John Mack - Newtown Supervisor

A monthly collection of summaries of articles curated from various news, township meetings, and other sources, focused on topics of interest to local residents. The insights expressed here are those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person. Subscribe here, if you are not yet a subscriber.

The Video Edition

Includes updates to several of the following stories and additional information.

From - Nov 15, 2023

[Image: Elaine McCarron, Vice Chair of the #NewtownPA Environmental Advisory Council, presented details of a proposed ban of single-use plastics at the November 8, 2023, Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting. VIEW THE VIDEO

The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors is expected to vote at its Nov. 21 meeting to advertise a new ordinance that would ban certain single-use plastics in the township beginning in 2024.

If adopted, the ordinance would restrict restaurants and businesses in the township from using single-use carry out plastic bags and Styrofoam food containers except when required for food safety. It would also prohibited restaurants and businesses from providing single-use plastic straws and utensils except upon request by the customer.


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From - Nov 12, 2023

Back in June, 2023, #NewtownPA Township Manager received a letter via email from attorney Timothy J. Duffy, representing Steeple View, L.P. which is proposing to build a footbridge connecting Newtown Borough to Newtown Township at Carl Sedia Park (see image). [Background: “Planners Begin Review Of Revised, Multi-Million Steeple View Project”]

In the letter to the township, Mr. Duffy asked: “ we move toward final approval in the Borough, both my client and the Borough would like to determine whether the Township - on a non-binding basis, of course - is interested in the bridge or, to the contrary, has no interest.”

Is this a Bridge Too Far?
Lest we forget, Newtown Twp supervisors just recently approved the application for a Statewide Local Share Assessment grant of $999,979.20 from the Commonwealth Financing Authority to be used for a different pedestrian bridge over the Newtown Creek at the other end of town, which link Edgeboro Road/Frost Lane in the borough to North Sycamore Street in the township (read “Newtown Creek Coalition Proposes a NEW Pedestrian Bridge to Supervisors”).

As a Newtown Supervisor, I have to weigh the benefits versus the costs to the township of these projects. While the Frost Lane bridge has some marginal benefit to businesses located on North Sycamore Street and the Newtown Village Shopping Center, the Steeple View bridge is too far from any township business and only seems to benefit Newtown Borough residents and, more specifically future Steeple View residents. The township should not have to pay a dime to help developers provide amenities to their clients.

From - Nov 1, 2023

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in two key cases about how public officials use social media.

The cases explore whether two school board members in California and a city manager in Michigan violated the First Amendment by blocking constituents posting criticism on their personal social media pages. The constituents in the cases believe these social media pages were actually operating as an extension of government work.

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From - Nov 11, 2023
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the advertisement of the proposed 2024 budget that included a proposed slight tax increase.

Its budgeted revenues are projected to be $14,291,936 million, an increase from the previous year, according to the proposed budget.

Meanwhile budgeted expenditures are projected to rise to $16,001,653 million. The budgeted general fund deficit is projected to decrease to $2,386,265. 
John Mack's Insights:

Deficit = $2,289,430; This is covered by $4,134,661 2023 balance. Thus, Net Fund Balance = $1,845,232 (11 % of TOTAL EXPENDITURES; Good accounting practices recommend 17% to cover emergencies)

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From Oct 30, 2023

October 23: Shortly before 8 a.m., police were dispatched to a Wrightstown Township home for the report of a disturbance. As a result of the investigation, a woman was charged with ethnic intimidation and criminal mischief (damage to property).


John Mack’s Insights:

Previously, a jeweler was robbed at gunpoint hours after he posted a $150,000 Patek Philippe watch for sale on Instagram. Two men waited outside his store, at Jeweler's Row, in the center of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, and followed him to his home 30 miles away in #NewtownPA Township, Bucks County. They forced him to hand over the rose-gold watch, valued at $150,000 to $170,000, and his phone. The victim was traumatized but physically unharmed.

From - Nov 13, 2022

As of November 15, 2023, plastic bags – which soon may be banned in Newtown Twp – cover stop signs on Lower Dolingtoon Rd  at Everett Dr and Yorkshire Dr crosswalks. The signs were installed long ago as part of the LDR Trail project.

At the November 8, 2023, BOS meeting, I asked when these bags would be removed so that it is safer for pedestrians who now use the trail every day.

According to a November 10, 2023, email from Newtown Engineer Dominic Cundari (RVE), “We are coordinating with the police to uncover all the signs and hope to have this done very soon.” To date – 11/13/23 – only the crosswalk warning signs have bee uncovered.

John Mack's Insights:

Meanwhile, I see “STOP MEANS STOP” banners attached to stop signs throughout town! When are the stop signs on LDR going to see the light of day???

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