Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting Web Site

We came across this tool reporting on the crime rate in Wilkes-Barre.  After playing around with it, we observed you can find out a great deal by using this website.  We have added a link on the right side of the blog that you can click on to access the site.  Happy researching!

Carlisle Residents Face Home-Rule Question: Primary Focus

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Cumberland County

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

In Carlisle, Tuesday’s ballot won’t be just about filling the borough’s elective offices.

Residents are also being asked whether they want to embark on a study of home rule, the municipal equivalent of a constitutional convention.

Council voted in January to place a question on the May primary ballot asking whether a study commission should be formed to explore whether it makes sense for Carlisle to adopt its own charter for local government, and replace some of the current limitations imposed by the state’s borough code.

The issue got some legs after last year’s arrest of former borough tax collector George Hicks on drug charges, and a resulting examinations that found Hicks had done a shoddy job of record-keeping.

Read more:

Mount Penn Borough and Lower Alsace Township Agree To Merger Study

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After much discussion and two joint meetings, Mount Penn Borough Council and the Lower Alsace supervisors agreed Monday to move forward with a study of the pros and cons of merging or consolidating the municipalities.

Council then voted to approve a $22,500 contract with the Pennsylvania Economy League for the study. Lower Alsace had approved the contract in May after the first joint municipality meeting, contingent on Mount Penn’s involvement.

Councilman Thomas Smith said the study would provide the information needed to help supervisors and council decide whether merging or consolidating would be beneficial to both municipalities and their residents.

Read more:

Why Is It Important For Pottstown Residents To Be Informed And Proactive?

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

Code Blue is asking Pottstown Borough residents to make themselves aware of the current issues facing our borough and school district.  We here are Roy’s Rants agree!  The borough and school district occupy the same five square miles.  Therefore, it is crucial that the borough and school district work harmoniously and with the one vision for our community.  Your tax dollars support the borough government and the education of our children.

We believe the school district and borough are working more closely together.  A new spirit of cooperation is evolving since Dr. Lindley has become Superintendent of Schools.  We applaud the effort that the borough and school district are making to this end.  We encourage the borough and school district to continue working together and defining a common mission and vision to move Pottstown forward.

As a resident, the decisions that the Pottstown Borough Council and the Pottstown School Board make have a direct impact on your wallet.  Therefore, it is critical that taxpayers are educated consumers.  There are 22,377 Pottstown borough residents (2010 census).  Residents need to make fact-based decisions and not make decisions based the opinions of one or two outspoken people.

You are encouraged to attend school board and borough council meetings to gain first-hand knowledge of what goes on and see who is making decisions on your behalf and spending your money!  Knowledge is power.

Upcoming Pottstown School Board meetings are:

March 31st, April 14th, May 5th and May 19th

Upcoming Pottstown Borough Council meetings are:

April 11th and May 9th

There are some big decisions coming down the road about the number of elementary schools Pottstown really needs and can afford.  The school district is facing a large budget deficit due to funding cuts from Harrisburg and a declining tax base.  The teaching staff is without a contract and negotiations are not going well.  If you do not think these issues will impact your wallet, guess again!  If you are unhappy with your child’s education, your tax bill or have concerns with any of the issues I mentioned above, come to a school board meeting and let your feelings be known.  We elected these people into office and their job is to serve the taxpayers of this community.  They will welcome your comments.  Click this link to see who is on the school board if you are unsure.

The borough government is constantly grappling with decisions that affect your daily life at every meeting.  Sadly, a handful of people attend these meetings and offer little citizen advice.  Council needs to hear from the citizenry of this community.  Complaining that Pottstown sucks to everybody you know is not helpful and accomplishes little more than further damaging our community’s image to the outside world.  If you want to express your dissatisfaction about how this town is run, COME TO A COUNCIL MEETING and tell the people who can do something about it.  There are seven councilors making decisions for 22,377 people.  We voted them into office and they serve at our pleasure.  The taxpayers of this community put them in these positions.  Do you know who your councilor is?  Click this link to see who represents your Ward.

Do not be swayed by propaganda and skewed facts.  Make informed decisions by coming to meetings and asking questions from our elected officials.  Just because someone writes an opinion piece and publishes it in the newspaper does not mean it is 100 percent accurate.  It is an opinion.  An opinion can be defined as:  A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof. 

Knowledge is power!

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:

Pottstown Neighborhood Watch Needs You!‏

There’s no time like the present to take back our neighborhood!  The message must be loud and clear that VIOLENCE, CRIME and DRUGS will not be tolerated in our community.  Please join us at the PAL Bldg. (146 King St.) @ 7PM on Friday-2/18/2011 to discuss the following topics on the agenda:

1. Pottstown Crime Statistics
2. Organizing a Pottstown Court Watch
3. Collaborating with the Pottstown Guardian Angel Chapter

All are welcome and participation is not required, you get credit for just showing up! So, tell your friends and we hope to see you there..

Please respond if you plan on attending @

Tentative Neighborhood Watch and Events Schedule 2011 (CPR Website)
Friday, February 18, 2011
7:00pm – 7:45pm
Neighborhood Watch Meeting (45m) | PAL Bldg (146 King St.)

Sunday, February 20, 2011
1:00pm – 2:00pm
Patrol Training by Guardian Angels (1h) | 21 N. Hanover (Pottstown Karate Club)

Friday, March 18, 2011
7:00pm – 8:00pm
Witness Training by Pottstown Police (1h) | Borough Hall (3rd Floor Council Chambers)

Friday, April 15, 2011
7:00pm – 7:45pm
Neighborhood Watch Meeting (45m) | PAL Bldg (146 King St.)

Saturday, June 4, 2011
12:00pm – 4:00pm
Science in the Park (4h) | Washington/Chestnut St. Park

Friday, June 17, 2011
7:00pm – 7:45pm
Neighborhoo d Watch Meeting (45m) | PAL Bldg (146 King St.)

Friday, August 19, 2011
7:00pm – 7:45pm
Neighborhood Watch Meeting (45m) | PAL Bldg (146 King St.)

Friday, October 21, 2011
7:00pm – 7:45pm
Neighborhood Watch Meeting (45m) | PAL Bldg (146 King St.)

Friday, December 16, 2011
7:00pm – 7:45pm
Neighborhood Watch Meeting (45m) | PAL Bldg (146 King St.)

Lansdale Looks To “Beef Up” Economic Development Committee

Location of Lansdale in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

Lansdale Borough Council is looking to expand the size of their Economic Development Committee (EDC) in the next two months.  The EDC will expand to seven members, four of whom will be borough residents or borough business owners.  The other three members will be council members, by appointment.  The chair of the EDC will also be a councilor.

The strength of the EDC is that this committee is borough business focused by cutting red tape and being an advocate for business and not government focused.  The idea is not to create another budget item.

Wednesday evening, council gave approval to create an ordinance to formally establish the committee.  This came about by changes in legal requirements when council passed an economic incentive development ordinance last year.  The economic incentive development ordinance gives discounts on electricity purchased from the borough to qualified businesses.  Ordinance language mandates that any business who is interested in this program needs to go before the EDC.  Officially establishing this committee by ordinance was connecting all the dots.

The Lansdale Business Association (LBA) will also continue to stay involved with this committee by hopefully continuing to have an LBA member on the EDC.  The EDC will also be working closely with the Communications Commission.  The newly created Communications Commission is tasked with creating a “marketable brand” for the borough.  Initially the EDC and the Communications Commission will be working together to create an image and branding for Lansdale.

Once these tasks are completed, the EDC will take the newly developed brand image and market Lansdale.  The Communications Commission will be responsible for technology, signage, the website, attracting technology and keeping residents updated.

We give this well thought out effort, with expanded resident involvement, two Roy’s Rants thumbs up!

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.

Norristown Borough Adopts $25.5 Million Dollar Budget With 12.74% Tax Increase

Location of Norristown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

Norristown Borough Council unanimously adopted their 2011 budget tonight that features a tax increase of 12.74%.   No layoff’s were announced.

Interestingly enough, Norristown’s budget is approximately $14 million dollars less than Pottstown’s budget.  Wonder why it costs so much less to run a larger borough??????

Phoenixville Raises Property Taxes, Adds Per Capita Tax And Scraps July 4th Fireworks

Molly Maguires Pub and Restaurant in Phoenixvi...

Image via Wikipedia

Phoenixville Borough Council has passed a 2011 budget with a 9.9% property tax increase.  No police officers were laid-off but there were 5 casualties in other departments. Raises for borough employees are not happening in 2011 and employee health insurance co-pays were increased.

Council is bringing back a per capita tax (eliminated more than 10 years ago) which will amount to $10.00 for each borough resident over 18 years of age.

The budget vote was deadlocked at 4-4 but Mayor Scoda voted “yes” to break the deadlock and pass the budget.

Phoenixville residents are also looking at increases in sanitation fees, water rates and sewer rates.  In addition, Council removed fireworks funding for the Fourth of July celebration in the borough from the 2011 budget.

Pottstown Borough Budget Meeting

Today, November 30, 2010 at 6:00 pm, Pottstown Borough Council and borough staff discussed the proposed 2011 borough budget.

I must commend Jason, Janice, Councilor Weand, the Finance Committee and our borough staff for the effort they put into finding ways to cut costs and maintain services.  I do not think it is possible to ask Jason a question he can not answer.  Janice Lee has more than earned her salary by walking into the abyss aka borough finances and taking the bull by the horns!  So much has been accomplished to get our financial house in order.  As I said in an earlier post, accounting is boring to write about however, the changes implemented by Jason, Janice and Finance will pay huge dividends down the road.  We now have a clearer financial picture than ever before.  Frankly, things are not all that bleak now that Generally Accepted Accounting Principals have been returned to borough hall.

Council asked some tough questions of Jason, Janice and the department heads.  I was impressed with how well the questions were answered and the manner with which our borough staff handled themselves.

The bottom line is that council unanimously approved the 2011 budget with a 3.1% tax increase.  The increase equates to $25.66 per year on a home assessed at $85,000.  We have a $177,000 deficit that unfortunately makes this necessary.  The increase can go down if more spending cuts are found or unexpected revenue comes in before the end of the year.  However, the increase can not go any higher than 3.1%.  The projected property tax collection rate is 92% for 2010.

Getting to a zero tax increase would mean selling a park, laying off Parks and Recreation staff, cutting programs or messing with the paid driver’s health benefits in the Fire Department.  Our parks are a big plus for existing borough residents and attracting new residents.  We can barely maintain our parks system with the staff we have and cutting programs affects the quality of life for our residents.  Fire Department drivers can not afford to pay their health benefits at their current salary levels.  It is not their fault costs are skyrocketing.

The assessed value of all Pottstown real estate came in a million dollars higher than projected which also helped the process.  The rate of decline in assessed property value seems to be leveling off and council is hopeful that this trend may reverse itself as some development projects in the pipeline are completed.  Unfortunately, the assessed property value of Pottstown still declined $1.9 million dollars from last year.  This brings in less tax revenue. 

PCTV has agreed to reduce their management fee to $331,000.  The borough can ill afford to absorb their $147,000 revenue shortfall so going forward they need to break even.  PCTV has lost revenue because of the recession and now when FIOS comes to Pottstown, Verizon will not allow PCTV to be a for-profit community access channel.  PCTV could potentially lose 25% of their viewers as residents switch from Comcast to Verizon.  Council will be scrutinizing PCTV very closely in 2011.  PCTV is trying to get grant money, however, until such time as a grant is received, they will still continue to struggle.

Another Downtown Pottstown Business Leaves For Greener Pastures!

For 20 years, East Penn AAA has been downtown Pottstown in the renovated freight depot.  Now, they are running off to Limerick Square Shopping Center on December 6th!  PeopleShare and Domino’s already moved out, leaving this beautiful renovated building empty as of December 6th!  PeopleShare moved to Lower Pottsgrove Township (just over the border).  Domino’s remained in Pottstown Borough and relocated to Pottstown Plaza.

Ummmmm….hello borough officials.  Did anyone try to relocate East Penn AAA within our borders?  We have shopping center space a-plenty at Pottstown Center and Pottstown Plaza, along with other areas of the borough!  After 20 years they up and move!

Update:  Councilor Rhoads responded to my question above:

“I previously talked with a lady at AAA about why they were moving and she said it was not due to any situation in Pottstown. She said Douglasville was their area boundary at this end and that they wanted to be more centralized. She said Lansdale is the nearest office that way.”

Many thanks to Councilor Rhoads for speaking with AAA and for taking the time to let us know that a community leader spoke with this business regarding their decision to leave Pottstown!

See Joe Zlomek’s informative article on the Pottstown Post:

Pottstown Borough Council Meeting 11/8/10 7:00 p.m.

The meeting was called to order by President Toroney.

Invocation – given by the Mayor.

Pledge of Allegiance

Roll Call – all present except Councilor Gibson who had battled fire all day.  (That is certainly a good reason to be absent and we thank Councilor Gibson for his dedication to the safety of our citizens).

Approval of Minutes – approved

Comments from citizens – we had a small but lively group of residents who had some things on their mind.

James Stewart – questioned how one would go about getting a house from Sheriff Sale or the Free and Clear Sale as they were poorly advertised and it seems as though we find out what was available after the fact.  Mr. Stewart said Pottstown usually does a good job of advertising their events so he was surprised this was handled so poorly.  Jason said he had his name and number and would call him when the next batch of homes comes up for sale.  Jason informed Mr. Stewart that the borough is not in charge of the poor advertising, it is the county.

Terry Sellers – is an 8 year N. York Street resident who is scared and very concerned about the recent shooting on N. Hanover St., along with the other recent incidents.  She has children and is expecting so this has traumatized her (she was visibly shaken).  She expressed concern that residents feel unsafe, abandoned by the police and the borough.  She did have a conversation with Chief Flanders prior to the meeting and felt somewhat better but in addition to being frightened, she expressed concern that this random violence will impede Pottstown’s revitalization process. (yes, it will)

Arlene Bullman – age 72 and life-long borough resident was quite perturbed that she received a notice stating her property on N. Adams street has been classified as a rental and would be subject to the new ordinance.  Mrs. Bullman stated the property was her deceased relatives and she is now the owner.  Her nephew is living in the property to keep it from being empty and subject to vandalism.  He does NOT pay rent, and this is NOT a rental property.  She asked Council how they arrived at their decision to reclassify the property.  She pays all the bills, on time.  Arlene went on to make some other comments about Pottstown and her displeasure with recent events and borough services (not a happy camper)

Julian Francis of Chestnut St. (husband of Amy Francis, Code Blue) addressed Council in a most respectful but frank way about the escalating violence in his neighborhood.  The recent shootings have been too close for comfort.   There have been three incidents of gunfire in 4 months!  Amy and Julian have children and are restricting their activities outside in light of the recent events!  They are concerned about their safety and the safety of their neighbors.  We need more police protection in the central Pottstown neighborhoods where this violence is occurring.  The family has lived in this neighborhood since 1996.

Katy Jackson, civic activist and King St. resident also addressed Council about the escalating violence in central Pottstown.  She supports Council’s recent rental ordinance changes and the things they are doing to try to correct this problem.  However, crime and violence are systemic.  It will take some time for these changes to help rid Pottstown of criminals.  Until then, we need immediate action in light of the recent shootings.  Residents are afraid and feel unsafe!  Katy again made an emotionally charged plea for Council to form a Task Force made up of civic leaders, residents, the police department and other stakeholders.  This was the fourth time in a year that Katy has asked for a Task Force. (Can we please address this problem in a meaningful and immediate way!!!)

Art Green, a 38-year Hanover St. resident and PSD teacher addressed Council and the audience.  He believes in Pottstown, he commended the police for their quick action with the last shooting and their thoroughness in investigating this most recent incident.  Mr. Green said there is one property in the neighborhood that contributes to most of the problems.  He wants his neighborhood back and is willing to take his neighborhood back.  Mr. Green feels Pottstown is not down and out.  He feels we can overcome these problems and Pottstown is still a great place to live and raise a family.  (Several people said he should consider running for Council.  Mr. Green is a charismatic speaker.)

Don Reed addressed Council with a few budget questions.  He wondered with the enhanced collection efforts recently put into place, if 92% – 94% might be on the low side and we could realistically aim higher?  He also addressed the earlier staff cuts and the option to make the 12 borough fire department drivers borough employees.  He also made some comments about the Fire Study.

Mayor’s Report – Less puppies and sunshine this month.  Bonnie spent some time talking about pulling together as a community to stop the violence through citizen involvement and promoting the Hometown Holiday events in December.

Manager’s Report – PAID was back in the news this month.  Bylaws are almost done, the Executive’s job description is being worked on, they are working toward identifying the new board of directors structure and hopefully they will be up and running January 1 with the new Executive in place shortly thereafter.  PAID will be focusing on Economic Development.  (This won’t be too soon!)

A joint meeting between the PSD BOE and Borough Council is in the works for December.  PSD has already committed and Council did last night.  It was brought up that all stakeholders should be invited to attend as well.  They will work toward a date and time that works for everyone.  On the agenda will be the Community Land Trust, Tax assessments and PAID.

Jason said he would like to move the properties Pottstown gets through Sheriff Sale through the system within 30-60 days.  Hopefully the profits from sales can be used toward filling budget gaps. 

Jason talked about his Quality of Life Budget.  He is excited about the Citizen Code Inspection Program that Reading has up and running.  He thinks this is something Pottstown can implement to involve the community and assist the Codes Department.  The citizens would supplement the Codes Department staff and although there are some safety concerns, training is provided and it has worked in Reading.  There is also a Court Watch Team that is part of the program.  Residents who are affected by bad tenants go to court as a show of support which has been effective with Judges and their rulings. (Put a face on the problem!)

Senate Bill 900, the Blight Bill, passed and will be an important tool for municipalities to use in fighting blighted and abandoned properties.  It gives municipalities far more power to seize blighted and abandoned properties and go after negligent owners for compensation to aid with clean up or demolition of the property.

Parks and Recreation got a $250K grant from Conservation and Natural Resources for phase two of the Memorial Park improvements.  A skateboard park will be built (thank God) as well as some fields will be realigned.

Keim Street Bridge – Jason keeps in touch with Penn Dot on the status of the bridge via conference call.  The inspection should be done this month and we should have results in December.  However, at this juncture, they continue to find new structural deficiencies as the inspection progresses.  The bridge will be closed for at least one year.  If it cannot be fixed then we go from there.  Jason is trying to get some temporary signals put in place to ease the traffic congestion caused by the closure.  (Residents should write their elected officials to pressure the county, state and federal government to make the replacement of the Keim Street Bridge a priority and obtain funding!)

Committee Reports

New Business

Berkheimer has been authorized by Council to serve as Pottstown Borough’s Earned Income Tax and Local Services Tax Collector.

A motion to delete sections of the Code of Ordinances relating to the Shade Tree Commission, establishing a new Pottstown Tree Ordinance and a resolution establishing approved tree species and establishing a policy for rules and regulations for sidewalk maintenance associated with tree planting were unanimously approved!  (Mr. Hylton has been pruned)

Council approved an easement for PECO Energy to remove and replace poles and trees to accommodate the High Street Bridge over the Manatawny Construction Project.  There was some Council discussion about our payment from PECO.  Evidently, PECO won’t negotiate so it is hoped that in the future they will remember our cooperation (goodwill) if we need something in return.

The Police Pension motion was tabled until December.

Council approved a motion to allow the Civil Service Commission to begin the process of developing a new eligibility list for new hires and promotions with the Pottstown Police Department.  This costs the borough nothing but is necessary as the old list expired.

Council approved the motion for Pottstown Classics Car Club to hold Nostalgia Nights downtown for the 2011 season.  This involves the closure of High and Hanover Sts. for several blocks.  This is subject to approval from the Police and Fire departments.

Budget Review

Parks and Recreation, Ricketts Community Center, Fire Fund and PCTV. 

Parks and Recreation has a deficit.  They maintain 16 parks in Pottstown, the Spray Park and hold Summer Camp.  There is nothing left to cut in the budget that will not affect programs. 

Ricketts is in the third year of being run by Olivet Boys and Girls Clubs of Reading.  It was hoped that by year three, they would be more self-sufficient and Pottstown’s contribution could be lowered.  Ricketts currently receives 100% of its funding from the borough.  It was hoped that eventually Ricketts could become a partner with Pottstown and be able to supply at least half of their budget through other funding sources.  Finance is recommending that the borough’s contribution be reduced 25% this year, 25% for year four and 25% for year five.

The Fire Fund provides working capital for Pottstown’s four fire companies.  Currently, the borough gives each company funding annually plus pays the health costs for the paid drivers.  The fire companies asked for an increase this year which Council cannot offer, however, Council will pay the increased healthcare costs of the drivers because their salaries are not high enough to absorb the increased employee contributions necessary to bridge the gap.  Insurance costs are increasing approximately $64,000 for the coming year.  The Fire Study recommended merging companies and making the paid drivers borough employees.  There will also be a need to build a new station in the not too distant future as several of the stations are barely large enough to house the equipment.

PCTV, once a money-maker and contributor to the General Fund has fallen victim to the recession and is losing money.  Pottstown owns PCTV and pays a management fee to have it run.  There are three stations.  PCTV is unique in that as a public access channel, they are allowed to collect advertising revenue.  However, advertising revenue has fallen off to almost nothing.  PCTV pays rent to the school district for their space and has an equipment lease payment to make each month.  They are not bringing in sufficient revenue to cover their expenses.  Finance is recommending a reevaluation of the management agreement for next year based on the performance of the last several years.

Report of Bills – paid!


Meeting was adjourned by President Toroney.