4-10-2006 A "voluntary" tax?

To the guy who was yelling niceties at me on Wyoming Street today: Dude, I didn’t mean to be rude, but I had to be somewhere, so I just kept on pedaling. Feel free to approach me anytime.

The following e-mail has me somewhat confused:

From the e-mail inbox Hi Mark

XXXX from our office asked me to pass along a little info. The BID is NOT voluntary. Everyone in the district will be required to be a part of it. How this will be enforced? I don't know but voluntary it is not.

Just wanted you to know

No foolin’? I started my research by reading the Diamond City Partnership Annual Report, 2002: 6 Strategies: Revitalization, which can be accessed by following this link. Working Group 1: Creation of a voluntary Business Improvement District

The following blurb from this Voice story, Business owners split on improvement plan sure made it sound voluntary.

Larry Newman, vice president of community and economic development at the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry, told the crowd that a five-year business improvement district would cost about $540,000.

Of that amount, $216,000 would be spent on supplemental security, $182,000 on supplemental cleaning services, $42,000 for marketing and design improvements, $58,500 for program administration and the remaining for a “bad debt reserve.”

Commercial property owners would pay a total of $276,000 annually, he said. The annual cost for each participating property would be 2.57 percent of its current county real estate tax assessment, he said.

“At this rate, the median cost would be about 77 cents per day,” Newman said. “For the lowest 20 percent of benefiting properties, the cost would average about 17 cents a day.”

Tax-exempt properties would pay voluntary, multi-year agreements amounting to about $145,000 annually, he said. Properties located in Keystone Opportunity Zones also would pay. In all, the proposed district would include 324 taxable properties and 260 tax-exempt properties, he said.

“A BID will keep downtown Wilkes-Barre safe, clean and attractive,” Newman said. “People will feel good about coming downtown again.”

Lawrence Houstoun Jr., a consultant for the proposed downtown business improvement district whose firm, the Atlantic Group, established a district in Philadelphia, spoke about its benefits.

“All who pay receive benefits and benefits are restricted to those who pay,” Houstoun said. “BIDs pay for services when government can’t, won’t or shouldn’t provide needed services.”

You got me.

I was also told by a city official that it’s a voluntary program. As far as enforcement goes, all I know is that the council has to pass the necessary legislation before the BID fees can be collected by the city and delivered to the BID program’s administrator. And before anything is implemented, the mayor would have to nominate a board of some sort who’s members would in turn pick the program’s manager and suchlike. That’s the way it was explained to me.

I snagged the following from yet another Voice story about the proposed business improvement district:

“Businesses at shopping malls pay extra for supplemental security and cleaning services, and the downtown should be no different“, Newman said.

I can see his point and all, but if it’s not voluntary I would have a bit of a problem with it. If a given business owner is sweating bullets over his threadbare profit margin the way it is, then who is the Chamber or one of it’s offshoots to tell them they are taking the 2.57 percent of its current county real estate tax assessment whether they like it or not? And if council passes the required legislation, then it’s a tax, isn’t it?

I dunno. All I do know is there’s no need for the activist crazies to be spouting off very negatively every single time anything at all is proposed. To listen to these people tell the tale, theaters, labor offices, parking decks, streetlights, vertical parking, river landings, dance clubs and remodeled historic hotels will not help Wilkes-Barre in the least. And according to this particular activist, Walter, all is lost unless we reopen a dilapidated firehouse, pave every street and cut the salaries of the elected folks. (?) He is to urban planning what Rock Hudson was to heterosexuality.

So, as near as I can tell, it’s either voluntary or it’s not.

I’m confused.

If you can blog about movies, hot chicks, evil Republicans and Jeff Gordon, then why not accused murderers?

Hugo Selenski at Blogstream.com

Altered Perceptions

Hugo Selenski Files


From the e-mail inbox Markie,

After listening to the drivel at the state rep debate the other night I was disgusted. No solutions were offered and maybe a political campaign is not the best place to discuss such a vexing and complicated problem. As I said I don't have the answer but the policy of the last few decades has not worked. I sent out an email to the bloggers I know (left and right) asking for their ideas. As usual, you lead the way.


Dude, you asked fair and reasonable questions, but the timing of your post is what set me off. The incumbent dipsh*ts in Washington, D.C. will never solve the War on Drugs being that they are presently frightened out of their frickin’ wits by the first illegal voting bloc this country has ever had. I’m of the opinion that they are going to offer close to complete amnesty to the estimated 12 million illegal aliens, and then encourage even more illegal immigration by not clamping down on the borders. They are spineless, self-serving and not worthy of reelection if that disastrous course is the one they choose.

If that’s what they do, they might come to regret it come reelection time. And until such time arrives, we’ll just have to remind people who voted “Yes” to being illegally invaded for the foreseeable future. To all of the hard-working folks who try to do the right thing, they are collectively thumbing their noses at us and telling us to shut the fu>k up and pay our taxes.

And just what type of homeland security do we have when we can’t keep a collection of ragged dirt farmers from entering our country illegally? People can bash Bush all they like, but any national politician that does not support securing our borders in a big, big way doesn’t really care about our security anyway. Nah, security will just have to take a back seat to courting the Hispanic vote, won’t it?

From what I’ve read they’ve got N.E.S.T. units, Geiger counters and neutron flux sniffers pre-positioned on practically every other city block in the nation’s capitol, so it won’t be that jewel of a city that goes critical mass after one of the estimated 80 missing Spetsnaz nuclear suitcases goes off. Literally millions of people might get themselves vaporized in an instant, but they’ll still be bloated incumbents, heyna?

Having Mexicans jumping the border at a rate faster than the national debt increases is infuriating, but the inattention to our borders suggests that terrorists might actually be able to deliver a kill-shot to our economy. If radiological dirty bombs or tactical nukes explode in an American city or two, we can kiss off the stock market and just about everything else we currently take for granted. Hey, we wouldn’t want to let the security of our nation get in the way of politics as usual, would we?

I’m telling’ ya, I am funkin’ tellin’ ya…I got a bad funkin’ feelin’ on this one. It may take a while, but our little terrorist friends have proven themselves to be very, very patient. A guy in work told me a while back that I can’t live my life feeling this way, but I’m sayin’ we ought to be living for today in advance of the devastating attack I feel is already well past the planning stages.

Our “leaders” wouldn’t recognize a solution if it jumped up and latched onto their horribly shrunken gonads. They have become the isolated ruling class, and they are no longer motivated by what average Americans may deem to be important.

America is fast becoming an oligarchy.

As far as the recent local debate is concerned, The League of Women Voters ought to either discontinue the debates, or find a way to get some real debating going on. Sitting there listening to “Me too” for a couple of hours is about as useless as a bunch of asses protesting a charity event featuring donkeys.

Maybe we ought to forget about politics and drink a helluva lot more. It seems to work for damn near everyone else in these parts, so let’s plan that NEPA Blogger convention already. I think we’ll all fit in the back room at Rodano’s, no? Or how ‘bout The Tavern on the Hill, where the highlight of the evening will be when a bunch of angry middle-aged women sporting WBFD T-shirts gang up on me and pummel me to death?

We’ll talk.

Look! The Franklin Street Bridge is almost done. Oops. I’m sorry. Was that too pro-Leighton?

Franklin St. Bridge

From the e-mail inbox I finally got around to reading your web.
I cant believe you think I dorked you over.
I had no idea what the FOX was up to needless to say I didn't think anything was bad what was written.
You of all people should know that the SNAKE would never dork over a mentor.

Don’t sweat it, slithery one. As soon as Jon Fox flipped open his notepad, I knew what was going on. If I was worried about being interviewed, I could have put an end to it right then and there. I didn’t. I figured it’d be a nice change of pace to have a guy from Wilkes-Barre who is not totally paralyzed by negativity to have his say in the Times Leader. And to have your say on Page 1 is freaking unfathomable when you consider what a deranged individual I really am.

But, “boxers?”


Goll dern it, Jeremy is just about 4-months-old already. And when he gets that neck strength built-up just a tad, he’ll be ready for some exciting bikeabout action.

Jeremy Nate

Speaking of bikeabouts, I’m thinking noon come Saturday. Anybody up for a bike ride? Lemme know.

Zorcong 10-7