Law Chases Carrick Landlord For Subpar Rentals

Locator map with the Carrick neighborhood in P...

Locator map with the Carrick neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  All I can say is enforcement, enforcement, enforcement.

For months, a putrid mixture of storm water and raw sewage has pooled outside the town homes on Berg Place in Carrick, a small street tucked behind a row of apartment buildings on Brownsville Road (Update: County officials order tenants to vacate premises).

The modest yards in front of the homes are marred by deep pits covered in flimsy plywood, an incomplete effort to fix problems associated with an unrelated water leak. And on one day this week, more raw sewage soaked one of the front lawns with a child’s wagon and toy car nearby.

The problems don’t end there. Tenants said that at times during the winter, they had virtually no running water, especially after the landlord shut off their main water supply and rigged a hose to siphon water from the nearby apartment buildings. When the above-ground hoses froze, the water stopped flowing, forcing tenants to haul in water in buckets and old milk cartons to even flush a toilet.

“It just dripped,” said Diane Berner, 51, who stayed with her friend who lives in the complex earlier this year. “It was a waste of time to even stand there and fill up a bottle.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/south/2014/04/25/Law-chases-landlord-for-subpar-rentals/stories/201404250094#ixzz2zugg21yC

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Scranton Mayor Proposes 56 Percent Property Tax Increase; 69 Percent Garbage Fee Hike

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

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

With wary banks watching Scranton‘s finances closely, Mayor Chris Doherty today proposed a $130.5 million budget for 2014 that would dramatically raise real estate taxes, the garbage collection fee and parking-meter rates and penalties.

Read the budget HERE

A real estate tax increase of 56.7 percent would be one of the largest, if not the largest, tax hikes ever in the city. A trash collection fee increase of 68.5 percent – from the current $178 a year to $300 a year – would be the largest garbage fee hike ever.

The large spikes are all necessary to close a $20 million operating deficit for 2014 and restore the city’s creditworthiness with lenders, Mr. Doherty said.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-mayor-proposes-56-percent-property-tax-increase-69-percent-garbage-fee-hike-1.1586481

Former Harrisburg Official Slams $86M Premium For City From Incinerator Sale

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

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

HARRISBURG, PA – The capital city will pay an $86 million premium for garbage disposal under the proposed terms of sale for its incinerator, a former local official warns.

Those numbers are based, in part, on the city’s disposal rate starting next year at $190 per ton, former Harrisburg Public Works Director Ernie Hoch said.

Hoch sent a letter and supporting spreadsheet to City Council on Sunday afternoon lobbying them to vote against the transaction, then forwarded copies to other contacts including PennLive and City Controller and mayoral candidate Dan Miller, who sent his own cautionary correspondence last week.

Hoch noted the rates and tonnage minimums for the city and Dauphin County are based not on service costs, but the Lancaster Solid Waste Management Authority’s anticipated debt obligations related to its acquisition of the facility.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/09/former_harrisburg_official_sla.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Residents Riled Over Private Party At Perkasie Borough Pool That Descended Into ‘Total Chaos’

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

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

A throng of angry residents packed Perkasie‘s borough hall Monday night, the crowd spilling into the hall beyond. Most of the nearly 100 present were there with concerns about an unruly, overcrowded party of more than 700 “out-of-towners” at the Menlo pool Aug. 11 that involved alcohol and suspected illegal drug use.

Perkasie officials have said they were duped into booking the private party, led to believe it would be a birthday party attended by about 100 people.

Instead, it was a club-style event said to be hosted by a professional basketball player identified in an advertisement as the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ Dion Waiters, and featuring a DJ as well as a 15-person security contingent.

The borough discovered later that the party was originally to be held at a New Jersey swim club, with an open bar, but that pool canceled the event after discovering it wasn’t consistent with its policies.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-perkasie-pool-party-20130820,0,1395891.story#ixzz2cXR09Baz
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Some Residents Ready To Take A Stand After Rash Of Recent Shootings In Harrisburg

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

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

Rather than giving in to fear in the wake of eight shootings reported in the city since July 30, some Harrisburg residents are taking a stand against further bloodshed.

Rallying behind the city’s latest effort to combat crime, residents from all over the city will meet at the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg on Monday to discuss future cooperation between different neighborhoods to stop violence and keep the street clean.  At the center of the meeting is Bryan Wade, the city’s new Community Policing Coordinator.

“Harrisburg in general is very fragmented, you have a lot of good things going on, but in terms of information about neighborhood and community safety and what each group is up to, it’s very fractured,” Wade said of the current state of community groups.  “I’m hoping to bring some more cohesion and unity to the process.”

Since early April Wade has been reaching out to existing neighborhood watch groups like the Friends of Midtown and the 18th Street Neighborhood Watch to marshal interest in the meeting.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/08/some_residents_ready_to_take_a.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Reading Water Authority Bills Include $95 Whammy

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

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

With little advance notice to customers, the Reading Area Water Authority’s regular water and sewer bills mailed last week contained an extra $95 charge for city trash and recycling, and a demand that the charge be paid by month’s end lest penalties be imposed.

The move left Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer’s administration and the authority doing damage control, answering complaints by people who say they can’t pay the unexpected bill on time.

And it fueled City Council’s anger that Spencer shut it out of the process, then mishandled the planning.

“It’s outrageous,” customer Sandy Burkhart told council Monday.  “The city should think of us poor people who have nothing.”

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=477020

After Delay, Reading Combines Some Bills

Editor’s note:  We like this idea.  It takes these bills and makes them part of the average person’s normal monthly expenses.  I bet people will be more willing to pay them on a monthly basis rather than quarterly.

City trash and recycling customers will find their bills easier to pay in June.

They won’t be any cheaper, but they’ll be monthly instead of quarterly; they’ll be part of the water and sewer bills; and there will be more ways to pay them.

“The benefit to city customers is that it’s more affordable, and because it’s consistent it will be easier to budget for,” Matthew Bembenick, director of administrative services, said at a Wednesday event announcing the transfer of billing to the Reading Area Water Authority.

But the long-planned deal got delayed, and the authority’s first bills will come out in May, when the city needs to get caught up for January through April.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=470572

Penn Square Consultants Get An Earful

Editor’s note:  Taking care of the root problem needs happen…crime and blight need to be addressed before cosmetics can lure people downtown.  Cleaning up the downtown is necessary but business owners and shoppers need to feel safe above all else.  Without the root problem being addressed, it’s another case of putting lipstick on a pig.

The consultants designing Downtown 20/20 – what Penn Square should look like to attract more out-of-towners – say they’ve gotten an earful of criticism and suggestions at three recent public hearings, and have tweaked the plans to accommodate some comments.

But they also got an earful this week from City Council members, who said that although they liked the ideas, nothing will happen until the city begins resolving Penn Square’s larger issues.

“Nobody wants to go downtown with all the drunks sitting around,” Councilwoman Donna Reed said at a work session with the 20/20 steering committee and the consultants. “It’s just an uncomfortable, disgusting place to walk.”

She said the Downtown Improvement District said its biggest challenge is dealing with public drunkenness, and the city needs to start enforcing its loitering laws and getting rid of the reeking trash containers on North Fourth Street.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/Article.aspx?id=410399

Pottstown Citizens Plan Protest Again Slumlords For Friday

Are you a Pottstown borough resident?

Are you sick of slumlords not paying their water/sewer/trash bills?

Are you sick of slumlords renting to anybody that breathes and can pay their rent (not doing criminal background checks)?

Are you ready to make a statement that Pottstown residents are ready to take back their town?

If so, a group is gathering tomorrow, Friday, August 26th at 5:30 pm in the 400 block of King Street, between Franklin and Washington Sts.  This event is for anyone who is ready to say ENOUGH!  There will be a press conference and protest to demand that these deadbeats pay up or get the hell out of Pottstown! 

Feel free to bring your picket signs!