Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Who We Elect

 When we choose a candidate for National office we choose the candidate that most represents our views. When we elect a candidate for local office we expect to have enough access to the official that they will represent a majority of the residents. We would hope that they would research projects that are out of there expertise before approving the project.

Unfortunately those who win elections believe there success is because of there intelligence rather then the winner of a popularity contest. The winner’s perceived IQ immediately jumps 50 points as now they are experts in everything.

In Forks Township and many other Communities elected officials jump into projects that are over there heads. They then hire so called experts who exploit there lack of understanding of a project to there own financial gains.

 We see this with the Band Shell and the Public Works Building. In the many redraws of the Band Shell Forks Township has spent over $80,000.00 and still a shovel hasn‘t hit the ground. The Public Works Building is more then a million dollars over recent estimates.
To make up the defecate Supervisors will break into the emergency finds. One day when the emergency funds are needed we will only have a box full of I Owe You’s

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Forks Township Band Shell

Forks Township Band Shell, Amphitheater, or call it what it is “A shaded Skate Park” was started 4 years ago as a retirement tribute to 2 outgoing Supervisors. Plan 1 cost $40,000.00 to draw, plus a few thousand more in review costs. If I remember the lowest bid was $350,000.00 and Supervisord deemed this too high.

Plan 2 was to tweak plan one. The Restrooms, Parking, and most of the Hardscaping and Landscaping were removed. This plan still bid out too high. The recently approved plan is nothing more then a Sun Shade stretched over a Concrete Pad. No Acoustics, weather protection, Parking or Restrooms. The Price $250,000.00 and what will it be used for and what will it cost to put on an event, who will pay for it.

The 19th century Band Shell was the center of the community before Air Conditioning Amplification and Radio. In today’s Air Conditioned Society an outdoor weather dependant facility has little use. From the start this facility had little support outside of the Board of Supervisors.

Let’s discuss the events Supervisors plan for this facility

Puppet shows: A puppet show is a very intimate event, where small groups of Children gather around a small stage to watch a show. Seeing the plans for this facility the Puppet Stage would 15 feet from the closest seating. It’s hard to believe we can’t put on a puppet show without these facilities. We have the main Recreation Facilities, The Wrestling Center and several Pavilion’s with seating parking and Rest Room Facilities.

Movies: The Cost of putting on a single show could cost a few thousand dollars. To show a Movie Forks Township would need to hire a company with Outdoor Projection and Sound Equipment. Put aside another $1000.00 for portable Rest Rooms, and unless the Supervisors are showing 1940’s Army Training Films Licensing Fees need to be paid. (You can’t just go to Net flicks and rent a movie to be shown commercially.

Live Entertainment: Yes you can get a Crappy Garage Band for free but, even hiring a band for a few hundred dollars the additional costs of hiring Security, Electrical Engineer and renting Bathroom Facilities will add $2000.00 to the event. Did anyone consider with no built in Acoustics or sound barriers how the amplification will affect the residents nearby. The Speakers will be pointed towards the homes

Supervisors have been touting the ability to shake down the Business Community to build and operate this facility. However the Business Community hasn’t been beating down the doors for the naming rights of this Facility even after Supervisors started a Business Group to fund projects like this.

What would be a good name? “________ Pizza Pavilion.

The Business Community is hurting and Forks Township Supervisors have done little to support them in the past

This Project will cost taxpayers $350,000.00 or more before it is finished. It was approved with little Public input or a test.

What do I mean by a Test? Forks Township could have rented a Temporary Band Shell for some trial events or put on test events at some of our other facilities.

The Band Shell in the Picture can be rented. This structure is capable of withstanding weather that would make the current design unusable.

The last time I checked the cost to purchase the Band Shell in the picture was about $20,000.00 or ½ the price of the first set of plans Supervisors Scrapped

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Disclaimer

The Disclaimer

My issues with the “Youth Sports” Program are not the need and value of Youth Sports Programs but the Management and Cost of the programs. Large taxpayer expenditure goes to one private organization with a narrow recreation focus with higher then average costs. I don’t see a financial statement or accounting of these funds on the Web Site. While Adult, Family and other Forks Township Youth Programs not only go un-funded and do not have the same privileges to use Forks Townships Public Recreation Facilities, Something needs to be said.

Why should the Tax Payers pay for your kids Soccer Tournament?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Recreation the Sacred Cow

Recreation is the Sacred Cow in Forks Township. If you question the 10’s of Thousands of Tax Dollars that are used to fund a few Youth Sports you are said to hate Children. This tactic has worked for 20 years as Money was funneled away from infrastructure projects and into Recreation. The Recreation Center that was built for about 10 million dollars. It was built mostly for the use of Don Millers Basketball league. At the same time the Police Department was being shuffled around to a building with a leaky roof and a mold problem.

The Recreation Committee Forks Township Youth Sports with the help of there friends on the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors get what they want when they want it. A few years ago when the Temp was in the high 90’s an emergency $160,000.00 was spent on all new Air Conditioning. Just think Forks Township has been stumbling through installing a Stop light at a dangerous intersection for 5 years. Yet without a thought relitivly new Air Conditioning was scrapped without a concern for costs.

I have a good working knowledge of Zoning and Building codes. You don’t need to look far into our Recreation Facilities and Parks to find deficiencies in Parking, Lighting and Emergency Access. It appears that some of our newer facilities are out of compliance with the America with Disability Act requirements.

Most residents have little understanding of the recreation department. Ask a question you won’t get an answer. Try to decipher the budget good luck. I use the park I see the mostly unused facilities. To the best of my knowledge I am going to explain what I know.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This is why I write

I have been operating my Business since 1985. We were welcomed into this small community by Township Officials who were thrilled to have another business join an already diverse Business Community.

Jump ahead 10 years and Forks Township has changed drastically. The new residents moved in and forced changes to build a Bedroom Community in there image. They targeted the smells and noises of Farms. Since they worked out of the area they opposed the expansion of the Business Community. The transplants formed citizens groups and went after generations old family business’s like Braden’s Airport. Eventually they citizens groups found there way to seats on the Planning Committee, Board of Supervisors. From these seats they made zoning changes that made it easier for Builders to acquire and develop farm land. Business was over regulated to a point that Business development virtually stopped at the Forks Township Palmer Township Border. While Palmer Township Thrived on the increased tax revenue from mostly full Industrial Parks while Forks Township Industrial areas remain empty.

The biggest hit by all these fees and regulation was to the small independent Business’s that dotted Sullivan Trail. Many of them were overregulated out of business. The new Business’s that have opened on Sullivan Trail have done so at the cost of 10’s of thousands of Dollars in extra costs. Meeting after meeting to address changes demanded by Planners. The costs to open a small business in Forks Township are higher then profits that can be generated. Of the few that try most fail.

For example the New Weiss Market. After the Weiss Developers had the property returned to its original zoning a few citizens raised enough money to hire one of the most expensive lawyers in the valley to stop the project. This citizens group held off the building of Weiss for 2 more years as court decisions against the Citizens group were appealed and appealed. My estimates is Weiss spent $200,000.00 defending there right to build a Grocery Store on there own property.

My Battle to expand my business is legendary It has been written about and been in and out of the Press for 10 years. This has been an ongoing battle between our business and Township Officials. Officials who have prevented us from using our own Property to grow our business. Over the years Forks Township Officials have made several attempts to confiscate our property or change the zoning to prevent future expansion of our property.

If you read Press accounts or Official Forks Township records of my project a few names will pop up. What I was told years ago is a Recreation committee member and Supervisor felt our property needed to generate more taxable income then we produce.

Recreation is King in Forks Township. However what is passed off as Recreation doesn’t meet the definition. Trying to build a Sports Dynasty with Children is unconscionable but you don’t have to look deep into our youth programs to see competition is the word not Recreation