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Bellmawr Feature Stories Local Government News Recent News

Bellmawr All Wars Memorial Slated For Veterans Day Opening

Bellmawr’s All Wars Memorial on Creek Road is slated to be open for Veterans Day, Councilman Steve Sauter said at Council’s September 28, 2017 meeting. The Public Works Department has made a commitment to have this project completed by then Sauter stated. Sprinklers, electrical conduits, and camera poles have been recently installed.

Councilman Ray Bider added: “The All Wars Memorial is moving along tremendously. A special thank you to Joe Ciano, Pat Gallagher, George Reinnles, Eric Beck, and all the men who’ve been working there. It is beautiful now and it’s only going to get better.”

Councilman Paul Sandrock said: “There has been some fantastic work that has been done in town. Most notably, the work that has been done on Creek Road and the basketball court. We are proud of that and obviously that pride shines on all the citizens.”

Mayor Frank Filipek stated: “It’s amazing what our people — along with the architects and others — did in putting it together. When you see it, you’ll be very proud of it. It will be a place for people to sit and enjoy themselves, and remember their parents or grandparents [who] were in the service.”

Boro Clerk Chuck Sauter Announces Retirement

Borough Clerk, Chuck Sauter, announced his retirement effective October 1st after serving the Borough of Bellmawr for 40 years.

Chuck Sauter Retirement

Mayor Frank Filipek responded to Sauter’s announcement by stating: “He remembers things that most people forget.”

He continued; “Chuck, you’re the only one in 35 years I never argued with. I don’t remember a time when you and I just had an argument. You did a great job for us. You’re just like Mr. Santa Claus. You’re always involved with the church and with the kids. You’re always involved in things. You’re just a people person. You did a great job for the Borough and you care. As mayor, I want to thank you for everything you did for my family and me. ”

Councilman Paul Sandrock said: “I wish Chuck Sauter well in his future endeavors, a lot of luck, and prosperity. Retirement is a tough decision to make. He’s served the municipality and we wish him well.”

Councilman Jamie Casey said: “It’s been great working with you over the last nine months. [There is] 40 years of experience there. Congratulations on your retirement.”

Councilman Jim D’Angelo stated: “Congratulations, Chuck. Retirement is a wonderful thing. Trust me. You’ll enjoy it. Best of luck with everything.”

Councilman Steve Sauter said: “Chuck, Congratulations. I known it’s been a hard decision, but it’s a great one. It’s been my honor working along with you. Your work ethic and your contributions to this town are unmeasured.”

Councilman Steve Hagerty offered his congratulations and said: “Thank you for everything.”

Councilman Ray Bider said: “I also echo what everybody has said. In the short time that I’ve been on Council, I am very thankful for the help that you’ve provided. Watching what you’ve done in the Borough for all organizations, all people, and going way beyond the call of duty to assure that your services are spread widely. Everyone is very grateful for your efforts.”

Committee Report Excerpts

Councilman Paul Sandrock

Councilman Sandrock stated that he is responsible to oversee Court. “In September, we’ve surpassed last year’s court case load. We have a lot of revenue being generated through our court system and we do want to acknowledge those workers who are doing a fantastic job.”

Councilman Jamie Casey

A few months ago, rabies shots were administered and nearly 48 pets received the shots through the town.

Councilman Jim D’Angelo

Councilman D’Angelo said: “The basketball courts are open on Creek Road and there has been an overwhelming response. We knew it was going to be well received, we didn’t quite think it was going to be that well received.”

He thanked Joe Ciano, Pat Gallagher, and all those who worked on that project and said that the Borough is waiting for gates to come in because it is a dawn to dusk park.

The Recreation Department continues to clean properties in town and also work on the softball fields for Bellmawr Girls Softball for fall ball, D’Angelo said.

As for the upcoming project at the Recreation Center where Bellmawr recently received a $50,000 grant to replace the basketball courts and playground equipment, D’Angelo stated that options are being considered for the playground equipment.

As for when the project will begin, D’Angelo said: “We’re on Public Works’ schedule, but we’re looking at late fall possibly early winter, depending on the weather.

Councilman Steve Sauter

Councilman Sauter said that the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) project on Vaughan Avenue with New Jersey American Water has been completed. New water mains were installed.

Our shared services projects are going smoothly in Mt. Ephraim and Hi Nella and everything else is going smoothly, he said.

Regarding the Bellmawr Community Garden, the original plans were changed a little bit.

Councilman Steve Hagerty

Councilman Hagerty said that EMS calls for the month were 293 calls and that the Fire Department answered 80 calls.

He also spoke about the concerns around the construction zone near St. Joachim. “There will be a cross walk at Ivy Ridge so kids will be able to cross on the north and south sides when different zones are being worked on. It will be a safer environment for them to walk through instead of the construction zone. There’ll be a crossing guard there – paid for by the DOT.”

Ivy Ridge Road Crosswalk
(All photos by SJO) Photo of the new cross walk at Ivy Ridge Road.

Hagerty also said that a full-time EMS position is available and has been posted. The new crossing guard position will be posted also.

Councilman Ray Bider

Councilman Bider said that the receptacle to collect old flags should be available shortly.

As for the Corrective Action Plan for the Borough’s Audit. “[It] was developed and submitted,” he said.

Bider stated that there were two corrections and both were completed in January. “One involved sales tax and making sure sales tax is not paid for regarding donations for the needy. The other involved some payroll issues that were corrected via best practices.”

2016 Borough of Bellmawr Corrective Action Plan
(Source: Bellmawr.com)

Mayor Frank Filipek

The new Bellmawr Batting Cages will be dedicated in memory of Tom Mitchell Sr. on October 4th at 6:00 p.m.

Mitchell was a former president of Bellmawr Baseball and former commissioner of Babe Ruth Baseball. He was a member of IAABO Board 34 Basketball Officials, Al Carino Boys Basketball Club, and the Independent Umpires Association. He was also a former treasurer and Councilman for the Borough of Bellmawr and was also an active member of St. Joachim Parish, Annunciation BVM Church for many years.

Mayor Filipek also spoke about the possibility of creating another dog park in town. “People have been running their dogs at Sauter Park and not following the rules. We haven’t decided where it’s going to go. The fences will all be donated by different people. So, it’s a good thing.”

As for the historic Hugg Harrison Glover House, Filipek stated he still hasn’t received the findings from the Governor’s office.

Public Portion

A resident expressed concerns about patrons leaving Dominic’s Tavern.

Another resident said that the Public Works Department is making progress and doing a great job on the road reconstruction project at Kingston and Leaf.

Agenda Items

All business on the meeting agenda was approved.

Resolution #09:220-17 — appointing Big Timber Junction, LLC as developer for the Borough of Bellmawr — was approved. Councilmen Sandrock, Hagerty and Bider voted yes. Councilmen Jamie Casey and Steve Sauter abstained and Councilman D’Angelo voted no.

Regarding Resolution #09:16-17 — first reading and introduction of an ordinance to create the Borough of Bellmawr Redevelopment Agency pursuant to the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law — the motion was approved. Voting yes were Councilmen Sandrock, Sauter, Hagerty, and Bider. Councilmen Jamie Casey and Jim D’Angelo voted no.

To view the meeting agenda along with all supporting Resolutions, click the image below.

Bellmawr Council September 26, 2017 Agenda

Regarding the bill list, Councilman Paul Sandrock abstained. Councilman Steve Sauter abstained regarding invoices relating to pest control.

Borough of Bellmawr September, 2017 Bill List

Council meets next on Thursday, October 19th at 5:00 p.m. for their caucus meeting and on Thursday, October 26th at 7:00 p.m. for their monthly meeting.

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Bellmawr Local Government News Recent News

Bellmawr Council June 6 Primary Election Results: Jim D’Angelo & Paul DeAngelis Prevail

Incumbent Jim D’Angelo and newcomer Paul D’Angelis prevailed in the June 6 primary over Paul Sandrock for two seats on Bellmawr Council.

The General Election is Tuesday, November 7, 2017.

The unofficial results as provided by the Camden County are as follows:

DEM – Bellmawr Council

7/7 100.00%
Under Votes 602
Over Votes 12

Vote Count Percent

James F. D’Angelo – 895 – 33.60%
Paul T. DeAngelis – 969- 36.37%
Paul C. Sandrock, Jr. –  786 –  29.50%

Write-In: 14 – 0.53%*
Total: 2,664 – 100%

*Write-In votes have not been posted.

DEM – Bellmawr County Committee

7/7 100.00%
Under Votes 4013
Over Votes 0

Vote Count Percent

Robert Messick – 853 – 20.40%
Raymond Staszak – 820 19.61%
Timothy Baldwin – 834 19.94%
Charles Hannum – 853 – 20.40%
Frank Filipek, Jr. – 814 – 19.46%
Write-In: 8 – 0.19%
Total: 4,182 – 100%

DEM – Bellmawr County Committee

7/7 100%
Under Votes 3,900
Over Votes 0

Vote Count Percent

Annamarie Stolfo – 839 – 19.53%
Andrea Macrina – 830 – 19.32%
Denise Sauter – 885 – 20.61%
Dana DE LUCCA 868 20.21%
Francine ‘Frani’ Wright – 866 – 20.16%
Write-In: 7 – 0.16%
Total: 4,295 – 100%

REP – Bellmawr Council

7/7 – 100%
Under Votes: 463
Over Votes: 0

Vote Count Percent

Write-In: 13 – 100%*
Total: 13 – 100%

*Write-In votes have not been posted.

(Source: Camden County)

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Local Government

Meet The 2017 Bellmawr Democratic Council Candidates

In advance of the June 6, 2017 primary, SJO submitted a list of questions to each of the three Democratic candidates who are running for two open seats on Bellmawr Council.

Here’s what they had to say:

Councilman Paul Sandrock

Please introduce yourself and tell the voters of Bellmawr a little about yourself.

I am resident of Bellmawr for nearly 60 years, proudly raising two children who reside in the Borough today.  And, one of which is also raising my grandchildren in town. So, I have a vested interest in the success of Bellmawr’s future, and not just for my family, but all families in town.

I am a huge proponent of volunteerism and community service. I have been a volunteer with the Bellmawr Fire Department for over 40 years, currently serving as President. In addition, I coached Bellmawr Girls Softball from 1989 to 1998, and served as League President from 1994 to 1998.

Paul Sandrock
Photo provided

Why are you running for a seat on Bellmawr Council?

I am running for a seat on Council because I believe there needs to be a strong voice for the taxpayers in town – someone who is not from “old school” just go-with-the-flow politics.

I am someone who asks questions, seeks enhancements to certain practices or processes, and challenges the status quo. And, I believe, that’s what hard working tax-paying residents want, as well.

Why should Bellmawr voters vote for you?

I am hoping to gain the support of the voters because I am THE Democrat candidate for CHANGE and in our current climate – Bellmawr needs change!

As I previously stated, I’m not part of that “old school” group of politicians. I bring a different set of ideals to the table and I do not fear change –  I embrace it! The Borough can’t continue to be stagnant. We need to evolve and the only way that will occur is when the established leadership changes.

What plans or ideas do you have for making Bellmawr better and how do you plan to accomplish that?

Let me first state that I am proud of Bellmawr. We are a great little town and the ideals I offer will look to enhance the existing efforts of our dedicated and hard-working employees.

First and foremost, we MUST be fiscally responsible. We need to make Bellmawr affordable for everyone, especially our senior citizens, and this can be achieved by responsible budget management and planning leading to zero tax increases.

Secondly, home values in town have soured over the last few years, and this needs to be addressed proactively. The Borough needs to be forthright in enforcing property maintenance codes and go after the banks not allowing them to let abandoned properties sit.

Lastly, as a municipality and community, we need to continue our strong support of our public safety personnel including our police, volunteer fire department, and EMS. We need to ensure they have the equipment they need and develop programs to encourage more volunteers in volunteer fire service. If public safety personnel are well- staffed and adequately equipped, we are a safe community and that is something that should never be compromised.

What can be done about lowering property taxes?

First, residents need to understand that their property tax bill is comprised of many entities other than the Borough, such as the local school board, Camden County, Black Horse Regional School Board, etc.

The Borough needs to be a strong voice working with these entities advocating on behalf of our residents.  But, the Borough also needs to put their money where its mouth is and that’s why there will be a zero increase in 2017 for the borough taxes. We need to continue moving forward with focused budget management, increased shared services, and more grant/local aid acquisitions.

What can be done about attracting more businesses to Bellmawr?

The Borough has done very well in this regard over the last few years. The Business Park is nearly full and there have been several businesses that recently opened such as the Super Wawa, Aldi, Amoroso Bakery re-location, Singer, and the upcoming openings of Royal Farms and Dollar Tree. However, we can ALWAYS do more and the Borough needs to work with the County and State to better utilize economic development programs within our community.

One of the greatest concerns and questions that Bellmawr residents have is about the “dirt pile”/ “the dump”/ Bellmawr Waterfront Development. How do you plan to keep the citizens informed about the status of the work that is going on there?

There does need to be an increased dialogue and some community outreach on this project because it really is one of a success. The NJ-DEP points to this project as a “Brownsfield Development project done right.”  For starters, the main intention from the beginning was to remedy that area environmentally and that is nearly completed.

Commercial development was always viewed as a bonus. The Borough needs to work with the re-developer to provide more information to our residents by keeping them closely up to date with what’s happening.

Transparency in government is something I truly embrace. We can dedicate a page on our website with updates and also use the Borough’s communication channels to track our progress. We can include an update at the Council Meetings and sponsor a dedicated Town Hall event.

What kind of progress is the Borough making with regard to the foreclosed/abandoned homes, unkempt properties?

There has been a lot of progress recently on this front. And, speaking of transparency, the Borough has been publicizing its efforts on its website and Facebook page. This is an area where the Borough has been very aggressive targeting these properties with clean-ups, board-ups, towing of abandoned vehicles, razing of structures that have been deemed unsafe, and then having the incurred costs liened against the property.

Banks, landlords and uncaring residents need to understand their responsibility to their fellow tax-paying neighbors and the negative effect it has on our property values. The Borough will not stand for abandoned houses in our community.

What do you envision for Bellmawr in the next five years? 

I’d like to continue the advancements we’ve made in fiscal responsibility pertaining specifically to responsible budget management and minimal to zero tax increases. We proved this year it can be done with net zero increase in municipal taxes. I’d like to see a steady increase in our property values for our homeowners.

We need to continue our aggressive stance on property maintenance and targeting abandoned homes while seeking other opportunities to increase values. The Borough has made significant steps in the last two years sophisticating our use of technology and improved business processes.  I will continue to advocate this endeavor as it streamlines government and increases the level of service to the residents.

Lastly, volunteerism is down nationally, as well as here in the Borough, with respect to the fire service, youth sports, and civic organizations. This needs to change! We are a community and we need to come together and support these groups to enhance our neighborhood.  I would like to work with these organizations to explore avenues that will foster increased volunteerism.

Final remarks:

Last year at a Council Meeting, I suggested term limits for governing officials in the Borough, as a measure to prevent entrenchment and stagnation.  Obviously, it was not received very well and the Bellmawr Democrat Club did not support my decision to run for Council earlier this year. I have been an active Democrat for over 40 years.

I am running outside of the Democrat Club to allow the residents of Bellmawr to decide who they think is best for the borough and our town.  I am THE Democrat for CHANGE and I need your support on June 6th.  I am running for Borough Council because Bellmawr needs and deserves an effective advocate for CHANGE – a fellow taxpayer who puts the residents first.

We need a voice who fights for the taxpayers and their hard- earned tax dollars, and who understands the issues that matter most to our families.

Bellmawr has been the only town I’ve ever called home and has provided a beautiful place to raise my family. As I said, my children are grown and are now raising their families in the Borough. My mission is to make Bellmawr affordable for all our children and the generations to come.

Please support me in my effort so that I may continue to serve you on Borough Council. Together, on June 6th, let’s fight for CHANGE in the Borough. Vote Column 10, Position 3.

Councilman Jim D’Angelo

Please introduce yourself and tell the voters of Bellmawr a little about yourself.

My name is Jim D’Angelo, and I have been a councilman in Bellmawr since 1996. From 1986 to 1996, I served on the Bellmawr Board of Education, and I was a baseball coach for Bellmawr Baseball from 1978 to 1986. I have served on the Executive Board for Bellmawr Baseball and Bellmawr Hockey and am still a member of both organizations.

Presently, I am the Director of the Recreation Department, prior to that I was the Director of the Public Works Department. I am married. My wife’s name is Peggy.

We have lived in Bellmawr since 1979. We have a daughter, Lindsay, and son, Kyle, and four grandsons, Tyler, Jackson, Mason, and Oliver. I was a police officer for 32 years and retired in 2010 as the Chief of Police for the Camden County Park Police.

Jim D'Angelo
Photo provided

Why are you running for a seat on Bellmawr Council?

The simple truth is to make our town better. Always striving to improve the quality of life for all of our residents.

Why are you and Mr. DeAngelis running together?

I have known Mr. DeAngelis for many years. He’s a businessman who has a business mindset. I have always said our government needs to run like a business and I believe he’s the perfect fit for Council. There’s also the issue of moving forward and working together for the betterment of our town and its residents.

He’s trustworthy, treats everyone with the utmost respect, and has the positive attitude and personality which will enable him to work well with all the members of council.  We both look forward to positive change for the borough, and the impact on our residents. We want to unify not divide. Build up, not tear down.

Why should Bellmawr voters vote for you?

Because from day one, I have worked and dedicated my time to making this town better for every resident, whether it was as a coach, BOE member, or councilman. I haven’t lost the passion or desire to serve.  There are still issues that need to be resolved – residents’ concerns that need to be addressed and improvements to our quality of life that need to be made.

What plans or ideas do you have for making Bellmawr better and how do you plan to accomplish that?

As the Director of the Recreation Department, my job is to ensure that all of our playgrounds and facilities are in working order and are safe for our children. When I was appointed to the position, the facilities needed some work and we set up a plan to improve all of our playgrounds.

Why you ask?  When families are moving and looking for a new home, they look at three things: schools, taxes, and recreational facilities for their children. We believe, that by improving our facilities, we can attract new families to move here and we can also show our residents that we value them, and want them to stay in Bellmawr. We apply for grants from the county each year in an attempt to offset some of the costs for each project.

In the near future, depending on the approval of grant monies that could become available, the playground at the Recreation Center will be replaced. It is 18 years old and is beginning to become a liability as it is beginning to fail. It was closed for months last year.  It is becoming a safety issue.

As for improving other departments, I will continue to work with the other Council members when asked and as always listen to the residents and their concerns.

What can be done about lowering property taxes?

That’s the biggest and most difficult question to answer. The Borough taxes are only a part of the issue. You also have the County, Bellmawr BOE and the BHPR [Black Horse Pike Regional] School District tax issues as well. We only control the Borough tax rate. This year, after many hours dedicated by Councilman Ray Bider (finance chair), we managed to go into this year with no tax increase for the Borough residents.

As for the future, we can begin to look at eliminating positions in the Borough, which are not working out in a productive manner. That would save some money, but not a major impact on the tax rate. Remember, and here’s the major issue: State Aid monies control what towns can do and cannot do.

When the aid numbers drop or stay the same, local governments need a way to find the monies to operate and costs always rise.

I could tell you that we could eliminate part of the workforce, but that is very short-sighted and would have a direct impact on our quality of life in town. Eventually, all the cuts you could make will end, and because there will be nothing else left to cut, taxes will once again begin to  rise.

The Borough officials need to be cautious in making decisions based on shortsighted visions.

I believe the State is working on a plan to develop a new method to provide property tax relief to its residents in the near future, much like other states have already done. Hopefully, this will resolve some of our tax problems.

In the near future, I would be cautious in creating new departments, eliminate the ones that do not work or are creating a drain on our budget, streamline our work force, placing them where they are most needed, and cross-train our staff enabling them to multitask whenever possible.

The possibility exists to establish additional shared services agreements, where (some) Borough positions could be shared with other municipalities cutting the cost of their salary in half.

What can be done about attracting more businesses to Bellmawr?

Last year, former Councilman David Spector and I agreed on this very issue. We need to form a redevelopment authority, not just for the landfill, but for the entire town. It should consist of realtors, legal representatives, developers, the Camden County Improvement Authority, if possible state representatives from our district, and yes, a member or two from the Borough council.

Different ideas from different backgrounds all bringing something different to the table. Open discussions pinpointing areas that could attract new businesses. It would be professionally operated and goal oriented.

One of the greatest concerns and questions that Bellmawr residents have is about the “dirt pile” / “the dump”/Bellmawr Waterfront Development. How do you plan to keep the citizens informed about the status of the work that is going on there?

The biggest misconception is that the landfill belongs to Bellmawr. It does not and it never has. Statements have been made over the years that: “We are going to build this or we are going to build that.”

Fact is the Borough isn’t going to build anything. If anything is ever built, it will be the developer doing the building not the Borough.  As for the future, everything depends on whether the state DOT allows for access roads to be constructed into the property.

If they approve enough access roads for the project then we’ll see what the developer has in mind. If not we have a former hazardous landfill that has been capped.

As for keeping the residents informed: All information should be discussed at future Caucus and Council meetings. All pertinent information can also be listed on the Borough website.

What kind of progress is the Borough making with regard to the foreclosed/abandoned homes, unkempt properties?

The Recreation Department is responsible for the upkeep of foreclosed properties in town when the banks fail to maintain the properties. Whenever we do work on these properties, a lien is placed on them so the Borough recovers monies for their time and efforts. When residents have issues with these type of properties, they need to notify the borough and we will help them.

As for developing these properties, I believe we should be actively working with our real estate agents and the banks themselves in order to market these properties for re sale. This would be part of the mission of the Redevelopment Authority which I spoke of earlier.

What do you envision for Bellmawr in the next five years?

It’s as if we have a cloud over our heads. I feel it and many residents sense it as well. So initially we need a major change in the political landscape. It’s Bellmawr’s time to turn the page and start fresh. We need to begin to run the government with a new attitude, listening to our residents and their opinions and treating them with the respect I believe they deserve.

Two items I would like to see occur in the near future, is to have our Caucus meetings and Council meetings streamed live on the Borough website, enabling residents to watch the meeting live as they occur, and have them archived for future viewing. The other matter is having town meetings so we can answer any questions our residents may have. I know Mr. DeAngelis feels the same way regarding this matter.

Final remarks:

There is no denying that I have been serving Bellmawr for a long time, but time served should not be a factor in determining whether one should be reelected. All factors should be taken into consideration. How people work together, do they strive for the common good, do they treat residents with respect, do they make decisions based on what’s best for Bellmawr or their own personal agenda?

It’s a very important decision. I believe that I have proven over the years that Bellmawr has always come first, and it’s not just a re-election slogan, and that my decisions have always been made on facts, not personal feelings. There is still much I wish to accomplish. In getting to this point, I have been very fortunate.

With my friends by my side, I have been able to do some amazing things:

The BOE of 1995, we built the two all-purpose rooms at Bellmawr Park and Ethel Burke Schools.

For the Borough, we opened the county library, and worked on a $3 million dollar sewer rehabilitation project, the construction of Sauter Park and now the (almost complete) rehabilitation of the Recreation Center and all of our playgrounds. I still have the drive to continue my “calling” to my town.

If re-elected I promise to continue my efforts in making Bellmawr the best place to call home. I absolutely love this town.

“Councilman” is only a title of what you are, it’s not who you are. Some people never understand that concept.

Paul DeAngelis

Please introduce yourself and tell the voters of Bellmawr a little about yourself.

My name is Paul DeAngelis. I was born and raised in Bellmawr and have lived here for 57 years. I am a graduate of the Bellmawr schooling system, including Ethel Burke, Bell Oaks, and Triton Regional High School.

I am a business owner in town, having run my automotive company in Bellmawr for 32 years. I am an active member of the Runnemede, Bellmawr, Glendora Rotary as well as the Bellmawr Business Alliance.

Paul DeAngelis
Photo provided

Why are you running for a seat on Bellmawr Council?

My reason for running is I would like to give back to the town that has made me the person I am today. I have raised both of my children here with my wife, Patricia, over the past two decades.

Both of them were active in Bellmawr sports and many recreational events, which have allowed them to enjoy their youth and grow to be well-rounded adults. I would love to help Bellmawr continue to prosper.

Why are you and Councilman D’Angelo running together?

I have always admired Mr. D’Angelo for his great work ethic. Since I have decided to run for council, I have shadowed Jim around the various recreational departments and have witnessed the amount of effort he contributes to the well-being of both the facilities and the people volunteering their time to direct the activities.

No matter what he does, whether it be within the Bellmawr Recreation Department, as a former Public Works Department member, Chief of Police, amongst other roles; he handles the job with care and appreciation for those around him. I look forward to working with Mr. D’Angelo for a better tomorrow in the Borough of Bellmawr.

Why should Bellmawr voters vote for you?

As a successful local, small business owner for over 30 years, I would hope to use my platform as a Councilman to develop a stronger business community by providing support and suggestions from my experienced point of view to enhance the Black Horse Pike business district. Also, I would like to address the increasing issue of abandoned homes in Bellmawr.

I have a plan to encourage the banks to move more swiftly to put these houses on the market. This not only exemplifies our initiative to better the aesthetic of the neighborhoods, but also increases the values of the surrounding homes.

What can be done about lowering property taxes?

Our job as Councilmen is to try to provide the best municipal services for the least amount of tax money.

Unfortunately, we can only control our local taxes. This year, the county has raised taxes property taxes by nearly 4%. This is an issue as not only a business owner, but also a homeowner that raises my concern. I would fight as Councilman to try to keep these county taxes at a lower rate.

What can be done about attracting more businesses to Bellmawr?

I am always interested in new business coming to town, but I worry about a lack of diversification in the types of businesses. If I am elected to Council, I would propose the idea of a finite number of business licenses for each type of business so that the community is well-rounded with various types of companies.

One of the greatest concerns and questions that Bellmawr residents have is about the “dirt pile” / “the dump”/ Bellmawr Waterfront Development. How do you plan to keep the citizens informed about the status of the work that is going on there?

My main source of information about the dump right now as a resident comes from the companies bringing their vehicles into my garage for repairs. When they come in, I question them on progress of the site. They have updated on the development of the project, but this is the only way that I have derived any information.

As a Councilman, I would reach out to the location manager for updates in order to make myself an asset to the people when it comes to their questions.

What plans or ideas do you have for making Bellmawr better and how do you plan to accomplish that? And final remarks

I support and share Mr. D’Angelo’s views on turning over a new leaf for the town government. We have discussed the ideas of live streaming Caucus, Council, and town meetings on the Borough website. I also am very interested in forming a housing authority, specifically speaking to the bank-owned and untreated properties within the community.

I look to expand and provide support for budding businesses while branching out on the types of companies coming into town.

If elected, I hope to bring my ideals to the forefront to my fellow Councilmen and government to make a positive change for the town of Bellmawr.

 

Categories
Bellmawr Local Government News Recent News

Bellmawr Borough Budget Presentation: April 27

Bellmawr Borough will hold its formal Budget presentation on Thursday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m. at next month’s Council meeting. The hearing was supposed to have taken place during Council’s March 23 meeting, but all of the appropriations have not been received and could change slightly, Councilman Ray Bider said. He apologized and stated that more information will be given in April.

In the meantime, the User Friendly Budget and the 2017 Budget are online. “You can go on there and get an idea of where we are headed,” Bider said. (Scroll to the bottom of this article for links to the budget information.)

Next month, Bider said that he, Josh Tregear (Borough Administrator) and Maria Fasulo (Chief Financial Officer) would give the budget presentation.

Bider also stated that every department head in the Borough was required to submit a five-year plan. “This will help long range projections, especially for capital items.”

In other finance matters, Bider spoke about Resolution #03:83-17, which authorizes the Borough to participate in an electronic Tax Sale Pilot Program. At the March 16 Caucus meeting Bider explained: “All tax liens will now be done online for bidding and there will be no advertising in the paper.”

He estimated that over 100 towns in the State and approximately 30 local towns do it this way including: Runnemede, Gloucester City, Gloucester Township, Pennsauken, Washington Township, Pine Hill, and Voorhees. “We have nothing to lose and everything to gain, including revenue, by going online with tax sales,” he said.

Excerpts from Council’s Committee Reports

Councilman Paul Sandrock:

“Our new Court Administrator has been selected through the Assignment Judge of Camden County and will start on April 7 in the municipality. Amanda Cubbler was selected out of four candidates from the Assignment Judge.”

“Just to brief everybody on that process: We had over 80 applicants. We narrowed it down to nine that came in for interviews. Myself, the Business Administrator, Josh Tregear, the Judge and someone from the judiciary system sat in on those interviews. At the completion of those interviews, there were four individuals that were selected and went to the Assignment Judge who then made the final selection and recommendation.”

“Amanda comes with a Certificate for her title and she has experience with Deptford and Westville. We are proud to welcome her here.”

(*Editor’s note: As per Resolution # 03:95-17, Amanda Cubbler has been appointed as Municipal Court Administrator for a three-year term from April 7, 2017 through April 7, 2020.)

Regarding the handicapped lift: “It will be delivered the week of April 3. We are anxious to get that completed and that project done,” Sandrock said.

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Borough Hall
Photo of the main entrance to Bellmawr Borough Hall taken March 16, 2017 (Photo by SJO)

Sandrock also made the following comments on the recent unexpected demolition of the Hugg-Harrison-Glover House. “I am sure all of the other Council will say the same. I had no knowledge that it would be torn down so quickly. It’s an embarrassment to the community. It’s an embarrassment to everyone here that worked hard to try to get that home saved. At least we could have…picked those artifacts that we wanted to display for the future. That wasn’t the case. Reverend [Vincent] Kovlak, you were tireless in your endeavor and we were stunned.”

Councilman Jamie Casey 

“I attended the school board meeting on March 15 and it was their budget reading. They are looking at a 1.8 cent increase, which would mean that a house assessed at $168,000, which is the median in Bellmawr, gets a $30 increase. They are also going to have a blood drive on May 12 at Bell Oaks.”

Casey also stated that he met with the seniors at their recent luncheon and advised them that a portion of Leaf Avenue will soon be a one-way street. “They were advised of that and were happy…because of the near misses they’ve had there with car crashes.”

Councilman Jim D’Angelo

Softball and baseball have two different opening dates this year, D’Angelo said.

Girls Softball Opening Day is Saturday, April 1 and Opening Day for Bellmawr Baseball is Saturday, April 15.

There won’t be a parade this year for Girls Softball. All activities will start at the field at approximately 11:45 a.m. and the first game is scheduled for 12:15 p.m,” D’Angelo said.

As for Bellmawr Baseball, D’Angelo said. “I talked to baseball and they are still discussing about having a small parade. If that doesn’t work out, then they will start their day on the Major-League field.”

Bellmawr Hockey is installing a new rink down at the complex. “They are financing that. That is their money. We are helping them with manpower to get it up and running. They want to have the rink ready by Nationals, which are in May. We have to do it right and make sure it’s perfect,” he stated.

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Hockey
Photo of the Bellmawr Hockey Complex . (Photo by SJO)

Referencing two agenda items, D’Angelo said: “There are two Resolutions for grants, $25,000 apiece. One is for the playground at the Rec Center and the other is for benches at the basketball court and paint. Depending on whether we get the grants or not that depends on whether we proceed with the projects or not.”

He said that the playground at the Rec was closed for months last summer. “After discussing it with Mayor and Council, it’s time we move forward on this to avoid certain issues. But depending on how the grants go, that’s how it will work.”

The annual Easter Egg Hunt is Saturday, April 8 at 11:00 a.m. at the Rec Center. Rain date is April 15 at 11:00 a.m. “This is the best day of the year and we say it every year: ‘Don’t be late,’” he said.

Councilman Steve Sauter

Councilman Sauter said that they were notified on February 28 that a truck overloaded with scrap metal had struck the Browning Road overpass. “It created a problem with an 8-inch main that runs under Browning Road,” he said.

A foreman and senior licensed operator were sent out and were instructed to isolate the water main and shut down the valve. “They proceeded to identify the issue and put the wheels in motion to get emergency repair work done. That was all taken care of on March 3. Total expenditures were $18,855.49, which will totally be reimbursed per agreements,” Sauter said.

He also thanked Sewer Department Superintendent, George Rennles, for his efforts and for the quick response in remedying the situation.

As for Winter Storm Stella causing several road closures and low hanging, live wires on large tree limbs and roadways, Sauter said: “I’d like to thank all members of the Highway Department, Bellmawr Police and Fire Companies for working together in really taking care of keeping this under control.”

The expenditures to fight Winter Storm Stella totaled $6,163.67 and total storm expenditures for 2017 totaled only $20,907 thanks to Mother Nature, Sauter said.

Ordinary road construction scheduling has been completed and the Belmont Avenue and Salem Avenue projects are tentatively scheduled for early May. “They are due for total reconstruction,” he said.

Sauter also stated: “We also applied for some Community Block Development (CBG) monies and that will be used for reconstruction of Center Avenue from Park Drive to Catherine Avenue.”

Tree removal work on West Browning Road has been completed. Trees were diseased and posed serious tripping hazards. The Highway Department will begin to construct the sidewalks once everything is removed, the ground has settled, and the sewer and water have been inspected, he said.

Councilman Steve Hagerty

“Unfortunately, we had two house fires in a week and I want to congratulate the Police, Fire, and EMS for responding quickly. Everybody got out safely. Those families were relocated,” he said.

Hagerty also said he attended the March 22 graduation for Class II Special Officers at the Gloucester County Police Academy.

Bellmawr PD’s Mark DeBernardinis was one of the graduates. “He’s a Bellmawr resident and he will get sworn in and begin his field training in the town within the next week or two.”

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Police Department
Mark DeBerardinis (center) is pictured with members of the Bellmawr Police Dept. DeBerardinis was among the 15 officers who graduated on March 22, 2017 from the Gloucester County Police Academy. (From left: Sgt. Mike Ryan, Det. Chris Wilhelm, Ptl. Jared Walton, Chief William Walsh, Off. Mark DeBerardinis, Capt. Scott Parker, Sgt. Jeff Vance, Capt. Craig Wilhelm (Ret.) and Det. Sgt. Bill Perna.) (Photo by SJO)

As for Zoning, Hagerty spoke of the recent demolition of St. Joachim’s rectory.“The Borough didn’t tear it down. It’s owned by the Diocese and they made those recommendations. Soon, they are going to put the temporary bridge up and [construct] the parking at St. Joachim.”

Mayor Frank Filipek

Regarding the demolition of the Hugg-Harrison-Glover House, Mayor Filipek said: “There was nothing more I could do. I am waiting to see what the Governor says. I still haven’t heard from the Governor on his findings. They were supposed to check into all the violations that they wanted to know about.”

Public Portion

During the public portion, a resident asked if the new batting cages that are currently being constructed on Essex Avenue will be equipped with bathrooms and running water. Although this matter was discussed, SJO filed an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) Request with the Borough of Bellmawr to obtain copies of the architect’s rendering and also documentation that details what will be included and installed at the batting cages.

The information was received on March 28, 2017, is being reviewed, and will be the subject of a future article.

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Batting Cages
Photo showing the progress of the Bellmawr Batting Cages on Essex Ave.

Agenda Items

All Business on Council’s meeting agenda was approved.

Click image below to view the March 23, 2017 meeting agenda with all of the supporting Resolutions.

(Note: Resolution #03:94-17, which relates to the submission of an application regarding “Bellmawr Redevelopment Agency” was the subject of its own article.)

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Council March 23, 2017 Agenda

With regard to the bill list, (click image below) Councilman Sandrock abstained and Councilman Sauter abstained as pertains to invoices relating to pest control.

Council meets next on Thursday, April 20 at 5:00 p.m. for its Caucus meeting. The regular meeting and formal Budget Hearing will take place on Thursday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m. in the Courtroom of Borough Hall.

Click image below for the User Friendly Budget:

Borough of Bellmawr 2017 User Friendly Budget

Click the image below for the 2017 Budget:

Bellmawr News Borough of Bellmawr 2017 Budget

Categories
Bellmawr Local Government News Police & Fire Recent News

Portion of Bellmawr’s Leaf Avenue To Be Reconfigured as One-Way

At its February 23, 2017 meeting, Bellmawr Council approved on first reading an Ordinance that will amend the Borough’s code allowing for a portion of Leaf Avenue to be reconfigured as a one-way street.

The change will be made where Leaf Avenue intersects with Harding Avenue and will impact motorists exiting onto Leaf Avenue from southbound Route 42.

Once the reconfiguration goes into effect, motorists will be directed to turn right turn onto Harding Avenue. As a point of reference, Oxygen Support Systems is located at the corner.

When contacted about the upcoming change, Bellmawr Police Chief Bill Walsh provided further clarification via email: “We will post when the changes will occur on Leaf Avenue, only between Coolidge and Harding. This will avoid traffic coming off Route 42 and crossing over Harding. Numerous trucks and vehicles are doing this now to avoid the traffic control at Creek and Harding and creating a dangerous situation at the intersection of Leaf and Harding. We will also have the signboard out there a week or two before notifying the motorists of the change.”

Bellmawr Leaf Avenue Bellmawr News
Screenshot: Google Images

Excerpts from Council’s Committee Reports

Councilman Paul Sandrock

“Our Court Administrator process is going smoothly. We have scheduled interviews. Actually, we had over 80 applicants that applied for this particular position. We’ve narrowed it down considerably due to some of those individuals having no experience in the Court system. Although they may have had experience in the business world, they did not fit the criteria for a Court Administrator. We’ve narrowed that down and will be conducting interviews on March 1.”

Councilman Jamie Casey

“You might see some improvements going on in Borough Hall. We are going to continue with that. We had a bathroom done in the Police Department. It needed to be redone. We are going to work on the ones upstairs shortly.”

“We have a Shared Services Agreement with the school district for the purchase of a salt spreader that is going to be used for our roads and for when we clear the schools’ properties.”

Councilman Jim D’Angelo

“The Rec Department: This is the time of the year when we start gearing up to get our fields in position and in condition for all of the spring softball and baseball teams. So the next couple of weeks, we will be out there. We anticipate that the fields will be in as good a shape as they ever were. So we are just starting a little early because of the weather.”

“A side note, there was an obituary for Robert Wyatt, who was at one time the superintendent of schools in Bellmawr. He was there when I got on the school board in ’86 and he sort of guided me and Bill Evans to show us the political way. Because back in ’86, we were rookies and had no idea how politics worked. He was a teacher, educator, and superintendent of schools. Besides being a good teacher, he was a really good guy and an adopted member of our community because he was here for a really long time.”

Councilman Steve Sauter

“Thanks to a relatively mild winter, Public Works hasn’t had to spend their time cleaning up after storms and developed our concrete and asphalt paving schedule, which we have quite a few slated for this year.”

“You might have noticed on Browning Road from Bell to Thomas, we are currently involved with PSE&G and Nelson Tree Company, the sub-contractor for PSE&G. There are 13 trees that will be coming down. They have all been assessed and created a dangerous situation. So you will see that project going on.”

Street Signs

“A lot of residents have been inquiring about the signs for the streets they live on. So they will become available for purchase. It will be advertised when the signs become available.”

Councilman Steve Hagerty

“Some of the patrolmen have been visiting the schools. Besides doing a daily walk through, they are also spending time during the lunch and gym periods. So, they are getting out to the schools to reach out to the kids to let them know they are on their side.”

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Police Department
Patrolman Anthony Franklin recently visited with Bellmawr Park School students during their lunch period. (Photo courtesy: Bellmawr Police Department Facebook)

“Calls for the Fire Department for the month were 88: All of the members passed their physicals. Congratulations to those guys.”

“As of February 24, the ladder truck was sold to East Greenwich. We passed that (Resolution) last month.”

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Fire Department
Sayonara to Bellmawr Fire’s ladder truck. Before departing for East Greewich, Bellmawr FD’s ladder truck was recently used in training drills. (Photo by SJO)

St. Joachim Parking Lot Project

“From the Planning Board. A heads up heading into the Spring sometime: St. Joachim will be starting a parking lot project where they will be adding more spaces, taking down the old rectory, making a new parking area, and new exits and new entrances. At the end of the summer is when the temporary bridge will go into effect and [the removal of] the old bridge. The area is going to be congested.”

Bellmawr Zoning Official and Fire Chief Jim Burleigh explained: “At Browning Road over by the mausoleums, a temporary steel bridge will be put in. One lane each direction with a pedestrian walkway while they take down and redo the other one. Breaking ground in April and they have to do footings and a lot of legwork.”

Mayor Frank Filipek added: “This is part of the second phase of the New Jersey Department Transportation and is not being paid for by Bellmawr.”

Councilman Ray Bider

Finance & Upcoming Budget Presentation

“We had an opportunity to meet with each of the committees for setting up budgets and every one is complete. At this point, we are finalizing to make sure that everyone is below the 2% cap, which it appears to be.”

“At the March meeting, we will be making a presentation to the audience to give you the initial budget, but things actually look really good for the Borough. We are hoping that the county and schools chime in the same so we can have a very good presentation for you. It looks really good now.”

“What we are going to do in the Resolutions tonight, we are approving some Capital Budget items so we can get started with the roads while the weather is still good and to get it done now rather than later.”

“As far as Veterans: February 23, 1945 is when the U.S. flag was raised on Iwo Jima”

Mayor Frank Filipek

With regard to the historic Hugg-Harrison-Glover House, the Mayor said he is still waiting to hear a decision about what will happen next.

Speaking of the Bond Ordinances that were passed for capital improvements and the reconstruction and repaving of roads, Mayor Filipek said that the interest rate was below 1%. As for how certain streets were chosen, the Mayor said that the Superintendent of the Highway Department, Joe Ciano, works closely with the Borough’s engineers to decide which streets are picked to go on the list to be reconstructed.

Screenshot taken from Council’s February 23, 2017 agenda.

 

Public Portion

Resident, Shane Mertz, asked about the status of an ongoing easement issue. A meeting will be scheduled for the involved parties.

Agenda Items & Resolutions

Council approved all other items on the meeting agenda.

Click image below to view Council’s February 23, 2017 meeting agenda and all of the detailed Resolutions.

Warren Avenue Water Tank

Among the items Council voted to approve were to award a contract to TKT Construction in the amount of $2,248,000 for the construction of the 250,000 gallon elevated water storage tank for Warren Avenue.

Bellmawr News Bellmawr February 23, 2017 Council Meeting

With regard to the bill list, Councilman Paul Sandrock abstained and Councilman Steve Sauter abstained as pertains to purchase orders relating to F&F Pest Control.

March, 2017 Meetings

Council meets next for its Caucus meeting on Thursday, March 16 at 5:00 p.m. in the conference room of Borough Hall. Council’s regular meeting will be held on Thursday, March 23 at 7:00 p.m. in the courtroom of Borough Hall.