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Businessman discusses train impact

Published November 15. 2019 03:43PM

With Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway excursions out of Jim Thorpe set to screech to a halt on Nov. 25, many are left wondering where discussions between the borough and train operator stand.

You can count Molly Maguires Pub owner Darren Behan among them.

On Thursday night, Behan addressed borough council, calling the train’s departure one with national ramifications.

“This goes way beyond Jim Thorpe,” Behan said. “I know people who were recently in Philadelphia and were asked about it there. I was recently in Long Island and asked about it there. I was told The New York Times is thinking of doing a story. If they do it, CNN is going to pick it up. This is growing so big and so fast, I fear we’re going to look pathetic as a town if we don’t do something.”

The railroad announced in October it would be stopping excursion train rides out of Jim Thorpe on Nov. 25 over an amusement tax dispute with the borough.

Berkheimer, the tax collection agency representing Jim Thorpe borough, filed a suit against the railway for nearly $100,000 in unpaid amusement taxes for the past three years.

Since the railroad announced it was stopping train rides, its officials have had at least one private meeting with borough officials to try to work out an agreement.

Borough President Greg Strubinger said again on Thursday that any details of the discussions couldn’t be released at this time.

“They requested the borough sign a nondisclosure agreement, and we’re abiding by that,” Strubinger said.

Behan, meanwhile, said he has spoken with Andy Muller, president of the railroad, regarding his willingness to contribute money to the borough.

“He said he has no problem donating to the municipality to help alleviate the cost of different events and the cost of police, things like that,” Behan said. “He doesn’t want to concede to it being called a tax because then every municipality he runs a train ride through will tax him out of business.”

Strubinger said previously that the borough was open to negotiations over the back taxes and future payments.

“From what I’m told, if the lawsuit doesn’t get dropped it’s game over,” Behan said.

“This can’t get put on the back burner.”

"Tax him out of business" again, so funny. He is so not hurting. My understanding is the company makes their money on the other commercial trains he runs. So sad for Jim Thorpe. People with the money, are the people with the most....
Potential forms of new revenue: the oxygen consumption tax, snowman permits, and the Olympian privilege tax. Are these real or am I making these up? Hard to tell, isn't it?
Charge a toll to get over that $4.5Million Bridge to the sewer plant. Only Charge one way... OUT. Like Jersey does in P-Burg.
They could put a Ferris wheel at the train station and have their amusement tax.
I can guarantee that CNN won't pick this story up. We have no interest in this small town political nonsense, because council is useless... And if the Times would do a story, which no one there has heard about, it would be a page 30 story.

I understand what Darren thinks he is doing, but he's gonna make this worse
Commissioner meetings provide the most entertainment in Jim Thorpe, next, to the School District of course.

Who pays the political corruption tax again?
Typical repugnant who doesn't want to pay taxes even though it won't cost him a cent. Just add the tax to the price of a train ride ticket and let the tourist foot the bill like every other tourist town does.
How does three years of train rides thru the gorge equal $100K. I do not blame Andy one bit for not paying it. The tax is a joke.

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