Bellmawr Mayor Gives Updates on Landfill, Construction

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During the February 25 council meeting Bellmawr Mayor Frank Filipek provided updates on the landfill and on other issues in the Borough.

Pastor Vincent Kovlak asked during the public portion if the Mayor could provide an update concerning the landfill and on some of the empty pieces of property around Bellmawr.

Excerpts from the mayor’s responses:

First thing we got good news yesterday. We don’t have to drive the pilings down too deep. There is a report that says they only have to go down 20 feet.

Borough Administrator, Josh Tregear, added clarification by saying:  “I believe it’s 60. Originally, they thought it was going to be over 100.”

Mayor Filipek continued:

Whatever it was, it’s less. So we can have construction there, so that was a good sign. Also, the developer thought that we might have our first development by late spring, early summer this year. Also, the thing that is holding it up is the State because they are doing a traffic study. We are doing a traffic study and it’s not finished but we’re not paying for it, the re-developer is. The State wanted a traffic study finding out how many cars are going to go by there for the second phase. But the problem now is the second phase.

About new construction in town, Amoroso moved into town.

Pastor Kovlak asked: “What is the story with the gas station on the corner?”

Mayor Filipek responded:

The State is ready to release them because they had an eight month environmental impact because of the gas. I did hear from the owners that two businesses are interested and we also met. Somebody is already interested in the drug store. That will be something that Bellmawr will be very proud of on the corner. I do not want to give out names, because then once you do that, then people will keep you at that. Every time you meet with somebody, somebody gets the word that the mayor met with Bass Pro or the mayor met with these people. We meet with a lot of people that want to come to Bellmawr, but until it’s finalized, I don’t want to go public. Bass Pro wanted to come to Bellmawr, but Bellmawr doesn’t give out tax rebates. We never did it, we never will. That’s why we lost Bass Pro.

That mini-mall in Gloucester Township, we met with them eight-nine times. They were coming to Bellmawr, but Gloucester Township found out about it and they already had their roads already done so they went to Gloucester Township. They gave them a better deal.

That’s why we don’t want to go out and say we are meeting with all of these people because the other towns find out and give them a tax break or a deal because we don’t give tax breaks. Amoroso did not get a tax break from us at all. They are paying taxes just like everybody else. Everybody in this town pays their taxes. Nobody got a break. That’s why we have been lucky with our developer that this hasn’t cost the town a dollar. He has picked up the tab for most of the things.

It’s all ready to go. It’s capped. Now all we have to do is wait for the State to give us the ok. We are going to go ahead and do what we have to do because we can’t wait for the State to hold us back anymore.

They called me today about they want to take the property over and sent us a letter.  I told them we wouldn’t do that until we finalize where our roads end up. We are making progress in everything that we are doing and we are meeting with everybody.  A lot of people want to move to Bellmawr. You’d be surprised. Josh (Tregear, the business administrator), Jim Burleigh (Code/Zoning Official, Fire Official CO Housing Inspector) and I met with a client yesterday. They want to come to Bellmawr, they want to build something. We just have to wait. It’s going to be a beautiful place to live once the roads are done. Right now with the roads and the digging and that stuff, it’s tough.

I think we are doing a good job for what we have to work with. I think our people that work for the Borough are doing an outstanding job because with all of the problems that we are having.

Wawa is there.

Any time there is an accident on 42/295, there is going to be a backup on Browning Road. They cut through the town.

We are negotiating every day with somebody to try to move into town.

You will be happy to hear some of the things that are going to happen. Especially at the buildings on the corners when they’re finished.

Resident Debbie Allen asked: “Is that all one property back there, the property on Creek Road?

Mayor Filipek responded:

100 and some acres.

Allen asked: “Is that all privately owned by the developer?”

Mayor Filipek responded:

It’s owned by the developer. One part is Deptford. Two parts are Bellmawr.

Allen asked: “Is the Deptford part up against the water?

Mayor Filipek responded:

When they did the map, they took the waterline at that time, it was Deptford. So it’s Bellmawr, Deptford, and Bellmawr.

Allen stated: “It doesn’t really matter because the developer owns it.”

Mayor Filipek responded:

We talked about this before. Before it gets developed, I think the developer is going to lease it to Bellmawr. He just wants to be the developer. Because they own it and they’re paying the taxes. Eventually in the end, it will be owned by Bellmawr.

Allen responded: “The level gets higher, when you drive by.”

Mayor Filipek responded:

All of that is going to be brought down. You can see on 42, you see three big piles, that’s the testing. They are testing and have test borings to see how long is it going to take to settle because it was a landfill. We have been lucky that it hasn’t settled at all. And we just found out yesterday it went down 30-40 feet and they got a newspaper. A dry newspaper, no water at all. When we first started that project, there was tons and tons of water.  Everything was all water, cans and trash. Now it’s almost dry. The newspaper was dry as a bone when they brought the paper out. Because they take these test borings.

Every piece of dirt that is there, it is checked by a truck every day. It is examined. We are not bringing in anything that is chemically wrong. Everything is checked. Every truck that has gone in there. It looks like it’s real high but all of that will be moved because we also have to clean the other part – the Eco Center. That’s got to get dirt too and also the front of it.

It will be slanted down. They are ready to build. They have been negotiating with people already about who wants to come here and we have feelers from restaurants and hotels already.

Allen asked: “Is there any chance of bringing that Eco Center back into use, for compost?”

Mayor Filipek responded:

What we want to do is redevelop the whole area for tax ratables for the whole town. At one time, we were thinking about the solar panels. But the State ran out of money.

That concluded the mayor’s remarks and the public portion of the meeting was closed.

All business on the meeting agenda was passed.

With regard to Resolution #02-76-16, appointing Eric Jacob as emergency medical technician for Bellmawr, Josh Tregear responded via email with the following information concerning the salary for the position: “Eric Jacob will begin full time employment on March 1, 2016 at an hourly rate of $17.92 / hr.”

Below is a copy of the February 25, 2016 meeting agenda:

February 25, 2016 Agenda

During the meeting, the councilmen gave reports. Councilman Jim D’Angelo was absent from the meeting.

As part of his committee report, Councilman Paul Sandrock stated that there is going to be a Hazardous Waste Collection on March 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Cherry Hill Public Works Complex, 1 Perina Boulevard, Cherry Hill.

Sandrock also stated: “We have been working feverishly and waiting to hear on a grant for our wheelchair accessibility into the Borough Hall. We are waiting to hear back and we do have some good vibes that it will happen this year. We do know we are not compliant and we are trying to meet that compliance by making sure that this grant comes through and allows us to complete this project.”

Councilman David Spector gave his report: “In regard to buildings and lands, I just wanted to point out that we are working at the senior building and the court offices with work that is being completed. I would like to thank our borough employees for all of the hard work that they do to multi-task and to make these properties presentable.”

Councilman Steve Sauter extended his thanks to Bob Bauman for retiring from the zoning board and welcomed Kathleen McCarthy to the board.

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Sauter said: “The water department roof came off on the service building and we are in the process of getting prices to replace that. In public works, everything else is running pretty smooth. Roberts Avenue playground will commence construction on Monday morning [February 29]. All materials are in place.”

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The water department’s service building sustained roof damage during the recent storm.

Councilman Steve Hagerty gave his report: “Public safety part, we hired Eric Jacobs, Bellmawr resident. He will fill the position of a full-time EMS employee. We had one leave so we have to replace that. At the last caucus meeting, we had a special meeting for the police department where they made promotions due to Sgt. Gillis’ retirement. They went through the process of promoting officers and we also hired one, patrolman Kevin Lokaj. John Mader was promoted to Corporal and Chris Cummings was promoted to Sergeant. For the fire department side of it, we had 80 fire calls and 172 ambulance calls. About the storm, I was riding along with Chief Burleigh in one of the trucks. I saw first-hand the damage and what was going on. All of the workers out there were doing a great job cleaning up the whole area that it touched down at.”

“For finance, we sent our financial report to the State for review and we are also going through the budgets now. We are doing the department budgets and we will have those presented for next month at the March meeting.”

Excerpts from Councilman Ray Bider’s report: “RTT (Race to the Top Grant) was for the Early Childhood Center. A couple people have asked the responsibility. At this point, until through 2020, the local district is funded. At that point, the local district then picks it up themselves, unless something else happens. But that is several years down the road. Some people thought it ended this year and it goes through 2020. I discussed with Annette Castiglione, the superintendent, and requested a five year enrollment projection, which is called a cohort, just to get an idea of how many new students they anticipate coming in and she will be getting back to me with some information on that because they are growing every year in significant numbers.”

Note: A copy of the Bellmawr School District’s enrollment numbers as of January, 2016 were attached as part of their meeting agenda. Below is the district’s January, 2016 enrollment.

Enrollment January 29, 2016

Mayor and council will meet next for their caucus meeting on Thursday, March 17 at 5:00 p.m. in the conference room at Borough Hall.

*Article updated on March 3, 2016 to indicate a change for March’s regular council meeting. The monthly council meeting has been changed from Thursday, March 24 to Wednesday, March 30 at 7:00 p.m. in the courtroom in Borough Hall.

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Information provided by Bellmawr.com

 

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