NEWTOWN BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL
LUNCHEON MEETING AT GOODNOE FARM DAIRY BAR
THURSDAY, MAY 1, 2003
APPROVAL OF THE MAY MINUTES: Mr. Byelich moved to approve the minutes of May 1, 2003 as presented. Mr. Worthington seconded; the motion carried.
Present: Richard Weaver, Thomas Harwood, Judy Setar, Paul Lewis, Hal Roberts, Don Harris, Linda Mitchell, Lisa Kruse, Marge Frederick, Miguel Sison, Doug Terry, Brandon Wind, Mark Weinstein, Jasmin Capili.
CALL TO ORDER - Chairman Weaver called the meeting to order.
CODES DEPARTMENT BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT REPORT
Mr. Harwood distributed and reviewed the report for April 2003, noting that Pryda was withdrawing its application and continuing as residential.
Ms. Kruse asked if individual retailers could post signs or colorful messages on the windows of their vacant building, to improve the look of the building and/or promote a local township event. Mr. Harwood said it would depend on what was addressed on the sign, whether it was a commercial or community event. He said that, in any case, a temporary permit would be required. Mr. Terry said that the Historic District might have certain restrictions.
Mr. Bannon and Mr. Harwood said that, within limits, owners and/or leasing agents can post ads to rent property. Mr. Harwood said that the size and coverage of a window sign is limited, and that approval would depend in part on the actual sign design. He said that restrictions are more usually more lenient for signs for community activities. Mr. Harwood recommended that anyone considering posting a sign should submit a permit application.
SPEAKER: Michael Bannon, Director - Bucks County Dept. of Consumer Protection/Weights & Measures
Mr. Bannon gave some background information about himself: he used to work with revitalization, particularly of shopping malls, and offered his services relative to his experiences. He explained that the Department of Consumer Protection’s goal is making sure that the business “playing field” is even by tracking consumer complaints and keeping a database of businesses. He said that they have a team of investigators who evaluate consumer complaints and speak with businesses, and that they have vast information and research resources. Mr. Bannon said that the majority of complaints are related to home building contractors, and that they keep a database of inquiries, fielding over 9,000 calls a year. He said that about 500 cases were investigated further, resulting in approximately $350,000 being paid to consumers for mistakes.
Mr. Bannon said that his department communicates and cooperates with the District Attorney and Attorney General’s offices. He said his department has a lot of charity information and is involved with the Do Not Call List, which is working well. He said that brochures are being prepared about computer spam, and advised that profane and inappropriate emails should never be answered.
Mr. Bannon said that building permit issues are a big problem, and said that he thought that the county should register contractors. He said that they are looking through legislation now for the legal framework that would be involved. Mr. Bannon said that consumers could contact his office for information about contractors. Mr. Harris asked if some funds collected with registration of contractors might come back to the townships; Mr. Bannon said that a county registration system would need to be approved in Harrisburg and committed to by the municipality.
Mr. Bannon said that the Better Business Bureau is becoming a member of his organization, and that they have always communicated. He noted that membership in the Better Business Bureau is a paid membership, so they have different parameters than the Dept. of Consumer Protection.
Mr. Bannon said that the department’s website is being revised and updated, and will contain consumer tips and auto dealers information.
APPROVAL OF THE APRIL MINUTES: Mr. Harwood moved to approve the minutes of April 3, 2003 as presented. Ms. Frederick seconded; the motion carried.
LOWER BUCKS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE - Lisa Kruse.
Ms. Kruse distributed a list of upcoming meetings and events, noting:
Percolator Program & General Membership Meetings 8:00 - 9:00 AM 2nd Thursday
May 8 @ Sesame Place, Langhorne
Business Card Exchange 4:30 – 6:30 PM
Wednesday, May 21 @ American Speedy Printing Center, Bensalem
Sharpen Your Edge Business Technology Seminars 8:00-9:00 AM, Tuesday, May 6p>
“Increase Your Sales: How to Deliver a Great Sales Presentation”
Career Women on the Move Wednesday, May 14 8:30 am - 1:30 pm @ Sheraton Bucks County Hotel
Presented by the Small Business Committee
Golf Outing Monday, June 2 @ Northampton Valley Country Club
Presented by the Golf Outing Committee
Night at the Trenton Thunder Thursday, June 26 @ Waterfront Park, Trenton
Ms. Frederick said she had attended the trip to Harrisburg presented by the Legislative Action Committee and that the program had been phenomenal, interesting and very well done. She highly recommended the event.
JOINT DOWNTOWN NEWTOWN CORPORATION
As the recording secretary for the JDNC, Ms. Dunleavy reported she has been assisting Del Purscell with the Main Street Program grant application, and that the grant application is nearly put together. They hope to have it complete by the end of the month.
NEWTOWN BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION - Linda Mitchell
Ms. Mitchell reported that their next general membership meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at the Brick Hotel from 7:30-9:30 AM; she distributed a flyer with information about this meeting and other upcoming events sponsored by the NBPA. She noted the upcoming Business Card Exchange, to be held on May 14, 2003 at from 5:00-7:00 PM at Centre Street Kids.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TASK FORCE - Dick Weaver
Mr. Weaver reported that the Key Leader Breakfast was scheduled for May 8, 2003, 8:30-9:30 AM at Goodnoe’s. Many from the Industrial Commons have been invited.
The Task Force meets the third Thursday of each month, 8:00-9:00 AM at the Newtown Township Building. Meetings are open to all.
Community Map Project
Ms. Mitchell distributed a flyer with initial ideas outlining the project. She is working on a presentation to show potential advertisers, and said she suggested including an ad in the next Newtown Township Newsletter. Ms. Mitchell said she would be preparing specifications for the map. Mr. Weaver noted that use of the Borough and Township seals on the map would require Borough and Township approval. The Community Map will be added to the BDC monthly meeting agenda.
Ms. Frederick announced a joint business card exchange to be held this evening at Genesis Personal Trainers from 4:30 to 6:30 PM. She also announced a Business Expo at the Radisson, tentatively scheduled for November 5, 2003; more information will be forthcoming.
The next luncheon meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 5, 2003 at the Goodnoe Farm Dairy Bar at 12:00 PM. The cost is $10; please RSVP by June 2, 2003 to the recording secretary (contact information is included on the attached agenda.
On motion by Ms. Frederick, and without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 1:10 pm.
Leslie P. Dunleavy, Recording Secretary