Columbus Provides Blueprint For How To Develop Mellon Arena Site

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  We love it when folks use existing successful business models for a blueprint. Why reinvent the wheel when a tweak will due :)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — About $1 billion in development around an arena primarily for hockey transformed a dreary section of downtown Columbus that used to be an industrial area and home to a run-down prison.

“People didn’t come downtown very often, and they certainly didn’t live here. Things are different now. This is a place to be,” said Sherri Lyle, 44, of suburban Powell, who works in Columbus’ 14-year-old Arena District.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are paying attention. The team is preparing to develop a 28-acre site where the Civic Arena stood, across Centre Avenue from the $321 million Consol Energy Center that opened in 2010.

“We’ve sat down and talked with them several times about what they have done relative to development,” said Penguins Chief Operating Officer Travis Williams, noting the team studied similar projects in Cincinnati, Dallas, Philadelphia, San Jose, Washington and Pittsburgh’s North Shore.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6881016-74/arena-district-area#ixzz3FOBkt9TK
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Pennsylvania Senate Approves Distressed Cities Bill

HARRISBURG — Scranton residents could see their taxes rise under legislation approved unanimously Wednesday by the Senate.

The measure would require that Scranton levy a tax on residents equal to or more than its 0.75 percent commuter earned income tax.

This stipulation is included in a late amendment added to the bill by the sponsor, Sen. John Eichelberger, R-30, Hollidaysburg. The goal here is to treat all Act 47 municipalities — including those like Scranton that have distressed municipal pension plans subject to Act 205 — the same, said Sen. John Blake, D-22, Archbald.

Ten other municipalities levy a pension-related earned income tax, but they levy it on both commuters and resident workers, he added.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/senate-approves-distressed-cities-bill-1.1759951

York City Commuter Tax ‘A Very Real Possibility’

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A majority of York City Council members said they are willing to consider authorizing a new tax in 2015 that would reach into the pockets of many more people.

The distressed pension earned income tax — more commonly known as the commuter tax — has been on the city’s menu of revenue-generating options for the past several years.

But, so far, city officials have been able to balance York’s budgets without wading into the controversial waters of taxing commuters’ earnings.

That might change next year.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_26465818/york-city-commuter-tax-very-real-possibility

Reading City Council Disagrees On Land-Value Tax Option

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer’s push to switch the current property tax to a land-value tax over the next five years ran into a traffic jam with City Council on Monday.

Some members flat out rejected it, and Council President Francis G. Acosta said he’d prevent any vote until he hears public support for the move.

The argument began when Gordon Mann, senior consultant with Public Financial Management Inc., the city’s Act 47 adviser, said it expects to have a recommendation on the proposal in 30 days.

“On the other hand, we have had a lot of conversations about it, and I need to have some feedback from council,” said Eron Lloyd, Spencer’s special assistant and point man for the land-value tax, which he says will encourage economic development.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=503411

Tolls Climbing, Traffic Declining As Pa. Turnpike Officials Chase Revenue

Pennsylvania Turnpike Ticket from the Warrenda...

Pennsylvania Turnpike Ticket from the Warrendale (30) Toll Stop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  They’re pricing themselves out of business!

HARRISBURG — If you tax something, you get less of it.

It’s one of the basic lessons of economics, and the same principle can be applied to tolls, as the Pennsylvania Turnpike is finding out.

Motorists using the turnpike will face their fifth toll increase in as many years when rates climbed by 10 percent for cash-paying customers (2 percent for those using EZ-Pass) on Sunday.

A recent investigation by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review examined how those increases have affected truck traffic on the highway — suggesting that the higher tolls have caused trucks to divert onto local roads in western Pennsylvania instead of using the turnpike:

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130107/NEWS01/130109756/tolls-climbing-traffic-declining-as-pa-turnpike-officials-chase-revenue#full_story

Proposed Budget Hikes Berks Property Taxes For 1st Time In 8 Years

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Berks County property taxes would increase for the first time in eight years under a proposed $462 million budget for 2013 presented to the Berks County commissioners Thursday.

If the budget would be adopted as it stands, annual taxes would rise by 6.3 percent to 7.372 mills from 6.935 mills, or $43.70 annually on a property assessed at $100,000.

The spending plan represents a $2.8 million decrease from the current year’s budget.

The tax increase would raise about $7.7 million, Budget Director Robert J. Patrizio Jr. said.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=428418

Senator Smucker Drafts Redevelopment Plan For Lancaster City

Whenever he holds a meeting in his office on the seventh floor of Lancaster County‘s administration building, at 150 N. Queen St., Commissioner Scott Martin said people always look out the windows and remark on the sweeping view of the city.

“Then, they look down,” Martin said, referring to Lancaster Square, the vacant Bulova Technologies building and the Hotel Brunswick, part of which has been condemned.

The public square and the surrounding buildings are an island in the city. The area has steadfastly resisted redevelopment even as much of the rest of Lancaster city has flowered with restaurants and art galleries in recent years.

On Thursday, state Sen. Lloyd Smucker announced a proposal to help Lancaster city and four other similar-sized cities in Pennsylvania to redevelop problem areas.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/735135_Smucker-drafts-redevelopment-plan-for-Lancaster-city.html#ixzz26SJampk0

Easton Moves Forward With Commuter Tax

English: Skyline of Easton, PA from Lafayette ...

English: Skyline of Easton, PA from Lafayette College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Easton City Council approved a commuter tax Wednesday, raising the earned income tax for more than 10,000 people who work in Easton but live outside the city an average of $127.

City officials estimate the new tax will generate $1.35 million, which Easton can use only toward offsetting a $1.8 million increase in pension obligations. The commuter tax, which takes effect Jan. 1, raises the earned income tax for non-Easton residents from 1 percent to 1.75 percent, the same rate city residents pay.

Council’s 6-1 vote came after an impassioned debate between Mayor Sal Panto Jr. and Councilman Jeff Warren, who wrote a recent op-ed piece opposing the commuter tax. Panto accused Warren, the only council member to vote against the tax, of political grandstanding.

“You keep saying you’re against this but you haven’t laid out any alternatives,” Panto told Warren. “What are you coming up with? What is your solution?”

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/easton/mc-easton-commuter-tax-vote-20120808,0,1762718.story

Boyertown School District Banking On Ads For Revenue

A year ago, Jim Bozzini came before the Boyertown School Board as a parent and taxpayer to suggest a new way for the cash-strapped district to raise money: advertisements.

Now the board is turning to Bozzini, president of School Media Marketing, Gilbertsville, to deliver on his suggestion and solicit advertisements for the district.

The board has approved a three-year contract with Bozzini, the lone bidder, that will give School Media Marketing a 20 percent commission on advertising proceeds.

Officials have estimated $25,000 in first-year profits for the district and say, based on the experience of other districts, that the number could grow to six figures in future years.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=396640