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Articles on this Page
- 09/20/18--21:00: _ALIEN INVADERS: Fig...
- 09/22/18--21:00: _Squad Gives Pottsto...
- 09/23/18--21:00: _Students Art Contes...
- 09/24/18--21:00: _Lengthy Bus Rides R...
- 09/25/18--21:00: _Pottsgrove Faces Pr...
- 09/26/18--21:00: _Pottsgrove High Tak...
- 09/27/18--21:00: _PHS Alumni Honor Ro...
- 09/28/18--21:00: _PHS Alumni Honor Ro...
- 09/29/18--21:00: _PHS Alumni Honor Ro...
- 09/30/18--21:00: _PHS Alumni Honor Ro...
- 10/01/18--21:00: _TESTING, TESTING: O...
- 10/02/18--21:00: _Pottsgrove Offers P...
- 10/03/18--21:00: _Pottstown 2019 Budg...
- 10/04/18--21:00: _West-Mont Students ...
- 10/05/18--21:00: _Stop Complaining an...
- 10/07/18--21:00: _Int'l Day of Peace ...
- 10/08/18--21:00: _Hopewell Hosts Fort...
- 10/09/18--21:00: _Police Promoted, Si...
- 10/10/18--21:00: _UNDER THE GUN: Ches...
- 10/12/18--21:00: _Meals on Wheels Fun...
- 10/13/18--21:00: _Grumpy Wins Pottsto...
- 10/14/18--21:00: _Meet Pottstown High...
- 10/15/18--21:00: _Upper Pottsgrove To...
- 10/16/18--21:00: _5% Water Rate Hikes...
- 10/17/18--21:00: _W. Pottsgrove Movin...
- 09/20/18--21:00: ALIEN INVADERS: Fighting the Spotted Lanternfly
- 09/22/18--21:00: Squad Gives Pottstown Something to Cheer About
- 09/23/18--21:00: Students Art Contest for Week Without Violence
- Open to 6 th -12 th grade students in the Tri-County Area.
- All artwork must be drawn horizontally (landscape) on plain white 8.5”x11” paper.
- Students may use crayon, watercolor, poster paint, colored pencils, markers or ink; please do not attach or glue materials that may smear, crack or chip.
- Students must submit individual, independent work.
- Students must submit a 3-4 sentence statement describing their work and why they chose to create the piece they did.
- Only original artwork will be accepted. Computer-generated drawings or reproductions of popular cartoon characters or three-dimensional work will not be considered.
- Art work will not be returned.
- 09/24/18--21:00: Lengthy Bus Rides Rile Spring-Ford Residents
- 09/25/18--21:00: Pottsgrove Faces Pricey Middle School Bridge Repair
- 09/26/18--21:00: Pottsgrove High Takes the LEED in Energy Efficiency
- 09/27/18--21:00: PHS Alumni Honor Roll Profile: James Bush
- 09/28/18--21:00: PHS Alumni Honor Roll Profile: Therese Rinaldi
- 09/29/18--21:00: PHS Alumni Honor Roll Profile: Jonathan Corson
- 09/30/18--21:00: PHS Alumni Honor Roll Profile: Heather M. Thiret
- 10/01/18--21:00: TESTING, TESTING: OJR Aims for Higher Scores
- 10/02/18--21:00: Pottsgrove Offers Pols Input on School Security
- 10/03/18--21:00: Pottstown 2019 Budget Draft Calls for 12% Tax Hike
- The $779,000 hike in pension obligations to both police and non-uniform plans;
- the $1 million increase for post-retirement health care;
- The $360,000 the borough has to pay back to the owners of the moribund Pottstown Center shopping center at 799 State St. after the court decision on an assessment challenge;
- Contractual pay increases to the borough police and employees;
- Not to mention the annual absence of $263,000 in tax revenue from Pottstown Hospital being off the tax rolls.
- 10/04/18--21:00: West-Mont Students Lend An 'Amazing' Hand
- 10/05/18--21:00: Stop Complaining and Start Caring About Edgewood
- 10/07/18--21:00: Int'l Day of Peace Concert Gets PA Senate Citation
- 10/08/18--21:00: Hopewell Hosts Fort Monroe Superintendent Oct. 14
- 10/09/18--21:00: Police Promoted, Silence on Looming 12% Tax Hike
- 10/12/18--21:00: Meals on Wheels Fundraiser Features Greaseband
- 10/13/18--21:00: Grumpy Wins Pottstown's First-Ever Cheese Crown
- 10/14/18--21:00: Meet Pottstown High School's Homecoming Court
- 10/16/18--21:00: 5% Water Rate Hikes Coming for Next Three Years
- 10/17/18--21:00: W. Pottsgrove Moving on Murgia Park Improvements
Photos by Evan Brandt|
The lifespan of the invasive spotted lanternfly is laid out on a slide from last night's presentation on how bad the problem is and how to combat the pest.
The map on the left shows the first five Berks County |
townships where quarantine efforts began. At right is the
counties where a quarantine is now in place.
The fight against a pervasive alien insect was laid out in stark terms last night, as well as strategies for fighting them.
First spotted in western Berks County in 2014, authorities have worked to contain the invasion of the spotted lanternfly, an insect native to China and Vietnam, but apparently jumped the Pacific on a pallet of stone delivered to Berks county at some point.
Since its arrival, it has spread from one to 13 counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania and is making inroads into Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey.
But things could be worse, said Evan Corondi, an insect expert with the Berks County Conservation District who gave a presentation on the invader at Pottstown Borough Hall Thursday night.
|The cluster of red dots show the only places in the state|
where spotted lanternfly have been found.
"So I know it can seem like the effort's not worth it. But it's working. The things we're doing to control it are working," he said to the group of about 90 people who all expressed exasperation with their efforts to eradicate the pest.
One woman, who said she is having eight tree of heaven trees in her yard taken down next week, said the stink from the insects excrement is terrible. "We haven't used my back yard all summer. It smells like a urinal."
The "tree of heaven," which scientists call ailanthus altissima, is itself an invasive species, which is very hard to kill. It also is from Asia and is the spotted lanternfly's favorite food, although the bug is quickly developing a taste for native North American trees, including fruit trees, valuable hardwoods and grapevines.
This photo shows a backyard tree, at right, covered with |
adult spotted lanternfly. At left, the bottom step has been
power-washed, while the ones above remain coated with
the "sooty mold" they excrete.
When they feed, the lanternfly harms trees in two ways. The first is when it pierces the bark to feed on the nutrients in the layer beneath, robbing the tree of nutrients as well as leaving a hole for other insects or disease access to the tree's interior.
The second way is what the insect excretes. Called "honeydew," it is sweet and stickly, but which turns black into what Corondi called "sooty mold," which coats leaves and impedes photosynthesis, as well as emitting the odor referred to above.
Here is video of spotted lanterfly on grape vines, excreting the "honeydew" that can impede photosynthesis:
The adults are current mating and laying those eggs. Each egg mass contains between 30 to 50 eggs.
They can be hard to spot because when fresh, they are a gray mass, usually laid on an equally gray surface and, as they dry out, turn a dull gray," said Corondi.
Although he said "now is a perfect time to kill the adults," as they are just starting to lay eggs and fewer adults means fewer egg masses.
However, in a few weeks, the masses will mostly be laid and efforts to combat the pest should turn to scraping them off any surface they are seen.
A credit card works best and experts advise having some kind of container or plastic bad to scrape the egg mass into. Once contained, rubbing alcohol will kill the eggs.
An alternative is to crush them," said Corondi, an exercise he admitted he finds particularly satisfying. "They make this kind of popping sound," he said with a smile.
Here is some video of Corondi talking about ways to control the spotted lanternfly, including proper egg-scraping technique:
shows the spotted lanternfly life cycle.
Sadly, the cold does not kill the eggs, which will be mostly laid by late November and will hatch in the spring into small nymphs about the size of a tick.
They grow to about the size of a dime and take on the striking red and black coloring with white spots.
In this state, the lanternfly is actually susceptible to being sprayed with soapy water as the film from the soap can keep the bugs from breathing through their skin. But once they grow wings, this method seems to work less well.
"I've killed hundreds of them with a plan old flyswatter," bragged one member of the audience.
Spotted lanternfly do not pose a risk to human health, but can affect forest hardwood products worth $16.7 billion in in Pennsylvania.
Here is some video of Corondi offering some general information about the spotted lanternfly invasion:
Several kinds of tape, including duct tape with the sticky side facing out, can capture spotted lanternfly at different times of the year because as it turns out, although they are called fly, "they're not very good flyers," said Corondi.
|Early stages are most susceptible to being caught on taped trees.|
They belong to a group of insects called "leaf hoppers" and spread by climbing tall trees or tall buildings and then leap into the wind to travel a long distance.
Of course they travel the longest distances by hitching rides on our cars, trains and freighters.
A variety of chemical weapons can be used. Several pesticides work, providing you can get close enough to use them.
But one ingenious strategy Corondi outlined is to use one invasive against the other.
A pesticide method calls "systemics" has the lanternfly warrior use a downward stroke to cut some holes in a tree infested with lanternfly and into these holes apply specific pesticides designed for this function.
The tree with take up the pesticide, which the lanternfly will ingest as it feeds on the tree.
Here is video of Corodni talking about how controlling the Tree of Heaven can also help to control and contain the invasive spotted lanternfly:
Corondi with a tree of heaven branch he displayed to familiarize
the audience with the species.
force the lanternfly to focus on the remaining trees.
Using the systemic method then allows you to poison many more lanternfly with less poison, as well as eliminating more of the invasive trees.
Unfortunately, because the trees are going dormant for the winter, this kind of assault must wait for spring.
It's a lot of information to absorb at once. But if you need more, Corondi recommended this link to Penn State Extension's page on the subject.
And here are the Tweets from last night's presentation:
Photos Courtesy of Pottstown School District
The Pottstown Trojan Cheerleading Squad
Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Pottstown School District.
Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the YWCA Tri-County Area.
Young artists in grades 6-12 are invited to create original artwork for YWCA Tri-County Area’s second annual Week Without Violence Art Contest.
Week Without Violence, October 15-19, is a national YWCA movement raising awareness of the devastating effects of domestic violence. YWCA Tri-County Area works to bring communities together to combat all forms of violence and injustice in society.
All youth in grades 6-12 are invited to submit original art celebrating YWCA’s mission of promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Deadline for submission of original art is Friday, Oct. 12.
First, second and third prizes will be awarded in two age categories: grades 6-8, and grades 9-12.
Contest rules are:
Art may be mailed to or dropped off at YWCA Tri-County Area, 315 King St., Pottstown, Pa., 19464, Attn: Kristie Piacine.
YWCA Tri-County Area is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. YWCA Tri-County Area is a leader in advocating for women and girls, and provides direct service and issue education impacting 1,500 people annually through early childhood education, empowerment of women, girls, and families, and adult education and training.
Choosing which meeting to cover last night was like choosing which bowl of vanilla ice cream you want to eat.
Between the Spring-Ford and Owen J. Roberts school boards and the New Hanover Township Supervisors, there wasn't much chocolate fudge worth picking one over the other.
The plan had been to go to New Hanover because a vote on the Gibraltar Rock Quarry loomed, but that vote has been delayed. Given that the rest of the meeting was a budget workshop for a town that hasn't raised taxes in 12 years that didn't lean much to chew on newswise.
When stringer extraordinaire Laura Catalano confirmed she would be covering the OJR meeting, it was off to Royersford I went.
Speaking of Royersford, Spring-Ford Superintendent David Goodin showed a slick student-made video of the district's participation in the borough's community day.
Here it is:
Other than that, the meeting was fairly routine with one exception. Three mothers of Pope John Paul II students, Melissa Dougherty, Lisa DiRico and Colleen O'Brien, were on hand to complain about the lengthy bus rides their children must endure in the morning.
Dougherty said her son spends nearly an hour on the bus each morning when he lives just two miles from Pope John Paul II.
Superintendent David Goodin said it is unavoidable because of the different start times and the need to make bus routes efficient.
We'll have more on this topic in a future article in The Mercury.
In the meantime, here are the Tweets from the meeting:
Magic School Bus
|Corrosion was evident beneath the Pottsgrove Middle School pedestrian bridge even before further investigation found the problems are much worse than initially feared.|
Yeah forget that.
Try as much as $350,000 instead.
Tuesday night, Pottsgrove School Board Robert Lindgren said "the damage was much more extensive than we first thought."
Last month, Pottsgrove Facilities Director Jeffrey Cardwell told the board that the bridge failed an inspection in January and at least two blocks of concrete need to be removed in order to replace the steel waffling underneath.
He said the investigation by a contractor found that three drains in the bridge had allowed water to penetrate and rust the bridge’s steel decking.
The concrete and decking need to be removed and replaced, and the drainage system re-designed to prevent the problem from occurring again, he said.
Engineers also examined steel support girders for signs of rust and once a soffit was removed, the damage was revealed to be much more extensive, said Lindgren.
Another item of note to taxpayers is the sudden jump in the district's special education budget.
Since July 1, the first day of the fiscal year, Pottsgrove has seen 45 new special education students, at lease seven of whom require enough special assistance that seven new one-on-one aides need to be hired to meet their IEP's, or individual education programs as set out in special education laws.
"We're going to have to hire some people we had not planned on hiring," said Superintendent William Shirk.
Kathryn Pacitto, director of pupil services, said the number is not unusual as much as the severity of the issues which need to be addressed among this particular group of special education students.
Pricey Bridge Repair and Special Education Su
|Pottsgrove High School|
The Pottsgrove School District is pleased to announce that the High School renovation project, completed in 2017, has achieved gold certification under the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) 2009 Schools rating system.
LEED certification identifies Pottsgrove High School as a showcase example of sustainability and demonstrates leadership in transforming the building industry, according to a release from the district.
Mahesh Ramanujam, the President and CEO or the U.S. Green Building Council and Green Business Certification, recently presented the certificate to the district.
Today we present James Bush, Class of 1962.
Representing the Pottstown High School Class of 1962 is James R. Bush. After graduation in 1962, Jim served in the U.S. Army Reserves and attended Peirce Junior College earning his Associates Degree in Accounting in 1970. Jim then earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Ursinus College. From May of 1964 through September 1968, he worked as a Commercial Loan Officer and Assistant Branch Manager for the Philadelphia National Bank in Pottstown. Then in 1980, Jim returned to his Alma Mater becoming the Supervisor of Accounting/Assistant Business Administrator before being hired as the Business Administrator/Board Secretary in 1968 until his retirement in June of 2006.
When asked about what the phrase “Proud to be from Pottstown “ mean to him, Jim responded
“I have been involved with the Pottstown School District for fifty ( 50 ) Years of my life ( 12 years as a student, 38 years as an employee 1968-2006). The Pottstown School has been and continues to be a leader in education in the area".
He lists several examples:
-- The establishment of a Foundation for Pottstown Education ( 1985 ) to help raise private funds for student scholarships and some programs unable to be funded through the school district
-- Early Childhood Education: The school district started a Four Year Kindergarten program in the early “90’s “and a full day kindergarten program in the early 2000’s. Today the Pottstown School through its Early Childhood program (PEAK) is a statewide model.
-- Senior Citizen Program: In 1995 the school district started the Golden Sage Program which allows senior citizens to volunteer at the school district and receive a credit up to $500 on their property taxes.
-- Dual Enrollment Program: In the early 2000’s, the school district and the Montgomery County Community College established a program to allow students to attend the college during their high school years and receive College credit. Initially this was funded with local and state funds. The Foundation for Pottstown Education now funds the Dual Enrollment Program.
The school district provides excellent education and co-curricular programs staffed by excellent teachers that provide opportunities for students to be successful. Pottstown School District students excel in academics and receive recognition for their accomplishments. Pottstown students receive accolades for their involvement in community service programs.
“YES! I am proud to be a graduate of the Pottstown School District,” he said.
This recognition has special meaning to Bush.
“ I am honored to be recognized by the School District as a member of the Alumni Honor Roll. Since its establishment in 1986, there have been 125 graduates who have been inducted to the Alumni Honor Roll. When I look at accomplishments of those previous and current inductees, I am proud to be included as a member of the Alumni Honor Roll."
When asked what one piece of advice that he would give to the current students of the Pottstown High School, Jim responded “Set Your Goals. Challenge yourself to meet those goals. Whatever career path you decide to follow, always give maximum effort.”
The Alumni Honor Roll was established in 1986 as a way to recognize outstanding Pottstown High School Alumni who has made significant contributions to their community and profession. With the addition of this year’s honorees, 129 alumni will have been recognized with this honor.
The four 2018 honorees represent Pottstown High School Classes of 1962, 1979, 1982 and 1991. Aram Ecker, chair of the Alumni Honor Roll Committee placed the names of James R. Bush, Theresa Rinaldi, Jonathan C. Corson and Heather M. Thiret as the nominees for this year’s class to the Pottstown School Board on Thursday April 19, 2018.
They will be recognized at the Annual Alumni Honor Roll event on Friday Oct. 19, 2018. The event will begin with a continental breakfast at the Pottstown High School followed by a tour of the Alumni Gallery. The recognition ceremony will be held during an assembly in the High School’s Stanley Davenport Auditorium. The induction ceremony will be followed by a luncheon at the Brookside Country Club. Members of the community as well as all Pottstown High School Alumni are welcome to the event and can purchase tickets for $50 per person which includes admission to all of the events listed above. A portion of the ticket price is tax deductible. Tickets for the luncheon are on sale and can be reserved by contacting Diane Nash in the Superintendent’s Office 610-970-6601.
Members of the community as well as all Pottstown High School Alumni are welcome to the event and can purchase tickets for $50 per person which includes admission to all of the day’s events. A portion of the ticket price is tax deductible. Tickets for the luncheon are on sale and can be reserved by contacting Diane Nash in the Superintendent’s Office 610-970-6601.
Today we present Dr. Therese Rinaldi, DPM, Class of 1979.
When asked what graduating from Pottstown High School means to her, Therese responded “Graduating from the same high school as both of my parents was a grand tribute to their faith in the quality of the education they received. I know Pottstown High School equipped me with the necessary knowledge, experience, confidence and skills to go anywhere and do anything I dreamed- for that I am thankful.”
Therese responded that Proud to be from Pottstown means that “ I am proud to have grown up in Pottstown, a diverse community of art, industry, beauty and history. Nestled along the Schuylkill River in the corner of three counties, we locals have easy access to both rural and urban experiences. After podiatric medical school and surgery residency, there was no question as to where I wanted to set up my practice and raise a family. Some of my first patients came because they either knew me or my family, and that continues to this day, 28 years later.”
Being named to PHS Alumni Honor Roll is a wonderful distinction. To be recognized, as many others before me, for my accomplishments helps current PHS students realize that they have all the tools and opportunities here, one just needs to find what makes them happy then work hard to pursue it. Success will surely follow.
My advice to Pottstown High School students is simple. Get out there, experience life, find your passion and do not stop until you achieve your goals--and enjoy life along the way.
The four honorees will be recognized at the Annual Alumni Honor Roll event on Friday October 19, 2018. The event will begin with a continental breakfast at the Pottstown High School followed by a tour of the Alumni Gallery. The recognition ceremony will be held during an assembly in the High School’s Stanley Davenport Auditorium. The induction ceremony will be followed by a luncheon at the Brookside Country Club. Members of the community as well as all Pottstown High School Alumni are welcome to the event and can purchase tickets for $50 per person which includes admission to all of the events listed above. A portion of the ticket price is tax deductible. Tickets for the luncheon are on sale and can be reserved by contacting Diane Nash in the Superintendent’s Office 610-970-6601.
Today we present Jonathan Corson, Class of 1982.
"Graduating from Pottstown High means TROJAN PRIDE!!!! To me it is a part of a proud and rich history which going back to the Chestmont League, watching Pottstown High School’s finest playing in those Friday night Football games. It seemed like the whole town shutdown to come out and watch," Corson said.
When Johnny was asked what being Proud to be from Pottstown means to him, he replied “At one time Pottstown was known for being an industrial giant, and it has gone through some hard times. But to see your former teachers, fellow students before and after you come together as community, to believe and give back. See people who were born and raised in Pottstown, go off to a successful career; retire back where it all started. Also to see alumni as professional athletes, famous musicians/actors, writers, Pulitzer Prize winners, doctors, lawyers, to serve our country, etc. That is Proud to be from Pottstown.”
“I’m HUMBLED by this honor, and also at the same time grateful that the Pottstown High School Alumni Community recognizes my efforts to ensure that Pottstown is and always will be a community where we all can be proud," he said.
"My advice to the students of Pottstown: I read somewhere that 'the content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you choose, what you think and what you do is who you become.'.How you treat people will be your whole story. "
The four honorees will be recognized at the Annual Alumni Honor Roll event on Friday Oct. 19, 2018. The event will begin with a continental breakfast at the Pottstown High School followed by a tour of the Alumni Gallery. The recognition ceremony will be held during an assembly in the High School’s Stanley Davenport Auditorium.
|Major Heather M. Thiret|
Today we present Heather Thiret, representing the Class of 1991.
Representing the Pottstown High School Class of 1991 is Heather M. Thiret.
In response to the question, what has graduating from Pottstown High School meant to you? Heather responded that "graduation from PSHS itself is an accomplishment and benchmark in life. However, graduating from Pottstown High School was bittersweet in the fact that it was "sweet" to be graduating and equipped with the skills and knowledge bestowed upon me from my teachers and coaches at PSHS, and "bitter" to say goodbye to the same mentorship, guidance and trusting relationships I had to rely on while attending PSHS. I felt confident in my capabilities and self-worth I developed from my four years at PSHS."
When asked about what the phrase “Proud to be from Pottstown “mean to her, Heather stated, “I am proud to be from Pottstown, because these are my roots. The familiar places and faces that continue to be part of my life even today, almost 25 years after I left. It is always still good to come 'home.' Hometown, isn't just a place, it is a feeling...from Ice House Deli, Manatawny Park, Brunish's, Frankie and Johnny's, the Elks, the Carousel, Pottstown Trojans, The Mercury, High St, Waterfront Park, Sunnybrook Ballroom, the community people(alumni) and feeling etc...it's the familiar places and faces that continue to make me proud to come home and call Pottstown home.”
In receiving this honor, Heather stated “I am truly blessed and honored to been chosen to represent what thousands of Pottstown alumni who came before me had done. We all attended PSHS, graduated and went on to do great things in this world, change the world and make it a better place. I accept this award on behalf of all those who came before me with the same drive and motivation that PSHS became the catalyst for and ensured they were ready to take on the world. Graduates did not need to be doctors, lawyers, politicians, CEO's, nor famous to be successful alumni...they are also mothers, fathers, coaches, teachers, mentors, community advocates, military, police officers, fire fighters, EMS, nurses, factory workers, secretaries, borough service workers, reporters, writers, artists, and thousands of unmentioned professions and occupations that whether nominated for this honor or not, are success stories of PSHS and are just as proud to be from Pottstown and a product of PSHS as me.”
One piece of advice that Heather would give to high school students, is "ask and listen. Lead and follow. Take advantage of all the education, mentorship and advice you can receive while at PSHS. This is only the beginning of you becoming the type of person you want to be in life. Make mistakes, and learn from them. Don't be afraid to learn from other people’s mistakes, they have less pain and anguish than our own, but the same lesson is learned. If you don't already, thank your parents, coaches, teachers and mentors...come back and visit. I didn't thank them enough while I was there and truly did not appreciate them until after I left. Walking across the stage and accepting that diploma, is also an acceptance of your future and life, for it will be whatever you put into it, and whatever you choose to make it. Make it yours, and make it the best life as the best person you can be. You are a Pottstown Trojan, even after you leave, that will never leave you."
The four honorees will be recognized at the Annual Alumni Honor Roll event on Friday Oct. 19, 2018. The event will begin with a continental breakfast at the Pottstown High School followed by a tour of the Alumni Gallery. The recognition ceremony will be held during an assembly in the High School’s Stanley Davenport Auditorium.
|Photos by Evan Brandt|
Dennis Fletcher, Owen J. Roberts High School math teacher, talks to the school board Monday night about the district's Keystone scores in algebra.
Headed to the Owen J. Roberts workshop meeting Monday because, sadly, it was the most interesting agenda out there.
And considering how uninteresting the meeting was, that's saying something.
Perhaps the most significant item had to do with the new $28 million East Coventry Elementary School, or perhaps more importantly, what comes next.
As it turns out, that building is the last item on a capital improvements plan from several years ago, and that means its time for a new one, and a feasibility study to help determine costs.
Although a committee has already been formed -- comprised of staff, school board members, parents and administrators -- the meetings are not open to the public.
But one meeting is, and it will be a Town Hall meeting held Nov. 1 at Owen J. Roberts High School. Other public meetings may be scheduled, but as of now, this will be the general public's only chance to have input.
Other than that, the bulk of the meeting was consumed by talking about the district's standardized test scores -- the PSSA, the Keystone and Advance Placement. They're all awfully good, but of course, they would like to make them better.
You can read all about that in the Tweets below:
From left, Pottsgrove Schools Superintendent William Shirk, state Sen. Bob Mensch, Brenna Mayberry, student representative on the Pottsgrove School Board, and Joshua Ross, president of the Pottsgrove High School Student Government.
Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Pottsgrove School District.
The Pottsgrove School District recently attended a Senate Majority Policy Committee forum on school safety at Quakertown Area School District.
The purpose of the Sept. 21 forum was to discuss student safety and exchange information about the challenges districts across the Commonwealth are now experiencing.
Senator David Argall, Chairman of the Senate Majority Policy Committee, was joined by Senator Bob Mensch, Senator Mike Regan and State Representative Craig Staats at the forum.
A number of Senate Bills, including Act 39 and Act 44 were discussed as additional legislative measures are still being considered.
"In today's society, kids who are not 18 feel like they have no say because they are not at the legal age to vote. Being provided this opportunity to express my view to State Senators about an issue that pertains to many who cannot vote was a great experience," said Ross.
"At the safety conference we discussed mental health and discussed legislation pertaining to hiring social workers and trained security for schools. Students should get more opportunities like this to show the world what we are going through," he said.
"I was honored to attend Senator Mensch’s Public Roundtable on School Safety in Quakertown. The topics discussed included student opinion on school safety, budgets for school safety programs, the role mental health plays in discovering and preventing threats to school safety, along with many other important issues," said Mayberry.
Lawmakers passed school safety legislation, which includes a $60 million grant program to give school districts flexible options to improve school safety, including hiring school security personnel and counselors, purchasing safety equipment like metal detectors, and implementing special programs to reduce violence in schools.
Photos by Evan Brandt|
The bottom line for the general fund, from last night's budget presentation.
In it's first budget presentation of the season, the administration has dropped a $48.9 million draft budget proposal in front of borough council that, if adopted unchanged, would hike property taxes by just under 12 percent -- 11.97 percent for the sticklers out there.
This comes on top of the 12 percent tax hike adopted in December for the current year.
The primary culprits for this unpleasant state of affairs, according to Borough Manager Justin Keller are:
|Flat spending thanks to cost savings.|
The removal of Pottstown Hospital from the tax rolls
last year only capped off a continuing trend.
Headwinds," pointed out that since 2016, including what's proposed for 2019, spending has actually dropped.
But even though taxes have been raised, thanks to an unending stream of property value assessment losses, revenue has dropped faster.
Although the general fund holds the largest deficit, almost $700,000, there are also deficits in the parks and recreation fund ($114,246) and in the fire fund ($216,798).
Millage for the Parks and Recreation Department, which cares for 15 parks totalling approximately 100 acres at a cost of just under $1 million, has not been increased seven years.
Millage supporting the fire fund -- which covers the $275,000 payment made to each of the borough's
|The bottom line.|
In the meantime, fire calls since 2014 through 2017 are up 6 percent.
Taken together, the total budget deficit at this early stage stands at $1,029,674 according to the presentation.
To close it, the current recommendation calls for raising the total tax millage from the current rate of 11.58 to a 2019 rate of 12.966.
For a home assessed at $85,000, that translates into an annual tax hike of $117.79
Keller said although this preliminary news seems dire, "it's not all doom and gloom."
Overall, Pottstown property values are up 11 percent; properties for sale are spending less time on the market and the march of assessment challenges seems to be leveling off, with the results of challenging being not much less than the current assessment, making the challenge less attractive.
That said, here are the Tweets from the meeting:
Pottstown Facing 12% Tax Hike
|West-Mont Christian Academy students during the Amazing Service Race event.|
Blogger's Note: The following was provided by West-Mont Christian Academy
Sixteen groups of West-Mont Christian Academy students were sent into the Pottstown community and completed the exciting challenge of “The Amazing Service Race” on Sept. 26
Middle and high school students from West-Mont Christian Academy eagerly participated in 6 service opportunities.
One favorite activity among students was going to the store and purchasing food for Operation Backpack. The students then dropped the items off at the Operation Backpack headquarters where it will be distributed to children in Pottstown.
Teachers described The Amazing Service Race as “a major success.” Kelly Estes, a high school English teacher at West-Mont said, “My students had a chance to see many ways to serve; from providing food, to cleaning up a park, to helping out at the mall, as well as local churches.”
Many wanted to continue serving and requested to have another service race in the future.
For more information about West-Mont, call 610-326-7690 or visit www.west-mont.org.
Blogger's Note:The following was provided by Hobart's Run
On Saturday, Oct. 20, Edgewood Historic Cemetery will hold a community-wide “Stop Complaining, Start Caring for Edgewood Cemetery Day” beginning at 9 a.m. and running until about 3 p.m.
Pottstown citizens are encouraged to volunteer at the 12-acre cemetery for a few hours or the whole day, by raking, weed-whacking, mowing, planting flowers, and participating in other improvement projects while learning about the cemetery and its fascinating background from local historians.
Unfortunately, the cemetery, created in 1862, has not had an official individual owner since the 1930s. The individual who had been serving as caretaker essentially abandoned the cemetery around 2012. Since then, a volunteer nonprofit board has attempted to raise funds, keep the grass mowed, and conduct other maintenance, but there is no doubt that increased and sustained efforts must continue to achieve restoration ranging from resetting tombstones to clearing debris and maintaining pathways.
Hobart’s Run and CARES are assisting Edgewood Historic Cemetery, Inc. volunteers with ongoing planning for this “bring your own tools” grounds improvement effort on Oct.20. Hobart’s Run recently made a $5,000 donation toward Edgewood grounds maintenance – one of several contributions Hill has made since the cemetery’s abandonment -- but, to sustain this community resting place, there is a tremendous, ongoing need for volunteers and financial contributions from throughout Pottstown.
Although plans still are being finalized, organizers expect to have a “bucket brigade” of volunteers collecting essential donations from passing vehicles and pedestrians. There also will be an opportunity to share ideas for physical improvements, financial sustainability and fundraisers, and volunteer coordination.
Refreshments will be available; the committee also invites participants to bring food donations to share in fellowship with other concerned citizens. Also, volunteers should bring a lawn chair or picnic blanket if desired.
Andrew Monastra and his wife, Sue, have been doing the lion’s share of physical work at the
“As a community, we need to come together on this issue,” Monastra said at a recent presentation at the Pottstown Historical Society, where local historian Michael Snyder shared a fascinating illustrated lecture about the cemetery and the people buried there.
Cathy Skitko, senior director of institutional public relations and Hobart’s Run communications, notes that Hobart’s Run is enthusiastically helping with the event on Oct. 20 as well as ongoing Edgewood improvement efforts. She agrees that care for Edgewood must be shared by the Pottstown community. Skitko recently joined the Board of Edgewood Historic Cemetery.
“The cemetery falls within the boundaries of our Hobart’s Run neighborhood improvement area,” she said, “and Hobart’s Run and The Hill School want to see it restored and maintained, as demonstrated through our financial gifts and other support to date.
“Nonetheless, we are committed to helping Edgewood Historic Cemetery as a community partner, and we look forward to seeing Edgewood gain support for their excellent efforts,” she added. “Hobart’s Run is addressing a range of priorities that include fostering a clean, safe, and inclusive neighborhood and encouraging positive residential and commercial improvements. We are investing significant efforts toward assisting Edgewood, raising awareness of this community issue, and embracing this collaboration with Andrew and other caring Pottstown citizens, much as we do through a variety of other Hobart’s Run partnerships.”
Friends who would like to search a list to see if loved ones might be buried in Edgewood can do so through the inventory provided at this link.
The organization also would welcome donations of working equipment such as lawn tractors, mowers, and weed-whackers, as well as hand tools. They would especially welcome donation of a 360-degree turning mower as well as funds toward purchasing such equipment. Please contact Andrew at the above address to inquire about making such donations.
State Sen. Andrew Dinniman (left) presents a special
Senate citation to Bill McAdoo (right),
President of Concordia Choral Arts, at the
International Day of Peace
concert in Phoenixville.
State Senator Andy Dinniman, D-19th Dist., recently presented members of Concordia Choral Arts with a special Senate citation in honor of their performance at the recent International Day of Peace Concert.
Dinniman presented the citation to Bill McAdoo, President of Concordia Choral Arts, following its performance at the free concert at the First Presbyterian Church in Phoenixville.
The International Day of Peace, established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981, is observed around the world each year on Sept. 21.
Concordia Choral Arts (CCA) is a non-profit choral organization dedicated to providing an environment that culturally enriches the community through exposure to the performing arts. CCA’s choirs rehearse continually and perform a concert series every year along with outreach performances and hired gigs.
Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Friends of Hopewell Furnace.
Designated a unit of the National Park System in 2011, Fort Monroe National Monument is a decommissioned military installation in Hampton, VA—at Old Point Comfort, the southern tip of the Virginia Peninsula.
A 26-year veteran of the National Park Service, Brown has served at several national parks in Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia and Massachusetts.
Established in 1994, the Friends of Hopewell Furnace is the official non-profit fundraising arm of Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. A 501(c)3 citizen organization, its mission is to support the preservation, maintenance and programs of Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. Donations to the Friends may be tax deductible according to the rules set by the Internal Revenue Service.
While at the park, visitors are encouraged to explore the landscape, go into the village, tour the buildings, and learn about iron making and why Hopewell Furnace is important to our nation’s history. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday thru Sunday, the park is located five miles south of Birdsboro, PA, off Route 345. For more information visit www.friendsofhopewellfurn.org.
If you had fallen asleep for a few moments Tuesday evening, you might have missed the Pottstown Borough Council meeting.
And council did little to help keep the audience awake.
But there was a bright spot.
As is traditional in Pottstown, when two police officers were promoted at the start of the meeting, their families and fellow officers packed the room for the promotion ceremony.
Mayor Stephanie Henrick read a proclamation, framed promotion certificates were presented and cameras clicked as spouses pinned the new stripes to the shirts of the promoted officers.
Corporal Thomas Leahan is now Sergeant Thomas Leahan; while officer Michael Breslin is now Corporal Michael Breslin.
Congratulations to both.
Also of interest was a fire safety talk by longtime Pottstown Fire Chief Richard Lengel, appropriate given that October is Fire Prevention Month.
Here is the video:
Missing completely from last night's meeting was any talk of the looming 12 percent property tax hike unveiled with the $48.9 million draft budget last week, either from council, the staff or the public.
Guess everybody's OK with it.
Here are the Tweets from the meeting:
Pottstown Police Promotions
Photos and video by Evan Brandt
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan gave a presentation at Owen J. Roberts High School Wednesday night on school shootings, how to identify a shooter and what can be done to prevent them.
Many in the sparsely populated audience had never held a gun.
Many had never heard an AR-15 fired.
The guns were heavy, and the rifle crack was loud in the acoustically focused auditorium.
Take a listen on this video:
The occasion was a presentation on school shootings and how parents, teachers and even students can best protect themselves during a school shooting.
The presenters were Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan and Downingtown Police Detective Andy Trautmann.
They outlined what they have learned over the years, Hogan as an agent fighting terrorism before being elected district attorney and Trautmann as both a SWAT team commander and former School Resource Officer.
OJR parents hold a variety of deadly objects including guns,
a hammer,and a bottle of prescription drugs during Wednesday's
presentation at Owen J. Roberts High School.
There are 360 million guns in the United States and only 325 million people so, as Hogan put it, "guns aren't going anywhere."
Guns are also simple and hardy tools, said Hogan, holding up a revolver and saying he could bury it in the ground for 70 years, dig it up, clean it off "and it would work fine."
School shooters are most often males, between the ages of 15 to 19, or 35 to 44.
Teen shooters usually have a grudge against a school and older men who become school shooters face pressures from work, family failed marriages, know they will not be a major league pitcher for the Phillies.
"This is the age when they realize, this is their life," said Hogan., adding that "once we reach 50, we are either more likely to be past those pressures, or learned to live with them."
|Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan holds up a handgun.|
"A targeted shooter has a target in mind. Although they can turn into active shooters and they will shoot someone whop gets in their way," he said.
Many focus on high schools as targets, but when a shooter is not a student, the targets are usually "softer" targets like middle or elementary schools, said Hogan.
"High schools are full of teenage knuckleheads with hormones raging through their bodies who take big risks and are easily triggered," making them less attractive to an active shooter who does not have a grudge against a particular school, he said.
Police generally plan to face a single shooter when responding to a school shooting. Those involving more than one, tend to be stopped before they occur. "Give me five guys going to attack a school, and I guarantee you one of them will screw up," he said.
|Hogan points to the parent holding a bottle of oxycodone and says|
far more children will die from drug use than being shot in school.
Why Does it Happen?
School shootings have many causes, including copy cats and a desensitization to violence.
That happens most commonly in recent times as the result of "first-person shooter" games, said Hogan.
He described a murder case in which two men were fighting over a gun and a third man who was friends with one of the men carefully shot the one fighting with his friend.
"He drew his gun, aimed carefully and waited until he had his shot and hit his target, he waited and did it again, and again. He didn't have SWAT training, he was not in the military, he had learned it from playing video games," Hogan said.
"We've trained up a whole generation of trained shooters," he said.
Trautmann said he was amazed while serving as a School Resource Officer, how often teens came up to him to ask him about specific guns "and if I had ever shot one. They knew them all from their games," he said.
He said the games desensitize people to violence the same way military and police training does.
|Downington Police Det. Andy Trautmann brought several guns |
to Wednesday night's demonstration.
targets," he said.
By World War II and Korea, the military was training with more life-like targets "to desensitize them," said Trautmann. "It's the same thing we do in SWAT training."
Another factor is social media, said Hogan.
"Back when I was in school, two guys wanted to call each other names you know what happened. They had a fist fight and then they were done," Hogan said.
Now, however, social media abuse taunts teens in from of the whole school and can drag on for months.
(On the plus side, it does allow the authorities to intervene more quickly if its more visible.)
Another factor is that "kids are under more pressure than we were in school, they do more homework than we did in school" said Hogan. "When my daughter was in second grade, she was already talking about what college she was going to go to and she was not alone."
Trautmann said "it takes less than a second to shoot someone."
He said with a gun like the AR-15 he is holding,
he can fire 8 shots a second.
How Does a Shooter Become a Shooter?
The first phase of becoming a school shooter is the fantasy stage, Hogan said.
"They fantasize about the shooting and, if they post about it on social media, we can find out about it and stop it. Ninety-nine percent of them are stopped before they happen," he said.
The second stage if planning: the shooter thinks about how to sneak materials into school ahead of time, researching how you build a bomb.
The third stage is preparation. They may, for example, start shooting in the woods to improve their aim.
"When it's not hunting season, if you're hearing shots in the woods, you should absolutely call us and let us check it out," said Trautmann. "We would rather investigate 100 incidents that turn out to be nothing, than miss an opportunity to stop a school shooting."
"We had an eighth grader in Downingtown with floor plans of every school. He tried to buy ingredients for a thermite bomb, and he had Hitler's book Mein Kampf on his computer," said Trautmann. "He was stopped.Any time they have blue prints, you're in trouble."
|Trautmann displays a handgun so small it can be fit into a belt buckle.|
What Can You Do?
The most important resource law enforcement has are the parents and members of the community, said Hogan. He urged parents to monitor their children's social media accounts, look at their phones at texts, emails and more, to search their rooms.
Very important is to lock up household guns. "We often find shooters get guns from homes, or friend's home, where guns are not locked up," hogan said.
You can learn more below in the Tweets from the presentation:
Gunfire at Owen J. Roberts High School
|The Fabulous Greaseband will perform at Sunnybrook Ballroom Oct. 20 for the annual Meals on Wheels Fundraising Event.|
Blogger's Note:The following was provided by Family Services.
The Fabulous Greaseband, a seven-member nostalgic dance-party band and concert attraction, will bring their rock ‘n’ roll party to Pottstown this fall for the Seventh Annual Meals on Wheels Fundraising Event.
The Fabulous Greaseband features outstanding male and female vocal leads in a front trio, backed by a gifted group of instrumentalists. Their highly entertaining and energetic delivery of some of the greatest songs ever written has kept the group on top for well over 35 years.
The show will be held on Saturday, October 20 at SunnyBrook Ballroom, 50 Sunnybrook Road, Pottstown. Doors open at 7 p.m. Show begins at 8 p.m. Show tickets are $25 (general admission). A limited number of reserved tables are available (minimum of eight seats per table). A cash bar will be available during the show.
An optional, all-inclusive buffet dinner will be served at 6 p.m. The buffet features mesclun greens, penne primavera, chicken francaise, sliced shoulder filet with demi-glace, garlic mashed potatoes, green bean almondine, bread, beverage, and assorted mini desserts. Tickets for the buffet dinner and show are $60 per person. Advance dinner tickets are required.
For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Ruth Hood, program director, Meals on Wheels, at 610-326-1610 ext. 336 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.fsmontco.org/events. Tickets may be purchased weekdays between 9 a.m.–4 p.m. at Family Services’ Pottstown Office, 1976 East High Street, Pottstown. Cash, checks and credit cards are accepted.
Funds raised during this event benefit Family Services’ Meals on Wheels program. Each weekday, Meals on Wheels provides two meals, a hot lunch and a cold supper to refrigerate, to an average of 150 homebound elderly and disabled individuals in Pottstown, Royersford and the Lower Perkiomen Valley. Community volunteers personally deliver more than 80,000 meals a year, bringing nourishment, friendship and a brief safety check to those most in need.
Generous sponsors of this event include Exelon/Limerick Generating Station, BTC Foods and Pottstown Hospital – Tower Health.
There was beer.
There were grilled cheese sandwiches of multiple varieties.
There was even a "Beeramid," a pyramid of 15 cases of beer, chances for which were to be had for just $5.
I don't remember the name of the man who won the Beeramid. |
What's important to remember here folks is that it wasn't me.
Let's face it folks, there was no mold growing on theTriCounty Active Adult Center's first-ever Cheesetoberfest.
Sure, the event was a fund-raiser for a worthy cause. But it was also a "fun-raiser" .... yeah, I went there.
Seven local eateries (two never showed up, no doubt cowed by the competition), offered up their unique visions for the perfect grilled cheese sandwich and those of us lucky enough to be there, got to sample all seven.
There wasn't a single bad sandwich.
I tried to write them all down, but I fear the list of ingredients for each offering is incomplete. Nevertheless, here is a partial list of the offerings as best I could decipher my hand-writing:
|Pottstown Mayor Stephanie Henrick may have|
been a judge. But there is only on Mayor of
Cheesteroberfest and his name is Ron Barrett
made so by the fact that the griddle Chef Adam Burke used was rippled.
Pottstown United Brewing -- This was also a Burke special since he does the food for Pottstown's newest pub as well. This one was pumpkin-spiced gouda, with apple, onion and Swiss. (This was the one that won my red People's Choice ticket).
Brookside Country Club -- Crab and bacon mac and cheese with muenster and white cheddar, with a tomato jam dipping sauce. (Chef Peter Fizz was working overtime to fill these orders and there was a very long line.)
Railroad St. Bar & Grill -- Chef Mike McCloskey said his recipe for "Octoberfest Grilled Cheese" included bratwurst, white cheddar, onions and peppers. Railroad Street also provided the beer, which was an excellent selection. I chose Victory Brewing Company's Hip Czech Lager.
Bause Catered Events -- Smoked gouda, muenster with carmelized onion, garlec-onion butter and crushed salt & vinegar potato chips. Chef Erin Bause also offered up some delicious tomato soup to dip your sandwich in. Quite good.
Pottstown Hospital -- Yes, you read that right. And I must say, Chef Stewart Sherk makes a great grilled cheese. His recipe had arugula, tomato, pesto with asiago and provolone cheese on sourdough bread.
Grumpy's Handcarved Sanwiches -- For this winning combination, Chef Gene Dugan blended chedar, muenster, havarti and goat cheese with crushed figs on potatoe bread. He also provided tomato soup for those who feel it is a crime to eat any grilled sandwich without tomato soup.
Also on hand was The Daisy Jug Band, which played in the beer tent. Here's a sample:
About 200 people came out under the cloudy skies, perfect weather for grilled cheese sandwiches.
They ate, they drank, some played the cornhole game set up for those who enjoy such things, and then came the big reveal.
|Here come da judges...|
Brian Parkes, executive director of the TriCounty Active Adult Center, seen in the photo above with the judges, sad the event raised about $4,000 for the center.
And don't forget folks. Today is the 15th Annual Carousel of Flavor restaurant festival which, I hasten to mention, also has beer. This year it will be held at the actual Carousel location, on King Street, across from Memorial Park.
This Was Really Awfully Cheesy
|Photos by Emily Overdorf|
Click here for more photos.
Former Commissioner John Bealer, and sewer committee chairman, said the project to connect 25 homes on Rose Valley Road and Holly Berry Court to the sewer system will cost $494,076.
Happily, Upper Pottsgrove received a $200,000 grant from the Commonwealth Financing Authority through the Small Water and Sewer Grant Program to help cover some of the cost.
Bealer said the township had applied for a larger grant, but Commissioner Elwood Taylor reminded the commissioners that this was the largest state grant the township has received for such a project.
Also last night: Marc Debnam, center, took the oath as
newest fire police officer.
Each of the homes being connected will have to pay a $5,447 tap-in fee in addition to paying a plumber to run a line from the curb to their house.
As a result, this project will not result in an increase in sewer rates, Bealer said.
The septic systems at these homes are failing, largely due to the geology of the area, and Bealer said some people can't sell their homes because the cannot pass a health inspection with a failing septic system.
Over time, Bealer said the township will need to connect 75 homes in Regal Oaks to the system, which is now pumped up hill and into the Pottstown sewer treatment plant on Industrial Highway.
The project is not expected to begin construction until the spring, said Bealer.
Last night, the board also decided to reject all bids for a new salt shed, and will try to muddle through the winter with the one now on its last legs at the township facility on Heather Place.
They will re-bid the project in the spring in hopes of getting a better price.
Here are the Tweets from the meeting.
Half-Million Sewer Project
Customers of the Pottstown public water system will shoulder rate increases of about 5 percent each year for the next three years according to borough officials.
For the average customer, the rate hikes will result in more than $56 in increased annual costs for the average customer by 2021
With a unanimous vote Tuesday night, the Pottstown Borough Authority Board raised the 2019 quarterly base rate for borough customers by $2, from $41 to $43 for the majority of customers -- about 7,500 accounts.
That represents an increase of 4.87 percent.
Customers in the outlying Montgomery County townships on the system also will see their base rate increase by $2, from $43 to $45 per quarter.
That represents an increase of 4.65 percent and will affect just under 3,700 customers in Lower Pottsgrove, West Pottsgrove and Upper Pottsgrove.
The base rate is the fee you pay for water service no matter how much water you use. An additional usage rate is applied to the readings on water meters which measure how much water is used at a property.
Finance Director Janice Lee said the usage or consumption fee will be raised by 15 cents, an increase of 4.9 percent.
That brings the usage rate from $3.05 to $3.20 for every 748 gallons of water used.
Further, Lee and Budget Analyst Gerald Keszczyk both said the authority will impose identical increases to the water rates, both base and usage, for 2020 and 2021 as well, a motion which was adopted by the authority board at its Sept. 18 meeting.
Keszczyk said the increases will result in about $4.72 more per quarter for most customers or $18.88 more in water costs in 2019 and a total hike of $56.64 by 2021.
Over the course of the next three years, the base rate increase represents a 14.6 percent increase for the average Pottstown customer over the current rate and a 14 percent hike for water customers in the three Pottsgroves.
There will also be a 12 cent-per-gallon increase in the bulk water rate, from $3.96 per thousand gallons to $4.08 -- an increase of 3 percent -- as the result of a second authority board vote.
For the North Coventry Township's water system, which buys its water in bulk from Pottstown, that increase will not go into affect until April as the agreement between the two requires six month's notice of a rate change.
The revenues from the increased rates -- about $94,000 -- will go directly into improving the water system by bolstering the capital fund, said Authority member David Renn.
"All that money goes right back into the ground," he said Monday.
The authority’s capital budget, for both the water and sewer systems, is being used according to a regularly updated five-year plan to repair and replace aging infrastructure in a water and sewer system now roughly 100 years old.
Putting money into the capital budget ahead of projects has eliminated the need for the authority to borrow to pay for needed upgrades and repairs — ultimately a cost savings as interest does not have to be paid out on bonds, but is rather earned on the money being saved.
The authority last raised rates in May of 2017 when it increased the water usage rate by 9.7 percent, from $2.78 to $3.05 per 748 gallons; and the base rate by 17 percent, from $35 to $41 per quarter.
There is no increase in sewer rates planned for 2019.
The water rate increases are part of the $6.8 million water budget and the $1.9 million water capital budget unanimously adopted last month by the borough authority board.
The water budget, as well as the $9.3 million sewer fund; the $4.5 million sewer capital fund and the $611,000 sewer lines fund are all part and parcel of the $49 million budget proposal presented to Pottstown Borough Council earlier this month, which calls for a 12 percent property tax hike.
According to the minutes from the Sept. 18 authority meeting, the water and sewer budget includes the addition "of an in-house utilities inspector position, with a civil engineering degree, as recommended by the Financial Sustainability Oversight Committee."
And with that, here are the Tweets from the meeting:
Water Rate Hikes Coming for Next 3 Years
Township Manager Craig Lloyd said the Stowe Lions Club recently planted 20 trees along the bank of the stream. The trees were provided by Montgomery County and more will be planted in the spring, he said.
The township is also pursuing a grant to help pay to put a pavilion at the park.
Regional Recreation Coordinator Michael Lane said he is nearly finished with the application and said by pairing the grant application with the park's connection to the trail planned to run along the Manatawny from Pottstown's Memorial Park and up into Upper Pottsgrove will help its chances.
Lloyd said the township crew will excavate the site and pour the concrete to cut the costs.
|Murgia Park in West Pottsgrove.|
This spring, a $168,658 improvement project was completed. The most visible feature of the improvement is a new bridge over Goose Run, which separates the two halves of the park, which lies along Manatawny Creek.
According to Lloyd, in addition to supplying and installing the bridge, the contractor extended the paved trail from the existing trail to the bridge and installed a paved landing area on the other side of the bridge and installed an ADA-compliant concrete pad for a picnic table and an ADA-compliant section of paving streamside.
The improvements also include an accessible pathway and a fishing platform.
In other news, Lloyd reported that a two-phase sewer project on School Lane, between Race and Vine streets, will get underway soon. The first phase will be mostly storm sewer and drainage, while the second phase will also add a sanitary sewer pipe element.
Here are the Tweets from the meeting, few as they are:
Gazebo Planned for Murgia Park