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  • Writer's pictureDelaney Smith

Town council discusses money allocated to town improvements


HAMMONTON—The Hammonton Town Council introduced several new ordinances and resolutions, including one resolution that appropriates about $1,000,000 in funds to various town improvements and another that includes an update to the general ordinances regarding sleeping and camping in public spaces during its public meeting at town hall on Aug. 28.


Thanks to a new resolution changing the capital budget, there will be numerous fixes to roads and improvements to Parks and Recreation coming to Hammonton very soon.


Resolution #109-2023 amends the capital budget to include an added $1,110,787 in bonds for improvements to the town of Hammonton. This addition includes $600,000 to re-paving and micro-surfacing various roads, including resurfacing two sections of Union Street, a section of Second Street, Colwell Avenue and 15th Street. Peach Street between Packard Street and Central Avenues and Grand Street between and Ninth Street and 11th Street will also be micro-surfaced.


“If anyone has ridden on that street [Peach Street], it’s pretty much a lot of trenches,” Public Works Manager Robert Vettese said. “They’ll fill those trenches and hopefully make that a much smoother ride.”


Also included in this resolution is $50,000 to a new telephone system and equipment upgrade for town hall, about $75,000 to the pavilion area at Hammonton Lake Park, $60,000 to purchase computer upgrades and a new 911 system and the resolution provides $325,000 to new equipment, fields and other improvements.


The meeting also introduced Public Hearing Ordinance #013-2023, which updates the general ordinances of the Town of Hammonton to prohibit sleeping or camping in public areas. The update to the ordinance states that doing so could be considered illegal unless there is “no available overnight shelter,” which is defined as “a public or private shelter, with an available overnight space, for an individual experiencing homelessness, at no charge.”


Hammonton Police Chief Kevin Friel said that they do not want to arrest anyone for violating the ordinance, and that it would most likely be treated more as a traffic citation than as a crime. He also noted that police officers would do their best to direct people to the correct services, including those that could help with substance abuse, mental health and financial insecurity.


“We work with the Atlantic County Hope One,” Friel said. “We work also with our human services at the Atlantic County building to provide those in need not only social services but also financial assistance.”


The nearest overnight shelter that could meet these requirements is in Vineland. The police would provide free transportation to one of those available shelters.


“Many people have become homeless since the pandemic,” one member of the public said during her opportunity to speak at the meeting. “This is more of an affordable housing issue that I hope begins or continues to be a topic of conversation.”


Other items approved on the agenda include a $287,000 bond and grant to improve Old Forks Road, the introduction of a new ordinance to re-appropriate $50,000 to highway improvements and an extension of the third quarter tax due date to Sept. 8. Also addressed were several miscellaneous refunds, updates on public works projects, an amendment to Chapter 175 Land Development and an update to the Master Plan that is set to be passed at the town council meeting on Sept. 11. Dates and road closures for the Kiwanis Halloween Parade, the Firefighter Christmas Parade and the Green Day Festival were also announced and approved.


A special town council meeting will be held on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. in town hall to address concerns about homelessness and the quality of Hammonton Lake. The next town council meeting will be on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. in town hall.


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