Focus on infrastructure
While we’re talking about long-needed public improvements like the ones detailed above at 11th Street Park and the other municipal park areas throughout town, it’s a good time to note that the council should be focusing local taxpayer funding primarily on infrastructure projects and the town’s full- and part-time employees at this time.
Municipal infrastructure includes municipal employees (full-time and part-time), roads, parks, buildings, vehicles, equipment and services—and the funding needed to keep the municipality running. These are the functions and assets of the local government that benefit most Hammonton taxpayers.
Funding for specific economic development that has legitimate purpose, such as the efforts of the Greater Hammonton Chamber of Commerce and MainStreet Hammonton should still be funded. The town council should be more discerning, however, with how it spends taxpayer dollars in other areas. Tough decisions must be made on that side with the taxpayers interests coming first.
It is The Gazette’s belief that other than the items mentioned above, nearly all other municipally-budgeted items are secondary, and that the funding for them should be frozen immediately by the town council and re-routed into infrastructure projects and the maintenance and improvement of all municipally-controlled assets and personnel.
The town council can confer with its CFO Robert Scharle in coming days and review which spending items should be frozen and have their funding re-routed into the more important infrastructure and personnel projects. Just because items have been budgeted, it does not mean the money must be spent on those items. We are counting on the council and its professionals’ good judgement as they reassess their spending plans.
The Gazette looks forward to covering these funding changes—and the projects that will come from them—in the coming weeks and months.