Hazleton PA and Pottstown PA By The Numbers

Reading the City of Hazleton’s 2015 Proposed Budget got me thinking about spending and waste.  These two towns are a good comparison because of population, ethnic diversity, demographics and even physical size.  Pottstown’s budget is more than 4 times are large as Hazleton’s, so here are some numbers to ponder courtesy of http://www.CityData.com:

 

Population:

Hazleton (2012) 25,224

Pottstown (2012) 22,480

 

Races:

Hazleton –

  • White alone – 14,580 (57.9%)
  • Hispanic – 9,717 (38.6%)
  • Black alone – 422 (1.7%)

Pottstown –

  • White alone – 15,377 (68.7%)
  • Black alone – 4,147 (18.5%)
  • Hispanic – 1,785 (8.0%)

 

Physical size (land area):

Hazleton is 5.97 square miles

Pottstown is 4.83 square miles

 

Crime rate – U.S. average = 296.6:

Hazleton (2012) 306.3

Pottstown (2012) 434

 

Police Department size:

Hazleton – 38 officers, hiring 10 new police officers built in the $9.3 million proposed budget (they think they have a crime problem).

Pottstown -46 officers, (they don’t think they have a crime problem)

 

Unemployment:

Hazleton – July 2013, 12.8%

Pottstown – July 2013, 6.7%

 

Population density:

Hazleton – 4,222 people per square mile

Pottstown – 4,655 people per square mile

 

Municipal Budget:

Hazleton – $9.3 million (2015 Proposed budget)

Pottstown – $44.8 million (2015 Proposed budget)

 

Cost of living index:

Hazleton – 95.3 (near average, U.S. average is 100)

Pottstown – 103.7 (near average, U.S. average is 100)

 

Average home value:

Hazleton – $93,389 (2012)

Pottstown – $134,796 (2012)

 

Average rent:

Hazleton – Median gross rent in 2012: $631

Pottstown – Median gross rent in 2012: $762

 

Estimated median household income:

Hazleton – $30,492 (2012)

Pottstown – $41,864 (2012)

 

Registered sex offenders:

Hazleton – there were 10 registered sex offenders living in Hazleton, Pennsylvania as of November 10, 2014

Pottstown – there were 49 registered sex offenders living in Pottstown, Pennsylvania as of November 10, 2014

Pottstown – Crime vs. Revitalization

Pottstown had a murder this week.  Based on information found in the newspaper, the home is owned by a company in Exton.  Enough said.

I have been quiet about crime lately because I feel it falls on deaf ears.  However, if we think people don’t investigate crime rates before deciding to relocate to a specific community we would be naïve.  That goes for business as well.  We keep talking about how Pottstown is going to revitalize but it’s not happening.  A great big problem aka the elephant in the room is the crime rate and the horrible reputation this community has in the outside world.  Yes, life does exist beyond the borough lines and people do pay attention to what happens here.  An UGG BOOTS ban in the Pottstown Middle School made the national news.

Pottstown’s crime rate went up drastically between 2009 and 2010.  Our city-data.com score rose from 456.6 to 535.6.  The U.S. average is 319.1.  Pottstown’s crime rate is significantly higher (BAD).  As a matter of fact, it was higher than many of the largest cities in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2010.  Yes, you read that correctly!

City                                Population       Crime Index

Allentown, PA             118,032 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 476.5 (2010)

Bethlehem, PA              74,982 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 236.1 (2010)

Lancaster, PA               59,433 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 519.4 (2010)

York, PA                        44,718 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 582.4 (2010)

Scranton, PA                76,089 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 275.4 (2010)

Philadelphia, PA      1,526,006 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 567.7 (2010)

Pittsburgh, PA             305,704 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 411.3 (2010)

Erie, PA                      101,786 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 347.4 (2010)

Reading, PA                 88,082 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 548.3 (2010)

Harrisburg, PA              49,528 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 721.6 (2010)

POTTSTOWN, PA         22,377 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index535.6 (2010)

I find this evidence both appalling and disgraceful.  Pottstown was the 74th largest municipality in Pennsylvania as of the 2010 census.  We should not have higher crime than six of the major cities in this state.  We are below Philadelphia and Reading, but not by much! Harrisburg is evidently in a class by itself!

My point being, this information is very easy to find.  Millions of people use sites like City-data.com to research communities before moving to or investing in them.  So borough leadership, what exactly is the game plan to correct Pottstown’s out of control crime problem?  Ignoring the problem is not a solution!

Somebody better get a clue, like yesterday!

Even Limerick Township Is Not Recession Proof

Location of Limerick Township in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

When one thinks of communities that would have budget woes, Limerick Township is not normally a place that would pop into your head. 

The 22.6 square mile township has 13,534 inhabitants (2000 census).  85% of Limerick’s residents own a home.  The estimated median house/condo value in 2008 was $271,583.  The estimated median income in 2008 was $81,877.  Only 1.9% of its residents live below the poverty level.  These numbers are well above the state averages.

Somehow, the township found themselves with an $850,000 deficit going into their 2011 budget process.  Declines in land development and permits (recession) were blamed.   The end result was making some hard decisions about purchases and facility upgrades along with the elimination of two staff positions.

Bottom line here is that taxes will not increase for 2011 and the budget trimming will not reduce services for residents.

Demographic information is from City-data.com