Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 2:21 PM

As I reported in my story in today’s Inquirer, Camden has a balance of $49 million in grant money, some of which isn’t being used because city officials can’t tell if it is real money or a bookkeeping error.

The auditing firm, Bowman & Company LLP, which has been auditing the city’s books for at least 15 years, has almost always mentioned the city’s “aged receivable balances,” as an issue. Yet, the city has not been able to resolve the problem.

For the last two years, Bowman has given Camden an “unqualified” audit opinion, meaning no serious issues were found. But would a different auditing firm have the same finding?

Claudia Vargas @ 2:21 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, July 15, 2013, 3:19 PM

More than a year after Camden’s tax assessor abruptly resigned, the city has hired a replacement and some extra help.

Deputy tax assessor Melissa Mallory had been filling in as interim tax assessor since Frank Librizzi quit in April 2012. But Mallory retired in June, leaving both tax assessor and deputy vacancies.

The city hired Tyler Technologies Inc, a Texas company with offices in Pennsauken, as a temporary tax assessing service for the city. The firm, which handled the city’s tax reassessment in 2011, will be paid no more than $99,000 for its services.

Claudia Vargas @ 3:19 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 7:08 PM

The lot across from across the street from Camden City Hall, which is used mainly for city employee parking, will be redeveloped by the Parking Authority of Camden City.

A resolution authorizing the Camden Redevelopment Agency, which owns most of the Block 175 land, to enter into a redevelopment and purchase agreement with the parking authority was approved at Tuesday’s redevelopment agency Board of Commissioners meeting.

The agency is selling the prime real estate, along with a few other properties near downtown, for $1.2 million, a reduced price since it is one public agency selling to another public body, said redevelopment executive director Saundra Ross Johnson.  The CRA parcels in Block 175 are valued at close to $4 million, according to property tax records.

Claudia Vargas @ 7:08 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 4:23 PM
At LEAP Academy in Camden, NJ, a press conference to announce the three students from Camden who will be participating in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's Ready to Lead NextGen program. Here, US Senator Robert Menendez shakes the hand of Michelle Panchana, who will be participating in the R2L program. ( APRIL SAUL / Staff )

Three Camden students were chosen to participate in a Latino youth leadership training program this summer in the nation’s capital.

Jonathan Ramirez and Peter Rivera Jr., both students at Camden’s LEAP Academy Charter School, and Michelle Melanie Panchana, a student at John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls' High School in Philadelphia, will be attending the 2013 Ready To Lead Next Generation, or R2L NextGen.

The program was created and is hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), a Hispanic nonprofit and nonpartisan leadership development organization. The CHCI invites 40 high school students from around the country, who are seen as future Latino leaders, to spend a week in Washington, DC.

Claudia Vargas @ 4:23 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 4:27 PM
Camden Sophisticated Sisters dancing in front of City Hall with new uniforms.

Twirling around in colorful and sassy dresses, Camden’s Sophisticated Sisters drill team showed off their new uniforms in front of City Hall Wednesday.

The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office gave the team, which has garnered national attention for their positive message, full set of dance outfits for 150 girls, worth $8,000.

The money came through the prosecutor’s office federal Community Justice Grant, which provides for expenditures in programs that prevent and control crime in Camden.

Claudia Vargas @ 4:27 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, June 27, 2013, 5:15 PM

Three Camden nonprofit redevelopment groups were awarded $2.4 million in state Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit grants to help in the revamping of city neighborhoods.

The Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program (NRTC) offers New Jersey businesses 100 percent tax credits for various state taxes in return for investing in the revitalization of low-and moderate-income neighborhoods.

Here are the Camden nonprofits that will benefit this year from the program:

  • Camden Lutheran Housing, Inc. received $425,031.00
  • Parkside Business and Community In Partnership, Inc. received $985,000.00
  • Cramer Hill Community Development Corporation received $985,000.00
Claudia Vargas @ 5:15 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, June 24, 2013, 6:42 PM

More than a year after scrap-metal dealers made a fuss at Camden City Council over proposed regulations, state legislators passed some of the very same rules for everyone in the state.

On Monday, the state Assembly approved legislation aimed at deterring copper and metal theft by setting up stricter standards for payment. The bill was sponsored, in part, by local representatives: Sen. Donald Norcross and Assemblymen Angel Fuentes and Gilbert "Whip" Wilson (D-Camden).

In February 2012, Camden City officials tried to amend the city code governing scrap-metal yards as a way to better control the metal theft problem the city was (and still is) enduring. The proposed changes to the code included paying sellers by check only and providing driver’s license and vehicle registration.

Claudia Vargas @ 6:42 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, June 21, 2013, 4:48 PM

Camden annual tax lien sale was held this week, resulting in a $2.3 million revenue boost for the city.

This year, 3,401 liens were up for sale, down from 4,317 in 2012.

The city collected $2.3 million from the 2,517 tax liens sold. In 2012, the city collected $2.9 million from 2,891 liens sold.

Claudia Vargas @ 4:48 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog
Julia Terruso started covering Camden and its residents, agencies, government and school district in September 2013. Previously, she worked at the Newark Star-Ledger covering the criminal justice system in Essex County and prior to that Union County.

Julia is a proud graduate of Syracuse University, originally from the Philadelphia area. Email tips, concerns and story ideas to jterruso@phillynews.com or reach her at 856-779-3876 or on Twitter @juliaterruso. Reach Julia at .

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