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02 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING
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08 Held:
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09 Thursday, August 25, 2005
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11 Time:
12 12:00 p.m.
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14 Location:
15 Council chambers
15 Scranton City Hall
16 340 North Washington Avenue
16 Scranton, Pennsylvania
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23 Lisa M. Graff, RPR
24 Court Reporter
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0002
01 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:
02
03 MR. GARY DIBILEO, COUNCIL PRESIDENT
04
05 MR. ROBERT McTIERNAN (arrived where noted)
06
07 MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT
08
09 MR. JOHN POCIUS
10
11 MARK WALSH, ESQUIRE, SOLICITOR
12
13 MR. JAY SAUNDERS, CITY CLERK
14
15 MS. KAY GARVEY, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
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0003
01 MR. DIBILEO: Please stand for the
02 Pledge of Allegiance. Please remain standing for a
03 short prayer. Kay, can we have a roll call, please?
04 MS. GARVEY: Mr. McTiernan.
05 Mrs. Evans. Mr. Pocius.
06 MR. POCIUS: Here.
07 MS. GARVEY: Mr. Courtright.
08 MR. COURTRIGHT: Here.
09 MS. GARVEY: Mr. DiBileo.
10 MR. DIBILEO: Here.
11 For the record, Mr. McTiernan will be joining us
12 today, but he'll be a little bit late in arriving, and
13 Mrs. Evans is unable to make today's meeting.
14 Okay. Mr. Walsh, please.
15 MR. WALSH: Thank you. Third
16 order. 3-A, INDEPENDANT AUDITOR'S REPORT FOR THE YEAR
17 ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2004.
18 MR. DIBILEO: Are there any
19 comments on 3-A? If not, received and filed.
20 MR. WALSH: 3-B, MINUTES OF THE
21 SCRANTON-LACKAWANNA HEALTH AND WELFARE AUTHORITY
22 REGULAR BOARD MEETING OF JULY 21, 2005.
23 MR. DIBILEO: Are there any
24 comments on 3-B? If not, received and filed.
25 MR. WALSH: 3-C, MINUTES OF THE
0004
01 COMPOSITE PENSION BOARD MEETING HELD WEDNESDAY,
02 JULY 27, 2005.
03 MR. DIBILEO: Are there any
04 comments on 3-C? If not, received and filed.
05 MR. WALSH: 3-D, MINUTES OF THE
06 NON-UNIFORM PENSION BOARD MEETING HELD WEDNESDAY,
07 JULY 27, 2005.
08 MR. DIBILEO: Are there any
09 comments on 3-C? If not, received and filed.
10 MR. WALSH: 3-D, MINUTES OF THE
11 NON-UNIFORM PENSION BOARD MEETING HELD WEDNESDAY,
12 JULY 27, 2005.
13 MR. DIBILEO: Are there any
14 comments on 3-D? If not, received and filed.
15 MR. WALSH: 3-E, AGENDA FOR THE
16 NON-UNIFORM PENSION BOARD MEETING TO BE HELD
17 AUGUST 24, 2005.
18 MR. DIBILEO: Are there any
19 comments on 3-E? If not, received and filed.
20 MR. WALSH: 3-F, Clerk's notes.
21 MR. DIBILEO: Mr. Saunders, please.
22 MR. SAUNDERS: Mr. President, I
23 will go back to last week, we discussed the permit
24 parking issue. I have one more to report on.
25 1000 block of Vine Street has been deny, lack of
0005
01 people signing the petition.
02 The last thing I have for today is
03 next wee's meeting we will be back to seven o'clock,
04 and from then on forward it will be seven o'clock until
05 next summer. That's all I have.
06 MR. DIBILEO: Okay. Thank you,
07 Mr. Saunders. Mr. Walsh, please.
08 MR. WALSH: Certainly. Fourth
09 order, citizen participation.
10 MR. DIBILEO: Okay. We have a
11 sign-in sheet, and before I call up the first speaker,
12 I'd like to welcome everyone here, and we welcome all
13 speakers, we appreciate your being here, and I'd like
14 to remind speakers to please refrain from comments of
15 personal nature, and I'll also ask our solicitor to aid
16 me in trying to determine when that fine line between
17 Freedom of Speech and something else is crossed.
18 And, also, please keep your comments to five minutes,
19 if you would. And we greatly appreciate that.
20 And with that said, first speaker
21 is Reverend Cathryn Simmons.
22 MS. SIMMONS: Good afternoon,
23 Council members. My name is Reverend Cathryn Simmons
24 and I am a Scranton resident. Peace onto each of you
25 from my Lord Jesus Christ.
0006
01 I must begin by giving you a short
02 verse, One day some parents brought their children to
03 Jesus so he could touch them and bless them, but the
04 Disciples told him, Don't bother, he's a busy man.
05 Then Jesus called for the children
06 to be brought forth and said to his Disciples, Bring
07 these children onto me. Never forbid them, for the
08 kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
09 I bring these words to you so that
10 you understand the importance of the work that Florence
11 Midtown Crime Watch has taken upon themselves.
12 We have held two meetings so far,
13 the lower Hill and South Side, to discuss the matters
14 of young people, youth, gangs.
15 There will be two more meetings,
16 one Monday morning at eleven o'clock a.m. in Boscov's
17 auditorium in the Steamtown Mall to discuss the
18 problems that are being occurred by business owners and
19 professional people with the youth in the downtown
20 area, and then on Friday, September the 9th at
21 six o'clock p.m., we are going to meet in the
22 auditorium of West Scranton High School to discuss the
23 problems in the West Scranton neighborhoods, then we
24 will go on and schedule for North Scranton and
25 Green Ridge.
0007
01 These meetings are not to accuse
02 or punish, but to save our children. The purpose of
03 this crime watch, and I repeat that, of this crime
04 watch, is to identify the problems, give all adults and
05 children an opportunity to voice their agitations and
06 finally to find solutions.
07 This is not, nor has it ever been,
08 a political issue. I am here to do my father's, God's,
09 work, as taught to me by my blessed A.M.E. Church, and
10 most of all by my beloved neighbors who surround me in
11 this city where I was born and raised.
12 In answer to questions asked, No,
13 Florence Midtown Crime Watch is not financially
14 supported by church and/or apartment complex. We look
15 to our citywide persons to help us, because that is
16 what my Lord would want.
17 He loved all of his children, he
18 believed that not one child is worth losing, not one.
19 And I will do this with my phone shut off and no office
20 space or with my mailbox overflowing with donations.
21 We are going to continue on with the work
22 that the Lord has sent us to do.
23 I walk these streets and I know
24 that each child, each gang member, each police officer
25 is worth protecting. Why you ask me? Because the
0008
01 first organized gang was 2000 years ago. They were
02 known as Apostles Of Jesus Christ.
03 Each of his gang members were
04 there to do a task. One of them even drew a knife the
05 night he was arrested and sliced someone's ear off. He
06 didn't say, To Hell with him. He said, Just don't do
07 that anymore. Go on and do the task I've sent you to
08 do. These children are worth saving. How dare we sit
09 and say that they're not.
10 I stand here today and I say to
11 you, I don't care how long I have to walk these
12 streets, I don't care how long the Lord allows me to
13 walk them, but myself and my fellow crime watch members
14 are going to save these children.
15 I don't care how many bells toll,
16 I don't care how many times I'm told that this is none
17 of our business, any child's loss is our business.
18 And I say to you today from this
19 podium, we either have your support or we don't. We're
20 going on anyway. God bless each of you.
21 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
22 Reverend Simmons, on behalf of City Council, I'd
23 like to thank you for all you do to help children to
24 be safe from gangs, and you do have our support, and
25 you've been telling us for quite a long time about gang
0009
01 activity in the city, and we see more and more examples
02 of what you've been telling us to actually be the case,
03 and we thank you. Dick Laske.
04 MR. LASKE: I don't have any
05 notes. This is a social call. Really, I was in town
06 to get my staples out. I had an operation, my brain
07 come up from Philly, so now I'm going to be much
08 smarter.
09 No, seriously, the operation was
10 successful, they pulled the staples, they put a
11 blow out patch. Hell, I'll be running a marathon in a
12 week or two. John, how are you, sir? Do you have a
13 half a hundred so I can stop and get lunch? My stomach
14 thinks my throat has been cut.
15 MR. POCIUS: I'll give you a whole
16 hundred.
17 MR. LASKE: All right. No,
18 seriously, I was just in town, and I'll be very honest
19 with you, my legs aren't as good as they used to be, so
20 I really stopped in here to sit and take a rest. So,
21 have a good day.
22 Mark. (UNTRANSCRIBABLE), John.
23 (UNTRANSCRIBABLE) Thank you.
24 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Dick.
25 MS. LASKE: I've got to go home.
0010
01 I've got to see if Marie got enough coal in for the
02 winter.
03 MR. DIBILEO: Dick, we missed you
04 at the Ukrainian Independence Day flag raising ceremony
05 yesterday at the courthouse.
06 MR. LASKE: We are going to have
07 Lithuanian Independence Day. I'm going to show
08 Mr. Davis here what minority means, you know what I
09 mean? Come down. All 12 of us, and you're invited.
10 MR. DAVIS: Thank you.
11 MR. LASKE: I'll teach you a
12 couple of words. Thank you, baby.
13 MR. DIBILEO: Now, there is one
14 man I can't gave gavel down. Bob Bolus.
15 MR. BOLUS: Good afternoon,
16 Council. Bob Bolus, Scranton.
17 MR. DIBILEO: Good afternoon.
18 MR. BOLUS: And to start off here,
19 Mr. Keeler is here, and I'm glad he's here today,
20 because I hate to say somebody said I talked behind
21 their back.
22 Last week John Keeler, who's from
23 Fidelity Bank up in Dunmore, stated he runs a business.
24 He works for a business, doesn't run it, he works for
25 it. I operate and own businesses, and there's a big
0011
01 difference.
02 He stated if Council or us
03 so-called individuals here who don't understand the
04 real world understood the concept of the sale of the
05 loans, that Council would support his idea.
06 Ideally such a sale would make
07 sense if sold without recourse; however, one must also
08 consider the fact that the buyer is chasing the best
09 loans and the city is retaining the higher risk, or
10 better yet, the worst loans.
11 Accordingly, if the city should
12 lose the $3 million in the Hilton foreclosure, the lost
13 funds would come out of future HUD entitlements to the
14 city.
15 This would curb this mayor's
16 deficit spending habits, which leads one to believe
17 that what the driving force behind the sale of these
18 loans is more spending, more money for this deficit
19 spending mayor.
20 Regarding Southern Union, tenants
21 have to apply for KOZ status. According to Mr. Keeler,
22 however, if an existing business operating in the
23 State of PA wishes to move from one location to another
24 or a non-KOZ location to a KOZ location has to meet one
25 of two qualifies, one pertains to creation of new jobs,
0012
01 the other deals with dollars invested.
02 Keeping that in mind, how did
03 TMG Health Care move from a city tax-paying location to
04 a KOZ site, but more importantly, into an incubator
05 facility?
06 KOZ requirements are not being
07 enforced. He said he's sick of hearing people talk
08 about South Side. Well, I live on East Mountain, and
09 it's a war zone. Well, lower South Side has
10 deteriorated, that's the real reality, where he or the
11 mayor wants to tell us otherwise.
12 East Mountain, when they took the
13 bike patrol out of there, we got all the beer parties
14 and drug parties up there. So, maybe you want to take
15 a step up above and see what's going on there.
16 We should have more bike patrols,
17 more people policing South Side, maybe we should really
18 get out and see what's going on, other than our own
19 little niche.
20 They mayor locked up South Side as
21 though he was the great Gladiator, he was the great
22 Caesar of South Side. He wasn't. It was the
23 enforcement, the City Council and the neighborhoods
24 that got the job done.
25 KOZs, we pay to put up buildings
0013
01 if you're in a KOZ. He's right, it's not free. We
02 spend the money initially. We pay to do a transfer
03 tax, but we don't pay sales tax, we don't pay on
04 employees inside the building. We get 10 to 12 years
05 of free, while the properties depreciate in the
06 long-term, you're getting it free in the end.
07 There was a question spent that
08 Mr. Pocius said on the meeting of $268 for the
09 meetings, well, I don't see anybody complaining on all
10 the billboards the mayor has put his face on, the buses
11 he's put his face on, or the newspaper articles we're
12 paying for.
13 To me, that's a free political
14 ad. I didn't see Mr. Pocius' name, Mr. Courtright,
15 Mr. DiBileo, Mr. McTiernan or Mrs. Evans on any of
16 those there. And if you do it for one, you should do
17 it for all.
18 So, is the mayor getting a free
19 ride on us? Absolutely. And $268 is a joke to even
20 question in the paper.
21 For the millions of dollars this
22 mayor has squandered, what we lost on the golf course,
23 what we lost on South Side and everywhere else, I think
24 is an absolute job.
25 On the trust his name is, you
0014
01 know, everywhere you see the mayor, we're paying for
02 it. There's other people here that run this city,
03 other than Chris Doherty.
04 The Hilton, I don't think we
05 should have dictate to us. Yeah, the Hilton came here,
06 it's lost its deal, but remember, Hilton came here, I
07 stood here and said do not subordinate to the
08 Hilton or anybody else in there. Let them subordinate
09 that the city is always first if they want the loan.
10 Chris Doherty disagreed and went
11 and lost our $3 million. Now he wants to bail out the
12 Hilton. Well, the Hilton's a business. We're not in
13 the hotel business, no more than he took us out of the
14 golf course business.
15 If the Hilton wants to make it and
16 a new guy is coming in, that's fine. They already got
17 a $10 million benefit by not paying the state back.
18 They want us now to give them free parking and all kind
19 of other issues then that they want for free.
20 They're not in a position to
21 dictate. If they want something from this city and us
22 taxpayers are going to pay for it, we dictate the
23 rules.
24 They're going to pay the
25 $3 million, they're going to pay for the parking and
0015
01 everything else we give here, and we're not going to
02 walk away and give it away. And that's the firm stand
03 this city needs to take.
04 You know, we don't need the
05 commissioner coming in and the mayor say, We're going
06 to bail out a business to put themselves in debt and
07 put us in jeopardy because of bad business practices.
08 We don't need to continue it.
09 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Mr. Bolus.
10 MR. BOLUS: Okay. And I just want
11 to add one more thing here, if I may, because I did get
12 side tracked, Paul Catalano wrote a store about the
13 decorum here at City Council, I take personal offense,
14 and I'm sure Mr. Keeler or anybody else would, to think
15 that we come here and do something different for
16 bashing and all. I believe here what we put across is
17 intelligent business.
18 The right to speak, free speech,
19 came from this forum, and I championed that as it was
20 brought up by Mr. Walsh, I'm the one that championed
21 it. If he wants to see decorum at its worst, let him
22 go to the Throop Council, because we're going to have
23 three women here, at the Throop Council meeting,
24 Mr. Jim Barnick, a councilman, does nothing but bash
25 and insult and degrade the three women of that Council.
0016
01 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
02 MR. BOLUS: If Catalano wants a
03 lesson, then he should go there --
04 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
05 MR. BOLUS: -- not criticize the
06 job being done here in the City of Scranton. I thank
07 you for your patience.
08 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. Les
09 Spindler.
10 MR. SPINDLER: Good afternoon,
11 Council. Les Spindler. First of all, I want to say
12 that, I don't know if anybody knows, Regina Yetkowskas
13 is in the hospital, I want to wish her a speedy
14 recovery.
15 Last week I was rudely interrupted
16 during my comments by Mr. McTiernan, and Mr. McTiernan
17 also interrupted Mr. Davis and couldn't even get his
18 name correct, he called him a different name.
19 I don't think that's right. I
20 don't think we should be interrupted during our
21 comments here. When Council members speak, we don't
22 have the right to interrupt them, and I don't think we
23 should be interrupted here. So, I'm asking you,
24 Mr. DiBileo, to inform each councilperson, if they want
25 to make a comment, wait until we're done speaking or
0017
01 wait until their comments at the end of fifth order,
02 because I don't think it's right that we should be
03 interrupted or lose our train of thought.
04 MR. DIBILEO: I'll do that if that
05 occurs again, Mr. Spindler.
06 MR. SPINDLER: Because if I am
07 interrupted again, I won't stop talking, I will keep
08 talking.
09 Next thing, I seen an article in
10 the paper the other day where we need more toilets at
11 Nay Aug, and this all has to do with Mr. Pilchesky
12 being up there taking measurements.
13 Now I know why Mr. Scopelliti had
14 him thrown out, he's afraid he would find something
15 wrong, which he did. The State Department -- the
16 State Health Department had to come in and tell the
17 city we have to put more toilets in because they don't
18 have enough for the amount of people that are in
19 there.
20 I wonder what else Mr. Pilchesky
21 could have found if he wasn't taken away by the
22 police.
23 I also want to comment on
24 something Mr. Keeler said last week. He told you,
25 Mr. DiBileo, that I shouldn't have been able to say
0018
01 something about how many cops we don't have anymore,
02 well, this is America, we do have our freedom of
03 speech, and I come up here and I either state my
04 opinion or I state facts.
05 And the fact is, we have 22 less
06 policemen now than when Chris Doherty took office. And
07 that's a fact. And that's right from the source.
08 And it was in the paper Sunday
09 that Chris Doherty said we can't afford any policemen.
10 Well, maybe if he didn't recklessly spend hundreds of
11 thousands of dollars on consultants and thrown away
12 money on appeals from arbitrators and judges, maybe
13 we'd have money to hire more cops.
14 Okay. And in Monday's paper,
15 there was an article with Mr. Pocius saying that
16 Gary DiBileo scheduled the August meetings just for his
17 own political agenda, and there was an article -- a
18 letter to the editor by Christine Bulkunis, I think,
19 saying that we're wasting our taxpayers' time and money
20 during August, and Mr. DiBileo didn't bother to put
21 down anything on the agenda for the August 11th
22 meeting. Well, if she knew what she was talking about,
23 the mayor sends down the agenda, not Council.
24 And back to this wasting our time
25 in August when we should be having meetings, it seems
0019
01 the reason that we're having these meetings in August,
02 Mr. DiBileo wanted to try and fix this Hilton
03 situation.
04 Now, in the paper the other day it
05 says, Hilton talks progressing, and it has the mayor's
06 picture and Mr. DiBileo. Well, the mayor had nothing
07 to do with this, I don't know why his picture is in
08 there, because it's Mr. DiBileo, Mr. Courtright and
09 Mrs. Evans that wanted these meetings, and I'm glad to
10 see that things are progressing, because we -- this
11 city can't afford to lose $3 million.
12 And from what I read, I don't know
13 all the details, but it looks like it's possible we
14 might save the $3 million. I give Mr. DiBileo and
15 Mr. Courtright and Mrs. Evans all the credit in the
16 world, and they are our true leaders, and that's
17 leadership we can believe in, not mayor leap year.
18 Thank you.
19 MR. DIBILEO: Andy Sbaraglia.
20 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,
21 citizen of Scranton. Fellow Scrantonians, I heard a
22 lot of talk about the Hilton, about us losing the
23 $3 million, but the fact is we already paid over
24 $600,000 on that loan, so, hence, we probably would
25 stand by to lose $2,400,000, somewhere in that
0020
01 neighborhood, and we would lose that money over a
02 period of time and not all at once.
03 So the people that would suffer is
04 going to be minimal. I mean, the artists may not get
05 their money for their aisles, we might not be spending
06 out of there tearing down Scranton Lace, or we might be
07 spending money on more people that should be spending
08 their own engineering money to do their projects. That
09 would be the money that would probably be hit.
10 But let's look at what the
11 taxpayers would get, we would get this hotel back on
12 the tax rolls, and that's very important.
13 I would assume that they would pay
14 taxes in the neighborhood of about at least $60,000 or
15 $70,000 to the city a year.
16 Now, our parking garage, they want
17 180 spaces, I believe it was. I think they would
18 probably work out a deal where they would pay probably
19 $30 a month for each space, which would be very
20 minimal, but what would it do for the parking garage?
21 That would be $30,000 we would get.
22 That's money that can be used
23 instead of our meter money to pay for that garage. And
24 thing like that you've got to look at.
25 We stand, as taxpayers, we stand
0021
01 more to gain if you did nothing, than if you do
02 something, and that's the sad point of this problem.
03 As a taxpayer, we stand to gain more.
04 Now, you use a trickle down
05 effect, because them people may get in, they may spend
06 a dollar here, a dollar there, but there's no guarantee
07 of that, but we are guaranteed to get money -- tax
08 money for the Hilton full amount that's due, plus
09 income from our parking garage.
10 And without it, that parking
11 garage is going to fail. There's no question about
12 it. You can't afford to give anything for free. We're
13 in a sad state with them parking garages.
14 I can't understand how the
15 Scranton Redevelopment Authority transferred that
16 $12 million letter of credit to the parking garage. I
17 couldn't understand that, because I was, like I said
18 before, I was under the impression that was a turnkey
19 operation.
20 When the parking garage was fully
21 built, it would come under the Scranton Parking
22 Authority, but apparently it doesn't. It's under there
23 now because somehow or some way that $12 million line
24 of credit was transferred over to the parking garage.
25 That you should look into. I
0022
01 don't know how they did that. Because like I said
02 before, all their legislation said it's a turnkey
03 project, but unfortunately, it's done.
04 But it just goes to show you that
05 lots of money is being transferred without anybody ever
06 knowing, unless it's brought up on this floor.
07 If people don't ask questions to
08 you people, we don't get answers. There's nobody
09 printing what's happening inside the city, other than
10 what happens on this floor.
11 That's one thing -- I have to give
12 credit to 61, because they're doing a darn good job in
13 informing all the taxpayers of this city and
14 Lackawanna County what is happening and what they can
15 do to improve it. I thank you.
16 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. John
17 Keeler.
18 MR. KEELER: John Keeler,
19 Orchard Street, Scranton, Pennsylvania, taxpayer. My
20 wife and I are homeowners there and have been for
21 27 years. Contrary to what was said here last week,
22 that's a considerable length of time.
23 I'm glad to see that my comments
24 were at least -- made some impact, but unfortunately
25 they have been misunderstood or completely
0023
01 misrepresented.
02 I never said I owned or was in
03 charge of any company, never mentioned the company by
04 name. I said I was a businessman, period, and never
05 made any representations as to where I worked or where
06 I didn't work.
07 As a matter of fact, I was kind of
08 surprised under what you mentioned earlier about
09 personalities and personal issues that that wasn't
10 stopped, that my name and where I worked, because it's
11 irrelevant where I work, as far as this proceeding is
12 concerned.
13 Number two, years ago I remember
14 watching my brother put on an oxygen pack and go into
15 Sunny's Shoe as the shoe store was burning down on
16 North Main and Jackson Street, and ever since then my
17 brother, who was a fireman for 25 years, who is now
18 deceased, I never had anything but the deepest respect
19 and regard for the fire department and the police
20 department in the City of Scranton, never.
21 They are, as far as I'm concerned,
22 the brave among the brave. And my heart and soul and
23 whatever I can do to help them, I'll always do.
24 And in my opinion, what's
25 happening here under Mayor Doherty is the best way to
0024
01 help them in the long-run is through the economic
02 development.
03 The city can no longer continue to
04 fund increases via tax revenue. The days of revenue
05 sharing and assistance from federal and state
06 governments are over. And the best way to continue
07 raising revenue that will supply the needed funds to
08 support the public safety will come from economic
09 development.
10 A good example of that is the
11 Tripp Park Housing Development which was initiated
12 under Mayor Connors. Mayor Connors had the foresight
13 to go through with this project, even in the midst of
14 considerable opposition.
15 Currently there's 112 homes built
16 in that development. Prior to that development being
17 undertaken, that property generated about $16,000 in
18 real taxes.
19 Now, they don't -- the property
20 values in there are KOZ; however, they do pay the
21 transfer tax on the sale of the building lots.
22 So, 112 building lots at $40,000
23 apiece, which is a number that I use as an average,
24 would equate to about $167,000 in transfer taxes, which
25 means that was ten years of $16,000 a year which would
0025
01 have been earned had it not been developed.
02 Number two, the houses that are
03 constructed are not constructed for free. The
04 individuals who build these houses have to get a
05 mortgage and pay the construction costs, which is about
06 $15 million at 112 homes.
07 That $15 million does multiply.
08 Economically, that's not a guess. That's a science.
09 Economic multipliers are a science, and that multiplier
10 is real.
11 The folks that build those houses
12 buy carpeting, refrigerators, stoves, they shop at
13 supermarkets, they buy cars, they buy light bulbs, they
14 buy prescriptions, they do all sorts of things that
15 benefit the community at large.
16 So, when folks get up here and
17 talk about things, they really should do their homework
18 a little bit.
19 As a matter of fact, the one
20 mistake I did make wasn't mentioned. I said
21 $908 billion, it's actually $908 million dollars.
22 So, I think that, you know,
23 there's a lot of issues. I remember the issue about
24 people paying to swim. When the James J. Walsh Swim
25 Complex was opened replacing Lake Lincoln, I went up
0026
01 there with my son, who was at the time just a little
02 kid, and we -- I remember going to the swim complex and
03 paying 50 cents for me to swim.
04 And the reason why I'll never
05 forget it is because the person who was collecting the
06 50 cents was my high school baseball coach, Ed Ferry.
07 And I said, What the heck are you doing here? He said,
08 Well, I'm collecting -- there's a fee to swim. So,
09 that's nothing new.
10 I'm not here to condone the fee to
11 swim, I don't know if it's good or bad, but it sure as
12 heck isn't new, and it's, you know, it just makes some
13 sense, I guess, to have people pay a little bit of
14 money so they'll respect and take care of a convenience
15 that's being provided to them by all the taxpayers.
16 Nay Aug Pool is underwritten by
17 every single taxpayer in the City of Scranton and
18 Lackawanna County, and in the State of Pennsylvania,
19 which, by the way, I pay taxes in Lackawanna County and
20 the State of Pennsylvania.
21 So, I think that there's, you
22 know, a little bit of misunderstanding going on here as
23 to what actually will take place benefiting everybody
24 by this economic development.
25 Everybody who lives in the City of
0027
01 Scranton and continues to live here will benefit from
02 the economic development that's being spearheaded by
03 Mayor Doherty's return to pride. Thank you.
04 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
05 Mr. Keeler. Lee Morgan.
06 MR. MORGAN: Good afternoon,
07 Council.
08 MR. DIBILEO: Good afternoon.
09 MR. MORGAN: The first thing I'd
10 like to say is the last gentleman who was just here
11 speaking, I'd like to say one thing, and that is this,
12 that KOZs I think can be a very valuable tool to this
13 city, and my opinion is contrary to everyone else's
14 opinion on this matter, and that I believe that KOZs
15 should be used for residential construction, and I
16 think that businesses should pay their fair share in
17 taxes.
18 I think it would definitely help
19 the city to build a lot of homes for working families
20 in this city, considering that when people work,
21 honestly, when you really consider all things, they
22 work wholesale, their labor is wholesale, so that the
23 people they work for can sell their products retail and
24 make money.
25 And I think what's happened here
0028
01 is we've misapplied KOZs to the point where every
02 business organization that comes here wants a free
03 ride.
04 And what's happening is we're
05 getting stuck, the school board, the school districts
06 are getting stuck funding education for children
07 without money, the city has had a freefall because
08 residents who live here are trying to get out of here
09 because they're covering the taxes that all these
10 businesses aren't paying.
11 And, you know, I have no beef with
12 a lot of things that are said here, but I'd just like
13 to make that point that the key to this city's
14 revitalization is residential development, and that's
15 all I have to say on that matter.
16 What I'd like to touch on is I'd
17 like to touch on a project that was spoke about last
18 night at the county commissioner's meeting that I think
19 has far-reaching implications for this city and is
20 probably the root of the major problems we have in this
21 community.
22 The county commissioners are
23 blindly going forward with a project, which I feel has
24 no merit. They're going to destroy the courthouse as
25 we know it, they're going to take a building, which
0029
01 they admit, their own experts admit, all right, cannot
02 be brought up to a usable standard because the age and
03 the way this facility was constructed.
04 And we're going to waste
05 $48 million doing that. And I think the only logical
06 approach to this project is to use the powers of
07 eminent domain, go behind the prison, where the prison
08 is now on North Washington Avenue, on the
09 Wyoming Avenue side, and construct a series of
10 courtrooms there.
11 You don't have to move the whole
12 staff from the Lackawanna County Courthouse in order to
13 do what they feel needs to be done. They're talking
14 about security, moving prisoners, etc., and I just
15 think it can be a lot more cost-effective, because when
16 you take a prisoner from the prison and transport him
17 to the courthouse, all that time that prisoner has to
18 have somebody with them, which leads to a lot of time,
19 okay?
20 Then you're talking about security
21 for the judges. Well, you know, they stated there's
22 too many entrances to the building presently, okay,
23 they're talking about a lack of security, and I just
24 think that when you build a building adjacent to the
25 prison, you make a walkway from the prison, either
0030
01 underground or skywalk, right into the facility.
02 The prison guard takes the
03 prisoner, gives him to the sheriff. The sheriff takes
04 the prisoner and takes him to the holding cell that may
05 be there or they call prisoners as they need them.
06 They're talking about sequestering
07 the jury because they don't want the jury to be around
08 people and prisoners, all right?
09 So, if you build a new facility,
10 then what you're going to be able to do is you're going
11 to be able to make separate pathways in and out of the
12 courtroom for the jurors.
13 The other thing is that the
14 courthouse itself, it needs to be cleaned up, it needs
15 to be renovated to some degree, okay, but I think that
16 when you move this project forward, what you do is you
17 take all the district justices all over the city and
18 you move them into the courthouse.
19 And why? Because we'll be able to
20 utilize the courtrooms that are there, we'll be able to
21 offer security to the district justices, because we
22 have to realize that at times they deal in very heated
23 situations.
24 We already have a screening
25 situation where somebody comes through there, they have
0031
01 a metal detector, we know what they're carrying, what's
02 going on, we can have more control.
03 This is absolutely a win/win
04 situation, okay? And I just think it's important to
05 use eminent domain, build the new judicial courtrooms
06 behind the prison, okay, and it also can be handicap
07 accessible.
08 There's a lot of things there.
09 There could secured parking for judges, there could be
10 a separate entrance for judges there, and I just don't
11 think that what we want to do is destroy the courthouse
12 square, all the monuments, all the history there, to
13 build a project like that, and it won't serve its
14 purpose and we can't use it like that. Thank you.
15 (WHEREUPON, Councilman McTiernan arrived.)
16 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
17 Mr. Morgan. Gunner Nole.
18 MR. NOLE: Good afternoon,
19 council. My name is Gunner Nole. I am from
20 West Scranton. I'm a taxpayer, a veteran, and a
21 resident as of '96, I returned here.
22 I'm here to speak about taxation,
23 fees, and a little bit about activity going on down in
24 Harrisburg right now relating as such.
25 But first I'd like to make a brief
0032
01 comment regarding KOZs. I believe Mr. Morgan has it
02 exactly backwards. The purpose of KOZs should be
03 primarily geared towards creating businesses which
04 create jobs.
05 We don't have a housing shortage
06 in Scranton right now. Everybody that builds a new
07 home in Scranton is two years tax exempt anyway,
08 whether in a KOZ or not, and I think KOZs in principal
09 are a good thing.
10 Maybe we're giving away too much
11 of the store, maybe we want to revist that and take a
12 look at how much time they get or whatever, but I think
13 pretty much everyone will agree that a lot of these
14 businesses wouldn't have come here without the KOZ.
15 And when you build a residential
16 house, you have people living in it. The city
17 government is not the Habitat for Humanity. The idea
18 is to create some incentive or make the business
19 climate less hostile to business, and by extending the
20 KOZ to business with a priority over residential is, it
21 creates jobs. So, that's all I'll say on that.
22 Regarding taxation, it's
23 unfortunate that Councilwoman Evans isn't here, because
24 this is what triggered me to come down here and talk
25 about it.
0033
01 There was something mentioned last
02 week regarding the EMS tax, about how we failed to
03 implement that and put that in our budget or whatever.
04 I do not believe in such taxes.
05 As a resident of Scranton, I'm subject to Scranton city
06 tax, the school district tax, the county tax,
07 Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania tax, and
08 of course federal taxes, and not to mention all the gas
09 tax and sales taxes and whatnot.
10 I don't think any other borough or
11 city or municipality has the constitutional authority
12 to tax me, in fact I've read the Constitution last
13 night, I didn't see anything in there.
14 For example, the EMS tax, I guess
15 the maximum is $52, and that was authorized by Act 222,
16 which modified 511, and Harrisburg essentially decided
17 they have the Constitutional authority to allow some
18 other borough to tax someone that doesn't live there,
19 nor can they vote there.
20 I can't vote for anybody in
21 Moosic, I can't vote for anybody in Taylor or
22 Carbondale, whoever charges that $52. Why should I be
23 subject to that tax?
24 Well, I shouldn't be, because in
25 Section 31 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, they're
0034
01 prohibited from delegating certain powers to these
02 other bodies, so I would submit that the EMS tax is not
03 only unconstitutional, it's bad policy.
04 We don't like other people taxing
05 us from other boroughs, why should we leading the
06 charge in taxing other people that don't even live
07 here?
08 Mrs. Evans referred to it as a
09 missed opportunity. I would submit to you all that
10 that's just a polite way of saying a tax increase.
11 And I don't think Pennsylvanians
12 and Scrantonians are in the mood for any more tax
13 increases. I've been listening to City Council all
14 spring and summer long, and I hear various arguments on
15 various issues, but the one common thread is, We're
16 over taxed.
17 And a lot of citizens are losing
18 confidence that their money is being mismanaged.
19 There's an endless parade of horror stories of how the
20 money is mismanaged, and that can be debated, where I
21 have my positions on certain things, but the common
22 thread is, I don't think we should give anybody one
23 more nickel of our tax dollars until we start getting
24 things right and the money is not being mismanaged or
25 misspent or abused. So, that's what I'd like to say on
0035
01 the EMs tax.
02 Also, Act 72 is floated with the
03 school board. I know this isn't a City Council issue,
04 but nonetheless, if Harrisburg is so confident in these
05 acts and all this gambling money that's going to come
06 pouring in, we shouldn't be getting a rebate, we should
07 be getting a prebate. Give us the money now without
08 forcing us to raise wage taxes for the school district.
09 If you're so confident we're going
10 to be getting all these $3 billion in gambling, give us
11 a prebate, pay us up front right now and then let the
12 money come in.
13 So, I don't think Harrisburg is
14 very confident, and they've abused their Constitutional
15 authority again by giving themselves a pay raise.
16 I mean it clearly says in
17 Section 8, it can't talk effect during the year they
18 were elected, yet they tried to pull it off, and they
19 got caught with it.
20 So, I'm hoping this is the
21 beginning of a taxpayer uprising, and the taxpayers
22 won't stand for any of this.
23 As we all know in this room,
24 there's an election this November, and this is the
25 greatest point in the four-year period where the
0036
01 taxpayers have any leverage or any persuasion over the
02 people we're about to elect to office.
03 So, I think -- I would urge people
04 to contact the candidates, the incumbents, and anybody
05 else involved in this election, how they feel about
06 being taxed, especially since we're about -- I can't
07 confirm it, but I believe we're the second highest
08 taxed city next to Philadelphia. Pittsburgh may have
09 us over, if you add up some of the other things.
10 So, that's all I'll say about that.
11 And one last thing real quick
12 regarding the pool fees, I think we have an opportunity
13 to settle this once and for all, and I don't see any --
14 I've heard good arguments why there should be pool fees
15 and I've heard good arguments why there should not be,
16 I say we put a referendum and put the question on the
17 ballot this November and we can settle this once and
18 for all, and then all the incumbents and the candidates
19 don't have to worry about getting anything on their
20 fingers on that one. Let the voters decide how they
21 want to go with that. Thank you for your time.
22 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
23 Mr. Nole. Larry McAndrew.
24 MR. McANDREW: Good afternoon,
25 Council. Larry McAndrew. Good afternoon, ladies and
0037
01 gentlemen.
02 I first off want to say that
03 August 30, this coming Tuesday at 7 p.m., The Scranton
04 Lackawanna County Taxpayers and Citizen Group will meet
05 here at City Council chambers. All is welcome.
06 A follow-up on Mr. Nole's
07 suggestion about taxation, I agree, we are definitely
08 overtaxed. Our county government, our school board,
09 and our city government, we are definitely overtaxed.
10 We hear constantly supporters
11 saying what a great job this Mayor Chris Doherty has
12 done for the city, and I have to say this, that there
13 has been improvements downtown, but the bottom line,
14 ladies and gentlemen is, this city is $120 million in
15 the hole.
16 It is still a distressed city
17 under this administration. And how do we start
18 correcting this? By cooperation, sitting down with our
19 police and with our firemen unions and negotiate,
20 getting this settled. This hasn't been done. These
21 people deserve a fair salary for the work that they
22 do. We cannot continue on the way we are. This must
23 be resolved.
24 With the prices at the gas pump
25 and the country the way it is and with winter
0038
01 approaching, utility bills, medication and so forth,
02 this city will have to raise their taxes, our school
03 board most likely will have to raise their taxes, and
04 our county definitely will have to raise the taxes
05 again if they go on with this project for the
06 courthouse.
07 Where do they expect the people,
08 the taxes, to come from? We cannot go on like this any
09 longer. We must make changes and make them now.
10 We have a new direction to
11 follow. That's why this taxpayer citizen group was
12 formed, to get accountability in our government, and we
13 will. We thank you.
14 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
15 Mr. McAndrew. J.B. Davis. And welcome to
16 Mr. McTiernan.
17 MR. DAVIS: That Lithuanian fellow
18 that started us all off tonight, I have to tell you
19 this, when I first -- the first time I came to this
20 City Council, he was the first person when I finished
21 to come up to me and said, You've got to come back.
22 We've joked with each other, we've
23 talked with each other, and I've always respected him.
24 He was the first that I know of, he's one of the older
25 that came to me and said, You've got to come back,
0039
01 you've got to come back, and I respect him for that.
02 But I also respect him because of
03 his age, and I respect him because of his wisdom. He's
04 a very wise man. Okay. I've given you your credit.
05 I'm very disappointed with the
06 school board that I've gone -- I went to their meeting
07 on Monday evening, and after much of my attempts and
08 pleas to hire minorities in the teaching profession in
09 Scranton, I find it neither professional nor
10 paraprofessionals were hired.
11 I know of four at least who have
12 graduated -- are graduating in the educational
13 profession and have applied for positions there that
14 are minorities. None of them were hired. I also know
15 of two that were paraprofessionals that applied and
16 none were hired.
17 So, excuse me those of you thought
18 it would change. What we have to do is change those
19 who are making the decisions, those who are the elected
20 officials, because those are the ones that actually
21 made the decisions.
22 Please do not -- do not give up
23 your right to vote. You have to stay in there, and I
24 plead you to, if you desire to, if you -- if there's no
25 one on the election selection that you care to vote
0040
01 for, perhaps what you should do is to look again at
02 your registration.
03 Call the board of elections,
04 change your registration to independent, take a pen
05 with you and write in the name that you desire to have
06 in there, if necessary, but do not give up your right
07 to vote. It is our only manner, it is our only way of
08 empowering ourselves and the future and in the
09 present.
10 We're working now towards an open
11 forum. We're working with those of us who understand
12 and those of us who do not understand. There are many
13 people that understand what is being said here, and
14 there are many who don't understand, and I've been told
15 this, and they don't know how to bring forth their
16 problems so they can be answered.
17 My time, like your time, is spent
18 answering questions, and a lot who are very sincere,
19 too. This is no BS that they're giving me, excuse my
20 language, but this is reality.
21 People want to be involved, but
22 they don't want to feel ignorant. They don't want to
23 go into situations where they will feel ignorant at the
24 end of it or unanswered.
25 You parents of minorities out
0041
01 there who are listening to me, look at those that were
02 registered to be elected in November, and if you've
03 seen the results of what they've said and what they've
04 done, you don't have to vote for them.
05 But you have to think what is
06 going to be best for your child in the near future and
07 in the coming future, and we've got to change those
08 things that are not eligible for us right now.
09 We've got to change the situation
10 of being empowered, as adverse to being unempowered, if
11 we can. And we can do that, and I think the only way
12 we can do that at this point in time is our ability to
13 vote.
14 The crosswalks, excuse me, that's
15 the end of it. I promise not to be political, and I
16 know we're not supposed to be political at this quorum.
17 The crosswalks right out here
18 on -- Jay, when are they going to paint the crosswalks
19 right out here at Mulberry Street and Washington
20 Avenue, if you would be so kind.
21 MR. SAUNDERS: I'll check into
22 that, Mr. Davis.
23 MR. DAVIS: You don't know?
24 MR. SAUNDERS: I'm just the city
25 clerk.
0042
01 MR. DIBILEO: We're going to try
02 to get a date for you on that, Jim. Appreciate your
03 comments, and I'm actually going to mention that when
04 we have a chance to talk.
05 MR. DAVIS: It's embarrassing.
06 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
07 That's it for the sign-in sheet. Are there any other
08 speakers?
09 MR. JOHNSON: Good afternoon, City
10 Council and staff. Sometimes you get mixed up if the
11 meetings are going to be on twelve o'clock or seven 7
12 o'clock, you know? It's erratic, you know?
13 I didn't know about it until
14 today, you know, so it should be at one uniform time,
15 like at seven o'clock, instead of twelve and seven and
16 whatsoever, you know.
17 Erik Johnson, resident of
18 Scranton. And by the way, I have -- I mean, all my
19 speeches are made by and prepared by me, nobody else.
20 All voices need to be heard
21 without harassment, regardless of even if there is a
22 minority of the speakers differ from the majority voice
23 of the speakers present here.
24 Even that voice must be heard if
25 it's rebuttal from any blistering attacks voiced by any
0043
01 particular speakers who has their speech prepared by
02 someone else and are questioned about such information
03 prepared by a second party beside themselves.
04 Since the Sunshine Law was honored
05 by the Honorable Judge Mazzoni, if any speaker genders
06 to a self-disputed problem concerning he or herself
07 resulting a personal harm done within the City of
08 Scranton's system or a person with a law degree that is
09 tutored to harass a certain speaker from having his or
10 her Constitutional right to speak at the podium of the
11 City Council meeting, without being harassed because of
12 a different opinion of a political agenda or even a
13 personal preference regarding our military matters,
14 federal matters, state or school, county matters, which
15 all of these matters have an everyday impact, not only
16 in our City of Scranton, but every city or town in
17 America.
18 Scranton resident speakers and
19 City Council members have been ridiculously harassed
20 and unruly to the point where they are intimidated and
21 are afraid to speak out their opinion for fear of
22 retaliation and loud outcries from the audience or
23 other speakers.
24 We are a city in the United States
25 of America which is a free democracy country where the
0044
01 price we pay to keep it free and democratic is not by
02 all means free.
03 We pay the price of freedom in the
04 past. Lives were lost battling the British for our
05 independence in two wars, the Germans, along with the
06 Japanese in the second war.
07 We had to keep the soviets at bay
08 during the Cold War, and now we have a war here
09 looming -- here and abroad that seems invisible and
10 unpredictable with a demeanor of an evil, cowardly,
11 cold blooded murdering hyena trying to devour our
12 freedom by threatening or even committing terrorist
13 cold blooded cowardly murders.
14 So, knowing that I have a daughter
15 that was in the service as a marine and she fought for
16 this country, and also my son who is a policeman in
17 Wilkes-Barre fighting crime every day, the bottom line
18 is, I may someday exercise my free right of speech of
19 unjustified and untrue facts regarding me and certain
20 malice people here in Scranton trying to prevent me to
21 live a happy free American life here in Scranton, which
22 I have paid and my family have paid very dearly in the
23 past to this present day, which resulted in punitive
24 damages that cannot be reversed without court action.
25 As God as my witness, I will fight
0045
01 for my Constitutional right to be a free American, as
02 well as my daughter did as a Marine, and my son as a
03 police officer in Wilkes-Barre. Thank you.
04 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
05 Mr. Johnson.
06 MR. NEWCOMB, JR.: Good afternoon,
07 Council. Charlie Newcomb. Did we receive anything
08 from the administration on the ponding problem on
09 Cameron Avenue? I've been waiting for two months.
10 MR. DIBILEO: Mr. Saunders, do you
11 have anything?
12 MR. SAUNDERS: Nothing yet.
13 MR. NEWCOMB, JR.: Well, I'm going
14 to file legal action if I don't receive anything by
15 next week, so you can pass this message along.
16 MR. SAUNDERS: I'll send that out.
17 MR. NEWCOMB, JR.: Thank you.
18 It's really a shame as you go around this city and see
19 how the people of Scranton are divided right down the
20 middle.
21 It kind of reminds you of before
22 the Berlin Wall came down, in my opinion, and the
23 separation of East Germany and West Germany, and it's a
24 shame that it has to be that way. Either you're
25 intimidated or you're not intimidated or some people
0046
01 try to be intimidated and they don't succeed.
02 I would also, I guess, Jay, like
03 to request a copy of the water bill for Nay Aug Park
04 for this summer for the months of June, July and
05 current.
06 Have you received any of the
07 totals for the Summer In The City advertising yet that
08 I know I've asked for and that you've asked for.
09 MR. DIBILEO: Let me ask
10 Mr. Saunders if --
11 MR. SAUNDERS: Before this meeting
12 Sara Hailstone called me, she's the director of OECD,
13 she said that she's compiling the bills, but she
14 doesn't have them all compiled yet.
15 When we first requested it, she
16 sent out requests for the bills to actually be
17 forwarded to her, so as soon as she gets them, she said
18 she'll have them to us by next week.
19 MR. NEWCOMB, JR.: Thank you. I
20 made a comment when I was here last week and told you a
21 quick synopsis of a story for somebody who attempted to
22 intimidate myself and my wife, and it's kind of funny
23 because I don't agree with the majority of what this
24 mayor does, but I forgot to say last week about how she
25 made a very harsh statement in regards to our police
0047
01 department, and she stated that because she drives
02 around with a Mayor Doherty bumper sticker on that it
03 seems to be that she's a target by police when she
04 parks and so on, and that that's criminal.
05 Well, I think that that's
06 statement is quite criminal to say that because you
07 drive around with a certain bumper stick on your car,
08 that you're a target for police. I just think that
09 that's totally ludicrous and total nonsense.
10 I think our police department is
11 much more professional than to go out and target
12 somebody because of a bumper sticker. And how do you
13 know that all of the police aren't in support of a
14 certain political candidate?
15 So, I just think that that's a
16 real harsh statement, and that just goes to sum up the
17 people that try to intimidate others.
18 MR. DIBILEO: Let's, you know, for
19 the record state that, you know, our police department
20 is in no way going to discriminate in doing their job.
21 They're totally professional --
22 MR. NEWCOMB, JR.: I agree.
23 MR. DOHERTY: -- and no question
24 even needs to be raised there.
25 MR. NEWCOMB, JR.: I agree. And
0048
01 that's why I kind of took offense to it to know that
02 somebody would make a statement like that, because I
03 think that's ludicrous.
04 There is also -- I also attended
05 the meeting last night for the commissioners for the
06 courthouse, and I think it's going to have an impact --
07 well, it will have an impact on the people that live in
08 the City of Scranton when it comes to tax time, it will
09 affect everybody in Lackawanna County, but especially
10 the people in Scranton, since we are the bulk of the
11 taxes that Lackawanna County receives.
12 And I listened to the judges that
13 were there and stated how they need space, and they do,
14 and I saw the slides that show some of the deplorable
15 conditions that they have in the courthouse, and they
16 do need attention and they need attention quick, but
17 $48 and a half million is a pretty big price tag for
18 somebody to swallow when you just got a 48 percent tax
19 increase.
20 And it was brought up at the
21 meeting last evening, and I encourage Council to watch
22 this meeting, especially the comments from the public,
23 that it was brought out that we're $14 million over
24 what other courthouses have been designed for in the
25 similar square footage, so we can't build the
0049
01 Taj Mahal because we can't afford it, so I'm just
02 asking City Council to watch this meeting and kind of
03 give your input, if possible.
04 And I don't know what your
05 interests are, and it's none of my business, but for
06 everybody to really watch what goes on in this, because
07 we can't afford any more tax increases.
08 And I also saw in the paper
09 amongst some of the articles last week that it stated
10 it was $268 for a legal ad, that's pretty funny when
11 you drive down the street and you see all these banners
12 for Summer In The City and all that, and when you drive
13 down the street and you look up, people need to know
14 that that money is paid for by HUD, and that money --
15 HUD money is usually used to pave streets or whatever.
16 So, when you drive down that bumpy
17 street and you look up and you see that sign, you can
18 thank them, because that's where your money is going.
19 And that's all I have for now. Thank you.
20 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
21 MR. NARSAVITCH: Good afternoon.
22 My name is Stan Narsavitch, city resident, definitely a
23 taxpayer. I would like to remind the people to go back
24 about three and a half years or so when
25 Councilman Doherty was running for mayor, it seemed
0050
01 that he had two things that he always brought out at
02 meetings, one was a picture of his family, which was
03 very nice, and the other was the recovery plan.
04 And we heard a lot about the
05 recovery plan, but since after the election, I don't
06 know what happened to the recovery plan. So, I dug out
07 a copy I had. I cleaned the cobwebs off it and the
08 moth balls and I started going through it, and the one
09 thing that we couldn't find, a couple friends of mine
10 and myself, was where it's explained in this recovery
11 plan, I couldn't find the section that explains how the
12 city hall wages could increase by approximately
13 $3 million in less than four years.
14 I'd like to know how that was
15 handled, where that money came from, how they were able
16 to do that.
17 And aside from that, I'd like to
18 know about five and $10,000 bonuses that were given and
19 how new jobs were created and new hires were taking
20 place. I saw nothing in the recovery plan for that.
21 So, I would appreciate it if
22 somebody -- well, it would have to be somebody that
23 gets to see the mayor, remember evidently because we
24 don't get to see him anymore. He also disappeared
25 after the election.
0051
01 And I get the -- I have the
02 feeling that he doesn't want to come out in the public
03 and face questions, because naturally they wouldn't be
04 pre-scripted questions and he might have a tough time
05 answering them.
06 So, I can't get to ask him about
07 them, so maybe one of the people here that get into his
08 office, there's a couple I believe are able to get into
09 his office, maybe they can find that out and bring it
10 forward at a meeting sometime. That's all I have,
11 Council. Thank you.
12 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
13 MR. GERVASI: Good afternoon,
14 gentleman.
15 MR. JOHNSON: Thank you,
16 Mr. Gervasi. Chris is a tough act to follow.
17 MR. GERVASI: I know. That's why
18 I didn't want him to go first, you know? You don't
19 want to follow Chris.
20 Good afternoon, ladies and
21 gentlemen. My name is Dave Gervasi, I'm a member of
22 the fire department and taxpayer and resident of the
23 city.
24 A few comments to make on some of
25 the speakers, I noticed that when Mr. Keeler was up
0052
01 here, he said that the mayor's economic development
02 policies are going to raise revenues and that would be
03 good for the police and fire departments, well, I
04 worked with Mr. Keeler's brother, he was an excellent
05 firefighter, had a lot of respect from the department,
06 but I was just curious if Mr. Keeler actually read the
07 sections of the recovery plan that have nothing to do
08 with the city's recovery that just has to deal with
09 control and actually taking us back years and years and
10 years to when there could be political abuses with the
11 language that's in it, I wonder how he feels about that
12 or how his brother would have felt about that.
13 And as far as raising revenues
14 with KOZs, I wonder if he did any studies on the
15 City of Philadelphia that has been doing this for
16 years, having many numerous economic development
17 policies where the State Legislature actually wanted to
18 do a review of the successes of KOZs, because it seems,
19 from what I've read, that businesses will move in, take
20 advantage of the tax status, and as soon as the KOZs
21 are over, they leave.
22 So, to me, I mean, I kind of feel
23 I'm a fairly rational guy, it just seems that KOZs seem
24 to be just a corporate Welfare giveaway to certain
25 people who donate to campaigns. I could be wrong, but
0053
01 that's just my opinion.
02 KOZ in town, again, I have nothing
03 bad to say about Southern Union, other than I was
04 wondering if we found out yet, because the mayor said
05 in a Wilkes-Barre newspaper that we gave $1 million in
06 economic development package to have them move here,
07 and we know the result of that $1 million, but then
08 Ms. Hailstone said we gave nothing, so I'm just
09 curious, did we give a million dollars to Southern
10 Union or did we not? Does anybody know the answer to
11 that?
12 MR. DIBILEO: Mr. Saunders, did
13 you receive anything from the administration on that
14 question?
15 MR. SAUNDERS: No, but I'll check
16 into that again.
17 MR. DIBILEO: Okay. Please.
18 MR. GERVASI: Thank you. The
19 other thing I'd like to bring up, and I'm glad to see
20 Mr. Kelly and Ms. Shedlock's here, there has been
21 issues about Channel 61, I mentioned this probably
22 three or four weeks ago, that there seems to be a
23 concerted effort with some of the powers to be in this
24 area, that there's a problem with Channel 61, there's
25 problems with speakers that come up here, they think
0054
01 they're just bashing the mayor, maybe you should get
02 your pen out, because I have a few comments on that.
03 I touched on this last week and I
04 said that, for instance, what you don't read about in
05 the paper are things that are actually happening,
06 factual things that are happening, and then the Doherty
07 side loves to come and send people here to complain
08 about live TV as it unfolds and talk about our
09 government.
10 Well, I mean, just today I got a
11 call from one of my members that there was a person
12 walking around North Scranton and they were handing out
13 flyers for the free neighborhood concerts that are
14 going on, does anyone know if the city is paying for
15 those concerts, if the taxpayers are paying for those
16 concerts? There was one in Green Ridge the other day
17 on Woodlawn Street and there's one going to take place
18 up on Theodore Street.
19 But what gets me is if the
20 taxpayers are paying for these bands and to run these
21 concerts, why then the person handing out that flyer is
22 wearing a Chris Doherty For Mayor T-shirt and having a
23 pad and pencil and asking questions about whether the
24 people are voting for Mayor Doherty or not?
25 It kind of seems like a quasi
0055
01 taxpayer paid campaign activity maybe, just like the
02 banners.
03 Restoring The Pride, if people
04 don't realize, Restoring The Pride is not the city's
05 symbol, Restoring The Pride is the mayor's campaign
06 symbol, and we have it now over every economic
07 development package that's going on, his name on it, I
08 don't see any Council members' names on it, and we have
09 Restoring The Pride all over the place.
10 We have his face and pictures on
11 banners and on signs and billboards all around town,
12 and I'm hearing that the last campaign I think cost
13 probably about $10,000, the last thing I heard on some
14 of those advertisements he's doing, and we're
15 advertising within the city telling people to check out
16 nice things in the city with the mayor's face on it.
17 To me, that's nothing more, and,
18 again, it's just my opinion, it's nothing more than the
19 mayor using public dollars, taxpayers' dollars, to
20 enhance his political chances. I don't see anything
21 about that in the paper.
22 Now I'm told by Mr. Kelly that he
23 wants to do a story on the problems people are having
24 on Channel 61, and he wants to interview everyone and
25 get our opinions on it, which I will be glad to give my
0056
01 opinion on it.
02 My problem is, how come nobody is
03 complaining about -- I believe Mr. Pocius was in one
04 the other day. As soon as you see these Council
05 meetings, you see a -- the mayor talking about his --
06 touting his accomplishments on Channel 61.
07 That's free, it's unscripted, no
08 one can debate the issues, it's just a political
09 advertisement, as far as I'm concerned, about how
10 wonderful things are, and in most cases, taking credit
11 for things that he had nothing to do with it,
12 especially the Market Street Bridge.
13 If my memory serves me correctly,
14 and correct me if I'm wrong, wasn't Councilman Doherty
15 the one who insisted to the state to stop the -- put
16 the sanctions on the city that delayed that project for
17 two years? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe
18 that's the truth, also.
19 So, I've been saying for weeks now
20 that people are trying to shut these cameras down. If
21 you notice, this Council meeting used to run three days
22 a week all during the week until the new meeting, now
23 it's running seven in the morning, seven at night for
24 three days.
25 I'm sure the people from Scranton
0057
01 Tomorrow or Scranton Today are getting pressured that
02 this is a political thing, but as far as I'm concerned,
03 you can't do a political thing, because when people
04 come up here and speak their mind, number one, it's the
05 Constitution that gives them the right to do it, and we
06 have to -- I have to praise Mr. DiBileo, because he's
07 the one who fought to keep these cameras running, and
08 now there's a concerted effort to have this shut down,
09 too?
10 You know what my saying is,
11 because now the truth does come out and information
12 does come out at these meetings, let them try. Let
13 them try to shut these cameras down before this
14 election. I think that will completely seal the
15 Mayor's fate in this next election. Thank you for the
16 opportunity to speak.
17 MS. WILLIAMS: Good afternoon,
18 Council.
19 MR. DIBILEO: Good afternoon.
20 MS. WILLIAMS: I ran here. I
21 didn't know you were meeting at twelve today. I come
22 here today to follow up on a few issues from past
23 Council meetings.
24 First, Mr. DiBileo, I want to once
25 again courage you to bring the issue of loan
0058
01 consolidation up for another vote when all members of
02 Council are able to vote on it.
03 You have already voted yes on this
04 issue, and Mr. McTiernan and Mr. Pocius are on record
05 as supporting it. If you truly support this issue,
06 then I am sure you will bring this important matter
07 before Council for a vote once again when all members
08 are present.
09 On the issue of the creation of
10 3,000 jobs, I notice that on Mr. Doherty's website the
11 breakdown of the 3,000 jobs has been posted.
12 Last week Mr. Spindler said he
13 would not attend any more City Council meetings if
14 3,000 jobs had in fact been created. The truth is that
15 more than 3,000 jobs have been created.
16 I have the proof, and thankfully
17 the good people of Northeastern Pennsylvania will not
18 have to listen to Mr. Spindler's weekly negative rants
19 any longer.
20 A friend of mine watched the
21 City Council meeting for the first time last week, and
22 this was a comment, if I were a businessman thinking
23 about moving my business to Scranton and saw what goes
24 on at City Council, I wouldn't even stop for gas in the
25 city, much less move a business here.
0059
01 With so much negativity here at
02 Council, it's even more amazing what Mayor Doherty has
03 managed to accomplish.
04 We need a positive campaign like
05 Summer In The City to counter the negative and the
06 negativity of City Council.
07 I have positive feelings about the
08 City of Scranton and I'm proud of the progress this
09 city has made.
10 Four years ago Mayor Doherty
11 promised to clean up our city parks and revitalize our
12 downtown. He has kept his promise. I have the proof
13 here, so maybe Mr. Spindler won't be coming to the
14 meetings anymore. Do you have the proof, Mr. DiBileo?
15 MR. DIBILEO: I'd be happy to take
16 that from you, if you're ready. Thank you. Appreciate
17 that.
18 MS. WILLIAMS: So, once again, the
19 proof is there about the 3,000 jobs, and I just want to
20 thank Mayor Doherty and Mr. McTiernan and Mr. Pocius
21 and former Council members who have made the city come
22 along, so I'm so proud to be a Scrantonian right now.
23 Thank you.
24 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
25 MR. DIBILEO: Are there any other
0060
01 speakers?
02 MR. SLEDZINSKI: Thanks for the
03 comment, John.
04 MR. POCIUS: How are you, Chris?
05 MR. SLEDZINSKI: Pretty good. How
06 are you, John? A little bit, Gar?
07 MR. DIBILEO: Yeah, sure.
08 Whatever you need.
09 MR. SLEDZINSKI: Good afternoon,
10 Council. Jay, I got a problem to ask you, Buddy,
11 Jackson Street, right, you know where that school is on
12 Jackson Street, Jay, Jackson Street School is, they
13 need a crossing sign up there, Jay. Will you do that
14 this week for me?
15 MR. SAUNDERS: Yeah.
16 MR. SLEDZINSKI: Okay. Thank you.
17 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
18 MS. KRAKE: Good afternoon,
19 Council. My name is Nancy Krake.
20 MR. DIBILEO: Good afternoon.
21 MS. KRAKE: It was interesting to
22 see two members of the Scranton Times employees here
23 this afternoon. The Scranton Times financially
24 contributed to this Mayor's campaign and then endorsed
25 that same person.
0061
01 I believe all four publishers
02 simultaneously and endorsed this mayor, so I'm sure
03 that's one of the reasons that our side of the story
04 never gets out, and that is, in my opinion, one of the
05 biggest reasons that there is such a division in this
06 community.
07 And I also feel that it's very sad
08 that the mayor has chosen never to come here, even
09 though he had promised to come here when he was a
10 councilman.
11 Apparently the Scranton Times can
12 do that for him. He has his own newspaper, which we do
13 not have. So, I think we're very lucky to have
14 Channel 61, and any efforts that anyone puts forth to
15 try to take this program off the air, I'm sure will
16 backfire on them completely.
17 It's the only way the other side
18 of the story get out. It is not the employees' fault
19 that the city is in financial trouble. When
20 Mayor Connors left office we had a surplus, and this
21 mayor has, unfortunately some people are calling it
22 negative, but the truth is the truth, driven us further
23 into debt. And that's all I have to say this week.
24 Thank you.
25 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. If
0062
01 here's no further speaker.
02 MR. WALSH: 5-A, motions.
03 MR. DIBILEO: Mr. McTiernan, any
04 motions or comments?
05 MR. McTIERNAN: Yes. First a
06 question for Mr. Saunders, last week the majority of
07 Council approved a subpoena resolution, what is the
08 status of that, Mr. Saunders?
09 MR. SAUNDERS: Mr. McTiernan, I
10 think that you would have to talk to the solicitor on
11 that. During the week we have talked about it, but --
12 MR. McTIERNAN: So, it's still in
13 process, I guess, that's fair to say?
14 MR. SAUNDERS: Yes.
15 MR. McTIERNAN: Thank you. Could
16 I just ask simply, Mr. Saunders, if you would take the
17 lead on making a request to the parties involved in
18 that subpoena or listed in that subpoena for the
19 information that was requested, could you just make
20 that overture for us, since there is obviously a
21 process to go through, possibly we could get that
22 information quicker, more quickly, I guess I should
23 say, before the subpoena actually is --
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: Excuse me,
25 Mr. McTiernan. I think after the meeting last week I
0063
01 asked Jay when we went in the back room, just in case
02 it didn't hold up, I wanted to get it, just as you do.
03 MR. McTIERNAN: Oh, thank you.
04 So, it's on its way up?
05 MR. COURTRIGHT: Hopefully, yeah.
06 MR. McTIERNAN: Okay.
07 MR. COURTRIGHT: We did get some
08 information, and I didn't read it, to be honest with
09 you, I just saw it today, but we got -- I don't know if
10 everything is there, but we did get some information.
11 MR. SAUNDERS: Yes.
12 MR. McTIERNAN: Thank you. Thank
13 you, Mr. Courtright and Mr. Sanders, thank you.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: You're welcome.
15 MR. McTIERNAN: Second of all, I'd
16 like to thank an unnamed patrolman who I happened to
17 run into over the weekend, a police patrolman, and they
18 advised me of a situation regarding one of the patrol
19 cars, and first of all, I'd like to thank that officer
20 for his level of being conscientious with his job and
21 trying to take care of the city's equipment.
22 I'd also like to thank
23 Mr. Saunders and Mr. Lynady, who advised me that they
24 are addressing that problem with that cruiser.
25 And third, I would like to
0064
01 recommend that we continue to explore Mr. DiBileo's
02 proposal from last week regarding the collateralizing
03 of our loans, and consistent with that comment, I had a
04 conversation with Mr. Kevin Wilson, and he indicated to
05 me very recently that the general terms, if not the
06 exact terms, of the CRF agreement are still acceptable
07 for that organization, the CRF organization.
08 Mr. Morgan last week asked me to
09 be prepared to state my issues of why I thought it was
10 favorable, my position hasn't changed.
11 I still do think it's favorable,
12 and I think just for the record, a few small things,
13 there's a reduction of risk to the city as those loans
14 that of course any time we -- anytime a financial
15 institution or government underwrites loans there's a
16 risk.
17 The risk being of making those
18 loans is eliminated, since they would be sold, which is
19 a good thing. And, again, you have to balance that off
20 against the cost of selling those loans versus the
21 benefit.
22 Another important thing that I
23 think is important is that we've all seen with the
24 current administration in Washington that federal
25 funding and federal grants has seen a decrease over the
0065
01 years and actually has had proposed cuts, and some of
02 those figures that were changed that OECD and
03 Mr. Wilson were able to give me was five years ago the
04 city received approximately $4 and half million in CDBG
05 grants.
06 The expectations in 2006 will be
07 $3.5 million, so that would reduce by $1 million
08 expected dollars coming into programs in the city.
09 The other thing I like about this
10 CRF program is that by selling the loans, we would be
11 able to free up capital, which does a few things; first
12 of all, I think everybody knows that timing is
13 everything.
14 There is a fairly solid degree of
15 economic development in the city, and a gap in that
16 economic development could prove to be a stiffling
17 issue, you know, we want to keep the ball rolling. So,
18 we would be able to free up some money to continue
19 those economic development programs.
20 The second thing that's important
21 there is is we theoretically at least could use the
22 dollars that are freed up via the CRF loan program to
23 improve public facilities; for example, in some of the
24 paving programs and some of the other programs that our
25 speakers have spoken about today, as a matter of fact.
0066
01 So, I do agree that the CRF
02 legislation was solid legislation, and I'm very glad to
03 see that -- well, there's a different set of
04 circumstances here today.
05 I would like to make a motion that
06 Attorney Walsh, with Council's approval, draft
07 legislation that would be consistent with Resolution of
08 Council No. 155 and No. 156 Of 2005, that we could vote
09 on and send to the mayor's office. I so move.
10 MR. POCIUS: Seconded.
11 MR. DIBILEO: Okay. We have a
12 motion on the floor and a second. On the question?
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah. On the
14 question, what actually, sorry, Bob, what actually is
15 the motion? What is it for?
16 MR. McTIERNAN: Well, I'd like to
17 take Resolution No. 155 and 156, which was defeated by
18 a 2 to 1 vote on July 14, and I would like Council
19 under Attorney Walsh to re-write that legislation and
20 send that as Council legislation to the mayor after, of
21 course, we vote on it, I think we've expressed support
22 for that motion, and in addition to writing that
23 resolution for the CRF, certainly, and if we were able
24 to capitalize or collateralize any of the other
25 existing loans, as Mr. DiBileo proposes, we certainly
0067
01 could, quite frankly, free up a large amount of dollars
02 for economic development in the city.
03 So, what I would like to do is
04 have Council re-write to a consistent manner the
05 resolutions that were sent down from the mayor, 156 and
06 155, re-write them as Council written legislation and
07 send them through the mayor at Council's pleasure.
08 MR. DIBILEO: On the question --
09 MR. POCIUS: Mr. DiBileo, do you
10 want me to go?
11 MR. DIBILEO: Do you mind if I --
12 MR. POCIUS: No, you could have
13 the floor, Mr. DiBileo.
14 MR. DIBILEO: I actually was going
15 to under my section of motions request that Mr. Walsh
16 possibly give us a status of -- because the CRF
17 legislation that was voted against a couple of weeks
18 back, actually I think it was August 1, has been
19 brought up a few times, and I may be incorrect, but I
20 was under the understanding that legislation that was
21 voted against could possibly not be brought up again
22 under certain situations or whatever. Let me defer to
23 Mr. Walsh, if he can give us status how legislation
24 that was defeated may possible be brought up again.
25 MR. WALSH: Just so that I
0068
01 understand the question, basically what you're asking
02 is whether or not it could be reconsidered, whether the
03 legislation could be reconsidered, is that basically
04 what you're asking?
05 MR. DIBILEO: Yes.
06 MR. WALSH: It's my understanding
07 both from Robert's Rules, which is incorporated by our
08 local rules, and I think also by our rules, that a
09 motion to reconsider can be entertained -- well, let me
10 state that again, a motion to reconsider shall be
11 entertained after the next regular meeting of the
12 Council, and no second motion to reconsider the same
13 subject shall be entertained, so basically you're
14 supposed to do the motion to reconsider during the next
15 regularly scheduled meeting, but a motion to reconsider
16 must be made and seconded by members who voted in the
17 majority.
18 That's, I believe, a summary of
19 what Robert's Rules would state, and I believe what our
20 rules would state.
21 I think the issue would come down
22 to who voted in the majority, and the people who voted
23 in the majority would have been Mr. Courtright, I
24 believe, if it was the CRF, is that the CRF
25 legislation?
0069
01 MR. McTIERNAN: Yes. I'm not
02 asking you to reintroduce it, I'm asking us to re-write
03 it, for Council to re-write it. We've talked at length
04 about Council's ability to write legislation.
05 My motion is not to reintroduce,
06 my motion is to re-write or to write legislation. I
07 shouldn't say re-write. I'll rephrase that.
08 MR. WALSH: Let me say this,
09 though, if we re-write it, in other words --
10 MR. McTIERNAN: I'm not asking to
11 re-write it, so I'll strike the re-writing, it's to
12 write legislation.
13 MR. WALSH: Okay. So I guess my
14 question then would be if you're going to resubmit or
15 if you're going to reconsider or re-write -- if you
16 re-write it and it basically says the same thing,
17 you're basically reconsidering the same thing.
18 So, I think we would have to
19 decide on what was different in the re-writing of the
20 new one which would be different from the one that was
21 voted on, so if we are going to re-introduce that type
22 of -- also by re-writing it, and if the re-writing of
23 it is basically the same legislation, well, then that
24 might be problematic, so I guess I would need more
25 direction on how you were going to re-write it, how you
0070
01 were going to change and what you're doing is to change
02 the original motion, then I guess I would have to hear
03 from Council how you were going to change that.
04 If the re-writing is basically a
05 re-consideration of the same thing, then I think the
06 rules are applicable and then you would have had to
07 re-introduce it at the next meeting and/or you would
08 have also had to have people voting in the affirmative,
09 people on the winning side changing their mind and
10 motioning it and then seconding it.
11 Somebody that doesn't vote at all
12 probably wouldn't be considered, because they're only
13 counting the ayes and the nays.
14 The only time you count somebody
15 who didn't vote at all, my thought would be is if it
16 was a vote by a standing committee or a special
17 committee, this wasn't a vote by a standing committee
18 or a special committee, it was a vote by the body of
19 Council in its entirety that was present at the
20 meeting.
21 So, without getting into all of
22 the different procedural gymnastics, I guess if you're
23 asking that I write new legislation, I would have to
24 know what the difference between the new legislation
25 and the old legislation is so as not to simply be a
0071
01 reconsideration of the old legislation.
02 There has to be some defined
03 difference between the old and the new, and I just
04 don't what that difference would be.
05 Perhaps if you wanted to withdraw
06 your motion today and think about what you wanted to
07 change in your motion.
08 My concern right now is to draft
09 something that's going to substantially say the same
10 thing and violate the rules that we've adopted. That's
11 my --
12 MR. McTIERNAN: I don't know that
13 we've adopted Roberts Rules officially, I know we
14 follow them, but I don't recall a motion adopting
15 Roberts Rules.
16 So, a couple of things that I'd
17 like to point out, with all due respect, the first
18 thing is is that I'm not asking you to re-write
19 anything, I'm asking you to write legislation from
20 Council, No. 1; No. 2, as I understand it, with, again,
21 with all due respect, that's your interpretation of it,
22 and as we demonstrated last week, the interpretation by
23 the solicitor was not considered by the majority of
24 Council when we voted to subpoena, which was against
25 your advice.
0072
01 I am still going to leave my
02 motion on the table to write legislation consistent
03 with 155 and 156, and if that means we are at odds with
04 your opinion, I certainly respect that and I understand
05 it, but if it's not clearly defined in the statute or
06 the Home Rule Charter, then I think that sending that
07 through fifth order and sixth order allows us two weeks
08 to continue to research that.
09 So, my motion, I'll restate, is to
10 write Council legislation that is consistent with
11 Resolution No. 155 and 156 of 2005 --
12 MR. WALSH: Mr. McTiernan, if I
13 may, and, again, no offense taken, respectfully, we
14 adopted the Rules of Council. As part of the rules of
15 Council, we adopted Roberts Rules as one of our rules
16 of Council that --
17 MR. McTIERNAN: Thank you.
18 MR. WALSH: -- if it isn't
19 specifically dealt with. Just so you know that.
20 MR. McTIERNAN: I appreciate that.
21 Thank you.
22 MR. WALSH: That's where it's
23 adopted from.
24 MR. McTIERNAN: But then
25 the question comes in as to the interpretation of the
0073
01 re-submitting or you're using the word substantially,
02 we're using a lot of words that are interpretive, and I
03 certainly think that in a situation where we're talking
04 about $4 million of potential economic development in
05 the city, it's worth exploring those interpretive
06 words.
07 So, my motion is still on the
08 floor with a second.
09 MR. POCIUS: And the second is
10 still on the floor.
11 MR. DIBILEO: Let me say on the
12 question, too, that first of all, I'm glad that we are
13 discussing this, because maybe it's something that
14 should have come up sooner, because it has been
15 mentioned several times in letters to the editor, for
16 example, it seems to come up quite often, and I think
17 I've been ridiculed in a way for scheduling a vote when
18 not all people could be here.
19 For that matter, the week --
20 Mr. Walsh mentioned the week after, not everyone was
21 here the week after that would have even changed the
22 vote, because I think the week after we had only three
23 or four people, and if two people that voted the same
24 way would have done that again, of course, we wouldn't
25 have had a majority to pass that legislation.
0074
01 Personally, you know, I would like
02 to pursue the motion that I made last week, to see if
03 that's an alternative to the CRF legislation, but more
04 importantly, based on what Mr. Walsh just said, I feel
05 uncomfortable voting in favor of a motion that my
06 violate our own City Council rules. That's all I have
07 on it.
08 MR. POCIUS: On the question,
09 Mr. President, I, too, am in favor of re-introducing
10 the legislation for various reasons. A lot of us
11 couldn't be here for various meetings during this
12 month.
13 I have a lot more tenure here than
14 other people and I went through a lot of different
15 things, Mark, and I would refer you to a Lackawanna
16 County Court case that CCAT filed against this Council
17 and the City of Scranton over a Sewer Authority rate
18 increase back in the early nineties.
19 The same thing happened at the
20 time. I can't remember who made what, how the vote
21 went, but it was re-introduced by motion of Council,
22 legislation passed. Suit was filed by CCAT.
23 There was a ruling issued by
24 Lackawanna County Common Pleas Court, it's on record
25 basically saying what, how and why. Anyway, we won.
0075
01 The city won and the rate hike was upheld.
02 So, I give you a little place to
03 look for right there, okay, as far as what is
04 interpreted as what Council can and can't do on a
05 defeated motion. It was defeated by the board, but the
06 board brought it back, okay, the legislation.
07 I thoroughly agree with
08 Mr. McTiernan, and the biggest issue that I see,
09 besides what Mr. McTiernan said, is a plus to this
10 whole program is that the money is immediate. There's
11 $4 or $5 million immediately and not waiting for loan
12 payment to come in on a yearly basis for a small pot of
13 money, we have a large pot of money, so if something
14 became available of an economic development nature,
15 we'd immediately be able to spring forward for a
16 million or $2 million type of advancement, which this
17 Council will have control over. And that's the key.
18 MR. McTIERNAN: If I could just
19 interrupt for 30 seconds, I've got some information
20 from Mr. Wilson, and I apologize, Mr. Pocius, but this
21 might --
22 MR. POCIUS: That's okay.
23 MR. McTIERNAN: -- dovetail into
24 your conversation. Mr. Wilson indicated to me that if
25 we were not to do this and we were to utilize the
0076
01 payment schedule of the existing loans that would not
02 be bought out by CRF given the certain circumstances,
03 it would take us approximately, and, again, this I
04 suppose you'll quote me, but this is coming as
05 secondhand information from Mr. Wilson, Mr. Wilson
06 indicated to me that it would take approximately one
07 year for us to make one maximum loan under the current
08 terms.
09 So, what that basically does is if
10 no other alternatives come through and we do not
11 reconsider the CRF legislation, we will not have enough
12 money in the till, to use some non-finance terms, to
13 make or to grant or to underwrite a loan for economic
14 development based on the current payment schedules.
15 So, again, I cannot personally
16 attest to that, I'm just relaying information. So, as
17 Mr. Pocius is pointing out the immediate availability
18 is beyond immediacy. We will not be able to make large
19 scale loans for economic development for approximately
20 one year given the current repayment schedule, and I'm
21 not so sure if that's something that fits into what
22 you're saying.
23 MR. POCIUS: That's exactly --
24 what I'm saying is the pot of money would be there, and
25 the thing is, we still as a Council, any reprogramming
0077
01 of that money through the Office Of Economic
02 Development would have to come before this Council with
03 full details as to the loans, whatever way it was going
04 to be utilized in the future, so that takes that block
05 off the checklist.
06 MR. McTIERNAN: And you
07 know, talking to Mr. Wilson, he indicated a few other
08 things about this CRF deal, and some of the things that
09 folks talked about at the podium is that CRF is only
10 interested in our best loans.
11 That's not exactly accurate,
12 according to Mr. Wilson, and, of course, you may have
13 to verify some of this with Mr. Wilson personally, but
14 environment indicated to me that CRF was considering
15 some of our less desirable loans, the problem was is
16 that the offer of cents on the dollar was significantly
17 less, and one of the figures he used as an example to
18 illustrate the point was a less desirable loan would
19 not bring 92 -- roughly 92 cents on the dollar for
20 those loans, that CRF certainly would entertain them,
21 but since they were less desirable, and when they did
22 due diligence, they were able to see the less desirable
23 loans, there was greater risk of non-payment.
24 So, obviously as we see in
25 virtually any situation where there's a high risk right
0078
01 from car insurance through underwriting bank loans, at
02 the higher the risk, the greater the interest, and of
03 course the greater the benefit for the person
04 underwriting those loans or insurances.
05 If you're a teenager or you're a
06 high risk driver, you pay more for car insurance. So,
07 Mr. Wilson said that the discussions that were held
08 between CRF and OECD were against selling less
09 desirable loans for what you might say 75 cents on the
10 dollar. That brings less money.
11 Of course it does reduce our risk,
12 but in Mr. Wilson's opinion, that was a better deal for
13 the city.
14 And Mr. Wilson did say in his
15 contacts with CRF's main office that they are not
16 re-visiting the terms of the current agreement;
17 meaning, that they will not change the current
18 agreement.
19 So, the agreement as proposed in
20 156 and 155 of 2005 are static at this point; meaning,
21 that it's still the deal that was originally proposed.
22 So, that's all I have, Mr. President. Thank you.
23 MR. POCIUS: That's all I have,
24 too, Mr. President. Thank you.
25 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. Also on
0079
01 the question, I am absolutely, as I mentioned last
02 week, I am absolutely in favor of economic development,
03 this entire Council is in favor of economic
04 development, otherwise we wouldn't be here, I am not
05 against entertaining that legislation again; however,
06 I'd like Mr. Walsh to do immediate research on this
07 situation, because as you explained, Mr. Walsh, it
08 would be basically against City Council rules to
09 re-entertain something that we voted on that did not
10 pass, so I'd like to have you do that quickly --
11 MR. WALSH: Yeah, I'd be happy
12 to --
13 MR. DIBILEO: Before we make a
14 motion and pass a motion.
15 MR. WALSH: I would be happy to do
16 that, because Mr. Pocius had mentioned a case, and as I
17 had indicated before, the motion to reconsider could be
18 done, but it has to be made and seconded by members who
19 voted in the majority, that's our rule.
20 I don't know whether in that
21 CCAT suit that Mr. Pocius mentioned --
22 MR. POCIUS: I don't remember,
23 Mark.
24 MR. WALSH: -- whether or not
25 people who voted in the majority changed their mind and
0080
01 then wanted to re-do the motion. If that happened,
02 then it's obvious why they re-did the motion then.
03 Having this brought up for the
04 first time now and not having been consulted before the
05 meeting, not that I had to be on this important issue,
06 I don't have access to that case or did I have an
07 ability to read that before being asked these
08 questions.
09 I'm simply commenting from my
10 knowledge of Roberts Rules, which we've adopted through
11 our rules and incorporated into our rules at Council,
12 and I'm commenting from our rules of Council.
13 So, again, I'm more than happy to
14 research that issue and to read the case which
15 Mr. Pocius refers to. But, again, I don't have access
16 to that right now.
17 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. Again,
18 after your research, if you say that we could somehow
19 re-entertain that, I'd be more than happy to. But if
20 there's no further questions --
21 MR. McTIERNAN: I just want to go
22 down that road.
23 MR. DIBILEO: Yes.
24 MR. McTIERNAN: Mr. Walsh, is it
25 possible, I absolutely don't want to speak out of turn,
0081
01 is it possible for us as a Council to amend our rules
02 of Council to make that reintroduction possible?
03 I mean, obviously that's a
04 reasonable -- we've tried to amend the rules of Council
05 and the Administrative Code before, is that something
06 that's doable?
07 MR. WALSH: Yes, I think it's
08 doable to amend rules of Council if you chose to do so.
09 I think that that's something that you have the ability
10 to do.
11 MR. McTIERNAN: Okay. Thank you
12 very much.
13 MR. DIBILEO: Okay. If there's no
14 further questions, all those in favor signify by saying
15 aye.
16 MR. POCIUS: Aye.
17 MR. McTIERNAN: Aye.
18 MR. DIBILEO: Opposed?
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: No.
20 MR. DIBILEO: Aye. No. By a 2-2
21 vote, the motion on the floor does not pass, and I'd
22 like Mr. Walsh to please do that research as quickly as
23 he can.
24 MR. McTIERNAN: That's all,
25 Mr. President. Thank you.
0082
01 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
02 Mr. McTiernan. Mr. Pocius, any motions or comments?
03 MR. POCIUS: Just a little
04 business here, I received a call from a constituent
05 concerning a vacation of a certain court, and I did
06 some research on my own, and the current tax maps don't
07 show the court, it's unopened, it's unnamed.
08 The old tax maps show the court,
09 the old maps that I have in my possession show the
10 court. I checked -- I couldn't find nothing in
11 Council's records where that court was ever vacated.
12 I talked to Don King about it at
13 length last Friday, and Don is going to do just a
14 little more checking to see if it shows up on any old
15 atlases or something, and if it is, I'll ask, and the
16 people out there know who it is, I don't want to reveal
17 their name, they could get us a formal request to start
18 that procedure through Council for the vacation. It's
19 unnamed. It looks like woods. You wouldn't even know
20 it was a street. So, you know, I just want to let them
21 know that's done.
22 I would be remissed if I didn't
23 say this, I'm kind of glowing because my daughter did
24 give birth to a grandson last Saturday, and I'm kind of
25 on cloud nine.
0083
01 She beat the gun and she was due
02 yesterday, which would have made me not here again
03 today, and I wasn't about to go through that again, so,
04 thanks Kara and thanks Jack William for coming a little
05 early and making that explanation not possible or not
06 having to go through another one.
07 I hope you had a chance to read
08 the letter I sent to Gary as far as the reasons for my
09 absences, and that's the truth and the facts, and it
10 was published today, and so it was all work related. I
11 mean, it really was.
12 Trying to juggle the schedule I
13 have, it's just hard, and Mrs. Shedlock can confirm
14 that, because she's called me a few times and found out
15 I'm in God forsaken places, and other people have
16 called me and they find me in Mechanicsburg or Bensalem
17 or some other place, so I will -- next week we'll be
18 starting our regular meetings, and we'll be back on
19 schedule, and for good or for bad, I will be here,
20 okay?
21 Mrs. Krake, you made an
22 interesting point, you know, why don't you send me the
23 paperwork on joining your union? I'd be glad to look
24 at it to see if it'd be possible to do that.
25 I was told on the comments that
0084
01 you offered me membership in the union, maybe it was
02 wrong? Well, send me the paperwork, I'd be glad to
03 look at it and see if it fits my needs. Thank you.
04 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
05 Mr. Pocius. And congratulations on the birth of your
06 grandson --
07 MR. POCIUS: I had to announce it.
08 It's just something you --
09 MR. DIBILEO: -- Jack William.
10 MR. POCIUS: Yeah, and not the
11 tire company.
12 MR. DIBILEO: That's fabulous, and
13 I hope everyone is doing well. Mr. Courtright, any
14 motions or comments?
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: I, too, would
16 like to congratulate John and his family.
17 If Mr. DiBileo wants to jump in on
18 this, because he said he was going to speak about it on
19 his time, the painting of the lines, coincidentally
20 somebody brought it up, I got three calls this week,
21 and as I came into Council this morning, there was a
22 message there for me.
23 And most of the calls I am getting
24 are people saying that school is going back, and we
25 don't have the lines painted out in front of the
0085
01 schools, and that is true, but we've been asking for
02 quite a while, and Jay snuck out, so I am going to ask
03 Kay, it's more than just around the schools, the bulk
04 of the lines in the city aren't painted.
05 And I asked before if we could get
06 some kind of a schedule, and they told me it was
07 difficult because of the weather, and I think we've had
08 probably some of the best weather we've ever had in the
09 history of this city this summer, so maybe they can
10 give me a schedule.
11 There's just a tremendous amount
12 of lines that need to be painted, and could I get a
13 schedule on when that's going to get done. Obviously
14 the school would be the priority. I don't know if
15 Mr. DiBileo wanted to comment on that or not.
16 MR. DIBILEO: Yeah. You know, if
17 you don't mind, I think I will comment on that as soon
18 as it's my turn to speak.
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right. And
20 as they were -- when I say they, I am talking about the
21 people that call me about the painting of the lines,
22 they're asking about the pothole machine, and I'll tell
23 you what, the last time I asked about the pothole
24 machine I, think I was told it was broken, and I don't
25 know what the status is right now.
0086
01 Somebody told me it's down at the
02 DPW garage. Jay, maybe we can just ask if it's broken,
03 can we get it fixed and start using it; if it's not
04 broken, why aren't we using it, because I think we paid
05 a considerable amount of money for that machine.
06 MR. SAUNDERS: Yeah. I talked to
07 George Parker personally about that, he said it was
08 being fixed. That was two months ago. I would imagine
09 it's fixed by now.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: Right. So in two
11 months, hopefully they got it fixed and we'll start
12 using it.
13 Very important issue, 9/11 is
14 coming up, and I'm sure there are ceremonies all over
15 the city and the county, but I was asked to read this,
16 and this particular one I participated in, and I hope I
17 am going to be able to make it to this one this year,
18 because I kind of committed myself to another one, but
19 I am going to try to go to all of them that I could,
20 and if you'd just afford me the chance to read this,
21 I'd appreciate it.
22 It says, 9/11 Memorial Service.
23 In honor and gratitude to all those who give and have
24 given unselfishly to serve others and their country,
25 let us never forget.
0087
01 Come join us on Sunday,
02 September 11 for a procession followed by a service in
03 the Basilica and a chicken dinner to honor these brave
04 men and women.
05 We will meet at St. Ann's School,
06 which is on St. Ann's Street in West Scranton, to get
07 ready to process to the Basilica at 1:30 p.m.
08 Please call St. Ann's at 342-5166,
09 that's 342-5166, with a number that will be attending
10 to order the dinners. And chicken dinners are $9 for
11 adults and $5 for children, and the proceeds go to our
12 local fire and law enforcement.
13 And, again, I had been to this one
14 before, very well run. I believe Father Paul again
15 heading it up, I'm not quite sure, he's a great guy.
16 Another thing dropped off, I am
17 getting a lot of calls this week and a lot of stuff
18 dropped off to me, and I think this is worth reading, I
19 know at our last meeting we spoke about the gang fight
20 back at Lackawanna Little League, and evidently all the
21 publicity over the gang fight threw a shadow over
22 something good that happened down at Lackawanna Little
23 League, and this was dropped off to me handwritten.
24 There's a picture of -- it says,
25 West Scranton Pitcher Josh Schroeder Delivers A Pitch
0088
01 Against Abington National In The City-County League
02 Tournament, and other parts here say, West Wins
03 City-County Title, so the West Side people did well.
04 And if I could just read what was
05 written to me and given to me, This achievement for the
06 good of the city was overlooked because of the gang
07 fight at Lackawanna Little League Carnival, which
08 happened the same night.
09 From April to August, eleven boys,
10 two girls, practiced and played their hearts out, not
11 just for themselves, but for their parents, coaches and
12 the West Side Little League, and in the end, for the
13 City of Scranton.
14 It was the hottest summer on
15 record, and they stayed focused. He puts a little
16 adjective there I'm not going to use. I'm proud of
17 these kids.
18 And that came from the assistant
19 coach Jim Snyder, and I told him that I would read
20 this, and I think it's well deserved.
21 Now, Mr. Saunders, it was brought
22 up to me a couple of weeks ago, and I think I asked
23 you, I don't know if we got anywhere, there had been a
24 company, and the name escapes me, they gave us a
25 rundown on what it would cost to change the heating
0089
01 valves and whatnot in City Hall and next door at the
02 fire department, and I asked you at the time did they
03 give us what the cost would be to replace the entire
04 system and what the savings would be, I threw out my
05 version of it, so if you can check that out for me, I'd
06 appreciate it. All right?
07 MR. SAUNDERS: Johnson Controls is
08 the company.
09 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah. I'm sorry.
10 I tossed it. A woman in West Scranton asked me, Oh,
11 almost a year ago, and I asked this question, now it
12 was brought up to me again by a gentleman that drives
13 for a local paving company in this area, he drives all
14 around the county, and they're telling me that, you
15 know, in most towns that they go to, before school, and
16 this woman was requesting it near West Scranton High
17 School, that there's signs that flash that say,
18 Slow School Zone, maybe 15 miles an hour or whatever
19 the case may be, and I believe the answer that I had
20 gotten from Mr. Parker, Jay, at the time was that it
21 was extremely expensive to do so.
22 So, when the gentleman asked me
23 last week about it, I said I think the answer that I
24 got from Mr. Parker was the cost, and then he proceeded
25 to ask me, well, then how do all these other towns do
0090
01 this? And I said, I don't know.
02 So, if we can in fact ask
03 Mr. Parker if it is the cost, and how do the other
04 towns -- are they able to do it?
05 Maybe they're state roads, I don't
06 know, and maybe the state is paying for them, I'm not
07 sure, but I think is -- I know the state plows
08 Luzerne Street, so I don't know if that's considered a
09 state road.
10 MR. POCIUS: It is. It's a state
11 road from Main Avenue up through Dalton Street to
12 Keyser Avenue. It's a city street. It's a K Route,
13 though, because we've got to pave with K Route funds,
14 from Main Avenue, if you want to say East, down to
15 Railroad.
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: Right. So, maybe
17 you can, you know, and if it's too in-depth and you can
18 give it to me and me to understand it, tell him to call
19 me directly there, huh?
20 MR. SAUNDERS: I think I can
21 handle that one.
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: You can handle
23 it? All right. And then I don't know if we got an
24 answer, I believe it was Mrs. Krake asked last week do
25 we have CommD officers at one particular day working at
0091
01 Nay Aug Park, and I didn't see anything in the mail, so
02 I assume you didn't get an answer on that yet?
03 MR. SAUNDERS: No. You know what,
04 I talked to Chief Elliot in the hallway in passing, he
05 said that the answer to that question was that there
06 was no officers at Nay Aug that were CommD officers, or
07 he would be very surprised by that. He has not put
08 that in writing yet. I will call him and see if --
09 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right. But
10 if --
11 MR. SAUNDERS: He may have
12 thought, in his defense here, that that answer was good
13 enough.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: That's fine. If
15 he just gave it verbally, I don't have a problem with
16 that. Did he say to you that it would be legal or
17 illegal to have police officers there?
18 MR. SAUNDERS: Yeah, he said that
19 would be illegal.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right. Okay.
21 Good enough. If he says they weren't there, I'll take
22 his word for it.
23 August meetings, you know, I don't
24 read the paper a lot, sorry, Lynn, because by the time
25 I get an opportunity to read the paper, everybody calls
0092
01 me and tells me what's in it, that's why I don't read
02 it. My phone is ringing eight, nine o'clock in
03 morning.
04 I just want to state why I wanted
05 to come here in August. Mr. DiBileo asked me if I
06 would be interested in coming to discuss with the
07 Hilton, you know, that we had a crisis situation with
08 the Hilton, and I believe it was a crisis, and I would
09 have liked to have the month of August off, I'm sure
10 everybody would have, and that was my sole reason for
11 saying yes.
12 And for me personally it was worth
13 coming, because the one meeting I got to meet with
14 Spectrum and with Mr. Greco and our attorneys, and I
15 learned an awful lot.
16 So, for me personally, that was my
17 reason for being willing to come here in August.
18 Nothing other than that. And think what you might,
19 that's up to you.
20 One last thing, and I brought that
21 up about the paper, and this isn't my paper, by the
22 way, this is Jay's, I got a call on this this morning
23 and I got a letter on this, I don't know how they got
24 it to me so fast, somebody must have just handwrote it
25 and tossed it in my mail slot, this is just a -- is
0093
01 this today's paper -- yeah, this is the front page of
02 today's paper, and just briefly it says, Adrian
03 Riviera, 12 years old of Scranton swims with his
04 brother Andrew, 14, in Roaring Brook Creek, and so the
05 one call and the one letter is saying to me, you know,
06 if we didn't charge at the pools, would these kids be
07 swimming in this creek?
08 And I don't know if that's true or
09 not. I don't know is that the reason that these
10 children are in the creek swimming.
11 Well, whether it is or not, all
12 right, if the Times was able to get this on the front
13 page, I think we need to have the police patrol this
14 creek, because we certainly don't want these kids
15 swimming in there. Somebody can get killed.
16 So, whether it's a direct result
17 of us charging for our pools or not, that's up to
18 everybody to decide for themselves, but I would ask
19 that we -- I mean, here is a city, I believe it's a
20 city -- is this a city piece of equipment here? Yeah,
21 it's a Department of Public Works piece of equipment
22 here, so the city is aware that there's kids in there.
23 I would ask that we send somebody down there
24 periodically and check and hopefully this won't happen
25 again.
0094
01 And one more thing, I don't know
02 if this is appropriate to bring up or not, and
03 Mr. Walsh, maybe you can tell me it's not, if it's not.
04 MR. WALSH: I'm already in trouble
05 tonight, this evening.
06 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah, well. So,
07 a little more won't hurt you, right? A gentleman came
08 to the podium and said he didn't feel it was right that
09 his place of business where he works be brought up, and
10 I, too, I mean, if you need to bring up about us up
11 here, we chose to be here, and that's fine, we're fair
12 game, I guess, but I don't know that we want to bring
13 up any speakers' place of employment, because possibly,
14 you know, we will be getting letters or phone calls.
15 MR. WALSH: I would agree with
16 that.
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: Place of
18 employment, maybe your employer wouldn't care for you
19 coming here, I don't know. I'm sure he has permission,
20 he was on his lunch or whatever, but I
21 just -- I don't know that we want to bring up any
22 speakers' place of employment, and I don't even know --
23 does the speaker have to say their address when they
24 come to the podium, is that mandatory? Can we check
25 into that, because -- they do have to say their
0095
01 address?
02 MR. SAUNDERS: Well, in the
03 Council rules it says that, you know, city residents
04 are to speak at Council meetings, so I think the reason
05 for that is just proof of city residency.
06 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay. All right.
07 I'm just trying to save some people some aggravation,
08 if I could.
09 MR. POCIUS: We used to make them
10 say Scranton resident or taxpayer. Really it ahs been
11 upheld in the courts that whoever has standing, and
12 Mark can find it, if I live in Jessup but I own -- I
13 pay taxes on a properties I own, you have standing
14 because you pay city real estate taxes.
15 MR. WALSH: Yeah, I would agree
16 with that.
17 MR. POCIUS: That has been upheld,
18 Mark. So, usually they just say city resident or
19 taxpayer is fine.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: Well, would it be
21 possible to see exactly what information is necessary
22 for them to give out, because maybe they don't want to
23 give their residence, for whatever reason, you know.
24 MR. WALSH: It was never a big
25 problems, because the meetings were done in smaller
0096
01 sessions, in the sense it wasn't on TV for everybody to
02 hear the address, but I think it would be perfectly
03 proper for the person to come up and give Kay the
04 address, and not everybody in the viewing audience
05 would hear the address and simply state that they're a
06 Scranton resident or a taxpayer.
07 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right. Well,
08 if you can verify that, I'd appreciate that, for
09 everybody, not just for that individual that came, but
10 for everyone.
11 MR. WALSH: I'd be happy to.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: And I guess
13 that's about enough, huh, Mr. President? Thank you.
14 MR. DIBILEO: Okay. Thank you,
15 Mr. Courtright. And your one comment I totally agree
16 with regarding bringing up people's place of
17 employment.
18 I guess I can say that that one
19 slipped by me. It wasn't done negatively, it was kind
20 of just a by the way, but you're right, I should have
21 probably stopped the speaker from mentioning the one
22 other speaker's place of employment, and I'll try to do
23 that in the future.
24 I have said that, you know, the
25 main reason for me asking if City Council not take its
0097
01 traditional break from August and from work in August
02 is mainly for the Hilton Hotel And Conference Center
03 situation, and the fact that Spectrum, the first
04 mortgagee, set a foreclosure date of September 26, and
05 something absolutely had to be done prior to that in
06 order to avoid losing millions of dollars as a result.
07 And I just want to report to City
08 Council today that on Tuesday, I met with
09 representatives from Spectrum regarding the Hilton, and
10 the mayor was there with his lawyer, Carl Greco,
11 Spectrum was there with three lawyers, I was there.
12 Only two of us, actually two City Council members could
13 be present without it being advertised, that the
14 meeting was going to take place, so I thought the
15 appropriate City Councilperson to invite would be
16 Finance Chairman Janet Evans.
17 Janet at the last minute something
18 important came up and she was not able to make the
19 meeting, and I did not have an opportunity to invite
20 anyone else, so I apologize for that.
21 But Mark Walsh was there, who is
22 our lawyer, and it was a good meeting. We are
23 attempting to avoid the loss of those millions of
24 dollars before September 26.
25 The meeting was positive. We're
0098
01 working in cooperation with the administration,
02 absolutely putting politics aside, and legislation was
03 possible for today, but we've decided, which would have
04 been another reason to be meeting in August, but it was
05 decided that next week, September 1, would be our first
06 meeting where we're actually going to be possibly
07 entertaining legislation brought to us from the
08 administration regarding the Hilton and trying to avoid
09 losing that money.
10 As a lot of people know, parking
11 is an issue. We're not going to go into detail
12 regarding that, but one common question that I get from
13 members of the -- within the community who are
14 concerned, you know, about the money that's at risk or
15 at stake is they -- people have said to me a few times
16 now, Well, why weren't one of the two garages
17 constructed or repaired so that the Hilton could have
18 the number of spaces that it was promised in the
19 agreement back in 2002?
20 And to be honestly, I'm not
21 exactly certain what the answer to that question is, so
22 as we're going to be entertaining legislation possibly
23 next week, I think it would be appropriate for either
24 the mayor or somebody within the administration or the
25 Parking Authority come and explain to City Council
0099
01 exactly why one of the two parking garages were not
02 available for parking that the Hilton needed to help it
03 be successful, and I say that not to point any fingers,
04 but so that we exactly know what that situation is, and
05 the public knows what that situation is.
06 So, I'm going to ask that we
07 possibly request that. I'm not going to make a motion,
08 but we'll just request if that's possible for somebody
09 to explain that to us.
10 MR. SAUNDERS: Councilman DiBileo,
11 you're asking for the mayor and/or --
12 MR. DIBILEO: Yeah, and/or somebody
13 within his administration or a Parking Authority
14 person.
15 MR. SAUNDERS: Okay.
16 MR. DIBILEO: But this evening we
17 do not have legislation on our agenda. Actually the
18 mayor has said in the past that City Council cannot
19 draft legislation, that's still up in the air, but we
20 did not receive any legislation from the administration
21 for today's meeting, as we haven't in the past couple
22 of weeks.
23 I'd find it very hard to believe
24 there's not legislation pending that could have been on
25 our agenda, but I'm sure it will be there next week,
0100
01 and we will get to it.
02 Actually Mr. McTiernan's motion
03 today calls for City Council to write legislation, and
04 that possibly is another reason not to consider it
05 today. I'm not certain what the answer is, I think
06 that we can write legislation.
07 But let me say this on another
08 topic, Providence Square construction is coming along
09 beautifully. When it's finished, it's going to be a
10 great thing for North Scranton. It's looking really
11 good.
12 And there's been some grumblings
13 over who is getting credit for the construction up
14 there being triggered by signage that you see around
15 Providence Square in the immediate vicinity.
16 I don't think that who gets the
17 credit is what's really important, that the fact that
18 it's being done, the work is being done, is the
19 important thing and would gets the credit is far down
20 the list, but, you know, if there has to be signs in
21 the neighborhood, I think that every taxpayers' name
22 should be on those signs, because every taxpayer is
23 paying for that work that's being done; however, for
24 the record, you know, as long as credit appears to be
25 somewhat of an issue on whoever put the signs up there,
0101
01 I would like to just say that there are a couple of
02 people, besides every taxpayer, that probably should be
03 on that sign that's around town, and I'd like to say
04 City Councilman Kevin Murphy should be on that sign.
05 Kevin Murphy had a big part to
06 play in the construction of Providence Square, and I
07 think if recognition has to be given where it's
08 deserved, Kevin Murphy; North Scranton Neighborhood
09 Association activist Dr. Barry Minora, a huge part in
10 the Providence Square project, Barry Minora;
11 Frank Naughton, a huge part in it, and Dick Laske, who
12 was one of our speakers today, Dick Laske had a huge
13 part coming from the neighborhood association, as did
14 really everyone within that neighborhood association.
15 And you can't forget former
16 Mayor Jimmy Connors, where it all really started
17 between Jimmy Connors and Kevin Murphy. Those two
18 people got together and said, Let's try to make this
19 thing happen. And guess what? It's happening finally.
20 And their name should be up there, too. So, just for
21 the record, I wanted to say that.
22 I have something else, Oh, I met
23 with residents of Mulberry Towers yesterday, and in our
24 conversations they came up with a couple of concerns,
25 and I just wanted to pass them along to let them know
0102
01 that we're listening.
02 They who love to see at least a
03 small grocery store to be somewhat downtown.
04 Fred Budzinski is a regular speaker here, and he talks
05 about it all the time, and he lives in downtown, how
06 there's no grocery store in downtown, and I'd love to
07 see Gerrity's Market open up a grocery store in town,
08 if they could. That would be terrific.
09 They'd like to see benches at the
10 bus stops, that's something else that has been brought
11 up at the podium, benches at the bus stops. I'm not
12 sure if the city and county can work together on that,
13 if that's a Colts issue, or if we can help them with
14 benches. I'd like to see us do that.
15 They're concerned about police
16 protection. They read the newspapers and they see that
17 there are a lot of incidents of violence, and that
18 they'd like to see police protection over there.
19 And lastly, and Mr. Courtright
20 brought it up, and that's why I wanted to wait, the
21 intersection right here in front of City Hall and in
22 front of the corner at Mulberry Towers is the paint is
23 on the crosswalks are very faded, and when they cross
24 the street from their side of the street over to this
25 side across Mulberry Street, they're very concerned
0103
01 about people that are turning right on red, because
02 people coming down North Washington Avenue are looking
03 to their left to make sure that no one is coming so
04 they can turn to the right, and this is where senior
05 citizens from Mulberry Towers are crossing often on
06 their right, and oftentimes that's a blind spot for
07 people. They really have to look both ways.
08 So, I don't know what can be done
09 about that, besides the lines being repainted, along
10 with many other areas, but there is a right turn on red
11 is allowed.
12 I don't know if that is a good
13 spot for it, and I wonder if we can have that looked at
14 so that possibly no right turn on red is allowed to
15 protect the people living in Mulberry Towers who cross
16 that side of the street. If we can look into that,
17 Mr. Saunders, please. Yeah, sure.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: Jay, I'm not
19 quite sure who is in charge of taking care of the
20 painting there, but I'm pretty sure that not too long
21 ago they just painted this crosswalk here. I'm almost
22 positive I saw them on a Sunday morning on overtime
23 doing it.
24 MR. SAUNDERS: Yeah, they did.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: So, maybe we need
0104
01 to get a better quality paint of whatever, because that
02 doesn't appear to have last very long, so, you know.
03 Is it more expensive or what?
04 That just did not last very long, in my opinion. So,
05 whoever that is that takes care of it, can we ask them,
06 is there some kind of a better quality? I believe it's
07 paint they're putting down, not the tape, correct?
08 MR. SAUNDERS: Yeah. I'll talk to
09 Pat McMullen about that.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: Even on Cabrini
11 Avenue I've seen it wearing away already, and that was
12 very recently that had been done, so if they can just
13 help me out with that, I'd appreciate it.
14 MR. DIBILEO: Thanks. And just to
15 find out, Mr. Saunders, if we can eliminate the right
16 turn on red at that particular red light.
17 MR. SAUNDERS: Okay.
18 MR. DIBILEO: And just two more
19 quick things, the Nativity Church Picnic is taking
20 place starting this evening, Thursday, Friday and
21 Saturday evenings, Nativity Church Picnic in South
22 Scranton. If you can get out there, they can use your
23 support.
24 And last thing, when
25 Mr. Courtright held up that newspaper, I noticed right
0105
01 underneath the picture of the young boys swimming in
02 Roaring Brook that there's a headline that says, Women
03 likely to dominate Council, and it looks pretty certain
04 that as of January 1 or January 5 or something like
05 that, when the new Council takes over, there's going to
06 be three women up here, and I think that that's
07 terrific.
08 I want to congratulate women in
09 general for that achievement, I think it's going to be
10 super. I'm not going to be here with them, but I'd
11 love to work with them after that point in time. And
12 that's all I have under fifth order.
13 MR. WALSH: Fifth order. There is
14 no fifth order business at this time. Sixth order,
15 there is no order Sixth business at this time. Seventh
16 order, there is no seventh order business at this time.
17 MR. DIBILEO: Seeing no further
18 business on the agenda, I'll entertain a motion we
19 adjourn.
20 MR. POCIUS: So moved.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: Seconded.
22 MR. DIBILEO: We're adjourned.
23
24 (HEARING WAS ADJOURNED.)
25
0106
01 C E R T I F I C A T E
01
02
02 I hereby certify that the proceedings and
03 evidence are contained fully and accurately in the
03 notes taken by me on the hearing of the above cause and
04 that this copy is a correct transcript of the same to
04 the best of my ability.
05
05
06
06
07
07 ______________________________
08 LISA M. GRAFF, RPR
08 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER
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