Monday, January 6, 2014

Snow (non) Removal, and Council Returns

SO, it snowed last Thursday. The storm was over by 6 am Friday morning. And yet, no plow or salt truck came down my street for another 27 hours, and I live on a main thoroughfare. What was up with that?

I'd read on Facebook that our town government was closed Friday, but I assumed that meant non-essential personnel. The day after a blizzard, plow and salt truck drivers are NOT non-essential. I wondered if they simply forgot my street, but when a friend picked me up on Saturday night, I saw that the only completely cleared streets were PennDOT jurisdiction. Our main roads, like Fornance and Sterigere, were still slushy and icy, and our smaller streets--Astor and Logan, for instance-- were completely snowcovered. Surrounding communities, as far away as Malvern, were clear.

So who made the decision to wait a day? If you've lived in this climate more than a year or two, you learn that the longer you let snow lay, the harder it is to remove. Anything over about 4 inches, the bottom inch or so always turns to ice. Was this a matter of our new borough manager from Georgia not understanding that this wasn't even a deep snow by our standards? We don't shut down our town for 7 inches. Are we simply being stingy with the 2014 budget? Whatever the reason, I hope N-town does a better job next storm.

Okay, rant over. On the schedule for tonight is our first Council meeting of the year--Monday, instead of their usual Tuesday, and at 7 pm instead.of their usual 7:30 pm. TWO agendas were on the town website, and were posted over the weekend! I hope this new trend toward timeliness continues.

The first agenda is for Council's reorganization. New council members will be installed at 7 pm, then the council will vote for the posts of Council President and Vice President. According to our homerule charter, a new president and a new V.P. are to be installed at the beginning of each new year. The positions are supposed to rotate so no one person ends up in a position of power for more than a year. And, frankly, those positions are designed NOT to have that much power--besides running council meetings, the president really only has ceremonial duties equal to a mayor. But, like other democratic offices, the people in them have as much power as the rest of council and the taxpayers allow. We're the checks and balances of the system.

After the officers are installed, the agenda says that the Council President will name committee chairs and vice chairs (which to me implies that the old council members have already picked who is going to be president before the new members are installed--unless everyone comes prepared to appoint chairs, even new members?).

Next all the appointments are made for the coming year -- no big surprises. The only difference is the Finance Director. Apparently Mr. Zawisza is never coming back. No explanation. Rochelle Rawlins wil be installed as Interim Finance Director.

The 2nd agenda is for the 1st actual meeting of the new council, following the installations. The only things on it are a motion to approve disbursements, which are listed as "pending," and a motion to approve a resolution dealing with handicapped parking requests.

So another council year begins. Play ball.

1 comment:

  1. Stanbridge Street outside the State Hospital (between Sterigere all the way to the dead end at the entrance of the Farm Park trail bridge over the Norfolk Southern tracks) was still in need of clearing and salt treatment on Sunday afternoon/evening. It is inexcusable as this stretch of road not only is the main exit/entry point for the small neighborhood enclave, but is commonly used by State Hospital employees as well. The drenching rain this morning has pretty much made this a moot point. If this is the state of Norristown streets dept and snow removal at the beginning of 2014, I really don't know what to expect in the future. This is truly bad form.