Noticias en español
p . 20-21
Rocco ’ s Town House 40th anniversary
p . 4
The Great Outdoors
p . 29-44
Hammy Award Winners
p . 56-58
Wednesday , July 5 , 2023
Volume 27 • Issue 27
Michael Perna honored
Councilman Steven Furgione said that by Joseph F . Berenato Perna saw a lot of progress and change
GAZETTE STAFF WRITER during his time with the town . “ He saw the overseeing of the building
HAMMONTON — Longtime town employee Michael Perna , who is retiring ovation to all the town drinking wells . He
of the new sewer plant . He saw the ren-
from the Municipal Utilities Department was involved with everything involved after 38 years , was honored at the June with Boyer Avenue ; when Mike originally started , Boyer Avenue was woods ,” 26 meeting of town council .
Furgione said .
Furgione said that Perna was also heavily involved with replacing water meters throughout the town , and more .
“ He ’ s a dedicated employee . He ’ s been — 38 years ; I don ’ t know how many people spend 38 years at one job ,” Furgione said .
Joseph F . Berenato / THG
At the June 26 meeting of town council , Councilman Steven Furgione ( left ) presented a plaque to Michael Perna ( right ), who is retiring from the Municipal Utilities Department after 38 years .
Council approves budget
by Joseph F . Berenato GAZETTE STAFF WRITER
HAMMONTON — The 2023 budget was approved at the June 26 meeting of town council .
Robert Scharle , Hammonton ’ s Chief Financial Officer , said that there are increases in costs in this year ’ s budget over which the town had no control .
“ I think it ’ s important that the people know about that . We have pension costs going up $ 174,000 ; that ’ s between the PFRS [ Police and Firemen ’ s Retirement System ] and PERS [ Public Employees Retirement System ]. Health insurance with the state health insurance program , $ 385,000 . Garbage and trash , $ 53,000 . Recycling , $ 38,000 ,” Scharle said .
Scharle said that debt service also increased .
“ Last year , we had 0.5 percent on our bond anticipation notes ; this year it went up to five percent . That was an extra $ 356,000 in debt service for the ‘ 23 budget . That ’ s over $ 1 million in additional costs that technically
we had no control over ,” Scharle said .
The 2023 budget , Scharle said , represents a 2.5-cent increase .
“ We could go up , really , seven cents . However , the council , at this time , proposed that we use an extra $ 628,000 to help offset some of the additional costs that we had no control over ,” Scharle said .
Scharle said that he was concerned about the surplus for 2024 .
“ It ’ s council ’ s decision ,” Scharle said .
Mayor Stephen DiDonato said that using those funds from the surplus was a “ one-time fix ,” then opened the public hearing of Ordinance No . 011-2023 – Establishing a CAP Bank for the 2023 Budget .
According to the language of the ordinance , town council determined that “ a one-percent increase in the budget for said year , amounting to $ 113,451.48 in excess of the increase in final appropriations otherwise permitted by the Local Government Cap Law , is
See BUDGET , Page 3
Furgione extended thanks on behalf of the mayor and council , and read from a plaque .
“ In recognition for your loyal and dedicated service to the people of Hammonton , we wish you all the best in your retirement . For 38 years , the town and its residents reaped the rewards of your hard work and tireless efforts . As you move on to a new chapter of your life , we — the mayor and council , and the residents of the town of Hammonton — wish you the best in your retirement
See COUNCIL , Page 8 www . hammontongazette . com
DUI , ASSAULT REPORTED
HPD reports three DUIs , assault on police
by Mohammed Fuad GAZETTE EDITOR
HAMMONTON — The Hammonton Police Department ( HPD ) reported three separate driving while intoxicated ( DWI ) arrests , according to HPD Police Chief Kevin Friel .
Officer Matthew Heiser was dispatched to the area of Route 206 and Rizzotte Drive for a suspected DWI on June 26 at 11:07 p . m . The driver , Jonathan Colon , 20 , of Egg Harbor City , N . J . was driving without headlights and Colon ’ s vehicle stopped in the middle of the roadway proceeding onto Route 206 and came to a stop on Rizzotte Drive , according to Friel .
Upon making contact with Colon , Heiser detected a strong odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle . Colon was asked if he had recently smoked , in which he replied “ approximately one hour ago .” Heiser asked Colon for his
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documents , to which he observed a Ziploc bag containing marijuana in the interior vehicle , according to Friel .
Colon was placed under arrest for operating under the influence and was transported to police headquarters for processing . Colon was charged with the following motor vehicle violations : driving under the influence ( DUI ), permitted license holder violating hours of operation , careless driving , reckless driving , lamps required and open container of alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle , according to Friel .
Colon was released , as per John ’ s Law , pending a court appearance at Hammonton Joint Municipal Court . Officer Matthew Heiser was the investigating and arresting officer .
Officer David Diaz was dispatched to the area of Union Road and Oak Road in reference to a possible overdose on June 29 at 1:33 p . m . Diaz responded and observed a male subject , Christoph Blair ,
See HPD , Page 2
Rocco ’ s celebrates 40 years
Mohammed Fuad / THG
Rocco ’ s Town House co-owners Dave ( left ) and Steve Ruberton ( right ) pose in front of the restaurant . See article on
page 4 .