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Creek Food Mart (in Newly Named “Creek Plaza) Set to Open in March

The new “Creek Food Mart” in Bellmawr (across from Bellmawr Lake) is set to open in March, 2021.

The food mart is the first tenant that will open in the strip that had been sitting mostly vacant and dilapidated for years.

All of the units there have been undergoing major renovations for some time now, and it is a welcoming sight.

Rendering of the soon to open Creek Food Mart credit: Harpeet “Bobby” Singh.

We recently spoke with the owner, Harpeet “Bobby” Singh and he said that he bought the property last year.

In addition to the food market, Singh said that he is communicating with other potential tenants and “would welcome them.”

SJO Photo

Singh who lives in nearby Deptford, said that the food mart is something he is bringing to Bellmawr because he would like to give the community something that is easy, convenient, reasonable, and affordable.

Harpeet “Bobby” Singh bought the strip stores across from Bellmawr Lake and has been renovating them. (SJO photo)

Singh stressed that town officials have been very accommodating to him as he renovates the property.

Of the renovations on a former eye sore and the potential for new business at that location, Mayor Chuck Sauter said: “We are so fortunate.”

I grew up down the street from here (in the “Dead End”) and it’s great to see new life being breathed into these stores.

We’ll provide updates as new tenants move in….hopefully soon!

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Feature Stories Recent News

Request to Extend Existing Discharge to Groundwater Permit-By-Rule For Construction Dewatering As Part of I-295/Route 42 Connector a/k/a Missing Moves Project Has Been Submitted

As part of construction of the I-295/Route 42 Connector a/k/a “Missing Moves” project, “a request to extend an existing Discharge to Groundwater Permit-by-Rule for construction dewatering has been submitted to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (Department) to discharge to groundwater in accordance with a permit issued pursuant to the provisions of the New Jersey Water Pollution Control”, according to a Public Notice that was published on December 26, 2020.

The I-295/Route 42 Connector a/k/a “Missing Moves” project is located in Bellmawr, Runnemede, Westville, and Deptford.

The Department’s Site Remediation Program is reviewing the permit-by-rule extension request to discharge to groundwater for the purpose of managing construction dewatering effluent on site in recharge/infiltration basins as part of the above linear construction project with the program interest number 165123.

The public notice states: “The results of New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) site investigations in 2011, 2015, and 2016 indicated the presence of PAHs (benzo[a]anthracene, benzo[a]pyrene, benzo[b]fluoranthene, dibenzo[a,h]anthracene, indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene) and metals (aluminum, lead, manganese, mercury, beryllium, and manganese) detected at concentrations above NJDEP Impact to Ground Water Soil Screening Level (IGWSSL) and/or NJDEP Soil Remediation Standards (SRS).”

“The contamination detected in soil is consistent with historic fill,” the public notice reads. “Additionally, a portion of the project is located within areas of NJDEP mapped historic fill.”

“Although no groundwater sampling data exists within the project limits, it is likely that the groundwater has been impacted by the detected soil contamination and mapped historic fill material.”

A copy of the discharge to groundwater permit-by-rule extension request is available from the person responsible for conducting the remediation, New Jersey Department of Transportation, 1035 Parkway Avenue, Trenton, New Jersey, or as part of the administrative record which is on file at the offices of the Department, Site Remediation Program, located at 401 East State Street, Trenton, Mercer County, New Jersey. 

The file may be reviewed under the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”), N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq. Information regarding the OPRA procedures is available at www.state.nj.us/dep/opra/oprainfo.html.

Interested persons may submit written comments regarding the discharge to groundwater permit-by-rule extension request to:

New Jersey Department of Transportation
1035 Parkway Avenue
P.O. Box 600
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0600

All comments shall be submitted within 30 calendar days after the date of the public notice, or the end of any public hearing that the Department may schedule that occurs after that date.

All persons who believe that the discharge to groundwater proposal is inappropriate, must raise all reasonably ascertainable issues and submit in writing to the Department all reasonably available arguments and factual grounds supporting their position, including all supporting material, by the close of the public comment period.

The Department will consider all public comments that relate to the discharge to groundwater proposal, provided that the Department receives the comments by the close of the public comment period.

After the close of the public comment period, the Department will render a decision regarding the permit-by-rule extension request.

The Department will respond to all significant and timely comments with its decision regarding the discharge to groundwater permit-by-rule extension request.

Each person who has submitted written comments will receive notice of the Department’s decision.

Any person may request in writing that the Department hold a non-adversarial public hearing on the discharge to groundwater permit-by-rule extension request.

This request shall state the nature of the issues to be raised in the proposed hearing and shall be submitted within 30 calendar days of the date of the Public Notice that was published on December 26, 2020 to the address cited below.

A public hearing will be conducted whenever the Department determines that there is a significant degree of public interest in the discharge to groundwater decision.

If a public hearing is held, the public comment period in this notice shall automatically be extended to the close of the public hearing.

Comments and written requests for a non-adversarial public hearing shall be sent to:

NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Site Remediation Program Bureau Case Assignment & Initial Notice
Mail Code 401-05H 401
East State Street
P.O. Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625-0420
Attn: DGW PBR Extension Request

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Bellmawr Council Approves Resolution Supporting Interchange at Exit 3 of the Turnpike For Direct Access onto Rt. 42

At their December 15, 2020, meeting Bellmawr Council unanimously approved a Resolution supporting the Fifth Legislative District’s request to examine alternate plans for exit 3 as part of New Jersey Turnpike authority’s (NJTA) planned lane expansion project.

When asked for clarification about this Resolution, Mayor Chuck Sauter explained that this is for “the overflow traffic at the turnpike at exit 3. “They [NJTA] are doing a plan to see what they can do with the overflow of traffic and they needed support on that from Runnemede and Bellmawr.”

The Borough supports the request made by representatives of the Fifth Legislative District to the NJTA to examine alternate plans for Exit 3 as part of the planned lane expansion project, the Resolution reads. “The project would help alleviate longstanding traffic congestion issues in the surrounding community.”

Exit 3 of the New Jersey Turnpike (Image credit: Google)

The Resolution states that representatives of the Fifth Legislative District have requested that the NJTA review potential solutions for relieving traffic congestion issues “by directing some of the traffic towards a major highway, and away from local neighborhoods.”

“The project will improve the ancillary issues that arise because of traffic incidents, local neighborhood quality of life issues, and roadway preservation problems due, in part, [because] of the configuration of Exit 3 on the New Jersey Turnpike in the Boroughs of Runnemede and Bellmawr,” the Resolution reads.

“The project will allow the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to construct an interchange at Exit 3 for direct access onto Route 42” in Bellmawr and Runnemede.

To view the Resolution in detail, click the image below:

All other business on Council’s agenda was approved.

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Borough of Bellmawr Year End Dec. 31, 2019 Audit Yields Three Findings

The year end December 31, 2019 audit for the Borough of Bellmawr has yielded three findings:

Finding No. 2019-001
Criteria or Specific Requirement
The payroll process should follow statutory guidelines and Borough ordinances.

Condition
The Borough did not process payroll in accordance with established guidelines.

Context
The following items were found during a test of payroll disbursements and reporting:

  1. Four employees tested were not paid according to the salary ordinance.
  2. The base salary of seven employees tested did not agree to the base salary reported on the quarterly pension reports.
  3. Amounts reported on quarterly PERS and PFRS pension reports did not agree to the supporting payroll reports for all four quarters.
  4. The quarterly pension reports for all four quarters were not filed timely.
  5. The quarterly NJ927 was not properly prepared for one quarter tested.
  6. Health benefit contributions were not calculated correctly for four employees tested.

Effect
Inaccurate and untimely payroll reports were filed with the respective agencies and employees did not receive proper deductions.

Cause
Oversight by the responsible personnel.

Recommendation
That the Borough review procedures with respect to the payroll process, and adhere to healthcare and pension deduction guidelines, including information contained in Local Finance Notices issued by the State of New Jersey, Division of Local Government Services.

View of Responsible Officials and Planned Corrective Action
The responsible officials agree with the finding and will address the matter as part of their corrective action plan.

Finding No. 2019-002
Criteria or Specific Requirement
Transactions between funds (Interfunds) should be liquidated within a reasonable period of time and transactions should be posted to the respective general ledger of each fund.

Condition
The Borough had several interfund balances as of December 31. The interfund balances between funds in the respective general ledgers were not in agreement prior to audit adjustments.

Context
During the year numerous transactions between Borough funds occurred that were not properly posted to the general ledger of each fund.

Effect
The general ledgers for the funds of the Borough were not accurate and required adjustments to agree to cash reconciliations and other interfund balances.

Cause
There were timing differences between the reconciliation function and the maintenance of the general ledger.

Recommendation
That all transactions between Borough funds (interfunds) be reviewed prior to the end of the year and that all activity be posted to the respective general ledgers of the Borough.

View of Responsible Officials and Planned Corrective Action
The responsible officials agree with the finding and will address the matter as part of their corrective action plan.

Finding No. 2019-003
Criteria or Specific Requirement
N.J.S.A. 40A:4-57 requires that budgetary transfers be approved by a resolution of the governing body prior to being over-expended.

Condition
Appropriations were over-expended prior to transfers and approved budget transfers of current appropriations and appropriation reserves were not properly recorded.

Context
One 2019 budget appropriation was over-expended twice prior to budget transfers. One budget transfer posted to the 2018 appropriation reserves was not approved by the governing body (appears to have been duplicated). One bond ordinance had commitments charged against it prior to the effective date of the ordinance.

Effect
The Borough is not in compliance with the above referenced statute and controls over current budgetary accounts are not effective to reduce the likelihood that errors could occur and not be detected.

Cause
Oversight by the responsible personnel.

Recommendation
That the Borough adheres to statutes with respect to over-commitments, ordinances and encumbrances.

View of Responsible Officials and Planned Corrective Action

The responsible officials agree with the finding and will address the matter as part of their corrective action plan.

Summary Schedule of Prior Year Audit Findings and Recommendations as Prepared by Management

Finding No. 2018-001
Condition
The Borough did not process payroll in accordance with established guidelines as promulgated by Borough ordinance and health benefit deductions were not calculated in accordance with state statutes. In addition, amounts reported to the Division of Pensions for Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) and Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS) did not agree to amounts per payroll reports.

Current Status
This condition still exists. See Finding 2019-001.

Planned Corrective Action
The Borough will implement procedures as part of their corrective action plan.

Finding No. 2018-002
Condition
The Borough had several interfund balances as of December 31. The interfund balances between funds in the respective general ledgers were not in agreement prior to audit adjustments.

Current Status
This condition still exists. See Finding 2019-002.

Planned Corrective Action
The Chief Financial Officer will review all interfund balances prior to the end of the year.

Finding No. 2018-003
Condition
Appropriations were over-expended prior to transfers and approved budget transfers of current appropriations and appropriation reserves were not properly recorded. There was one appropriation reserve that was over-expended.

Current Status
This condition still exists. See Finding 2019-003.

Planned Corrective Action
The Borough will implement procedures as part of their corrective action plan.

FEDERAL AWARDS
Not Applicable.

STATE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
Not Applicable.

A Corrective Acton Plan was prepared and submitted to the Division of Local Government Services. Click the image to view in greater detail.

To view the audit in its entirety and the Schedule of Findings, click the images below:

Schedule of Findings and Recommendations for the Year Ended December 31, 2019:

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2020 Camden County General Election Results Official; D’Angelo & Fina Win Council Seats

The 2020 General Election results are official as of November 20, 2020.

In Bellmawr, incumbent Jim D’Angelo and running mate Johann Fina prevailed and won two council seats.

As for the Board of Education, Lisa Young, Maria Tregear, and Kelly Rosato won the three open seats on the BOE.

To view the complete official 2020 Election results, click here.