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Franklin paves way for new hospital

Published May 22. 2018 05:41AM

Franklin Township approved an ordinance that may clear the way for a new hospital building during Monday’s special meeting.

“It’s just opening up the zoning so it includes health care, because we have nothing in there right now that says they can put something like that there,” chairman Jason Frey said.

Representatives from St. Luke’s recently presented a basic sketch of a prospective health care center to Franklin’s planning commission, though no other documents have been submitted.

The supervisors said that a similar ordinance was to be added to the zoning code in the near future, but they decided to pass the overlay ahead of time in case St. Luke’s, or any other health care facility, wishes to begin construction any sooner.

“We’re redoing our zoning right now, and that was going to be put in there, but they just wanted to move forward before we get to that point. It may take us eight or nine months yet before we update our zoning,” vice chairman Robin Cressley said.

Frey said that the ordinance will allow for the construction of health care facilities on plots of land measuring at least 30 acres within the township.

“This actually comes out of West Brunswick Township in Schuylkill County. That’s the basis for it, and I reviewed it and somewhat modified it,” solicitor William Schwab said.

In addition to providing jobs and easy access to emergency medical care, the establishment of a health care facility could also increase property values in the area. Frey said that this a particularly attractive benefit, as the township will lose its elementary school soon, which could adversely affect residents’ property values.

Though no one made any comment on the matter at the special meeting, Frey said that he has heard overwhelmingly positive responses from people in the township in regard to a new hospital.

“I believe it means good things. Hopefully, they’ll decide to build in our township. We’re trying to be business-friendly and do exactly what they ask so we can get that in the township,” Frey said.

So you invite a non-profit (brings zero tax dollars) into an already high residential tax area. Then exclaim the "attractive benefit" of raising property values which only increases the tax burden on the residents. So who is ultimately benefiting here?
Simple: you bring in hospitals, this usually brings in more doctors, nurses, and support staff looking for shorter commutes, which has implications on housing values due to demand. Also, there is potential for additional investment with the need for more local medical office space, which fuels tax dollars too as these are usually private owned commercial buildings.
Congrats, you are the first person in America to complain that the value of your home is increasing and that a new state of the art hospital is being built in your community!
I stood before my school board 16 months ago urging them to increase our property taxes so that our school can improve facilities and maintain programs. I was not alone. Many people, when given the choice of poor educational opportunities for the children in their district or higher taxes will pick higher taxes.
Paying $4,000 in school taxes already and my kids are out of school and you requested the taxes get raised even more ?
If the alternative is a degrading level of educational opportunities, absolutely.

BTW, this whole "I don't have kids in the school" excuse for not wanting to pay taxes is one of the worst examples of how selfish and self centered we have become. You went to school. Your kids went to school. During that time, tax payers without kids helped pay the bills. I doubt you complained that it was unfair for them. Now that your kids are grown and you got what you wanted from the schools, you have decided you don't want to pay. Being a good citizen means paying taxes for services you no longer need.
And private schools get public funding for things such as special ed. Your not off the hook. And I'm sure you and your spouse(s)/partner went to public school. Again, you got yours, now you don't want to contribute for others.

By the way, it is those who are aged and in retirement that cost the tax payers the most. Senior housing, PACE, Social Security, Medicare, senior transport, senior centers, etc etc are all paid by the current workforce. What if they took your attitude that they shouldn't have to pay since they don't use those services?
Excuse me Joe, but I will correct you here. I paid into my Social Security as did my employer, NOT the government. All they did was steal the money.
I like the idea of the hospital as it builds infrastructure and when you have the infrastructure, good things will come. I’m confident the taxes on an empty piece of land is insignificant at best. However, I don’t have children, I never have, and yet I will argue that I am likely one of the higher 10% in residential tax payers in Franklin Township. I’d like to have your address so I can appeal yours and all other properties for reassessed for a real value who are not assessed at their real value. My taxes are the same as my mortgage. Unless the state steps up and changes property tax law, I won’t be able to retire under the current circumstances. If you stand before the board to raise taxes, please send me your address and I’ll pay to have your house appraised and appeal your taxes to see them become very real to you.
Regrettable, but given the mismanagement, the money is not the problem, but proper allocation. Giving more money to the foolish only makes for a more wasteful fool.

As for your request for higher taxes, donations are always accepted.

Your idea of taking from those that do not have is not new and still is an immoral request. Read Horatio Bunce and Davy Crockett, "Not yours to give". Don't be the fool that repeats history, especially destructive history.


Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
Adding a more vibrant business district in Lehighton won't raise your property taxes. It will lower them by creating a higher tax base. That's more income to school that isn't from residential households. However, you do live in Lehighton. Your incompetent Lehighton School Board will just spend more like they always do.
This is no different than what they're letting a private landowner in our community do! He has 412 clean and Green Acres that he has done nothing but bastardize since ownership in 2005 and building a recreational cabin in 2015. He has tried to open numerous businesses and now is going to open a campground allowing transient people to drive through private developments of very high paying taxpayer's. The kicker here is Caesar HOAs private developments that people pay a significant amount of additional money to be a part of so that they can live in a private, safe, secure community without having to worry about who your neighbors are. Many people purchase properties in these areas because they have small children but they want to be in the safe are safer must I say environment, or are elderly people who don't want to be in the mainstream of all of the noise and the traffic and safety issues as well. Pretty high He's affecting three communities totaling about 400 people and homes, but yet he's getting a free ride he has numerous infractions that he has never been cited for so no money collected there. Plus he is running Airbnb Program Tentrr, which allows people to defecate in a 5 gallon bucket in a special bag and throw it in a dumpster along with created solar showers which will cause gray water from the dish water and the shower water into our class A pristine trout streams that are protected by the way. There are absolutely no occupancy taxes or hotel taxes being collected from this gentleman's business. He has cleaning Green land still that he should have been stripped of years ago when he illegally cut in roads to the property to take his Pinzgauer tours through illegally with no permits. Clean and green landowners benefit immensely from huge tax breaks directly come out of the school budgets leaving them in a deficit. So if you're not going to make sure that we're collecting our fair share for the Township in situations such as these then why bother it's costing the taxpayers money is the township spending time allowing special exception permits and Zoning changes for individuals or businesses that bring no value. At least it sounds like this one is doing some good for the community, our land owner brings absolutely no benefit to anybody but himself. Allowing these changes also impacts our property values that ultimately will hit the Township in the pocket as well, sometimes they just don't think before they try to accommodate people for special one-time pay off deals. These are HOA associations as well mind you so they pay additional fees to establish these private communities and then you move here for the safety of small children and the elderly who are looking to get away from the busy and sometimes potentially hazardous areas outside thier communities. Normally the property values in these private communities are much higher, when you allowed businesses into these areas and or transient traffic people who do not reside there, it changes the whole structure and way of life for the people back there. Is it really fair for Township officials to make those choices for these individuals? These people who are landlocked and or in a private development wanting to now open a business or cause the Privacy to be compromised should get out and go somewhere else where they will not. They knew what they bought when they bought it so if they can't do what they want they have no business staying there and forcing it upon those who don't. Zoning is Zoning but who made the township God??!! I take that back, I don't think God would even compromise peoples safety and privacy that needlessly for the financial gain of a few greedy businessmen. Ahhhh, What people won't do for money!
Non-profits pay property taxes and the tax on a 100 million dollar hosptial is a heck of a lot of money for the township. Rising property values do not raise your taxes unless you are reassessed which is unlikely to happen anytime soon. New, higher paying jobs is what this area needs as well as better quality health care. It is a win for the area all the way around so please stop misinforming the community with your incorrect and negative posting.
So if I look at St.Lukes campus in Fountain Hill (Bethlehem) I see this:

Exempt Land 1,432,800
Exempt Building 145,898,800
Taxable Land 0
Taxable Building 0
Total 147,331,600
Taxable Total 0

Mills Taxes
County 3.640000 $ 0.00
School 18.040000 $ 0.00
Municipality 8.110000 $ 0.00
Total $ 0.00

These are all big ZEROS in the tax columns. This data is from the Lehigh County Assessment site.

So I would guess Carbon County/Franklin township are similar?
If not then congrats to St.Lukes for planning on paying taxes in Carbon and Franklin.
Found this on their website and I'm not surprised given most large non-profits will voluntarily pay property taxes if they are able in order to be good citizens. In St. Luke's case, they pay around $2.3million in voluntary property taxes.
You're the second. So tell me, how often are reassessments completed in Franklin Township? The other poster is right, they will be bringing in more jobs which means more people which means more development which means a broader tax base. Not to mention better health options,
Well if the township was waiting for a reason to perform a reassessment they will probably use this one.

Look out fixed income home-owners, this one will probably hurt badly.
Judging from your understanding of equity in your house, and the value of investments, I can understand why you are on a fixed income.
That's real cute. Call him son, which people use to imply they have more knowledge on issues, then anyone else.

Here's a thought. Since you are on a fixed income, move into one of the senior high rises in the area, or to senior centers. If life is passing you by, and you can't keep up, you have to fix yourself, not try to force other to hold themselves back just so you can benefit.

Can you call me son, though, too please. I want you to feel superior to me, and think you are better than me :)
SB76 ends any and all arguments like this. It would create a statewide KOZ. With no taxes on business, far more than hospitals will flock to PA. This, in turn, will create untold jobs with higher wages while funding schools in a much more fair and just manner. Property taxes are the Number One concern to the citizens of PA. They have directly led to Pennsylvania being one of the leading States for out-migration. They drive away our elderly and they are driving away are youth. Property taxes have directly led to Pennsylvania being one of the most unfriendly business states in the country. This is the primary reason our youth is leaving, there is little opportunity. Those companies that do come have to be giving outrageous tax abatements placing additional burden on home owner. You can try to spin it anyway you you want but these are the facts.
Defend "no taxes on business" statement. If this was the case, all the business groups and chambers would be in favor. However, all the business groups, lobbyists and chambers are unified in opposition to this, mainly because it places a 61% increase in taxes to the bottom line of small businesses, and pressures retail prices upward through sales tax.

This is a money grab by the retirees, pure and simple. The average family will have their tax burden increased.
The PA IFO analysis of SB76 along with well over half the state disagree with you as evidenced by the recent 100% Homestead exclusion ballot question.

But I am more interested in a previous LTE written by Byron Schnell where you referenced my first name yet I never mentioned it, nor did anyone else. This raises privacy concerns and possible legal issues. It suggest you work for Times News and accessed my login information.
Again, defend your statement that business is not taxed under this proposal.

I don’t work for the times and I have no way of accessing your info but you very obviously post under multiple handles. You do the exact same cuts and pastes under each handle
No. Groups and Lobbyists that you mention like the PA Chamber of Business and Industry and Gene Barr are against 76 because of crony capitalism. Barr's big business members who have the resources and are fortunate enough to play the game avoid paying property taxes through tax abatements gained through Keystone Opportunity Zones, LERTA's and tax appeals. Through this practice they can squeeze out their competition and have the taxpayers subsidize it. That is why group like "The Chamber" and lobbyists like "Gene Barr" are against 76. Barr collects over a half a million dollar annual salary to keep this disgusting practice in play. They are simply the other side of the coin with the public sector unions to protect their interests at taxpayer expense. This is the true "money grab" that you are referring to.
First I can probably count on both hands the number of times I commented on TN articles over the years, your assertion that I use multiple handles is 100% false leaving the question, how did you determine my first name???

Defend something that is well known and is well understood? The bill is a guaranteed dollar for dollar tax shift off property owners and onto everyone in the state and even some from out of state in the form of increased PIT and SUT. It is a far more fair and just way of funding schools. It is the heart and soul of the bill, SB76, and I explained this all in detail previously. As I posted on the other discussion and straight from the PA IFO analysis of SB76. The elimination of property taxes would significantly reduce the property tax share and would clearly increase the attractiveness of the Commonwealth for business location and expansion. (Page 25).

PIT goes away when one retires meaning all the folks going on fixed income have a built in inflation hedge. A very compassionate and much needed reality of SB76.

Funding schools is a major part of the state budget, I think the PA IFO team took the task of analyzing SB76 damn seriously. They could literally bankrupt the state if their analysis is not correct. Oh wait, the current method of funding schools is already doing that, sorry!

Since you stated you have a business background, check the credentials of the PA IFO team.

It is true that organizations such and the PA Chamber of Commerce are against the bill because they consider a PIT and SUT increase a tax on business despite the fact they would be relived of their biggest tax bill, SD tax. In reality, it is special interest driving these organizations. Once again, the PA IFO analysis of SB76 clears the air on these false talking points where one can easily discern it is special interest as driving force.

I should never use The_Facts handle when discussing SB76. Full Disclosure follows. Yes my first name is Robert, my full name is Robert Kistler. I am co-chair of the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition (PTCC) of Carbon County. We are one of nearly 90 grassroots organization who crafted the wording of SB76. We own the bill, no changes can be made to the bill unless we okay the change. No pork can be added to the bill. We simply found lawmakers willing to work with us to sponsor the bill. I am on the PTCC Leadership Team. We work directly with Legislators on efforts to get SB76 enacted into law.

We already discussed your 61% scare number, as clarified in other LTE discussion, the vast majority still win. These are tired PSEA talking points that have be discounted many times over. Despite the 61% scare number the PA IFO states, "Working age homeowners realize a tax cut. The analysis finds that the increase in federal income tax (through lower itemized deductions), state income tax, and sales tax is more than offset by the reduction in property taxes. (Page 21)".

They state CUT, not increase as you desperately try to project.
It should be noted that you are not quoting the IFO report, you are quoting your very terribly built website. I have tried to review the IFO report but it does not appear to be available anymore. I found out your name by simply searching your cut and pastes and you name comes up over and over in letters and comment strings. Try it for yourself.

61% is the accurate number and any other way of presenting it is dishonest. Let me ask you this, if your property tax went from $1000 to $1610 what would you say it went up? Why would you try to characterize income tax differently? Can’t have it both ways.
I think in my position I know what I am quoting. Simply put YOU'RE WRONG AGAIN. Why don't you reveal who you are? I would welcome a pubilc debate on SB76.
The IFO report measures the tax increases the same way I do, except the assumption in that report was a much smaller increase. The IFO report findings are worthless unless it is measuring the current provisions of the bill. Did you not know it was based on a smaller income tax increase than the current proposal or where you hoping people wouldn’t look into that?
Hey, Joe baby, HB/SB 76 has, since its beginning, eliminated school property taxes on ALL properties businesses included. Prior to last November's homestead referendum it would have been unconstitutional to charge different rates of taxation on businesses and homesteads. It absolutely had to eliminate on ALL properties. Strike one, genius.

You can't find the IFO analysis of HB/SB 76? Are you mentally challenged, fool? It's right here:

Aren't you cute, criticizing the "terribly built" PTCC website? That's typical of low intelligence people like you - if you can't offer a valid argument, resort to insults instead.

Finally, your 61% PIT increase argument is a sleazy way to alarm people with large numbers and proves your dishonesty. The increase in the PIT is 3.07% to 4.95%, an increase of 1.88% or a bit less than two cents on the dollar. That's the truth in simple terms, not your exaggeration.

I'll take you on head-to-head on this subject any time you wish, genius, and I will drive you into the ground. You know NOTHING and I am an expert on this legislation; I am licking my chops for the opportunity to embarrass you. I don't see that happening, though, because you are a coward who will not stand up to his lies.
Thank you for the link and I'll ignore the insults and address. Silly me thought there was an updated report based on the current tax assumptions of the current bill. However, you are quoting a 5 year old report that utilizes an assumption of an income tax increase from 3.07% to 4.34%, an increase of "41.3 percent"(note that the IFO measures the tax increase percentage in the same manner I do, page 15). The current version of the legislation has the rate going to other words, the IFO report does not take in account an additional 20% increase in income taxes. It also does not take in account other changes and growth since then. So you and other posters are claiming this IFO report shows that the increase to 4.95% will help the state but the report isn't measuring that. Don't you think it is a bit misleading to tout this report as proof of the benefit of SB76 when it is 5 years old and not the same bill????

I'll address the business part. I am yet to find a business group or chamber in agreement with the bill mainly due to the tax impact on small business. However, most small businesses do not own the property they operate out of, especially start-ups that do not have capital to fund the purchase of property. Therefore they do not get the benefit of the property tax decrease but feel the full force of the income tax and sales tax. They will also be hurt by decreases in consumer spending(acknowledged in the IFO report.)
It also makes no estimation on business creation or unemployment despite the cut and paste statements made previously(IFO says specifically that it may cause more unemployment but didn’t measure this and says affect on business “is unclear”(2012 report that utilized an even lower income tax rate of 4.01%) You also leave out this tidbit on page 1” the proposal has a negative financial impact over the subsequent 4 years...simulation of the proposal using 11 years of historical data...confirms this general pattern.” But again, its not reporting on the bill as currently constructed. The new income tax rate will only further harm the results.
How about it, Joe baby, are you ready to take me on head-to-head? I am tremendously excited to slam you to the mat, embarrass you, and demonstrate your lack of knowledge. Come on, let's have at it.

Since you're so smart, tell me how your argument addresses this. In January of this year the IFO predicted that for the foreseeable future and if the paradigm doesn't change, school property taxes will increase by ONE HALF BILLION dollars annually. Even you should be able to see that this is unsustainable. How do you propose to solve the problem? BTW, this is factual but this time you can do your own research.

Unless you are willing to debate me in person, I'll have no more to say on this page because it's really pretty useless. Just one final question: For whom are you a shill? The PSEA, the PSBA, PASBO, PICPA, the PA Chamber or any of the other greedy special interests who couldn't care less about the families who are suffering because of the damaging property tax? At least have the courage to identify the group you represent. Those who wrote the piece at the link below which, by the way, was distributed by schoolchildren with your tax money, are the people you are defending. Are you proud of yourself? You are despicable.
You seem like a pretty angry person. Someone disagreeing with you doesn’t make the despicable. I have no connection with any groups, just a resident who sees the issues with this bill.

I agree with the IFO, costs are going up. There are many factors that contribute, health care and pensions especially. I would be supportive of a bill that specifically addresses the cost issues, perhaps through a statewide health insurance plan that leverages the high number of school employees to drive per employee costs down and a transition to a 403b type of pension program. The problem with 76 is it does not address costs, it is a revenue and taxing bill. It seeks to provide relief to a narrow group, seniors, at the expense of many others. Families, according to independent analysis, will pay around $400 a year more under this bill. The over 70 demographic only pays 18% of the school taxes as it is, a further shift will hurt families. Business will be taxed more too.

Address the cost issue first and resist passing a taxation bill and muddying the water with a solution that does more damage than good
Joe, I don't believe a word you say because, despite what you say about being "just a resident," I have no doubt that you have an ulterior motive. Yes, I'm angry. I'm angry about many years of fighting corrupt and self-serving politicians. I'm angry about many years of fighting this battle against people like you who obviously have a VERY vested interest in the solution and couldn't care less about the suffering of others. I have dealt with your ilk many times over the years and it was always the same - those who have a monetary reason to be concerned, fighting to protect their money tree. At least you could state your true purpose in fighting against this legislation and why you are so willing to lie.

You have no comment about the PSBA handout that YOU helped to finance? I would have thought you would have had something to say. And your solution to move to a statewide health insurance plan and a transition to a 403b type of pension program verifies your lack of knowledge of this entire issue since these measures do nothing to address the true problems. To solve this problem permanently the entire public school finance system must be gutted and replaced. Oh, and your comment that "the problem with 76 is it does not address costs" is another of your inaccuracies. See Chapter 13 of SB 76, P/N 913, where the cost controls are defined by limiting annual increases to to the schools to the rate of an inflation index. The IFO estimates that this will afford every school district an approximate annual 4% increase.

I said before that I was finished but I couldn't help but renege when I thought about the piece at the link below. If you are so concerned about businesses, have a look at this: I'd really like to hear your thoughts on the piece.

Still waiting to debate you!
I have no interest in what you’re wanting me to comment on. It is not pertinent to a discussion about the whether the bill is good for the state. I don’t know what you mean by a debate but I think that is what these comment boards are for.

Of course I have financial interest in the bill. As a family with a modest home, purchased well within my means, who works, we stand to get clobbered by this bill. I put my numbers in the calculator on the PTCC website and I will be bitten for an additional $2000 annually. You have financial interest in it too. What’s your point?

76 places restrictions on increases in tax that arent even as stringent as what already exists. But tax is not a cost to the school district, it’s a revenue so it is a cap on revenue not costs. Without cost controls, revenue will not meet costs within a year and there will be deficits.(IFO report 2013). Where the money comes from has no affect on the costs. It’s like believing your health premiums and mortgage payment will suddenly decrease if you don’t get a raise this year from your boss. Please understand what cost and revenue means when discussing this.

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