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ADA Compliance Work Now Underway at Bellmawr Boro Hall

Construction work is now underway at Bellmawr Boro Hall to make the building compliant as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Councilman Paul Sandrock announced at Council’s January 26 meeting.

Construction work is now underway at Bellmawr Boro Hall to make the building compliant as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Councilman Paul Sandrock announced at Council’s January 26 meeting.

Acknowledging that this project has taken a long time to bring to fruition, Sandrock said: “There are gentlemen sitting up here prior to my existence here as a councilperson that had attempted to make the Borough Hall ADA compliant.”

The front entrance is now blocked off because of the construction. So far, the steps have been removed and new steps have been installed, he said. “It will make it easier for our senior folks that do use the steps to go up and down and it will certainly be safer. The lift is going in place.”

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Borough Hall
Photo by SJO taken January 18, 2017 showing the construction work being done at the front entrance to Borough Hall. While construction work is being done, the both sides entrances to the Municipal Building are open.

The final drawing for the lift with the exact measurements will be completed in a few weeks and it will be constructed and put in place, Sandrock said. “Anyone who walks into the Borough Hall or [uses] a wheelchair or scooter, or just can’t do the steps, can ride up to the door where they can do business.”

Last year, the Borough received a grant from the Camden County Improvement Authority, he noted.

Court Administrator

With regard to the Court Administrator, Sandrock said: “We have a timeline.”

The Borough’s Court Administrator left last year, he stated.  “We applied to put an acting Court Administrator in place and we are going through the process now through the judiciary system. We should have that moving along very smoothly with our timeline within the next few months.”

2016 Code Enforcement Data 

Sandrock read aloud the following  Code Enforcement data from 2016:

  • Electrical inspections: 793
  • Building inspections: 732
  • Uniform Construction Code (UCC): permits 577
  • Plumbing inspections: 414
  • Our registered building rentals: 297
  • Fire inspections: 213 (The fire sub-code official goes out to looking at what’s necessary to maintain safety of these buildings.)
  • House building C/O: 180
  • Mechanical inspection: 57
  • Zoning applications: 45

Sandrock added: “There is a lot of work being done in our apartments. We do Certificate of Occupancy (C/O) inspections. There were 171 of them.”

Foreclosed/Abandoned Homes

Regarding foreclosed and abandoned homes, Sandrock said: “We had a meeting [Wednesday] in the Borough Hall with County officials and we were discussing property maintenance along with code enforcement. They have a figure of 267 homes from September, 2016 that were either in foreclosure or abandoned.”

He said that the Borough’s construction official, Jim Burleigh, was also present at the meeting. “Since last year, we had close to 200 and we’ve moved down to 109. There is an aggressive opportunity for people to purchase these homes, do some renovations on them, and then re-sell those homes. That has been a help to our community overall,” Sandrock said.

Councilman Jamie Casey

Sustainable Jersey for Schools

Councilman Jamie Casey said that he attended a recent meeting with regard to Sustainable Jersey for Schools. “It’s basically recycling, saving energy, and things like that. Each classroom/each student is going to have a project to do to keep them aware of recycling and saving energy. It was nice to see the kids are getting involved in becoming more aware.”

Arbor Day Tree Planting

Casey also said that Borough representatives, Joe Ciano and Mike Williams, also attended the meeting. On Arbor Day, April 28, hundreds of trees will be planted around Bellmawr thanks to a grant. The trees will be planted on all public property that is owned by the Borough, he said.

Casey also stated that future updates will be given regarding renovating the bathrooms in Borough Hall.

Councilman Jim D’Angelo

Councilman Jim D’Angelo said that a meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 15 at 6:00 p.m. at the Recreation Center for all spring and summer athletic groups that will use the fields for 2017. “That is to get everybody initiated with any rules and regulations that we are going to follow and to make sure that when you are scheduled to play, you will play.”

Sports Background Checks

A new round of coaches’ background checks has been completed, D’Angelo said. “I am happy to say that we have the coaches’ updates for background checks. We have the updated list and it will be submitted and will be up and running on the Borough’s website.”

Bellmawr Baseball

As for Bellmawr Baseball, D’Angelo said: “We had a meeting with the Little League and it was decided by all, that we, the Borough, will take over their fields. We are going to take over their building, which would be their utilities.”

He added: “There was an agreement between us. They also said that they are going to lower their registration. Everybody liked the deal. It works for everybody.”

Regarding the soon to be built batting cages: “Bellmawr Little League and Bellmawr Girls Softball have first shot at using them. The local teams will use them first,” D’Angelo said.

Mayor Frank Filipek clarified: “The one thing that I would like everybody to get straight: We are not taking baseball or the kids away from the Little League. They are going to coach them. We are helping them because they are having financial problems. I don’t want it to get around town that the Borough is now running the Little League. They are going to run their own league, their own kids. All we are doing is helping.”

Councilman Steve Sauter

Councilman Steve Sauter said: “As is customary in January, I would like to re-cap some of the accomplishments that we had in 2016 as far as the Public Works Department.”

He spoke of the late January, 2016 winter storm Jonas, which brought over 20 inches of snow. “Most of that was reimbursed through FEMA. Bellmawr submitted a project over $51,000,” he said.

Sauter said that 2016 was “quite a busy year and looking over our plans for 2017, it will be a busy year as well. So I would like to publicly thank all of our hard working Public Works employees who do a fantastic job for us year in and year out.”

2016 Sanitation Division Data


  • Over 1,300 tons of single stream recycling
  • 3,300 tons of household trash
  • 63 tons of white goods, which is metal
  • 15 yards of vegetative waste
  • Over 1,400 tons through a shared services agreement with the Borough of Runnemede

2016 Concrete & Asphalt Division Projects

Shared Services

Sauter mentioned the towns where “quite a few projects” were done under shared services agreements: Barrington, Runnemede, Merchantville, Gloucester City, Hi-Nella and Brooklawn.

Highway Department: Mechanical Division

Sauter reported: “The Highway Department Mechanical Division performed fleet maintenance on 94 pieces of our Borough equipment, which enhances the life that we get out of our equipment.”

Shared services agreements in the mechanical division were performed for Audubon, Barrington, Clementon, Gloucester City, Haddon Heights, Haddon Township, Runnemede, and Woodbury Fire Departments, Brooklawn Police Department, MEPRI Ambulance Squad in Mt. Ephraim, and the Department of Public Works Fleet Maintenance in Mt. Ephraim, Runnemede, and Woodlynne.

Councilman Steve Hagerty

The Bellmawr Police were recently recognized as “Hometown Heroes” by Triton Regional High School.

Fire Department

2016 fire calls were 1,033 and EMS calls were 2,806. For Fire, there was an increase of 201 runs. For EMS, there was an increase of 612 runs.

Hagerty said that recently, 30 members underwent annual training, which included physical and classroom training. “I was able to see the hard work that they do to prepare themselves for when they go out to protect our residents, businesses in town, and motorists that travel through our town. They do a hell of job getting out there to provide safety.”

He also spoke of decrease in the Fire Department’s arrival time. “One of the big things they did this past year was lower the arrival time by a minute. The State standard is 10 minutes and [their] average arrival time last year was 8 minutes 56 seconds.”

Councilman Paul Sandrock reflected on Councilman Hagerty’s report by stating: “I keep reminding everyone that there were over 1,000 fire calls that the volunteer firefighters responded to.”

He said that sometimes, it’s forgotten that those men, and sometimes women, who join the fire company are all volunteers. There is no paid personnel. “It is a true testament to the young men and, sometimes the women, that join the fire service. They respond at all hours of the night and to all emergencies.”

It is over 100 years of service to the residents of this town and they are volunteers, Sandrock added. “I hold that true to my heart. I have been a volunteer with the fire company for over 40 years. So I just want to remind everybody that they do a tremendous job. Our emergency services are fantastic here.”

Councilman Ray Bider


Department meetings will be scheduled to finalizing their budget needs and also a five-year plan, Bider said. “We need to have this information done so the first reading can be presented to you in March and then final reading in April.”

As for the five year plan, he said: “Most of the five year plan is looking at Capital items, personnel, and major expenditures of other sorts.”

Regarding moving on from the Corrective Actions recommended by the auditors, Bowman & Associates, Bider explained: “One of the main things is better checks and balances over work hours, sick time, vacation time so there is consistency across the board with all employees. Effective, February 3, officially everybody will be using the same system and it will make the monitoring easier, we hope.”

He said that the auditors have provided templates to assist in eliminating any errors that might occur in downloading data. “We are hoping that everything can be rectified.”

Bider also stated: “A little bit of a discussion has occurred on the need for the acquisition of a human resource person, that we currently do not have in the Borough. It is something we are talking about and it is in the early stages.”

(Because of space, SJO will feature the approved agenda items and public portion in its own, separate article.)