In less than two years, the current Democrat majority on the Board of Supervisors have made decisions that will adversely impact the residents and businesses of the township for years to come. We’ll just explain three of those decisions.
1. Public Safety – Early in their term, the Democrats refused to apply for a SAFER grant, which was created to pay 75% of the salaries and benefits of paid firefighters for three years. A study was done a few years back that mentioned that the all volunteer Warminster and Hartsville fire companies may not be able to guarantee service during working hours Monday thru Friday. This grant would allow the township to have dedicated firefighters during those hours, so in the event of a fire, they could promptly respond. It wasn’t until the Trump administration, in the middle of the COVID pandemic, changed the rules of those grants to pay 100% of the cost of salaries and benefits of paid firefighters. The township applied for and was awarded a $1.7 million grant in September, 2020. More than a year later, Fire Chief, Mitch Shapiro came to a Board of Supervisors meeting to ask why it’s taking so long to hire 5 firefighters. One of the reasons is that instead of hiring actual firefighters, the township decided it would be better to use these new hires as fire inspectors. This decision was made so the township could raise additional revenue instead of actually providing fire coverage. This board seems to value tax and fee revenue over public safety. You can watch the video here.
2. Debt and Taxes. The old saying goes, “a Democrat never saw a tax they didn’t like.” Warminster Democrats are no different. In their first months in office in 2020, that year’s budget was re-opened, gutted, and replaced with a 65% tax increase. This was later reduced to ONLY a 35% tax increase when the Board of Supervisors decided to sell a township asset (Storm Water System) to the WMA for $6 million dollars. More about that below. In addition, the long-term debt of the township, which usually hovers around $1-$3 million, ballooned up to over $14 million in 2021. This debt will cover the upfront costs of the Park build, street paving, as well as the refinancing of existing debt. This caused the debt service portion of our local taxes to be increased by 186%. Don’t expect that tax to be lowered any time in the next decade or so. Speaking of road paving, there were over 20 miles of roads paved. We’re not sure if that is 22, 23 or 25 miles as they now claim, but 5 of those miles are state roads or roads that the township shouldn’t be paying to pave, including Mearns, County Line and Bristol Rds, which are all state roads. In addition, the south ends of Valley and Davisville Rds., as per township agreements, are the responsibility of Warrington and Upper Southampton, respectively. But, it seems that the Board of Supervisors decided to be generous with our tax dollars. The Warminster Board of Supervisors have only increased taxes twice in the past 11 years. First, in 2011, the Democrat controlled Board of Supervisors increased the local taxes by nearly 42%, and again in 2020, when the current Democrat majority increased taxes by over 35%.
One point to make here is that despite the repeated talking points by the Democrats over the past year about the township being bankrupt, the fact of the matter is that the General Fund Balance at the end of 2019 was not only higher than it was when they took control in 2012, it was 70% higher. That’s a fact that is easily checked by looking at the financial audits of 2012 and 2019.
3. The impact of the Storm Water Sale – With the WMA now responsible for the township’s storm water, a new storm water fee (AKA “rain tax”) will be assessed on every property in the township. This includes residential, businesses, religious and non-profits. What this means is that instead of funding this system directly with local taxes, the maintenance and upgrades of the storm water system will be funded by the storm water fee directly, as well as indirectly in the form of additional township taxes, school taxes and costs of goods and services by multiple businesses and organizations throughout the township. For example, the Warminster Parks may be charged a storm water fee of more than $40,000/year. This will be paid for in the form of increased taxes for Parks and Rec or a cut in services. The Centennial School District could pay more than $60,000/year. Again, this will result in additional school taxes and/or a cut in services by the CSD. If your child attends a religious school like Nativity of Our Lord or Archbishop Wood, they will also be paying this fee. For just Archbishop Wood, that fee could be nearly $12,000/year, which means higher tuition costs and/or fees, or cuts in services. The bottom line here is that the Board of Supervisors received $6 million from the WMA for the storm water system so the township could balance the budget. In return, instead of raising taxes by 64% in 2020, taxes were only increased by 35%, but over time the residents and business will see this indirect tax for years to come in the form of increased taxes and costs of goods and services and/or additional taxes.
Now you know why your vote on Tuesday is so important. The Republican Party of Warminster has endorsed Janice Charlton and Vitaliy Velenchuk for Township Supervisor. Vitaliy was born in Ukraine and immigrated to the US more than 15 years ago to escape the tyranny of the Russians. While here, Vitaliy worked hard and eventually started a small business and is very active in the Grace Ukrainian Church of Warminster. Janice is someone who has lent her time and talents in the community as a volunteer competitive cheerleading organizer, non-profit founder, and she has been a foster mom to over 100 children over the years. Both Vitaliy and Janice know the impact of increased local taxes and limited services. Both want to change that. Both will work hard for you, the tax payers of Warminster Township.
Frescatore and Owens
Here’s the record of the two Democrats running for Supervisor.
Kathy Frescatore … – Voted in favor of every Warminster Township Budget for the years 2016 thru 2019 – Ignored advice of Township Manager and the township’s Budget Committee to increase taxes in the 2019 budget, which compounded the financial problems for the township – Voted AGAINST a budget for 2020 that would have put township on firm financial footing for decades to come.
Both Kathy Frescatore and Mary Owens (who was appointed, not elected) … – Voted for a 64% tax increase for 2020 – Voted to increase the township debt from $3 million to nearly $15 million – Voted to sell a township asset (Storm water system) after Democrats vowed to not sell assets to balance the budget – Voted to accept the highest bidder for the Community Park buildout, costing the taxpayers an additional $275,000, and removing the centerpiece of that build, the splash park.
We ask that you vote for Vitaliy and Janice on Tuesday.