Souderton Borough Council President Tracy W. Burke said the executive board wants to see a 10% cut in borough expenses across the board.
The goal, he said, is to “hold the line on taxes” especially after this year’s increase in the real estate tax rate, which exceeded 35%.
Burke asked to put a temporary hold on the hiring of any new staff, or capital projects excluding two new police officer positions, which were previously approved and budgeted.
Each council member needs to assess discretionary spending, such as conferences, excluding the upcoming NEMO classes for new council members. The Newly Elected Municipal Officials Boot Camp, known as NEMO, is seen as critical for new borough officials.
In other meeting business, a presentation to council showcased changes being made for the new Bright Path Kids (child care center) facility on the former grounds of the fitness facility at 76 S. County Line Road in Souderton.
The informational session was to make council aware of the projected changes. Child safety was discussed, as the parking lot and building are adjacent to heavily traveled County Line Road. No school buses will be involved and parents will be expected to drive into the parking lot, park their cars and walk their children into the child care center.
Police Chief Brian Newhall advised that year to date, criminal arrests were down 8%, major crimes down 24% and minor crimes up 13%. There were two catalytic converter thefts in December. One of the thefts was witnessed “in progress,” however the witness did not call the police until after the theft.
Newhall provided information that since April 2023, the borough’s partnership with the Bus Patrol program resulted in 109 violations with 47 civil citations.
Sixty-two citations were dismissed for a variety of reasons such as confirmation of ownership, lack of evidence, and reported incidents occurring outside the jurisdiction of the Souderton Police district.
Citations include a fine, $25, but do not affect the status of the driver’s license. To date, no one has contested the citations.
Council also discussed the poor conditions of Souderton’s sidewalks. It was reported that the conditions of sidewalks seemed to range from poor to horrible.
President Tracy suggested that the borough should start a pilot program listing the streets with the worst conditions to the least problematic to have a better understanding of the total impact. Mayor Yocum’s online Mayor’s Memo reports that Borough Manager Stacy Crandell is looking to formalize a road, alley, and sidewalk replacement program to repair and replace Souderton’s streets in need.
The next council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight,