READING, Pa. — Reading Mayor Eddie Moran laid out his plans for the future of the city during an online summit Wednesday night.

"I would start off by acknowledging that I have tasked community development within the zoning to find a consultant to catch up on the permits that we are somewhat behind on," Moran said.

Members of the city council responded.

"But mayor, you really need to say it can't be part of a plan," said Councilwoman Marsha Goodman-Hinnershitz. "It has to be, if you don't fix roofs, that's when buildings start falling down."

One of the more heated back-and-forth exchanges in the nearly two-hour long Zoom call involved blighted properties in the city and neighbors expressing concerns which they said are falling on deaf ears.

"Complaints had been issued about it," said Councilwoman Donna Reed. "No one ever gets back to them."

"You can't expect people to be happy and, personally, those quality-of-life breakdowns that we used to get, I thought, were very helpful," she said about reports that informed the council of problems in the city.

The mayor responded, saying he plans to start sending to the council reports of quality-of-life problems across the city going forward.

"If I may, if you have brought it to my administration and no results have been given," Moran said, "give me a call directly."

Also, with the return of in-person concerts and events at the Santander Arena, city leaders are discussing how to improve commerce and traffic on Penn Street.

"That's what all the downtown business owners really care about more than anything else, is are they able to have their storefronts in a safe environment?" said Managing Director Abe Amoros. "Is it a clean environment?"

The administration said it plans to use matching federal and state dollars to help the ongoing improvement of downtown Reading.

When it comes to ongoing violence, the mayor is proposing a community liaison position between police and city neighborhoods. He also said he wants to meet one-on-one with councilmembers in the days ahead.

"We all want the same ending results," Moran said, "to see a better Reading."

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