Pottstown Borough

Pottstown Borough government, including the Pottstown Water and Sewer Authority, has 165 full and part-time employees and a 2016 budget of $57 million.

The descriptions of its various departments, the services they provide, and the people they employ, are described on the Borough’s official Web site. 

Among Borough departments are:

Police
Fire
Public Works
Codes and Zoning
Parks & Recreation

The Borough and its contractors also operate municipal parking lots, a small airport, a Cable TV operation, curbside trash collection, and a small bus system. 

Although the Borough's Web site has a great deal of useful information, we have added some items you will not find elsewhere.

Spending

Our first consideration is government spending. Local government (including the Pottstown School District) will spend about $114 million this year, of which $90 million comes directly from Pottstown taxpayers. To see a chart showing the services provided by your tax dollars and the cost of each, click here.

During the last dozen years, Pottstown Borough has sought and received nearly $5.5 million in government grants for such things as new infrastructure, home improvement subsidies, parks, a theater group, and a carousel (yet to be completed). To see a chart of these grants, click here.

Health and Wellness Foundation

Pottstown has a Health and Wellness Foundation created in 2003 by the sale of the non-profit Pottstown Memorial Medical Center to the for-profit Community Health Systems. Most of the proceeds went to establish a trust fund overseen by a 15-member, self-perpetuating foundation board whose members serve 3-year terms.

Thus far, the foundation has given out more than $29 million since 2004 to promote healthy living within a ten-mile radius of Pottstown. To see where the money went, click here. (Because the chart is taken from the Foundation's Form 990 reports to the IRS, the most recent year available is 2014-2015.)

Employers and employees

Pottstown employers. As of Jan. 1, 2017, Pottstown had 775 employers and 10,383 employees. For a list click here.

PAID

Fifty years ago, Pottstown Area Industrial Development Inc. (PAID) was created by the chamber of commerce to encourage economic development in the Pottstown area. In 1984, PAID was designated to sell lots in the newly created 50-acre Airport Business Campus adjacent to the Pottstown Municipal Airport. Proceeds from the sales help fund its operations. PAID was reorganized in 2010 to focus specifically on the Borough of Pottstown, and Steve Bamford was hired as full-time director, working out of the Tri-County Chamber of Commerce office at High and Hanover streets. PAID's Web site can be found by clicking here.

PAID's latest financial statement, which is not on its Web site, can be viewed by clicking here. PAID receives financial support from Pottstown Borough, Pottstown School District, The Hill School, the Health and Wellness Foundation, the hospital, Montgomery County Community College, and Main Line Financial.


Rentals and inspections

Rental inspections. For at least three decades, Pottstown recognized that residental rental properties, in general, create far more problems than owner-occupied properties. But only last year did Council inventory its rental properties and hire a firm to do a cost-benefit analysis to determine how much rental properties cost the borough in services compared to owner occupied properties. To view the report by Better Landlords Inc., click here.

Meanwhile, the borough conducted a detailed inventory of all rental properties in Pottstown. To view a detailed list, as we received from the borough in February 2015, click here. The inventory shows Pottstown contains 5,413 rental units. Amazingly, about 2,500 of these units were not registered as required by a 2002 borough ordinance. So while conscientious landlords were continually having their rental units inspected, scofflaws were not. Starting in August 2015, the borough says, it will inspect every rental unit on a bi-annual basis.

The borough now publishes a list of rental properties on its website, which you can reach directly by clicking here.

Borough Council also recently passed an ordinance (click here) to try to force owners or caretakers of all vacant properties (usually banks for properties in foreclosure) to register their properties with the borough and to maintain them.

Homeownership initiative

Homeownership initiative. Beginning in 2003, the Borough has spent about $1.1 million to subsidize private home improvements in certain areas of Pottstown (click here). Most of the funds came as grants from Montgomery County. The program, administered by the borough, offers forgivable loans of $5,000 to homeowners for basic improvements. If the homeowner stays in the home for seven years, the loan is forgiven at a rate of 1/7th of the loan per year. If the homeowner sells the home prior to seven years, the unforgiven portion of the loan must be paid back. Loans were also offered for the reduction of rental units at a rate of $5,000 for each rental unit removed. For a list of the 158 properties receiving grants, click here.

Genesis Housing Corporation. In the late 1990s, a non-profit community housing agency called Genesis Housing Corp. began rehabilitating existing homes in Pottstown for low-income residents.  Genesis later expanded its efforts to building new housing, such as twin houses, above, on a formerly vacant parcel on May Street. Nearly 200 residential units have been constructed or rehabilited. For a summary, click here.