LOWER MAKEFIELD >> Four candidates are vying for two open, six year seats on the Lower Makefield Township Board of Supervisors.
Two Democrats - incumbent appointee Suzanne Blundi and James McCartney - and two Republicans - Jeffrey Hall-Gale and Claire Fischer - are vying for the two open seats.
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/issue facing the township. Here are their responses:
Suzanne Blundi (D)
As an attorney for 27 years, I believe my job is to help my clients get where they want to go. That’s why I offered my name when Lower Makefield had a Supervisor vacancy. I saw it as an opportunity to offer my skills to my neighbors. Great communities do not just happen; they require hard work and careful planning. As a longtime resident, I have a deep love for Lower Makefield. My in-depth knowledge of the issues facing our township has grown stronger since joining the Board of Supervisors in January 2018. I want to continue the hard work that has begun, along with our Township Manager, fellow board members, and residents’ advisory committees, to ensure fiscal accountability and investment in quality services, including preserving our public open space and amenities that keep our community attractive. Our sewage treatment system is the biggest issue. The system is aging and in need of major repairs or replacement. I voted to analyze the parts of our system that are owned by the township, and we are reviewing potential options. I will continue to investigate feasible and rational alternatives that will benefit our township and rate payers for the long-term future.
I began my career in public service in state legislative offices while working my way through school. After graduating from Union University's Albany Law School, I started out as a trial attorney. What followed was my marriage to my husband, Michael, then our three kids and two dogs, and involvement in sports, schools, and Scouts in Lower Makefield. Professionally, I progressed through positions serving NYU’s medical center; deputy counsel with New York's hospital system where I lead a department of 26 attorneys. I am currently vice-president at a firm serving internationally recognized universities and healthcare providers.
James McCartney (D)
Some of the reasons I am running for Lower Makefield Supervisor is my community pride, my sense of involvement and to ensure that Lower Makefield remains on its current path as a highly desirable community. As we look to the short/long term future of our community, we face major infrastructure as well as possible planned development which require strong leadership. While serving on the Lower Makefield Zoning Hearing Board for the past seven years, I have been challenged with Zoning decisions which have prepared me for the role of a Township Supervisor. I will carry my pragmatic approach as a Zoning Hearing Member to my duties as a Township Supervisor. I consider all the residents of Lower Makefield my neighbors and will represent them as such in order for Lower Makefield to remain a great place to live.
Since 2003 I have been practicing as a State Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser (PA/NJ). I was an Assistant Vice President with First Union/Wachovia/Wells Fargo in the National Vendor Management Group based out of North Brunswick, NJ. I currently am the Co-Owner/CEO of McCartney Appraisal Group, PC offering residential appraisals in the Philadelphia and surrounding counties. My wife Lisa and I are life long Lower Bucks Residents and Pennsbury High School sweethearts (1993 and 1994). I have three children (two PHS grads) and one currently in 6th grade. I have volunteered as a coach with various local sports clubs (Falcon Volleyball, Lower Makefield Football, PAA Baseball and YMS).
Jeffrey Hall-Gale (R)
I am running for Township Supervisor because I am not happy about the current direction of the Township. In sum, the Township is becoming more and more unaffordable. The most pressing issue facing the community is the current sewer issue. It is unconscionable that sewer rates rose 25 percent in 2019 with a 40 percent raise called for in 2020. The reason for the raise is that the Township Manager (who has allowed the Township’s Credit rating to drop) is attempting to attract profit driven entities to purchase the sewer system. The Township Manager is not a Lower Makefield Resident and is not required to live with the consequences of his decisions. This is especially concerning as the Township took out a $15 million bond for sewer repairs and built the Community Center and dog park with $12 million of the bond. Only $3 million dollars of the bond were used on the sewer. The Township diverted more than 70 percent of the bond.
There is also talk from current board members of instituting an Earned Income Tax of 1 percent.
I also find it unreasonable that Sandy Run Road has been closed for over 2 years with no fix in sight. I also want to preserve open space and farmland as Lower Makefield is quickly losing the open space to unwise development. I am against the Wegmans and the 200 apartments as it only results in $200,000 per annum in profit to the Township and will result in the potential development of nearby Shady Brook Farm and the cow farm.
I obtained an English Degree from Saint Joseph’s University and a Law Degree from Villanova University. I clerked for the Honorable Shawn D. Meyers in the 39th Judicial District of Pennsylvania. I previously worked at the Supreme Court of New Jersey’s Office of Attorney Ethics and I currently work at a law firm where I handle business litigation, civil defense, and municipal law. I am a lifelong resident of Lower Makefield Township (30 years) and currently reside in Yardley Hunt.
Claire Fischer (R)
I am running for township supervisor because it saddens me to see that the township I grew up in is disappearing due to over development, which is the most pressing issue in the township.
I have been a lifelong resident of Lower Makefield and I have always appreciated the beauty and the quiet nature of the township. The township is starting to lose its special character and the traffic and environmental issues that were not present when I was younger are becoming more and more evident.
These traffic and environmental issues will be worsened if the proposed overlay is approved that would allow for 200 apartments and a Wegmans on the Prickett property. The proposed overlay could be applied to the Shady Brook property as well, as they have also applied for the same zoning overlay. This is why I attended the planning commission meeting and spoke out about the proposed overlay.
I am a lifelong resident of Lower Makefield who has worked for and supported local businesses throughout my life. I am also an advocate for the Delaware River and have spoken out about the number of trees lost during the Scudder Falls Bridge Project.