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 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

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

New Pottstown Law Charges Fee To Owners Of Vacant Property

Editor’s note:  The only way this is worth the paper it’s printed on is IF it’s enforced.  The track record for enforcing ordinances in Pottstown is poor.  There are loitering ordinances on file but look at High Street.  “ZZ Top” and company lingering aimlessly around the clock tower, panhandlers, drop in center people hanging around etc…  Why not enforce the laws already on the books!  That would offer immediate improvement.

POTTSTOWN — With a 4-1 vote Monday, borough council adopted a new ordinance which requires the owners of vacant property to register those properties with the borough and to pay an escalating registration fee for each year the property remains vacant.

According to the ordinance, the owners of vacant property must not only register it, but secure it against illegal entry and even post a sign on the property, indicating the name, address and telephone number of the owner.

Starting Sept. 1, when the ordinance goes into effect, owners of vacant residential property must pay a $75 registration fee. If the property is vacant a year later, the registration fee is $125, and $175 the year after that. For every other subsequent year the property is vacant, the registration fee is $275.

Vacant multi-family dwellings will see their registration fee rise from $200 to $400 and industrial or commercial buildings smaller than 10,000 square feet have a first-time fee of $250 that rises to $450 by the fourth year.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130217/NEWS01/130219607/new-pottstown-law-charges-fee-to-owners-of-vacant-property#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

Pottstown Borough Council Picks Political Newcomer For 6th Ward Seat

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

Editor’s note:   We wish Travis Gery good luck!  You have some big shoes to fill!  We are hoping for some leadership!

POTTSTOWN, PA — Council chose new blood over previous experience Thursday night, unanimously selecting High Street resident Travis Gery to fill the sixth ward seat vacated by Jody Rhoads, who resigned just six months after running unopposed for a new four-year term.

Gery, a lawyer who has lived in town since 2003, and former council president James Smale were the only two applicants to apply for the post.

“I’m kind of disappointed that in a ward of 4,000 people, only two came forward willing to help us,” said Councilman Dan Weand, who made the motion to appoint Gery.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20120629/NEWS01/120629338/pottstown-borough-council-picks-political-newcomer-for-6th-ward-seat