Japanese Manufacturer Moving North American Headquarters To Wyomissing

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

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

A Japanese manufacturer is moving its North American headquarters to Wyomissing.

Seibu Giken Co. Ltd.’s North American operation, SG America Inc., Owatonna, Minn., is relocating to 220 N. Park Road and initially creating 15 to 20 skilled jobs in production, logistics, assembly and engineering.

The operations in Owatonna will close.

“Relocating to the greater Reading region from Owatonna was a strategic decision for SG America,” said Ray Suhocki, general manager, North American operations.  “The Mid-Atlantic location provides access to a larger labor pool and allows us to take advantage of greater Reading’s lower cost of doing business.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=505234

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Reading City Council Disagrees On Land-Value Tax Option

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

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

Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer’s push to switch the current property tax to a land-value tax over the next five years ran into a traffic jam with City Council on Monday.

Some members flat out rejected it, and Council President Francis G. Acosta said he’d prevent any vote until he hears public support for the move.

The argument began when Gordon Mann, senior consultant with Public Financial Management Inc., the city’s Act 47 adviser, said it expects to have a recommendation on the proposal in 30 days.

“On the other hand, we have had a lot of conversations about it, and I need to have some feedback from council,” said Eron Lloyd, Spencer’s special assistant and point man for the land-value tax, which he says will encourage economic development.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=503411

Historic Reading Train Station A Hub Again

Picture 533Louise Frasso has fond memories of the childhood day trips she would take from Reading by train.

“My grandmother had a pass on the railroad and she would take my siblings and I to Philadelphia,” said the now-86-year-old Muhlenberg Township woman.

All those trips started and ended with the Franklin Street Station in downtown Reading.

The rail and bus hub, which was built in 1930, was still in its infancy when Frasso would travel with her family. It served Berks County for decades before the last train left in 1981 and the station fell into disrepair.

Friday, at a ceremony rededicating the station, Frasso sat grinning ear to ear as she listened to local officials discuss the work that went into restoring it.  The station will be a hub for BARTA bus service.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=476498

Spencer Unveils Bold Plan For Reading

English: Downtown Reading, Pennsylvania; with ...

English: Downtown Reading, Pennsylvania; with Berks County courthouse on left; July 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reading Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer on Thursday outlined an ambitious agenda of more than a dozen initiatives, some already begun, to improve the finances and conditions of the city and its neighborhoods.

Speaking to several dozen people attending the Pennsylvania Economy League’s Issues Forum at the Berkshire Country Club in Bern Township, Spencer recounted his campaign themes and said: “Those are the promises; what people expect is performance.”

He then led the audience through a rapid-fire explanation of where the city is and where it’s planning to go in several key areas.

He said the city has set goals for each area and is requiring any department initiatives to match those goals, with their results to be measured.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=472999

Reading On Course For $35 Million Cumulative Deficit By 2017

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reading is on course to amass a $35 million cumulative deficit by the end of 2017 even if it raises property taxes by 5 percent a year, controller Christian Zale told City Council on Monday.

The budget likely will be $1 million short this year and $1.4 million short in 2014, but Zale said the city’s own fiscal cliff comes in 2015, when it expects a $10.2 million deficit.

That will be repeated in 2016 with a $10.9 million deficit, and again in 2017 with an $11.4 million deficit, he said.

“Now is the time to address the 2015 cliff, (and) also ensure future decisions do not exacerbate these projected deficits,” he said.

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Reading Postal Facility To Lose 162 Jobs

USPS service delivery truck in a residential a...

USPS service delivery truck in a residential area of San Francisco, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. Postal Service will close most operations in the Gus Yatron mail processing facility in north Reading by June 1 – and all of them by July 1 – transferring its work to a larger Harrisburg facility as part of a nationwide cost-cutting effort.

The move is expected to save $7.2 million a year, but it means the Yatron facility at 2100 N. 13th St. will lose 162 jobs.

However, the Harrisburg facility will add 87 jobs that many local employees will get.

The retail and bulk operations and their related services – such as post office boxes and counter service – will remain at the Yatron facility, Postal Service spokesman Ray V. Daiutolo Sr. said Thursday.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=464267

Blair County Representatives Visit Reading

If law enforcement leaders can lay out a clear-cut strategy to reduce drug and gang activity in Reading and Berks County, there is a good chance businesses will be willing to pay for some of it.

That was the feeling of Ellen T. Horan, president and CEO of the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry, on Thursday after she and other area leaders got a rundown of how a business-fueled crime-fighting program has succeeded in Blair County.

“In our community, it would be helpful to have the business community step up, if we developed some strategies and expected outcomes,” Horan said.

The nonprofit program, Operation Our Town, was started by business leaders in Blair County to help fund law enforcement and community efforts to stop young people from becoming criminals.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=454375

Smoother Berks Roads Ahead?

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

Berks County would enjoy smoother roads and sturdier bridges if the $1.8 billion annual boost to statewide transportation funds Gov. Tom Corbett pitched last week becomes reality, local officials said.

At a minimum, the funds would stop the backlog of bridge and highway repairs needed in Berks from growing, said Alan D. Piper, county transportation planner.

But over time, PennDOT could catch up on repairs and focus on expanding traffic-prone highways such as Route 222 and the West Shore Bypass, he said.

“There’s no doubt that it will be beneficial,” Piper said. “Does it solve all our problems? Probably not. But it’s a gigantic step in the right direction.”

Read more:   http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=451840

Chamber Of Commerce President Joins Call For Reading Crime Summit

English: Downtown Reading, Pennsylvania; with ...

English: Downtown Reading, Pennsylvania; with Berks County courthouse on left; July 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While multiple independent efforts push toward scheduling a crime summit for Reading – including a pre-summit planning session set for Monday in the offices of state Sen. Judy Schwank – business executives are casting votes on the city’s tarnished image with their feet.

New executives hired by Berks companies are choosing to live in Chester or Montgomery counties, preferring greater proximity to Philadelphia, according to Ellen T. Horan, president and CEO of the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry.  Horan, citing conversations with officials at Berks companies, said the perception of the city as crime-infested is repelling executive talent.

“The summit is a great idea,” Horan said. “I would like to see a little more urgency.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=434050