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Allentown adjusts surplus policy during health crisis

ALLENTOWN – With the coronavirus pandemic continuing in New Jersey and certain costs as yet undetermined, the Borough Council has suspended Allentown’s established surplus
policy to better help the borough respond appropriately.

In a resolution the council members passed on April 7, officials said that “as soon as it is practical, the borough will resume its established surplus policy for municipal, sewer and water budgets.”

In the resolution, the council members said Allentown practices fiscal responsibility and has a budgetary practice that has been in practice since at least 2011 regarding the governing body not authorizing the use of more than 50% of the town’s surplus funds (i.e., savings account) when creating the annual municipal, water and sewer budgets.

Municipal officials said the borough is currently being impacted by COVID-19 and it is not yet known what the impact of that situation will be in regard to the municipal, water and sewer budgets.

In other news, Mayor Thomas Fritts reported that he and Councilman Dan Payson funded and secured the purchase of 500 surgical masks for distribution to residents in need.

Fritts said that in recent weeks, Mayor David Fried of Robbinsville launched a COVID-19 testing center in Robbinsville to help local residents and the surrounding region in Mercer County.

“I was able to reach out to Mayor Fried and with his help and support, Councilman Payson and I were able to purchase these surgical masks. Our primary focus is to donate one to two masks to any resident in need.

“Seniors, residents with underlying medical issues and residents without a mask who need to travel for essential purposes are welcome to inquire,” the mayor said.

Fritts may be contacted through the Allentown Together page on Facebook. He said the page was started about five years ago and “the initial concept was to inform residents of local announcements, news and events, and to answer questions and receive feedback we could all discuss.

“I adopted the name for my political party which Councilman Payson and I ran under in the last election. We believe in the tag line – Allentown Together because ‘We are All better Together,’ ” he said.

The mayor thanked Fried and Robbinsville “for supporting Allentown in this very difficult time. Working together and being neighborly is the very definition of community.”

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