I am Vice-President of , and serve on the Administration & Finance Committee. My colleague on Council and Chairman of that Committee, Dan Dunigan, .
Since they can’t seem to tell you, the residents of Lansdale, both sides of anything, I’m going to address the continued half-truths of
Mssrs. Hansen and DiGregorio would lead you to believe that they alone secured several million dollars in various grants single-handedly. They were two members of a nine-member Council and there was additional great effort from borough staff for sure, so it would appear that they had some help in these matters.
Also, they conveniently omitted that it was under the current council that actions were taken to actually get the streetscape project underway. It had languished for several years while Hansen and DiGregorio were on council.
Also, the Wood/Vine project was nearly lost when it was revealed that to allow the project would have required the taking of private property. I personally appeared at the hearing at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission with a petition on behalf of affected homeowners in Ward 1 to block the re-titling of Vine & Wood Streets as federal roads to avoid the taking of property.
Messrs. Hansen and DiGregorio were council president and vice president, respectively, when they endorsed the original street plan that would have taken peoples’ properties. The current council and borough staff worked tirelessly with PennDOT, changed and saved the project for the betterment of Lansdale.
Regarding the budget, reducing deficit spending isn’t good enough. Deficit spending is a deferred tax. The current council, without the support of Hansen and DiGregorio, ended years of deficit spending. As for being debt-free, they both know (or should know) that that was never going to happen. It’s a best practice to match long term assets (streets and sewers) to long term (and low interest) borrowing when you can, and we did.
Further, in January 2010, as a new member of council, I don’t recall anyone saying the prior budget was anything but a mess we had to deal with, and we did. We took Hansen and DiGregorio’s deficit (deferred tax increase) budget and fixed it. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t painless. However, it was the right thing to do. We could no longer kick the can down the road for someone else to pick up.
Regarding the bond borrowing, councilmen Hansen and DiGregorio conveniently omitted the $1.2 million in upfront savings when they noted the additional interest costs to the Borough.
We needed those savings to fix their broken budget. We need the funds from the borrowing to invest in the infrastructure, which capital projects they had at zero dollars in their budget.
That’s not a plan. That’s not caring about the borough and its residents. That’s politically expedient.
Councilmen Hansen and DiGregorio also mention the parking authority. Despite almost four years of involvement on council, it’s apparent that they don’t know that the parking authority is a separate entity with its own governing body.
Council makes the appointments, but we don’t run the parking authority.
As for “found money,” their statement is simply not true. Mr. Hansen was previously the chairman of the Administration & Finance Committee, and when this restricted asset fund was discussed with council over the past year and 10 months, he strangely remained silent.
He now claims to have had full knowledge of the funds, and somehow he knew that a fund titled "Electric Renewal, Replacement, and Redemption Fund" was specifically intended for an emergency at our sewer treatment plant. That’s literally incredible.
As for Hurricane Irene, it was with the hard work of many dedicated borough police officers and staff that we came through in flying colors. After the events of that day, it was noted that having the additional police and staff was critical. Councilmen Hansen and DiGregorio voted against the budget that put those critical additional police and staff in place.
Messrs. Hansen and DiGregorio only like their part of the “facts.” They like stories that are simple and neat. However, there are many stories which are simple, neat, and also wrong.
Hansen and DiGregorio are simply and neatly wrong for Lansdale.
Nov. 8. is Election Day. I am asking you to go to the polls, and think carefully about supporting candidates that, regardless of party affiliation, will continue to do the right things for Lansdale and its residents.
Lansdale Borough Councilman
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