Way Forward Community Questionnaire and Local News Coverage

Recently, I spoke at another Way Forward Community event at Camphill Village in Kimberton. Candidates were asked to fill out a questionnaire for the event and my responses are included below. Additionally, the Pottstown Mercury has begun its coverage of the municipal elections in their service region, which includes Schuylkill Township. Please check out the article they’ve published on the supervisor race and make sure to get out and vote for the November 7th election!

– MJD

 

What​ ​motivated​ ​you​ ​to​ ​run​ ​for​ ​Office?

If we are to maintain our place as a historic and scenic buffer between Phoenixville’s vibrant downtown and the relative tranquility of Valley Forge NHP just down the road, it will take change in leadership. The lack of both cohesion and political diversity on the board of supervisors in Schuylkill Township is apparent to anyone who regularly attends the meetings. Public discussions frequently ignore the concerns of residents and some of the current supervisors are outright disrespectful when opposing viewpoints are raised.

What​ ​are​ ​your​ ​biggest​ ​concerns?

Schuylkill Township and the surrounding municipalities were surprised by the rapid growth in the region. The township is sorely lacking in representation by people who have the technical background to fully understand the issues on which they are voting. There are currently multiple proposals in place for large-scale development in Schuylkill Township that will further increase the population of a town whose resources are already strained. Additionally, transparency and low public participation are major problems at monthly meetings. An outdated and difficult-to-navigate township website compounds the issue, as well as the inability of residents to easily access information on township news through common social channels.

What​ ​do​ ​you​ ​hope​ ​to​ ​accomplish?

I hope to work with the township board to improve transparency to the residents of the township and would like to further assist the board with much-needed technical expertise.

  1. I would like to curtail the rapid development in our region through both pre-emptive code modifications and blocks on development that threaten the integrity of our township comprehensive plan. For example, rezoning for the sake of some tax revenue at the expense of the community’s current, invested residents is unacceptable.
  2. I am in favor of open space preservation and efforts that increase access to preserved land. Open space should offer the opportunity for residents to experience nature. Allocating some of our taxpayer dollars to modify current open space to provide park services and/or trails would be a great start. I want to see progress in efforts to advance current plans connect residents living in neighborhoods along Rte. 23 to the VFNHP trails and downtown Phoenixville.
  3. I want to help lead the township in responsible spending efforts to ensure that tax dollars are being spent to benefit residents, as opposed to the special interests of any member of the board. I desire to make sure that we’re not only maintaining your current local tax levels, but also ensuring that tax revenues are being utilized efficiently and effectively and managed with full transparency.
  4. I will offer my assistance in the process to update our community’s website to provide a more functional experience for our residents. Transparency is not just the ability to access information; it also includes EASE of access to that information. A community calendar that can be linked to anyone’s phone calendar for alerts and updates on meetings or hearings would greatly increase residents’ ease of access to important happenings in the township.

What​ ​background, ​​skills, ​and/or​ ​talents​ ​differentiate​ ​you​ ​from​ ​other​ ​candidates?

My education as an engineer and experiences working at the EPA and in the energy industry have provided me with technical expertise that other candidates and current board members are lacking. Of this year’s candidates, my background leaves me uniquely equipped to adjudicate on environmental and community planning concerns in the township. This current period of growth is expected to continue for upwards of a decade and policies enacted over the next few years will define the trajectory of our township’s development. I was appointed to the Schuylkill Township planning commission in April of this year and would like to offer my abilities in the position of supervisor starting in January 2018.

2017 Schuylkill Township Election Coverage

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