Mayor's Report To City Council

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Mayor's Report to City Council 06/22/15

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Executive Office of the Mayor
Vaughn D. Spencer
 
Administrative Report
June 22, 2015
 
 
Fire Department
 
On June 14th Units responded to 824 Pear St. for a small fire on the front porch roof that did some minor damage to the exposure building to the south as well. The fire was placed under control 17 minutes after the arrival of the first unit and there were no injuries.
 
The expansion of the Department’s smoke detector program has been very successful, so far for the month of June the suppression firefighters working in conjunction with the Officers in the Fire Marshal’s Office have placed 64 smoke detectors in 9 owner/occupied residences, and there are 27 applications for properties that are being scheduled for installation.
 
Mayor’s Office
 
Mayor’s Office is still seeking applicants for the Human Relations Commission (3).
 
Last week, we announced the launch of a financial analysis platform powered by OpenGov.com that provides residents, elected officials and staff unprecedented access to the city’s finances. This platform transforms volumes of raw financial data into an interactive, digital format. The intuitive interface makes it easier to explore how taxpayer money is collected and spent. The platform may be accessed at https://readingpa.opengov.com. A full press release is attached.
 
We will be working proactively with the mayoral candidates to inform them, as well as the public, on the issues facing the city and the next administration. Up until the general election, the Mayor’s Office will serve as the transition team to assist with all related activity and Frank Denbowski, will serve as the transition coordinator. A full press release is attached.
 
The Environmental Protection Agency will be visiting Reading tomorrow to tour industrial sites that may need remediation. They have been in communication with Lenin Augudo, Community Development Director.
 
The Pagoda Hillclimb will be this weekend. Timed runs begin on Saturday and Sunday at 9:30AM. The award presentations are scheduled for approximately 5:00 on Sunday evening at the Fire Tower.
 
The Berks Coalition to End Homelessness will be having their 6th annual Weeniefest on July 10 in the Santander Courtyard at 6th and Penn. Tickets are $8 in advance and can be purchased through the Coalition.
 
The Mayor is working with a community organization who is interested in taking on the volunteer responsibilities for the holiday lights at Hillside Playground. We are determined to ensure that Christmas on the Mountain continues. More details will follow.
 
With the upcoming 4th of July holiday, The National Council on Fireworks Safety encourages consumers to know their fireworks. Nancy Blogin, President of the National Council on Fireworks Safety says, "Consumers should be aware of where their fireworks come from; only buy from licensed stores, stands and tents." Nancy also says, "A designated shooter should prepare a shooting area, carefully read the label of each firework and understand exactly what the firework will do and refrain from consuming alcohol. Planning makes for a safe and fun backyard fireworks display.”
 
Public Works Department
 
ADA Compliance Update
 
The City has taken the next big step to make the city’s streets and buildings more accessible. This step will help the city meet its accessibility goals as directed by the Americans with Disability Act, or “ADA”. There are presently hundreds of curb ramps at crosswalks throughout the city, however most of these do not meet current ADA standards, and many other crosswalks do not have any curb ramps. To remedy this problem, the City has prepared a long-range plan to correct the deficiencies, and this month hired an engineering firm to prepare a detailed accessibility survey of the entire city. The survey will result in an engineered plan to implement construction of new curb ramps, to renovate or replace the old curb ramps, and to construct other crosswalk improvements in accordance with the latest ADA requirements. The firm doing the engineering services specializes in ADA Compliance attainment for urban areas. They have helped other cities such as Washington D.C. and Philadelphia achieve similar accessibility compliance. The first phase of the survey is occurring in the 18th Ward, which is to be completed by the end of June. This portion of the survey is being funded by a grant from the Berks County Planning Commission. The City will use this survey to initiate construction contracts for the ramps and crosswalk improvements scheduled to begin this year.
 
The City of Reading has a one million dollar reimbursement grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED).
 
This grant partially funded the digester rehabilitation project at the waste water treatment plant. As of June 10, 2015 the City of Reading has been reimbursed the full amount of the grant and is awaiting notice from the state acknowledging grant completion status. We expect to receive said notice in a month or two; a grant audit conducted by an independent CPA firm is due to DCED one hundred twenty days from the date of the letter to fully comply with the grant agreement.
 
Penn Street Farmer’s Market
 
At the end of Week 2, The Penn Street Market had generated sales of over $400 in WIC and $150 SNAP, all matched by the Berks Farm Bucks program.
 
The Market hosted a very special program last week in collaboration with Berks Country Fest. Mike Faust, from WEEU, did a live broadcast of his show from 9-11:30 AM onsite at the market. This will also included live performances of entertainment on stage as a pre-market show.

 

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