Businessmen opposed to bond issue

By TOM KANE

MILFORD, PA — Two realtors and one builder repeated their objections to the proposed $10 million scenic preservation bond issue and to the recommendations of an ad hoc committee on how the money should be spent.

Stan and Jeffrey Tashlik, local father and son realtors, and Robert Ramagosa, a local developer, focused on several aspects of the committee’s report at the Pike County Commissioners meeting on September 28.

“It seems to me to be more logical to, first, have a bond to pay for a study on how much land is still open in the county and then have a bond issue to pay to buy land in stead of the other way around—passing a bond to buy land when you don’t know how much of it is available,” said Stan Tashlik.

Tashlik claimed that 50 percent of land in the county is open space already. “No other county in Pennsylvania has more open land than Pike,” he said. “We don’t need this bond issue.”

While county officials know that 32 percent of the county land is owned by public entities—state forest, game land, state parks and the Delaware Water Gap, the National Recreational Area—they are not clear how many acres are still open. Officials promised that the exact figure would be presented at their next meeting on October 5.

Tashlik complained that information in the press implied that the bond issue was needed to save the county’s drinking water. “You can’t have more density than exists now in gated communities like Sunrise Lake, Gold Key Lake, Hemlock Farms and yet we see no contamination or lack of the drinking water in these communities,” he said. “It’s wrong to scare the people over this issue.”

The threesome had appeared earlier before the commissioners on September 21.

The ad hoc committee, which was composed of prominent residents, recommended at the commissioners’ September 21 meeting that, of the $10 million, $2 million should be spent on supporting the county’s planning efforts and the remaining to be spent on purchasing open space.

The bond issue will be voted on at the November 8 general elections.

Planning—the main focus

Commissioner Richard Caridi repeated several times during the exchange that the main focus of the bond issue was planning. “This county is going to double in population in 20 years and we’re going to need to prepare for that growth now,” he said. “And remember, the money for open space is to be distributed among 13 municipalities. Eight million isn’t a lot of money given the cost of land today.”

“We have townships that have landowners right now who want to sell their development rights so that the land will not ever be developed, but the townships don’t have the money,” Commissioner Carl Wagner said. “This bond issue will help them pay for these development rights.”

Caridi also repeated several times that the ad hoc committee’ s recommendations were just that—recommendations.

“There is absolutely no assurance that we will spend the money in this way,” he said. “This is a process and it’s not going to be over very quickly.”

“This committee did excellent work,” said Harry Forbes, Chairman of the Commissioners. “It researched a number of counties that are similar to ours and asked how they put together their plan. Our plan, if the bond passes, will be put together based on what they found.”

“Everything we read in the press was in support of the bond,” Jeffrey Taslik said. “I think it’s wrong not to allow the public to see both sides of the issue. I think it was the duty of the commissioners to present both sides of the issue and not let the press control it.”

Caridi denied that the press has been biased on the issue. “They do a good job of reporting what they see,” he said.