Recently a letter was sent to some Collegeville Borough voters who requested mail-in ballots. This letter from the “For Collegeville Team” did not identify the senders’ Republican political affiliations and also contained falsehoods concerning the actions of the Democratic incumbent Council members. We wish to correct the record.
The Collegeville Republicans:
- Alleged that we “raised taxes 20 percent.”
The current incumbent Democratic Council took office in 2018. During that time, none of us have ever voted to increase taxes. Every past tax increase in Collegeville Borough was voted on and approved by the majority Republicans—except for the 2017 1 mil fire tax to fund the new fire house. This was approved by three Republicans and four Democrats. To our knowledge, the majority of residents supported the building of the new fire house.
- Alleged that we “waived open space guidelines” for the new Freeland Square townhouse development on W. Third Ave.
False. The builder is required to pay a fee of $750 for each townhome, which funds our open space and parks. This townhome development will also add an additional $68,000 per year to the borough budget (vs. $3,465 from the former Rees M&I property) and an additional $305,291 annually to the PV School district.
- Alleged that “Council is pursuing higher density buildings throughout the borough.”
False. Our goal is to preserve our small town, village feel while working with Ursinus College to turn their dormitories on Main St. into mixed-use commercial buildings with interesting restaurants and retail on the first floor.
These buildings will then also lose their tax-exempt status, providing additional income to the borough. Regarding the former Sears building, a new business, Worthwhile Thrift, is opening there later on this year.
- Alleged that “The speed pillows on Park Ave. were not necessary.”
Our “For Collegeville” colleagues are clearly out of touch with Park Ave. families with young children, who overwhelmingly support the devices. The Collegeville Community Park on this street is also widely used by children in the community, and we want to keep them safe.
Already we have seen a decrease in speed on Park Ave. And although speeding on residential streets has always been one of the top concerns of our residents, when the previous Republicans controlled Council, nothing was ever done to address this.
- Alleged that we “squandered” money to create the borough’s Human Relations Commission.
The purpose of the commission is to examine intergroup relations and promote work that brings people together in order to improve harmony in a community. Isn’t this needed during this stressful, partisan time? Any associated costs spent on legal fees were less than $100.
By Contrast …
for the last 30 years under the Republican-controlled Council, little has changed in the borough.
In the last four years while on Council, the incumbent Democrats have:
- Received a $107,000 MontCo 2040 grant to create a Creekside Park, and have applied for a $6.5M grant to renovate Borough Hall;
- Worked to attract new businesses by updating our Main Street zoning and creating a Master Plan for Main St. The plan includes the creation of a town center at the College’s Clamer Hall property (map it) with an outdoor meeting and dining space;
- Improved Collegeville Community Park by fencing in the playground and adding shade trees around the playground and along W. Third Ave.
We are adding new fencing in front of the dugout and bleachers and replacing the back stop this month to keep the area safe. We have kept all the park equipment maintained and each year organize volunteers to clean up Community and Waterworks Parks and Hunsburger Woods;
- Demonstrated our support for our police by ensuring that their salaries and benefits are competitive with the other MontCo police forces.
The Republicans who negotiated their contract four years ago had reduced their benefits, which left Collegeville at a disadvantage when hiring new officers;
- Enhanced communication with our residents by updating our borough website with links to all significant documents. We also publish a monthly e-newsletter with information on the borough meetings, news, and local events. The previous Republican Council members discontinued the publication of the Borough’s quarterly mailed newsletter about eight years ago.
As the current incumbent Council members, we have engaged in strategic planning to anticipate upcoming expenses and to plan for the future of our Main Street in order for our business district to remain competitive. We have also worked hard over these last four years to maintain and update our roads, street lights, parks, buildings and other structures with a limited budget.
We will continue to work as hard as we can to keep the borough running at an optimal level, and to work toward improving every resident’s quality of life while being mindful of the budget.