NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP >> In a mandated reorganization meeting Jan. 6, the Democratic-controlled board of supervisors again reappointed Phil Calabro to his third term as chairman and tapped fellow-Democrat Dennis Fisher as vice chairman.
Before the vote, District Judge Mick Petrucci swore in sitting Democratic Supervisors Fisher and John Mack, who were each re-elected in November to serve full six-year-terms.
The board again designated Mack as assistant secretary/assistant treasurer for the third year in a row.
The decision for board leadership positions were along party lines, with Chairman Calabro, and fellow-Democrats Mack and Fisher voting for themselves, with Republican Supervisor Kyle Davis abstaining from the reorganization votes without comment.
Also at the meeting, Judge Petrucci administered the oath of office to newly-elected township auditors Richard Weaver and Delia Flaherty-Abrahamsen.
After his reappointment as chairman, Calabro read a statement in which he touted Newtown’s accomplishments in 2019, saying that 2020 will again be “another year without a tax increase.”
“I want to give big 'shoutouts' to the fire department, public works and all those who make the township better,” he added, noting that this year will see continued township improvements.
In his remarks, Vice Chairman Fisher echoed Calabro’s sentiments.
“We are one big team for Newtown,” he said. “We should always think of ourselves as Newtownians first and ever.”
There is also a pending vacancy on the board of supervisors that must be filled in the coming weeks.
In November, former Supervisor Linda Bobrin was elected as the Bucks County Register of Wills and has now assumed that office. She had officially resigned from the board last month.
At the reorganization meeting, the remaining supervisors voted 4-0 to officially accept her resignation and look for a replacement to fill two years of Bobrin’s term until the end of 2021 when the next municipal election is scheduled.
The board, which has 30 days under state law to fill the vacancy after accepting the resignation, is now seeking resumes from interested parties.
The supervisors have set a Jan. 15 deadline for those submissions.
According to Chairman Calabro, the supervisors will then conduct public interviews of the candidates and will hopefully decide on a replacement before month’s end.
A Jan. 29 supervisors’ meeting has tentatively been scheduled for that vote if one is not taken beforehand.
Supervisors receive a yearly salary of $4,125.
“It will be a bittersweet vote,” Calabro said, noting Bobrin’s popularity among board members.
As part of the reorganization, the supervisors were also required to reaffirm the contract of township manager Micah Lewis, and his $120,000 annual salary.
When the board approved the final 2020 township operating budget last month, it gave Lewis a $5,000 pay raise for his service.
He was also reappointed township secretary and treasurer which gives him the authority to handle finances and sign municipal checks.
Meanwhile, the board also made a number of other paid appointments to handle the Newtown’s legal, engineering and investment needs.
The Law Office of Sean Kilkenny will continue to represent the township as solicitor, along with attorney Jerry Schenkman, and the multi-state Remington & Vernick Engineers will stay on as the township’s main civil engineering firm.
In addition, several other engineering firms, investment companies and pension advisors were also appointed, as were individuals to serve without compensation on various township committees and boards, including: the Planning Commission, the Park and Recreation Board and the Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB).
In routine votes, the supervisors also approved a number of required resolutions formally establishing the local tax rates, as well as the bond amounts for township officers.
The board again formally adopted the pension plan for municipal employees, as well as approved other administrative functions, such as the 2020 fee schedule for permits and licenses, and the supervisors’ meeting calendar for the new year.
Chairman Calabro also announced which supervisors will serve as liaisons to the various township boards and committees. In addition, he noted that several of these volunteer advisory bodies have openings, and encouraged township residents to apply.
Anyone interested in serving on a township committee, or wish to be considered for the vacant supervisor’s position, should send a letter of interest and a resume to: Newtown Township, c/o Olivia Kivenko, 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, PA 18940.
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