(This article is the first of two parts.)
Editor’s note: SJO is splitting up the report for council’s December 13 monthly meeting into two parts because of length. This was David Spector’s last meeting as Bellmawr Councilman and Mayor Frank Filipek and all of the other Councilmen acknowledged his service. In addition to the agenda items and Resolutions that were approved, three residents spoke during the public portion with questions.
This first part includes excerpts from Mayor and Council’s committee reports. Part Two will be posted on December 20.
Councilman Paul Sandrock
I would like to publicly thank all of the employees and the residents in town for making the Christmas parade this past year. It worked out really well and shines a good light on this town and this great community. I wish all of the residents a safe and Happy Holiday.
Chairlift Project to Start Jan. 11
We are still working on the ADA [Americans With Disabilities Act] compliancy within the municipality with getting a chairlift installed. We did run into a few glitches, one of them being asbestos abatement. We had to address that first before continuing on. That project is slated to begin January 11.
Court Administrator Retiring
Our Court Administrator is retiring and we are going through the process now. The Judge [Deborah Silverman Katz] has appointed an acting administrator. After the first of year, we will be doing a solicitation for a new Court Administrator, as per the judiciary system within Camden County.
Also, I would like to thank Dave Spector for serving as Councilman for the past several months filling the seat of Dave Duncan. I wish him well in his endeavors. He served with dignity.
Councilman David Spector
David Spector’s remarks were featured in a SJO article dated December 13th.
Councilman Jim D’Angelo
Christmas in the Park was successful. It was nicely done. Thanks to Bellmawr Fire #1 and Bellmawr Park Fire for their participation in the parade and all the Fire Companies that took part in the parade. It was extremely successful.
We had a gentleman in town [named] John Biaselli, who passed away. He was 95 and lived in San Diego. He was a Marine and a Veteran of World War II in Korea. He was a former U.S. Olympic Weightlifting coach, former member of the U.S. Weightlifting Federation and the AAU. He was also a longtime weightlifting coach in Bellmawr.
He was somebody who had such a history in our town and did something cool by taking over the Rec Department and had a weight lifting program for the kids.
Finally, Mr. Spector: I know we haven’t seen the last of you. You’re going to be back because, if nothing else, I think everybody learns things in life. I think we all learned something this past year. You have a good heart and that’s really what you need. If you are going to do anything in life, you have to have a good heart and you have one. I wish you the best. I have no doubt that I will see you again.
Councilman Steve Sauter
On Public Works, the street signs [replacement] project has commenced. It is in accordance with Municipal Uniform Traffic Code (MUTC) well in advance of the deadline that we have to meet. It will make a great difference in town.
To David, I wish you all the best. It’s been a pleasure.
On behalf of myself and the Public Works Department: I would like to extend to everyone a very Merry Christmas a healthy and a happy 2017.
Councilman Steve Hagerty
As for the Fire Department [in Councilman Sandrock’s absence], Frank Sandrock stepped up and did a hell of a job and took the reins [for the Christmas parade] and, along with the other guys from the department, he made sure everything was running smooth.
Bellmawr FD Visits Larc School
On December 15, the Fire Department along with the officers from the Camden County Correctional Facility, like they do every year, take toys over to Larc School and present each child with a toy. The Fire Department helps out by delivering Santa Claus. These guys take time out of their day to make sure that the kids at Larc School have a good time for the holidays.
Our Police Department, did a sting to crack down on prostitution in the hotels along the Black Horse Pike, especially where the exits are for the Turnpike where it’s easy access. Thanks to Det. Sgt. Bill Perna and his guys for the job there and for cleaning up some of that.
As for Christmas in the Park: great job. The workers got there around 4 o’clock. They didn’t leave until around 11:00 p.m. and made sure everything was put up and secured safely overnight. There were two shifts during that time for the residents and surrounding towns to enjoy. The Rec Department and the Public Works Department do a great job with that.
Dave, Like everyone said: We know we will be seeing you around. You did an outstanding job, not only here, but also in the Democrat Club, and especially with the seniors. All of the seniors speak highly of you and are very appreciative of you taking care of them the way that you do and making sure that their voice was heard.
Councilman Ray Bider
On January 8, VFW 9563 will be installing a new auxiliary. If anybody is interested, they need to have a relative that was in the service during an overseas war zone during conflict and have to produce a DD214 form. They could give it to me or drop it off at the VFW. We are still open for additional members. Right now, there are about 45-50 that will be on the new charter.
The Finance Committee met with the auditor to look at any deficiencies or findings in the audit. Everything is being finalized now for these deficiencies and the corrective action plan will be completed, if not before the first of the year, then shortly thereafter. Nothing major has been cited.
Our policy book is being redone by our labor attorney to ensure that we are in adherence to all state mandates so we won’t have any problems now or down the road.
Our goal for finance for 2017 is to really look at the State Aid that we get, the State mandates that we are required to do, and any other issues that impact our local budget. Then, we will develop a multi-year three to five year projection with the goal of trying to come through with a zero or minus tax increase. That is my goal as finance chair.
As far the holidays, as everyone said have a Merry Christmas and healthy, Happy New Year.
Finally, Dave: You know I am advocate of yours. I am here for any endeavor that you choose to participate in and will do whatever I can to help further whatever your envisions are. You deserve it.
Mayor Frank Filipek
Christmas in the Park was a big success. We had it for five nights and I’d say we saw between 6,000-8,000 people from all over the county. It is amazing what we did. It did not cost the tax payers one cent. Everything was given away for free. Santa Claus, toys, hot chocolate, cookies, [pony] rides. Some of the businesses donated cookies or donated money and everything was paid.
I just want to thank all of the businesses and everyone that donated. I just don’t want to say all the names because if I miss someone then I would feel bad.
I want to thank Chuck for being Santa Claus. You did a fantastic job. Thanks to all the guys that work at the Rec and all the people that work in the Borough of Bellmawr who gave up their time. Everybody donated their services. It was cold a couple of nights and it was a tough job. I want to thank the Council. They all showed up and came out to help. Everybody worked together as a team, which is the key to the whole thing. You work as a team and things get done.
To Dave: you have your whole life ahead of you. You’re 28 years old. You win some. You lose some. I’ve won some and I’ve lost some. People hate you then they love you. You have to remember one thing: If you are doing it for the right thing and you get up in the morning and you look in that mirror and you say to yourself: “There is nothing that I did wrong, Everything I did was for the people and I didn’t do it for myself,” that is all you have to worry about.
Don’t give up. Keep fighting. You’re 28. I wish I was 28 years old again. You have your whole life ahead of you. Whatever you want to be, you can do it. I think this taught you something. I hope it did because sometimes a defeat teaches you more than a victory. For the Borough of Bellmawr, we’re going to miss you. You did a hell of a job. Anything that I asked you to do, you did. We fought. We had our arguments. Sometimes, you didn’t want to listen, but you’re young. My kids don’t listen to me either, so I don’t feel too bad.
You did a great job. You did what you’re supposed to do. You helped the seniors and you helped everyone that you could.
To your family, you should be proud. You did a fantastic job. We are proud of him. Sometimes, we don’t act it, but that’s the business of politics. You see what happened in November.
I know you are going to stay with us. You’re not going to leave. You’re going to be a Bellmawr resident. You never know what’s going to happen. My door is always open.
From my family and Council, to all of the employees that do a great job and to all of the citizens, have a Merry Christmas, have a happy and holy New Year. I hope you get what you want from Santa.
It’s not being knocked down and I haven’t heard from the State about what they are going to do. December 1 wasn’t a deadline. They’re trying to find a way to move it, not through the cemetery, but a back way. I think we saved the building. I think the State has to find a way to come up with the $400+ thousand dollars to move it.
One day, I was thinking: We have a piece of land that no one is using so that helped us.
To Rev. Vincent Kovlak, to everyone else that got involved, and the newspapers all did a great job.
We will still be on top of it.
(Part 2 will be posted December 20.)