UNION TOWNSHIP — A familiar face, and force, will be absent soon from Union Township and Daniel Boone School Board meetings.
Unofficial government watchdog Perry Templin and his wife, Sharon, are retiring soon to Virginia.
Templin has been a staple at local meetings for the last 18 years, questioning and arguing policies, positions and votes. Often, he and Sharon were the only public in attendance.
Perry was recently honored by the Union Township Board of Supervisors for his years of service, which started with serving in the Union Township/Berks County Crime Watch program.
He was then asked to fill a vacant seat on the environmental board and then a vacant seat on the township’s property maintenance code appeals board.
“I got involved because I wanted to keep our jewel of a township just the way it is — agricultural,” Perry Templin said.
Templin’s biggest impact was to delay construction of the Liberty Bell Motorsports Park and Campgrounds for 10 years, eventually resulting in Louis J. Mascaro withdrawing his plan in July 2016. Mascaro had sought to build Liberty Bell on 300 of his 668 acres — land zoned for agricultural preservation.
“I fought the race track,” said Templin, adding, “I was at the meeting when the racetrack originated.
“I was the originator of Union Township United. I wanted to keep the township rural, as much as we could — what we are all probably here for, and then, after getting involved, it was an education that I couldn’t buy in a book.”
He said his neighbors didn’t know that that property could contain a racetrack and campground, with zoning variances.
“If you like to sit in your backyard and listen to the owls at night, you would lose that [with the racetrack].
“I copied 20 fliers at the Birdsboro Pharmacy, and the next Saturday, I walked through the neighborhood. People were amazed at what was proposed.”
Templin then copied 20 more fliers and handed them out to the rest of his neighbors.
“Out of 40 letters, only one person wanted to see the race track (become a reality). At the next meeting, there were so many people that they couldn’t have the meeting, and it was moved to the Daniel Boone High School.”
Templin said he hopes he has made a good impact in the community.
Upon recently visiting a local business, Templin said the owner’s son referred to him as “the legend,” and that no one speaks out as much as he does.
“I would love if people would keep coming to meetings — and see why their taxes are going up. They should go to Harrisburg and yell at the governor. In Virginia, the state lottery funds property taxes.”
“I hope I did the best I could do to keep our area rural and an area enjoyed by all.
“Why am I leaving now? High property taxes.”
He said his Virginia property is larger, and he will pay less than half of his current property tax rate.
“Gas is also $2.47 a gallon, but was $2.14 at the beginning of 2018.
“I wish I could have educated more people to come out and get involved. You can’t come to one meeting and know what is going on. Give up one night a month. It will be beneficial to you and an education you can’t get out of a book.”
What is in Templin’s future?
“I’ve been to meetings in Virginia, but this is my retirement, and I want to be my wife’s husband and stay with her and do the things we couldn’t do in our working lives.”
Templin is a state certified millwright who worked at Merck & Co. Inc. in Kenilworth, N.J., for 29 years.
After leaving Merck, he was a custodian in the Daniel Boone School District for 13 years.
Sharon was cafeteria manager at the high school for 18 years.
“I will miss this area — all the people, but my heart is now elsewhere,” said Templin.