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Bamboo Spread Comes to a Head in Pennsburg
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            A resident of Hunter Drive told Pennsburg Borough Council that bamboo has infested his property and two others in his neighborhood.

            Bill Ingram appeared at Tuesday's council meeting on behalf of himself and other neighbors asking the members to help control the spread of the invasive woody plant with a hollow stem. Council agreed, directing solicitor Matthew Hovey to create an ordinance allowing municipal officials to deal with invasive grasses.

            Ingram, who lives in the 900 block of Hunter Drive, passed out thick pieces of a bamboo tree, which measured 17 feet tall, he had cut on his property. Ingram also passed out photos of the wood plant, which grows a foot a day. One of the photos showed how a stem poked through a piece of plywood.

            One resident of the 200 block of 8th Street discovered between 80 and 100 shoots on his property, according to Ingram.  "This is not acceptable," said member Bruce Lord, holding a small piece of the cut bamboo.

            Following his presentation, Ingram claimed that the bamboo originated on his next door neighbor's property, and that it has spread to the homes on either side along Hunter Drive as well as one residence on 8th Street.

            Ingram said the next door neighbor initially agreed to do something about the source of the bamboo. However, after multiple hang-ups, the neighbor eventually said "there was nothing he could do" since the borough has not passed an ordinance restricting the substance.

            Golden bamboo, an enormous member of the grass family Poaceae, spreads predominately through vegetative growth, according to a Pennsylvania Department of Community and Natural Resources fact sheet. The fast-growing species expands quickly by underground rhizomes, and will often find its way out of confinement to infest nearby areas despite containment measures.

              In other news, council tabled a motion to consider amendments proposed by the finance committee.  Last month, Diane Stevens a member of Pennsburg's finance committee, and Mayor Vicki Lightcap identified potential savings of $128,500 for the Borough. The savings were necessary to make up a $166,000 budget deficit.

            According to Lightcap, officials discovered the shortfall in March after an agreement with East Greenville to contract with Pennsburg to utilize the Upper Perk Police Department fell through.

            On Tuesday, Lightcap informed the members that the borough's 2017 audit had no deficiencies and no fraud.  The mayor publicly thanked Lisa Hiltz, the Borough's Administrative Manager, during the meeting.

            The Upper Perk Police Department responded to 506 calls for service in June, according to Officer Jamie Sands. He told council that the officers responded to five non-reportable accidents, conducted 35 traffic investigations, issued 20 traffic citations and 20 warnings as well as four parking tickets or warnings.

            The department dealt with eight crimes, including four incidents of public drunkenness/ identity theft, and one count each of theft, trespassing, forgery/fraud/identity theft and a borough ordinance.

            Vice President Frederick Schutte, Jr. and members F. Robert Seville and Stevens did not attend the meeting. 





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