Bellmawr Feature Stories News

Bellmawr Planning Board Authorized to Undertake Preliminary Investigation Re: Anderson Ave. Parcel

On March 22, 2018, Bellmawr Council approved a Resolution authorizing the Bellmawr Planning Board to undertake a preliminary investigation regarding 191 Anderson Avenue, Block 80, Lot 2.

Resolution #03:100-18 states that the Borough of Bellmawr owns Block 80, Lot 2 pursuant to Deed from New Jersey Department of Transportation to the Bellmawr Sewage Authority in 1960. “Said Parcel is approximately .554 acres in size and triangularly shaped and utilized principally for underground pipes and a small pumphouse building.”

The front of the site is the Polish Catholic Cemetery (Resurrection of Christ Cemetery) on Anderson Avenue and the Route 295 right of way.

Anderson Avenue
DJI Mavic Pro Drone photo and video by Cara Forline. Left is the pumphouse. Right are the Bellmawr Hockey rinks.

“Inquiries have been made to the Borough of Bellmawr from parties interested in potential commercial development of the subject site for a low impact, low traffic office and storage location for an existing business in the Borough that is presently being relocated; and it is possible that the property may potentially be declared an area in need of redevelopment under the New Jersey Redevelopment Law,” the Resolution reads.

“The Planning Board shall proceed on notice and public hearing. The use of eminent domain need not be investigated, reviewed or authorized as the Borough already owns the subject property … The Planning Board is requested to forward its report and findings pursuant to a Resolution adopted by the Board with all of the appropriate necessary findings noted therein.”

Councilman Jim D’Angelo voted no on this Resolution.

SJO will provide updates on this matter as information becomes available.

Anderson Ave.

In other matters, all other business on council’s meeting agenda was approved. With regard to the bill list, Councilman Steve Sauter abstained from those invoices relating to monthly pest control. (Click the images below to view in detail.)

Meeting Agenda

Bill List

March, 2018 Bill list

Also during the meeting, Jared Walton was promoted to Corporal, Harry Sturgis was promoted to Patrolman, and Ronald Pataky was sworn in as Special Class Officer II.

Above: Lt. Mike Draham, Capt. Scott Parker, Officer Ronald Pataky, Corp. Jared Walton, Ptl. Harry Sturgis, and Chief William Walsh. Below from left: Patrolman Harry Sturgis, Corp. Jared Walton, and Ron Pataky, who was sworn in as Class II Officer. (All photos by SJO)

On behalf of PBA Local 375, Patrolman Kevin Lokaj announced Citizens Awards that were given to Nicholas Branco Kelly Draham and David Heckman.

Watch: Video of Council’s Committee Reports

Bellmawr Feature Stories Local Government News Recent News

Jim D’Angelo & Paul DeAngelis Sworn in as Bellmawr Councilmen; Steve Sauter Named Council President

Jim D’Angelo and Paul DeAngelis were sworn in as Councilmen and Steve Sauter was named Council President at the Borough of Bellmawr’s January 5, 2018 Reorganization meeting.

Mayor Frank Filipek was absent due to illness.

Photo Gallery by SJO:

Meeting Agenda, Resolutions & Appointments

All business on Council’s agenda was approved, which included the establishment of 2018 Committees and all appointments. (Click on all images to view in detail.)

Bellmawr Borough 2018 Appointments

2018 Committees

Bellmawr Borough 2018 Appointments

2018 Appointments

Bellmawr Borough 2018 Appointments

Big Timber Junction

Big Timber Junction was re-appointed as re-developer for the Bellmawr Waterfront Redevelopment project.

2018 Temporary Budget

The 2018 Temporary Budget and the December, 2017 bill list were also approved.

Bill List

Video of the January 5, 2018 Bellmawr Council Reorganization Meeting

Bellmawr Feature Stories Local Government News Recent News

Bellmawr Council OK’s Bellmawr Redevelopment Partners’ Plenary Retail Liquor License Renewal

Bellmawr Council approved Resolution #11:247-17 — to renew the plenary retail liquor license for consumption and distribution of alcholic beverages to Bellmawr Redevelopment Partners, LLC for the period of September 28, 2017 through June 30, 2018. The Resolution was approved at Council’s November 20, 2017 Council meeting.

In May, 2016, 42 Freeway reported that Bellmawr Landfill holds the Pennant’s liquor license.

In other matters relating to the Bellmawr Waterfront Redevelopment, Council approved first reading and introduction of an Ordinance to adopt a redevelopment plan for the Bellmawr Waterfront Development Area (formerly known as the Route 42/Landfill Redevelopment area).

All other items on the meeting agenda were approved.

Note: Council’s commmittee reports are not included in this post because SJO was not able to attend this months’s meeting.

Council meets next on Monday, December 11, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. for caucus. The regular meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 12 at 7:00 p.m.


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Bellmawr Borough Quarterly Taxes Due August 31, 2017

Borough of Bellmawr tax bills have been mailed out and the due date for payment must be received by August 31, 2017 to avoid interest charges.

During Council’s July 27 monthly meeting, Councilman Ray Bider spoke about the tax bills. “As we said before, Black Horse Pike [Regional School] District and the Borough of Bellmawr are at 0%. The local school is at 2.6% and 4.3% for the County. So, the County has a much higher increase. We were really anticipating them [the county] to come in near zero which would have brought us in below three cents totally. But now, you are going to be above 6 cents due to the high county increase.“

Mayor Frank Filipek added: “We did keep Bellmawr taxes to zero. We run your whole town on 23.8 of your dollar and almost 25 cents goes to the county.”

Continuing with his committee report, Bider said that the Borough received a Clean Energy Direct Install Grant for the replacement of LED lights in the Borough facilities in the amount of $6,264. “The Borough will be responsible to pay 25% of the total cost. The grant pays 75%. Bottom line overall, we will see a 15% monthly decrease in our electric bill due to the new LED lighting. We are pretty happy with that.”

He also stated that on the recommendation of the auditor, Bowman & Company, multiple stale checks were listed on the agenda to be cancelled.

Bider stated that he has been working with a committee called Return Your Old Glory to ensure that old flags are retired properly. Bins resembling old mail boxes will be delivered to each VFW. “We have money donated by two businesses to pay for each of the bins so it will be no cost to us,” Bider said. “Those bins will collect the flags. Once a year, the Boy Scouts and the VFW members will hold a retirement ceremony for the flags.”

As for the Creek Road Recreation Enhancement Project across from Larc School, Bider said that “is moving along well.”

He stated that in the rear, an All Wars Memorial will be built. “We have a tentative model. We are trying to finalize the cost now. It will include one central theme [with] each of the individual services represented with flag poles behind and lights on each end. If it works out, [there may be] a small fountain in the front of it where we could have fish,” he said.

Committee Reports

Councilman Jamie Casey

In reference to school funding, the Bellmawr School District received an additional $352,000, Councilman Casey said. “More than they expected. After speaking to the school board, with the superintendent, and also the president of the school board, it is their intention to use that money to push that forward to next year to offset the cost … of the grants from the pre-school [next year].”

Councilman Jim D’Angelo

Councilman D’Angelo stated that July 27 was the last day of the Summer Rec Program and Work Program. “It was very successful. Projects were completed.”  He said that he spoke with Mike Williams, who wanted to acknowledge his crew for doing curbs and a couple of other projects in town. “It kept the kids busy throughout the summer,” D’Angelo said.

Bellmawr Summer Rec Program
Photo taken on July 27, 2017 by SJO. Summer Rec Program Director Dawn Gillis with the 2017 Summer Rec Program Counselors and Campers.

Councilman Steve Sauter

Councilman Steve Sauter said: “I am happy to report that the Department of Public Works is running smoothly. Currently, the highway guys are working on Hart Avenue reconstruction. It’s a little behind due to weather. That project consists of the replacement of all the curbs, driveway aprons, and select sidewalk installation. Upon completion, the roadway will be milled and paved. It will take approximately 800-man hours to complete that project.”

As for upcoming road construction projects, Kingston and Leaf are lined up, Sauter said.

Councilman Steve Hagerty

For fire, Councilman Hagerty stated that there were 113 fire calls for the month of July and 221 EMS calls. “They are working pretty hard.”

He stated that Bellmawr Park continues to have its membership drive. “They have a few members that are starting their programs, starting to take their physicals, and get fitted for different equipment. They will register for the schooling that they have to do. They continue to have their membership drive. If anyone is interested, they are still accepting applications.”

Mayor Filipek added: “Mayor and Council did not close Bellmawr Park Fire. Their membership is down.”

Councilman Paul Sandrock

Councilman Sandrock was absent from the meeting.

Public Portion

A resident spoke about alleged activity and problems at an apartment complex and asked for guidance with the situation. The resident was advised to report it to the police.

A resident of Braisington Avenue asked for “something to be done” since cars are trying to avoid the light, speeding, not stopping at the stop signs, or rolling through them.

A resident of Princeton Avenue said she is also having problems on her street with cars exiting the liquor store driveway and going the wrong way. She said there is a one-way sign at the beginning of Princeton, but asked if another one-way sign can be placed at the driveway.

A resident of Anderson Avenue asked if any consideration had been given into prohibiting left turns from Anderson onto the Black Horse Pike. “It’s bad,” she said.

Mayor Filipek responded that the Borough doesn’t have jurisdiction over County or State roads.

A resident asked if police officers have to be EMT certified. Councilman Casey said that police are First Aid, First Responders, and CPR trained.

A question was asked also about Special II Officers. Councilman Casey provided that clarification by explaining that there are some restrictions placed on a Special II as opposed to a full-time police officer. “He can only act when he is working in the Borough of Bellmawr. He has the same police powers, but he is considered part-time.”

A resident of Belmont Road spoke on behalf of the neighbors on her street regarding the recent road resurfacing project. She said that when dirt was removed, replacement dirt was brought in “and grass seed tossed in. The dirt that was brought in was not clean topsoil.”

She said the Borough was contacted. “Weed whacking was not the answer. The stuff kept growing.”

She asked where the dirt came from since “crop growth consists of nettles, inkberry, morning glories, thistles, and a plant that grows over three feet tall. There are others and these plants are going to re-seed. Weed whacking isn’t going to solve it.”

She stated: “Our lawns were presentable prior to the road work We don’t feel like we should have to pay to have this corrected or have to do it ourselves.”

Mayor Filipek said: “First, we have to check where we bought the topsoil. We have to go back to the topsoil company.”

Agenda Items

All items on Council’s agenda were approved, including First Reading and Introduction of the 2017 Salary Ordinance for the Borough of Bellmawr.

To view the meeting agenda with supporting Resolutions and the bill list, click below:

Bellmawr Council July 27, 2017 Agenda


July, 2017 Borough of Bellmawr Bill List

Bellmawr Feature Stories Local Government News Recent News

Bellmawr Student Joseph Siefert Recognized for Winning Fire Safety Poster Contest

E.M. Burke student, Joseph Siefert, was recognized at the June 22, 2017 monthly Council meeting for winning the Bellmawr Fire Department’s annual fire safety poster contest.

Siefert was congratulated by all of the Councilmen.

Councilman Steve Sauter called Siefert a “great kid” and Councilman Jim D’Angelo added “I’ve never seen anyone so excited to win.”

Also recognized during the meeting were Bellmawr Police officers Corporal John Mader and Patrolman Kevin Lokaj who received Proclamations in recognition for separate incidents they were involved in that resulted in the prevention of serious injury or worse.

Officers AJ Thomas and John Reader were promoted to Patrolmen and Officer Mark DeBerardinis, who graduated from the Gloucester County Police Academy on March 22, 2017, was ceremonially sworn in to the Department.

Photo Gallery:

Posted by South Jersey Observer on Thursday, June 22, 2017

Additionally, the Bellmawr Purple Eagles Tiny Division Cheerleader Squad received Certificates for coming in first place during May’s U.S. Finals Cheer and Dance Competition.

Bellmawr Purple Eagles Tiny Division Cheerleader Squad
(All Photos by SJO)

Committee Reports

Council President Steve Hagerty presided over the meeting because Mayor Frank Filipek was absent.

Hagerty congratulated the police officers and said that Chief William Walsh “runs a great department with a lot of professionalism.”

Hagerty said that Emergency Management officials (police, fire, and EMS) trained at a recent exercise in the Industrial Park and said that there were 91 fire calls and 313 EMS calls in May.

The Fire Department was awarded a Citation of Merit certificate issued through the Governor’s Occupational Health and Safety Awards Program.

This program recognizes that the fire department has taken corrective steps to maintain a quality safety and health program for its members, follows national standards with regard to standard operating procedure, holds annual physicals, training and agility tests along with aggressive random drug testing programs.

“These policies ensure the safety of the members and reduces liability to the Borough,” Hagerty said. “This also ensures that the Department is ready for its next emergency. Congratulations to Chief Jim Burleigh and all the volunteers.”

Additionally, Hagerty said that two Bellmawr EMTs — Leidy Mejia Shicay and EMT-Firefighter Rodney Griffith were recently honored by Runnemede Mayor and Council for saving a life. (Credit: Bellmawr Fire Dept.)

Councilman Paul Sandrock

Councilman Sandrock congratulated all of the recent graduates and the police officers who were promoted and received Proclamations. “The Bellmawr Police Department does an excellent job. All of the officers dedicate their time and do a fantastic job.”

Sandrock read from a report (below) regarding the statistics on the Borough’s vacant properties. “This doesn’t go unnoticed. We’ve increased revenue because of our Ordinances that were established to be more stringent that raise the cost to maintain properties in town.”

Councilman Jamie Casey

“Thanks to Jim [Burleigh] for cracking down on those properties,” Casey said.

He also congratulated the police officers. “Fine job by Chief Walsh,” he said.

As for the recent graduation at Bell Oaks, Casey said: “It was a little different, but nice and everything went well.”

The Municipal Building will be getting more of a “face lift” because the building will be closed on Fridays for Summer hours. Borough workers will be in painting, etc., Casey said.

Councilman Jim D’Angelo

Councilman D’Angelo congratulated the Bellmawr Purple Eagles Cheerleaders for winning their recent competition.

He also congratulated the police officers and said of the Bellmawr Police Department: “It’s one professional outfit. I’m impressed.”

The Rec Department is in the property maintenance business and said crews cut grass and trim trees.

As for the playground equipment at the Recreation Center, D’Angelo said they are still waiting to hear about a grant from the County.

With regard to Anderson Avenue, D’Angelo said that a fence was put in and that maybe the Bell Oaks Lady Owls softball team can use that field. “That decision belongs to the school district,” he said.

The Rec Center was recently vandalized. “People broke in. Nothing was stolen and there was minor damage. We’re going to get more cameras,” D’Angelo said.

Summer Rec Program began on June 26 and runs through July 27. Fifty-eight young men and women signed up to work, he said.

Councilman Steve Sauter

Councilman Sauter congratulated the Bellmawr Purple Eagles Cheerleaders and Corporal John Mader and Patrolman Kevin Lokaj for “fantastic policing.”

He also congratulated Mark DeBerardinis for doing a fantastic job and to Patrolman John Reader and AJ Thomas for being promoted to Patrolmen.

Under Public Works, the road projects are going smoothly, on time, and in budget, he said.

Regarding the recent sewage spill at Big Timber Creek, Sauter thanked Water and Sewer Superintendent, George Reinnles for “jumping right on that” to make sure there were no issues with Bellmawr.

Councilman Ray Bider

Councilman Bider credited Chief Walsh and his leadership in making the police department what it is. “Thank you for all you have done for many years,” Bider said.

The Borough is looking to install a drop-box in central location(s) where residents can take their old flags so a proper ceremony can be done. Many people do not know where to put them, Bider said. “Paul [Sandrock] brought up this idea.”

Bellmawr Recreation Enhancement

As for the ongoing Recreation Enhancement project that is going on across from Larc School on Creek Road, Bider said plans are in the works to build a memorial/monument for all wars in the far back.

Bider also said there is now a drop box outside of Borough Hall so people can pay their taxes, water, and sewer bills after hours using a check or money order.

Bellmawr bill drop box

With regard to Resolutions #06:143-17 – $6,000 Private donation shuttle bus and #06:143-17 $23,578.64 Clean Communities Grant, Bider said: “This money is appreciated from Shop-Rite and Clean Communities.”

Regarding the shuttle bus, Councilman Hagerty also thanked Joe Ciano for his help in orchestrating it.

Speaking about the audit, Bider said it should be completed shortly. “A report will be given to the finance committee, sent to the State, and put on We will go over in public any recommendations that the auditors may have,” he said.

As for the tax sales that are now being done online, Bider gave a quick summary. “For taxes, water, sewer, maintenance, advertising, etc., we collected $166,223. [It] was all done under the new procedure and worked tremendously.”

Agenda Items
On the business side, all items on Council’s agenda were approved, including the plenary liquor license for Johnnie’s Liquors and others.

To view the agenda items and the supporting Resolutions, click the image below.

Councilman Sandrock abstained from the bill list and Councilman Sauter abstained from the bill list for those items pertaining to pest control.

Public Portion

A Bell Road resident complained about the traffic on Bell Road saying it has gotten “atrocious.” The resident had letters from her neighbors and said cars speed down the street, despite there being a sign that says 15 mph.

She said her cars have been hit and other neighbors put in driveway space.

Eighteen-wheelers travel down Bell Road at all times of the day and night, even though there is a “no trucks” sign, she said. “It’s not acceptable and they’re not supposed to do that.”

She added: “Something has to be done. It’s worse now with the construction. [Bell Road] is being used as cut-through.”

Chief Walsh said: “We can put the speed sign out there and it will give us a count. I will have the officers out there in the next couple of weeks spot-checking and stopping trucks out there.”

Mark Sharp complimented Code Official Jim Burleigh for helping him get the information he needed about flood insurance.

Sharp also asked Borough Administrator Josh Tregear about the possibility of arranging a tour of the Bellmawr Waterfront front area for an environmental engineering student.

Resident Carmella Risica had a letter containing suggestions for Mayor Frank Filipek and she requested that her letter be read over.

She also spoke about the recent primary election saying: “It was not something I was proud to say that I was from Bellmawr.”

Addressing Council, Risica said: “I am looking at everyone. You represent us. The fighting has to stop. It’s not necessary. You need to find a way to come together. Get a neutral person and sit down and work it out.”

Risica also had a letter from her parents concerning Jim Burleigh that she read aloud and requested that it be placed in Burleigh’s file.

In part, the letter expressed “sincere gratitude” to Burleigh, Councilmen Jim D’Angelo and Ray Bider, the Recreation Department, and Public Works secretary Kim Gallagher for helping with a situation.

Risica said that once Burleigh became aware of a complaint that involved a neighbor, he took the time to speak with her parents.

“Jim responded within minutes of an email that was sent on June 11. Jim came out on the 12th and worked with that neighbor…and was able to foster a line of communication with my parents for the neighbors on Cedar Avenue,” she said.

She continued: “I have to say — He handled the situation like a pro, drove by … and called us. The next thing I know the Recreation Department is out there cutting the lawn.”

There was also a discussion about the rebuilding of Bellmawr Park Fire Department’s membership, which will be the subject of an upcoming article.