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Public Information » Press Releases » 2009 Press Releases
 2009 Press Releases Minimize

2009 Press Releases

12/8/09
11/9/09

Comegno Reappointed Bridge Commission Chairman 
Vows to Continue Shared Services and Tax Relief Initiatives

10/14/09
10/5/09

Rancocas Creek Clearing Moves on to Lumberton
Local and County Officials Kick Off Phase Two Of Debris Removal Project

9/9/09
9/9/09
9/9/09

“Greenbacks to go Green”
Bridge Commission To Lend Funds for Local Energy Audits and Projects

8/27/09
8/14/09
8/11/09
7/22/09
6/12/09
5/12/09

Commission’s Grant Assistance Secures $5 Million for Burlco Municipalities
Burlco Agency Continues Tax-Saving Measures
 

4/22/09
Commission Forges Ahead with Rancocas Creek Clean-up
Joint Effort of Freeholders and Commission Prevents Future Flooding
3/10/09
1/13/09
1/13/09

Click here for archived press releases

 
FOR RELEASE 12/8/09
Burlington County Bridge Commission Wins $10.9 Million Insurance Claim
Bridge Piers to be Repaired with Proceeds
Palmyra, NJ – The Burlington County Bridge Commission has won a $10.9 million reimbursement claim against Lloyd’s of London for damages to the fenders surrounding piers of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge.
 
Commission Solicitor Carmen Saginario Jr. of Capehart & Scatchard reported to the Commissioners that final settlement documents with Lloyd’s of London have been exchanged and that payment is expected this week, ending a nearly three-year litigation in which the Commission sought reimbursement under its insurance policy with Lloyd’s.
 
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of this dispute and the vigorous representation of the Commission by our legal team,” said Chairman John Comegno. Saginario briefed the Commission at its December 8 meeting and noted that the dispute with Lloyd’s began in February 2003 when the triangular fender nosing at Pier E, which protects the bridge pier, was observed missing during a severe ice flow on the river. At that time, at the direction of the Bridge Commission, divers located the fender on the river bottom approximately 100 feet from its original location, the Commission made a claim with Lloyd’s, and constructed a temporary fender around the pier. 
 
After nearly four years of negotiations to settle the claim, Lloyd’s sued the Commission in February 2007 seeking a declaration that an original up-front payment of $1.5 million by Lloyd’s was the limit of its coverage. After rounds of court appearances, depositions, and other discovery were conducted by Saginario and Anthony Drollas of Capehart & Scatchard, an order of partial summary judgment was entered in the Superior Court in the Commission’s favor.
 
“The judge’s decision in our favor validated the Commission’s position all along that it was entitled to reimbursement for the damages suffered in 2003,” added Saginario.
 
“Having testified myself in this case, I know firsthand how complex the legal and engineering issues were,” said Vice Chairperson Priscilla B. Anderson. “Capehart’s lawyers and our engineers at Pennoni brought the expertise and skill that made this recovery a reality.”
 
 “The Commission’s plans to use these funds to replace the fenders as part of its capital program is just another example of the Commission’s aggressive bridge safety and maintenance initiatives and its putting people to work,” 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 $14 million dollars and more than $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 11/9/09
Comegno Reappointed Bridge Commission Chairman
Vows to Continue Shared Services and Tax Relief Initiatives
Palmyra—At its November 10th reorganization meeting, Burlington County Bridge Commissioners re-elected John Comegno to serve as Chairman. Comegno reaffirmed his threefold commitment—to taxpayers, toll-payers, and the environment—as he looked ahead to the Commission continuing to keep its bridges safe and affordable, while at the same time providing tax relief and jobs to Burlington County residents. Priscilla B. Anderson was also re-elected to the position of Vice-Chairwoman.
 
“Internally, there’s accountability. Technologically, there’s safe bridges and unprecedented innovation and collaboration. Economically and in the area of shared services, there’s steadfast commitment,” said Chairman Comegno, referring to reforms enacted at his direction, the Commission’s “smart technology” partnership with Drexel University, and projects like the Rancocas Creek cleanup which are saving Burlington County taxpayers millions of dollars. “I’m proud to continue to serve as the Commission’s chairman, and to continue to work with my fellow Commissioners and the great people here at the Commission who do the work that provides safe bridges and tax relief for our citizens.”
 
The Commission also adopted its annual notice of meetings, which includes evening meetings to make them more accessible to the public.
 
Commissioners also affirmed their commitment to the positive initiatives they’ve undertaken. “We will continue to hold the line on tolls while we help the taxpayers of Burlington County,” said Vice Chairwoman Anderson. “Just because the economy is showing some signs of recovery doesn’t mean that people are back on their feet financially.”
 
Commissioner Singleton added that the Commission should continue its efforts to be involved in programs that put residents to work. “From the ‘Greenbacks to Go Green’ energy program, to the improvement projects in our host cities, the Commission’s economic development programs are helping people go back to work,” said Singleton. “And that’s one of my priorities.”
 
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 $6.9 Million in funding, all at no cost to the taxpayers.
For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417-4088

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FOR RELEASE 10/14/09
Tacony-Palmyra Bridge: Living Laboratory for Engineering Students
Drexel Receives Grant for Tacony-Palmyra Bridge to be “Learning Bridge”
Palmyra—The Burlington County Bridge Commission announced today that the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge will be transformed into the first “living laboratory” for engineering students from Rowan University and other local colleges as part of two federal grants awarded to Drexel University in the amount of $900,000. This unprecedented, cutting-edge educational initiative, developed by Pennoni Associates (the Commission’s resident engineer) and Drexel University, will ultimately enhance the safety and improve the Commission’s historically significant bridges.
 
The first and only educational opportunity of its kind, this collaborative research program will explore how to use technology to transform real structures into living laboratories and project them into the classroom. The program will also challenge the way engineers are trained by observing and monitoring how active bridges are designed, operated, and managed over their lifecycles.  
 
“First, Drexel and Pennoni brought us smart technology. Now, the Bridge Commission can literally change the way engineers learn while it reaps direct benefits from their real-time studies,” said Commission Chairman John Comegno. “This is a win-win for the Commission, for the motoring public and for the students who have an opportunity for hands-on experiences at our facilities.”   
 
David Lowdermilk, Vice President for Pennoni, stressed the importance of the collaboration, “Without a real live bridge on which to do this work, and a Bridge Commission with foresight to support sound and innovative engineering and education, this grant would never have been possible. In fact, it probably would have been rejected.”
 
Lowdermilk also indicated that in this highly competitive National Science Foundation grant program, only 5% of applicants actually are awarded grants. And while it is rare for an institution to receive one grant, it is an even bigger honor to be awarded two grants.
 
As the primary learning tool in this grant, the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge will be equipped with $200,000 worth of monitoring instrumentation and other smart technology provided by the NSF grant funding. That equipment, provided at no cost to the Commission, will be used by educators across the U.S. and even the world to teach their students.
Dr. Franklin Moon, one of the Drexel University experts involved in the partnership between the school and Pennoni Associates, presented the Bridge Commission with a letter of appreciation for the Commission’s innovative work. “In ancient times, engineers and architects were trained by observing bridges and other structures,” said Moon. “After the 1950s, ‘applied science’ became the preferred curriculum for engineering education and lecture-based instruction became the norm—live observation and learning through experience became a thing of the past. There is no question that this collaborative research project offers an outstanding opportunity to develop a new and more effective civil and environmental engineering education program.”  
“Having been an educator myself, I am thrilled that today’s students will benefit from this initiative—and will learn from actual data being sent from our bridges to the classroom live via the internet,” said Priscilla B. Anderson, Commission Vice-Chairwoman. 
 
“As a member of the Board of Trustees of Rowan University, I am excited by the prospects of this partnership between the Bridge Commission, Rowan and other fine universities in pioneering a new way to teach engineering studies,” 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 $14 million dollars. The Commission’s grantwriting services have resulted in 22 municipalities receiving a total of more than $6.9 Million in funding, all at no cost to the taxpayers.
For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417-4088.

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FOR RELEASE 10/5/09
Rancocas Creek Clearing Moves on to Lumberton
Local and County Officials Kick Off Phase Two Of Debris Removal Project
Large cranes and heavy equipment operators have returned to the banks of the Rancocas Creek, and today local and county officials were on site to greet them as phase two of the major debris clean-up project got underway.
 
The site of today’s ceremonial creek cleaning “kick-off” was Ironwood Outdoor Center, an 84-acre recreational area that is situated less than a mile upstream from downtown Lumberton, where 200 residents were flooded from their homes in July of 2004. Many found themselves in a similar situation when another flood-causing storm hit the area in April 2007. 

 “This is both an environmental investment and an economic investment of no small magnitude,” said John Comegno, Chairman of the Burlington County Bridge Commission. 

 

 “Homes and businesses sustained more than $25 million in damage as a result of the storms of 2004 and 2007,” Comegno continued. “The experts agree: removing tons of fallen trees and other debris is an important step in helping to mitigate future flooding.”
 
Comegno was joined by Burlington County Freeholder Director Joseph Donnelly, Lumberton Deputy Mayor James Conway, Jr. and Committeeman Patrick Delaney, Medford Mayor Dave Brown and Councilwoman Mary Ann O’Brien, and Southampton Mayor Jim Young.
 
Together, the bridge commission, freeholders, and impacted communities have engaged in the massive creek cleaning project as a shared services initiative. But the commission has borne the major cost, and awarded an $845,000 contract to NuPump Construction of Malaga to undertake the second phase.
 
NuPump will be removing debris from 60 obstruction fields in a three-mile stretch of the creek located entirely in Lumberton. Identified as Reach 3, it flows from Eayrestown-Newbolds Road to Main Street.
“I don’t think anyone can erase from their minds the photos and videos of our residents standing outside their flood-ravaged homes and businesses,” said Deputy Mayor Conway. “We are extremely appreciative of the commitment that the freeholders and bridge commission have made to cleaning the creek.”
 
Freeholder Director Donnelly said the County would absorb the cost of disposing the timber and other debris at the county landfill complex, a tipping fee that would otherwise top $40,000.
 
“The good news is that this project, even when all four of the targeted reaches have been totally cleared, won’t cost local taxpayers a cent,” said Donnelly. “If you’re looking for a shared services project that truly saves the towns money, this is it.”
 
NuPump also won the contract to clear Reach 1 and, in the fall of last year, successfully cleared 29 debris fields from a 1.4-mile stretch of the creek in Southampton. This section of the creek included the area from Vincentown Mill Dam to Landing Street.
 
The work is labor intensive. According to James Streit, Vice President of NuPump, the cranes can’t reach all areas of the creek, so many trees have to be cut into smaller pieces and floated to access points where they can be removed.
 
The bridge commission has applied for federal stimulus dollars to clear the remaining two reaches, which includes:
  • Reach 2, which 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.
  • Reach 4 represents the northern most segment of what is commonly known as the Southwest Branch of the Rancocas Creek. The majority of the segment is located in Lumberton Township. The most upstream segment is located in Medford Township, approximately 500 feet south of the border with Lumberton Township; this portion of the creek is about 2.1 miles long.
 John Scillia with GSE Civil/Environmental Engineers said the entire project involves clearing some 187 debris fields that his firm has identified in over nine miles of creek. 
 
The towns, for their part, will be working to harness the energy of volunteers in future years to undertake annual debris clearing projects, in hopes of minimizing shoaling that can hamper stream flow.
 
“When you remove the heavy debris, the difference in the creek is night and day,” said Southampton Mayor Young. “You can actually see the water flowing more quickly, the way it should.”
 
Medford has already tackled the task of clearing a portion of the southwest branch, which flows into Reach 4. Mayor Brown and Councilwoman O’Brien introduced Bernie Mayer, a local resident who mobilized volunteers to clear some of the debris in a two-mile portion that flows between Medford Park in downtown Medford to Kirby’s Mill, not far from the Lumberton border.
 
“The story is that Bernie was bold enough to come to council and ask if something could be done to clear the creek for canoeing,” quipped Brown. “He was immediately given the volunteer job of Canoe Trail Chairman.”
 
Andrew Giles, Director of Ironwood, said he also saw the creek clearing as a positive development for recreation, especially for canoes and kayakers who drop in near the center. But Giles also vividly recalls the 2004 flood.
 
“The water rose so high that you couldn’t see our building,” he said. “The only thing left exposed was the roof.”   

 

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

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FOR RELEASE 9/9/09
Bridge Commission Advances Rancocas Creek Clean-up
Awards Contract for Reach 3
Palmyra—The removal of flood-causing debris from the South Branch of the Rancocas Creek moved another major step forward today 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.
 
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:
  • 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.
  •  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.
For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417-4088.

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FOR RELEASE 9/9/09
Commission’s Innovative Bridge Inspection Equipment Slashes Costs, Enhances Safety, & Reduces Traffic Delays
Burlington—Today, 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.
 
“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.
For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417-4088.

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FOR RELEASE 9/9/09
“GREENBACKS TO GO GREEN”
Bridge Commission To Lend Funds for Local Energy Audits and Projects
Palmyra—The Bridge Commission today unveiled 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. 
 
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 the attached Fact Sheet) 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.
For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417-4088.

 

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FOR RELEASE 8/27/09
Bridge Commission and Palmyra Police Departments Participate In Statewide DWI  Crackdown
Shared Service Initiative Puts Public Safety First
Palmyra---The Burlington County Bridge Commission (BCBC) Police Department, in conjunction with the Palmyra Police Department, will be conducting a DWI sobriety checkpoint on Route 73 North this weekend. The shared service initiative, staffed by members of both police forces, will help curtail impaired drivers along Route 73, a heavily traveled thoroughfare in Palmyra.
   
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.
 
(left to right) Caption Bruce Herbst of the Burlington County Bridge Commission Police Department with Lt. John Lippincott and Lt. Scott Perlman of the Palmyra Police Department.
“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. 
 
The Burlington County Bridge Commission Police Department and the Palmyra Police Department offer the following tips:
- If you plan to drink, designate a driver
- 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.
- 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.
 
“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.
 
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 $6 million 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 8/14/09
17 Burlco Towns Awarded $680,000 in Grants from Bridge Commission/County-Sponsored Applications
Return on Commission Investment now Twenty-one to One  
Palmyra—As a result of another Shared Services initiative of the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Burlington County Bridge Commission, 17 municipalities will receive $421,125 in funding from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program and one town will receive $260,500 from New Jersey’s Department of Transportation.
 
While the Bridge Commission covered the expense of the grant applications, the Freeholders waived the 10% administrative fee it was entitled to as the lead agency and will also serve as the fiscal agent for the JAG award, handling grant administration and required reporting functions. By providing those services at no costs to the municipalities, the program allows all the funds to go directly to the local municipalities, thus ensuring that the JAG funds have the largest possible positive impact.
 
The Edward Byrne Memorial JAG program funds innovative programs to address drug and violent crime issues and improve New Jersey’s criminal justice system. Grant monies will be used to expand or continue policing and public safety initiatives in Bordentown Township, Burlington City, Burlington Township, Cinnaminson, Delran, Edgewater, Evesham, Lumberton, Maple Shade, Moorestown, Mount Holly, Mount Laurel, Palmyra, Pemberton, Riverside, Westampton, and Willingboro.
 
Palmyra received the Safe Streets to Transit grant, which is part of NJDOT’s Bikeways Fund program. Funding will be used to complete the Borough’s local portion of the Heritage Trail, a regional pathway along the Delaware River that is shared between several New Jersey and Pennsylvania municipalities.
 
“This grant initiative is yet another demonstration of the Bridge Commission’s continuing commitment to shared services,” said Commission Chairman John B. Comegno II. “And it’s another shining example of what can be accomplished when government entities work together—these shared services initiatives are a win-win for Burlington County towns and their taypayers,”
 
Said Freeholder Director Joseph B. Donnelly, “To the credit of the various towns, they will make good use of these grant dollars, and have identified specific programs and purchases to bolster local law enforcement. The county’s administering of the grant should facilitate disbursement, and ensure the funds are put to work sooner than later.”
 
Of the 17 applications filed on behalf of municipal police departments, all 17 were awarded. Each allocation will be used for activities and projects that will provide meaningful and measurable outcomes consistent with the goals of the Recovery Act to include: funding for a special patrol squad to disrupt gang activities, computer and technology equipment, crime analysis software, mobile radios, a reverse 911 system, GPS for police tactical and safety equipment, and other equipment for law enforcement.
 
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 $6,759,342 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 21:1 return on investment for Commission-sponsored grant applications.
 
“Whether it’s saving our tollpayers from a toll increase or saving financially strapped towns and their taxpayers from the financial and economic development impact of another flood, 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. 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.
For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417-4088.

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FOR RELEASE 8/11/09
Commission: “Clean-Up of Next Stretch of Debris-Filled Rancocas Creek A Go”
Freeholders and Commission Fulfill Commitment to Aid Flood-Ravaged Towns
Palmyra—Commissioners announced today that they are moving forward with Burlington County’s largest shared service initiative to date, a partnership among the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Bridge Commission, and local municipalities that will save taxpayers millions of dollars by removing tons of debris that caused devastating flooding in Lumberton, Southampton, and Medford.
 
“Shared services bring property tax relief, but this one also saves people from ruinous financial and personal loss,” said Chairman John B. Comegno II, referring to the more than $25 million in flood damage to homes and businesses caused by previous storms, including $8.5 million in damage during the April 2007 storm alone. “We’ve said in the past that the Bridge Commission is committed to seeing this project through all four reaches, so we are here, putting up the dollars to make this happen—all with no toll increase at our two bridges.”
   
“We are pleased to once again partner with the Bridge Commission to move this project forward,” said Freeholder Director Joseph B. Donnelly, who committed to waiving the County’s fee for disposal of the debris in the County landfill, which will save thousands of dollars. “The short term benefit is that local taxpayers in Medford, Southampton and Lumberton are being spared the enormous cost of clearing debris from the creek. The long term benefit is that it will mitigate flooding and, with the future assistance of the affected towns, who will assemble volunteers to keep the waterway clear, will avoid the millions of dollars in damage to so many downtown businesses and homes in 2004 and 2007.”
 
Southampton Township Mayor James Young said that the township would work with the Bridge Commission and Freeholders to keep the creek clear of debris by encouraging volunteer creek maintenance in the weeks and months ahead. “We will do whatever we can to 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, which extends three miles from Eayrestown-Newbolds Road to Main Street in Lumberton Township. The Commission anticipates awarding the contract in early September and beginning work later that month, according to a schedule developed by GSE, LLC, the engineering firm overseeing the project. The project is expected to be complete by January.

The remaining two reaches, which total nearly 5 miles, are located in Lumberton and Medford:
  • 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.
  • 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, but in an effort to clear the creek as soon as practicable, the Commission is initiating the project by putting the most downstream reach (Reach 3) out to bid. 
 
“We did the responsible thing—first, by trying to fund this enormous project with outside sources, and second, by remaining true to our commitment to see it through, whether or not the federal funds are available,” said Vice Chairwoman Priscilla B. Anderson. “Proceeding with Reach 3 is proof positive we’re in this for the long haul.” 
 
Commissioner Troy E. Singleton added, “This is just one more initiative of the Commission aimed at saving or creating jobs for our Burlington County residents. A lot of families suffered as a result of the floods of 2004 and 2007.”
 
“Whether it’s saving our tollpayers from a toll increase or saving financially strapped towns and their taxpayers from the financial and economic development impact of another flood, the Bridge Commission is determined to be a good neighbor,” said Comegno. “This ultimate cooperative effort, among the Freeholders, the Bridge Commission, and local community members, will go a long way toward improving not only the creek, but also the lives of Burlington County residents as well.”
 
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.
For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417-4088.

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FOR RELEASE 7/22/09
No Toll Increase for Tacony-Palmyra & Burlington-Bristol Bridges
Commission Cuts Budget and Follows County Lead in Proposing Hiring and Salary Freeze

 Palmyra—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.

 “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.

 


 

During the meeting, more than 50 Bridge Commission employees were recognized for their performance in the aftermath of the lightning strike that hit the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge toll plaza on July 3rd. Here, Toll Collector Gail Fortino receives a certificate of appreciation from Bridge Commission Chairman John B. Comegno II.

 

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.

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

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FOR RELEASE Friday, 6/12/09
Freeholders and Bridge Commission Host First-Ever “Energy Conservation Summit”
Free Event Will Show Burlco Municipalities How to Save Energy and Costs
Palmyra—The Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Burlington County Bridge Commission are hosting the first-ever Burlington County Energy Conservation Summit Tuesday, June 16th at the Palmyra Cove Nature Park Environmental Education Center. Speakers at the free event will explain energy-saving programs, grants available to fund program applications, and financing options to implement green initiatives. 
   
“There’s a lot of talk right now about ‘going green’ but this summit will offer tangible resources for saving energy and reducing energy costs,” said Freeholder Director Joseph B. Donnelly. “Municipalities, authorities, and schools can’t afford to miss this.”

Presenters will outline programs offered through the State and the Board of Public Utilities, grant opportunities which may assist organizations in meeting the new challenge, and money-saving financing opportunities like pooled loans. Attendees will hear how the Commission can assist them in taking advantage of these offerings.
 
Previously, the Bridge Commission sponsored preparation of applications for municipalities, authorities, and schools for the NJBPU’s Energy Audit Program, coordinated and procured contractors to implement the energy-conservation measures identified in the audits, and offered attractive, low-cost financing to purchase equipment related to implementing audit recommendations. Applications are in process on behalf of the Bridge Commission and 8 municipalities.
 
“This Energy Summit is the next logical step in the process,” said John B. Comegno II. “Attendees will walk away with more than information—they’ll walk away with a plan to not only save energy but to save dollars as well.”
A representative from the NJBPU will give details about energy-saving improvement programs like the NJ Clean Energy Program including the purpose of the program, potential audit findings, and how organizations can comply with audit recommendations.
 
Other presenters include David Gerkens, Vice President of Communities Grants Planning and Housing, an East-Windsor-based firm with expertise in soliciting county, state, federal, and private sector grant and low-interest loan programs; Mike Fischetti and Ray Johnson of Concord Engineering Group, a mechanical, electrical, and energy consulting firm that was the key speaker at Governor Corzine’s bill signing for the Combined Heat & Power stimulus; and Brian Kowalski of Capehart & Scatchard, who will address money-saving financing opportunities.
Added Chairman Comegno, “Now more than ever, our taxpayers need the relief this kind of shared service brings.” 

*    *    *
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.

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

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FOR RELEASE Tuesday, 5/12/09
Commission’s Grant Assistance Secures $5 Million for Burlco Municipalities
Burlco Agency Continues Tax-Saving Measures 
Palmyra—At today’s meeting of the Burlington County Bridge Commission, Commissioners announced that $3.67 million dollars in federal funds recently awarded to Willingboro and Burlington City resulted from grant applications prepared on behalf of the towns by the Commission.
 
“Through the Bridge Commission’s work with Community Grants, Planning, and Housing (CGP&H), we have brought more than $5.2 million to cash-strapped towns in Burlington County,” said Commission Chairman John B. Comegno II. “This is just the latest success from our aggressive plan to garner all the dollars available for municipalities,” he added.
 
Willingboro and Burlington City were awarded $2 million and $1.67 million, respectively, from grant applications prepared by CGP&H for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The federal program is intended to acquire, restore, and rehabilitate homes in neighborhoods threatened by crime and blight and remarket them to low-income families. Funds are part of the $700 billion Federal bailout that is targeted to aid communities in addressing foreclosures; towns can receive $2.5 million per neighborhood, up to the max. 
 
Deputy Mayor of Willingboro Township, Paul L. Stephenson, Ed.D., applauded the successful partnership: “We appreciate the exemplary work of the Burlington County Bridge Commission to make this happen.”
 
Last December the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders asked the Commission to prepare grant applications on behalf of Burlco towns. “We directed staff to make it a priority to help towns get the funds they are entitled to—and desperately need,” said Vice-Chairwoman Priscilla B. Anderson.
 
Additional grants being pursued by CGP&H, as per Commission direction, include:
  • COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP), which provides funding for hiring and rehiring of additional career law enforcement officers. Applications have been submitted for 4 municipalities.
  • NJ Board of Public Utilities Energy Audit Program, a state incentive program which will reimburse municipal and county governments costs of performing energy audits of their facilities. Applications are in process on behalf of the Bridge Commission and 8 municipalities.
  • The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, a program which funds innovative programs to address drug and violent crime issues and improve New Jersey’s criminal justice system. Applications are in process on behalf of 17 municipalities.
  • Centers of Place, which provides funds to support non-traditional transportation improvements that advance municipal growth management objectives. Applications are in process on behalf of 2 municipalities.
  • NJ Department of Transportation’s Transportation Enhancement Program, which is designed to foster more livable communities, preserve and protect environmental and cultural resources, and to promote alternative modes of transportation. Applications are in process on behalf of 2 municipalities.
  • NJ Department of Transportation Bikeways, which provides funds to promote bicycling as an alternate mode of transportation (e.g., constructing additional dedicated bike paths). Applications are in process on behalf of 2 municipalities.
  • NJ Department of Transportation Safe Streets to Transit, which provides funding to improve access to transit facilities and all nodes of public transportation and improve safety. Applications are in process on behalf of 1 municipality.
Community Grants, Planning and Housing (CGP&H) has expertise in soliciting county, state, federal, and private sector grant and low-interest loan programs.
 
Bridge Commissioners remain impressed with CGP&H’s return on investment—for every dollar spent, $22 in grants were awarded. Commissioner Troy E. Singleton said, “By partnering with CGP&H, the Commission is investing in our towns, saving our taxpayers millions of dollars. And with that rate of return, it’s money very well spent.” 
 
Added Chairman Comegno, “Now more than ever, our taxpayers need the relief this kind of shared service brings.” 
*    *    *
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.
 
For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417-4088.


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 FOR RELEASE Wednesday, 4/22/09
Commission Forges Ahead with Rancocas Creek Clean-up
Joint Effort of Freeholders and Commission Prevents Future Flooding
Palmyra—Burlington County Bridge Commissioners John B. Comegno II, Priscilla B. Anderson, and Troy E. Singleton reaffirmed the Commission’s commitment to the Rancocas Creek clean-up as the final three phases of the project were approved at today’s Commission meeting. A Shared Service project of the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders and Bridge Commission, the project will save taxpayers millions of dollars.
 
“Last year we removed 300 tons of debris from 29 different debris fields from the first leg of the creek in Southampton---now, water in the creek is flowing quickly and efficiently,” said Chairman Comegno. “And we won’t stop until the job is done,” he added, referring to the remaining three reaches in the Lumberton-Medford-Southampton watershed. “The Bridge Commission is committed to seeing this project through all four reaches, at no cost to local municipalities.”
 
The entire project is expected to be completed by late Fall 2009; by then, a total of 9.3 miles of creek will have been “desnagged” and 185 debris fields cleared.
 
“A free-flowing creek will go a long way to avoiding the flooding that caused more than $25 million in damage to homes and businesses in the storms of 2004 and 2007,” said Vice Chairwoman Priscilla B. Anderson. 
 
Commissioners saw firsthand the project’s significant impact to Reach 1 of the creek in a presentation from John Scillia, P.E., from Garden State Engineering, LLC, the engineering firm overseeing the project. “Before and after” photos evidenced the jams that plagued the creek before the work on Reach 1 started and the open and clear waterway that resulted after project completion.
   
 

The remaining three reaches, which total nearly 8 miles, are located in Southampton, Lumberton, and Medford:

 

  • 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.
  • Reach 3 continues in a northwest direction from Eayrestown Newbolds Road to Main Street in Lumberton Township; the section of the Rancocas is about 3 miles long.
  • 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.
 
“This is the ultimate shared services initiative---one that literally saved the day for financially strapped towns and their taxpayers, who wouldn’t be able to handle the financial and economic development impact of another flood,” 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 $13 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 Tuesday, 3/10/09
Palmyra Cove Nature Park and BCIT Students: Perfect Together
Outdoor Environmental Science Classroom Featured in NJN program this April
Palmyra—“It is the perfect place for my students and I to conduct a live study of ‘Earth as a System,’” said Burlington County Institute of Technology teacher John Moore, who brought 22 of his students to the Palmyra Cove Nature Park to conduct live studies of the weather and water. During the visit, which will be featured on NJN’s Classroom Close-up NJ television program on April 6, students used sophisticated equipment to sample water and measure weather from the park’s shoreline, which expands over one mile along the Delaware River.

BCIT instructor John Moore (left) shares information about how his students gathered weather and water data at Palmyra Cove Nature Park. BCIT students in background are (left to right) Tejay Marsh [somewhat obstructed], Kate Didenedetto, Brandon Rogers, and Anthony Rossi).

 
“Increasing the use of technology in the teaching of environmental science has been one of our goals for our outdoor classroom here at Palmyra Cove since the beginning,” said Clara Ruvolo, Director of the park. “The Annual Water Festival we host for elementary school children is part of a nationwide effort to teach students about water conservation and resource management. Now we’re extending our reach into the high school community. And we’re proud to partner with BCIT to make this goal a reality.” 

 

While BCIT's John Moore commented that with resources in Burlington County like Palmyra Cove Nature Park, he feels "we can revolutionize education," Bridge Commissioners were impressed with the work of these high school students and BCIT, the only high school in the US to have GLOBE status.

“We’re thrilled to once again share our outdoor classroom with educators and children who are interested in studying our environment by enjoying hands-on experiences at the Nature Cove,” said Bridge Commission Chairman John B. Comegno II. “We couldn’t be more pleased to add the 22 BCIT students to the 12,000 students who have already visited this treasure since its opening.”
 
During their day-long visit to the Nature Cove, students used hand-held Digital Lab equipment to electronically sample water and weather—they measured dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH of the water and air temperature, wind speed and humidity as part of weather studies. The 9th through 12th grade students in BCIT’s GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) Program took measurements using a scientific approach to studying the earth that is used by GLOBE, NASA, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Moore is a teacher of Geospatial Technologies and Director of GLOBE at BCIT.
 
Moore added, “It’s one thing to study environmental science from a textbook, and quite another to be able to touch, smell, and interact with it personally—that’s the reality at Palmyra Cove.”
 
The GLOBE program is a hands-on, international, primary and secondary school-based environmental science and education program financed by NASA and the National Science Foundation. Involved in GLOBE are students 5 to 18 years of age from more than 19,000 schools in 109 countries around the world. There are more than 36,000 GLOBE-trained teachers who have access to GLOBE resources; more than 16 million measurements have been contributed to the GLOBE database.
 
Classroom Close-up, NJ is a magazine program focusing on innovative projects happening in New Jersey public schools. The 30-minute weekly series on NJN Public Television features the students, teachers, school staff and communities who create and participate in successful school projects and events.
 
Palmyra Cove Nature Park is a 250-acre nature preserve located at the foot of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, which features a 10,000 square foot Environmental Discovery Center with   interactive exhibits, and 10 miles of trails through woodlands and wetlands (including a tidal marsh, tidal creek, pond, 1¼ mile river shoreline). It is open 7 days, year-round, sunrise to sunset, and is free to the public. Since its opening, PCNP has hosted 12,000 students, representing nearly 200 schools.
 
“Palmyra Cove is a great destination—it has a variety of ecosystems that not only expose students to how our Earth functions as a system but does so in a way that’s exciting for the students,” said John Moore. “It is an experience that my students always look forward too, and that’s good for learning.”
 *     *     *
 
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.

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

 
FOR RELEASE Tuesday, 1/13/09
Commission Highlights 2008 Successes in “State of the Bridge”
Capital Bridge Projects Commission’s Top Priority; Economic Development Outreach Brings Tax Relief to Region
Palmyra—Burlington County Bridge Commission Chairman John B. Comegno II provided a “State of the Bridge” at today’s Commission meeting, highlighting major capital projects to the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, the Commission and Freeholders’ joint efforts to clean up the Rancocas Creek, and economic development initiatives that delivered significant savings for taxpayers and towns.
 
“2008 was more than just the year of ‘no toll increase’ at our bridges,” said Chairman Comegno. “It was the year we began to clean up the Rancocas Creek, ramped up our already aggressive bridge maintenance program, and gave tax relief to Burlington County residents in ways even we hadn’t envisioned.”
 
Comegno outlined the Commission’s major achievements for the year:
 
  • Rancocas Creek cleanup: removal of 300 tons of debris from 41 different debris fields from the first leg of the creek in Southampton at no cost to local municipalities
  • Palmyra Cove Nature Park agreement: saved 50 acres of nature park from future deposit of of dredge materials
  • Smart technology” capital projects: added “smart technology” to grid deck at Tacony-Palmyra Bridge and bearings with load cells at Burlington-Bristol Bridge, both now in design phase
  • Small Business Revolving Loan Program: earmarked $500,000 in economic initiative funds for the County’s small business revolving loan program, the goal of which is to assist small businesses and create jobs
  • Bridge maintenance capital projects: south abutment work on the Burlington-Bristol Bridge, repaved approaches and toll plaza areas of both bridges, installed backup air-conditioning to vital information technology areas, and replaced a trolley-wire system (completed 100% by in-house maintenance staff)
  • Green vehicle wash bay: installed an environmentally friendly vehicle wash bay by in-house maintenance staff; offered use to surrounding towns; a new one planned for Burlington
  • Fiber-optic and wireless communication system and portable toll collection system: enhanced crisis scenario equipment
  • “Gateway Project” in Burlington City: completed first phase of beautification and improvement project to Burlington-Bristol Bridge toll plaza and surrounding area
  • Surpassed $1.1 Million in grant monies secured for Municipalities: in 2008 alone, secured $504,904 in grants with a ROI of 10:1
  • Surpassed $13 Million in Debt Relief for Municipalities: through Commission financing and County guarantee, for a total of $392 Million in financings 
  • Shared Services/Tax-Saving Initiatives: we analyzed the impact of mandated regionalization on small town aid on behalf of 25 towns; assisted towns in meeting revised COAH requirements; and most recently announced we’d assist municipalities with PARIS (Public Archives Records Infrastructure Support) Grant and Neighborhood Stabilization Program Grant applications
  • Energy conservation program: sponsoring applications for NJBPU Energy Audit Reimbursement Program, a state incentive program which will reimburse municipal and county governments costs of performing energy audits of their facilities, conserve energy, and save County taxpayers money
  • Bridges to the People: continued evening and on-the-road meetings
  • Launch of Commission’s new website
  • No Toll Increase  
 “As I’ve said in the past, our taxpayers and toll payers are in difficult economic times,” Vice Chairwoman Anderson said. “We will continue to do all we can to help while maintaining our number one priority—keeping our bridges safe.”
 
Chairman Comegno added, “We accomplished much in 2008 but always have much more work ahead of us. We will continue to keep our bridges safe and affordable, and continue to assist our neighboring towns in any way possible, including creating jobs and business opportunities throughout the county.”
 
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.
 
For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417-4088

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FOR RELEASE Tuesday, 1/13/09
New Democrat Commissioner Sworn in for Three-Year Term
Singleton to Focus on Job Creation in Region
 
Palmyra—Troy E. Singleton was installed as the Burlington County Bridge Commission’s newest Commissioner today at the Commission’s regular meeting held at Palmyra Cove Nature Park. Maple Shade Mayor James E. Fletcher performed the swearing in; Fletcher held the Commissioner post through the end of 2008. The Palmyra resident was appointed by the Board of Chosen Freeholders on December 30th. He is the Director of Policy and Planning for the New Jersey Regional Council of Carpenters, a post he’s held since 2007.
“I see the addition of Mr. Singleton to the Commission as a real opportunity,” Chairman John B. Comegno II said. “He’s not only familiar with our economic development efforts, he also supports that work and is already looking for ways to expand that. Working together toward a common goal, I believe we can bring about even more financial relief to the overburdened taxpayers of our region.”
 
Mr. Singleton added, “I am deeply humbled and honored to serve my community and county in this manner. In this time of unprecedented financial distress in our country, a greater emphasis will be placed on those responsible for creating economic and employment opportunities for those whom we serve here in Burlington County. I stand ready, with my fellow Commissioners, to meet that challenge.”
Having lived along the Route 130 corridor most of his life, Mr. Singleton knows all too well the work the Bridge Commission has done in revitalizing that area. The current Commissioners look forward to working with him to further this mission.
 
“I’m eager to work with Mr. Singleton, given the sense of unity that I’ve heard he wants to bring to this experience ,” said Vice Chairwoman Anderson. “That will go a long way to continuing the good work we’ve done.”
 
 
A member of the New Jersey Carpenters Union Local #715, Mr. Singleton was Deputy Executive Director for the New Jersey General Assembly Majority Office in Trenton from 2002 to 2007. While there, he served as Chief of Staff for New Jersey Speaker Joseph J. Roberts, Jr. Commissioner Singleton was Deputy Executive Director for the New Jersey Democratic State Committee from 2001 to 2002, following his service as Legislative Director to Assemblymen Herb Conaway and Jack Conners from 1998 to 2001.
 
A graduate of Rowan University in Glassboro, Commissioner Singleton is a member of Rowan’s Board of Trustees. He is also a Volunteer Coach for Pennsauken’s Youth Athletic Association and a Civilian Emergency Response Team Member.
 
For information, contact Liz Verna, APR, Director of Communications, (856) 829-1900, ext. 224, cell (856) 417-4088
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