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Public Information » E-Newsletter » E-Newsletter July 09

New Era, New Span --- Bridge Commission's E-Newsletter --- July 2009


No Toll Increase for Tacony-Palmyra & Burlington-Bristol Bridges

Commission Cuts Budget and Follows County Lead in Proposing Hiring and Salary Freeze
Burlington County Bridge Commissioners announced for the ninth consecutive year that there would be no toll increase on its two toll bridges. Introducing a budget that decreases expenses from last year, the Commission reaffirmed not only its commitment to an aggressive bridge maintenance program, which will expand the "smart technology" already incorporated, but also pledged to continue its economic development and tax-saving efforts.

Continued from e-mail below


 “I’m proud to announce once again that we’re not raising tolls and, in fact, we’re actually cutting our spending. Today, more than ever, our tollpayers need a financial break,” Bridge Commission Chairman John B. Comegno II announced.

Comegno credited Commission administration and staff for tightening their belts to make the budget a reality. Specifically, he referred to the Commission aggressively cutting its budget and instituting a hiring freeze on non-essential employees, as well as a salary freeze for supervisory and managerial personnel.

Commissioners announced that under the slashed budget and hiring freeze, there will be no new hirings or replacements unless a determination is made that the replacement or hiring is essential based on the recommendation of a committee comprised of one Commissioner and the Commission’s Executive Director and CFO.

The Commission’s $29.9 million capital budget continues the Commission’s commitment to maintain the integrity and safety of its bridges, and includes the grid deck replacement (and addition of smart technology) on the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, operating ropes replacement and bearing replacement project (with “smart bearings”) on the Burlington-Bristol Bridge, and the continuation of the Rancocas Creek Cleanup project, a shared service initiative between the Commission, the Board of Chosen Freeholders, and the municipalities of Lumberton, Southampton, and Medford.

Vice-Chairwoman Priscilla B. Anderson added, “We made it a priority to keep our tolls stable while we continue to help towns get the funds they are entitled to and so desperately need.” 

Through the Commission’s work with Community Grants, Planning & Housing, Burlco municipalities received $5.2 million in grant monies, all at no cost to municipalities. “And for every dollar spent by the Commission, $22 in grants were awarded—an impressive return on investment,” said Anderson.

“This budget reflects the Commission’s commitment to safe, accessible, and affordable bridges,” said Commissioner Troy E. Singleton, “and I’m pleased that our aggressive capital programs will continue to provide jobs for our citizens during these trying times.” 

About the no-toll increase, Comegno concluded, “As clichéd as it may sound, we are still the best bargain around. And these days, who can’t use a bargain?”   

*     *     *

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 $13 million dollars and more than $5 million dollars in grant monies for municipalities. 

Forum Looks at Saving Tax Dollars and Improving the Environment

The Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Burlington County Bridge Commission, and Burlington County Shared Services Forum, recently co-hosted the Burlington County Energy Conservation Forum at Palmyra Cove Nature Park.  Participants discussed a new program to help municipalities, school and fire districts and utility authorities adopt energy conservation measures to save tax dollars and improve the environment.

Continued from e-mail below

After Freeholder Director Joseph P. Donnelly opened the meeting, presentations were made by:
+ Joseph Sullivan, Business Energy Ombudsman from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities who spoke about the New Jersey Clean Energy Program

+ Mike Fischetti and Ray Johnson from Concord Engineering, who addressed Energy Saving Improvement Programs, Energy Conservation Measures, Power Purchasing Agreements, Performance Contracting Legislation, Solar Renewable Energy Certificates, Renewable Energy Certificates, Energy Efficiency Community Development Block Grants, and the BPU Energy Audit program

+ David Gerkens, Vice President of CGP&H, who outlined grant writing opportunities available through the Bridge Commission.

+ Brian Kowalski from Capehart and Scatchard, who addressed financing mechanisms which can be utilized to fund the implementation of energy conservation measures.

Missed the Energy Summit but want information shared there? Contact Gary LaVenia, (856) (856) 829-1900, ext. 242, glavenia@bcbridges.org.

Employees Recognized for Outstanding Service

Fifty-two Burlington County Bridge Commission employees recently received Certificates of Appreciation for their outstanding work and dedication to serving the Commission's customers.
Many of the employees were recognized for their work in the aftermath of a July 2 lightning strike on the Tacony-Palmyra toll plaza, which interrupted E-Z Pass service in all toll lanes.

Continued from e-mail below

Sergeants Bill Degroff and Sergeant John Shinske, Officer Mike Hunter, and Dispatcher Christine Nichols were recognized for their quick response to a drowning emergency in the Delaware River on July 3.
Sergeant Jason Bowen was recognized for excellent police work following a head-on collision on July 5 that briefly closed the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge.
Officer Dave George was recognized for his timely response and assistance to an elderly motorist locked inside his own vehicle on July 4.
Congratulations to all for giving their best to the Commission and the people it serves!

PCNP Summer Day Camps -- A Favorite!

In July, 24 campers from 5 municipalities and 2 counties attended the 5-day program, during which they identified deer and fox tracks, found a nest of turtle eggs, hiked to a fox den, and witnessed a red-tailed hawk clutching a squirrel in its talons. Indoors, campers met the "Turtle Lady" and her turtles and got an up-close look at a 3-foot ball python.

Continued from e-mail below

Sounds of Nature Summer Camp is happening this week. In addition to enjoying performances from "Symphony in C" campers will enjoy instrumental listening scavenger hunts, build instruments from objects found in the Cove, and create art inspired by music and nature.

The "Best Spot for Nature Lovers"

Palmyra Cove Nature Park is the "best spot for nature lovers", according to SJ Magazine, which recently issued its ninth annual survey of the best of South Jersey.








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