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I was very concerned how the local Republican leader orchestrated our October Borough Council Meeting last night. I'm a long time Ridley Parker and I never have seen a council meeting where the Republican Party Leader has free reign to show off his monetary influence. I've witnessed first hand how much power this one person has to orchestrate our Borough Council.
We heard his speech. How he repeatedly mentioned IBEW 98, his name, and how much money his union gives to Ridley Park. We know where his money come from. The question is why does a Philadelphia based union contribute to a small Delaware County community ?
The biggest orchestrated deception we witnessed was Councilor Paul Matus telling Councilor Dan Broadhurst that owing 1.2 million in bills and having 800,000.00+ to pay with doesn't mean Ridley Park is overspending. According to the Borough independent auditor 2014 was the third year in a row that Ridley Park had deficit spending. Taxes were raised in Ridley Park last year and deficit spending continues!
Councilor Mattus's answer to Councilor Broadhurst on the matter was; "what type of accounting are you using" to determine your figures? If I use basic math skills to figure out this problem I still see that Ridley Park is facing a deficit for a fourth year in a row. Instead of revealing this important news Council Member Berger instead barked at Councilor Broadhurst and asked Broadhurst how he could make such a comment at a Borough Council meeting. The question is when should important financial matters be discussed with the public ? Instead Councilor Berger granted the head of the local Republican party a theatrical show.
Thank you Dan for asking obvious questions to a political group that continues to deceive the residents of Ridley Park. Rather than provide a straight forward answer and a review of the Auditor's report, Councilor Glen, Berger and Mattus shut down any opposition and any questioning. They limit public comments to five minutes and then they answer with their smoke and mirrors accounting.
Next, the Borough Manager added that we have TWO general accounts and some money is not seen on one of the accounts. Are you kidding me? Why do we have two accounts and one that is "invisible"? We were told that this second account was created because the first general fund's account numbers were exposed and we needed to change to a new account? That was two years ago. Another lie that continues to be perpetuated and used to deceive.
The most frequent deception that this council uses when discussing finances is grouping the Capital Reserve Fund with the total money available. The truth is, Council knows it cannot be used to pay bills. The Borough has $800K in total money available. Subtract The Capital Reserve fund ($300K), and subtract the Liquid Fuel Funds and you understand with basic math that Ridley Park has a financial problem.
We learned that the new acting chief Corporal Bobby Frasier has practically cut the overtime from the police and he has only been in charge of scheduling for a few months. What we did not hear about was how Mark Bascelli, the previous acting chief, was allowed two years to give himself overtime and bust our budget. The response from Councilor Holly O'Mahoney was, " We let the police , police themselves."
It's amazing. No talk of the amount of money that our previous acting chief stashed away, while we let him police himself. Apparently after spending all of this money everything is great now and we have more money left to pay bills this year. Apparently we have more money than we did at this time last year according to the borough manager. If we spent extra hundreds of thousands on our ex-acting police chief and the Borough's Auditor says the Borough has deficit spending in several areas, the question is why is no one telling us Ridley PArk is operating in a deficit?
Bob Berger interjected a seemingly bright note that there was great financial news. Our Engineer negotiated $220,000.00 for street resurfacing. Ok, the truth that is not being told is the Utility companies traditionally give Ridley Park money to resurface the areas they tear up. In truth they are paying the Borough to do the utility company's street work and the Borough is gaining NO income! This IS NOT an additional $220K in income in the Borough's General Fund. The truth is this $220,000 is not revenue, it is to repair the streets that were torn up by the Utility company!
We also learned that Ridley Park is waiting on money from the county to pay for basin clean out at The Lake, but the county hasn't committed any money yet. Ridley Park has to coerce the county (who gave us Shale money two years ago to clean the lake and silt basin) that other communities along the Ridley Crum Creek stream add to the silt that runs down stream to it's resting place in Ridley Park's silt basin before it flows into The Lake.
When it comes to one of the most precious resources our Borough owns, I'd like to know what is going to be done about the weed that has overtaken the lake perimeter? Councilor Glenn told us this a new place for wildlife to live and "The Lake" as we know it, and "The Lake" we knew growing up in Ridley Park will not be the lake of the future. It takes money to keep "The Lake" the way Parker's want, and it takes money that has been diverted to other Borough activities. Councilor Glenn has concurred with the Ridley Crum Creek Association that increasing the habitat around the pond is a better way to keep the lake.
Look at The Lake we grew up with and look at our Borough's most precious resource. I believe The Lake is being neglected for financial reasons brought about by this Borough Council and their decisions. I served on Borough Council and asked every hard question. I never steered away from a discussion and I never stayed quiet.
As you are walking to the polls on November 3rd I hope to be standing by the front door of every precinct and greeting everyone who comes out to cast their vote in a very important election. I want to see a very big turn out for my belief in transparency. I want to see a big turn out for the return of common math in handling the Borough's finances. Or, I want to see a big turn out supporting the actions and principles of the incumbent Borough Council. I want to see a turn out that tells me I am wrong and math with smoke and mirrors is right for Ridley Park.
I believe Ridley Park deserves better than a politically orchestrated October Borough Council show. I believe Ridley Park needs to preserve The Lake and I believe Ridley Park Borough Council needs to provide the citizens with a clear financial picture of Ridley Park while limiting the political influence from outside unions from other towns. I believe Ridley Park deserves better.