April Showers Swamp Region, Trigger Flooding

The rains came heavy Tuesday into Wednesday as if all those metaphorical April showers waited until the last day of the month to show up.

It all started when a low-pressure front slinked into the region Tuesday and started dumping rain into the area to the point that by 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, a United States Geological Survey rain gauge along the Schuylkill River had recorded nearly 5 inches of rain in a 24-hour period.

And, as you might expect, the result was creeks bursting their banks — along with the Schuylkill River they ultimately feed — and flooded roads, and then trapping some motorists on those roads after they tried to drive through the water.

One of at least four “water rescues” in the area occurred on Bethel Church Road in East Coventry when a small blue sedan stalled in a deep swell of water on the road.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140430/april-showers-swamp-region-trigger-flooding

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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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Layne Steps Down As Upper Pottsgrove Township Manager

Location of Upper Pottsgrove Township in Montg...

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

UPPER POTTSGROVE — The township’s worst kept secret was finally made public Monday night when it was announced that Township Manager Jack Layne has resigned to take a job as manager of Maple Shade, N.J.

Layne began his work with the township in May, 2006, taking over to fill the void left by the surprise resignation of his predecessor, Michael Cotter.

Layne had himself resigned earlier in the year as manager of Pottstown Borough and the Pottstown Borough Authority, a position he had held since January, 2003 after leaving a post in Ohio.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20131216/layne-steps-down-as-u-pottsgrove-township-manager

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

Public Barred From Joint Pottstown, Pottsgrove Sewer Meeting

Editor’s note:  What absolute bullshittery is this BM Flanders!?!  Very shady, dude!

POTTSTOWN, PA — If you live in the borough, or the three surrounding townships who use the borough’s sewer system, the future of your sewer bill was under discussion Tuesday morning — but you would not have been allowed to hear that discussion.

Engineers, managers and lawyers from West Pottsgrove, Upper Pottsgrove and Lower Pottsgrove sat facing each other, and representatives of the Pottstown Borough Authority, in a borough hall meeting room Tuesday morning the township’s unhappiness with the way they must pay for their share of costs at the Pottstown Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Those payments have had a direct impact on the bills paid by sewer users in those townships.

Currently, all three townships send their sewage to the Pottstown plant under agreements with the borough authority.

$3M Sewer Project On Tap For Pottstown

POTTSTOWN — A multi-year sewer pipe replacement program estimated to cost just shy of $3 million is being planned by the Pottstown Borough Authority.

The news come at the same time as the release of a new report his month by the American Society of Civil Engineers, which gives the nation a D+ grade for the state of our infrastructure.

While that might sound bad, it is actually the first time since the reports began to be issued in 1998, that the nation’s grade has actually improved.

The Report Card concludes that to raise the grades and get America’s infrastructure at an acceptable level, a total investment of $3.6 trillion is needed by 2020 across all 16 sectors highlighted in the report, including roads, bridges, rail, dams, water and sewer infrastructure.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130323/NEWS01/130329807/-3m-sewer-project-on-tap-for-pottstown#full_story

Pottstown Purchase Of iPads Questionable

Editor’s note:  We SO agree!  Chief BM has a spending addiction.

Going paperless, going green, embracing technology are goals of government these days, and Pottstown borough is getting on board.

A positive path to be sure, but it comes with a cost.

At Pottstown’s council meeting last week, it was announced that the borough has purchased 23 iPads for members of borough council, the mayor, and members of the borough authority.

Each iPad cost $389 for a total of $9,960 with the cost of the covers, Borough Manager Mark Flanders reported.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130317/OPINION01/130319487/pottstown-purchase-of-ipads-questionable-

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 Approves Art/Exercise Park Concept Along River Trail

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN — A key step in the effort to extend the Schuylkill River Trail out of Riverfront Park and into downtown Pottstown was unanimously approved last week by borough council.

The project was outlined during the Feb. 6 council meeting by Tom Carroll, who in addition to being the new chairman of the Pottstown Borough Authority, is also heading up this project as well.

Carroll’s proposal is to use the triangle of property between College Drive and South Street and turn it into an art and exercise park, call the Pottstown Art and Fitness Trail.

In addition to featuring a system of simple exercise equipment by Energi, the park would also feature platform on which sculptures would be placed.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130219/NEWS01/130219381/pottstown-approves-art-exercise-park-concept-along-river-trail#full_story

Ron Downie Reflects On 20 Years In Pottstown Public Service

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

Editor’s note:  Very nice article by Evan Brandt on Ron Downie’s public service to Pottstown.

POTTSTOWN — When Ron Downie first came to the Pottstown area as an infant, his family for a time got water from a hand-pumped well and used an outhouse at a home outside Harmonyville.

Now, he composes poetry on a hand-held electronic device thinner than most books of poetry and shares his words with the mere touch of a button.

All of which is to say he has seen times change.  And he has changed with them.

One of four children of Scottish immigrants, Downie has alternately been a landscaper, a Firestone plant worker, a bartender, a ski-slope operator, a school board member, the president of the Schuylkill River Heritage Area and the AMBUCS and the Building and Industries Exchange.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121231/NEWS01/121239979/ron-downie-reflects-on-20-years-in-pottstown-public-service-#full_story

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

Don Read Suing Mark Gibson Over Comment During Pottstown Borough Council Meeting

I attended this Council meeting and recall the incident in question.  At the time, I thought this was going to end up in a lawsuit.  Frivolous lawsuits are why people have no interest in running for public office and why people are not interested in municipal government.  Over the years I have been asked to run for School Board and Borough Council.  As much as I would like to serve this community, the dirty politics in our town and the propensity to sue people will make me say NO every time.

To read the rest of the story:

http://www.pottsmerc.com/articles/2011/03/24/news/doc4d8aae6256a80958764256.txt?viewmode=fullstory

Pottstown Borough Council Meeting, January 10, 2011

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

Call To Order – President Toroney.

Invocation – given by Mayor Heath.

Pledge of Allegiance

Roll Call – all Councilors present.

Approval of minutes was given.

Comments from Citizens Present

Bob Leaming – spoke against parking restrictions on S. Hanover St. that are being proposed as a way to combat increased traffic due to the Keim St. bridge closure.  Bob did an impromptu traffic study on the proposed parking restricted area.  Approximately 20 cars went through each green light.  12 went straight, 7 turned left and 1 turned right, on average.  Banning or restricting parking will not solve the traffic problem.  A longer green light is needed at Hanover and High so more northbound traffic can get through that light. (This plan should also include the light at King and High)

(Jason said a traffic count is being proposed by PennDot to get an accurate handle on the situation.  Jason recommended the motion be tabled to give PennDot sufficient time to conduct a study.)

Nancy Leaming – is the owner of AVJ Natural Cat at 6 S. Hanover St.  Nancy stated a large percentage of her customers come into the store between 4 – 6 p.m. (when the proposed restriction would be in place) and customers can not be lugging huge bags of cat food and litter across the street or around the corner.  Such a parking restriction would kill her business.

Burt Meyers – spoke against the proposed parking restriction as well.  Burt owns Meyers Automotive Repair at 8 S. Hanover.  He stated the four businesses on that side of the street already have a huge parking problem.  The light is also a problem at High and Hanover.  It only stays green approximately 35 seconds.  The restriction would be a great hardship on Burt’s business.

Melissa Braunsberg – is an AVJ Natural Cat customer who also echoed the sentiments of the other speakers and was not in favor of parking restrictions on S. Hanover St.  Parking is already a huge problem and she does not want anything to jeopardize this store because she gets a lot of products from there.  She normally comes into the store between 5 – 6 p.m. (after work) and would have no where to park.  She also feels the light and High and Hanover is a problem.

Don Read – made an impassioned plea to Council to give him another term on the Borough Authority.  He said he realizes many people do not like his personality and that he “speaks about issues” which some do not appreciate.  He feels personality should be removed from the decision-making process and that he has done a good job on the Authority if you look at is record.  Don stated he enjoys being on the Authority.

Mayor’s Report – Bonnie thanked the S. Hanover St. business owners for addressing Council.  She also read part of an email sent out from Anna Johnson of Citizen’s For Pottstown’s Revitalization extolling recent successes and stating that despite our differences, we all share the same goal for a safer Pottstown and encouraged people to stay involved! (You can read that entire email right here on Roy’s Rants).  Bonnie also thanked the Police Department for doing a good job last year.

Manager’s Report – Jason talked about the Community Development Block Grant and a project for Washington Street. 

Jason is working with FEMA regarding data on Pottstown’s flood plain.

The Pottstown Traffic Group is discussing following items: the new signal at Industrial Hwy. and Moser Rd., the Route 100 construction (lane reductions) that will last for 12 – 18 months, the Hanover Street parking and signals, the High Street Bridge closure and rebuilding, the Keim Street bridge project will take 3 – 4 years to get through the design stage, the Armand Hammer Boulevard Interchange on 422 is slated for construction and the Industrial Hwy sewer line replacements and paving needs to be coordinated.

On 01/20/2011 there will be an overview meeting about Pottstown’s Code Enforcement software.

Jason talked about the 22 East Second Street project.  Students from the Votech will be rehabbing that property for resale.  The cost of the project will be recouped from the sale of the property.

Montgomery Planning Commission’s northwest transit plan will involve Pottstown Area Rapid Transit (PART) for 3 of 7 new routes they are recommending be established to service this part of the county, in places where access to mass transit does not currently exist.

The 2010 audit will be completed by May.

Jason talked about Pottstown’s drastic improvement with its finances.  Our cash flow as of 12/31/10 was $1.7 million, compared to 2008 when it was -$136,000!  Liabilities as of 11/31/2010 were $72,000, compared to 2008 where they were $740,000!  We should give Jason, Janice and the Finance Committee a medal!

New Business

Mayor Heath presented a civilian service award to a borough resident who helped Pottstown Police apprehend a drug dealer!  The gentleman got a standing ovation from all present!

Council authorized the application to the 2010 PECO Green Region Space Program for Memorial Park Phase II projects.

Council approved the submission to the Montgomery County Revitalization Board for the following projects: Skyline Lighting, Gallery on High and the Western Gateway.

Council approved an Agreement of Cooperation between the Borough of Pottstown and the Redevelopment Authority of Montgomery County for support of the Village Productions/TRIPAC application to the Department of Community and Economic Development.

Council approved a motion to grant the YWCA of Pottstown a reduced rate on 15 parking spaces in the King Street Lot and to provide 5 spaces at the regular rate.

The motion to prepare an ordinance restricting parking on S. Hanover Street was tabled. (Council is concerned about impacting our downtown businesses)

Don Read was not reappointed to the Borough Authority.  Councilor Kirkland spoke on his behalf.  However, when a roll call vote was taken, only Councilor Kirkland voted to reappoint Mr. Read.  Someone felt the need to clap after the vote was taken.  David Wren was then appointed to serve on the Borough Authority to replace Mr. Read.

Sheila Dugan and Mr. Heisey were appointed to PDIDA.

Council voted to reappoint the four existing members of the Blighted Property Review Committee.

Mark Patrizi was reappointed to the Zoning Hearing Board.

Gail Yoder was appointed to serve on the Vacancy Board.

Council endorsed the concept of the Citizen Education Program, the Pottstown Academy, and the Citizen Codes Inspector Program.  Jason has been given the green light to implement these programs.

Council approved the demolition of the former Frederick Mill Building at 527 N. Hanover St.  Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A few contracts were awarded for Public Works, Streets Division.  Some certificates of appropriates were approved from HARB and the bills were paid.

Councilor Weand commended the Finance Staff for their fantastic work on getting our financial house in order.  Councilor Weand is head of the Finance Committee and should get a shout-out for all his hard work as well!

Meeting was adjourned so Council could go into Executive Session.

POTTSTOWN BOROUGH CHANGES BANKS

The Pottstown Borough and Authority will begin using Susquehanna Bank, High and Hanover Streets effective with any payments made on July 01, 2010.  This change in banking services will afford the Borough increased savings each year through reduced banking charges and fees as well as increased interest earnings.

EFFECTIVE JULY 01, 2010

FOR WATER, SEWER, TRASH PAYMENTS

For more information:

http://www.pottstown.org/PDF/BankChange%20for%20Water-Sewer-Trash%200810.pdf

Pottstown Leadership Shoots Taxpayers In The Foot Again!

When the Urban Land Institute said Pottstown has a leadership vacuum they just weren’t kidding now were they!!!

This $61,000 gift to West Pottsgrove for example is beyond embarrassing people.  What the hell are we paying taxes for??  We might as well have a big bonfire in Smith Plaza and throw money into it for cryin’ out loud!  West Pottsgrove has a GIGANTIC cash reserve from the landfill.  I think they can pay their sewer bill!  This kissy face nonsense is ridiculous.  They owe the money and they should damn well pay it!  Borough homeowners wouldn’t get any deals I bet!

We keep taxing people to death and wasting money like there is no tomorrow while the fine residents of this community sit and watch in horror at the antics in City Hall!  Some people need to get fired and voted out of office.  ENOUGH!  We demand accountability!

It’s amazing the state doesn’t come in here and take over.  Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic excuse for management and leadership.   We don’t know what happened for four years!  Is there group amnesia over at City Hall!?!?  That must have been one hell of a party since nobody can remember what happened!

The inmates are running the asylum!  God help us!