Feds Raid Asian Restaurants In State College For Undocumented Workers

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

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

Local, state and federal law enforcement are raiding a number of Asian restaurants Thursday in State College, and at least 13 people have been detained in what one federal official says is an investigation of undocumented workers.

Investigators at one scene said the activity is part of a targeted federal investigation, but declined further comment.

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security truck is at the State College police department and officials there referred questions to immigration and customs enforcement investigators.

State Attorney General’s office investigators are also reported to be involved.

Your Pottstown Tax Dollars At Work

Editor’s Note:  Former Sixth Ward Councilor, Jody Rhoads posted this fine example of the Pottstown Public Works Department’s keen eye for detail when constructing a “curb cut” aka handicapped access ramp.  Imagine trying to get your wheelchair around the poles. Apparently, this didn’t seem like a flawed plan to whomever constructed the ramp? Really?

 

Jody writes “Here is another one where Pottstown’s Public Works wasted you’re money.  What is wrong here?  West St between Charlotte and Evans. Go look at it for yourself.  These are the type of things that need to come out so people can see what Pottstown and its leadership is really all about.  And I’ll bet no one will raise hell at a Council meeting about this! Leadership thinks this is doing a GOOD job?  This one should go VIRAL!”

Feast your eyes on this engineering marvel!  No, it’s not an April Fool’s joke…

1526409_10201686061139379_8739009307955973678_n

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Many Fees For Pennsylvania Vehicles Set To rise On April 1

Several state vehicle-related fees will increase April 1 for the first time in 17 years, with a second group of fees slated to rise July 1.

The increases are mandated by Act 89, the transportation funding legislation that was approved by the Legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett in the fall.

“It’s important to note that Act 89 represents an investment in Pennsylvania’s future: increasing public safety, driving commerce, creating jobs and providing reliable funding for our transportation needs without leaving the bill to our future generations,” Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick said.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1277003/Many-fees-for-Pa.-vehicles-set-to-rise-on-April-1

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Citizens Action Committee For Pottstown To Give Presentation To Borough Council And Codes, February 20th

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

The Citizens Action Committee will be giving a presentation to Pottstown Borough Council and the codes and infrastructure departments about a wonderful program that has been implemented in sections of Utah and has proven success in reducing crime and blight in communities, holding landlords accountable, and spurring community revitalization and positive growth.  The program is called The Good Landlord Program, some basic details of it are linked below.  Please make every effort to attend this meeting and show your support of bettering YOUR town! Ears are opening at council and we need to make out presence and interest known!

The presentation will be delivered THIS THURSDAY, February 20th at the Codes/Infrastructure meeting at 5:30 p.m. at Borough Hall.  Take an interest and be part of the solution!

http://www.communityprogress.net/filebin/pdf/toolkit/UtahHousingCoalition_WhatIsTheGoodLandlordProgram.pdf

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Bridgeport Addresses Issue Of ‘Amateur Landlords’

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

BRIDGEPORT, PA — Over the past year, many residents and landlords have complained at borough council meetings about overcrowding of and conditions at rental properties.

In response to these complaints, borough council has provided funds in the 2014 budget for a program to help resolve the issue of amateur landlords.

At its Feb. 11 meeting, council discussed hiring a third-party inspector to handle rental properties in the borough.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140214/bridgeport-addresses-issue-of-amateur-landlords

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Spencer, City Council To Discuss Reading Water System Options

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer and City Council will explore a more-lucrative lease or the possible sale of the water system to help Reading avoid its looming fiscal cliff.

Those two options are among several that could help close a $15 million budget gap that will open each year beginning in 2015.

In a three-page memo given to council at an executive session Monday, Spencer requested both sides jointly begin what he called a comprehensive and objective assessment of all the city’s options.

“These are things we can’t do without the support of council; they have to be part of it,” Spencer said later.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20140117/NEWS/301179948/1052#.UtltFfQo6c8

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Pottstown Poised To Fill Vacant Authority, Commission Posts

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA — Although borough council wasted little time in filling the tax collector vacancy Wednesday night, there are still a few vacant positions up for grabs.

As part of the annual process of filling posts on boards and commissions, council will vote Monday on filling nine open spots, with a 10th vacancy being filled in February.

One seat on the Pottstown Borough Authority is open and two people have applied to fill it. It is currently filled by plumber Aram Ecker, who is seeking a second five-year term. However, newly elected Borough Councilwoman Sheryl Miller has also asked to be appointed.

With Miller’s defeat of Jeff Chomnuk for the third ward seat on council, the authority board currently has no member of borough council, a role Chomnuk had filled.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140110/pottstown-poised-to-fill-vacant-authority-commission-posts

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New Faces, Appointment Could Shake Up Phoenixville Council Dynamic

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

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

PHOENIXVILLE — Moving into 2014, borough council’s dynamics could change with new faces from November’s election, familiar faces taking on new roles, and the appointment of a new council member due by early February.

Four current council members will carry over to 2014. East Ward representative Mike Speck won his bid for mayor and will resign from council Jan. 3. Richard Kirkner, Dave Gautreau and Karl Bucus all decided against running for re-election.

2013’s council had a 5-3 Democrat majority with Democrats Kirkner and Speck serving as president and vice president, respectively.

Of the four returning council members, three — Jenn Mayo, Jim Kovaleski, and Dana Dugan — are registered Democrats and one — Christopher Bauers — is a registered Republican.

Read more:   http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20131229/new-faces-appointment-could-shake-up-phoenixville-council-dynamic

Towanda Borough Council Passes $4.9M Budget Thursday, Tax Rates To Remain The Same

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Bradford County

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

TOWANDA, PA – The Towanda Borough Council on Thursday adopted a final $4.9 million borough budget for 2014, which leaves the borough’s tax rates unchanged.

The budget keeps the borough’s services the same as they were, borough Manager Kyle V. Lane said.

The council also voted unanimously to adopt the salaries for the borough’s employees for 2014, which in most cases had been previously set by union contracts.

However, the borough’s four non-unionized, salaried employees, including the borough manager, will receive a 2 percent “cost of living” raise, the council decided.

Read more: http://thedailyreview.com/news/council-passes-4-9m-budget-thursday-tax-rates-to-remain-the-same-1.1607411

New Rental Policy To Take Effect In Conshohocken

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

CONSHOHOCKEN, PA – Under a new residential rental policy that takes effect Jan. 1, 2014, landlords will have to live within 12 miles of the borough or designate a person to make decisions for them in case of an emergency.

The borough council in June unanimously passed the ordinance, rewriting what officials said had been a patchwork rental code.

Under the new ordinance, each rental property requires an annual permit, and code inspections will be conducted every other year.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20131226_New_rental_policy_to_take_effect_in_Conshohocken.html#7kE6SRFgk012F7W6.99

York City Mayor Proposes No Tax Increase

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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

York City Mayor Kim Bracey is proposing a 2014 budget that does not increase property taxes.

The proposal is now in the hands of the York City Council, which has scheduled two hearings in early December to discuss the budget. It is scheduled to be adopted at the council’s Tuesday, Dec. 17 meeting.

“This was a tough budget,” Bracey said Tuesday at a press conference.

The city’s costs continue to rise, and revenues haven’t kept pace, Bracey said. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s “antiquated” local-government system greatly limits the options for officials in third-class cities like York, she said.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_24553629/york-city-mayor-proposes-no-tax-increase

Sunshine Act Keeps Doors Open

While Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law gives residents the chance to keep tabs on their government through access to records, a related law lets them see decision-making bodies in action.

The state Sunshine Act requires public boards and councils to discuss business and make decisions in public.

The laws work in conjunction to give people access to their governments. A resident may request a document they know exists because it was approved or discussed at a public meeting.

But there are sometimes disagreements over when one law or the other applies.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=518857

Budget Preparations Getting Started In Pottstown Borough

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA — Although Pottstown Borough Council has yet to be presented with a budget draft, the members of council’s finance committee have.

It is too soon to say if council will be able to avoid raising property taxes for two years in a row, but it is obviously on everybody’s mind.

Councilman Dan Weand, who chairs the finance committee, told council that he likes the way the borough finances are shaping up.

“So far, with 75 percent of the year passed, we’ve brought in 85 percent of the revenue and only seen 74 percent of the expenses,” said Weand.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20131019/budget-preparations-getting-started-in-pottstown-borough

Pottstown Takes Aim At $27M In Medical Costs For Retired Police

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN — Facing a potential liability of as much as $27 million for medical costs for current and future retired police personnel, the borough is finally beginning to set aside money to cover the costs, as a financial review and several audits have recommended.

At its Sept. 4 meeting, council was briefed on the proposal to set aside $250,000 per year for what the council agenda labeled opaquely as “OPEB,” which, according to Borough Manager Mark Flanders, stands for “other post employment benefits.”

The official vote will occur at Monday night’s council meeting, which begins at 7 and is the meeting at which the public is allowed to comment.

These potential costs are not retirement payments, but rather represent medical benefits for retirees, both current and future.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130908/NEWS01/130909553/pottstown-takes-aim-at-27m-in-medical-costs-for-retired-police#full_story

Pottstown Poised To Loosen Tree Rules

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note: What’s that I hear?  Is it the sound of wailing coming from the 200 block of Chestnut Street?  To say the tree ordinance was “a little bit extreme” is the understatement of the decade.

POTTSTOWN — Borough council is expected to vote Monday on a proposal to lessen the requirements for plantingtrees when a property is developed or re-developed.

Specifically, the vote would authorize Borough Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr. to advertise an amendment to the borough’s sub-division and land development ordinance, known as a SLDO, and would apply to “open space trees” and to “parking lot trees.”

“This is the result of an ongoing theme at the planning commission,” Garner told council during the Wednesday work session.

“We were calculating a large number of trees and then granting waivers and it was becoming problematic,” he said.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130906/NEWS01/130909576/pottstown-poised-to-loosen-tree-rules

West Reading Police Chief Post Remains Unfilled

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

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

The president of West Reading Borough Council said Wednesday that council hopes to decide soon on who will lead the police force.

The statement from Kevin M. Conrad put the kibosh on rumors that council had hired a new chief Tuesday night.

“It’s been long, and I know people are getting very antsy about it, and I fully understand that,”  Conrad said by phone. “It’s an important position for the borough.  We’re not going to take chances on just hiring the first person.  We’re looking for someone that is going to have a future in the borough.”

The West Reading Recreation Commission met at borough hall Tuesday night.  By Wednesday morning, rumblings among residents were that council had hired a chief during a secret meeting.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=506790

Coatesville Hopes To Boost Downtown Revitalization

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

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

COATESVILLE, PA — City Council is updating the city’s revitalization plans.

Council members unanimously voted to establish the Coatesville Downtown Revitalization District during an Aug. 12 meeting, with Councilman Ed Simpson and Vice President Joseph Hamrick absent.

Council President David Collins said the purpose was to target a specific area around expansion and redevelopment projects currently planned for the city.

Collins said this area will be essential to attracting new business enterprises, encouraging commercial development and expansion, improving the aesthetic appearance of the existing architecture, and building a stronger sense of community pride.

Read more:  http://www.dailylocal.com/article/20130819/NEWS01/130819663/coatesville-hopes-to-boost-downtown-revitalization#full_story

Relocation Of Downtown Reading Post Office A Lengthy Process

USPS service delivery truck in a residential a...

USPS service delivery truck in a residential area of San Francisco, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There seem to be few certainties surrounding the United States Postal Service’s plan to move its downtown Reading office from its landmark home at Fifth and Court streets.

But there’s at least one:  The change isn’t going to happen overnight.

Talking to City Council for the first time about the project Monday, Postal Service real estate specialist Richard Hancock laid out the lengthy process for finding a new home for the office and figuring out what to do with the old one.

“At a lot of these meetings people ask me:  Who’s going to buy the building?  Where’s the new post office going to go?” he said. “I have no idea.  This is just the beginning.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=502204

Kenhorst Borough Council To Address Blighted Properties

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

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

Officials are set to address blighted properties in Kenhorst after a unanimous vote authorizing Solicitor Jill Nagy to draft a supplemental ordinance to help recover money used maintaining derelict houses and bank-owned properties.

Borough Council President David Roche told council that the supplement would be more of a backbone to the municipal building code, and that a newly formed blight steering committee met Wednesday to figure out how to better attack problem areas.

The panel consists of Roche, Richard Fritz, Mayor Nick Hatzas, Borough Manager Jeri Diesinger, Nagy and two residents who have not yet been chosen.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=498578

Pittsburgh’s Larimer Revival Concerns Residents

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)

Plans to revamp Pittsburgh’s Larimer section promise the creation of a new kind of neighborhood, where low-income residents are no longer clustered in housing projects or crumbling apartments, where subsidized housing units are scattered among market-rate ones.

But some are worried that the blueprints for the $100 million housing development would push residents in two places slated for demolition — East Liberty Gardens and a Pittsburgh Housing Authority-owned project — farther from transit lines and business districts.

“[The housing authority] is talking about moving me somewhere else,” said Robert Morton, who lives in one of 27 units in the Auburn/Hamilton-Larimer complex, which is owned by the housing authority. Mr. Morton, 64, uses a wheelchair.  “I can’t just uproot and go somewhere else.”

The city is currently preparing an application for a highly competitive $30 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, with hopes of building some 350 units of mixed-income housing in the struggling neighborhood, to support jobs, parks and businesses similar to those in neighboring East Liberty.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pittsburghs-larimer-revival-concerns-residents-697299/#ixzz2aRwXiz1o