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Chester County Press

Unger to serve as New Garden board chairman in 2023

01/10/2023 10:40AM ● By Richard Gaw

Photo by Richard L. Gaw                     David Unger and Kristie Brodowski will serve as the chairman and vice chairperson of the New Garden Board of Supervisors in 2023, respectively.

By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer

New Garden Township Supervisor David Unger was named as the board’s chairperson for 2023, at the township’s annual reorganizational meeting on Jan. 3.

Unger replaces board member Steve Allaband, who served as chairman during 2022. Kristie Brodowski, who served as vice chairperson in 2022, will retain her role in 2023. The five-member board will be rounded out with Ted Gallivan and Troy Wildrick.

Unger and Brodowski were elected to their six-year posts in November 2019, defeating Richard Ayotte and Randy Geouque, and became the first duo of Democrats ever elected to the board. Currently, Allaband is the lone Republican supervisor on the board.

During their two years as supervisors, they have overseen the two-phase development of New Garden Hills – formerly Saint Anthony’s in the Hills – that will convert the 137-acre property into a township park, complete with a 1.5-mile nature trail, entertainment and activity areas and playgrounds.

Unger and Brodowski also helped secure the township’s 2021 purchase of a 105-acre parcel in the northwest corner of the township that forms the 18-hole golf course at the Loch Nairn Golf Club in Avondale. The property will eventually be preserved as open space and include a trail system.

Over the last year, Unger and Brodowski and their fellow board members found themselves front and center on the back end ramification of the sale of the township’s wastewater system to Aqua Pennsylvania for $29.5 million, a deal which was originally approved in 2017 and finalized in 2020. Since last May, when Aqua took over the billing structure, Aqua ratepayers in the township have seen their sewer bills skyrocket as much as 140 percent.

Repeatedly, ratepayers used board meetings in 2022 to criticize the township for not following through on an early concept that would provide a rate mitigation payment scenario for them – funds that could be taken, they proposed, from the windfall the township received from the sale of its wastewater system.

After several public meetings – including a Nov. 19 public forum at New Garden Elementary School that drew more than 200 Aqua ratepayers – Unger and Brodowski were among the three supervisors on Dec. 19 who rejected a motion that would enter the township into a measure that would investigate ways to create a rate mitigation system for customers tied to Aqua.

“For me, the best way forward is to secure the financial security of the entire township,” Unger said at the meeting. “Everyone here was elected by the entirety of the township. We didn’t have a race just in Somerset Lake. We didn’t have a race just in Harrogate. We were elected by everyone, so we have to take care of everyone.”

In other township business, the board ratified a six percent increase in staff salaries in 2023. They also announced that Board of Supervisors meetings will be held on the third Monday of every month in 2023, and that the board will hold work sessions on a quarterly basis throughout the year.

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