During the July 26, 2018 monthly Bellmawr Mayor and Council meeting, Councilman Ray Bider said that he recently met with School Superintendent, Annette Castiglione, where he asked about insurance for the July 3 fire at E.M. Burke Burke School and and also about the district receiving $794,101 in State Aid — a one year 14.35% difference.
Bider said: “I met with the superintendent of schools this morning and basically, at the Board of Education meeting [on July 25], it was decided that due to the uncertainty of the fire at Burke School and any repairs, that the $794,000 additional State Aid money will be put into 2018-19 budget with usage to be determined at a later date. That was the answer that I got from both the business administrator and the superintendent.”
Mayor Filipek asked if there was full insurance for Ethel Burke School. The school’s roof area was damaged and there was also water and smoke damage to classrooms.
Bider responded: “I had asked that and I was told that yes, they are insured. But, there is uncertainty as to what might be needed. That was the answer I got.”
Mayor Filipek asked two school board members, Chris Concannon and Lisa Young: “Are we putting in new classrooms or new things besides what we have there? If we have full insurance, what has to be covered?”
Chris Concannon said they were not at liberty to discuss it. “We are two of seven. We do not have the authority to speak” and said questions should be referred to the superintendent’s office.
Lisa Young said: “They are not even close to seeing what is damaged. They are still walking over debris.”
Councilman Bider added: “The only concern that I had was money put into the 2018-19 budget. I just want to be sure that the money is used for proper reasons and not things that are added to the budget at this time.”
During his committee report, Councilman Jim D’Angelo stated that a few months ago, the Borough applied for a grant to have an all-access, all-inclusive playground for Sauter Park on Park Drive. “Unfortunately, we did not get the grant this year. We are going to re-apply next year,” he said.
In the meantime, Mayor and Council have decided to place sensory play panels at the Recreation Center. “It won’t be what we wanted, but it will be something we can add for the kids there. We are in the process of picking that out,” D’Angelo said. “I would like to publicly acknowledge [Mayor Filipek] who came up to the plate [because] we were looking for donations to purchase these panels.”
Because of the Mayor’s donation, “We are able to do this project quicker and faster,” D’Angelo said. “The Rec [Recreation Department] appreciates it. We all appreciate it, and mostly, the kids will appreciate it as well.”
Mayor Filipek asked if some of the “gifted [State Aid] money” could help with the park. “[It] might be good for the people in Bellmawr to get something out of that…”
Chris Concannon replied that he was not at liberty to discuss that.
The Resolutions and Ordinances concerning the Bellmawr Redevelopment Agency (BDA) and the 2018 Salary Ordinance remain tabled.
Mayor Filipek nominated Councilman Paul DeAngelis to serve on the BDA for the remainder of a one-year term, ending December 31, 2018. DeAngelis replaces Councilman Ray Bider who resigned from the BDA.
All other business on Council’s agenda was approved. Councilman Steve Sauter abstained from voting on invoices pertaining to monthly pest control.
Councilman Jamie Casey was absent from the meeting.
- Second Annual Food Truck Festival is Saturday, August 4 from 4-10:00 p.m. along Essex Ave. Proceeds benefit the Bellmawr Purple Eagles and Crescent Park VFW 9563.
- National Night out is Tuesday, August 7.
To view the supporting Resolutions and the bill list, click here.
Video of Bellmawr Council’s Commitee Reports:
*Article updated 7/29/2018 at 8:45 p.m.