Business Use of Our Township
Can you recognize it ?
years ago Mayor Nutter threatened to close the Libraries and the
Pools . There was a huge hullabaloo and people were ready to
accept a tax hike not to do that because these things were
so important to them . This month Montgomery County
threatened to cut funding for Libraries, Parks and the Community
College. People came in droves to the podium to beg them to
impose a tax hike upon them to rescue their favorite
Did anyone hint
at perhaps reviewing the budget and finding out where the money
IS going and what things were NOT on that list that should have
been chopped? Was any forensic accounting proposed?
Abington was cutting the budget, the same “techniques” were used
. The offered to cut speeding enforcement and items that they
knew were dear to the residents . By offering only a few
choices, they were attempting to create the same “no, wait –
raise my taxes before you cut that. “ scenario. But there were
tons of items that residents would have gladly cut - these are
things most residents don't even know about. Just a few
years ago, at budget time when Departments were asked to present
items to cut, the police brought "speeding " to the table . As
it turned out, however, the $20,000 cut they were
proposing on this item that would have not please taxpayers who
would have "accepted a raise in taxes. But it turned out ultimately that if they cut
the speed enforcement officers they would lose $7,000
rather than gain it - because they made a profit from
the speeding tickets ----and tell me again why "overtime
officers" were being used...? OK - so you get the picture.
We are getting manipulated ---- not "reported to" fairly and
squarely. Someone needs to be looking at the whole picture
to see these things. And the people that do these things should
no longer be part of our government.
agree, on the local county and state levels, that our
officials should be required show a complete accounting of where their
money IS being spent, in English, and in a format
designed to "inform" rather than "confuse", this game will continue. Our
funds have been spent supporting businesses of every fashion,
and creating businesses too, like a Real Estate website, or
special services "Chamber of Commerce" style, which compete with
businesses that we're supposed to help thrive.
And drain our coffers,
doing business with businesses for their benefit, rather than in
the public interest. And sometimes that even hurts OTHER
businesses . And there is no one overseeing. We are giving tax
abatements, waiving rental fees and waiving permit fees for the
few, while the tab is picked up by the many.. Then we are
claiming insufficient funds to educate our children, replace our
infrastructure, manage our storm water and keep our parks and
libraries open -- the basics.
How do my
officials have the right to do that? If they are doing it within
the law, then the laws need to be changed. The tax
abatement laws most certainly do. But the only ones who are
aware of it are the ones benefitting . And they're surely not
going to do it . Are you?
Our monies have
been spent on historic renovations ( multiple) that should be
done by private fundraising. On tool sheds and benches and
fancy fences. We are acquiring more and more
facilities at a hefty price tab for maintenance and use in a
town that for the past 20 or 30 years has not increased in the
number of residents and for all those years has had more services than
I could make use of in a lifetime. These other endeavors
should be private concerns rather than public ones. How would
you know when to stop "acquiring" . Who will pay
for all your new "stuff" . We found funds to
replace a pond liner, but couldn’t find them to alleviate
flooding that causes dangerous streets and sickness in our
homes. Our priorities need adjusting . And forensic accounting
is way past due.
Bids have very little oversight and the same companies win them
again and again . Additional expenses are a regular
feature , skewing what would have been the original fair
My trash trucks & personnel being used to
haul trash or recycle for a profit.....
My township staff
being used to coordinate & host events for small businesses
or to print and distribute flyers for businesses or
private clubs, to create and post TV advertisements for
businesses, or to set up a meeting for a developer to "talk to
the public" when residents are not given the same courtesy .......
supplies, copying costs, paper, offered to businesses while
residents pay for every copy to oversee their government .......
My facilities, like library
freely for businesses to use, while resident taxpayers
are not given a room to meet to discuss their government actions
( like these) .......
Landcaping services for business areas .....(We'd love you to
come to our house with the crew)
Lamposts and flower pots for business areas .. (I could use one
of each to improve the value of my property)
Sidewalk repairs and upgrades for business areas ( I have
to get my own :( )
The list goes on and on.
Recently Commissioners promoted the
distribution of a "discount drug card " using constituents
email distribution list as a "marketing list". The person
who provides the cards receives a payment for each prescription
that is signed up under his account. Have we lost our sense of
right and wrong?
township Real Estate website was built with my tax dollars and
competes with the Realtors who do business in our township.
I actually pay for my assistant township manager to take
business away from Realtors. Unfair competition. And if
businesses in this economy get competition from their own
township we will suffer blight as well as the loss of their
business taxes. It is unfair and unreasonable to direct
buyers to my township who might then dole out the favors to
their preferred realtors to handle the transactions.
A "Chamber of Commerce" exists with the use of my tax monies- and
awards are given, press coverage, and other business
facilitations from my township's monies.
We have an "adult school" which
uses my facilities, mailing list etc --- but do ALL the guitar
teachers get a chance to have this opportunity or just the
"chosen ones." Because someone will get a real leg up on
the competition if they can use my facilities and advertising at
a greatly reduced rate . Don't get me wrong - I am greatly in
favor of such activites --- but shouldn't the opportunity be
available to ALL taxpayers ?
What will change this?
When my taxes are
collected, I expect that they will be used in ways that benefit
me directly. For those interested in small government, that
means that services outside of what is necessary should be
accomplished by private means. But more and more, public
concerns are being pre-empted by people using public monies to
"do business" .
When tax monies can be used
with almost no oversight ( which IS the condition existing
in our township --- take the $72,000 per year bus that
serviced 20 residents for years as proof ) then the business doesn't have
to make sense. When you have trucks already provided
by the people paying taxes, how would you happen to have
enough "time left over " to do business recycling? How
would you fairly divide the maintenance expenses and all the
salaried time ? If I am running a bottom line business in
recycling or other trash hauling with those trucks, I now must
serve 2 masters - the taxpayers AND the businesses, both of whom
want a lower bottom line, but one of whom has grounds to
negotiate. The other is "locked in" --- and their
rates can be easily increased. At will.
These things have elevated our
taxes to what they are today ----- simply outrageous . And
the benefits are largely to small groups of special interests
and to businesses- (be they for profit or non-profit -
they are still businesses . ) Citizen oversight needed.
Budget analysis breakdown should be a requirement --
not charts and graphs - but a booklet of who's getting paid for
what. So everyday citizens can see for themselves.
welcome your comments
to share either anonymously or with your name attached with
your fellow Abington residents. Send any
information, comments or questions to: