May 17, 2018

NIZ And The Allentown Budget

Budgets for Allentown show a structural deficit of 4 to 5 $million annually in the current five year projection.  This is in spite of almost a $Billion dollars of publicly funded, privately owned new buildings.  I believe that it is fair to say that financial data for the NIZ, at the clearest, is obscure.  Although, over $33 million a year in state taxes is going for J.B. Reilly's debt service,  there may be substantially more going his way.  Another $30 million goes for the arena,  and where Reilly's portion begins and ends is unknown.  For instance, although the first floor of the arena facing Hamilton Street is considered public arena,  the second floor and up belongs to Reilly.  How the prorations were assigned, nobody knows. Furthermore,  nobody scrutinizes the tax money distribution back to Reilly and the arena board.

What we do know is that despite all this construction and expected increase in property taxes,  Allentown is in the red.   If all this new construction hasn't produced a windfall,  and the homeowners endure tax increases,  what is the public benefit of the NIZ?


Fire the incompetants said...

Precisely MM. This is part of Boss Hog's tenure and consistent non-transparent budget pyramid he built. Sooner or later all pyramid scandals fail, his has now come to fruition; as he is waiting on a huge piece of jail time.

Nobody in this city has seen any significant benefit from the NIZ. Only the developers, construction elements and the staffs associated with the build out have made any money on these projects.

The city of Allentown and its taxpayers will feel the pain of this social enterprise for years to come; thanks to slick Eddy, a compliant city council and the ultra rich contributors to the friends of Ed Pawlowski.

Scott Armstrong said...

Now want to get really depressed, the news is even worse for the school district. This public information never made the Call's celebrator reporting of the last school board meeting where the new superintendent was portrayed as valiant budget cutter gushed over by the board.

These are the Allentown School district's Baseline Financial Results and Projections for the years 2016-17 to 2022-23

2017-18 $5,438,914 Surplus
2018-19 projected $ 9,569,090 Deficit
2019-20 projected $ 30,884,896 Deficit
2020-21 projected $52,731,973 Deficit
2021-22 Projected $ 77,291,007 Deficit
2022-23 Projected $ 104,606,409 Deficit

Robert Trotner said...

Very solid points.

It is practically unknown too that by changing one word in the ANIZDA statute when it was amended, Pat Browne got JB Reilly a lump-sum $300k+ retroactive property tax refund from the city of Allentown early this year, and word "came down" that the city had to pay this instantly regardless of their inability to afford it.

Fire the incompetants said...

The school district budget figures [22018-19] were to easy to slash and needed cuts, without any labor reductions, were too suspicious to believe. In addition, their very deep construction costs and schedule were also questionable at the least.

In stead of laying praise at the feet of a Detroit School District administrator, I would suggest an outside auditor be hired without political ramifications.

Scott Armstrong said...

An outside auditor will of course look at the numbers but would likely be reticent to point out the fact that the district irresponsibly hired at least 60 new people it could not afford in the past two years. That said, an auditor may be able to point out that over 65% of the districts costs are labor related and expenditures related to labor are, and have been projected to increase annually for at least the next ten to fifteen years. That auditor may also be able to point out what any person who can read numbers would recognize; the projected rate of expenditures rises at a much higher rate than the rate of revenues.

This sort of insight is lost to all involved with the ASD and those charged to report on it. This is all tragic has before the hiring spree the district took great pains to balance it's budget and set a responsible course to deal with this dynamic. Now the new and very well paid superintend is telling anyone who will listen that the state will not allow Pennsylvania's 3rd largest school district go bankrupt. In a state with both houses controlled by Republicans representing well managed suburban districts one might think that is at best a foolish assumption.

TRENT HALL said...

It's a foolish assumption because Republicans nation wide, especially where they control the Legislatures, have and are cutting funding for public & higher education. One of the reasons why Penn State officials were terrified to alert anyone & take action in the Sandusky scandal was because the football program is the vehicle that helps to replace the revenue that legislators have cut for higher education appropriations.

On the K-9 public education appropriations, the defunding is linked to the intense lobbying for funds by campaign contributions paid to Republican delegates by Catholic & Jewish parochial school advocates and corporate sponsors of Charter Schools. These schools essentially self select, further impoverishing public schools. Under the slogan "free choice" the funds diverted to these entities under funds public schools. Because Republicans openly state higher education only breeds liberals and worthless skills, and public education equals "urban dwellers" they feel no compulsion to support public education. Studies show charter schools do not outperform public ones, and the promotion of home schooling by talk radio & Fox Faux Noise encourages the further dumbing down of students.
Because of gerrymandering, the suburban & rural state districts are over represented in the Legislatures and the delegates feel no pressure to appropriate funds that would assist public education for the larger metro areas.