It has been a privilege to serve as your Upper Dublin Township Commissioner. I hope I have earned a second term working with you to help keep Upper Dublin the finest place to live, work, and play!
While serving as your Commissioner, party politics have never been an issue - only doing the best job I can for our community, working to find the best solutions for today's challenges and the challenges of the future.
Working together we have accomplished a great deal! When issues are raised we work together to solve them.
I hope you will support me in my re-election to the Upper Dublin Board of Commissioners for Ward 3 in 2019. I look forward to continuing to serve you.
Working Together: Accomplishments
Role as Commissioner
I see the role of commissioner as two-fold: One, to point Upper Dublin toward the future, and two, to solve constituents’ problems/issues and work with constituents to improve our community. Working together we have accomplished many things for the betterment of our community. I encourage you to send me your suggestions to improve our quality of life in Upper Dublin. When issues are raised we work together to find the best solutions.
Additional Streetlight at the Entrance to Willett Park
Willow Manor residents found that the entrance to Willet Park needed a streetlight. Working together an additional streetlight was placed at the Park entrance providing ample light improving safety for the community.
School Crossing Guard
Parents of Jarrettown Elementary School walkers from Aidenn Lair notified me of the dangers posed by cars to students crossing Kenmare at Derry to the yellow posts of the path to the school and home at the end of the day. Working with the Upper Dublin Police Department and School District we were able to place a crossing guard at the corner of Kenmare and Derry. The walkers can now safely cross the street on their way to and from school.
Extending the Jarrettown Elementary School Zone Lights to Include 7:45-8:00am
Working with parents to make it safer to drop off their children at Jarrettown Elementary School for early morning activities, the School Zone traffic lights were extended 15 minutes earlier in the morning from 7:45-8:00am. This has helped to keep our children safe and reduced traffic issues.
New CROSS TRAFFIC DOES NOT STOP" Signs on Camphill Rd.
A hazardous traffic situation has been brought to my attention. A driver on Camphill Road mistakenly thought Virginia Drive had stop signs and pulled out in front of an on coming car with right of way on Virginia Drive. It seems some drivers expect 4-way stop signs at that intersection. Virginia Drive has the right of way and no stop signs. I requested “Cross Traffic Does Not Stop” signs on Camphill Rd. and they are now up. Hopefully, this will prevent accidents like one mentioned above.
Upper Dublin Received $11.7 Million in Grants from 2016-2018
Upper Dublin Township staff have been instrumental in acquiring $11.7 million in grant funding from 2016-2018.
Upper Dublin Rating Upgraded to Aa1 by Moody's
Moody's Investor Services upgraded Upper Dublin from Aa2 to Aa1. This is the second highest rating placing Upper Dublin in the top 10% of rated PA municipalities. The rating upgrade is the culmination of financial strategy and economic development directed by the Upper Dublin Township Board of Commissioners and implemented by strong management.
The improved bond rating will enable the Township to achieve lower interest rates on future bond issues and long-term debt used to pay for capital improvement projects, potentially saving taxpayers thousands of dollars in reduced debt service payments.
Moody’s cited Upper Dublin Township’s “high resident wealth and income, modest debt profile and strong, stable finances” in its rating analysis. New development in the community has helped to revitalize the Township, bringing in new residents and increasing tax revenue to support priorities like improving public safety, enhancing facilities, and the critical sidewalk connections. Additionally, the Township’s robust effort in improving the sustainability of the Fort Washington Office Park through the investment in infrastructure improvement, including two flood-retarding structures, has significantly increased the value of these properties.
Sidewalk to Jarrettown Elementary School and to and from Dreshertown Plaza Spring 2020
To ensure the safety of our school children walking to Jarrettown Elementary School from Harris Rd and Kirks Ln, and to provide safe walking to and from the Dreshertown Plaza, plans have been approved and funding secured to extend the sidewalk from the Dreshertown Plaza to Jarrettown Elementary School. This is slated to begin in the spring of 2020.
Addressed Contaminated Drinking Water Caused by the Willow Grove Naval Air Base
Supplying clean water for our residents is a top priority and will continue to be a top priority of the Upper Dublin Board of Commissioners.
PLEASE SEE UD Water Quality TAB
on this website
Upper Dublin Opposed AQUA Rate Increase
The Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a Resolution opposing AQUA's rate increase and sent the Resolution to the PUC at the September 12, 2018 meeting.
Supporting Equality for the LGBT Community
Along with my colleagues on the Upper Dublin BOC we established a Human Rights Commission empowered to protect LGBT citizens from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations in Upper Dublin because these protections are not provided by the State of Pennsylvania.
0% Tax increase in 2017 Budget
The Board of Commissioners (BOC) passed a 0% Upper Dublin Township Tax Increase for 2017. Meeting all of our township expenses and providing first class services without raising taxes. We are “living within our means”. Keeping township taxes low while still providing the first class services Upper Dublin residents have come to expect will continue to be my priority.
Addressing the Pension Funding Issue
The Board of Commissioners (BOC) addressed the pension funding issue head on. Across the state the pension funds are not fully funded. Upper Dublin has taken steps to make sure our pension fund for our uniformed and non-uniformed staff, have a secure pension they can rely on with peace of mind for their retirement. To ensure our pension fund is in strong financial shape, the BOC passed the 2018 budget with a 2.0% tax increase where every penny went to the pension fund. In the 2019 budge the tax increase was lowered to 1.25% with .75% for the pension fund and .5% for the new library. As a result of our addressing the pension fund we have ensured that our Upper Dublin staff retirees will have secure retirement.
General Municipal Authority
The Upper Dublin Board of Commissioners formed the General Municipal Authority to obtain capital for improvements to the Ft. Washington Office Park (FWOP) including Zip and Slip ramps onto and off the Turnpike to improve the general economic development and marketing for the FWOP. This new Authority will have the power to assess businesses in the Ft. Washington Office. These assessment fess will be used for improvements to the Office Park, thus relieving residents the tax burden of expenditures in the Park. A revitalized Office Park will mean greater revenues and less tax burden on residents of Upper Dublin while still providing the top quality services for Upper Dublin residents.
Fort Washington Office Park (FWOP) Revitalization, A High Priority
In the 1960s the Fort Washington Industrial Park (now Office Park) was the financial life-blood of Upper Dublin, keeping resident taxes down. Returning the Fort Washington Office Park to full vitality will return Upper Dublin to the business prominence it enjoyed while lifting the tax burden for Upper Dublin residents.
To increase revenues to the township, the Upper Dublin Commissioners have made revitalizing the Fort Washington Office Park a high priority. To achieve these goals the Upper Dublin Board of Commissioners have invested heavily in upgrading the infrastructure of the Office Park. Some examples of this investment are: two flood retarding structures on the Pine Run and Rapp Run completed in December 2013, and the replacement of the three 60-year-old bridges on Virginia Drive has just been completed. New businesses that have moved into the FWOP as a result of this commitment include: Life Time Fitness, the corporate headquarters for Toll Brothers, Tru Mark Financial Credit Union, and Lincoln Investment Planning. Increasing revenues from businesses will mean less tax burden on residents.
A revitalized Office Park will support local business during the day as workers enjoy lunches at one of our many restaurants, shopping at local stores, and services before and after work.
Improving Traffic Conditions
UD Awarded Grant to Install Fiber Optic Controlled Traffic Lights on Welsh Rd.
The Board of Commissioners have been successful in acquiring funding through grants to improve the traffic conditions on Welsh Rd. PennDOT awarded a grant to Upper Dublin, Horsham and Abington to install fiber optic lines along Welsh Road from PA 309 to US 611 interconnecting all the signals, and installing traffic adaptive signal capabilities at the majority of Welsh Road intersections in Upper Dublin and Horsham. The overall cost of the project is $2.75 Million. There is a 20% local match requirement of $550k. Upper Dublin’s match of $235k will be funded by BET, who is building the Promenade. This is the largest grant to any community in PA outside of Philadelphia.
Montgomery County has selected the Welsh Road Green Light Go project with an award for the $200k for Horsham, Abington, & UD of which approximately $86k goes to Upper Dublin. This additional $86k is available in case additional funds are required for the Welsh Rd. project or for other local match grant requirements.
There will also be traffic signal upgrades on Fitzwatertown Road and North Hills Avenue.
UD Awarded $380,000 to Improve Traffic Signals at Susquehanna & Fitzwatertown Roads At No Cost to UD Taxpayers! & $9,000 left over for Future Projects!
UD was awarded the $380,000 grant to improve the intersection at Susquehanna & Fitzwatertown Roads. These improvements will not cost the taxpayers a penny, plus UD will have $9,000 of grant money left over for future traffic projects!
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) awarded Upper Dublin $380,000 in the Automated Red Light Enforcement (ARLE) funding program. The ARLE program improves safety at signalized intersections by providing automated enforcement at locations where data shows red-light running has been an issue.
The $380,000 will be used to improve the intersection of Susquehanna Road and Fitzwatertown Road by upgrading the signal controller and installing pedestrian countdown signals, new battery backup, mast arms, dilemma zone detection, traffic adaptive system and a protected 150 foot left turn lane for eastbound Susquehanna Road approaching Fitzwatertown Road. It will be across from the existing left turn lane in the westbound direction. The new turn lane will be built by eliminating the concrete swales on the sides of Susquehanna Road and installing new curb and drainage inlets/pipes.
The required matching funds required from UD are $95,000. But $19,000 is credited to UD for "In-Kind Contribution" for construction inspection services (i.e. the drainage pipe and curb). This lowers the required amount owed by UD to $76,000.
There is still more good news! There are more cost reductions for UD! Remember in 2018, Montgomery County announced a Montco 2040 grant to reduce local match commitments on Green Light Go (GLG) projects such as the Welsh Rd traffic improvements? For the existing $2.75 Million Welsh Road GLG project the total local match is $550,000 split between Upper Dublin ($235,000), Horsham ($240,000) and Abington ($75,000). Upper Dublin's local match of $235,000 will be fully funded by the BET Promenade land development agreement. Because the Welsh Road GLG project is multi-municipal, the grant request was increased to $200,000, which would be split between Upper Dublin ($85,440), Horsham ($87,280) and Abington ($27,280). Since Upper Dublin's local match is being funded by the BET Promenade development, UD indicated the $85,440 grant would be put towards the local match requirement for the Susquehanna & Fitzwatertown Road ARLE grant.
|Matching Finds Required from UD
||Required Matching Funds
||Green Light Go Grant
||Total left over for other projects
Therefore, when the Montco 2040 grant award of $85,440 and the in-kind credit of $19,000 is applied to the ARLE local match requirement ($95,000), there is approximately $9,000 in grant funds left over which could be used if the actual cost of the ARLE project is higher than the estimate or for future projects.
To sum up, there is no cost to UD taxpayers for the improvements to Susquehanna & Fitzwatertown intersection and there will be $9,000 in grant money left over for other projects.
New Library Finances and Taxes
Working together with constituents’ ideas and comments have informed the “not to exceed” motion, passed at the April BOC meeting. This motion clarified that the total capital costs of the Library would not exceed $7,528,407. Note, the initial $9,00,000 cost of the building and re-purposing of the new library plus the additional $7,528,407 was accomplished without a penny in additional taxes.
The following budgeted items Not to Exceed Clauses Approved in April’s BOC Meeting
The CM3 contract is Not to Exceed
D'Huy contract is Not to Exceed
Goshall, Kane, & O’Rourke Architects contract is Not to Exceed
Tax Increase for the New Library Opperations
The $43 dollar per average household tax increase will fund the on-going operating expenses of the Library.
||Budgeted to Pay Operating Costs
||Cumulative Tax Effect
||Already in budget
||Already in budget
||Already in budget
||$50 savings from loan payoff
||$55 savings from loan payoff
The $43 dollar increase in taxes to pay for the annual operating costs is spread out over 3 years as seen in the chart above. By 2021 the $43 will have been met and every year afterward there will be no tax increase to operate the library unless there is an increase in costs like salaries. These salary costs would be very little (pennies) compared to the $500k costs we have already absorbed ($43) in the budget.
Secondly, in 2024 a debt roll-off will bring a reduction in taxes of $50 per average home. By 2029 another $55 per average house will be saved in taxes.
Thirdly, there will be increased revenues. The new developments such as the Promenade and the Enclave will bring increased revenues. Through the townships efforts businesses have been moving into the FWOP. Recently, Trumark Financial Credit union, Lifetime Fitness, and Toll Brothers headquarters, have located in the FWOP, bringing increased tax revenues to our township.. This will work to balance the budget further.
In another clean water initiative the Board of Commissioners supported cleaning up and maintaining the viability of the Wissahickon watershed. The Commissioners passed the “Resolution to Participate in Intermunicipal Collaboration with other Montgomery and Philadelphia County municipalities and wastewater treatment plant operators for the future development of an Alternative Plan to the EPA Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Wissahickon Creek Watershed”.
Lack of fair representation in Harrisburg or Washington D.C. is a threat to democracy. Gerrymandering breaks communities up into different political districts to ensure the election of one party over another. My colleagues and I passed the “Resolution In Support Of A Citizens Commission For Legislative And Congressional Redistricting” to create fair and balanced voting districts. Our community needs to be heard as one community.
Automatic Vehicle Locations
Upper Dublin Township was involved in a pilot study for using AVL (automatic vehicle locations) to send the nearest available emergency unit to a priority 1 call. That pilot study has resulted in the county committing to the same dispatch protocol. This approach will reduce response time by about 2 minutes from the average.
UD Median Sale Prices of Homes in 2018 Increases by 11%
A recent report
from the Montgomery County Planning Commission, shows a strong housing market in Upper Dublin measured in terms of sales prices and activity with overall trends holding over five years.
The median sale price of homes in UD increased by 11% during 2018. This rate exceeds not only the overall county rate (3%), but also exceeds that of every single bordering municipality (see page 7).
Even when we control for new construction, overall gains in Upper Dublin in 2018 and over the 5 year period show a strong housing sales market in terms of value appreciation.
We are working hard to keep Upper Dublin a great place to live, work, learn and play!