Monday, June 15, 2015

Council's Agenda, Part One

The Council Workshop has a meaty agenda this month, so I'm treating it like a summer blockbuster movie and splitting it into 2 episodes (The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones?--granted, maybe I need to work on the subtitles). Anyway, I'll post the entries today and tomorrow. The meeting will take place tomorrow night (Tuesday, June 16) at 6:30 pm in the 1st Floor Conference Room at Municipal Hall. If you want to read the whole agenda, go to this link.

The first agenda item is a motion to approve or disapprove to use funds awarded from The Elon Group to expand the Historic Fa├žade Improvement Program. These are the funds that Einstein/Elon agreed to pay the town for being allowed to destroy one of our historic buildings (ie, Montgomery Hospital, now known as the war zone at Fornance and Powell).

I hope this is just a formality and no thought is being given to diverting those funds to anything else. Considering that the Norristown Preservation Society was the ONLY group that showed up at every meeting about Montgomery Hospital and did all they could to save the building, I think it's entirely appropriate that some of the money should be put toward their restoration of Selma Mansion. Putting some of the funds towards saving, say, the old jail, would also be appropriate, too. But don't let me hear that any of it's going to things like Luxor or Arbor Mews developments. The money should be used for Historic Preservation ONLY.

The second item is a motion to approve or disapprove the Local Share Account (LSA) grant application. A Local Share Account was granted to each county in Pennsylvania by the Gaming Law (that allows gambling at race tracks and casinos in the state). You can read the details of the LSA at this link, but basically, it's for the "redevelopment, reuse, or revitalization of previously developed land, development of undeveloped land, and projects which construct, expand, or improve water and wastewater infrastructure related to business development."

No details are listed on the agenda saying what the grant application entails, that is, how Norristown intends to use any funds that come from the County from the LSA. Anytime you apply for a grant, you're supposed to say how you'll use the money, so this information should be right on the application. While I'm all for the town receiving funds from the LSA, I wish they'd be more open about where the money will go.

That's all for today. Tomorrow I'll cover the rest of the agenda. Stay tuned for Episode 2 (Council Strikes Back?).

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