John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
8 September 2021 BOS Meeting Summary

Report from Technology & Communications Committee, hybrid meetings, Newtown Shopping Center traffic study, opioid litigation, police report, More...

Below is my personal summary of the September 8, 2021, meeting of Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS). See the detailed notes embedded at the end of this post.

NOTE: I was not able to attend this in-person meeting because I was quarantined with COVID! The doctor said this is the first case he's seen of someone who received the Moderna vaccinations! I was able to attend virtually via speaker phone.

Meanwhile, residents still are not able to attend virtually and must put themselves in harm's way by attending in person. In fact, I may have unwittingly infected a resident at the August 25, 2021, meeting before I was tested positive for COVID on Monday, August 30. This underscores the need to have hybrid BOS meetings that give residents - not just supervisors - the OPTION to attend and participate virtually.

If you agree, PLEASE SIGN MY PETITION! To date, 179 people have signed. All signature will be sent to the supervisors.

Some of the issues that were discussed and/or voted on include:

Technology & Communications

The T&CC has conducted a survey of all committee/commission/council members – other that the BOS members – to access their website usage, problems, and desired communication needs. The Technology & Communications (T&CC) met on Monday, August 30, 2021. The Committee discussed attending a future Board of Supervisor's working session to make "headway" on getting access to the website and providing some solutions for the board in regards to making website improvements. Download My Detailed Notes.

Public Comment on "Lazy Citizens"

In a comment to the BOS, Newtown Grant resident John D’Aprile was of the opinion that the township should not spend money on hybrid meetings so that “lazy” residents can attend. “Why should we cater to someone who is lazy and does not want to come to meetings?,” quipped Mr. D’Aprile.

In my opinion, Mr. D’Aprile’s comments are an insult to residents who are NOT lazy such as the elderly, young families with children, the handicapped, and anyone susceptible to COVID infections. 

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Engineer's Report: Brixmor Traffic Study

Although the Township Engineer dis not attend this meeting, I did ask her via email about the status of the Village at Newtown Shopping Center traffic study promised by Brixmor, the landlord, as part of the Land Development agreement.

The answer was: “The formal traffic study has not yet been submitted. The preliminary punchlist included various items to be addressed, pertaining to curb and sidewalk repairs, striping, permit items, as well as them providing the traffic study. Regarding the Bank of America and Starbucks drive thru, Brixmor provided a draft plan that showed a revised layout in this area to extend the drive thru to allow for more cars in the queue. We provided informal comments to Brixmor related to the total number of spaces and pavement markings. They have not yet provided a revised plan for our review.”

I think a traffic study should be done sooner rather than later. I was told that 99.99% of the space needs to be rented before the study is required. I’m not sure if that goal – however it is measured (stores vs square footage) – will ever be achieved in this economy. Meanwhile, I continue to get complaints from residents regarding traffic and parking.

It was decided that Mr. Lewis will instruct the township engineer to request that the traffic study be done as soon as possible regardless of the percent occupancy of the shopping center.

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Solicitor's Report: Opioid Litigation

Attorneys asked that the BOS give them permission to approve the Mallinckrodt Bankruptcy plan, which, they say is now “consistent” with the Purdue settlement plan in the availability of funds for governmental entities for abatement purposes.

They also said: “The Mallinckrodt Plan is not consistent with the Purdue Plan in regard to shielding parties associated with the bankrupt company.  While Mallinckrodt “shields” current and former directors, officers and some others, it does not shield any billionaires or highly polarizing figures such as the Sacklers – this inconsistency with the Purdue Plan arguably makes the Mallinckrodt Plan better in that regard.”

I disagreed. My main problem with the Purdue plan is not that it let the billionaire owners get away scot free, but that no officers of the company that carried out the marketing plan will be held accountable.

For background, read "Newtown Township Joins Suit Against Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors." Related: "Purdue Pharma Settlement Plan." Also,  Download My Detailed Notes.

The motion failed to pass (vote was 2 yeas and 2 nays).

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Police Reports

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Manager's Report
  • Authorization to execute "Letter of Understanding #5," amending the Collective Bargaining Agreement for the Police related to promotions of supervisors: The basis of the Amendment is to develop a more formalized, structured promotional policy for promotions of command staff for the ranks of Corporal and Sergeant. The policy will include a written examination, an oral interview/presentation, and “Chief's points” for candidates. See Manager's Report for details.

  • Consideration to approve 3-year financing for the 2021 Ford F-350 with Municipal Finance through CoStars. See Manager's Report for details.

  • Authorization to execute elevator service contract with Elevator Construction & Repair Co. See Manager's Report for details.

  • Peter Taylor's Farmhouse: Newtown Police Command has visited the site with Mr. Stewart. They were reassured by Mr. Stewart that all safety precautions would be enacted to protect both the residents and the community. Closed circuit monitoring and strict control of visitors, and roaming of the site were discussed. The Bucks County Fire Marshal's office has conducted fire inspections at the house, and has made recommendations that will be followed, otherwise the house is fire code compliant. Counsellors will be staffed on a shift schedule, and have direct oversight over the home 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. See Manager's Report for details.

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Mack's Meeting Notes

The complete notes are embedded below or you can download the PDF file here. Not all items on the agenda may be covered in these notes.

Meeting Video

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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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