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Moorestown Wants the Most Bang for Its Buck from Liquor Licenses

Deputy Mayor Greg Gallo says township needs to avoid "quick fixes and gimmicks" in deciding how best to use revenue from the sale of liquor licenses.

It’s not every day the township gets a multi-million dollar revenue infusion, so Deputy Mayor Greg Gallo wants to make sure they put the money to its absolute best use.

PREIT (Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust) president Joe Coradino has repeatedly claimed the company is for four liquor licenses—$1 million apiece—for restaurants at the Moorestown Mall. The township is set to introduce and adopt an ordinance in January for the implementation of licenses.

“It’s time council started thinking specifically about the smart use of that money,” Gallo said Monday. “It’s a large amount of money. It’s a non-recurring amount of money … It’s very important we act responsibly to not let that money drip away.”

Though he didn’t outline a specific plan, Gallo advocated putting the license revenue into an interest-bearing account. Even in today’s ugly financial market, with interest rates at record lows, the township could earn a substantial amount of revenue this way over a period of time, he said.

“We could have that be generating income to pay the debt service on capital projects,” he said, indicating such a plan would ultimately benefit the taxpayers.

Gallo said he would be willing to head up a strategic stewardship committee to evaluate the best use of the liquor license revenue.

"We need to avoid quick fixes and gimmicks," he said. 

Township manager Scott Carew was less forthcoming with his thoughts about how the money should be used, though he said he and chief financial officer Tom Merchel had given the matter a great deal of thought.

“I have my thoughts on it, as I’m sure everyone in town has their thoughts,” Carew said. “We will look to use that money in the most fiscally responsible way possible.”

Merchel, who recommended council set the minimum bid for a license at $1 million (based on PREIT’s pledge), had over an eight-year period ($500,000) and use the extra revenue to reduce taxes. The average taxpayer would see a $60 reduction in their taxes, he said.

Township council is expected to introduce the liquor license ordinance at its first meeting in January and then formally adopt it later that month. The earliest PREIT would then be able to bid on licenses would be February, though Coradino has so far been non-committal on when the company would be ready to bid.  

Fix 'em December 15, 2011 at 04:07 AM
I say put two licenses out for $2 Million each and see where it flies. I'm sure if preit or other investors are that certain of great profits then shoot for the sky. Put a certain amount towards tax relief. Perhaps someday we could return to the town getting tax decreases as in the past a like a decade ago. Put some towards the municipal complex bonding, reduce the tax burden there.
Phil December 15, 2011 at 05:16 AM
Sell all the licenses and put them whereever? Tax decreases? Our bills are triple what they were 10 years ago and now the township wants more for palaces we don't need. What gives?
frank gilanelli December 15, 2011 at 05:05 PM
I'm against building an administrative complex, instead of fixing the existing one. However, regardless of the decision, this is where the liquor license money should be spent. Let's not over think this.
Drinking GALLO December 15, 2011 at 06:18 PM
Don't count the chickens until they hatch. This entire PREIT Soap Opera between Gallo, Button and Testa and the rest is so, so lame and just so childish, politicians always looking for attention. There were no pre-nups so Joey PREIT can and will do what JOEY PREIT wants. Next episodes please - THE PRICE IS RIGHT and SHOW ME THE MONEY.
Lucy December 15, 2011 at 06:24 PM
VOTE YES on BOTH! Oh wait, we already did that :) Now how do we get rid of Crazy Eddie.
Road block Ben December 15, 2011 at 07:44 PM
Hey easy on the attacks of gallo. It's possible to be put to pay off debt for minicipal complex and kids intiative then let's have a tax decrease
Attorney December 16, 2011 at 01:50 PM
This seems like bribe money to me. Is this actually legal? You vote for us, we pay you money? How much has the law changed in Moorestown?

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