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Comment City

Enter subhead content here

The following are public comments made to the Uniontown City Council.  The council was considering resolutions to include the Fayette Bank Building, and other town properties, in the KOZ.  My comment was presented in written form, and resources were provided.

Review Daily Courier archives for various articles:

http://www.newsdirectory.com/go/?f=&r=pa&u=www.dailycourier.com

KOZ status approved for three properties Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Future of Central School building unsure Sunday, June 8, 2003

Council approves KOZ status for old Fayette Bank building Thursday, May 8, 2003

Tuesday's public meeting was also to share and gain public information on 10 acres of KOZ from the Fayette County Redevelopment Authority's 110 KOZ acres...

Public comments Tuesday meeting, May 6, 2003 Begin

Uniontown starts here. That's a play on words of one of PA's slogans, America Starts Here. Here's another play on words. Tax-shiftation. Keep that word in mind, and KOZ rhymes with OZ. Your concerns are city-level. The taxpayer's concerns are with all taxing jurisdictions. Government doesn't say, voluntarily donate whatever amount of income you want to share the cost of public services or infrastructure. Government coerces taxes at threat of loss of family house and business, Wait, that's no longer true. Not in PA's KOZ. In the land of KOZ there is no such coercion, no loss of property for tax non-payment. (Read: Gov. Ridge words )

Government taxes people and businesses. Tax -exemption for one, not for all, is unfair. Sick to the stomach unfair to think of one taxpayer facing loss of house, business property, while another doesn't because taxpayer/business is located in a residential or business-industry KOZ. ( residential KOZ allowed.) Settle back and think about how some taxpayers must pay for the county bond issue, but not KOZ residents and businesses for 10-12 years (15 in KOIZ) The illusion, the lie of KOZ was revealed when the county took out, decertified, 110 acres designated KOZ in the Route 40 Fayette County Industrial/Business Park. Wizardry of KOZ is unmasked. What did we see? Over 4-years we saw no takers for the manufacturing zoned acres in the KOZ. We did see interest for land in the park undergoing improvements: Infrastructure. A doctor's office sought a spot because of infrastructure. However, though doctors can band together, form a clinic, a qualified KOZ business, none did that here in Fayette? It happened in Washington County. (More about who challenged the clinic's KOZ in the sidebar) Recall, the South Union Township supervisors, who'd already authorized KOZ along with Laurel Highlands and the county in 98/99, were reluctant to rezone from manufacturing to business in 2003. Why? (See sidebar)

The commissioners and the FC Redevelopment Authority surely know the term qualified business. What can go into a KOZ is a doctors' clinic. We know this because a Washington County hospital challenged KOZ. (See sidebar) There is a Byberry hospital in a KOZ. Why didn't FC Redevelopment Authority and commissioners fight for rezoning of manufacturing to commercial leaving KOZ intact? Were the SU township supervisors going to ok the rezoning on land already KOZ designated. No. Were they going to pit one existing business against another, doctors' offices, for 10-15 years, not in their taxing jurisdiction . They are not going to pit doctors against doctors already located in Cherry Tree's complex, which wouldn't qualify for KOZ. There is the illusion - lie of KOZ. It wasn't needed to attract a doctor's office and other businesses now that infrastructure's there. New KOZ legislation entices banks to locate in KOZ. Can't see Dollar Bank at FC Park? Why not? Unfair to Cherry Tree banks? Listen to this.

Let's talk about 10-acre KOZ, and Fayette Building. Formerly a bank building, was it not? There is nothing to prevent offering KOZ property to qualified businesses who want to invest. The only thing stopping a qualified business from relocating is exactly what happened at the county's park. Let's see if this happened with Fay-Penn's control of Fayette Technology Park KOZ - a qualified business, high-rise apartments are going in. What is the difference between that qualified business and any other? Nothing. Fay-Penn could determine to put any qualified business there how about Best Bank. Let's get to the heart of KOZ. The Herald-Standard and Tribune-Review both editorialized KOZ is OK. Since they believe in KOZ, they should believe in Taxing-Times Gazette, which will promise big investment dollars. Now tax-free - TTG refurbishes offices for a television studio. Although they are no longer complaining about tax assessments, Taxing Times Gazette keeps its name, and it grows over 12 years. (See Pgh. Post-Gazette, Taxing Times) Bet we'll read a few choice editorials if another different newspaper chain is allowed to locate in a tax-free zone. How about a coffee shop? That's what happened in York. Unfairness is squarely in the KOZ. See through the game you're asked to play? You're asked to believe KOZ is fair if an economic development agency or an authority handles it.

Do you believe?

York's Downtown KOZ Opportunities.

If you believe, KOZ for a coffee shop with 8 employees, offices, storefront retail and residential is ok to be handled by Fay-Penn, or the 10-acre KOZ, follow York, you must also believe any qualified business. is ok to be handled by a qualified handler. Here's the clincher, if you OK a 10-acre KOZ whether or not it includes the Gearing building, you will be creating the unfair business advantage. Can't justify tax-exempt business like Taxing Times Gazette competing with others that don't have that same advantage, then realize KOZ is an illusion, a lie. The definition of unfair remains the same. No matter the name change the publicity such as when Gov. Tom Ridge introduced KOZ, tax-shiftation - is shifting of tax burden from one to another.

End it, here, today.