Fast Three: Curbside Library Service, Tips on Coping with the Pandemic, and Grab Your Budget Calculators

SANATOGA PA – The Post doesn’t play with the news, but we do experiment with it.

What you’re reading is “Fast Three,” The Post’s latest effort to keep readers informed and entertained. Our weekdays-only goal is to find three local newsworthy items daily between 11 a.m. and 1:55 p.m. (just shy of three hours), condense them into a fast read of three or fewer paragraphs each, and publish them by 2 p.m.

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In Pottstown, librarians come out to deliver to you

This morning (Monday, Aug. 17, 2020) from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Pottstown Regional Public Library employees and volunteers were available to come to the curb, outside the library rear parking lot doors at 500 E. High St., for contactless delivery of books and other media to patrons who placed orders online. They’ll be available there Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6 p.m., as well, and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The pick-up program, described in detail on its webpage here and also emulated at Montgomery County’s other libraries, has been successful in keeping patrons connected with the reading, listening, and viewing materials they crave, Library Executive Director Kathy Arnold-Yerger told the county Board of Commissioners in a phone report during its meeting Thursday (Aug. 13). Commissioners’ Chair Dr. Val Arkoosh praised Yerger and her staff for keeping the public happily learning.

In an “if-you-didn’t-know” moment, Yerger also reported public computer research under free library access to the database has skyrocketed. Monthly searches, she said, increased 120 percent compared to last year’s figures. That means plenty of people are using their free time at home or elsewhere to determine where they came from and how. Learn more about the Ancestry access here.

Pottstown superintendent’s tip: include, and count on, ‘team members’

The summer of coronavirus hasn’t been easy for education administrators, or educators in general, Pottstown School District Superintendent Stephen Rodriguez readily admits. He and his colleagues across Montgomery County have been forced to deal with questions for which there are few best answers. How do districts safely open schools? How do they deal with disease spread, if it occurs? And how can they pay for all the accompanying unforeseen expenses?

Rodriguez, in a piece just published by the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (flagged by school board member John Armato in a Monday e-mail at 12:45 p.m.), offers three tips he relies on to get through the problems of the pandemic. The first may not only be the most important but, from a public perspective, also the most comforting. To his administrative audience, Rodriguez writes:

“Team members, including the school board, my fellow county superintendents, and the district staff are critical. But this is a pandemic. The ‘team’ got extended to parents, community members, and key business leaders. Each of these groups, that make up your incredibly intelligent team, can and will give you great advice.” His other tips: communicate “truthfully and compassionately;” and don’t let the “noise” of competing factions “cloud your judgment or stop you from doing what is right.”

Budget work begins anew in Lower Pottsgrove Township, elsewhere

Monday represents the start of a new week and, according to Lower Pottsgrove Township Manager Ed Wagner, it also marks the start of the township 2021 budget calendar. From now through November, Wagner said during the Board of Commissioners’ most recent (Aug. 3) meeting, its Finance Committee and department directors will work to determine how they can do as much, or more, with potentially less revenue.

Even if adjusted only for inflation, costs likely will increase. Meanwhile, township Treasurer Jennifer Marsteller reported, revenue from real estate taxes is arriving a tad more slowly than the same time last year. With people out of work during the pandemic, earned income taxes are expected to be lower … maybe significantly so.

Other municipalities indicate they, too, are in the same boat.

Photo by Heffloaf via Wikimedia Commons, used under a Creative Commons license