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Bellmawr Spruce Ave. Resident Requests Three-Way Stop Sign

A Spruce Avenue resident asked Bellmawr Mayor Frank Filipek and Council at the October 27 meeting if a three-way stop sign could be installed at the corner of Spruce and Glenview. Cars on Spruce Avenue travel down the street at a high speed, the resident said. He brought a petition that had been signed by 35 people.

Mayor Frank  Filipek responded: “We have to talk to the police. It’s up to the police to make the decision.”

The resident also spoke about several ongoing issues he has with a neighbor. One issue is an overgrown bush and the other issue involves an easement. The Borough Solicitor, Robert Messick, said that a title report and a survey are needed and he would keep the resident advised.

All of the Councilmen gave committee reports, except for Ray Bider, who was absent from the meeting.

Councilman Paul Sandrock

“A pre-construction meeting was conducted on October 3 [with regard] to our ADA compliance in our vestibule here at the Borough Hall. The Borough employees have been working on the infrastructure and will start construction within a few weeks.”

“Our Court operations have been working without a Court Administrator for a few months now. [The Court Administrator] is on leave and we are presently working with our deputy administrators, who have been doing a fantastic job. We’ve gotten very high remarks from not only the prosecutor’s office, but from the judges. We have scheduled a meeting to work out details for a replacement of our Court Administrator and a possibility of working out a shared services agreement with Runnemede Borough for court services for them.”

“On October 18, our Zoning Board listened to [proposals] for construction of 12 homes in the Bellmawr Park section. Those volunteers of the Zoning Board obviously deserve a lot of credit for their time and patience and commitment to this town. The 12 homes are being relocated [due to] the construction project of the widening of Route 42 and 295.”

“So the Borough residents understand: six are being placed on Essex Avenue on a court and six are being placed on Peach Road. Those six homes in each section will be built and reconstructed to the same measurements and appearance that exists within the Bellmawr Park Mutual Housing Corporation.”

“Under Finance, because Councilman Ray Bider isn’t here… Each year our Borough is required to complete a Best Practice checklist mandated by the State. Municipalities that complete and score over 80% receive five percent in State aid. The Borough has historically been given an 80% passing rate for the past seven years and repeatedly qualified for State aid. This year, we scored 90%.”

“This administration, I am very proud of… [they] continue to take the corrective measures to make and address the questions where the deficiencies were noted. The Best Practices Worksheet was reviewed and approved by this governing body and has been sent to the State. It is also posted on Bellmawr.com.”

Councilman David Spector

“We had to postpone our Beautify Day/Townwide Cleanup due to inclement weather. I just want to thank [Borough Administrator] Josh Tregear and [Borough Clerk] Chuck Sauter for all of their hard work in helping us coordinate and reach out to folks to volunteer and to get the event prepared.”

“[As for] business sponsorships, Wendy’s is providing the paper products and chili for lunch. Compassionate Sciences made a financial donation.”

“This is our first year doing this and it’s a great way to make the town look more presentable and a great way to engage everyone to make Bellmawr great. This town cleanup is a great segue for Halloween because we can make the town look very nice before the kids go trick-or-treating.”

“Tuesday, November 8 is Election Day and make sure everyone gets out to vote. It is a very important election.”

“I would like to take this time to offer my appreciation to the Bellmawr Fire Department. I got bag clips made to show a token of my appreciation for all of their hard work and commitment. We’ve had a lot of calls this year and it is stressful at times and they are doing a great job.”

Councilman Jim D’Angelo

“[The] Fall Festival was held and was relatively successful. It seemed like they had a lot of people coming through because of the yard sales. Brooklawn and Westville had things going on. We had a steady stream of people. How financially successful the vendors made out, I haven’t heard yet, so we are going to see.”

“We are getting ready for Christmas in the Park. The Rec [Department] is already out there putting some stuff up.”

“We continue to go out and clean up the abandoned and empty buildings in town.”

Councilman Steve Sauter

“The Highway Department recently completed the re-construction of Haag Avenue in the Industrial Park. We would like to extend our thanks to Chief Walsh and the Police Department for supplying and setting up a squad car out there to keep our workers safe during the process. It was quite tedious.”

“The Borough received final EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] approval for the Recreation Enhancement Project for the Waterfront Access on Creek Road. The Highway Department will construct new driveway aprons, parking spaces, and a basketball court. The turn-around will be done this fall.”

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The Bellmawr Highway Department has begun recreation enhancement work on Creek Road. (Photos by SJO)

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“Leaf season has begun. It is going to be handled on a weekly rotating schedule with the zones being from the Brooklawn border to Bell Road and Bell Road to the Barrington border. [Put] only leaves out to the curb. Keep them at least 10 feet away from any drainage areas.”

“Lastly, the Borough is awaiting the delivery of our new street signs from Atlas Flasher. Once they are received, the installation process will commence. We have target completion of January 1, 2017. In addition to that work, 22 stop signs will be replaced.”

Councilman Steve Hagerty

Hagerty said that Bellmawr Police officers Cpl. John Mader, Sgt. Mike Ryan, and Ptlm. Dave Kenney did a “great job” regarding an October 19 arson-burglary arrest. A male was taken into custody after having been observed entering and exiting two vehicles. One of the vehicles was in a driveway that was parked extremely close to a residence. The arresting officers noticed that the inside of one vehicle was on fire and extinguished it.

Regarding EMS, Hagerty reported there were 236 calls this month and fire calls are at 93 calls. “They are extremely busy,” he said.

Hagerty also stated that the Resolution authorizing Farnsworth & Semptimphelter as billing agent for the ambulance squad “is projected to save us around $7,000 a year.”

Mayor Frank Filipek:

Mayor Filipek also commended the police officers and the fire department for a job well done regarding the arson/burglary arrest.

The mayor also said that a meeting with Bellmawr Baseball will be scheduled for January.

Batting Cages

As for the batting cages, the bids came in higher than expected. Borough Administrator, Josh Tregear, provided clarification subsequent to the meeting via email:

“Department of Transportation (DOT) originally requested the Borough secure three estimates (non-binding) from contractors to gauge cost with the lowest being $423,000. The DOT then committed to that cost, plus the architectural and engineering fees, for a total of $463,000. The Borough conducted the bid process with contractors submitting bids based on actual construction drawings, with the lowest bid at $563,700.”

The email continued: “Add in the architectural and engineering fees, and the total is $603,500. The Borough informed the DOT, and they have conditionally approved the additional funds needed.  Presently, we are still awaiting the revised formal Agreement. Once the revised Agreement is formalized and executed, the Borough will be in a position to award the bid.”

Agenda Items

Council voted to approve all items on its agenda, including the bill list. Councilman Sandrock abstained from that vote.

The meeting agenda with all of the supporting Resolutions and the October, 2016 bill list are below.

October 27, 2016 Council Meeting Agenda & Resolutions

October, 2016 Bill List

Council also approved the minutes for the June 23 and July 28 meetings.

Under communications, Borough Clerk Chuck Sauter read a letter of appreciation from a 3rd Avenue resident.

Lastly, a reader contacted SJO for clarification about the Resolutions pertaining to the Shared Services Agreements (SSA) for maintaining public works equipment for the Borough of Woodlynne and fire apparatus equipment for East Greenwich Township.

Borough Administrator, Josh Tregear, responded via email: “Essentially, the Borough charges for our employee (mechanic in this case) time comprising their hourly pay rate and benefits.  Currently, that rate is $60 an hour. Please keep in mind that the initial step in executing a SSA is first having the Borough approve it via Resolution, and then it is forwarded to the other municipality for their governing body to approve via Resolution.”

Council will meet next on Thursday, November 17 for its Caucus session at 5:00 p.m. The regular monthly meeting will take place on Monday, November 21 at 7:00 p.m. because of the Thanksgiving holiday.