A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
With little advance notice to customers, the Reading Area Water Authority’s regular water and sewer bills mailed last week contained an extra $95 charge for city trash and recycling, and a demand that the charge be paid by month’s end lest penalties be imposed.
The move left Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer’s administration and the authority doing damage control, answering complaints by people who say they can’t pay the unexpected bill on time.
And it fueled City Council’s anger that Spencer shut it out of the process, then mishandled the planning.
“It’s outrageous,” customer Sandy Burkhart told council Monday. ”The city should think of us poor people who have nothing.”
Sam Rucklewitz, who plans to go to college to learn about politics, got a political lesson on Monday as City Council on a 3-3 vote shot down his appointment to the Charter Review Commission, only to discover he might still be appointed.
Rucklewicz had served on Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer’s campaign and transition committees, and council members Donna Reed, Randy Corcoran and Marcia Goodman-Hinnershitz believed he would give the mayor control of the commission.
The commission is required to be formed once a decade to take a look at how the city’s 1996 home-rule charter is functioning, and to recommend changes. Any changes would require residents’ approval through a referendum.
The charter requires four of the commission’s 11 members to be appointed by the mayor, and seven by council.
The owner of the planned Shop Smart Buy Smarter grocery has spent more than $1 million on the building at 1626 Perkiomen Ave. and wants to open a 38-seat restaurant that’s in the same building but separate from the store.
To do that, state law says he needs City Council’s OK to transfer an out-of-town liquor license to the restaurant.
But city officials and neighbors told council at a hearing Wednesday that they don’t need yet another liquor outlet in the area that’s already got plenty of taverns.