobs, Council members said during last week’s meeting.

Valuable funding was received to further create ec-onomic development pro-jects, and half of the mandated state sales tax is returned to the community for continued development.

According to the resolution, based on the language in the Fiscal 2011 budget brief proposed by Governor Christie, eliminating any part of the UEZ program or freezing the funds would greatly impact the City’s ability to recover from the present economic decline.

Mayor James said copies of the resolution will be sent to state legislators asking them to not sign the 2011 State Budget that does not fully restore the UEZ incentives to businesses.

If the budget is passed as proposed, all UEZ funds previously administered by the municipality would be diverted to the general fund of the state.

Council also adopted several resolutions, including one that may help to reduce the budget total. A resolution was approved that would reduce the salary and benefits of the governing body by 20 percent.

Per Cleary’s Notebook, Councilman Daniel Spencer is donating his $1,000 per year salary (which will now be reduced to $800) to St. Mary’s School Development Fund. He will make up the other $200.

Council approved the acquisition of the BP/ARCO site, and to accept a $302,440 grant from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to be used for remedial investigation for any removal of pollutants on the property.

Permit fees for fire suppression systems at 232, 236 and 300 Nicholson Road were authorized to be waived as the city is the owner of the property.

Bills paid from February 26 to March 17, 2010 were approved as submitted.

Councilman Nick Marchese did question some of the construction bills, and received the reasons for the bills that included repair of an accident site that occurred on Broadway.

Councilman Jay Brophy complimented Marchese.

“Nick goes through all the bills and has good questions regarding the payment of the bills,” Brophy said.

At an earlier closed meeting, mayor and council sat in with representatives of a solar energy program that is intended to help reserve energy power for the city.

“We are looking for many revenue sources for Gloucester City, and solar power seems like one source that would be feasible,” Marchese and Mayor James both said.

Parents of children who go to Cold Springs School petitioned Council for their help in providing safe parking and access to the school for parents and students.

Mayor James said they will investigate the matter, and also talk to the school authorities.

CENSUS FORMS

Residents are urged to fill out and mail in their U.S. Census forms, which helps Gloucester City be eligible for more federal and state funding, the mayor said.

CORRECTION

In last week’s edition, the Gloucester City News printed the incorrect night for the Bellmawr School Budget public hearing. The legal notice should have read Monday, March 29. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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