The full article could be found in READING EAGLE
FROM THE DESK OF OUR REP DAVID MALONEY:
So you have asked, why is this realtor PAC spending 11K dollars per mailer for incumbent commissioners?
How about because they want the county reassessed! 1 of them is a realtor! Remember the commissioners who Raised Taxes Twice, Spent Millions of Tax Dollars to expand Government, Voted themselves Raises (highest in the state) Lobbied for the largest Gas Tax Ever! with the 5 dollar per vehicle Tax!, denied a forensic audit of the election after the multiple debogles then THREATENED the local election services Director! Also supported Tolling 422!
STOP THE MADNESS, LIES, CORRUPTION!
Share This to Give Hope for the next Generation!
THE BIGGEST LANDLORD IN THE COUNTY
Berks County’s Biggest Landlord
A topic that often goes unnoticed but has real economic concerns and impacts on all taxpayers is the amount of property owned by the Berks County directly, or its agencies/subsidiaries.
With their ability to invoke eminent domain, condemn properties and seize them, or just reject an offer of anyone they want, the county has amassed quite a collection – I recently counted 183 such properties in the county’s inventory.
As long as these properties remain in the legal hands of the county government, no property tax on them will be paid. What does that mean? Well, the amount of tax revenue the county needs to operate will not be cut, so that means all of us property owners pay extra property taxes to make up for the loss of the county-owned properties.
For example, in Oley, the Berks County Nonprofit Development Corp. took ownership of a bingo hall at 590 Oley Road in October 2021 from a group of individuals for a price of $635,000. The property with buildings is currently assessed at $353,200.
There is also word that a district judge will be housed in one of the building’s office suites. Berks County typically owns all the offices for judges in the county, and no tax is paid on those offices. What will become of the rest of the building? Will there be businesses that pay property taxes? Well, the redevelopment authority got a $1.1 million federal grant to renovate the building, so I imagine it will be some time before the county recoups any of that money in taxes.
We need to remember; we all pay federal taxes and state taxes. So, when you hear a state or local politician saying “but it’s federal money” as if it were free and grows on trees, remember it is still your dollars being spent without your consent.
Here is a small random sampling of other properties listed as owned by the Berks County Nonprofit Development Corp.:
• 6113 Perkiomen Ave. (Exeter Twp.) – purchased from a partnership in November of 2020 for $180,000. It’s now home to a Berks County magisterial district court. Prior to purchase, the lot did not have a building on it (based on images from Google Streetview).
• 1022 Fox Run Road (Exeter Twp.) – purchased from an individual in October of 2022 for $160,000. It is a townhome that was very recently (5/1/23) sold to two individuals for $191,500.
• 400 E. Wyomissing Ave. (Mohnton Borough) – purchased from a real estate firm in October of 2021 for $5.4 million. It is now a campus of Berks County.
• 3200 Reading Crest Ave. (Muhlenberg Twp.) – purchased from an estate in April of 2018 for $289,500. It is now home to a Berks County magisterial district court.
While I noted this is but a small sampling, given that the county or its affiliates often own the magisterial district courts, I would not be surprised if the 590 Oley Road property stays in the ownership of the Berks County Nonprofit Development Corp. and becomes the new home of the Oley Municipal District Court – tax free.
I have been made aware of troubling information regarding an economic development project at the Reading Airport. Below is a Letter to the Editor I sent to the Reading Eagle last night, which I also wanted to share with all of you:
Socialism for County Government!
What if you went to the Berks County Commissioners to learn more about the largest private investment in the history of the Reading Airport – 50,000 square feet of hangar space, another 20,000 square feet of Fixed Base Operator space, contracts signed for training, a new fuel farm and more – but the commissioners decided to revoke the contract and use taxpayer money to buy the would-be development space for their own use?
That’s exactly what the Berks County Commissioners are doing. The would-be project, Coral Aviation, has plans for a training center with state-of-the art flight simulators, which was going to be open to public. It would have been the only one of its kind in the northeast, drawing customers, their crews and owners from all over the country. Flight crews in Reading for over a week at a time purchasing meals, renting cars and hotel rooms - crews and owners that would not normally have any reason to stay or stop in Reading.
Why are the commissioners doing this? Well, that is the mystery. The Coral Aviation project had strong backing until the commissioners made their plans plain to those involved with the project. Strangely, that support has begun to dry up as the county government intercedes in the Coral Aviation effort.
Where are the commissioners going to get the money? Well, all the money they have comes from taxpayers, be it federal taxes or state taxes, it still comes out of our pockets. The $14 million in COVID relief money they have lying around? I am quite sure funds for a pandemic weren’t to be used on a socialist adventure into running an aviation business.
Sincerely, Rep. David Maloney Pike Township
PS: I had gotten some information from people that have worked at the Reading Airport and know about aviation and what is required to bring commercial flights. "It is multi million dollar project. Then we will have to buy THEIR fuel. It will put us out of business""
5/5/2023 - UPDATE from David Maloney
Socialist Governments Always Make a Financial Mess
Last week I shared with you a letter to the editor I wrote for the Reading Eagle’s opinion page regarding concerns I have received regarding the conduct of the county commissioners in the business affairs of the Reading Airport.
One of the opinion page editors responded back and I assumed my letter would be printed. After all, on April 25 the Eagle printed a letter to the editor titled “Letter: Answers are needed on airport proposal - Some concerns need to be raised before Berks officials buy aircraft maintenance operations.”
But that is not what happened. Instead, “reporter” Karen Shuey asked the county commissioners if they would like to respond to my letter line-by-line. I understand if the newspaper wants to give everyone a fair shake, but what is fair about a reporter behaving as the commissioners’ stenographer?
In fact, this is the second time Ms. Shuey has done this. On May 17, 2019, a letter I wrote that was critical of the county commissioners plans to sell Berks-Heim retirement home. Instead of my letter being printed – a letter which had detailed funding numbers from the House Appropriations Committee – an article by Ms. Shuey appeared, again allowing the commissioners to respond line-by-line to each of my concerns.
But a key point is why did the commissioners dissolve the airport authority and install themselves as the new authority? Do they use our money to play in the real estate and aviation business and then allow our property taxes to go up to make up for the loss?
A socialistic approach is in fact a bully approach by telling people what they can or can’t do with their own property. Bully tactics and threats are hallmarks of socialist government.
As British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said, “socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess, they always run out of other people’s money.”
UPDATE from the desk of David Maloney:
Reading Airport Update
As I feared would happen, a lawsuit has been filed against the Berks County Commissioners due to their actions regarding Reading Airport. As in the story above, these are the dangers of government taking over businesses and private property. Should the county be found liable for damages, the money, as always, comes out of our pockets.
MORE ON THE AIRPORT
Why is Reading Regional Airport Authority Offering up $13+ million to buy out two failing FBOs on the field?
Why would the Berks County Commission- ers and Reading Regional Airport Authority (RRAA) offer two Fixed Based Operators (FBOs) $13+ million — much greater than their value? Appraisals for these two FBO’s aren’t even completed to enable a fair price offering. Who came up with those exorbitant figures and why? These are bailouts of two failing businesses owned by families that can easily afford their respective losses. This move was engineered by a left-leaning majority that recently won power on the board.
County Commissioners and RRAA claim they only recently became aware that the FBO businesses at the airport were for sale.
Almost everyone operating at the airport knew the FBOs could be purchased. Nobody wanted to buy them as they are not profitable.
Let’s start at the beginning
Longtime tenant, Coral Aviation Group (CAG) presented a plan in 2021 to RRAA to build a first-class FBO, along with a state-of-the-art hangar that would accommodate large jet aircraft such as a Gulfstream. Additionally,
the plan included retaining a very big player, Quest Diagnostics.
CAG’s project was approved by RRAA with a unanimous vote TWICE. Dec 2021. July 2022.
The majority of delays for the project were in- sisted on by RRAA, not CAG. CAG was ready to start engineering in January of 2022 with ground breaking planned for summer of 2022.
In January of 2022 the current FBOs demand- ed and received a 60 day pause of the CAG project.
In December 22, after 18+ months of negoti- ations with RRAA, CAG reached a final agree- ment to proceed.
CAG was a few weeks away from signing the final agreement with Quest Diagnotics. RRAA
was aware of this impending agreement.
There was never any hint or discussion in all
the negotiations about a government take
over of the two Airport FBO businesses. • A new state-of-the-art, 50,000 square foot
Meanwhile, CAG was receiving overwhelming • Pilot flight planning
positive responses from flight departments all • Overnight rooms for pilots over the northeast. Did RRAA think they could • Locker rooms
capitalize on CAGs hard work “wooing” Quest • Conference rooms Diagnostics without CAG? • Crew cars and rentals cars
A Bit of History about the current FBOs • Limousine service
Neither the Airport Authority or the FBOs • Full gym
have brought one new corporate flight depart- • Individual crew TV rooms
ment to the Reading Regional Airport. • Fill kitchen and coffee bar
Their facilities are old and outdated; in need • Brand new world-class fuel farm with self of remodeling and repair. serve fuel
• State-of-the-art, new electric aircraft Additionally, RRAA will be buying a 40+ year charging facility
old, in-ground fuel farm. No one sophisticated • Hangar built to accommodate the largest in aviation today even considers the use of in- modern day corporate aircraft
ground fuel farms. Certainly not if it was previ- • Development of a brand new state of the ously re-mediated. That’s what you get when Pilatus specific training facility utilizing
government starts making business decisions.
This is another government bail out of two struggling businesses. Struggling by their own admissions. The current FBOs (Reading Jet Center and Millennium Aviation) objection to CAG’s project all along was that it would be too much competition. Where is RRAA getting the money? Taxpayers! Are the Berks County taxpayers interested in bailing out two failing businesses?
Coral Aviation Group Equals Success
Coral Aviation Group has been the most prolific developer at Reading Regional Airport and responsible for the two largest corporate developments ever: Quest Diagnostics and Northrop Grumman.
• CAG owned the most successful FBO
ever in Readings history.
• CAG had started the largest flight school
ever in Reading: Reading Flight Academy. • Received approval for a $3 million grant.
CAG’s track record speaks for itself.
new full motion electric simulators
• Corporate commitments amounting to
approximately one million gallons in fuel sales the first year of operation.
CAG received grant funds for their plan. That’s not cost- ing the taxpayers anything.
James Dastra, President Coral Aviation Group
Details of CAG’s proposed new world-class full-service FBO included:
(Copied from D. Maloney social media)