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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 Feature Stories Local Government News Recent News

Bellmawr Recreation Enhancement Waterfront Access Project Nears Completion

The Bellmawr Recreation Enhancement Waterfront Access project — on Creek Road and across from Larc School — is nearing completion.

At Council’s August 24, 2017 monthly meeting, Councilman Steve Sauter said that the work is being performed utilizing Highway Department personnel who are working along with SealMaster.

Sauter said: “We perform all the labor and SealMaster supplies all of the equipment, material, and the knowledge on how to get this done. They are using thermoplastic material. It is working out really well.”

He also stated that the area will also be nicely landscaped. “We are looking into obtaining quotes for an irrigation system so that once we do expend those funds to make it look nice, we want to keep it looking nice.”

Mayor Filipek added that trees will also be planted there.

Councilman Ray Bider said the veterans’ memorial is still being worked on. Plans include an All War Memorial and for each branch of the military to be represented.

The goal is for the memorial to open on Veterans Day with a ceremony, he said.

Continuing with his committee report, Councilman Sauter said that under Public Works, the Salem Avenue project was completed in July and that Hart Avenue reconstruction was completed on August 11.

“The Vaughn Avenue project that was slated to begin is on hold due to American Water replacing the water main to the homes on Vaughn,” Sauter said. “Our concrete and asphalt work is back about a month.” Because of that, the Kingston and Leaf Avenue project is also on hold.

As for the line striping and painting in the middle section of town, which goes from the Black Horse Pike to Route 42, Sauter said that is nearly compete. “That went well and was headed up by Mike Williams, who does a fantastic job for us.”

Shared services projects are slated for Mt. Ephraim, Runnemede, and Hi Nella. “Shared services agreements are really working out well for us in helping to reduce our taxes,” Sauter said.

With regard to the water tank replacement project on Warren Avenue, Sauter said: “That is estimated to be completed and operating by the end of the year, weather permitting. We will keep everybody apprised of that.”

Warren Avenue Water Tank
Photo by SJO taken of the Warren Avenue Water Tank replacement project taken August 27, 2017. The new water tank will be built adjacent to the old one. Once the new tank is fully constructed and operational, the old tank will be removed.

Councilman Paul Sandrock

“Our Court and our Court Administrator [Amanda Cubbler] have been doing a fantastic job,” Sandrock said. “There has been an increase in the amount of court cases that the municipality has been hearing and that is due to our new officers are more aggressive and of course, the aggressiveness of our code enforcement for our property maintenance that is occurring here throughout the municipality.”

He stated that a lot of court cases have been heard in front of the judge, which increases the volume. “They’ve been handling that very well and doing a fantastic job,” he said.

Councilman Jamie Casey

Councilman Casey stated that the Borough’s Building and Lands Department will be entering into a shared services agreement with Audubon Park. “This is a great way and keeps our guys busy, makes us money, and helps out other towns. It’s another example of how Bellmawr helps the County with shared services,” he said.

Mayor Frank Filipek

Councilman Jim D’Angelo was absent from the meeting and Mayor Filipek gave the report for the Recreation Department.

“The batting cages are almost finished,” Mayor Filipek stated. “It is nice and huge. The kids are going to enjoy it.”

He hopes that it will be open in the middle of September.

The Mayor added: “We got donations for the balls and the machines. Everything is ready to go. Josh Tregear [Borough Administrator] did a good job working with the state getting everything finalized and making sure everything is up to par and up to State regulations,” Filipek stated.

He also spoke about the Summer Rec program. “I’ve been getting nothing but raves about our Summer Rec program. People can’t believe that a town like Bellmawr does what we do for the kids… hiring 60 kids in the summertime for five weeks.”

All the kids go for free. It’s a very good program and went well, Filipek stated.

He thanked the Recreation Department for maintaining the fields and stated: “We have been working on different ideas on how to utilize the Little League building.”

Councilman Steve Hagerty

Bellmawr Park Fire Department is continuing their membership drive. If anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer fireman, they can stop by the firehouse. Updates are posted on their Facebook page. 

For the Police Department, Hagerty said that patrols will be boosted around the schools to make sure everyone is aware of the drop-off and pick-up areas.

Councilman Ray Bider

As for finance and the audit, Bider stated that the Best Practices Worksheet is due in October will hopefully be done in September, he said. “Bottom line, we need to achieve around 80% or higher to receive the entire portion of State Aid. Last year, we were around 90%. This year, we are looking to hopefully be in that same range. Most [municipalities] are in the low 80s.”

Bider spoke about working with the auditors to try to further expand shared services with surrounding communities. “Not just in the areas that Steve [Sauter] mentioned, but also in some others. Hopefully, we will have some good news for you.”

Bider commented on recently passed legislation concerning veterans that involves the appeals process and also the building of new medical centers.

During the public portion, a resident commented about trash, water bottles, and rocks from a contractor doing work. Another resident asked to see if there was any assistance available to help with mosquitoes.

Agenda Items

All business on Council’s agenda was approved, with the exception of Resolutions #08-191-17 and #08-192-17, which were tabled. (Click the image below to view the meeting agenda with all supporting Resolutions.)

Bellmawr Council August 24, 2017 AgendaThere were two add-on items not listed on the printed agenda, but were read aloud, voted on and approved:

  • 08-194-17, which authorizes the proper officers of the Borough of Bellmawr to execute a deed of vacation from the Borough of Bellmawr for Block 55 lot 3 to the State of New Jersey Department of Transportation.
  • 08-195-17, which authorizes a shared services agreement by and between Audubon Park and Borough of Bellmawr relative to maintenance services at the Audubon Park old school building to be provided by the Borough of Bellmawr.

The bill list was also approved, but Councilman Paul Sandrock abstained.

Bellmawr Council August 24, 2017 bill list

Finally, Ordinance #07-15-17 second reading, public reading and final adoption Salary Ordinance for the Borough of Bellmawr was approved, but Councilman Sandrock voted no.

2017 Bellmawr Salary Ordinance

Council meets next for its caucus meeting on Thursday, September 21 at 5:00 p.m Council’s regular monthly meeting will be Thursday, September 28 at 7:00 p.m.

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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

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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.

 

 

 

 

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Bellmawr Local Government News Recent News

Bellmawr Residents Express Concerns to Mayor & Council

Two Bellmawr residents addressed Mayor Frank Filipek and members of Council during the public portion of Council’s January 26 monthly meeting. Resident, Shane Mertz, asked for the status of an ongoing easement issue and wanted to know how things are progressing. He asked for a meeting with all of the parties.

After some back and forth between Mertz and Mayor Frank Filipek, Councilman Jim D’Angelo said to Mertz: “I understand your frustration. We have to wait until we see an expert report with the absolute facts who goes over and double check. We have to wait.”

Resident, Mary Tanealian, also addressed Mayor and Council by stating she is “at a loss” for the situation involving Vero Pizza’s use of a neighboring property.

She spoke of a recent incident that involved a truck taking down a light, pole, and transformer. She said because of the incident, wires were down and blocked her driveway. She feared that this incident could have happened during the week and not on a Saturday.

*Subsequent to Council’s meeting and following the publication of this article, Tanealian contacted SJO to add the following information relating to the incident:

Three PSE&G poles had to be replaced because of this incident.

Although we did get our power back within a half hour, Cundiff Oil did not since they were connected to the transformer that was down.

There was hazardous material spilled from the transformer and had to be cleaned up by a haz mat company. This was not completed until 10:20 that night.

She also had concerns that the driveway for the new Royal Farms and the driveway for Vero Pizza may both meet at the same place, should the pizzeria eventually be granted a variance.

Councilman Paul Sandrock said that a court summons had been issued and that the situation is being monitored. “We want to keep it as safe as possible.”

He added that the owners of Vero Pizza must hire an attorney and apply to the Zoning Board and go through a process to make changes.

“We are trying to work with the business, too. We are trying to work with them and listening to you and trying to make everything safe for children and you and meeting the needs of that business,” he said.

As for the potential of both businesses’ driveways matching up, Sandrock said that Royal Farms revised their plans and honored Tanealian’s request in moving the driveway 20 feet towards the Black Horse Pike. “That will eliminate the possibility of the headlights shining into your bedroom,” he said.

Council Approves Agenda Items

Council also voted to approve all business on its agenda. (Click images below for the meeting Agenda and supporting Resolutions.)

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Council

Among the approvals were:

• The bill list. (Councilman Paul Sandrock abstained.)

• Authorizing a settlement between the Borough of Bellmawr and PBA Local 375 to resolve a grievance filed by local 375 on behalf of three retired members. Captain Craig Wilhelm will be paid $1,078.14, which represents the difference for the seven pay periods immediately prior to his retirement date. Sgt. Matt Gillis will be paid $438.21, which represents the difference between for the four pay periods immediately prior to his retirement date. Corporal Joe Falcone will be paid $1,260.54, which represents the difference for the nine pay periods immediately prior to his retirement date.

Local 375 had filed for arbitration with the Public Employment Relations Commission on behalf of the three retirees, who claimed that they were shorted pay when the Borough changed the payroll divisor from 26 to 27 days.

• New hires for the Borough of Bellmawr for the period of October 8, 2016 through January 12, 2017. (Details are included in the Resolutions above.)

• Authorizing the sale of fire apparatus – 1994 E one ladder truck to East Greenwich Township.

• Authorizing the decrease of the performance guarantee with WaWa on Creek Road to a maintenance guarantee in the amount of $89,520.15. When emailed for clarification about this Resolution, Chief Financial Officer, Maria Fasulo responded: “Once the improvements are completed, the governing body needs to adopt a Resolution reducing or releasing the performance guarantee. In this case, the Borough adopted a Resolution reducing the performance guarantee to a maintenance guarantee based on the municipal engineer’s certification.”

• Awarding the contract for the roof replacement of the Public Works Maintenance Garage to Laurant Construction Co. of Pennington, N.J. in the amount of $134,100.

Council will meet next for its Caucus session on Thursday, February 16 at 5:00 p.m. in the Conference Room of Borough Hall. Council’s monthly meeting will be held on Thursday, February 23 at 7:00 p.m. in the Courtroom of Borough Hall.

(*Article edited on February 9, 2017 at 12:30 p.m.: to include additional information/clarification from Mary Tanealian; and again at 1:50 p.m. to indicate that SJO had contacted Mrs. Tanealian to let her know that this article had been posted. )