It’s that time of the year when all good political candidates need to start their campaign for Mayor of Pottstown. A relative newcomer to Pottstown, Ross Belovich has thrown his hat into the proverbial ring.
Ross is a 4th Ward resident and has lived in Pottstown for about two years. He has watched and studied the machinations of Pottstown borough government and decided he could make a positive difference.
I sat down with Ross Sunday afternoon to talk about why he is running and what he could bring to the table as mayor. We talked for about an hour and a half and I believe I have a good sense of where Ross is coming from. I had read some of his comments on Facebook and was intrigued enough by them to want to speak with him face to face.
Ross’ two passions are classic cars and computers. He told me he has always been political and an active voter. He feels it is important to vote! Ross is running on the Republican ticket for mayor.
Ross sees many positive things going on in Pottstown but he has also observed Pottstown is missing unity. There is no common vision or goal to move Pottstown forward. Factions are pulling in different directions instead of working together.
Ross sees the position of mayor as being an ambassador for Pottstown. The mayor should be promoting the borough to anyone who will listen. Ross thinks marketing is crucial and needs to be done continuously.
We talked about crime, blight and some of the “hot button” issues facing Pottstown. Ross is a big proponent of technology. He feels Pottstown should be using security cameras to help the police department. Cameras are a crime deterrent as well as a valuable tool for solving crimes (by using the footage to catch people in the act or by linking them to a specific time and place). There are many grants out there to pay for cameras. He said if downtown businesses also used cameras they could be networked with any existing borough cameras to provide a wider coverage area. (Cameras are used successfully in Reading and Lancaster)
We talked about the problem of people loitering on High Street and bothering customers who are downtown to shop, eat or attend an event at the Steel River Playhouse. There needs to be more of a police presence downtown. Having a few beat cops walking the street would give patrons a sense of security and discourage loitering and panhandling.
Ross has observed there is a perception problem with Pottstown. Many people think Pottstown is unsafe and will not venture into town. Ross understands this perception, while very real to some people, is inaccurate and he would like to work on changing it. In order to do this Pottstown needs to fill up the empty storefronts downtown and make the downtown more inviting to consumers. Also if blight is eradicated, property values will go up. Higher property values will provide more revenue for the borough and school district.
Ross supports the growing arts community in Pottstown and feels trying to lure high-tech companies into the borough would be another revitalization tool. Pottstown is built out and needs to reinvent what it has. No big factories will be coming to Pottstown and employing thousands any time soon. It’s time to look at other alternatives for putting Pottstown back to work. More jobs, equals more revenue for the borough and school district. Ross is also a proponent of returning passenger rail service to Pottstown.
Ross likes the Core Values recently adopted by the borough but would like to see accountability tied to those values. There should be serious consequences if those values are not being espoused by borough employees and leadership.
Lastly, Ross would like to promote better communication between the borough and the residents of Pottstown. He is looking forward to seeing the new Pottstown Borough website when it is finished and hopes it is more “user friendly”.
On a whimsical note, Ross feels having fun and giving residents something to smile about is very important. He thinks it would be fun to bring International Talk Like A Pirate Day to Pottstown as a borough holiday – (http://www.talklikeapirate.com/piratehome.html). Argh matey!
To learn more about Ross or ask him any questions that are on your mind, you can contact Ross at http://www.facebook.com/MayorofPottstown