Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Marc Reber - Candidate for Phoenixville Borough Council - Middle Ward

I really appreciate Karen making her blog available me and to all the candidates in the upcoming municipal election. It is vital to have an outlet where the public can learn about the views of their potential candidates.

First, of course, I would like to ask the residents of the Middle Ward for their vote on November 3. Regular readers here know Karen supports my candidacy. They may not know Al Dvorak, a former Mayor of Phoenixville, also endorses me. Both of them have been prominent in Phoenixville as Democrats, and while I am on the Republican ticket, I believe my candidacy shows that I am willing to serve the people of Phoenixville on a bipartisan basis.

For those of you who may not be familiar with me, I was raised in Malvern, went to school at Penn in Philadelphia, and have worked for a number of years in Information Technology in the area. I have lived in Phoenixville since 2002, when I bought my home, a rowhouse on Second Avenue. Phoenixville has provided me the sense of small town community that I grew up with, and is a place where I look forward to starting my family.

In the time that I have lived here, I have had the great pleasure to serve our community in a number of different ways. I am the Treasurer at my Church, was the Treasurer and a board member of the Friends of the Library, and I work with Good Works, helping them bring their mission of service and home improvement to Phoenixville. Now, hopefully, my neighbors will give me the opportunity to serve them as a member of Borough Council.

To anticipate a series of questions that seem popular on this thread, I would like to offer the following:

I have gone on record, after much consideration, as not being in favor of the current proposal of expanding the library across Second Avenue. This opinion has been widely expressed by those I have visited during my door-to-door visits during the campaign season. However, since I believe that expansion of the library will be a positive growth for both Phoenixville and the community at large, it will be important to find and cultivate a solution which does not split the community so divisively.

One of the greatest concerns I hear about from the people in the Middle Ward involves parking and traffic. People feel unsafe due to the speed of traffic through town, and are increasingly unhappy with the lack of available parking, both on-street and downtown. Therefore, it will be the duty of the next Council to take a look at these issues and take steps to improve them so that residents can feel comfortable and safe in the neighborhoods in which they live. I support the enforcement of all traffic and safety laws which will encourage this.

Regarding trash, we have the system we have. Currently it is breaking even, which is great, and the single-stream recycling is nice, too. Our current arrangement may not be ideal, and I am open-minded towards alternate arrangements, but it does not seem like something that will change in the short term.

Finally, as for the site that was formerly home to Phoenix Iron and Steel, it is a shame this undeveloped tract lies in the middle of town. We need to encourage its development, hopefully with tenants that contribute at least as much towards the Borough’s coffers as they consume in services. My colleague, Dave Gautreau, likes the French Creek Parkway plan, and I currently see no reason to be against something like it.

The solutions to all of these questions, though, of course flow from our budgetary situation. We are currently looking at a $900k gap going into the next year, and the next Council will have to find ways to rein in spending, and explore ways to increase revenue in addition to merely constantly raising taxes.

As I have stated before, as a potential representative of the Middle Ward, my duty would be first to my constituents, then to the Phoenixville Borough, then to the community as a whole. I have based my campaign on the Promise to Listen, and my first priority, therefore, will always be the people of the Middle Ward. I look forward to your support and your vote on November 3.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at mreber9@gmail.com or 610-996-0149.


Thank you,

Marc Reber

9 comments:

karlub said...

I am one of the friends he mentions that lives in Phoenixville.

It was a wonderful and pleasant news when he told us he was interested in serving on Council.

He has the community-mindedness, smarts, time, and interest necessary to excel in the position. Most importantly, I think, is he is only interested in serving his neighbors.

There is not one iota of self-interest involved. Previously he had served the community purely through his charity work. From Council, I know, he will bring the same ethic to bear.

Joe Rooney said...

Mark possesses many qualities that I believe are missing on the current Council--especially from our current middle ward representatives. The most prominent of which is his ability to listen. Over the past several weeks I've had the pleasure of engaging Mark and have asked him some challenging questions and expressed some serious concerns. What impressed me in our dialogue was that he didn't merely respond to my concerns and questions, but cared enough about me as a resident of the borough to ask me questions.

Why's that a big deal?

Mark is a listener, and askes questions to capture the full scope of--at least in my experience--of an individual's concerns.

This is a refresing approach to leadership, and I look forward to his furture role on Borough Council.

Anonymous said...

This election is going to have a huge impact on where the borough is headed in the next few years.

It's time to do a clean sweep of council and seat one that recognizes constituents' concerns.

That includes listening and showing fiduciary responsibility.

Middle ward voters need to get to the polls and support Marc.

Anonymous said...

Mr Reber,

A hot topic for 20 months has been the HUD Housing at Starr and Bridge Streets. The project was pushed through many phases with metings out of the sunshine resulting in zoning changes and applications filed on land in ownership dispute. This project had many conflicts of interest with planning/applicant and church politics. With that being said, as a council person, would you consider endorsing the zoning for that parcel, back to historic with the significant legal results that clearly stated, to council, the land should not be sold legally?

How do you feel about another HUD project in the downtown gateway into the revitalized district?

Would you be willing to listen and read the facts without being swayed by Father Evans?

Marc said...

I apologize for my delay in response. It has been a busy last few days.

Unlike Reeves Park, which is municipally held land, with guidelines regarding the use of that land, the Holy Ghost land is not owned by a municipal entity. I am not currently aware of any public guideline that stipulates land should not be sold. As I have not seen all documents regarding this, please feel free to point me toward any material that may state otherwise. However, it is also correct, in turn, to not establish zoning when an applicant does not have clear and unencumbered rights to the land in question. The recent hearing before council made this a requirement of the project, established by a court of law, before any zoning change could be considered. I believe this was the correct choice.

Regarding HUD projects more generally, while I believe affordable housing should be a part of the development mix in Phoenixville, it should not dominate. It is important for people to be able to find a place to live, but in order for the Borough to maintain services levels for the people who already live here it is important for new projects contribute as much to Phoenixville's taxation base as they consume in services. I believe a Council member's first duty is to attend to the people already living in his or her Ward, and have these considerations in mind as well.

Anonymous said...

Dear Marc,
The zoning was changed on this parcel prior to the conditional use hearing, and after the courts ruled the land was not owned by the Holy Ghost Church or it's officers of Holy Ghost who signed agreement of sale.
The zoning was not DCOMM until Father Evans made his first address to the council and planning see April 08 and thereafter minutes. The zoning was changed before conditional use and behind the scenes work on this project before it came before council. IE date of drawings, surveys etc.

karlub said...

@ Anonymous, October 27, 2009 11:05:00 PM EDT

The zoning change occurred before the Holy Ghost project was public. If you believe there was something fishy there, then I think who you support for Council is pretty much asked and answered.

The status of the most recent court ruling on ownership, I understand, is confusing. But from what I do understand, though, the case will be read to indicate the St. Nicholas Brotherhood owns the land, in which case this project is dead in the water.

Thus should this matter drag itself to Council again, I imagine any Council person not already encumbered by previous questionable decisions will be in a much better position to evaluate the situation with fresh and unbiased eyes.

As Marc said, "an applicant" having "clear and unencumbered rights to the land in question" is THE primary consideration.

Anonymous said...

The key here is that Marc should knopw that the zoning was changed from HIST to DCOMM in July 08 as his response indcates otherwise.

It is critical those voted in are aware of what exactly their constituants have been up to in voting pattern.

The parcel should not be DCOMM. It does matter as the intent to remain preserved, is clear and therefore all zoning changes should be voided for that parcel.
The council acted hastily and totally disregarded warnings from the planning commission recommendation by 7-0 vote. Again, see or post July 08 minutes

Anonymous said...

karleb,

Every piece of legal documentation was provided to each and every member of council before they voted on this action in July 08.