Galloway Township’s new Chief of Police, Donna Higbee, sat down Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 9:30am for coffee, tea and a breakfast snack with about twenty of Galloway’s seniors. “The informal meeting was to introduce myself and get to know our senior community,” said Chief Donna Higbee. The seniors asked the Chief about her as a person, about her job, and things happening within the department. Chief Higbee warned them that there are many crimes that could be prevented such as locking up your car, locking windows and doors in your house and especially reporting things when they are seen or heard. “You are not bothering us by calling and reporting things,” said Chief Higbee. “It’s our job no matter how silly you think your call is, you and your neighbors know the coming and goings of the community in which you live. If you think it should be reported then do it.” The seniors spent a lot of time asking questions in regards to the Chiefs personal life and she was very happy to answer. There were smiles and laughter by all in attendance. What better way to start the morning than a few laughs, great stories and informative conversation.
Local politicians engaged the residents of the Four Seasons community at Galloway in discussion regarding the controversial “PILOT” (payment in lieu of taxes) bill currently sitting on the governor’s desk. The bill, would allow the casinos to make a tax payment based upon their gaming income instead of the assessed value of their property. The bill in current form does not cover casino income from any other source such as restaurants, retail stores, leases, parking, bars and more.
At issue, is the shortfall created by the severely reduced tax collected from the casinos and its effect upon the surrounding communities as well as the overall fairness of such a program.
Galloway Mayor Don Purdy, Deputy Mayor Tony Coppola, County Executive Denny Levinson and Freeholder Rich Dase did their best to explain the complicated proposal to the standing room only crowd. Many residents were frustrated and angry over the fact that Galloway residents will see a tax increase under the current proposal.
The elected officials on hand assured the crowd that they were strongly opposed to the bill and were taking action to prevent the governor from signing it into law.
Many of the residents expressed concern over recent tax increases. Deputy Mayor Coppola said he understood and empathized with the crowd. He said that as a Galloway business owner with two children in Galloway schools, he too, felt the burden of high taxes. He told the crowd that township committee had control over only approximately 22.5 percent of local property taxes. The rest was schools, county and state taxes of which council has no control. In other words, even if township taxes did not go up but the school or county tax did, residents would pay more. In this specific case with the casinos, the tax shortfall created at the county level causes the tax increase in Galloway.
Mayor Purdy and Deputy Mayor Coppola informed the crowd that in actuality, Galloway Township taxes did go down by the township spending $267,000 less. The creation of more than 350 jobs at the old Lennox factory should mitigate taxes even further.
The Mayor and Deputy Mayor expressed their frustration at how regardless of Galloway’s efforts to reduce costs and ultimately taxes, Galloway is still adversely effected by the surrounding community.
Many pointed to the historically bad management of Atlantic City which resulted in overwhelming debt and an unsustainable budget as the main culprit. Others felt the casinos were just too greedy and never delivered on the promises they made to rehabilitate the city and invigorate the region.
When the floor was opened for questions, the first question asked was, “which is worse….the pilot program or the ….continuing devaluation of the casino properties”.
Another resident drew a large laugh from the crowd when he stated “I would leave New Jersey but my wife refuses to go”.
While the meeting exhibited moments of frustration, it was good to see so many members of the community becoming involved and voicing their opinions as well as concerns. The residents of the Four Seasons community represent a large part of the Galloway Community. Many are veterans and most are retired. They have worked most of their lives and deserve the respect of a responsive local government. With this in mind the Mayor and Deputy Mayor made sure to listen to what they had to say.
The officials were very happy with the large turnout and assured the crowd that they were firmly behind them on this issue.
The Galloway Patriot is working on scheduling a debate between the current candidates to address this and other issues. If you would like information about this debate please contact us. GallowayPatriot@gmail.com
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More than fifty years ago one musical changed theater forever. Now it’s back, and mesmerizing audiences once again. The New Millennium Production Company performed WEST SIDE STORY at the Absegami High School August 7-9th. From the first note to the final breath, WEST SIDE STORY soars as the greatest love story of all time. The score by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim is widely regarded as one of the best ever written.
“The New Millennium Production Company was created in 1999 by the late superintendent, Dr. Adam Pfeffer. Since that first year, the New Millennium Production Company has been a place for students in the Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District to work during the summer in the theatre and to work with students from the other high schools in the district, something which we proudly boast as one of the only programs to do just that” said Absegami High School Drama Director, Chip Garrison.
The production of WEST SIDE STORY was an amazing cast of young talented students. A full audience sat on the edge of their seats as the love story between Tony, Spencer Lyons, Maria and Natalie Frantz, unfolded. The chemistry on stage between Spencer and Natalie was electric. The room was filled with great music by undeniably talented musicians. The young cast was strong and energetic. If you have not yet had the pleasure of enjoying theatre at Absegami Performing Arts Center than you need to go to the next production Chip Garrison directs. Well done to the students, staff, faculty and musicians.
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The August 15th Magnus Mud Run produced by the Galloway Patriot newspaper and its publisher’s, the Knutson Family, was enjoyed by many. The weather was great and families from all over South Jersey brought their children to experience the obstacle course built just for kids. There was a brief opening ceremony including the Absecon-Galloway VFW Color Guard and a detail of Marines. Attendees recited the Pledge of Allegiance with the VFW and Marines then the fun began.
Galloway’s Fire Department brought multiple fire trucks to the event. The firemen provided plenty of water to make mud and then to rinse everyone off after they got muddy.
The Macnatt family helped by adding a new obstacle. A large 20 foot long tube for the kids to run through.
The children were also able to see and touch military vehicles like trucks and a Humvee.
We would like to thank the strong and ongoing support of all our great volunteers. Setting up and taking down the obstacles as well as manning the obstacles is a very tough job. We can not thank them enough for all the hard work.
We would also like to thank Clayton Self Storage. We would not be able to store all the obstacles if they did not donate a very large storage area for that purpose.
The Event is now in its 5th year and many of the obstacles need to be repaired and or replaced. We would also like to build a few new ones. As many of you know, we do not charge anything for the children to attend the event. The Home Depot in Absecon has been helpful providing some materials for repairs. If you would like to contribute to the event, we would gladly accept Home Depot gift cards in any denomination. We also need a large cargo net for climbing which is available on Amazon.
If you would like to volunteer your time to help, contribute materials or gift cards, please contact Chuck, 609-780-7432.
We will be setting up the course for the Boy Scout Camporee in October.
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Atlanticare’s Mainland Division Auxiliary presented their 7th annual “Pike-a-Thon” for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on Sunday, August 16th. The event drew more than 100 riders. Proceeds are used to purchase items on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit’s wish list which is comprised of items outside their normal budget.
We are fortunate to have such a facility in our area with a great staff that makes sure the communities babies are extremely well cared for.
Galloway Township’s Mayor, Don Purdy and Deputy Mayor, Tony Coppola, both avid riders, participated in the event.
If you would like to donate, please contact Rita Purdy, email@example.com