PumpkinEater

PumpkinEater 1 year, 8 months ago on Supreme Court rules in favor of FTC in Palmyra acquisition

Fryar Tuk... I'm with you on your practical concerns.

A waning tax base is a major concern for Dougherty County. I have seen the impact of a decimated commercial tax base on communities elsewhere and it is not pretty. Talk about a "tipping point," when so much more of the burden shift to the residential sector, and when the MEAG money runs out...plus the timing of the expiration of the TAD keeping the increment out of current cash flow ... look out. All the many new not-for-profit start-ups in Albany, including churches and charitable ventures taking existing properties off the rolls contribute a very major future issue...those have a huge impact on revenues. Along that vein, years back, when Mr. Coleman was (briefly) still mayor, I spoke with him, and Mr. Wernick separately, and then, later with other city officials about a PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) adopted by many large-impact not-for-profits, often universities and medical systems around the country. Phoebe did something like this with its Palmyra acquisition, by making current tax payments. Kudos if it continues that way. Be aware that the argument expressed before against the PILOT was that Phoebe already provides many services to the community gratis, but that does not support municipal services. Taking a half-million in annual Palmyra contribution out of the budget would be a hit. I personally do not agree that not-for-profits should be able to fully avoid ad valorem taxes on their real estate.

I too have been troubled by the seemingly higher charges for services at Phoebe, both to the self-pay patient and non-negotiated plans, and also compared to other providers for some similar services. Other than the argument advanced that pre-negotiated rates for larger payor plans are always at lower rates, I can only speculate that sometimes people and companies do pay and that covers the many pro-bono services provided and gives Phoebe a higher starting point in rate negotiations. I am not clear on the comparative cost studies provided through Phoebe and one or more employers which say Phoebe is not higher and is higher than other comparable systems.

I am not so troubled by Phoebe's size. A larger facility can provide more services with equipment that keeps up with current technology and medical advances, which attracts more talent.

All good for discussion and watchfulness, but I at least Phoebe brings money from the outside into the community. I am more concerned about the Walmarts that provide tax base, but bring zero new money into the community and withdraw profits and perhaps cause other businesses to fail and therefor cost tax base and jobs. Yes, they provide short-term urban renewal, but the long-term impact is suspect, at best.

Albany has some tough issues facing it...and then, of course, there is the future of the Base.

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PumpkinEater 1 year, 8 months ago on Supreme Court rules in favor of FTC in Palmyra acquisition

Having little expertise in the issues before the SC or familiarity with all the facts, I can't weigh in on the technical aspects of the SC ruling, however I do wish to point out that I and those I know, including family, have always received excellent service from Phoebe and its staff and providers. I, personally, have been thankful for the care given.

As to the Phoebe anti-trust fears, seems that any way you look at it, Palmyra, as it was, is a gone. Is it likely that another entity, in this heath care climate, with small hospitals closing, will gen up the Palmyra facility or build a new one? Probably not, but just speculating.

Further, I would suspect that Phoebe has a contractual obligation with HCA to pursue approvals or pay some heavy money anyway and maybe even get the building besides. I don't see HCA just taking an empty building back and starting all over again. So, in terms of theoretical anti-trust concerns, is that a fait accompli already?

Isn't the Phoebe network quite an asset to an Albany, given market size and low population growth?

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PumpkinEater 1 year, 8 months ago on McAfee: RiverQuarium needs new business model

Some of us went through all this from the very start of this last "major" revitalization effort beginning about 10 years ago with Turtle Park, the RQ, the Hilton, bringing the original Wildcats arena football team to town, seeding blocks with new restaurants, updating retail storefronts etc etc. Quickly enough it became quite evident that the local "market" (the real target market with spending power) was simply not large enough and motivated enough and the offerings not different enough from "neighborhood" offerings for the downtown offerings to be consistently sustained by local consumers alone (Harvest Moon's revenues tripled after it moved to a space with 30 fewer seats). To "focus" on the local market primarily instead of only on a secondary or tertiary basis is the kiss of death and simply trades dollars from other local businesses, at best...a zero sum gain. The ONLY way to sustain what is commonly envisioned for this downtown in terms of a successful mix (including restaurants and attractions on a sustainable basis) is to design it as a tightly defined and clearly identified attraction as a whole...something that attracts people, even if not all people, from Atlanta, I-75 and way way beyond. Something that can be described in one short sentence or soundbite. No one is going to come from Atlanta to go to a bar or restaurant or resale shop. Put up crosses, put animal exhibits and stores with stuffed animals everywhere. Make it all about music..Ray. Whatever. Pick one. Probably the very best choice is to make it all about conservation. Tie in the river, Chehaw with a multi-sensory experience, let Mr. Fowler put something downtown, tie in the RiverQ, finish the river themed puppet theatre that is half-built, put in a corporately sponsored environmental children's hands-on museum, tie in Radium Springs. This is all not a people-failure problem, it's matching a product with a market. There are the corpses of several who tried to make it work and got bashed lying there. What lacks is the singular entrepreneurial gutsy vision that the whole downtown follows. AND it need not cost a fortune more. Quit over-building and then value engineering out good features like the RiverQ and Civil Rights Museum did. The platform for growth is still there, but do not discourage those with vision and courage. Find the right one and give it a run. The internet successes show it all the time. Hello Disney. Good luck.

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PumpkinEater 1 year, 9 months ago on Another Albany Winn-Dixie closing

Take $50-75 million in sales from previously established local stores and you will see a major impact in any small market. Only the strong and well-priced will survive in the non-specialty areas.

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PumpkinEater 1 year, 10 months ago on RiverQuarium officials fighting for survival

Same story for the entire downtown venue and Chehaw ... needs a compelling identity that is not a classic "neighborhood redevelopment" retread that has not worked and will not work, a massive cohesive compelling exciting gutsy plan for all downtown and tourist public venues and relevant private sector businesses at one time, a plan for installation and marketing... and a major slot for private funding. If private money will not get involved at a major level, the plan is off target. That is how markets work. Private money knows. Public money may help jump start and add a safety cushion, but the load has to be carried largely by the private sector with most profits going to the investors and business owners. Too many uninvested self interests and loud voices in the past have squashed the effort for a focused collective plan to attract the "outsiders" with investment and tourist dollars. They need to get something great for their money.

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PumpkinEater 1 year, 10 months ago on Downtown restaurateurs weary of the struggles

Amazed, you are be right, at least in part. I don't think that the run is over, but it might be. There have been missed opportunities and it is a shame for people to work so hard and lose their investment and savings. I saw how hard my friends at The Pizza Shop worked and how they struggled.

The city needs to think at a higher level as it did before Dr. Adams was elected. Not that Dr. Adams was a bad mayor, but he certainly did not cast the vision. The character of things changed and this city again needs positive momentum. Things might have begun to backslide no matter who was in charge, but it is a lesson for the current political and administrative leadership. This current mayor needs to have the confidence to set the bar even higher and needs to catch fire and rock this town. It is possible that the opportunity to bring people together and pursue a compelling direction might have passed by, but it is worth taking another run. Which leader is going to step up?

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PumpkinEater 1 year, 10 months ago on Downtown restaurateurs weary of the struggles

I posted a biggie post, but I think I got deleted...you can contact me thru facebook if you want to talk plan. You sound interesting.

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