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Taxes to Stay Level in Pennsburg as Lawsuit Looms
Written by Kelly Chandler Staff Writer
2014-12-03

                Pennsburg borough council members were seemingly on an emotional rollercoaster Tuesday night.

                The highs included the unanimous approval of a $1,739,199 proposed budget for 2015, which will see no tax hike for borough residents – a budget officials acknowledged was a difficult one to hash out.  Part of that budget was Pennsburg's contribution to the Upper Perk Police Department including an allotment for the chief's contract, which required a considerable amount of negotiation that was finally completed this week.

                Wednesday morning, Council President Kris Kirkwood submitted comments on the negotiations which can be viewed at www.upvnews.com.

                Following an executive session Tuesday, Pennsburg officials unanimously approved Upper Perk Police Chief Michael Devlin's contract, which was revised to omit a benefit that would have allowed the chief to take a department vehicle to and from work each day.  The other revision took away two new personal days from his allocation but gave him one additional holiday.

                Council President Kris Kirkwood also noted the slew of projects the borough saw through this year, including the construction of the new borough offices and council chambers on W. 6th Street, the installation of a generator for the police department, construction ready to begin at 2nd Street and the purchase of holiday decorations and a new utility truck for the borough. 

                 But the lows were also markedly present as Councilman Mike Mensch expressed displeasure over the civil suit seeking $50,000 or less from the Pennsburg Fire Company and three of its members brought on by current Pennsburg Councilwoman Diane Stevens, former councilman John Kevin and former mayor, Charlie Shagg.

                "I am backing the fire company, however I can help," Mensch said.  "It's wrong and immature.  I think our council should be able to support an organization that's volunteer and not turn against them."

                "What would we do without them?" added Councilwoman Ethel Ritchey.

                 The suit was filed Nov. 13 in Montgomery County Court.  According to the plaintiffs' lawyer, Adam Sager of Sager and Sager, the plaintiffs had lifetime memberships to the organization revoked unjustly.

                Stevens was absent from Tuesday's council meeting. 

                Earlier this week the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office served court papers in the case to Chief Scott Seip for the company and himself, as well as current borough councilman, emergency management coordinator and company member Cody Belmont and company member Brenda Koder.

                Seip, who appeared at the meeting with several members of the fire company, said the defendants are requested to give depositions at the plaintiffs' lawyer's office next Wednesday.

                Mayor Vicki Lightcap also praised the fire company's efforts while speaking about the borough's newest rating of a three that was recently awarded by Insurance Services Office Inc. (ISO), a company which provides data to companies on property/casualty insurance.  Lightcap said thanks to the company's status, borough homeowners could be afforded savings on their insurance premiums.          

                Council also voted the advertisement of an ordinance approved last month that will ban parking for 660 feet along E. 11th Street from Main Street to the Upper Hanover Township line due to safety issues.  That ban will be enforceable in January, officials said.

 

 


 

 

 

 

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