John Mack - Newtown Supervisor

Welcome to the September 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.

The Budget Approval Process Needs Improving

Now that the summer is over, the Newtown Township supervisors and residents are beginning to wonder what the township management is planning for the 2022 budget. Will there be another tax increase? How many miles of roads will be repaired? Etc.

Also of concern: Will the process be any better than in 2021? It’s September and the process hasn’t changed. In particular, residents won’t be given an opportunity to weigh in until the budget is "hung" - i.e., advertised in a local newspaper - probably after Thanksgiving!

Newtown resident Frank McCarron stood before the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors at the 11 August 2021 public meeting and asked some very important questions about the budget process. View the video on Youtube.

Mr. McCarron wanted to know if the township looked at the 5-year plan provided by ESI consultants to see if the predictions were borne out and what the impact would be on the 2022 budget.

“I don’t see any discussion [by the BOS],” noted Mr. McCarron. “Did we need to raise taxes? Did we raise taxes enough or too much? I hope you can add to your September agenda a discussion of where we stand financially this year versus what was expected when you raised taxes.”

The answers to these questions are important, because based on the consultants’ analysis, much of the original justification for the 2021 tax increase was to maintain a fund balance of at least 10%.

 

The full article includes more details, including:

  • How the Consultants Got It Wrong
  • In 2021, Taxes Increased, But Roadwork Decreased!
  • Finance Committee's Suggestions for Improving the Process

How to Spend Federal COVID Relief Funds

On June 29, 2021, the Newtown Township received the first deposit of American COVID Rescue Fund money totaling $1,024,920.93. This money is the first of two payments thanks to the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. The second payment will be received in June 2022.

In May, the U.S. Treasury released an interim final rule for eligible uses of ARP funds. Download a fact sheet on the 151-page regulation to learn more. One permitted use is providing grants and loans to small businesses and 501c(3) non-profits such as the Newtown Friends Village, which has already inquired about an application.

Newtown Friends Home & Village Board Chairman Terry Christiansen Inquires About an Application for an ARP Grant. View the video on Youtube.

Although the township has until the end of 2024 to spend its $2 million+ in relief funds, some of this money can be spent in 2022 and perhaps eliminate the need to raise taxes to cover unexpected expenses.

 

The full article includes more details, including:

  • A List of Permitted Uses For The Funds
  • Support for Non-Profits & Small Businesses
  • What SHOULD The Money Be Used For? (Updated Survey Results)

Mack's Guide to Accessing Financial Information

While you may not be able to see the 2022 proposed budget until late in November, you can access plenty of financial data currently available on the township website. These data include monthly bills lists, treasurer’s reports, current and past budgets, and financial statements – which are yearly audits.

In particular, you may be interested to see exactly how your tax dollars are being spent, by which department, and who gets those dollars. I prepared a video lesson that specifically is focused on downloading and analyzing the data in Bills Lists, which are monthly accountings of all the bills to be paid.

Mack's Guide to the Newtown Township Website. Lesson 2: Accessing Financial Information. View the video on Youtube.

 

Further Reading:

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.
Campaign Websites by Online Candidate