What does Noelle Fortna think about the issues?

By on May 10, 2017
Noelle Fortna

Noelle Fortna

We asked Noelle Fortna, a candidate for East Cocalico township supervisor, some questions about the issues concerning the township. Here’s what she said:

How can East Cocalico Township best encourage economic development? 

An example, UGI Corporation is planning to relocate their headquarters and consolidate their offices to East Cocalico Township. In recognition of their development challenges and economic benefits to the community, LERTA is being considered. A hearing was held last week with favorable public comment.

Our thriving community is a desirable location. In the last twelve years, Route 272 has improved with new businesses, expanded eateries, sidewalks and landscaping. Plans are in review for commercial and industrial development.

Continued economic vitality depends on a balance of land uses. Residential development creates more demands on municipal services for traffic, roads and police. Agricultural uses typically have a small need for municipal services. There are commercial and industrial, which may vary on their need for police services and impact on traffic. In the past decade, residential growth has been about 10 houses a year. We have had growth in commercial and industry. We also created an Agricultural Security Area and preserved farms. The Township balances diverse land uses by allocating agricultural areas, encouraging growth in industrial and commercial and providing housing options for residents without overburdening existing municipal services. This helps maintain low taxes.

What is the greatest challenge facing East Cocalico going forward?

Unfunded mandates from the State. The current is MS4, the Township will be spending a lot of money to meet the regulations. There is seems to be a never-ending list of new regulations imposed without financial backing to help meet it. Also to keep our residents informed and dispel any issues transparency.

How can East Cocalico supervisors better improve communications between themselves and their constituents?

I have always welcomed chatting, questions and concerns by constituents. Over the years there have been many discussions at grocery stores, gas stations, banks and restaurants, each time was an opportunity to learn from residents. The Township sends newsletters and the website provides a wealth of information. Communication has faltered in newspaper coverage. Our recent Township Manager hiring should have been a celebration of a capable, experienced addition to our team, instead there were articles questioning the hiring process. The candidate was interviewed, offered the position and hired after discussion at a public meeting. There seemed to be articles written by people who were not at the meeting, modifying and questioning the process. To clear this issue, the DA reviewed and responded, “It was determined that the board of supervisors did not breach any Sunshine Act law, nor did their actions show intent to do so”.

I would like to see, with the help of our new manager, protocol to share more information with our reporters. Along with more opportunities to discuss issues to ensure correct information is shared with the readers and our constituents.

Should state laws be changed regarding health and insurance benefits made available to  part-time second-class township supervisors?

This was approved before I was here. Perhaps it is time to debate this ruling set by our state legislatures. Also for clarity, there seems to be a misconception that township supervisors are well compensated. I am paid $2,500.00 a year. I believe you read it correctly, two thousand five hundred dollars. Plus, we may get health insurance, as per second class township law, we may be granted the same benefits as employees. The time put into this position vary, overall it is a significant commitment beyond the hours of a part time job. If I were to take the pay and add it to the health care cost (I have read people believe annual health care is $30,000, which is higher than actual cost), then divide the total by hours, I would make more flipping burgers at a fast food restaurant. Although benefits and compensation combined cannot be misconstrued as comparable to household or per capita income which do not account for benefits.

If it changed, I would continue. I do this because I am passionate and committed to the responsibilities. I am motivated to be in this position as a steward of our Township and its amazing residents.


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