John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Featuring content curated from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. The insights/opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.

Residents Suggest Cuts in Recommended 2022 Budget

On October 18, 2021, Newtown Township Manager, Micah Lewis, presented his recommended 2022 budget to the Board of Supervisors (BOS). Mr. Lewis's presentation summarized the major budget items. You can download the PDF version of the his presentation.

My 2022 Budget Cut Survey asked residents to select the cuts they would support in order to reduce the originally proposed tax increase of 18%. See a summary of the results - with comments - as of October 29, 2021.

Toll Settlement Update

Toll submitted a "signal warrant analysis application" to PennDOT related to the intersection of Durham Rd. & Municipal Drive. In the Signal Warrant Analysis Cover Letter Toll traffic engineers said "It should be noted that the intersection does not satisfy the warrants for the installation of a signal, based on our analysis." PennDOT agreed: "The development left of township building does not meet warrants for new signal. PennDOT highly recommends development has access to existing signal at North Lane."More, including some comments regarding the application...

From - October 24, 2021
[Photo: Elen Snyder talks to Roberts Ridge Park neighbors about preserving the park's open space. Read "Friends of Roberts Ridge Park Plan to Plant Tens of Native Trees"]
Elen Snyder, a lighting designer and local environmental activist, is a Democrat running for a position as the Supervisor of Newtown Township.

Bring Newtown Into the Future!

We need to bring our township into the future by addressing environmental issues such as renewable energy and green infrastructure. We have to stop overbuilding and protect our parks and open space to maintain our quality of life.

We need better communication between our local government and our citizens. Our township needs to modernize our online and social media tools to keep our neighbors informed. I'll make it a priority to make sure our government website is easier to navigate.

Our roads aren't in good shape in many areas…we need to repair additional roadways in a timely fashion.*

More details...
John Mack's Insights:
*From 2020 through 2022 only 2.5 miles of roads per year have been repaved when 3.6 miles per year is the minimum needed just to preserve the status quo of road conditions overall.
Related Content:

From From - Oct 16, 2021
Agenda Items:
  • Reports from Planning Commission, Technology & Communications Committee and Environmental Advisory Council
  • Engineer's update: PennDOT Multimodal Transportation Fund Grant, MS4 Annual Report
  • Legal Action Agains KVK Tech
  • Drafting of Weed Ordinance Amendment
  • Police Report
  • Hybrid Meetings
  • LED Streetlights
The full report...

From - Oct 7, 2021
[Image: Newtown Fire Chief Glenn Forsyth explains why it is necessary to raise taxes by 1.5 mill to hire a Deputy Fire Chief and provide a $300,000 grant every year to the volunteer Newtown Fire Association. Watch on Youtube.]
The picture continues to be bleak when it comes to attracting and retaining volunteer firefighters, Yardley-Makefield Fire Company Deputy Chief Tim Chamberlain told the Lower Makefield Township supervisors at their Sept. 14 meeting.

Problems at Yardley-Makefield reflect a trend in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and the United States, officials at the meeting said.

“We need to start talking about what we can do to address these shortfalls,” township Manager Kurt Ferguson said. “There’s no one, single answer.”

Supervisor John Lewis suggested that perhaps the township could help the fire company develop a comprehensive marketing plan to attract more members.

From - October 21,2021
[Image: "Sorry! I can't show you the actual draft budget," said John Mack. The public won't be able to see the budget until AFTER the election in the second week of November or later.]
On October 18, 2021, Newtown Township Manager, Micah Lewis, presented his DRAFT 2022 budget to the Board of Supervisors (BOS).

Some 2022 Budget Highlights
  • Addition of one full time Police Officer; Addition of one full time Deputy Fire Chief.
  • Purchase of a new Fire Chief’s Vehicle and three police patrol vehicles. Financed purchase of two public works utility vehicles, and one Parks and Recreation pickup truck.
  • Tax increase of 1.5 mills proposed in the Fire Protection Fund.

2020 Census Population Data Reveals A More Diverse Newtown Township
From - Oct 11, 2021
At the October 7, 2021, Newtown Area Joint Zoning Council (JZC) meeting, Lisa Wolff, Senior Planner, Bucks County Planning Commission (BCPC), presented an analysis of the recently released 2020 U.S. Census Redistricting Data Summary Files related to the "Jointure" townships (Newtown, Wrightstown, and Upper Makefield).

More, including population by race trends...
Related Content:

From - Sep 30, 2021
[Image: Selected pageview data for the period of Apr 1, 2021 through Sep 20, 2021.]
Google Analytics is one of the best tools available to “measure” the usability of websites – and it’s freely available. All that is required is a Google account and a special code to be inserted in every page, both of which are currently in use by the township.

Beth Leone, Newtown Township Technology Director, ran Google Analytics on the township website for the period of Apr 1, 2021 through Sep 20, 2021. Several Reports were generated, which you can find in my DataBank.

View a detailed analysis...
John Mack's Insights:

Considering that the website is the main way that the township communicates with residents, it is crucial that its usability be improved. Performing this benchmark report is just the first step. What is needed is to run analytics on a more regular basis to see what is working and what is not in terms of getting critical information out to residents.

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The opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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