Mayor's Report To City Council

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Mayor's Report to City Council 07/27/15

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Executive Office of the Mayor
Vaughn D. Spencer
 
Administrative Report
July 27, 2015
 
Fire Department
 
While the call volume has been routine, fortunately there have not been any working fires in the City for the last few weeks. They have responded to several incidents in the surrounding municipalities in the last 2 weeks including
  • Ladder 1, along with one of the platoon chiefs, responded to the 2nd Alarm fire at 2515 Girard Ave. in Spring Twp on the evening of 7/16.
  • Engine 1 and one of the platoon Chiefs responded to the 2nd alarm fire at 3455 Stoner Ave. in St. Lawrence borough on the afternoon of Sunday 7/19.
 
Fire Marshal’s Office
In May, The City of Reading’s Department of Fire & Rescue Services, the Office of the Fire Marshal and the American Red Cross invited all home owners within the City of Reading to take advantage of the opportunity to apply for free smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at their local fire station. While not many residents have signed up at fire houses, the smoke detector program continues to move forward with great success from phone requests coming into the office. The suppression companies have been installing a growing amount weekly to the point that they have run short on the combination units, but have more ordered.
 
Training
All members continue to undergo mandatory Basic Life Support update training that includes the Naloxone administration for overdose patients.
 
Mayor’s Office
 
Transition Meeting
In an effort to assist in the transition in the Office of the Mayor, the city’s administration asked the Center for Excellence in Local Government (CELG) at Albright College to facilitate an information session to assist all three mayoral candidates in understanding some of the issues and processes the next Mayor will face as he begins his tenure in office. CELG will facilitate the meeting and the information presented by members of the administration and other guests will be non-partisan and factual to allow each candidate to better understand issues they will be facing as they are sworn into office. This meeting is not open to the public or the press.
 
The Mayor’s Clean City Initiative
So far in 2015, the Mayor’s Clean City Initiative (CCI) has completed 56 projects utilizing the services of over 1,938 volunteers who donated 5,525 hours of volunteer time. With the national average of one hour of volunteer time valued at $22.55, we estimate that the labor that these organizations and volunteers donated to the service of our city has a value of $124,588.75.
 
One focus of the Mayor’s Clean City Initiative for 2015 is maintaining the properties owned by the Reading Redevelopment Authority (RRA). This reciprocal relationship allows the RRA to market these properties to prospective buyers as the volunteers with the CCI work to keep them looking their best.
 
As of July 27, the CCI had completed 12 projects at RRA properties with a labor cost avoidance of $10,192.60. Reading Beautification, Inc. is the partner organization on this project, providing tools, gloves, bags and other necessary supplies to execute the cleanups.
 
Throughout the City, cleanups have been done recently at the lot at and behind 467 Tulpehocken St., City Park, and the 1000 block of Court St. The 100, 200 and 300 blocks of Bingaman Street are scheduled for later this week.
 
Penn Street Market
The Penn Street Market finished its eighth week last week. Patrons of the Market can use their SNAP access card, WIC, or Farmers Market Nutrition Program coupon at the Penn Street market and receive a $10 match per week if they spend $10 on fruits and vegetables. Information regarding this program is attached. Please share city-wide. If you’d like electronic copies of these, Jessie in my office can email them to you.
 
As of last week, the Market had generated sales of $875 in SNAP and $2,816 in WIC/Farmers Market Nutrition Program, all matched by $2,085 in the Berks Farm Bucks program.
 
Stop by the Penn Street Market every Thursday to grab lunch, stock up on local goods & enjoy free live music. This week’s tentative lineup is
 
Entertainment:
12-12:45pm
Reading Symphony Youth Orchestra
Cooking Demo:
1:15 - 2pm
The Food Trust
Education Hour:
2-2:45pm
Reading Public Library
Community Hour: 
3:15 - 4pm
The Reading Bike Hub
Entertainment: 
4:15 - 5pm
Reading Symphony Youth Orchestra
 
Public Works Department
 
Monument Preservation
In order to preserve ALL of the military monuments around the County, a group of veterans, business leaders and elected officials joined hands with the Historical Society of Berks County and created the Monument Preservation Fund. This group will “adopt” monuments throughout the County and raise the money to coordinate perpetual care so that our military veterans and deceased members will never be forgotten.
 
Contact info follows if you’d like to help them preserve these important tokens of service and sacrifice.
 
Mail donations to:
Rep. Mark Rozzi
4933 Kutztown Road
Temple, PA 19560
Make checks payable to:
Historical Society of Berks County
Note on check:
Monument Preservation Fund
 
Frederick Laurer Statue
Additionally, The Brewers of PA would like to privately fund the restoration of the Frederick Lauer statue. Their proposed project will include the restoration of the plaques that were stolen, cleaning and restoring the statue itself and possibly improving the grounds around the statue.
 
WWTP Upgrades
The Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) announced last week that the City of Reading’s funding request for $37,214,485.00 was approved on 07/22/2015 for the Fritz Island WWTP Solids Treatment Facilities Upgrade. The loan is for twenty (20) years at 1%.
 
Northeast Recycling Council
I am pleased to announce that Reading, Pennsylvania is now serving on the Advisory Board of the Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. (NERC). Being a part of this prestigious Board comes with many benefits including visibility, recognition, and the opportunity to participate in dialogues with NERC Board members and NERC Staff.
 
The Northeast Recycling Council is a multi-state non-profit organization that is committed to environmental and economic sustainability through responsible solid waste management. Its programs emphasize source reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, environmentally preferable purchasing, and decreasing the toxicity of the solid waste stream in the 10-state region comprised of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
 
As an organization, NERC conducts projects that influence policy and affect change through research, technical assistance, demonstration projects, and education. Now in its 28th year, NERC continues to be a dynamic and varied organization, committed to all aspects of recycling market development through environmental and economic sustainability. NERC regularly implements innovative projects. It hosts and supports the following national programs: the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse, the Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse, the State Electronics Challenge, and the EPPnet and Organics Management Northeast listservs.
 
NERC’s projects and staff often impact national dialogues and solutions to creating an environmentally sustainable economy and the City of Reading will now be included in these national dialogues and solutions.
 
Trash and Recycling Billing
Members of the administration met with representatives of RAWA and Dallas Data last week to discuss options for trash and recycling billing for 2016. Primary discussion topics were 1) the issue of water shutoffs attributed to non-payment of trash and recycling and 2) the issue of whether or not RAWA should continue the current arrangement of guaranteed payments to the City for collections associated with trash and recycling.
 
The parties agreed, in principle, to an arrangement whereby, effective January 1, 2016, RAWA will continue to act as the billing agent for the City for trash and recycling, using a bill that provides greater clarity and detail. However, RAWA will not terminate water service for non-payment of trash and recycling alone.
 
Details of the arrangement remain to be worked out but this is a significant step forward which demonstrates the ability of the City and RAWA to work collaboratively to solve issues that affect both entities.
 
Upcoming Community Events
  • The Reading Public Library will host a lecture by Jacqueline York, CPA, CIA on the personal financial aspects of retirement on Saturday, August 8 at 1:00 pm. The program will be held at the Main Library, 100 South 5th Street. Free parking is available behind the library on Wood Street. Details are attached.
  • Leadership Berks is requesting proposals from nonprofit and community organizations for their next students’ service learning projects.
 
During their studies, Leadership Berks students are assigned to a peer team to address a service learning project benefiting a local organization that allows for practical field experience with consideration to both participants interests and skills and the needs of the project. Recent examples include: feasibility or brand awareness studies, event planning, and marketing or communication plans. Alvernia is currently looking for proposals for the next session’s projects.
 
Proposals for these projects must be received no later than 5pm on Thursday, July 30, 2015. Proposals received after the deadline will not be considered. Contact Leadership Berks at Alvernia University with questions.
  • The 14th Annual Anti-Drug and Crime Rally will be held this year on August 15 at noon at the First Energy Stadium. Details are attached.
  • The Happiness Project is formulating a new publication for our community based on positive acts, news, stories, etc. They plan to highlight the many positive interactions, events and stories within our own community which go unknown. This will be a free publication which will be funded by advertising and sponsorship.

They are looking for are things such as (but not limited to):

  • Anything which shows community engagement
  • Any positive activities/projects
  • Anything inspirational (perhaps things that kids said or did that inspired the adults working with them, personal success stories, expression of gratitude etc.)
  • Stories of positive transformation, resilience
  • Any acts of kindness/compassion/forgiveness, etc
  • Any kids comments such as 'what are you grateful for, etc.
  • Funny, humorous stories of life
Submissions can be sent to (nlc7657@aol.com) with the subject noted as ‘HP Publication’.
  • The Reading Recreation Commission is selling tee shirts in a wide variety of sizes and colors. Stop by the main office at 3rd & Spruce to purchase your shirt and help us Make Reading Look Good!

 

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