Hopewell Borough working through many issues despite pandemic

The Hopewell Borough Council met virtually on June 4 at its regularly scheduled meeting time and discussed the Borough’s single-use plastic bag ban schedule, the municipal budget, updates about COVID-19 positive cases, two proclamations, as well as plans for reopening local businesses.

The Council discussed the most effective time to implement the single-use plastic bag ban, Resolution No. 2020-59. The Council unanimously decided that the ban will go into effect on July 1, 2020. 

Borough Clerk  Michele Hovan expressed that the Borough was mindful of maintaining a flat budget for 2020. She explained that the surplus is “extremely healthy” now, despite the anticipated decrease of revenue to the Borough with COVID-19 restrictions, such as a decrease in court fees. Additionally, there were no changes in the second quarter rates of tax collection in comparison to any other quarter, according to Hovan.

“We’ve responsibly worked-through the mechanics of keeping it that way,” said Hovan. 

With the 2020 municipal budget, Council member Ryan Kennedy addressed the Borough’s part in treating employees and taxpayers fairly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m very pleased that we were able to also be fair to our employees,” said Kennedy. “We’re really going above and beyond during this crisis. It’s something to be proud of and it’s fair to our taxpayers.”

Hovan introduced two proclamations that gained unanimous affirmative votes, Gun Violence Prevention and declaring June as Pride Month. 

The Gun Violence Prevention proclamation recognizes the first Friday in June to be National Gun Violence Awareness Day and encourages all people to support local communities’ efforts in valuing human lives and preventing gun-related tragedies. Most of the Council Members were either wearing orange or using an orange Zoom background for National Gun Violence Awareness Day, which was on Friday June 5.

The proclamation declaring that June is Pride Month acknowledges LGBTQ+ rights and ensures all people have the same equality and freedom from harassment and discrimination in Hopewell Valley. 

Kennedy said that the Hopewell Borough website will continue to update a list of local businesses as they reopen. Some restaurants will be reopening their outdoor seating soon. Among the restaurants mentioned by Hovan were The Blue Bottle Cafe and Aunt Chubby’s. 

According to Mayor Paul Anzano, the Hopewell Valley has not had a new positive case of COVID-19 for at least a week, but he urges everyone to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

The Borough Council will remain alert for word from Governor Phil Murphy regarding the state reopening. and the reopening of schools.

The next Borough Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday July 7 at 7pm.

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