I believe we can offer businesses a thriving environment to relocate and grow. New businesses bring energy, jobs and revenue to our community. The Business Commons and many other commercial spaces are here and ready. And I have a plan on how to bring new business to the Township. Newtown is OPEN FOR BUSINESS!
I serve as the Board liaison to the Economic Development Committee. I am the only candidate who is actively reaching out to real estate developers, to commercial brokers, to CEO’s, to high-tech and pharma companies to bring them to Newtown. I have many local, state and national contacts from my financial planning business and my extensive network; this is a critical asset in finding and working with people whose companies would be a good fit for Newtown.
While leading the Finance Committee, I recognized the enormous positive impact new business would bring to the Township. I will be partnering with the Township and County Planning Commissions, and the Economic Development Committee to expand our reach to aggressively recruit new business.
I believe that we must be good stewards not only of our financial resources, but of our unique and vibrant community. Governing requires leadership and leadership requires tough decisions that are made for the good of all the people, not of special interests.
My financial plan is a responsible one; it deals with reality, long-term fiscal health and tough choices. In 2015 Lockheed Martin, a major employer and taxpayer, left Newtown. Their departure created a $700,000 deficit PER YEAR in Township revenue; over 7 years, that’s nearly $5 million in lost tax dollars. Republican-majority Boards ignored the cumulative declines in revenue, refusing to address critical shortages as they occurred. Instead, reserve funds were used to “fill the gaps”. They also allowed critical positions to go unfilled and reduced spending levels beyond “belt tightening.” The lack of leadership and refusal to make difficult decisions drove the Township to the brink of bankruptcy. Past mismanagement, lack of a plan to address changing circumstances and historical neglect of our financial situation have resulted in reduced staffing, lack of road improvements, no reserve fund, and more.
I believe we need to invest in our community to maintain the quality of life that makes Newtown the special place it is. This means having a long-range plan that puts our money where our priorities are, namely into good roads, maintaining our open spaces and parks, attracting new businesses to increase our tax base, maintaining well-equipped and fully-staffed emergency and community services and more. This type of planning has been neglected by Republican Boards who consistently say NO to any tax increases, even when expenses rise and revenues decline. This is simply irresponsible governance and lack of vision based on wishful thinking.
When I became a Supervisor in 2020, I knew that a long-term financial plan was necessary for us to regroup and build back. I reached out to other Townships across Pennsylvania to get ideas and recommendations on consulting resources to guide the Board in our budget process. I brought in a municipal consulting firm with whom the Board of Supervisors and the Budget Committee to developed a 5-year budget, which we are implementing now. I have a strong financial background and my expertise was a driving force in getting us to address today’s situation and plan for tomorrow. We now have an approved 5-year plan that is our fiscally-responsible roadmap for the future.
Believe me, I don’t want to pay more taxes any more than you do! But, just like your personal budget, sometimes we need to reassess, face the facts and make some tough decisions to balance the income and spending. Newtown Township has been in negative territory for some time now, in fact we were teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. The $3 million reserves are gone. So something had to be done to make us financially sound again.
This is a modest tax increase, even though Republicans will use numbers to make this sound like a huge hike. The fact is that Newtown Township residents pay less than $370/year in municipal taxes, among the lowest tax rates in Bucks County. The additional revenue from the increase will be used to hire new police officers, replace the Township Assistant Manager (a position which has been vacant for 3 years under Republicans), purchase a new dump truck and other capital projects. Newtown Township has Council Rock Schools increase taxes every year while the Township has not. This tax increase was necessary to begin to build back our reserves and manage our Township in a fiscally responsible way.
As Newtown Township residents, we take pride in our community. Now the Township is asking for your help and investment in our community through this tax increase. This is we are asked to pull together for the good of our neighborhoods and invest in the services that we enjoy. You will see what your tax dollars get you, and your contribution makes a difference in our community.
I want Newtown Township to continue to build its foundation as a great place to live, work, pray and play! Our community is growing and changing in a good way, which takes planning, insight and vision. When I deal with any Township issue, my focus is on whether the proposed change will enhance our community, make it more family-friendly, expand its appeal to visitors and residents alike, and make Newtown an even better place to live and work.
The continuing quality of our community relies on responsible citizenry supporting essential municipal services. I believe citizens have a responsibility to support and fund critical municipal departments. Police and firefighters protect lives and property of all residents. Public Works not only repair our roads, but maintain parks and ball fields for our kids. The Parks & Recreation Department offers a wide range of programs that serve the Newtown community and beyond. We must ensure that these departments are funded so that they can be fully staffed, able to afford state-of-the-art equipment, be funded to invest in training, and continue to offer and expand community programming.
We cannot say we support law enforcement and not provide the funding to back that up. Our department is fully accredited by the State due to this training of our fully vetted/trained officers and equipment. Not every community in Bucks County can say that. The department is adding 2 officers in the next budget, and more will be added as we can afford them.
I am in frequent contact with Chief John Hearn about the state of the PD, how to improve it and what positive changes should be considered.
The Township has 8 full-time firefighters and a Chief on staff; they have 3 trucks, including a brand new Hook & Ladder!
The staff firefighters work 6am-6pm Monday-Friday. The back-up team, which covers 6pm-6am and weekends, is Newtown Fire Association (NFA). NFA is staffed by trained volunteers who ensure that the community is protected 24/7. Currently there is a shortage of NFA volunteers. I am exploring ways to support a stipend payment for these firefighters who serve the community in a critical role.
Public Works (PWD) maintain our roadways; plow the snow, cut grass all around the Township including our ball fields, empty public trash cans on Sycamore Street, and much more. PWD has a fleet of more than 15 large and mid-size trucks, which undergo regular maintenance. The number of PWD workers has been reduced drastically over the years due to budgetary constraints and attention must be paid to having a full complement of employees available to get work done more quickly.
Parks & Rec is the face of the Township to more people than anything else we do! It is a primary draw for new residents and their businesses. The programs and first-class sport facilities are our ambassadors to people who may know little about Newtown other than they have visited here with their kids for team competitions… and they like what they see!
Parks & Rec offers hundreds of programs each year, for all ages and interests. These are fee-based courses that help to fund the department. These reasonable user fees for residents and non-residents alike produce revenue the makes the department nearly self-funding. In 2019, revenues from Parks & Rec were about $580,000; the year-to-date revenue in 2021 is $450,000.
This year there was a proposal to totally eliminate Parks & Rec from the budget, which I vigorously opposed. Parks & Rec is essential: it is the Township’s way of serving its constituents by offering something of value back to the community.
I want to celebrate the diversity in our Township and to bring people together on a local level. I want to create programs and events that allow our community to gather together to learn about each other, to honor our common interests and to explore our differences with kindness and tolerance. What a gift of love these kinds of gatherings can be!
I helped organize the Garden of Reflection Vigil on 6/4/2020 after the murder of George Floyd – the turnout was unbelievable, a steady line of cars from 6pm until after 11pm, cars filled with families of all races who were horrified by this event. I want more events where we can come together to talk, and then to do good things in Newtown and in our nation. Let’s do this NOW.
I will lead the effort to find ways to initiate a forum for open discussion by having the Township partner with groups like The Peace Center and interfaith organizations. Is this government business? I say YES: it’s the people’s business, it’s our nation’s business and as Supervisor, I can make a difference by supporting this kind of initiative.
I believe we have the chance to improve our community with responsible planning and growth. No more over-development like the Villages of Newtown which has caused so much congestion! We can be smart about how we envision our Township. We can preserve history while creating a 21st century community! I will base my decisions about development on ensuring the quality of life in Newtown for all its residents, not for just a few special interests.
Over the past several decades, our farms have been sold off to housing developers. Although we still enjoy protected open spaces and parks, Newtown is a magnet for builders because it is such a desirable place to live: Council Rock School District is top-rated, we enjoy a thriving historic town in the Boro, we have great restaurants and shops – it’s no secret why Newtown continues to grow. The challenge for the future is smart planning to maintain a balance between residential communities, the growing commercial/business areas, and the open spaces. Smart planning means fighting for the right kind of development: low-profile buildings, more housing options, open space balanced with development. Smart planning also means respecting zoning for the benefit of the community, standing strong against devious developers and their representatives.
I am currently working with planning officials to develop a comprehensive plan to re-imagine and improve the Business Commons. There are so many opportunities to repurpose existing commercial space and create new business hubs. We need to make our business areas more business-friendly by adding simple amenities like sidewalks, outdoor spaces, and food shops. Through smart planning and moderate investment, we can create desirable office spaces to attract new business to the Township. This is good for our community because it increases the tax base and helps local businesses when new workers shop and eat in our town.
I am committed to making decisions in the best interest of our Township. Arcadia owns and has submitted plans for development of a piece of land that borders Newtown Crossing, Eagle Ridge, Crown Point and Liberty Square. 6 years ago, Arcadia proposed building 33 single-family homes; at that time, Kyle Davis and the Republican-controlled Board voted NO. Arcadia has come back again and again with different development plans.
This year we negotiated the proposed 87 units down to 60 single-family homes with the help and input of all four concerned Homeowner Associations. I voted with the Board to accept this plan. Our legal team could have fought this but it was clear that Arcadia would win that fight. It was our decision to spare the Township the expense of a legal battle that we would lose.
I stand by my decision. I am a steward of the Township, its funds and well-being. I will always vote based on common sense rather than political affiliation.