By Bill Cleary
NJ HAS THE POOREST SCHOOL DISTRICTS-New Jersey annually ranks at or near the top among the states in household income. But it has some of poorest school districts in the country, according to the Press of Atlantic City (November 19, 2009 edition www.pressofatlanticcity.com).
In terms of the percentage of Camden County children, Camden City comes in first out of 37 communities with 32 percent of the 18,551 school children between age 5-17 living in poverty or 6,024; Woodlynne is second with 23 percent of the 627 children age 5-17 in poverty or 144 children; and Gloucester City is third with 19 percent of 2,106 children age 5-17 or 395 children.
In nearby Gloucester County: Out of 27 communities Paulsboro takes the lead with 22 percent of 1,274 children or 278; Woodbury 17 percent or 312 children; Glassboro 12 percent of 2,910 children or 12 percent; Westville 11 percent of 474 children are living in poverty;
Click here to search database of poverty in NJ school districts
PAID FIRE DEPARTMENTS ARE SHRINKING-I read an interesting article in the Courier Post earlier this week about the Medford Fire Department. The Fire Department has 80 volunteers and six paid daytime firefighters that cover the 39-square-mile township. What struck me most about the article was the estimated cost to operate the Medford Fire Department is between $1.3 million to $2 million depending on capital expenses.
In Gloucester City, a community that is 2.2 square miles the estimated budget for the Fire Department is $4 million.
According to City Councilman Nick Marchese, Finance Chairman the department has 32 paid firemen, which includes 9 supervisors. Salaries for those full-time employees is approximately $2,565,003.The City has 25 volunteer firemen.
Across the state paid departments are shrinking because of budget constraints, yet here in Gloucester City mayor and council recently swore in seven firemen to full-time positions. Only one of those men was new since six of them had the title of provisional firefighter.
The City firefighters have been working without a contract since December 2008.
Steve Addezio, Medford public safety director said Medford's volunteers are paid between $2 and $5 per call and can qualify for a township-funded pension program. The department responds to about 1,200 calls per year and between 11 and 15 firefighters per call on nights and weekends.
HAVE YOU HEARD THIS ONE?-www.recovery.gov, the government site that is the watchdog over the stimulus money list five grants being awarded in the 08030 zip code area totaling $82,187,002 creating a total of 36.66 jobs. The jobs are in the construction field specifically the resurfacing of major highways in the immediate area.
According to the site the Brooklawn School District received two grants one for $655,687 and one for $93,298, the Gloucester City School District received a grant for $3,906,884, and the Gloucester City Housing Authority a grant for $172,927.
YOU CAN’T BEAT MOTHER NATURE-Last week’s Nor’easter caused millions of dollars in damage to the coastline of New Jersey. Last month NJ Senator Robert Menendez announced that he was able to secure more than $159 million for NJ beaches and flood control. And just the other day the Senator announced that the fed's were allocating another $17.6 million to fix the beach damaged from the most recent storm.
I am just wondering what the solution is to saving the state’s coastline? It is apparent that all the money being spent is not doing a bit of good. One big storm is all it takes and those refurbished beaches are washed out to sea.
What is really upsetting is not only do my tax dollars both state and federal get spent on these useless beach restorations, but I am also charged a fee by the shore towns to use the beach that I paid to rebuild.
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