Teri Lyn Jensen-Sellers and Katy Jackson, both neighborhood residents, organized a rally today to protest “landlord” Andrew Soule’s $10,000+ in back payments for sewer/water/trash to the Borough of Pottstown and the condition of his buildings in the 400 block of King Street. Reporters from The Mercury, The Pottstown Patch and Roy’s Rants were on hand to document the effort of this group to draw attention to this huge problem plaguing Pottstown. Absentee landlords with blighted properties and overdue bills are straining Pottstown’s already stressed tax base.
The Borough of Pottstown is owed over $700,000 in back water/sewer/trash payments from 200 people. The top 10 people on the Pottstown Wall of Shame owe nearly $200,000. As Pottstown Borough Manager Jason Bobst has stated, “It’s all the same people that we see time and time again.” Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski uses the Hall of Shame tactic in Allentown very successfully. Mrs. Jackson recently attended a webinar on this subject hosted by Allentown’s mayor to learn more about how other towns and cities are coping with this problem.
Mr. Soule was evidently on the scene when the first protestors appeared, but left upon their arrival. Mrs. Jensen-Sellers questioned a man but he denied being Andrew Soule. A neighbor stated it was Mr. Soule after the man departed.
Sixth Ward Councilor and Man of the People, Jody Rhoads was on the scene as the sole representative of Pottstown Borough leadership along with Gallery on High/Gallery School co-founder Cathy Paretti and Andrew Monastra, a real estate lawyer with an office in the borough. A Code Blue member was in attendance as well as other concerned borough residents.
I interviewed two former tenants of Mr. Soule, both of whom had unpleasant dealings with the landlord.
Both Mrs. Paretti and Mr. Monastra shared their feelings about doing business in Pottstown and the challenges of being a business owner here. Both see the potential Pottstown has to offer but understand that many things need to change before Pottstown can follow in Phoenixville’s footsteps.