At its first meeting of 2023, Newtown Township’s Board of Supervisors held a reorganization to elect a leadership slate. Supervisor Dennis Fisher was reelected chairman by a unanimous vote as were Vice Chairman John Mack and Assistant Secretary/Assistant Treasurer Elen Snyder. Supervisors Kyle Davis and Phillip Calabro also return as board members.
Fisher highlighted some of the board’s 2022 accomplishments, including striking an agreement with Newtown Borough to fund the Newtown Emergency Services Department as well as a pact with Wrightstown for police services.
A labor agreement with the township firefighters union was also approved and designated ARPA funds were used to order a dump truck for public works, three police patrol vehicles, and parks and rec improvements. Three additional patrol vehicles were purchased per the 2022 budget as was a vehicle for the fire chief.
In addition, the board reached a settlement agreement with Toll Brothers for the former All Saints Cemetery property that surrounds the township municipal complex. The agreement included a provision that Toll would donate nearly 100 acres of the private property to Newtown after developing the remainder of the parcel.
The township also filled two police officer vacancies, added a new officer, hired a finance director and began the search for a new deputy fire chief. A township YouTube channel was created to add another public viewing option for supervisors meetings. Additionally, Newtown was awarded funds including a Keystone Communities Grant for improving pedestrian safety on Sycamore Street and a multimodal grant for making trail connections to roads in the business commons district. Approximately 3.5 miles of township roads were also paved during 2022 and the year closed out with the successful passing of the 2023 budget.
Reflecting on his first year as chairman, Fisher said, “I have learned a lot being in this chair and especially about the difficulties just contemplating maintaining order in these meetings.” He went on to mention some challenges the township faces moving forward, including pending litigation with Wawa regarding a proposed development on the Newtown Bypass, designating additional ARPA funds, monitoring a tight 2023 budget, finishing the township comprehensive plan, and working to construct a pedestrian bridge between the borough and the township.
The reorganization meeting also provided an opportunity for the board to appoint several new members to a handful of committees, including the township planning commission, zoning hearing board and parks and recreation board.
At least two boards — the finance committee and economic committee — have not reached capacity. Therefore, those will be left open to allow for more residents to apply.
Along with a host of ordinance and resolution approvals regarding bond amounts, tax millage, and pension plans among other matters, the township reaffirmed the board of supervisors meeting schedule of every second and fourth Wednesday of each month.
Fisher concluded, “I would like to thank the administration and consultants for resourcing us expeditiously throughout the year. When we have questions, we get answers.”
“I would also like to thank the board for always being available to work on the challenges we had in front of us and the public for your participation and advice even when we were expressing disagreement. I hope all of us look forward to a productive 2023.”