Council discusses projects, building purchases

Berlin Borough also planning for potential recycling campaign later this year

MATTHEW SHINKLE/The Sun

Berlin Borough Council met for an in person session on Feb. 11, discussing issues during council reports regarding traffic-calming efforts along the White Horse Pike, future recycling and borough projects.

At the top of the meeting, councilman Len Badolato addressed the pike traffic, an issue that has been discussed in the borough and at the county and state level by the Department of Transportation for nearly two years.

According to Badolato, a second proposal of potential solutions has been submitted by the transportation department and is currently being reviewed. The councilman anticipates that potential physical changes will be discussed in the coming weeks or months, pending approval of the recent proposal.

“Sooner or later, we really want to get this thing going,” Badolato said said. “In April, it’ll be two years since we had the first meeting with the Department of Transportation on this.”

Councilman Andrew Simone addressed the borough’s snowstorm remediation in recent weeks following two heavy accumulations, giving council and those in attendance at the meeting some insight into the borough’s response to such weather.

“I want everyone to know that everything is always prepared days or weeks ahead of predicted storms,” Simone said. “The public works department takes a look at the weather prior to the storm, during the storm and afterwards: We do that for the preparation, application and procedures.

“If we plan on snow,” Simone added, “we need to know whether to use brine or use salt, based on the precipitation … So there’s a lot of things that go into the planning and post-planning of a storm and it always seems like once one storm is over, that we’re already planning for another.”

Simone also reminded residents that the borough’s trash is collected four days a week and that snowstorms often cause delays in the trash and recycling schedule because of the borough’s smaller staff. He said all relevant additional information about the schedule and potential delays can be found on the borough website.

More specifically on recycling, he said the borough plans to again address the issue due to recent changes and problems with the process.

The Sun previously reported that the borough is in a co-op contract with Camden County and Republic Services that expires this year. The single-stream recycling process, according to a former councilman, has caused rising costs for Republic, leading to possible fines for municipalities that violate the accepted recycling list. Materials that cannot be recycled through the process include pizza boxes, plastic bags and certain plastics.

“We have been a little bit relaxed in terms of what goes in our recycling bins recently,” Simone acknowledged. “On our website, we have a list of the 12 specific items that can go directly in the recycling bin and what cannot. Some other towns do a very diligent job of inspecting recycling cans; we’re at that point now where we don’t want that to be necessary, so we just want to keep informing residents of what they put in their bin, because otherwise we’ll start to receive fines from the receiving stations.”

Later this year, the borough plans to start some kind of initiative to once again remind residents to be mindful of their recycling habits.

Regarding the meeting agenda, council rejected a bid for the 2020 Berlin Borough Roadway Improvement Project for the second time because of a higher cost than budgeted for this year’s program. According to Clerk Dwayne Harris, the borough can now negotiate with the lowest bidder for the project.

The borough did accept a bid of $154,050 from All J’s Services for work on the Laurel Hill Court water main replacement project. The bid was the lowest of seven considered by the borough.

Mayor Rick Miller also discussed the borough’s desire to purchase a downtown building at 79-81 White Horse Pike.

“That building recently came up for sale and the governing body, in an effort to control our own destiny for downtown redevelopment, pounced on that pretty quickly and worked out an agreement,” Miller said.

The borough will pay $239,900 for the property, according to the mayor. Officials have recently sought to acquire, redevelop and clean up additional properties and buildings in the downtown area.