John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
 
The opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack
and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
Newtown BOS Rejects Chick-fil-A/Old Navy Settlement Agreement

At it's January, 13, 2021, public meeting, the Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) voted 3-2 against agreeing to a settlement with Newtown Bucks Association (NBA) regarding Chick-fil-A and a "retail pad" in the Newtown Shopping Center. The BOS seemed mostly concerned about the plan to "improve" traffic related to Chick-fil-A. Read more about this decision here.

Chick-fil-A/Old Navy & Arcadia Settlements Denied, Green Parrot Faces Eviction, Anti-Truck Traffic Petition, 2021 Budget Approved, More...

John Mack's Insights:
 
Here are a few of these decisions, which I consider "accomplishments."     
  • Appointed First Person of Color as Supervisor
  • Held the First Ever Police Town Hall Meeting
  • Rejected Arcadia III Development Settlement
  • Approved a “Contentious” 2021 Budget
Let me know if you agree or disagree with these and other decisions: TAKE MY SURVEY.  

Your responses are confidential - no identifiable information will be revealed in any summary of the results of this survey. When you complete the survey, you can see the de-identified results to date.  

DISCLAIMER: This is not an official Newtown Township Survey. It’s purpose is solely to inform John Mack, a Newtown Supervisor, of residents' opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.

Penndel will start collecting a 1% earned income tax this year after the ordinance allowing the tax was approved by borough council late in 2020.

At the same time, the borough council as part of the $2.6 million 2021 budget cut property taxes three mills, from 30.8 to 27.8 mills. That will be $63 less in annual property taxes for a resident with a property assessed at the borough average of $20,906.

The earned income tax will be assessed to both residents and non-residents at 1% of earned income and net profits, according to a news release from Keystone Collections Group, the company that collects the EIT for municipalities and school districts in Bucks County.

Anyone earning less than $12,000 a year will be exempt from the tax."While this tax type is new to Penndel, the majority of residents already pay the local EIT to the community they work in, and now the tax funds will go directly to Penndel," Keystone officials said.
John Mack's Insights:
 
This is an example of how Newtown's revenue from EIT is subject to decrease when neighboring municipalities - including Penndel to a small degree - institute their own EIT. Although, in this case, the impact is probably minimal given the fact that very few - if any - of the 2,885 residents of Penndel are employed in Newtown.   

I like the fact that anyone earning less than $12,000 a year will be exempt from the tax. I wonder if Newtown has the same policy. I'll have to ask.

Scooped from patch.com - on January 6
Last week, business owner Bob Lutz received word from his attorney that his landlord is seeking a judgment in court regarding tens of thousands of dollars in late rent payments.

For Lutz, owner of the Green Parrot Restaurant on Sycamore Street, the notice is just one more obstacle brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has crippled his business for the past nine and a half months.While he was able to benefit from the Payroll Protection Program, a forgivable loan to help small businesses keep their workers on payroll during the pandemic, it hasn't been enough to make up for steep losses in revenue since mid-March.

Despite attempts to make partial payment arrangements, the landlord is seeking a judgment in court, Lutz said."There's a major situation with our landlord that needs to be done to be able to do business long term," Lutz told Patch. "I hope we get there. I don't know if we'll get there, but we're gonna do our damndest."

A final 2021 Newtown Township budget proposes to use one of the largest property tax increases in township history to fund the hiring of an assistant township manager and three new police officers.
 
The $13.8 million spending plan approved 3-2 by the township supervisors hikes property taxes 3.99 mills, or $149 for a resident with a property assessed at the township average of $37,459.
 
And while very high by township standards, the increase is four mills less than the 7.99-mill increase in township Manager Micah Lewis' recommended budget from several weeks ago, and two mills less than the 5.99-mill increase in a preliminary budget advertised in November.
 
Several residents who joined the recent virtual meeting where the final budget was approved agreed with Davis.
 
"You haven't done anything on the revenue side except go after the residents for more money," said Ashok Kamath, who along with some other residents sent a letter to township officials with several suggestions for cutting expenses.
 
"The board is tone deaf to what we are saying. None of the expenses have been cut enough. This is a very difficult year."
 
A substantial tax increase was the recommendation of consultant Econsult in its proposed five-year financial plan for the township submitted in September. Officials from the company said the township needs to dramatically increase revenue in order to continue to provide adequate services and avoid using up its savings account, which now stands at about $2 million, in the next two years.
Magisterial District Judge Michael W. “Mick” Petrucci (07-2-07) has announced his intention to seek re-election to the bench one day after the 5th Anniversary of his original swearing-in. Petrucci is serving in his first term after winning election to fill the seat left vacant by the untimely passing of District Judge Donald Nasshorn.
 
“I am proud that during my first term I have kept the promises I made five years ago by running a fair and efficient court, putting the safety of our families first, and coming down from the bench to make our local court an active part of our community,” Petrucci said. “I have kept politics out of the courtroom and treated everyone who comes before the bench with the respect and fairness they deserve. It is my intention to build upon this record if I am again blessed to earn the support of local residents.”
 
During his time on the bench, Petrucci’s court has handled nearly 20,000 docket cases with Petrucci presiding over approximately 5,000 hearings.

The Newtown Township supervisors will continue to fight a large proposed housing development in court after taking no action on a settlement proposed by the builder, Philadelphia-based Arcadia.
 
The settlement had reduced the size of the project at Buck Road and the Newtown Bypass from a mix of 53 townhomes and 23 single-family dwellings, down to 60 single-family homes. It also offered alternate ideas on access and proposed to do additional landscape buffering and road improvements, among other items.
 
But all five supervisors at a recent virtual meeting said they wanted to take no action, meaning that litigation will continue in Commonwealth Court on the 76-home proposal after Bucks County Court had sided with the developer.
 
"If Arcadia comes back with another settlement proposal I'm sure the supervisors will look at it," township solicitor David Sander said at the meeting. "This doesn't preclude a settlement at some point in the future but as of now, there is no settlement."
 
That was welcome news for nearby residents, including those in the Eagle Ridge development who are a party to the litigation. They fear the development will add to traffic problems in the area and otherwise negatively impact their quality of life.
 
Supervisor Kyle Davis said he couldn't foresee voting in favor of any development on the land. "I don't see any project going in there that would not worsen traffic," he said.
 
But Arcadia representatives said such general objections are not valid legal reasons to deny the development. They contend the 76-home plan is "by right", meaning it complies in all ways with the township's zoning ordinance and requires no variances or waivers, and added they have little doubt Arcadia will prevail in court.
 
"The idea that no development will happen on this site is a fantasy," Arcadia President Jason Duckworth said when reached Wednesday. "We are willing to do anything that is reasonable, but the idea that we'll just go away is not happening."
 
He said he took it as somewhat of an encouraging sign that the supervisors took no action and didn't formally vote the settlement proposal down.
John Mack's Insights:
 
I believe the BOS was misled regarding the view of Eagle Ridge residents. Supervisors only had the Eagle Ridge HOA board’s agreement to accept the settlement. The HOA never surveyed the residents and consequently many residents never heard about the settlement.  
 
One resident - Deanna Bender, in a Dec 21 email to all BOS members - said “What deal was made to Eagle Ridge Board Members privately behind the community’s back to entice them to sign off on jeopardizing the safety of our neighborhood and the peaceful environment we now have?”  
 
Ms. Kender via FB Messenger said : “I just read the document that our HOA Board Members signed. It states that they held a special meeting to vote on their decision to approve the Arcadia deal. According to our bylaws, written notice of 15 days must be given to each Member. None of the members of Eagle Ridge received any notice for this special meeting with the exception of the board members.”  
 
Read my Notes from the December 22, 2020, BOS Meeting.  
 
This developer is DEFINITELY NOT going to stop fighting and will use every tactic to fight the township. Recall that there are two other suits filed against Newtown by this developer regarding two previous PRD plans. These suits have not be dropped and are ongoing in appeal at this point.  
 
Related Content:   Fees paid to date to KILKENNY LAW for ARCADIA III MANDAMUS ACTION:   
  • 04/17/20: $154.00
  • 05/08/20: $196.00
  • 06/19/20: $168.00
  • 07/17/20: $1,386.00
  • 12/22/20: $2,351.25
  • TOTAL for 2020 = $4,255.25
  • 02/22/19: $189.00
  • 03/22/19: $4,018.19
  • 04/18/19: $1,059.75
  • 05/17/19: $216.00
  • 07/08/19: $148.50
  • 09/20/19: $216.00
  • 08/09/19: $378.00
  • 10/18/19: $2,227.50
  • TOTAL for 2019 = $8,452.94
  GRAND TOTAL = $8,452.94 + $4,255.25 = $12,708.19

The petition stares: "Are you concerned about the large truck traffic on Stoopville Road. Did you know that several dangerous accidents have occurred on Stoopville Rd within the past few months, resulting in temporary closure of the road? Did you know that PennDot redesigned Stoopville Road several years ago narrowing it in efforts to reduce the high volume of traffic?
 
"PennDot’s Traffic Reduction Initiatives not only failed, but it resulted in creating a state roadway that is significantly limited in handling the high volume of large truck traffic. This is extremely unsafe! The weight and size of these large trucks had caused tremendous erosion of this roadway’s surfacing, especially along narrow shoulder.
 
"I implore you to stand as a community of residents to support the limitation of large truck traffic on Stoopville Road. Contact the township manager, Micah Lewis, PennDot representative, Don Centofante, and state representative Perry Warren."
 
Find the petition here. 
John Mack's Insights:
 
On November 17, 2020, the Newtown Police tweeted:  "ROAD CLOSED. Stoopville Road is closed between Durham Road (Route 413) and Eagle Road for a rollover truck accident. Please avoid the area until further notice."

This site is paid for and approved by John Mack: john@johnmacknewtown.info
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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