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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fed Ed To Propose Up to Two Mill Tax Hike

Allentown's Home Rule Charter, Section 802, requires Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski to present City Council with a balanced budget and budget message at least 60 days prior to the end of the fiscal year. That means his budget is due no later than Monday. When it arrives, it will include a tax hike, possibly as high as two mills. City Council member Julio Guridy has confirmed that there will be a tax hike, but is unsure just how high it will be. The voting public, it appears, will be kept completely out of the loop until the day after the election.

When will the public know? It appears that this tax hike, a certainty, will be kept under wraps until the day after the election. The fear is Jeff Glazier and Mary Ellen Koval, both of whom are running for re-election to City Council and Controller,.will be hurt if the public knows what really is being planned.

Allentown City Council's Budget and Finance Committee, which ordinarily meets every fourth Wednesday, was suddenly canceled by Chairman Jeff Glazier yesterday. Is this because Glazier wishes to avoid discussing the tax hike he knows is on its way?

City Council Clerk Mike Hanlon said the Budget Committee often delays its monthly meeting. "That's not out of the ordinary," he explained. "I would never have anticipated the Budget tonight."

So when will the actual Budget be presented? "You'll have to ask them," he answered, referring to the Mayor's office. The Mayor's office, not known for its transparency, won't be answering that question.

I called Glazier and left a message, but he never returned my call. Controller Mary Ellen Koval also failed to return my call, bit I cornered her at yesterday's Dougherty rally. "As far as I know, it's coming out on Monday," she said of the budget.

Here's the likely scenario. Fed Ed's tax hike budget will be released late Monday, as required by the Home Rule Charter. But he is only required to release it to City Council, and will refuse to release it to the public until Wednesday, ostensibly to give Council an opportunity to review it first.

The first inkling the public will have of a tax hike will be at Wednesday's Budget and Finance Committee, one day after the election.

Lou Hershman, a City Council candidate and watchdog who alerted me to the sudden cancellation of the Budget Committee, had some harsh words for Pawlowski and Glazier.

"It's bad enough that seniors on fixed incomes and the working poor are going to have to pay for the City's fiscal irresponsibility, but keeping this important information from the public is no better than a burglar who sneaks into your home in the dead of night. Burglars get prosecuted, but it's too bad there's no penalty for politicians who steal elections."

Well now you know. A Morning Call reporter was in earshot when I was speaking to Guridy, so my guess is that it knows, too. This is news and is something the public has a right to know.

According to The Express Times, Allentown already has the highest taxes in the Lehigh Valley. "The school, county and city property taxes are $7,964.06 on a home assessed at $180,863 in Allentown. $180,863 is the average assessment for a residential property in Lehigh County."

31 comments:

Rich Fegley said...

Who will charge the Mayor with breaking the law here? The budget is due 60 days before the end of the year. On or before Sunday November 1st.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Rich, because the 60 days is on a Sunday, that doesn't count under Pa.law and the following date, Monday Nov 2, is when it is due. But the Mayor will not release it until he delivers his budget message to Council on Wednesday. There is no way you can sue. You could not sue until the breach occurs, and by the time it got to a judge, the budget will be public. The only way to get the news of this tax hike out is to spread the word on Facebook and elsewhere. i am certain The Morning Call knows. If a City Council member is willing to tell me, he would certainly tell them. This should be news very soon.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bernie - lets hope the Call picks this up today!!

Rich Fegley - give Opio a call!

Anonymous said...

How can Allentown with a Billion dollars in new development per city hall need a tax hike?

Anonymous said...

Rich could purchase radio time and do a public service announcement re the tax hike.

Anonymous said...

6:37-

Maybe because that tax income from those construction projects has already been pledged to reimburse private citizens for building them? Also, the state would like to be paid back funds used to build the arena.

The NIZ is a financial failure for taxpayers, and will probably remain so. A thorough analysis of its ability to generate enough new funds to replace those funds taken for creating the project would be revealing and very disappointing. Generating new revenues BEYOND what was spent is an even greater challenge. But, who will present such a trustworthy document for examination? The Morning Call?

I'd say a few other communities, particularly Boyertown, are experiencing a loss in revenue, too. Actually, ALL of Pennsylvania has been affected and will be creating replacement sources, and more ways to 'tap' all of us.

Oh well, there was plenty of prior warning about these projects. Thank a local legislator today!

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

The stain that is called Paw'low'ski will truly be remembered for many years to come so perhaps there should be some sort of monument built in Allentown?

Pat Browne the spinster of local government finances and individual tax returns should be able to raise the funds no problem!

Anonymous said...

Brown could not have pulled this off with out help from Jenn Mann.
She deserves a place in the sun.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Thanks Bernie - lets hope the Call picks this up today!! "

There is nothing for the MC to pick up. I am sureit knows and has been sitting on the story itself. Its reporter was standing there as Guridy told me there is going to be a tax hike, and did not blink an eye. She knows. This is important news and it is being kept from the public by the gatekeepers. Is this the thorough and fair coverage that Bill White claimed exists? No, it is irresponsible, and the newspaper is failing to perform its most important role in a democracy.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

Emily is a good reporter for the MC. Be honest, she does not control what her editors decide to print or when. She writes the srticles

Bernie O'Hare said...

I do not know her and will not judge her. Unless she is completely incompetent, she has to know about the tax hike. If Julio was willing to tell me, he certainly would be willing to tell her, and other Council members are probably willing to say more. At this juncture, my guess is The Morning Call will publish a story Wednesday night or Thursday, after the budget is introduced and AFTER the election.. It is failing to fulfill its most basic role in a democracy, and that is keeping the public informed. This simply is not even debatable at this point.

Anonymous said...

The MC got included in the NIZ.
They're just holding up their end of the bargain.

Anonymous said...

Emily is a good person and a good reporter. If there is a problem it's the editors.

Anonymous said...

One can't forget the green cheese eating soul sale sectors subsect elder abuse apprentence RePete, the sneek that snuk that infamous piece of literiture on that hot summer friday night¿!($
Than there is media man and said entity now recinding bill cosby's sheepswool¿!($

The notorious hamilton gang o thugs and king circus prop have even more henious crimes against innocent indigent childrens children that can be likened to pedophilia or as one of there team members desicrating a corpse¿!($ The circus must and will continues in the name of progress¿!($
Five steps back and a half step forward is not progress but regression at a cost to the masses, we all seen lehighconty conference ie the local vaticans position in this Brown Hole matter hence church on the run and there recidivism ACTS employeed to make all copable as a whole¿!($
redd
patent pending

Anonymous said...

When does this circus leave town?

Anonymous said...

Approximately how much is a 2 mil tax increase on a home valued at $180k?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am not going to go to the trouble of finding out until I know what the tax hike is. We don't know tgat at this point

Anonymous said...

Suckers. You fell for the feel-good crapola. Again! You all wanted to believe a minor league hockey arena could bolster an economy despite the warnings of highly respected economics professors such as Andrew Zimbalist. You all jumped on the bandwagon with holier-than-thou people like "Future Downtown Arena Attendee" and ruthless beat down anybody who dared stand in the way of "progress". Now, you all can shut up and pay your higher taxes.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to Future Downtown Arena Attendee?

Anonymous said...

Regardless of who proposes it, why are any lefties against a tax increase? You should all be doing your happy dance. Aren't tax increases always necessary? If notification is the issue, you're being silly. Just as the sun rises in the east, every D mayor raises taxes every year. It's like that car insurance ad: it's what they do.

Anonymous said...

"Lefies"?
What kind of a partisan moron are you?
Run off and watch reality shows on your favorite TV station you dumb fugger.

Anonymous said...

BOH is kind enough to let the feeble pretend to contribute.

Anonymous said...

6:46 is just whipped up after watching last nights cavalcade of clowns.
He's only trying to be one of the caste.

Anonymous said...

E-mail The Morning Call News Tip Line immediately at news@mcall.com.

-Call in your news tip to the newsroom at (610) 820-6566 or (610) 820-6502.

-Want to speak to an editor anonymously? Call (610) 820-6566

Anonymous said...

send this story to morning call news tip desk ..lol
http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-news-tip-line-ngux-htmlstory.html

michael molovinsky said...

according to the city clerk this afternoon, the mayor will present the budget to council wednesday Nov. 4th, one day after the election.

Anonymous said...

This town is pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Allentown!
It's a rumble in the jungle.
Looks like the school district students at Allen had a statement of their very own to make on the national stage.

Anonymous said...

6:52,

You need glasses.

Now run off to your local eye doctor, you "dumb fugger".

Anonymous said...

6:52,

Oh, and please tell us more about partisan morons sometime soon.

Anonymous said...

is it a proposition or a tax increase?