The 185 South 3rd Street Project
Our City continues to move in a direction that is quickly losing its charm, led by Sal Panto. To deflect from the negative effects of Panto’s plan, he and his Administration are holding press conferences, instead of working for you.
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[…] What we are really showcasing is a failure of Sal Panto to bring to fruition a project in which Council, under his Administration, voted to sell one of the most valuable assets the City owned to a developer for $2.4M less than what we purchased it for back in 2017. The City paid $5.9M and a friendly developer had the shockingly low sale price of $2.4M served as a gift so that taxpayers would be on the hook for a massive loss.
The message from Sal Panto is that the City will recoup the loss by having businesses, employees, and residents fork the bill in real estate, earned income, and other local taxes paid over time. The math is somewhat incorrect and bloated, as it usually is with this Administration, and a fundamental inability to understand basic arithmetic that taxpayers will be able to understand.
My platform is based on transparency and doing what is best for the City. I did in fact vote to acquire the Days Inn property, which was initially meant to have an aquarium built, which we can all remember. Yes, it was a great idea but now Allentown has the project and has begun construction.
Selling the property at a massive discount was not fair to City residents. I voted No as a matter of opposition to pricing the property well below the original purchase price. This was a mistake. For years, the property sat vacant with no viable income to subsidize our budget. Each time an idea was presented to the Administration, it was immediately deflected or responded with the normal avoidance of admitting incompetence. We can do better as a City and keeping our residents informed only improves trust and faith in our government.
I am of the opinion that a truthful and transparent government allows for the residents to be accurately informed of what and how their taxpayer dollars are spent on each year. The concept of a committee selected by Sal Panto to present their findings was suspect at best, given who is married to a highly endorsed council candidate.
The time for change is now. Our City continues to move in a direction that is quickly losing its charm. Parking issues remain a constant nemesis to our downtown and with the failure of Sal Panto on the 185 South 3rd Street lot continuing to plague our budget with a recurring loss carried over from year to year, who knows when the shovel will hit the dirt with whatever version of the project will eventually come to fruition. With interest rates and inflation hampering other development projects, I would not hold my breathe that any movement on the property happens by late summer or early fall.