2020 Township Highlights
This past year, with my appointment as Mayor, the dynamic of the Township Committee dramatically changed. For the first time in many years, every Committee member’s ideas, input, and contribution was expected and welcomed. In addition, every resident’s contribution was respected and appreciated. Your Committee became a team that I was hoping for it to be and to keep Waterford Township moving in the right direction. Despite a pandemic that slowed the world, we have made significant progress.
Here are the highlights of what our Township Committee accomplished:
- Throughout 2020, we made conscious and difficult decisions to reduce the spread of the dreaded COVID-19 virus by closing facilities, venues and events, and placing virus control practices in place. Those actions kept our confirmed case numbers well below many of our surrounding townships, while we continued to meet the needs of our citizens.
- Township Committee passed the 2020 budget with a ZERO increase in the local municipal tax.
- Township meetings became truly open to the public. Issues were discussed openly; public comment and suggestions were encouraged and the number of closed sessions has been drastically reduced.
- Arrangements were made to allow the Trash and Recycling services to be handled by the Township Public Works Department in 2021, saving taxpayers approximately $175,000 in the first year and $250,000 in the following years.
- As Mayor, I convinced the County to make Atco Lake an integral part of the County Park System. Already, a boat launch has been prepared and excess shore foliage has been removed. Additional plans to be implemented in 2021 will include paved parking areas, a walking trail, and the removal of excess lily pads which presently clog the lake.
- Roads: Trout Drive, Maple Avenue were repaved. The design bid has gone out for repaving Atco Avenue, with the actual work to be completed in 2021.
- The Economic Development Committee was re-established and a Director of Economic Development was appointed. The committee is composed of approximately 15 Township residents and has already met on several occasions to discuss ways to attract business.
- The Township began a program to revitalize the Atco Avenue area. Representatives from Brotherton Brewery and the American Legion became part of this effort.
- We began a campaign to urge residents to buy local and support our business community including the revamping of the Township’s website which includes direct links to each local business choosing to participate.
- Our Land Use Board is in the process of reassessing the master (zoning) plan and has started to review our zoning ordinances for possible updates. We also reviewed the Haines Boulevard Redevelopment Area to make it both more conducive for business use and to reduce the previously allowed 1,200 residences.
- Former Committeewoman Hanna led the effort to develop a five-year strategic plan to help guide future development and use of our resources. The plan will address several areas including infrastructure, roads, recreational opportunities, business expansion, community involvement, and protection of natural resources. Approximately 35 of your friends and neighbors served on this committee along with representatives from our various boards, the police, fire department, EMS, the school district, and the library. Because our Township has not had an integrated plan, there was a historic lack of a cohesive structure in moving forward. When finished, the strategic plan will be a blueprint for our future starting in 2021.
- The Historical Society is working with the Township Committee to build a replica of the old train station on Atco Avenue. Celebrating our long railroad history, the building will be used to house the Historical Society’s Collection of photos and artifacts. Starting in 2021, funding for the project will come from grants and private donations.
- In 2021, a new basketball court will be built at Ritter Field. The hockey rink and tennis courts at the Waterford Sports complex will be resurfaced with grant and township funds already budgeted for this purpose.
We have applied for a grant to add solar panels to the senior center which will reduce our energy costs.
- Township Committee has arranged to move the library from its present location to the Atco Plaza which will make it ADA compliant, increase the amount of parking, expand the size of the facility by a third and breathe new life into the plaza. Additionally, this will enable the Township to sell the old site. Already there has been an expressed interest to turn it into an eatery to compliment the new Brotherton Brewery.
These are steps that I heartfully approved of – I believe all of them to be in the right direction for Waterford Township. I now feel that the present Township Committee has clear momentum in addressing the issues facing our town.
It has been my honor to serve our community as Mayor of Waterford Township in 2020. I will continue to honorably serve you as a Committeeman.
I look forward to our new Mayor, Andy Wade continuing to move ‘Waterford in the Right Direction’ in 2021.
Rick Yeatman, Sr.
The COVID-19 virus response is rapidly changing. First and foremost – please remain calm and stay at home as much as possible. Wherever you are practice social distancing (keeping a minimum of 6 feet between yourself and others). As of Monday 3/16 here is what our Township Committee and officials have done to reduce your potential exposure to this virus.
- We have requested our local businesses and volunteer organizations to cancel upcoming group events.
- Our Court sessions will be suspended until further notice.
- Our Schools will be closed at least until April 17th. Students will be offered on-line learning services. Hammonton (our receiving district) schools will be close until the end of March. Further information to follow.
- We are closing our Library, Senior Citizen Center and all recreational fields and playgrounds until further notice.
- We will be limiting public access to our Township Municipal building. If it is important that you meet with someone – Please call (856) 768-2300 ext. 272 to schedule an appointment. Otherwise, please correspond with us by phone, email or postal services. If you wish to pay your sewer, water or tax bill, there is a drop off mail slot on the outside of the building´s vestibule.
- Our Township employees have been instructed in exposure control practices including the use of protective equipment and the practice of social distancing. They are encouraged to work from home whenever possible.
- We request that you do not attend our open township meetings but encourage the public to view the proceedings over our live stream webcast through our website waterfordtwp.org.
- We opening up our Convenience Center to residents only at the WTDPW on Burnt Mill Road for trash drop-off between the hours of 9AM to 3PM Monday through Friday. It will be closed over the weekends. Please call (856) 768-2300 Ext. 220 or 272 to make an appointment. Contractor trash is not allowed. Additional information and announcements can be found on our Facebook page or our website as this situation continues to evolve.
The more we reduce contact with others the better chance that we will all stay healthy. Routinely call or check in with your family and friends, especially our elderly or ill citizens. If you must travel out consolidate your trips into a few locations as possible.
If an emergency arises calling 911 is always advisable, however non-emergency Police, Fire or EMS calls can be handled by calling (856) 783-4900 during normal business hours. We will continue to work with our local, state and federal partners to respond to this situation we will keep you informed. Whenever possible – Please attempt to stay home, limit your contact with others, wash your hands frequently and stay healthy. If you are experiencing any symptoms such as shortness of breath, fever or repeated coughing call, your physician or medical emergency facility first, before traveling there.
Mayor Rick Yeatman, Sr.