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: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=399499

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Default Looms For Scranton Parking Authority As City Council Refuses To Pay SPA’s $1.4 Million Debt

Default is looming for the Scranton Parking Authority as city council refuses to release $1.4 million the authority needs by June 1 to pay debt, officials said.

SPA notified the council last fall it would have a budget deficit in 2012 and would need council to fill the gap. Council set the funds aside in a contingency account that only council can release, thus forcing SPA and Mayor Chris Doherty’s administration to come back to council for the funds.

As the city backs the SPA debt in question – and with the June 1 deadline fast approaching – the administration on May 10 requested emergency legislation from the council for the $1.4 million.

But the council refused and demanded that SPA executive director Robert Scopelliti and city Business Administrator Ryan McGowan first appear before council on May 17 to explain why the funds are needed. Councilman Pat Rogan and council Solicitor Boyd Hughes went so far as to say SPA should be allowed to go into default.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/default-looms-for-scranton-parking-authority-as-city-council-refuses-to-pay-spa-s-1-4-million-debt-1.1318104

Mount Penn Borough, Lower Alsace Township Meet, Talk Merger

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

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

Claudia Hurwitz and Josh Nowotarski were there to find facts.

John Theodossiou wanted to promote moving forward with an open mind.

Hurwitz, a Mount Penn council member, Nowotarski, the Mount Penn mayor, and Theodossiou, a Lower Alsace Township supervisor, were speaking at a joint public meeting on the possibility of pursuing a study that would examine the advantages and disadvantages of merging the two municipalities.

For weeks the borough and township discussed whether they wanted to meet with one another to discuss a potential study. After deliberating at meetings, they independently decided to meet Tuesday at the Antietam Junior-Senior High School in Lower Alsace.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=386464

Reading Mayor Defends How He Built Team

Reading City Hall on the NRHP since April 13, ...

Reading City Hall on the NRHP since April 13, 1982. At 8th and Washington Streets, Reading, Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since his Jan. 2 inauguration, Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer has awarded six outside consulting contracts, worth a total of $176,000, to give him more people to carry out his agendas.

All of these contracts circumvented the city’s normal contract-awarding process; all of them bypassed City Council; all but one of them involved members of his campaign and/or transition committees; and one was for the services of a media manager, who council had previously rejected for a city job.

Council members’ responses have ranged from livid to concerned. Several claim it’s all political patronage for those who got Spencer elected, and several say the city could better use the money to hire a badly needed police officer or firefighter.

But Spencer defends the contracts, saying they give him the extra help the administration needs and are the only way the city can plan how to do a better job, which he defines as saving money or raising revenue without increasing tax rates.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=381111