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[Shown in Image: Dennis Fisher and John Mack]
The Advance of Bucks County asked each of the candidates to respond to a question - in their own words - about why they are running and the biggest challenge facing the township. Here are their responses:
John Mack (D)
…there is a possibility of Newtown losing its semi-rural charm and becoming a modern-day “Pottersville” through over development. It is imperative that Supervisors have the necessary EXPERIENCE and TIME to devote to develop a 5-year financial plan and a new 10-year Comprehensive Plan to deal with these problems and make the right decisions that benefit all residents. As a Supervisor, retired businessman, and member of my homeowners’ association executive board, I have the experience and time necessary to devote to the job.
Dennis Fisher (D)
I am running to serve. Twelve years of serving on the Planning Commission and the Environmental Advisory Council have prepared me for this time. My understanding of Land Use issues and my ability to build consensus with other points of view will be critical as we develop the 10-year Comprehensive Plan to guide Newtown’s future.
Daniel Boyle (R)
I am a concerned Newtown resident who expects to raise my family here for years to come and hopes my family will raise their families here and I believe that real change only occurs when we are willing to put ourselves at the point of friction in a position to effect that change.
TJ Butler (R)
As a 25-year resident of Newtown, I want to preserve the values that have shaped Newtown into one of the best places to live, work and shop in Bucks County. As our community continues to grow, we need to support our local business owners, use common sense when approving development.
Like many municipalities in Bucks County, Newtown Township is struggling to maintain its current finances. In 2018, the general fund balance decreased by more than $665,000.Being blamed for part of downward trend is the loss of Earned Income Taxes as surrounding towns such as Bensalem and Middletown have enacted EITs of their own.Real estate transfer taxes have also decreased in 2019. Factors affecting the volatile housing market include diminishing supply, rising costs, interest rates and demand. The township has reduced the budgeted figure for transfer taxes for the second consecutive year, this time from $800,000 to $750,000.Where Newtown really runs into a budget shortfall is debt service. A 2020 municipal bond that was refinanced at TD Bank has allowed township officials to make payments to debt service without contemplating a tax increase.In his presentation of the 2020 budget to the supervisors on Oct. 14, Township Manager Micah Lewis announced that the township’s current millage rate doesn’t cover the cost of future payments it has to make to its debt. The current fund balance will carry debt service payments through 2020. After that, Lewis said, the fund will fall short by more than $100,000.Lewis reported that the township has significantly scaled back expenditures in its 2020 budget in order to offset projected shortfalls. He is recommending that future budgets contain revenue increases to support the diminishing general fund and offset the volatility of the current funding structure.
After the Newtown Artesian Water Company (NAWC) sent a letter to residents in February 2019, that PFAS (Definition) - perfluorinated compounds - were detected in Newtown Township's water, supervisor Mack requested that Mr. Dan Angove, NAWC General Manager, return to report on the situation. Mr. Angove complied and presented the Q1 2019 test results at the May 8, 2019, Board of Supervisors public meeting (read "Update on PFAS in Newtown's Water Supply").At that meeting, Mr. Angove promised that NAWC would test Newtown's water sources for PFAS every quarter and publish the results on its website. The 2019 third quarter (Q3) results are now available. John mack created  charts to show the levels of PFAS in relation to different Minimum Contamination Levels (MCLs) and the trends.
More here (included trends chart)...
Located in the heart of the Newtown Business Commons on 103 Penns Trail, the community’s first brewpub is being welcomed with open arms and plenty of excitement
Speaking to BucksLocalNews.com just moments before opening their doors, owners Gregg and Sara Bonstein of Upper Makefield said they are eager to bring their top quality home brews to their community.
“Our goal is to create a warm and welcoming environment where everyone can enjoy top quality craft beer brewed right here in Newtown,” said Gregg.
Operating under the slogan, “Quality craft. Quality beer,” the taproom will feature a rotating selection of 10 beers and one cider. In addition, they will be selling a selection of wines from Crossing Vineyards in Washington Crossing.
“We will have 30 or 40 different styles that we will rotate throughout the year, including some seasonal selections. We’ll be keeping it fresh,” said Gregg. “We’ll also have new releases every couple of weeks.”
Beer styles include light lagers, dark lagers, Belgian/wheat beers, American/Session IPAs, New England juicy hazy IPAs, stouts, and experimental and seasonal selections.
Half of the 5,000 square foot space is a public taproom with a bar, big screen TVs and tables and chairs. The other half is dedicated to manufacturing and warehousing with giant silver vats lining the walls.
“We have all of our brewing tanks here. We do all the brewing on site,” said Gregg. “Behind the taps, we have a walk-in cooler that has more tanks. So we’re actually serving the beer right out of the tanks so you get the beer fresh right from the tanks.
The taproom, with its high exposed ceiling and softer lighting, is designed specifically to accommodate large numbers of people and special events.
“We’re trying to make it a fun, local community taproom so we’ll have events, live music, trivia nights, open mic, movie nights - stuff for the kids and for the adults,” he said.
According to Gregg, the taproom has no kitchen, so patrons will need to bring their own food.
“We will be selling some snacks, but people can do take out or delivery. If you want to bring a pizza, you can do that,” he said. “We will also have food trucks that will park out back. And we will be rotating them from time to time.”
Following a ceremonial ribbon cutting organized by the Newtown Business Association (NBA), the couple officially opened the doors to their new business on Friday, Oct. 18.
2019 © John Mack
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