Outgoing mayor reflects on last 8 years in office
Updated On: Dec 30 2011 05:06:30 AM CST
Reading Mayor Tom McMahon's time in office is quickly coming to an end.
He is looking back over his past two terms and describing his job as an eight-year challenge.
"It's been an absolute learning experience, and I had a chance to work with some wonderful people," said McMahon.
The retired engineer first ran for mayor, saying the city needed a new direction. During his tenure in City Hall, McMahon said he worked hard to make the city a better place than it was in 2003.
"We wanted people to say this is a place we would like to move to, this is a place we'd like to work in or raise a family," said McMahon.
The mayor said he is proud to have a hand in the building of the GoggleWorks and IMAX theater and renovating the Pagoda.
Then, there's crime. The mayor said crime is dropping and he credits that to re-hiring police Chief Bill Heim.
But there were many bumps along the way. McMahon said his biggest challenge was housing.
"I think there was an assumption we we're just going to go in and take properties, 3,000 or 4,000 properties, and transform them overnight into really good properties," said McMahon.
Then, there is poverty. Under his reign, Reading garnered the title of poorest city in the country. And one of McMahon's toughest decisions, he said, was applying for Act 47 to save the city from bankruptcy.
"I'm glad I did. Act 47 was the right thing for us to do," he said.
Eight years after taking office, McMahon is not looking back, but instead to the future.
He said he is taking a few months off, spending time in Central America. He also plans to make the transition process for Mayor-elect Vaughn Spencer as smooth as possible.
Spencer will be sworn in at noon on Mon., Jan. 2, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Reading.
Copyright 2012 WFMZ-TV & Maranatha Broadcasting Company, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Family desperate for answers in search for missing woman
City's "ugly" Christmas tree causes controversy
Family's home still stands as gaping sinkhole remains open in front yard
Lehigh County animal shelter in dire need of food donations
Reading parting ways with 'ugly' Christmas tree
18-wheeler rolls over, dumps beams on road
Local tragedy sheds light on drowsy-driving epidemic
Amber Alert cancelled for missing infant; baby found safe
Near-record warmth today, SNOW possible by Wednesday
Balloon release marks one-year since Holly Grim's disappearance