Not Cease from Exploration

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Lackawanna County Buying the (former) Globe Store

Preface
I wrote this on Thursday; since then Lackawanna County has voted to purchase the building.


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One of many articles on this topic can be found HERE.

This is one of those "not sure" kind of deals, at least from my perspective.

The good?
If it ultimately saves taxpayers money via office consolidation...money that can be proven in an external audit...then this is a good deal.  Conventional wisdom says that you're almost always better owning real estate than renting it.

The bad?
The "good" part works only if you assume that the county does in fact consolidate all of its offices.  Pardon my skepticism, but I wonder if that will actually happen.  Politicians...especially local ones that tend to switch parties like the seasons and who never met a camera lens they didn't like...love big projects that are paid for with other folk's money.  I worry that the appeal of a big project will overshadow the only economic reason to actually do this in the first place.  What's more, this shouldn't be an excuse to expand the size of county government.  Government needs to be just big enough to provide for the safety, well being and public infrastructure of the citizens is serves, and no larger.  Northeastern Pennsylvania though has had something of a history of treating government like an employment agency for the well-connected, especially at the city and county level.  That simply perpetuates a "down trodden unless connected/trickle down from local politicians" mentality that I believe actually harms the local economy.  As I often tell people from outside the area, when I was growing up the very best jobs in northeastern Pennsylvania were at "da Depot" or at the Post Office.  How sad is that?

The indifferent?
If there was even a chance that a private enterprise would buy the Globe Store building and return it to the tax roles I'd say this whole idea is, well, stupid.  From what I've read though, it's not as if there are competing offers on the table.  The building is an icon for Scranton and deserves to be occupied.


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