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The Abington Citizens Network
where Abington, PA residents can share ideas and join forces to build a better community
 

 


Business Use of Our Township $
Can you recognize it ?

12-11  Several 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  things. 

   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?

    Previously when 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.

       Until we 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, too. 

     We are 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 bid.......

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 .......

My supplies, copying costs, paper, offered to businesses while residents pay for every copy to oversee their government  .......

My facilities, like library rooms, offered  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?

     A 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. 

__________

   We welcome your comments  to share either anonymously or with your name attached with your  fellow Abington residents.   Send  any updated information, comments or questions  to: lel@abingtoncitizens.com 

 

BROKEN LINKS ALERT  

Abington Township recently completely revamped their website at the end of 2015 . All links directed to the old site were broken. We will be reinstating links as we find them and if the data is still available.  
Please  let us know if you find a broken link . Send us the name of the link and the page it is on , and if we can reinstate it, we will.

 


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The information on this page or in this site may have unintentional inaccuracies, and also has opinions. It should not be relied upon as fact until investigated personally by the reader.  Please read our full  Disclaimer
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