Friday, December 5, 2014

Media Borough Council's Dog and Pony Show to Explain $5.6 Million Bond, Gifts and Loans

For a taxpayer who lives in a town with local government throwing around $1,000,000 gifts and unsecured million dollar loans, I expected to drive up to last night’s council meeting seeing valet parking, concierge service, private seating, a nice glass of Bordeaux ’72 (not that ’73 garbage) and perfectly aged Chèvre .  Boy, was I wrong.  We didn’t even get a cup of Welch’s grape juice or Velveeta cheese slices.  $5.6 million?!?!………the nerve.

A million dollar gift and $1.5 million loan?
What we did get were vague statements, generalizations and what could only be described as a poor sales pitch from Council President Brian Hall.  Forget about a comprehensive presentation, facts, figures, balance sheets or even solid evidence as to why giving the Media/Upper Providence Library was a viable use of taxpayers money; it just wasn’t provided.  I may have even settled for how many residents have library cards and figures to support whether that number was increasing or decreasing. But again, no.  In fact, Council President Hall was so poorly prepared, he didn’t even have terms and conditions to share with us for the $1.5 million load he was convincing the audience was a good idea. 

No interest rate, no payback schedule, no recourse for non-payment, no due diligence towards payback ability, etc, etc, etc.  When pressed, he did have the solicitor state that the borough would take ownership of the library if the loan wasn’t or couldn’t be paid back – Gee, ya think?.  Not sure what the going rate is for a used library, but this is a bad policy and a bad loan. Period.

A few people spoke up questioning the viability of this project.  One involved how the library was prepared to deal with the digital age.  It was stated they were considering computer improvements and wifi.  Believe it or not, that was about as good as the answers got.  When someone asked how the loan would be paid back, Robin Beaver who was on the library board and whom I’m told is also Brian Hall’s neighbor,  stated they had donors lined up and were considering having a gala!  Try getting a loan anywhere using that strategy.  As for Upper Providence’s share in this project, it looks like they are chipping in as little as possible.  In no way is it even close to Media’s contribution.

After about 15 minutes, it was clear this meeting wasn’t about taxpayer concerns, it was more window dressing for the eventuality that this was already a done deal.  If Brian Hall and the rest of borough council REALLY had the best interest of the community, they would have formed a viability committee, mailed out a survey and had a townhall meeting much like they did for Third Street Bridge.  That took three years, this request could have been done in six months.

 I suspect they didn’t because they were fully aware giving a $1,000,000 gift and what I’ll call a unsecured loan of $1.5 million, was a very bad idea.  Why else was this kept so quiet over the supposedly last 6 months, other than to not draw attention?  How this all came about would take most of anyone’s day stitching together minutes buried deep within the borough’s website.  That’s not transparency!  In fact, I’d say 99% of the the Media residents didn’t even know this was going on until I wrote about it last week after seeing it in the town talk.

If all this wasn’t bad enough, what concerned me the most was the boasting of borough finances by Brian Hall.  I think I know Brian Hall enough to honestly think he didn’t mean it this way, but it came across as though he felt entitled to spend our money with little or no meaningful explanation. Having been a last night’s meeting, that’s exactly what he’s planning to do.

17 comments:

  1. thanks for going to the meeting and thanks for keeping us informed on this blog. I don't know you, we've never met. Even though I think you have a funny name, you do provide very good information.

    ReplyDelete
  2. did they say what else was in the bond issue? Are there any other specific projects included?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Is it true that they're paying for the bridge with this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This has nothing to do with the bridge. This is more disturbing than you can imagine. Kent has his own agenda and we are all going to pay.

      Delete
    2. Kent needs the money to pay for his home renovations.

      Delete
  4. Shame our "progressive" friends fail miserably at communication, even in this electronic age when they have their own website, not to mention the boroughs website, to provide a clear message. Why the secrecy?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Surely there had to be at least one worthwhile project on the list. No?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Media residents voted these stooges in and will continue to vote straight Democrat until the town is bankrupt like Detroit.
    Hey if Kent Davidson liked me and Mayor Moron felt passionate about it could I get $1,000,000.00 to? Honestly I will do my best to pay it back. Really

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's one thing if the library needed a small increase in funding, but this is ridiculous. The nonprofit couldn't raise the money on their own so now they'll just take it from us with virtually no notice. That's not democracy.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Isn't Harrisburg still paying for the years of wasteful spending on pet projects that never panned out? Guess we're next.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Arguably the action this past Thursday was a violation of the Sunshine Act. How can the taxpayers offer meaningful public comment before the vote if the place to examine the debt ordinance and list of proposed projects is not made clear on the public notice? To hold such an important vote that will impact our tax structure for many years to come, with short notice, just before the holidays - well it is all too coincidental not to be part of a larger conspiracy to defraud the taxpayers.

    ReplyDelete
  10. THIEVES! Every last member of this council in favor of this malignant spending on our dimes! I DO NOT want to see this town create debt just to give a library a "gift". The real gift here will be the tax increases we'll all eventually see when the borough realizes municipal bonds aren't as sexy as they think in the market.

    Whoever came up with this lame-brain idea is clearly a danger to this towns future stability and should be removed immediately.

    ReplyDelete
  11. FACT:
    $5.4 million at 3% for 20 years = $360,000 annual payment. It's a simple mortgage calculation, the value of which is equivalent to a 30% increase in property tax revenue to the borough.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Will council get a pay bump out of this? Cuz, some of them seem to need the income.

    ReplyDelete