For everyone who couldn’t make it out to the Colonial Gardens tonight, the text of my short speech to the group is provided here. It’s great to see a group of motivated progressives getting active in our area! – MJD
Way Forward Community Meeting – Speech Transcript
Good evening, everyone! I’m Mark Donovan and I’ll be running as a Democrat for Schuylkill Township Supervisor. I have a degree in architectural engineering from Drexel University and experience in both the public and private sectors, first as an EPA environmental engineer and currently as an energy industry data analyst.
As supervisor, I would be responsible for reviewing future development plans with the township engineer and various township commissions. I would also participate in approving or denying permits for residential and commercial ventures, determining the township budget, and setting taxes.
As a result of my training and professional experience, I am familiar with budgeting and programming for both large- and small-scale projects. Frequent communication with state agencies as a data analyst and review and enforcement of federal codes as an EPA inspector have prepared me for discussion and enactment of local ordinance. My experience reading and interpreting technical diagrams would be beneficial to communication with our township engineers. I believe these skills qualify me for the role of township supervisor and I am well-equipped to raise valid concerns about a particular project, if any were to arise.
My campaign focuses on three main issues: responsible spending, modern communication tools, and preserving open space and historical locations.
1. When it comes to responsible spending, I believe that taxpayer money should not be spent frivolously, and that transparency is key to a healthy relationship with township residents. It is not enough to just say, “We haven’t increased your taxes in X number of years.” Schuylkill Township supervisors manage a nearly $11 million budget, and every taxpayer should have access to a breakdown of that budget in the most concise terms allowed under the PA law. This brings me to my next point about communication.
2. In a world where everything is digital, instant, and accessible, it is extremely important to leverage modern communication tools. At this time, the main means of supervisor-resident communication is through announcements buried in the Pottstown Mercury, and the township website is outdated and difficult to navigate. As a solution, I would push township administrators towards regular and effective application of social media to communicate important announcements, township meetings of the board and its commissions, and emergency services. Our local police department provides a great example of positive community interaction through social media that I would like to see emulated by township administrators.
3. Finally, a major aspect of my campaign focuses on preserving the township’s remaining open space and historical locations. As we reach build out in Schuylkill Township, there are fewer properties that we can target for preservation in perpetuity. Open space projects are guaranteed to stir up controversy with residents, and I think the board could use a fresh pair of trained eyes to assess these situations as they come down the pipeline.
I’m really excited about the development of this region. It is expected to continue growing well into the middle of the century, and I want to help make responsible decisions now that will ensure that the growth is sustainable. I look forward to earning your vote in the Democratic primaries on May 16th and in the general election on November 7th!