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CWA cannot be sold to pay Chester’s debts

Although speculation of a Chester Water Authority (CWA) takeover by water utility conglomerate Aqua America, Inc. has quelled, there is still lingering speculation that Chester City officials are still attempting to move forward with taking up Aqua’s $250 million sale proposal. Chester hopes the multi-million dollar sale means a bailout out of decades of being classified as a distressed municipality under Act 47. If the city fails to bring itself to financial stability, it will face a state takeover next May. Although city officials have not publicly said they plan to emerge from Act 47 solely through selling the CWA, sources speculate that city officials are quietly lured by Aqua’s eight-page proposal letter. It reads in part: “the City of Chester and both Chester and Delaware counties would benefit from this transaction” by reducing “long-term financial obligations.” It further concluded: “Finally, a sale would allow the City of Chester to emerge from Act 47 status.” And movement from city officials, in response to the proposal letter, fuels the speculation that the city is in favor of an Aqua buyout. So far, the city has refused to pass a resolution demonstrating solidarity with the CWA board’s decision to decline the sale in May, but more than half of the CWA’s municipal consumer base has passed resolutions backing the board. And city officials attended the September board meeting in force and...

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Alleged serial sex offender arrested again

Last Thursday, twice arrested Chester police officer Albert Dion Ross was arrested a third time after turning himself in at the Delaware County Courthouse in Media for allegedly sexually assaulting women on duty, after another accuser came forward. With the addition of the latest alleged victim, referred to as “Victim #4” in an affidavit written by County Investigative Division (CID) Det. Robert Lythgoe, there are a total of five known accusers going back to the previous law enforcement agencies where Ross was employed and reportedly reprimanded for similar accusations of sexual assault. Each of these accusations from the officer’s...

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Chester set to receive portion of $500K in secured funds to combat gun violence

State Rep. Brian Kirkland, D-Delaware, announced that the city of Chester, along with other areas in Delaware County, will benefit from $500K in state money to combat gun violence and expand the Delaware County Gun Violence Task Force. Chester has recently been plagued with an increase in homicides, mostly due to gun violence, as reported by the Delaware County District Attorney’s office. The district attorney’s office has enforced sentencing illegal gun suppliers with a mandatory minimum of five to 10 years in prison. Kirkland said that he has supported the development of the Delaware County Gun Violence Task Force, which came together this year to combat area gun violence. Local council members, community leaders, members of the Delaware County District Attorney’s office, Chester’s mayor’s office and other law enforcement officials met to discuss how to reduce the incidents of gun violence and the source of the crimes being committed. The funds secured will be used to expand the anti-gun violence task force with the addition of special agents and independently funding other law enforcement personnel. For more information about this initiative or for help with state-related issues, please call Kirkland’s office at 610-876-6420 or email Malcolm Yates at...

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On-again-off-again hearing for Chester cop is on-again

A preliminary hearing for twice-arrested Chester City police officer Albert Dion Ross has been scheduled at Springfield District Court on Nov. 30 at 9 a.m. Ross, who was initially arrested on Aug. 30 for allegedly sexually assaulting women while on duty, was rearrested roughly two weeks later following the emergence of another accuser. Multiple hearings were scheduled, since Ross’ second arrest, but each date was continued, including the latest on Thursday, Oct. 19 at Springfield District Court in front of Magisterial District Judge James Merkins. A spokesperson for the court said the session was continued at the request of...

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