During the June 23, 2022 monthly meeting of Bellmawr Mayor and Council, Councilman Jim D’Angelo addressed the Public Works Department’s decision to not have employees pick up the oversized trash cans.
“It has come to my attention that there is an issue that has developed over the Public Works’ decision not to pick up trash in oversize trashcans. I am on social media. Let me take a minute to explain our decision on the process and exactly why,” he said.
In late March, Councilman D’Angelo met with Director of Public Works, Joe Ciano, and Highway Superintendent, Pat Gallagher to discuss the insurance carrier’s issue of employees who pick up the trash.
“Our insurance provider noted that some of the cans that are being used are oversized and were intended to be used with the one-arm mechanical trash trucks, which the Borough does not own. Getting individuals to apply for this type of job is difficult enough, let alone losing them to injury while on the job. The decision was made to prohibit the use of the oversized cans for the employees’ well-being and also for the potential rise in insurance costs,” Councilman D’Angelo explained.
A notification was posted on Facebook on April 21 and letters were issued to those residents involved, Councilman D’Angelo said. “What we failed to do, however, was issue a notice on the Borough webpage. As director of the Highway Department, I take full responsibility for this error, not Joe Ciano, not Pat Gallagher, not the mayor — me. I apologize for any confusion or inconveniences it may cause some of our residents. The decision we made was the correct one and I stand by that. The error, however, was not posting it on the webpage,” Councilman D’Angelo said.
Referring to those large 96-gallon trashcans, Councilman D’Angelo stated: “I can’t imagine picking [them] up 1,500 times a day.”
Pat Gallagher further explained: “It’s about 400 pounds when it’s loaded.”
Excerpts from Committee Reports:
Councilman Ray Bider
Councilman Ray Bider stated in his report that all of the fieldwork has been completed for the 2021 audit. It is being put together and as soon we receive it, you will receive it, he said.
The finance office just completed the audits for workmen’s compensation for occupational injuries for 2021 for the Joint Insurance Fund (JIF).
In finance, the Clean Communities Grant for $24,366 was received. The guidelines have changed slightly, but the funds will be used to clean up the Borough and graffiti, etc.
Under VFW, Councilman Bider extended thanks to everyone who was in attendance (Mayor and Council, VFW, police, fire, and EMS) for the Memorial Day Ceremonies.
Wreaths were placed and ceremonies were held at ten different monuments around the Borough and it worked out very well, he said.
Councilman Bider said he recently met with Major Robert Simpson of the Junior Air Force ROTC based out of Highland High School and they will be leading the Fourth of July parade once again this year. There will be about 20 cadets.
The VFW received a thank you letter from the Camden Diocese for coordinating with the Bell Oaks eighth-graders for placing flags throughout Resurrection of Christ Cemetery and new St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Under the Recreation Department, safety issues on the football field have been addressed with a tremendous amount of regrading work. Hopefully, that work will be finished shortly.
Councilman Bider recently met with the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) for finalizing issues to correct flooding problems off of the new ramps into the Little League baseball fields. The report is being finalized, but they have approval from the assistant commissioner to do work on the baseball field itself.
Regarding the construction of a new pickleball court, the Borough hasn’t been awarded the grant yet.
Director of Public Works Joe Ciano added: “As soon as it’s awarded, we will be taking out the volleyball court at the Recreation Center and paving that.” As for a timeframe, Ciano responded that the goal would be for this summer.
Councilman Jamie Casey
A staff member from the Municipal Court was promoted from Traffic Clerk to Deputy Administrator, Councilman Casey said.
The Construction Office went through an overhaul in the last year or so, Councilman Casey explained. He acknowledged that there is “a lot of talk on social media about complaints about properties not being taken care of. I am not on social media. So basically, I get it third hand.”
The Borough’s new code official is very proactive, and he is addressing the issues that we know about.
There is a process, Councilman Casey said. “It is not so hard to get the grass cut and things like that. It’s just that there are so many properties that are not being taken care of with grass, etc. that it backs our Recreation Department up.”
He stated that there is a list that the Recreation Department follows. Once a property is placed on the list, it gets done on a regular basis. For the new complaints that come in, the Borough has to address the resident or the owner of the property, which gets done with a door hanger or a certified letter.
However, it still may take a month, maybe a little longer, to get rectified. If it still isn’t done, then we move forward to cite them, bring them to court, and make them comply with the Ordinance that is in place, Councilman Casey explained.
Due to the overhaul in the construction office, there may be some previous reports that have been overlooked. Going forward, complaints need to be reported through the construction office at email@example.com.
There is a full-time staffer who will ensure that the complaint will be routed to where it needs to go, such as the building inspector or the code official.
Councilman Bill Evans
Councilman Bill Evans extended congratulations to the Lady Owls, who recently won their sixth championship.
Mayor and Council honored the team during the meeting.
On June 21, the Bellmawr Business Alliance held their second meeting this year and there was a “nice turnout,” Councilman Evans said. “There was really healthy conversation with the business owners who were in attendance, and it was really great interaction.”
The next Bellmawr Business Alliance meeting will be on September 20. “We are hoping one of the businesses will host at their space and after that, we will have one in December at one of our local restaurants,” Councilman Evans said.
Councilwoman Johann Fina
Councilwoman Johann Fina stated that the Independence Day Parade will be held on Monday, July 4.
The Baby Parade is at 9:00 a.m. in the rear parking lot of Borough Hall.
The Bike Parade is at 10:00 a.m. at St. Joachim.
The Main Parade begins at 11:00 a.m. at St. Joachim.
“We are still taking applications for anyone to participate in the parade. If you would like to put a float in, you can get the application on Bellmawr.com,” Councilwoman Fina said.
The main parade will travel down Browning Road and turn into the Municipal building and exit out the back end.
Mayor Chuck Sauter
Mayor Sauter said he had the opportunity to attend Triton Regional High School’s recent graduation.
Mayor and Council also attended Bell Oaks’ graduation ceremonies. “That was very well attended and very nice,” Mayor Sauter said. “On behalf of myself and Council, we would like to wish congratulations to all student graduates of the Class of 2022.”
The mayor announced the dedication of the Sixth Avenue playground was set for June 25 and that everyone was welcome to attend.
The playground was dedicated in honor of former Mayor Thomas Jenkins, who was the mayor of Bellmawr from 1968-1974.
The mayor also announced that there will be no Caucus or Council meetings scheduled for July. We will resume in August, he said, both in-person and Zoom. The Zoom meeting option will continue until the end of the year.
Councilman Craig Wilhelm was absent from the meeting.
Resident Lisa Young stated that she received a letter regarding the trash can situation and acknowledged the oversight about the information not being placed online. “But I appreciate it…I think you guys do a great job in town. I really do. It might be an inconvenience, but not everybody is on social media either. So, you did a good job trying to reach the most people that you could in our town.”
All business on the June 23, 2022 meeting agenda was approved.
Regarding the Resolutions renewing the inactive liquor licenses for Ten9 Corporation and Bellmawr Redevelopment Partners, Councilman Casey voted no on those two Resolutions.
To view the agenda in detail, click the image below:
Student Government Day
In May, the meeting was highlighted by the eighth-grade students from Bell Oaks who were selected to participate in Student Government Day.
Bellmawr Hockey Beaver A Team National Champs
Also during the May meeting, the Bellmawr Hockey Beaver A team was honored as “National Champions.”