Fri, Jan 26, 2018 - 08:08 AMEcon 101
Fay-Penn does it. Structured as a 501c3 (non Profit) Has profited from their Nat Gas holdings. Did it return those profits to Fayette County? Nope, it structured another corporate entity to funnel the cash back to Fay-Penn. Noticed that $ 125,000 of gaming revenue is earmarked for another Job Creation Wizard's salary. Note to Fay-Penn: Since your creation, the population of Fayette continues to decline. (a negative) Our per capita income continues to lag the rest of PA. (a negative) Our unemployment rate exceeds that Pa. by 1/12 to 2 % (a negative) Your highly touted Technology Park is a distant memory. (a negative) In the age of Technology Fayette lacks decent Internet/fiber infrastructure. (a very big negative). Seriously folks, a little introspection is required. Maybe it is time to reexamine our Economic Strategy for Fayette.
Tue, Feb 13, 2018 - 1:27 PMBob
I run Fay-Penn. We don't have any other corporate entities funneling anything back to us. We do have revenue coming back from some gas wells that goes toward our operations. I'll stand by our record in any one year or overall for the 26 years we've been around in what we've done for the County in terms of jobs and investment. As far as reexamining strategy, the biggest issue with the County isn't in lack of jobs, or lack of Internet/Fiber infrastructure. We've got both. What we need to focus on is what Pittsburgh pitched for getting Amazon's HQ2 -- it's "livability." People can go pretty much wherever they want to and get a good job, because there are more jobs everywhere than qualified people to fill them. You want to stop population decline? Figure out why people don't want to stay here and take a chance living somewhere else. You want to lower unemployment? Attract more people that can work to live here. Or, get our 53% labor participation rate (people over 16 that are working or looking) up to close to the US/PA average of 63%. What's keeping that other 10% in Fayette County from even looking for work? And, in about 6 weeks, we're opening a new business accelerator/incubator in the heart of the "Tech Park" as you refer to it. If you'd like to discuss your ideas for moving forward, I'd be happy to meet and hear you out.
Tue, Feb 13, 2018 - 5:58 PMEcon 101
Are you suggesting that Fay-Penn Economic Council, EIN 25-1649515 and Laurel Hill Development Corporation, EIN251789822 did not swap/share gas revenue? Why was the formation of Laurel Hill necessary. As for the TECH park, much hype, no jobs, no taxes for many years, so many years in fact that the Technology Park sign, ravaged by time and the elements had to be replaced by the "Business Park" sign.
Tue, Feb 13, 2018 - 6:53 PMBob
Laurel Hill hasn't existed for two years. It was formed before I was here so I can't speak as to why it was formed in the first place. And, I've already said we receive revenues to Fay-Penn from gas wells so what's your beef? They're on property we own and it helps to pay for our operations. Why on earth would we donate those revenues back to the County when we are already paying taxes on that property that houses the wells? Do you donate any of your paycheck to the County in addition to the county taxes you pay? And, we've paid taxes on the "tech park" property since day 1. There is no KOZ property there if that's what you are referring to. There are a few KOZ parcels in the Fayette Business Park remaining, but it's minimal. Have you calculated how much tax revenue is generated by the companies that have located there, or the 2000 or so employees that work there? Also, at present, there are about 300 jobs in the "tech park," with more on the way. And doesn't anything outside get ravaged by time and the elements need to be replaced or upgraded?
Tue, Feb 13, 2018 - 7:07 PMBob
I'm guessing you assume that since Fay-Penn is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that we don't pay taxes. WRONG! We pay tax on virtually every piece of property we own, UNLESS, as I mentioned before, it's designated as a KOZ. We have very little of that. Nonprofit does not equal nontaxable in most cases, although we do have an exemption in some cases for PA sales tax.
Tue, Feb 13, 2018 - 7:25 PMEcon 101
"Properties you own" How did Fay-Penn fund the purchase of these revenue generating properties? That would be due to the largesse of Fayette taxpayers, would it not? Tax revenues generated? do you mean Chevron with a market cap of $ 215 Billion? KOZ status right? Remember it was not Fay-Pen who introduced the Nat gas industry to Fayette, it was the Marcellus. Jobs in the tech park? are you counting the State Police? How about 2252 University drive? Tech jobs, methadone clinic or just vacant?
Tue, Feb 13, 2018 - 9:35 PMBob
Virtually all of our properties were purchased with bank financing, so no, not your tax largesse. We did get some grant money to assist in putting in infrastructure such as sewer lines. Where exactly do you get your misinformation? I'm not certain if Chevron went into property that was KOZ, I'll have to check. But the whole purpose of that program is to create incentive for a company to locate in PA vs. somewhere else, so if Chevron was in a KOZ it worked, right? You're still generating tax revenue from the employees earnings even in a KOZ. I don't have to remember that Fay-Penn didn't introduce the gas industry to Fayette - I think they figured that out pretty easily on their own. They're pretty smart dudes, you know? But guess who gets to work with all those companies to find them space, loan them money for equipment, help them find employees, and on and on. And yes, I am including the state police. Don't their jobs count? They get paid, they pay taxes. They add to the economy. I'm not sure what address 2252 refers to off the top of my head. If it's the old ProLogic building, we just bought that from the owner a couple of months ago. Yes, it's vacant at the moment, but we're working to fill it. What exactly are you trying to prove with your ranting. anyway? You obviously have very little useful information to convey. Are you somehow coping with an inadequacy where you have to criticize something you don't understand just to feel good about yourself?
Tue, Feb 13, 2018 - 9:37 PMBob
Go ahead. I'm waiting to hear your well thought out solutions to our economic challenges in Fayette County. What have you got to offer that's constructive?
Tue, Feb 13, 2018 - 10:01 PMBob
That's what I thought. You have nothing worthwhile to contribute. I've tired of you, so you can have your board back to rant at will.
Tue, Feb 13, 2018 - 10:23 PMLandlord & Lender
You're (Fay-Penn) primarily a landlord. In 2016, more than half your income came from collecting rental payments. $1,916,112 rent collected, to be more exact.
As for your "non-profit" status - you earned enough profit to pay employees $839,269/salaries, and $232,741.00/fringe benefits in 2016.
You received $696,801.00 state and federal grants in 2016.
You received $120,158.00 oil and gas lease signing bonus' and production royalties in 2016.
As a lender, you collected $238,064.00 loan interest in 2016.
Tue, Feb 13, 2018 - 10:29 PMWe're into money!
Yes,Bob - you sure did get "some" of the people's money "granted" to you - $696,801.00 in one year - 2016.
How much in 2015? 2014? 2013 . . . br We shall see . . .
Tue, Feb 13, 2018 - 10:33 PMBob, oh Bob
Pot calling the kettle, Bob? Maybe it's you who has nothing worthwhile to contribute?
Just sayin' kiddo.
Wed, Feb 14, 2018 - 08:47 AMEcon 101
Bob, if you want to discuss "inadequacy" you might start with your thought process. When asked if you count the State Police in the list of Fay-Penn achievements you answered yes. We all know that the Police are a professional, stand alone, organization. We also know that your org. has nothing to do with their vital contribution to Fayette. Squishy numbers and flawed logic don't enhance your credibility. Chevron, a multi national, energy company goes wherever the potential for profit exists. Chevron came to Fayette, bought Atlas Energy assets and made a business determination without the guiding hand of Fay-Penn. When CVX decided to curtail operations and move on to more lucrative plays, Fay-Penn was powerless to alter that decision. To summarize, Your org was a beneficiary of, not a creator of our mini energy boom. Happy Valentines at Bob, LUV U
Wed, Feb 14, 2018 - 4:40 PMBob
Does it say how much of that grant money is "pass through," which means we don't keep a dime but still have to manage the grant process? For example, each year we get about $30K from the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau; every penny goes directly to the USCAA to help them run their basketball tournament at PSU-Fayette each year that brings in over $500K to Fayette County. We probably expend $5K minimum applying for, managing, and closing out that grant each year with nothing but a Thank You" from the USCAA because that $500K is important to our economy. That's only one of example. We pay for GED tests for people who can't afford them from grants. Again, every penny goes to the GED cost; we pick up the tab for managing the grant. I could go on but you've already shown you're not about objectivity, so its pointless. You've got perhaps 1/10 the info about what happens to monies we earn and spend.
Wed, Feb 14, 2018 - 5:06 PMBob
I don't count the state police as an "achievement." We need them and they would exist here regardless of Fay-Penn. But, they came to our park because it was their best option. Why would they be there if it wasn't? There was a ready made site that made it easier for them to establish a barracks because we built that park with all the necessary infrastructure. So yeah, I will take credit for assisting the state police to create a world class barracks. Same thing with Chevron. They decided to come to our park for the same reasons. It was ready to go. Those 75+ jobs are no longer there, and you're right, Fay-Penn was powerless to stop them from leaving. Another business case decision based on the changing tides of the natural gas market. I guess we're supposed to control those sorts of things? But those 75 jobs, while they were here, and the investment Chevron continues to make in our community, can't be underestimated. Did we create the gas that brought them here? Of course not. But again, it's because of us that the business decision was a bit easier for them to make. The entire county benefited from that boom. Yes, Fay-Penn sold some land that we took a risk on developing so that it was ready to accommodate companies participating in that boom. What again is your point? Happy Valentine's Day to you as well!
Wed, Feb 14, 2018 - 5:11 PMBob
Of course you are. Just sayin'.
Wed, Feb 14, 2018 - 5:15 PMBob
So I put it to you again since you didn't answer the first time. Aside from all your criticisms and what I'll call false accusations that I've blown out of the water, what are your solutions for what we need to do in Fayette County to improve the economy?
Wed, Feb 14, 2018 - 6:02 PMIncome Inequality
There's a huge problem of employers in the county not paying living wages.
You first need to focus on remedying the serious problem of income inequality.
That's the biggest issue, and the biggest in-your-face problem that's being totally ignored.
Thu, Feb 15, 2018 - 08:25 AMEcon 101
Bob, if the Barracks and our brief foray into Marcellus production are the top performers in your portfolio, the economic future is indeed grim. Maybe we can agree that the Nat Gas producers don't need incentives other than potential profits. When Fay-Penn positioned itself into the Chevron revenue stream it used that cash for the care and feeding of Fay-Penn. There is something irrational about cash poor Fayette granting tax breaks to multi billion dollar Corporations. Remember, this was an inevitable industry guided by Geology not a charm offensive. Things you should have learned include, Drilling wells and laying pipelines are critical but short lived activities. Much of this work is done by men and women from other parts of the Country and when their work here is completed, they will move on. That's just the nature of the biz. The potential benefit to Fayette is to identify Energy intensive companies who use lots of BTUs in their production process and introduce them to Fayette. The most important lesson Chevron teaches us is that TECHNOLGY is central to their success. They hire only the best and brightest and a reasonable question Fay-Penn should be asking is how can we enhance our educational system to insure that our students are prepared to compete in this demanding job environment.
Thu, Feb 15, 2018 - 09:03 AMBob
Never said they were the top performers in our "portfolio." And I don't disagree that the businesses came here because that's where the gas was. I've already said that before, and we don't take credit for the attraction based on natural resources. That's exactly how Pittsburgh and Johnstown came to be -- they were in the right place at the right time with iron ore, coke, and river and rail transport to become steel giants. But, we work with those businesses when they do want to come here. We support hundreds of businesses around the county in various ways, big and small. Another example: NiSource/Columbia Gas in the Fayette Business Park. They lease a building from us in that park. They recently took over a contract from another provider in that building and kept 300 jobs from leaving the county. The pay scale from the previous provider increased by a few bucks an hour as well. To assist them in the transition and to make the space work for them, we took out loans to renovate 10K sf of their interior space to create additional worker and training space to their specs. Those loans get paid back by the rent they pay over time, and yes, some of the rent goes to pay for maintaining the building and our operations, just like any other landlord. That's not splashy, but it's the boots on the ground type of stuff we do every day. We rehabbed the VFW building in Uniontown under similar circumstances to keep 50 well paying IT jobs from leaving the county. Once in the rehabbed building, that company added 20 more well paying IT jobs over 6 months, and we're working with them again to expand even further. Think of the impact on downtown Uniontown alone if those 50 jobs were gone, or if the additional jobs never came. I already indicated the revenue from our wells is a cash stream for us to operate, and that we're taxed on the land they're on, so I'm not sure why this is still as issue for you. Per your thoughts on tax incentives, those, among other incentives, are a way of life everywhere. Take a look at what cities/states are putting on the table to get Amazon HQ2 there. Millions. Why? They're an investment. The upfront tax reduction incentive is ultimately offset by the investment a company makes in the area, the income earned by its employees that gets pumped back into the economy, including taxes they pay, and the indirect jobs created by that additional income in terms of supply chain revenue and such. For example, a single job in the manufacturing sector is responsible for creating at least 4 "indirect" jobs as a result of that manufacturing job. You can get a good example from a brief online document called "The Flow of Money." If you can't find it by googling let me know and I'll try to post a link. So, you do whatever you have to do to compete to attract businesses. The KOZ program that helped to attract Chevron to where they located has been one of PA's more successful programs across the state. It's state tax dollars, BTW, not county dollars that are impacted. And you're right on the nature of the business. I mentioned that too, as well as the fact that Chevron moved on when the NG market slowed down. Business decisions have to be made to keep a company profitable. Look at what's happened to our coal mine industry. Same thing. We try to offset that as best we can, but it's a challenge to retrench. I can't begin to enumerate how many training programs are in existence to assist displaced coal industry workers. Finally, technology education is critical for our workforce. Couldn't agree with you more. I already mentioned our scholarship fund for trade/technical works to help offset their educational costs. Several organizations ion the county, including us, work to ensure the types of employees businesses need is conveyed to the schools. The local Westmoreland-Fayette WIB does tons to help out with STEAM programs in both counties. But, it still comes down to what an individual wants to do and what training they will attend. We have businesses that use manual controls instead of CNC because they can't find enough people with CNC skills. The training exists in several places, there's money to help pay for it, but not enough people want to do that. And the pay is excellent. What's the disconnect? I don't know.
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