Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Does Bangor Need a New Stadium?

As a rule, I don't do school boards. Whether it's Frank Pintabone in Easton, Mike Faccinetto in Bethlehem or Bob Cartwright in Bangor, these directors are all nuts. They spend money to run for nonpartisan offices in which they are paid nothing. If they do manage to get elected, the good ones spend countless hours negotiating with teachers who rightly want more money and taxpayers who rightly demand an end to all the spending. No matter what they do, they eventually end up pissing off everyone.

Kinda' like me.

But I'm about to violate my own rule again by discussing Bangor Area School Board. Spillman Farmer, a prominent architectural firm, was hired recently to lay out a number of options for the school's athletic fields. One of them is an $8.8 million stadium. As much as I love youth sports and enjoy sitting inside a local stadium, this is a bad idea for Bangor.

Bob Cartwright told me yesterday that the school district has many more pressing needs. These include a leaking roof at the middle school, which will cost $3.3 million to repair. Two teacher contracts need to be negotiated, and they have endured wage freezes long enough. The school district is running a $2 million or so deficit. The pension contribution is going up $1 million per year. And Bangor, like every school district in the state, is required to report that three times its $26 million payroll as a pension liability.

"We're the Titanic about to hit the iceberg, and they want to re-arrange the deck chairs and move the orchestra," he complained. "You can't spend money you don't have."

Cartwright raises another troubling point. "This is Bangor," he started. "We have some kids in this district whose only real meal is the free lunch they get at school." He added that over 400 families participate in the Portland's food bank. Portland's population is not much larger. "I'm a die-hard conservative," he added, "but at some point, you gotta' open your eyes."

Bangor always has very competitive sports programs, I reminded Cartwright. He agreed, but added, "Our priority is education."

That's too bad because Ron Angle, the Sultan of Slate Belt Sludge, spent the weekend designing the new stadium, which he has suggested be named after him. "If the weather gets bad, just close the lid," he explained "If the other team gets out of hand, just flush!".

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

That $8 million figure will actually be 2-3 timess that amount. Try $20,000,000! And that doesnt include the required roadwork to access the site. The traffic backup from the light at 5 pints will be a gridlocked clusterf**k.

The school district has a sweetheart deal with Bangor Borough. For what they get, the price is dirt cheap. The school directors who support this are CraZy! It's a hatred towards Bangor from a minority starting with Pam Colton. The voters (especially in Bangor) should send this person out the door. She isn't looking out for us.

Anonymous said...

It's Obama's fault.

Anonymous said...

What happened to Bangor?

Used to be a good place to live and raise a family.

Anonymous said...

It still is. In spite of people like you.

Anonymous said...

And, might I mention, the voters of Northampton county elected the former mayor to executive. So something must be going right.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see Bob speaking out. He promised to do so and has done just that. He is slowly gathering support from other board members as they finall y open their eyes and ears and begin to finally speak out also. Starve the kids but build another palace of sports with a plaque attached..in bronze. Stupid!

Anonymous said...

Judge JB on what he is doing right now..not what happened in Bangor boro during his tenure as mayor.

Anonymous said...

Pol's love their bronze plaques and dammed the cost. Look at the palace in Northampton county. It took two plaque's to get full support but now we the taxpayers' are on the hook.

Ego rules!

Anonymous said...

Bangor's problem is lack of police protection with all the meth heads robbing and burglarizing the entire Slate Belt area.

Anonymous said...

$2.8 million in principle alone is still owed by the boro on the stadium bond. $175k a year is paid by the boro tax payers for debt service on the bond. It will be paid off in 2028. Can we work out a deal with BASD? It's up to the school district as of right now. In 7 years they get the stadium for only a $15K maintenance fee for up to 15 more years. Facts.

Mike Faccinetto said...

Oh I agree. We're all 100% crazy, but someone has to do it.

Anonymous said...

Bangor in the process of hiring at least 2 more part time officers.

Pam Colton said...

(Anon 7:45am) I do not hate Bangor. I went to every one of my high school games at Bangor Park and since moving back to the area I still do. I assume you would agree that the parties that negotiated this lease agreement between the borough and district were not forward-thinking enough to get the dollar amount right? So why wouldn't both sides do their due diligence now and investigate every option available so both sides can do the responsible thing moving forward? We are not building a stadium at the high school. The price came as part of a feasibility study and information gathering on the part of the board. There is no support to build a stadium. All you have to do is call me and ask rather than constantly accuse me of hating Bangor. I've talked to other borough council members as well as your grounds expert at the park. I'm sure they will confirm that we have had very professional conversations. Trying to incite division over this is unnecessary as we continue to work together.

Bernie O'Hare said...

My recollection is that a majority of Bangor voters said No to Brown as Exec. But I digress.

Bernie O'Hare said...

10:10, what you describe sounds like a very foolish move by the Bangor elected officials who participated in this deal. Why on earth should a financially strapped school district bail you out and reward that stupidity? That seems to be what you are advocating, and you'll just have to tuck that away until the school district wants something.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Pam, the only time I ever called you, the call was never returned. That was in January, and I had called about something unrelated to this. So yesterday, when Cartwright suggested I call you, I passed. But I would like you to confirm that the stadium proposal is dead. My email is bohare5948@aol.com . I can't go off your comment bc some trolls impersonate elected officials. But if the stadium proposal is dead, the public needs to know. Thanks.

Pam Colton said...

If you have my number feel free to call anytime, otherwise I'll send it to that email.(I was actually referring to the first poster who anonymously attacked me. He could have called me.) Anyway, for the record, 10:10 is right. When the officials signed this lease 18 years ago that's how they wrote it. That is why I think it is so important that we have all the information possible going into the next lease with the borough. And of course they should too. I don't think it's irresponsible to do that nor do I hate Bangor.

Anonymous said...

The school district always wants something. That's the point. They want an artificial turf field. Bangor boro can't afford it so what was Pam's reply to the boro? Raise your taxes! Easy for her to say as she answers to who? She has the freedom to write checks at will. Payments from the district to the boro were withheld in the past to extract more concessions as to the park/lease from the boro. Facts.

Anonymous said...

Attempts to rewrite this lease agreement ceased when John Rhinehart left BASD. He saw the need to rethink this thing and treat the boro taxpayers fairly. Those discussions died. You floated this build a new stadium issue..not the boro. Maybe you would have room for extra fields had you not rammed the theater project down the peoples throats. No vision but plenty of check writing.

Anonymous said...

18 years ago when this was signed, a small group of elected officials who live near the park, sold the town down the river to raise their property values. You can look up the names on it, but they include 2 Cuonos, Ceraul, Saveri, etc. Some still have their hands in our pockets.

Anonymous said...

It is what it is. Now..what is the solution to the issue? The boro is probably willing to discuss things but only as an equal. Treat the boro and it's tax payers fairly and maybe there is a partnership possible where there is none now.

Anonymous said...

McDudlure and Baron Von FootinMouth should investigate the potential fraud. There must be some county money in the equation somewhere!

Bernie O'Hare said...

12:56, let me get this straight. Bangor officials negotiated a real shitty lease with the school district, and that is somehow their fault. Now you're demandIng a better deal and think you'll get it by insulting the school district. Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

if you get a chance Bernie, look up the Golden State Warriors proposed new arena. Has a correlation with your story. I think you will appreciate it.http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/11583606/golden-state-warriors-flush-notion-toilet-bowl-design

Bernie O'Hare said...

Angle just saw that, and tells me he's adding a bidet to his design. On the 50.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

With all the shitty deals public officials have mad over the years at the cost only to the tax payer and to padd there own pockets? This one shedds some light on the matter as a Brown Hole State instead of this newage clasification? Rustbelt?

With this picture the shitty diapers found by PSP today according to the GAG/WFMZ would compliment your posts picture eloequintly?

redd
patent pending

Bernie O'Hare said...

Good point.

Anonymous said...

Because I still live here in this oh so wonderful borough, I will use the anonymous tag. This stadium debate goes way beyond the wanting of a new stadium. It includes the purposeful disregard of the current facilities.Its current care takers are also charged with the repair and maintenance of the boroughs streets. I dont believe I need to tell anyone just how good those are in bangor The playing field is a dust bowl. The track needed to be resurfaced and it became a game of pass the buck. The School district demanded it at the cost of the borough. The borough said to the district, your the only ones using it. Neither side wants to commit to the funding. Meanwhile its the borough residents who are caught in the middle, we pay a local borough tax as well as a school tax so in essence, we are getting hit twice for something we as residents cant use. The gates are closed early to prevent any misdoings so if you want to go for a walk, you had better do it during normal business hours. Don't step on the grass that's falling out with every slight breeze or you might incur the wrath of the school district. If an organization actually wants to rent out the area, they are put on hold till the school district gives the ok. So who really owns this current stadium? I bet you cant get a straight answer. It seems everyone owns the current stadium until it has to do with a bill, then its the game of pass the buck but keep the authority. The new stadium has been spoken about for the past 10 years. This is not anything new, it just got acted on by means of a study. The BASD has been holding this threat over our heads now for some time. As much as I like Bangor, its a dead area. There is no infrastructure to support outside use of the current stadium. Its not a venue that can support a circus or a concert. They brought Charlie Daniels in years ago but it was a logistical nightmare for the area. We have no hotels in the immediate area, no real shopping to speak of and a handful of restaurants. We do not have anything to sustain outside interest. If we were to have a large scale event for the stadium, there is no parking to support a capacity crowd. So the school board knows we have no ability to make use of the current stadium if they walk away. And without it being said, it is held over our heads frequently
But hey, the school board is a group of reasonable people and the school makes great decisions, let sit and discuss it over a school lunch.

Anonymous said...

80% of your comment is false. I will answer your 1 question: Bangor Borough owns Memorial park and the stadium.

Anonymous said...

1:15..you got about half of the facts correct and if it is so terrible here in Bangor..move out!

Anonymous said...

So now the Stadium issue is DOA. BUT! Alas! They want a turf field now to the tune of 2.5 million!
Why doesn't the BASD Board Members open their pockets and write the check. Everyone of them have money and are worth a few bucks! Perhaps since Defelice and his Athletic Director should give up their paychecks to pay for it?
How can we have the head of our School System-Defelice come up with such radical spending ?