Dog Fighting In Pottstown: A Tragic Result Of Government Negligence…

EDITORIAL

Pottstown Borough Hall

Pottstown Borough Hall

Our scuz-busting friend, the Golden Cockroach, has more horrific news about the results of the absentee extractive investors who have taken over large numbers of properties in Pottstown.  These folks buy up homes for “cents on the dollar” and rent them to anybody who will pay their rent in “cash”, **wink, wink. The properties are not maintained and the tenants are left to run wild and terrorize their neighbors.

The typical absentee extractive investor lives in a large suburban home, in a township where mostly upper middle class white folk congregate.  They take their wads of “rental cash” and do “fun stuff” like take vacations to tropical locations with municipal employees (who also make wads of cash thanks to the overburdened taxpayers in Pottstown).  While these folks are sunbathing, and having drinks with little umbrellas in them, back at the ranch all hell is breaking loose.  OR when they aren’t sunbathing and having funky beverages south of the border, they are at home in their virtually crime-free suburban communities reading about Pottstown’s ills in the Mercury.

Meanwhile, Pottstown is falling apart and these rental properties are crumbling off their foundations. HOWEVER, unless “I” live next to a problem rental property it’s not my problem.  These properties somehow pass inspection, they are somehow issued occupancy permits and everybody is happy.  Well, except for the people who live in Pottstown and are being terrorized by these tenants who aren’t properly vetted before being allowed to occupy said rental properties.  But again, unless it directly impacts me, it’s not my problem.  RIGHT?

Apparently, this is the attitude emanating from Pottstown Borough Hall.  This attitude comes across loud and clear when you read the latest post from the Golden Cockroach.  You should be utterly incensed by the complete disregard for the residents of Pottstown.  This stunning information confirms what we have always thought.   The fact that it was said out loud by a municipal employee makes us sick.

The result of this blatant contempt for Pottstown is crime.  Evidently, we can now add dog fighting to the list of heinous crimes being perpetrated in Pottstown and ignored by the very folks who are paid to look after the interests of the taxpayers.  Why?  Because many municipal employees do not live in Pottstown and these problems do not impact their quality of life.  Ergo, it’s not my problem.  They can read the Mercury on their iPad while they sip their morning latte from the safety of their suburb.  After reading about “life in Pottstown” they can head into the office for another fun-filled day of work “screw over the taxpayer” behind bullet-proof glass.  We think that’s a game like “pin the tail on the donkey” but we aren’t 100 percent sure.  Can you hear them cackling as they drive over the borough line with their big fat paychecks?

So we have people with virtually no interest in seeing Pottstown revitalize running the show.  These same people are allowing absentee extractive investors to make large profits at the expense of the fine folks who do live in Pottstown (and who pay very high taxes for these stellar municipal services brought to you by people who don’t give a shit crap).

Crime is running rampant and no matter now many miniature golf courses you build, you are still putting lipstick on a pig.  Don’t get us wrong, miniature golf is fun and we expect to try it out soon, however there are far more important issues that need to be addressed.  CRIME and JOBS should be the TOP priority of the municipal government.  The job market should be high and crime should be low!  It’s ass-backwards in Pottstown!  It’s time for the taxpayers to say “enough” and hold these co-perpetrators accountable for Pottstown’s ruination.

Please take a few minutes to read Golden Cockroach’s latest post.  Please watch the video about the animal abuse and dog fighting if you haven’t already seen it.  The video is included in the post for your convenience.

CLICK HERE:  http://goldencockroach.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/dog-fighting-in-pottstown-a-tragic-result-of-govt-negligence/

Howard Brown Backs Growing Stop The Violence Campaign In Pottstown

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA — A local hoops legend lent his support Monday night to the anti-violence movement that began in the borough a little more than a month ago.

“When I heard about this, it’s just a natural thing for me to want to be involved in some capacity,” said Howard Brown, the Pottstown grad who went on to play basketball at Villanova and internationally. “We’re actually drumming up a lot of residents and former residents to just not only bring awareness but to talk about some of the issues that we do have, to change.”

With a driving rain cancelling plans for a full march, the Stop the Violence campaign moved indoors at the Ricketts Center, where players in the Olivet Boys and Girls Club’s summer basketball league gathered together between games to pose for a picture and show their support of the movement.

A Maryland resident now, Brown is in town for a combine for his basketball agency, iBall United, which will be held over the weekend both in Valley Forge and at The Hill School.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140714/howard-brown-backs-growing-stop-the-violence-campaign-in-pottstown

Our Thoughts On Last Night’s Pottstown Borough Council Meeting

Editor’s comments:  Below I have reprinted the text from Katy Jackson’s heartfelt speech with my thoughts.  Love her or hate her, Katy cannot be accused of taking the path of least resistance.  The time Katy has put into trying to make Pottstown a better place is enormous.  There are plenty of other things she could be doing with her time.  Katy gets no pay, Mr. Toroney yet she puts in countless hours working toward the betterment of Pottstown and has plenty to show for her efforts, it in terms of accomplishments. Yes, I know you work full-time.

It angered me that Katy was interrupted and told to “wrap it up” at only 4 minutes.  It showed a complete lack of respect and civility.  Mrs. Jackson is WELL AWARE of the time limit for citizen comments.  She was reading a prepared text, which she timed.  That fact that she was the ONLY person interrupted tells me her words hit too close to home.  The truth hurts. 

All this blustering and obfuscation needs to stop, along with blaming the taxpayers.  It pisses them off as you were told last night.  I hope you heard that loud and clear. 

Mr. Toroney, you know being a Councilor is time-consuming, yet you keep running for re-election.  You know it pays virtually nothing, yet you keep running for re-election.  Either the job is your joy and sacred duty or a time-sucking pain in the ass, it cannot be both.

After introducing herself as a representative of the Citizens Action Committee of Pottstown, Katy said:

Mr. Toroney, you’ve taken the path of least resistance in your lengthy term (15 ½ years) on council.  Art Markman, PhD, a professor of Psychology at the University of Texas and Director of the Program in the Human Dimensions of Organizations, writes ‘the path of least resistance’ asThe psychologist Tom Ward points out that when we think about anything, we follow the path of least resistance.  Without realizing it, we instantly and automatically categorize every situation we see based on our previous experience.  So, despite our best efforts to do something bold and new, our memory drives us back to things tried and true.  Our efforts at creativity are thwarted before they get on track.

Several years ago, you made a comment to a council person that “you don’t get paid enough”.   Yet, you have vied to retain your seat and you’ve accepted the position of Council President, more than once.  Have you failed to understand that serving as an elected official is not about the money?  Or is it…?  Mr. Toroney, if being on council is your “sacred duty” as you professed last night, then may I suggest you actually do something.  Last night would have been the perfect opportunity for a list of accomplishments that you, as Council President, achieved which propelled Pottstown forward.

Given that the process was in place and, taxpayers covered the costs to seek a qualified outside borough manager, you took the path of least resistance.  This is the $120,000 question.  If Pottstown Borough government operated in the real world, a more experienced person would be Borough Manager and making a more reasonable salary considering the size of the local government.  Also, a more experienced person would have realized if you spend more money than you bring in, you create a deficit.  There is no “extra” money in the budget to reward our friends with promotions and raises, to buy a new car, to hand out iPads, or spend money on consultants that we planned on ignoring all along.  Taxpayers are smarter than you think.

When it was time to select a new Police Chief for Pottstown, you made no pretense about choosing the path of least resistance.  Again, in the real world, people are held to metrics and performance goals.  I supervised people for over 20 years and wrote countless performance appraisals.  Employees were ranked according to their achievements.  If you failed to meet goals such as quantity and quality, your performance review reflected this.  Your raise, or lack of a raise was dependent upon your results.  Your customer service skills, ability to work and play well with others, your attendance, punctuality etc… were all measured.  When my people missed their goals, I heard about it from my boss.  Had I told my V.P. that my goal was to increase productivity by 1% I would have most likely been demoted, once he stopped laughing.

Each month when the expenditures for the borough are approved by council do you read the line items and scrutinize the spending or…do you take the path of least resistance?  I will say Pottstown’s finances improved greatly due to Jason Bobst, Janice Lee and Dan Weand.  However, if we allow the borough manager spend money we don’t have, whose fault would that be?  In the real world, his supervisor.  In Pottstown’s case, that would be borough council, headed up by El Presidente, Steve Toroney.  The borough manager needs supervision, sorry.  Inaction makes you complicit when overspending occurs.  Just say no.

Do you believe that upper management requires exorbitant salaries, top of the line new vehicles, iPads for officials, costly analysis of the codes department, bullet proof surround for upper management while taxpayers and residents of Pottstown watch in disbelief as our community deteriorates before our eyes. Diligent public employees struggle to do their best with chaos but others could care less about their jobs.  You have taken the path of least resistance, Mr. Toroney.  See above commentary…this also falls under reigning in your employees.

You appointed an ad hoc committee to vet prospective engineer firms who ultimately chose Remington, Veronica and Beach, in March 2012. It is evidenced that you were aware of impropriety in that process yet, you did not speak up.  You went on to support a hasty, questionable expenditure of unbudgeted tax payer money of around $33,000 for an analysis of the codes department by Remington, Veronica and Beach.  Again, I ask, was this the path of least resistance?   This debacle is just unbelievable.  No words.

I believe this poor, struggling community cannot afford you, Mr. Toroney. Your selective interest and support of worthy organizations in Pottstown appears to be based on your personal approval or disapproval of the individuals that comprise their groups.  Despite your disdain, these organizations forge ahead in the challenging roles they have accepted to make Pottstown a better place for all residents.   Why has it been difficult for you to offer encouragement and take an interest in your community?  In this, you have again chosen a path that may have been easy for you but you have made it difficult for many others.   Mr. Toroney’s irrational fear of a certain non-profit organization in Pottstown is just maddening.  This organization can actually list substantial accomplishments that have made Pottstown a better place.  This mentality is very junior high school.  Stop the madness and grow up.

You have failed to advocate for the taxpayers and good citizens of Pottstown and in doing so, you condone the rising crime and disintegration of our community.  Rather than using your position, as Council President, to communicate with Montgomery County and State officials, to keep the concerns of this community in the forefront of their decision-making, you have engaged in conspiracy theories about the Counties intentions toward Pottstown.  And we have been further isolated in our efforts to revitalize.  Pottstown’s potential is enormous.  As I drove down High Street last night from McDonald’s to borough hall I remembered what drew me to live in Pottstown all those years ago.  I like towns better than “burbs”.  I like the hustle and bustle, the diversity, the architecture, the history etc…  When I first moved to Pottstown in 1983 I lived in Valley View Apartments in North Coventry Township.  Less than two years later I moved into the borough and lived on the 200 block of Walnut Street, followed by the 100 block of King Street, the 1400 block of Queen Street and the 900 block of Hale Street.  I CHOSE to live in Pottstown.  Sadly, in 2012 I CHOSE to move out of Pottstown because of crime, blight and the cost of living. 

We’re asking you tonight to step down from service to this community so that an “individual” among you, that council deems qualified, can pick up the pieces, and lead. We desperately need real leaders in Pottstown.   Lead or get out-of-the-way, Mr. Toroney.

Mr. Toroney are you proud of what Pottstown has become?  John Potts is rolling over in his grave on a daily basis over what has been done to his town. 

It’s not too late to save Pottstown but the residents need to start driving the bus and stop being taken for a ride.  Power to the Pottstown People!

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Toroney Touts Tenure On Pottstown Council, Accomplishments – Reads From Prepared Statement

POTTSTOWN, PA – Several dozen people stood in front of Pottstown Borough Hall, before tonight’s council meeting, to protest the rash of violence, including a homicide, that has gripped the borough in the last few weeks.  NBC 10, the Reading Eagle and ace Mercury Reporter, Evan Brandt were all on hand (sorry if I missed anyone).  Motorists honked and shouted encouragement from time to time as the protesters held up signs asking Pottstown Borough Council President Steve Toroney to resign.

Despite the threatening weather, the demonstration went on.  Around 6:30 pm, Mr. Toroney arrived and entered the building by the front door.  He appeared indifferent to the demonstrators.

The meeting started at 7:00 pm with the Call to Order.  For the Invocation, President Toroney briefly spoke about former Pottstown Mayor Anne Jones, who passed away a few days ago.  A moment of silence was then observed for Anne and her family.

The agenda then moved through the Pledge of Allegiance, Roll Call, Approval of Minutes and then Comments from Citizens Present.

The first commenter was well-known Pottstown civic activist, Katy Jackson.  Speaking on behalf of the Pottstown Citizens Action Committee, Mrs. Jackson read with emotion from her prepared statement, which outlined in less than five minutes the flawed leadership of President Toroney.  She was interrupted at 4 minutes to tell her she had one minute left and to “wrap it up”.  No other speaker was interrupted.  See my Roy’s Rants Facebook page to view video.

Dianne Krumm, another member of the Pottstown Citizens Action Committee echoed much of Mrs. Jackson’s concerns.  She also cited Pottstown Police Chief Richard Drumheller’s goal to reduce crime in Pottstown by 1% when he took office.  She suggested Pottstown ask for help from the state to aid the beleaguered police department.

Cindy Conard, former challenger for the 7th Ward Council seat, stressed the need for conversation and communication between the residents and the borough.  She also mentioned the lack of vision and direction as contributing factors to the frustration of taxpayers.

David Garner, Esquire addressed the 7th Ward Councilor for ignoring his emails (not the first person with this issue).  He again offered his help to the borough, even after being told his help “was not needed and not wanted”.

Several others addressed council with comments like “come live in my neighborhood for a day or a week”, “my property value has dropped $40,000 in 5 years” and “the borough manager rejected my request for an appointment”.

A young woman told a horror story of being abused by an extractive property investor.  His property was inspected by the Pottstown Codes Department, there were major violations yet nothing ever happened to her landlord.  She had no heat for two months and duct tape over the windows and doors to keep the air out, “you could see outside”.  She called the Pottstown Police Department because she was being terrorized, nothing happened.  They were more interested in running her information to see if she had outstanding warrants than they were to protect her from defiant trespass.  She had to go to Norristown to get help and moved before her lease was up.  She rightly wonders why her landlord was not held accountable for the ordinances she found on the borough website and why the police department was not interested in helping her.  Great questions.

The last person who spoke expressed his frustration with being told he, as a taxpayer, is not doing enough to help fight crime in Pottstown.  He is a life-long resident of the borough, an upstanding citizen who does call the police and tries to do the right thing.  Being told he is not doing enough “pisses him off”.  He lives within a block of the recent murder (and a previous murder).  He also mentioned shootings, arson and cars being vandalized in his neighborhood.  Blaming the people who pay your salary is never the way to go.

So after all these taxpayers poured out their hearts to borough council, a red-faced Steve Toroney read a prepared statement touting his 15 ½ years on Council.  Normally politicians can rattle off a list of their accomplishments at the drop of a hat.  Steve is proud of what he has accomplished but did not offer one illustration of any accomplishment in his statement.  Interesting.  See my Roy’s Rants Facebook page to view video.   Mr. Toroney got a “jab” in at former Sixth Ward Councilor, Jody Rhoads in his remarks about not resigning.

The next item was the Mayor’s Report.  The mayor had three talking points.  First she talked about Anne Jones.  That was very nice.  Then she talked about Edgewood Cemetery, at some length.  Basically, it’s abandoned and the borough does not own the property.  The cemetery needs to be maintained… the problem.  Lastly, Sharon addressed crime.  She talked so long the video card filled up and my camera stopped recording.  Sharon did mention the last citizen’s comments in her remarks about crime.

The Borough Manager’s Report was short.  He mentioned the upcoming Pottstown Rumble volleyball tournament and that the hours are changing at borough hall. He did not acknowledge any of the citizens comments.

I left after his remarks.

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Pottstown Residents Speak Up About Recent Violent Crimes

POTTSTOWN, PA — Even before Steven Mitchell was found dead in his car on Jefferson Avenue Thursday night, borough residents were beginning to express concerns about the mini crime wave that has hit Pottstown.

“Pottstown is becoming another Chester, PA,” North Hanover Street resident Dianne Krumm told borough council at its Wednesday night work session.

Since May 30, Pottstown has seen shooting incidents near Brian’s Cafe, a car wash at Wilson and Spruce streets and a man shot in the elbow on Lincoln Avenue, not to mention the attempted robbery of the Wells-Fargo Bank on East High Street.

“I was laying in my bed and I swear I could hear the bullets,” Krumm said. “I want something done about crime.”

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140607/pottstown-residents-speak-up-about-recent-violent-crimes

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The Unfurling Of Cronyism In The Borough Of Pottstown…

Roy:

We feel this post merits re-posting on our site. We feel the time has come for the good people of Pottstown to say ENOUGH ALREADY! Your presence at the demonstration and meeting tomorrow night is essential if the elected leadership is to see people mean business. The only way to send a message is to show up. 10 people at a council meeting sends the signal that the good people of Pottstown are either okie dokie with the way things are run OR that y’all don’t care. We urge you to make the time to attend the meeting tomorrow night. Share your displeasure with the elected leadership. Demand change. You pay very high taxes to live in Pottstown and deserve to feel safe and secure. Power to the Pottstown people!

Our friends at Golden Cockroach write:

Originally posted on :

Back in March, 2012 the Patch online news conducted a survey of Pottstown.  They asked:

“What Keeps Pottstown From Success?”

Survey said:

Crime — 31 percent
Drug gangs — 2 percent
A high rental to private homeowner ratio — 16 percent
Section 8 — 6 percent
Government — 33 percent
Negative thinking and apathy — 6 percent
The need for a commuter train — 0 percent

* This is not a scientific poll*  In my experience it is an accurate representation.  However, when asked, Pottstown officials repeatedly say the biggest problem is NEGATIVITY AND APATHY among Pottstown citizens… 

as exemplified in the comments of Borough Manager/former Chief of Police, Mark Flanders, in this 2010 article.  These sentiments are not unique to Flanders, they are etched into the minds of local officials.  They are passed down, as a torch, to all incoming leaders until it has become the mantra, the…

View original 1,046 more words

The Citizens Action Committee For Pottstown Seeks To Topple Toroney – Usher In New Era Of Safety And Prosperity

The most common type of gun confiscated by pol...

The most common type of gun confiscated by police and traced by the ATF are .38 special revolvers, such as this Smith and Wesson Model 60 .38 Special revolver with a 3-inch barrel. LaPierre, Wayne (1994). Guns, Crime, and Freedom . Regnery Publishing. p. 58. ISBN 0895264773. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA – In response to increased and ongoing violent crime in 2014 (more than 5 gun related crimes since May 18th), THE RESIDENTS OF POTTSTOWN REQUEST THAT COUNCIL PRESIDENT, STEVE TORONEY, STEP DOWN FROM OFFICE.

Statistics bear out the increased crime in our community but the real story lies in the individual experiences of loss and hardship.  There is a vanishing sense of well-being and safety as homeowners lose their homes and all that they have worked for.  Those who remain have lost all confidence in local government.

Montgomery County continues to warehouse their social services population in our community, yet they provide little relief from the results of their actions.   A promise made, to this community to address the “quality of life” issues in Pottstown, by Montgomery County District Attorney Risa V. Ferman has not come to fruition.  Local officials have not held the county responsible nor even asked for answers as to why they continue to overwhelm this community with their disenfranchised population.

Our neighborhoods are not safe.  They are in dangerous shambles, riddled with blight, gang members and others who possess weapons, drugs and display anti-social behaviors.  Yet, Montgomery County continues to fund housing programs that enable and pay negligent income property investors to house people that the county declines to care for.  These investors do not conduct background checks, they fail to register their properties or maintain them, they do not pay taxes nor do they monitor their properties once occupied.  This leaves borough residents exposed and vulnerable.

Taxpaying homeowners/residents are often accused of doing too little to support law enforcement.  In reality we’ve done too little to hold our local officials accountable for the fearful, depleted conditions we find in our neighborhoods.  We have not made them responsible for their failure to advocate for us, to interact and communicate with us, or to include us in seeking solutions.  Monday night we will proclaim the tide is turning.  From this point forward we will hold our elected and paid officials accountable for our diminishing quality of life.

-We ask our elected officials to take a hands-on approach in seeking solutions by working with the paid management that they selected and by holding them accountable for their performance and their interactions with the community. In addition, we ask our elected officials to encourage innovation and measure progress on issues that contribute to crime in Pottstown.

-We ask our elected officials to rid local government of underperforming public servants and to reign in management salaries and expenditures including new cars, iPads, extended paid vacations and other luxuries that we can ill afford.

-We ask our elected officials to acknowledge the reality that many residents in our borough are hardworking people who are trying to raise their families and be good citizens.  Yet, they despair as they watch their investments in this community continue to spiral downward year after year.

Despite the viable options put in place to seek and hire qualified, experienced management from outside the borough, President Toroney’s public conviction was that the right choice for Pottstown was to promote the former Police Chief to Borough Manager and promote the former Police Captain to Police Chief.  We were not fooled.  Today, we most assuredly know that Pottstown is in further decline since those decisions were made.

Today, we ask Steve Toroney to step down as Council President and remove himself from Pottstown Borough Council so that his seat is open to capable, fresh and motivated leadership.  We MUST begin to turn the decline around before we find ourselves facing untenable conditions like those of Camden, N.J. and Detroit.

Citizens Action Committee for Pottstown

Email:  cacptown@gmx.com

Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/SavePottstown

The Citizens Action Committee for Pottstown is organizing a peaceful gathering of residents prior to Monday night’s Pottstown Borough Council Meeting (to request the resignation of Pottstown Borough Council President, Steve Toroney).  Borough residents are encouraged to come and take a stand to save Pottstown by participating in the gathering before the meeting and/or by attending the meeting and exercising their right as a Pottstonian to address the council during the allotted time for public comments.  This is your opportunity to stand together and make your voice heard.  

Date:                   Monday, June 9, 2014

Time:                   6:15 pm – The gathering in front of Pottstown Borough Hall

                            7:00 pm – Pottstown Borough Council Meeting begins

                            Council Meeting Room on the 3rd Floor.

Where:               Pottstown Borough Hall – 100 E. High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464

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Gun Violence Escalating In Pottstown, Again…

Warm weather does tend to bring out the criminal element in Pottstown.  Since May 18th there have been a number of incidents of gun violence reported by the Pottstown Mercury and WFMZ-TV.

Here is a recap of what’s been going on:

Armed robbery at the Gulf Station on High Street on May 18th: http://m.wfmz.com/pottstown-armed-robber-on-the-loose/26046054

Student arrested at Pottstown High School, allegedly robs another student at gunpoint on May 28th: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140528/updated-student-arrested-at-pottstown-high-school

Shooting near Brian’s Cafe (scene of a murder last year) on May 31st:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140531/updated-late-night-pottstown-shooting-sends-man-to-hospital

Armed robbery at Wells Fargo Bank on High Street (East End) on May 31st: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140531/updated-high-street-bank-robbed-fbi-seeks-armed-suspect

Police investigating gunshots near Wilson and Spruce Streets on June 2nd: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140602/pottstown-police-investigating-gunshots-near-wilson-and-spruce-streets

Police are investigating a shooting in Pottstown on Chestnut Street on June 3rd: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140603/updated-man-injured-after-shooting-in-pottstown-video

UPDATE: Police are investigating a homicide on Jefferson Avenue in Pottstown on June 5th: https://www.facebook.com/CrimeInPottstown and also the Pottstown Mercuryhttp://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140606/man-found-dead-in-car-in-pottstown

I think the examples above should be some kind of RED FLAG that there is a problem with violent crime in the borough.  And frankly, these are just the big incidents that I could find quickly to illustrate this problem.  A town of 22,480 (2012) should not have this much crime.

People are afraid.  People should expect more for their extremely HIGH TAXES.  If the Pottstown Police Department is overwhelmed then by all means call Harrisburg and ask for some help.  HINT:  Kathleen Kane’s Office for starters.  There is nothing wrong with asking for assistance.  Be proactive instead of reactive.  Maybe “keeping a lid on the powder keg” needs to be replaced with a better strategy?????

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MCCC Wind Turbines Now Part Of Pottstown Landscape

Wind Ribbon Cutting

Wind Ribbon: Pictured cutting the ribbon during Montgomery County Community College’s wind turbine dedication on April 21 are (from left) MCCC Trustees Andrew Cantor and Ed Mullin, MCCC Trustee Chairman Michael D’Aniello, Pottstown Borough Mayor Sharon Thomas, MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout, MCCC West Campus Vice President Dr. Steady Moono, Pottstown Borough Council President Stephen Toroney, and Pa. Representative Mark Painter. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Pottstown, Pa—Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) cut a symbolic green ribbon on April 21 to dedicate four brand new wind turbines at its West Campus in Pottstown.

Pa. Rep. Mark Painter, Pottstown Borough Council President Stephen Toroney and Pottstown Mayor Sharon Thomas joined College President Dr. Karen A. Stout and members of MCCC’s Board of Trustees in cutting the ceremonial ribbon. 

The 25-foot vertical axis wind turbines were recently installed outside MCCC’s Schuylkill Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center at 140 College Drive, adjacent to Riverfront Park and the Schuylkill River. While the turbines won’t power major facilities on campus, the demo project will provide real-life teaching and learning opportunities for students and faculty.

Each wind turbine produces 1,000 watts of energy, for a combined 4,000 watts, enough energy to power the LED lighting in the Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center parking lot. The lightweight carbon fiber and fiberglass blades have a cut-in speed of 7.83 miles per hour, meaning that winds must be at least eight miles per hour to generate usable electricity.

While the turbines may look big in stature, they are quiet to operate. Each turbine produces about as much noise as a desktop computer—quieter than most air conditioning units. The turbines, which are similar to those found at Lincoln Financial Park in Philadelphia, are endorsed by the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, the National Audubon Society, and by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Wind Turbines vertical

Wind Turbine Vertical: Four, 25-foot wind turbines now stand outside of Montgomery County Community College’s Schuylkill Riverfront Academic & Heritage Center. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

The new wind turbines are part of the College’s Guaranteed Energy Services Agreement with Siemens Industry Inc., which has enabled MCCC to implement a series of self-funding energy conservation projects. Collectively, these projects will result in 19 percent energy savings—and more than $6 million in cost savings—over the next 15 years.

Other conservation initiatives include converting several buildings from propane to natural gas; retrofitting lighting with energy-efficient units; weatherizing buildings; installing water-conservation commodes; improving heating and cooling units; upgrading building automation and energy management system; and incorporating renewable energy sources—like solar panels at MCCC’s Central Campus, and now wind turbines at MCCC’s West Campus in Pottstown.

To learn more about MCCC’s Sustainability Initiative, visit http://www.mc3green.wordpress.com.

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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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Pottstown Council OKs $39M Budget, Tax Hike Below 1%, Sewer Rates Up 4%

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA — The $38.9 million 2014 borough budget was adopted by council with a 5-1-1 vote Monday night after it was announced the tax hike had ducked under the 1 percent mark.

With a 6-1 vote, Council also approved a sewer rate increase of $5 per quarter for the base rate, and an additional 20 cents per 1,000 cubic feet of water used — an increase of about 4 percent.

Borough Manager Mark Flanders announced prior to the budget vote that the 1.01 percent tax hike initially proposed by the administration in November had been cut to 0.95 percent.

For a resident with a home assessed at $85,000, that works out to an increase of $8.39 for the year, he said.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20131210/council-oks-39m-budget-tax-hike-below-1-sewer-rates-up-4

Pottstown Planners Approve Family Dollar Project

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN — With a 4-0 vote, the borough planning commission Thursday night gave unanimous approval to a plan to redevelop the former Rosenberry’s Grocery store at the corner of Eighth Street and Farmington Avenue into a Family Dollar Store.

Planning commission member Deb Penrod was absent and did not vote.

The approved plan calls for demolishing the 23,299-square-foot building that stands at the 1.7-acre site now, and was most recently occupied by McCabe’s Auto Supply. The building is now empty.

In its place, the company has proposed an 8,240-square-foot Family Dollar store which would be “much smaller and much closer to being in conformity with the zoning,” said lawyer John Ryan, who spoke on behalf of the developer.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20130927/pottstown-planners-approve-family-dollar-project

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

The Suburbs: Pottstown Is Worried Over Tax Credit Housing Developer Who Answers Few Questions

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

Editor’s note:  It appears others are closely watching what Pottstown Borough Council decides regarding this low-income tax credit project and we are pleased!

Up in Pottstown (that’s in MontCo for you folks who don’t know what lies beyond the City’s limits) is a blightfighter who runs Golden Cockroach, an activist fighting against substandard rental living conditions in rental apartments, vacancy and urban (yes, urban!) blight up in Pottstown.

A boro of only 22,000 people, Pottstown occupies a small 5 square mile area of the western corner of Montgomery County, bested by Norristown and Conshohocken in urban density.  Most of the town is middle income at the high end and lower end working class.  As an older PA boro with an industrial past, it has its share of rusty buildings and older housing stock.  Ranchers on large plots are few.  Twin porchfront rowhomes with postage stamp front yards, many.

Since the housing bubble burst 5 years ago Pottstown has seen an increase in cash buyer investors seeking to grab deeds and insert renters into properties as has happened in other PA towns like Bensalem where subprime mortgages existed.  Many of those investors are absentee, maintenance is less than spectacular, and residents are worried that if left unchecked, and combined with urban-industrial decay within the town, that could put Pottstown’s viability as a desirable place to live under fire if quality of life worsens.  No one wants to see Pottstown decay into Chester or see its tax base erode or flee.

Read more:  http://www.philadelinquency.com/?p=2866

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