Monday, November 1, 2021

Todd Burgard wants your vote, but does he deserve it?


Todd Burgard is a big spender. He likes to spend taxpayer money, YOUR money. Since being seated on council in 2018, he has voted to spend millions on every big (and small) ticket item that's come before council - everything from the REVOLVING LOAN FUND to the MASSIVE TAX HIKE to the $1.5 MILLION purchase of the former McGinness airfield. One thing Burgard is not, is a fiscal conservative. Here are just a few examples of his votes:

In 2018, Burgard voted to authorize $1.5 million for the infamous REVOLVING LOAN FUND. Residents might remember that this program was set up to lend taxpayer funds to private business. Burgard's close friend, landlord Don Murphy, was the ONLY beneficiary of the program, having received $250,000. [NOTE: Murphy subsequently paid off his loan.] Interestingly, a request from another applicant, Eberly Myers, was denied. (Eberly Myers is the company currently constructing the apartment building at the bottom of Locust Street - and was finally able to do it without borough funds.)

AT THE VERY SAME MEETING (February 12, 2018) when he voted for the revolving loan fund, Burgard also voted to spend $347,000 for 60 streetlights for an unnecessary borough lighting project. (It was Cleon Berntheizel's vanity project.) Burgard was expecting money from a grant to help pay for the project, but the grant never came through. The lights were therefore never installed and are currently sitting down at the borough sheds, where they've been for the last few years. That's not all bad, though, if you consider installation of the lights was estimated to cost another $400,000, which Burgard would no doubt have voted for.

In 2018, Burgard voted to raise municipal taxes by 21.2%.

Spending was so excessive in the Kelly Murphy-Cleon Berntheizel era (of which Burgard was a part) that in 2018, former borough manager Rebecca Denlinger scolded council about their "plan" to keep on spending and then to raise taxes. Click HERE to hear the audio clip. All in all, council overspent by $2,087,426 in 2018, Burgard's first year in office.

Earlier this year, Burgard voted to give a custodian a $20,000 raise (a 50% raise)!

Burgard voted to spend $1.5 million for the former McGinness airfield. (And that's just the beginning of the spending that will be required to develop the property.)

And that's just the financial end of things. Add these items to the mix:

In 2018, Burgard participated in an unlawful "behind closed doors" vote, triggering a stern warning from the Lancaster County District Attorney's office. Click THIS LINK and scroll down to the November 12 audio clip to hear Sharon Lintner (before she was on council) question then-council president Kelly Murphy about the secret vote. In the audio clip, Murphy struggles to justify the vote.  Here's what the DA said in a warning letter to council, dated December 12, 2018:
“now that you have been notified of the unlawful nature of the vote, upon complaint of a subsequent violation we will initiate an investigation of the Sunshine Act violation as it would have been done with full knowledge the action was unlawful.”

In 2019, council (including Burgard) ignored a petition from over 1,160 citizens demanding repeal of the revolving loan fund and tax hike. The fund program was finally repealed, however, under pressure from residents. The tax hike that Burgard voted for remains in place to this day.

Also in 2019 - during Burgard's term - Heather Zink filed a complaint against council for again violating the Sunshine Act. 

At a 2020 council meeting, Burgard tried to deflect from his own tax hike by pointing the finger at school taxes. (At the next meeting, however, school board director Lauren Von Stetten scolded him, causing him to apologize.)

In 2020, Burgard voted against a HARB recommendation and allowed his friend, landlord Don Murphy, to use composite material to replace a broken railing on Second Street. (Leo Lutz, who supposedly supports historic preservation, cast the deciding vote allowing the composite.) The decision caused all HARB members to resign on principle, leading to the current "HARB-lite," on which Lutz's son was installed as chairperson. (By the way, the composite material was never used. The railing remained broken for well over a year while Murphy still owned the property. To this day, the railing has not been replaced, even though Lutz had said it was an urgent matter.)

Now Burgard is running for a council seat again, and he wants your vote - but his record doesn't justify returning him to office. It's been said that actions speak louder than words, and Todd Burgard's actions are deafening.

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