BERKELEY – As the new year begins, members of the governing body set goals. Some of the goals are a continuation of older projects, and some are revisited with new vigor.
“This is the year Berkeley Township is going on the offensive,” Council President James Byrnes said.
Every year since Superstorm Sandy has been better, and there is time now to hit the problems that are creeping up, he said.
One major problem is school funding. Byrnes has long been a critic of the current school funding formula that has decided that communities like Berkeley have more land wealth and fewer children in school (because of senior communities) which means they can afford to pay more in taxes. These school taxes go to at-risk schools, some of which have similar median incomes as Berkeley.
The town government is also committed to replacing retiring police officers, he said. Other township goals include cleaning up the bay front and making sure that senior communities remain for residents that are 55 and older.
Mayor Carmen Amato promised to continue to reach out to businesses to fill spots on the Route 9 corridor.
“The redevelopment of the Beachwood Mall is a priority,” he said.
This is in reference to the mostly torn-down strip mall on Route 9 just south of the Berkeley-Beachwood border. The property has been in some form of redevelopment for more than a decade.
Some goals were the same as every year, such as maintaining the parks and playgrounds, and making sure code enforcement is where they need to be.
“We will continue to make Berkeley Township the best place to work, live, and raise a family,” he said.