News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents
2.2K views | +3 today
Follow
 
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
onto News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents
Scoop.it!

Some Local Governments Reluctant to Release Employee Wages, Some Don't Keep Complete Records!

Some Local Governments Reluctant to Release Employee Wages, Some Don't Keep Complete Records! | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Ever wonder what government workers are paid?

 

We did, too.

 

The wages of government workers are the single, largest local taxpayer expense. Last year, nearly $500 million went to pay administrators and attorneys, police and public works, park rangers and prison guards in local boroughs and towns, county agencies and public utilities.

 

Yet, it’s not easy obtaining records that show who those public employees are, what they did, or exactly how much they received in total compensation. Some government salaries are posted in budgets approved at public meetings. But, often, the amounts listed in those publicly advertised budgets don’t match the actual amounts paid by taxpayers at the end of the year. Some workers receive educational incentives, longevity pay, overtime or payments in exchange for not excepting government health coverage, among other benefits.

 

Some towns said it was impossible to provide records showing what their employees earned last year. Some said they had no document showing job titles. Others released that information almost immediately.

 

In 71 minutes, Richland Township Manager Paul Stepanoff released a list showing the names, job titles and wages paid to 26 people.

 

Within one day, records were provided by officials in Doylestown Borough, Upper Makefield, Warwick, Wrightstown and the Central Bucks Regional Police Department.

 

It was another story in Yardley. Borough manager John Boyle said he couldn’t tell us exactly how much his workers got paid last year. Boyle said he didn’t have the staff necessary to comply with our request. Newtown Borough provided a copy of the borough budget, which listed the budgeted salaries for some workers. But, with the documents provided, there was no way to account for any overtime and other forms of compensation received by borough workers in 2017.

 

This news organization submitted a Jan. 3 Right-To-Know request to Yardley seeking “access to records which would show the names of any full or part-time employees, the job titles of workers and their wages.”

 

On Feb. 21, Boyle respond. His letter read: “This Borough does not maintain responsive records that contain all of the requested information. The Pennsylvania Right-To-Know Law does not require a local agency to create a record where none exists.”

 

Bucks County had some trouble with that request. A month after we filed our request, officials in Bucks County told us they did not have a list showing the job titles of all workers who received wages in 2017. Six days later, they provided a list. But the list of workers didn’t match the list of people who got government money. After three months, Bucks County was unable to provide job titles or job descriptions for approximately 300 people who received more than $13 million in taxpayer money last year.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Newtown is not mentioned in this article, but you can find all the information you need about Newtown's employee wages in the 2018 budget. Read "Newtown Township Employee Salaries & Wages"

more...
johnmacknewtown's curator insight, June 8, 10:35 AM

Newtown is not mentioned in this article, but you can find all the information you need about Newtown's employee wages in the 2018 budget. Read "Newtown Township Employee Salaries & Wages"

News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents
These curated news items were selected by John Mack. Any opinions and "insights" appended to these article summaries are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Newtown Township Passes Gun Safety Resolution After Emotional Student Testimony

Newtown Township Passes Gun Safety Resolution After Emotional Student Testimony | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The board voted 4-1 last week to approve a nonbinding resolution, which includes calls to pass laws banning bump stocks and assault rifles, requiring trigger locks on guns in homes with children and preventing known or suspected terrorists or those convicted of certain violent crimes from purchasing guns.

 

The vote came after multiple Council Rock North students addressed supervisors. All supported the resolution, and several said recent mass shootings, like that at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, left them afraid to go to school.

 

Samantha Duckworth, a student who wore a shirt reading “Parkland,” told the board, “In the faces of those that died, I can’t help but see the faces of my classmates and teachers because we really aren’t all that different, except for the fact that they were killed and we weren’t.”

 

Supervisor Kyle Davis, the board’s lone Republican, also questioned the resolution’s efficacy, and argued that passing it would push “ignorancies (sic) that are out there” about gun safety.

 

“If your child dying is not a deterrent, I don’t know how a law saying ‘you need a trigger lock’ is going to be a deterrent.”

 

[You can find more details of the resolution here.]

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Council Rock Raising Taxes Again! Average Homeowner Will Pay $112 per Year MORE for Total of $4,796

Council Rock Raising Taxes Again! Average Homeowner Will Pay $112 per Year MORE for Total of $4,796 | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The Council Rock School District is raising property taxes to the state Act 1 maximum for the third straight year.

A 2018-19 final budget of $240.68 million approved by the school board at Thursday’s meeting hikes taxes 2.4 percent. The board could have applied to the state for exceptions to raise taxes more than that but chose not to.

The 2.4-percent increase equates to 2.897 mills, or $112 for a landowner with a property assessed at the school district average of $38,800. It increases total millage to 123.607, or an annual tax bill of $4,796 for the owner of the average assessed property.

Many district residents also pay a 1-percent earned income tax, which is split between the school district and its five municipalities of Northampton, Newtown Township, Newtown Borough, Upper Makefield and Wrightstown.

Property taxes were raised 2.5 percent for this school year which ends June 30, and 2.4 percent in 2016-17.

The district also is drawing $4 million from its $24 million savings account to balance the budget.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

In 2018, for the first time in several years, Newtown Twp raised taxes by 1 mill - about $38 per year for average homeowner. Learn where your tax dollars go here.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Newtown Township Supervisor Jennifer Dix Announces Her Resignation as of June 30. Board of Supervisors Have Until July 30 to Appoint a Replacement

Newtown Township Supervisor Jennifer Dix Announces Her Resignation as of June 30. Board of Supervisors Have Until July 30 to Appoint a Replacement | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

At the June 13 board meeting, Democratic Supervisor Jennifer Dix announced that she will be stepping down as of June 30 because she and her family are moving to New Hampshire.

“My family’s move was planned,” she read from a brief statement in which she asked her fellow supervisors to accept the resignation.

Dix, who is a self-employed actuarial consultant, was appointed vice chair when the Democrats took a four-seat majority on the five-member board in January. She was first elected to a six-year term in November 2013.

The supervisors held off formally accepting her resignation until the June 27 meeting.

The search process will begin soon, with notices posted on the township website and in local news outlets.

The deadline for submitting resumes is [4:30 PM] on Monday, July 2.

As in the past, the supervisors will interview candidates in a public forum, either during regular meetings, or in special sessions.

Under state law, the board has 30 days after Dix’s resignation takes effect June 30 to choose a replacement.

According to township solicitor David Sander, a replacement must be chosen by a board majority no later than July 30.

If a candidate doesn’t receive the votes of at least three of the four remaining supervisors, then the board has another 15 days to pick a replacement.

Under that scenario, the vacancy board convenes to pick a new supervisor.

The vacancy board is made up of the remaining four supervisors plus the vacancy board chairman [Peg Dissinger] who was appointed by the supervisors in January.

If that five-member ad hoc board still is unable to decide, then a Bucks County Common Pleas judge is tasked with making the appointment.

However, with three of the four remaining supervisors being Democrats, it’s unlikely that the decision will fall into the hands of the vacancy board or county judge.

Supervisor Dix’s resignation comes on the heels of township manager Kurt Ferguson’s departing in mid-July to become the Lower Makefield Township’s manager [Read "Newtown Township Manager Kurt Ferguson Will Take Lower Makefield Township Manager Position in July"].

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

PECO Customers Push for Renewable Energy & Better Infrastructure at Rate Hike Hearing in Newtown

PECO Customers Push for Renewable Energy & Better Infrastructure at Rate Hike Hearing in Newtown | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Renewable energy and power grid improvements dominated much of the testimony in a PECO rate increase hearing Tuesday night in Newtown Township.

 

PECO has proposed an electric rate increase that could add up to approximately 3.2 percent more for the average residential customer at the start of next year. As part of the approval process, PECO must hold a handful of Public Utility Commission hearings across its coverage area.

 

Most of the testimony at the hearing at Bucks County Community College included urging PECO and the commission to push toward efficiency upgrades to the power grid and implementing more solar, wind and other renewable energy resources.

 

“The dirty electricity that PECO puts out — or that PECO pays for — is our region’s biggest driver of climate change and increasingly severe weather,” said John Magee, of the renewable energy activist group Earth Quaker Action Team.

 

PECO’s rate change must be approved by the state PUC, which considers whether the increases could unfairly affect impoverished communities as part of its decision.

 

While the average residential customer could pay about $40 more in 2019, commercial customers could pay up to $132 a year more and industrial customers would pay nearly $200 more a year.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Some Local Governments Reluctant to Release Employee Wages, Some Don't Keep Complete Records!

Some Local Governments Reluctant to Release Employee Wages, Some Don't Keep Complete Records! | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Ever wonder what government workers are paid?

 

We did, too.

 

The wages of government workers are the single, largest local taxpayer expense. Last year, nearly $500 million went to pay administrators and attorneys, police and public works, park rangers and prison guards in local boroughs and towns, county agencies and public utilities.

 

Yet, it’s not easy obtaining records that show who those public employees are, what they did, or exactly how much they received in total compensation. Some government salaries are posted in budgets approved at public meetings. But, often, the amounts listed in those publicly advertised budgets don’t match the actual amounts paid by taxpayers at the end of the year. Some workers receive educational incentives, longevity pay, overtime or payments in exchange for not excepting government health coverage, among other benefits.

 

Some towns said it was impossible to provide records showing what their employees earned last year. Some said they had no document showing job titles. Others released that information almost immediately.

 

In 71 minutes, Richland Township Manager Paul Stepanoff released a list showing the names, job titles and wages paid to 26 people.

 

Within one day, records were provided by officials in Doylestown Borough, Upper Makefield, Warwick, Wrightstown and the Central Bucks Regional Police Department.

 

It was another story in Yardley. Borough manager John Boyle said he couldn’t tell us exactly how much his workers got paid last year. Boyle said he didn’t have the staff necessary to comply with our request. Newtown Borough provided a copy of the borough budget, which listed the budgeted salaries for some workers. But, with the documents provided, there was no way to account for any overtime and other forms of compensation received by borough workers in 2017.

 

This news organization submitted a Jan. 3 Right-To-Know request to Yardley seeking “access to records which would show the names of any full or part-time employees, the job titles of workers and their wages.”

 

On Feb. 21, Boyle respond. His letter read: “This Borough does not maintain responsive records that contain all of the requested information. The Pennsylvania Right-To-Know Law does not require a local agency to create a record where none exists.”

 

Bucks County had some trouble with that request. A month after we filed our request, officials in Bucks County told us they did not have a list showing the job titles of all workers who received wages in 2017. Six days later, they provided a list. But the list of workers didn’t match the list of people who got government money. After three months, Bucks County was unable to provide job titles or job descriptions for approximately 300 people who received more than $13 million in taxpayer money last year.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Newtown is not mentioned in this article, but you can find all the information you need about Newtown's employee wages in the 2018 budget. Read "Newtown Township Employee Salaries & Wages"

more...
johnmacknewtown's curator insight, June 8, 10:35 AM

Newtown is not mentioned in this article, but you can find all the information you need about Newtown's employee wages in the 2018 budget. Read "Newtown Township Employee Salaries & Wages"

Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

To Be Revealed: What Local Government Employees Earned in 2017

To Be Revealed: What Local Government Employees Earned in 2017 | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Court stenographers averaged $96,000. Some government administrators took home $200,000 last year.

 

Several water and sewer employees made a quarter of a million dollars in 2017.

 

They’re among the highest paid workers in Bucks and Montgomery counties, and you’re paying their salaries.

 

Who are these men and women? What kinds of jobs did they do for your tax money — more than $500 million in government expenses — last year?

 

This news organization [Bucks County Courier Times] filed more than 60 right-to-know requests, seeking the total wages paid to all full- and part-time government workers in 2017.

 

Most government agencies only released the numbers after consulting their attorneys. Some said they couldn’t tell us about worker paychecks; financial documents showing what government workers make just didn’t exist, some stated in legal documents.

 

Coming Friday, visit buckscountycouriertimes.com and theintell.com to review the list of everyone who got government paychecks in 2017. See what they earned and what they did for your tax money.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Read 

Newtown Township Employee Salaries & Wages

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

State Rep. Perry Warren Announces PUC Hearing in Newtown on Proposed PECO Rate Increase

State Rep. Perry Warren Announces PUC Hearing in Newtown on Proposed PECO Rate Increase | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

HARRISBURG, June 4 – State Rep. Perry Warren announced today that the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission will hold a hearing in Newtown on a proposed rate increase request from PECO Energy Company.

The PUC hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, at Bucks County Community College. It is one of five hearings being held regarding the proposed rate increase.

“Our communities experienced substantial power outages in March from winter storms Riley and Quinn. In light of that, I requested that one of the public hearings on the proposed rate increase be in my legislative district, so that residents have a chance to weigh in and ask questions,” said Warren, D-Bucks.

Warren also requested that the Pennsylvania Office of the Consumer Advocate, which is representing the interests of consumers in the case, review any improvements that could help mitigate or reduce the likelihood, frequency and duration of any future power outages.

“PECO reported that the power outages during and following winter storms Riley and Quinn exceeded the number of outages in 2012 caused by Hurricane Sandy. I hope that through this process we are able to work with PECO to find solutions and ensure we are watching out for residents’ best interests,” Warren said.

Warren represents the 31st Legislative District, consisting of Lower Makefield Township, Morrisville Borough Wards 1, 2, and 3, Newtown Borough, Newtown Township and Yardley Borough.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

If a rate hike is approved, residential ratepayers in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia and parts of York counties could see a 3.2-percent monthly rate increase, or about $40 dollars a year more on the average monthly usage rate of 700 killowatt-hours. That's equivalent to the 1 mill increase in Newtown Township property tax, which paid for the Newtown Ambulance Squad and fire hydrant maintenance (see here).

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Delaware River Basin Commission Public Meeting: Demand a Complete Frack Ban, Including Wastewater Disposal

Delaware River Basin Commission Public Meeting: Demand a Complete Frack Ban, Including Wastewater Disposal | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

We don’t want any halfway measures! We want full and complete protection for the watershed! Ban Fracking, Ban Frack Wastewater, Ban Water Exports for Fracking – Ban it all!

johnmacknewtown's insight:

You can attend this meeting on Wednesday, June 13, 2018, at 10:30 AM at West Trenton Volunteer Fire Company, 40 West Upper Ferry Road, West Trenton, NJ 0862.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Boosting PA's $7.25 Minimum Wage is Front and Center at Capitol This Election Season

Boosting PA's $7.25 Minimum Wage is Front and Center at Capitol This Election Season | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

As Pennsylvania’s legislature prepares to tackle the state budget in the coming weeks, lawmakers and advocates are pushing legislation to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, a change that could lift the incomes of more than 250,000 residents in Philadelphia alone.

The longstanding fight over whether to boost the minimum wage of $7.25 — the same as the federal minimum — is bound to be front and center as legislators return to the Capitol on Monday to begin trying to wrap up the budget by the June 30 deadline. Gov. Wolf, a Democrat, proposed an increase to $12 as part of his budget proposal this year, and several Democratic lawmakers and at least one Republican senator also support a hike.

Advocates say an increase would not only help low-income families live more comfortably, but help bolster the economy by giving more people more spending power. Critics counter that it would cost jobs as businesses hire fewer people.

Whether the issue comes up for a vote remains a question mark. It’s an election year, when legislators tend to avoid taking on controversial topics and engaging in prolonged partisan fights.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Instead of passing resolutions to achieve impossible goals at the federal level, IMHO, PA townships should adopt a PA $15 per Hour Minimum Wage Resolution to send to state lawmakers.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Yardley Boro to Consider “Gun Safety” Resolution

Yardley Boro to Consider “Gun Safety” Resolution | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

According to a personal communication from Yardley Borough Council member Dave Bria, “On Tuesday, June 5, the Yardley Borough council will consider a gun safety resolution. I want to invite all of you to attend the meeting in support of this resolution. The vote isn't a sure thing… We must be sure our voices are louder and clearer than the opposition in order to sway these votes.”

 

Hoping to change that statistic favorably, the resolution states “the Borough believes additional gun safety laws are needed to protect the safety and health of our residents and urges the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the United States Congress to enact laws to reduce gun violence, including…” [Read more>>]

johnmacknewtown's insight:

UPDATE - June 11, 2018: Yardley’s gun safety resolution received “yes” votes from four council members, with two members abstaining and one member absent from the meeting. New Hope and Solebury both passed similar gun resolutions in 2016, while Lower Makefield and Middletown discussed but did not pass resolutions in previous years. An identical resolution will be considered by the Newtown Board of Supervisors on June 13, 2018 (find the agenda here).

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Proposed Newtown Wawa Requires Zoning Change or at Least 10 Zoning "Variances"

Proposed Newtown Wawa Requires Zoning Change or at Least 10 Zoning "Variances" | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

There are plans for a Wawa in Newtown Township but before you get excited for your cheap coffee and shorti hoagie, brace yourself. You'll likely be waiting a while.

 

The proposal for a Wawa with fuel pumps and a 5,585 square-foot convenience store off the Newtown Bypass at Lower Silver Lake Road was revealed earlier this month (read “Developer and Attorney Present Their Case for a WaWa Superstore on the Newtown Bypass”). It requires a zoning change, as the site is within the office research zoning district. The proposed use would be retail store with service station, which is not allowed in that zone.

 

In order for the project to move forward, a zoning amendment would have to be considered by the Jointure.

 

According to Newtown Township Supervisor John Mack, as of May 23, the township has not yet received a draft of such amendment.

 

"That would be the first step in the process before anything goes to the Jointure. The Newtown Supervisors would review the draft and it would come up for discussion at a public meeting of the Board of Supervisors BEFORE going to the Jointure, if at all. People should keep an eye on the agendas of upcoming meetings of the Newtown Board of Supervisors before attending Jointure meetings," Mack said on his personal blog (read “Residents Present Their Case For and Against a Super WaWa on the Bypass”).

 

The process may take several months, he noted.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

If the ordinance is not amended, the developers would have to seek at least 10 “variances” from the Zoning Hearing Board, including:

 

  1. To permit a proposed convenience store with motor fuel sales in the OR Office Research District.
  2. To permit a minimum lot area of 5.09 acres, instead of the required 15 acres.
  3. To permit a front yard of 61.0 feet (from proposed canopy) along Newtown Bypass, and 100.3 feet (from proposed building) along Lower Silver Lake Road, instead of the required 150 feet.
  4. To permit a minimum lot width at the building setback line of 170 feet instead of the required 400 feet.
  5. To permit access to roads less than 200 feet from intersection of any street.
  6. To permit primary building or use to be erected on a lot that is less than the minimum lot area in the Office Research District.
  7. To permit a 16-foot drive aisle along Lower Silver Lake Road strictly right-in traffic only.
  8. To permit signage for a joint use that has a combined lot area greater than five acres.
  9. To permit signage for a joint use to be greater than the maximum allowed 20 square feet.
  10. To permit a freestanding sign for joint use that exceeds the 5-foot maximum.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Developer presents sketch plans for Super Wawa in Newtown Township; plan would require amendment to zoning ordinance

Developer presents sketch plans for Super Wawa in Newtown Township; plan would require amendment to zoning ordinance | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

[As reported in Bucks Local News, May 28, 2018] It’s no secret that the Delaware County-based Wawa Food Markets has been looking to build a store in Newtown, a highly-desirable market currently not served by the popular local chain.

Now Wawa believes it may have found the spot - a five acre piece of property in the township’s office-research zone on Lower Silver Lake Road located just south of the heavily traveled Newtown Bypass and directly across from Crossing Community Church.

At the May work session of the board of supervisors, attorney John VanLuvanee, representing Michael Cooley of the Provco Group, presented sketch plans for a Super Wawa at the site [read "Developer and Attorney Present Their Case for a WaWa Superstore on the Newtown Bypass"].

The next step will be for the developer to submit a draft ordinance amendment to the Board of Supervisors for consideration. Once received, the supervisors will review the draft amendment at a public meeting before deciding whether to forward it to the jointure for action.

Supervisor John Mack conducted his own non-scientific survey of the proposal to get a better feel for where residents stand as he considers the issue. He received 1,000 responses and more than 270 comments.

“It’s purpose is to solely inform me of the public’s opinion regarding this issue,” said Mack of his survey, noting that he is still analyzing the results.

“I can tell you that of the people who oppose the Wawa on the bypass - their number one concern, selected by 85 percent - is that it will open up a Pandora’s Box of development along the bypass,” said Mack.

“The number two concern - about 76 percent of those who oppose it - said this is not compatible with the historic and rural nature of Newtown,” said Mack. “I don’t know what to say about that. That’s in the eye of the beholder, I guess.”

“Traffic concerns are right up there as well,” added Mack.

“Of those in favor - over 90 percent - say they like the reasonably priced gas,” said Mack.

As part of his research, Mack said has reached out to the owners of several gas stations in town who told him a Wawa would have an impact on their business. “That’s one of the things I like about Newtown are the small businesses,” he said. “I know a neighbor of mine will go out of her way to support small businesses even if they charge more.”

Mack said as he considers the issue he’ll be taking into account all opinions - minority and majority. “There are many aspects to this and there’s a long way to any action,” he said.

Mack and the other supervisors also heard from a handful of residents at the work session. They raised concern over traffic, quality of life issues and preservation of Newtown’s historic nature [read "Residents Present Their Case For and Against a Super WaWa on the Bypass"].

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Improving Communications Between Newtown Township and Residents

Improving Communications Between Newtown Township and Residents | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

I outline at least six steps I have taken to achieve this goal here

 

The most visible, however, is the END OF PIXELATION of web streaming video of Newtown Board of Supervisors meetings!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Second Annual Newtown Food Truck Fest 2018 Father’s Day Edition Set for June 17

Second Annual Newtown Food Truck Fest 2018 Father’s Day Edition Set for June 17 | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The 2nd Annual Newtown Food Truck Fest: Father's Day Edition is set for June 17. The event, a fundraiser for the Newtown Theatre, will be held from noon to 7 p.m. at Council Rock North High School (62 Swamp Rd, Newtown).

 

Confirmed food trucks include:

 

  • Bacon Me Crazy
  • Bee Creative Artisan Foods
  • BlendLife
  • Bread and Butter Specialty Sandwiches
  • Brilliant Beverages
  • Buzzetta's Festival Foods
  • Country Girl Kettle Corn
  • Curly Tail Ice Cream
  • DeLorenzo's The Burg
  • El Guaco Loco
  • Goodnoe Farm Dairy Bar
  • Kono Pizza
  • Ma and Pa's Tex-Mex BBQ
  • Nick's Roast Beef
  • Philly Fry
  • Rita's Water Ice
  • The Cannoli Café
  • The Coffee Room
  • The Cow and the Curd (named among Pennsylvania's best food trucks)
  • The Good Donut Shop
  • The Happy Pita
  • The Little Sicilian
  • The Slider King
  • The Taza Truck
  • Wow Wagon

 

For more information about the event, visit TheNewtownTheatre.com/foodtruckfest.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Newtown Supervisors Approve Resolution 2018-R-15 Asking State to Set Up Independent Panel to Redraw Pa.’s Election Districts

Newtown Supervisors Approve Resolution 2018-R-15 Asking State to Set Up Independent Panel to Redraw Pa.’s Election Districts | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The board of supervisors approved a resolution calling on Pennsylvania officials to impanel an independent bipartisan commission to draw a new statewide legislative and Congressional map.

 

Newtown Supervisors approved the resolution at the urging of the non-partisan group Fair Districts of Pennsylvania, which is spearheading the change in the Commonwealth.

 

During the April 25 board meeting, Mary Kremser, the resolution coordinator of the organization’s Bucks County chapter, had implored the Newtown supervisors to urge the state legislature to appoint an independent 11-member panel to redraw the legislative maps, instead of having it done by the lawmakers or their political appointees.

 

“The more resolutions we have, the more pressure we can put on the legislature,” Kremser had told the supervisors at last month’s meeting.

 

“Seven other states have already set up similar panels, including California, and they were successful,” she had noted.

 

Under the group’s plan, the Commonwealth Secretary, who oversees elections in Pennsylvania, would formulate the 11-member bipartisan redistricting commission.

 

It would be comprised of four Democrats, four Republicans and three Independents.

 

To be eligible for appointment, its members could not have held elected office for at least five years, and they would also be barred from running for any political position for another five years after they serve on the special commission.

 

The same restrictions would apply family members and lobbyists.

 

According to Kremser, even though Democrats have 700,000 more registered voters in Pennsylvania than Republicans, currently 13 of the state’s 18 members of Congress are Republicans because of redistricting based on the 2010 U.S. Census.

 

“It’s not going to be a perfect system, it’s going to be tough,” she noted before the supervisors’ vote on the resolution, “But it’s going to be a lot more fair than what we had.”

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Find the resolution and view the video of Ms. Kremser at the Supervisors’ meeting here: “Supervisors Pass PA Congressional Redistricting Resolution.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Elcon Reapplies to DEP for Toxic Waste Facility Located Next to Delaware River

Elcon Reapplies to DEP for Toxic Waste Facility Located Next to Delaware River | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The controversial project, which opponents call an incinerator, is now on its fourth attempt. New filings reveal Elcon intends to pay U.S. Steel nearly $3 million for the land.

 

For the fourth time in as many years, Elcon Recycling Services is resubmitting application materials in an attempt to build a controversial waste treatment facility in Falls. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced the newly submitted materials this week; the agency previously rejected the company’s application materials three times.

 

Elcon seeks to build a hazardous waste treatment facility that would process between 150,000 and 210,000 tons of chemical and pharmaceutical waste each year, according to its past filings. The company aims to build the facility on a 23-acre site in the Keystone Industrial Port Complex, which is an approximately 3,000-acre industrial park encompassing the former footprint of U.S. Steel’s Fairless Works operations. The new filings reveal Elcon intends to pay nearly $3 million to U.S. Steel for the land.

 

Elcon touts a proposed “thermal oxidation” process it says would limit toxic releases from the facility. Concerned citizens and environmental opponents are skeptical of the claim, saying the facility is simply a waste incinerator. Groups such as Bucks POWA and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network say they’re specifically concerned about toxic materials being released to the air and potential drinking water contamination should an accident or flood release chemicals into the nearby Delaware River.

 

“Siting Elcon next to the Delaware River, where millions of people get their drinking water from, is short-sighted and reckless,” Fred Stine, citizen action coordinator for the Riverkeepers, wrote in an email. “Every day, as many as 25 tanker trucks filled with chemical hazardous waste will drive within one-half mile of the river.”

 

Elcon’s four-year quest to have the facility approved by the DEP has been mired in setbacks…But Elcon may be zeroing in on the target. Last May, the DEP cited six areas as lacking. In October, it was down to just three, all revolving around Elcon’s lack of ownership of the land and relevant paperwork.

 

Whether Elcon has filled in all the gaps remains to be seen.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

In 2016, Newtown Township - among others - passed a resolution opposing this plant due to "danger" to drinking water. See here for more information about that.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Council Rock School District Approves Improved Lockdown Communication Protocol & Training for Teachers and Staff

Council Rock School District Approves Improved Lockdown Communication Protocol & Training for Teachers and Staff | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Council Rock has approved a new safety initiative as well as a revised lockdown communication protocol.

 

District representatives said after meeting with local police to review lessons learned from an April 16 lockdown at Richboro Middle School, they chose to implement changes to the communication protocol.

 

The district said it learned three lessons from that lockdown. First, it must quickly communicate a general lockdown notification districtwide. Parents must also be clearly directed not to immediately go to a lockdown site. Finally, in the event of a prolonged lockdown, a staging area needs to be established for parents to safely gather and receive information.

 

As a result of those lessons and the meeting with local police, the district has adopted a new centralized lockdown communication protocol that incorporates those elements.

 

Additionally, the district will be implementing a new safety initiative called ALICE.

 

The school board on Thursday approved a three-year agreement with the ALICE Training Institute. ALICE, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate "teaches people to participate in their own survival, while leading others to safety," according to information from the district.

 

Council Rock says the ALICE model is being utilized by 4,150 police departments, 950 higher education institutions, and 4,200 K-12 school districts.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

According to the ALICE Training website, the "Counter" aspect of the training does not involve confronting the active shooter: "ALICE Training does not believe that actively confronting a violent intruder is the best method for ensuring the safety of those involved. Counter is a strategy of last resort. Counter focuses on actions that create noise, movement, distance and distraction with the intent of reducing the shooter’s ability to shoot accurately. Creating a dynamic environment decreases the shooter’s chance of hitting a target and can provide the precious seconds needed in order to evacuate."

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Warminster, Horsham, & Warrington Sue Manufacturers Over PFA-Contaminated Water

Warminster, Horsham, & Warrington Sue Manufacturers Over PFA-Contaminated Water | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The Warminster Municipal Authority, the Horsham Water and Sewer Authority, and Warrington all initiated legal proceedings against half a dozen firefighting foam manufacturers this week. Anapol Weiss, a Philadelphia-based law firm, is representing all three plaintiffs.

 

Listed as defendants are the 3M Co. of Minnesota, the Buckeye Fire Protection Co. of North Carolina, National Foam Inc. of West Chester, and Chemguard, Ansul, and Tyco Fire Products, all of Wisconsin. Although the three suits are separate, Larry Cohan, lead Anapol Weiss attorney on the cases, said they take a similar tack. Cohan will be joined on the case by his son and fellow Anapol Weiss attorney, Josh Cohan.

 

The companies all historically produced aqueous film-forming foam, a specialty material widely used by the military, civilian airports and some other private industries to snuff out petrochemical fires. The foams also contained chemicals called perfluorinated compounds, or PFAS, which have been found to be toxic.

 

The subject of investigation by this news organization, PFAS chemicals do not break down in the environment and quickly spread through and persist in soil and water. The foams were used at area military bases from the early 1970s into the 2010s, before being discovered in area groundwater over the past eight years. The Horsham, Warrington and Warminster water authorities all previously relied on groundwater to provide drinking water to approximately 70,000 combined customers.

 

Due to the contamination, the water systems were forced to close approximately 18 water wells in 2014 and 2016. The three authorities then implemented “zero tolerance” plans to remove the chemicals in their water system to nondetectable levels. As the military only agreed to pay to filter wells contaminated above a safety limit recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency, the water authorities were on the hook to pay for the plans, which involved buying large quantities of water from the North Wales Water Authority.

 

“These local governments have sustained enormous (financial) losses,” Larry Cohan said. “That problem relates directly to these manufacturers, selling a product that they certainly knew long before was potentially hazardous to health.”

 

Warminster is currently paying about $2.5 million extra a year, while Horsham is paying about $1.2 million, which it passes through to customers as an average surcharge of $73.48. Warrington projects paying about $1.8 million total in 2018 and 2019, said water and sewer director Christian Jones. Cohan said his firm and the water authorities have not yet totaled an exact amount of alleged damages but that it will be “many millions” of dollars.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Also read: “Newtown Artesian Water Company Discounts Study That Found 7 Carcinogens in Water Supply

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Newtown Township Manager Kurt Ferguson Will Take Lower Makefield Township Manager Position in July

Newtown Township Manager Kurt Ferguson Will Take Lower Makefield Township Manager Position in July | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

In a unanimous vote, the board of supervisors on Wednesday night approved the appointment of Kurt Ferguson as its next township manager.

 

Ferguson, who has managed Newtown Township since 2012, will replace retiring manager Terry Fedorchak who has led the township’s administration for the past quarter of a century.

 

Ferguson, the supervisors’ top choice out of a field of 35 candidates, competed in an extremely vigorous selection process conducted by Jersey Professional Management. He will begin his new duties on July 16 under a two year contract with the township.

 

“After a comprehensive search, we are pleased that Kurt is joining the township as our next manager,” said Chairman John Lewis. “Kurt has a proven track record of leadership,” he said, adding that board members were “impressed with his demonstrated financial and operations management expertise.”

 

Ferguson began a career in municipal government in 1998 as an Economic Development Officer for Mt. Lebanon in Western Pennsylvania. He went on to serve as manager for the Borough of Edgewood and Hempfield Township, also in Western Pennsylvania, before taking his current job as manager of Newtown Township.

 

“I am honored and humbled to have been selected as the next township manager for Lower Makefield,” said Ferguson. “I am grateful to the board of supervisors and thank them for the confidence they have in me. It is truly a privilege to follow Terry Fedorchak, the longest tenured manager in Bucks County, and look forward to working with the supervisors, staff, businesses and residents.”

 

Before coming to Bucks County, Ferguson was the manager of Hempfield Township in Westmoreland County.

 

The population of Hempfield Township was 43,241 at the 2010 census, making it the largest suburb in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area by population. It’s motto: “A Great Place to Raise a Family.”

 

During his three years in the manager’s role in Hempfield Township, Ferguson professionalized the services they provided and utlized his financial management skills ”putting expenditures on a predictable path.”

 

In a related motion at the May 16 supervisors meeting, the board unanimously approved an amendment to the township manager ordinance allowing the manager to live within a 20 to 25 mile radius of the township building. Under the current ordinance, the manager is required to live in the township. Ferguson currently lives about 20 miles from the township, according to solicitor Dave Truelove.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Residents Present Their Case For and Against a Super WaWa on the Bypass

Residents Present Their Case For and Against a Super WaWa on the Bypass | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Previously, I summarized the case made by the developer and his legal counsel for approval of a Super WaWa (convenience store + gas station) on the Newtown Bypass. In this post, I summarize comments from the audience made at the May 14, 2018, Board of Supervisors (BOS) Work Session. 

Biggest Speed Bumps: Traffic and concerns regarding amending zoning ordinance

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

President's Politics Still Driving Bucks Democrats to Polls

President's Politics Still Driving Bucks Democrats to Polls | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Many Bucks County voters took Tuesday’s primary election as their chance to reject Republican officeholders. Several cited a disdain for President Donald Trump, even in deciding local and state elections.

 

Pennsylvania’s political climate might more closely resemble that of November 2017 — when Democrats took over all but one of the county’s five row offices for the first time in over 50 years in the so-called “blue wave” — than of November 2016, when President Donald Trump eked out a statewide win despite a narrow loss in Bucks.

 

A Newtown Township Democrat who declined to give his name said protesting Trump and all Republicans aligned with him was the main reason he came out to vote in the midterm primary.

 

Since Trump’s election, the county’s Democrats have kept a lead in terms of newly registered voters while Republicans appear to have hemorrhaged numbers to the unaffiliated ranks, according to data from the Bucks County Board of Elections. Of the 11,617 Bucks voters who registered to vote since November 2016, 4,735 (40.8 percent) identified as Democrats, 3,660 (31.5 percent) did not identify with either party, and 3,222 (27.7 percent) identified as Republicans.

 

Of the county’s 448,363 currently registered voters, 191,956 (42.8 percent) identify as Democrats, 183,196 (40.9 percent) identify as Republicans, and 73,211 (16.3 percent) do not identify with either party.

 

Linda Amos and Daniel O’Leary, judges of elections in Warrington and New Britain Borough, respectively, both said they saw roughly even splits between Democratic and Republican voters at their polling places as of Tuesday afternoon.

 

John Cordisco, chairman of the Bucks County Democratic Committee, said he believes the path to progress lies in “healthy debate and discussion” across party lines but that, for that to happen in the current political climate, “you probably need to change the person in the White House.”

johnmacknewtown's insight:

I was at the American Legion polling place handing out official literature to Democrats. It was brutal standing in the hot sun for 2 hours! Luckily, my Republican colleagues invited me to stand under their canopy for relief. While there I engaged in some "healthy debate and conversation" with them about medical marijuana, Super WaWa on the Newtown Bypass, guns, new development in Newtown and impact on traffic, our kids, etc. Come to think of it, we never mentioned the president at all!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Developer and Attorney Present Their Case for a WaWa Superstore on the Newtown Bypass

Developer and Attorney Present Their Case for a WaWa Superstore on the Newtown Bypass | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Details of the application for a Wawa at the southwestern corner of Newtown Bypass and Lower Silver Lake Road were presented at a Work Session meeting of the Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) on Monday, May 14, 2018. No decisions are made at BOS Work Sessions.

 

Michael Cooley of the Provco Group, which was hired by the owners – Innovative Hospitality Management – to develop the site, presented sketches and concept images of how the WaWa Superstore would be laid out and look to drivers.

 

One major stumbling block is the fact that the site is within the Office Research (OR) zoning district, which does not allow retail stores or the selling of gasoline according to a memorandum prepared by CKS Engineers.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Developer and Attorney Present Their Case for a WaWa Superstore on the Newtown Bypass. Zoning problem, traffic, and frontage are major issues.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

EPA, Department of Defense, White House Conspired to Put Clamps on Release of PFAS Safety Limits for Drinking Water, Says Union of Concerned Scientists

EPA, Department of Defense, White House Conspired to Put Clamps on Release of PFAS Safety Limits for Drinking Water, Says Union of Concerned Scientists | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Newly released emails appear to show EPA, DOD, and White House officials putting the clamps on PFAS safety limits lower than what the EPA has set forth.

 

Newly released emails appear to show EPA, DOD, and White House officials putting the clamps on PFAS safety limits lower than what the EPA has set forth.

 

In May 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency dropped a bombshell, setting new recommended limits for perfluorinated chemicals, also known as PFAS, in drinking water. The new safety level was as much as eight times lower than the amount considered safe just the day before.

 

The change meant millions of Americans were then drinking water with unsafe amounts of the chemicals, including tens of thousands of Bucks and Montgomery County residents. Local water authorities immediately closed public drinking water supply wells impacted by the chemicals, adding to those already closed two years prior based on the old limits.

 

But new emails obtained by the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists, along with reporting from specialty news publication InsideEPA, show the concern about how much of the chemicals can be safely consumed didn’t stop there. Instead, they show the EPA took part in an apparent effort earlier this year, along with the White House and Department of Defense, to stop another federal agency from releasing health limits far lower than what the EPA used in May 2016. The agency in question is the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, or ATSDR.

 

“The public, media, and Congressional reaction to these new numbers is going to be huge,” one email stated. “We (DoD and EPA) cannot get ATSDR to realize the potential public relations nightmare this is going to be.”

 

The “nightmare” is this: After studying the chemicals for years, the ATSDR drafted limits on how much of several of the most common PFAS chemicals are safe for humans to consume. For PFOS, their proposed level was 10 times lower than the dosage the EPA created. For PFOA, it was approximately seven times lower. As the EPA’s current limit for both chemicals is approximately 70 ppt combined, a drinking water limit for the chemicals based on the ATSDR’s analysis would likely fall into the single digits or low teens of parts per trillion.

 

The ATSDR has yet to release its draft limits publicly, but the levels were obtained and reported by InsideEPA, which is a subscription-only service.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

More Details On Proposed Wawa In Newtown Township: Sketch Plan

More Details On Proposed Wawa In Newtown Township: Sketch Plan | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

A proposed Wawa in Newtown Township would have fuel pumps and a 5,585 square-foot convenience store, the sketch plan shows.

 

A proposed Wawa in Newtown Township would have fuel pumps and a 5,585 square-foot convenience store, according to a copy of the application obtained by Patch ahead of Monday's meeting on the proposal.

 

The Wawa is proposed at the Newtown Bypass and Lower Silver Lake Road. The applicant, developer Provco Pinegood Aquisitions, is seeking to put the Wawa on a privately owned parcel across the street from Crossing Community Church.

 

 

Last year, Township Supervisor Phil Calabro's pitched an idea for the township to lease or sell two acres of Silver Lake Park, which is also located off the Bypass, to Wawa or another similar convenience store chain. This proposal is completely unrelated to that, Supervisor Jen Dix noted.

 

Monday's meeting starts at 7 p.m. at 100 Municipal Dr, Newtown

 

Further Reading: 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Nine Newtown Township Police Officers Receive Commendations; Police Chief Rick Pasqualini to Retire

Nine Newtown Township Police Officers Receive Commendations; Police Chief Rick Pasqualini to Retire | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Keeping with its annual tradition each May, the township awarded commendations of merit to its police officers for perseverance, teamwork and leadership.

 

At the May 9 supervisors’ meeting, Police Chief Rick Pasqualini awarded the honors to nine officers for work over the last year.

 

  1. Det. Cpl. Daniel Bartle
  2. Sgt. Daniel Bell
  3. Lt. Jason Harris
  4. Det. Christopher Bush
  5. Cpl. Patrick Hardy
  6. Ofc. Frank Goodwin
  7. Ofc. Nicklaus Whitney
  8. Det. Joseph Camp

 

And newly-hired Officer Brandon Turpyn, who was sworn in last November, received a commendatory letter for his exceptional actions while responding to a report of a possible overdose last month [he saved a life by administering Narcan].

 

Police Chief to Retire

After 10 years heading the department, Newtown Township Police Chief Pasqualini will formally retire Jan. 1, 2019. “It’s been an honor and privilege to serve the men and women of the department,” the chief said. “Ten years went by rather quickly.”

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Sorry to see you go Chief. I hope whoever replaces you is as forthright and compassionate as you!

more...
No comment yet.
Curated by johnmacknewtown
I am a retired small businessman who has lived in Newtown Township PA since 1995. The opinions expressed here are solely mine and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.