Montco Commissioners Kick Off Second Phase Of Lafayette Street Extension Project

NORRISTOWN, PA – The first phase has been completed, and now the second phase of a road project that will eventually connect Norristown to the Pennsylvania Turnpike will begin.

Despite the cold on Wednesday, the Montgomery County commissioners broke ground on the $12.9 million second phase of the project, which will extend Lafayette Street to Diamond Avenue in Plymouth Township. The second phase will also reconstruct and widen Diamond Avenue from the Pennsylvania Turnpike bridge to the Norristown border at Ross Street.

“Many of us were here together months ago when we kicked off phase one of the Lafayette Street extension project. Today we’re here to talk about ramping up phase two of the Lafayette Street extension project,” commissioners’ Chairman Josh Shapiro told a crowd of county employees and local officials involved in the project.

Shapiro told the group that they will begin to see traffic slow down as the second phase makes its way through its expected completion date of spring 2017, but he added there will not be detours on Ridge Pike in Plymouth Township.

Read more:

http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20150408/commissioners-kick-off-second-phase-of-lafayette-street-extension-project

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Moody’s Upgrades Montgomery County’s Bond Rating Outlook To ‘Stable’

NORRISTOWN, PA – Moody’s Investor Service upgraded the county’s bond rating outlook from “negative” to “stable” on Monday, according to a press release.

The county is expecting to refund $25.6 million in outstanding bonds in the coming weeks and had its rating “affirmed” to an Aa1 rating, according to the release sent out Monday afternoon.

“With the upgrade, Moody’s is recognizing the remarkable turnaround in the fiscal situation in Montgomery County,” commissioners’ Chairman Josh Shapiro said in the press release.

Read more:

http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20150317/moodys-upgrades-montgomery-countys-bond-rating-outlook-to-stable

Tourism Touted As Means To Rejuvenate Pottstown

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN — “Tourism” might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you say “Pottstown,” but as far as Bill Fitzgerald is concerned, that won’t be true for long.

Fitzgerald is the president of the newly reconstituted Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board and he was in town last week to talk to Pottstown Borough Council about how his organization can help promote what Pottstown has to offer.

Tourism is on the upswing in Montgomery County, Fitzgerald said, and Pottstown is well-positioned to benefit from that trend, Fitzgerald said.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140908/tourism-touted-as-means-to-rejuvenate-pottstown

Montco Commissioners Sponsor Paper Shredding Event In Collegeville

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

Norristown, PA – The Montgomery County Commissioners and the Waste System
Authority of Eastern Montgomery County in conjunction with Shred One Security Corp. are
sponsoring a community paper shredding event on Saturday, April 12 from 9 a.m. to noon at
Perkiomen Valley Middle School East, 100 Kagey Road (entrance on Campus Drive) in Collegeville.

Future shredding events are scheduled for Saturday, June 21 at Copper Beach Elementary School in
Glenside, and on Saturday, October 18 at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore.

Montgomery County residents who have paper and documents that should be shredded are
encouraged to take advantage of this free event. No businesses are permitted. Residents are urged to
make sure that the materials they present for shredding do not include plastic, cardboard, or metal.
However, there is no need to remove staples, paper clips, hanging folders, etc.

“Shredding of documents has become important in our lives today for several reasons, not the least of
which is the threat of identity theft,” said Josh Shapiro, chairman of the Montgomery County
Commissioners. “We believe this service is useful, necessary, and will be appreciated by our residents,
and we are very grateful to Shred One and the Waste Authority for their assistance.”

Shred One regularly participates in community shredding events. The company’s mobile trucks
perform all of the paper shredding as you watch. All shredded paper is recycled by Shred One and the
company is currently recycling paper at a rate that saves over 70,000 trees annually.

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Norristown Residents Ask Commissioners How To Revitalize The Area

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN, PA — Conversation at the commissioners “conversations” meeting at Norristown Municipal Hall largely focused on bringing Norristown back to its glory days.

Peggy Dellisant, a Norristown resident who used to own Main Changes Clothing, said the town needs foot traffic on Main Street to make a comeback.

“I just retired. I watched Main Street die a slow death,” she said.

Dellisant said that the abandoned prison on Airy Street is beautifully made, and turning it into something modern would help to bring the foot traffic into Norristown that the businesses need.

“The prison on Main and Airy is coming apart,” she said. “It really would be a shame to see that building just deteriorate. This town really needs a lot of help.”

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140227/norristown-residents-ask-commissioners-how-to-revitalize-the-area

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New Dates For Montco Commissioners’ Postponed Town Hall Meetings

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

Norristown, PA – The Montgomery County Commissioners have released the new dates for the “Conversations with your Commissioners” town hall meetings that had to be postponed because of the spate of bad weather over the past few weeks.

The wintry weather forced the postponement of three of the six town hall meetings.  Those postponed were in Lower Pottsgrove, Bryn Mawr, and Abington.  The new dates for those meetings are:

Wednesday, March 5 at 7 p.m.

Lower Pottsgrove Township Building

3199 Buchert Road

Pottstown, PA

Tuesday, March 11 at 7 p.m.

Lower Merion Township Building

75 East Lancaster Avenue

Ardmore, PA

Saturday, March 22 at 10 a.m.

Abington Township Building

1176 Old York Road

Abington, PA

“These conversations with the commissioners are another in a series of ways we are trying to keep residents informed about what we are doing,” said Josh Shapiro, chair of the commissioners.  “We also live stream our meetings online and use social media a great deal to inform everyone about what is going on in the county.”

“We urge residents to attend these conversations so they can hear what we have tried to do during our first two years in office, and we can hear what issues are most important to our residents,” Shapiro said.

For more information please call the Commissioners’ office at 610-278-3062.

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Montgomery County Officials Release Parkhouse Documents; RFP Shows Intent To Build On Site

Location of Upper Providence Township in Montg...

Location of Upper Providence Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Norristown, PA — Montgomery County officials have released Mid-Atlantic Health Care’s response to the Request for Proposal to purchase and take over the Parkhouse geriatric facility in Upper Providence Township.

The response was released after The Times Herald submitted a Right To Know request with the county asking for the document.

According to the response to the RFP, which is dated July 12, 2013, Mid-Atlantic Health Care did have intentions of developing part of the land involved in the sale.

“MAHC proposes to purchase all land, facilities, and operations on the 288 acre campus for a total of $35,000,000. While we have not finalized our plans for the additional land, we have had preliminary discussions with the Einstein Health System to participate in this project. Further, we are also speaking with Ganas Development (which is led by Dr. Elliot Menkowitz), and The Sukonik Building Companies to develop a comprehensive development strategy,” the response states.

Read more:  http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140214/montgomery-county-officials-release-parkhouse-documents-rfp-shows-intent-to-build-on-site

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Montgomery County Commissioners Schedule 2nd Annual “Conversations” Caravan

Norristown, PA – The Montgomery County Commissioners have scheduled a series of six “Conversations with Your Commissioners” throughout Montgomery County during February.

Last year the inaugural series of “Conversations” was extremely well-attended and gave residents of the county the opportunity to discuss a wide range of subjects with the commissioners.

The 2014 series of conversations will be held in Lower Pottsgrove, Abington, Ambler, Bryn Mawr, East Greenville and Norristown.

“Last year’s “Conversations” were very successful and gave the commissioners a real sense of what issues were on people’s minds,” said Commissioner Chair Josh Shapiro.  “These sessions are just another way we use to keep residents informed about what we are doing.  We live stream our meetings on line and use social media a great deal to inform everyone about what is going on in the county, but the “Conversations” provide a true, personal level of contact the others do not.”

Shapiro said the commissioners plan to use the sessions to review what the county has done during the first two years of the administration and outline what plans are in store for the final two years.

The schedule is:

Thursday, February 6 at 7 p.m.

Lower Pottsgrove Township Building

3199 Buchert Road

Pottstown, PA

Saturday, February 8 at 10 a.m.

Abington Township Building

1176 Old York Road

Abington, PA

Monday, February 10 at 7 p.m.

Ambler Borough Hall

122 East Butler Avenue

Ambler, PA

Saturday, February 15 at 10 a.m.

Ludington Library

5 South Bryn Mawr Avenue

Bryn Mawr, PA

Monday, February 24 at 7 p.m.

The Grand Theater

252 Main Street

East Greenville, PA

Thursday, February 27 at 7 p.m.

Norristown Municipal Building

235 East Airy Street

Norristown, PA

For more information please call the Commissioners’ office at 610-278-3062.

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Protestors Gather In Norristown To Oppose Parkhouse Sale

Location of Upper Providence Township in Montg...

Location of Upper Providence Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORRISTOWN — Protestors rallied outside of the Montgomery County Courthouse Saturday in opposition to the sale of the Parkhouse geriatric center and its surrounding 220 acres of land in Upper Providence.

Upper Providence Supervisor Lisa Mossie, who has been at the forefront of opposition to the sale, said she was hoping the Montgomery County commissioners would notice the rally, cancel the sale and work out a new deal for the property.

“It’s my hope that it will change the commissioners’ minds that this is something nobody cares about. That it’s not a vocal minority. Everybody I have talked to is upset about this,” Mossie said. “My hope is that this sale is not done. It’s not finalized yet. They’ve cited that as their reason for not releasing the terms of the sale.”

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20131228/protestors-gather-in-norristown-to-oppose-parkhouse-sale

Code Blue Issued For Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN, PA — The Montgomery County Commissioners, on the advice of the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety, have declared a Code Blue Cold Weather Emergency for Montgomery County based on a review of forecasts from the National Weather Service.

The Code Blue Declaration has been issued for Montgomery County for the period beginning at 9 P.M. on Wednesday, Nov. 27, until 9 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20131126/code-blue-issued-for-montgomery-county

Montgomery County Holds Line On Taxes In 2014

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN, PAMontgomery County will balance its 2014 budget without raising taxes, according to Chief Financial Officer Uri Monson.

It will be second straight year tax rates in the county have not been raised, Monson told the county commissioners Thursday.

The county projects $371,510,842 in total revenues and $371,473,973 in expenditures for 2014, with a year-end operating surplus of $36,869 in the general fund budget, Monson said.

The county also expects to have just over $41 million in the fund balance at the end of the year, he said.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/government-and-politics/20131122/montgomery-county-holds-line-on-taxes-in-2014

Arcola Road Bridge Closed After Inspection

Location of Lower Providence Township in Montg...

Location of Lower Providence Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  And yet the Keim Street bridge, which had more daily traffic (approx. 9400 vehicles per day), has been closed for three years creating traffic headaches for Pottstown area residents. Guess if it was near a pharmaceutical company it would get fixed faster.

LOWER PROVIDENCE — The news drivers on the Arcola Road Bridge have all been dreading was delivered Friday afternoon when state inspectors immediately closed the busy bridge following an inspection “due to concerns for the safety of users.”

According to an informational release from Montgomery County, the “closure took effect immediately, and traffic will be diverted from the bridge via a signed detour.  While the bridge is closed, Montgomery County and PennDOT will continue to aggressively pursue the engineering, design and other necessary steps to replace the bridge.”

The proposed 5.5-mile road detour around the bridge will take Arcola Road drivers eastbound to a right turn onto southbound Eagleville Road, a right turn onto southbound Park Avenue, a right turn onto westbound Egypt Road and a right turn onto northbound Cider Mill Road.

The two-lane bridge currently handles an average of 8,250 vehicles each day, according to a 2013 traffic count.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130816/NEWS01/130819443/arcola-road-bridge-closed-after-inspection#full_story

Montgomery County Budget Cuts Take A Toll On Community Organizations

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN — It’s halfway into the year, and some local organizations that received county funds in the past are beginning to feel the effects of the 2013 budget cuts.

County budget cuts are robbing the Montgomery County African American Coalition of its “meat and potatoes” programs, according to charter member Bob Wright.

Three weeks ago, the group met at the First Baptist Church in Cheltenham, where a consortium of representatives from different minority organizations throughout the county, including the local chapter of the NAACP, discussed the budget and how it affects the low- and moderate-income county population.

Among them, Legal Aid, which received $281,7000 from the county general fund in 2012, was initially zeroed out of the budget for fiscal year 2013.

Read more:  http://www.timesherald.com/article/20130707/NEWS01/130709776/montgomery-county-budget-cuts-take-a-toll-on-community-organizations#full_story

Montgomery County Quarterly Report Indicates Generally Favorable Outlook

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN — Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Uri Monson’s quarterly report highlighted a couple key points — the first time the county’s fund balance grew at all since 2007 and the first Annual Required Contribution (ARC) to the pension fund since the same year.

Details were laid out during Thursday morning’s bi-monthly meeting of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.

“Based on the Q1 revenue results, the county now projects to have an annual operating surplus for the year of over $2.6 million, on top of the nearly $2.6 million in reserves set aside to grow the fund balance,” said Monson.

“This would mark the first year-over-year increase in the fund balance since 2007.”

Read more:  http://www.timesherald.com/article/20130419/NEWS01/130419441/county-quarterly-report-indicates-generally-favorable-outlook#full_story

Montgomery County Issues $55M In Bonds For Infrastructure Projects

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN — The Montgomery County Commissioners issued $55 million in bonds this week to address some county infrastructure projects.

While it does not address every item on a long laundry list of infrastructure needs throughout the county, the issuance of the bond addresses a good part of those needs without increasing the county’s current debt service over the next decade, according to the county’s top money manager.

“The bond sale received strong interest from underwriting firms with 10 banks submitting aggressive bids,” said Uri Monson, the county’s chief financial officer.

The commissioners approved the bond ordinance last month. Monson said the bonds were sold through a competitive sale process via an online bid service.  The winning bidder was PNC Capital Markets, with a True Interest Cost (TIC) of 2.39 percent.  The reported difference between the lowest bid and the next lowest bid was .017 percent.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130405/NEWS01/130409500/montgomery-county-issues-55m-in-bonds-for-infrastructure-projects#full_story

Huskey: Subsidized Housing Not The Answer

Location of Norristown in Montgomery County

Location of Norristown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  This is an opinion piece by the editor of the Norristown Times Herald about the new subsidized housing project to be built in the central business district. It was passed by the Norristown Municipal Council but was opposed by MANY residents!

I’ll never forget my first apartment.

It was actually a house I shared with three of my best friends.

And when I say house, I mean it was a massive structure that apparently was built before the idea of insulation ever crossed anyone’s mind.  I swear I actually saw it snowing inside the house one winter.

The landlord also wasn’t one for fixing things.

Read more:   http://www.timesherald.com/article/20130401/OPINION03/130409997/huskey-subsidized-housing-not-the-answer#full_story

Lansdale Will Be Pilot Location For Revamped Montgomery County Human Services Delivery System

Location of Lansdale in Montgomery County

Location of Lansdale in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  And of course, Pottstown and Norristown are getting one too.

HATFIELD TWP. — Lansdale Borough will serve as the home for one of Montgomery County’s four new locations as part of its revamped human services delivery system.

Josh Shapiro, chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, made the announcement Thursday afternoon during a systems change workshop hosted by the North Penn Community Health Foundation.

Shapiro told a collection of nearly 70 representatives of local nonprofit organizations that the facility in Lansdale — as well as Norristown, Pottstown and Willow Grove — are on track to launch in April, then be rolled out throughout the county.

The locations of each office have yet to be identified, though they will be announced shortly, according to Shapiro.

Read more:  http://www.timesherald.com/article/20130329/NEWS01/130329374/lansdale-will-be-pilot-location-for-revamped-montgomery-county-human-services-delivery-system#full_story

Hundreds Sign Online Petition Against Norristown Apartment Plan

Location of Norristown in Montgomery County

Location of Norristown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  We totally agree!  Enough already with the “subsidized housing” in First Suburbs communities!

NORRISTOWN ­­— A change.org online petition against the proposed, 96-unit, mixed-income apartment building slated to go into a Montgomery County parking lot in Norristown has attracted more than 227 petition signatures. The developer, Pennrose Properties of Philadelphia, is waiting for a Tuesday evening decision by the Norristown Zoning Hearing Board on whether to grant requested variances for the project following a two-hour zoning hearing last month.

Under a headline, “Montgomery County Commissioners and Norristown Municipal Council: Stop the Subsidized Housing Project in Downtown Norristown,” the petition alleges that “Norristown has over 53 percent of all of Montgomery County’s subsidized housing units and it doesn’t need any more.”

“The project directly contradicts the 2009 Norristown Comprehensive Plan in three key ways.  It adds additional subsidized rental units.  It subtracts 204 critically-needed parking spaces from the Downtown Business District.  It is not a true Mixed-Use project, but instead, is a self-contained residential community,” the petition said.  “It is our belief that, if built, the project will have a negative impact on the entire Municipality.  It will cause the surrounding neighborhoods to suffer and hurt the Arts Hill and Downtown Business District.  As Norristown is the County Seat, the impact will be felt by the entire County.”

The petition concluded, “the third largest County in the Commonwealth and one of the wealthiest in the United States, can do better.”

Read more:  http://www.timesherald.com/article/20130325/NEWS01/130329666/hundreds-sign-online-petition-against-norristown-apartment-plan#full_story

Montco Commissioners ‘Listening Tour’ Comes To Pottstown Monday

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Maybe they should call this the magical mystery tour!

POTTSTOWN — Issues of low-income housing concentrations and economic development are likely to command the agenda Monday when the Montgomery County Commissioners come to town as part of their ongoing “listening tour.”

The commissioners are holding the open meeting Monday at 7 p.m. at the Montgomery County Community College on College Drive.

The meetings serve as a way for residents to get answers and for the commissioners to get a sense of issues their constituents care about as a way to inform important decisions, particularly budget decisions, said Frank Custer, the county’s communications director.

It is the fourth of five such meetings set up around the county that so far have attracted moderate interest from the public, according to Custer.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130210/NEWS01/130219982/montco-commissioners-listening-tour-comes-to-pottstown-monday#full_story

Meet The Montgomery County Commissioner Candidates – October 6

Meet the County Commissioner Candidates – October 6

The Greater North Penn Collaborative invites the Tri-County Community Network and your members and colleagues to join us on Thursday, October 6 at 9 a.m. at the Community Partners Building, 2506 N. Broad St., Colmar, PA  18915 in the Walton Room to meet the county commissioner candidates, hear their views, and ask questions of them. This is a wonderful opportunity for the nonprofit community in Montgomery County to weigh in with your needs and concerns. Remember, 3 of the 4 candidates in attendance will become commissioners. Decisions on the allocation of federal and state funds will be made by those elected.

This candidates forum will take place as part of our regular membership meeting that runs from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Carpooling is strongly advised.

We expect to have a full house, so only if you plan to attend, please respond to Betsy Roush, betsyroush@comcast.net, 215-234-4022, with the names, emails, and organizations of any attendees you are registering.