Both Ralph Orr and Bill Stewart, the chairs of colliding Republican parties in Eddystone, developed campaign platforms that included bringing back the bike patrol and implementing a recycling program. For months leading up to the election, this blog included entries about how words and actions must match each other and that empty promises at election time may win favor with voters but will actually do nothing to help the town. June’s Council Meeting is such a clear example of what we were talking about.
Bill Stewart and his reform party continue to move forward, as he rolled out the preliminary research on the feasibility of a recycling program within the Borough. According to Stewart, if about 20% of residents in the Borough participate, we will “break even” and make no money but lose none, either. Fire Chief Cuzzy Rowles added to Stewart’s presentation, stating that Stewart seems to be conservative and that, should the Borough implement the program, then we will be eligible for numerous state and federal grants to buy things like a new trash truck. Listening to Stewart and Rowles talk, it sounds like if 20% of homes recycle, the Borough may actually make a few dollars on the deal and we may qualify for grants to pay for things we had to do anyway (at some point, we will need a new truck).
Stewart’s team made a campaign promise about recycling and at the very next meeting, he presented research to help move toward implementing the idea. Stewart did tell residents that he did not think it was feasible to have the program up and running before January, as outreach within the community to ensure participation would be a key component of the program should the Council decide to adopt the idea (there are grants available to pay for this outreach).
During the round table discussion, Dave Paterson mentioned that a community garden was in the works, thanks to some land owned by Armen Pace. I would anticipate we will hear more about this in the upcoming meetings. Karen Reeves asked if anyone knew who took down the basketball hoops in Village? These courts would fall under the jurisdiction of the recreation board. After an awkward pause, Orr chimed in with, “Sometimes, they take them down. I’ll take care of it.”
Questions: Who is ‘they?’ and why can ‘they’ take down the basketball nets whenever ‘they’want? Who authorized ‘they’ to take them down? And how does no one know anything about what ‘they’ did? Hmmm…..
Maybe it was a police issue? If so, that might explain why Orr knew how to fix the problem, as maybe he is actually the ‘they’ that ordered someone to take them down. That brings us to the last issue of the evening. Both Reeves and Stewart tried to talk about the bike patrol. Both talked about wanting it initiated for some weekends during the summer months. If there was an issue in the Village with the basketball courts, having 2 extra officers on duty could have helped ensure the safety of the residents while letting the kids play. However, Orr was completely noncommittal on reinstating the bike patrol, saying that it was his sole decision to have or not have the bikes because it was an operational function of the police force, thus falling under the Mayor’s duties.
So, Orr campaigned on the idea of having a bike patrol, is the sole decision maker on whether or not we have one, we don’t have one, and Orr wonders why we did not believe his campaign promises? Hmm…..money can’t be the reason why we don’t have one. In March, Orr stated that he saved the Borough $25,000 in police arbitration fees. Click on the link to read the article for yourself. If that is true, then there is plenty of money available to fund the bike patrol. The bike patrol costs approximately $400 per night to operate. If we were to use the bike patrol two nights per week ($800 per week) for the summer months (June, July, August-about 10-12 weeks), the total cost of the program would be $8,000-$9,600.
If what Orr said about saving $25,000 is true, it sounds like we saved enough money for this year’s bike patrol, next year’s bike patrol, and some money for the following year, too.
The bike patrol increases staffing, visibility, patrolling, community relations, responds to a community need and costs no money to residents because the money is already in the budget.
So, why not have a bike patrol? I guess the Mayor alone will have to explain his thinking because like he said, the decision is his. Meanwhile, Stewart and his team are moving forward with a beautification ideas and a recycling program that will benefit all residents.