No new taxes is the headline in the local papers about the 2007 Luzerne County budget. That's been achieved by juggling future debt repayment and hoping to sell the land that the Valley Crest Nursing Home sits on for $4 million. Another big if is getting $3 million from beefed-up tax collection. For the first time in county history, reminder letters will go out to property owners as soon as tax payments become overdue. People always forget to pay their taxes so sending out a late notice will solve that problem. If that doesn't work maybe they will farm it out to a collection agency. So after pushing off bond obligations to get a break this year and adding in $7 million of iffy revenue majority Commissioners Greg Skrepenak and Todd Vonderheid invented a balanced budget. Republican Steve Urban voted no. What could inspire such creative accounting? Oh yeah, it's an election year. Maybe the Controller could take a look at these numbers to see if they add up. Nevermind, Maryanne Petrilla is running for Commissioner and wants to be Skreps running mate.
The Bond brothers also approved a 10 year abatement for Robert Mericle’s new industrial park in Pittston and Jenkins townships. Mericle seems to own just about every parcel of wasteland in Wilkes-Barre and the rest of Luzerne County that can be developed. This project may warrant a a tax break since it's mine scarred wasteland but everytime you open the paper the news is about another property being taken off the the tax rolls.
Now here's my favorite part. Skrep channels Donald Rummsfeld:
“The reason I believe the county is in the position that it was in is from that nonvisionary point of view, that nonvisionary attitude that keeps us in the past, that links us to still being coal miners, so to speak, that doesn’t want to see us go into the future,” he said.
25 minutes ago