Jun. 19th, 2013 @ 2:14 pm
Nate Curtis campaign kickoff... http://t.co/lGUxJLs4Ue
Jun. 19th, 2013 @ 2:05 pm
Nate Curtis for Hbg mayor event... http://t.co/yf1tGWH3tl
Jun. 18th, 2013 @ 12:14 pm
Public School Funding and Spending Throughout the Commonwealth. http://t.co/H2wpXVIeiO
Jun. 18th, 2013 @ 4:28 pm
Senator McIlhinney Releases Retail Liquor Privatization Plan, SB 100 http://t.co/CI4hqttvEW
Jun. 18th, 2013 @ 3:50 pm
SB 100 amendments - Part 3... http://t.co/7dqjaL3AkR
Jun. 18th, 2013 @ 3:48 pm
Liquor privatization plan - part 3... http://t.co/RdOSzUUVaX
Jun. 18th, 2013 @ 3:48 pm
Amendments to Senate Bill 100 (Liquor Privatization)... http://t.co/2CUUm4arZx
Jun. 18th, 2013 @ 3:47 pm
SB 100 Amendments - Part 2... http://t.co/l35r46USUQ
Jun. 18th, 2013 @ 3:42 pm
SB 100 Amendments... http://t.co/dOJzoiLAHY
Jun. 18th, 2013 @ 3:05 pm
Liquor privatization plan -part 2... http://t.co/vKPsEa7Lex
Jun. 18th, 2013 @ 3:03 pm
First look at newest liquor privatization plan... http://t.co/QTOkFSEz59
Jun. 18th, 2013 @ 2:03 pm
Gov. Corbett presser on signing HB 492 about to begin... http://t.co/FSw4sDahGa
Jun. 18th, 2013 @ 1:34 pm
Jun. 17th, 2013 @ 12:36 pm
Want to invest in Dauphin County? Judicial Tax Sale tonight at Hbg Hilton 6pm, bidding starts at $350.00 per. http://t.co/vUgTDvNuqj
Jun. 17th, 2013 @ 12:12 pm
Midtown residents complain of non working street lights after neighbor is attacked. Archive video of downed lights: http://t.co/w2FnHi3dJu
Jun. 17th, 2013 @ 11:02 am
Transporting Committee discussing funding bill SB 1... http://t.co/3fvBJMNpZs
At a meeting of the Harrisburg Authority Board on January 23rd, Sue Weldon, a Harrisburg Water Bureau meter reader and president of AFSCME 521, asked the Board members if they were aware of the issue the City is having with its water readings.
Most if not every house in the City of Harrisburg has a 3.5" by 4.5" plastic box mounted to the front of their homes (which for some residents is a debauchery to the historical facade of City houses). These boxes are transit boxes for remote water readings, a system put in place during the Reed Administration about ten years ago.
While that technological investment improved efficiency and cost savings, a plan for long-term maintenance seems to have been neglected. Nor has one yet seemed to be developed.
Per Weldon, there are broken transit boxes throughout the city as well as thousands of batteries needing replaced.
"We get what we refer to as a 'non-auto read' because we didn't get it off the computers and we have to go out there and achieve these readings," she explained.
On the day she presented the information to THA, Weldon claimed there were 165 pages of "non auto" reads, 42 items per page, and included what she called "a few malfunction pages. "
"That's roughly almost 7,000 properties out there that we're not getting readings on."
Weldon clarified there are very many reasons why a "non read" comes in because of the multiple components---meter, transit box, and batteries.
However, the increasingly frequent number of the non reads, as well as the reports of Water Bureau meter-readers are indicating that the problem is dead batteries in the transit boxes.
Weldon is estimating that 6000 batteries are out.
"This is just for knowledge. I'm not pointing the finger at anybody," she emphasized more than once, saying she did understand there are budget and money issues. Per Weldon, batteries cost $17.50 and a new transit box is approximately $300.
Weldon said it's causing the Water Bureau "a great big headache." With the inability to take remote readings, employees are being required to go out and take the readings inside residents' homes. Weldon claimed some residents have said they were asked to take their own meter reads and submit the numbers on their bills.
At the meeting, no one talked how much it is costing to be unable to access thousands of meters remotely. The cost of this problem is a prime concern to the Harrisburg Authority who owns the water system and receives revenue from it.
THA has a management agreement with the City of Harrisburg, and it is the City's responsibility to manage device maintenance and repair. If the system is less efficient, the revenue is less, too.
When asked about Sue Weldon's public statements on January 23rd, Shannon Williams, Executive Director of THA said the Authority was taking the assertions seriously. "THA is investigating the claims made at the public meeting. We have to ensure no revenues are lost as a result of inaction, and we have to reduce the number of non reads."
Click the icon above to watch Sue Weldon's public comments at the January 23, 2013 Harrisburg Authority Board meeting.
by Tara Leo Auchey
photo by Natalie Cake
Mayor Thompson is "rolling out" a new project.
During a Wednesday afternoon community meeting at the Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church, Mayor Thompson stated that she will introduce the Neighborhood Safety Zone.
Photo by Natalie Cake
After a multi-month process, today Dauphin County Gaming Advisory Board member Justin Warren of West Hanover Township and the Board's solicitor Mark Stewert of Eckert Seamans, presented the 2012-2013 Local Share Gaming Grant recommendations to Dauphin County Commissioners.
Every year since 2008, Dauphin County Commissioners have had the authority to award millions of dollars in shared casino revenue. Guided by State law, a percentage of this revenue are considered Local Share Gaming Grants and a Gaming Advisory Board is formed to recommend who and what should get the money.
The Board's list of recommendations is presented to Dauphin County Commissioners after a lenthy review process of application and interview. Ultimately, it is the Commissioners who vote to determine where the funds go. It's also within the Commissioners' authority to adjust the list of projects and funds recommended.
For this cycle, the Dauphin County Advisory Board received 100 applications for a total of $22.3 million in requests. In the end, 26 local governments and non-profits were awarded the $6.7 million available. The Advisory Board also included a $1.7 million of "Recommended Optional Funding." If majority rules, Dauphin County Commissioners can choose to allocate from a separate, discretionary pool of casino revenue known as Unrestricted Gaming Grants to fund these optional projects.
Notable recommended awardees included the City of Harrisburg--$409,000 for 10 new police patrol vehicles. Harrisburg Area Community College--$250,000 for the Public Safety Center expansion. Capital Area Greenbelt Association--$50,000 for Greenbelt expansion along with several municipalities for fire, sewer, and capital improvement projects.
What about property relief? That's the most common question there is when Pennsylvanians hear the phrase "gaming money." Per the Act, Local Share funds cannot be used for tax relief, and as Advisory Board member Justin Warren said in his presentation, "This gets confused out there to the general public."
Local Share funds are a separate reserve from the State collected and dispersed property tax relief fund. According to PA Secretary of Budget Charles Zogby in April, the State certified $782.5 million in gaming revenue was available for property tax relief in 2012.
As Warren explains, there is also the logic that Local Share grants keep local taxes down because the money is focused on funding public projects that might otherwise require municipal financing such as infrastructure and public safety.
In fact, the Advisory Board's current recommendations are divided 51% to Infrastructure & Facilities Improvement; 38% EMS, Health, & Public Safety; 10% Transportation; and 0.7% Public Interest Initiative. The presentation to the Commissioners included a projection that the $8 million dollars invested will yield a return of $59 million for Dauphin County including creating professional and construction jobs.
Of course, there is always a list of Not Recommended, and they are listed and presented to the Commissioners in priority of significance. Of the 35 projects on that list, the Whitaker Center, Susquehanna Art Museum, and Heros Grove are there. The last one on the list---the one utterly not recommended for funding---the City of Harrisburg's application for $170,000 for the Dock Street Dam hydroelectric generation study.
Based on the Dauphin County Commissioners' responses and the lack of questioning of the Advisory Board representatives at this morning's meeting, Commissioners Haste, Hartwick, and Pries are satisfied with the process up until this point.
"We will take a hard look at these, and we'll have these on for next week for a vote," said Chair Jeff Haste. The vote is scheduled for next Wednesday, February 13th at 10:00am.
Click the icon at the top of the page to watch the February 6th Gaming Advisory Board's presentation to Dauphin County Commissioners, and see the lists of recommendations.
by Tara Leo Auchey
Photo by Natalie Cake