Wednesday, July 30, 2008

$625,000 Recommended to the Easy Street CDC

$625,000 Recommended to the Easy Street CDC*

Despite arguments of fiscal responsibility concerns by Msrs. Buckwalter, Kirkner and Senley, last evening's Committee meeting resulted in a recommendation to Council that we extend the current CDC contract for 5 years at $125,000 annually. The vote was 4-3, Msrs. Ciruelos, Gill, Handwerk and Speck voting in the affirmative; Mr. Wagner was absent.

This recommendation is being made to Council without any knowledge of any part of the 2009 budget. Yes, Council will be asked to approve this expense without any idea of what else taxpayer monies might be "needed" for in the Borough in 2009.

Apparently, this being the first recommended fund allocation for next year, Council has tagged the services of Barry Cassidy as the most important item in this Borough that the property taxpayers absolutely must fund for 5 more years.

The BID/DID concept is apparently a DUD; it's just easier to raise your taxes.

The Committee chose to disregard the statements of the current Finance Chair, past Finance Chair, and past CDC Liaison advising against acting whimsically on this item before Council is fully informed about the Borough's 2009 operational and project needs.

Taxpayers at this point may only grasp two moments of sanity:

1. It's not a "done deal" as of last night.
2. Even if it was a "done deal" last night, it's not a "done deal" until December.

An obvious tactical error was made by those supporting the contract extension in Committee. The contract could have been moved right to Council last night, as there was a continued Council meeting which both preceded and followed the Committee meetings. No such motion was made.

Following on, even if that symbolic gesture had been executed, there is no money officially allocated until the approved 2009 budget in December.

Therefore, the public still has several months to make their feelings known. If you believe your Councilmen are not casting votes that represent your interests, their contact information is available at

Councilman Jeff Senley's blog:


Anonymous said...

Does this amount include benefits (health insurance, etc)? It isn't really that much when you consider how much has been totally wasted in your town on other projects- the trash collection as an example.
I've read the criticisms from other bloggers and subsequent comments and I do agree BC's postings can be pretty crude. I don't know him other than to see and read, but I believe his need to shock and awe some of your small town politicians stems from the secure knowledge that he has been around the block several times and apparently led a colorful and productive life.
You have to admit, people, the man gets the job done. Give him a little credit. Look at the town now as opposed to before he arrived. Council didn't do that.

Karen said...

My understanding, Anonymous, is that the checks are handed over to the CDC and that's it. How it is distributed to Barry as an employee is not known to me.

Trash collection in this borough was handled incorrectly and still stands as a bone of contention with residents.

With regards to the CDC and Council's intentions, watch this blog for my commentary.

Jeff Senley said...

The $125,000 is being requested of the Borough to cover 2 things:

1. Salary for the Executive Director of the CDC

2. Benefits for the Executive Director of the CDC

None of the Borough taxpayers contributions go to fund any project.

This was also the case with the $111,111 each year for the past 3 years.

So far in this dialogue, this is the most understood fact.

Jeff Senley said...

In the previous comment, I meant to say, the "most misunderstood" fact".

When I tell people who believe that their money is going toward a streetscapes project or a park project that this is not the case, their reaction is "Really?".

Anonymous said...

Really Jeff? What have you done? (crickets)

Jeff Senley said...


What I have done on this issue is not voted to spend $125,000 of taxpayer money in 2009 since we have no idea if we'll need to spend it on more vital things.

Wise up, sir / ma'am, and try to keep your comments relevant.

Anonymous said...

Talk about relevancy, you have to be kidding me? Jeff, your posts continually attack the same argument of the CDC (fine its on the record) but at the same time I see no other critical points of interest about the town and its progression coming from your camp. You're setting up the CDC to take the fall for any of your councils mistakes. The CDC ASKED for a contract and the majority said yes (obviously you couldn't make a valid enough argument to swing the vote by 1). The CDC is doing its job, we simply ask that you stop the diversion tactics and get back to work. - Chuck D

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Chuck has a good point. Barry and the CDC are simply doing their job. The council voted to extend the contract (the CDC didn't impose it). Therefor the blame lays squarely on ALL council members (yes, you to Jeff, Ken, & Rich) because its your job to make valid arguments that will be credible enough for the others to swing in your favor. You weren't trying to climb a mountain and requiring all 8 members to agree, but rather, all you needed was a descent enough argument to swing the council by 1 vote (1 single vote) and you couldn't accomplish that task.

Now is not the time to stamp your feet and jump up and down but to think about how you can make more effective arguments next time you need such a critical vote. I don't know where I stand on this issue yet but from the way things are playing out here I'd say the CDC is doing their work. Can we all say the same (council)???

Jeff Senley said...

I'll repeat that what I am saying is that it is too early in our 2009 budget process to allocate these funds.

I am not accusing the CDC of not adding value. It is purely a question of fiscal responsibility in dealing with the highest priority expenditures first.

In my opinion, this is not our highest priority taxpayer-funded allocation; however, the majority of Council is treating it as such by pushing forward a financial commitment ahead of budget protocol.

The rest of these sidebar discussions just aren't related to the basic premise of going to the store to buy something, but not knowing how you're going to pay for it.

And that's the end of this chapter from my perspective.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, the way you presented the argument that time was very good and effective. I appreciate the argument being presented in a more honest manner. However, you stated that these side bars are not related to the argument but you brought the side bars on yourself by using inflammatory remarks to help bolster your argument when you continually mention the oil crisis/scare in the same argument. That is simply inflammatory and a scare tactic. Yes, it is a scare tactic. The two are not cause and effect and therefore should not be used to strengthen an argument.

Karen said...

Anonymous 8:33, I just re-read Jeff's comments on this thread and nowhere do I see him reference what you term to be "the oil crisis/scare".

It is I who has posted about the sorry state of our economy (including the cost of fuel) and the need to consider the financial ability of Phoenixville residents to pay double-digit tax increases.

Jeff has continuously stated the CDC should (MY PARAPHRASE) get in line at budget time. Not now in August.

Here is his direct quote:

"I'll repeat that what I am saying is that it is too early in our 2009budget process to allocate these funds."

I am constantly in utter awe and amazement as to how people can misconstrue the written word when all one has to do is go back and read.


Read, once again, the lead post on this thread, and read also Jeff's subsequent posts.

Thank you.