1 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING
8 Thursday, June 28, 2007
12 Council Chambers
13 Scranton City Hall
14 340 North Washington Avenue
15 Scranton, Pennsylvania
25 LAURA BOYANOWSKI, RPR
4 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:
6 MS. JUDY GATELLI, PRESIDENT (Not Present)
7 MS. JANET EVANS
8 MS. SHERRY FANUCCI
9 MR. ROBERT McGOFF
10 MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT
11 MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK
12 MR. JOHN MINORA, ESQUIRE, SOLICITOR
1 MS. GARVEY: Roll call. Mr.
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: Here.
4 MS. GARVEY: Ms. Fanucci?
5 MS. FANUCCI: Here.
6 MS. GARVEY: Mr McGoff?
7 MR. McGOFF: Here.
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: Ms. Gatelli did
9 send a letter into the office stating she
10 wouldn't be here today. Third order, Kay.
11 MS. GARVEY: 3-A, APPLICATIONS AND
12 DECISIONS RENDERED BY THE ZONING HEARING BOARD
13 ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20, 2007.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Are there any
15 comments? If not, received and filed.
16 MS. GARVEY: 3-B, MINUTES OF THE
17 COMPOSITE PENSION BOARD MEETING HELD ON MAY 23,
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: Are there any
20 comments? If not, received and filed.
21 MS. GARVEY: 3-C, AGENDA FOR THE
22 ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING TO BE HELD ON JULY
23 11, 2007.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: Are there any
25 comments? If not, received and filed.
1 MS. GARVEY: 3-D, MINUTES OF THE
2 SCRANTON LACKAWANNA HEALTH AND WELFARE
3 AUTHORITY REGULAR BOARD MEETING HELD ON MAY 17,
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: Are there any
6 comments? If not, received and filed.
7 MS. GARVEY: 3-E, MINUTES FOR THE
8 NON-UNIFORM MUNICIPAL PENSION BOARD MEETING
9 HELD ON MAY 23, 2007.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: Are there any
11 comments? If not, received and filed.
12 MS. GARVEY: 3-F, AGENDA FOR THE
13 NON-UNIFORM MUNICIPAL PENSION BOARD MEETING
14 HELD ON JUNE 27, 2007.
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: Are there any
16 comments? If not, received and filed.
17 MS. GARVEY: 3-G, MINUTES OF THE
18 FIRMEN'S PENSION COMMISSION MEETING HELD ON
19 APRIL 25, 2007.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: Are there any
21 comments? If not, received and filed.
22 MS. GARVEY: 3-H, MINUTES OF THE
23 FIREMEN'S PENSION COMMISSION MEETING HELD ON
24 MAY 23, 2007.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: Are there any
1 comments? If not, received and filed.
2 MS. GARVEY: 3-I, 2006 COMBINED
3 AUDIT REPORT FOR THE SCRANTON LACKAWANNA HEALTH
4 AND WELFARE AUTHORITY.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: Are there any
6 comments? If not, received and filed.
7 MS. GARVEY: That's it for third
9 MR. COURTRIGHT: Fourth order.
10 THE CLERK: 4-A motions.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mrs. Evans?
12 MS. EVANS: Thank you. Good
13 afternoon. Please remember in your prayers
14 this week Mrs. Angela Casey-Cusick, a truly
15 great lady who collected and preserved
16 artifacts and memorabilia of the Hotel Casey
17 and the Casey Garage, some of the family's
18 historical landmarks in order to protect
19 Scranton's past for its future generations.
20 Also keep John W. Gavin, III, please, in your
21 thoughts and prayers as well as both families,
22 the Cusicks, and the Gavins.
23 Because of a population decline
24 reported by the census bureau's American
25 community survey, and also reports of failures
1 to pay city taxes by select citizens, I move
2 that the city tax office provide Scranton city
3 council a specific breakdown of current year
4 wage and business taxes as well as all moneys
5 collected in delinquent taxes per tax per year
6 from 2002 forward.
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: Do we have a
8 second? No one wants to second?
9 MS. FANUCCI: No, that's okay.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: I will second it.
11 I am allowed to second, am I correct?
12 MS. FANUCCI: Correct.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question
14 then -- I have a question. Please don't speak
15 from the audience, Mr. Davis.
16 MR. McGOFF: I guess -- I didn't
17 second or I -- because I guess I'm not clear as
18 to what it is that you want and the purpose for
19 asking, I would --
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mr. Davis, you
21 cannot talk from the audience, sir. Thank you.
22 Thank you.
23 MR. McGOFF: I guess if I had some
24 more information about it and why we were going
25 to do it, it would be --
1 MS. EVANS: Well, as I said when
2 introducing the motion, we see in today's paper
3 that Scranton has suffered a tremendous decline
4 in population since 2002. Yet, at the same
5 time we've been told that two to three thousand
6 new jobs have been created and that many, many,
7 many new individuals have moved into the City
8 of Scranton.
9 And I feel that the best way of
10 tracking that is by looking at the tax records
11 so we can know if, indeed, Scranton is
12 suffering from an increase or -- excuse me -- a
13 decrease or enjoying an increase. And with
14 regard to the reports of individuals who have
15 not paid taxes, I think it would be virtually
16 impossible for us to gather any individuals'
17 names as Mrs. Gatelli had suggested last week.
18 But I do think if we can track
19 records from 2002 forward -- it's basically a
20 spreadsheet that I'm requesting. Then we can
21 get a handle on exactly, you know -- if we've
22 seen an increase or a decline in those taxes.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question --
24 I know you're requesting 2002 forward, correct?
25 MS. EVANS: Only for the delinquent
1 taxes per tax per year 2002 forward. The other
2 would be for the current year a breakdown of
3 current year wage and business tax.
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: I just -- I don't
5 know how easily done that is or how difficult
6 that is for them to do.
7 MS. EVANS: I don't think it should
8 be too difficult.
9 MR. COURTRIGHT: You're only doing
10 the one from 2002 forward, and the other is for
11 the current year?
12 MS. EVANS: Delinquent 2002 forward.
13 And the office is collecting wage tax, business
14 taxes, so I -- I don't think it really could be
15 that difficult to do because they provide that
16 information to the administration and the
17 administration proximates figures annually in
18 budgets so I'm -- you know, I'm asking for
19 something that I believe can easily be
20 prepared. If the tax office doesn't know what
21 it's bringing in, I think the tax office has a
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: Anyone else on the
25 MS. FANUCCI: Would this be
1 available in the independent audit or not?
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: No.
3 MS. EVANS: No.
4 MS. FANUCCI: So we won't be able to
5 get that information of what they bring in
6 every year?
7 MS. EVANS: Not really. Your better
8 gage is through the operating budget.
9 MS. FANUCCI: I don't have a problem
10 in getting it or trying to figure out why we're
11 -- but my thing is we have to figure out how
12 many people are unemployed in the year, how
13 many people are not employed that were --
14 there's a lot of things --
15 MS. EVANS: There are variables.
16 MS. FANUCCI: I would rather discuss
17 this in caucus actually so we can brainstorm
18 and figure out a way to do this instead of
19 coming out in surprise motions. But I have no
20 problem if you want to get more records from
21 the tax office. I have no problem.
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: Anyone else? Mr.
23 McGoff, no?
24 MR. McGOFF: No.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: All in favor?
1 MS. EVANS: Aye.
2 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: Opposed? The ayes
4 have it and so ordered.
5 MS. EVANS: Thank you. I also wish
6 to congratulate the Scranton High School
7 Scholastic Bowl Team for its stellar
8 performance at the Panasonic Academic
9 Championship in Orlando this week. Scranton
10 defeated and placed above states with multiple
11 coaches who had extensively traveled the quiz
12 bowl circuit, collected statewide all star team
13 members and made this event two and three
14 consecutive years. Thus, our students are a
15 credit to their families, the Scranton School
16 District and the taxpayers of Scranton who fund
17 the academic excellence provided by Scranton
18 city schools. I personally thank my team, my
19 school and district administrators and all the
20 people of Scranton for giving me the greatest
21 privilege of my teaching career. And a special
22 thank you to Mr. Peiffer for his lovely card of
24 And I also wish to thank the
25 Scranton Times for their wonderful articles and
1 editorial in support of the Scranton High
2 School team which was in effect Team
4 I was thinking though as I was
5 traveling to and from Florida how lucky I was
6 that I was able to make last week's meeting and
7 again be present for today's meeting. And I
8 realize how crucial these meetings are to the
9 people of the City of Scranton, and that's why
10 I make every effort to be present at as many as
12 Last year, for example, I believe I
13 missed only one meeting and that was to attend
14 Scranton High School's graduation. And as a
15 teacher of senior students, I am obligated to
16 attend those graduation ceremonies annually.
17 More so as their teacher, I want to be at that
18 ceremony for my students.
19 This year I believe I missed three
20 meetings. One was for the birth of my
21 granddaughter. And my children live out of
22 town. Another was for the Scholastic Bowl Team
23 of Scranton High School. We were competing in
24 Harrisburg for the state championship. And yet
25 a third was when I was ill. And people -- I'm
1 sure you all know -- as you get older, you
2 succumb more easily to illness and people who
3 particularly multitask and find themselves very
4 often in this stressful situations are that
5 much more prone to illness.
6 So I'm actually quite thankful that
7 there was only one meeting due to illness. So
8 what I guess I wanted all of you to know is not
9 simply how important the meetings are to me but
10 more so that even when I may be absent from a
11 meeting it means only that I am absent those
12 two hours, I am still on duty seven days a
13 week, 24 hours a day reading the e-mails,
14 taking the phone calls, making the phone calls,
15 going out to the location of your problems to
16 examine exactly what the situation entails and
17 what type of solutions we're going to be able
18 to devise to correct the situation for you and
19 even budget concerns.
20 When one budget ends in December for
21 me, that simply means the new budget begins in
22 January. And I begin collecting as much
23 information as possible and pouring over that
24 information, putting all the pieces together
25 for a large puzzle that I hope will come
1 together in the fall.
2 So I felt it was important for all
3 of you to understand that council -- the duties
4 of a good council person far exceed these
6 It's not a part-time job. It's a
7 full-time job, as full-time as my teaching
8 career. And I think anyone up here could agree
9 with that. And so I -- I guess I was just
10 sharing my thoughts with you that I had been
11 pondering yesterday flying home to
12 Pennsylvania. And it was very, very good to
13 come because as wonderful, as splendid as
14 Orlando is and Disney World is, ladies and
15 gentlemen, there's no place like home.
16 And also, I learned that there were
17 significant improvements to the E. M. S. tax of
18 late. Only one dollar will be collected from
19 each pay for workers earning over $12,000
20 annually and no tax will be deducted from those
21 earning $12,000 or less per year. I do have
22 citizens' requests for the week.
23 I gathered those late last night or,
24 perhaps, I should say in the wee hours of this
25 morning. But since I was out of state, I will
1 be sure to give all of your problems to the
2 appropriate department heads. I do have them.
3 And also I have some announcements I was asked
4 to make. There will be free swimming at Nay
5 Aug Park for children 15 and under on the
6 Fourth of July.
7 This day of free swimming is
8 sponsored by the Scranton Lackawanna County
9 Taxpayers Association and private sponsors and
10 businesses. Also on July 15th, from 12 to 2
11 p.m., St. Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox
12 church will conduct a chicken barbecue.
13 Tickets are $8.
14 And I'm pleased to announce that
15 1105 and 1107 Fairfield Street have been
16 cleaned by the property owners. Also, we did
17 meet today in caucus with a few of the
18 neighbors and Attorney Butler representing the
19 City of Scranton and Attorney Minora --
20 Attorney John Minora representing his brother
21 -- about the problems experienced at both the
22 Scranton Rescue Mission and Daron Northeast.
23 And we hope to have the Scranton
24 Rescue Mission addressed in a very timely
25 fashion. And Daron Northeast, we are going to
1 actively pursue in that the violations that
2 have been reported by Mr. Hubbard will be given
3 to Mr. Wallace and he will check each and every
4 one. And I am keeping my eye on the business.
5 I have said during our caucus, for example,
6 yesterday prior to the storm when we were
7 incurring very windy conditions, I was down in
8 the area of Daron Northeast and noticed such
9 clouds of dust, that they were very much
10 tornado like.
11 So I took a trip over to Scranton
12 Building Block, and I noticed no such problem.
13 And so regardless of -- well, let us say the
14 reports or circumstances coming out of Daron,
15 it isn't a situation that I'm going to ignore.
16 I will stay on top of this. I will be watching
18 And I feel that even if one life,
19 one person's health is at risk over this
20 situation, then it is well worth pursuing and
21 it must be. Finally, I wish everyone a very
22 safe and happy Fourth of July. And as you
23 celebrate this national holiday, please
24 remember our military troops in your prayers.
25 That's it.
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: Ms. Fanucci -- I'm
2 sorry I forgot make these announcements in the
3 beginning of the meeting. I have a letter here
4 from Dave Elliot, superintendant of police,
5 that he would like read. It's addressed to me.
6 "I would like to bring to your attention some
7 good work that was recently done at the Jackson
8 Street playground.
9 In the past few months the Scranton
10 Police have responded to several calls at the
11 Jackson Street playground for intentionally set
12 fires and suspicious activity throughout the
13 day and night. Area residents who were not
14 looking for attention took it upon themselves
15 to recruit the regular visitors of the park to
16 have day of cleanup.
17 One of the neighbors purchased
18 materials, and all persons involved cleaned up
19 the broken bottles, empty cans and other debris
20 thrown in the area of the old skate park. In
21 addition, the parks and recreation department
22 removed hazardous items such as rusted pipes
23 that were transported to the park area from
24 unknown areas. They also removed a picnic
25 table that was used by vandals for late night
2 Through the hard work of the parks,
3 neighbors and cooperation of the park and
4 recreation department, the park looks to be in
5 good shape once again. It has also led to less
6 calls for the police in this area. I have
7 already thanked them personally but feel
8 everyone should know about the hard work that
9 the residents put into their neighborhood
10 parks. I understand that the junior council
11 has planned a cleanup for the same area this
13 There's a lot to be done, and the
14 residents welcome any help that is offered.
15 Recently, the police department, parks and
16 recreation department and West Scranton Crime
17 Watch met to discuss the future of this
18 particular park and look forward to what's
19 ahead." That was from Dave Elliott. And in
20 conjunction with that, we got a letter from the
21 junior council.
22 They will have a crime -- at the
23 crime watch building there's going to be
24 cleanup, Jackson Terrace Park, Saturday, June
25 30, 2007 at 9 a.m. There's going to be a
1 barbecue, hamburgers, hot dogs and soda.
2 They are asking everybody to come
3 out and support the skate park. And one last
4 item -- this is an important item. It's from
5 Francis Dyson. It says, "Regrettably I'll be
6 out of town Friday afternoon, please announce
7 that the annual independence day observance
8 will be Wednesday, 4, July at the swim complex
9 at Nay Aug Park.
10 Everyone is asked to arrive no later
11 than 10:30 a.m. to enjoy the patriotic music
12 under the direction of Ted Reggie. The
13 ceremony will start at 11 a.m. sharp. It is
14 suggested to be a comfortable folding chair.
15 It will be the first event in the greater
16 Scranton observing independence day. Thought
17 not a veteran or military event, the veterans
18 along with scouts, clergy, civic minded
19 citizens will make the presentation. The key
20 note speaker this year is the Honorable Ken
21 Smith, state representative. American
22 miniature four-by-four flags will be given to
23 all children in attendance along with
24 refreshing cool beverages courtesy of
1 All children are cordially invited
2 and encouraged to attend. Who better than
3 parents and/or grandparents to teach our
4 youngsters patriotism. The parking is free.
5 Visit the park, the new bridge and the tree
6 house. I thank the counsel for bringing this
7 again to the attention of all your viewers, and
8 I know you have many because you bring
9 democracy and action through Channel 61." And
10 that's from Francis Dyson. Thank you. Sorry
11 about that, Mrs. Fanucci.
12 MS. FANUCCI: I only had two things
13 to address. One was the tax, and Mrs. Evans
14 already covered that. The other is this week
15 it seemed to be -- the most requests I had were
16 complaints about other people, maintenance in
17 their yards, a lot of high grass, a lot of
18 people not maintaining the properties. And I
19 am not going to mention the addresses on the
20 air. But what I'm going to do is please make
21 sure you maintain your property if your grass
22 is very high especially on the turns where
23 maybe you are turning onto Harrison Avenue or
24 something where people cannot see.
25 It is not only, you know -- not
1 something that's just better looking, but it is
2 -- it is imperative to the people who are
3 trying to pull out on these major streets that
4 they can see in their sight vision -- sight
5 visision is not impaired. So if we can,
6 please, maintain our yards and just make sure
7 the grass doesn't get too high. Listen, we all
8 can't get to it all the time. I get it.
9 Believe me. I was out there the other day
10 wishing I wasn't.
11 But if we can just maintain our
12 properties a little bit better -- I will submit
13 that list to Mr. Setizinger. That is all I
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you. Mr.
17 MR. McGOFF: Two things very
18 quickly, just to piggyback what you said. My
19 wife and I took advantage of going to Nay Aug
20 Park on Sunday. The attendance at the park was
21 tremendous. Parking places were nonexistent.
22 There were so many people there in the tree
23 house. There was a children's program in front
24 of the Everhart, which was really taxing some
25 of the volunteers in the Everhart Museum. But
1 nonetheless, people were taking in the many
2 venues in Nay Aug Park. It was -- it was great
3 to see.
4 I also a week or so ago
5 inadvertently walked in on a meeting that was
6 taking place dealing with Weston Park and got a
7 little tour of Weston Park and some of the
8 improvements that were going to be made there.
9 What amazed me was that I was shown the
10 stonework that they uncovered from trees and
11 brush and all, and it was stone work that was
12 put in by the W. P. A. and has a W. P. A.
13 engraving or embossing, whatever, in the stone
14 work, really something magnificent that's there
15 and has been uncovered and will hopefully be,
16 you know, part of that park for a long time to
17 come. That's all. Thank you.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: I believe it was
19 maybe two years ago Mrs. Evans myself, Mr.
20 DiBilio and I know Mr. Pocius -- we were up at
21 PennDOT for a problem back on Birney Avenue.
22 At that time Gaynor Cawley was the state rep
23 and he was helping us -- the residents back
24 there in Minooka out with this trying to change
25 that one portion of the road into a single
1 lane. I know a while back, Kay, I asked you to
2 send a letter to Frank Shimkus. I haven't
3 gotten any response. So can we send another
4 letter out and see where we stand if there's --
5 you know, just drop the issue if they are going
6 to continue on with it. I, too, would like to
7 congratulate the students at Scranton High
8 School and Mrs. Evans.
9 You did us proud in the City of
10 Scranton. I am sure we are all very proud of
11 them. I don't see Daniel Hubbard in the
12 audience today. I see his mom. And I would
13 ask in our meeting -- earlier in our caucus we
14 thought maybe one of the ways to resolve some
15 of the problems at Daron Northeast is -- I know
16 each week Daniel has a blue book, a zoning
17 book, with a bunch of stickers in it with all
18 the violations -- if he would give me or not me
19 -- just bring it to the office and it get to
20 Kay each and every violation that he believed
21 has occurred and then the gentlemen that were
22 in there this afternoon said they would answer
23 each and every one of those concerns and maybe
24 we can get somewhere with this Daron situation.
25 So if you can drop those off to us,
1 all the concerns, we will see if we can get an
2 answer. I will not promise anything. He will
3 probably be down here a little bit with those
4 things for me, right?
5 One -- two of the questions they did
6 answer for us was they -- they didn't have to
7 go to zoning because for what they are using it
8 for -- and this is coming from zoning -- they
9 -- it was already acceptable. They were in
10 compliance. They did not have to go to zoning.
11 I'm sure there's some people that disagree with
13 But this is what we are being told
14 by the people that are in charge. If you
15 dispute that and you have any proof that's not
16 true, certainly bring that to us, but that's
17 what we are being told. The other thing with
18 the planning was they did not increase -- I
19 don't know the percentage -- the size of the
20 property any more than what it was. So they
21 did not have to go to planning. All right.
22 They were the two issues they
23 answered for us. As I can see the expression
24 on some people's faces, that's not a believable
25 answer. But once again if -- if, in fact, you
1 have some kind of proof that can show us that's
2 incorrect, we'd certainly like to see it. But
3 that's what we were told by -- we believe to be
4 the experts there today. So they were the two
5 answers we did get. I know you're shaking your
6 head that's -- but that's the answers that we
8 If you've got something to the
9 contrary, most certainly bring that to us.
10 We'd like to see it. And, Kay, I can't
11 remember -- sorry. Did I ask you -- there is a
12 property in the 100 block of South Bromley
13 Avenue the city tore down? No? Sue, did I --
14 the former Yeager building, the city owns it or
15 took possession of it anyway and it needed to
16 be cleaned up. That's all I have.
17 MS. EVANS: Mr. Courtright, I was
18 thinking after you were discussing the issue on
19 Birney Avenue, Mr. Shimkus has an office in
20 Scranton, west Scranton. And if memory serves
21 me well, I believe that most of the state
22 representatives, if not all, come home to their
23 districts Wednesday evening, Thursday morning
24 at the latest. So maybe we can make an
25 appointment with Mr. Shimkus at his Scranton
1 office and bring him up to date on that
2 problem, inform him of all of the measures Mr.
3 Cawley had taken and ask him to take the ball
4 from here.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: Absolutely, good
6 idea. Because I know, you know, sometimes
7 issues, we bring them up and you don't hear any
8 more about it. It might not be important to
9 everyone in the city. But the issue that's in
10 your neighborhood is certainly the important
11 issue. And this is an important issue to those
12 people back there and one I think everybody at
13 the time -- I know Mr. McGoff and Mrs. Fanucci
14 weren't here at the time but we all agreed it
15 was a dangerous situation back there. So,
16 yeah, I am certain we can do that.
17 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right. Kay, I
19 believe that's it.
20 MS. GARVEY: 4-B FOR INTRODUCTION,
21 AN ORDINANCE, SALE OF TAX DELINQUENT PROPERTY
22 AT 2314 PITTSTON AVENUE, SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA
23 TO ROBERT WEBBER AND MARY BETH WEBBER, HIS
24 WIFE, 2309 PITTSTON AVENUE, SCRANTON,
25 PENNSYLVANIA, 18505, FOR THE SUM OF $6,000.
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: At this time I'll
2 entertain a motion that item 4 B. be introduced
3 into its proper committee.
4 MR. McGOFF: Second.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question,
6 all in favor?
7 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
8 MS. EVANS: Aye.
9 MR. McGOFF: Eye.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: The ayes have it
11 and so moved.
12 MS. GARVEY: 4-C FOR INTRODUCTION,
13 AN ORDINANCE, SALE OF TAX DELINQUENT PROPERTY
14 AT 113-115 SOUTH BROMLEY AVENUE, SCRANTON,
15 PENNSYLVANIA, TO JOSEPH A. HAZZOURI, JR., 125
16 FARVIEW AVENUE, SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA, 18504
17 FOR THE SUM OF $4,600.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: At this time I'll
19 entertain a motion that item 4-C be introduced
20 into its proper committee.
21 MS. EVANS: So moved.
22 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question?
24 MR. QUINN: I have a question.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: I don't believe
1 he's allowed to do that. You will have to wait
2 until it's your turn speak, Oz. On the
3 question, all those in favor?
4 MS. EVANS: Aye.
5 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
6 MR. McGOFF: Aye.
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: The ayes have it
8 and so moved.
9 MS. GARVEY: 4-D FOR INTRODUCTION, A
10 RESOLUTION, ACCEPTING THE GIFT OF A POLICE
11 VEHICLE VIN NUMBER 2GIWF55K439337712 FROM
12 POLICE OFFER ROBERT MCKEON, JR. FOR USE IN THE
13 CITY'S FLEET PURSUANT TO A LEASE AGREEMENT
14 BETWEEN THE CITY AND OFFICER MCKEON.
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: At this time I will
16 entertain a motion that item 4-D be introduced
17 into its proper committee.
18 MS. EVANS: So moved.
19 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question,
21 all those in favor?
22 MS. EVANS: Aye.
23 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
24 MR. McGOFF: Aye.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: Opposed? The ayes
1 have it and so moved.
2 MS. GARVEY: 4-E FOR INTRODUCTION, A
3 RESOLUTION, AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER
4 APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE AND ENTER
5 INTO A LEASE AND POLICY AGREEMENT WITH OFFICER
6 ROBERT MCKEON, GOVERNING THE USE OF OFFICER
7 MCKEON'S PRIVATE CRUISED AS DEFINED HEREIN.
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: At this time, I'll
9 entertain a motion that item 4-E be introduced
10 into its proper committee.
11 MS. EVANS: So moved.
12 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question,
14 all those in favor?
15 MS. EVANS: Aye.
16 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
17 MR. McGOFF: Aye.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: Opposed? The ayes
19 have it and so moved.
20 MS. GARVEY: FIFTH ORDER, 5-A,
21 READING BY TITLE FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 100, 2007
22 AN ORDINANCE APPROVING AN AUTHORIZING THE
23 TRANSFER OF THE REAL ESTATE AND IMPROVEMENTS
24 LOCATED AT THE CORNER OF ADAMS AND LACKAWANNA
25 AVENUES IN THE CITY OF SCRANTON KNOWN AS THE
1 CASEY GARAGE OWNED BY THE REDEVELOPMENT
2 AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF SCRANTON TO THE
3 PARKING AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF SCRANTON.
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: You've heard
5 reading by title of Item 5-A. What is your
7 MS. FANUCCI: I move that Item 5-A
8 passes reading by title.
9 MR. McGOFF: Second.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question?
11 All those in favor?
12 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
13 MS. EVANS: Aye.
14 MR. McGOFF: Aye.
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: Opposed? The ayes
16 have it and so moved.
17 MS. GARVEY: 6TH ORDER - no business
18 at this time. 7TH ORDER - CITIZEN
20 MS. EVANS: Mr. Courtright, before
21 we begin, I was wondering if, Kay, we could
22 send a letter to Mr. Kresefski or the mayor,
23 both if necessary, regarding municipal revenue
24 services. That legislation had been placed on
25 hold because council wanted F. R. P.s for other
1 companies, Expand is one of which, and has the
2 administration taken any further action on that
3 situation. Thank you.
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mrs. Evans, I don't
5 know if it's true or not, but I heard a rumor
6 that the city is in talks with Expand also. I
7 don't know if that's a fact or not. That's
8 what I heard.
9 MS. EVANS: Well, I'm just wondering
10 because we had plugged into the budget -- not
11 council -- but the mayor had plugged into the
12 budget a sizable amount, I believe 3.6 million
13 for the collection of delinquent taxes for
14 operating year 2007. And as of now, that
15 figure is going to be nowhere near the
16 projected figure, the actual figure, that is.
17 So I'm just wondering if there is, indeed,
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay. Anyone else?
20 Andrew Porter.
21 MR. PORTER: Good afternoon, city
22 council. Good afternoon, residents of the City
23 of Scranton. My name is Andrew -- Andrew
24 Porter, as you just said. I'm a U.S. citizen,
25 veteran of the United States of America air --
1 armed services. I'm also most importantly
2 approximately a ten-year resident of the City
3 of Scranton. Today I come to you with two
4 things, one quality of life issues, two,
5 business. First off, I would like to say if
6 you don't remember me -- and I only speak at
7 the council meetings approximately twice a
9 The last time I was here, there was
10 a vacancy at city council. I gave a little bit
11 of my background, that of a security
12 professional, administratively for over the
13 course of 12 years, and I'd volunteer my
14 services until such time as a suitable
15 replacement was found.
16 Now, the citizens of Scranton has
17 elected Mr. McGoff. I wish you well. I
18 implore you to do job that the citizens of
19 Scranton has employed you to do by electing
20 you. I would like to say as far as also -- I
21 wish you well. I pray that you represent
22 prudently and fairly.
23 I would like to say starting off
24 also that the city will never be as great or
25 never reach the maturity level that it needs to
1 unless it's inclusive of all people.
2 I do a lot of volunteer work in the
3 City of Scranton. I have done volunteer work
4 for the Red Cross, many years here, Scranton
5 chapter. I also work and an active member of
6 at least three churches in the City of
7 Scranton, one being Shilo Baptist church,
8 Pastor McLane there with his congregation, a
9 fine congregation, a new church Scranton, which
10 is Worship and Praise, Bishop Kabaris and his
11 wife. They are both ministers. They are
12 opening God's doors.
13 There are very good things as far as
14 the community happening especially in
15 diversity. Also the Open Door church, which
16 just happens to be mostly white, and they
17 actively are pursuing all ethnicitys, great
18 churches. Let me now forget Salvation Temple,
19 the fine minister, Pastor Johnson there, as
20 well as another pastor that I have just met
21 here but I've seen before, and that's Minister
22 Kathryn. She has a very good heart. I don't
23 kiss up to anybody. I think this is a fine
25 People need to know -- we need to
1 know as citizens -- we need to realize as
2 citizens that we've elected the people here.
3 We elected the mayor and council. I think that
4 we should posture ourselves to try to make it
5 happen, make the things that are necessary to
6 make this city a great city happen.
7 One of the things I've done -- it's
8 very important that I bring this out -- another
9 thing that I do is I meet with youth, and these
10 are youth from at least five different
11 ethnicitys. Now, the ages of these youths just
12 happen to be from six years old to ten. And we
13 have different topics. One of the topics that
14 we had was government.
15 So I says, well, you know, my ideas
16 -- let's look at a city council meeting. There
17 are two questions that had come to mind after
18 watching the city council meeting for
19 approximately three minutes. The first
20 question was, Andrew, are the people on the
21 panel -- are they on the same team? And the
22 second question is, why are the people that
23 come to the podium so angry?
24 And as I watched that, it
25 disheartened me and I cut it off. I told them
1 that we would follow up on this, and we haven't
2 but that we would follow up on this. We need
3 to know -- we need to recognize as citizens and
4 as children of God -- not only is God watching
5 us, but the children of this city -- and we
6 need to make an example, a positive example,
7 for the children of this city. We need to,
8 whatever our differences are, come to some type
9 of common plane, all right. It's a beautiful
10 day. I hope that the temperature is not too
11 hot and it's not to cold. I hope that it
12 continues here in this forum. This forum is --
13 is -- as far as I'm concerned, it's something
14 that should be brought about on a positive and
15 constructive air.
16 The next thing I have basically is
17 business. For some reason -- I would like to
18 extend myself for a few minutes --
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: You will have to
20 come back next week. Your five minutes are up.
21 MR. PORTER: Well --
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: Sorry.
23 MR. PORTER: The Unity Festival is
24 at the -- the third annual Unity Festival will
25 be inclusive of Momma's Soul Food Restaurant,
1 one that I would bring -- I brought to O. E. C.
2 D. And, council, I would like for you to look
3 at that and I would like for you to look at it
4 in all fairness. And if you don't like what
5 you see, I will bring you another business plan
6 next week.
7 And if there's doubts after that, I
8 charge you to come. I invite you to come to
9 the third annual Unity Festival, July 14th, Nay
10 Aug Park and share some of God's food. Thank
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you. Andy
14 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia, city
15 of Scranton. Fellow Scrantonians, I, too,
16 would like to mention our Fourth of July free
17 swim -- kids free day up at Nay Aug. I'll be
18 there with my clicker like I was the last time,
20 Now, as you know, the meeting was
21 cancelled when we come up with this delinquent
22 taxes. And I didn't get a chance to speak on
23 it. Now, I got the newspaper one that's a
24 little -- I read the one from -- actually the
25 legislation. But I will read theirs, too.
1 They seem to have it shorter. Ten percent
2 interest per year assessment tax from the date
3 the lien is filed, $25 for review, 160 to open
4 the file, $35 to prepare, $175 to prepare a
5 lien, unspecified for filing and satisfaction
6 of a lien, $175 to prepare and file a writ, $30
7 to prepare and mail any correspondence notice,
8 $175 to prepare and file the default judgement,
9 unspecific fees for filing satisfaction in
10 judgment, $800 to prepare and file a writ,
11 unspecified fees, $175, $30 for reissuance
12 inspections, $50 to prepare and file, $25 to
13 prepare and file for sheriff's sale, $400 legal
14 counsel, $30 payment of return, $100 to prepare
15 and file a bankrupt proof of claim, $50 for a
16 county payment plan, 62, $225 per hour for an
17 attorney's fee.
18 You can imagine it will probably be
19 $225 for this attorney, unspecified fees for
20 title searches, unspecified fee for
21 out-of-pocket expense. I went to the school
22 board and asked them if they had passed this
23 piece of legislation, which I call immoral.
24 They said no. They did not pass it. So this
25 -- all these fees are on the city's portion of
1 the taxes. My portion of the city taxes is
2 like $400. These fees come into thousands of
3 dollars. When you go into delinquency, 15
4 months pass and you haven't paid your taxes,
5 you're delinquent. And you would be accessed
6 all these additional fines, which I find -- you
7 can look at it. It's true.
8 You can ask Nancy Krake how long it
9 is before you file into delinquency. You get
10 15 months to pay your taxes. She pointed out
11 here one time when N. C. C. was sending out
12 notes, she said, you can come down to the
13 treasury office and pay and you wouldn't have
14 paid the fines. So all these things are on
15 approximately $400 of your taxes.
16 You can see right away, it's way out
17 of proportion. We already had a delinquency of
18 25 percent on it, which is probably more in
19 line with what it should be. But
20 unfortunately, we're stuck with this piece of
21 legislation until somebody or some way or
22 somewhere down the line you prevented from
23 being sold and then, of course, it can be
25 Let's get down to the parking
1 garage. Now, we know, of course, you're
2 transferring it. Like I said before, there's
3 no way the S. R. A. could have ran that parking
4 garage, and they weren't actually running it.
5 But I read your legislation.
6 Nowhere is it mentioned the bond
7 issue. Does the bond issue being transferred
8 over to the parking authority? Or is it
9 staying with the redevelopment authority? And
10 then we asked the letter of credit -- we gave
11 them a letter of credit. Where is that now?
12 How much of that letter of credit has been used
13 up? And the commercial space, I was told they
14 would pay taxes on the commercial space as it
15 was rented out.
16 And you can see that fee for the
17 transfer of this property is only $10. So
18 hence, the commercial space is going along with
19 the building and is not being separated from
20 the transfer of the parking garage. I was told
21 they would pay taxes on the commercial space,
22 but I guess it doesn't quite work that way
23 because they are being exempt on the transfer
24 tax that he stuck on and raised as you know.
25 So somewhere along the line, we have to find
1 out -- first of all, you should get our
2 director from the Scranton Parking Authority
3 and ask them about the debt. And for the
4 Scranton Redevelopment Authority, who is going
5 to pay this debt when they transfer this
7 Is it still going to be left with
8 the people who took it out, or is it going to
9 be transferred over to the parking authority?
10 I mean, it's not -- oh, well. I will get back
11 again to this. I won't either. It will be
12 over then.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you, Andy.
14 Ozzie Quinn.
15 MR. QUINN: Good afternoon. Ozzie
16 Quinn, president of Scranton and Lackawanna
17 County taxpayers and citizens association
18 incorporated. First, I want to congratulate
19 Mrs. Evans. We are fortunate to have such a
20 brilliant person on our city council, and I
21 hope that the three who voted against the
22 budget -- her budget last year -- will heed her
23 -- what she -- her knowledge and her brilliancy
24 and listen to what she's trying to say for the
25 citizens of Scranton.
1 She did a great job with those
2 children in the scolastic bowl. I m sure she
3 can do a great job with the city budget. The
4 next thing I will speak -- I spoke two weeks,
5 Mr. Courtright, about the Daron -- I want to
6 tell you -- the city planning commission's
7 development plan and also the zoning, okay,
8 when that was approved, the minutes, and I
9 deferred it because Mrs. Evans said she was
10 going to arrange a meeting with Mr. Wallace and
11 -- however, that has not come about.
12 So, therefore, I'm requesting a copy
13 of those minutes. I will pay for them from --
14 the taxpayers association will pay for the
15 minutes for the city planning commission
16 approval of that site on Dickson Avenue and the
17 development plan and zoning board approval.
18 MS. EVANS: Mr. Quinn, from what we
19 learned today, it appears that Daron Northeast
20 never went before the zoning board or the
21 planning commission.
22 MR. QUINN: That's why I want the
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mr. Quinn, I -- I
25 -- I don't have my normal car today. My folder
1 is in the car -- the car I usually bring I
2 don't have with me. And my folder is in the
3 car. I have a letter explaining about the
4 minutes of the planning commission and the
5 zoning -- and the zoning board. And I can't
6 recall to be accurate -- Kay -- you got the
7 letter from Kay. She got all that information
8 for me on how you go about getting all the
9 minutes to those meetings. They don't do it as
10 we do it a with a stenographs and everything.
11 Do you remember how -- Kay, can you
12 explain it?
13 MS. GARVEY: They are done by the
14 stenographer. The court stenographer does the
15 minutes, but they are not done as we have them.
16 A transcript is taken. And upon someone's
17 request, they will be given. You would have to
18 contact the stenographer because we don't have
20 MR. QUINN: Can I contact through my
21 elected official? They are only an authority
22 appointed by the board.
23 MS. GARVEY: I didn't hear the --
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: I didn't hear what
25 you said.
1 MR. QUINN: I want this information
2 through an elected official of city council
3 because they are only a commission appointed
4 Mayor Doherty. And I think that you should be
5 able to get that.
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: Would you like us
7 to request it for you?
8 MR. QUINN: Yes, please.
9 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay. Could you
10 request it on my behalf, Kay?
11 MS. EVANS: Why don't we make a
13 MR. QUINN: I am on a time.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Go ahead, Oz.
15 MR. QUINN: Make your motion or
16 wait? I'm sorry. I just want to speak of
17 something about the -- when I stood up and
18 asked for -- on the question on the
19 introduction, because of the fact that citizen
20 participation is now at the end, so I'm not
21 allowed to speak at the introduction.
22 That's very important because it did
23 have an impact on May 29th when Nancy Krake
24 spoke about the municipal revenue services and
25 the outside law firm related to the sale of tax
1 delinquent properties.
2 She spoke before citizen
3 participation before the introduction. And it
4 was tabled, and I think I'm not having -- under
5 the Home Rule Charter or the Sunshine Act, I am
6 not having the opportunity to speak on a vote.
7 You're making a vote every time you make --
8 every time. So you will be receiving --
9 Attorney Minora will be receiving a letter from
10 my legal in Pittsburgh about -- about that
11 matter. We are going to pursue a preliminary
12 injunction in court to get the citizen
13 participation where it should be. It's no good
14 at the end.
15 As a matter of fact, what happened
16 was with -- with that when you approve that tax
17 plan, I think it was -- Judy called the
18 dismissal, and there was only two readings.
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: What happened was
20 we voted on it and -- to move it, and it didn't
21 pass. Remember?
22 MR. QUINN: Yeah. Well, I want to
23 -- I want to make sure I have an opportunity to
24 speak before any action is taken because I'm
25 not a second class citizen.
1 I have a right because what I have
2 to say or what they have to say might impact
3 the introduction of a resolution. Okay. And
4 you got to heed that. You know, you can't say
5 these people are dumb and ignorant and they
6 know what is going on with legislation you're
7 passing. Come on. Give us credit. Give us an
8 opportunity to speak on our city before you
9 people introduce it and write it through.
10 That's circumventing the law what we
11 are doing now. We will get into that. May I
12 speak longer?
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: I will give you a
14 couple seconds.
15 MR. QUINN: On that budget, you
16 know, you spoke about last week the mayors were
17 here and they talked about state funding --
18 they whined about state funding. You know,
19 those people are politicians, okay. Years ago,
20 you had a budget and you stuck within that
22 You got to prioritize this budget.
23 You can't hire 46 people, create new jobs and
24 give special raises for $11 million. You can't
25 put a dog run for $300,000, a bridge to
1 nowhere. These aren't prioritizing the budget
2 actions. I am sure that Mrs. Evans -- I hope
3 will address those things in election. I hope
4 that -- Judy is not here -- we are part of her
5 budget committee in August. Now last --
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: I will ask you to
7 step down now.
8 MR. QUINN: I will just say we lost
9 200 jobs at the McKinney Corporation. And if
10 the mayor had an early warning system, we could
11 have retained those jobs. Economic development
12 is not only creation but it's retention of
13 jobs. And we lost them. Thank you.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you, Oz. Sam
16 MR. PATILLA: Good afternoon, Mrs.
17 Evans, Mr. Courtright. Ms. Evans, I would like
18 to congratulate you for the fine job you've
19 done for the citizens in here in Scranton. I
20 would like to go on record in the fact I
21 believe citizens not being able to speak prior
22 to a vote is violation of the Sunshine Act.
23 Okay. You ask taxpayers to foot the bill, but
24 then you don't want to give them any input
25 until the very end.
1 And that's not fair. All right.
2 For those of you out there in dire straits over
3 this subordination agreement, the federal
4 government has a program running now. You can
5 call 1-800-FHA-FIXED, all right, for first time
6 home buyers. I don't want to --
7 MS. FANUCCI: Wait a minute.
8 MR. PATILLA: I don't want that
9 thing by me.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: Is that microphone
11 allowed to be here legally or no? All right.
12 Leave it there, Mr. Patilla. Sorry.
13 MR. PATILLA: No problem.
14 1800-FHA-FIXED, all right, first time home
15 buyers, those who are looking to refinance a
16 first or second time. It might help some of
17 these homeowners that are a problem with these
18 delinquent taxes, get out of that, pay off the
19 credit cards and such.
20 Secondly, the last couple of weeks
21 I've heard on the radio and the news station
22 comments made about Section 8 housing, you
23 know. And it really irks me the white house
24 incident for one thing and the few incidents
25 here in the City of Scranton when people group
1 together a whole section of people because of
2 what one or two or three other people may have
3 done, you cannot segregate and discriminate
4 against a whole group of people because of what
5 some are doing. As far as I'm concerned, they
6 are the most dangerous gang -- get in on the
7 gangs -- in this city took office six years
8 ago, okay, with the illegal -- with the illegal
9 job creations, the illegal pay raises, the
10 circumvention of the Sunshine Act, Home Rule
11 Charter, and the recovery plan, all right.
12 People need to realize, all right,
13 black people didn't bring down your property
14 values and they are not going to bring down
15 your property values, Hispanics, Jews, Asian --
16 that's not the reason why we are $300 million
17 in debt. We are there because of malfeasance,
18 misappropriation and just a total disregard to
19 the everyday common citizens in this city.
20 Everybody here -- like I said
21 before, you have senior citizens, retired
22 people more than willing to lend their time and
23 services to help get this city back on the
24 street. Like Mr. Porter said earlier, we have
25 to work as one, not as a separate unit. We
1 have to work as one, all right.
2 Ms. Evans has been slamming her head
3 up against the wall for six years or how long.
4 Same thing as everybody coming here, we are
5 slamming our head up against a wall. It's not
6 personal except for when it comes to our taxes,
7 our city, our homes. That's personal. You
8 know, for an elected official in the state,
9 maybe it will make poor people pay their taxes
10 or I don't represent certain people, we don't
11 -- we didn't vote for that type of official.
12 We don't need that type of official. We don't
13 want that type of official.
14 We want somebody who will be there
15 for all of the people. Like I said before,
16 Scranton is more than just downtown. It's more
17 than Nay Aug. I will never go there. I might
18 go to the unity thing. But that will be the
19 only time I ever go to that park because there
20 are other parks in this city. There are other
21 areas in this city that need our attention and
22 need our help and need our guidance. We are
23 Scrantonians. We are not New Yorkers, not New
24 Jersians we are not Pittsburgh. We're not any
25 of that. We are Scrantonians, and we have to
1 work together as a unit. Before I leave with
2 just one thing before I leave, I haven't
3 forgotten about the O. E. C. D. I will be back
4 there. But until that time, I want the
5 residents to continue to send the letters to
6 the secretary of the Department of Health in
7 regards to Daron. I request that the city
8 council start testing the water in our swimming
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: I believe they do
12 MR. PATILLA: I want us to do it.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Council?
14 MR. PATILLA: Right. I want us to
15 do it, okay. Because, you know, we need checks
16 and balances. That's one of the biggest
17 problems this city has as far as
18 accountability. We have no accountability.
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: I pools are pretty
20 good though. I think they do a good job there.
21 MR. PATILLA: All right. We have no
22 accountability. The mayor himself is
23 circumventing city council by sending this
24 issue and that agenda item to the sewer
25 authority, to the housing authority. We have
1 no credibility. We have no accountability. We
2 need to take that back. That's all.
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you.
4 Reverend Simmons.
5 MS. SIMMONS: Good afternoon,
6 council. My name is Reverend Kathryn Simmons.
7 I represent Florence Midtown Crime Watch. I
8 came here today quite by surprise to myself. I
9 really had no intention of sharing any word
10 today until I opened this morning's paper and
11 read the article that our illustrious mayor
12 gave about your president.
13 But let me forestall that a little
14 bit and let me begin by telling you about crime
15 watch. Neighborhood crime watch, simple ladies
16 and men who volunteer their hours to aid
17 whatever administration is sitting in this
18 building to clean up and keep the streets of
19 this city clean, no politics, we don't run for
20 anything. We don't apply for anything. We
21 don't ask for anything. We just see to it that
22 those who spend their life serving their city
23 are honored and respected.
24 We concern ourselves with the
25 children who have nowhere to go and no one to
1 watch over them are, indeed, taken care of. In
2 doing this, West Side Crime Watch give their
3 soul in putting a fallen building together and,
4 therefore, handing it back to the police
5 department when told they really had no
6 business there except a once a month meeting.
7 Florence Midtown Crime Watch was promised a
8 donation and help in giving a dinner in
9 honoring city and county employees.
10 We got nothing. But this a.m. I saw
11 a statement made by our mayor which says, Judy
12 Gatelli is a public official and she should
13 could go broke paying to defend herself in this
15 We at crime watch are public. We go
16 broke every day taking care of people out on
17 the street. I don't see anybody from
18 administration calling up on the telephone
19 asking, can we help you out. My heart is
20 broken as I stand here to know that our own
21 administration will not support crime watch.
22 Whether it be a dinner, a building, or just a
23 plain extension of a hand throughout the
24 community to help us pay a bill, but then
25 again, crime watch met this morning and we
1 decided that maybe it's because the night
2 several weeks ago wasn't a night of hatred, it
3 was a night of love.
4 Maybe the administration sees a bill
5 as a way to get rid of crime watch. They've
6 been trying to do it for quite a while now.
7 Dishonor and disgrace crime watch, get rid of
8 the nosey old ladies, send them on home. Make
9 sure they never walk the streets again, but
10 that's not going to happen, you see. A helping
11 hand will come from somewhere. Too bad it
12 wasn't where it should have come from. Crime
13 watch now knows where she stands and will move
14 on to her proper entity.
15 We will keep our streets safe, our
16 children secure and in time -- and I hope you
17 take this home, Councilman Courtright, a new
18 building will come to West Side Crime Watch.
19 It will come.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you.
21 MS. SIMMONS: No, we're not going to
22 die out. We're here and unified.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you. Lee
25 MR. MORGAN: Good afternoon,
1 council. The first thing I would like to say
2 is that I think it's time for the residents of
3 the city and people outside of the city to
4 recognize that the Scranton Lackawanna
5 taxpayers and citizens association is a group
6 of people not trying to empower themselves but
7 to bring important issues forward not only in
8 this city but in the county.
9 And I'd just like to say that I
10 think that you can see by the discussions that
11 have taken place here today that we pretty much
12 understand what's happening and we are prepared
13 to come here or just about anywhere else we
14 have to go to empower people. And I would like
15 to also say that Andy got up and spoke about
16 the redevelopment authority and the parking
18 And I am of the opinion that this
19 legislation should be tabled because as Andy
20 spoke, you can see that council really wasn't
21 very much in command of that issue because we
22 don't know what will happen to the debt. We
23 didn't -- I didn't see where council had any
24 real ideas what Andy was talking about or
25 possibly any answers to that.
1 And I think we need to stop that
2 legislation before it goes any further. I
3 think we have an obligation to the residents of
4 this city to make sure that all the answers are
5 -- all questions are answered in that regard
6 before any transfers are made.
7 I would also like to say that Mrs.
8 Fanucci talked about high grass and people's
9 yards. And is it possible that a lot of these
10 homes are vacant that's why people aren't
11 maintaining --
12 MS. FANUCCI: They are not vacant
13 properties. I checked on that before I made my
15 MR. MORGAN: Okay. Because I have
16 gone through the city and I know there are a
17 lot of vacant properties in the city, and they
18 definitely need to have their lawns cut. So I
19 just think that with the amount of vacant homes
20 in the city, the city needs to reconsider where
21 it went with the delinquent fees that they are
22 going to add on everybody's properties because
23 I think the city is flat out. I think the
24 residents here are beyond the point of being
25 able to pay any more money, and I think we need
1 to seriously reconsider everything we've done
2 to this point.
3 And hopefully -- Mrs. Gatelli said
4 that she wanted volunteers to come forward and
5 try to work on the budget or come up with some
6 solutions. I think that's very good idea, and
7 I hope that when council gets names they really
8 give them some serious consideration. And the
9 last thing I have here is the Scranton
10 Lackawanna taxpayers and citizens association
11 have invited Judge Harhut and Judge Corbett to
12 come and sit with us and give us their vision
13 and their ideas as far as the judiciary is
14 concerned in the city and also to give us an
15 opportunity to ask them questions because
16 judges very rarely answer questions.
17 They just give you their response to
18 anything. I think it's time for us to begin to
19 ask some questions of these judges and on what
20 they've done while they've been judges and
21 where they intend to take this county. And
22 basically that's all I have. Thank you.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you. John?
24 MR. GILROY: Good afternoon,
25 council. John Gilroy, resident of the City of
1 Scranton. Last week I presented you with some
2 pictures of a building that's really fallen
3 apart. I didn't see anybody come down during
4 the week or nobody called. I would like to
5 have an update of what's going on with that.
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: Did we get an
7 answer back on -- do you have it with you? Ms.
8 Fanucci -- we got correspondence. I don't have
9 mine with me. She might have hers with her.
10 If you want to wait until after the meeting, we
11 can get you the correspondence that we got.
12 MR. GILROY: I will be here.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you. Okay.
14 Ron Ellman.
15 MR. ELLMAN: Hello, Council.
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: How are you doing,
18 MR. ELLMAN: Fine, thank you. I
19 know everybody looks and they say, oh God, he's
20 back again. You know, many years in the late
21 60s and 70s I worked for Gallo wine. I drove
22 around to all of the -- the cities and I put up
23 signs to drink. I did promotion work -- and
24 drink Thunderbird and so on. Every once in a
25 while once or twice a month when the bigwigs
1 would drag me down to see what I've been doing
2 from Joe Gallo, Jr. on down and -- I would have
3 a sea of signs from the airport to my itinerary
4 where I'd take them around town. Of course, he
5 didn't believe this anymore than the mayors
6 believe this non-sense that was in the paper
7 that they saw the true Scranton.
8 They -- this was just an asinine
9 article of what our city -- you know, it's
10 infested with bars and restaurants. And the
11 papers says that's where they take them. Why
12 don't take them out to Keyser Avenue to look at
13 the 150 houses that people like out here are
14 paying for, 13 years with no taxes, while they
15 send the kids to school at $10,000 a piece?
16 Why don't they take them across the street to
17 meet some of those little old ladies that have
18 lost their houses? You cannot sell a house in
19 this city for a fraction of what it's worth.
20 There's nobody that wants the damn things. The
21 city is not in good shape, and all we do is get
22 a white wash of everything from the mayor on
23 down. Everybody keeps telling us how great it
25 It is not great. It is -- it is --
1 now you all are talking about this -- this new
2 deal where you get behind in the taxes -- if
3 you had money, you would be paying your taxes.
4 Them people need help. They don't need to have
5 their houses taken away because they can't
6 afford to pay the taxes. It's -- this
7 corruption in this city and county is known
8 world wide.
9 I've had people talk to me about it
10 when I tell them I live in Pennsylvania, you
11 know, 2000 miles from here. And what do we
12 have? Tell me what do we have going for us
13 around here? We got -- every week I get up
14 here, I say all these adverse things. Either
15 I'm right or the people don't -- in this
16 administration just seem to care about what I
18 I take it for granted that they just
19 don't care. The South Side Complex proved that
20 we want one thing and say one thing and Mr.
21 Doherty would do what he wants. The South Side
22 Complex is a sin against this administration
23 just like this illegal plant going on over
24 here. I parked this week -- I have dust on my
25 windshield when I came out in front of the --
1 the Dollar Store on Green Ridge Avenue.
2 There's a fine dust in the neighborhood, and
3 it's killing people. It's -- this can't be
4 good for you to breathe in this dust day and
6 I read today where two people are
7 happy -- their property is not worth nothing.
8 Let them try to sell it and see how happy they
9 are. There's five thousand houses plus in this
10 city for sale. Why don't they tour the -- take
11 the mayors on the tour of the houses and the
12 abandoned property? They got a white wash
13 that's a disgrace. This mayor will make -- I
14 don't know how many people know history. When
15 Jimmy Walker was the mayor of New York City,
16 his idea was to borrow New York City out of
17 debt. Isn't that right, Ms. Evans? You're a
18 historian --
19 MS. EVANS: It doesn't work.
20 MR. ELMAN: Borrow the city out of
21 debt. New York City had a couple million
22 people 70 years ago. His debt isn't as great
23 as Scranton's is right now. They are probably
24 still paying on his debt like we will be 70
25 years from now because of all the misconduct in
1 this administration. Thank you.
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you. Dave
4 MR. DOBSON: Good afternoon,
5 council, Dave Dobson. I will probably make it
6 brief, but I would like also express my concern
7 on the tax collection issues. I don't
8 understand why the treasurer's office can't be
9 appointed to make a more -- endeavor more to
10 collect these back taxes before -- before we
11 have all kinds of these fees and penalties
13 It really doesn't make sense to
14 charge somebody a couple thousand dollars to
15 collect $400,000 worth of tax. My feeling on
16 the matter is that legislation get can get
17 passed and it can be repealed. So what I'm
18 suggesting is that that particular piece of
19 legislation that was passed be repealed and
20 some different considerations be -- be given to
21 how to collect back taxes and possibly help
22 people with -- get in the reverse mortgages and
23 so forth. If they have a bunch of black marks
24 against their record, it might impede that.
25 That's all I have to say this afternoon. Thank
1 you, and have a good afternoon.
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you. Anyone
3 else would like to speak?
4 MR. DAVIS: Salam Aleikam. My name
5 is Jim Davis. I'm from Scranton. Mrs.
6 Williams -- listen to me. Mrs. Evans, I thank
7 you very much for what you've done with
8 Scranton High School. There's -- there is some
9 time kids really need a good push, something
10 that will bring their hearts and their minds to
11 say I belong to that school, I can do that
13 I would like to try something with
14 you for this summer. I would like to recruit
15 an African-American or minority for your team.
16 I would like to help you recruit. You are the
17 mentor. I would like to represent maybe people
18 that might fit that criteria. You might be
19 able to use them to enhance your group. I
20 think it's necessary.
21 Well, it's necessary for us because
22 you already accomplished something. But you're
23 an excellent mentor. I hear that from here. I
24 take it from the kids that have talked to you
25 and worked with you. So I'm complimenting you
1 on -- I never compliment anybody I know. I am
2 complimenting you on your work.
3 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
4 MR. DAVID: I would like to
5 introduce to you to kids I think may be able to
6 fit into your group.
7 MS. EVANS: Well, I would be very
8 happy to meet them, but there is a selection
9 process that I go through. And there are --
10 there are very --
11 MR. DAVIS: Very strenuous I'm quite
13 MS. EVANS: Yeah, the bar is raised
14 very, very high for this team.
15 MR. DAVIS: I wouldn't offer you
16 anyone that couldn't at least perhaps try to
17 make the bar. And if they don't make it this
18 year, it's all right. They don't have to make
19 it. What I'm saying is I am not -- I am not in
20 favor of seeing Scranton High School
21 represented at such a high level of academia
22 and not having those of different races exposed
24 MS. EVANS: Well, I see where you're
25 headed with the issue. I agree with you, but I
1 have to tell you frankly in this particular
2 matter I wear blinders. The race, religion,
3 ethnicity is irrelevant to me. What matters
4 most would be the level of intellect of the
5 individual, and we have over 2,000 students at
6 Scranton High School. So five participate, and
7 let's say 1,995 don't.
8 MR. DAVIS: I agree with you. I'm
9 totally -- I know what your problems -- as far
10 as it just seems selecting a group of kids or
11 selecting an individual to fit a position --
12 there's so many things that go to it. I
13 understand that. I thank you for what you've
14 done. I am very appreciative of the fact that
15 you're able to do this successfully so many
16 years and come up every time with a winning
17 team. That's wonderful.
18 What I'm trying to say to you is I
19 would like to introduce -- you may have
20 interviewed many African-Americans,
21 Latin-Americans but they weren't really of the
22 criteria that you needed. I can understand
23 that, too. I am not holding it against you.
24 I'm not saying you're prejudiced or not color
25 blind. I am color bind because when I look at
1 the picture of successful kids, I want to see
2 something that looks like me because I know my
3 kids can be successful also. I am not finding
4 -- I am not -- you know, I wish you the very
5 best in everything that you do. This -- this
6 council has become a -- it doesn't create the
7 idea that we can be successful in Scranton. It
8 doesn't create the atmosphere that what's being
9 said is being heard. How can you have motions
10 for things and not take into consideration on
11 the question from the audience before you make
12 a -- before you vote on it? I don't understand
13 -- I said that before, two, three weeks ago
14 about it being undemocratic. It's worse. It
15 is autocratic. You're making the motion. You
16 already sat in the back room and said we will
17 make a motion on this, we will make a motion,
18 we okay it, boom, it's gone.
19 By the time we got here to this
20 point, I know you're going to read it three
21 times. I know the second time you might change
22 your mind. But I'm saying that when you are
23 making the motion even for the first time the
24 questions should be asked of the audience, is
25 there a question and the audience should be
1 able to speak to it. Maybe I'm wrong.
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you, Mr.
4 MR. DAVIS: I would like to look at
5 the procedures on that.
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you. This
7 gentleman was asked to -- I'm sorry. I don't
8 know your name, sir.
9 MR. ANDERSON: Hi, Ted Anderson. I
10 am a homeowner in the Village of Tripp Park.
11 About a year ago, council had a caucus with our
12 developer. I know Mrs. Evans and Mrs. Gatelli
13 were the -- were spearheading that campaign
14 there. But that evening the discussion with
15 Mr. Parker brought a whole -- a checklist of
16 things the developer must satisfy in order for
17 the city to take over the streets. With Mr.
18 Parker leaving the city, I was hoping that
19 council would make sure Mr. Parker leave them
20 all that proper --
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: I dropped a letter
22 off at Andry Kowalchick's house. I have been
23 up there a couple months ago asking Mr. Parker
24 -- I guess we didn't get a response yet to do
25 exactly that. I haven't gotten a response from
1 him though.
2 MR. ANDERSON: My main priority is
3 the streetlights. I have been bugging Mrs.
4 Evans for, you know, seems like a couple years.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: I am concerned what
6 bond he placed on there because if it wasn't a
7 high bond amount, he can just up and leave. He
8 made his money. I asked what the bond issue
9 was. I asked those questions. Maybe we can
10 dig that letter out and send it to him again.
11 He will be gone so --
12 MR. ANDERSON: With Mr. Parker
13 leaving, I know he was doing the homework on
14 the checklist and making sure the curbing,
15 drainage and all those issues were taken care
16 of before the city actually took over the
17 streets and maintain them and all that. But
18 with the streetlights, now we are going on our
19 fourth fall coming up here and we're as dark as
20 any street in -- it's a safety issue. I was
21 hoping with Mr. Parker leaving that we just
22 wouldn't get -- the developer wouldn't get a
23 free pass.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: That's not going to
1 MS. EVANS: I think Mr. Brazil is
2 going to be taking over, and there's already a
3 job posting advisement for a city engineer. We
4 will be very certain that both gentleman or
5 perhaps a lady and a gentleman -- one never
6 knows -- will receive the complete records and
7 files of Tripp Park, and we're going to keep on
8 that until he has complied with every single
9 item on the punch list.
10 MR. ANDERSON: Right. Since that
11 meeting last year, I am not sure what was done,
12 what wasn't done.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Not much.
14 MR. ANDERSON: The streetlights are
15 still a hot issue. Come now 8:30, 9:00 the
16 streets are dark. And you hope crime and
17 whatever else, accidents, you know, aren't a
18 result of that darkness. So just so --
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: We will stay on it.
20 MR. ANDERSON: We will stay on that
21 -- quick reminder. Thank you very much.
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you. Joe,
23 you're next.
24 MR. TALIMINI: Joe Talimini,
25 resident of Scranton. I had several items, but
1 I am only going to mention one because I know
2 we will not get much done on trying to get
3 potholes fixed in this community or anything
4 else. That's a moot point with you people
6 I would like to mention the fact we
7 had a fund raiser Saturday night for Jonathan
8 Closs. This is the kid who was paralyzed from
9 the chest down, a West Scranton High School
10 student. I would like to applaud Mrs. Evans,
11 who made a generous contribution even though
12 she knows she wasn't going be there, Mr. McGoff
13 did the same thing, Mr. Minora and the other
14 Mr. Minora. I would like to thank Andy
15 Sbaraglia who showed up. I would like to thank
16 Senator Casey, who delivered a handwritten note
17 to Jonathan. I would like to a couple from
18 Spartenburg, South Carolina, a very, very poor
19 area who sent a note to Jonathan along with a
20 $20 donation. These people have a similar
21 situation in their household. Their son was
22 injured in 1905 (sic) He is a C-4
23 quadriplegic. These people saw fit to do
24 something for a kid in Scranton.
25 I would also thank Chris Evans, the
1 only high school teacher from West Scranton
2 High who showed up. And I would like to thank
3 the Ground Round, Whistles and Chick's Diner,
4 the only three businesses in Scranton who made
5 a donation. I will not turn this into a
6 political issue.
7 You people know who you are. I just
8 want you to know one thing, I am hoping as
9 spinal injuries can be solved by stem cell
10 research in addition to which I hope that stem
11 cell research will apply to this city council,
12 this mayor and this administration and maybe
13 you can grow spines as well. Thank you very
15 MS. FANUCCI: I just have to say I
16 am totally offended by your remark. My spine
17 is very fine. I can't imagine that you come
18 here and try to act in the manner that you act.
19 It is --
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: No, no, no, we're
21 not going to have back and forth. That's not
22 going to happen.
23 MS. FANUCCI: It's appalling to me
24 that you'd come here and something like that.
25 And that's all I have to say.
1 MR. TALIMINI: I will like to say a
2 couple things to you after the meeting.
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah. That's
4 great. Talk to her after the meeting. Thank
5 you. Come on, Jim, let's go, buddy.
6 MS. FANUCCI: Loser.
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: Say your name, Jim,
8 for the record, okay?
9 MR. STUCKARD: Jim Stuckard. I am
10 on Providence Square and Market. Can we have a
11 -- we didn't get that sign up. I looked there
12 yesterday the day you told me.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: They are going to
14 get to it, Jim. We told them.
15 MR. STUCKARD: Okay. We need a
16 light there, too, on that pole.
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: A streetlight?
18 MR. STUCKARD: Yeah.
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: I will have to
20 explain it to you after the meeting, okay.
21 MR. STUCKARD: Across the street
22 where I live at Market Street we have an empty
23 field. The walls fell down. They are -- dirt
24 and everything is pushed all down from the
25 rain. Could you get the city over there or
1 something -- get over with a bulldozer or
2 something and push the dirt up?
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay, Jim.
4 MR. STUCKARD: The courthouse square
5 -- not courthouse -- Providence Square next to
6 -- next to the T. V. shop there is a square
7 there where the new clock is put up, we have
8 our benches there. Can you get somebody over
9 to sweep up around the benches around the --
10 courthouse -- not courthouse -- Providence
11 Square and Market Street?
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right. Is that
13 -- I know where you mean. We will ask D. P. W.
14 if they can do that for you.
15 MR. STUCKARD: Okay. Okay. We have
16 our garbage picked up on Tuesdays. Across the
17 street from me -- across the street from ours
18 on Market Street, their garbage ain't picked up
19 yet. They put it out there too soon. Ours is
20 out there Monday for Tuesday.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right.
22 MR. STUCKARD: And down by Weston
23 Field there is an empty lot. The grass is so
24 high. I think the city is supposed to do it.
25 I don't know who is going to do it. It's
1 pretty a lot of weeds and grass. There might
2 be snakes. I didn't go in there at all.
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: Don't go in there,
4 Jim. I don't want to get bit by a snake,
5 buddy. So --
6 MR. STUCKARD: So Providence Square
7 has been pretty fast. They didn't get down --
8 they didn't get down that -- that bar, Mercury
9 Bar. I didn't get down the basement yet.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: Jim, don't bring
11 that up anymore.
12 MR. STUCKARD: Okay, all right.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Is that it, buddy?
15 MR. STUCKARD: Yeah. Thank you.
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: Have a good day.
17 MR. STUCKARD: You, too. Have a
18 good Fourth of July.
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: You too, Jim. Take
20 care. Anybody else?
21 MS. HUBBARD: Good afternoon,
22 council, Liz Hubbard, Scranton resident,
23 taxpayer. Bill, I am sure Daniel was taking in
24 all that you said. If not, he will listen to
25 it tonight. I have a couple questions. Where
1 is the stenographer?
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: Because we are in
3 the daytime, she does it from the tape.
4 There's a tape playing over at Kay's desk
5 there. She's will take it from tape. She has
6 a job in the daytime that she can't leave to
7 come to these meetings.
8 MS. HUBBARD: I just noticed she
9 wasn't here.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: She'd do it. She
11 will get it all down.
12 MS. HUBBARD: Today is the
13 anniversary of the flood of '06. Today I was
14 swimming in my living room. Still nothing has
15 been done on that bank. What do we have to do
16 to get them to repair the damage?
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: I don't know, Liz.
18 I mean, we've -- I think all of us have been
20 MS. HUBBARD: It is disheartening.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: I agree with you.
22 I think we've all been there. We all asked. I
23 don't know -- I don't know what to tell you to
24 be honest with you.
25 MS. HUBBARD: They have all those
1 piles of dirt sitting right across the street
2 like Daniel brought out last week. You think
3 they just take a front end loader and dump it
4 on the bank.
5 MS. EVANS: Absolutely. Maybe Mr.
6 Brazil will be of a different mindset and find
7 the value in helping the neighborhood. And if
8 he doesn't, then -- I remember when the bridge
9 was clogged.
10 MS. HUBBARD: For months.
11 MS. EVANS: For months. And I had
12 talked to television stations and the newspaper
13 and Mr. Parker, et cetera. And we reached a
14 point if you remember where the citizens
15 themselves with the help of other neighbors in
16 Scranton were ready to go out and clear that
17 river themselves. Well, I think we may be
18 reaching the point where all of us together may
19 have to go and move the dirt.
20 MS. HUBBARD: I mean, Mrs. Fanucci,
21 you set up the -- were kind enough to set up
22 the meeting with Parker back in March. And
23 then he walked the bank with Daniel and Daniel
24 pointed out the parts that were breached, and
25 he promised to fix them. Nothing has been
1 done. It's one year today -- one year
2 yesterday and today because it happened on two
4 MS. EVANS: Liz, like I said, it
5 took reaching the point of embarrassing city
6 government to get that river clean.
7 MS. HUBBARD: Maybe if we have
8 everyone down there with shovels and
10 MS. EVANS: -- reaching the point of
11 embarrassing the city again and having citizens
12 go out and do the work of city departments to
13 get this done.
14 MS. HUBBARD: I don't think this
15 administration is able to be embarrassed. I
16 don't think that --
17 MS. FANUCCI: You know from that
18 meeting -- I am worried about that. We don't
19 want people coming with shovels and stuff
20 because there is a certain way -- remember from
21 the meeting if it's not done not correctly it
22 will deteriorate the bank more. I'm not an
23 advocate of doing it ourselves.
24 MS. HUBBARD: That's debatable, you
25 know. There's couple of breaches that you can
1 fill in.
2 MS. FANUCCI: Right. There was a
3 way he wanted it done with a tractor or --
4 MS. HUBBARD: Let him do it.
5 MS. FANUCCI: I agree. I don't
6 advocate people doing it themselves right now.
7 MS. HUBBARD: I mean come on.
8 MS. EVANS: As I watched them work
9 last September, after it's built up, it's then
10 very firmly packed down by machinery. And so
11 as you're watching it, you might think how did
12 that mountain of dirt decline about four feet
13 in a matter of two minutes. But it has to be
14 that firmly packed. So obviously we have to
15 have equipment as well.
16 MS. HUBBARD: Anything is better
17 than nothing. Anyway, I mentioned about bars
18 and music at two in the morning. What time is
19 the noise ordinance --
20 MS. EVANS: 11.
21 MS. HUBBARD: 11:00 fine. Okay.
22 Thank you. Now, I have something to say about
23 Mrs. Gatelli not being here today. I mean, I
24 don't know if she's ill. Is she on vacation --
25 or what the story is. But it seems as though
1 every time that she insults people like she
2 made an insulting remark when Daniel walked
3 away from the podium last week -- and I know
4 she knows that Daniel will come back on the
5 next week. So it's seems every time there's
6 something controversial come up she's not here
7 or she cancels the meeting.
8 I think you, Mrs. Evans, have
9 brought up a suggestion before about the
10 council meeting in August. I think that you
11 should have a motion that the council meets
12 through August because I'm sure all of you go
13 on vacation or can't always make a meeting.
14 But I think that the council should continue to
15 meet through August because the problems that
16 the people have in this city don't stop in
17 August. And I --
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thanks, Liz.
19 MS. EVANS: I'll agree they don't
20 stop, and we do -- at least I will speak for
21 myself. When we haven't been here in August --
22 we were only here on one occasion, and that was
23 in 2004 was it -- no, 2005.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: Five.
25 MS. EVANS: Other than that to my
1 knowledge, city councils traditionally in
2 Scranton have recessed for the month of August.
3 But I can speak for myself and say although,
4 for example, last year we were recessed, I
5 worked straight through the month of August.
6 MS. HUBBARD: I understand that.
7 MS. EVANS: I think what concerns me
8 more than any council person's particular
9 absence because there are occasions that arise
10 that --
11 MS. HUBBARD: I understand that.
12 MS. EVANS: Death in the family,
13 birth of a child, illness, et cetera, where
14 absences can't be avoided.
15 THE WITNESS: I understand that.
16 MS. EVANS: I think what concerns me
17 personally more are cancelled meetings or
18 abruptly adjourned meetings. I think they are
19 the matters that should be at the top of the
20 priority list to make sure that whenever a
21 quorum is available a meeting continues and,
22 you know, that rather an adjournment a recess
23 receive serious consideration.
24 MS. HUBBARD: Right, right, right.
25 I think the whole idea of taking the whole
1 month of August off is fine if everybody is
2 going to plan their vacations for the month of
3 August. But things don't work out that way, so
4 I think you should just keep meeting and --
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: I got to ask you
6 sit down, Liz. He belled you before.
7 MS. EVANS: That's my fault.
8 MS. HUBBARD: Are you gaveling me?
9 MR. COURTRIGHT: No, I am asking you
10 nicely walk away. Thank you. Before the next
11 speaker comes, I would just say this -- just
12 what Mrs. Evans said, in whatever manner those
13 of you that contact us contact us, whether it
14 be coming up to see us or e-mail or phone, I am
15 sure we will be available through August. I
16 think we always have been. We won't be at
17 these meeting in August. And that's it. Next
18 speaker, please.
19 MS. WALSH: Colleen Walsh. Good
20 afternoon, council members and fellow citizens.
21 You will have to excuse me, but I am not
22 comfortable with public speaking unlike most of
23 the people on this side of the podium and that
24 side also. So I have to read what I want to
25 say. I don't know -- I am going to edit most
1 of what I was going to say until further
2 information comes through.
3 But first of all, I would like to
4 thank anybody in this room who comes to city
5 council and takes an interest in city business.
6 I am speaking both about the city council
7 members and the people over here who devote
8 their time and energy trying to make sure the
9 right things happen for the people of this
10 city. Many of these citizen speakers seem very
11 informed and well spoken. I thank them for
12 taking time out of their lives to help keep me
14 That also goes for council members
15 who are trying to improve life in Scranton.
16 Briefly I would like to say I'm concerned as a
17 citizen about Daron Northeast and what it is
18 doing to the quality of our air throughout this
19 city as a whole, and specifically lower Green
21 This is a matter of concern for the
22 whole city. One by one with the likes of Daron
23 Northeast and the Scranton Rescue Mission, our
24 neighborhoods are going to go down like
25 dominos. I'm also concerned about the charges
1 that are currently pending against Mr. Patilla.
2 If these criminal charges are allowed to stand,
3 I think we might as well get rid of the First
4 Amendment. And finally, I am concerned that
5 Mrs. Gatelli's attempt to find out the names of
6 the posters on the internet web site is also an
7 attempt to stifle prespeech.
8 If someone doesn't like what is on
9 the web site, they can register and post an
10 opposing viewpoint. Or they can start their
11 own web -- internet web site. Finally, on a
12 positive note, I am grateful to all the all
13 council members who voted to allow the kids the
14 city free swimming at all the pools except Nay
15 Aug. I believe it is on Standard and Poor's
16 web site that 50 percent of Scranton's children
17 live below the poverty level, 50 percent.
18 For these kids especially those in
19 large families any fee is too much. Thank you
20 for giving the kids free swimming.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you.
22 MR. SLEDENZKSKI: Janet, I want to
23 congratulate you for what you did for the
24 students of Scranton. Janet, I'm proud of you.
25 MS. EVANS: Thank you, Chris.
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: Anyone else?
2 MS. SHUMAKER: Good afternoon.
3 Marie Shumaker. Growing up my mother taught me
4 that God has given each of us a gift or a
5 special attribute and it is up to us to find
6 that in other people. Extending mom's theory
7 to organizations, I search for some redeeming
8 value in that organization charged with leading
9 us out of our distressed status for the last 15
10 years I might add, the Pennsylvania Economy
12 So it was that I found the report
13 entitled the town and gown dilemma, the impact
14 of universities on their host municipalities.
15 They analyze the differences and expenditures
16 and revenues those hosting universities and
17 those not hosting universities and found
18 considerable differences. Among the
19 significant differences expressed as per capita
20 or per person are earned income, college towns
21 have earned income of $53, the college towns or
22 the non-college towns $102, real estate tax,
23 the college towns per capita, $94, the
24 non-college towns, $151 per capita.
25 The total tax differences were $175
1 per capita for host municipalities compared to
2 $296 or 70 percent higher for the non-college
3 town. And despite lower revenue levels per
4 capita, spending per capita on public safety
5 and parks, recreation services was higher in
6 college towns than other municipalities with
7 not one, but three institutions of higher
8 learnings within our borders, I suspect that
9 the figures for Scranton are much worse.
10 Further, I believe the addition of a
11 fourth such institution should be looked at
12 long and hard especially as the proposed
13 medical college is planning on significant
14 community financial contributions not just for
15 building but on a continuing basis for
16 operating a word to the wise.
17 In another report issued by the P.
18 E. L., issues important to Pennsylvania's
19 future, P. E. L. notes that the importance of
20 water and sewer infrastructure attract and
21 maintain business. Because of this, I have
22 great concern regarding what has been going on
23 at the sewer authority and would ask that the
24 resolution extending the charter of the current
25 sewer authority tabled at last week's meeting
1 never be returned to an agenda without
2 including council oversight to include at a
3 minimum veto power on rate increases.
4 Now, moving to one of my favorite
5 topics, the capital budget, first, the mayor's
6 2003, 2007 five-year capital improvement
7 program noted four revenue sources, transfers
8 from the general fund, grants and
9 contributions, one time sources and long term
10 debt issues.
11 In contrast, the mayor's 2007
12 capital improvement program included earnings
13 on investments, interest on bond, series A.,
14 series C. and 2003, interest on flood projects
15 as well as interfund transfers and bond
17 All these earnings and interests
18 slash dividend accounts totaled $1,731,544. At
19 a rate of 5 percent earnings, this tells me
20 there is something in the neighborhood of $35
21 million squirreled away someplace. Is this
22 true or have I overlooked something you can
23 share with me? Anybody?
24 Now, with respect to several of the
25 2007 budget expenditures, appropriations
1 remaining for the funded new police
2 headquarters account were $1,084.83. I believe
3 there's another $55,000 classified as unfunded.
4 What I would like to know is is this
5 adequate to asphalt the parking lot? I
6 recently -- may I finish, Mr. Courtright?
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: Sure.
8 MS. SHUMAKER: I recently pulled
9 into the lot that to turn around and was
10 shocked to find it appears there is only the
11 aggregate base and almost two years after the,
12 quote, completion the finishing asphalt layer
13 is missing. I will return next week with the
14 remainder of the items. Thank you.
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: Anyone else?
16 MR. GERVASI: Good afternoon, city
17 council. Dave Gervasi, I am a taxpayer,
18 resident and a proud member of the Scranton
19 Fire Department. I am here tonight to maybe
20 inform the public and inform this council of
21 two things that are going on.
22 We have numerous arbitrations going
23 through the pipeline, the first one that the
24 fire department has that actually hit the
25 Supreme Court has hit the Supreme Court, and
1 we're trying -- we are in the enforcement phase
2 for the city to comply with it.
3 And it has to do with the city
4 literally not paying us for two weeks that we
5 worked in 2002. What is troubling about the
6 situation is that during the initial
7 arbitration case on the first day, we sat right
8 here at this table and our lawyer through my
9 suggestion asked the city's attorney if are we
10 going to do this two separate arbitrations
11 because it had to do with us and the police, or
12 can we just save everyone money including the
13 city and the taxpayers and just do one -- one
14 case and the city would comply. We're hearing
15 rumors right now -- I don't know if it is true
16 -- it's rumor at this point that we have won
17 this case. We went to the Supreme Court with
18 it. The city kept appealing to the Supreme
19 Court. We have won the case. We have been to
20 the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board to
21 enforce the arbitration.
22 We are hearing rumors now the city
23 is not going to comply with the police officers
24 and basically make them go through the entire
25 procedure again. That will be three more years
1 of litigation and lawyers' fees for both sides.
2 And I would stress to this council if you would
3 -- I will give you any copies of any of the
4 decisions made through the entire process or
5 you can see for yourself. And I would ask that
6 you support the police department that they do
7 not have to go through the entire process again
8 because it was a verbal this agreement to do it
9 together with the fire department.
10 And they are going to be holding
11 back two weeks' pay, not only three years for
12 us but maybe six years before the men and women
13 of the police department get their money that
14 -- for the hours they actually worked. And I
15 would have -- ask you to send a letter or
16 something to the mayor stressing that the
17 police should be including -- included in this.
18 MS. EVANS: Okay.
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: I will ask you a
21 MS. EVANS: I ask that a letter be
22 sent -- actually maybe I should make a motion.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: Make a motion.
24 MS. EVANS: We will send a letter to
25 Mayor Doherty asking him to refrain from
1 entering into further litigation involving the
2 police department over the issue of the two
3 weeks' pay that is owed to that municipal
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second. On the
7 MS. EVANS: Now, certainly you made
8 a good argument but the -- the second half of
9 that argument is that the people of this city
10 are paying for years now for litigation,
11 arbitration cases, appeal after appeal and
12 after appeal until we finally reach the Supreme
13 Court. And I can't even get a dollar figure on
14 what all of that has cost all of us.
15 MR. GERVASI: I will be happy to
16 supply that.
17 MS. EVANS: It should have stopped
18 long ago. It hasn't unfortunately. And, in
19 fact, every day you open the newspaper you can
20 virtually read of a new case the city is
21 involved in either defending someone or some
22 issue. It is sinful to be wasting money this
23 way particularly in light of the fact that we
24 are mired in debt. And it really has to stop.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: After Mr. McGoff --
1 after we vote on it, Dave, I have a question if
2 I could for you.
3 MR. GERVASI: Sure.
4 MR. McGOFF: When you said rumors
5 that you had won the case, is it -- is it
6 definitive that --
7 MR. GERVASI: I can explain that to
8 you. We filed a grievance over the issue.
9 MR. McGOFF: When you said rumors,
10 it's --
11 MR. GERVASI: It's only rumors at
12 this point that they are not going to pay the
14 MR. McGOFF: Okay.
15 MR. GERVASI: Now, the case is not
16 quite over yet. If you want, I can explain
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: Can we vote -- vote
19 on it first. Then I will --
20 MS. EVANS: I ask we be proactive.
21 We seem to be reactive in every case, and that
22 hasn't worked because of the city -- the
23 administration continues down the path of
24 litigation. So let's try to be proactive.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay. All those in
2 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
3 MS. EVANS: Aye.
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: Opposed? The ayes
5 have it and so ordered. I need to ask a
6 question here. You can correct me if I'm
7 wrong, my understanding is that the fire
8 department won it and the same -- same type of
9 a case will be for the police department. Do
10 you know, does the city have their lawyer on a
11 retainer or will they be paid additional for
12 fighting the police now?
13 MR. GERVASI: If they don't pay the
14 police, the police will have to --
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: I am talking about
16 the city's lawyer. They have to pay a lawyer
17 to do this. Does that lawyer get one flat fee,
18 or does he -- the clock keep ticking?
19 MR. GERVASI: That is Attorney
20 Goldberg. I don't know -- I think he bills by
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: So it will cost --
23 MS. EVANS: Attorney with one flat
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: I thought they had
1 him on a retainer for these --
2 MS. EVANS: I think they all charge
3 by the hour according to what their hourly rate
4 is, what their paralegals' hourly rates are,
5 what, you know, someone in the firm who is not
6 a partner will charge by the hour, all of the
7 travel expenses and related items and it turns
8 out to be quite a handsome bill.
9 MR. COURTRIGHT: You have to pay --
10 when I say you, the union will have to pay
11 their lawyers. And I think what people seem to
12 forget is that the police and firefighters
13 unions, they are taxpayers of the city, too.
14 So now, you guys -- I am not sure how your
15 money gets exhausted, how you got to replenish
16 it to pay your lawyers.
17 I just believe in -- for sure in
18 this case -- I don't think anybody would argue
19 the fact that the police department will win
20 because you guys -- I was under the
21 understanding -- tell me if I'm wrong -- wasn't
22 there some type of gentleman's agreement that
24 MR. GERVASI: We'd do it together,
25 firefighters will take the case and then --
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: For some reason
2 that's not happening. I think that's so wrong,
3 so wrong.
4 MR. GERVASI: To give you a
5 understanding about the case and how -- why
6 this would be a waste, we try to work things
7 out verbally, ourself and the H. R. director
8 tried to work this thing out. They had one
9 idea about this 27 pay period issue. It's an
10 anomaly every ten to 11 years.
11 We explained to them that they are
12 wrong in a nice way and we have case law to
13 prove it. I believe we gave the city during
14 the mediation hearing five prior arbitration
15 awards that cited the way our feelings were.
16 But once we won the arbitration case, they
17 appealed to common pleas court and the judge
18 sided with us again. They appealed to
19 Commonwealth court, and the judge sided with us
20 again. And then it went to the Supreme Court.
21 The Supreme Court denied even taking the case,
22 meaning the Commonwealth court was correct.
23 So the Supeme Court said what the
24 lower court said is the proper way to do it.
25 Now Attorney Minora can correct me if I'm
1 wrong, it's my understanding that any
2 arbitration case that we have even though it
3 goes to Supreme Court you think that's the end
4 of the road. Well, an arbitration award is not
5 a self-enforcing award. At that point,
6 normally probably 99.9 percent of the time a
7 city or union will comply with that final order
8 whether you win or lose. Most will comply.
9 The city has refused to comply.
10 So at this point we had to go to the
11 Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board to actually
12 enforce that order, the original arbitration
13 award itself. So they have found in our
14 behalf. That was 27 days ago. Within five
15 days of the city getting notice of that,
16 examiner's decision, they were -- they had to
17 post a copy of that order, and within 20 days
18 they had cut the check and comply and make sure
19 the examiner knows about it.
20 The city failed to post anything.
21 It's been 27 days, and we haven't heard a thing
22 from the city. And to make matters worse,
23 we're not going to lose this -- the police will
24 not lose this case. I mean, it's an exercise
25 in futility for the city to believe that the
1 cops -- it will not come out the same way we
2 did because of the case law, because of our
3 case and because our case is case law. So I
4 mean they are throwing good money over bad on
5 these appeals and these court cases. It's
6 futile to think they have a chance of winning
7 the second time.
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: I think by the vote
9 we all agree, you know -- God knows since I've
10 been here anyway, I've heard the word
11 arbitration every day. I mean we can't seem to
12 settle anything here. Maybe it will heed our
13 request this time and get this settled. I
14 don't see the reason to go through this whole
15 thing again. They went through once. So we --
16 we beg you listen to us, Mayor. Anything else?
17 MS. EVANS: Maybe the only possible
18 reason -- conceivable reason that I can conjure
19 is that certain people would make money off it.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: The attorneys,
22 MS. EVANS: Litigation.
23 MR. GERVASI: I didn't say that.
24 MS. EVANS: And other people, of
25 course, like taxpayers keep losing more and
1 more. But I really can't see anything else
2 that, you know, would be plausible to a
3 rational person.
4 MR. GERVASI: Other than a feud
5 mentality and sort of the heck with them, you
6 know. It's just not fair to the police
7 officers. Thank you.
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you very
9 much. Is there anyone else?
10 MS. KRAKE: Good afternoon, council.
11 My name is Nancy Krake. I would like to add to
12 what Mr. Gervasi just said. The single tax
13 office employees also paid by the city were
14 denied their 27th pay also. And they were also
15 led to believe that they would be piggybacking
16 on the fire fighters. So I would have to ask
17 you to amend the motion when -- when you can.
18 I mean I would like to finish speaking if
19 that's okay.
20 A little history on that is this was
21 at least three years ago longer when it first
22 came into play and the clerical unit and the D.
23 P. W. got the 27th pay because we got hand
24 scanners and there was no way that the city
25 could say we weren't hourly employees because
1 they forced us to get hand scanning.
2 Now, we had a mediation with the
3 single tax office employees where they alluded
4 to the fact that if they were to take a hand
5 scanner they would miraculously get their 27th
6 pay. This has been fun and games for them
7 while they've been withholding these people's
8 money for four years.
9 It takes mathematically if you're
10 paid biweekly to earn this -- to get this money
11 in your pay -- so they've been waiting 15
12 years. There's case law throughout the entire
13 state -- everybody else that are paid biweekly
14 and it's in their contract that they get this
16 We got it in the Connor's
17 administration. It's not a mystery. It is
18 just pretty darn sad at this point. Oh, I
19 might add, the administrative people also got
20 it, those that they consider hourly. Others
21 have to wait.
22 MS. EVANS: Management received the
23 proper amount of pays?
24 MS. KRAKE: Yes, those they
25 considered hourly. I don't know how they
1 figure that out, but they did. Certain
2 management hand scans in, so they also received
3 the 27th pay.
4 MS. EVANS: It would appear this was
5 purposely done against union workers.
6 MS. KRAKE: It appears that way to
7 me, apparently to the arbitrators also. I
8 would also like to say that if we want this
9 money that's plugged into the budget, we should
10 have an amnesty, probably will say that every
11 week also.
12 And just as a reminder with
13 municipal revenue services, I brought forth a
14 lawsuit that the county administration had
15 provided me with when they heard it brought out
16 at a city council meeting that this is illegal
17 to do, I would recommend everyone reading that
18 before you go forward and voting for a company
19 that is going to buy up our taxes.
20 Also I think it's very interesting
21 that they are circumventing the branch of
22 government that you people represent by turing
23 the properties over to the redevelopment
24 authority first.
25 There's several properties that are
1 on the agenda today that were purchased through
2 the city. How will that part of that work
3 since you know the city no longer has control
4 but the redevelopment authority? Will those
5 properties no longer appear on the agenda and
6 become public knowledge? That's just one small
8 There are millions and millions of
9 questions, and they all have very scary legal
10 ramifications. This mayor and his
11 administration have an agenda and a goal, and
12 they can pass laws to make things legal that
13 are really very illegal and very immoral. We
14 should not be penalizing people who can't pay
15 their real estate taxes to this degree. We
16 haven't bothered to collect delinquent wage or
17 business privilege tax which thankfully Mrs.
18 Evans brought up for four years now.
19 That was a million dollars a year
20 that was being brought just in the delinquent
21 wage, and it stopped. I know this because the
22 people aren't collecting it. They are in my
23 bargaining unit. They are just simply not
24 doing it.
25 That would plug a very large hole in
1 any budget especially now going back three and
2 four years. We are looking at least seven or
3 eight million dollars, but, no, we are going to
4 beat up people who really don't have the money.
5 We should be trying to enforce and fairly
6 people who live in the city but don't work in
7 the city. And there's no one following up on
8 whether they filed a return for their wage tax.
9 That's all we are saying. People
10 that work and don't pay their fair share are
11 not being equally penalized, or whatever the
12 word would be, as we are to homeowners.
13 Something just isn't right.
14 Each week I will go over one of
15 these paragraphs here or as many as I can. I
16 don't know how much time I will have left. But
17 the first one in this ordinance that you
18 passed, the charge is $25 per lien, review and
19 confirmation of lien by a consultant retained
20 by the city in the amount of $25 per lien.
21 Right now we do that for nothing. What does
22 review mean?
23 Does that mean every time a lawyer
24 calls me for a tax search someone is being
25 charged that $25, and who is being charged the
1 $25? Is it the lawyer, is it the person? And
2 that's just the first one. Thank you.
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you. Anyone
4 else? Motion to adjourn?
5 MR. McGOFF: So moved.
6 MS. EVANS: Second.
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: All in favor?
8 MS. EVANS: Aye.
9 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
10 MR. McGOFF: Aye.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: We are adjourned.
12 Thank you.
2 C E R T I F I C A T E
4 I hereby certify that the proceedings and
5 evidence are contained fully and accurately in the
6 notes taken by me on the city council meeting of the
7 above cause and that this copy is a correct transcript
8 of the same.
Laura Boyanowski, RPR
13 Official Court Reporter