Sunday, May 14, 2017

Here is what you will see on Tuesday's ballot for school board

There are four open positions for a four year term and one open position for a two year term. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, you will see Mike Riemer, Stephen Strotmeyer, Aviva Diamond, and the Timmy ticket on the ballot. They all cross filed. Justin DePlato is only on the Republican ballot. Democrats will have to write in his name, if they wish to vote for him.

For the two year term, pick only one of those candidates. You will, most likely, be voting for one candidate twice for the Primary.

I hear the weather is going to be nice on Tuesday. Get out there and vote. Choose wisely. Please.

25 comments:

Richard Gideon said...

While tomorrow's election is mostly a "private party" for the members of the duopoly, there is an important ballot question open to any registered voter in Mt. Lebanon. The question seeks voter approval to amend section 914 of the Mt. Lebanon Home Rule Charter, proposing that "..any increase in yearly real estate taxes levied by the Mt. Lebanon Commission shall not exceed 10% of the previous year's total General Fund budgeted revenue, unless approved by referendum or by unanimous vote of the Mt. Lebanon Commission...". Click HERE to read the whole question as it appears on the ballot.

Here is SECTION 914 of the Home Rule Charter as it currently reads:
Section 914. Tax Rates
Except as provided below, in fixing the rate of any municipal tax which may be now or hereafter authorized by law, the Commission shall abide by the limits established by the General Assembly for first class townships. The Commission may increase the rate of the municipal earned income tax above such limits if the Commission shall in the same year reduce the real property tax rate by an amount estimated to reduce real property tax revenues in an amount equal to the earned income tax revenues estimated to result from such rate increase. Any increase in the real property tax levy of the prior year shall not exceed two (2) mills over the tax levy of the prior year without first obtaining a favorable referendum on the amount exceeding two (2) mills, in the manner set forth in the second paragraph of §1206 of this Charter. The action of the Commission on the ordinance shall follow the majority vote of such election.

This section was amended by referendum held on November 8, 1994.


The total revenue in the 2016 Budget is shown as $48,067,000.00.

If you're registered as an Independent or a member of a minor party, don't sit out this election simply because Pennsylvania is a "closed Primary" state and you have no CANDIDATES to vote for. This proposed change to Mt. Lebanon's Home Rule Charter affects everyone, regardless of registration.

Anonymous said...

Trying to understand the change - please correct if I am wrong:
Currently limited to 2 mill increase, equivalent of 44% increase in revenue. This is a holdover from prior assessment methods.
In current proposal, a10% hike is the equivalent of taking the current 4.51 mills to 4.96 mills (generating $4.8 million add'l revenue).
Seems to make sense to make the change.
However, are there any other consequences (intended or otherwise) that may hurt a common citizen? From what I gather, mileage rate has grown from 4.35 in 2002 to 4.51 in 2016. Does the method by which commission can raise mileage give anyone pause on accepting this ballot measure?

Anonymous said...

I believe the HR charter change does away with this: "The Commission may increase the rate of the municipal earned income tax above such limits if the Commission shall in the same year reduce the real property tax rate by an amount estimated to reduce real property tax revenues in an amount equal to the earned income tax revenues estimated to result from such rate increase."

Anonymous said...

So they can increase the property rate no more than 10% AND also increase the EIT by some unknown threshold or limit if this is passed? If this doesn't pass, they can increase by up to 2 mils, but that has to be offset by an EIT decrease or vice versa??

Richard Gideon said...

Regardless of whether one votes this referendum up or down, I hope everyone will take the time to investigate this question. I've already linked to the actual ballot question wording, and Mt. Lebanon's Home Rule Charter and various ordinances are easily found on the municipal website. Remember that what is at stake here is not the municipality's money; it's YOUR money.

Sheldon Richman, author of "America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited," recently wrote an article for REASON on-line called "The Base Rhetoric of Mainstream Taxation Talk" - an article I highly recommend reading. In that article he states, "We can see the base rhetoricians in action whenever they talk about taxation. From the terms of their discussion, you would never know that the money in question actually belongs to particular individuals, who obtained it through voluntary exchange or gift. Rather, the terms suggest that it belongs collectively to society, with the government being its agent of distribution. The only question, then, is: what's the fairest distribution?" That's a very good observation, and one that anyone who pays taxes should think about.

Anonymous said...

I always figure if the Public Information Office is gilding the lilly it's not good for us taxpayers, especially middle class ones.

Anonymous said...

As I read this under current code any increase in wage tax requires a matching reduction in property tax. Any increase above 2 mills in property tax must pass a referendum. The proposed change allows a majority of the commission to increase taxes up to 10% of last year's revenue by any combination of wage or property tax, and would allow a unanimous commission to increase taxes by whatever amount and in ny combination they want. Have to read the proposed ordnance which would implement this change

Anonymous said...

I am quite skeptical about this issue. Whose to say whether there will be a referendum? When is the last time ML had a referendum??? Sounds like another scam on the backs of the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Why has there been little or no publicity on this HR Charter change. Was it going to just appear on the ballot in hopes that voters would just scan and think it looks like they're trying to hold the line on taxes.
Problem is if that is their objective they can do that by just not passing tax hikes.

Richard Gideon said...

Those who think that passage of this referendum could allow the commission to be able to increase tax revenue yearly by an amount equal to up to 10% of last year's revenue, via either an increase in property taxes, an increase in EIT taxes, or some combination of the two, are correct. The fact that the wording of the referendum focuses on what happens if the municipality seeks tax increases OVER 10% of last year's revenue - requiring a referendum or unanimous consent of the commission - glosses over the fact that this referendum would give the commission greater leeway to nibble away at your wallet!

Anonymous said...

Richard isn't the key- "requiring a referendum OR (here's the kicker) unanimous consent of the commission."

Anonymous said...

8:47: I agree with you that there has been no publicity whatsoever about this issue. Why is it all of a sudden? It doesn't pass the smell test.
It doesn't make sense. Taxpayers need to vote no on this issue. There has been no info regarding the process as to how this came about!

Jason Margolis said...

Unanimous consent = wait Kelly out.

Anonymous said...

Two questions to ask yourself before voting on this HR Charter change.
1. If the commissioners truly think this is a win for taxpayers why haven't they been shouting from the rooftops, and sending PR releases to their buddies at the Almanac and PG?
Silverman certainly would've benefitted from some positive press wouldn't he?

It wasn't talked about because they didn't want it examined and dissected. In fact it didn't appear in a Leboalert until it was brought to light here on Lebocitizens... the unofficial and most pertinent community news source.

2. Why are they putting this in on an off year primary ballot when voter turnout is terrible? Shouldn't it be on a November ballot so that more residents can have a say? It's not like this proposed change wasn't talked about when we a couple of years ago when they tested the Charter change waters with that silly gender neutral initiative.

Anonymous said...

I was always told, never sign a contract UNTIL you've read and understand the fine print.

Voting yes on this change is a contract that will affect us for years to come. They haven't given me time to read it so I'm voting no.

Jason Margolis said...

I agree with 9:54am. The process, as usual, sucked.

Just visited the polls... looks like a lot of people are 'opting out'. The May #s are a stark contrast to November! Who will this benefit?

Richard Gideon said...

LIFE IN WARD TWO DURING AN OFF-YEAR ELECTION

My wife and I live in Ward Two and vote at Temple Emanuel. On our way in this morning at 9:30am we were approached by a guy handing out campaign literature, and who urged us to vote "yes" on the referendum question. I just waved him off. When we were leaving the same guy confronted us again. While he didn't exactly come right out and ask, it was obvious he was trying to find out how we voted; but I was rather short with him and he didn't find out. My wife vehemently dislikes having to "run the gauntlet" every election cycle, and while I sometimes enjoy sparring with these people this was not the day for it.

When we first arrived we were the only people voting. As we left a man came in, and announced to the poll workers that he intended to vote for himself. I had to smile.

Anonymous said...

Jason, not sure if "opting out" is in reference to the HR Charter change or if you're saying they aren't turning out to vote.

If it's the latter, then there's no better chance to get rid of the Timmy Team and insert some new blood on the commission.
As little as thirty or so votes could change everything.

C'mon people, grab a neighbor and vote. We get the government we deserve!

Anonymous said...

Jason, they're counting on low voter turnout!

How many independents and registered third-party voters even knew this ballot question was open to them!
The tax and spend democrats, sports cabal etc. are banking (pun intended) that their majority will carry the change through and sleeping apathetic voters will let it happen.

Disgraceful for a community that is supposedly comprised of educated people.

E. T. Gillen said...

That's weird, RG. I wonder who was pushing the referendum. Do you know what Silverman looks like? What special interest group will this benefit?
Elaine

Richard Gideon said...

EG:
I do know what Silverman looks like and it wasn't him (unless he shaved his beard). As to the special interest groups; that's a good question. I do have to hand it to whoever crafted the language in the referendum. I had to bat the verbiage around with one of Mt. Lebanon's premier citizens in order to get a handle on it. All I will say is that it's too bad Willie Sutton isn't alive and living in Mt. Lebanon; I would vote for him in a heartbeat!

Anonymous said...

RG, who was the pollster handing out literature for? R or D?
That would be a good indication of who is behind the HR change.

Anonymous said...

RG, apparently some of Willie's might be!

Anonymous said...

Correction for 4:04

Willie's offspring

Richard Gideon said...

Since the subject has come up, when the guy started to hand me his flyer I immediately waved him off, saying "We're independents." He immediately said, "Well, be sure you vote yes and lower those taxes!" I just walked away, so I have no idea what party he represented, nor do I care. I'm registered as a Libertarian. On the way out he tried to start up with me again, saying the referendum is going to "...easily pass." Maybe it will. But do these political ghouls actually think that bothering voters and being obnoxious helps their cause? Those who vote usually know who and what they are voting for before they get within ten miles of their polling place; and those few who would let a polling ghoul influence their votes would probably have been better off staying home.