SOMERSET, NJ – The Township Council gave commendations to donors who helped make this year’s Fourth of July and Franklin Day celebrations a reality at last night’s council meeting.

Bill Grippo, former MacAfee Road School principal and a driving force for both events, thanked donors, who he said helped bring the township together by sponsoring the events.

“Tonight we're going to recognize our donors,” he said. “The donors help us with the entertainment, with some of the overhead, on the Fourth of July which really takes the pressure off of us.”

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Grippo, who has a hand in various events and programs throughout Franklin Township, highlighted the Fourth of July celebration as a way to bring the community together, regardless of political affiliation.

“There's something that just rings liberty out for this town, and our diversity, we're so rich in it, and it brings everyone together, so I want to thank the council for its ongoing support. It’s just such a great non-political, non-monkey business time,” he said.

Leading the events for the township was Special Events Coordinator Windy White, who presented commendations to the sponsors of Franklin Day.

Related: Franklin Township's Franklin Day Festival 2019

“I would like to thank the Council, the mayor, Bob Vornlocker and everyone for your support for Franklin Day,” she said. “It certainly was a massive event, but I had a massive amount of support so thanks to everyone who supported me in that regard.”

With the commendations out of the way, the council approved an ordinance on first reading that will return $441,880 of unused money to the Open Space Trust Fund.

According to the ordinance, unspent money that was moved to the general capital fund from the open space trust to buy property or development rights will return to the open space trust for use in other projects.

Related: How to Report Maintenance Issues, Give Community Space Feedback & More (VIDEO)

“We move the money from the open space trust to the general capital fund because from there is where it is paid and it is a function of finance to move that money back and forth for accounting purposes,” Township Manager Robert Vornlocker said.

There’s a potential point of confusion around money that was earmarked for spending but never left the open space trust.

“In some cases, the money currently is in the general fund and for others, it's still in the open space trust fund because it had yet to be moved from the open space trust fund to the general capital fund,” Vornlocker said. “In reality, all of these were open space acquisition ordinances, so all of that money will either be returned in real form from general capital to open space, or it'll just be on paper because it never was moved. So it's all open space money, it will remain open space money.”

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