Welcome to the October 2021, issue of Newtown News Update. Back issues and subscribing information can be found here. The opinions expressed here are solely the those of John Mack and do not reflect the opinions of any other person or entity.
Township Manager Presents Recommended 2022 Budget to Supervisors
On October 18, 2021, Newtown Township Manager, Micah Lewis, presented his recommended 2022 budget to the Board of Supervisors (BOS). This was a public in-person meeting attended by all the department heads, Fire Chief, and Police Chief. The Supervisors were able to ask questions as well as the public although there were only a handful of residents in attendance. Below are some highlights. Access a detailed online summary including video clips from the meeting.
Sorry, I cannot show you the budget until it is approved to be "hung"/advertised by the Board of Supervisors AFTER the election in November! Only limited changes can be made after that. The final budget will likely be approved in early December.
- Total revenues: $13,193,088 (vs $12,722,257 in the 2021 budget; there is an estimated fund balance forward amount of $2,995,785, for a projected total of $16,188,873 available in 2022); Total expenditures: $14,554,818 (vs $13,811,834 in the 2021 budget); Net fund balance: $1,634,055 (11% of expenditures vs 20% projected for 2021)
- Completion of the Lower Dolington Road Trail (see "Park/Trails Improvements").
- Addition of one full time Police Officer
- Addition of one full time Deputy Fire Chief and a new Fire Chief’s Vehicle
- Purchase of three police patrol vehicles. Financed purchase of two public works utility vehicles, and one Parks and Recreation pickup truck
- Consultant to provide part-time Zoning & Code Enforcement Services
- Financed purchase of police body cameras, and the financed purchase of updated police records management system (CODY)
- Financed purchase of software to support Finance, Codes & Zoning, & Administration to offset aging and obsolete infrastructure
- Police Department Facilities Study to assess current and future building needs
- 3.11 miles of road work expected, not including additional alternates (see "Road Repairs")
- Tax increase of 1.5 mills proposed in the Fire Protection Fund
Fire Chief Wants a Deputy & More Money For Volunteers
I asked why Fire Chief Glenn Forsyth wishes to hire a Deputy Fire Chief at a cost of about $75,000 per year. Why is this necessary when the township has already increased the Chief’s salary by 8% in 2021 precisely because of his new responsibilities managing BOTH paid firefighters and the volunteer Newtown Fire Association (NFA)? Listen to his response below.
Some numbers from the draft budget under "FIRE PROTECTION":
Police Chief Wants a New Building
I asked Police Chief John Hearn to explain the need for a $20,000 Police Building Facility Study. Recall that the Chief proposed this study for the 2021 budget, but it was nixed by the BOS as part of an effort to lower the tax increase (read "Final 2021 Newtown Township Budget Approved!"). Listen to his comments:
Some numbers from the draft budget under "POLICE SERVICES":
Residents Want to Save Energy & Money
Jan Filios and Peter Gilles – Environmental Advisory Council members – made comments supporting the purchase of electric vehicles and upgrading streetlights to modern LED technology. Ms. Filios listed the many benefits of LED streetlights and also supported the township’s efforts to charge Newtown Borough for fire services provided by the township’s paid firefighters. Listen to public comments:
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