In a preliminary preview of data it has provided to the county on the local economic effect of the pandemic, Richland Township has noted Earned Income Tax (E.I.T.) revenue for April, 2020 was down to 60 per cent of that for April of 2019. Meanwhile, E.I.T. revenue for the first quarter of 2020 was said to be similar to last year, and local unemployment was noted as “close to 12 percent.”
The E.I.T. announcement was made by Township Manager Paul Stepanoff at the livestreamed May 11 public board of supervisors meeting. Only socially distanced supervisors, Stepanoff, and Office Administrator Tracey Virnelson were present in the meeting room, with Solicitor Linc Treadwell participating via speaker phone.
In addition, 26 residents took advantage of the opportunity to participate from outside via email, both before and during the meeting.
Stepanoff said that “the Bucks County Consortium of Township Managers reported that Bucks County has hired the ESI Group to do a municipality-by-municipality analysis of how the Townships’ EIT and Transfer Tax revenues may be impacted for 2020 due to COVID-19. The analysis should be completed in June, provided ESI receives requested information by May 15.” He added that Richland had already submitted all pertinent data.
In addition to the “shot across the bow” of April 2020 E.I.T. data for Richland, Supervisor Tim Ritter said
later in the meeting that there had been “3,000 to 4,500 unemployment claims just in our 18951 zip code, which is close to 12 percent of our working population.”
Supervisor Kathie Doyle noted that contractors and others newly eligible for unemployment benefits under the federal relief program still had not received any benefits, thereby emphasizing the importance of local food drives, which Supervisor Chair Tim Arnold described in some detail. Supervisors offered opinions on a consequent need for pandemic-related, state restrictions to be eased, but did not mention proposals for further federal relief targeted to states and municipalities.
Of the 26 emails from the community at large, 23 were related to concerns about numerous dead trees in the Arbours at Morgan Creek development, where the maintenance period ends on June 9, and bond security expires July 30. Arnold promised the township will look into the matter.
Acting in response to a formal inquiry from a resident, supervisors upheld a previous determination, by their traffic engineer, that a new, dedicated left turn arrow for north-bound Route 309, at the intersection of Franklin Lane, did not warrant a request to PennDOT. They said that after consulting with their police chief and others, there was no new accident data or other information to justify a $15,000 expenditure to re-investigate the matter, and that there was already a left-turn lane at the site.
The June 6 shredding event at the police station on California Road, is still on, from 10 a.m. to noon.