Government

Budget Passed; Montville Township Proclaimed Stigma-Free

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V Canning, F Cooney, J Sandham, R Conklin, R Cook. (seated) J Hercek, D Nielson on April 13 Credits: Melissa Benno
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MONTVILLE, NJ – The Montville Township Committee passed its 2017 municipal budget, an increase of 1.944%. This represents an average tax increase of $52.78 for the average assessed house of $528,520, not including school or county taxes.

Mayor Jim Sandham called the budget “tight” and thanked the staff, CFO, administration and township committee for their input.

Township Administrator Victor Canning applauded the CFO and staff’s authorization from the state and the township committee to self audit due to its sound fiscal condition.

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“Because we do things appropriately, the state gives our CFO the discretion to do a self audit, largely based on our financial practices,” he said. “I like to be humble, but sometimes you have to toot your own horn. I want people to know about the great staff we have in Montville Township and the things they get done for you as taxpayers.

Stigma-Free

The township committee passed an ordinance proclaiming Montville Township a Stigma-Free Community.

Stigma-free communities aim to “inspire public interest and open dialogues about the stigma attached with mental health and substance abuse disorders, raise awareness of them, and create a culture wherein residents who have these disorders feel supported by their community and neighbors and feel free to seek treatment for their disease without stigma,” according to the proclamation.

The Montville Township Stigma-Free Communities Initiative is part of a county-wide program which aims to eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and substance use disorders, and held its first meeting on April 5, said Health Officer Aimee Puluso. Members include Puluso, Pastor Tom Henion of the Montville Reformed Church, Montville Township Police Officer Scott McGowan, John Michaud of New Pathway Counseling, Lauren Muriello of Well Being Therapy Center, Wendy Sefcik, and Veronica Tullo.

State of Health

Puluso also spoke regarding the township’s annual “State of the Community’s Health,” calling obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, access to behavioral healthcare and heroin use the “five most pressing threats to community public health.”

Puluso said the health department has several strategies for reducing heroin and other opiate use in the township, which include:

  • Participation on several boards, committees and task forces
  • Holding and/or sponsoring education programs
  • Promotional campaigns such as “lock it up” and the police department’s drop box
  • Facilitating addiction/recovery resources

The entire report can be read here: Annual Report on the State of the Community’s Health

Pipeline Ordinance

The township committee passed an ordinance to enhance current guidelines and protect the township’s aquifer from “intrusion from an oil pipeline,” according to Sandham.

“We’ve banded together with 15 other towns, we’ve gotten legal opinion from them, we’ve even tightened it up a little more than that, because we feel that we have to have greater restrictions over the aquifer,” Sandham said.

Read the ordinance here.

Tobacco Ordinance Revision

The township committee passed revisions to the township’s tobacco ordinance that prohibit smoking inside any indoor public place and added licensing and inspection requirements for electronic smoking, vapor device and tobacco retail establishments.

Water Restrictions Rescinded

Due to the rain experienced in April, the committee rescinded mandatory water restrictions, but left voluntary water restrictions in place. No watering is allowed on Mondays, watering is only allowed in the north area of town on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, and watering is only allowed in the south area of town on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Unattended watering is only allowed for 25 minutes per zone.

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