6 hours ago
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
We don't need no stinking Arena
Remember the big fight over building the Arena. A group calling it self Taxes No! With the help of a few local radio talk show hosts led the opposition against it. The issue was if Luzerne County should guarantee a bond issue to finance the construction of the building. If the venture failed homeowners would have been on the hook for about fifteen bucks each to pay off the bonds. The forward thinking people of Arena Yes headed by State Rep. Kevin Blaum argued it was a risk worth taking. The Commissioners (cowards) at the time wouldn't take a position and punted the issue to a referendum. The question lost by the slimmist of margins and it was time for Plan B. A few months after that vote the slimeballs (commissioners) raised property taxes by 25% and not a peep was heard out of the Arena opponents who billed themselves as fiscal watchdogs.
Then Plan B kicked in, we got a great facility that has been a runaway success and has spurred development all around it. The building has about 3000 less seats than if it was properly financed but as someone pointed out to me, it was probably a good thing that the Commissioners don't have a say in running the place. It would have turned into another patronage cow for the politicians instead of being run in the professional way that it is.
But the fight wasn't over, the W-B Twp. council wanted a cut. It got pretty nasty when one member of that illustrious body called Kevin Blaum "a bum off the Street."
Look at it today. The Arena was built on an old strip mine and many businesses have opened nearby. It was wasteland and now it's the busiest retail area in the county. The stores probably employ as many people who live in the town (about 3000). Then I saw this in the TL:
W-B Twp. budget OK'd; r esidents get $35 back Council passes a spending plan that features a $70,000 surplus in the general fund.
Council gave the 2006 budget a second and final reading and passed it unanimously at Monday's council meeting. The budget has no tax increases, said Mayor Carl Kuren. Building and zoning permits are expected to generate $200,000; special police services, such as traffic control at Wachovia Arena, are expected to produce $300,000; and a levy on ticket sales from the arena is expected to produce $300,000.
So they get $600,000 from something they opposed because they were too short sighted to see the benefit. The article didn't mention that it might be the only town in PA that doesn't charge to pick up trash and that they run a shuttle service around town.