Bellmawr Mayor Frank Filipek and Council honored Bellmawr Baseball’s Babe Ruth team for clinching their 13-15 age division. The team received their jackets at last week’s council meeting.
Bellmawr Baseball President, Rick Dougherty, said that the team went undefeated in their regular season and that it was “pretty amazing that they won every game.”
Anthony Abbate Sworn in Patrolman
Also at the meeting last week, Anthony Abbate was introduced as the newest member of the Bellmawr Police Department. Abbate, formerly of the Oaklyn Police Department, was sworn in as a Patrolman.
The Councilmen gave committee reports, with the exception of Steve Sauter, who was absent. Following are excerpts:
Councilman Paul Sandrock:
“Construction permits have been issued for the chairlift project here at the Borough Hall. A pre-construction meeting will be October 3. Our Borough employees will begin this project next week. We’ve also been granted monies to make improvements to our Borough owned homes on Alcyon Drive and we are waiting on final documents from the County.”
“With regard to Municipal Court, we continue to explore the possibility of a shared services agreement with Runnemede.”
“Regarding personnel, we are working with our Borough Auditor on payroll and pension issues that were revealed in our audit and we are investigating our best practices as per the corrective action plan.”
Councilman David Spector:
“The [Camden County] Health Fair is going to be held Wednesday, September 28 at 10:00 am at Cooper River. They are going to be giving out flu shots and other giveaways. It’s a nice event. A lot of our Bellmawr seniors go to that event.”
“The Bellmawr seniors are having a pasta luncheon/dinner Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. This is something they do every year. So I think that will be a nice event if anyone would like to attend.”
“In regard to our town wide clean up, we are in the process of finalizing another work session to discuss the clean up and getting folks involved to volunteer. We are going to work on meeting in the next coming weeks.”
“If you need a flyer or need any information, please contact me or Chuck Sauter. It’s going to be Saturday, October 22 from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon at the Rec Center. We will have lunch and giveaways and it should be a nice day.”
“I also had the pleasure of participating in Brooklawn Shop-Rite’s Partners in Caring Bag for Hunger. I joined with Mayor Teri Branella, Brooklawn Fire and EMS and I was happy to be invited to attend. A lot of our residents shop there so I thought it would be a good idea to support such a good cause.”
“I want to congratulate new officer Anthony Abbate. I am looking forward to having him join our Department. I think he is going to do a great job.”
“As for Sgt. Chris Cummings and his heroic actions, I think with all of the different movements happening across the country, it is such a good thing to see law enforcement in a positive light and I think it needs to be that way and it needs to stay that way. The Department is lucky to have him and it’s such a great honor.”
“Lastly, I want to congratulate Bellmawr Baseball coaches and players on the championship.”
Councilman Jim D’Angelo:
“The Rec Department continues to keep up with properties vacated by residents.”
“The parking lot at the Rec has been completed. We took out the old fence and inserted a parking area and it’s been striped and the signs are up. It looks good and it’s being used so that’s even better. We continue to paint the fences up there. We continue to take down the damaged portions. We are still waiting for the new gate at the Bell Road entrance. We are going to improve the volleyball court. We are going to add new sand and put up a new net to make that better.”
“Our Fall Festival is October 15. There are going to be kiddie rides, pony rides, and beer garden. The inflatables will be up and fire prevention will be set up. Vendors are pending. They usually wait two weeks before the event to see what the weather is going to be like. About two weeks before the event, we will have a better idea of how many vendors we are going to have. Right now, we are not sure.”
“Last thing, on October 28, Bellmawr Police PBA 375 and the Rec Department are going to hold the 2nd Annual Trunk or Treat at the Rec Center. Flyers will be sent around. It’s going to be 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. It’s $5 for a wristband to trick or treat. There won’t be a charge for cars if you’re going to come in to hand out the treats. The concession stand is going to be open for hot dogs and sodas.”
“Trick or treat bags are going to be supplied by Bellmawr Police PBA 375. There will be a couple of contests. There will be more information on that next month.”
Councilman Steve Hagerty:
“I want to congratulate Patrolman Anthony Abbate for being hired here as a Bellmawr Police Officer and to Sgt. Chris Cummings for his heroic actions down in Atlantic City.”
“Under Police, I rode around with the Chief [William Walsh] on opening day for school and surveyed all three schools when they were letting out. I think we did alright at Bellmawr Park. We aren’t going to solve the whole problem. I think mainly it’s just communication once everyone falls in line and sees the proper procedures and how to do it.”
“I would like to thank the Highway Department, the Rec Department, the Sewer Department, and the Water Department for getting this project done to help alleviate some of the problems over at Bellmawr Park.”
“EMS had a very busy week with two house fires – one was in the Bellmawr Park section and one in the Crescent Park section. In the Crescent Park section, the Shannon family lost their home. On Facebook, if anyone wants to reach out, there are different ways to help raise money to help them get by and to help them get back on their feet. Great job by those guys who were able to get there.”
“As far as Fire, Chief [Jim] Burleigh was awarded a $24,500 grant.”
Chief Burleigh added: “It was a Port Security Grant from Homeland Security. We applied for it to enhance our flammable liquid firefighting capabilities in town.”
Councilman Ray Bider:
“The superintendent, Annette [Castiglione] sent me an email asked me if I would read it:”
I believe things are going pretty well with the parking. The parents are getting used to the new procedures and we are tweaking things as they come up. We are grateful to you, Joe Ciano, Mayor and Council, and the Police, etc. for all the help they have given us and I hope that it will continue to improve.
“Also, at Bellmawr Schools beginning October 6 at 3:30 in the afternoon, they are going to be having family support groups that are basically for English Language Learners.”
“[Regarding] Triton, I met with their administration. QSAC (Quality Single Accountability Continuum) is a New Jersey State monitoring group. What they did was give Triton a high performing grade for all of the work that they are doing educationally with their Green program, etc. So the State Board of Education issued them a high performance rating for three years before they are monitored again.”
“As far as finance, again it has been a pretty good week with donations – benches for the municipal building, jackets [for Bellmawr Baseball] and Compassionate Science [in all] totaling $5,750. We are very fortunate.”
“Every Borough completes best practices. Bellmawr usually comes in the 80, 81, 82 percent. And now they are up to 87 percent, which is highly commendable. We should thank [Borough Administrator] Josh [Tregear], [Borough Clerk] Chuck [Sauter] and [Chief Financial Officer] Maria [Fasulo] for the work they have done to raise this score.”
Mayor Frank Filipek:
Mayor Frank Filipek said that the Borough had recently applied for a $50,000 grant for the historic Harrison-Hugg-Glover House to try to save it.
A resident from Rose Avenue complained that the property next to his has been vacant. He also said that the grass hasn’t been cut since mid-July and also that the shrubbery is overgrown. Mayor Filipek responded that someone would be sent out to take care of it.
Council Approves Agenda Items
All items on the meeting agenda were approved:
Among the approvals were:
- To authorize an emergency appropriation in the amount of $55,000 to settle a certain lawsuit captioned William Brody & Kathleen O’Hara vs. Borough of Brooklawn and Borough of Bellmawr. The basis of the lawsuit involved the annual required Certificate of Occupancy inspection for all rental property units. (Note: SJO filed an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) Request for the settlement documents and will post them once they’ve all been received.)
- To authorize emergency appropriation in the amount of $6,800 due to a water main break at Holly Place and Carter Avenue with the installation of a 6” Insta-Valve.
- To authorize an extraordinary unspecifiable services agreement for Southern New Jersey Regional Employee Benefits Fund. (Councilman Paul Sandrock abstained).
- To authorize an amendment to the shared services agreement with the Borough of Haddon Heights for the maintenance of fire apparatus.
- To authorize extraordinary unspecifiable services agreement for Fire Line Equipment, LLC to purchase parts to upgrade Ladder 32.
- To award a contract to South Jersey Technology Partnership (SJTP) for the roof replacement at the Public Works garage in the amount of $134,200.
- To appoint Chester Dirkes as Building Sub Code Official for the Borough.
Council accepted the following new hires for the period of July 8, 2016-September 22, 2016:
- Thomas Schultz, Jr., Highway Department
- Gloria Lloren, EMT
- Michael Karas, EMT
- Colin Rider, Class II Special Officer for the Bellmawr Police Department.
- Mark DeBerardinis, Class II Special Officer for the Bellmawr Police Department.
Council also authorized payment of the September, 2016 bill list. (Councilman Paul Sandrock abstained).
Regarding Resolution 09:200-16, which authorized Bellmawr officials to execute the escrow and payment agreement with the New Jersey Department of Transportation for the batting cages, SJO asked Borough Administrator, Josh Tregear, to provide clarification.
Tregear responded via email: “The Borough appropriated the money ($480,000) in order to get the project started by inserting a line item into the budget, but with full understanding that any incurred costs will be pass-thru to the NJ-DOT. The project is in the bid process now, and the educated assumption is the bids the Borough receives will be at, or lower than the lowest original quote. If construction costs begin trending higher, the Borough will do ‘deducts’ to ensure we do not go beyond the funds committed by the DOT.”
In other Borough related business, an Invitation to Bid was posted on Bellmawr.com on September 21 with regard to EMS billing services. The current contract is set to expire at the end of this year. The purpose of the Request for Proposal (RFP) is to see if the Borough can get a better price for EMS billing services. Bids will be opened and publicly read on on Monday, October 17 at 1:00 p.m. at Borough Hall.
Mayor and Council will meet for its Caucus meeting on Thursday, October 20 at 5:00 p.m. in the conference room at Borough Hall. The Regular meeting will take place on Thursday, October 27 at 7:00 p.m. in the courtroom at Borough Hall.