(for a much more detailed explanation on Ross's ideas for Pottstown, click on the link in the upper right hand corner for "A Vision for Pottstown")
Background - Ross is a relative newcomer to Pottstown, formerly residing in Upstate NY and running a business across the border in Matamoras, PA. Ross is an restoration specialist of fine Classic Automobiles. He has restored a multitude of cars over his 30 plus years in the craft, many of them being rare and unusual 1930's era Packards, Cadillacs, Lincolns, Buggattis and many others that have taken the highest awards at national Concours events. His restorations have included a first place finish at the most prestigious show in the United States, the Pebble Beach Concours D`Elegance, with a one of a kind classic called the Indianappolis built by Boano of Turino in 1955. He has managed and owned shops during his career as well as many other various occupations during his lifetime to give him a well rounded background and perspective from many different angles. Other than his automotive background, most notable of which was a ten year stint at Sussex Motor and Coach Works before Opening his own shop in the same location after the owner retired, he has worked in the construction industries in asphalt paving as well as landscaping. He has worked in IT as a web designer and network management for an ISP. Ross often takes on several jobs at once and still delivers a high quality product. After the downturn of 2008 he even took a job at Wal-Mart for a while, where he worked his way up to management and reorganized his department after being in disarray before he got there. He is now in the employ of Triumph Rescue in Bally PA where he maintains their web presence and sister businesses of British Wiring as well as personally restores British Automobiles. He is currently working on a very rare 1965 Aston-Martin DB5 Left Hand Drive Convertible.
Ross has also worked with computers from an early age. He can remember the days of the VIC 20 and Commodore 64. When a 5mb hard drive was wondrous and the days of 2600 modems and BBS's. Technology can be a fantastic thing to make a better world when used properly. Ross would like to see Pottstown move along and start catching up with the many benefits technology has to offer in today's world. Ross has recently been accepted as a member of the local Pottstown Classics Car Club where he is currently in the beginning stages of revamping their website. Ross understands social marketing and can utilize these skills to help Pottstown market itself to a wider audience. You can visit his campaign Facebook page by clicking here.
Economic Efficiency - Ross is a no frills candidate and believes in saving taxpayers money wherever possible yet spending where necessary. Our website is a reflection of that. Efficiency is key to that success, such as the recent reorganization of some departments by the new Borough Manager. Ross believes we need to become as efficient as possible and still add income to the tax base by bringing in businesses. He believes it is definitely not in our best interests to continue to raise the percentage of tax rates on the residents and should only happen as a last resort. We need to break free of the cycle of increasing taxes and losing people and business which in turn leads to more tax increases. We need to start doing what we can to increase the desirability of Pottstown.
Time to Take Action - Ross believes that action is required to achieve any goal. Even in government where the wheels can turn very slowly, we cannot create change if we do not take the first steps. Even as Pottstown has what is known as a "weak mayor" system, Ross will do all he can to achieve our common goals. And even more so, your actions, your votes for your councilors and mayor make a difference. Your letters and emails make a difference. Your participation with the council and school board makes a difference. Your government cannot know what you really want unless you tell them. Yelling at the newspaper does no good. You need to make your voice heard and Ross would like to hear your comments. Let's all do our part to make Pottstown what we really want it to be!
Re-Branding as a Modernized Cultural Hub- Ross has been paying attention to the distress Pottstown finds itself in and the lack of fully coordinated efforts to bring jobs and growth to the Borough. Ross realizes that factory jobs employing thousands are not coming back to the area anytime soon and we need to re-brand ourselves for today's world and beyond. Simply waiting for large amounts of factory jobs to fill the empty mills is not our best use of resources. Most factories today would prefer to build from scratch. We need to find better ways to utilize our existing structures if we are to succeed. Ross would also like to do all he can to promote the almost perfectly situated Pottstown as a Technological and Cultural Hub for the region. In doing this we can all benefit from increased property values as well as a better overall atmosphere and appearance. Bringing high value unique business can set us apart from the shopping malls and box stores that we can never really successfully compete with.
Cameras as a Deterrent- Ross sees a need for cameras to be located downtown as well as other hotspots to monitor and deter crimes. Having cameras up also help visitors to feel more secure as they spend time here. Cameras are both relatively easy to install and monitor as well as inexpensive. There are government programs available that can help or may even eliminate costs to the borough. For any cost the benefits are simply too much for Pottstown to ignore if we are going to be serious about revitalization.
Business Friendly Atmosphere- Ross would like to try to level the playing field in regards to business in Pottstown. Simply put if we cannot get business to locate here we cannot ever create jobs. Without jobs we have no improvement to our tax base. Without an improving tax base, everyone's taxes go up. Right now our core problem is that we simply cannot compete with the surrounding areas as far as business costs and hurdles. Ross has many different suggestions to offer, including a variation of the homeowner initiative, where businesses would pay taxes as normal but if they stay for 5 years they may get an incentive, depending on the location. This combined with the current Downtown Business Initiative can make opening up shop very attractive to an investor as compared to outside the borough, yet with no loss to the town if they do not make it work, unlike the Keystone Opportunity Zones where they get a guaranteed tax break up front whether they stay or not. Other important items are changes to the codes department. Right now many good businesses have given up trying to fight the system the way it is structured. We need to have a clear and efficient path for a builder or business owner to be able to follow and decisivensess. Business needs clear answers, simple yes or no decisions make a huge difference.
Unity of Purpose - Pottstown has a wealth of fantastic people that are doing a lot to make Pottstown great. However many of them are pulling in different directions yet trying to achieve the same goal. Ross would like to see if we can find a small thread of this group and a thread of that interest and start building a rope out of those common threads. Eventually we will all be pulling in the same direction and going back up the hill to prosperity.
Regional Interconnectedness - Working with the surrounding area and providing complimentary business instead of competing business may be the key to the future. Ross feels that we need to spend effort marketing and promoting Pottstown as a new destination of the unique and hard to find business and culture so that we may start shaking off the image of a deteriorating industrial city from a bygone era. We need to move with time not against it. We need to not isolate ourselves from the area but to explore all the avenues we have to work together. We are not an Island, but a part of a larger world. We need to not find differences with others, but common ground we can all benefit from.
Community Communication - We need to enhance communication between the people and their government. Ross would like to see your ideas, suggestions, problems to report, good news, and anything that you have to say about Pottstown. Ross really does care and really wants to do what he can for you. Ross would like to develop a website where you can submit your thoughts to him via a website, email, Facebook or maybe even a phone app, and he can take your ideas to the council meetings where they can be heard and read into the record. Our representatives are there to do just that, represent you, so let them know what you want them to do!
Community Participation - Another aspect of communication is participation. It may be hard to fathom, but right now your elected councilor, the person that has say over what happens in the borough and to an extent your life, can win with as little as about 30 votes in some districts in a city of about 22,000 people! And many times these same people, again the ones that are ultimately responsible for the laws and direction the city is going, are elected unopposed! We the people need to start stepping up. We need to start communicating and participating. We need to start running for office. Many people complain about the direction of Pottstown, but it will not change until you help create it! Please vote for change this year. Even if you have never voted before, now is the time. Your vote really does matter very, very much, especially when so little turn out to vote.