The Van Wyck News
6 Number 12
||A Voice for Freedom||8 July 2014|
|Capital Project Sales Tax
The Capital Project Sales Tax Committee made its project selections last week, choosing to spend $16.672MM on roads, $12.828MM on the library and $8.0MM on 800 MHz radios for first responders. The projects must go to County Council and then to the voters for approval at the General Election in November. If successful, the funds will come from a continuation of the 1% sales tax passed over much opposition seven years ago to fund the new Courthouse. The sales tax revenue, which is expected to total about $44MM over the next seven years, will be used to fund a bond at a cost of about $7MM so that about $37MM in funds will be available for spending, perhaps late in 2015. This will be just in time for the 2016 elections, of course.
How should we think about this?
On the one hand, the projects are needed; they come, in fact, from a list of about $100MM in such needed projects that is carefully updated by County Council each year. County Council seldom does anything with this list of priority projects, but the state requires that it have one. The projects chosen by the Capital Project Sales Tax Commission were chosen with one consideration only; which projects are most likely to get voters to approve the tax. This fits with the general objective of the County Administration and the current County Council as a whole: TAXES MUST NEVER GO DOWN. This can be seen in the property tax rate, which was increased the maximum amount allowed under state law both last year and this year, with last year's increase also maxing unused increases from the two prior years. Indeed, we narrowly missed out on a carefully orchestrated "above the cap" tax increase this year due to the efforts of Councilman Bob Bundy. Given this attitude and the fact that the Courthouse will be paid off next year and the present Capital Project Sales Tax will disappear, a maximum effort on the part of the present County Ccouncil and County Administration to persuade the people to vote for a new Capital Project Sales Tax.
On the other hand, in a well run county such measures would be for use in true emergency situations only. All of the projects included in the current proposal are maintenance issues, easily forseen and acted upon long ago. They come from a long line of maintenance issues that County government has been simply ignoring for many years. We built a new County Administration Building about ten years ago and finished a new Courthouse about two years ago.There has been no naintenance done on either, nor are there any provisions for maintenence in the future. There are no maintenance provision for any of the roads in the County road system. The $2.2MM that comes in from the road fee on vehicle registrations is consumed with pothole repair, not serious maintemane. The County used to contribute about $1MM per year from the General Fund for road repair, but when County Council increased the road fee, they eliminated the General Fund contribution to road maintenence and used the money for other things. Apparently the current County Council philosophy is that we don't do maintenance, we let things deteriorate and when they become unusable we raise taxes and build new. This is utter foolishness.
What's HappeningThis paper first saw the light of day on 20 January 2009 with stories on the Van Wyck Fire Department's new fire truck, new officers for the Community Development Club and the snow on Inauguration Day.
Over the next several years the political landscape changed dramatically as Mick Mulvaney became a Congressman, Nikki Haley became Governor and the 2010 census rearranged voting districts in 2012. Through all this change, the consistent message from Van Wyck citizens was "We don't pay attention to that stuff, what happens will happen."
Over the last year that attitude has seemed to change, and residents seem more interested in the actions of govenmental bodies such as County Council and the Planning Commission that will affect them. Accordingly, I plan to use these pages to publicize some of the things that are coming up before these bodies that will affect this area and the consequences that I see and the actions that I think we should take. I will be glad to accept and publish comments and conflicting points of view. We will see how this goes.
Industrial Zoning - Rte 521The County owns a building on the east side of Rte 521 a mile or so south of the Rte 5 intersection currently called the AgriBusiness Center. The peoperty is currently zoned B3, general commercial and has been food service certified at some expense by the County over the last several years. It currently serves as the home of the Lancaster County Economic Development Corporation. The County has the opportunity to lease this building with an option to buy to a European manufacturer of plastic parts which is looking for an inexpensive way to try to see if it can successfully penetrate the US market. To make the deal work the property would have to be rezoned to I-1, Light Industrial, not likely to negatively affect the value of adjacent property.
The question is do we want any more industrial zoning along that part of Rte 521? If we don't do this, the building may well sit empty for some time after LCEDC moves out, especially since there is no sewer at that location.
My first thought was to seek a variance from the Board of Zoning Appeals and not rezone the property. This alternative would have the advantage that should the lessee move out the original zoning would still be in place. My understanding is that this alternative is not acceptable to the potential lessee. That being the case, my thought would be to decline to rezone the property.
This matter will be in front of the Planning Commission at their meeting on 15 July 2014.
Fourth of July 2014The Community Development Club and the Van Wyck Volunteer Fire Department combined to provide a most appropriate celebration of the 238th anniversary of the independence of the United States of America at the Community Development Center.
Post Office MeetingThe US Postal Service has recently been talking about closing or reducing the hours of the Van Wyck Post Office. Jackie Williams, SAC Coordinator for the Postal Service will hold a meeting at the Van Wyck Post Office tomorrow at 2:30 pm to answer questions and provide additional information about the POST Plan. Also she will share the results of a recent survey and solicit input regarding the time of day the Post Office will be open. It's important that as many of us as possible be there.