Saturday, August 16, 2008

This is your Borough on Krack

The Phoenix reports Borough Manager Krack’s thoughts on streamlining the Planning Commission’s operations. For the article, click here.

So, Council is concerned about its ‘relationship’ with the Planning Commission. (Translation: the PC doesn’t always do what Council’s leadership wants, forcing Council to actually take on the issue and responsibility itself.)

So, PC Member Evans is in favor of curtailing public participation in the PC’s meetings. (Translation: if Evans can’t get everyone he has herded to the meeting to speak into the microphone, no one else should get to speak at all.)

So, Borough Manager Krack wants to ‘shortcut’ things, based on his seven years’ experience in Coatesville. (Translation: Council wants to create a back channel to exercise control over the PC and curtail its independence.)

OK, Council should just eliminate the PC and do the job itself. To paraphrase Woody Allen, they’ll be doing the job with people they love.

The machinery will surely run better with fewer moving parts.

Then Council President Wagner will have surpassed the accomplishments of his predecessor, John “I Can Deliver” Messina.

And Borough Manager Krack will have taken another step in moving Phoenixville toward the greatness of Coatesville.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

$74,000 for fundraising supplies

According to the CDC’s Form 990, in the 2006-2007 fiscal year, it received income of $306K: $39K of direct public support ($37.5K of which was from a single source, the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation), $227K of government grants, and $40K from special events.

It spent $276K: $43K for program services, $159K for management and general expenses, and $74K for fundraising supplies.

$74K for fundraising supplies for an entity that gets virtually all its support from the PCHF, the Borough, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Council bliss -- July 28

On Monday, July 28, 2008, Borough Council held a public hearing regarding a grant application for $250,00 for a revolving loan fund.

After that hearing, at which no one spoke, the Council tabled the vote on the matter. Seems that neither the Council members nor the Borough Manager actually had any papers or solid information about the grant application.

Since the matter had been advertised for a public hearing back on July 17th, you might think that somebody in the Borough government would actually know what it was all about. Perhaps the Manager, who presumably arranged for the advertising, could have informed himself. Maybe he could then have passed the information on to Council. Is that too much to expect?

Instead, the Manager and Council simply moved forward with a public hearing despite their own virtually total ignorance.

What sort of public hearing input were they expecting? Was it a genuine effort to accept public comment?

I suppose we should be thankful that they didn’t vote on something on which they were admittedly uninformed.

Monday, August 4, 2008

What the CDC got

In answer to a question raised to an earlier post:

According to the Main Street CDC’s 990s, it received the following in public support and government contributions from January 2003 through June 2006. The CDC’s 990 for July 2006–June 2007 is not yet on Guidestar.

Year /Period ...Public support ........Government contributions
2003.....................$64,780 ....................$50,000
2004 ....................$45,615 ....................$65,000
1/05-6/05 ..............$4,821 ....................$56,667
7/05-6/06.............$90,139 ....................$95,000

Totals .................$205,355 ..................$266,667

Go to Guidestar to get the full reports of the Main Street CDC, PCHF, etc.

Drink tax for Phoenixville--not quite

Councilman Buckwalter suggests that we investigate an alcoholic beverage tax, modeled after the recently introduced tax in Allegheny County, as part of the Borough's revenue -raising portfolio.

The Allegheny County tax is imposed under authority of Act 44 of 2007, which added 53 Pa.C.S. Sections 8601 and 8602 to state law. (Look here, go down to 53 Pa.C.S.A., and keep opening nodes till you get there.)

Some problems exist in trying to apply this law to Phoenixville:

Phoenixville is not a county of the second class. Last I looked, Phoenixville isn't even a county.

The alcoholic beverage tax must be applied to support transit systems. So, are we now going to build a Phoenixville transit system?

To your health!

According to the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation’s 990 filings, it gave grants to the Main Street CDC of $30,000 in FY 04-05, $77,500 in FY 05-06, and $37,500 in FY 06-07, for a total of $145,00 in those three years.

PCHF’s FY 06-07 filing also reports approval of a future grant of $75,000 to the CDC. Since the reporting period ended June 30, 2007, more than a year ago, one might suppose that this ‘future’ grant has already been paid.

So, it would seem that the CDC got $220,000 from the PCHF. Don’t you now feel so much healthier.

Not to mention $333,333 of Borough funds on top of the $220,000.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The right idea

Lifted from an anonymous comment on Councilman Senley's blog:

Some things to consider:
(1) Should the CDC contract be renewed at all?
(2) Should the CDC contract be renewed independent of the 2009 budget process?
(3) Should the CDC contract be renewed at an increased rate?
(4) Should the term of a new CDC contract be 5 years?
(5) What services will the CDC provide to the Borough if the CDC contract is renewed? Are those services necessary?
(6) Can grants be obtained to fund any of the cost of the CDC contract?
(7) What services provided under the CDC contract can or should be done by Borough staff?
(8) Are there merchant or business organizations willing and able to provide any of the services provided under the CDC contract?
(9) Are all of the CDC's operating costs and expenses paid from the base contract amount? Does the Borough incur any additional costs like filing fees, travel expenses, etc.?