Lack of Transparency of Uwchlan Board of Supervisors Results in Confusion, Crime, and COVID
Dear Uwchlan Resident:
You may not be aware, but people from Chester County shelters, halfway houses, and other facilities continue to live unsupervised in our hotels in Uwchlan Township. Unfortunately, when COVID hit, our County and state-level officials decided to relocate people receiving human services for mental health, addiction, and other multifaceted psychosocial issues into the hotels without continuance of services, including medications. The situation has not been good for either the relocated people or Uwchlan residents. Having unsupervised – untreated people living independently in hotels with other people with similar issues has manifested in many callouts for policing in response to various behavioral problems, including drug overdoses, physical assaults, sexual offenses, suicides, and more.
Unfortunately, the responsibility for behavioral oversight has fallen solely on our local police, put in social work-oriented roles. As a result, segments of our police were quarantined due to COVID exposure at the hotels.
There is so much that is wrong with this situation. While neither the County nor the hotels notified the Township of this situation, we firmly believe that our Township Supervisors had a RESPONSIBILITY to inform you and the whole community that our hotels were acting as treatment facilities and halfway houses as soon as that information became known. Instead, our community incurred crimes that we've never really had here in Uwchlan. Residents also reported seeing people who were not residents walking along Rt 100, trespassing on private property, items taken from cars, people roaming around neighborhoods, and, more notable, police activity. We had no information about where all of this was coming from.
The primary responsibility of the Board of Supervisors is the Health, Safety, and Welfare of Township Residents. Therefore, one would think that when the Board became aware that Uwchlan had a significant influx of people requiring additional policing in our hotels, they would take immediate action to put some controls into the situation. But, they did not act – at all.
Uwchlan residents were the last to know what was happening as people at high risk for COVID and or infected with COVID were circulating within our community, putting residents and our police at higher risk of exposure - It happened.
Our Board of Supervisors also had a responsibility to protect and stand up for our police in this situation. Our Board of Supervisors make our ordinances for local policing and respond to community issues - This is what our 1.5% local income tax pays for.
The Board should have taken the initiative to see what could be done to organize the situation and prevent risks. All parties should have been brought to the table in full disclosure to construct a plan to ensure the protection of Uwchlan residents.
While the Police Chief indicated that many of the relocated people in the hotels had been moved out, and that there is a plan for the others to do so as well, many remain and there are still unanswered questions:
Who is paying for the use of all of our municipal services, including our police, ambulance, fire department, etc.?
Who is paying for the damages resultant of the COVID exposure?
If Uwchlan used its funds, will it be reimbursed by the County?
What is the longer-term plan?
We ask because a law indicates that a person is considered a resident after living in a hotel for 30 days. Then what?
Uwchlan residents deserve more transparency than what we are getting with the Board of Supervisors. We need to know what is going on in our community without submitting a Right to Know Request.
Suppose we do not have control of what is going on in our Township? In that case, we are vulnerable to deterioration, which would likely impact the value of our homes, schools, and community in Uwchlan Township unless something is not done about it - NOW.
Uwchlan residents have some choices to make. You have another opportunity to vote for experienced–qualified candidates on November 2nd.
We need competent leaders who will be honest and transparent with the public, place a keen watch on our financials, and preserve the suburbs. Research and vote for Samantha Blair for Uwchlan Supervisor and our Uwchlan Row Office candidates, Doug Simpson for Tax Collector, Alan Randzin for Auditor, and Doug Dunghe for Constable.
It is day-to-day governance at the local level that most impacts our lives.
And, do advocate for your rights – We encourage every resident to get involved – Attend the monthly Board of Supervisors meeting. Demand transparency and answers from all elected officials. They work for us!
As you can tell, change, negative change can happen in a flash as though overnight – Let's not let that happen!
Don't forget to vote November 2nd.