Several Issues Addressed During
Loud City Council Meeting

To hear a recording of the meeting, go to, click on the "local programs tab, and scroll to "Bradford City Council 4-14-15.

A group of rude and unruly people – some from the townships – disrupted Tuesday’s Bradford City Council meeting to the point where Mayor Tom Riel threatened to adjourn the meeting early.

While the eight or so were loud enough that council and the media had to ask them to quiet down, the rest of the standing-room-only crowd was polite and respectful.

The antics came about when council was asked about several issues including business privilege tax, a proposed storm water fee and the crime rate.

Mayoral candidate Paul Berg, who seemed to be making statement rather than asking a question, wanted to know why General Electric (parent company of Dresser’s) does not pay a business privilege tax.

Riel and City Solicitor Mark Hollenbeck tried to explain that the Interstate Commerce Clause precludes them from paying it. Riel also added that the companies that don't pay the business privilege tax contribute to the city in other ways, for example donating to projects like the Congress Street revitalization.

A claim that businesses are being driven out of Bradford was met from council with the fact that 14 new businesses opened in the downtown business district alone last year.

Berg also asked about the city’s crime rate supposedly doubling over the last few years, according to one website. Riel told him, “Those statistics are as skewed as your ideas are,” and then asked Police Chief Chris Lucco if he wanted to address that “nonsense.”

The short answer is, “Their numbers are inaccurate,” Lucco said.

For example, because the website classifies the crimes incorrectly, it says there were 90 murders, rapes, aggravated assaults and robberies in Bradford one year.

“There were not 90 of those,” Lucco said. “I’m positive of that.” You can find the actual statistics on our Facebook page, (Provided by City of Bradford Police.)

As for the storm water fee, Councilman Brad Mangel tried explaining the proposal but he was interrupted several times as well.

Riel explained that, under the proposal, the one-third of properties in the city that are tax-exempt would have to pay the fee just like everyone else. He said, for example, there are three properties that should pay $150 in property taxes. But one of them is tax-exempt so, when tax money is used for infrastructure improvement, the two, in effect, pay $75 while the third pays nothing. With the fee, all three would pay $50, theoretically lowering property taxes.

Council said nothing is set in stone and they are still looking into imposing the fee, and also suggested that people Google “Meadville stormwater management” to see how it works.

One of the well-mannered people at the meeting, Players Downtown owner Jim Pingie, was concerned about how the building collapse at 3-5 Main Street would affect his buildings on Mechanic Street.

Riel said the city is waiting to hear from its engineer Roy Pedersen, but the city is more than happy to work with him the best they can.

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Anonymous said…
Rude and unruly??? I listened to those people and they were nothing of the sort. I heard citizens of Bradford stand and voice their concerns about the continued tax increases driving businesses out of the city. I heard people concerned about high crime. I heard people barely able to survive on their current income. If speaking out and telling it like it considered "rude and unruly", this isn't the America I was taught we live in. The author of this article is ignorant.
Anonymous said…
The recording on WESB seems to be unedited and uncut. But the video on the "B"radford "T"abloid is obviously cut. Now tell me, who are the liars and deniers?

BTW, please tell me the difference between Riel saying "I quit paying taxes on it" and Berg saying "I quit paying taxes on it."
Anonymous said…
The only ignorance was from the people who couldn't understand what it meant to quiet down and respect the business being done. There were some who asked real questions in a polite manner - thank goodness. And they received responses in kind. Speaking up, asking questions, and listening to the answers given isn't rude, but interrupting and insulting others sure is! It is curious how the video was cut before the part where the mayor had to repeatedly ask people to quiet down. So much for "telling it like it is" - ha!
Anonymous said…
I encourage everyone to watch the video. If that's not your idea of disruptive I'd like to know what is.

I'd also like you to listen to the recorder of the video himself shushing people. I'd also like to know why he cut off the last 10 minutes of the meeting when the mayor had to ask people to quiet down twice and when the person was outside honking his horn.

Anonymous said…
a third of the property in the city is tax exempt! sounds like one more reason to get rid of un-riel and get someone in there who can get some business and jobs in here and get the welfare scum out so we can get more taxpayers in here and the ones who already do pay too much taxes don't have to do it all!!!!!!!!
Anne Holliday said…
Actually, tax-exempt properties are the university, the school district (which Mayor Riel stated owns the most tax-exempt property in the city), the hospital, churches, non-profits.

The state Senate, in February, passed a bill that would give the General Assembly the power to decide which entities would be tax-exempt. The proposal, which would amend the state Constitution, passed both legislative chambers in 2013. If it passes the House this year or next, it will appear on a ballot for approval by the voters.
Anonymous said…
you're buddys scarnatti and causer tell you about that?
Anne Holliday said…
No. I actually keep track of what's happening in Harrisburg because it has a direct impact on much of what happens in the city. I suggest you pay attention, too.
Anonymous said…
Shame on Bradford Today for claiming to be the only place where people can find the "truth" and then not telling it. Question: Are they lying about there being another 10 minutes in that city council meeting or are they denying that there was?
Anonymous said…
You're giving those people exactly want they want -- attention. Just ignore them. The truth will come out.

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