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Pete Shaub to Undermine
Dick Shellenberger and Molly Henderson?
Shaub also floated the suggestion that he will resign his seat before his term ends.
Because of Shaub's past antics, Republican Shellenberger and Democrat Henderson found it necessary to join together to replace Shaub with Shellenberger as chairman. Is Shaub trying to get some licks in before an early departure while currying favor with the monopoly press?
County Treasurer Expresses Concerns
About Convention Center
"[Convention Center Authority executive director] Mr. Hixson appearing before the commissioners at a public meeting called the convention center a 'loss leader.' The Authority's financial advisor, also appearing before the county commissioners, said 'The convention center will never make money.'
"I believe the operating loss will be between 1-2 million dollars a year, and the PKF report is considerably north of that, and is in the 3-5 million dollar range.
"So what is the risk to the county? The risk is 1.2 million dollars on the debt service and whatever the operating loss is every year for 40 years."
- - Craig Ebersole, Lancaster County Treasurer, interviewed by LancasterFirst.Org
Q: Convention Center:
The August 11, 2006, Intelligencer Journal headline ("Center fund gap closed") was a transparent propaganda attempt to give cover to the awarding of construction contracts, despite the established fact that the funds were not secured.
It should be noted that the contracts provide for cancellation if funds are not raised.
Private Investment vs. Taxpayer Subsidies
The Harrisburg Patriot News reported that a hotel developer using private money will build a 14-story, 148-room, full-service hotel for $10 million in downtown Harrisburg.
According to convention center sponsors in Lancaster, they intend to build a 300-room hotel for $50 million.
Let's see: Hotel rooms in Harrisburg built with private money cost $67,600 each. Hotel rooms in Lancaster built with our taxpayers' money cost $166,700 each. What is wrong with this picture?
Make your views known to:
Governor Edward G. Rendell,
(717) 787-2500 E-mail the Governor here;
State Senator Gibson Armstrong, (717) 787-6535;
Mike Sturla, State Representative, (717) 295-3157;
and J. Richard Gray, Mayor, City of Lancaster,
And consider exclusively using www.NewsLanc.com and www.LancasterFirst.org as your local news and information sources.
Delaying Project Cancellation
By postponing cancellation of the Convention Center / Hotel project, Penn Square Partners and convention center consultants may reap millions of dollars as the project staggers to its undignified demise.
High Real Estate is averaging over $50,000 a month in fees, and the law firm of Stevens & Lee (a High company registered lobbyist) has averaged more than $75,000 in monthly fees since the inception of the project in 1999.
Public relations firm Kelly Michener has averaged about $20,000 per month for several years, apparently in large part to help promote the project to taxpayers.
To date, the Convention Center Authority has paid out almost $19 million.
Meanwhile, taxpayers continue to absorb the cost of interior demolition of the historic Watt & Shand building. The demolition - a highly questionable gutting of an irreplaceable landmark - only adds to the value of Penn Square Partners' right of first refusal on the property. If others don't bid on the property, which is likely given the Partners' "right of refusal," the Partners can re-purchase for $2.5 million what it sold to the city for $7.25 million, after having originally purchased the property for $1.25 million in 1999.
A deal doesn't get any sweeter than that.
"We felt from the beginning this was not an impartial study and we are going forward with the project."
- - Convention Center Authority executive director David Hixson, reacting to the PKF Consultants' findings that the Convention Center project would have annual debt of between three and five million dollars.