Township Council President Joe Knowles gave Bensalem business leaders some good news a couple weeks ago.
Knowles, a local realtor and lifelong township resident, spoke at the Nov. 14 Bensalem Business Association (BBA) meeting at the Philadelphia Private Gym. He discussed public service and the role of township council.
He said council votes on ordinances, resolutions and land developments. The panel also approves the mayor’s department head appointments.
“But council’s main job in Bensalem is to pass the budget,” Knowles explained. Then he sprung the good news.
He told the businessmen and businesswomen that there would be no tax hike in the township's $67 million budget.
When asked what the budget’s largest expenditure was, Knowles said that the police department accounts for about 75 percent.
He noted that the township hasn’t increased taxes in over 16 years and that only 8 cents of a homeowner’s tax bill goes to the township.
“Most of it goes to the school district,” he said.
Knowles also noted that the township plans to continue the $100 homeowner grant program. Although the grant checks have decreased in recent years, Knowles said Bensalem is the only town in Pennsylvania to give back casino money to its residents.
“It doesn’t make sense to give a larger rebate and then raise taxes,” Knowles said.
When asked about the role of council in supporting small business, Knowles told the interested group that the township tries to “be reasonable with business requests, maintain township services and keep the environment of good community in Bensalem.”
“If Bensalem is a good community, people are going to want to live here and people are going to want to do business here,” he said.
The BBA’s next meeting is Dec. 12 at Parx Casino. The guest speaker will be state Sen. Robert “Tommy” Tomlinson. It will be followed by the group’s annual dinner.
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About Council President Joe Knowles
Knowles was one of 12 children to grow up in Bensalem and matriculate through St. Charles Borromeo School.
His grandfather was the first postmaster of the Cornwells Post Office and his father was a family doctor and founding member of the Bensalem Rotary Club.
His father died in 1982 and didn’t leave the family a lot of money, but did leave them with a great family name, Knowles said.
Knowles and his wife Elesa have two children – Joe and Elesa.
The council president told the BBA that he grew up a Democrat but switched to the GOP for his son who was “Sean Hannity at four years old.”