State of the Borough Address To Be Given By Mark Flanders And Erica Weekley At TCN Monthly Meeting

State of the Borough Address

Receive new and exciting updates on:

Community Collaborative Initiatives

Pottstown Area Rapid Transit

Pottstown Municipal Airport

Infrastructure Projects

Manatawny Gateway & Mini Golf Complex

TCN Membership Meeting

Tuesday, October 15th, 8am-10am

Montgomery County Community College, West Campus

101 College Drive, Pottstown

Community Room

You’re invited to join a TCN Committee and help address community issues.  Committees will meet during the second hour.
Caregivers Support – Community Partners Against Abuse – Environmental Health & Safety – Homeless Services – Workforce Development – Youth Development 

The Fundraising Gala Committee will meet 10am-10:30am. 

Registration required.  Click here to register or call 610-705-3301, Ext. 2.

10th Carousel Of Flavor A Hit In Pottstown

Picture 584Editor’s note:  Nice mention of iCreate Cafe in the article as a first time participant.  We enjoyed the Carousel of Flavor again this year. The carousel itself is looking great.  They are making excellent progress toward completing it.  A very large event that showcases Pottstown in a positive light.

POTTSTOWN, PA — In its 10th year, the Carousel of Flavor proved to be a hit again.

“Word’s getting out,” said the event’s chairman, Miles Feather.

A board member of the Pottstown Carousel, the long-term project to bring a carousel as an attraction for the borough, Feather said 20 restaurants took part in the event this year, three more than last year.

That included nine different new establishments from the year before to go along with some of the standbys, such as The Very Best and Grumpy’s.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20130923/10th-carousel-of-flavor-a-hit

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 NAACP Leaders Question Spending Priorities

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

Editor’s note:  I question a lot more than the spending priorities in Pottstown.  The municipal government is corrupt, dysfunctional and has a spending addiction.  Taxpayers are overburdened and get very little in return for their hard-earned money.  There is no leadership, no vision, no commitment to improving the quality of life in the borough and the list goes on and on.  The overpaid manager doesn’t even live in Pottstown along with most of the municipal employees in borough hall.  The state needs to take over before it’s too late.

POTTSTOWN — The president and vice president of the Pottstown chapter of the NAACP told borough council Monday that if the borough and school district can find $5 million to fix sidewalks and install bike lanes, they should also be able to find similar amounts to build a pool in Pottstown and help the Ricketts Community Center.

“I went by Memorial Park the other day and I saw kids swimming in the Manatawny (Creek),” NAACP Vice President Johnny Corson told council.

“I know I wouldn’t let my children swim in that creek. Who knows what’s in it, animal feces and the like,” Corson said. “If we had a pool, we wouldn’t have to worry about that.”

Pottstown did have a pool, Gruber Pool, but it closed in 2000 when it was discovered that long-deferred maintenance on the electrical system posed a safety hazard to swimmers.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130815/NEWS01/130819644/pottstown-naacp-leaders-question-spending-priorities#full_story

Police Search for Man Accused of Pottstown Murder

POTTSTOWN — A Pottstown man is the subject of a police manhunt for his alleged role in “a deliberate plot to execute” another man, with whom he was involved in an ongoing feud, in a hail of bullets outside a borough bar, according to authorities.

An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday for Maurice Laverne “Reece” Andrews Jr., 19, whose last known address was in the first block of North Charlotte Street, in connection with the 2:17 a.m. March 22 slaying of Victor Enrique Bonilla Baez outside Brian’s Café in the 300 block of Jefferson Avenue.

Attempts to apprehend Andrews have been unsuccessful and authorities are seeking the public’s assistance. Authorities said Andrews has ties to Pottstown, Norristown and Philadelphia.

“I would encourage anyone not to try to stop him themselves.  He should be considered armed and dangerous,” said Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, urging anyone with information about Andrews’ whereabouts to immediately contact police or county detectives.  “Our biggest concern is this individual is armed and dangerous and he could pose a threat to someone else.  This is someone that we need to capture safely for the safety of the community and to bring justice to this case.”

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130411/NEWS01/130419910/pottstown-man-subject-of-manhunt-for-alleged-slaying-outside-bar#full_story

2 Charged In Shooting Death Of Pottstown Man

The following press release was just issued by the Montgomery County District Attorney regarding murder charges of the March 22 shooting in Pottstown:

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman and Pottstown Police Chief Mark Flanders and Captain F. Richard Drumheller announce the filing of murder charges against Michael Hinton and Maurice Andrews Jr. for the shooting death of Victor Enrique Bonilla Baez, also known as Vincent Taylor.

On Friday, March 22, 2013, at approximately 2:17 a.m., Pottstown Police responded to the 300 block of Jefferson Avenue for the report of a gunshot victim.  Upon arrival police found Victor Enrique Bonilla Baez lying on the street outside of Brian’s Café.  Baez had suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his torso.  Baez was rushed to Pottstown Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival.

On March 22, 2013, Doctor Erica Williams, a Forensic Pathologist, performed an autopsy on Victor Enrique Bonilla Baez.  Following the autopsy, Doctor Williams opined that the cause of Baez’s death was multiple gunshot wounds and the manner of death was homicide.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130410/NEWS01/130419952/2-charged-in-shooting-death-of-pottstown-man

Pottstown Fires Codes Worker Being Investigated For Taking Developer’s Check

Editor’s note:  I think this incident illustrates how broken Pottstown‘s municipal government really is.  Apparently, in the past, it was anything goes in borough hall.  While, BM Flanders isn’t on my hit parade (and I am sure the feeling is mutual) at least he is handling this situation rather than sweeping it under the carpet.  The carpet in borough hall is very lumpy…there has been a good deal of crap kicked under the rug in that building for years.  

Frankly, we think Codes should be outsourced.  It’s the poster child for a dysfunctional department.  Maybe after a period of time passes, the department could be reinstated and an entirely new staff hired.

POTTSTOWN — The firing of zoning work leader Michelle Fry from the codes office is just one of the developments in the borough department that has recently received so much scrutiny.

Of Fry, formerly known as Michelle Borzick, Borough Manager Mark Flanders would say only that “she is no longer employed by the borough,” and said he would neither confirm nor deny that her departure was connected to a police investigation of her alleged acceptance of a check from developer and convicted thief Frank McLaughlin of East Coventry.

Fry, however, confirmed to The Mercury Tuesday that she is using a standing borough process to appeal her termination. She declined to comment further.

McLaughlin was sentenced in Montgomery County Court last month to three years’ probation after he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of theft by unlawful taking in connection with his use of devices to by-pass water meters so he would not have water bills at his property.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130410/NEWS01/130419918/pottstown-fires-codes-worker-being-investigated-for-taking-developer-s-check

Pottstown School Board Approves Keystone Tax Break For New Business

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

Editor’s note:  See what happens when we are all on the same page!  This sends a positive signal to the investment community that Pottstown is “OPEN FOR BUSINESS”.   This needs to happen more often.  Two Thumbs Up to all involved!

POTTSTOWN — With a 7-2 vote Monday night, the Pottstown School Board endorsed a property tax break for a business that wants to re-locate to the former 84 Lumber truss plant on Keystone Boulevard.

School board members Polly Weand and Andrew Kefer cast the only votes against endorsing the Keystone Opportunity Zone tax exemption for Conshohocken-based Heritage Coach Co., which sells hearses and limousines.

The vote comes just three days after state Rep. Mark Painter, D-146th Dist., announced his support for the tax break.

Under the terms of the deal negotiated by Schools Superintendent Jeff Sparagana and Borough Manager Mark Flanders, Heritage would pay no property taxes in the first three years of the 10-year deal.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130326/NEWS01/130329480/pottstown-school-board-approves-tax-break-for-new-business

Pottstown Homicide – When Is Enough Violent Crime Enough?

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

If you read today’s Mercury, you undoubtedly noticed there was a fatal shooting at Brian’s Cafe on the corner of North Charlotte Street and Jefferson Avenue around 2:00 am this morning.  A 27-year-old male died at PMMC after being transported there from the crime scene.

It appears the leadership of Pottstown doesn’t care about crime.  They are more concerned about saving paper and buying 23 iPads instead of spending money on surveillance cameras, police overtime, more police, crime tracking software, cops walking a beat and/or any other assorted method(s) to combat crime.

Pottstown will never revitalize until it gets cleaned up.  Cleaning up Pottstown won’t happen until somebody takes crime seriously and (a).  allocates some resources to solve the problem or (b). asks for help from the state or (c).  all the above.   Keeping a “lid on the powder keg” isn’t a strategy, sorry!

Criminals are not afraid of the police.  Drug deals take place is broad daylight.  Vagrants wander the downtown chasing away potential customers who are trying to patronize one of the few businesses on High Street.  The laws already on the books are not enforced.   Yet borough council meetings have plain clothes police officers in the audience to keep the unruly taxpayers quiet. Maybe those police officers should be patrolling the streets instead of being used to intimidate the very people who pay their salaries.

The Codes Department is a shambles and has contributed to the problem by allowing absentee landlords to carve up homes into substandard rental units.  You have all been following this debacle in the Mercury, I’m sure.  Absentee landlords fail to conduct background checks and will rent to anybody willing to pay in cash.  Pottstown is overrun with social service agencies, Section 8 housing, vagrants, drugs and criminals.

Pottstown keeps promoting from within which is perpetuating the leadership vacuum.  How many borough employees live in Pottstown?  Do any police officers live in Pottstown?  Does Pottstown have any minority or female police officers?  Does Chief BM live in Pottstown?  Did Jason Bobst live in Pottstown?

Has anybody noticed all the for sale signs dotting the borough?  What about all the Sheriff’s sales? People just walk away from their homes.

Before Pottstown becomes the next Camden or Chester, somebody needs to do something.  As voters, you can do something by cleaning house this fall and getting new blood on Pottstown Borough Council and electing a new mayor.  If things don’t change soon, there will be no going back.  The day of reckoning is almost at hand.

We urge voters to check out the Reform Party candidates for Pottstown Borough Council and Ross Belovich for mayor as alternatives to the current bumper crop of ostriches on council and the illustrious Missy Mayor.  You can make a difference.

The taxpayers of Pottstown need to take control of their own destiny.  You’re footing the bill so you should be calling the shots.  Get people on council who will truly represent your interests instead of electing those who foster their own private agendas and could give a rip about your needs.

Power to the Pottstown People!

Big Changes In Pottstown Codes Office Recommended In Report

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN — The long-awaited report on ways to improve Pottstown’s Codes Department was presented to council March 11 and Council President Stephen Toroney promised to implement as many of the changes as possible as quickly as possible, but several of the recommendations likely will cost more money.

Chris Fazio and Rick Miles from the firm of Remington Vernick and Beach presented their findings in a 60-page report that contained 37 separate recommendations for improvements to operations in the codes office.

“There are several areas where improvement is needed,” Fazio told council.

Rather than go through all 37 recommendations, Fazio and Mile reviewed what they called the “top 10.”

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130317/NEWS01/130319394/big-changes-in-pottstown-codes-office-recommended-in-report#full_story

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

Police Investigating Pottstown Codes Worker Regarding Landlord’s Check

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN — An employee of the borough codes office was escorted out of borough hall by police last week and her removal is likely connected to an investigation of whether the employee received a check from a developer and landlord for personal use, The Mercury has confirmed.

Several sources confirmed that Michelle Fry, formerly Michelle Borzick, a “zoning work leader” in the codes office, was escorted from the borough hall code office on Feb. 13.

Contacted Tuesday and asked for comment, Borough Manager Mark Flanders said, “We don’t comment on personnel matters.”

In an e-mail, Fry wrote Tuesday that she also had “no comment.”

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130219/NEWS01/130219304/police-investigating-pottstown-codes-worker-regarding-landlord-s-check#full_story

Pottstown AFSCME Contract Extended A Year, Excludes Code Inspectors

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

Editor’s note:  I would get my resume updated and start looking for a new job…just sayin’….  As for the tardiness of the Codes Department review by Remington, Vernick and Beach, are we really surprised?  I hope not.  Another day in paradise.

POTTSTOWN — With a 5-0 vote Monday night, borough council approved a one-year extension of the contract with the union which represents borough hall, public works and parks and recreation workers.

However, it does not include the borough’s code enforcement officers.

With Councilman Joe Kirkland and Councilwoman Carole Kulp absent, the remaining council members supported the motion to extend the contract, which was recommended by Borough Manager Mark Flanders and Borough Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr., the borough’s primary negotiators.

According to the information provided to council, the extension means no change in wages or health care contributions for either side.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130214/NEWS01/130219793/pottstown-afscme-contract-extended-a-year-excludes-code-inspectors#full_story

Pottstown Borough Manager’s Salary Comparison With Other Pennsylvania Cities

Please look long and hard at the list below and ask yourself WTF is going on with the Pottstown Borough Manager’s salary.  Why are Pottstown taxpayers on the hook for this gigantic salary!  The mayors of the cities listed below are the executives running these communities, not baby kisser like Pottstown’s illustrious Missy Mayor.  Their jobs are comparable to a borough manager only they are running MUCH larger communities with MUCH larger staffs making MUCH less money????????????????  These are also elected officials and more accountable for their actions as opposed to someone hired by their BFF’s and placed in power.

SavePottstown! has also been addressing this ridiculous imbalance and the head-scratching choice of the new Borough Manager – see  http://savepottstown.com/lang/es/2013/02/overpaid/

Here’s the promised comparison list:

- Philadelphia, $174,438 (population 1,526,006)

- Pottstown, $120,000 (population 22,377)

- Pittsburgh, $96,511 (population 305,704)

- Allentown, $95,000 (population 118,032)

- Bethlehem, $90,500 (population 74,982)

- Harrisburg, $80,000 (population 49,528)

- Easton, $80,000 (population 26,800)

- Wilkes-Barre, $79,911 (population 41,498)

- Erie, $65,000, going to $95,000 in 2014 (population 101,786)

- Scranton, $50,000, under review by City Council for an increase (population 76,089)

With the exception of the data on Pottstown and Pittsburgh, the salary figures came from the Scranton Times-Tribune.   Populations are 2010 United States Census results.  The Pittsburgh mayor’s salary is taken from an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Pottstown Reconsiders Government ‘Mission’ And ‘Core Values’

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

Editor’s note:  I would say you get what you pay for but Mr. Flanders makes more money that many mayors of Pennsylvania’s largest cities.  Then again, we are asked to believe that in the entire United States of America there is no one more qualified to run a borough of 22,377 people than the Pottstown Chief of Police.  Interestingly enough, Pottstown’s crime rate is higher than many major cities in Pennsylvania.   I wonder if that was the determining factor for his selection ;)

POTTSTOWN — It is not uncommon for a new company or a new administration to try to re-boot their operation by sitting down and asking themselves “what is our mission?” or “what are our core values?”

Well, you can add the Borough of Pottstown to the list of those organizations.

And even though the borough’s mission statement and core values were updated as recently as Oct. 11, 2011, Borough Manager Mark Flanders has presented borough council with drafts of a new mission statement and new core values for the borough.

He wants to know what they think before they become official.

The mission statement discussion is on the agenda for Wednesday night’s borough council meeting.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130205/NEWS01/130209753/pottstown-reconsiders-government-mission-and-core-values-#full_story

Pottstown Borough Departments Reorganized

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN — After several years without one, Pottstown has a new assistant borough manager — although she has a familiar face.

Erica Weekley, who has spent the last several years as Pottstown’s grants administrator, was the person newly-minted Borough Manager Mark Flanders chose for the post.

He made the announcement during the Dec. 10 council meeting.

And those are not the only changes either already implemented or in the works at borough hall.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130102/NEWS01/130109943/erica-weekley-named-assistant-manager-for-pottstown-#full_story

Pottstown Council, School Board Want To Work Closer

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

Editor’s note:  Two Roy’s Rants thumbs up to Acting Superintendent Jeff Sparagana for being proactive!

POTTSTOWN — When it comes to getting along, it could be said that the borough and school district governments in Pottstown sometimes get along like siblings on a long car trip.

Acting Schools Superintendent Jeff Sparagana is among the first to admit that and did so Wednesday when he told borough council that “it is important to acknowledge and recognize there have been breakdowns in the relationship between the borough and the school district in the past.”

But he was also the first to offer an olive branch in pursuit of a new era of cooperation.

Appearing before council during the Wednesday work session, Sparagana prefaced a presentation of the district’s land development plans for Rupert, Franklin and Lincoln elementary schools with a statement — and an apology.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121209/NEWS01/121209423/pottstown-council-school-board-want-to-work-closer#full_story

SavePottstown! Has “Reactivated” Due To The Deteriorating State Of Pottstown

Editor’s note:  They’re back and looking for hard facts about the increasing corruption of local government, in an effort to expose the seamy underbelly of Pottstown politics.  Looks like that den of “vipers” in Pottstown Borough Hall is about to meet their mongoose!  Bwahahahahaha!

What Stinks?

POTTSTOWN, PA – Hello folks…is this thing working?

After receiving countless correspondence from our loyal readers and shedding many tears over the injustices that have become far too commonplace in our fair town over the past year, we have decided to rev up the SavePottstown!! engines in order to be the change we want to see in Pottstown.

Read more:  http://savepottstown.com/lang/es/2012/12/what-stinks/

Pottstown Borough Authority Adopts New Policy In Wake Of Water Theft Case

POTTSTOWN,PA — If a silver lining could be said to exist in the case of the landlord accused of stealing borough water at multiple properties, it could be said that it brought the problem to the attention of the authorities.

Or, in this case, the Pottstown Borough Authority.

In June, landlord Frank McLaughlin of East Coventry was arrested  by Pottstown police and charged with theft of services after devices designed to by-pass water meters were found inside multiple properties he owned.

That case is still working its way through the courts, but the borough authority’s board wasted no time in acting at its Nov. 27 meeting and adopting a policy designed to minimize the loss once such a by-pass device has been discovered.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121202/NEWS01/121209923/pottstown-borough-authority-adopts-new-policy-in-wake-of-water-theft-case#full_story