Closing The Gap On Foreclosures

Manchester Town Hall (Photo by Micromedia Publications)

MANCHESTER – There are fewer foreclosed homes on the township’s register than there were last year, officials said at Manchester Township’s latest council meeting.

Mayor Kenneth Palmer shared a positive update on the home foreclosure registry, which requires abandoned homeowners in Manchester to register their unoccupied properties and pay a fee every year on an increasing scale. The longer a property stays vacant, the more money an owner has to pay to keep it that way.

Since this new law took effect in March of last year, 57 homes have come off the registry, including 14 in June alone, and a total of $409,000 has been raised.

Council President Samuel Fusaro said the fee is both to give banks an incentive to move their homes, and to help the township maintain the properties and avoid any problems, such as people breaking in.

“This is year two and we’re seeing a lot of numbers (change), because for a while there were no numbers going down on the foreclosure registry,” said Fusaro.

Park Funded

In other news, the township also received a matching grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Garden State Preservation Trust in the amount of $750,000 to use for parks and open space under the Green Acres Program.

Mayor Palmer said the plan is to finish working on 6th Avenue Park first and have a grand opening next year, then move on to improvements in some other township parks.

Energy Aggregation

  Customers are seeing their first savings in electric bills from TriEagle that stem from the energy aggregation program, which began on June 1, Fusaro said.

This is a program where all residents will be receiving electricity from a third party company rather than Jersey Central Power and Light. Businesses in town can opt into the program as well. JCP&L would still transmit the electricity, and maintain the lines, but TriEagle Energy supplies the electricity.

Fusaro said the program is a two-year contract with a fixed price of 7.9 cents per kilowatt hour, but there’s no charge to get in or out of the program at any time. He said the overall savings from JCP&L were originally 20 percent, but went down to about 15.6 percent after JCP&L reduced their price.

Feral Cat Program

There’s also some been some progress in the feral or undomesticated cat problem in town, which Fusaro said is especially prevalent in the senior villages. An ordinance was passed about a year and a half ago to change from a trap and euthanize method to a trap, neuter and release method. Through the help of local animal agencies and volunteers, 86 cats have been trapped, neutered and released back into the community as of June, with money still leftover in the bank.