To the Editor:

With the Dixiedale Affordable Housing Ordinances introduced at Thursday’s Chatham Township Committee meeting, there seems to be an urgency to spend money. Why the rush to spend millions of dollars when our immediate future is so uncertain? Especially when we cannot consistently find milk, eggs, or paper goods in our markets.

In today’s economy, many Township residents are losing their jobs, closing their businesses, or taking 20-30% pay cuts. The New Jersey state government is projecting massive losses that will result in reduced funding in state government supported services and programs, including education. Further, U.S. Senate Majority Leader McConnell suggested that state governments go bankrupt.

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What is the impact on Chatham Township? Will the Township need to make financial cuts to the Department of Public Works, Police Department, or the Senior Services Center? What about funding for Chatham Schools?

“Business as usual” is no longer relevant. No one knows when economic stability will return or what the new “normal” will look like.

Yet the Township Committee is ready to approve spending millions of dollars to allow the Dixiedale and related affordable housing projects to proceed. Does the Township have the money to support these projects, or will there be massive and unsustainable tax increases to support the Dixiedale development and its affordable housing component? Keep in mind, affordable housing projects require a 30-year financial commitment from the Township – to be funded by property taxes. Further, we lost a Committee Member’s voice in these critical discussions when Karen Swartz had to recuse herself.

Why not suspend all discussions and actions on these Township supported real estate developments until the current economic uncertainty becomes more settled? And to also allow Township residents the opportunity to speak in front of the Township Committee, Planning Board, and fellow residents. I suggest this would be the most prudent course of action.

Richard Matlaga

Chatham Township