As we sat down to write this article, we noticed a new video from the Warminster Democrats on Facebook that we felt was required a response. In this video, Kathy Frescatore and Mary Owens, who are running for Township Supervisor, made two patently false claims. See our response below. But continue reading past these claims to read about the potentially deadly problem facing our township.
“Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics”
The quote above was from Benjamin Disraeli. We’ll point out the lies and the damn lies of the Democrats, and then we’ll provide the statistics (or truth).
Claim: “The Democrats saved the township from bankruptcy without raising taxes.”
Fact: In only their second meeting after taking control of the Board of supervisors, the Democrat controlled board voted to increase our local taxes by 72%. This number was reduced to ONLY a 35% increase when the Democrats, including both Kathy Frescatore and Mary Owens, voted to break a promise regarding selling township assets when they sold the Storm Water system to the WMA. While this move did reduce the tax INCREASE from 72% to 35%, as a rate payer of the WMA, you can expect to see a “rain tax” added to your water bill beginning in 2022. The fact is that the Democrats INCREASED our local taxes by 35% and pushed a tax from the township to the Water Authority.
Claim: The Democrats “Secured better contracts and paved 25 miles of roads.”
Fact: This is a two-parter. First, when they say, “better contracts”, I wonder if they just forgot that they awarded the contract for the Community Park build out to the highest bidder. In doing so, it cost the township an additional $275,000 and eliminated the splash park from the project, which was supposed to be the centerpiece attraction. As for the 25 miles of paved roads, that number has gone from 21 miles to 22 miles to now 25 miles. Which is it? And does that include the 5 miles of roads that were paved that the taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for in the first place. For example, portions of Mearns Rd, Bristol Rd, and County Line Rd were paved and paid for by your tax dollars. These are all state roads. Furthermore, portions of Valley Rd and Davisville Rd were paved, on both sides of Street Rd. We’ve had a long-standing agreement with Warrington and Upper Southampton that those townships would be responsible for paving the southern ends of each of these roads. Why are our tax dollars being used to fund these roads?
It's a Matter of Life and Death
Yes, both items above are very important and goes to the incumbents’ willingness to tell you what you want to hear instead of the truth. But the even more important issue facing the township today is that of public safety. The township had been reluctant to apply for a SAFER grant (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) to be used to pay for 75% of the salary and benefits of paid firefighters. During the May 6, 2020, Board of Supervisors meeting, Chairman Ken Hayes said hiring firefighters, even with the federal government picking up 75% of that tab, would be “fiscally foolish.” Not long after this meeting and due to the pandemic, the Trump administration changed the guidelines for the SAFER grants to now pay 100% of the salary and benefits for up to 3 years. Suddenly, the township decided to apply for the grant, and during the May 26, 2020, meeting, they voted to do just that. Warminster Township was awarded $1,767,963 on September 14, 2020. At this time, the expectation was that we’d soon have paid firefighters to cover the weekday shifts. Due to dwindling number of volunteers, weekday shifts sometimes go unstaffed, which puts the township in a dangerous, if not deadly, position. It’s now mid-October 2021, and we’re no closer to having paid firefighters than we were on May 25, 2020.
Anyone in the township who pays attention knows that due to the limited number of volunteers, the Warminster and Hartsville Fire Departments cannot guarantee they will be able to answer the call should a fire break out during a weekday. They have said as much publicly at Board of Supervisors meetings. Having paid firefighters will guarantee coverage during those times that we are most vulnerable. You can read all about it here. Our Fire Departments shouldn’t have to beg our township officials to spend awarded grant money from the federal government. We deserve better as residents of Warminster.