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Maplewood Township Committee Discusses 2013 Budget and Post Office Redevelopment

Patrick Kennedy

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 • 6:35am

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - At the May 21 meeting of the Maplewood Township Committee, issues in funding and development were front and center.  In the course of the evening’s session, the committee took action on a series of resolutions and amendments that established the guidelines for the 2013 municipal budget.

The meeting began with a proclamation recognizing the 125th anniversary of Our Lady of Sorrows church.  Committee member Gerard Ryan read a statement discussing the history of the church—“a story of steady expansion and judicious building programs.” He then thanked Our Lady of Sorrows and its representatives for “years of service to our community and years of service in improving the human condition.”

The Committee then moved on to a public hearing on the 2013 budget.  Commentary from Maplewood residents was minimal, and the major budget provisions were approved unanimously.  At present, the anticipated 2013 revenues are $39.6 million, an increase of almost $1 million from the 2012 realized revenues. The most recent budget documents can be found on the Township web site.

The Township Committee also heard special budgetary propositions from the Maplewood Village Alliance and the Springfield Avenue Partnership.  According to its representatives, the partnership has raised “slightly less in revenue than the previous year, slightly more in programs. Since we have a reserve that will carry us forward, the programs will be virtually the same as they were in the prior year.”

After these proceedings, the floor was opened to public discussion.  The Township Committee was addressed by Richard Wener, professor of Environmental Psychology at NYU, who represents “a group of citizens who have been meeting recently to discuss the post office redevelopment.” As Wener noted, the Post Office is “critical to the identity of the town, so it’s essential that it be done in the best way possible.” Wener proposed the formation of a design advisory committee composed of experts on architecture.  He also supported the idea of “getting in a variety of qualified proposals and then narrowing down to the best ones.” Mayor Victor DeLuca noted that the Village Alliance already has a design review committee in place, but supported the idea of considering additional architectural expertise.

According to Mayor DeLuca, plans for the Post Office are “still a work in progress,” though feedback from the Planning Board and the Maplewood Village Alliance will be submitted by May 28. An ordnance is due to be introduced in June, and—if all goes according to schedule—the committee will settle on a developer for the project by the end of 2013.  As of now, the committee is interested in a development design that will integrate the new building on the post office site with the downtown commercial area.

The Township Committee will meet next on June 4.  For additional information, visit the Maplewood Township web site.

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