Local elections by and large are rather ho-hum events, especially in Spring City Borough. Often times positions run unopposed and garner little interest by the general populace or the press. It is rare that one or two people attend a Borough Council meeting; unlike our neighboring communities that have a rather active following and meetings that address issues with much comment.
In the current election, unlike the past, voters in Spring City are offered a unique opportunity. There are more interested candidates in the borough council seats then are available to be elected. This presents a real choice and a potential for voter turnout; however, apathy is more often the cause to let Republican candidates and their assignees to remain in or assume office; even though Republicans have long been the minority population in the borough.
I have two premises here; local government should not be party based but at concern for the populace, however voters are complacent – what has been the norm will stay the norm. For the past six years I have not felt that way. While I am running as a Democrat, I feel I am running as another individual with an open mind and looking to change the way things have been. We can do better than letting things be as they are – without change. Well, if that is a party, then some people have the wrong idea of getting things done.
I have put together a team of effective leaders for this campaign. I am proud of this team, one a para-legal, a local retail clerk and another a well known leader of political action movements in the borough for years.
As for action: One college has proposed a rental inspection program that I endorse. The council President and I attended a seminar on such a program several months ago; when he heard the fees for such a program could not be co-mingled into the general account - the program was scrapped. The borough currently has a $20 a year/unit license fee for rental units which goes into the General Fund (without inspections or tenant identification).
I feel that the President of the current council has deprecated our Borough by describing it in public meetings as “lowly”, “poor”, “we can’t afford do better” and demeaning our highest paying tax payers with insulting names or where does the “Dollar” stop. Is this the leader of government that aspires to be the best it can be?
In an informal questionnaire taken by myself and Councilor Michael Hays a few years ago; overwhelmingly property owners were willing to pay higher taxes for better police security and services (this was done during the Dee Sherman administration). Since then the feeling is that police services have improved while taxes have not.
There was in increase the sewer rate that I proposed in anticipation of the rebuilding of the waste water treatment plant – not a noise was heard. Now that the trash/recycling contract is going to be making the borough money over the next three years; the borough is recommending raising that rate as well as the earned income tax by .5% – without an increase in services; just because other municipalities are doing so.
In the past four years Michael Hays and I have put together a plan with other web developers to create a borough web-site SpringCityBoro.org at the cost of $49 per year; two years later Council President thought it prudent to create a more ‘robust’ website using another councilor and a group of elementary students outside of the Spring-Ford school district to create an official website at more than 10 times the cost to the borough.
In the years that the borough fought with the EPA over the capacity of our waste water treatment plant; Councilor Hays took the initiative to create the Sewer Committee, not a pleasant or urban task; yet now we have a plan in place to work with the EPA and actually meet their requirements. Never the less, the Council President decided upon himself to replace Hays as chair for another of his on council. If it were not for Hays we would be back were we where 15 years ago.
Unfortunately, for me, Mr. Hays is planning to move on and is leaving the Council, but I have plans for economic development for the borough that go beyond the brick and mortar of the downtown redevelopment plans for the past five years. I have asked a team of fresh and seasoned professionals to join me in that quest; as I explore and enjoin their ideas. I welcome Eric D. O’Connor, Erica Weiherer and Keith Kreider (write-in) to join me and I encourage the vote of citizens of our great borough to join me in a new venture.
Notwithstanding party affiliation, one thing is clear, we have a choice to make in the Borough of Spring City and everyone has an opinion, if you have not had a chance to hear mine, I am at every borough council meeting, those of our neighbors to get their thoughts on us and express our concerns of them as we share borders; will you allow me to continue and bring a new team to the service of our great borough?
James J. Burns
Councilor – at Large Spring City Borough