John Mack - Newtown Supervisor

Fiscal Responsibility

One respondent to a recent survey I hosted put fiscal responsibility into perspective: "Of course no one likes paying taxes, but so long as the services they pay for are desirable and clear to see, they are worth it. Progressive Taxes are the basis of a civilized society."

In January 2018, the Newtown Board of Supervisors approved a new budget that included a 0.45 mill tax dedicated to the Newtown Ambulance Squad and a 0.55 mill new tax dedicated to Fire Hydrant Maintenance. These new taxes cannot be spent on anything else.

Even with these new taxes, Newtown Township has one of the lowest property tax millage in the area. The following chart compares the 2018 property tax millage of Newtown to several other local municipalities each of which - like Newtown - has a 1% Earned Income Tax (EIT).

The Truth About “Real Estate” Taxes

What’s often quoted as Newtown's “Real Estate” tax millage is actually composed several components dedicated to specific funds or projects. These are (1) 2.625 Mills for debt services purposes (to pay off loans for road improvements, and other projects), (2) 0.875 Mills for fire protection (Fire Chief’s salary, health insurance, etc.), (3) 0.55 Mills for fire hydrant maintenance, and (4) 0.45 Mills for the Newtown Ambulance Squad. 0.0 Mills are collected for "general" purposes. Thus, residents know exactly what they get for their taxes.

Meanwhile, Council Rock School District’s real estate tax rate of 120.71 mills, which is 27 times bigger than the township's millage rate. The CRSD also collects one-half of township’s 1% earned income tax, as well as an occupation of $40 to $320 per wage earner, the revenue from which isn’t shared with the township.

Excerpts from Board of Supervisors Meeting Minutes

Details of important Fiscal related Newtown Board of Supervisors' decisions and discussions in last few years. You can find complete minutes of BOS meetings here.

Detail BOS Meeting Date Excerpts from Minutes
2018 Budget 21-Nov-2017

The budget has to be advertised or made available for review for 20 days. This would allow the final 2018 budget to be passed at the December 13, 2017 or December 27, 2017 Board of Supervisor meetings. No motion was offered to approve advertising the proposed 2018 budget with a 2 mil tax increase resulting in approximately $654,000 of revenue. Mr. Couch suggested that Mr. Ferguson use his knowledge of issues in the Township to revise the budget. Mr. Calabro suggested that direct millage be done for the EMS and Fire Hydrant Maintenance expense. The money normally given to these items would then stay in the General Fund. Mrs. Dix mode a motion to approve the 2018 budget as presented with the exception of taking the 2 mil increase out of the General Fund, adding a .45 mil tax for the Ambulance Fund and a .55 mil new tax for the Fire Hydrant Millage Tax. Mr. Calabro seconded. Mr. Torrente interjected that the motion should be for approving the authority to advertise the 2018 budget. Resident John Mack, newly elected Supervisor. While canvassing the Township for the election, he spoke to many residents who said not to raise taxes but he recalled one person who said a .5 mil increase for emergency service was important and he'd pay the increase. He would be willing to support these taxes. Mr. Couch commented about Mr. Calabro's and Mrs. Dix's position for a dedicated millage but a tax increase is a tax increase. He did not like the fact it is being rushed through. He would still like to challenge Mr. Ferguson to go back to see what could be cut in the General Fund. Mr. Davis agreed and added there is time to work it out at the next meeting. Mr. Davis colJed the question. Motion carried 3-1, Mr. Couch voting nay. Mr. Ferguson stated that he will have an outline of possible cuts from the budget for the Supervisor's December 13, 2017 meeting for the Board to discuss and vote on.

2018 Budget 13-Dec-2017

Discussion of the 2018 budget continued. The Board tasked Mr. Ferguson to report on any further cuts that could be considered before the budget vote. Newtown has the lowest spending per capita in the County, but spending shouldn’t be cut so much that it affects public safety, housing values and quality of life. Mr. Gallagher suggested the Board to review the information given at the meeting with the budget and be prepared to make a decision at the Board of Supervisors meeting scheduled for December 27, 2017.

2018 Budget 10-Jan-2018

Mr. Ferguson reviewed the modifications to the 2018 budget as mentioned at the previous Board of Supervisor meetings for the benefit of the new Supervisors. If the preliminary budget is passed tonight, the obligation of advertising the budget in the paper would be fulfilled. Mrs. Dix made a motion to advertise the adoption of the revised preliminary 2018 budget. Mr. Mack seconded the motion. Motion Discussion: Mr. Davis commented that he favors the no tax increase budget that the Board had passed in December 2017. He pointed out that the items that were discussed at that time were not cut out of that budget, i.e. the Kevlar vests, tasers, the police station roof. There were a few things under Capital Expenditures that were originally in there and remained in there at the end. The motion carried 4‐1, Mr. Davis voted ‘nay’

2018 Budget 24-Jan-2018

Adoption of the Revised 2018 Budget – Resolution – The one change was the reduction of the budget line item for the fire study from $30,000 to $25,000. Mr. Mack was appreciative to give more funds to the Newtown Ambulance Squad to maintain staff, to help people in need. It helps maintain the quality of life in Newtown. Mr. Calabro commented that a budget does not go bad overnight and recalled some historical budget activity and the loss of approximately $1M in ETA tax revenue. The 1 mil tax increase provides for a dedicated tax for safety purposes, and $300,000 will return to the General Fund. Mr. Calabro called the motion of adopting the 2018 budget, the motion passed 4-1, Mr. Davis voting ‘nay’.

2018 Budget 14-Feb-2018

Mr. Calabro commented on what he read by a former Board of Supervisor member regarding the misrepresentation the former supervisor made to the budget which was passed on February 7, 2018. The person stated that taxes were raised one million dollars, increasing taxes by $168 per year. 1 mil is not one million dollars. 1 mil equates to approximately $340,000 which is roughly a $40.00 per year increase. It made it appear that taxes were being raised exorbitantly.

Economic Development Committee 11-Jan-2017

Mr. Gallagher said that he is eager to recruit new members for the Economic Development Committee but would like to clarify who would be qualified as a member. Mr. Garton said that the Board should review the enacting ordinance to see if there were any restrictions placed on membership. Mr. Gallagher said that he is not sure whether there is an enacting ordinance or whether this was an informal ad hoc committee as its mission is advisory only.

Non-resident Earned Income tax 17-Oct-2016

Over the last 3 years, three significant events have dramatically changed non-resident earned income tax collection:

  • Lockheed Martin closing, which resulted in the loss of approximately $650,000 in nonresident EIT
  • Middletown Township's 1/2% EIT, which translates into a loss of $198,000
  • Bensalem's EIT, which has resulted in a loss of $202,376

If Yardley Borough enacts its own EIT, Newtown will have seen a total loss in the last three years of $1,078,849. When Lockheed Martin's LST of $44,000 is factored in, this is a total loss of $1,122,849.

 

 

This site is paid for and approved by John Mack.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
Campaign Websites by Online Candidate