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Our opinion: Talking never hurts

September 24, 2013

It’s unfortunate that the county commissioners and/or their attorney have bowed out of a “summit meeting” hosted by the Warren County School District on the subject of the tax-exempt status of a hal......

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Sep-25-13 1:54 PM

In a previous article eggleston said they already had a meeting with the district board. If this meeting was executive session, it still must be announced. I have not seen any such announcement on any agenda or meeting minutes. So when was this non public meeting?

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Sep-25-13 10:23 AM

Good comments Pedro. I find it fascinating that the Hospital and the YMCA have chosen a strategy that will enable them to win some battles but lose the war instead of trying to cut a deal now. Maybe the fact that chances are good the UPMC will own Warren General at the point that the war will be lost is influencing the current Hospital's position to fight it tooth and nail. For the YMCA it is fabulous that they give memberships and other things to those in need but their mission is unlike pure social service agencies. They are also running a health club and for that they should be taxed. I have no problem with them being cut a significant tax break to acknowledge the good things they do. It just shouldn't be a 100% break.

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Sep-24-13 10:39 PM

In general, I agree with the other posters on this subject.

I am not totally opposed to PILOTS, but my preference would be for the taxing bodies to push ahead with the litigation, which (while I have no legal training) I believe they would win. At that point, they could negotiate PILOTS from a position of strength and offer some discount for actual services provided free to the community. It would then be up to WGH or the YMCA, as examples, to prove the value of those services as opposed to the "creative bookkeeping" we currently get fed. The county and the school district could speak softly at a summit because they would be holding the big stick.

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Sep-24-13 12:48 PM

Warrenpausa - Amen on your last sentence. I'm tired of paying a larger share of taxes or having my services cut to the bone because non-profits who really aren't non-profits pay their CEO $400,000 a year but can't contribute one thin dime towards those services. Spare me the charitible giving aspect - Much is based on the Hospital chargemaster pricing which no one ever pays and much of the rest is in free services which are as much a marketing ploy to bring in ancillary business. As is noted the Hospital and others have shown no interest in even discussing PILOT so why even have the meeting? What's the point?

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Sep-24-13 6:22 AM

There is no need to have a "summit". There is a process in place to handle these matters and the taxing bodies have a duty to fallow the existing process. If an entity fails the HUP test they appear before the Appeals Board ,if unhappy with there ruling, then to common pleas court. Very typical procedure in other counties. The only reason to have a summit is if your are an elected official and are intimidated by the friends of the "non-profits".

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Sep-24-13 5:53 AM

The Commissioners need to get their ducks in a row and go forward with proving and making the entities taxable if so are deemed under state law. PILOT is an easy way out. It may save tax dollars up front, but short changes the public in the long run. After seening how its done in Erie, they are applauded for mearly making token gifts instead of paying their fair share of taxes like everyone else does.

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