In a packed Washington Township Council meeting on June 7, 2023, community representatives tackled a wide range of issues, from environmental challenges to community enhancement initiatives and heated internal council disagreements.
The most urgent point of discussion was an air quality alert sparked by smoke from Canadian wildfires. The town fields were temporarily closed due to health implications of the smoke, with Mayor Calamari emphasizing the serious nature of the situation. A new community alert system was launched at nixle.com to keep residents informed about such issues.
The council also announced the resumption of the New Jersey Transit bus route, improvements to town intersections, and a plan to replace water mains on Hoover Avenue starting June 12th. Amid these infrastructure updates, local community outreach and events weren’t left behind. An upcoming family-friendly summer concert was announced for June 16th, and a call was put out for volunteers to join the town’s ambulance corps.
Several community initiatives were also highlighted, such as a local farm delivering fresh produce to the public library, a call for emergency management training for senior officials, and a push to honor local veterans more prominently. The director of public affairs, lauded for increasing community events from five to fifteen during her tenure, also announced her resignation, opening up discussions about finding a suitable replacement.
However, the council meeting wasn’t devoid of controversy. A significant point of disagreement centered around councilman Cascio’s alleged misinformation about the town auditor’s independence. After an extensive letter from the town auditor was read, council members urged for accuracy in disseminating information to prevent potential lawsuits and maintain trust within the community.
Residents’ inquiries weren’t neglected either. One of the attendees, Michael Allman, voiced concerns about communication practices and the process of addressing citizens’ inquiries, particularly referring to an $80,000 access project. He also questioned the council’s conduct before official meetings and suggested a need for increased transparency.
The council discussed and voted on several ordinances and resolutions, including authorizing the publication and scheduling of public hearings for ordinance numbers 23-08 and 23-09, the latter of which pertains to the $80,000 vehicular equipment acquisition.