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

THEY ARE JUST GUESSING AT THE EFFECT OF THE TOD'S

        WHERE THE MONEY GOES  
                                                                       

   What - they need to raise taxes again?
Didn't they just raise the Fire Mills - and wasn't there a Sewer increase just before that? Or was it after ?
And wait - Refuse has been the same for a long time --- will that be going up next ?
No, next they want to raise Earned Income Taxes and a few other things ?
Permit fees .. I just paid $355 for the code guy to look up a name and file my paper.  That's a tax!

    I have a long, long list about where the money REALLY goes what's below is just a tiny little smattering of things you would not want to pay for if you knew they were being spent that way.


 
They moved what used to be in Code Enforcement and Land Development  out to separate permits and fees - which they can raise whenever they want and not even tell us about it. Not part of taxes any more...

Out came OPEB and Debt service and  everything they could get their hands on ....

YES - And here are a whole lot of things that they aren't telling you about that have a lot more to do with why they need more tax money ....  It isn't because of the assessments. Yes they've been going down - but they had just experienced a huge peak - and they haven't come close to losing all they gained .   But there are a whole lot of other things that  you could point to....

They are giving tax abatements to businesses,,,,,
 
They are doing hardscape and tree plantings in front of businesses instead of them paying for their own landscaping

They are putting up little flags and signs to give the business areas a sense of "place" - but at whose expense ?

They are doing infrastructure projects- the Galman group, for instance,  had you take care of all of their flooding problems right before they debuted their Jenkintown Flats project. YOU took care of   the Jenkintown Connections project. Extremely expensive infrastructure/storm water project that Galman would have had to do -----  Paid for by you. Thanks .

Before PREIT, the  mall owner,  told us they were going to build something new in front of Bloomingdale's,  magically someone  decided that the entrance to the mall at Reservoir Avenue needed updated traffic signals - very expensive. Coincidence, I'm sure

How about all the signaling on the Fairway that the new Redstone Apts should have taken care of -- nope they decided  a lot of it was just "coincidentally" needed anyway - and would be paid for by you.

The sidewalks all around the mall got an update from HUD money.

We caught the former community development officer trying to use HUD money to do an intersection plot plan amendment that was supposed to be done by the mall as a condition of them first being allowed to build there. Wow . It would have been paid for by low to middle income funds for the mall owners - ( PS they own 17 malls - not very low income , are they?)

I went to one Economic Development Committee meeting where  a developer was proposing how much tax revenue he was going to bring in--- but before we left the room they had donated almost that amount in grant money to other businesses.

I watched them recently gift away our $ to a business whose much needed repairs didn't look much better after the repairs than before - and since when is rewarded  property owners who keep their buildings blighted a good idea? 

So it's a bit of a myth to talk about all the money you're going to get from commercial enterprises and why you should want them here.  They have their hand out all day long and they have a great deal of influence. So no we don't want a great abundance of commercial enterprise. We want the right commercial enterprise that will bring nice restaurants and nice shops

Where else does the money go?
Don't forget we had Steven Kline and Michael Clarke as the targets of a grand jury investigation for their very bad behavior-for which they could have been charged - and should have been from everything that I saw. Do you have any idea how expensive that was  and how much money that used up? That was a residential and commercial complex with 2 huge buildings in it that cost the county and the Township and the taxpayers endless amounts of money because nobody wanted to hold the slum landlords feet to the fire. So instead, the taxpayers picked up the whole bill, including for all the lawsuits etc.

At the end of one of those years where that drama was still raging,  they held a giant meeting about your taxes and how they were going to have to cut the police and the library services unless they could raise the taxes. Now the Police and the Library both have huge email lists of residents in the Township. So they sent out the red alert that police and library services were about to be cut please come to the meeting. Stunningly,  almost no one came to the meeting with any knowledge of where the money in the budget was really being spent --- like on all the lawsuits and the grand jury investigations etc .......
so what resulted is we had a whole room full of people that knew nothing about the budget but spent the whole night saying please, raise my taxes ,  don't cut our library services.

It is stunning to watch.  And stunning to watch John Spiegelman's fictional account of why we need money  in this Township.

Check back here and on another day, if I can find the time I'll go through his  line by line.

The more businesses you have in the Township - the more commercial, corporate voices you will have asking for handouts that benefit them. And they have the big bucks to make their pleas quite convincing.

So yes we do want nice businesses in the Township --- but  nice businesses ---- not just any old businesses. We don't need another nail salon or Mexican restaurant or hi rise built up tot he curb to remove our sky, clog our roads, and give us that "urban" feel. 

 And we don't need to give away the farm if we keep this Township nice.  But Mr. Manfredi is not spending any money on cleaning up the trash and the blight. Instead he is spending his time with developers and  residents can't get a call or a meeting even when they are trying to clean up what we are paying HIM to clean up.  

Slum landlords are getting the royal treatment from the Vacant Property Review Board , who,  instead of citing them and asking them to pay a fine for their bad behavior,  has been taking your money to make "a little real estate sales site" on the GIS system to help them.   Did you want to help them with your dough?   At one point they wanted to host investor sessions like a little meet and greet in order to match up investors with the blighted property owners - at your expense. John Spiegelman had no problem asking your paid personnel to do all these things so the code inspector didn't have to do his job.  

   The errant property owners would match themselves up pretty quickly with a buyer if they started getting the fines that our laws allow  and if we started paying people to enforce the law rather than paying people to reward those who are disrespecting our Township and their neighbors .     We didn't need a Vacant Property Review Board - we needed some code enforcement personnel that knew how to do their job and were directed by John Spiegelman and Tom Hecker to do just that.

The Manager doesn't answer questions for most people .. instead he requires a Right to Know  be submitted . Do you have any idea the cost of those- They used to be handled quickly by a secretary - now they all go through the legal firm.  We all pay  more to get less information. And have to wait for it .  Not to worry - they 'll just raise taxes.

     It's either going to be on your dime or on their dime. So far the Township has chosen your dime and now is completing their planned  30% tax increase on December 9, 2021 as they pass the proposed 2022 budget with the last 22% of that increase.
 
It was planned at the end of 2019 - the whole 30% - so the Pandemic had nothing to do with it . Watch how John Speigelman carefully worded that in his saga.

    This is just a tiny smattering of the things that I have on my list of why we don't need more taxes and why we need to have a Manager and Board Leadership that have the will to penalize those causing the problems  instead of penalizing all the taxpayers.  And we need to be sure that they are very carefully choosing the kind of commercial that we want. Not high rises - and not  thousands of new residents on our roads, in our schools from their Mixed use areas.  We like our suburbs and our beautiful neighborhoods and that's why we moved here.

     More commercial is a double edged  sword. Yes,  they don't have kids in the schools and sometimes they can pay pretty high taxes. But at other times they come with demands for things that we don't want. They would all happily see us as dense as possibly could be,   so that they have more customers. They don't want just one high-rise. They want high-rises everywhere.   Single-family homeowners simply have different ideas about what makes a good Township and both commercial and residential large-scale corporate landlords.
 

     The residents who live here and vote here  should be the ones deciding.   But it's hard for them to see through the fog, when you look at the whole Spieglman narrative..... that has a few grains of truth in it but colores those things quite differently than the reality that we are facing.  Greed is what has caused the 30% increase  since Richard Manfredi's arrival.
Nothing more. 



   This site is a forum for information sharing and idea sharing.  Please feel free to send your  view  and please be sure to  tell us about any information you believe to be incorrect - write  lel@abingtoncitizens.com

 


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Abington Township, with John Spiegelman in charge, revamped the entire Township website at the end of 2015 and broke all the links to the information we had archived on this site for you.   In 2017, Manager Richard Manfredi arrived and assigned someone not qualified to redo the entire website again. They not only broke all archived links we had reinstated, but made everything as impossible to find as they could. Nearly all of our comments and recommedations to fix the Township website have been wholly ignored.

So we do need volunteers to work together helping the Township create a site that is functional and accessible.  We will be reinstating links as we find them....if the data is still available. So... please let us know if you find a broken link. Send us the URL of the link  and the name of the page it is on, and if we can, we'll reinstate it.
Thanks for the help.

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