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Human Interest - Falls Township

Falls Approves EIT Beginning in 2023

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Against the backdrop of dwindling host community fees from Waste Management and to prevent financially impacting senior citizens and residents living on fixed incomes, the Falls Township Supervisors begrudgingly approved enacting a 1-percent earned income tax Monday night.

Following a presentation from Peter Angelides of EConsult Solutions Inc., and comments and questions from the Supervisors and several residents, the board on Monday voted 4-1 in favor of implementing the EIT effective in January 2023. Supervisor John Palmer cast the lone no vote.

The EIT will take effect in January. According to Angelides, Falls stands to gain $7.2 million in additional funds stemming from the EIT next year. Of the $5.7 million to $5.9 million derived from EIT on Falls residents, Angelides said only 32 percent – or $2.3 million – would be new taxes.

Once the tax is enacted, it would only change where the tax is paid, not how much. Instead of taxes being paid to another town, residents’ EIT would be paid locally, to Falls Township.

The only exception is for people who work in Philadelphia. Those employees would continue paying their EIT to the City of Brotherly Love.

The tax would not impact non-working senior citizens, those who are unemployed, or workers who earn less than $8,000 per year. In general, the EIT would be paid by anyone earning more than $8,000 per year while working and/or living in Falls Township.

Supervisor Erin Mullen, who last month opposed advertising the EIT, took time to educate herself on the need for an EIT, while addressing community concerns. On Monday, in response to a resident requesting that the Supervisors instead raise property taxes, Mullen said, “an EIT is the single most effective way to generate revenue.”

Recognizing that the Waste Management host community fees have an end in sight, Mullen said the Supervisors had no choice but to act as “the sand is running through the hourglass.”

“Our general fund is not self-supporting,” Mullen said. “It’s not sustainable as-is.”

Falls Township is among the last of the 54 municipalities in Bucks County to enact an EIT. For years some residents, including the late Guido Mariani, have urged the board to institute the tax. Supervisors Brian Galloway and Chairman Jeff Dence mentioned Mariani in their comments.

“We got your message,” Galloway said. “We understand it’s good for seniors. I’m sure he’s proud of us.”

Bristol Borough, Langhorne Manor, Yardley and Lower Makefield are the only municipalities in Bucks County without an EIT.

The township’s 2023 budget projects $5.25 million in revenue generated from the EIT, which would reduce the township’s reliance on landfill host community fees to $10.3 million, according to Finance Director Betsy Reukauf, who figured her estimate on Pennsbury School District collecting one-half percent of the EIT beginning in July. While that may not happen, Reukauf said she did not want to finalize a budget based on projections that could be overstated.

Township attorney Mike Clarke said that for Pennsbury to collect half of the EIT, the district “would have to do it for everyone in the district.”

“They can take our half, but they have to impose that percentage on everyone in the district,” Clarke said. “It has to be uniform.”

Palmer said the EIT should have been one-half percent to start. He also said the Supervisors should have formed a steering committee and involved residents.

“It was coming,” Palmer said of the EIT. “But we could have done it differently.”

After a resident said the EIT should be “the last resort, not a first option,” Dence said the board needed to act now.

“It’s not a hard decision. It’s a big decision,” Dence said. “To wait until the landfill’s full and start taxing people then would be foolish.”

Falls should have implemented an EIT five years ago, Dence said. With approximately $130 million to $140 million in Waste Management host community fees remaining, Dence said the time is past due to start reducing the township’s reliance on the landfill.

“It’s a long time coming,” Dence said. “I know it’s not a popular decision.”

The EIT is a means for Falls to wean off the more than $1 million per month financial windfall that has been the landfill. The EIT is a first step in securing the financial future for Falls once the landfill closes in the next 10 to 12 years.

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bristol Township

Turnpike Commission: Traffic Disruptions along the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-95 in Bristol Township

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The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is warning motorists of expected traffic disruptions along the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-95 in Bristol Township due to an ongoing bridge rehabilitation project.

Starting this week, drivers merging onto I-95 northbound from the Delaware Valley Interchange acceleration ramp will encounter a temporary stop sign. The stop sign is in place through August 11 and is being placed to facilitate safe merging near the Levittown/Bristol Interchange (Exit 42). Additionally, on Friday, July 19, from midnight to 5 a.m. traffic pacing operations will slow vehicles to 20 to 25 mph. The intermittent 15-minute slowdowns at milepost 42.35 are planned for the safety of motorists and construction crews working on the bridge over the East Penn Railroad.

Motorists traveling eastbound and westbound on the Turnpike and northbound and southbound on I-95 in Bucks County are advised to adjust their travel plans accordingly. Pennsylvania State Police and Turnpike personnel will be on-site to guide drivers through the work zones. Travelers can also expect updates from changeable message signs along the routes, according to officials. Officials noted that the work schedule may change depending on weather conditions.

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Falls Township

Bucks Judge Orders Triple Killer Committed for 60-Day Mental Health Evaluation

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The man accused of killing three family members, hours before the Levittown St. Patrick’s Day parade causing it to be cancelled followed by a hours long manhunt, has been ordered to be evaluated at a state behavioral health facility.

Andre Gordon 26, a homeless Trenton, N.J man who is charged with three counts of first-degree murder, and three counts of second-degree murder in connection to his March 16 rampage in Lower Bucks County has been ordered to undergo a competency evaluation by a Bucks County Judge Raymond F. McHugh.  The evaluation period is not to exceed 60 days, court records show.]

Mr. Gordon is to be committed to Norristown Hospital or Torrance State Hospital under the Mental Health Procedures Act (AKA 302 and 302 b.) for psychiatric evaluation and treatment, said Manuel Gamiz Jr., director of communications for the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office. He added the facts about the petition are publicly available at this link. 

Killed in Gordon’s alleged killing spree was his 52-year-old stepmother, Karen Gordon, 13-year-old sister, Kera Gordon, and 25-year-old mother of his children, Taylor Daniel.

3/16/24 Andre Gibson

In May, Gordon was charged with aggravated assault and disarming a law enforcement officer —and eight related offenses stemming from an incident in the Bucks County Correctional Facility.

District Attorney Jennifer Schorn said she is seeking the death penalty, if the case goes to trial.

Marcel Johnson, now 31, is the last Bucks County resident sentenced to death. He was convicted in 2015 for the 2013 killing of five months pregnant Ebony Talley, 22, and daughter R’mani Rankins, 4. Rankins murder is what earned Johnson the death penalty.  The last person executed in Pennsylvania was Gary Heidink in 1979 by lethal injection.

 

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Human Interest - Bensalem Township

Bucks Co Appoints New CEO of Library System

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Bucks County has a new library system director.

The Bucks County Free Library (BCFL) Board of Directors appointed Dana Barber as the library system’s new chief executive officer at their June 17, 2024 board meeting.

She assumed the role beginning on July 15.

Barber has served as director of the Margaret R Grundy Memorial Library in Bristol Borough for the past 10 years, with a focus on creating strategic partnerships to enhance library services.

She received the 2023 Certificate of Merit from the Pennsylvania Library Association in recognition of her leadership skills.

“I’m looking forward to working with the dedicated team at BCFL to continue to enhance library services and foster meaningful relationships with patrons and partners,” Barber said.

Barber is excited by the new opportunity to share her vision for public library services as leader of the county system.

“Our libraries are vibrant community hubs providing access to high-quality information, essential support and education, and equitable spaces. They truly are for everyone!” she said.

Outgoing Chief Executive Officer, Martina Kominiarek, has served as the library’s CEO for more than 20 years.

“With Dana at the helm, I’m confident we’ll continue to thrive and innovate, serving our communities in even more dynamic and impactful ways,” she said.

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