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SC Police Contract Approved, Library Progressing

A recap of the Spring City borough council meeting.

The Spring City Borough Council met for its regular meeting on Monday night. Among discussions were the police contract, the resignation of one of the force's full-time officers, the library negotiations, and the website redesign.

Police Report

The new police contract, which runs from Jan. 1, 2012 through Dec. 31, 2014, was approved unanimously at the meeting. Board Member Thomas Kratz reported the negotiations began in Spring 2011, but were put on hold due to personnel complications. The new contract was most recently agreed upon by both parties.

Salary increases for full-time officers are scheduled be three percent in 2012, four percent in 2013, and five percent in 2014. Health insurance remains with Blue Cross, using the flex plan C1-F2-01, with the borough paying 100 percent of the premium. Officers will also keep dental, prescription and eye plans, paid by borough 100 percent. Reimbursement for equipment and uniforms is increasing from $300 to $700 annually.

"Not a whole lot has changed," said Council President Lou DiGuiseppe. "We're giving them a fair pay raise with the terms of the economic situation right now. We did the best we could with the money we had available without breaking the backs of the taxpayers in town. The only other option would be to do away with police and let the state police take care of us."

Council also adopted a resolution to put out for advertisement for an ordinance to abolish the use of civil service commission in the borough. The civil service commission provides its own grievance system for officers who think they were unjustly terminated, as well as aids in the hiring process of new officers. Borough Manager Dennis Rittenhouse explained he contacted the solicitor of the local commission, who said it is not required that the borough utilize the commission, since historically the borough operates with three or less full-time officers at one time.

Abolishing the commission also saves the borough money and allows Chief of Police Art Brown to make quicker and more defined decisions on personnel. With the abolition of the commission, the borough will adopt its own grievance policy, which council regarded as strong.

Councilman Mike Hays asked who would then be involved in the hiring process besides the chief, to which DiGuiseppe said personnel fell under the chief's discretion 100 percent with the new contract.

"This cuts away all the red tape and the expense of hiring three chiefs and booking time at the exercise range, etc.," DiGuiseppe said.

Kratz said Hays brings up a good point and that the borough should develop a policy so the chief follows background checks, psychological evaluation and a physical fitness test that will ensure each hired officer is ready for the street.

Full-time Officer Brandon Unruh also submitted his letter of resignation to the council recently, which was approved unanimously at the meeting. Unruh was on the force as a part-timer before taking a full-time position in September. Kratz indicated a part-time officer would fill in for the shifts left vacant by Unruh's resignation.

As for the basement project, being administered by Brown and the police department, Kratz reported money is available from a grant to clean up. The Chief also requested he get copy of budget this year, as he did not receive one upon being hired.

The department logged 268 complaints in the month of February, including: one burglary, 11 thefts, one criminal mischief, 27 traffic citations (three speeding), seven criminal arrests, two accidents, and six parking tickets. The department assisted East Vincent Township 15 times, Royersford three times, East Pikeland two times, East Coventry three times, and the Skippack Barracks of the Pennsylvania State Police once. The two patrol vehicles traveled 3,394 miles, and used 294.3 gallons of gas.

Library Report

Hays gave his report for the library for the month of March, which yielded some good news. Several board members met with members of the United Methodist Church, which shares the parking lot with the library. Hays said a tentative agreement has been reached on the lot easement.

"This is very good news as negotiations were stalled for quite some time," Hays concluded.

Terry McCarthy of 328 Walnut St., and president of the library board was in attendance and reported the agreement has been sent to an attorney. Council suggested the board get the agreement to the borough's solicitor, Robert Romain, as soon as possible for further review.

Website Redesign

Councilman Gene Sweeney was given the responsibility of redesigning the borough's website to become more interactive for the public at the last meeting. Sweeney said he met with councilman and former webmaster Jim Burns. The two decided the current server is not flexible enough for the vision that council has. Therefore, Sweeney researched web hosting services, and found one that would cost $41.88 the first year, and 83.88 per year after the first.

His visions would be to also set up a Google Calendar so residents can subscribe to it to receive updates on meetings and events right to their email and cell phones. He also said he set up a Twitter, Facebook and YouTube account for the borough to be better in touch with the community.

Sweeney spoke with the principal at Kutztown Middle School, which is his place of employment, and received approval to allow students in his class to assist with the website and social media aspects.

"Students will get hands-on experience with HTML, learn the importance of deadlines and marketing," Sweeney said.

Council agreed that Sweeney should continue going down this path and approved the use of $41.88 for the first year of the new web service. Sweeney said it would take about six weeks to turn everything over from the old site to the new server and to design the new look.

In other news...

  • DiGuiseppe reported the finance committee looked at options of flag sizes, shapes and designs for Main Street, and further discussed the pet ordinance. The committee is waiting for Councilman Mike Petak, who is coming back to them with a recommendation from a legitimate veterinarian on sizes of space needed to cage animals outside safely.
  • Burns reported the annual Easter egg hunt was held on March 31 at 11 a.m., and was attended by over 100 children and adults. He said it was "fairly successful."
  • Time extension for library – new date of Oct. 15, 2012 was accepted unanimously.
  • DiGuiseppe also reported the borough had been shopping for a new Emergency Management Coordinator. Todd Bliss, former Spring City Fire Chief is willing to undertake the position. The council voted unanimously to recommend Bliss to the governor for approval.
  • The next meeting for the borough council is on May 7 at 7:30 p.m.
jackaroe April 04, 2012 at 02:10 PM
More full time police please. we should have enough to cover 24hrs... and we are a borough not rural PA... we should fork the bill if local police. raise taxes... rather pay for safety than have my extra $5 dollars a month. simple economics! inflation happens so does a rise in taxes...
Local Yocal April 06, 2012 at 10:43 AM
I wish I had full benefits and 3 decent yearly raises, with no contributions. Unheard of in 2012. According to the weekly police blotters, nothing happens here? :)
Concerned Citizen April 08, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Local Yocal you are ignorant to facts, SC Police are the lowest paid in Chester County! They make numerous drug and quality of life arrests... But because of tga Council and Mayor good Police Officers and The now Ex.Chief Brown have left... And you think they make too much.money even though these are the Men that protect your life and property... Kevin Haslam needs to look into Spring City Both the Boro President and Mayor live with their Mothers and dont own property which means they dont pay taxes anyway... And look at the transition of the Boro over the last couple of months Who would wanna raise a family there, glad I moved away...
Local Yocal April 08, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Then raise the wage. To not co pay anything is archaeic. As a present 40+ yr resident, I think I know the facts. Again I say, vote out the clowns.
Local Yocal April 09, 2012 at 10:30 AM
and maybe regionalizing the local police depts would make our time on mutual aid assists a little more pallatable. I do know I do not want PSP coverage. They cant cover what they already have.
jackaroe April 09, 2012 at 02:17 PM
i personally think they aren't allowed to report... because i know that there is crime in SC but never reports... very odd. be nice to inform residents of local happenings!
SC Resident April 24, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Concerned citizen- please cite some examples of how the boro has changed for the worst in the last couple of months. All I've seen is progress. Starting with the newly renovated river walk trail, new businesses opening in spaces previously abandoned for years(eg. Spring Ford Diner, Tobacco Shop, and Bakery). The only thing I saw demonstrated in your comment was your horrible use of grammar. If you moved why are you concerned? I believe the new cheif has done a fine job of getting the town cleaned up, hopefully more business take advantage of this on main st and a revitalization occurs as it did on Bridge St. in Phoenixville- property values continue to rise there, theres no valid reason ours shouldn't start to as well, though it won't if residents consider town in better condition when its business district is abandoned.
John C April 25, 2012 at 02:33 PM
SC Resident- You should not come on here and trash people over grammer and how horrible they are, you made many mistakes yourself (ex. Mispell Chief, Not capitalizing Main St.). You said about new stores that have always been vacant and now they are not. You said this about the new Spring Ford Diner, which is very inaccurate, as this store has always been occupied by something. Since you mention that shopping center though, we are losing another store there with the Rite-Aid. When the new one in Royersford opens soon, they will close the Spring City and the Limerick Rite Aid (located in the Guenardis Shopping Center). Should we be proud of the new businesses in town hat you mention, yes. How loong they last though is another story as nothing last long in this town. Should we be proud of the fact that we have a store along the bussiest stretch of Main Street that openly places items in their window that is very commonly recognized as drug paraphinallia (in a section of town that is very common of drug related issues). I would not jump to the same conclussion as you so quickly because a few stores have appeared recently. I find it hard to believe you are a "SC Resident" that can be proud of what is going on in this town. Why do we no longer have a police Chief? Everyone knows that his hands were tied by borough council from doing the right thing for this town. The patch's previous article said he would comment after he finished his last two weeks.
John C April 25, 2012 at 02:39 PM
The police chief resigned as of the April 20th and the trails are a county project, not that of the Borough of Spring City. We still have a rogue cop going around beating on people because he has a badge. No wonder why Phoenixville PD fired this guy.
John C May 08, 2012 at 07:12 PM
http://limerick.patch.com/articles/limerick-board-of-supervisors-recap-cd6ceab4 Another Business gone

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