Editorial: The bookends of New Garden's progress
● By Richard Gaw
They both began their terms in January 2014, never having held public office prior to their election.
They are both Republicans.
They both prefer to listen than to talk.
They have both been led by the quiet sturdiness of logic, not the flare of cheap emotions.
When they have lent their opinions to the discourse of township business, the tone of their opinions seem to conjure up a question that informs everything they say: “How will this decision affect the township and its residents?”
When it comes to township spending, they have been unapologetic when asking how an expenditure will impact the township's budget.
Over the last six years, Ayotte and Geouque have served on the board during a time of monumental and unprecedented achievements in the township, the likes of which have not been seen in New Garden in recent or distant memory.
When then New Garden Township Police Chief Gerald Simpson began to speak about the possibility of instituting a regional police force in southern Chester County, Ayotte and Geouque were among the board's most ardent supporters.
At a time when the rapid progress of the newly-formed Southern Chester County Regional Police Department (SCCRPD) severely demanded that a new facility be constructed, Ayotte and Geouque joined with their colleagues to explore every option of paying for it. The new home to the SCCRPD opened in September, and it now gleams proudly as a testament to the board's willingness and persistence to make an idea a reality.
When St. Padua of Wilmington was considering the idea of selling their 137.2-acre St. Anthony in the Hills to the township, Ayotte and Geouque saw the endless possibilities of how this purchase could better the lives of New Garden residents and their families for generations to come.
Throughout the very arduous negotiations in the eventual sale of the township's outdated wastewater system to Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc., Ayotte and Geouque continue to see the forest through the trees – a $29.5 million profit for the township.
Ayotte and Geouque helped their board colleagues move a ten-year comprehensive plan from a sketch to its completion. They have helped to approve the formation of a capital reserve fund that funnels about $180,000 every year to handle any emergencies that may arise in the township, and they have helped to engineer a long-range revitalization plan for the Village of Toughkenamon.
On Election Night on Nov. 5, Ayotte and Geouque were narrowly defeated by Democrats Kristie Brodowksi and David Unger, who will join Republicans Mike Loftus, Pat Little and Steve Allaband on the New Garden board this coming January. While we congratulate Brodowski and Unger on their elections, we also believe that it is right to acknowledge the accomplishments of their predecessors. The work of a supervisor is often a tireless and thankless one, filled with regular walks into the weeds of a municipality's budget and the sausage-making factory of ordinances and agreements. Often advertised as a few hours of obligation a week, it quickly becomes a second job, performed under a microscope that is shared and inspected by thousands of residents and second-guessers.
The worst of our public servants make the job to be all about them. The best conduct themselves like they are parts of a larger whole, cylinders in a machine whose only requirement is that it remains well-functioning and reliable.
For the past six years, Richard Ayotte and Randy Geouque have been the bookends of that machine, in a township that we believe is properly prepared for its future. For the part they have played in this progress, they are to be thanked and congratulated.