Hopewell Borough discusses property taxes, plastic bag bans, and budget

The Hopewell Borough Council met virtually on May 11 at its regularly scheduled meeting and discussed a property tax payment extension, plastic bag regulations, and budgeting amidst the coronavirus pandemic.  

The meeting began with a brief public comment section during which a member of the public, Mike Pisauro, policy director of Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, asked about the status of the Borough’s implementation of its single-use plastic bag ban. 

“It’s about making sure that we’re not double-punishing our businesses right now if they happened to have a stockpile of plastic bags that they couldn’t use because they were closed,” said Council member Ryan Kennedy.

The Council discussed the possibility of delaying the plastic bag ban implementation once the stay-at-home orders are lifted, however the ultimate decision has been deferred until the next meeting on Thursday, June 4.

The Borough Council also issued an extension for the payment of property tax payment until June 1. 

“The additional time may help someone who is waiting on a check or in other ways struggling,” said Borough Administrator Michele Hovan.

A resolution was passed permitting the use of the Borough’s trust for storm recovery funds. There is about $10,000 set aside for storm recovery, however this resolution permits its use for the health emergency.

The Borough’s budget will be introduced at a hearing scheduled for June 4. Hovan explained that this budget is a flat budget, meaning there is zero increase to the Municipal appropriations. 

“I think we’ll all agree that it’s a budget that is as responsible as you could possibly be in these times” said Hovan, “or ever.”

With good fiscal management, explained Hovan, the Borough is slowly working toward the budget surplus goal of $1 million to have available to be used during an emergency or when the Borough is not receiving revenue. 

The Economic Development Committee plans to introduce a virtual cruise night during the entire month of May, and will include a downtown scavenger hunt for families to participate in, as well as a business directory listing all open businesses on the Hopewell Borough Website.

Finally, Mayor Paul Anzano urged members of the public to kindly encourage each other to wear face masks if they see someone without one.

The next meeting is scheduled for June 4 at 7pm.

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