Tuesday, February 10, 2015

More Merger Mania

Mercury Photo shamelessly filched from John Strickler
Unhappy Phillies firefighters pack Monday night's borough council meeting.

I could tell you that lots of things happened at last night's borough council meeting, and it would be true.

For example, council made quick work of deciding against withdrawing its opposition to the proposal to open a boarding house for vets in the rectory and convent of the former St. Peter's Catholic Church on South Street.

It should be noted, however, that even if the Higher Ground Church International does not get its variances, it can still house six people in each building. The variance is simply asking for permission to exceed that limit because there is more space, and also to allow some of the rooms there to be 20 square feet smaller than required in the ordinance.

But let's face it, the big news was the ever-more-dire brinksmanship between the borough and the Philadelphia Steam Fire Company No. 1, known to you and I as the Phillies.

Here is the video of what Council President Stephen Toroney read at last night's meeting:

Borough council did not blink, and took the next step forward, authorizing Borough Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr. to prepare changes to the ordinance and fire services agreement that would allow for consolidation -- with or without the Phillies.

Without the Phillies, however, the borough will lose more than 50 percent of their firefighters as that is the company with the most volunteers.

Deadline day is March 31. That's when either the Phillies join the consolidated department, or the borough removes authorization for them to respond to fires in Pottstown.

Toroney says the other three companies have assured the borough that fire safety will not be compromised with only half its department responding, which leads one to wonder:
1) Why they needed so many volunteers in the first place, if they can see no loss in service with half as many?:
2) And how do the remaining companies intend to boost volunteerism after allowing the only company increasing its volunteer base to walk away?

But hey, I'm just a journalist. What do I know? I just ask questions.

Click here to read the story in today's paper from last night's meeting.

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