To understand the impact of this proposal, it is extremely important to read the files at: http://www.tabornet.org/
This program would be funded either by a 2.16% real estate tax increase, or else an assessment of $100 annually for each residential unit.
Most of the early funding would be dedicated to:
- A paid professional director (most likely Jack Howell, formerly of the Lancaster Alliance, who is the individual driving this proposal)
- Additional fund raising
- Surveys and mapping to create a "baseline"
- Branding, advertising, and marketing, including billboards
- Significant improvements to the Eastern Market/Tabor plaza and market house
- Banners and/or arches at main thoroughfares
The following footnote to Section 4 from the Tabor web site raises additional concerns:
In the past, the East King Improvement District has subsidized Eastern Market through funding from the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation (formerly Wachovia). Eastern Market is a highly visible outcome of EKID. Yet, the NID will need to eliminate or greatly reduce this subsidy in order to implement the broader-based types of improvements envisioned in this Feasibility Study.It is easy to see that the majority of funding for this proposal would come from involuntary assessments on homeowners. From Section 2:
This area includes about 5,500 residents in 1,600 occupied households. An estimated 67.46% or 1,107 households rented their home between 2005-2009. As the table below shows, half of these households are in apartment buildings.
Number of Units Percent of Units
Single family detached homes 213 12.19 %
Single family attached homes 630 36.04 %
2-unit homes and duplexes
99 5.66 %
Units in small apartment buildings 784 44.85 %
Units in large apartment buildings 22 1.26 %
1,748 100 %
Of the people living in this area in between 2005-2009, 55.16% are White, 22.85 are African American, 39.61% are Hispanic, 3.41% are Asian, 0.38% are either Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 0% are American Indian or Alaskan Native, 13.95% are of "some other race" and 4.25% are of two or more races.
In this neighborhood, an estimated 67.46% or 1,107 households rented their home between 2005-2009. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this area is characterized by a very high number of units with smaller numbers of bedrooms.
To make matters worse, most residents in this area are not well off financially:
Compared to the County, the preliminary NID has more than double the percentage of households earning less than $25,000 annually and half the percentage earning $50,000 to $75,000 annually.
The median household income for the study area ranges from $19,292 to $27,500, compared to a state median of $49,737, as estimated for 2005-2009 by the Census' American Community Survey.
In 2010, 81.86% of households in the study area had an annual income of less than $50,000, compared to 49.76% of people in the state.
Large numbers of homeowners in the proposed district are retired or disabled, and on a fixed income. Clearly this geographic area can ill-afford a needless tax increase.
Unlike taxes which pay for essential services like police, fire, and schools, this proposed tax increase is totally unnecessary, and completely inappropriate in today's economy.
Meetings intended to sell this proposal to the public are scheduled on August 21, 28, and September 4 in the Mellor Auditorium at Thaddeus Stevens College.