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