County holds 332nd Annual Reorganization Meeting
County holds 332nd Annual Reorganization Meeting
(Woodbury, NJ) - On Jan. 5, the Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders held their 332nd reorganization meeting in the ceremonial courtroom at the Old Courthouse. At the reorganization Lyman Barnes, Jim Jefferson and Heather Simmons were sworn into three-year terms on the Board. Damminger was chosen as the Board's Director and Chila as Deputy Director for 2018.
Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger said, "There is a large amount of expansion planned for this year. By expanding through education, access to job training, employment opportunities, and healthcare, as well as other areas, we will continue to improve for the betterment of our residents."
Damminger said that the Board of Chosen Freeholders would be reengaging the Tolerance Project this year to promote diversity and understanding throughout the community and within the schools. “We feel strongly that the county remembers what really matters – family, friends, and acceptance within our community. Hate has no home here and never will,” Damminger said.
Damminger said that that one of the expansion projects that will take place this coming year is an expansion at the Paulsboro Marine Terminal.
Damminger said, “Last March the first ship docked at the port with its first load of cargo. Since then there have been 23 vessels that discharged over 1.3 million tons of steel at the port and that amount is anticipated to double in 2018. The county is hoping to expand the port by adding two 1,700 feet berths and a barge berth to expand the wharf that opened last year.” Along with the $190 million project including the construction of the berths, there will also be continued work on the rail, water, sewer, and infrastructure of the port.
The county will also be expanding the county’s small business loan fund by $100,000. This program gives the county’s small businesses the ability to expand, hire workers and make improvements. Led by the County’s Office of Economic Development, this program offers small business owners another resource to assist them in succeeding and achieving their dreams.
Freeholder Director Damminger said, “The economic success of our county is important not only to us, but to our residents as well. Whether it is a large port transporting millions of tons of cargo or a small family business, we are determined to allow our local businesses the chance to succeed.”
To further encourage economic success in 2018, the county will be introducing 'The Rowan Consortium’. As New Jersey’s first “bundled” education program for job training this program will create degree programs developed in conjunction with business and industry leaders to address the seven highest areas of labor demand in New Jersey. This program will bundle vocational-technical schools, county colleges and four-year colleges and universities to create specialized degrees that will make earning degrees and certificates more flexible, affordable and attainable for students, all while located right on the Rowan College at Gloucester County campus.
In 2018 construction of a new building is planned on the campus of Rowan College at Gloucester County. This new building would put the Office of Economic Development, American Job Center, Chamber of Commerce and career development programs in one area. To be named the Workforce Development Center, the 18,000 square foot building will put job creators and labor development engines under one roof to help deliver the highest quality of employment services to residents and to business and industry.
While expanding both economically and educationally, the county also plans to help those that may not always be able to advocate for themselves. That is why the county is having discussions with the VA to expand services at the VA Health Clinic in Sewell.
Deputy Freeholder Director Giuseppe (Joe) Chila said, “We are currently in the process of thoroughly discussing this expansion with the Veterans Administration. We hope to have more news on this project in the coming months that we will be able to share with residents.”
Chila said, “The VA Health Clinic scheduled over 30,000 healthcare appointments last year. While the location offers multiple health services to our veterans, it cannot offer all services our veterans may need. That is why we are looking to expand services offered to those men and women who served our country.”
A new Therapeutic Riding Center at the Gloucester County DREAM Park will also be unveiled this year. This 9,600 square foot building will be opening in January and will offer horseback riding and driving lessons to children and adults with a variety of special needs.
Along with the expansion at the DREAM Park, the Gloucester County Animal Shelter will also see expansion with a new, 2,400-square-foot space. The expansion will include a triage room where all animals will be evaluated when they first arrive at the facility, an office for the animal control staff and an adoption space where potential cat owners will be able to meet and view animals up for adoption. This expansion will hopefully assist in finding new forever homes for surrendered animals.
Pictured: Front right: Dep. Director Giuseppe (Joe) Chila and Director Robert M. Damminger.
Standing: Heather Simmons, Frank J. DiMarco, Jim Jefferson, Dan Christy, Lyman Barnes