Left to right, Hopewell Township Committee members: Courtney Peters-Manning, Michael Ruger, Julie, Blake, and Kevin Kuchinski (behind Blake); VA vice president Weed Tucker, VA member Bill Meytrott, Mayor Kristin McLaughlin, VA president Ken Baker.

The Hopewell Valley Veterans Association presented the NJ Governor’s “We Value Our Veterans Community Award” to the Hopewell Township Committee at last Tuesday’s regular meeting. VA president Ken Baker, vice president Weed Tucker, and VA member Bill Meytrott presented the award. Following the presentation, Mayor Kristin McLaughlin wholeheartedly thanked the Veterans for their services. 

“Gentlemen, your service to our Country cannot be overstated,” said McLaughlin. “What is even more incredible is that you all continue to serve your communities in many, many ways.”

Committee member Julie Blake also took a moment to thank audience members who have served our Country. 

Wenonah Brooks being acknowledged for her service as a solider in the United States Armed Forces. (Photo by Renata Barnes)

The Committee then passed a resolution officially recognizing February as “Black History Month” in the State of New Jersey. 

“This resolution is one I’m really excited about. I’m really proud that we, as a community, found a way to do this correctly,” said Mayor McLaughlin, specifically addressing those who made a contribution. “This year we were able to do that, but not without a lot of help from Cat Hogan” 

Each member of the Committee read from the ordinance, which enumerated the extraordinary lives of Black residents of Hopewell Township throughout its history, noting that “the most glorious chapters have yet to be written,” and encouraging Americans to study Black history. One such vehicle suggested is the book “If These Stones Could Talk,” written by local residents Beverly Mills and Elaine Buck about the African American presence in the Hopewell Valley, Sourland Mountain, and surrounding region “… so that they may learn from its stories of heroism, struggle, and achievement.” (To read the full ordinance, see here https://www.hopewelltwp.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_02182020-1303, pg 28).

Committee member Kevin Kuchinski spoke about the 2020 budget process and explained that the Committee continues to review the operating budget. He said that the State is also behind on contributions in the budget, so the final budget will not be able to be processed until April. 

The public section focused on the impending energy aggregation program and residents of Hopewell Township expressed concerns about the program being an opt-out program rather than opt-in. 

The Committee explained that the program is opt-out by New Jersey law, not by the jurisdiction of the Township, and that the program will not be adopted unless it will save residents money. More information about energy aggregation can be found here: https://www.haveyoursayhopewelltwp.org/energy-aggregation-in-2020

In his report, Committee member Michael Ruger stated that the Census is coming up and encouraged people to participate. Census updates will be made by mail or by phone, and residents should expect more contact from the US government within the next month regarding the Census. 

Ruger also spoke about recycling, noting that there is a guide on the Township website about how to recycle unusual items (see http://www.hopewelltwp.org/199/Curbside-Recycling). Paper copies are available at Public Works as well.

Finally, all resolutions were passed unanimously.

The next regular meeting will be Monday, March2 at 7pm at the Hopewell Township Municipal Building.

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