5 December 2022 Meet Mack Monday Meeting Summary
At least 16 people attended this Zoom meeting and discussed the following topics:
- Revised 2023 Budget
- 2021 Audit – “SIGNIFICANT RISKS IDENTIFIED”
- Wawa’s “Substantive Validity Challenge”
- •“Questionable” Projects Proposed for OR District
- Not On My BYpass! A New Facebook Group
- Privilege of the Floor – Q&A Session covering the following:
- Preventing accidents at the intersection of Newtown-Yardley Rd and the Bypass.
- Wawa and the issue of a residence within 750 feet of the proposed site.
- The "road to nowhere" that is part of Wawa's plan.
- Clearing the dead ash trees in Clark Nature Center.
- More needs to be done to improve the safety of the mid-block crosswalk on Newtown-Yardley Rd and Tara Blvd.
- Why hasn’t the township has updated it’s 5-year financial plan?
- Updating the zoning in the Business Commons to allow mixed commercial and residential use. Is the Jointure really benefiting Newtown?
- (To hear these discussions, play the video below or view on Youtube)
Revised 2023 Budget
- Total tax increase is now 1.625 mills (1.0 mill for Newtown Fire Association operating expenses, 0.5 mill increase for NAS as approved by referendum and 0.125 mill for debt fund) for a total of 10.115 mills – a 19% increase.
- The 2023 fund balance is $1,324,806, which is 8.16% of expenditures, below the 10% minimum
- The total budgeted deficit is $2,631,147
On the one hand any tax increase is unappealing. On the other hand, this budget includes much needed funding for first responders. On third hand, I don’t like deficit spending. How is it that even with a 19% revenue increase we still have a deficit of $2,631,127 for 2023 and perhaps an even larger one looming for 2024?
This 2023 Budget was approved by a 4-1 vote (Kyle Davis voted “No”) at the December 7, 2022, BOS meeting.
“SIGNIFICANT RISKS IDENTIFIED”
- Risk of Management Override of Internal Controls: Even though internal control over financial reporting may appear to be well-designed, controls that are otherwise effective can be overridden by management
- Risk of Improper Revenue Recognition: Improper timing of revenue recognition happens when an entity inappropriately records revenues in one period that should be recorded in another
Fund Balance Discrepancy
There was also a discrepancy regarding the 2021 fund balance between the audit and 2021 final budget numbers. It amounted to a $20,016 difference. In my opinion, this difference was not adequately explained by Mr. Gentile. Even accepting his explanation, there remained a $16 discrepancy, which is significant by accounting standards and may indicate that there are other problems with this audit.
Find more audit details – including Earned Income Tax and RE Transfer Tax trends – refer to page 102 of the 2022 BOS Chronicle (pdf).
Wawa’s “Substantive Validity Challenge”
- First filed in October 2016 “Municipal Cure” was an ineffective remedy!
- After BOS rejected Wawa’s plan, it “resurrected” the challenge & demanded a hearing before the Zoning Hearing Board
- Supervisors decided to send its solicitor to ZHB and court to defend the township
What’s The Basis for This Challenge?
Basically, Provco/Wawa is claiming that the provisions of the JMZO prior to the “Municipal Cure” that created an E30 use, which allows for a combination gas station and convenience store (e.g., Wawa Superstore), was arbitrary, and unreasonable, and has no substantial relationship to promoting public health, safety, and welfare of citizens. Property owners frequently challenge the substantive validity of ordinances they feel are too conﬁscatory (i.e., a right taken away by government).
Thus, one could consider the Substantive Validity Challenge as a sword held over the heads of supervisors in an attempt to intimidate them to accept Wawa’s plan whether or not that plan was in compliance with the E30 ordinance.
“Questionable” Projects Proposed for OR District
On October 31, 2022, the Kushner Real Estate Group - name sound familiar? - submitted a “sketch plan” for a 255 unit apartment complex – University Drive Apartments – adjacent to the once proposed Lotus Park property.
Not On My BYpass!
Because of these potential developments bordering the Bypass, I created a NEW Facebook Group – You've heard of NIMBY, which stands for "Not In My Back Yard." This group can be called NOMBY - "Not On My BYpass." We're talking about the Newtown Bypass, aka, Rte 332. There has long been opposition to development on the Bypass, which was intended to be a “greenway” when it was first built. Members of this group discuss ways of preventing overdevelopment on the Newtown Bypass.
Pedestrian Safety Update
Lower Dolington Road Trail Update
Meanwhile, the APCON – the township’s trail contractor – has been instructed to backfill and remove all protective traffic devices until the relocation work is complete and construction can resume.”
Comprehensive Plan Update
- Planning Commission continues to review the draft plan & will make recommendations to the BOS
- The Joint Zoning Council (JZC) agreed that each township could add a “wish” list* of specific projects as an appendix
- The plan is not likely to be finalized until summer 2023
**For the projects that I would like to see on the the Newtown Twp appendix to the CompPlan, here are a few projects that I would like to see on the list, read Detailed Meeting Notes below...
Detailed Meeting Notes
See the meeting notes embedded below or download the PDF file here.
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