County taxpayers should beware

In response to Jan Mills Sr.’s letter on March 30 on home rule charter, why is it all right for Commissioner Terry Tomassetti to convince the taxpayers that home rule will be better than the form of government we have now?

That’s his opinion. But it isn’t all right for commissioners Bruce Erb and Ted Beam to voice their opinions?

It’s not up to the elected officials to decide what referendum should be placed on the ballot. It should be up to the voters to decide.

For example, the five of nine Altoona Area School Board members made the decision to spend $88 million-plus on a new school that we can’t afford. If the registered voters want a referendum on the ballot, let them sign a petition for it.

Tomassetti all of a sudden, after 11¢ years in office, decided that the current form of government is broken. It is strange that he brings it up now that he decided not to run for another term.

A few things the taxpayer should know about home rule:

1. In 2010, it cost Luzerne County $84,000 to conduct a home rule study. In 2020, it probably will cost the taxpayers well over $100,000.

2. There are 67 counties in Pennsylvania. Only seven operate under the home rule charter. All seven home rule counties are significantly larger than Blair County, which has 125,000 people. No smaller counties have adopted home rule. This is not a good showing for home rule charter.

3. Under a home rule charter, some of the row offices at the courthouse will be appointed and not elected by voters.

4. Home rule provides no new tax revenues for counties and no option for replacing property tax. The full burden of funding county government still falls on the property owners with the current form of government or home rule.

Whenever you increase the size of government, it always becomes less efficient and more chaotic.

Tomassetti stated that he was against reassessment, then in 2014 voted for reassessment.

Tomassetti stated they had signed a contract with EST that would efficiently handle the reassessment with the least amount of problems for the taxpayer.

How did that work out for the Blair County taxpayers and why should we believe him now?

Mike Sanders