Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Devon Resident Bill Bellew’s Remarks at Monday’s Board of Supervisors Meeting Appear as Letter to the Editor

In a post yesterday, I provided a YouTube link for Bill Bellew’s comments at Monday night’s Board of Supervisor meeting. Several people have asked me if I had a ‘hard copy’ of his remarks so I was delighted to see that Bill submitted his comments in a Letter to the Editor in this week’s edition of the Main Line Suburban Life newspaper. Bill’s words provide a powerful statement. (see below).

I agree with Bill that we (supervisors and residents) need to be looking ahead to the 2011 budget. Mid-year provides an excellent opportunity to review the actual vs budgeted expenses and revenues of the 2010 budget to date. (the next supervisors meeting in June marks the halfway point). In addition to a mid year 2010 budget review, work needs to begin on the 2011 budget. The 2010 township budget required major cuts across the board, including personnel, fire and library funding, etc. If you recall, by this time last year the BAWG was in place and well underway in 2010 budget discussions.

The 2011 budget cannot wait until November or December; delaying the discussion does not demonstrate fiscal responsibility.

Tredyffrin drama must end

To the Editor:

Day after day, Tredyffrin seems to be bombarded with political drama without an end in sight. Now in May of 2010, the budget “play” leading up to the 2010 year is still out there. A personal opinion might be that the Board of Supervisors might have told the firefighters serving the township ahead of time that a cut in funding had to be made. Added to that might have been a suggestion that together, the BOS and the firefighters could join forces to fill the void.

The reality is that filling the void was not on the BOS’ minds beforehand. Only when the “people of all walks of life” rose in a concerted chorus to point out what impact the “modest 5-percent” cut would have on the three fire companies (our leading volunteers) did the BOS see the dilemma they created for themselves.

For some unknown reason, the BOS has been unwilling to share where the $24,000-plus in contributions to fill the void came from. Let’s end the political drama three of the BOS members created. Here is what I know to be fact:

1) The Republican Party spearheaded the effort to acquire the funding.

2) They did it ahead of schedule and raised more than they thought they would.

3) The party did not write a check – their members wrote individual checks in excess of $5,000 – or approximately 20 percent of the total raised.

4) Six large donations from companies, trusts, and law firms totaled $5,500 – or approximately 23 percent of the total raised.

5) Eight present or former members of the BOS contributed $2,800.

6) One present board member contributed $5,000, which is not part of other contributions listed here. Yes – five thousand dollars.

7) The remainder came from other sources solicited by the Republican Party.

8) Now that is political purpose!!! Hats off to the party for this work. Thank you from all of us.

What many citizens do not understand is why the BOS has taken courses of action that have stirred controversy and raised the hair on the back of our collective necks for no intelligent reason. The two examples to be mentioned are the cutting of the fire-company budget without sharing that with the firefighters beforehand, and the totally unbelievable vote on the sidewalks near Mt. Pleasant.

Transparency in this township is starting to disappear. Some of the present board appear to be turning what happens in Tredyffrin into a back-room game to be run by political hacks.

A few weeks ago, the chair of the BOS wrote his second major article since Dec. 9 of last year explaining himself and his actions. Why? Why is it necessary that so much effort be put into all of this when – if the BOS had been up-front and open – we could be talking about the future and not the past?

What were you thinking? We are not stupid people. My personal feeling is that the BOS has brought the dysfunctional politics of Washington to our community. Ladies and gentlemen of the board – respectfully – knock it off.

We are looking for leadership – not a “bully pulpit” approach to township business. We are looking for progress – not a drama. If the chair thinks “we’re doing what we believe is the people’s business” by the present-day actions of this board, then he is sadly mistaken. The political game is exactly that – a game. The BOS was elected to govern. do it !!!

We have too many important issues in front of us – the largest of which is how we will fund 2011 and beyond. How do we partner with each other to raise funds both privately and collectively? How do we encourage the volunteer spirit to continue across the entire township playing field? How do we make the necessary changes in the budget process?

Keep your eye on the ball, members of the board. Serve the constituents who elected you – all of them. No more surprises. The people of Tredyffrin are watching.

This is indeed a great place to live, and the BOS has helped make it that. Don’t go backwards.

Bill Bellew , Devon

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  1. As an update concerning the township’s current budget and the planning for 2011 — back on March 10, I wrote that Dave Brill, the township’s Finance Director, was leaving Tredyffrin for a job closer to his home. The township is now 2-1/2 months (and counting) without a Chief Financial Officer! What is the status on filling that position? Who is handling the financial review and analysis in the absence of a CFO? I know that there is finance department . . . but is Mimi adding that oversight to her already full plate? This is particularly bad timing to be without a competent finance director sitting in that seat!

    1. Not surprising in a township that has failed to have a fire marshal for years even given the huge property values within the municipality. Is Harry Marrone available? Maybe they can bring him back.

    2. Those who attended or watched last Monday’s BOS meeting may have noticed a mention by Mimi Gleason that the Township was obligated to pay and unexpected $800,000 to municipalities who use Tredyffrin ‘s sewer services . This was determined by a recently completed audit..

      Could this have been avoided with a competent finance manager in place, or is this the kind of accounting error that “just happens sometimes”? Or did this error allow for the appearance of a balanced 2010 budget?

      Though township revenues are up – about $200k favorable to budget, according to Ms. Gleason, that may be a matter of timing instead of an indication of a trend., as Gleason conceded when pressed.

      Tredyffrin’s finances need to be managed by a dedicated professional as soon as a qualified person can be hired. And discussion of next year’s budget simply cannot wait until after the November 2 election. Supervisor Olson’s hazy hope that 2011 will be another zero-tax increase year, is just that at this point – a hazy hope. The public needs to be included in this process minus the partisan games and certain ideological assumptions that drove last year’s controversy over adequate funding for essential services.

  2. 6) One present board member contributed $5,000, which is not part of other contributions listed here. Yes – five thousand dollars.

    Now that is politcial purpose. Will they donate that next year when Warren doesn’t have to run?

    1. Not sure you can assume a political purpose – maybe simple generosity. BTW, I don’t know who the Supervisor was that gave $5000.

  3. Not sure you can assume a political purpose – maybe simple generosity. BTW, I don’t know who the Supervisor was that gave $5000.

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