Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Council's August Agenda

There's a council meeting tonight at Municipal Hall at 7:30, and wonder of wonders, an agenda has been posted for it! Here are the highlights:

1. Discussion and repeal of Ordinance 14-08 regarding Police Captains and Lieutenants. This was the ordinance that said the Police Chief could appoint captains and lieutenants at will, that those positions no longer had to take an exam for a promotion.

2. Motion to adopt Ordinance 14-09 repealing the three strikes procedure. The 3 strikes procedure held landlords responsible for frequent police calls to their properties. I think the initial intent was to get landlords' cooperation in controlling tenants who in some way continually violate laws. It seems to have been used differently on occasion, against innocent tenants who called the police often about other people in the neighborhood. Regardless, the ACLU sued Norristown over it, so the ordinance will be repealed.

3. Motion to accept the 2009 Audit. Really? We haven't accepted the 2009 Audit yet? It's been 5 years. Just about time for a new audit. (On this topic, I should also mention that Council is appointing a new Director of Finance tonight. We were never told why the last one was sacked.)

4. Motion to adopt Ordinance 14-10 -- regarding litter. The ordinance will allow residents to place a sign “no larger than 18 inches by 6 inches” on their property that reads “No Solicitation or Handbills.” The ordinance prohibits persons and companies from distributing “commercial handbills or other unsubscribed literature.” The idea is that the slips of paper that are occasionally jammed through your door handle won't get loose and fly around your neighborhood.

I already have a "No Soliciting" sign on my door now, which has helped a little, but I still have people knocking, wanting to "talk about my PECO bill" or "I'm installing windows in the neighborhood... yada, yada..."  Handbill-wise, I don't mind the rare take-out menu stuck through my screen door handle, or the notice from the Boy Scouts about their food drive. What I hate are all the political handbills, which before elections are epidemic and yes, DO fly all over. Still, I'm guessing the "commericial" wording was used to exclude political ads.

And what about the handbills you find on your car, often after events like concerts in the park? They blow all over town, and they're a mess if it rains before I get back to my car. Can we put No Handbills signs on our vehicles, too?

The fine will be “$600 and $1,000” for each property where handbills are distributed (though I'm not sure if the homeowner has to report it or if, say, a loose handbill flying around the neighborhood and found by code enforcement is enough).

However, if you erect a sign but don't maintain it, you can be fined $25 to $100. I have my sign inside my storm door, so it's protected from the elements. You could put the sign in a window. It doesn't have to be big--it just has to be present.

So that's most of the line-up for the council meeting. There are a few other items--some HARB approvals and such. You can see the whole agenda at

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