The Hopewell Township Committee met on Monday, April 19, for its regular meeting to discuss numerous ordinances, introduce the budget, and remind the public of important upcoming events.
Health officer Dawn Marling updated the Committee regarding COVID-19 and explained that cases in New Jersey had seen an increase from the Easter holiday, and the Township had seen the same increase.
“As of Friday, April 9, we [Hopewell Township] are up to 805 cases cumulatively, at a rate of approximately 25 a week,” Marling explained.
Marling shared that those in high-risk categories in Hopewell Township had all received their vaccines. “We have thankfully made our way through our entire waiting list of our most vulnerable populations, with the exception of a few individuals who have not yet been able to get scheduled for one reason or another,” Marling said.
As of April 19, everyone in New Jersey is eligible to be vaccinated. To register, go to https://covidvaccine.nj.gov/.
During the Staff reports, the municipal clerk, Laurie Gompf, said that the next election, in June, would be held in person.
“The Governor announced that the June 8 primary election will be primarily in person, and [we] just want to let everyone know that all of our normal polling locations will be utilized for that election,” Gompf said.
As well, vote-by-mail applications will only be sent to those who request them.
The D&R Greenway Land Trust presented their New Innovative Climate Project with Soil Carbon Partners on St. Michaels Farm Preserve. According to the press release from D&R Greenway, scientists from Princeton University and other universities will measure the soil, grasses, and cattle on the persevere. The methods being used are expected to increase plant growth and photosynthesis to combat climate change.
“It’s so important that we address climate change, being one of our most critical crises that we’re facing — this is a little bit that we can do right here in Hopewell Township on St. Michaels Farm Preserve.” Linda Meade, the president of D&R Greenway Land Trust told the Committee.
The Committee had a full agenda of reviewing ordinances, one in particular new municipal stormwater ordinances.
“[Passing this ordinance) will take us a step in the right direction in terms of protecting the water quality for our stormwater runoff.,” said Mark Kataryniak, the community development director,.
The stormwater ordinance, as Kataryniak explained, was presented after deliberation by the planning board and will cover Hopewell Township-specific goals such as improving water quality and discouraging excessive lot coverage on individual lots.
During public comment, Mike Pizarro, the policy director for the Watershed Institute in Hopewell Township, applauded the stormwater ordinance as going above and beyond the state requirements.
“This ordinance does a couple of those enhancements including the inspection and reporting requirements to the town, which is vital to keep these systems working, Because even if you install them correctly, if you don’t maintain them, they don’t work, and so you lose the benefits,” Pizarro explained.
The ordinance passed unanimously.
The Committee recognized the passing Betty Jean Smith passed away on April 13 2021, at the age of 81 years old.
“She served the Hopewell Township Police Department for nearly 40 years. And whereas Betty Jean was the first police dispatcher of Hopewell Township. The first armed police matron and retired as the supervisor of the police records section of the department.” read Mayor Blake. For more, see In Memory of Betty Jean Smith.
The Committee also honored the 100th Birthday of Miss Eleanor Baker.
“The Township of Hopewell recognizes with respect and admiration, the contribution of senior citizens to our community,” Blake read. “She describes herself as ‘someone who always tries to be nice and who lives by the golden rule’.”
The budget was introduced in the meeting, but the committee saved the budget later to discuss in full. This was except for a comment from Mayor Blake.
“This has been the hardest year and I want everyone to understand… that our budget is this tiny portion of their property taxes, but it’s an important one,” Blake said. “These are the people who clear your roads, these are the people who answer your questions, who actually give you a birth certificate when your child is born, these are the people that are part of your daily life.”
There will be a full discussion of the budget on May 17.
There are a few dates to be aware of:
- Public works will collect old and worn-out tires on May 7 and November 5.*
- There will also be a public session on May 20 at 6:30pm, over zoom, to discuss the Committee’s decisions regarding marijuana.*
The next meeting is scheduled for May 3 at 5:30pm.
*Editor’s note: this article has been updated to correct errors and reflect accurate dates.