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Public Information » E-Newsletter » E-Newsletter Sept 09

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

   Minimize

“GREENBACKS TO GO GREEN”

Bridge Commission To Lend Funds for Local Energy Audits and Projects

The Bridge Commission has announced its “Greenbacks to Go Green” program, a clean energy program which will provide “up-front funding” for Burlington County municipalities and schools to allow them to perform cost-saving energy audits on their facilities and buildings.

 Continued from e-mail below

The Commission’s program, one of many shared services initiatives undertaken by the Commission, will also help participants construct energy-efficient measures identified from the energy audits and will offer financing for these projects at low interest rates. 
 
“We heard the concerns of municipal officials at the Energy Conservation Summit we held in June,” said John B. Comegno II, referring to the June 16th event hosted by the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Bridge Commission. “And we asked ourselves how the Bridge Commission could respond to the needs of the towns. ‘Greenbacks to Go Green’ was the answer.”
 
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) offers a program which will reimburse local government entities the costs of performing energy audits. However, many local officials have indicated they could not afford the up-front costs, and haven’t included them in their budgets.
 
Freeholder Director Joseph B. Donnelly, who also participated in the energy summit, said that “this innovative program will not only provide dollars that the towns need to get started, it also will assist in the financing of projects.
 
“This is a critically important shared service initiative that enables towns and schools to explore renewable energy opportunities and to reap the advantage of long-term cost savings they can pass on to the taxpayers,” Donnelly added. 
 
Comegno and Donnelly said reaction to the Commission’s program has already been positive.
 
"By providing up-front funding for this worthwhile program, the Bridge Commission is making it possible for us to participate," said Luis Crespo, Beverly City Council President.
 
"The Commission's help is a saving grace for small municipalities," Medford Lakes Borough Manager Geoffrey Urbanik added.
 
The Commission’s three-pronged program (described in Fact Sheet, link provided below) will create a revolving loan fund of up to $500,000 to make funds available to local governments, at zero percent interest, to fund the upfront costs of the energy audits. The NJBPU will reimburse local governments 75% of the costs incurred to perform the audit; and will reimburse the remaining 25% when audit recommendations are implemented. Participants will repay the Commission when they receive reimbursement funds from the State.
 
“As a former Mayor, I can see of no reason for towns not to avail themselves of this shared service,” said Vice Chairperson Priscilla B. Anderson. “
 
Through its well-established pooled loan program, the Commission also plans to offer financing that will provide favorable interest rates for participants to implement the recommendations which result from the audits. 
 
“In short, this initiative is a winner on several levels: conserving energy, saving costs, and creating jobs. We couldn’t be more pleased to continue to help our neighbors,” concluded 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. The Commission’s grantwriting services have resulted in 22 municipalities receiving a total of more than $6.7 Million in funding, all at no cost to the taxpayers.

"Greenbacks to Go Green" Fact Sheet

Commission’s Innovative Bridge Inspection Equipment Slashes Costs, Enhances Safety, & Reduces Traffic Delays


The Burlington County Bridge Commission unveiled a new “Traveler System,” an innovative, motorized rolling platform that 

will revolutionize bridge inspections of the Burlington-Bristol Bridge, provide a higher level of safety for motorists and workers, and save the Commission thousands of dollars.

Continued from e-mail below

“This equipment will allow our staff and engineers to safely literally hang from the underside of our bridge, to perform up-close inspections and routine maintenance,” said John B. Comegno II, Commission Chairman. “And the best part is that we no longer need to rent an expensive piece of equipment that used to block one full lane of traffic on a two-lane span,” he added, referring to the “snooper,” an underbridge crane that had to be parked on the bridge roadway.
 
The traveler system consists of a platform that rolls, or “travels” along the underside of the Burlington-Bristol Bridge, and a motorized system that moves vertically along the length of the bridge and spans its entire width. Engineers and maintenance workers can safely and easily stand on the platform surface, which can accommodate more than one person, something not possible with the snooper, which contained a “bucket” that held one inspector and was raised and lowered to parts of the structure.
 
“Zero inconvenience for the motoring public—that’s what this traveler system comes down to,” said Vice Chairwoman Priscilla B. Anderson. Because the new equipment is under the bridge, it eliminates any inconvenience to motorists crossing the river.
 
Using the traveler system will also mean significant savings for the Commission: “The cost to rent a traveler system for one month is what it previously cost us at the Burlington-Bristol Bridge to rent a snooper for one day,” added Chairman Troy E. Singleton. 
 
Comegno credited Commission maintenance staff’s initiative, having approached Commissioners about the innovative system. “Our maintenance staff is second to none,” he said. “It was their idea to investigate and ultimately acquire this system. This is the kind of forward-thinking that sets the Commission apart—and makes us a pioneer in bridge maintenance.”

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. The Commission’s grantwriting services have resulted in 22 municipalities receiving a total of more than $6.7 Million in funding, all at no cost to the taxpayers.

Bridge Commission and Palmyra Police Departments Participate In Statewide DWI Crackdown

Shared Service Initiative Puts Public Safety First

The Burlington County Bridge Commission Police Department, in conjunction with the Palmyra Police Department, conducted a DWI sobriety checkpoint on Route 73 North last weekend. The shared service initiative, staffed by members of both police forces, is designed to help curtail impaired drivers along Route 73, a heavily traveled thoroughfare in Palmyra.

Continued from e-mail below

Each department received a $6,000 Highway Traffic Safety grant from the “Over the Limit, Under Arrest” statewide DWI crackdown to support this effort. The grants provide participating departments funding for DWI enforcement from August 21 through September 7.
 
“Sharing services is about saving ---usually it’s about saving money but this joint initiative is also about saving lives,” said John B. Comegno II, BCBC Chairman. “While the Commission has already saved Burlington County taxpayers more than $13 million dollars from our economic development efforts, there’s no telling how many lives will be saved by this dual-force mission.”
 
Palmyra Mayor John Gural agrees: “Working with the Burlington County Bridge Commission, and sharing services in general, is a critical part of our strategy to reduce costs for Palmyra and county residents alike.” “We greatly appreciate this particular joint effort however, because it also gives us the chance to take drunk drivers off our streets and make our community a safer place.”
 
In addition to the checkpoint, the BCBC Police Department has increased its roving individual patrols during for the two-week period.
 
“I know firsthand that joint efforts like this keep the motoring public safe, prevent accidents on and around our bridge, and ultimately, save lives,” said Bridge Commission Police Captain Bruce Herbst.
 
“These DWI checkpoint operations have been highly successful in detecting and deterring persons under the influence of alcohol/drugs or with dangerous equipment violations,” said Lt. Scott Perlman from the Palmyra Police Department. 
 
“I commend the Palmyra and BCBC Bridge Police Departments for a job well done and appreciate Chairman Comegno's efforts in promoting shared services,” added Gural.
 
Gural is among those who recognize the Bridge Commission’s leadership in shared services, an initiative that Chairman Comegno remains committed to. The Commission’s shared services include:
• Rancocas Creek cleanup project: Burlington County’s largest shared service initiative to date and a model for flood control removed 300 tons of debris from 41 different debris fields in the first leg of the creek at no cost to local municipalities; work on the next stretch begins in September. 
• Justice Assistance Grants (JAG): from grant applications sponsored by the Bridge Commission and Freeholders, 17 Burlco municipalities will receive $421,125 in funding from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Edward Byrne Memorial JAG program.
• Cuts in small town aid: the Commission analyzed the impact of mandated regionalization on small town aid on behalf of 25 Burlco towns, assisted towns in meeting revised COAH requirements, facilitated grant applications for feasibility studies for sharing municipal services, and ultimately released a 21-page report.

Bridge Commission Advances Rancocas Creek Clean-up; Awards Contract for Reach 3

The removal of flood-causing debris from the South Branch of the Rancocas Creek moved another major step forward with the Burlington County Bridge Commission awarding a contract to a Malaga firm to begin the massive clean-up work on another three-mile “reach” by the end of this month.

Continued from e-mail below

The creek clean-up project—which is a joint shared service initiative of the bridge commission, the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and the impacted municipalities—began last August. That initial phase resulted in the removal of 300 tons of debris from 1.4 miles of the Rancocas Creek by NuPump Construction, which also submitted the low bid to clean-up the next section.
 
“Burlington County residents bore the brunt of more than $25 million in damages to their homes and businesses from storms in 2004 and 2007,” said Chairman John B. Comegno II. “We don’t want that to happen again. That’s why the Bridge Commission is again partnering with the County for a project that won’t cost residents a dime.”
 
Freeholder Director Joseph B. Donnelly reaffirmed the County’s commitment, referring to the County’s waiving the fee for disposal of debris in the County landfill, which will save thousands of dollars: “Local taxpayers in Medford, Southampton, and Lumberton are being spared the enormous cost of clearing debris from the creek,” said Donnelly, “as well as the threat of future flooding, given the pledges from township officials to engage volunteers to keep the creek clear of debris.”
 
Southampton Township Mayor James Young said that the township would work with the Freeholders and Bridge Commission to keep the creek clear of debris through volunteer creek maintenance in the weeks and months ahead. “We will engage environmental and other civic organizations to work with us, to ensure that the creek is cleaned on a regular basis, and that it remains free flowing and free of debris,” said Young. “I look forward to working with other mayors to achieve the same result.”
 
A total of 60 obstruction fields have been identified in Reach 3, the most downstream reach which extends three miles from Eayrestown-Newbolds Road to Main Street in Lumberton Township. Work will begin later this month, according to a schedule developed by GSE, LLC, the construction administrator for this project. GSE developed the plan for clearing the creek including detailed inspection and assessment of creek segments, mapping, environmental permitting, and identification of access points. GSE will oversee all work on this initiative and will be on-site for the duration of the project, which is expected to be complete by January 2010.
 
NuPump Construction, of Malaga, NJ, is credited with the successful clearing of 1.4 miles of Reach 1, a job that began last September and finished within the 90 days stipulated in the contract, in December of last year. They were the lowest responsive bidder, having submitted a not-to-exceed bid amount of $845,000 for Reach 3 of the clearing project.
 
The remaining two reaches, which total nearly 5 miles, are located in Lumberton and Medford:
  1. Reach 2 flows from the Landing Street Bridge to the bridge crossing at Eayrestown Newbolds Road in Lumberton Township; the stretch of the Rancocas is approximately 2.8 miles long.
  2. Reach 4 is the northern most segment of what is commonly known as the Southwest Branch of the Rancocas Creek, located in Medford Township, approximately 500 feet south of the border with Lumberton Township; the portion of the creek is about 2.1 miles long.
Applications for government stimulus loan funds for Reaches 2 through 4 are still pending. 
 
“This is the ultimate shared service,” said Comegno. “Not only is it Burlington County’s largest shared service initiative to date, but it also has been singled out by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson as a model for flood control. And it’s also a model for what can be accomplished when government and municipalities work together.”
 
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. The Commission’s grantwriting services have resulted in 22 municipalities receiving a total of more than $6.7 Million in funding, all at no cost to the taxpayers.

 

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