November 8th - Thanks to all of you who came out and voted! Thanks for all of your support during this campaign and especially at the polls. You have made history...
NO - 672 votes (63.04%)
Thanks Wallace! - You Did it!
WALLACE TOWNSHIP - OPEN SPACE REFERENDUM
011 - YES 394 36.96
012 - NO 672 63.04
November 7th -
(==> Click here and read the actual ballot question)
Still have questions about their letters and postings, here are our responses:
First Letter ==> Response
Web Post ==> Response
Second Letter ==> Response
Want to review some of our letters or Op-ed:
The beginning ==> Daily Local Op-ed
First Letter ==> Stop Wallace Tax Hike
First Letter ==> The FAQ
Second Letter ==> Wallace Tax Hike: Update
Third Letter ==> Wallace Tax Hike: This Tuesday
November 5th -
Must See ==> Top 10 Reasons to Vote NO
We will finish responding to their letter Monday morning. Be sure to see it before you go to the polls on Tuesday!!!!
November 4th - Well the last letters are out from both sides. Let's dig into their letter a little bit tonight. In red below are their statements and in blue are our responses:
"We are unfortunate to be one of the few townships that have faced opposition to our open space [tax]"
==> We could not disagree more. Public debate of issues benefits everyone. It is only unfortunate when local governments try to sneak these votes through with no public debate. This is how democracy is supposed to work.
"Similar referendums have already been passed in 22 townships in Chester County, including our neighboring townships...Wallace Township should be doing this too"
==> Actually 3 out of 5 neighboring townships; this implies all of them. But, the main problem we have with this is that just because 22 out 74 (29%) of townships are imposing taxes on their residents does not make it right or beneficial to Wallace. We should not be FOLLOWING these other township just because they have done it. Once you start to dig into the failures many of these townships are having managing this money and trying to acquire property you would actually come to the conclusion that we should NOT FOLLOW them. Many townships in Chester County have busy commercial districts and roads, should we follow that example. This is just faulty logic.
"this is a small tax"
==> Our October 24th update speaks to this (seems they have finally stopped comparing this tax to fast-food):
Our opponents seem to have “hamburgers” on the brain when they keep comparing this tax to fast food. How about something a little closer to home? Thinking about starting that savings account for your child or grandchild’s college education? Well 18 years from now you could have saved $11,526.16 for this child’s college education; if you saved the money you will be sending to the township for the new “open space” tax ($250 a year at 10% interest).
THAT'S IT FOR TONIGHT...
November 2nd - Even the youth of Wallace are getting into the "open space" Tax debate ==> Daily Local OP-ED
November 1st - Are you thinking of voting yes, because you want to do your part to preserve “open space”? Well, right now you pay a significant portion of your County property tax (.664 mills - that’s more than half of your Wallace property tax), for parks and “open space” in Chester County. And it is going to go up, as it has every year in the past. So you have paid and will pay more for “open space” via your County property tax. When have we given enough? Right now, we all need a property tax cut, not another tax raise.
October 31st - "WOSRTF-PAC has temper-tantrum" (CONTINUED)
Ok, still can't believe they wrote this stuff. They really should get some more eyes on these statements they are making. Oh well, here is our response to the last two of their negative attacks:
In red below are their statements and in blue are our responses:
"They claim to have no ties with big developers, but they have already spent more money than open space would cost them in a year. They may not be developers, but they are spending a lot of time and effort to sell the big development message. They also fail to mention that they are political operatives for one of the candidates in this year's race for Supervisor. Why would they hide this?"
==> First, can they please come up with something new. We have heard this "Big Developers" scare tactic used against anyone who questions the township hierarchy for I don't know how long. Anyone who dares to speak up, gets repeatedly maligned with this term. That is plain wrong.
Now, since we are asking questions. We have some questions for them.
1) What in the world are they talking about when they say "political operatives"? Why are they trying to paint some strange picture of "political operatives" doing who knows what? Why are they hiding from you that they know exactly our chairman's position and in who's campaign it is? It's no secret. Just like when they hid from you that they knew we were NOT big developers, so they could pretend we MIGHT be. And, here again they hid something that is a matter of public record and something that Bryan and our Chairman openly discuss with residents. Our Chairman is the Treasurer for Bryan McDonaugh's campaign. We don't endorse candidates and Bryan does not endorse us. Two different campaigns/issues, two different committees. Pretty simple. And no "political operatives", sorry.
2) They are unable to see why we would spend our money to help our neighbors keep their hard earned money, because they don't understand where the payoff is. That begs the question. Does anyone in WOSRTF-PAC stand to gain anything if this tax hike passes? Do any of them live adjacent to one of the properties that is on the top of the township wish list? Has the Task Force when it was a part of the township or even now as a PAC ever received money from one of these land owners who may stand to gain 2.9 million dollars? Has the Task Force when it was a part of the township or even as a PAC received money from one of the people running for supervisor? Have they received any large donations from groups outside the township? We know the answers to these questions. They are free to answer them if they want to. We would rather stick to the issues.
"We thought WVPAC might be developers or be supported by developers because we could not imagine that anyone else would think that $2.50 a week (based on the average earned income) would be too much to pay to preserve 200-300 acres of open space, prevent 100-150 homes from being built in the township and reduce the number of trips made on our roads each week by 1500. "
==> First, notice here they are admitting that we are NOT "Big Developers", so you can all breathe a sigh of relief. This is intellectually dishonest since they never believed we MIGHT be "Big Developers", because they already knew we were not. This and the fact that they keep changing these numbers making the acreage greater and greater as their campaign goes on bring real doubt on the credibility of those numbers. If you use their original loan number of 2.9 million dollars (now it seems they have raised this too in their latest mailing to 3.5 million) they are claiming here to be able to by an acre of land for $10,000-$15,000. This is not Kansas. Our heads are spinning trying to keep up with these ever changing numbers. Lastly, see our October 24th update, this is not a small tax raise, only if you believe THEIR numbers.
Now let's try this one more time. With what little time there is left, let's keep it clean and stick to the issues. WOSRTF-PAC give us a break, no more personal attacks.
October 29th - "WOSRTF-PAC has temper-tantrum"
Well, it wasn't long after we posted our hopes that our opponents would take a break from the personal and negative attacks, that they did it again. In fact this time, it appears they have gone off the deep-end. Maybe after we set the record straight (again), we can get back to a good healthy debate that helps the voters form their own opinions. We'll tackle a couple of these claims tonight. In red below are their statements and in blue are our responses:
"The WVPAC [Wallace Voters PAC] implies that the open space tax will hurt those on an earned income. Why do they only imply this and not say it. Well they know that the open space earned income tax will have little or no impact on Wallace Township's retired residents. It is an earned income tax. Most retired township residents have little or no earned income. 1/4% of $0.00 = $0.00. How stupid do they think you are?"
==> Wow, did they really write that? First, they must mean "fixed income" in the first sentence, otherwise we're not sure what they are trying to say. Secondly, we don't think you're "stupid", as they say. We're pretty sure you were able to figure out in our letter that we think there is an "overall" tax issue, not just a property or earned income issue. Did they really use the word "stupid"? Wow.
"The Wallace Township Open Space Referendum Task
Force registered as a Political Action Committee on October 10 and voter
services made a mistake when we contacted them (twice) to find out who
the officers of the WVPAC [Wallace Voters PAC] were. We formed as a
citizens group originally about three weeks before the general election
of 2004. You might have seen us at the polls surveying the residents to
see if there was support for an open space tax. Since then we have been
working towards the goal of bring the tax referendum to you for a vote.
==> Why they are fixated on these PAC registrations is strange for several reasons. First, they were caught not even being registered by the 7th of October, the day they faulted us for not being registered. We, of course, WERE registered before the 7th on September 29th. This is a case in point of why you don't want to go negative. If you're wrong it looks real silly.
Secondly, this group has had a rocky road. Scroll down to our news for September 13th and 22nd. Basically, there was a Wallace Township "Task Force" created to push a "YES" vote using township resources and money (to be offset they say by donations to the township general fund). When asked to present a balanced view of the "open space tax", since they were using tax payers resources and money, they refused. Well to make a long story short, when the daily local came out and chastised them for their abuse of township resources, they folded up shop and started their PAC. Checks were returned and the group stopped using the township building and resources.
If you thought these were over the top, you haven't seen anything, there are still 2 left. We'll respond to those Monday, then it is back to work. Just a teaser for Monday - They claim we are "political operatives for one of the candidates". Yeah, you read it right, "operatives". I didn't even know we had those in Wallace Township. Things really have changed...
October 27th - We're getting a great response from the letter. Lot's of great emails and comments. It really is a shame, with all of the good discussion going on about this tax, that our opponents went personal and negative. We are really not sure what they sought to gain. For all of our sakes, let's hope they keep it to the issues here on out. Here is a sample of some of the comments we are receiving:
"How is it that the township web site can so openly support open space. Shouldnt this be a decision of the tax payer. And if its the taxpayers decision shouldnt the township web site give equal space to the pros and cons of this type of land preservation. I find the open space link on the township site disturbing."
"Nice op-ed piece. People are fighting this in Honeybrook, Coatesville, and Wallace. You would think by now those in power might realize that while development is one problem facing Township residents, taxes are another. It will be nice to have all of this open space when we all have to move because we can't afford to live here. At least the new people who move here will have some nice parks to look at."
October 26th - Great op-ed in the Daily Local the other day:
====> "How About a Tax-Cut Referendum?" - !!! MUST SEE !!!
October 24th - Our opponents seem to have “hamburgers” on the brain when they keep comparing this tax to fast food. How about something a little closer to home? Thinking about starting that savings account for your child or grandchild’s college education? Well 18 years from now you could have saved $11,526.16 for this child’s college education; if you saved the money you will be sending to the township for the new “open space” tax ($250 a year at 10% interest).
October 22nd - WOSRTF-PAC launched their negative attacks by falsely claiming we are not a registered political action committee and that we might be “Big Developers” hiding behind a “fictitious name” [As you all know we are a Landscaper and an Electrician]. Again, we are surprised they would make these allegations, since they have known who founded Wallace Voters PAC from the beginning. In fact, while they were accusing us of not being registered by October 7th, they had yet to register as a PAC! They actually registered on October 10th, yet they claim to have existed for a year? We can only imagine how they felt when they realized that Wallace Voters PAC was a registered PAC (September 29th), before they even existed! We don’t hold this against them, as their source must have been bad and their judgment perhaps temporarily clouded, when they asked if you should “believe what [WE] say”.
We'll be back with more news on Monday...
October 21st - WOSRTF-PAC claims that land owners "usually accept less for their land than the developers offer". Usually? What statistics do they offer to back this one up? Are we really supposed to believe that this is a proven fact, that MOST land owners like to lose money selling their land to townships and trusts? This just sounds like wishful thinking to us.
October 20th - WOSRTF-PAC sites "study after study" that show "saving open space will save you money in the long run". First, we would like some references to these multiple studies they site. Secondly, school taxes are hardly controlled by Wallace township growth. If we never built another home in Wallace Township, but all the other townships in the Downingtown School District continue to grow we will have to share the increased tax burden. Lastly, one only needs to look at the various townships in the county to see there is no direct correlation between development and township taxes. Some more developed township have low taxes and some have high taxes. The same with the less developed townships. Township taxes are more driven by each townships budgeting priorities and management. One thing is for sure, if we add this "open space" tax we will be one of the highest taxed townships in the county.
October 18th - According to WOSRTF-PAC the township can collect $251,343.00 dollars from homeowners with this new "open space" tax raise. Last year's Wallace Township Financial Tracking report shows the township collected $258,004.51 in property taxes. This "small increase", as they call it, could effectively pay off our township property taxes! (wouldn't that be nice) Imagine that, this tax increase is actually so large it nearly equals the entire revenue brought in from property taxes.
October 17th - WOSRTF-PAC (Wallace Open Space Referendum Task Force Political Action Committee ) found fault with our proposal that residents voluntarily pool monies to fund open space. Their problem with this, they say, is people won't consistently donate enough money. But, wouldn't the truest measure of one's dedication to preserving "open space" be how much they willingly spend to do so? Or, is the best way to show your support for "open space", to vote to force all of your neighbors to pay from their own paychecks? If this tax is so popular, why wouldn't a voluntary system work?
check back tomorrow, as we dispel another WOSRTFPAC myth...
October 15th - They must have caught wind of the overwhelming support we are getting and hearing from all of you. Instead of focusing on the issues and the facts they are attacking our "secret PAC". So that we can get back to the issues again, let's clear up the "secret PAC" conspiracy they have cooked up. Then let's talk about trust.:
First, we registered with the county pursuant campaign finance laws on September 29th (they must be feeling a little foolish right about now...) ==> REGISTRATION
Secondly, the whole reason we formed this PAC was to help bring information to the voters. This has upset many of the township "insiders". They have not been very happy with us for trying to ask some hard questions and dig for the important facts about this "open space" tax. This has never been about us. But, since they are trying to make a secret conspiracy, let's introduce ourselves:
Robert Jones - Chairman
H. Ward Albert, jr. - Treasurer
As a landscaper and an electrician we are hardly BIG DEVELOPERS (and they knew this). This is the typical scare tactics they have used again and again to try and suppress anyone that disagrees with them.
According to their mailing, because we are not part of the township organization, our opinions are not trustworthy. Since when did all of us who are not on the "inside" of the township become second class citizens who cannot be trusted? We could sit here and go back and forth, who you should trust more, but all that we are asking is that you look at the facts and make up your own minds.
That's all for tonight. Starting Monday, check back nightly as we dissect their mailing, point by point!
October 14th - How much is the interest on a 20 year loan at 5% for 2.9 million dollars? $1,693,291.94. So we not only have to pay back the 2.9 million, but actually a total of 4,593,291.94 over 20 years. So from now on let's talk about the 4.5 million dollars we have to pay back for 20 years for less than 50 acres of "open space", because that is the TRUE cost.
October 13th - West Bradford Township just paid $2.3 million dollars for 16.5 acres of "open space" [Daily Local, October 11th]. The proponents of the Wallace Tax raise claim they can get 114 acres for $2.9 million dollars (and a 50% income tax raise). Really? Since this loan will take 20 years to pay off, let's hope we get more than 16.5 acres in return for 20 years of higher taxes!
October 12th - Wondering where the two candidates running for Wallace Township Supervisor stand on the "open space" tax raise? We scanned Sunday's Daily Local article where the two square off and share their thoughts about the tax hike and other issues.
==> "Sizing up the Wallace supervisor race"
October 11th - Found an interesting "Growing Greener" source that further validates our contention that the current ordinances are very effective in preserving "open space" and do not require further burdensome taxes on families:
"Eleven Pennsylvania townships have adopted Growing Greener standards. Their approved preliminary plans using Conservation Design put aside 1,330 acres of open space out of 2,100 total project acres. The townships are saving an average 63% of residential land in a process that once would have consumed all land with housing lots and roads. " [FOR FREE]
A former Wallace Township supervisor and planning commission member, "explained that [the] township had enough development proposals to double their population. 'We had 20 subdivisions coming at us at the same time. We listened to NLT's ideas and saw that they had relevance.' Under the Growing Greener ordinances devised with help from NLT, Wallace has approved 240 acres of developments, with 180 of those acres put aside as open space." [FOR FREE]
October 10th - The supporters of this tax hike will certainly be mailing a response to our letter soon. Remember to check back here, we will post a response the same day we get a copy. We are thinking it will probably hit the end of this week. So keep an eye out for it, and email us any questions/points you have about their rebuttal. Keep in touch, your emails have been great!
October 8th - Wow! We are getting a great response to the tax raise mailing and our website. Thank you all for your support. Here is an excerpt from one of the responses:
"Thanks for your recent mailing. We have recently observed numerous signs being "planted" along Springton Rd and Indian Run Rd. We looked at each other and wondered who was going to pay for this ... You answered several of our questions and added insight on the matter. Don't misunderstand us , we're for open space too, it's what we love about Wallace Township, but let's keep it affordable and financially sound, for everyone."
October 7th - www.WallaceVoters.com goes online. Please CHECK BACK OFTEN, as we will be adding, updating and expanding the site DAILY.
October 6th - Wallace Voters PAC sends out its first official mailing about the proposed 50% income tax hike. The letter urged voters to vote "NO" to the "open space" tax hike referendum on November 8th.
September 22nd - Big News Day!
First: The Daily Local chastises Wallace Township for using its weight and resources to push a "Yes" vote to the open space referendum, saying "we don’t like what Wallace supervisors are doing to get a "yes" vote"
Later that same evening: The "Wallace Open Space Referendum Task Force" announces it will become a Political Action Committee and will stop using township resources and return all contributions from donors. Finally they are a PAC subject to campaign finance laws like every private citizen and other PACs.
September 13th - The tax hike first makes news in the daily local opinion section...
August 3rd - Wallace Township Board of Supervisors passes "an ordinance authorizing a referendum for Open Space" tax hike.
July 20th - The Open Space Referendum Task Force is created to push a "Yes" vote to the proposed "open space" tax raise - Task Force is created as part of the township with use of facilities and resources.