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News from Norristown Municipal Council

Council approved new parking kiosks and a controversial building inspector switch.

According to , Norristown Municipal Council voted 6-1 to approved the purchase of on Tuesday, June 21, from New Jersey-based Metric Parking. The municipality will pay $281,675 for the kiosks, plus an additional $15,120  for a maintenance contract that will cover repairs, software updates and server hosting.

The kiosks are intended to replace 63 meters in a four-block area around the on Swede and Airy streets. An additional 70 parking spaces will also be added to Main and DeKalb streets.

The kiosks will likely be installed in late summer and are expected to raise approximately $252,000 in new revenue per year. The kiosks will accept coins and bills initially and, once the machines are determined to be running smoothly, credit card readers would be installed. According to the Herald, Norristown Municipal Finance Director Richard Zawiszwa expressed concern that credit card companies would charge large fees that would reduce income for the municipality.

The lone dissenting vote was cast by Councilman-at-Large Marlon Milner. Milner expressed disappointment that the “alternative opinion” of the municipality’s resident IT specialist wasn’t considered.

The meters being removed from the courthouse area will be relocated to West Marshall Street. The municipality will install 74 parking meters in the West End shopping district between Corson and Kohn streets.

According to the Herald, 2nd District Councilman William Caldwell said the businesses along West Marshall were made aware that parking meters were coming to the area.

You can read more details about this story here.

The Herald also reports that council approved the request of the Arbor Heights project developer to switch building code inspectors from Yerkes Associates to Boucher & James, Inc. of Doylestown, despite strong objections from Councilman Milner. Milner was again the lone dissenting vote, though 4th District Councilman Gary Simpson echoed some of his concerns.

“Can anyone share when it was negotiated that a developer could choose their own building code official [BCO]?” Millner said, according to the Herald. “I don’t have a problem with a separate BCO. I do have a problem that she identified Boucher & James. The municipality should have done its own selection.”

Municipal administrator David Forrest told the Herald that the decision to switch inspection companies came from meetings with the developer, Sarah Peck, and council members.

Yerkes Associates will apparently remain the inspector for all other Norristown buildings.

The $2.8-million, 12-unit townhouse project at 1000 DeKalb St., known as “Arbor Heights,” is being subsidized with $700,000 from HUD and a $500,000 state RCAP Redevelopment grant. Council also approved an additional contract with the Redevelopment Authority to supervise the RCAP grant for the project.

You can read more details about this story here.

Tim Armstrong is a DICK June 23, 2011 at 01:02 PM
"The lone dissenting vote was cast by Councilman-at-Large Marlon Milner. Milner expressed disappointment that the “alternative opinion” of the municipality’s resident IT specialist wasn’t considered." I'm curious what the IT manager's objection was to the project. Does anyone have any details about that?
James Myers June 23, 2011 at 01:50 PM
It wasn't specifically outlined, but I remember from previous meetings on this subject that Milner expressed concern about the on-site (back-room) server hosting as opposed to having the company provide us with servers. At a previous meeting, Milner had suggested that Norristown has never been all that great when it comes to managing its technology. I'll make some calls this afternoon and get confirmation.
My Brothers Keeper June 23, 2011 at 06:02 PM
Sometimes it's more efficient for a town/municipality/company to use third party server hosting. But I find it hard to believe Norristown can't do it, if not cheaper, and keep the jobs in-town. Maybe the town could take some of this revenue and knock down more of the slum housing to make way for more section 8 housing. That revenue + the 4200 check I just wrote Berkheimer + my ridiculous property taxes. We should be putting more effort forth to support our police force in their fight against the trash in this city!

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