1 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING
6 Thursday, September 21, 2006
10 6:30 p.m.
14 Council Chambers
15 Scranton City Hall
16 340 North Washington Avenue
17 Scranton, Pennsylvania
23 Lisa M. Graff, RMR
24 Court Reporter
1 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:
4 MS. JUDY GATELLI, COUNCIL PRESIDENT
6 MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT, VICE-PRESIDENT
8 MS. JANET EVANS
10 MS. SHERRY NEALON FANUCCI
12 MR. ROBERT McTIERNAN
14 MR. AMIL MINORA, ESQUIRE, SOLICITOR
16 MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK
18 MS. SUE MAGNOTTA, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
1 MS. GATELLI: Okay. Please stand for
2 the Pledge Of Allegiance. Please remain standing for a
3 moment of reflection. Roll call.
4 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
5 MS. EVANS: Here.
6 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Fanucci.
7 MS. FANUCCI: Here.
8 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McTiernan.
9 MR. MCTIERNAN: Here.
10 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: Here.
12 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
13 MS. GATELLI: Here. Mrs. Garvey.
14 MS. GARVEY: 3-A, MINUTES OF THE ZONING
15 BOARD HEARING MEETING HELD ON SEPTEMBER 13, 2006.
16 MS. GATELLI: Are there any comments?
17 If not, received and filed.
18 MS. GARVEY: 3-B, CONTROLLER'S REPORT
19 FOR THE MONTH ENDING AUGUST 31, 2006.
20 MS. GATELLI: Are there any comments?
21 If not, received and filed.
22 MS. GARVEY: And for clerk's notes,
23 Mrs. Evans, I did speak to Mr. Seitzinger regarding
24 your request about the leaf pickup, if and when that
25 takes place, being that the bags will be set out and
1 the garbage isn't supposed to be put out prior to --
2 like 24 hours prior to your pickup, not to confuse the
3 two, will be cited or whatever, he said, no, that he
4 would take special precautions to make sure that no one
5 is cited because there were leaves put out. Only if
6 it's garbage.
7 MS. EVANS: Thank you, Kay.
8 MS. GARVEY: And the next one was
9 Mr. Parker's response regarding request for speed limit
10 or school signs on Wyoming Avenue in the block of
11 Scranton Prep, Mr. Parker said that Wyoming Avenue is a
12 state highway from Green Ridge Street to Spruce Street.
13 He is sure that PennDOT will approve any of those
14 several types of school zone signing. Scranton Prep
15 would need to decide if they are willing to pay for the
16 signs, the lights, pavement markings, et cetera.
17 They would then be required to complete
18 an application to PennDOT and submit detailed
19 construction plans, including all electrical details.
20 They would also have to sign an agreement to pay for am
21 and perpetual maintenance of the system.
22 MS. EVANS: Thank you. I don't think,
23 though, they were envisioning any type of electric
24 signage. I think it was more, you know, your typical
25 slow school or school children as the city posts. So,
1 I really don't they'll have to incur such expense.
2 MS. GARVEY: Okay. That's all I have.
3 MS. GATELLI: I just have a few
4 announcements. This Sunday evening the 24th at The
5 Icebox, there will be free family skating from six to
6 7:30. It's sponsored by The Salvation Army, and it was
7 made possible by a grant from the Scranton Area
8 Foundation and Tomorrow's Leaders Today.
9 St. Anthony's Church in North Scranton
10 at 116 Theodore Street is having their homemade pasta
11 and meatball dinner and they asked this to be
12 announced. October 2, three to seven is takeouts, and
13 the sit down dinner is Wednesday, October 4 and
14 Thursday, October 5 from five to eight.
15 On October 1 from noon to four at the
16 Holy Family Church on East Mountain they will have
17 their roast beef dinner.
18 MS. EVANS: When is that?
19 MS. GATELLI: October 1. Yeah, it is
20 the best. Another very important one is for a very
21 special person, her name is Dee Albright. She has been
22 a secretary at Kennedy School for many, many years and
23 she has been stricken with an illness, and they are
24 having a fundraiser for her on October the 8th from six
25 to nine at Saint Joseph's Hall in Minooka. That's on
1 the corner of Davis Street and Cedar Avenue.
2 You probably know her, Janet, and maybe
3 you know her, Bob, Dee Albright, the secretary at
4 Kennedy School. So, they're having a fundraiser for
5 her medical expenses.
6 I went to the planning commission
7 meeting this week, and Tom Preambo gave me a copy of an
8 ordinance, I'll give it to Attorney Minora, for a
9 dangerous animal ordinance.
10 He has studied it and he has come up
11 with an ordinance that he is giving to the mayor to
12 present to City Council, and he did all the research,
13 and he's really to be commended, Tom Preambo. He's the
14 president of the Plot Neighborhood Association, also.
15 So, if anyone wants a copy, and we can give this to
16 Attorney Minora.
17 I spoke with Dan Hubbard, maybe some of
18 you have seen him here, his house got flooded in the
19 lower Green Ridge, and he happens to be an avid
20 skateboarder, so he has volunteered to chair the
21 committee for the skateboard park.
22 So, he will be going to the meetings
23 with the Junior Council and he will be the adult in
24 charge of that particular committee, so I'm very happy
25 that he has agreed to do that. He himself is a skater,
1 so he was very, very interested.
2 I got a lot of calls this week, mostly
3 on the $44 million loan, but a close second was the
4 West Nile Virus. Probably because I'm from South Side,
5 I got a lot of calls about people that live in that
6 particular neighborhood with the West Nile Virus.
7 So, I went Online, and if you need any
8 information, you can go to www.westnile.state.pa.us. I
9 will leave this with Mrs. Garvey, and if anyone didn't
10 hear it in its entirety, you can call her.
11 And there also is a county coordinator
12 for the West Nile Virus, his name is Michael Chisdock,
13 and he can be reached at 963-6850. And you can find
14 out just about anything on the website about the West
15 Nile Virus.
16 I have -- Attorney Minora, I don't know
17 if you've completed the ordinance for the amusement
18 tax, but I downloaded this from the City of Pittsburgh.
19 MR. MINORA: I spoke to Attorney
20 Farrell, and we are going to put together an amusement
21 tax that would -- they're usually all passed at the
22 same time in January. I suppose we can pass it now and
23 make it effective then, but he and I will be working on
24 that. I've spoken to him already.
25 MS. GATELLI: All right. Maybe this,
1 you know, you can take a Glance at this.
2 MR. MINORA: Be glad to take a look at
4 MS. GATELLI: It's from Pittsburgh. On
5 Saturday evening in South Scranton there was a
6 saturation patrol. There were 55 traffic citations
7 issued, 11 warrants were served, 23 non-traffic
8 violations, which included drunkenness, disorderly
9 conduct, things of that nature, five DUIs, two drug
10 arrests, and 17 property owners were cited for garbage
11 on their property.
12 So, I was very pleased about that.
13 They are going to happen in other neighborhoods, and
14 that is a good thing. I think they should happen more
15 frequently, to be honest with you.
16 And the last thing I have is a reminder
17 that next week's meeting is at West Scranton High
18 School at 6:30, and it would be easier if you use the
19 12th Street entrance, 12th Street, and that's West
20 Scranton High School, September 28 at 6:30. Thank you
21 very much. The first speaker is Andy Sbaraglia.
22 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia, citizen
23 of Scranton. Fellow Scrantonians, as you come to
24 realize it, we are in deep financial problems.
25 Now, people have been coming to you for
1 four years telling you, of course, you weren't there,
2 there's been a whole new Council since four years ago
3 when this mayor took office.
4 This mayor has taken money that could
5 have reduced our debt and poured it into Central City
6 and he told you many, many times he's committed to
7 revival of Central City, even if it puts all of us in
8 jeopardy of financial ruin.
9 He has poured money into Central City,
10 he has kept things from you. Do you know that they're
11 suing Whistle's for non-payment of their loan,
12 Whistle's. Now, if Whistle's can't make it, how could
13 any of these other loans that you've pushed through
14 make it?
15 You didn't even tell me. I asked you
16 one time a long time ago when the steam and heat
17 company went belly up, how much did it cost the city?
18 You looked at me funny. I know we lent them money,
19 because I remember when you lent them money when they
20 went into Tech to use the old steam heat plant there.
21 Now, how much are we on the hook for
22 there? When you looked at the CommD funds, this mayor
23 was paying off Philadelphia, HUD, I guess, for the
25 Did he tell you that they were in
1 arrears for years because they couldn't make it? No,
2 he didn't tell you. But you went away and gave this
3 guy everything.
4 Now, there was a flim-flam plan. I'm
5 going to call it a flim-flam plan because it don't make
6 any more sense. These original -- these people that
7 owned the hotel went to the county and said they wanted
8 to borrow money. Okay. County arranged for all of
9 that. But they have one little thing, they wouldn't --
10 HUD said, well, we don't like -- the first year
11 non-profit, we didn't like that idea.
12 But second of all, they came before you
13 and said, Well, let's give you the beds, we want to own
14 this whole thing out, we'll give you the beds. But
15 then after you went through with that deal, they
16 reneged with the county. They never took that money.
17 That's why we lost the $5 million. You were
18 flim-flamed. You've been flim-flamed since you've been
19 sitting up there.
20 You've got to look into everything in
21 depth. You can't go by what's on the surface. You've
22 got to really dig into these things. That's why we're
23 in financial.
24 The original Icebox deal was for
25 198 years for a dollar a year. This is what the mayor
1 wanted. This is what he submitted to Council. Council
2 rejected that, and they were a Council that went along
3 with the mayor 90 percent of whatever he stuck in front
4 of them, but even they couldn't take it, so they
5 changed it a little.
6 They went to 99 years for a dollar a
7 year, which you found out when you read the contract.
8 You never got the $600,000, because he doesn't have to
9 pay for maybe another 97 more years.
10 But in turn, these are the deals that
11 went through. These are the started us down. When the
12 man got elected, he decided Connors was in there a lot,
13 he had a lot of Connors people on the payroll. How did
14 he get rid of them? You offer a buyout plan, so he
15 offered a buyout plan. We lose 100 employees, we get
16 100 new employees.
17 Now we got 100 old employees and we got
18 100 new employees. Now he's crying that we're
19 skyrocket with our pensions, we're skyrocketing with
20 our medical. This is what he done.
21 This mayor is responsible for all the
22 problems, plus he even put us in jeopardy with his deal
23 with the pension plan. Now there's been a hearing down
24 in Harrisburg we lost.
25 Was there any damages done when they
1 went through and fired certain administrators? Are we
2 going to be sued by the employees again, which is
3 possible. If they had damages, they have a right to
4 recoup them. These are all the things this mayor has
5 done, when all he had to do is go down and shake their
7 Connors shook their hands. This man
8 doesn't like to shake hands. For some reason, I don't
9 know what it is, but he really don't want to go down
10 and shake hands, really meet face to face and go head
11 to head. He went head to head here. Why can't he go
12 head to head with the people that work for him? I
13 thank you.
14 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Mr.
16 MR. JACKOWITZ: Any intelligent person
17 knows the best way to solve a deficit is to grow the
18 economy, not run up taxes.
19 Bill Jackowitz, South Scranton
20 resident, taxpayer, retired United States Air Force,
21 opinions, observation and factual information.
22 Residents of the City of Scranton are
23 enduring the worse period of city government in the
24 history of the City of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
25 Judge rules against City of Scranton in
1 arbitration case. Mayor Doherty's administration did
2 not bargain in good faith with the city firefighters
3 union. What a surprise, 21 September '06.
4 $24 million to balance the budget for
5 four years, $9.5 million to pay off old debt, $10
6 million for capital improvements, loan insurance and
7 other expenses. What other expenses?
8 Last year at this time the citizens
9 were being told not to take the bait and re-elect Mayor
10 Doherty. 14,000 citizens did not take the bait and
11 Mayor Doherty was re-elected.
12 Now is the time for Mayor Doherty and
13 his handpicked administrators to stand behind their
14 campaign promises and visions and restore the pride
15 back to Scranton, Pennsylvania.
16 One year ago, according to the mayor
17 and his accountants, Scranton had no financial
18 problems. What has happened in the past year? My
19 opinion, the truth has finally started to surface.
20 Actual and real numbers are being used, not visionary
22 Pennsylvania Economy League, money woes
23 could linger until 2012. PEL lingering on for
24 14 years. Another surprise, Legion of Doom speakers
25 have spoken in public about the serious conditions for
1 years, only to be ignored by rubber stamped City
2 Councils, 2006 Council included.
3 Last week Mr. Cross, Mr. Miller and
4 Mrs. Miller sat silent when confronted with difficult
5 questions about Scranton's distressed city status.
6 Mrs. Miller had absolutely nothing to
7 offer. Where have they been for 14 years, today, 21
8 September 2006?
9 Mr. Cross has all the answers, plus
10 solutions, blame City Council, raise the property
11 taxes, the state's tax hike would ease the financial
12 strain on property owners at least a little. Well,
13 thank you, Mr. Cross.
14 Renters, that sucking noise you hear is
15 your rent going up when taxes increase. City Council,
16 do not take the bait. Restore the pride back to the
17 citizens of Scranton, Pennsylvania, make Mayor Doherty,
18 the businessman, work to find a way out of this
19 financial mess that he and his administrators created.
20 The citizens of Scranton, Pennsylvania
21 have suffered long enough. I always thought Mayor
22 Doherty was our mayor. He told us last week he's a
24 Examples, since at least 1930 until
25 present 2006, highest unemployment rates than the
1 national average, 23 percent poverty rate in Scranton,
2 Pennsylvania 2006, declining population, family
3 separations, highest wage tax in the area, third
4 highest in the state, individual per capita earnings
5 below national average, earning power at least 1.51 an
6 hour below comparable metro areas.
7 Average family income and individual
8 per capita income below national average, considerably
9 below. Public housing projects not up to safety
10 standards. Families being allowed to reside in unsafe
11 public housing. Streets unpaved, blighted properties
12 throughout the city, including the gateway to Scranton,
13 the 500-block of Moosic Street. It's a mess.
14 Crime on the rise, more guns on the
15 street. City Council, you will be blamed either way.
16 So my hope is that your vote would be the best vote for
17 the majority of property owners and taxpayers of
18 Scranton, Pennsylvania.
19 Rubber stamp city councils are
20 partially to blame for this distressful situation the
21 hardworking citizens of Scranton, Pennsylvania find
22 themselves in. You can only dig a hole so deep, then
23 you must stop.
24 City Council, the shovels are in your
25 hands. Stop the digging. Scranton property owners,
1 taxpayers, let your voices and faces be seen and heard.
2 Help City Council make the correct choice. Appear at
3 City Council meetings, the taxpayers association
4 meetings, stand up and be counted, otherwise sit down
5 and pay the taxes and visit your children and
6 grandchildren wherever they are living, if you can
7 afford the trip. It's the economy, stupid.
8 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Mr. Bolus.
9 MR. BOLUS: Good evening, Council. Bob
10 Bolus, Scranton. It was nice to see at least you
11 tabled the $44 million tonight to gather more
13 As you can see, there were a lot of
14 issues for the reasoning behind tabling this. This is
15 not a well thought-out plan. In fact, I think it's a
16 plan to drive the city to its destruction.
17 You cannot borrow to get out of debt.
18 You must make cuts, plain and simple. Major
19 corporations with billions of dollars are cutting. And
20 why are they cutting? Because they have no
21 alternative. Scranton needs to cut.
22 Is the revival of this city important,
23 absolutely, but not at the expense of destroying the
24 citizens of this city where they can never get out of
1 Remember, you have the school district
2 that's going to be looking for raises, you're going to
3 have the county hitting us with another assessment and
4 the people in the city, the city people, get hit three
5 times, while others in the county only get what they
6 have in their respective areas. We pay the price. You
7 cannot bury the city in debt. It's already buried.
8 Businesses are closing. They can't pay
9 their debt, they can't pay their loans back. Look at
10 all the forgiveness of millions of dollars throughout
11 this city in loans already from the hotels, from the
12 former Sabia building, and on and on and on, the
13 Holiday Manor.
14 And we can talk about all the money
15 that's been lost. You can't give somebody that
16 continuously loses money like forgiving debt to people
17 who can't pay it back and then move out of here and put
18 the burden on the people of the city and the elderly
19 and those trying to build a life here. You cannot do
21 I mean, it's in the millions we've
22 wasted money. You cannot sit here and hand this man
23 millions of dollars when he has not demonstrated a
24 fiscal responsibility, and that's to garnish and watch
25 and pay attention to every penny that goes on in the
1 city for the people who elect him to run this city.
2 And he's not demonstrated that.
3 We can look at The Icebox. Go down and
4 ask them what they're selling their land for now. They
5 pay us a dollar, but ask how much they want for their
6 real estate that the mayor gave away. And that's only
8 And I bring up the old golf course.
9 Look at what it cost us. Somebody's making money up
10 there right now. Well, we couldn't do it? And we were
11 profitable. And he gave it away for political reasons.
12 Where has Chris Doherty cut costs in
13 this city? Anywhere. Somebody explain it to me. Show
14 me where this man has cut a cost in this city. He
15 blames the unions. He hasn't paid them any raises, but
16 yet he's handed millions out.
17 He didn't do anything about
18 professional services, he just graciously gives away
19 millions of dollars. He wont bid it, because he knows
20 we'll get the savings. He won't get the benefit of
21 political friendships.
22 I think you have to look seriously
23 that the buck stops at Chris Doherty's desk and the
24 PEL. They haven't approved plans. They keep giving us
25 nonsense. You know, it's a bargain process here.
1 Chris Doherty knew you're not going to handle the 40
2 some million, so he started way up here knowing that
3 he's going to put you in a spot down here. He knows
4 exactly how much you're going to come up with, whether
5 it's $10 million or $20 million.
6 But the bottom line is, he's going to
7 let you determine how he gets out of trouble. You're
8 going to be responsible, this whole Council. You want
9 to have a plaque set someday and say, This Council here
10 allowed the city to go bankrupt because it's going to
11 get forced there because we don't have a plan, but we
12 better put a plan together.
13 I asked you to go after KOZs and
14 non-profits over five years. I asked you to look at
15 the leachate line coming out of the landfill. Those
16 are generating dollars. KOZs and non-profits should be
17 paying the higher rate for fire service and police
18 service because they're tax free, they don't get that
20 But nobody is doing anything about it,
21 but yet you want to sit and give this man millions and
22 millions of dollars, rather than reign him in, put him
23 in his place and let him become a thrifty individual
24 and watch our dollars and our pennies.
25 Don't let this Council be part of the
1 demise of the people in the City of Scranton. And the
2 reason people are coming here because Parade Magazine
3 said you can get a hell of a deal in Scranton,
4 Pennsylvania, and that's why they're coming here.
5 We've destroyed and allowed politicians
6 to come here and destroy our city to allow us to be
7 able to give it away, because we're buried in debt, and
8 when you're buried in debt, you're a desperate
9 individual, and Chris Doherty is desperate. Don't give
10 in to him or the sharks that are behind him that will
11 make the profit at the expense of the people. Thank
13 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Ms. Shumaker.
14 MS. SHUMAKER: Marie Shumaker. I'll
15 probably be brief tonight, because I'm still in shock
16 from last Thursday evening.
17 First off, I wish I had your patience.
18 I'm assuming that the mayor was correct in stating that
19 the audit report is under your purview and under
20 contract to you all, because nobody challenged the
21 mayor when he stated that.
22 And considering that it is now some,
23 what, five months overdue, I just -- I'm astounded that
24 you all have sat here and not asked Rossi & Rossi, why
25 aren't you producing this, and if it's a specific
1 department, why you're not hauling that department head
2 or head's butts in here and saying what's the problem
3 and getting --
4 MS. EVANS: If I might, this has been
5 an ongoing problem. Mr. Rossi wasn't hired by anyone
6 on this Council. It would have occurred during the
7 tenure of a prior Council, but, again, I don't think we
8 need to place the blame on their door step, because I
9 think typically the lowest bidder is always selected,
10 because it is bid.
11 But as I said, this problem has been
12 ongoing. In fact, I remember when Mr. Doherty was the
13 finance chair how he cried about late audits and it was
14 the fault of the administration not working with the
15 auditors, and to a great extent, since I have been
16 seated on City Council, those problems have continued
17 in that the administration oftentimes was not providing
18 the information in a timely fashion.
19 However, this year we seem to have a
20 new problem, and the burden of that problem lies with
21 the single tax office who will not provide answers to
22 significant questions that have been posed by the
24 And the single tax office, as I'm sure
25 you're aware, is an independent organization. They are
1 accountable to no one. The tax collector is
2 accountable to no one, despite the fact that the city
3 pays 50 percent of his salary and the school district
4 the other 50 percent. He does not have to answer to
5 anyone, and he's sitting on vital information that is
7 MS. SHUMAKER: Okay. Well, I thank
8 you, but I still think, you know, there are five of you
9 and one of him, and I think you can find a way to work
10 it out if you were really serious. And that's what we
11 need. I mean, times are desperate. I have said --
12 MS. EVANS: I agree. But you know what
13 may be the problem, and please excuse me for
14 interrupting --
15 MS. SHUMAKER: But you're using up my
16 five minutes. That's --
17 MS. GATELLI: Yes. You're using up her
18 five minutes.
19 MS. EVANS: Well, I wish -- well, let
20 me --
21 MS. GATELLI: Answer in motions.
22 MS. EVANS: -- ask that --
23 MS. GATELLI: Go ahead, Mrs. Shumaker.
24 MS. SHUMAKER: Okay.
25 MS. EVANS: No, I just -- this, I
1 think, has to be said.
2 MS. GATELLI: Can you say it in
3 motions, please, because she --
4 MS. SHUMAKER: In motions then, please.
5 I'm sorry. Because I do have a few more things.
6 MS. GATELLI: -- wants her five
8 MS. SHUMAKER: Because I have friends
9 that went up to Vermont last week and they said the
10 most interesting thing was they went to a rock of ages
11 granite quarry where they make the headstones, and they
12 said the people working looked like little ants because
13 they were actually two miles down getting the rock out
14 of this quarry.
15 And it was just to me a perfect analogy
16 for the City of Scranton. It just keeps going deeper
17 and deeper. And I applaud you for holding off on the
18 loan. Unless and until you address these structural
19 deficiencies, it's -- I mean, all is lost.
20 You have to -- I think you have to get
21 down and you have to pair to the bone on the operating
22 budget, you need to ask tough questions.
23 When I worked in contracts in
24 Washington, D.C. and we were over budget and we were
25 behind schedule we had, and I'm sorry, Judy, if this
1 offends you, but this is what they're called, Come to
2 Jesus meetings. And, you know, you close the door and
3 you work things out. And that's what has to happen
5 The future is at stake. Who's going to
6 want to run for mayor if you have given this mayor the
7 money to get out of the trouble that he's created
8 largely and you're not going to have any borrowing
9 power left, you're going to be on the brink of
10 bankruptcy and you still haven't solved your structural
12 As somebody again on the Doherty deceit
13 website said, it would be sort of like taking over as
14 captain of the Titanic after he hit the iceberg. And,
15 you know, it's -- this looking the other way has got to
16 stop. You guys are not ostriches. We're counting on
17 you to work this out and to start turning it around
18 before this is a ghost town. Thank you.
19 MS. GATELLI: Thank you for your
20 comments. Mr. Davis.
21 MS. EVANS: Mrs. Shumaker, while --
22 before Mr. Davis approaches, I just wanted to say that
23 I do find it very coincidental that the audit is being
24 held up at this point in time when such significant
25 borrowing is being discussed, because I believe that
1 the figures contained therein, particularly in terms of
2 long-term debt, are very telling and we wouldn't want
3 to get that out there in the news for people to know.
4 MR. DAVIS: Assalaam Alaikum. I come
5 tonight -- I want to talk to you about the change. I
6 have watched this government that we call Pennsylvania
7 government try to correct situations for all people,
8 and I keep saying to myself they keep leaving out some
9 of the people. Now we have Lynn Swann who's running
10 for governor. I think that's the most fantastic --
11 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Davis, I don't think
12 that we can talk about political candidates.
13 MR. DAVIS: Excuse me. I'm talking
14 about Lynn Swann.
15 MS. GATELLI: You cannot talk about --
16 MR. DAVIS: I cannot talk about Lynn
18 MS. GATELLI: Attorney Minora, would
19 you make a ruling, please?
20 MR. MINORA: We don't want to promote a
21 political debate. This is for city business only, and
22 that's why the president is gaveling you down on this.
23 What we'd like you to limit your conversation to or
24 your comments to is city business, if you please.
25 MR. DAVIS: Okay. In this City of
1 Scranton, 20 percent of the population, 20 percent of
2 the African American community vote, 20 percent, and
3 I'm asking them to step forward.
4 This is the first time in the history
5 of the United States, first time in the history of
6 Pennsylvania when an African American is running for
7 office of governorship, and I think that it is time for
8 us to step forward and vote.
9 MR. MINORA: Mr. Davis, you're asking
10 -- you're using this forum to ask people to vote for a
11 particular candidate. That's just exactly what I asked
12 you not to do and exactly what that forum is not for.
13 Would you please -- would you please limit your
14 comments to city business? Standing up there asking
15 for votes for a particular candidate is totally
16 improper, okay?
17 MR. DAVIS: This city has an employee
18 problem with minorities. This city has an employee
19 problem with all minorities. As a matter of fact,
20 there are no minorities working in City Hall, there are
21 no minorities working in the courthouse. Am I still on
22 -- this is not too political now, right?
23 But at the same time, this man that's
24 running, he will give the kids of our community that
25 esteem, that self esteem that they need to go on.
1 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Davis, Mr. Davis.
2 MR. DAVIS: Oh, come on. Will you
4 MS. GATELLI: Once more and you are
5 going to be asked to sit down.
6 MR. DAVIS: You know what, you've asked
7 me to leave before.
8 MS. GATELLI: Yeah? Well, I'm going to
9 ask you to leave again.
10 MR. DAVIS: It's not a problem, it's
11 not a problem.
12 MS. GATELLI: It is a problem.
13 MR. DAVIS: No, it isn't, because I'm
14 not breaking the rules and regulations of this forum.
15 MS. GATELLI: Yes, you are.
16 MR. DAVIS: Well, how?
17 MS. GATELLI: You're continuing to
18 persist about a candidate for governor.
19 MR. DAVIS: I'm talking about a city
21 MS. GATELLI: No, you're not.
22 MR. DAVIS: Oh, I'm not?
23 MS. GATELLI: Attorney Minora.
24 MR. MINORA: Mr. Davis, Mr. Davis, I've
25 asked you twice now. Limit your comments to city
1 business. When you're promoting a candidate, you're
2 just inviting somebody else to come up and promote the
3 other guy's candidate. So, that's not the purpose of
5 We're not here to advertise for
6 political candidates. We're here to discuss city
7 business, city problems, all of those things are in
8 play, but when you promote a candidate, you are out of
9 play. Please.
10 MR. DAVIS: Okay. If I promote the
11 welfare of the minorities in Scranton, is that within
12 the play? Is that within the --
13 MR. MINORA: That's fine, as long as
14 you're not promoting a candidate.
15 MR. DAVIS: That's okay? Okay. We
16 have a group of children of all colors. Diversity is a
17 word that is passed around for so long that we don't
18 even have to bother to talk about it. I just like the
19 word because it means division, mathematically it means
20 division, and we've divided up our community in such a
21 way that our kids don't know which end is up.
22 White, black, green or whatever color
23 you want, we're having a hard time with our teenagers.
24 If you know of them, if you really express yourself to
25 them, you find this to be true.
1 Now, self esteem is something that
2 helps a child go from one stage of his life or his
3 career to another. He makes it -- it makes him into a
4 valuable instrument of God, if I may use that term,
5 because now he feels good about himself, he feels good
6 about his creator, as well.
7 Therefore, I find that what you are
8 saying and what you are doing is wrong. I really do.
9 I think to the point that we as a populus, you have not
10 made any changes.
11 In the eight years that I've been
12 coming here, there have been no changes. You have made
13 no demands as far as affirmative action.
14 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Davis, your time is
16 MR. DAVIS: Oh, man. So is yours. I
17 wish you would quit.
18 MS. GATELLI: I wish you would stop
19 coming here every week harassing me.
20 MR. DAVIS: I'm going to keep coming
21 back. I wish you would --
22 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Davis, sit down --
23 MS. DAVIS: I really do.
24 MS. GATELLI: -- or I'm calling the
25 police. Now, I've had enough. Would you call the
1 police, please? I'm being serious. Yes, I want him
2 out. I am not going to do this every week. And don't
3 laugh, Mr. Davis, because you're not funny.
4 MR. DAVIS: But you are.
5 MS. GATELLI: You're not funny.
6 MR. DAVIS: You're a comedian.
7 MS. GATELLI: Erik Johnson. Thank you,
8 Mr. McKeon. I didn't know you were there. Well, I'm
9 glad you are.
10 MR. JOHNSON: All right. Erik Johnson,
11 taxpayer and resident of Scranton. Judy, did you find
12 out about First National Community Bank or Wachovia or
13 other banks besides PNC Bank? Just answer yes or no.
14 Were they looking for this proposed loan?
15 MS. GATELLI: I don't know that they
16 were asked, Mr. Johnson.
17 MR. JOHNSON: No?
18 MS. GATELLI: The loan, if any other
19 banks were asked.
20 MR. JOHNSON: The proposed loan.
21 MS. GATELLI: Would you like an answer
22 from Mr. McTiernan?
23 MR. JOHNSON: Sure.
24 MR. MCTIERNAN: That's a bond. They're
25 being floated as bonds.
1 MR. JOHNSON: All right. Thanks for
2 the answer.
3 MR. MCTIERNAN: They're not being
4 covered by local banks. They're going to be sold as
5 bonds, capital bonds.
6 MR. JOHNSON: All right.
7 MR. MCTIERNAN: The loans that were
8 floated in 2004 and 2005, they were floated by local
9 banks and they're not attached to bonds.
10 MR. JOHNSON: All right. Because I
11 thought that a wealthy bank like First National
12 Community Bank could afford, you know, privileges, too.
13 All right. PEL city money woes could
14 linger until 2012. If you read The Times-Tribune today
15 it says Scranton is facing a grim financial future with
16 the city unable to pay its tax anticipation notes,
17 pension obligations, health insurance and even salaries
18 this year if it doesn't borrow millions of dollars.
19 According to the Pennsylvania Economy
20 League, but on the other hand, city property owners can
21 expect a double raise in property taxes, even if there
22 is a multi-million dollar loan. That's how bad the
23 Doomsday scenario is predicted if the city doesn't come
24 up with a multi-million amount of some kind of revenue.
25 If there is no multi-million dollar
1 loan say at least $20 to $25 million, where is the
2 money going to come from? There are no money trees yet
3 to be seen at Nay Aug Park or elsewhere in the city.
4 It's a scientific fact. We haven't made such
6 Do you have to wait until 2012 before
7 something is done by the road of recovery for the
8 residents of Scranton that was promised would be called
9 the mission of Recovery Plan is now completed?
10 Talking about tax relief for senior
11 citizens. It has been promised years ago. For
12 political reasons it ran into a stone wall, and who
13 says it won't happen again?
14 There's talk about 75 to 90 percent
15 hike in property tax. The city will soon catch up with
16 the school district taxes, let alone the county taxes
17 that had to be raised.
18 I don't know about the school taxes.
19 Are they going up, too? I assume they are. Elderly
20 people and low income have mortgages -- that have
21 mortgages will definitely lose their homes like I did
22 and almost put out on the street.
23 There will be more homeless
24 involuntarily here in Scranton. As for layoffs, you
25 definitely can lay off -- you can't lay off any police
1 at all, as crime will continue upwards.
2 And if there's other city departments,
3 it would have to start from the very top to the low
4 bottom, and how much can the city operate properly is a
5 good question.
6 I still support a strong union
7 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre police force who would represent
8 every police officer who needs representation. Also,
9 there needs to be a law passed that every police
10 officer must sign their proper name on all citations
11 issued, instead of two-thirds that do. One-third
13 Citizens need to know their arresting
14 officers's name on every citation for appeals or if he
15 was to be the correct officer written on a violation.
16 There has been phony police officers stopping citizens
17 on roads robbing and raping women. Police officers,
18 your correct name on all violations, like the FBI,
19 Internal Revenue, State Police and sheriff officers do.
20 Good job for Bob Cordaro for helping
21 materializing the New York Yankee deal for the Scranton
22 minority ball club. Thank you very much.
23 MS. GATELLI: Thank you very much.
24 Mr. Morgan.
25 MR. MORGAN: Good evening, Council.
1 The first thing I have here is yesterday the taxpayer
2 group met with Ozzie Quinn, of course. Mrs. Gatelli,
3 you are a member, but you weren't there, you were
4 probably busy. That's fine. I'm just saying, you
6 And we think that all the vacant land
7 should be sold to a broker to give the city a shot of
8 revenue maybe to help it over this problem. And
9 there's been a lot of other discussions in the tax
11 We're of the opinion that OECD funds
12 should be used to create an industrial park between
13 Montage Mountain and East Mountain, and I hope that the
14 Council would seriously consider that, because those
15 funds, from what I understand, they could be used for
17 And I think that any change in
18 direction of the city isn't going to come with
19 taxation. The Scranton Times did an editorial and
20 they've criticized Council, but I feel that their
21 position is a fallacy, because they're trying to state
22 that the City of Scranton has 75,000 people, when
23 everyone in the city knows we're down to 68,000.
24 They state that Mr. Doherty had a
25 recovery plan. I, myself, read it. I don't know if
1 it's still in the Scranton Public Library, but to tell
2 you the truth, there was no recovery in that plan. It
3 was a fire sale of assets, and those assets when the
4 money was raised, as far as I'm concerned, it was
6 They're talking about tax increases in
7 the city, and that's why once before, Mrs. Gatelli, I
8 asked you what causes blight. And what causes blight,
9 in my opinion, is when your tax rates eat all
10 disposable funds of your residents.
11 They can't fix their properties, they
12 can't acquire properties, they lose the ability to buy
13 property even within their own city, and then what
14 happens is outside forces move in and buy all the real
15 estate they can possibly buy.
16 And then when you're starting to deal
17 with major corporations, they write a lot of stuff off.
18 They don't do something that the average taxpayer might
19 be able to do.
20 I think that we have to be realistic,
21 because the Scranton Times says that reassessment of
22 the properties and raising the tax rates is the answer,
23 but I think we have to take a close look at the wage
24 scale here, and it's extremely low.
25 So, if we raise taxes 100 percent,
1 we're just going to have more people just walking away
2 from their homes.
3 I think that the single largest
4 indicator of what happens in this city is the amount of
5 vacant apartments, because these people that live in
6 apartments don't own the structure they're in.
7 And when the taxes begin to overburden
8 them, they leave and they go somewhere else. And the
9 problem that causes is, the person who owns the
10 property, he can't maintain it because he's not
11 collecting any revenue.
12 It's no longer an income property.
13 Actually what it is is it sucks all the life out of
14 this person and in the end he ends up losing it.
15 I think that one of the major problems
16 Council has over many decades possibly is they haven't
17 used the power of subpoena to get the answers necessary
18 to come to smart decisions.
19 I think we've wandered off too many
20 cliffs here. I think that Andy Sbaraglia had it right.
21 I think we've taken care of all the wrong people, and
22 all the right people, the ones that are still here, are
23 still in the neighborhoods waiting for this Council and
24 previous Councils to have recognized their mistakes.
25 And I think that tabling the mayor's
1 plan was a good idea. I don't know exactly. I think
2 we should borrow no money. I think we should go into
3 bankruptcy. I think that if we can walk away from as
4 many of our debts as possible, it would be a plus for
5 the city.
6 And I have a question for the finance
7 chairman, Mr. McTiernan. If we don't pay the TAN,
8 what's the penalty?
9 MR. MCTIERNAN: The penalty is we would
10 lose our rating. We have a Triple B bond rating, I
11 believe, is what they said last week, so we would have
12 a very difficult time floating any additional debt down
13 the road.
14 MR. MORGAN: Okay. Well, you know
15 something --
16 MR. MCTIERNAN: It's the same problem
17 that Wilkes-Barre is in currently. They defaulted on a
18 loan, I believe it was a TAN, and they're having a
19 great deal of trouble.
20 MR. MORGAN: Well, the City of
21 Wilkes-Barre is down to 38,000 people, and I just think
22 that it's a solution to the problem we have here is to
23 cut administrative staffing levels and to cut
24 everywhere we can cut and go into bankruptcy.
25 And I think that this Council should
1 ask its solicitor to look into municipal bankruptcy. I
2 think that that might be a very --
3 MR. MINORA: I've already done that.
4 What will happen in a bankruptcy is not that they're
5 going to forgive our debts, they're going to say,
6 you're a home rule charter city, you have the ability
7 to raise funds, now I'm going to do it as the
8 bankruptcy judge, I'm going to raise your taxes.
9 That's what's going to happen in a bankruptcy.
10 MR. MORGAN: I think this, I think that
11 we can all speculate what a bankruptcy judge will do,
12 but we won't know until he rules.
13 And I think honestly, Mrs. Gatelli, and
14 this Council, that borrowing money aimlessly over
15 decades hasn't done anything, except with what Mrs.
16 Shumaker said, all right?
17 When you're quarrying granite and
18 you're two miles down in the ground, there's no way
19 out, and we've got to go in a new direction, and
20 bankruptcy may be it.
21 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Mr. Newcomb.
22 MR. NEWCOMB, SR.: Good evening,
23 Council. Just a few notes I have here. Last week the
24 mayor was here and the contracts came up. Well, a
25 quote of the mayor's was is, We have to go with what's
1 on the dotted line, everybody remember that comment?
2 Well, my question to him is, If we have
3 to go by what's on the dotted line, then how come it
4 cost us $10 million in arbitrations? Because we didn't
5 follow what was on the dotted line. That's the reason
7 Sunday's paper had some salaries they
8 tried to compare like Erie and Allentown, like, with
9 different salaries to some of our people in the City of
10 Scranton, our administrators.
11 They listed our business agent, I'm
12 sorry, business administrator at $80,000 for Scranton.
13 Well, I stated last week, I just want to make this
14 clear, the salary is $85,000.
15 And if you read the next page where
16 Mr. Kresefski made his remarks, he said, I have been
17 paid the same $85,000 for the last five years without a
18 cost of living. So, I just want everybody to know that
19 my figure was right. He does get $85,000, not $80,000.
20 And take into consideration all these
21 salaries that are listed, our DPW director, Mr. Parker,
22 Mr. Hayes, all these salaries, and including this
23 $85,000 is without the benefits and everything else.
24 So, that figure is probably close to six figures.
25 Anybody who has been through -- bought
1 real estate, and this is what's going on with our loan,
2 it's called rollover debt. They always tell you,
3 consolidate your bills.
4 Well, any financial person like Dave
5 Ramsey or somebody that's a professional will tell you
6 you never ever take your credit card bills and roll
7 them over into your house to have one payment, because
8 what you just did was took your unsecured loans and
9 secured your house for it.
10 Perfect example, I have a person, I'm
11 just going to say a first name is Joe, bought a house,
12 borrowed $75,000. He had $20,000 in credit cards. He
13 kept adding. Now he owed $95,000 on his house. Next
14 year he took out a home equity loan. Now he had
15 $125,000 he had to pay back.
16 Well, guess what, his job got reduced,
17 couldn't make that payment anymore. He lost his house.
18 He lives in an apartment today, all because he kept
19 rolling over your debt, not a good thing.
20 I'll give you some idea on taxes.
21 1999, we're talking about taxes going up now, I
22 purchased my home. It was built in 1982. I moved in
23 there, my taxes were $1264.
24 As I just paid my current tax bill for
25 the recent year, I wrote a check for $1939. My taxes
1 alone have went up, that's $675, plus the -- that
2 doesn't 'include the $178 that I wrote out to the
3 garbage fee.
4 I didn't hear the mayor come here last
5 week and have any kind of source of revenues that he
6 had, you know, except raise taxes.
7 And, again, all he did was trying to
8 balance the budget on the backs of the workers,
9 especially it looks like the firemen wants to balance
10 it off of those.
11 And, Mrs. Gatelli, after sitting here,
12 I do say, you don't need the abuse that you've been
13 getting, you know, the last few weeks I've seen when
14 one of our speakers came up here.
15 And the only thing I have to say if
16 there's no, I'll use the word minorities, because
17 that's what he used, working in this building or the
18 courthouse or anyplace else, there's one reason why
19 they're not, they have to apply. You have to apply to
20 a job before you get.
21 And, Mr. Courtright, I think you
22 brought this up a few weeks ago, but if anybody else on
23 Council could help me -- oh, before I ask you this
24 question, just one quick thing, too.
25 Somebody seen pictures of my
1 granddaughter. I think we sent some out to the Council
2 members. So, just take into consideration, she'd be
3 28 years old if she still lived in the city and owned a
4 house by the time we made the last payment on the debt.
5 And this payment on the debt is only if
6 we don't borrow anymore, because the more you borrow,
7 at the end of the 30 years, we're going to owe more.
8 Now, my question was, did anybody get
9 anything on the Cameron Avenue situation with the
10 water? Because we're talking about West Nile. And
11 I'll tell you what, we have a video, if anybody wants
12 to see it, with the last rainstorm we had, the water
13 came down that road, it was over the tires on the
14 vehicles. So, it's a very bad situation and nothing
15 has been done yet.
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: I forwarded to
17 Mr. Parker and I told him a suggestion one of the
18 neighbors had given me. Evidently he didn't take me up
19 on that suggestion. He's the man that will make the
20 decision, Mr. Parker.
21 MR. NEWCOMB, SR.: Okay. Well, I would
22 appreciate it if you can, you know, talk to him again
23 or -- I know we sent a lot of letters out without some
24 response, but it is a -- you know, you're talking --
25 they do own property over there, these people pay their
1 taxes, too, and they need some help.
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: Maybe your son could
3 go down there and try to see him, maybe catch him in
4 person, because I have asked him, but I don't seem to
5 be getting anywhere.
6 MS. GATELLI: We'll send another
7 letter, too, Mr. Newcomb.
8 MR. NEWCOMB, SR.: Okay. And I will
9 tell him, too. Thanks.
10 MS. GATELLI: Thanks. Mr. Stucker.
11 MR. STUCKER: Hi. How are you doing?
12 Over on Oak Street that lot, I go to Keyser Avenue, I
13 work over there, I work on Keyser at that car wash, I'm
14 cleaning up over there, they're trying to sell it.
15 So, I was walking -- every day I walk
16 up Oak Street, there's a plate that sits on the top of
17 the sewage. The sewage is in charge. I've been
18 calling the cops and I went to the electric company. I
19 called -- I talked to the girl, and she -- they're not
20 doing nothing about it.
21 They said get a hold of the Sewer
22 Authority, so I don't know. I mean, the lid is half
23 off. Somebody is going to stub their toe and hurt it.
24 MS. GATELLI: We'll call about that,
25 Mr. Stucker.
1 MR. STUCKER: And over there on Parrot
2 Avenue I complained about the -- last Thursday I
3 complained about the road. The holes are getting
4 deeper and deeper over there on Parrot Avenue.
5 MS. GATELLI: We sent a letter this
6 week on that, Mr. Stucker.
7 MR. STUCKER: And the busses are over
8 by the Oppenheim's and by The Globe Store. They're
9 doing that again with the cars.
10 MS. GATELLI: That letter also went out
11 this week.
12 MR. STUCKER: Okay. I'm going to get
13 my knee operated on. I got to see my doctor tomorrow
14 I'm going to see him.
15 MS. GATELLI: Good luck. I hope it's
16 successful. Thanks for coming.
17 MR. STUCKER: Yeah. I'm going to move
18 to Simpson in two weeks with my brother.
19 MS. GATELLI: Okay. We'll remember
21 MR. STUCKER: Okay.
22 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Fred
24 MR. STUCKER: Excuse me. Them four
25 wheelers are up and down the road again on Parrot
1 Avenue and over on Oak Street in the allies. They're
2 running up and down pretty good. They're running fast.
3 I'm afraid they're going to hit somebody. And the
4 skateboards coming down the road, they don't watch
5 where they're going, the kids with the skateboards.
6 They have no place to go, the kids don't.
7 MS. GATELLI: We'll look into that.
8 Thank you, Mr. Stucker.
9 MR. STUCKER: Okay.
10 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Budzinski.
11 MR. BUDZINSKI: Last evening I was at
12 the Scranton Lackawanna Taxpayers and Citizens
13 Association, and Ozzie Quinn was speaking about the
14 benches for the seniors on the 100 block of Wyoming
15 Avenue. He mentioned he spoke to you, Mrs. Gatelli.
16 You got anything on that?
17 MS. GATELLI: No, but Mrs. Evans had
18 sent a letter requesting that information from
19 Mrs. Hailstone, so we're waiting for an answer.
20 MR. BUDZINSKI: Even if they only got
21 one bench on each side of the street, because one block
22 up there's eight benches and no bus stop.
23 Now, I was hearing a lot of talk about
24 population, 74,000. In the Scranton Times I read
25 population 75,000. Now, I went to the library and
1 looked up the preceding years of population, and the
2 population in 1990 was 74,000.
3 So, I don't know why they keep pushing
4 today. And the population is 2000 was between 71 and
5 72,0000. Thank you.
6 MS. GATELLI: Thank you very much. Is
7 there anyone else that cares to address Council this
9 MS. KRAKE: Good evening, Council. My
10 name is Nancy Krake. I was wondering if Council had
11 checked into anything about the letter from
12 Rossi & Rossi that was pertaining to the audit status.
13 MS. GATELLI: Yes. Mrs. Garvey called
14 them the day after we had the meeting --
15 MS. KRAKE: Yes.
16 MS. GATELLI: -- and I had her follow
17 it up with a letter, and they said that they would have
18 a preliminary report to us by the end of next week.
19 MS. KRAKE: Did they say if they had
20 been able to get any answers from the single tax office
22 MS. GATELLI: Did they, Mrs. Garvey?
23 MS. GARVEY: No.
24 MS. KRAKE: No? So, you're expecting
25 the audit next week?
1 MS. GATELLI: A preliminary audit.
2 MS. KRAKE: A preliminary audit. Thank
3 you very much.
4 MS. GATELLI: Even if we don't have
5 that, we will have some kind of a pretty good idea.
6 MS. GARVEY: Nancy, but he did say that
7 it probably would be everything except for the
8 information he wasn't able to obtain yet.
9 MS. KRAKE: From the single tax office.
10 MS. GARVEY: Right.
11 MS. KRAKE: Okay. So, is Council
12 planning -- I guess my question is then, is Council
13 planning to address this letter in any way?
14 In other words, will you be asking the
15 single tax office what their holdup is or if they need
16 any assistance?
17 MS. GATELLI: I believe in the letter
18 it said they were being audited at the present time,
19 their own organization was being audited.
20 MS. KRAKE: Well, in fact, I know that
21 the city had even asked to audit them because they
22 weren't getting information from them, but I would
23 appreciate if Council would look into this also, is
24 where I'm going with this. I just think that that
25 follows logically, since it's been such a long time and
1 it seemed curious at least, if not --
2 MS. GATELLI: If they're being audited
3 by their own auditors, then they should have a report.
4 So, maybe, Kay, you want to call Kenny McDowell and ask
5 him if he's being audited at the present time and who
6 the auditors are.
7 MS. GARVEY: Okay.
8 MS. KRAKE: Thank you. I would also
9 recommend to Council that they not vote for the
10 consultants that are on their agenda tonight.
11 These people were some of the
12 consultants that came in when the Doherty
13 Administration started and there was simply no need for
14 any of them.
15 In the past, department heads, the few
16 middle management people and the many clerical people
17 that were there were always able to complete the
18 bookkeeping work, any type of work.
19 It's simply uncalled for, and maybe now
20 would be a good time, because last week there were two
21 no votes against additional attorneys. Maybe this
22 would be a good time now to stop voting for the
23 consultants. It's absolutely uncalled for. It's
24 simply wasting money and adding to the deficit.
25 In 2002, the mayor told the citizens of
1 Scranton to vote for his Recovery Plan or he would
2 raise their taxes. It was voted in. And here we are
3 four long years later, saddled with the mayor's
4 Recovery Plan.
5 And, gee, he needs to raise our taxes
6 now. Whose fault is it? That would be the same person
7 who told you to vote for his Recovery Plan. It's no
8 wonder that we kept the Pennsylvania Economy League
9 around. They're here, along with The Scranton Times,
10 to give their blessing to anything this administration
11 wants. And why not? It's job security for the
12 Pennsylvania Economy League to keep us distressed.
13 So, I'm not only asking Council to work
14 on their own budget this year, I'm also asking Council,
15 and it is a very big task, to work on their own
16 Recovery Plan.
17 And I know the Connors Administration
18 was able to do it, so I have every confidence that this
19 Council would be able to do it.
20 You have a finance chair, and I'm sure
21 he would be able to get anything you need from the
22 administration, and we would be more than willing to
23 help you with anything you need. Thank you.
24 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Anyone else?
25 MS. STULGIS: I'm Ann Marie Stulgis,
1 and I'm a city resident. Mr. McTiernan, you mentioned
2 before that the city had a Double B or a Triple B bond
4 According to the daily fish wrap, we,
5 in fact, have a Double A bond rating, but we all know
6 that that's because we paid over a million dollars to
7 insure the last, I don't remember if it was the $72
8 million or the $4 million or how many million it was
9 we've borrowed so far.
10 Did anyone check to see if we're paying
11 again, because the rag did quote that we were getting a
12 lower interest rate because of the bond rating, and I'm
13 wondering if anybody knows how much money it's costing
14 us this time for that bond rating. Do we know that?
15 MR. MCTIERNAN: Yes, it's 130 basis
16 points with the bond insurance. That's what we were
17 told last week.
18 MS. STULGIS: Which would come to what
19 dollar figure over the length of the --
20 MR. MCTIERNAN: About $500,000, which
21 they thought was based on the $44 million, but then
22 they corrected to say that number would be adjusted
23 upwards because it would be based on the total debt
24 service over time, so it would probably be higher than
1 MS. STULGIS: So, it will probably be
2 about double since the debt service and everything
3 included would take the $44 to $84, so I guess we could
4 figure it's going to cost us another million to secure
5 a bond rating for money that for the life of me I don't
6 understand how we went through the first $72, and then
7 the next four, and now we're going to go through $44,
8 and we still have three out of the four city unions who
9 haven't had a pay raise since this character is in
11 Who's getting the money? Where's the
12 money? That's a very interesting thing. I think we
13 all ought to think about that. The threats that if we
14 don't get this money, we're not going to be able to pay
15 salaries, that's illegal.
16 So, ignore that part. Don't let that
17 intimidate you. The law is if you do the job, you have
18 to get paid. You can't make the TAN payment or we
19 won't be able to make the mention obligation, that's
20 happened in the past. We haven't made the pension
21 obligation in the past.
22 The city is still here. The roof
23 didn't fall down. Time to call everybody's bluff and
24 say, Hey, I'm sorry, the well is dry. There's no more
25 money. Let's find alternatives.
1 As for the TAN, I bet you if we took a
2 look around and started cutting jobs that really
3 weren't necessary, we would find we could save a whole
4 lot of money, and then if we had the city cooperate
5 with the health care coordinator, since it's been three
6 years since we're trying to get the same information
7 and haven't gotten it yet, maybe we could save a whole
8 lot of money there, too, and we could afford the TAN
9 and we wouldn't have to borrow a dime.
10 It's called accountability. Don't keep
11 borrowing. Let's be accountable, wise up, look at
12 where we can cut and let's cut. It's really pathetic.
13 Mr. Miller the last time he was in
14 here, not this past time, since I wasn't in the area at
15 the time, the last time he was here, Mrs. Krake and I
16 spoke with him after the meeting, and when he found out
17 who we were, he left the room. Sometimes we can be a
18 bit persistent and we followed him out.
19 And we asked him what changed from the
20 previous Recovery Plan to the current Recovery Plan
21 that would allow for the creation of a public safety
23 At that point we were told after we
24 pushed him quite a bit, we were told that the reason
25 there was a public safety director is because PEL
1 changed their mind about the necessary for it, and this
2 is a quote, because the city lost too many arbitrations
3 to the police and fire union.
4 Folks, the arbitrations losses have
5 tripled and we have a public safety director. And one
6 more thing on the hiring of more consultants, we've
7 spent an awful lot of and we're continuing to spend a
8 lot of OECD monies on consultants.
9 In the past under the previous
10 administration, a lot of that money went for equipment,
11 such as police cars, which, by the way, we don't have.
12 I happen to have, I don't have copies,
13 and I'll be happy for you to pass them down. The first
14 three are copies of where the engine fell out of the
15 police car or dropped out of the police and landed in
16 the roadway in Downtown Scranton. Thank God he was not
17 on a highway, he would have been killed, the police
18 officer driving the vehicle. We're buying consultants,
19 and we have city employees driving vehicles like that.
20 This picture happens to be of the front
21 seat of a police vehicle, the front seat where a police
22 officers sits each and every day.
23 And the reason I'm making you all aware
24 of this is because these are extremely dangerous
25 situations. And now I want you to know what we're
1 dealing with each and every day.
2 This is where priority is, not
3 borrowing money. Let's take care of the employees that
4 have been getting the shaft for the last five years.
5 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Anyone else?
6 Mr. Ancherani.
7 MR. ANCHERANI: Good evening, Council.
8 I'm Nelson Ancherani, I'm a resident, taxpayer, city
9 employee, financial secretary of the FOP.
10 I'm here tonight exercising my right to
11 free speech. I've been looking for Gerald Cross, PEL
12 director, his PEL associate, Harold Miller. I don't
13 see them here.
14 I thought they'd be here wearing their
15 Legion of Doom shirts, especially since Gerald Cross
16 warned us about a Doomsday scenario if City Council
17 doesn't approve the $44 million borrowing plan.
18 I also thought that Stacy Brown, the
19 staff writer for the tabloid, would be here wearing a
20 Legion of Doom shirt, especially after he wrote,
21 Scranton is facing a grim financial future with the
22 city probably unable to pay its tax anticipation notes,
23 pension obligations, health insurance, even salaries
24 this year if it doesn't borrow millions of dollars,
25 according to the Pennsylvania Economy League.
1 How about that? Doomsday scenario? A
2 grim financial future. Here's another. And city
3 property owners can expect near doubling of property
4 taxes no matter what happens, PEL and city officials
6 The crazies, inane, Halloweeners,
7 low-lifes, malcontents, Legion of Doom were right. PEL
8 and city officials are talking about property owners
9 and what property owners can expect, near doubling of
10 property taxes no matter what happens.
11 I can see the unions and former mayor
12 Jim Connors getting blamed for this mess, even though
13 the unions got nothing since 2002 and costs remained
14 the same and Connors left a balanced budget and
15 $3 million surplus at the end of his term as mayor.
16 Connors' debt when he left office was
17 $23 to $26 million. Since he left and the new mayor
18 took over, we are in approximately $240 long-term debt
19 and the city attempting to add another $84 million to
20 the long-term debt to be paid off in 28 years until
22 Back in 2002, the unions were against
23 the Recovery Plan and a referendum battle took place.
24 The opposition in the form of the unions battled hard
25 and long to keep the recovery plan from being enacted,
1 but in the end the recovery plan won by a, what the
2 mayor keeps bringing up, a 72 percent vote.
3 The mayor never says in any of these
4 discussions that he threatened to raise taxes if the
5 recovery plan was defeated, so, therefore, it was
6 defeated because people voted with their wallets and
7 not their hearts.
8 People didn't even know what the
9 Recovery Plan consisted of because they never read it.
10 For years, myself and many others have been saying that
11 taxes were going to be raised and raised highly,
12 especially with the extravagant spending that this
13 mayor was doing.
14 Money flows like water these last five
15 years, but not worry, the mayor said, money has to come
16 from somebody. Well, get ready, taxpayers, because we
17 are those somebodies. I'm going to say it now and say
18 it loud, I told you so.
19 A little history, in 2000, former Mayor
20 Connors' city budget totalled $57,198,414. His 2001
21 budget totalled $55,793,343, which was a decrease of
22 $1,408,071. He decreased his budget and still left a
23 $3 million surplus.
24 Over the next five years cumulatively,
25 the budgets were increased $37,380,195, and we can add
1 that $3 million to that. That's $40,380,195. If you
2 take the total of the five years of the Doherty budgets
3 and the $3 million surplus from Connors, it totals
4 $316,300,265. Total in the $74 million bond issue
5 taken out approximately three years ago and the other
6 loans, it comes out to over $400 million on the revenue
7 side of the budget.
8 Where did we spend over $400 million
9 and end up with an $8 million deficit this year? How
10 did we do that? How is that possible? That doesn't
11 even include the OECD money.
12 The 2007 budget isn't due until
13 November 15, but I would bet that it is at least the
14 same as last year, approximately $75 million. Add that
15 to the $400 million and add in the $400 million loan,
16 it comes out over a half a billion dollars, revenue
17 side, or money taken in, half a billion.
18 I mean, we have expenditures, but
19 nowhere near that. So, we can think about that.
20 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Anyone else?
21 MR. ELMAN: Ronny Elman. Again,
22 everybody looks pleasant tonight. Look at the pretty
23 smile on Sherry's face there. My back is killing me.
24 I need one of those little Geisha girls or something.
25 I have to read this tonight. I can't see this. Let me
1 say something. No more Mr. Nice Guy.
2 Every week people come up, you know, to
3 not just me, some others, and they ask us to tell you
4 this and say that and comment on this.
5 You people out there come in here
6 yourselves. It's not up to us. You know, you've got
7 to be tired of seeing me and Mr. Bolus and some of the
8 others every week. All these people just give us
9 messages and don't come up.
10 You know, it's said that a town is no
11 better than the people in it. I've heard that a few
12 times, and these guys out there, you're the people.
13 You've got to quit this, you know, just shirking it off
14 on someone else like, you know, let George do it.
15 Just come take an interest in here.
16 Nobody bites you. I'm a terrible speaker, but I get it
17 off my chest and I say things that are in my heart.
18 And while I think of it, I had four or
19 five phone calls about the sound barrier. Did anybody,
20 you know, just find out anything? It's there. Did you
21 find out why it's there instead of here?
22 Well, I'm just wondering, you know, if
23 you took interest, because I told them to -- I said,
24 phone City Council. You know, I guess nobody cared
25 that much.
1 You know, the editorial paper last week
2 said, and I got a little quote here, it said, Talk of
3 high salaries as irked some in the Doherty
4 Administration who say they remain loyal to the city
5 and work at salaries that should be higher.
6 Well, I think it's time for them to
7 quit and go out and see what they can find around here
8 that could come a fraction of what they're getting.
9 With the -- I just never heard such a bunch of whiners,
10 especially on the school board.
11 I was told not to come to no more
12 school board meetings, you know, but that's when
13 Mr. Brazil was there. I don't think there's a
14 premadonna in this building that could get a job
15 getting what they are outside of the city or the county
16 in the private sector.
17 You know, this city, this building
18 right here, you got -- let's just say to Mr. Hayes, it
19 was invented -- it's just an unnecessary office. Then
20 last week or two weeks ago, he has to get a helper for
21 $48,000 or something.
22 This is where our money's going. It's
23 being wasted. Since that first man's picture was on
24 that wall over there, there's never been such a
25 monumental waste like there is right now from this
1 Doherty Administration. That's why we have to borrow
2 every week.
3 And after he borrows this, he'll be
4 back next year to borrow some more, then the year after
5 that. And then he'll leave. He won't want to be mayor
6 again because there's too many problems.
7 Tuesday, I think it was Tuesday, the
8 editorial said Council should ponder the future. Well,
9 all the people I talked to this week, I was at a couple
10 flea markets and the Giant Market, everybody seems like
11 you are pondering the future putting an end and
12 terminating all of this borrowing.
13 I don't know what the people in Green
14 Ridge, you know, that aren't on no fixed incomes like
15 half the people in the city, but the people I talked
16 to, even the ones that said they voted for Mr. Doherty
17 last time said it's over with. It's time to quit.
18 And to make things worse, I have to
19 read that Mr. Lesh from the school board, now he's
20 going to throw his hat in the ring. The man that let
21 all these KOZ programs go through without objecting to
22 one of them going to throw his hat in the ring. That's
23 all we need, you know.
24 I'll tell you what, I'll just -- if I
25 live long enough to be here next year, I'll make it my
1 agenda to just make sure that people like that, all
2 these incompetent irresponsible people don't get up
3 there and don't get in the city anymore, because we are
4 just broke and we're a mess, and you people just -- you
5 don't circulate out there. I tell them to phone
6 Council and all. You just don't know how the man on
7 the street is.
8 Let me tell you something real, real
9 quick and then I'll go. I've worked for Gallo Winery
10 for three years and all I did was put up posters and
11 pictures behind liquor stores and on fences and all,
12 and I used to sit behind the liquor stores called low
13 end liquor stores and drink rippo all day long with
14 people, and I learned people, and I learned that even
15 the poorest people have something intelligent to say
16 and are interested.
17 And I found out contrary to what I
18 thought of all the people out here that watch this
19 program, and some of them you never dream have any
20 interest in the city, but they do, and they're voters.
21 And sometimes I used to think that only
22 a person that owns property should vote. You know,
23 I've been guilty of that, but I've turned that around,
24 because I've learned that even some of these mammas
25 with eight kids in the projects could -- you know, they
1 have something to say about it.
2 MS. GATELLI: Okay. Thank you, Mr.
3 Elman, very much.
4 MR. ELMAN: Thank you.
5 MS. GATELLI: Anyone else?
6 MS. GARVEY: Fifth order. 5-A,
8 MS. GATELLI: Mrs. Evans.
9 MS. EVANS: Thank you. I'd like to
10 make the following announcements, St. Ann's Youth
11 Basketball will be holding basketball registration from
12 boys from first through eighth grade and girls from
13 second to eighth grades. Sign-ups will be conducted on
14 all Mondays in September from six to 8 p.m. If there
15 are any questions, please call Mr. Nicholson at
16 347-2971. Only one Monday remains to sign up for
17 St.Ann's youth basketball, so please considering
18 registering your children for this healthy and
19 beneficial activity.
20 I also have a number of citizens'
21 requests for this week. 439 to 441 Tenth Avenue, a
22 city resident paid $250 one year ago for an appraisal
23 and application fee to purchase the empty lot located
24 at this address.
25 The city cashed the check, and one year
1 later, despite the intervention of his attorney, no
2 action has occurred. Please contact Mrs. Mariotti in
3 the legal department to request that she forward the
4 resolution for such purchase to City Council as soon as
5 possible, since the buyer has been more than patient
6 and the city has had his money for one year.
7 A memo to Parks and Rec, can you turn
8 off the sprinklers at the Everhart Museum when it
9 continues to rain throughout the day? City residents
10 report seeing sprinklers spraying the grass and
11 shooting into the street while it is raining.
12 An empty lot in the 400-block of North
13 Webster near Vine Street located on the right as one
14 travels north, residents of the area complain of
15 deplorable conditions.
16 Moosic Street, adjacent to the old
17 Granito's Market, please cut highly overgrown weeds and
18 grass. After all, it is an eyesore at the gateway to
19 our city.
20 The corner of VonStorch and Glenn
21 Street, please fill a huge pothole. Residents believe
22 it was created by either the gas or water company.
23 Verify, if necessary, and this is the second request.
24 A letter to Chief Elliott, please
25 request that a patrol car travel the 800 block of
1 East Gibson Street and McKenna Court between three and
2 3:20 p.m. following dismissal of Northeast
3 Intermediate School. Young teenagers are fighting,
4 throwing bottles, harassing homeowners and congregating
5 in large groups after school.
6 Also, please send a copy of an attached
7 E-mail to the principal of Northeast Intermediate
8 requesting any possible assistance she can provide.
9 114-116 North Bromley Avenue, please
10 send an inspector. Neighbors complain of high weeds,
11 overgrown trees and garbage left out and strewn about.
12 The house is vacant. Windows are broken and beer
13 bottles decorate the yard.
14 1427 Birch Street, a storm drain is
15 destroyed and presents a safety hazard, meanwhile, this
16 property continues to flood during every rain event.
17 The property owner continues to place boards at the top
18 of the street, towels in his doorway, et cetera. This
19 is my third request for an explanation and a solution,
20 and this has been ongoing for quite a while, but I've
21 been speaking to this resident now since June or July.
22 And since the city apparently refuses
23 to fix this problem, as they have refused to fix the
24 situation over on North Cameron Avenue, the homeowner
25 would like to know if he hires a contractor to do this
1 work, will the city reimburse him.
2 One more thing before I move on, I
3 was informed tonight that a motion that had been made
4 by counsel, oh, maybe two weeks ago regarding a
5 donation to a young man, an Eagle Scout, well, a
6 potential Eagle Scout for his project to erect a flag
7 at the East Mountain firehouse, the amount of money of
8 the donation from Scranton City Council, it appears
9 will not be given to him, despite the unanimous vote,
10 because it would set a precedent, and thereby anyone or
11 any organization could approach City Council requesting
12 similar donations.
13 So, certainly that's understandable to
14 me, however, each member of Council did promise that
15 money, and so, I would ask that each member of Council
16 would donate $40 to replace the donation that was
17 promised to a young man, Brian Kusick, whose father
18 served in Afghanistan, whose brother served in Iraq
19 simultaneously. And the flag that's to be erected is
20 coming from a base in Afghanistan.
21 And I'm not going to make that in the
22 form of a motion evidently, because that's a voluntary
23 contribution, however, if any member of Council feels
24 that they can't afford that amount, then I'll make sure
25 that the young man gets the $200 myself.
1 Ladies and gentlemen, I think it's time
2 to set the record straight once and for all tonight.
3 Let's begin with administrative salaries.
4 First of all, the business
5 administrator, $85,000 per year, hired four additional
6 accountants, a total of $223,000, plus benefits; a
7 solicitor, full-time, $70,000; assistant solicitor
8 number one, full-time, $40,000; assistant city
9 solicitor number two, full-time, $32,900; assistant
10 city solicitor number three, part-time, $32,900.
11 The total, $184,900 in salaries, and
12 for some of these positions, you'll have to add the
13 benefits, plus outstanding outside legal counsel too
14 numerous to actually ascertain a firm dollar amount on,
15 but in one month alone, $275,000 went out in payments
16 to these outside firms and Attorney Carl Greco from the
17 legal department.
18 And I noticed as an aside that just
19 this week, I received notice of an interdepartmental
20 transfer from the IT Department for $60,000 to the law
21 department for $60,000 to cover professional services.
22 We have one financial quarter
23 remaining, and already the legal department has
24 outspent its allotment for professional services, vis a
25 vis, outside Council.
1 Parks director, $50,000, plus benefits.
2 Under him, project administrator $29,900, plus
3 benefits; park and recreation specialist, $35,000, plus
4 benefits; recreation specialist, $35,000, plus
5 benefits; program manager, $35,000, plus benefits. The
6 total $184,900, plus benefits.
7 Now, keep in mind you have five
8 administrators who are overseeing eight workers and one
9 secretary. The public safety director, $65,000, plus
10 benefits; the deputy director, $48,270, plus benefits,
11 and two secretaries for a total of $58,000, plus
12 benefits. The grand total is $171,170, plus benefits.
13 Now, here is the truthful conclusion.
14 Our administrator should earn far less than their
15 counterparts in Wilkes-Barre and Allentown because they
16 enjoy consultants and large numbers of assistants who
17 do their work for them.
18 And, well, we have a public safety
19 department, frankly, God Bless you, that's okay, we
20 have a public safety department which is unnecessary.
21 We don't need to step decades back in history to find a
22 structural deficit.
23 Mayor Walsh built Lake Lincoln, and we
24 don't pay his bills today. Mayor Hickey revitalized
25 Wyoming Avenue, and we don't pay his bills today.
1 Mayor Peters, Mayor Wenzel, excellent leaders. We're
2 not paying their bills today.
3 In 2001, as was mentioned earlier,
4 Mayor Connors left office having produced a solid valid
5 audit and gifted this mayor with a $2.9 million
7 He left the city on pretty solid
8 financial ground, despite the fact that PEL and Council
9 led by Finance Chair Doherty handcuffed a mayor and
10 urged the state to sanction us.
11 No extra accountants were hired for the
12 business administrator, no public safety department was
13 permitted, no endless stream of consultants and legal
15 But suddenly in 2002, Mr. Doherty
16 became mayor and gave himself all those extras, while
17 according to his own words last week, the overseer,
18 that is PEL, approved.
19 I'm so sorry. Councilman Doherty, as I
20 mentioned earlier again, cried over late audits each
21 year blaming the administration for failing to work
22 with the auditors.
23 And Councilman Doherty and his Council
24 colleagues passed Council budgets and overrode the
25 Connors' budgets. Councilman Doherty promised us a tax
2 Now, let's look at Mayor Doherty's last
3 five years. He's had five years to negotiate payments
4 in lieu of taxes. He's done nothing.
5 These big non-profits give us nothing
6 or give us a pittance while they soak up city services
7 free of charge.
8 He had five years to negotiate
9 contracts with city workers, and he didn't. He had
10 five years to stop violating contracts, appealing
11 arbitrations in court and wasting our money, but he
12 didn't stop. He had five years to do Worker's Comp
13 buyouts and save the city a tremendous amount of money,
14 but he didn't.
15 Well, I have to wonder, what revenue
16 has he raised? And please don't say the real estate
17 transfer tax, because we enjoyed historically low
18 interest rates, and that is all thanks to in those
19 years the federal reserve and the former chair
20 Allen Greenspan, not Chris Doherty.
21 Today you can't even sell your home for
22 what it's worth currently. You're going to lose money
23 on that sale if you're trying to relocate.
24 The city is in the greatest debt in its
25 history, and it's facing the largest and most prolonged
1 tax increase in its history. That is what he has done
2 for Scranton.
3 He says he wakes up thinking how to
4 make more money every day, yet he hasn't brought a dime
5 into Scranton beyond an EMS tax that was pushed by a
6 City Council, but he has handed us the Doherty debt.
7 Still there remains no audit and no
8 proposed budget, and if he receives this money before
9 the 2007 budget is proposed, the mayor will keep
10 everything status quo in that budget, as he always has
12 You won't see any cuts, except to the
13 fire department, and he'll never say about himself the
14 buck stops here, because he's never met a buck he
15 couldn't spend.
16 As for past Council members, every
17 Councilman who has approved Mr. Doherty's borrowing and
18 his budget helped to create the Doherty debt.
19 They say Council suggests nothing.
20 Well, what have I been talking about for three years?
21 One, settling contract; two, stopping wasteful legal
22 appeals; three, firing consultants; four, dumping
23 outside legal counsel; five, lowering administrative
24 salaries to where they should be; six, bidding out
25 contracts, particularly for professional services;
1 seven, lowering the bidding threshold; eight,
2 collecting big delinquent consequent taxes from the
3 wealthy; nine, collecting payments in lieu of taxes,
4 and, ten, halting unnecessary job creations.
5 And where does PEL stand in all of
6 this? Silent until now. I'd like to know, first of
7 all, how many PEL members and bankers and bond counsels
8 who sat at that table last Thursday night actually
9 reside in Scranton and will pay for the Doherty debt.
10 I asked Mr. Gerald Cross, among all
11 your contortionistic figures, where is the money, the
12 more than $5.5 million, owed to American Water
13 Services? Where's the money to pay for the contract
14 arbitration cases? Funny, he didn't mention that.
15 Maybe that's why PEL, P-E-L, really
16 stands for pulling everyone's leg. They enable the
17 Doherty debt, they made this mess, along with him, and
18 they failed at their jobs. That is why they're
19 chirping so vehemently now.
20 Mr. Cross says this mess is personal
21 for some. Well, Mr. Cross, name them. And, yes, it is
22 personal to me, but it's even more personal to the
23 thousands and thousands and thousands, tens and tens of
24 thousands of city taxpayers.
25 You know, I have been overwhelmed for
1 two weeks with calls and E-mails and people stopping me
2 on the street, bus drivers calling to me stopping their
3 busses when they see me on the street to tell me, Don't
4 give this mayor any more money, Mrs. Evans, stick to
5 your guns. I frankly haven't heard anyone tell me to
6 do anything different.
7 Now, the little guys, all these people
8 that are calling and E-mailing and stopping me in
9 grocery stores, when I'm getting out of my car in front
10 of my house, wherever it may be, they know, they know
11 that if you borrow more, the more the tax increase will
13 They know that pairing down the
14 borrowing is a sham. They know the mayor and PEL are
15 playing political poker. We're being accused of
16 political posturing? No, no. This is political poker,
17 and they want to see, the mayor and PEL, which Council
18 members will fold first.
19 I'm not folding. I'm not borrowing one
20 more penny. I never voted to approve Doherty's budgets
21 and I never voted to approve his borrowing. There is
22 no compromise in this situation. It's everything or
24 Because a compromise merely serves to
25 give this mayor his money piece meal. You might give
1 it to him at $11 million a year over four years, or you
2 might give him $20 million this year and $24 million
3 next year, but no matter how you cut it, you're going
4 to find yourself in the same mess in September 2007.
5 So, whatever you want to give him, I
6 believe he will get his money, and that money is just
7 going to add to the Doherty debt.
8 And frankly, I don't believe a tax
9 increase has to be 75 percent. You can do the
10 following, cut the budget, and I think you can cut that
11 budget by close to $3 million, at least that was the
12 figure Council came up with two years ago. And my,
13 since then, other expenditures have grown, so we may
14 even go over that mark; secondly, tap into the golf
15 course proceeds; thirdly, substitute an amusement tax.
16 And if you did all of the
17 aforementioned, there would be, at least for this year
18 and the amount of money the mayor appears to
19 desperately need, there would either be a very minimal
20 tax increase with no borrowing or no tax increase at
21 all and no borrowing at all.
22 Now, the last thing I would like to say
23 is this, Mr. Doherty is a businessman, and evidently
24 he's a very good businessman. His private business
25 must do quite well, and I don't doubt that he has a BS
1 degree in business from Holy Cross College, a fine
2 institution, but I ask you, what does BS stand for?
3 Borrowing and spending.
4 You know, I don't believe he has an MS
5 degree, but if he did, it would be a master of
6 squandering. That's it.
7 MS. GATELLI: Mrs. Fanucci.
8 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: I don't have
9 anything quite as prepared or ready. I just have to
10 say what I've been doing. I've been meeting with the
11 mayor. I am not not going to meet with the mayor.
12 I wish I can say that this problem
13 would just go away and that we could finally say, you
14 know what, let's just not do it. You know, I think
15 that's a great stance for some, but for me, it's not an
16 option. I said that from day one.
17 $6 million dollars was missing from
18 last year. We already spent it. It's like going back
19 after buying your house and saying, you know, it would
20 be nice, but now, you know, I don't have to -- we spent
21 it. It is us. We are -- this is our city.
22 This is our city. We all live here.
23 Yes, yes, I do believe that. I'm sorry that I believe
24 that. I'm sorry you find it funny, which is even
25 sadder for me.
1 But I have to say this is not an option
2 for us. I don't believe -- you know, we said, Oh,
3 well, that's okay, they're going to get paid anyway.
4 That is not an option for me.
5 The reason that we are in this
6 situation is because of our distressed status, which we
7 unfortunately voted on. I believe that the Council
8 passed that. That was not something we just decided
9 on. Council had passed, not us, previous Council from
10 a long time ago.
11 This was not something that was handed
12 to us and said, This is what you have to do. This was
13 an option we opted to take.
14 PEL is not an option. I get that the
15 unions aren't going to like PEL. I get that PEL is not
16 going to like the unions. It's pretty obvious. This
17 is not something that's new. This has been going on
18 for years.
19 The Recovery Plan, that's been going on
20 for years. This battle, this is all not new. It's the
21 same. It's been the same and it will be the same.
22 What's not the same is the issue of the
23 money. Ten years ago, that wasn't an issue. We heard,
24 you know, that Mayor Connors had money in the bank when
25 he left . We don't now. We don't have the money.
1 That is a problem for me. Whether you agree or not
2 agree, it's a problem for me.
3 I cannot say it's okay not to pay our
4 bills. I am not going to let our bond rating go down.
5 I don't believe that's a good option.
6 I also don't believe that deciding to
7 say that we are bankrupt is an option. It is not an
8 option for us. I had said this before. This will
9 never been an option for us.
10 Bankruptcy, we will go to court. The
11 judge will say, Go do what you're supposed to do. This
12 is what it's about. We will be back in this area
13 again. We will continue this fight. This will be
14 going on and on and on, and that's unfortunate, but it
15 is what the state will do.
16 You know, Lee Morgan was here before he
17 said, Oh, I don't believe that that's exactly what's
18 going to happen. I do believe that in my heart and in
19 my soul.
20 I believe if we go to a judge and say,
21 you know, we really -- we're going to be bankrupt, we
22 don't want to deal with our contracts, let's just start
23 all over again, we'll see what happens. He's going to
24 say no, no, it's not an option for you. Go back and
25 get to your people and figure out a solution. I'm
1 trying hard. I'm not going to say I'm going to come up
2 with this major solution.
3 I hear a lot of the talk. I laugh.
4 You know, he must only wanted $20 million or he must
5 have -- no. The fact is 44 was the real figure. You
6 know, this was not a big hoax. I don't believe any of
7 us want to be in this situation. I certainly don't.
8 As being --
9 MS. GATELLI: Please don't disrupt
10 while a Councilperson is speaking.
11 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: It's amazing. It
12 is so amazing.
13 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
14 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: I will not
15 interrupt you while you're talking, if you do not
16 interrupt me. This is a forum where we don't have to
17 agree. I certainly don't agree with 90 percent of what
18 all of you got up here and said tonight, but I listened
19 and I would expect the same from you.
20 My thoughts are my thoughts. My
21 thoughts are not just my thoughts, they are what I --
22 people I talk to, people I listen to, also.
23 We're all here. We all got here the
24 same way. People put us here. Maybe you didn't put me
25 here, and I'm sorry for that, but I know that if did
1 not put me here, you probably won't agree with me, and
2 that's okay, too.
3 I am trying hard to find a solution.
4 There's not going to be a good one. Nobody is going to
5 be happy. Taxes are going to go up. A lot of my phone
6 calls I feel in the past three days were, Oh, my God,
7 I'm scared to death. Now, I don't want my taxes to go
8 up, give him the money. That was amazing to me, almost
9 baffling. I did not think that was going to be an
10 option for the taxpayers.
11 I really thought that they were going
12 to say, no, no, no, but as soon as you hear that you
13 need to pay more, it is scary. It's scary for all of
14 us. It's scary for me being a homeowner. It's scary.
15 One of our problems, and I do believe
16 this is a problem, our piece of pie that we get out of
17 the money that comes into city is not enough to cover
18 what we do.
19 But we know all of our insurances have
20 gone up, we know that everything has gone up and we
21 know that that's going to continue to happen.
22 Whether or not we can come up with this
23 financial ideas of cutting or whatever, yeah, that's a
24 great option, and we need to sit down and work together
25 to find a solution to that. And we all said before, if
1 we can find ways to do that, I'm certainly -- we would
2 all take that route.
3 To me, we still owe $6 million. I wish
4 to God that last year we decided to do it. I don't
5 know. I wasn't here. You know, not that I'm claiming
6 that this is not my problem, because it certainly is my
8 I'm going to continue to do what I've
9 been doing all week and look for solutions, look for a
10 way to make this work. There is not going to be a
11 solution that anybody, and I don't care, anybody is
12 going to come up here a hero. There is not a good
13 solution. We are not going to be happy.
14 I wish that some miracle -- you know, I
15 wish Ed McMahon would show up. He's not coming. I am
16 trying hard. I am committed to listening and to
17 working and finding some type of optimistic route for
19 I believe in our city. I do not
20 believe a lot of what I hear. I love it here. I love
21 my people, I love where I live, I love my house, I love
22 my street, even the one with the pothole. It's okay.
23 It's going to be okay.
24 But this is not going to be the end of
25 us under any circumstances. We will be here and we
1 will continue to work and we will work together to find
2 whatever it is we need to find.
3 That is really all I have. I have no
4 other notes. My week was spent doing this and my week
5 will probably spent doing this for the next few weeks,
6 and I image then will be budget time and we will just
7 keep going into this process.
8 Please believe that we are here to do
9 what we need to do. It may not be great, it may not be
10 wonderful, and I know in the longrun, if you weren't
11 real happy with me in the first place, you're probably
12 not going to be happy anyway, but I do know that I'm
13 looking for some type of solution, and that makes me
15 And I know that the people who are out
16 there who are waiting for this to happen and waiting
17 for us to make some type of decision know that this is
18 not something that you just go to bed and night and not
19 think about, this is not something that even -- I know
20 I have a daughter who's nine. I think about her. I
21 do. This is not something I take lightly.
22 So, please do not shrug it off or make
23 me feel or seem any different than anyone else up here.
24 It is almost -- it is insulting. It's insulting in a
25 lot of ways.
1 I hear, you know, Mr. Jackowitz, you
2 come up here and say whatever you say, stupid. I don't
3 believe anyone in this city is stupid. I don't believe
4 any of us claim not to understand what is going on
6 But I also know the taxpayers out there
7 really understand the kind of positions we're in. It
8 is not fortunate, it is not fun, and it is not
9 something any of us wanted to do or wanted to be in
10 this situation, but we are here, and we're going to try
11 to work the best we can. And that's all I have. Thank
13 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Mr.
15 MR. MCTIERNAN: Thank you, Mrs.
16 Gatelli. Kay, would you contact the DPW, and I have a
17 specific address, thanks to Mr. Courtright, for that
18 pothole that is developing. It's across the street
19 from 21 Forest Glen Road, and it's a hole that is
20 partially obscured by some vegetation, so I think it's
21 particularly dangerous.
22 And just to note that I've had an
23 opportunity to meet with the mayor and the business
24 administrator trying to find ways to remedy the holes
25 in our current budget and projected budgets, and I will
1 continue to bring those notes to my Council colleagues
2 when I have those formalized, hopefully within the next
3 few days. And that's all I have, Mrs. Gatelli. Thank
5 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Courtright.
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes. I'm not going to
7 go into the $44 million, because what Mrs. Evans said
8 and Mrs. Fanucci, as far as people calling and talking,
9 I've gotten the same comments.
10 I think we pretty much know what the
11 people are asking us to do and not to do. So, each one
12 of us will have to make that decision and do what we
13 think is best. I'm just going to leave it at that for
15 I asked OECD if they would give me the
16 figure on what's left in the CRF loans, and they called
17 me this week and gave me the figure. We have
18 $1,968,828.99 left on the CRF money. So, I thank them
19 for giving me that information.
20 I think some of us have been aware that
21 there's been a rash of armed robberies in the city in
22 the last couple weeks, and one I believe was come to a
23 good collusion, Officer McKeon, Acting Corporal McKeon,
24 I believe, apprehended three individuals suspected of
25 an armed robbery down on Capouse and Olive, so we want
1 to congratulate him and thank him for that.
2 Police officers, staying with that
3 note, North Scranton, West Scranton, and the Weston
4 Field area in the last three to four weeks, I've gotten
5 a lot of calls and people stopping by to see me asking
6 me what has happened to their beat officers.
7 And I sent a letter out to who I
8 believe had been in charge of the beat officers at the
9 time, I didn't get a response, but I know they've
10 changed who's in charge of the beat officers several
11 times in the last year.
12 So, what I'll do is I'll try to put
13 together a letter and ask Dave Elliott -- what I'm
14 going to ask is so that if you ask me the questions,
15 I'll have specific answers, how many CommD officers or
16 beat officers, I don't want to call them CommD, we
17 have, where they're supposed to be, but more so not
18 where are they supposed to be, but we all know West
19 Side sent two there, but what I want to know is where
20 have they been?
21 If we have two officers assigned to the
22 Hill Section, have they spent their eight hour shift
23 five days week there or have they been somewhere else?
24 Because that's what I'm being told.
25 Yes, we have an officer, but we see
1 them maybe one or two days a week, then we don't know
2 what happens to that officer.
3 So, I will ask for at least the last
4 month of an exact schedule where everyone of these
5 officers have been. And I know that will take some
6 doing, but I'm sure they can handle it. And then when
7 you ask me the question, I will be able to present it
8 to you.
9 Fred, Mr. Budzinski, keeps bringing up
10 about the benches. I've had a little luck in the last
11 couple of weeks asking OECD about information, so maybe
12 I'll call them and ask them if they can tell us what's
13 the story on the benches. I don't think that's too
14 much to ask, a couple benches downtown. I think we can
15 handle that. So, maybe I'll get lucky again.
16 Last week I asked when Mr. Doherty was
17 here, I asked about the layoffs of city employees, what
18 his intentions were, and he said he intended on
19 dropping it down to 112 firefighters.
20 And I asked at that time did they have
21 a plan on how they were going to cover the city with
22 only 112 firefighters and he said he didn't have a plan
23 yet. And I ask if they had a tentative plan, and he
24 said they did not have a tentative plan either.
25 And then this week Director of Public
1 Safety Ray Hayes brought a handwritten letter up to the
2 office for me, and basically what they're telling me
3 how they plan on doing this is going from four shifts
4 to three shifts, and that way they will be able to man
5 the city. And it says, approved by arbitration.
6 Now, I didn't get an opportunity to ask
7 Mr. Hayes, and I had thought maybe Mr. Gervasi would be
8 here tonight, I figured he would know the answer to it,
9 if, in fact, the arbitrator's approved this and then
10 why have we appealed the arbitration?
11 So, maybe I'm not up to speed on that,
12 and I will ask Mr. Hayes that question again. I
13 thought Mr. Gervasi was here.
14 So, their answer is, they're going to
15 cut one shift and man it that way. As I get further
16 information, I will bring it forth to you. And I
17 believe that's all I have. Thank you.
18 MS. EVANS: Mr. Courtright, while
19 you're searching for those answers, because they're
20 very good questions, could you also ask if any fire
21 stations will be closed?
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: Oh, absolutely.
23 MS. EVANS: And if so, what are the
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: Absolutely, I will do
1 that. Thank you.
2 MS. GATELLI: It won't be engine two,
3 that's for sure. I still have the 10,000 signatures
4 down the basement when they tried that before.
5 MS. EVANS: Well, the sad part is,
6 though, regardless of where a closing might occur --
7 MS. GATELLI: Oh, I know. I'm just
8 being facetious.
9 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mrs. Gatelli, I have
10 one more thing. I apologize.
11 MS. GATELLI: Go ahead.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: It just came in today
13 and they didn't leave their name. Curtis Lane,
14 evidently this individual has been complaining for
15 quite some time. It's the Village Park Apartments.
16 I guess the DPW has gone out there and
17 put cold patch in, but it doesn't seem to be solving
18 the problem, and he asked that the road be paved, and I
19 understand that we have the paving list and the chances
20 of getting that paved are probably slim to none,
21 because the list is already made up, but if we can ask
22 if they can put some permanent patch there, as opposed
23 to cold patch. I'm sure they would appreciate that.
24 That's it. Thanks.
25 MS. GATELLI: Kay, I just have a few
1 things. There's crosswalks are needed at Mulberry and
2 Harrison where they cross the kids at Audubon School.
3 And there's a property at 222 Oak Street where a city
4 tree fell on gentleman's fence, and they came and they
5 took the root of the tree away, but they didn't take
6 the part of the tree that's on his fence. The fence is
7 buckled and it's behind the firehouse.
8 1427 Birch, Mrs. Evans, I just wanted
9 to tell you that I also sent several letters on that,
10 so there's only ten of them down there.
11 MS. EVANS: I just wish we could get an
13 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Anderson. Aswell
14 Court, if we could add that to the paving list and have
15 Gene Barrett clean the basins there.
16 Potholes at Hickory and Bolande, Meadow
17 Avenue from River to Moosic, Hickory and Earth Court
18 and the 1000 block of River Street.
19 Also, see if Mr. Fiorini can remove the
20 garbage from 518-520 River Street. It was condemned
21 several weeks ago and the garbage is still outside the
23 Also, I sent a letter two weeks ago to
24 Mr. Fiorini and Mr. Seitzinger about who are the
25 inspectors, what location do they work in and some of
1 the properties that they've been to, and we haven't
2 received a response.
3 I would assume that now that we have a
4 person in charge of that, Mr. Seitzinger, that we could
5 get a report at least by-weekly of properties that
6 they've been to and what they've found there.
7 I told you before, I went to the
8 planning commission meeting several evenings ago, and
9 the University of Scranton has a plan to build a
10 five-story garage on the corner of Madison and
11 Mulberry, and I would like Attorney Minora to look into
13 I don't believe that they pay us for the
14 other garage they have on campus.
15 MR. MINORA: Pardon?
16 MS. GATELLI: A parking garage, a new
17 parking garage at the University of Scranton. They're
18 going to be building it, and it's going to be five
19 stories and there's going to be 1200 spaces.
20 MR. MINORA: Along with their new
21 student center?
22 MS. GATELLI: Yes. And I want you to
23 investigate the possibility of them paying the parking
24 fee. I know they don't pay it on the other garage, but
25 they do charge the students, and I think that the city
1 should be getting their share of that money.
2 I know they're a non-profit, but when
3 they're making money on it, I think it's incumbent upon
4 them -- it's only $15 a space per year.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: They're charging $200.
6 MS. GATELLI: And Lackawanna is going
7 to share that, Lackawanna Junior College is going to
8 take 250 spaces. And this city has been very good to
9 Lackawanna Junior College, also. So, I don't know how
10 we can get around it.
11 MR. MINORA: I'll look into it.
12 MS. GATELLI: I don't know how we can
13 get around it. And I know they're non-profit, but we
14 really need to do something to stop the sprawl of
15 non-profits. So, you know, see what you can do about
17 Also, we're talking about ways of
18 raising revenue, I know that in Philadelphia, and I
19 believe also in Pittsburgh, they have an alcohol tax, I
20 think it's a penny on a dollar for selling of alcohol,
21 so I would like -- also like that investigated,
22 Mr. Minora.
23 And another way we can make some money
24 is by returning OECD to city hall. When I was here
25 with Mike Washo, we paid the rent to City Hall. We had
1 to figure out the square footage of space that we
2 occupied, and it was legal for us to pay the city lease
3 rent money, and we did.
4 So, you know, I think -- I'm sure the
5 third floor is still empty since they've been gone and
6 they're paying, I believe, $7,500 a month to be in
7 another building when they could be paying that money
8 to the city.
9 I think that's all I have. Oh, one
10 more thing. I have a list of delinquent tax parcels.
11 I believe Mr. Bolus is gone, but he's asked for this
12 several times, do you we have a list of tax delinquent
14 This list was done by Ozzie Quinn when
15 he worked in the city planning office, and I'm sure
16 some of them have been sold, but if anyone is
17 interested in this, maybe you can use this as a
19 And Mrs. Krake had a copy of it in the
20 tax office, the treasurer's office, and she was so kind
21 as to give it to us, and Sue, I believe, made the copy.
22 So, if anyone wants a copy of the tax
23 delinquent properties, please feel free to come to
24 Council's office and you can have a copy.
25 I guess I should talk about the $44
1 million. Well, I'm only here nine months, and I had
2 just tonight four ways of raising revenue. Isn't that
4 We're only here part-time and we can
5 come up with some ideas. Right this moment I am
6 against all borrowing. I have to be convinced
8 Not one person that I have seen, along
9 with -- as Mrs. Evans said, has told me that I should
10 go along with this borrowing. The people have put me
11 here and the people will keep me here.
12 I'm here for the people and the
13 taxpayers. I don't want my great grandchildren to pay
14 for all this debt.
15 We have already borrowed $88 million.
16 It has to stop somewhere. I don't claim to have all
17 the answers, but I'm willing to sit down with everyone
18 and work on ways to make revenue and cut some expenses.
19 And I think now is the time that the buck is going to
20 stop here. Thank you. Mrs. Garvey.
21 MS. GARVEY: 5-B, FOR INTRODUCTION - A
22 RESOLUTION - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER
23 APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE A CONTRACT FOR
24 PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTING SERVICES FOR THE OFFICE OF
25 ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT WITH MURPHY,
1 DOUGHERTY & COMPANY FOR A ONE-YEAR TERM TO ASSIST IN
2 DAILY ACCOUNTING, SETTING POLICIES, COMPLIANCE AND LONG
3 RANGE PLANNING AMONG OTHERS.
4 MS. GATELLI: At this time I'll
5 entertain a motion that 5-B be introduced.
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
7 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Second.
8 MS. GATELLI: On the question?
9 MS. EVANS: This is in effect another
10 consultant. This is just a very, very miniscule
11 example of why we're in the shape we're in, because
12 they all add up.
13 And now that we find ourselves, as
14 everyone has admitted, in this very, very ugly
15 troubling situation, I really think we can't afford to
16 keep handing administrator more helpers, so I will be
17 voting no.
18 MS. GATELLI: Anyone else? On the
19 question? We might as well do a roll call.
20 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Evans.
21 MS. EVANS: No.
22 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Fanucci.
23 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Yes.
24 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. McTiernan.
25 MR. MCTIERNAN: Yes.
1 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. Courtright.
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
3 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Gatelli.
4 MS. GATELLI: No. So moved by a vote
5 of three to two.
6 MS. GARVEY: Sixth order. There's no
7 business at this time. Seventh order. 7-A, FOR
8 CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON FINANCE - FOR
9 ADOPTION - FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 45, 2006 - SALE OF TAX
10 DELINQUENT PROPERTY AT 530-532 BROADWAY STREET,
11 SCRANTON PENNSYLVANIA, TO KEVIN SHAUGHNESSY, 1004 RILEY
12 STREET, TAYLOR, PENNSYLVANIA, 18517, FOR THE SUM OF
14 MS. GATELLI: What is the
15 recommendation of the chair on finance?
16 MR. MCTIERNAN: I recommend that Item
17 7-A be passed, please.
18 MS. GATELLI: Do we have a second?
19 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Second.
20 MS. GATELLI: On the question? Roll
22 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Evans.
23 MS. EVANS: Yes.
24 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Fanucci.
25 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Yes.
1 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. McTiernan.
2 MR. MCTIERNAN: Yes.
3 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. Courtright.
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: Abstain.
5 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Gatelli.
6 MS. GATELLI: Yes. I hereby declare
7 7-A legally and lawfully adopted, four yes, one
9 MS. GARVEY: 7-B, FOR CONSIDERATION -
10 BY THE COMMIT EE ON FINANCE - FOR ADOPTION - FILE OF
11 COUNCIL NO. 47, 2006 - AMENDING FILE OF COUNCIL NO.
12 162, 2005, AN ORDINANCE ENTITLED GENERAL CITY OPERATING
13 BUDGET 2006 BY TRANSFERRING $4,700.00 FROM ACCOUNT NO.
14 01.051.00082.4210 (SERVICE AND MAINTENANCE FEE) TO
15 ACCOUNT NO. 01.401.10030.4299 (ZONING BOARD OPERATING
16 EXPENSES) TO PROVIDE FUNDING FOR ZONING BOARD EXPENSES
17 THROUGH YEAR END.
18 MS. GATELLI: What is the
19 recommendation of the chair on finance?
20 MR. MCTIERNAN: I recommend final
21 passage of Item 7-B.
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
23 MS. GATELLI: On the question? Roll
25 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Evans.
1 MS. EVANS: Yes.
2 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Fanucci.
3 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Yes.
4 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. McTiernan.
5 MR. MCTIERNAN: Yes.
6 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. Courtright.
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
8 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Gatelli.
9 MS. GATELLI: Yes. I hereby declare
10 Item 7-B legally and lawfully adopted. Can I have a
11 motion to adjourn?
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
13 MS. EVANS: Second.
14 MS. GATELLI: All in favor? Aye.
16 (MEETING WAS ADJOURNED.)
25 C E R T I F I C A T E
2 I hereby certify that the proceedings and
3 evidence are contained fully and accurately in the
4 notes taken by me on the hearing of the above cause and
5 that this copy is a correct transcript of the same
6 to the best of my ability.
LISA M. GRAFF, RMR
10 Official Court Reporter