Grove City Borough Council met on Monday night to discuss two hot subjects: taxation and rising energy costs.
Council member Beth Cooney was absent. Primary winners Michael Coulter and Patrick Chapman were in attendance.
On energy costs, borough manager Vance Oakes informed the Council that current PA regulations are putting the brakes on Grove City's investment into a couple new energy facilities in Ohio. These plants would allow Grove City to receive energy at considerably lower costs for the next several decades.
Apparently, the state doesn't think that a borough can't be an investor in these projects. We need to be an owner. Let me check my wallet for the $2 billion needed to build a coal-fired electrical plant....
Luckily, we are exploring other options. Earlier this year, Council signed a five-year energy deal with current provider AMP-Ohio in an effort to keep rates stable. Without the investments though, we will have to buy energy on the open market, which means sharp increases. Thanks for the bureaucracy, Pennsylvania!
On the matter of taxation, the Council determined to look into raising the Emergency Municiple Services Tax (formally the Occuational Privilege Tax...ahhh, socialism). On the surface, the reaction to such a change is to shout "No tax hikes!"
And I agree. Which is why I voted against looking into the tax.
Let's hold our horses for one minute, though. What if that tax were raised to the full $52 per year for those who work inside our borough? And what if property taxes were raised a corresponding amount? Intrigued?
Grove City borough was totally in the black for 2007, with no deficit spending (taking money from reserves). We're trying to do that again for 2008.
Personally, I hate the EMS tax, especially since I remember its roots as the OP tax. I remember my first job - as a produce worker at BiLo - and feeling furious about paying for the privilege to work and pay bills. Socialism is alive and well, Der Kommissar!
That said, I hate property taxes even more. Our nation is based upon freedoms - and one freedom is the right of property ownership. However, if you don't send the greedy bureaucrats in Harrisburg your property taxes, you will lose your land. Who really owns it?
Add in the disasterous tax hikes from Bob Post, Jane Rath, and the rest of the Grove City School Board, and you have citizens literally losing their property from being over taxed. The School Board doesn't care - they pass big hikes every year and fully expect you have plenty of money to pay for it. If people lose their land, well, that's just part of the process.
This is a topic that weighs heavily on the Borough Council. We see an opportunity to drastically cut the property taxes under our watch (our current rate is 4.5 mils...the School Board's rate is up to 50-something at this point). If the School Board is going to continue to punish you, maybe we can help a little.
This is just in the exploratory phase. No action is being taken. We're just discussing the pros and cons. And it's all open to the public, as it always has been. You are always welcome to any regular meeting or committee meeting or worksession. We'd love your input!