Up to date news on the happenings in Eddystone, PA. For such a small town, there's always BIG drama...inside and outside Borough Council Chambers.

Employee suspended; New construction proposed; a Busy Night for Borough Council

An active Monday night at Borough Hall.  Here are some of the highlights:

Mechanic voices beef over Police Cars

For the last 6 years, the Borough has been taking the police cars for service to Bob Taylor and Joe Signore, local in-town mechanics.  We are no longer doing this, though, which may void out the warranty on services already rendered.  Mrs. Tatasciore asked a legitimate question about who is now servicing the police cars and the Chief of Police responded by saying that he ‘comparison shopped’ and found a better deal.  The Mayor asked the gentlemen to speak in the ‘back room,’ to which the guy responded, “No, I want to talk here.  I want it known publicly that we did service the police cars but we no longer are doing so.” 

The comparison prices will have to account for the additional gas we will be paying to drive the police cars to a location out of town.  I don’t understand why the Chief did not share the comparison prices.  Had there been some price shopping, it would have been easier to simply share the actual prices to solidify that argument.  It’s hard to argue with actual figures.

I sure do hope a personal grudge between two people does not end up costing taxpayers more money.  We will already lose revenue if the local business makes less money; remember, we do have an earned income tax.  It would be sad to see us not only lose the tax revenue but also pay more in repair costs as well.

Plumbing Inspector allegedly breaks bottle over resident’s head; suspended with pay pending an investigation

Frank Lopchinsky, the Borough plumbing inspector, allegedly broke a bottle over the head of a young resident.  Ms. Blankley, the alleged victim’s mother, came to the Council Meeting with a long list of criminal offenses from Mr. Lopchinksy’s past, which allegedly includes burglary and theft.  She questioned why the Borough hired this man and also why an investigation into the alleged assault was taking so long. 

Later in the evening, Councilman Stewart made a motion to suspend Mr. Lopchinsky with pay until the investigation is completed.  Council unanimously approved the measure, much to the chagrin of the audience who thought the suspension should have been without pay.

Some commentary on the issue. First, I have to agree with the Council on this one, at least as far as their actions go toward suspending Mr. Lapchinsky with pay.  Everyone deserves his or her day in court.  Had he been suspended without pay, he could be entitled to retroactive pay, among other things, depending on the outcome of the investigation.  Maybe now the investigation can occur quickly so that taxpayer’s are not footing the bill of two plumbing inspectors.  I just wish that Mr. Pappas would do the answering for the Council, Mayor, and appointed officials, as he tries to respond with dignity and respect.  It is clear that a few of the people up there are lacking in the people skills department. 

Kevin Begley (kind of) resigns

Kevin Begley tendered his resignation from Council due to ‘personal family matters.’   Council has not formally accepted his resignation, though, so that Mr. Begley could have the opportunity to help out with the Memorial Day festivities.  Why couldn’t the Council seat be filled and Mr. Begley simply volunteer his time at the Memorial Day celebration?  Lots of people volunteer at Lighthouse Hall, even without a title.  If Mr. Begley is so worried about the Memorial Day activities, then why has he missed so many Recreational Board meetings, as have some of his most recent appointees.

Something smells fishy here.

I have a feeling the establishment can’t find a replacement for Mr. Begley, so they are buying time in the hopes of finding someone who is willing to walk the establishment line.  

Meanwhile, Kelly Butkus continues to show up to both the Recreational Board and Council meetings.

Credit Card Spending Policy Passed

Council adopted a spending policy to ensure that employees with access to the Borough credit cards cannot make purchases for items, such as dinners, without the approval of Council.

Hmm….why did we not have this in place before?  I hope this has nothing to do with the fierce rumors running through about misappropriated money.  I wonder who had access to the credit card before and was buying dinners for people on our dime?

If you are curious, file a Right to Know Request on all reimbursements given to elected, appointed, or hired employees of the Borough for meal allowances charged to the Borough credit card.

Multi-family homes proposed for 13th and Eddystone Avenue

Mr. Catania was hired to develop plans to convert the existing single family home and property into a series of twins and rentals.  Mr. Catania, our Borough Engineer, was asked to approve the submitted plans.

In case you are wondering, the Mr. Catania referenced in both instances is the same guy.  So, Mr. Catania was asked to approve his own plans.  I wonder which way he will lean….Thankfully, Mr. Pappas asked for guidance from the Delaware County Planning Commission.  Residents beware!!!  If you do not make your voice heard, we may soon be seeing a flood of apartments, duplexes, and triplexes popping up all over town.  Cheap properties are ripe for investors, and there are several properties in town big enough to allow this type of building to occur. 

In most cases, zoning variances would be needed for off street parking.

If people do not speak up now, the variances will surely be approved.  And as for our property values; well, we all know where they are right now, don’t we?  I am not sure how more vacant rentals will help them.

Here’s an idea (seriously):

Maybe Council should deny the variances (which they have a legal right to do), then work to try and buy some of the existing homes.  These homes could be rented to younger police officers if they are willing to live in, and commit to working for, the Borough for a prescribed amount of time.  Maybe we could even look into a ‘lease to own’ program, just like other communities are doing; the rent money would then be saved to help the Borough purchase additional homes.  This solves two problems with one solution:  we start hiring younger police officers who could live in the Borough, make a home here, and perhaps even get promoted into full-time positions (this solves the police shortage and the need for stable neighbors moving in) AND we also get some of the homes off of the market so that investors cannot scoop them up and turn them into dozens of multi-family homes.

Marcus Hook has a similar housing program, and Upper Darby recently held a “Home Buyers” seminar trying to get new people into their community.

Targeting young people to move in.  Providing a financial incentive for them to buy affordable, safe housing in a great school district with access to major transportation. Sounds like a great marketing plan for Eddystone. 

I am sure the establishment will figure out 19 reasons why this is a bad idea instead of trying to grow it into something positive.  And, truth be told, I am sure this is a rough idea that is in need of polish.

Take the idea and improve on it, Council.  Please.

Civil Service Commission forming

Mr. Stewart mentioned that we are in the process of getting the Civil Service Commission advertised so that we can hire new police officers and promote those who deserve promotion.  Watch the Delco Times for this to be advertised.

Congratulations to Eddystone School’s 4th graders

Congratulations go out to the 4th graders from Eddystone School for their “Influential Women” essays and for the school staff coming to the event to support it.  I do apologize for not adding the names of the children, however I was unable to speak to their parents before they left and did not want to publish their names without permission.  If the parents of the children would like to email the essays to the blog, we would be happy to repost them so the entire community can read them (erocksbeat@yahoo.com).  Great job!

Kudos to Mrs. Tatasciore for keeping this excellent tradition alive.

Monthly grades

It’s time to retire the positive change meter and start looking at the contributions of each member.  Grades are based on what I saw and also heard from other residents:

Mr. Stewart gets an A.  Nice points at the end, and it took a substantial amount of courage to suggest the paid administrative leave motion.

Mrs. Tatascoire gets a A.  Great questions and involvement all night long.  Excellent job with the essays.

Ms. Thompson gets a B-.  She has gone silent lately, however she did answer a resident’s question regarding the credit cards.  She did mention something about a community yard sale.

Mr. Paterson gets a B- as well.  He immediately supported Mr. Stewart’s motion for paid administrative leave and did at least make an attempt at trying to do something to curtail the recent shootings in Chester from spilling into Eddystone.

President Pappas get a C+.  This grade may be a bit harsh on the President, but I expect more out of him.  He had to deal with a difficult public comment period of the meeting and had some curve balls thrown at him.  I just expect him to control the other leaders in the Borough and demand that they speak respectfully to residents.

There is no doubt in my mind that he will get this fixed, though.  He has risen to the occasion on everything else this year.  He will get the Borough leaders in line.

No grade goes out to Ms. Reeves, who was absent or Mr. Begley who was MIA.