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Chester County Press

New Garden provides township budget, data on new website

08/09/2022 01:13PM ● By Richard Gaw

Courtesy image             New Garden Township is partnering with ClearGov, a website developer that works with municipal governments to provide easy-to-follow budget scenarios, in an effort to increase transparency with their residents and constituents. The website – Digital Budget Book – is now available on the township’s website.

By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

The New Garden Township Finance Department recently partnered with a Massachusetts-based website company to design a new Digital Budget Book that now customizes the township’s entire financial picture through the use of multi-colored charts and easy-accessible data.

Introduced at the Board of Supervisors’ Aug. 1 work session by Assistant Finance Director Kristina Molnar, the website – available on the township’s website – provides an introduction to the township; its demographics; township policies; a complete budget overview; summaries of all funds, funding and revenue sources; an overview of expenditures; summaries of capitol improvements and large-scale projects; and a breakdown of all departments and their reporting structure, including the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department.

The Digital Budget Book is being developed by ClearGov in an effort to make the revenue and expenditure picture of the township more transparent to its residents, in an easily readable format that is updated throughout the year.

Established in 2015, ClearGov works with hundreds of local governments and school districts to helm them better communicate and connect with the general public and build support for mission-critical projects. According to its website, the ClearGov platform also allows civic officials to “make informed, fact-based decisions about budgets, hiring and economic development.

“In parallel, we aim to help local municipalities – towns, cities, school districts, etc. – operate and communicate more efficiently and effectively by delivering unique fiscal insights through our turnkey financial transparency and benchmarking platform,” the website reads. “For starters, we want to help the average American citizen understand how their local tax dollars are spent within their communities while providing meaningful context as to how those expenditures compare to peer communities.”

Molnar said that the Digital Budget Book (DBB) link will not replace the township’s website, which will continue to provide overall budget and township information.

In other township business

The Aug. 1 meeting also heard discussion about the possibility of enacting a township ordinance regarding the use of brake retarders – also known as auxiliary braking systems -- on large vehicles that drive along Gap-Newport Pike. The discussion is in response to recent complaints by residents about the exceedingly high decibel levels made by the braking systems on oversized trucks.

Brake retarders are used to supplement a vehicle’s main braking system by reducing the amount of effort that the primary braking system must assert. It brings a vehicle to a stop through the use of compressed air supplied to the engine cylinders, thus reducing the noise generated through the use of brake pads.

The topic will receive further discussion from the township’s Public Safety Commission and the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department, before a potential ordinance can be passed.

Board Chairman Steve Allaband read a letter from the attorney for the Modern Mushroom Business Park concept on Newark Road, stating that the development of the proposed project has officially ended, a project that had received preliminary approval by the township a few years ago. The supervisors acknowledged the content of the letter.

Township Manager Ramsey Reiner told the board that the township is making plans to partially open some of the trails in Saint Anthony’s in the Hills beginning in 2023. Several infrastructure and safety issues are now being addressed, and repairs and the demolition of various structures are scheduled to take place in the fall.

Reiner said that she will provide additional updates regarding Saint Anthony’s at the next Board of Supervisors meeting on Aug. 15. 

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].