SunnyBrook Fall Bridal Expo

Sunday, September 14     1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

If you’re planning a wedding, you don’t want to miss this event! This is a one-stop shopping event. Here you’ll be able to visit with caterers, photographers, videographers and DJs among others.

We will also be having a fashion show featuring the newest designs for the best-dressed bridal party. While you’re there be sure to sign up for the raffle. You may win one of our many exciting prizes. Our Wedding Coordinators will also be on hand to discuss making your special day spectacular!

Are you interested in being a vendor at this show? Please contact us at 484.624.5187. We’d be glad to have you join us.

Sunnybrook’s website: http://sunnybrookballroom.com/

Centre Region Council Of Governments Breaks Down Spending Blueprint For Municipalities

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

— In a unanimous vote, members of the Centre Region Council of Governments agreed to send the 2015 program plan to the municipalities for review and comment.

The 257-page plan is “intended to provide the General Forum with an explanation of each regional program’s history, services, current issues, midyear financial status, and proposed programmatic and financial changes for 2015.”

This is the 13th plan to be created since the program began in 2001.

“It’s a tool to give elected officials an early heads up about what we’re proposing for the new year,” said COG Executive Director Jim Steff. “So instead of giving them a budget in October and say ‘You guys need to vote on this in November,’ they get this information much earlier.

York Mayor Kim Bracey: 5 Game Changers That Could Save York (Column)

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the 2015 budget season approaches, it is my duty to talk straight about our city’s fiscal challenges and pension legacy costs that have been growing since before the turn of this century. While laying out the dire conditions, leadership requires us to hold out meaningful hope by advocating for bold measures. Long term fiscal game-changers can stabilize our property taxes while enabling us to continue providing quality public services and infrastructure that our people deserve and demand.

At times, I feel like a night watchman of earlier centuries who witnesses a spreading fire and vigorously shouts and rings the bell to alert citizens of the imminent crisis. During the last two city administrations, we’ve been warning of the growing fiscal crisis for 13 years, and we’ve done as much as we can internally to make our budget process transparent, to seek sound recommendations from outside experts, to cut costs, and to be fiscally responsible. The list is extensive.

• In 2003, under Mayor Brenner, our city initiated its first open budget hearings, an annual tradition that continues to this year.

• In 2006, our city was one of the very first in the state to enter the Department of Economic and Community Development’s Early Intervention Program, which provided an analysis of York’s finances by outside experts. Their analysis concluded that York’s financial controls and management were strong but that systemic constraints beyond its control were leading to out-of-control costs. Recommendations included implementing a parking tax, which was done.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/letters/ci_26165619/kim-bracey-5-game-changers-that-could-save

Pottstown Fourth Of July Committee Gets Advice From Leadership Panel

POTTSTOWN — After two consecutive years of being unable to raise enough money to pay for Fourth of July fireworks, the committee in charge of Independence Day events recognized that they needed some help.

On Thursday, they got some from the Leadership TriCounty Class of 2014, a project of the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce.

A team made up of Joyce Bagiraneza from Valley Forge Casino Resort; Rebecca Hobbs from O’Donnell, Weiss & Mattei and Carrie Makoid of Barry Isett & Associates took on the challenge of revitalizing the Fourth of July Committee.

The leadership class teaches team-building through 10-month projects that have specific goals for local nonprofits. When the teams “graduate,” they present findings of their work to the nonprofits.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140613/pottstown-fourth-of-july-committee-gets-advice-from-leadership-panel

Hoping For Recovery In Marcus Hook

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marie Horn’s front porch offers a panoramic view of the Delaware River and riverfront park in Marcus Hook.

Her back deck overlooks a different scene: empty lots, with curb cuts and street lights prepared for 11 more houses.

The land has long sat vacant, as a nonprofit group struggles to find interested builders or buyers to complete a neighborhood of brightly colored colonials along the river, bookended by a refinery and a former refinery property. Horn’s house is just one of three built in the last few years.

It is unclear when more will join them.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20140526_Hoping_for_recovery_in_Marcus_Hook.html#ADvJFZstAFQIY6QD.99

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Pottstown School District Adopts Proposed $60M Budget That Raises Taxes 2.9 Percent

POTTSTOWN — With a 7-2 vote at its May 15 meeting, the Pottstown School Board adopted a $59.9 million proposed budget that would raise taxes by 2.9 percent if it is adopted unchanged as a final budget in June.

Board members Ron Williams and Thomas Hylton cast the only two votes against the proposed budget, which increases spending 5.6 percent and would increase the annual tax bill by $81.91 for the owner of a property assessed at $73,670 — the borough’s median assessment.

Board member Amy Francis said, “This is a very difficult decision for me because, like every other taxpayer, I am at the end of my rope, but I also feel we have a responsibility to get the job done that we started with the renovations at the elementary schools. We can’t do one without the other.”

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140521/pottstown-adopts-proposed-60m-budget-that-raises-taxes-29

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Pottstown School Board Leery Of Offer To Refurbish Light Poles

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA — Members of the Pottstown School Board showed little interest Thursday in an offer to refurbish the poles that hold up the lights at Grigg Memorial Stadium.

Facilities Director Robert Kripplebauer told the board’s facilities committee meeting Thursday that he had been contacted by a company that had read in The Mercury about the board’s decision to take down the lights at the stadium for safety reasons.

The company — 18th Century Restorations on Coventryville Road — made a similar offer in 2012 and estimated the cost at that time to refurbish the poles and lights to be $60,000.

According to the 2012 quote, which Kripplebauer shared with The Mercury, the work would involve “fabricating new hardware” for the poles and attaching 42 metal straps to keep them in place, as well as epoxy and caulk for cracks in the poles, along with other work.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140411/pottstown-school-board-leery-of-offer-to-refurbish-light-poles

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Easton Police Dominate 2013 List Of Highest-Paid City Employees

English: Skyline of Easton, PA from Lafayette ...

English: Skyline of Easton, PA from Lafayette College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eight of the 10 highest-paid Easton city employees last year work for the police department.

Much of their pay came through overtime, although the mayor said the city is doing much better with overtime budgeting.

Sgt. Sal Cucciuffo topped the list for the second year in a row, making $117,524 and topping his 2012 earnings by a little more than $6,800.

The city’s overtime fund has dropped significantly from $460,000 in 2008, down to $260,000 in 2013, Mayor Sal Panto Jr. said. Panto said the city came in under budget on overtime costs in 2013.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/easton/index.ssf/2014/03/third_party_soruces_help_with.html

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Pennsylvania Community College Leaders Make Funding Case In Harrisburg

Harrisburg, PA — Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) President Dr. Karen A. Stout testified before the Pa. House Appropriations Committee in Harrisburg on Feb. 20 on the issue of community college funding for Fiscal Year 2014-15. She joined Pa. Commission for Community Colleges (PACCC) President and CEO Elizabeth A. Bolden and Butler County Community College President Dr. Nick Neupauer, who also serves as PACCC’s Board Chairman.

Together the three leaders testified about the critical need for increased operating and capital funding for the Commonwealth’s 14 community colleges. Governor Corbett’s proposed FY 14-15 budget does not include any increase in the community college operating appropriation. If approved, this will be the fourth consecutive year of flat funding in operating following a 10 percent funding cut five years ago. Allowing for inflation, the recommended appropriation is $12 million below the necessary level.

During her testimony, Dr. Stout revealed that, if the proposed budget is passed, MCCC will receive less in operating dollars in FY 14-15 than eight years ago.

“The operating efficiencies used to manage these cuts have already been implemented, and gains from them already realized and exhausted,” she said in her testimony. “Even modest tuition increases are difficult for our students to manage. Last year, we deregistered more than 2,500 students for non-payment. Approximately half return to us at some point, but half are shut out of higher education, even with Pell and PHEAA grants.”

Three MCCC students – Octavia Beyah, Tyler Tucker and Elizabeth Waddell – accompanied Dr. Stout to Harrisburg to lend their support to Pennsylvania’s community colleges.

Beyah, a first-generation college student, is funding her own education. She started her journey at a four-year university, but reverse transferred to MCCC to graduate without debt. Likewise, Tucker chose to attend MCCC to balance life and work to avoid early debt; she aspires to be an appellate court judge. And Waddell comes from a single parent household and acknowledges that education tends to go on the “back burner” when living paycheck to paycheck.

“Students like Octavia, Tyler and Elizabeth build the economic and civic capacity of our community, one dream fulfilled at a time,” shared Dr. Stout in her testimony.

Stout went on to share how the economic impact of MCCC’s students extends to all Pennsylvania residents. For example, taxpayers, see a return rate of 7.2 percent on their investment, and every one dollar of state and local tax money invested in the College yields a cumulative $21.60 in benefits that accrue to all Pennsylvania residents in terms of added taxable income and avoided social costs.

“Fifty years ago, a group of visionary State and local leaders from across the Commonwealth passed the Community College Act, and with it, a commitment to invest in the hopes, dreams and aspirations of hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians to access affordable, high quality, transfer education and workforce training programs that could lead them into the middle class and thus build the quality of life and civic development and economic competitiveness of Pennsylvania. Over these 50 years, nearly 400,000 Montgomery County residents have benefitted from access to these programs. The ripple effect of those attending – on our community – is multi-generational,” shared Dr. Stout.

In addition to restoring operating funds, Bolden and PACCC asked the House Appropriations Committee for capital funding to be increased in order to address the $726 million in documented infrastructure improvements for the State’s 14 community colleges over the next five years.  As it stands now, the Governor’s proposed budget calls for a $1 million cut in capital.

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Mayor Peduto Puts New Focus On Pittsburgh Public School System

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More than a decade ago, the Mayor’s Commission on Public Education called for the Pittsburgh Public Schools board to be appointed by the mayor rather than elected by residents.

That hasn’t happened nor have some of the other recommendations in the 144-page report critical of the district and written during the administration of Tom Murphy in 2003.

In the intervening years, no other mayor or mayor’s commission has tried to take control away from an elected school board or made such sweeping recommendations.

While he hasn’t suggested appointing the school board, Mayor Bill Peduto, sworn in last month, is taking a keen interest in the fate of the school district.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2014/02/17/Peduto-puts-new-focus-on-city-s-school-system/stories/201402170044#ixzz2tbUvxXqU

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Munhall Awaiting Decision On Loan Amid Fiscal Turmoil

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By today’s end, Munhall officials expect to know if private financing for a tax anticipation loan will be available to the borough, averting the need for layoffs of police and public works employees.

Council was forced in recent weeks to advertise for private financing after it could not get a regular bank loan because the borough did not have its annual audits for 2011 and 2012 performed by an independent auditor and filed with the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

That revelation is one of a number of surprises that council members say they’ve faced since Matt Galla abruptly resigned as borough manager June 17. The other surprises include the fact that appropriate pension contributions were not made to employee pension plans in 2011 and 2012, that many borough records, including employees’ salary histories, are gone from the borough offices, and that the borough lost $360,000 in regional asset district funds.

Since June, two interim managers and a certified public accountant have been trying to reconstruct the borough’s records. That reconstruction has shown that Mr. Galla may have paid himself more than his approved $60,000 salary.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/south/2014/02/10/Munhall-awaiting-decision-on-loan-amid-fiscal-turmoil/stories/201402100093#ixzz2swAw1oXw

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett Announces 2014-2015 Budget Plan, Targets Education

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, PA — Gov. Tom Corbett gave his annual budget address Tuesday, outlining a plan for 2014-2015 that seeks to put a priority on education.

“Education is the largest single item in my budget,” Corbett said. “The increase I propose would bring direct state support of public education to $10.1 billion, more than 40 percent of state spending.”

The increase will bring the total of additional education funding for the past three years to $1.2 billion, the governor said.

Corbett directly addressed the cuts to education funding which opponents have criticized since Corbett took office in 2011. The cuts were necessary to grappled with the decreasing federal stimulus package that coincided with the 2008 recession, he said.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140204/pennsylvania-gov-tom-corbett-announces-2014-2015-budget-plan-targets-education

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Opposition Builds To Library Funding Cut By Lower Pottsgrove Township

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montg...

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LOWER POTTSGROVE TOWNSHIP, PA — The township commissioners’ decision to reconsider its 2014 funding for the Pottstown Regional Public Library has resulted in a swelling of support for the library and a number of efforts to keep the funding intact.

Earlier this month when the Board of Commissioners reorganized, the new majority announced its intention to open up the 2014 budget adopted one month earlier and reduce funding to the Pottstown Regional Public Library on High Street.

Paradoxically, in December, Lower Pottsgrove had joined with both Upper Pottsgrove and Pottstown borough in increasing the allocation to the library for 2014.

In Lower Pottsgrove’s case, the commissioners had agreed in December to increase the annual allocation by $5,000 — up to $65,000.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140118/opposition-builds-to-library-funding-cut-by-l-pottstrove

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New Lower Pottsgrove Board Wants To Cut Library Funding, Add Police

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montg...

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LOWER POTTSGROVE — New township commissioners’ Chairman Bruce Foltz is the first to acknowledge that he and the new majority on the board made a lot of changes in their first meeting of the year Monday night.

In fact, he said so in comments at the close of the meeting.

“We want the staff, fire department, solicitor, and commissioners to have the same goal; for the township to be user friendly,” said Foltz at the close of Monday’s re-organization meeting during which he was elected chairman and many of the immediate changes were implemented.

“We want to bring businesses into the township and have it not be a hassle, with all the back and forth, for our contractors and developers,” Foltz said.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140106/new-lower-pottsgrove-board-wants-to-cut-library-funding-add-police

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New Pittsburgh Government Set To Launch As Peduto Has Laid Out Some Lofty Goals

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Saturday, incoming Mayor Bill Peduto began his move into the mayoral wing on the fifth floor of the City-County Building in advance of today’s inauguration, when he will officially take the reins of city government.

The Rev. Terry O’Connor, son of the late Mayor Bob O’Connor and brother to Councilman Corey O’Connor, blessed the space with a sprinkling of holy water. The floors were mopped.

For a man who has pledged to “clean up city hall” and who gave his victory speech while clutching a broom, it was an apropos entrance.

Mr. Peduto has expounded on that theme for more than a year, calling the administration of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl corrupt and saying that the city needs to move away from the old-style politics if it wants to progress. And if he holds to his campaign pledges, he will represent a monumental shift in both style and substance in the mayor’s office.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/01/06/New-Pittsburgh-government-set-to-launch-as-Peduto-has-laid-out-some-lofty-goals/stories/2014010601030000000#ixzz2pdpIux3L

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As Scranton Mayor, Doherty Leaving, His Mark Affixed

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For an evaluation of Mayor Chris Doherty’s 12 years in the top city job, listen to his chief critic.

“Overall, the mayor did a very good job. He had a vision for the city and, by and large, I think he fulfilled that vision,” city council President Janet Evans said.

This is the same Janet Evans who spent the better part of her 10 years as a councilwoman ripping Mr. Doherty for one shortcoming or another at weekly council meetings.

Not that Mrs. Evans is done criticizing. She still thinks Mr. Doherty borrowed too much money, should have negotiated contracts with the city’s police and firefighter unions instead of fighting a losing and costlier arbitration battle and needed, in his later years, more experienced cabinet members.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/as-mayor-doherty-leaving-his-mark-affixed-1.1608177

Protestors Gather In Norristown To Oppose Parkhouse Sale

Location of Upper Providence Township in Montg...

Location of Upper Providence Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORRISTOWN — Protestors rallied outside of the Montgomery County Courthouse Saturday in opposition to the sale of the Parkhouse geriatric center and its surrounding 220 acres of land in Upper Providence.

Upper Providence Supervisor Lisa Mossie, who has been at the forefront of opposition to the sale, said she was hoping the Montgomery County commissioners would notice the rally, cancel the sale and work out a new deal for the property.

“It’s my hope that it will change the commissioners’ minds that this is something nobody cares about. That it’s not a vocal minority. Everybody I have talked to is upset about this,” Mossie said. “My hope is that this sale is not done. It’s not finalized yet. They’ve cited that as their reason for not releasing the terms of the sale.”

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20131228/protestors-gather-in-norristown-to-oppose-parkhouse-sale

Forks Township Supervisors Approve 13 Percent Tax Increase

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Property taxes will go up 13 percent next year in Forks Township.

Last week, the board of supervisors approved a budget that includes the tax increase and an additional $700,000 in expenditures.

The extra money will pay for new vehicles and equipment or repairs.

Finance Manager Jim Farley said vehicle prices continue to go up despite the economy. He estimated a new, fully loaded dump truck with a plow could cost $500,000 and a fire engine could cost as much as $2 million.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/easton/index.ssf/2013/12/forks_township_supervisors_app_4.html

York County Approves Budget Without Tax Increase

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

York County commissioners on Wednesday approved a 2014 budget with no tax increase.

The millage rate will remain 4.52, so a taxpayer with a home assessed at $150,000 will continue to pay $678 in county real estate taxes.

County administrator Chuck Noll said no significant changes were made to the final budget after the draft one was presented in November. He said it was the fourth time in five years that commissioners approved a budget without a tax increase.

The $476.7 million budget includes a general fund of $190.6 million.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/politics/ci_24753479/york-county-approves-budget-without-tax-increase