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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Pottstown Council: Miller Ousts Chomnuk In 3rd Ward, Kirkland Defends 7th Ward Seat

Editor’s note:  At least there are two new faces on council!  We also read that Missy Mayor lost to Sharon Thomas.  Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus :)

POTTSTOWN, PA — Borough council will swear in two new members as a result of Tuesday’s election that will leave council with only one Republican member.

In the Third Ward race, Democratic challenger Sheryl Miller ousted incumbent Republican Jeff Chomnuk by a slim unofficial 13-vote margin, according to unofficial results posted on the Montgomery County voter services website.

However, in the Seventh Ward, incumbent Democrat Joe Kirkland successfully defended his seat for a second time against Republican challenger Cindy Conard, winning by a 77-vote margin, according to unofficial results.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20131105/pottstown-council-miller-ousts-chomnuk-in-3rd-ward-kirkland-defends-7th-ward-seat

Votes Push Development Along Pottstown’s Keystone Boulevard

Editor’s note:  We find ourselves in agreement with the majority on council who voted for this undertaking.  We also feel the tax breaks for Heritage Coach Co. were necessary.  Having that property sit idle accomplishes nothing and provides no income for the borough or the school district.  It also provides no employment which means there is less money to be spent on existing Pottstown businesses.  Until the word gets out to the investment community that Pottstown is open for business and that establishing a business in Pottstown is a good idea, incentives will need to be used to attract development.  

Cleaning up Pottstown would go along way towards fostering development.  Nobody wants to open a business in a crime-ridden community.  Unfortunately, that is the perception you are dealing with, whether it’s entirely true or not.  Perception IS reality.  Cracking down on crime, Section 8 housing and the pervasive drug problem need to be priority one in order to attract business, industry and homeowners.   The number of rental units is too high, partly due to reputation of the Pottstown School District, the reputation of Pottstown Borough and the high taxes.  Any real estate professional will tell you the same thing.  Selling a home in Pottstown is difficult.

POTTSTOWN — Prospects for development along Keystone Boulevard have been bolstered by two votes of borough council Monday evening.

With a unanimous vote, the council approved a “memorandum of understanding” with West Pottsgrove that pledges both municipalities to pursue efforts to extend Keystone Boulevard, which runs parallel to West High Street and the Schuylkill River, into West Pottsgrove to connect with Grosstown Road.

“It’s a conceptual agreement for defining a path to move forward,” Borough Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr. explained to council.

The extension of Keystone Boulevard through the former Flagg Brass property in West Pottsgrove and over to the Stowe interchange has long been envisioned and was the subject of an $81,000 study by the Rettew Associates engineering firm.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130613/NEWS01/130619600/votes-push-development-along-pottstown-s-keystone-blvd-#full_story

An Open Letter To The Voters Of Pottstown From Pottstown Borough Council Candidate Sheryl Miller

Sheryl Miller headshotI believe I am the right candidate for Pottstown Council. I have no personal agenda; simply a desire to bring Pottstown (as a whole) back to greatness — not what it once was, but rather something better.  Pottstown needs real jobs, ones in which people can obtain gainful employment.  Industry DOES still exist — it is just different now. Although Pottstown is “built out” I do believe it is still marketable.

I enjoy attending council meetings, making a point to not miss them.  I use this opportunity to learn what works and what does not work.  I welcome the frustration I feel during such meetings.  This frustration becomes fuel which inspires some of my best ideas and I have many, to tackle some of the tough problems facing the borough such as far too many opportunistic investors, crime, and not of any less importance, the current distance between decision making and real communication with the community.

I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Crime & Justice from Albright College achieving highest honors.  My most recent employment was working as a program specialist in a day program developing, coordinating, and implementing vocational, educational, social, health, safety, & personal client centered goals for adults with Developmental & Intellectual Disabilities.  Among many responsibilities, I also accompanied and supported the individuals during community outings and community service including delivering Meals on Wheels to the elderly and reading to the pre-school children at the YWCA.  I held this position for four years prior to leaving in July of 2012.  Prior to my employment, I volunteered for two years at the facility.

Previously I served for two years on Pottstown area’s Montgomery County Youth Aid Panel.  I also completed Montgomery County’s Victim Offender Conferencing Program.

For many years, I volunteered with several animal rescue groups.  My greatest love — animals.  My passion — Pottstown.

I graduated from Pottstown High School.  Upon graduating I moved to Oaks for four years.  After marrying (my husband is Spring Ford Alum) I told my husband I wanted to buy a house in my home town, which I have always loved.  We found a nice corner property which was to be our starter home, and here we have stayed for 23 years.  We will be celebrating our 25th (silver) anniversary in September.

I feel that it is of the utmost importance to stay closely connected to the community.  Although I have worked and lived locally for many years, my eyes were opened even wider when I began walking door to door in my ward having the opportunity to see and hear up close and personal the many challenges we face.

And I am just getting started!!

Sheryl Miller
3rd Ward Pottstown Council Candidate

Pottstown Primary Candidates – Out With The Old And In With The New. Part II

Picture 653Roy’s Rants spent a few hours this afternoon talking with two Pottstown Borough Council candidates and a Pottstown mayoral candidate running in Tuesday’s Pennsylvania Primary Election.  We would like to share some of this information to help voters carefully weigh their options.  The outcome of this election will be crucial in either moving Pottstown down the road to revitalization or allowing it to continue in a downward spiral.

Cindy Conard is running for 7th Ward Borough Councilor against incumbent Joe Kirkland.  Cindy and her husband moved to Pottstown several years ago.  They chose to buy a home and invest in Pottstown.  After sitting on the sidelines and watching the direction Pottstown has taken and the machinations of council, Cindy saw a leadership vacuum existed and wanted to do her civic duty by getting involved.

Cindy brings considerable management experience to the table.  She is paid to solve problems and look for solutions to problems that aren’t readily apparent.  Critical thinking is something Cindy excels at as well as her ability to ferret out the root cause of a problem rather than to simply address the symptoms.

Cindy would like to be part of a council that would: create a shared vision for Pottstown, be fiscally responsible, collaborate with the community, encourage economic development in downtown Pottstown, reduce crime and reduce “red tape” for residents to improve their homes and properties.  And most importantly, Cindy will strive to get people working together to produce results!

Former 6th Ward Councilor and “man of the people” Jody Rhoads has officially endorsed Cindy Conard!

You can check out Cindy’s official campaign Facebook page here:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cindy-Conard-for-Council-in-the-7th-Ward/232676780206363?fref=ts

 

Sheryl Miller is running for 3rd Ward Borough Councilor against incumbent Jeff Chomnuk.  Sheryl grew up in Pottstown and graduated from Pottstown High School.  Sheryl moved away for a few years but yearned return to the “town she loves” to live.  Sheryl and her husband bought a home in Pottstown and she has watched her hometown deteriorate.  She also feels compelled to do her civic duty and run for borough council.

Sheryl holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Albright College in Crime and Justice.  Sheryl wants Pottstown to be a safe place.  She would be tough on crime issues if elected to Pottstown Borough Council.  She advocates community policing and wants to promote police visibility by utilizing foot and bike patrols.  She also promotes police officers getting to know residents the community.

Sheryl is concerned about neighborhood safety, clean streets, property maintenance; she advocates responsible spending and supports open government.  Sheryl wants to create policies to improve the quality of life for borough residents.

Sheryl wants to improve communication and cooperation between borough council and the community which would encourage citizen engagement.

You can check out Sheryl’s official campaign Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/SherylMillerForPottstownBoroughCouncil?fref=ts

 

Ross Belovich is running for Mayor of Pottstown against former Mayor Sharon Valentine-Thomas on Tuesday.  The winner of this primary contest will go up against incumbent Bonnie Heath in November.

I did an extensive interview with Ross which you can click on here:

http://roysrants.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/pottstown-mayoral-candidate-ross-belovich-a-breath-of-fresh-air-on-the-political-landscape/

If you have not read this I would ask that you to take a few moments and read the article.

You can check out Ross’s office campaign Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/MayorofPottstown

Ross is an articulate individual with many excellent ideas on how to move Pottstown forward.  The mayor oversees the police department and acts as an official representative of the Borough of Pottstown.  To many people, the mayor is the face of Pottstown.  It is important that this individual present themselves in a dignified and professional manner at all times.

The mayor can be involved with PDIDA, PAID and other boards/entities in Pottstown that promote economic development and revitalization.  The office of the mayor could be used as a force to help affect positive change and present council with researched ideas for their consideration during the monthly Mayor’s Report.

The mayor acts as a tie-breaker in the event a vote on council ends in a draw.  The mayor should be well versed on all matters on the agenda and be able to make an informed decision if called upon.  When only six councilors are at a meeting, this scenario could happen.

Roy’s Rants officially endorses these candidates!

Sheryl Miller, Candidate For Pottstown Borough Council – Ward 3

Editor’s note:  This is the kind of individual Pottstown needs on borough council.  It’s time to oust the “good old boys” and get some people in leadership positions who have a positive vision for the future of Pottstown.  To find out more about Sheryl, check out her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SherylMillerForPottstownBoroughCouncil

Sheryl Miller headshot

Sheryl Miller

Pottstown Officials All Get iPads To Save On Paper Costs.

Editor’s note:  While I am ALL about technology, there might be better uses for taxpayer money at this time.  I would have been far more impressed if security cameras were purchased for high crime areas in Pottstown to act as a crime deterrent and a means to solve crime faster. Pottstown‘s crime problem isn’t going away (even if we stick our bobbleheads in the sand and make a wish).  

Another item sorely needed, as pointed out by the Golden Cockroach, is a street sweeper.   The first block of North Charlotte Street looks like a landfill there is so much debris blowing about. Maybe suck up a few loitering souls down by the clock tower too.  I am as sick and tired of looking at vagrants standing around doing nothing as I am the trash!

Considering the scope of Pottstown’s problems, this is a waste of money.  Especially giving Missy Mayor an iPad.  What on earth will that woman do with an iPad?  Hope you bought the extended warranty and service contract.

POTTSTOWN — If you’re thinking that you might like to get yourself an iPad, perhaps you should instead consider running for borough council whose members, it was revealed Monday, have all received a shiny new electronic device courtesy of you the taxpayer.

In addition to the eight members of borough council, also receiving the popular electronic device were the five members of the Pottstown Borough Authority.

(It should be noted that one fewer iPad is needed for the borough authority board given that Council Vice President Jeff Chomnuk is also a member of the borough authority.  It is presumed he will only receive on iPad and not two.)

All total, Pottstown taxpayers have purchased a total of 23 iPads “for borough councilors, the mayor, the authority board members, and department heads,” according to information provided in an e-mail from Borough Manager Mark Flanders.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130313/NEWS01/130319690/pottstown-officials-give-themselves-ipads-to-save-on-paper-costs#full_story

Pottstown Council OKs Business Tax Break With 4-3 Vote

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN — With a 4-3 vote, borough council Monday night approved a tax-abatement incentive for a hearse and limousine business seeking to take over the vacant former 84 Lumber building at 451 Keystone Blvd.

Councilmen Dan Weand, Travis Gery and Joe Kirkland voted against extending the Keystone Opportunity Zone property tax break, while it was supported by Council President Stephen Toroney, vice president Jeff Chomnuk and council members Mark Gibson and Carol Kulp.

The matter now moves to the school board, which oversees a much larger slice of the borough’s tax burden and stands to sacrifice substantially more money under the proposed agreement.  It is expected to vote on the matter at its March 25 meeting.

The Montgomery County Commissioners, who must also approve the deal, have indicated they will approve it as long as the borough and the school district do, according to Steve Bamford, Pottstown’s chief economic development officer and an advocate for the deal council approved.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130311/NEWS01/130319844/pottstown-council-oks-business-tax-break-with-4-3-vote#full_story

Pottstown Borough Council Dickers Over Tax Abatement Deal

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

Editor’s note:  Pottstown is already perceived as NOT business friendly.  Companies aren’t rushing to relocate there.  The KOZ site is empty.  The best chance of enticing other companies to build there is to get a business in there STAT.  Then you can market away.  These tax abatements are the cost of doing business.  Sadly, not many on council understand that.

POTTSTOWN — Several borough council members Wednesday picked at a proposed tax relief deal floated to bring a new business to town, saying the borough is giving too much away.

The discussion centers around the former 84 Lumber truss assembly plant at 451 Keystone Blvd., which a Conshohocken business wants to buy for a hearse and limousine company that would bring half a dozen jobs to the borough.

The site is located in Pottstown’s mostly moribund Keystone Opportunity Zone, which would allow for a property tax abatement on the property, with the agreement of council and the school board.

After knocking the subject around at the joint meeting between borough council and the school board on Feb. 26, Borough Manager Mark Flanders and Schools Superintendent Jeff Sparagana were tasked with negotiating with Jay Lankford of Heritage Coach Co. Inc. to iron out a deal all sides could agree on.

Read more:   http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130308/NEWS01/130309489/pottstown-council-dickers-over-tax-abatement-deal#full_story

Annual MLK Service Draws Big Crowd In Pottstown

Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deuts...

Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deutsch: 1964: Martin Luther King Português: Martin Luther King (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN — Each year, the interfaith prayer service honoring Martin Luther King Jr. celebrated by the borough’s various religious communities strikes a special chord with the Rev. Vernon Ross Jr.

“This is something I look forward to,” Ross said. “It’s really a part of me.”

Ross, the pastor of Bethel AME Church, grew up in Mississippi and, as a football player in high school, was president of his chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

In 1977, when Ross and other members of the organization tried to go to church to share their faith with their Christian coach — a white man — the athletes were told that only white players were allowed inside.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130121/NEWS01/130129952/annual-mlk-service-draws-big-crowd-in-pottstown#full_story

Many Questions About Jason Bobst’s Departure

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

Editor’s note:  Below is a Letter to the Editor in today’s Fishwrap.  We give two big Roy’s Rants thumbs up to Glenn Mooney of Pottstown for raising his very valid points.  There is far more to Jason’s story, but unfortunately we will never know all the details.  Pottstown politics are nasty and people get tired of beating their head against a wall.  Sometimes you just have to walk away to preserve your own sanity.  Mr. Toroney has learned nothing from Jason’s departure.  We can only hope enough new people get on Council in November to pick a new Council President.  It’s time to clean house!

Referring to the most recent Mercury article by Evan Brandt, dated Aug. 15, I have some questions not about his report but about the mayor and borough council’s account of losing Jason Bobst.  Let me understand, Councilman Toroney stated, and I quote from the article, “He did a fantastic job for us.  But age and experience were not on his side.  He didn’t have the battle scars.  We need someone with experience who has the wherewithal to do a good job for us.”  My bet is Jason could elaborate quite a bit about battle scars!

This sounds a little funny regarding whose choice it was for his leaving Pottstown?  Then we have Mayor Bonnie Heath and Jeff Chomnuk stating that the borough has begun to gain traction in its recovery efforts, due largely to the efforts of Bobst and Finance Director Janice Lee.  Hhmm?  These comments were to help justify going outside to hire a new manager at a 30-percent higher salary.  Then Mayor Heath stated and I quote, “It’s actually kind of an awkward fact that we were paying Jason less than $100,000.”

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20120901/OPINION02/120909989/many-questions-about-jason-bobst-s-departure

Pottstown Sheds Regulations To Be More Business Friendly

The Fishwrap is reporting that an effort is finally being made to become more business friendly and welcoming to investors in our central business district.  I say, “Here, here!”  It’s about time. 

Driving down High Street should be an exciting experience, however, it is the opposite as of late.  Removing rules and procedures, that needlessly delay construction, is a good thing.  If we would work really hard at filling up all those empty retail spaces downtown, it would go a LONG WAY toward helping the tax base, drawing people downtown to spend money on goods and services and creating employment!  In the past we have worried about looks (and trees), at any cost, and you see the result.  Crickets!

Two Roy’s Rants thumbs up to Jason Bobst and Councilor Chomnuk for cutting through the Hyltonesque gobbledygook and trying to foster a climate that says “Pottstown is open for business”.