In the last post I answered Paul Kanjorski's absurd assertion that Hazleton City looks bad. This post debunks the next two questions posed by Congressman Kanjorski who said he would start answering once Barletta did.
Kanjorski said he would be happy to answer any questions Barletta has, but only after Barletta tells him a few things. Kanjorski wants Barletta to tell him:
• Why Hazleton city is near bankruptcy.
• Why Barletta wants to sell the city water authority.
He issued a press release today instead of enjoying the holiday making the same claims about mismanagement so Paul, here is your answer.
When Hazleton's Mayor Lou Barletta announced his plan to lay the foundation for a long term solution to the City of Hazleton's financial crunch many of the taxpayers of the City and Congressman Paul Kanjorski actually did not see the presentation at City Hall. Due to the impact on low income working families and seniors of the City SOP has obtained the file for the presentation from the City's website.
As you are about to see the fixed cost expenses are outpacing revenue despite the Paul Kanjorski's claims in this Times Leader article yesterday that the City was mismanaged.
The first slide(not in the presentation but presented here) shows the one time revenue sources by year from 2004 that have postponed the financial crunch from occuring sooner.
The next slide demonstrates how adjusted income failed to keep pace with adjusted expenses.
This next image shows how real estate tax revenue actually declined over the period from 2004-2008.
There was a slight increase in Earned Income Tax Revenue but considering the time frame one could argue that it was essentially flat.
Likewise the Mercantile and Business Privilege Taxes were essentially flat to only very slightly down.
Emergency Municipal Services Tax revenue took a dramatic drop due to Harrisurg and Todd Eachus's messing with the way the revenue is collected. Municipalities across the state suffered, not only Hazleton, because our legislators lack the acumen to understand their mistake.
Employee insurance costs are up over $417,000 for the period 2004-2008. Every municipal employer, as well as most private entities, in the state is facing the same exhorbitant rise in those costs.
Employee salaries really demonstrate one of the biggest reasons for Hazleton's financial crunch. Unfortunately one of the only solutions to this problem is to decrease the size of the police department which in SOP's opinion is not an option given the current crime element trying to take a foothold on Hazleton's streets.
This graph showing overtime costs illustrates another uncontrollable problem for Hazleton that is tied to the last chart. Police investigations into crimes in Hazleton, just like the Derrick Kichline murder, are the biggest reasons for these overtime costs. Snowplowing in the winter time is another factor contributing to this area. If someone can figure out how to control crime and the weather, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, move over another billionaire will be joining the crowd.
Just these three budget areas demonstrate the devastating impact on the budget of the City of Hazleton and to its taxpayers.
That presentation in a nutshell sums up the reason the sale of the Water Department of the HCA is even being considered. The Mayor and City Council weighed different options before coming to this conclusion. The proposal has spawned ideas on how to help solve Hazleton's problems while staunch Democratic opponents Todd Eachus and Paul Kanjorski use their constituents as pawns in their game of debaucherous political shenanigans. While Wilkes Barre touts its Intermodal Center Hazleton is not forgotten but purposely ignored. Hopefully those alternate ideas will help Hazleton until new representation emerges in Harrisburg and Washington that is willing to put politics aside in the name of progress.
Why doesn't Paul Kanjorski ask Todd Eachus why Pennsylvania is in the shape it is in? Paul, how about that $1.2 billion deficit? How about the federal deficit runup since you and Obama got an unchecked and unbridled hold on our purse strings in a little over a year and a half? Mr. Kanjorski you have mismanaged the financial industry for years because your two friends, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, gave you so much money you had to look the other way. Heck Freddie Mac received so much it has now changed its name to Big Mac. You are hypocritical of your claims of mismangement. Out of touch too. How many cities and states are facing severe financial crises in light of the 10+ percent unemployment and the fact unemployment benefits are looking like they will be extended for TWO years?
Mr. Kanjorski, there are the answers to your questions. Balls in your court. Start explaining your actions or inactions. You bailed out Wall Street, the auto industry, and mismanaged Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security into insolvency. You abolished town hall meetings, raised our taxes and socialized healthcare. Care to respond?