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 Township Fire Chief Glenn Forsyth will officially take over as chief of the all volunteer Newtown Fire Association effective Jan. 1, 2021 under a bylaws change approved by the board of supervisors on October 29.
“This is a huge step for the Newtown Emergency Services and the Newtown Fire Association,” said Forsyth, the chief of the paid Newtown Emergency Services department. “It’s the first step in bringing our two departments together as one.”
It’s also in keeping with a fire study commissioned by the township in 2018, which recommended moving to a single fire chief who would oversee both the paid full time staff at the Newtown Emergency Services department (Station 55) and the volunteers with the Newtown Fire Association (Station 55).
The resignation of NFA Chief Matt Gerhard at the NFA’s October meeting opened the door to the change in bylaws, which is pending the approval of the NFA membership at its November meeting.
John Mack's Insights:
I voted NOT to approve this contract because, like the proposed 2021 budget, it reduces the Newtown Township’s yearly contribution to the NFA from $175,000 to $160,000. If the contract is approved by the NFA, it takes precedence over the budget, meaning the Township is committed to that number and Supervisors no longer have any say in the matter.  
Meanwhile, the proposed 7.99 mills real estate tax increase includes 0.125 added to the Fire Fund, which includes this yearly contribution and the salary and benefits of the Chief Forsyth. That’s an added $43,000 per year! The township is collecting MUCH MORE than enough additional money to cover the Chief’s salary & benefits while providing LESS services via funding the NFA!  
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If all goes to plan, the former U.S. Steel site in Falls could be transformed into the largest industrial park on the East Coast within the next decade.Pending a purchase of the site, a proposal from Kansas City, Missouri-based industrial developer NorthPoint would invest more than $1 billion into remediation and redevelopment to make way for 10 million square feet of warehouses and logistics centered industrial buildings at the 1,800-acre site.
If those plans are realized, redevelopment inside the Keystone Industrial Port Complex could expand to 15 million square feet at an investment cost of $1.5 billion — making it the largest e-commerce, logistics and multi-model industrial project in the Northeast.
“Our vision is to create a class A industrial park and completely redevelop what’s out there today,” Jed Momot, NorthPoint chief strategy officer, said during a township planning commission meeting.
With more than a dozen new buildings, the project dubbed Keystone Trade Center could bring between 5,000 to 10,000 jobs back to an area that lost thousands of positions when the steel plant closed nearly two decades ago.
“I think it will certainly be a shot in the arm for the local and regional economy,” Momot said.
John Mack's Insights:
This may not be such good news for Newtown Township, which has plans to entice new high-tech businesses to the Business Commons located on Newtown-Yardley Road.
The 5-Year Financial Plan by Econsult Solutions also suggested that Newtown - with the assistance of regional economic development agencies – “should work to reevaluate and foster the local business community” and specifically recommended to “examine the capacity of Newtown business spaces such as the Business Commons.”
This was discussed at the July 2, 2020, Zoom meeting of the Newtown Economic Development Committee (EDC). Listen to local business leaders discuss “Bringing New Businesses to Newtown.” 
NOTE: The site was previously considered for the Elcon hazardous waste treatment facility. That plan was shot down by Falls Supervisors in May, 2019 (read “Victory! Falls Supervisors Reject Elcon Plan”).

One item of discussion at a recent Meet Mack Monday "Town Hall" meeting with residents concerned the increase in Newtown Twp municipal property taxes anticipated for 2021 and how it will impact homeowners. The total increase proposed is 7.99 mills on top of the current 4.5 mills. The new total would be 12.49 mills - a 178% increase - if the proposed 2021 budget is approved. Download an 8-page summary of the proposed budget.
How much more will YOU pay should this budget be approved by the Board of Supervisors?
To find out, follow these steps...
John Mack's Insights:
Note: The budget loomed large at the October 28, 2020 Board of Supervisors meeting. The Supervisors voted 3-2 to have the Township Manager prepare a new/alternate budget with just a 40% increase in RE tax, which works out to only a 1.8 mill increase.


DATE: November 9, 2020 TIME: 7:30 PM

Topics for Discussion:
  • Will there be a 178% increase in real estate taxes or 40% or something in between? Could it possibly be ZERO??? I will discuss possible cuts that may be made to bring down the percent increase in real estate taxes.
  • Other topics to be discussed include items on the agenda for the November 10, 2020, BOS meeting: TBD
  • Privilege of the Floor: Other issues, concerns of attendees.

REGISTER TO ATTEND - Login details will be sent to you via email or text to your cell phone a few days before the meeting and again on the meeting day.
State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) has announced that 26 area fire, rescue, and EMS will receive $535,425 in funding to offset expenses related to COVID-19, under the COVID-19 Crisis Fire, Rescue and EMS grant from the Office of State Fire Commissioner (OSFC).
“Our fire, rescue, and EMS workers dedicate themselves to serving our communities and have been on the front lines of keeping us healthy and safe, long before this pandemic started,” said Sen. Santarsiero. “These funding awards are critical to supporting the efforts of these brave men and women, who have continued to respond to the needs of our community, often with diminished resources, during these unprecedented times.”
The funding awards in Senate District 10 include:
- Doylestown Fire Co. No. 1: $25,342
- Fairless Hills Volunteer Fire Co.: $23,973
- Falls Township Fire Company #1: $25,342
- Newtown Fire Association: $25,068
- Newtown Township: $11,094
- Upper Makefield Fire Company: $25,068
- Newtown American Legion Ambulance Squad, Inc.: $15,048
- Yardley-Makefield Emergency Unit: $13,754

An FDA warning letter is an ignominious sign for any company and a wake-up call for change. But two warning letters in one year? That's an alarm bell for most companies—a fact that a Newtown Township, Pennsylvania-based drugmaker is finding out the hard way after a new FDA notice.
FDA investigators accused KVK-Tech of failing to set up the proper policies to surfaces used in packaging operations at its Newtown, Pennsylvania plant despite the agency's prior wrist slap in April, according to a warning letter [addressed to
Anthony P. Tobasso, President and CEO] posted online this week.
During an inspection between February and March, investigators found the company did not have proper cleaning protocols for a slat table used in packaging its oral solid-dose drugs, which were redacted in the letter.
The newest warning letter isn't KVK's first run-in with the FDA—a point investigators noted.
In February, the FDA found KVK failed to properly integrate co-eluting peaks during impurity testing of its phentermine HCL capsules, a drug used for weight loss, at a second facility in Newtown. As a result, the letter says the analysis failed to detect out-of-specification results for at least one lot of the drug.
KVK Tech said even though its methods might underestimate impurities in the drug, the impact was minimal because “the failing batches were ultimately recalled from the market, albeit at a potentially later time.”
The FDA, unimpressed by this argument, ordered the company to bring in an independent consultant to help it assess its laboratory practices and then put together a plan on how it intends to bring them up to agency expectations.
John Mack's Insights: 
The Newtown Bucks County Joint Sewer Authority previously had issues with how waste water from KVK Tech is handled. It may have to take another look! These chemicals are NOT what we want to end up in our ground water.  
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Homeowners in Newtown Township could face a 178 percent increase in property taxes if a proposed 2021 budget is approved.
At its [October 28, 2020] meeting, the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to request that Township Manager Micah Lewis come up with an alternative budget that only increases property taxes by 40 percent.
"I voted against this 'do over' primarily because I thought it was a waste of the Manger's time," Supervisor John Mack said. "More than likely the new version will not include what I consider necessary improvements in services for residents."
What Would You Cut From the Proposed 2021 Newtown Township Budget?
John Mack's Insights:
Readers of the original article may have been misled to believe that by opposing the "40% alternative" budget, that I approved the original version, which would increase RE taxes by 178%. To be clear, neither I nor the other supervisors voted to approve a 178% increase in RE taxes.  

A victim of the "40% alternate" surely will be the 2021 road program. As it is, the original proposed budget only allows for the repaving of about 3.6 miles of roads, which is just enough to keep to keep up with the status quo - not to get ahead. That program will surely be cut to the bone in the 40% "solution," which is why I voted against the "re do."

You can learn more about cuts that may be proposed in the "40% alternate" by attending the Meet Mack Monday Zoom meeting on November 9, 2020, at 7:30 PM. Signup to join the meeting and tell me what you think should be cut and/or take my survey.  
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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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