- BCATO Opposes Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority Sale
- Newtown Ambulance Tax Referendum
- Lower Dolington Road Trail Further Delayed
- PennDOT Agrees: Double Lane Turning Sign Needed
The Bucks County Association of Township Officials (BACTO) sent an email to township officials – including supervisors – urging them to oppose the recently announced proposed sale of the Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority (BCWSA) to the private company Aqua Pa. (read “Bucks County Moves Ahead on $1.1 Billion Offer to Sell Sewer System to Aqua Pa.”). The sale of BCWSA “raises grave concerns,” said BCATO.
BCATO supplied a sample letter that supervisors can send on behalf of the township to the Bucks County Commissioners expressing the township’s opposition to the sale. The letter states, in part:
At a time when costs are increasing for all Bucks County residents, through no fault of our local elected officials, residents can scarcely afford an increase in sewer fees. Current inflation is at 9.1%, the highest rate since November of 1981. Gas has increased from an average of $3.256 per gallon a year ago to $4.646 per gallon. Food costs have increased between 6.5% and 7.5% since last year.
The Board of Supervisors believes it is unconscionable for BCWSA to sell its assets to Aqua. As former Township officials yourselves, we are certain you are cognizant of the fear of uncertainty such a potential sale causes sewer rate payers. Please consider the long-term financial impacts that major increases in sewer rates will have on the residents and businesses being served and on Bucks County in general.
As a “municipal partner” local elected officials – including Newtown Township supervisors – were invited to a special meeting on July 25, 2022, at the Bucks County Community College (BCCT). The following 12-minute audio clip from that meeting, which ran on for more than 2 hours, focuses on concerns relevant to Newtown Township. Speakers include John Cordisco, BCWSA Board Chair and Benjamin Jones, BCWSA CEO.
The first opportunity for Newtown Supervisors to consider sending this letter will be at the August 10, 2022, public meeting (agenda not yet available).
Newtown Ambulance Squad (NAS) Chief Evan Resnikoff requested that the BOS authorize the Solicitor to place a referendum on the November ballot to include increased millage allowance in excess of the 0.5 Mill cap permitted by the Second Class Township Code for the ambulance squad. Mr. Resnikoff supplied some financial information and estimated that a 0.5 Mill increase - bringing the total to 1.0 Mill - will cost the average Newtown homeowner $1.81 per month ($21.80 per year).
The BOS unanimously approved the authorization for the Solicitor to proceed with placing this referendum on the November ballot.
How will you vote on this referendum? YES or NO
At the July 13, 2022, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting, Supervisor Mack asked the township engineer to explain the delays in the construction of the Lower Dolington Road Trail (LDRT).
The Township Engineer explained what is causing the delays and Mack noted that even further delays are ahead as the “utility conflict” is resolved. That is, underground cables must be relocated before construct of the trail can begin again. Meanwhile barrels and netting continue to litter the site at Stanford Drive/Place.
When the topic of accountability came up, Mr. Mack said "Six feet needed to be held to the fire. The construction company, Lumens (company responsible for moving the underground cable), and Newtown Artesian Water Company," which provided incorrect information that adversely impacted the project.
Posted 6/28/22: On June 20, 2022, a Newtown Twp resident emailed me:
"Hi John, attached is a picture of the Bypass & Newtown-Yardley Road intersection. We need overhead signs by the traffic lights that show that both lanes turn to the left. Many people are unaware that this intersection allows both lanes to turn left. So many times the driver in the left lane proceeds to drive immediately into the right lane after turning unaware that another car turned beside him. I've avoided an accident many times anticipating this. This is the intersection where the new Wawa is proposed. A sign depicting double turning lanes is necessary when I'm sitting at the light on Newtown-Yardley Road turning left towards Shady Brook Farm."
My personal survey of 132 residents revealed that the vast majority (90%) felt this was “definitely a good idea.”
It turns out that PennDOT agrees! After I posted a concern to the PennDOT Customer Care website, Mr. Michael Smith, Acting Traffic Signals Supervisor at PennDOT, responded “It does appear that additional signage would be helpful to motorists.”
Newtown Township Must Act
Mr. Smith, however, noted that the “signal is owned by Newtown Twp. As such, any proposed change to the intersection (including signing), would involve a change to the permit. The twp would need to submit the change to PennDOT for approval, then it would the responsibility of the twp to have the signage installed. I would suggest you work with your twp engineer to determine exactly what signing to install, as well as submitting the application for it.”
Newtown Township Manager Micah Lewis passed this on to the Township Traffic Engineer. We are currently waiting for the Engineer’s response.