This discussion will tie in today’s posting on the Nextdoor community bulletin board and how using the borough website will allow more residents’ access to more of the information that influences us as residents of the borough.  Communication and the sharing of information are critical to the democratization of a public entity like the borough government. Next door offers a simple way to communicate daily comments and has become more practical than I would have expected when it was first launched.

Similarly, we can take pride in the changes to the Churchill Borough website as well.  Thanks to Alex Graziani the new Churchill Borough manager, who believes in openness and public participation in borough government, documents that were once hidden and obscure within the city hall, are now being posted so that everyone has the ability to read them.

To begin, since it prompted this article, I give you the link to the source of the data I published on Nextdoor today on how Hillwood has been playing with the borough.  See pages 5 and 6.    It is 671 pages.

Every resident should take pride in seeing the amount of information that Alex and the borough council are now sharing with every one of us. Examine the site closely. It is improving every month. site is now a treasure chest of useful information.

In fact so much is now being posted, residents will need to dig deeper to locate specifics to those of personal interests.  So I thought I would discuss some of the useful locations so that you too can have fun searching and learning more about what is going on.

So let me point out some of the things for you to look at concerning the Hillwood proposal and what needs to be done to maximize the benefit of the former Westinghouse R&D property.

First, under the Administration tab at the top, you can see zero in on the zoning and ordinances established for the borough.

churchill website

Second, you should read closely and see each of the 4 videos around the vision for the borough and the future development of the former Westinghouse R&D site.

Scroll down on the home page to find these links.  Here is one to serve as an example of how easy it can be to be informed.

Also, pay attention to the Green Space and Tree Canopy reports.  The volunteers invested a lot of time to come up with real suggestions defining what needs to be done if we really want to maintain a residential atmosphere in our community.  The Hillwood proposal eliminates almost 50 acres of watershed and trees with paved surfaces and underground storage tanks

Third, pay attention to just how much data is on the home page. It will require lots of scrolling.

It lists both previous meetings with minutes on the left, as well as upcoming meetings on the right. And it makes participation quick and easy.  Nothing to save.  Just click the links, and be an observer.  If you have something to contribute, or simple comments, every resident has 3 minutes to at every meeting.  You do not even need a camera, but I highly recommend one if your laptop is not so equipped.  It is so nice to match a face to a name.  After all, there are only about 3000 residents in the whole borough.

Forth, it explains the financial condition of the borough, and why taxes need to increase.  The borough has responsibilities for things such as stormwater and road maintenance, two areas significantly affected by the Hillwood distribution center proposal for Amazon.  That mega-development will leave the borough with future expenses far exceeding any incremental new tax collection.