Nov 19, 2012

The Mayors of Lehigh Valley

What can one say about The Three Mayors? Bethlehem's mayor John Callahan wants to enact an Amusement Tax. Vision Entertainment Group, which operates the Sands Event Center chose Bethlehem specifically because they didn't have such a tax. In reality, Johnny Callahan already has the ultimate Amusement Tax; This year Bethlehem received over $9 million dollars as their share of the Sands Casino pot. This windfall represents over 14% of the budget, but Johnny wants more. Easton's visionary, Sal Panto, now wants to increase their parking meters to a buck an hour. This is what other destinations, like San Francisco and Miami Beach charge, why not Easton? Sal admits, "Once it is in the budget, it is hard to get rid of." They already have an Amusement Tax. State Theater director Shelly Brown says "The tax adds a challenge." Well Shelly, here comes another one. Last, but not least, Ed Pawlowski thinks that the taxpayers should pay more for their air and water. In an incomprehensible arrangement with a private Trash To Energy & Cash Company, Allentown's trash and sewage will be combined into pellets from hell, and burnt. The technology, or lack of it, is opposed by environmentalists. The plant may also import trash from New York and New Jersey, for more fuel. Our water also will be sold to a preferred bidder. Let us hope he doesn't decide to harvest body parts.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a good depiction of lehivalley polotics, we all know allentowns king is curly. But who is bethlehem and eastons king?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Frankly, the notion of an events tax does not trouble me at all. I'd rather see the artsy-fartsy pay than some poor old lady deciding whether to eat cat food or pay her real estate tax bill.

michael molovinsky said...

@9:06, the Three Stooges analogy is admittedly somewhat harsh, but this is an opinion blog, but i must make amends for bernie o'hare, who now has a signed photo of john callahan on his fireplace mantel. although i resort to such antics, i will not host replies to your question.

Anonymous said...

If you read the Brookings Report on PA -- Back to Prosperity, you would have seen this coming.

It is not that these guys are the Three Stooges, as you claim, but that they are doing their best at playing a losing game. The game of the cities is set up to fail. It is sad and it must be fixed, but no one in the townships, where the money is, has the incentive to fix it.

Add to that that RenewLV hasn't gotten traction on the issues, it's easy to be depressed about it all.

Anonymous said...

Look...snarky bottom feeding bloggers snarking at each other. What has the world come to?

Back to your corners, gentlemen.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"i must make amends for bernie o'hare, who now has a signed photo of john callahan on his fireplace mantel."

Yeah, but he charged me for it. And i got a ticket!

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, it's my understanding that you put the callahan photo in the frame that previously held stoffa's picture. rumor also has it that ron angle's photo is now lying face down, until which time he gets re-elected to something. currently, angle has a constituency of one, you.

LVCI said...

The Sands opened on May 22, 2009. Bethlehem's budget is nearly $5 million short next year despite receiving $9 million from the casino last year. Why is $14 million more required for Bethlehem's 2013's budget then what was required less then 4 short years ago before they received a dime from the casino?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Actually, it's a statue. And it talks, too.

LVCI said...

Never Mind I think I can answer my own question. In 2011- Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan’s 2011 budget didn’t raise property taxes but it relied on $20 million in new borrowing to pay back past-due expenses."While on paper, $18.8 million of the money covers salaries, medical care and pensions from 2009 and 2010, Callahan said those expenditures really represent unpaid bills over many years."

So in short Bethlehem has been running short on revenue since 2009. Even though in 2009 they budgeted $65.9 million and next year's budget is $72.12 million (a increase of $6.22 million)... The real money needed to bridge that $20 million borrowing & spending gap is more likely that $14 million I questioned above. Rather creative financing to avoid tax increases in prior years don't you think?

Anonymous said...

LVCI -

You're on the right track but you have it backwards. Bethlehem hasn't been running short on revenue - it's failed to control spending.

A minor point, but one that makes all the difference in the success or failure of any municipality.

Anonymous said...

Brookings Instution report still an absolute must read.
REnew LV hosting visioning sessions with Wildlands Conservancy and others. A million dollar joke.
But a cruel joke allowing citizens to think they might have a say in decessions made in their community?
Hey Allentonians....... How much say did you have on Minor League Hockey, Trash Incinerator, Jersey trash importing, Great Water and Sewer Sale?
NONE. NONE. NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE

Anonymous said...

RENEW LV---- a failure by any measure.

Anonymous said...

You might think that RenewLV is a failure, but the naysayers will always say, "NAY!."

I say, never stay home if there is an opportunity for the public to speak their peace.

Speak when you can and organize and demonstrate when they don't listen to you.

Anonymous said...

They never listen. Speak you piece to your dog. At least they will make an honest attempt at listening to you.

These lame " oppertunities to speak your piece" are hollow shams that make a mockery of authentic participation.

ReNew LV is a dog and pony show of the first order.
( And what does Wildlands have to say about the sale of Allentowns Water & Sewer System? Why nothing, of course!)

All one grand farce. Run along and play your role.