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Council to Vote on $1.2 M Bond for GEMS 'Cash Call'

Officials indicate this will be the last payment the township will ever have to make for the landfill.

Council to Vote on $1.2 M Bond for GEMS 'Cash Call' Council to Vote on $1.2 M Bond for GEMS 'Cash Call'

The Township Council will vote at its meeting Monday night to finally approve a bond ordinance for more than $1.2 million to pay its portion of a "cash call" from the trust put in place to monitor the Gloucester Environmental Management Services, or GEMS, landfill.

Council unanimously approved the ordinance on first reading at its June 13 meeting.

"This is hopefully the last cash call. I don't think they can make another cash call after this one," Business Administrator Tom Cardis said during the June 13 meeting.

Remediation at the GEMS Superfund site, which the state closed in 1980, is being overseen by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Past "cash call" bond ordinances for GEMS, according to Cardis, occurred in 1996 for approximately $1.4 million and again in 2008 for roughly $637,000.

Mayor David Mayer indicated following the June 13 meeting that township officials are exploring options, including researching decades-old municipal insurance policies, to help shoulder the burden of this latest financial hit from the Superfund site.

A variety of industrial waste, including absestos and pesticides, were found to have been improperly disposed of on the GEMS property in 1980. A federal court's 1996 decree named the township as one of a handful of defendants required to support the trust's remediation efforts.

While concerned that this "cash call" comes just three years after the last, Mayer noted the township could not wait to move on the bond, as it is legally obligated to support the trust.

The township has owned the 60-acre GEMS property, located on the northwest corner of the intersection of Hickstown and Erial roads, since the 1950s.

The 15-year, $1,226,349 bond includes a down payment of $61,318.

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