Why Did BAWG Report Exclude HARB & Library Boards

At the end of the BAWG report, there is a yearly calendar which lists the various township boards, month by month.  Now I didn’t go through each board on the township to see if it is listed but I know there are at least 2 boards that didn’t make the cut — Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) and the Library Board.  For the BAWG volunteers that put the calendar together, I am sure that they would simply view it as an oversight.  However, for the volunteers who serve on these boards they may feel slighted. 

I understand that to some people preservation of our historic resources may not be as important as other township boards such as Zoning, Pension Trustees, Municipal Authority, etc. But for people like myself who serve on HARB and have done so for many years, it is just as important to the landscape of this community.  I often joke that on any budget, whether it is federal, state or  county budgets that historic preservation is the last item on the budget and is the first item off the budget. Guess in the case of the BAWG report, it never got in the report!  Just for the record, the HARB board meets monthly, 3rd Wednesday of the month at the Township Building. 

Then we have the Library Board and its absence on BAWG’s township calendar.  Unlike HARB, the library does have much mention in the text of the report – with suggestions for reduction in book and equipment purchases, reduction in operating hours, staff reductions, etc. For many people, particularly seniors, living in our community the Tredyffrin Library and the Paoli Library are their life blood to the outside world.  I continue to be concerned about the future of our libraries with the diminishing services.  Please take the time to read the section of the BAWG report about the Paoli Library and its future.  As a board member of Paoli Business & Professional Association (PBPA) I know how many people depend on this community library.  Many of the people that use the Paoli Library are in a different income bracket than those that visit the Tredyffrin Library.  The Paoli Library visitors may not have computers at home and depend on the library and the use of the computers. The Library Board is another township board whose volunteers work tirelessly trying to juggle the budget constraints with programming demands, operational challenges, etc.  For the record, the Library Board meets monthly on the 4th Tuesday of the month, rotating between Tredyffrin and Paoli Library.

As I said, I didn’t check the BAWG monthly calendar for each of the township boards so there may be others that did not make it in to the report.  But for HARB and Library Board members, thank you for your service and contribution to the community.

St. Davids Sidewalk Required or Not?

Whatever happened to the sidewalks that St. Davids Golf Club was required to install with their land development project? Tredyffrin’s Planning Commission told St. Davids that they must install the sidewalks as initially required with the land development plans.  I believe that the Township is still holding escrow money not be released until the sidewalks are installed.  Wonder how many years ago the St. Davids plan passed?  Today I read in the BAWG report that instead of installing the sidewalks there is the suggestion that we accept $50,000 from St. Davids and waive the requirement.  It is one thing to make suggestions about revenue sources and future budgets, but are we now allowing the BAWG to change past township decisions?  Why the offer of $50,000 – is that St. Davids cost for the sidewalks?  Does this decision not impact the Planning Commission’s ability to have their decisions upheld?  If the Board of Supervisors agree to this BAWG suggestion, what does that say about future Planning Commission decisions?

BAWG Report Released

Here is a copy of the BAWG report for those unable to attend the Budget Workshop meeting yesterday. The report is now available on the township website. I just gave the report a quick review – some of the suggestions are to be expected. Cited are various ways to reduce expenses including centralizing purchasing, placing a ‘hold’ on capital projects, etc. I am alarmed that there continues to be a notion of reducing the staff. About a month ago, there was a township-wide reduction in staff so I can only hope that this report is not suggesting further reductions but rather that the recent reductions were the implementation indicated in this report.  In my opinion,  further reductions in staff will clearly result in further reductions of services. There is a delicate balance between reduction of services and creating a potential crisis and/or emergency situation within the township.  Not intending to be an alarmist, I am concerned what continued reductions will do for the quality of life in this community.

I was part of a  5-member budget group of the Paoli Business & Professional Association (PBPA) that met with the BAWG members in July.  Following our meeting, we provided the members of the BAWG committee and the Board of Supervisors with PBPA’s suggestions for possible expense reductions and revenue sources, from a small business standpoint.  One of the suggestions of our PBPA group for the BAWG was a review of Earned Income Tax (EIT) as a possible source of township revenue.  At the meeting with BAWG, Dave Brill, Tredyffrin’s Finance Director offered that the estimated revenue was $8M should an EIT be instituted.  It would appear from the BAWG report, that our suggested review of EIT was dismissed by BAWG.  My understanding from the BAWG report is the suggestion of a ‘flat business tax’ be imposed — meaning that major corporations (Vanguard, Unisys) would be taxed the same as the small businesses located in the township (i.e. the Great Valley House, my small bed & breakfast).  Yet, BAWG concludes negatively on further exploration of EIT, based on 2007 T/E School Board findings.  I believe that Tom Coleman led the budget review committee for the school board as he did as the chair of BAWG.  On the topic of EIT, BAWG concludes that the implementation of EIT is a ‘short-sighted’ approach.  I suggest that the opposite is true — it is ‘short-sighted’ not to review the pros and cons of EIT.  The residents of Tredyffrin are owed an open and thorough review of ‘all’ revenue sources (including EIT).  It should be an obligation for the Board of Supervisors to provide all information to the public, and not make decisions in a vacuum.

Keep Your Dreams Alive

“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” -Gail Devers

Tredyffrin Township: Budget Workshop Meeting Tomorrow

Saturday, November 14 at 8:30 AM there will be a Budget Workshop Meeting at the Tredyffrin Library.  The public is invited to attend and I strongly suggest that you attend if possible.  The meeting will be an opportunity for the public to be the first to hear the BAWG’s report.  I am hopeful that there will be extra copies available.  It is my understanding that the township will not have the budget available online until after the budget approval process is completed.  I guess I understand their rationale but personally, I would like to at least see a glimpse.  At this week’s Board of Supervisor Meeting, township manager Mimi Gleason gave an overview of the 2010 budget.  The stated mission of the BAWG was to review all aspects of the township’s operation and to make budget recommendations; I am anxious to see their findings. I am concerned about the future quality of life of township residents should the staff reductions and service cuts continues.

A Letter of Thanks

Letters to the EditorAppearing in the Main Line Suburban Life today is a Letter to the Editor from me in which I thank all those who helped me during the election cycle.  I am still in the reflection period of post-election but the clouds are starting to lift — it is good to feel like I’m coming out on the other side.

A New Beginning

Life is about facing challenges and obstacles.  How we face those challenges and how we get to the other side is what makes the journey all the more interesting.  My latest challenge was the election and how I would get to the other side.  I may have lost the election but this past 9 months confirmed my commitment to the community.  I remain committed that our community needs to be represented and needs to have a voice. The voter turnout for this recent election was very low, probably somewhere between 20-25% of the registered voters.  It will be those people that came out and voted that will be deciding our future.  This still leaves about 75-80% of our registered voters, plus many more unregistered voters whose voice will not be ‘technically heard’. 
Which brings me to the point of this blog entry.  I made a decision today.  I have decided to continue my blog – obviously no longer as a candidate but as a person who believes that community matters.  I have discovered that I enjoy writing and now this will allow me a vehicle to comment.  My comments will not be about politics, because as we now know — I’m no politician.  I was involved in the community with all my activities before and during the campaign and I am now picking up where I dropped off.  Going forward, I will comment on community activities, events and people as I feel appropriate.
For me, getting past the challenge of last week’s election, means becoming proactive.  Proactive will take the form of writing on this blog.

In My World . . . Honesty & Integrity Matter

Yesterday was Election Day in Tredyffrin Township and today has been a difficult day for me. The outcome was not what I expected, nor was it what I wanted for this community.  I lost the election as well as did my other 2 running mates, Sean Moir and Eamon Brazunas.  In my world of looking for the ‘best’ in people, I fear that the residents of our community lost more than just having these three people serve as Supervisors.  Together with Sean and Eamon, I truly believed that we represented the right reason for serving the community.  Idealistic and committed to the community, we share a passion and enthusiasm with background of community service that was unmatched in our opponents.  The three of us always took the higher road in this campaign, believing all the while that the ‘good guys’ would finish first.  Not so this time.  Our combined 30 years of experience, education and committment was no match. 

We were not prepared to counter the lies and misleading attacks of our opponents.  Just not interested in further dividing the community with the same type of negative campaigning, all in the name of ‘politics’.  We knew the people that came to the polls to cast their vote for us . . . those people believed in us and we would not let them down.  They believed that we could make this a better place . .  one where everyone worked together; a place where your word meant something.  Today I can look in the mirror and take comfort in knowing that I am may not have been elected, but I know I am a better person than some of my opponents. 

Do I regret the time and energies spent on this campaign?  Absolutely.  Do I regret trying to make a difference in our community?  Never.  The eternal optimist, I find the ‘rose-colored’ glasses are a bit smudged, and a little cynicism has crept in to my thoughts today.  I am hopeful that with some time and distance to be able to get back some of my spirit that I lost while on this journey. 
To my many friends and neighbors, and people that I met a long the way, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.  I am only sorry that I will not have the opportunity to be your Supervisor and help to make a difference in Tredyffrin Township.