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Burlington County Businesses Can Save Money
Lower Energy Consumption and Costs wtih the NJ Clean Energy Program read more ...

Commission Adopts Budget: NO TOLL INCREASE for 12th Year...
Tac-Pal and Burlington-Bristol Bridges remain "best bargain around" read more ...

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The County's NEW "buy local" initiative... read more ...

New Web Purchasing Portal
Improves Public Access to Commission's Bids, RFPs, RFQs read more ...


    
Public Information » Press Releases

Press Releases

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Press Releases

 1/30/14 Four Burlco Towns/MUA & County Save More Than One Million Dollars in Commission’s Latest Pooled Refunding
 1/16/14 County’s Regional Planning Services Saved Burlco Towns $400K in 2013
 7/24/13 NO TOLL INCREASE for Thirteenth Year on Tacony-Palmyra & Burlington-Bristol Bridges:
Bridge Commission Introduces Fiscal Year 2014
 6/18/13 Energy Improvements for Bridge Commission Save Thousands of Dollars
Greenbacks to Go Green" Shared Service Yields Substantial Energy and Cost Savings
 2/21/13 Commission Unveils New Web Purchasing Portal
Improves Public Access to Agency’s Bids, RFPs, RFQs
 1/15/13 Bridge Commission Chairman Comegno Sworn To Third Term
Freeholder Donnelly Reaffirms Continuing Partnership For Tax-Saving Initiatives
 11/20/12 Comegno Reappointed Bridge Commission Chairman
Vows to Continue Tax Relief Initiatives
 10/10/12 Burlco Economic Development Department Launches Network on “Linked In” Site

Local Businesses and Professionals Invited to Join Group
 9/17/12 Commission Adopts Budget-Twelfth Consecutive Year with NO TOLL INCREASE on
Tacony-Palmyra & Burlington-Bristol Bridges
 8/14/12 Bridge Commission Police Enforce Crackdown on Drunk Drivers as Part of Statewide Campaign
 7/10/12 Bridge Commission Introduces Fiscal Year 2013 Budget: 
NO TOLL INCREASE on Tacony-Palmyra & Burlington-Bristol Bridges
 6/26/12   More Than 3,300 Devices Now Receiving Bridge Commission’s Alerts via Nixle
 5/8/12 New Service Will Text or Email Bridge Customers About Bridge Openings & Traffic Issues
 3/13/12 Commission Authorizes Shared Service Initiative for Palmyra’s Market Street Improvement
 3/8/12 Bridge Commission Helps Four Burlco Towns Net Nearly $200,000 for Planning and Redevelopment Efforts
 2/14/12 Use it or Lose it:  Shared Service Will Help Municipalities Salvage $14.7 Million in Valuable Affordable Housing Funds
 1/10/12 Bridge Chairman’s “Safety in Numbers” Outlines Bridge Commission’s Year in Review

Click here for 2011 press releases

Click here for archived press releases 

 
For Immediate Release, 1/30/14
Four Burlco Towns/MUA & County Save More Than One Million Dollars in Commission’s Latest Pooled Refunding
Palmyra—A recent financing of $16.25 million in County guaranteed pooled loan revenue bonds will save three Burlco towns, one MUA and the County nearly $1.2 million dollars over the life of the bonds.  The Burlington County Bridge Commission, acting as the County’s improvement authority agent, administered the loan for the Bordentown City, County of Burlington, Wrightstown Municipal Utilities Authority, Edgewater Park, and Pemberton Township. 

“By participating in these pooled loans, towns realize savings because there’s strength in numbers,” said Chairman John Comegno, referring to the savings that occur by combining smaller loans from multiple entities.  “But savings also result from using the County’s AA credit, which qualified towns for a much lower interest rate than they’d qualify for on their own.”  

The transaction was well received in the market due to the County’s high quality Aa2/AA credit rating. Demand for the bonds lowered yields, which led to increased savings, more than $200,000 from original estimates. 

“For towns and local entities in need of cost saving opportunities, this aggregate bond program continues to be an important shared services initiative,” said Freeholder Director Leah Arter, “Best of all, these cost-savings translate into tax savings for the taxpayers who are footing the bill.”

Bordentown City and the County refinanced their existing 2003 bonds ($5.48 million), while Wrightstown MUA refinanced an existing USDA loan ($1.16 million). The present value refunding savings for these loans totaled $668,597.

Both Edgewater Park and Pemberton Township issued new debt for various projects:  Edgewater Park, for property, road, and field improvements; various capital improvements; and vehicles, and Pemberton Township, for road and drainage improvements; dam improvements and reconstruction; and equipment purchases. By using the County’s AA credit rating, these two towns saved an estimated $509,000 in interest cost savings. 

These latest financings add to the Commission’s already impressive total record of taxpayer savings:  Since 2002, the Bridge Commission has been the conduit for more than $670 million dollars in financings on behalf of 28 local governments and nonprofits that have resulted in savings of more than $23 million dollars for Burlington County taxpayers and garnered more than $16.1 million dollars in grant monies for municipalities. 

The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County. 

For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417- 4088

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For Immediate Release, 1/16/14
County’s Regional Planning Services Saved Burlco Towns $400K in 2013

 Palmyra—By using the regional planning services of the Department of Economic Development and Regional Planning, Burlington County municipalities saved $395,200 in 2013 alone.  Twenty-seven of the forty Burlco towns availed themselves of this shared service, which would have been performed by outside consultants at the towns’ expense. 

“Municipalities just don’t have the staff or the expertise to perform this planning work,” said Commission Chairman John Comegno, “so towns would have had to hire professionals for these planning services.  This shared service is putting money back in the hands of cash-strapped towns at a time it’s needed in so many other areas.”  

Freeholder Director Leah Arter praised the work: “We’re proud of the tax relief provided by these planning services. Achieving the right balance of growth and preservation requires a sustained, concerted planning effort that is coordinated with the County and its municipalities. This shared service helps towns develop in the right areas, avoid development in the wrong areas, and preserve lands like farmland and open space.” 

Many of the planning projects performed for the municipalities consisted of zoning build-out analyses; this analysis is the first step in evaluating the impact of potential development on a community.  Other planning projects included master plan reexaminations, land use and redevelopment studies, and land use plan element updates for master plans.  A master plan serves as a guide for decisions regarding the future physical development of a community. 

The 27 towns that utilized Regional Planning services in 2013 include:
 
• Bass River Township
• Beverly City
• Bordentown City
• Bordentown Township
• Burlington Township
• Chesterfield Township
• Cinnaminson Township
• Delanco Township
• Edgewater Park Township
• Evesham Township
• Fieldsboro Borough
• Florence Township
• Mansfield Township
• Maple Shade Township
• Medford Township
• Moorestown Township
• Mount Holly Township
• Mount Laurel Township
• New Hanover Township
• North Hanover Township
• Pemberton Borough
• Pemberton Township
• Riverside Township
• Southampton Township
• Springfield Township
• Westampton Township
• Wrightstown Borough
 
Services were provided by one licensed professional planner and two Geographic Information System (GIS) specialists. The GIS specialist analyzes and manipulates geographic information and data for preparing studies, maps and graphics that are used in developing local planning documents such as master plans and other master plan elements.

For the zoning build-out analyses, for example, the Regional Planning staff developed a computer model that used GIS and spreadsheet programs. For each municipality they examined, planners used that town’s current zoning ordinance and map. 

“The long-term benefits towns reap from these coordinated planning initiatives are obvious,” said Comegno, “but because municipalities can access these services at no cost, this shared service ultimately saves taxpayers money.”

The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County. These initiatives have resulted in a savings of more than $15.9 million dollars and garnered more than $16.1 million dollars in grant monies for municipalities.

For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417- 4088

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For Immediate Release, 7/24/13
NO TOLL INCREASE for Thirteenth Year on Tacony-Palmyra & Burlington-Bristol Bridges:
Bridge Commission Introduces Fiscal Year 2014 Budget
Palmyra—For the thirteenth consecutive year, Burlington County Bridge Commissioners announced that there would be no toll increase on its two toll bridges with the introduction of its 2014 budget. They also reaffirmed their commitment to an aggressive bridge maintenance program and pledged to continue economic development, shared service, and tax-saving efforts that have already saved Burlington County taxpayers nearly $16 million dollars.

“Our bridge maintenance is second to none,” said Bridge Commission Chairman John Comegno.  “We remain committed to providing safe and affordable passage over our bridges, while also partnering with the Freeholders on shared service initiatives that provide property tax relief to Burlington County residents. All with no toll increase.”

Vice-Chairman James Fattorini said, “I continue to be impressed—even amazed—by the stellar maintenance program that is constantly improving and preserving our bridges and facilities.  We are continually raising the standards of excellent bridge operations and proactive maintenance.”

The Commission’s $37.4 million dollar capital budget will enable the Commission to maintain the integrity and safety of its bridges, and includes painting of both the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges. Of all bridge maintenance projects, painting is one of the largest expenditures—and one of the most important.

Although painting will improve the aesthetics of the historically significant structures, its importance is in the protection it affords the steel structures from rust and corrosion; without such protection, the bridges’ integrity could be compromised. 

In contrast to the last time the bridges were painted, which was the mid-1990’s, bridge tolls were raised to fund the million-dollar project.  But because of the Commission’s financially sound position today, this crucial maintenance project can be completed with no toll increase.

Other planned capital projects include replacement of the Electrical Powerhouses on the Pennsylvania side of both the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges.  These structures contain the critical electrical connections that provide power to the moveable bridge parts that open the bridges to marine traffic and illuminate the structures at night.

A “traveler system” will be installed on the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge; this innovative motorized rolling platform (installed on the Burlington-Bristol Bridge a few years ago) will slash costs, enhance safety, and reduce traffic delays.  Capital projects also include structural steel repairs to both of the Commission’s moveable spans.

“Thanks to the Commission’s sound financial planning, we’ve held tolls stable since 2000,” added Commissioner Troy E. Singleton. And through an aggressive capital maintenance program, we keep our bridges in top condition while providing work in challenging financial times.” 

“It may not be a new message, but it’s one I’m proud to keep recycling.  We’re not raising tolls—our bridges remain the best bargain around,” said Comegno. 

The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County. These initiatives have resulted in a savings of more than $15.9 million dollars and garnered more than $14.8 million dollars in grant monies for municipalities.

For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417- 4088

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For Immediate Release, 6/18/13
Energy Improvements for Bridge Commission Save Thousands of Dollars
"Greenbacks to Go Green" Shared Service Yields Substantial Energy and Cost Savings

Palmyra—As a result of a comprehensive energy audit of its facilities and implementation of recommended energy improvements, the Burlington County Bridge Commission realized a savings of 16%, or $13,889 on its energy and gas costs over the first four months of this year. 

The energy audit and improvements were part of the “Greenbacks to Go Green” shared service the Commission championed in partnership with the Freeholders that provided $2.5 million dollars in energy upgrades to 31 Burlco municipalities and 10 schools, thanks to grant monies obtained by the Commission.

“We expected to see some energy savings, but to save nearly $14,000 over four months?  That exceeded our expectations,” said Commission Chairman John Comegno.  “This shared service shows the great impact that energy reduction can have, not just in energy savings, but in dollars as well.”

The energy audits identified areas within facilities where energy-saving, cost-justified measures could be applied.  For the Commission’s administration building in Palmyra, that meant substantial lighting retrofits, where existing light bulbs are replaced with LED or compact fluorescent light bulbs, and renovations to existing heating and cooling systems. Similar improvements were made to the Commission’s Police, Maintenance, and Toll buildings in Palmyra and to the administration building in Burlington.
“We hope that by sharing the Commission’s savings, more towns and schools will want to find out what ‘Greenbacks to Go Green’ is all about,” Comegno added. “We want everyone to take advantage of the monies available from the state for energy audits that lead to energy-saving, dollar-saving improvements.”

The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County. These initiatives have resulted in a savings of more than $15.9 million dollars and garnered more than $14.8 million dollars in grant monies for municipalities.

For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417- 4088

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For Immediate Release, 2/21/13
Commission Unveils New Web Purchasing Portal
Improves Public Access to Agency’s Bids, RFPs, RFQs

Palmyra—A new purchasing portal on the Burlington County Bridge Commission’s website simplifies the process for vendors who wish to bid for Commission projects and is the latest example of the agency’s openness and transparency. In addition to advertisements for bids, requests for proposal, and requests for qualifications, the website will also contain full bid packages, which were previously available only by requesting those documents in person at the Commission’s administration building.

"Our website continues to grow, and in ways that serve the public with more information, easier access to documents they need, or tools to help find what they’re looking for,” said Chairman John Comegno.  He refers to the addition of financial information like budgets and audit reports and the Business and Developer Site Finder which helps users looking for land or building space in Burlington County.

“We are always open to better ways of doing things that improve our services to toll payers and taxpayers. This Purchasing Portal is our latest improvement,” added Comegno.

Freeholder Director Joseph Donnelly praised Chairman Comegno for his leadership, but he also credited the Bridge Commission for being a great follower:  “By adding this information to its website, the Commission is following the County’s example to be more transparent,” he said, referring to the new electronic comment form on the County’s website, the latest component of the County’s transparency plan.  “This initiative also simplifies the process for Commission vendors, makes purchasing documents more accessible, and is a fine example of the ‘Transparent Burlington County’ established by the Freeholders.”

The Bridge Commission’s purchasing portal is located at http://www.bcbridges.org/PublicInformation/Purchasing.aspx.  Visitors can view bid packages, RFP documents, or RFQ documents, but are now required to sign in. This allows the Commission to maintain a current list of potential bidders and ensure that all those who view the documents receive any addendums to the original bids, RFPs, or RFQs.

While it remains the responsibility of potential bidders to check the Commission’s website for any updates or addendums prior to bid openings, the new Purchasing Portal simplifies the process and makes information more easily accessible.

The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County. These initiatives have resulted in a savings of more than $15.9 million dollars and garnered more than $14.8 million dollars in grant monies for municipalities.
For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417- 4088

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For Immediate Release, 1/15/13
Bridge Commission Chairman Comegno Sworn To Third Term

Freeholder Donnelly Reaffirms Continuing Partnership For Tax-Saving Initiatives
Palmyra — The ceremonial swearing in of John Comegno to a new three-year term as chairman of the Burlington County Bridge Commission today was marked by Freeholder Joe Donnelly’s commending the Commission for keeping its fiscal house in order and specifically, for holding the line on tolls for more than 12 years.
   
At the same time, Donnelly pledged that the Freeholder board would continue to work with the Commission in pursuit of shared services and other tax-saving initiatives to benefit the towns and property taxpayers.

“The fiscal conservative in me can’t help but notice that this Commission has kept its tolls in check, while other authorities have continued to raise tolls,” said Donnelly, noting that tolls on the Commission’s two bridges have remained unchanged since 2000. 

“Even during the worst of the recent recession you have balanced your budget, paid off debt, and continued to look for creative ways that we could work together to reduce property taxes and bolster business and job growth,” Donnelly added.

He commended Comegno for his leadership.  A Moorestown resident, Comegno has served as Chairman since 2007, and today was sworn to this third term by Joseph Lavery, Esq.  Comegno also is founder and president of the Comegno Law Group, PC, of Moorestown, and is recognized nationally as a leading School Law practitioner.

Donnelly said that he was “confident that the Freeholder board and Commission will continue to identify taxpayer savings through shared services with towns and schools, and also continue to pursue economic development tools aimed at business development and job growth.

“Together, we developed a shared savings program that made green energy improvements and savings a more user-friendly investment for local entities across the County,” said Donnelly.  “The good news:  our work in this area is far from over.”

As 2013 gets underway, the County is also moving forward with a “Buy Local” campaign to encourage support of local business by resident consumers, and, in the process, generate more job opportunities, Donnelly noted. 

“At the end of the day we are talking about a wide range of initiatives that benefit all County residents and taxpayers.”

Serving since January 2007, Comegno was reappointed by the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders in December to serve a third term. Comegno’s appointment continues through October, 2015. 

Since coming on board in 2007, Comegno pledged to work with the Freeholders to make the Bridge Commission a model agency of openness, accountability, and transparency. 

His comprehensive reform campaign called “A New Era, A New Span” resulted in the implementation of checks and balances for Commission transactions and contractors’ work, an expanded website that makes more information easily accessible to the public, continuation of open and competitive procurement policies and contract awards.  Updated Commission bylaws and policies ensure that the Commission operates in an efficient, transparent, accountable and ethical manner.

A member of the NJ and PA bars and accepted to practice in jurisdictions across the country, Comegno is a cum laude graduate of Gettysburg College, and earned his Juris Doctor degree from the Wake Forest University School of Law.  He has extensive experience counseling public and independent schools on wide-ranging School Law issues, representing clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  John is also a nationally recognized lecturer on School Law who regularly presents throughout the United States. During the current school year, John has or will lecture in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Washington State. 

In addition to his service to the Burlington County Bridge Commission, Comegno is involved with the performing arts and youth athletics, serves as a board member for several local and national non-profit organizations, and teaches Catechism in his Church.

The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County. These initiatives have resulted in a savings of more than $15.9 million dollars and garnered more than $14.8 million dollars in grant monies for municipalities.
For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417- 4088

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FOR RELEASE, 11/20/12
Comegno Reappointed Bridge Commission Chairman
Vows to Continue Tax Relief Initiatives
 

At its November reorganization meeting, John Comegno was re-elected Chairman by fellow Burlington County Bridge Commissioners James Fattorini and Troy Singleton. Comegno reaffirmed his commitment to safe, affordable bridges and tax relief for Burlington County residents. James Fattorini was also re-elected to the position of Vice-Chairman.

“I’m proud to say that even through this struggling economy, we’ve held the line on tolls,” said Chairman Comegno, “all while leveraging our resources for bridge improvements and innovations and working with the Freeholders on shared service initiatives that are saving Burlington County taxpayers millions of dollars.” 

The Commission also adopted its annual notice of meetings, which includes evening meetings to make them more accessible to the public. 

“Through our tax-saving initiatives, we’ve saved Burlington County residents nearly $16 million dollars and through grant-writing services we’ve provided we’ve brought in nearly $14 million dollars — that’s a success story I want to keep writing,” Comegno added. 

The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County. These initiatives have resulted in a savings of more than $15.9 million dollars and garnered more than $13.8 million dollars in grant monies for municipalities.

 For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417- 4088

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FOR RELEASE, 10/10/12

Burlco Economic Development Department Launches Network on “Linked In” Site
Local Businesses and Professionals Invited to Join Group

At its meeting today, Burlington County Bridge Commissioners announced their collaborative effort with The Burlington County Freeholders to foster economic growth in Burlington County by establishing a professional networking outlet for Burlington County businesses, organizations, and individuals. Through the newly created networking group at www.linkedin.com, members can share critical information and ideas and make important connections. 

“The network will serve as a virtual meeting place for businesses and professionals in Burlington County,” said Bridge Commission Chairman John Comegno.  “Although there will be news from the County’s Economic Development arm, the site will also provide group members with a place for discussions about how to grow the economy in our County.”

Freeholder-Director Bruce Garganio added, “This adds in no small way to the other steps we have taken in recent months to bolster economic growth and job opportunities.  Our Job Seekers webpage continues to be one of the most visited sites on the County’s website.  Meantime, more real estate brokers and land owners are populating the bridge commission’s site finder webpage, a tool which gives business that are looking to expand some solid information about available commercial and industrial properties throughout the County.

“Through LinkedIn, we’ll get some serious feedback from the business community-at-large.  That can only enhance our efforts to grow businesses and jobs,” Garganio added.  

LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network with more than 175 million members, allows professionals to connect with others with similar backgrounds, enlarge their professional networking circle, and establish new connections that may lead to new opportunities. The Burlington County Economic Development Network is one of many groups established on LinkedIn to help gather together individuals with a common goal, in this case, to foster economic growth in the County.

Through the Burlington County Economic Development Network, businesses can use the information, ideas and new connections to help them to become more competitive and agencies and organizations can learn how to change and develop programs and provide services that will help businesses to become more competitive in the County.

“Using an established professional networking site liked LinkedIn is a smart move, not only on behalf of the County and Commission for establishing it, but also for the hard-working residents of Burlington County, who can help contribute to the positive growth to our local economy,” said Commissioner Troy E. Singleton.

The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County. These initiatives have resulted in a savings of approximately $15.9 million dollars and more than $13.8 million dollars in grant monies for municipalities.
For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417- 4088

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FOR RELEASE, 9/17/12
Commission Adopts Budget-Twelfth Consecutive Year with NO TOLL INCREASE on Tacony-Palmyra & Burlington-Bristol Bridges

Palmyra—Burlington County Bridge Commissioners John Comegno, Jim Fattorini, and Troy Singleton voted today to adopt the Commission’s 2013 Annual Budget and Capital Budget Program, which was approved by the State of New Jersey, and includes no toll increase on its two landmark bridges. The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Division of Local Government Services made no changes to the Commission’s budget and approved the budget as submitted. 

“I’m pleased that our budget has received DCA approval and I’m proud to present a budget with a 0% increase over last year’s budget,” said Bridge Commission Chairman John Comegno. “This budget provides for aggressive bridge maintenance and direct property tax relief for our residents, all with no toll increase.”

Vice-Chairman James Fattorini added, “We say our bridges are the ‘best bargain around’—that’s a phrase we’ve used for the last twelve years.”

The Commission’s capital budget supports the Commission’s commitment to maintain the integrity and safety of its bridges, and includes the following:
• completion of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge deck replacement
• replacement of the Riverside-Delanco Bridge deck,
• repairs to the Burlington-Bristol Bridge operating and machinery room
• safety enhancements to toll plaza and painting at both Commission bridges. 

“The Commission’s budget reflects an investment in our historically significant bridges, and will provide jobs for our citizens struggling to find work in these hard economic times,” said Commissioner Troy E. Singleton.

The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County. These initiatives have resulted in a savings of approximately $15.9 million dollars and more than $13.8 million dollars in grant monies for municipalities.
For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417- 4088

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FOR RELEASE, 8/14/12

Bridge Commission Police Enforce Crackdown on Drunk Drivers as Part of Statewide Campaign

Palmyra—Law enforcement officers from the Burlington County Bridge Commission will be cracking down on drunk drivers as part of the summer 2012 “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign funded by a state grant program.  Beginning August 17 and running through September 3, Commission police will join local and state law enforcement officers conducting sobriety checkpoints and roving patrols, looking for motorists who may be driving while intoxicated.

A concentrated national effort, the campaign helps to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving through high-visibility enforcement and public education tools, including posters, banners and mobile video display signs. Launched nationally in 1999, the program works to combat drunk driving during some of the busiest travel times of the year, including the Labor Day holiday period.

In 2010 alcohol-impaired fatalities accounted for 20 percent of New Jersey’s motor vehicle fatalities. As part of the initiative, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety provides grants to local law enforcement agencies throughout the state to run the two-week campaign. The Bridge Commission will use grant funds to cover overtime DUI patrols.

Law enforcement agencies participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over 2012 crackdown offer the following advice:
• If you plan to drink, designate a driver, someone who will not drink alcohol, before going out.
• Take mass transit, a taxi or ask a sober friend to drive you home.
• Spend the night where the activity is held.
• Report impaired drivers to law enforcement.  In New Jersey, drivers may dial #77 to report a drunk or aggressive driver.
• Always buckle up, for every ride, regardless of your seating position in the vehicle.  It’s your best defense against an impaired driver.
• If you’re intoxicated and traveling on foot, the safest way to get home is to take a cab or have a sober friend or family member drive you to your doorstep.

The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County. These initiatives have resulted in a savings of more than $15.5 million dollars and garnered more than $13.5 million dollars in grant monies for municipalities.
For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417- 4088

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FOR RELEASE, 7/10/12
Bridge Commission Introduces Fiscal Year 2013 Budget:  NO TOLL INCREASE
on Tacony-Palmyra & Burlington-Bristol Bridges

Palmyra—For the twelfth consecutive year, Burlington County Bridge Commissioners announced that there would be no toll increase on its two toll bridges with the introduction of its 2013 budget. They also reaffirmed their commitment to an aggressive bridge maintenance program and pledged to continue economic development and tax-saving efforts that have already saved Burlington County taxpayers more than $15.5 million dollars.

“Twelve years with no toll increase—in any economy, that’s an achievement,” said Bridge Commission Chairman John Comegno.  “In this economy, it’s exceptional fiscal management.  There’s a good reason our customers call us the ‘best bargain around.’ ”

Vice-Chairman James Fattorini said, “I’m proud to introduce a flat budget that provides for improvements to our signature bridges and assistance to our County’s taxpayers.”

The Commission’s $42.6 million dollar capital budget supports the Commission’s commitment to maintain the integrity and safety of its bridges, and includes the following:
• completion of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge deck replacement
• replacement of the Riverside-Delanco Bridge deck,
• repairs to the Burlington-Bristol Bridge operating and machinery room
• safety enhancements to toll plaza and painting at both Commission bridges. 

“These aggressive capital programs will not only keep our bridges in top condition and provide safe and efficient travel for our customers, but they will also provide jobs for our citizens struggling to find work,” added Commissioner Troy E. Singleton.

The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County. These initiatives have resulted in a savings of more than $15.5 million dollars and garnered more than $13.5 million dollars in grant monies for municipalities.
For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417- 4088

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For Release, 6/26/12
More Than 3,300 Devices Now Receiving Bridge Commission’s Alerts via Nixle
Palmyra
— The Burlington County Bridge Commission’s community information service that notifies customers of the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges of scheduled bridge openings and other traffic issues now reaches 3,356 devices.  Since early May, customers have signed up for the service, which sends text or email messages about issues that may affect their commute.

"This notification service has been a great success,” said Commission Chairman John Comegno."Beyond the thousands of motorists who have opted to receive alerts, we’ve heard positive things from our customers, and thanks for providing this service."

Motorists have signed up to receive notices by email, text message, or both.  They can also choose to receive messages related to the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, the Burlington-Bristol Bridge, or both bridges. While messages sent so far have been about upcoming bridge openings, future messages may also notify subscribers about vehicular accidents, traffic issues, or planned construction work that may affect their commute.

Because the bridges open "on demand"; (upon vessels' requests), advance notification isn't always possible, but when adequate advance notice is provided, the Nixle system notifies registered users. Notification to the Commission varies greatly so the timetable for notifications via Nixle varies accordingly.

The service is FREE of charge, both to the Bridge Commission and to the users (if the users' cell phone carrier charges for text messages, users will incur that charge, but there is no “opt-in” or per-message charge imposed by the Bridge Commission).

Users can sign up at www.nixle.com, from the link provided on the Commission’s website, www.bcbridges.org, or by sending a text message to 888-777 (type "TACPAL" to receive alerts related to the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge; type "BBBB" to receive alerts about the Burlington-Bristol Bridge).
"For the 40,000 people who cross our bridges every day, who are already saving money on tolls, this service is a bonus," said Comegno."Now we're saving them time and money."

The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County. These initiatives have resulted in a savings of more than $15.5 million dollars and garnered more than $13.5 million dollars in grant monies for municipalities.
For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417- 4088

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FOR RELEASE, 5/8/12
New Service Will Text or Email Bridge Customers About Bridge Openings & Traffic Issues

Palmyra, NJ— Using the well-known Nixle system, the Burlington County Bridge Commission will launch a new community information service that will enable customers of the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges to receive text or email message notifications of scheduled bridge openings and other traffic issues that might affect their commute.

Using the well-known Nixle system, the Burlington County Bridge Commission will launch a new community information service that will enable customers of the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges to receive text or email message notifications of scheduled bridge openings and other traffic issues that might affect their commute.

"Imagine being able to adjust your schedule or your route according to a traffic delay or motor vehicle accident,” said Commission Chairman John Comegno. “Motorists travelling one of our landmark bridges will be able to do just that—and at no cost.”

Interested motorists who sign up for this program will receive traffic information on a real-time basis from Nixle. Messages will cover upcoming bridge openings, existing vehicular accidents or traffic issues, or planned construction work that may affect commuters who use the Tacony-Palmyra or Burlington-Bristol Bridges.

Because the bridges open “on demand” (upon vessels’ requests), advance notification isn’t always possible, but when adequate advance notice is provided, the Nixle system will notify registered users. Notification to the Commission varies greatly so the timetable for notifications via Nixle will vary accordingly. Notifications will come the same day, anywhere from several hours before the scheduled opening to minutes before.

The service is FREE of charge, both to the Bridge Commission and to the users (if the users’ cell phone carrier charges for text messages, users will incur that charge, but there is no “opt-in” or per-message charge imposed by the Bridge Commission).

Users can sign up at www.nixle.com or from the link provided on the Commission’s website, www.bcbridges.org.

Since April of last year, BCBC’s Police have notified the media by email in advance of bridge openings for the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges. This new community information service extends the communication directly to the general public. “Some people might think we’re crazy, instituting a new process that could potentially drive customers away from our bridges,” said Vice-Chairman James D. Fattorini, “but we believe we’re putting our toll payers first by offering this one-of-a-kind notification.” “Offering motorists no toll increase for the past ten years has saved them money. Now this notification system will save them time,” Commissioner Troy Singleton added. “These days, what hard-working citizen can’t use that?”

“Simply put, this system is the right thing to do,” said Comegno. “And it does what we’ve been focused on here at the Burlington County Bridge Commission — it puts our customers first.”

About Nixle:
Nixle, LLC, is a community information service that alerts the public to public safety issues and community events via web, e-mail, and cell phone at no cost. Its authenticated service connects municipal agencies and community organizations to residents in real time, delivering information to geographically targeted consumers over their cell phones (via text messages), through e-mails and through Web access.

For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417- 4088

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FOR RELEASE, 3/13/12
Commission Authorizes Shared Service Initiative for Palmyra’s Market Street Improvement
Palmyra, NJ
– As part of Palmyra’s four-month long project to revitalize its Market Street corridor, the Burlington County Bridge Commission will repave the street that feeds traffic to its Tacony-Palmyra Bridge.  By entering into a Shared Services Agreement with Palmyra, the Commission will assist Palmyra with the improvement of Market Street and will save the borough approximately $270,000.

 
"Providing this assistance to one of our gateway towns not only beautifies a heavily travelled road," said John Comegno, Chairman of the Bridge Commission.  "It also lightens the burden on the municipality, which translates into tax savings for its residents."

Palmyra's comprehensive Market Street Gateway Improvement Project will extend from Broad Street to Souder Avenue, the road just before the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. The total cost is estimated at $570,000; the cost of the roadway reconstruction, which the Commission will undertake, is estimated at $270,000.

This stretch of Market Street in Palmyra will benefit from
the Bridge Commission's contribution to its Gateway Improvement
project, complete repaving of the road surface from Broad Street
to Souder Street.

Palmyra will replace sidewalks as needed, install 38 handicap ramps, and install period lighting like that on Broad Street from Market Street to Route 73 (as part of the previous “Streetscape Project” by the Commission).  The project will also include rehabilitation of the Ethel Hardy Playground located at the corner of Market and Madison Streets. The project is expected to begin April 1st and wrap up by July 30th.

“Partnering with the Burlington County Bridge Commission on our Market Street revitalization project allowed us to accomplish all of the needed streetscaping improvements while saving Palmyra taxpayer dollars,” stated Mayor Karen Scheffler.

Commissioner Troy Singleton noted the economic impact the project would have: “I am gratified that the Commission's continued bipartisan efforts towards enhancing shared services has led to job creation and a tax saving initiative for Palmyra.”

“Providing a safer and more enjoyable ride for the motoring public to our Tacony-Palmyra Bridge is something we’re proud as Commissioners to be able to do,” added Vice-Chairman James Fattorini.
For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417- 4088

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FOR RELEASE, 3/8/12

Bridge Commission Helps Four Burlco Towns Net Nearly $200,000 for Planning and Redevelopment Efforts

Palmyra, NJ – As a result of grant applications sponsored by the Burlington County Bridge Commission on behalf of area towns, four Burlco municipalities will receive $178,000 from Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC).  Burlington City, Mansfield Township, Palmyra Borough, and Mt. Laurel Township will receive funds from the DVRPC’s Transportation and Community Development Initiative (TCDI).
“This is yet another shared service between the Freeholders and the Bridge Commission that benefits our municipalities, bringing desperately needed dollars to tight town budgets,” Freeholder Director Bruce Garganio said.
“These grant awards are a win-win for Burlington County towns and their taypayers,” said Commission Chairman John Comegno. “Municipalities get funding for their projects, and because the Commission underwrites the cost of the grant applications, the funding comes at no cost to the municipalities.”
The TCDI grants provide support for local development and redevelopment efforts, and provide funding for municipalities to implement their local planning objectives: 
• Burlington City will receive $64,000 for a zoning update, which will allow for the City to develop a new zoning ordinance that matches the recommendations put forth in the new master plan.

• Mansfield Township was awarded $50,000 to be used to update the township’s Master Plan by developing a Circulation Plan Element.

• Palmyra Borough will use $32,000 to explore traffic calming measures to address heavy and fast-moving traffic along Broad Street (County Route 543), from the border of Riverton to New Jersey State Highway 73.

• Mt. Laurel Township will use $32,000 in TCDI funds to develop a new bikeway plan within the Township that will connect to the Rancocas Greenway.

Burlington City Mayor Jim Fazzone stated that, “Without these grant funds, the City of Burlington would have been unable to fund the amendments to our zoning ordinance to reflect our new Master Plan, making it more difficult to attract new businesses to the City and continue revitalizing  our downtown.”
Karen Scheffler, Palmyra Mayor, also expressed gratitude for the award and application assistance: “Thanks to the assistance from the Bridge Commission in providing the grantwriting services, and the grant from the DVRPC, Palmyra will now be able to examine new opportunities to improve our downtown and attract new business into the community.” 

Applications were prepared by Community Grants, Planning, and Housing (CGP&H), the East Windsor-based firm hired by the Commission that has garnered a total of $13,805,575 in grants for Burlington County municipalities, resulting in huge tax savings for those towns. With expertise in soliciting county, state, federal, and private sector grant and low-interest loan programs, CGP&H boasts an impressive 17:1 return on investment for Commission-sponsored grant applications.

 “Whether it’s saving our tollpayers from a toll increase or bringing economic relief to financially strapped towns and their taxpayers, the Bridge Commission is determined to be a good neighbor,” said Comegno.

The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County. These initiatives have resulted in a savings of approximately $14 million dollars.
For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417- 4088

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FOR RELEASE, 2/14/12
Use it or Lose it:

Shared Service Will Help Municipalities Salvage $14.7 Million in Valuable Affordable Housing Funds
Palmyra, NJ
  – Towns in Burlington County stand to lose millions—$14.7 million—in affordable housing trust fund dollars, if they fail to commit those funds by July 17, 2012.  The latest shared service initiative by the Burlington County Freeholders and the Burlington County Bridge Commission will help Burlco municipalities determine if they have trust fund dollars at risk and if so, how to commit those funds before they are forced to forfeit them. 
 
“Most towns aren’t aware of this amendment to the Fair Housing Act and if they are, they’re not sure whether the change will even affect them,” said John Comegno, Chairman of the Bridge Commission.  “This shared service initiative will not only make that determination, it will take towns to the next step of actually saving those dollars.”

“When we learned about the potential loss for already struggling Burlco municipalities, we scrambled to find a way to help,” Freeholder-Director Bruce Garganio added.  “This service, offered at no charge, stands to save our taxpayers millions of dollars.”

Under an amendment to the Fair Housing Act, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has the authority to require municipalities to forfeit any trust funds which were deposited on or before July 17, 2008 and which are not encumbered by July 17, 2012.  DCA has indicated that municipalities must have Spending Plan approval from DCA and must have committed trust funds to implement approved activities. 
According to data posted on the DCA website, Burlco towns stand to lose $14,764,264 in affordable housing trust fund dollars. 
Funding commitments may include:
    • Executed developer agreements;
    • Executed contracts with providers or program administrators;
    • Rehabilitation Programs;
    • Affordability Assistance Programs;
    • Implemented affordable housing programs; or 
    • The purchase of sites for municipally sponsored construction.
 
This shared service initiative can help municipalities determine if they have trust fund dollars at risk, review and update their existing spending plan, draft a new spending plan, and identify appropriate cost-effective ways to commit their trust funds dollars.

Community Grants, Planning & Housing will provide the service, which is sponsored by the Bridge Commission and offered free to Burlco municipalities. CGP&H already has assisted municipalities in the County in obtaining over $14.9 Million in grant monies at no cost to the taxpayers. 
To learn more about their affordable housing trust fund dollars and ultimately avoid losing funds, municipalities should contact Dave Gerkens of CGP&H at 609-371-1937 ext. 23 or dave@cgph.net

“Towns have nothing to lose by inquiring, but they stand to lose plenty if they do nothing,”  Garganio added.

For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417- 4088

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FOR RELEASE 1/10/12
Bridge Chairman’s “Safety in Numbers” Outlines Bridge Commission’s Year in Review

Palmyra, NJ – At the Burlington County Bridge Commission’s first meeting of the new year, Chairman John Comegno unveiled the Commission’s “Safety in Numbers” report, which provided highlights of the Commission’s accomplishments over the past year.  He stressed that bridge safety, bridge maintenance and tax relief will continue to be the organization’s focus, with the goal of safe and affordable spans.

“Despite the economic challenges of 2011, we improved our landmark bridges, provided safe and efficient travel for our loyal customers, and gave property tax relief to the people of Burlington County,” said Comegno.  “All while remaining true to our core mission of maintaining safe bridges.”

Comegno’s “Safety in Numbers” report included the following figures for 2011:
• 14.1 million:  number of vehicles that crossed the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges
• $15.4 million dollars:  total amount saved Burlco taxpayers since 2002 on pooled-lease and pooled loan financing to benefit local governments and nonprofits
• $1.4 million dollars: amount saved by the County, Burlington City, Evesham, Maple Shade and Pemberton by refunding a $37.8 million dollar loan from 2002.
• $929,000:  total in small business loans written for Burlco businesses that resulted in 46 jobs.
• $618,000:  amount saved by the County and Delanco Sewerage Authority on the refunding of a $9.5 million pooled governmental lease financing
• $562,155:  amount of grants awarded to 11 Burlco municipalities (applications sponsored by Commission, so at no cost to towns)  — another $509,108 in grant applications still pending (for 9 Burlco towns)    
• $150,000:  amount saved by purchasing products from approved vendors on the state contract
• 4,000:  number of students who visited Palmyra Cove Nature Park
• 1,500:  number of motorists assisted by Commission Police each year
• 0.01% (one one-hundredth of one percent):  percentage of EZ-Pass violations ($2,400) out of $13.5 million dollars in revenue — a figure that’s unmatched in the industry
• 211:  number of tickets issued by Commission Police during the “Click it or ticket” initiative, a seat belt enforcement campaign of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

“But of all these statistics, the number I’m most proud is zero,” Comegno added, “because that represents the toll increase on our bridges. 2011 was the 11th consecutive year for no toll increase at the Bridge Commission’s bridges.  As I’ve said before, we’re still the best bargain around.” 

Commissioner Troy E. Singleton added, “I’m proud to say we have hundreds of people employed as part of our aggressive capital plan for bridge maintenance, which currently includes 13 active projects and 15 projects in design.”  “And that’s on top of the 46 jobs that resulted from small business loans from our economic development department.”

And Vice-Chairman James Fattorini said he looks forward to 2012, when the Commission will expand on its accomplishments of 2011 and add exponentially to the assistance provided to residents in Burlington County:  “You can count of us being relentless in pursuing all the dollars we can for struggling Burlington County taxpayers.”

The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County. These initiatives have resulted in a savings of more than $15.5 million dollars and more than $13.5 million dollars in grant monies for municipalities.

For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417- 4088

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