1 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING
7 Tuesday, November 27, 2007
10 Council Chambers
11 Scranton City Hall
12 340 North Washington Avenue
13 Scranton, Pennsylvania
CATHENE S. NARDOZZI- COURT REPORTER
2 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:
MS. JUDY GATELLI, PRESIDENT
6 MS. JANET E. EVANS
MS. SHERRY FANUCCI
9 MR. ROBERT MCGOFF
MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT
12 MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK
MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
15 MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR
1 (Pledge of Allegiance recited and moment of reflection
3 MS. GATELLI: Roll call.
4 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
5 MRS. EVANS: Here.
6 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Fanucci.
7 MS. FANUCCI: Here.
8 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
9 MR. MCGOFF: Here.
10 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: Here.
12 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
13 MS. GATELLI: Here. Dispense with
14 the reading of the minutes.
15 MS. GARVEY: 3-A. AGENDA FOR THE
16 CITY PLANNING COMISSION MEETING TO BE HELD
17 ON NOVEMBER 28, 2007.
18 MS. GATELLI: Are there any comments?
19 If not, received and filed.
20 MS. GARVEY: 3-B. MINUTES OF THE
21 LACKAWANNA HEALTH & WELFARE AUTHORITY
22 MEETING HELD ON OCTOBER 18,2007.
23 MS. GATELLI: Are there any comments?
24 If not, received and filed.
25 MS. GARVEY: 3-C. CONTROLLER'S REPORT
1 FOR THE MONTH ENDING OCTOBER 31, 2007.
2 MS. GATELLI: Are there any comments?
3 If not, received and filed.
4 MS. GARVEY: That's it for Third
6 MS. GATELLI: I just have two
7 announcements. First, I would like to thank
8 Mr. Stu Renda, who is the business officer
9 for the city, I'd like to thank him for
10 coming here this evening at 5:00 and meeting
11 with city council and addressing questions
12 that were put forth to him both from council
13 and from some of the people that were
14 attending the caucus and he has agreed to
15 research all of the questions that have been
16 asked this evening and he will get back to
17 Ms. Garvey in writing as soon as possible,
18 so we will have answers to the questions
19 that you have asked here this evening.
20 And I'm going to let Mr. Courtright,
21 even though I don't want to, I'm going to
22 let him talk about West Scranton High School
23 for a minute.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: Because I know there
25 is a lot of people interested, this is the
1 first time in the history of West Scranton
2 football that they have gotten this far and
3 they have run into a problem with buses. It
4 seems that this Saturday is when they are
5 lighting the tree down in New York City, so
6 every bus within a 60 mile radius of
7 Scranton is booked, they can't get any
8 buses. I believe they might have gotten one
9 and that individual already had enough
10 people for the bus. Paul McGoins is working
11 with many other people to try and get school
12 buses to go down. I think if they are
13 saying they get the school buses it's a $15
14 fee possibly, it's a long ride, but they do
15 not even know it they can get the
16 schoolbuses yet, so for those of you who are
17 interested in going to the game probably by
18 noon tomorrow if you call the McGoins'
19 Floral Shop he will know whether they have
20 the buses or not, so I just know a lot of
21 people are interested in that and I just
22 wanted to get you that information. Thank
24 MS. GATELLI: And we certainly wish
25 them well. They are into the state quarter
1 finals and if they win Saturday then they
2 only have two more games to win the state
3 championships, so we are wishing them the
5 I would also like it announce that
6 we have a Boy Scout Troop with us this
7 evening. You may not seen them because they
8 are all up in the balcony, and they are here
9 for one of their badge projects with their
10 leader, Mr. Grazi, so we would like to
11 welcome all of the kids to city council.
12 And the first speaker is Andy
14 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia, city
15 of Scranton, fellow Scrantonians. I'm going
16 to back to my 6-B, I know you are going to
17 move it, I read the backup. I still don't
18 see why the GAR collection should be stored
19 in our business and not up at the museum.
20 This is a group of individuals that seem to
21 want to keep control of this memorabilia
22 from the civil war.
23 I mean, this stuff is worth a
24 fortune actually moneywise and to stuck it
25 in a basement where it should actually be up
1 at the museum where everybody can see it,
2 look at it, there are people that died
3 during that civil war and it was a bloody
4 war and this group of people only has
5 distant relatives there, if they have even
6 have that anymore, but they want to hold
7 onto the collection and they want to keep it
8 locked up and the reason why it's worth a
9 fortune, moneywise it is worth a fortune,
10 but historically it's invaluable. There is
11 no way you can put a price on history and
12 they are all authentic relics of the civil
13 war. To lock them up in the basement,
14 that's criminal. That's stuff should be on
15 display and protected and it should be on
16 display, and the only place we really got to
17 display it is up at the Everhart. They have
18 room up there, nobody is going up there that
19 much anymore, most of the displays when I
20 was a kid are gone, so I rarely ever, ever
21 go up there anymore, but something like
22 would actually bring people there.
23 And, as you know, there is some I
24 think it's Spanish American War relics up
25 there, a shelf in the main that's stuck up
1 there, and I think that would be a something
2 really that would really put Scranton the
3 map as well as Steamtown to see our
4 historical collection. I thank you.
5 MR. MCGOFF: Can I just ask a
6 question? Do you know if the GAR requested,
7 the organization requested the space or
8 whether they are unhappy with the space?
9 MR. SBARAGLIA: The space has been up
10 there since they built the building, okay,
11 that was GAR --
12 MR. MCGOFF: No, what I'm asking is
13 do you know if the GAR group is unhappy with
14 where it's going to be placed?
15 MR. SBARAGLIA: I haven't, like I
16 say, you would have to ask Himler. Himler
17 owns the building, that's the architectural
19 MR. MCGOFF: No, I'm talking about
21 MR. SBARAGLIA: Oh, I don't know why
22 they would want to put it in the basement,
23 are they unhappy where they are? It's
24 locked up.
25 MR. MCGOFF: No, no, I guess what
1 I'm saying, I'm getting the implications
2 that you had some knowledge that they were
3 unhappy with being told that it would be
5 MR. SBARAGLIA: No, I'm unhappy with
6 them moving it into a basement instead of
7 actually moving it somewhere it's going to
8 be beneficial to the City of Scranton and
9 all Scrantonians.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Okay.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: I just think they
12 were looking for a home and that's the home
13 they got. I'm sure if someone wanted to
14 offer them a better one they would take it,
15 but they need to go somewhere now, so
16 hopefully are going to provide that to them.
17 Ozzie Quinn.
18 MR. QUINN: Thank you. The mayor
19 isn't looking at the big picture and I'm
20 asking the city council to look at the big
21 picture. We the taxpayers are presently
22 above one half a billion dollars and closing
23 in on 1 billion dollars in long-term
24 debtedness when you include the school
25 district and prorate the counties part in
1 the city. We are not going to pay off the
2 debt by giving pay increases to cronies.
3 We, the taxpayers, urge you to freeze all
4 wage increases and collateral revenue, Mrs.
5 Evans, the financial chairman to a better
6 budget, that the record higher -- delete
7 what Mr. Doherty is doing. Don't be
8 hypocritical to the duties that Mrs. Evans
9 is responsible for the chair. Doherty's
10 delusions of grandeur have got us in
11 trouble. We can't afford Mr. Doherty's
13 Again, the average citizen is going
14 from paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet
15 while many are not -- have to seek relief
16 from social service agencies. I hope you do
17 not ignore Mrs. Evans as the finance chair
18 budget as you did last year, completely
19 ignored it. I'm asking you on behalf of the
20 Taxpayers' Association and hopefully the
21 taxpayers across the city, you appointed her
22 for reason and I hope that you are not
23 hypocritical to what's going on. Thank you.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you. Les
1 MS. SPINDLER: Good evening, Council,
2 Les Spindler. On the budget, I don't know
3 how anyone up there can justify passing a
4 budget that calls for $13,000 raise for a
5 police and fire chief to sit behind a desk
6 all day when the men and woman of the fire
7 and police department go out and risk their
8 lives everyday and haven't had a raise for
9 six years, that's just unjustified to me.
10 The mayor in the Sunday Doherty
11 newsletter says, "The mayor says city must
12 stick to financial recovery plan."
13 You know, I agree with the mayor, we
14 should stick to the financial recovery plan
15 because the recovery plan calls for no
16 raises, so don't shake your head, no,
17 Mrs. Fanucci, because you don't know what
18 you're talking about.
19 MS. FANUCCI: That's not true.
20 That's not accurate, that's all I'm saying.
21 That's not accurate.
22 MR. SPINDLER: It is accurate. The
23 recovery plan calls for no raises, the man
24 is a hypocrite, he says one things and does
25 another. This budget should not pass, it's
1 ridiculous for me to sit behind a desk and
2 get a $13,000 raise. And, like I said, the
3 men and women that risk their lives everyday
4 are getting nothing. Thank you.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you. Marie
7 MS. SCHUMACHER: Marie Schumacher.
8 I, too, would like to speak against a budget
9 that continues to grow and grow with many
10 unknowns still out there, with many promises
11 that are unfulfilled, Robinson Park, the
12 replacement park for the south side complex
13 on the capital side, many things left undone
14 and yet we are continuing to spend, spend,
15 spend and the revenues continue to go down.
16 I'm particularly concerned about that $52
17 fee. If we are really losing 4,000
18 employees over this next year that's really
19 sad, and I would urge you to find ways to
20 cut spending and borrow only the amount
21 required to satisfy the 2005 bond and not be
22 adding $6 million. Thank you.
23 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Jackowitz.
24 MR. JACKOWITZ: Bill Jackowitz, South
25 Scranton. The budget in 2008, city council,
1 how does this 84.5 million dollar budget
2 help the residents and taxpayers of
3 Scranton? Will it help pave the roads,
4 bring business into the area, higher paying
5 jobs for citizens, improve services for the
6 citizens, make the cameras work, open up
7 government so citizen's questions will be
8 answered? Will the streets and alleys in
9 the neighborhoods be plowed this winter?
10 Will bus service not be terminated because
11 of a snow storm? Will water bills go down,
12 taxes reduced, especially the wage tax?
13 Would the blighted areas that are owned by
14 the city be cleaned up? The answer to all
15 of these questions is, no, and it will only
16 give raises to the Doherty people and
17 Fanucci my people.
18 I agree, Ms. Fanucci, everybody is
19 underpaid, especially the citizens who make
20 $7.50 and hour and $10.00 and hour thanks to
21 Mr. Burke, Mr. Doherty and Ms. Fanucci.
22 Higher wages do not attract good people.
23 Scranton is the best example, look at our
25 City employees are not getting
1 raises, only managers are getting the
2 raises. A bonus is not a raise, it's only a
3 one-time thing. Only DPW getting raise.
4 Everyone else, white collar appointed
5 employees, this is amusing and the statement
6 by Mrs. Fanucci in the paper about
7 attracting higher and more qualified people,
8 a lot of our department heads are high
9 school graduates, that's all they are. If
10 that's the best qualified people we can get,
11 thank God, that they will be replaced when
12 the new mayor takes over.
13 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
14 Mr. Hubbard.
15 MR. HUBBARD: Good evening, Council.
16 I'm sure I'm not going to be able to get
17 through everyone so some of stuff can wait
18 until later. I was looking at the budget
19 and looking at the operating revenues,
20 budget revenues for licensing and
21 inspections. It seems that the projected
22 revenue for electrical permits was $100,000
23 last year's budget, the actual revenue is
24 only $75,000. Why are you increasing the
25 revenue, expected revenues to $120,000? We
1 didn't meet the 100,000 mark for the
2 previous budget so why we would increase it
3 by another $20,000 for this budget? Are
4 they going to plan on raising the fees for
5 electrical permits? And it goes right down
6 the line, the mechanical permits projected
7 for 2004 was $90,000, the actual was only
8 $55,000, yet the projected for this year
9 revenue is $100,000, actually 101. We have
10 a beverage license and an eating and
11 drinking licenses, is there a difference?
12 Do you have to purchase both? Why are they
13 both increased? You know, you look at the
14 beverage licenses projected last year
15 100,000, actual 50,000 projected against
16 this year, they raised it another 23,000
17 projected revenue.
18 It goes down the line with the
19 permits. Building permits, projected
20 $740,000, actual $352,00 yet we raised it to
21 $571,000 in this budget. It just seem to be
22 me that we are looking at almost all of the
23 projected revenue for the 2008 budget for
24 licensing, inspections and permits has been
25 almost doubled. Yet, the actual is less
1 than half of what you are asking for, so are
2 they going to raise the fees across the
3 board? I mean, are we looking at increased
4 permit fees for plumbing, electrical,
5 mechanical and building? And not only that,
6 the projected bidding fees, who is building
7 in Scranton? You can't even sell a house in
8 Scranton so you are going to build a new
9 one? I mean, the projected income on the
10 building permits alone is $200,000 more than
11 the actual from last year.
12 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
13 MR. HUBBARD: We need to cut this.
14 MS. GATELLI: Is Jean here?
15 MS. SUETTA: Jean Suetta. You know,
16 aren't you pushing this budget a little too
17 fast? Don't you think you should table it
18 for a couple of weeks and get all of the
19 points? I mean, come on, you got to give
20 the firemen and the police something? Could
21 you imagine if you didn't have a raise for
22 six years? Probably some of these guys have
23 five kids, they can go and get food stamps
24 and they are a fireman? I think it's wrong
25 what you are doing. I think you should
1 table the budget for a couple of weeks and
2 then get it. Thank you.
3 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
4 Mr. Talimini and then Mr. Dobson is next.
5 MR. TALIMINI: Joe Talimini, resident
6 of Scranton. A couple of weeks ago I gave
7 you a proposal for an advisory committee and
8 I was hoping that you people had a chance to
9 review it and do something with it. I think
10 at this time and under the conditions a
11 citizens' advisory committee is very, very
12 necessary for this city, for this council.
13 I don't --
14 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Talimini, this is
15 for agenda items.
16 MR. TALIMINI: Well, that's what I'm
17 coming to, the budget, if you don't mind.
18 At this time, I wonder why the mayor isn't
19 here himself as opposed to Mr. Renda or
20 anybody else who comes into this thing. I
21 would like to know why and where the money
22 is coming from for a $13,000 raise for two
23 different people, for all of these raises
24 that are coming into play, I just don't
25 understand where we are getting this money
1 from. I think it's incumbent upon this
2 council to take a good look at all of the
3 financial and the fiscal responsibility
4 involved in this budget. I haven't had a
5 chance to review the whole thing myself, but
6 from what I see, believe me, I want to
7 regurgitate because I don't understand where
8 this man is coming from, I don't understand
9 where his advisors are coming from and I
10 certainly don't understand where you people
11 are coming from if you are going ahead and
12 push this budget through.
13 Again, I got a 2.3 percent increase
14 in my annual stipend from social security
15 this year. Under the conditions I would
16 like to tell you right now I'm going to
17 throw my hat into the arena for any job
18 whatsoever in this city, I mean, I'll be a
19 renegade. I'll take any job at all that you
20 want to hand me another $13,000 a year for
21 doing absolutely nothing, for sitting at a
22 desk and making myself look important and
23 patting the mayor on the back and making you
24 people feel good about yourselves. Thank
1 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Dobson.
2 MR. DOBSON: Good evening, Council,
3 Dave Dobson, resident of Scranton,
4 Taxpayers' Association associate. I would
5 also like to plea that we table the budget
6 until what time it could come up with
7 alternatives and seriously examine -- the
8 borrowing is just intolerable, it's going to
9 hinder development in future years, people,
10 young families want to move in and they
11 realize that they are going to get taxed
12 three times heavier than in another town or
13 a city, they probably won't do it and in
14 many cases, years back cities were overbuilt
15 because they could get to factories and
16 transportation much easier and now a days
17 everybody seems to be off and move to
18 Covington Township or Scott Township
19 Industrial Park and it creates a double
20 whammy on these people because they have to
21 drive to work and where a very expense
22 vehicle, there isn't a cheap car anymore,
23 there's a junky car but not a cheap one, so,
24 please, try and examine the budget and got
25 it as low as you can with a minimum at the
1 very least and if anything could be done to
2 on 2018 to get us on the list and on the
3 map, Legislative Bill 2018, I would strongly
4 your Honor that we do so because our tax
5 exempts are taking us over the falls with
6 how many there are and it's great to have
7 them and they save people's lives and so
8 forth, such as hospitals, but they also cost
9 the average taxpayers in Scranton money that
10 other people don't have to pay. Thank you.
11 MS. GATELLI: Is there anyone else?
12 MR. MORGAN: Good evening, Council.
13 I guess I'll wait until public discussion on
14 the budget because I'd like to talk about
15 this GAR Memorial Association, and I'd like
16 to say that I am opposed to that collection
17 being placed in the basement of city hall
18 and the reason I'm opposed to that is that
19 that's such a valuable collection to expose
20 to the humidity and the conditions of the
21 basement of this building that I can't
22 believe anybody would ever contemplate
23 moving such a valuable asset in such a
24 terrible location to be bluntly honest. I
25 really think that that collection is not
1 only important to Scranton, but it's
2 important to the whole country. It may be a
3 one of a kind collection and I think that
4 really what needs to be done is someone
5 needs to have a discussion with the Everhart
6 Museum and they need to rotate some of their
7 displays out which have been there since I
8 have been a kid and make room for this
9 exhibit and with all of the community
10 development money that's spread out all over
11 the place I think that somebody on this
12 council needs to spearhead the movement with
13 our legislators to ask them if there is it
14 any funding to make a permanent home to this
15 collection that lends to the public just how
16 valuable this collection really is.
17 I mean the civil war is very, very
18 important almost -- I'd have to say
19 80 percent of the people who died in that
20 war were Irish. I'd have to say that the
21 things that they sacrificed for this country
22 was unbelievable. I mean, an end to slavery
23 was just a great thing for this country, all
24 of the ideas they fought for, all of the
25 things that Lincoln said for all of those
1 years and I just think that it's time for
2 this community to realize just how important
3 those assets are. Thank you.
4 MR. GERVASI: Hello, again, city
5 council, Dave Gervasi. I have a couple of
6 questions because I'm having bad memories,
7 bad flashbacks of last year's budget time, I
8 understand that the mayor has to present a
9 budget by November 15; is that correct?
10 MS. EVANS: Yes.
11 MR. GERVASI: Dave, is there a
12 timeline would council would have to bring
13 out an alternative budget, is there anything
14 in the law that says --
15 MS. GATELLI: It has to be adopted by
16 the 15th of December.
17 MR. GERVASI: It has to be adopted by
18 the 15th of December. Mrs. Evans, I have a
19 question for you, how long is it going take
20 you to complete your budget, any idea?
21 MS. EVANS: Well, if the budget
22 reaches Seventh Order next week for a final
23 vote then I'm going to have to have it
24 prepared for next Tuesday. If we were able
25 to put it off until the following week, and
1 really I see no reason why not, in that
2 there is ample time in which to do so, it
3 would provide more time to continue to comb
4 through it very, very carefully to be
5 certain that all possible cuts had been made
6 and all necessary adjustments occur.
7 MR. GERVASI: But, when did you
8 think you will have something you could
9 present to the rest of the council?
10 MS. EVANS: Well, as I said, if I
11 have to have it for next week then I will
12 make due and continue working throughout the
13 week and the weekend and have that ready for
14 next Tuesday.
15 MR. GERVASI: So, that's the point
16 I'm trying to make. Last year you presented
17 your budget and everybody look at it for
18 about five minutes and they voted for the
19 mayor's budget.
20 MR. MCGOFF: That's not true.
21 MS. EVANS: Well, actually we did
22 have a budget work session and --
23 MR. GERVASI: And only three people
25 MS. EVANS: -- I believe we were in
1 session for two to three hours, but the only
2 people in attendance were Mr. McGoff,
3 Mr. Courtright and myself.
4 MR. GERVASI: I'd like to ask council
5 do you think it would be fair to maybe give
6 this process an extra week so everyone can
7 actually look at it and study for at least a
8 week, do you think that's fair or are we
9 going to ram this thing through next
11 MS. FANUCCI: I have a question,
12 Dave, is the budget that you are preparing,
13 is that a different budget?
14 MR. GERVASI: Oh, no, no, see, why--
15 MS. FANUCCI: The one you told me
16 you wanted me to look at.
17 MR. GERVASI: Excuse me, Mrs.
18 Fanucci, that was another misquote in the
20 MS. FANUCCI: No, you told me, you
21 said we are preparing a budget, that's what
22 I'm asking you.
23 MR. GERVASI: I said I have
24 suggestions for preparing an alternative
1 MS. FANUCCI: Oh, I definitely must
2 have heard that wrong.
3 MR. GERVASI: You did, yeah. No,
4 you read it directly in the paper, but it
5 wasn't accurate.
6 MS. FANUCCI: Okay, so that's not --
7 MR. GERVASI: Now, do you think it's
8 fair to the people of the City of Scranton
9 that you are going to take one day to look
10 at an alternative budget and then vote on it
11 that day or a few hours after you receive
13 MS. FANUCCI: It all depends on the
15 MR. GERVASI: Okay.
16 MS. FANUCCI: That's all I have to
17 say. It depends on the budget.
18 MR. GERVASI: I know my time is up
19 and I don't want to push it --
20 MS. GATELLI: It is up.
21 MR. GERVASI: -- but would this
22 council entertain possibly, you have until
23 the 15th, possibly giving an extra week,
24 just an extra week, would that hurt any
25 process whatsoever? Actually having time to
1 study on your own page by page, line by
2 line, for an extra week just to see if maybe
3 there is some good ideas in there instead of
4 ramming it through after two hours? Do you
5 think that's fair? Do you think that's
6 okay? It's a prudent thing to do?
7 MS. GATELLI: There was an amusement
8 tax brought up last week and no one wanted
9 to do it.
10 MR. GERVASI: I understand.
11 MS. GATELLI: That was in the budget
12 last time.
13 MR. GERVASI: This council would they
14 be willing to delay ratifying the budget for
15 one week?
16 MS. GATELLI: You will have to see
17 when it comes up on the agenda, what people
18 comment on?
19 MR. GERVASI: Thank you. That's all
20 I have.
21 MS. GATELLI: Anyone else?
22 MR. ANCHERANI: Nelson Ancherani.
23 Naturally, on the budget. I don't know, I'm
24 questioning why there is $830,680 allocated
25 for the Scranton Parking Authority citation
1 issuers, that's at least 70 some thousand
2 more than it was last year, $78,000. Who
3 are they, what is each one's wage and why do
4 they get any money anyway, they just got
5 that $35 million bond?
6 Another question, why are the TANS
7 included when the budget says excluding tax
8 anticipation notes? Why are the percentages
9 in the pie chart wrong, and if you take the
10 example, it's the workmen's comp, and you
11 will see that the percentage for the
12 workmen's comp is they put in a pie chart
13 that is higher than what it actually is.
14 I echo Ozzie Quinn, freeze the wages
15 then you are fair to everybody and we don't
16 have a complaint since we are crying wolf.
17 Anyway, I went over the -- I counted the
18 amount of employees in the 2001 budget, that
19 was the last year of Connors, 574. 2008,
20 681,171 -- or 107 more. Why do we need 107
21 more employees? They say the health care is
22 going up, naturally, that's 100 more people,
23 107 more people, plus they forced out 100
24 people so there is actually 200 people, new
25 people on health care, but yet unions get
1 the blame all of the time. I think that the
2 people should all read the budgets maybe
3 they would get an idea, but people don't do
5 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
6 MS. FRANUS: Fay Franus. I'd like to
7 address what Dave Gervasi said and I'd like
8 an answer, if I may. Mrs. Gatelli and Mrs.
9 Fanucci, you said that it depends on what is
10 in the budget, Mrs. Evans' budget, well, I
11 would like to ask that question, what would
12 be the rush? Why the rush? Why can you not
13 wait one extra week to take the time and go
14 over Mrs. Evans' budget? You know how hard
15 it is for her to make this and then you are
16 going to just breeze right through it? How
17 would you like it if you do that and spent
18 all your time night and day on something and
19 somebody didn't even recognize the work or
20 didn't even look at what you did?
21 So, I'm asking you, Mrs. Gatelli,
22 since you are making the agenda, you just
23 said it depends on what's on the agenda, you
24 are the ones that makes the agenda and you
25 know right now what you are going to do so
1 I'm going to ask you will you consider an
2 extra week, yes or no, to consider
3 Mrs. Evans' budget, what's the rush? That's
4 the question.
5 MS. GATELLI: You are asking me?
6 MS. FRANUS: Yes, I'm asking you.
7 MS. GATELLI: Yes, I would consider
8 giving it another week. Yes, I would.
9 MS. FRANUS: Would you make a motion
10 for that tonight possibly?
11 MS. GATELLI: Yes, I will.
12 MS. FRANUS: Good. And how about
13 you, Mrs. Fanucci? Would you consider
14 giving Mrs. Evans another week so you can
15 study the budget that she is going to make?
16 MS. FANUCCI: One more week doesn't
17 bother me.
18 MS. FRANUS: Well, then would you
19 possibly go along with this then?
20 MS. FANUCCI: Yeah, but I don't
21 understand what the big issue is for you.
22 MS. FRANUS: The big issue for me is
23 when somebody makes a budget, an alternative
24 budget that the taxpayers may benefit from
25 versus the budget that you may pass by Mayor
1 Doherty, what is the big issue, it's a big,
2 big issue for the people in the City of
3 Scranton because last year Mrs. Evans made a
4 budget that didn't have a tax increase, but
5 you didn't even want to even look at it, you
6 didn't even go to the meeting to see it.
7 MS. FANUCCI: Actually I did look at
8 it very closely.
9 MS. FRANUS: Not too closely.
10 MS. FANUCCI: No, you are wrong.
11 MS. FRANUS: Oh, no, I'm right.
12 MS. FANUCCI: And, no, you are very
14 MS. FRANUS: That's a matter of
16 MS. FANUCCI: Listen --
17 MS. GATELLI: Don't even debate it.
18 MS. FANUCCI: Fay, I am going to
19 tell you, I looked at Mrs. Evans' budget
20 last year. Did I like Mrs. Evans' budget?
21 Absolutely not. There were a lot of things
22 I didn't agree with it in there.
23 MS. FRANUS: Sure.
24 MS. FANUCCI: But, that's my
25 prerogative as being an elected official.
1 MS. FRANUS: That's right, because
2 you are his rubber stamper and you're going
3 to do everything that Mayor Doherty wants.
4 I have a right to my opinion, this is the
5 truth. You people already have your mind
6 made up. I read it in the paper today. You
7 think it's a wonderful idea to give raises
8 to the people in the City of Scranton.
9 MS. FANUCCI: That's exactly what I
11 MS. FRANUS: Well, I know that,
12 that's why you justify what you are going to
14 MS. GATELLI: Your time is up,
15 Mr. Franus, but we will consider that.
16 MS. FRANUS: Well, I hope I hear a
17 motion on this tonight and I hope it's
18 passed. Thank you.
19 MS. GATELLI: Anyone else? Mrs.
21 MS. EVANS: Good evening. I hope
22 that everyone enjoyed a wonderful
23 Thanksgiving with family and friends. Most
24 of my holiday was dedicated to forging
25 through the mayor's emnatic budget. As a
1 result, I had many more questions that
2 require responses, some of which were
3 provided this evening, others will be
4 provided through week's end by Mr. Renda
5 very kindly.
6 Under Mayor Doherty's six-year watch
7 the city budget has grown $26 million, our
8 annual debt service has ballooned from 6
9 percent of the entire budget into 2002 to
10 19 percent of the entire budget in 2008.
11 Despite these troubling numbers, the mayor
12 continues to borrow in 2008 despite a
13 monumental 25.6 percent tax increase, a
14 $900,000 advance from the Scranton Housing
15 Authority, a six-year wage freeze for
16 unionized workers, the mayor produces his
17 seventh borrow and spend budget.
18 He plans to make everyone happy, his
19 cabinet, middle management, the bankers, the
20 lawyers, but I see no mention of you, the
21 taxpayers. He even attempts to a swage the
22 unions by setting aside 1.1 million for
23 possible contract settlements, but the
24 numbers don't seem to add up. It may appear
25 that the mayor owes that 1.1 million for
1 contract violations to the police department
2 for SIT clerks and the 27 pay period
3 arbitration award to fire and police, and in
4 reality, there appears then to be no real
5 money set aside for these contracts, but
6 trying to maintain an open mind I looked at
7 other municipalities to justify the Doherty
8 debt and budgets.
9 Erie, for example, the fourth
10 largest Pennsylvania city boasts a larger
11 population than Scranton, in fact, 103,717
12 people, yet, their 2007 reports demonstrate
13 a $59 million budget compared to our soon to
14 be $84 million with approximately a
15 population of 70,000.
16 It appears that we are traveling
17 toward a very dangerous and painful
18 financial dead end enabled by the newspaper
19 and their esteemed editors. According to
20 these learned men my 2007 budget had no
21 substance. They believed that budgetary
22 cuts and revenue sources that prevented a
23 2007 tax had no substance. However, the
24 mayor had a budget with substance, a 25.6
25 percent tax increase and I tip my hat to the
1 sagacious, scholarly men of the Scranton
2 Times. I agree, the mayor's tax increase is
3 certainly substantive, and while their mayor
4 continues his borrow and spend policy and
5 the Times Shamrock apologists pen their
6 heroic praise, I will continue working to
7 save people money.
8 Also, I was notified just today of
9 continuing problems in the area of Daron
10 Northeast. Residents report that the truck
11 traffic and work is not ceasing at 11:00
12 p.m. at night, rather than it's continuing
13 until one sometimes 2:00 a.m., and rather
14 than beginning at 7:00 a.m. the trucks are
15 pulling in at 5:00 a.m. and forklifts begin
16 their work, and these trucks are parked not
17 50 feet, the required buffer, from the
18 residential properties, but more like
19 25 feet.
20 Therefore, I would make a motion
21 that a letter be sent to Daron Northeast
22 making them aware of council's knowledge of
23 the situation, and requesting that they
24 cease and desist in these practices as they
25 are in violation of the city ordinances.
1 MS. GATELLI: I'll second that
2 motion. We are sending a letter?
3 MS. EVANS: Yes.
4 MS. GATELLI: Anyone on the
5 question? All in favor?
6 MS. EVANS: Aye.
7 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
8 MR. MCGOFF: Aye.
9 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
10 MS. GATELLI: Aye. Opposed? The
11 ayes have it and so moved.
12 MS. EVANS: And just one thing --
13 MS. GATELLI: I'm sorry, did you have
14 a questions?
15 MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Evans, I didn't
16 mean to interrupt, but if we are sending a
17 letter to Daron over what are zoning
18 ordinances, why isn't one being sent -- why
19 shouldn't we send one to the zoning officer
20 as well?
21 MS. EVANS: I would very much be in
22 favor of that as well.
23 MR. MCGOFF: If you would make a
24 motion certainly I would --
25 MS. EVANS: Thank you. I move that a
1 copy of that letter be forwarded to the
2 city's zoning officer.
3 MS. GATELLI: Second. On the
4 question? All in favor?
5 MS. EVANS: Aye.
6 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
7 MR. MCGOFF: Aye.
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
9 MS. GATELLI: Aye. Opposed? The
10 ayes have it and so moved. On the question?
11 MS. EVANS: One final note, I know
12 that many, many, many questions were posed
13 this evening concerning the budget and as
14 was stated, Mr. Renda has provided written
15 responses to many of my questions and he is
16 in the process of providing the remainder as
17 well as the responses to those posed by many
18 of you this evening, however, there was one
19 issue, so many questions were posed and as
20 you speak it's very difficult to keep up to
21 your pace, but I do recall, it might have
22 been maybe Mr. Ancherani, who asked about
23 the citation issuers, and the response we
24 received is that the increase significantly
25 occurred and can be attributed to the
1 addition of two new parking structures, the
2 Casey garage and the Medallion garage both
3 opened within the 2006-2008 time period, and
4 I also learned that the citation issuers for
5 which the city incurs all of the expenses
6 number specifically five and I believe their
7 salary was $12 and 70 some cents per hour.
8 In addition to that, the city pays
9 50 percent of administrative salaries, some
10 administrative salaries for the Scranton
11 Parking Authority. It appears that we are
12 spending a total of $803,680 to make a net
13 gain of $57,000.
14 There is an agreement between the
15 Scranton Parking Authority and the City of
16 Scranton concerning on-street parking in
17 return for their oversight, that is the
18 Scranton Parking Authority's oversight of
19 on-street parking, the city agrees to pay 10
20 percent of the revenues realized from those
21 parking meters to the Scranton Parking
22 Authority, but certainly the cost that we
23 see enumerated, and he did a very fine job
24 of breaking it down for me, I do compliment
25 him on that, he is very resourceful, it just
1 seems to be quite a bit more than what we
2 should expect and one has to wonder if,
3 first of all, that amount of money should be
4 spent for such a small return and in
5 addition to that, if the Scranton Parking
6 Authority is truly autonomous, the Scranton
7 Parking Authority should then be providing
8 the salaries in full for their
9 administrators and the city should be
10 according to that agreement unless, of
11 course, the agreement has expired that I did
12 not know, the city shouldn't be paying
13 anything above and beyond those five
14 positions and I'm quite certain that
15 wouldn't amount to $803,680. That's it.
16 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
17 Mrs. Fanucci?
18 MS. FANUCCI: After last week and
19 after reviewing the budget, I wanted to look
20 at some of the reasons why as a city we are
21 so in debt and it caused me to look at the
22 recovery plan. The reason week after week
23 we are here and we listen to problems about
24 the recovery plan, I couldn't understand
25 what the problem was, I know that we put it
1 to a vote, I know we wanted the citizens to
2 decide on whether or not they wanted this or
4 When I went to look at the recovery
5 plan there are two different types of plans
6 in different cities. Our plan was not like
7 others. Our plan was focused on one main
8 component which was our health care costs.
9 Our health care costs needed to be capped,
10 that was the main regarding the recovery
11 plan. At the time, and I believe if
12 everybody read the paper it was 7.1 million
13 at the time when this all started with the
14 negotiations between the unions and the
15 mayor. At this point it has gone up
16 $5 million since then. This isn't new to
17 anybody out there, any of us who are working
18 individuals, we all know that our health
19 care costs have gone up significantly. It
20 is not something we can blame on anyone.
21 It's unfortunate and it's terrible. This is
22 a crises in not only our city, but all over
23 the Commonwealth and all over the country.
24 I wanted to discuss the recovery plan
25 because I do believe that that is the reason
1 why our problems happen every year with our
2 budget. The plan was for four years to
3 borrow, we knew that going in, that's why
4 last year if you remember the mayor coming
5 and wanting $44 million, as council we
6 didn't take that, we didn't like the idea of
7 $44 million, it was a big, big amount of
8 money to pass for our city, hoping we could
9 try and increase revenue costs and thinking
10 of ways to save and do something to benefit
11 the citizens. We did increase thee taxes
12 last year and I said, you know, we had to
13 increase the taxes last year.
14 We are going to get speakers up here
15 telling me we didn't have to, the recovery
16 plan is contentious, but it went out to a
17 vote to the people of our city, they
18 decided, and for people to come up here
19 every week and fight against it because they
20 are saying to the citizens 76 percent of you
21 didn't know what you were talking about.
22 For some reason you weren't well-informed
23 and we can recover, we have the money. It's
24 funny that everybody says that.
25 When we were invited to sit with
1 PEL, PEL is the Pennsylvania Economy League
2 which you hear about every week here because
3 they are the problem if you are in
4 negotiations right now, they are the problem
5 for the unions, they are the problems for
6 the administration because they are the ones
7 that set the guidelines. Everybody is to go
8 those meetings. I was invited, Mrs. Evans
9 came to one meeting, when we got there the
10 sick reality of what we were hit with was
11 the fact we do not have the money to run our
12 city. It wasn't anything that we could sit
13 there and say, "Well, let's do this, let's
14 do that," black and white, and, Mrs. Evans,
15 you recall, black and white it was there.
16 The money does not come in to fit what we
17 have to go out, and you know why, because
18 it's happening all over. That's why there
19 is recovery plans. That's why the
20 Pennsylvania Economy League and all of the
21 other coordinators are supposed to come in
22 here and make this work for us.
23 Has it worked for us? No. I'm
24 not -- I'm the first to say it has not
25 worked for us. We have not gotten to the
1 point -- do I believe that the fire and
2 police deserve raises? Absolutely. They
3 did not not get raises because they were --
4 they didn't get raises because they are in
5 negotiations now, that's what it's all
6 about. They deserve to fight it out. The
7 administration deserves to fight it out, but
8 to sit here week after week and act like
9 it's not going to happen is almost
10 ridiculous. They are going to fight for
11 what they want, they should fight for what
12 you want. All of you at home would fight
13 for you what you want.
14 Last week I had to said to someone,
15 and I'm not going to mention who, what my
16 health care costs were and the answer was,
17 "You should get yourself a union."
18 My reply was, "I do have a union,
19 unfortunately, I still have to pay what I
20 have to pay."
21 Does this mean they should? No.
22 That's why they have people battling it out
23 in Court. I want to talk about the fact
24 that we as a city can't get anywhere until
25 everyone sits down at a table and decides
1 what can be done to benefit everyone in this
2 city. Do I believe that everyone should say
3 this is what I need? Yeah, that's what
4 negotiations are about, but to say, well,
5 you are going to give raises to the
6 administration, our recovery plan provided
7 for raises for all administration, all of
8 the DPW, police, fire, it was in there. The
9 only reason the police and firemen did not
10 get their raises yet or the cost of living,
11 whatever was in the recovery plan, because
12 they are in litigation. That's what it's
14 So, to sit here week after week and
15 battle it out in this forum which right now
16 I'm sorry, but as a councilwoman I cannot,
17 somebody got up here and said, "You
18 should -- you need to give money to the
19 police and firemen," hey, if we could do it,
20 we can't do it. We can't negotiate their
21 contracts. That's up to the people they
22 hired. That's why they get good lawyers,
23 that's why the administration gets good
24 lawyers. That's their jobs.
25 So, as far as the city is concerned
1 until that is completed we are going to sit
2 here with this budget year after year, we
3 will always have a hole in our budget as of
4 right now. It is not something we are proud
5 of, it's not something that I want to deal
6 with it. When I first got here I believe we
7 owed money from a budget I wasn't even here
8 for, but we have to address it. I'm proud
9 this year that the taxes aren't going up.
10 Am I okay raising the salaries of the
11 administration, I certainly am. Do you know
12 why? Because last year they took a 5
13 percent decrease because we asked them to
14 and there was no bones about it. I said,
15 "If I have to borrow, if I have to raise
16 taxes, I want it increased."
17 They did it for us, so, yes, I will
18 be giving them money and I hope that when
19 the negotiations go through with the unions
20 they get what they want.
21 I also want to talk about the people
22 of the city and how week after week we come
23 up here and we do our jobs, we try very hard
24 to do a good job. The budget is
25 contentious. The budget is not something
1 that you can fool around with, but right
2 after the bat before we go anywhere 86
3 percent of the money is out the window and
4 that's just for existence. That has nothing
5 to do with our little fun projects or
6 whatever they say, the wish lists,
7 86 percent goes out for pensions, health
8 care, worker's comp, the landfill fees,
9 utilities. We are not talking about tons of
10 money here, and when I hear the numbers that
11 are floating around up there, yeah, I would
12 rather borrow than tax the citizens, I would
13 rather borrow. I would absolutely rather
15 Last year when I taxed they were
16 mad. This year, I'm telling you, next year
17 we are going to have to borrow, the year
18 after we are probably going to have to
19 borrow, we knew that four years ago, and it
20 is unfortunate, but I plan on passing the
21 budget. I plan on voting for the budget, I
22 don't think any of you are surprised, it's
23 certainly not something that will be a
24 surprise to anyone in this room, but as a
25 collective group out there that comes here
1 week after week you say you have your
2 fingertips on the pulse of the people out
3 there, the voters voted for recovery and you
4 come here week after week and you tell the
5 voters they were wrong. You tell the voters
6 they don't matter and guess where I got
7 this? From a voter. They said, "We wanted
8 this and for some reason they don't believe
9 we wanted it."
10 After you asked for this to be a
11 vote, so I'm going to say I believe in the
12 taxpayers and I am for the people and the
13 people wanted recovery and I will go along
14 and do what I can to help the city recover
15 and that is all I have. Thank you.
16 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Mr. McGoff.
17 MR. MCGOFF: I guess just, again, a
18 couple of general comments on the budget and
19 I'm glad to hear that people are in favor of
20 possibly delaying or tabling the budget for
21 a week. I think there are some significant
22 questions that need to be answered, and most
23 of it has to do with -- well, first of all,
24 with the union contracts. I think that we
25 need to find out what the status is and
1 whether this is going to -- whether these
2 contracts are going to be settled in some
3 type of timely fashion so that I could feel
4 more -- I would feel more justified voting
5 for raises for people if, in fact, the union
6 contracts were settled. We reduced -- we
7 did reduce salaries in 2007, I don't know
8 that anything has drastically changed to
9 reinstate those salaries. I know that that
10 is something that is in the budget for a
11 reinstatement of those, but as this point in
12 time that's one of the things that I
13 question about the budget.
14 Also, raises, significant raises for
15 administrative personnel, perhaps those
16 raises are justified, but also perhaps they
17 don't have to be done in a one-year budget,
18 perhaps those can be incremental as well,
19 raises over a course of time.
20 Also, we tabled an amusement tax and
21 yet there is $100,000 in the budget for
22 revenue from an amusement tax, I'd like to
23 know if, in fact, they have tabled that how
24 are we going to makeup $100,000 in revenue
25 if, in fact, there is going to be no
1 amusement tax, so there are questions and I
2 think that tabling or postponing a vote on
3 the proposal is very justified.
4 As far as the GAR, the museum
5 pieces, I know that it's, you know, people
6 have expressed that perhaps they are unhappy
7 with it and moving it to city hall, I'm not
8 sure, we have heard no complaints from the
9 GAR Memorial Association and I would assume
10 that if they were unhappy with the placement
11 of their memorabilia into city hall that
12 there would have been some type of complaint
13 or some type of action taken by them and
14 without that my assumption is that they are
15 favorable to moving things to city hall
16 unless I would hear differently, and that's
18 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
19 Mr. Courtright.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: Just briefly on GAR,
21 I believe they came to the city and asked
22 the city to move their museum here. We
23 don't go out and ask them, so I have to
24 assume that that's what they want and I just
25 wanted to put that out there.
1 I apologize, I wasn't here earlier
2 when Mr. Renda was here and, Kay, I don't
3 know if anybody asked this question and it
4 was answered, if they did then don't worry
5 about it, if not if you could add it to the
6 questions. I think I'm correct in assuming
7 that there is an additional approximately
8 $6 million or 5.5, and one answer that I did
9 get earlier last week was that part of that
10 money was if, in fact, they settled the
11 police and fire contracts and I said, yeah,
12 I understand that, but I don't know that the
13 police and fire contracts are going to
14 settled in 2008, and if they aren't I don't
15 know what happens with that money, so I
16 said, can't we pull that money out of the
17 budget and if and when the contracts get
18 settled we are able to open the budget back
19 up, and then we can put the money back in
20 the budget, that was a suggestion that maybe
21 we can make if wasn't already made.
22 I had a -- how should I put it, an
23 individual that was a political figure in
24 the city one time, he was a little bit older
25 than me, and he said this to me, and he
1 wasn't a policeman or a fireman, he was a
2 political figure, I was talking to him about
3 raises for the police chief, the fire chief
4 and actually I brought up the subject to the
5 mayor, I believe that the mayor's salary is
6 way too low, way too low, I mean, $50,000
7 for a mayor in the City of Scranton is way
8 too low, and if they put a raise in there
9 for the mayor whether it be this mayor or
10 any other mayor I would vote for that, I
11 just think $50,000 is for the aggravation it
12 takes to be mayor in this city, but when we
13 were talking about the police and fire, I
14 don't even ask, and I apologize, I didn't
15 look and see what other fire chiefs in this
16 state make, I don't know, but I did look and
17 see what other police chiefs make and our
18 police chief's salary isn't comparable to
19 some, but this gentleman had a suggestion
20 that I would make, I don't imagine the
21 police and fire chief aren't going to be
22 happy with me saying this, but he said why
23 don't they hold off on accepting their
24 raises until what time, stand up behind
25 their men and when their men get a raise
1 then absolutely they would get a raise, and
2 I think that's fair. So if I could make that
3 suggestion, if the police and fire chief
4 would be willing to, you know, stand behind
5 their men and say, "When they get a raise
6 then we would accept a raise."
7 And, again, I apologize, I wasn't
8 here to hear everything that went on, but I
9 will come in tomorrow and see what questions
10 were asked and answered and bring myself up
11 to speed.
12 One question from last week, I
13 believe it was Mrs. Schumacher asked about,
14 I believe she asked about the cameras for
15 the police department, yes? There is three
16 up, but they are not operable. They are not
17 operable in he way they are recording.
18 Okay? They are up on the poles, but they
19 are not recording. There is nine more to go
20 up. There is a problem with the
21 transmitters that would send the signal back
22 because they are wireless and that problem
23 is being handled and they should all be up
24 and operating in the very nature future. I
25 do not know if they are going to disclose
1 the location of any or all of them, that
2 would be a decision I would imagine for the
3 mayor and Director Hayes, but there is three
4 up, nine more to go up and none of them are
5 recording at this time. And that's all I
6 have. Thank you.
7 MS. GATELLI: Thank you,
8 Mr. Courtright.
9 MS. EVANS: Could I just respond to
10 a question that you had about the 1.1
11 million dollars? Yes, it does -- well, I
12 shouldn't say it doesn't appear, it is a
13 fact that there is borrowing in this budget
14 and you mentioned, as I said, that 1.1
15 million being set aside for potential
16 contract settlements and I was told to that
17 amount is in the contingency fund and that I
18 believe that comes from a one-time final
19 chunk of some of the money that was borrowed
20 in previous years, so it appears that that
21 isn't part of the borrowing, and I did ask
22 what the purpose of the additional borrowing
23 would be beyond the refinancing of the 2005
24 bond issue at 5.5 million and Mr. Renda
25 responded that it is necessary to plug, was
1 it a $6 million shortfall in 2008 or a
2 $6 million deficit, and then I inquired as
3 to the origins of the deficit and we were
4 told that it's cumulative, it comes from
5 every department, every portion of the
6 budget including the debt service.
7 But, you know, in a way here, I
8 would add, Mr. Courtright for your
9 consideration, that it seems as if we may be
10 borrowing money to pay off our debts which I
11 think is very convoluted, but I did want you
12 to know that the $1.1 million suggestion
13 that you made I'm going to take that into
14 serious consideration and try to work that
15 into what I'm doing.
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you.
17 MS. GATELLI: And just one other
18 thing, he said if it is in contingency
19 anything in there has to come to council to
20 be transferred, so they can't touch it
21 without council approval. Mrs. Garvey?
22 There is a lot of activity outside, does
23 anybody know what's going on?
24 MS. HUMPHREY: The University is
25 interviewing people.
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: Could you ask them
2 to be a little quieter?
3 MS. GATELLI: Mrs. Garvey?
4 MS. GARVEY: FIFTH ORDER. NO
5 BUSINESS AT THIS TIME. SIXTH ORDER. 6-A.
6 READING BY TITLE - FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 140,
7 2007 - AN ORDINANCE - APPROPRIATING FUNDS
8 FOR THE EXPENSES OF THE CITY GOVERNMENT FOR
9 THE PERIOD COMMENCING ON THE FIRST DAY OF
10 JANUARY 2008 TO AND INCLUDING DECEMBER 31,
11 2008 BY THE ADOPTION OF THE GENERAL CITY
12 OPERATING BUDGET FOR THE YEAR 2008.
13 MS. GATELLI: I would like to make a
14 motion to table this for a week.
15 MS. EVANS: Second.
16 MS. GATELLI: On the question? All
17 in favor?
18 MS. EVANS: Aye.
19 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
20 MR. MCGOFF: Aye.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
22 MS. GATELLI: Aye. Opposed? The
23 ayes have it and so moved.
24 MS. GARVEY: 6-B. READING BY TITLE -
25 FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 141, 2007 - AN ORDINANCE
1 - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER
2 APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE AND
3 ENTER INTO A LEASE AGREEMENT WITH GAR
4 MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION ("GAR") FOR A PORTION
5 OF THE UNUSED SPACE IN THE BASEMENT OF CITY
6 HALL TO BE USED AS EXHIBIT AND MEETING SPACE
7 FOR A TERM OF TEN (10) YEARS.
8 MS. GATELLI: You have heard Reading
9 by Title of 6-B, what is your pleasure?
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: I move that Item 6-B
11 pass Reading by Title.
12 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
13 MS. GATELLI: On the question? Just
14 on the question, I did make a phone call,
15 that's why I left of the meeting before, to
16 inquire about the GAR and I was told that
17 they came here as a body and they have
18 requested, as they said here, to be here.
19 They want to be in this building, this is
20 where they want their exhibit to be because
21 of Ezra Ripple, as we said last week, was a
22 mayor of Scranton at one point in time, so
23 this is not anything that we are doing
24 against anyone's wishes, they want the
25 exhibit here, so I just wanted that to be
1 reiterated again. Anyone else on the
2 question? All in favor?
3 MS. EVANS: Aye.
4 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
5 MR. MCGOFF: Aye.
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
7 MS. GATELLI: Aye. Opposed? The
8 ayes have it and so moved.
9 MR. MCGOFF: I would also like to
10 make a motion to suspend the rules to move
11 6-B into Seventh Order.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
13 MS. GATELLI: On the question? All
14 in favor?
15 MS. EVANS: Aye.
16 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
17 MR. MCGOFF: Aye.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
19 MS. GATELLI: Aye. Opposed? The
20 ayes have it and so moved.
21 MS. GARVEY: SEVENTH ORDER. 7-A. FOR
22 CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON FINANCE -
23 FOR ADOPTION - FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 137, 2007
24 - AMENDING FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 66, 2006 AN
25 ORDINANCE "ENTITLED GENERAL CITY OPERATING
1 BUDGET 2007" BY TRANSFERRING $5,000.00 TO
2 ACCOUNT NO. 01.401.15311.4299 (SALE OF
3 LEASEBACK - 2004 SERIES) AND $6,000.00 TO
4 ACCOUNT NO. 01.401.15312.4299 (SALE
5 LEASEBACK - 2005 SERIES) TO PROVIDE FUNDING
6 TO COVER THE PRINCIPAL AND INTEREST PAYMENTS
7 ON SERIES OF 2004, $4,000,000.00 SALES
8 LEASEBACK OF DPW AND SERIES OF 2005,
9 $5,500,000.00 SEWER AUTHORITY GUARANTEED
10 LEASE REVENUE FOR A TOTAL TRANSFER OF
11 $11,000.00 FORM ACCOUNT NO.
12 01.401.13090.4299 (CONTINGENCY.)
13 MS. GATELLI: What is the
14 recommendation of the Chair on Finance?
15 MS. EVANS: As Chair for the
16 Committee on Finance, I recommend final
17 passage of Item 7-A.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
19 MS. GATELLI: On the question? Roll
21 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
22 MRS. EVANS: Yes.
23 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Fanucci.
24 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
25 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
1 MR. MCGOFF: Yes.
2 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
4 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
5 MS. GATELLI: Yes. I hereby declare
6 7-A legally and lawfully adopted.
7 MS. GARVEY: Before reading 7-B,
8 which was formerly 6-B, I don't know if
9 there is anybody else that wants to speak on
11 MS. GATELLI: Does anyone else?
12 MR. SBARAGLIA: I want to speak a few
13 words on the thing, I spoke before and I'll
14 speak again before you vote on it, I believe
15 the people of Scranton would be better
16 served if someplace more appropriate could
17 be found to house that collection than
18 sitting down there in there in our basement,
19 I do believe that. It's a beautiful
20 collection, it's worth a lot of money, and I
21 do believe it would be better placed at a
22 museum, I always will, if arrangements could
23 be made. It's the place. It's not the
24 dollar that it's going to cost these people
25 for ten years, it's the fact that I believe
1 it's going to be restricted. These people
2 are trying to hold onto this collection.
3 This collection was donated by people that
4 fought in the war. I mean, their only
5 connection to the war are maybe someone's
6 great grandfather possibly and yet they try
7 to hold onto this collection and keep it
8 from view. They said they have open viewing
9 on it, but I don't know how many of you
10 people actually saw the collection, I did.
11 I was always -- it's a beautiful building,
12 GAR, I'm sorry that they couldn't keep it,
13 and the collection I told you is quite
14 valuable, but, like I said, we all have to
15 do what we got to do, they got to move and I
16 found out here they said Himler don't own
17 the building anymore. If was I could have
18 maybe spoke to him, but they said he sold it
19 and he got a new owner and the new owner I
20 guess wants that area. So, like I said, we
21 all got to do what we got to do. Thank you.
22 MS. GATELLI: Anyone else? Come up.
23 MS. SCHUMACHER: Yes. I just wonder
24 about -- Marie Schumacher again. I just
25 wonder about the security aspects. Most
1 people go to see these kinds of things on
2 weekends and possibly in the evening, does
3 that mean city hall will be open, the back
4 door will be open every weekend, and
5 accessible to the public, what will the
6 hours be?
7 MS. GATELLI: You might want to call
8 Mr. Hart from the GAR and they can --
9 MS. SCHUMACHER: But what does it do
10 to the security of this building if people
11 are going to be coming in, is there going to
12 be added expenses?
13 MS. GATELLI: I'm not sure, but he
14 would know the answer.
15 MS. SCHUMACHER: I mean, I really
16 think you would table it or hold it off
17 another week until you determine whether or
18 not it's going to be require a guard down
19 there, and it's going to be open on weekends
20 and how you keep the building secure.
21 Typically that's locked down there, it's
22 just -- it's a consideration I think that
23 should be addressed. Thank you.
24 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Morgan.
25 MR. MORGAN: This issue may seem like
1 it's a really simple issue to decide, but to
2 be bluntly honest with you that collection
3 is extremely valuable and some people may
4 think they are doing a favor to GAR by
5 moving in the basement, but if that
6 collection is damaged by moisture or mold or
7 whatever else it's gone and it's been
8 presented them in trust and it has to go to
9 the next generation in trust and I just hope
10 that if council wants to really move to
11 protect this collection then maybe the city
12 should take an obligation and place this
13 collection this storage at the city's
14 expense and protect this asset until a time
15 comes where we can move that collection
16 somewhere where it is safe. Some people may
17 not agree with that because the city may be
18 expending money and we are a strapped city,
19 there is no doubt about that, but I think
20 this collection is extremely important and
21 it's an asset and it's worth protecting and
22 you may not be doing GAR or this collection
23 any benefit by placing it in the condition
24 it may be in the basement. Thank you.
25 MS. GATELLI: Anyone else?
1 MS. SUETTA: Why don't you put this
2 collection up at the Daron because they are
3 moving out of town and you got a brand new
4 building up there, very environmental, is
5 that so funny, Bill? Why is it funny? I
6 mean, you got a brand new building that's
7 going to be up there doing nothing, going
8 back to the city, they can get KOZ tax free
9 and they got a new building.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: They'd have to pay
11 rent up there.
12 MS. SUETTA: They are not paying rent
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Well, a dollar.
15 MS. FANUCCI: A dollar.
16 MS. SUETTA: And who is going to do
17 the remodeling downstairs?
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: I believe they are.
19 MS. GATELLI: They are.
20 MS. SUETTA: Well, they can do it up
21 there. How much is the rent going to be?
22 It's going to be an empty building, a brand
23 new empty building where they ain't going to
24 get the mold or something, but they gotta
25 wait until they get out of there. Just a
1 suggestion. Thank you. Anyone else?
2 MR. SPINDLER: My only concern is
3 why in the basement? Who is going to see it
4 in the basement of city hall? Not many
5 people will go down in the basement, why
6 don't they put it somewhere like other
7 people said, in the museum, it's more
8 accessible. Having it in the basement here
9 is ridiculous. That's all I have to say.
10 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Anyone
12 MR. PORTER: Just a quick question,
13 this exhibit that everybody is talking
14 about, does the city own this and if the
15 city doesn't own it then does the city
16 assume liability for it? What kind of
17 liability do you assume if you were to house
18 this in the basement of city hall? I think
19 that's important because if you are liable
20 then it costs the taxpayers some money and
21 they --
22 MS. GATELLI: They have their exhibit
23 insured, the GAR.
24 MR. PORTER: I mean, I would make
25 certain before I would house it in city
1 hall. And the other thing, the museum, does
2 the Everhart, have they extended themselves
3 to these people to have the exhibit put
4 there? Those are just some questions.
5 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Anyone
7 MR. JACKOWITZ: Bill Jackowitz, south
8 side. Mr. McGoff, you had a very good
9 question when you asked Andy Sbaraglia if he
10 had spoken with GAR or if anyone from -- I
11 think that was a very valid question, now I
12 would like to ask you to extend on that
13 question and maybe setup a meeting with the
14 GAR organization and actually sit down and
15 talk with them and see what their feelings
16 are because the basement of the city hall is
17 not a place to put a public viewing or
18 museum in place. The Everhart Museum or
19 maybe another vacant building somewhere
20 within the city, but the basement of city
21 hall, if this collection is as valuable as
22 people are saying it is, I don't know for
23 sure if it is, but if it is, you know, if
24 maybe city council can get together, and I
25 hope that you would ramrod this, Mr. McGoff,
1 and maybe get a couple of your other
2 colleagues to go with you and just sit down
3 and explain to the people if this is GAR and
4 people in charge of the exhibit want to put
5 it, so be it, that's their decision.
6 MR. MCGOFF: This is being done at
7 their request. I don't know what else we
8 can say. Mr. Courtright has spoken to
9 people from GAR, Mrs. Gatelli has spoken to
10 them and this is what they want to do with
11 their exhibit. I think it's very
12 presumptuous for any of us to say, you know,
13 that we have better plans for it. They want
14 to put the exhibit here.
15 MR. JACKOWITZ: So if I understand
16 you correctly then, Mrs. Gatelli and
17 Mr. Courtright has already spoken to the
18 people that are in charge of this exhibit
19 and this is where they want to put, is that
21 MS. GATELLI: Yes.
22 MR. MCGOFF: Yes.
23 MR. JACKOWITZ: It's a done deal
24 then. That's where it goes.
25 MS. GATELLI: Anyone else? You want
1 to start reading.
2 MS. GARVEY: 7-B, formerly 6-B. 6-B.
3 CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON RULES FOR
4 ADOPTION - FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 141, 2007 -
5 AN ORDINANCE - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND
6 OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE
7 AND ENTER INTO A LEASE AGREEMENT WITH GAR
8 MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION ("GAR") FOR A PORTION
9 OF THE UNUSED SPACE IN THE BASEMENT OF CITY
10 HALL TO BE USED AS EXHIBIT AND MEETING SPACE
11 FOR A TERM OF TEN (10) YEARS.
12 MS. GATELLI: As Chairperson for the
13 Committee on Rules, I recommend final
14 passage of 7-B.
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
16 MS. GATELLI: On the question?
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question, I
18 know we have been on this too long, I just
19 want to say this, these individuals have
20 cared for this collection for quite
21 sometime. I can't imagine they are going to
22 allow any harm to come to it. They have
23 kept it in good condition and cared for it
24 all of this time, I'm sure they will
25 continue to do so.
1 MS. GATELLI: Anyone else? Roll
3 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
4 MRS. EVANS: Yes.
5 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Fanucci.
6 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
7 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
8 MR. MCGOFF: Yes.
9 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
11 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
12 MS. GATELLI: Yes. I hereby declare
13 7-B legally and lawfully adopted.
14 MS. GARVEY: EIGHTH ORDER. CITIZENS
15 PARTICIPATION II.
16 MS. GATELLI: Douglas Miller.
17 MR. MILLER: Good evening, Council.
18 Doing Miller, president of junior council.
19 I'd like to welcome the Boy Scouts here
20 tonight. We are very happy to have them
21 here with us. I'd like to briefly address
22 the budget. Tonight we had the pleasure of
23 having the city's business administrator,
24 Stu Renda, here with us to review the 2008
25 proposed budget with council. Speaking on
1 behalf of junior council, in doing the
2 budget tonight it was a wonderful learning
3 experience for all of us. We hope council
4 and the mayor can work together and pass the
5 budget and it will be fair to everyone in
6 the city.
7 The Scranton Junior City Council is
8 selling Christmas wreathes for the holiday
9 season. Each wreath is 24 inches and is
10 made with fresh fixed pine and completed
11 with a red bow. Wreaths are only $15 each
12 and all proceeds will benefit future junior
13 council projects. If anyone is interested
14 in purchasing a wreath, please call
15 570-237-0690. All orders can be picked up
16 on Saturday, December 8, from 10:00 a.m. to
17 2:00 p.m. at Nay Aug Park concession stand,
18 and on behalf of the Junior Council I would
19 like to thank everyone who has purchased a
20 wreath, your support is greatly appreciated.
21 On behalf of the junior council I
22 would like to invite everyone to attend our
23 holiday celebration on Sunday, December 16,
24 at the South Side Renaissance Center. 705
25 Pittston Avenue. It will begin at 10:00
1 a.m. and conclude at 2:00 p.m. Admission is
2 $3 for adults and $3 for children. Children
3 under three will be free. The party will
4 include food, games and prizes for all
5 children in attendance. Children can also
6 look forward to a special visit from Santa
7 which will include pictures. This party is
8 in conjunction with our "Light Up The Town"
9 project. As well as enjoying the party,
10 everyone in attend my enjoy the holiday
11 lights that will be on display. We are
12 asking parents and children in the city to
13 please attend, and I'd extend this
14 invitation to council as well. This is a
15 wonderful opportunity for everyone to spend
16 time together for the holiday season and we
17 believe that the "Light Up The Town" and
18 holiday celebration projects are positive
19 for south side and they will certainly help
20 restore pride and tradition in South
21 Scranton. Thank you. And at this time
22 Casey Bales will address council.
23 MR. BALES: Good evening, Council.
24 Casey Bales, Scranton Junior City Council.
25 I would like on behalf of the Scranton
1 Junior City Council to congratulate West
2 Scranton High School football team on their
3 previous victories and making it this far.
4 I would also like to wish them the best of
5 luck this coming Saturday at the game, and
6 just remember, West is best. Thank you.
7 MS. GATELLI: Thank you, Casey. Andy
9 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,
10 citizen of Scranton. Fellow Scrantonian.
11 Yeah, I am wearing a path out here.
12 MS. GATELLI: I hope I don't say
13 Andy in my sleep tonight.
14 MR. SBARAGLIA: I hope not for your
15 sake. I, too, would like to congratulate
16 West side, I was told that they were having
17 trouble getting buses.
18 MS. GATELLI: Yeah, they are.
19 MR. SBARAGLIA: I don't know, can
20 somebody contact DeNaples and see if we can
21 use some of their school buses?
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: That's what they
23 are doing, Andy.
24 MR. SBARAGLIA: That would make a lot
25 of sense.
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: There's an issue
2 whether they can drive past 100 miles.
3 MR. SBARAGLIA: There is always one.
4 MS. GATELLI: There is only an angle.
5 MR. SBARAGLIA: Okay, I'm going to
6 speak on the audit that we got from the
7 Parking Authority because there is lot of
8 things in it that really, really stand out,
9 one is that they owe more money than all of
10 the garages are worth long-term and that's a
11 bad sign. We owe more money long-term than
12 them garages are presently worth and
13 probably will be worth not counting the
14 repairs that is going to have to be spent on
15 them and the citizens of Scranton are going
16 to be held viable for debt and, believe me,
17 it's going to come. If it wasn't for the
18 fact that they have a grant from the state,
19 they got this grant, received a state grant
20 for three million -- $3,506,000 odd cents,
21 and the revenue bonds, and they still had a
22 negative cash flow of $2,800,000. Believe
23 me, this whole situation is like a house of
24 cards and belive me it's getting close to
25 coming down and it's going to come down on
1 the citizens of Scranton. If you read the
2 data in their bulletin plus a lot of things
3 they said, they are not protecting their
4 debt like they should and that's written in
5 there, too, as a warning that they should do
6 better to protect their debt, their money
7 they have stashed away and to keep from
8 losing it. Like I said, these things are
9 going and that last one that they did that
10 you okayed to borrow the $32,295,000, they
11 have to pay back $72,537,000. That's over
12 100 percent over the life of that loan, of
13 course, they keep extending the loans out
14 and that's the only thing that's keeping
15 them afloat, and there is little article in
16 here with the loans where they did
17 renegotiate it, they were all done at a
18 loss. They lost money on the renegotiating
19 of them loans. I hate to see what's coming.
20 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
21 Mr. Spindler.
22 MR. SPINDLER: Les Spindler,
23 Scranton resident. Mrs. Gatelli, thank you
24 for making a motion to table the budget.
25 Mrs. Fanucci, you said about the people
1 voted for the recovery plan, it's been said
2 here many times, and I will say it one last
3 time, the only reason they did that is
4 because the people were threatened with a
5 tax hike.
6 This is the last thing I'm going to
7 say about the empty storefronts, Mrs.
8 Fanucci, you told Mr. Jackowitz that when
9 election is over the Munchak/Cordaro
10 building is going to be taken right over,
11 well, how did you explain the "For Rent"
12 sign in the window? Guess you were wrong
14 Another thing, Mrs. Fanucci, you
15 pretend to know everything about Act 47 but
16 you actually know nothing about it. The Act
17 does not forbid setting bench marks and
18 council can petition the state to end the
19 distressed status. Also, it doesn't say the
20 city can't recover until the unions gets
22 MS. FANUCCI: You are wrong.
23 MR. SPINDLER: This is just more of
24 you're doing and saying whatever Chris
25 Doherty wants you to do. Another thing, the
1 past few weeks speakers have come to this
2 podium and asked what has changed since last
3 year. Last year it was told we were going
4 to have to borrow again this year, it was
5 going to be another 25 percent tax hike, and
6 no one has an answer. Does anyone have an
7 answer to those questions? Why don't we
8 need a tax hike this year? You know, last
9 year they said it was going to be for the
10 next two years?
11 MS. GATELLI: Mrs. Evans, you can add
12 one if he wants one.
13 MS. FANUCCI: Give him one.
14 MS. EVANS: That's more in the
15 mayor's line of work than mine. I work
16 against them, he --
17 MS. GATELLI: We are happy there
18 isn't one there.
19 MR. SPINDLER: I understand that,
20 but --
21 MS. GATELLI: I don't care the
23 MR. SPINDLER: -- last year you said
24 we were going to need one. I think we do
25 have to get over to PEL and that can be
1 done, council can do that and petition the
3 Lastly, the block of Washington
4 Avenue where the courthouse is, where they
5 fixed the sidewalks and the curbs there,
6 part of the sidewalks juts out into the
7 street now, removing parking meters, who is
8 going to pay for the loss of that revenue
9 from the parking meters that are gone. Does
10 anyone know?
11 MS. GATELLI: I said Bob Cordaro said
12 he was going to pay that.
13 MR. SPINDLER: Seriously.
14 MS. GATELLI: I don't know.
15 MR. SPINDLER: Can we look into that
16 because there is quite a few meters that --
17 MS. GATELLI: The sidewalk comes
19 MR. SPINDLER: There is quite a few
20 meters that were there that are no longer
21 there. That's revenue that's lost in the
23 MS. GATELLI: Absolutely.
24 MR. SPINDLER: Can council look into
25 that? Mrs. Gatelli?
1 MS. GATELLI: Yes. I'll find out.
2 MR. SPINDLER: Thank you.
3 MS. GATELLI: Have a good night.
4 Mr. Quinn.
5 MS. FANUCCI: Actually, while
6 Mr. Quinn is walking up, yes, we are allowed
7 to petition the state, of course, there are
8 three ways to get out of recovery, one is to
9 petition, but we do not qualify to be able
10 to petition because we would have to prove
11 that none of the existing problems when we
12 were distressed are existing now, so it is
13 not true that it would be able to petition,
14 you can petition them if you want, it will
15 come back to us, that's in Section 253 on
16 page 15, Mr. Spindler, Section D, and that
17 would be determined by the municipality, so
18 if you would like a copy of that I can
19 certainly get that to you.
20 The other ways that we would qualify
21 to be out of the distressed status would be
22 determined by the Secretary of State and
23 also by the Pennsylvania Economy League. I
24 can give you a copy of this you if you would
25 like one.
1 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Quinn?
2 MR. QUINN: Yes. First, I was
3 speaking with one of the political science
4 majors from the University of Scranton, and
5 actually there are two of them there, and
6 they would be interested if there were
7 by-laws that allowed them to be put on the
8 junior council, and I think I would -- I
9 think that would be --
10 MS. GATELLI: Could you speak up a
11 little, I can't hear you?
12 MR. QUINN: Yeah. I was speaking
13 with two members of the University of
14 Scranton who major in political science and
15 they said why can't they get on the junior
16 council. Is there by-laws on that? Since
17 they are studying--
18 MS. GATELLI: There are by-laws, yes,
19 there are by-laws.
20 MR. QUINN: Does it say only high
22 MS. GATELLI: We could always change
23 it if there is someone interested.
24 MR. QUINN: You should, because
25 political science majors are --
1 MS. GATELLI: Absolutely. If there
2 is someone interested to come here we would
3 certainly welcome all students.
4 MS. QUINN: Okay. I just want to say
5 one other thing, too. Mrs. Fanucci was
6 talking about the recovery plan and we all
7 know that the recovery plan and Home Rule
8 Charter was cafeteria style, they pick and
9 they choose, and in regards to the health
10 plan we emphasize so much on health costs,
11 well, I'm going to tell you, this mayor laid
12 off 100 people from city hall and he hired
13 107, that is it contributing to the health
14 costs of what's going on in this budget, so
15 don't look at us and tell us that our
16 figures are off and --
17 MS. FANUCCI: I'm not asking you a
19 MR. QUINN: I don't want to argue
20 with you. I don't want to argue with you.
21 No, no.
22 MS. FANUCCI: Mr. Quinn, didn't you
23 say you --
24 MR. QUINN: I'm not arguing. You
25 have time to speak on this next one. Now, I
1 want to say one more thing, okay? The
2 Taxpayers' Association met last night and it
3 will be shown on Channel 61 this weekend in
4 regards to reverse mortgages that was
5 presented by a certified HUD counselor,
6 okay, and the reverse mortgage, and we had
7 it presented here, because of the fact that
8 people, and we all know the socioeconomic
9 conditions of the people in the City of
10 Scranton it's very, very bad off, okay, and
11 this reverse mortgage will help people who
12 are sitting in poverty or homeowners who are
13 financially distressed, can't pay their
14 taxes because of the new tax delinquent
15 thing, and the fact that a reverse mortgage
16 would give them money right out and I ask
17 the people out there to watch the Taxpayers'
18 Association meeting this weekend and you
19 will know more about the reverse mortgages.
20 They have increased, according to the
21 counselor, 41 percent across the nation, but
22 they haven't increased in our area. One of
23 our members of the Taxpayers' Association
24 has done a reverse mortgage, and I asked him
25 last night and he says it's the greatest
1 thing that ever happened to him, you know.
2 So it's something that we are looking at,
3 the Taxpayers' Association. To help those
4 poor people out there that are homeowners
5 and are financially distressed.
6 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
7 MR. QUINN: And, Mrs. Gatelli, I
8 didn't forget about the UDAG and OECD.
9 MS. GATELLI: I know, I have a note.
10 I have a note. I'm going to get it for you,
11 I promise.
12 MS. EVANS: Mr. Quinn, if I may, and
13 I don't want to discuss this, but I believe
14 when you referenced 100 employees who had
15 been laid off, I think you were very likely
16 referring to the nearly 100 who were forced
17 into retirement --
18 MR. QUINN: Yeah.
19 MS. EVANS: -- in 2002, and you are
20 correct in that in order to maintain their
21 benefits they had to retire, so we continue
22 to pay for all of those individuals and we
23 will throughout their lifetimes, you know,
24 without benefit of their services. So, that
25 is one factor that is driving up health care
1 costs and that was one I believe that should
2 have been fully anticipated by the
3 administration you can't force people into
4 retirement and think you are saving money on
5 this when you are, you know, not doing so
6 for purposes of attrition, but rather to,
7 you know, higher more individuals, create
8 jobs and continue paying benefits for those
9 you have lost.
10 In addition to that, I do know that
11 the administration has not been entirely
12 cooperative with the health care committee
13 and so, once again, any efforts to drive
14 down those costs has been thwarted by the
16 In addition, just one last comment
17 about PEL, PEL provided very specific
18 projections, annual projections, in
19 accordance with that recovery plan in the
20 city and the current administration has
21 large exceeded all of those projections.
22 MR. QUINN: I appreciate that, but
23 you are preaching to the choir when you
24 should be speaking to Mrs. Fanucci. Thank
1 MS. FRANUS: Fay Franus.
2 Mrs. Fanucci, you said earlier that the
3 health care went up because it had to go up
4 and because you couldn't do anything about
5 it, that's not true. Maybe you per se
6 couldn't, but the administration could have
7 done something just like Mrs. Evans said
8 about those 100 people that were forced to
9 retire, they wouldn't have left their jobs
10 if they weren't forced to retire saying if
11 they didn't get benefits if they didn't
12 retire, so there is 107 extra people that
13 got hired to fill those people's positions
14 that now you are paying double, so this is a
15 lot of garbage.
16 MS. FANUCCI: Well, it's not
17 $6 million worth double, I'll tell you that.
18 MS. FRANUS: It doesn't matter, I'm
19 saying it's different. There's a
21 MS. FANUCCI: Well, it might be a
22 difference, but it's not $6 million worth.
23 MS. FRANUS: Well, it shouldn't even
24 be six million is my point.
25 MS. FANUCCI: Well, I agree. I
2 MS. FRANUS: Well, then go ahead
3 right ahead and vote for it though because
4 you just said you want to vote for the
5 mayor's budget without even looking at Mrs.
6 Evans' budget here. Talk about prejudicial.
7 I mean, I can't believe how stupid you are
8 to even say that before the vote. I mean,
9 why would you say you are going to vote for
10 something before you even saw Mrs. Evans'
11 budget anyway.
12 MS. FANUCCI: Mrs. Franus, you'd vote
13 for Mrs. Evans' before you saw the mayor's?
14 MS. FRANUS: Say it again?
15 MS. FANUCCI: You would definitely
16 vote for Mrs. Evans' budget before --
17 MS. FRANUS: How do you know?
18 MS. FANUCCI: Oh, come on. It's
19 almost a joke. Go on.
20 MS. FRANUS: Mrs. Evans may be my
21 friend, but we don't always agree on things.
22 And, as far as the recovery plan, you claim
23 you have to follow the recovery plan, I
24 believe that was finished in 2005, but maybe
25 it got extended, it got extended?
1 MS. FANUCCI: It did.
2 MS. FRANUS: Well, didn't the
3 recovery plan say that the administration
4 doesn't get raises or are you saying no?
5 MS. FANUCCI: No, there were
6 provisions in our recovery plan for raises
7 or all the administration, all DPW, the fire
8 and police, everyone of those positions for
9 raises and increase, yes, it was in the
10 recovery plan.
11 MS. FRANUS: Okay. Now, how do we
12 expect -- how do you expect to pay for these
13 raises in the high administration? We are a
14 distressed city and the mayor has the guts,
15 he should be getting wage cuts, not raises.
16 MS. FANUCCI: He did cut last year.
17 MS. FRANUS: We are talking about
18 now, I don't care about last year. Last
19 year we had a raise in taxes, do we want to
20 go back there? I don't think.
21 MS. FANUCCI: No, we don't. We
23 MS. FRANUS: And you say you want to
25 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
1 MS. FRANUS: Okay, if you don't
2 raise taxes how do you get the money you
3 borrow if you don't raise the taxes? How do
4 you get the money to pay the borrowing?
5 MS. FANUCCI: I don't know, they did
6 it for 19 years before we raised taxes.
7 MS. FRANUS: I asked you a question.
8 How do you get the money by borrowing, not
10 MS. FANUCCI: How do you get the
11 money by borrowing?
12 MS. FRANUS: Yeah, how do you pay it
13 off if you don't raise the taxes, how are
14 are supposed to get money?
15 MS. FANUCCI: Hopefully increased
17 MS. FRANUS: Hopefully.
18 MS. FANUCCI: Right.
19 MS. FRANUS: When have we ever
20 increased revenue?
21 MS. FANUCCI: Did you not ask me a
23 MS. FRANUS: Yes, and the answer was
25 MS. FANUCCI: Oh.
1 MS. FRANUS: Increase revenue.
2 We'll see if he increases the revenue.
3 Let's just see.
4 MS. FANUCCI: We'll see.
5 MS. EVANS: Actually, the revenue was
6 increased through the tax increase.
7 MS. FANUCCI: Right, it was. That's
8 why we did not borrow this year as much
9 as -- yeah, I'm not going to sit here and --
10 MS. FRANUS: Mrs. Gatelli, I just
11 want to say that I'm retiring in December.
12 MS. GATELLI: Well, congratulations.
13 MS. FRANUS: Well, thank you, but my
14 point is maybe you could get me a job in the
16 MS. GATELLI: Maybe I could.
17 MS. FRANUS: I'm not a family
19 MS. GATELLI: Well, you will have to
20 wait until the family is done, Fay. Thank
22 MS. FRANUS: Well, that may be
24 MS. GATELLI: And we should ask
25 everybody else up here how they got there
2 MS. FRANUS: The right way.
3 MS. GATELLI: Oh, really. Don't go
4 there, Fay.
5 MS. FRANUS: The right way, Mrs.
7 MS. GATELLI: Don't go there.
8 MS. FRANUS: Your whole family took
9 all of the jobs.
10 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Stucker. It's very
11 funny, Mr. Hubbard. You are all very funny
12 back there. Just so the public knows that
13 everyone back there just sits there and
14 laughs at us, I know you can't see them on
15 the camera, but that's what we have to deal
16 with, they sit there and laugh at us, so I'd
17 like the public to know that.
18 MRS. HUBBARD: And Mrs. Fanucci
19 laughs right back.
20 MS. FANUCCI: I do laugh right back
21 at you, I can't help it. I will always
22 laugh right back at you.
23 MR. STUCKER: Okay, when I was over
24 at -- me and my buddy was on Market Street
25 on Friday night the cops pulled my buddy
1 over, Pat, he had a car full of people and
2 he was going in the bar Friday night, the
3 cop pulled him over because he had a
4 taillight out on his car and he got it
5 fixed, he fixed it. Now, what about these
6 people riding around with one headlight out,
7 one headlight out, and I seen them. Is
8 there a reason for my buddy to get a ticket?
9 MS. GATELLI: Well, they should get a
11 MR. STUCKER: Well, he got a warning,
12 they warned him.
13 MS. GATELLI: Yeah, you are supposed
14 to get a warning if you have a light out.
15 MR. STUCKER: He turned it around
16 they give him a citation. He was coming
17 from down to the place where I go at on
18 Market Street.
19 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Courtright
20 will check into that.
21 MR. STUCKER: On Market Street I was
22 wondering why we don't have a sign on where
23 the laundry mat is people is parking on top
24 of the hill there, right alongside of where
25 the laundry mat is on Market Street. There
1 is like half a dozen people parked there and
2 the cops don't check them out.
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: We'll tell them,
4 Jim, we'll tell them to take a look at it.
5 MR. STUCKER: Because I asked around
6 where these people at they park here for
7 what reason on the road and there's going to
8 be a smash up there on Market Street, and
9 the cops should be riding up and down the
10 thing every day and every night, not in the
11 daytime, especially at night.
12 MS. GATELLI: Okay. We'll check it
13 out for you, Mr. Stucker.
14 MR. STUCKER: And Mike is one of my
15 best friends, his wife was there and he just
16 told me Mr. Courtright is supposed to
17 call -- the guy is supposed to call
18 Mr. Courtright for Jim Stucker's money.
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: Jim, Jim --
20 MR. STUCKER: This happened like last
21 month, three or four months ago I cut Mayor
22 Doherty's hedges up his house and I was
23 supposed to get paid from him and I want to
24 know why, I want to know why I'm not getting
25 paid my Doherty. Courtright should not pay
1 me, he should be paying me.
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: Jim.
3 MS. GATELLI: How much does he owe
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: He didn't give me
6 the money.
7 MS. GATELLI: How much does he owe
9 MR. STUCKER: About 100 dollars,
10 maybe 50 bucks.
11 MS. GATELLI: How much, 50?
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: He didn't give me
13 the money, Jim. Maybe we'll have to take up
14 a collection for you. If I see him I'll ask
15 him for it.
16 MR. STUCKER: He called the other
17 night because he was watching me at the bar.
18 I went in the bar and he called.
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: The mayor called
21 MR. STUCKER: Yeah.
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right. I don't
23 have it, Jim, if I had it I would give it to
24 you, Buddy.
25 MR. STUCKER: And I go to Easting's
1 Bar and they told me to pick up the name at
2 Easting's bar. They told me to pick up the
3 names and they're good workers and I was a
4 good worker.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: Where, Jim?
6 MR. STUCKER: And Easting's Bar
7 across from Cole Muffler. They told me to
8 pick it up bring it up to city council.
9 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right.
10 MR. STUCKER: And I need a job bad.
11 MS. GATELLI: Well, I'll get you one,
12 I'm in charge of that.
13 MR. STUCKER: I'll do anything, rake
15 MS. GATELLI: We'll get you
16 something, Jim.
17 MR. STUCKER: The leaves are getting
18 filled, the leaves are getting filled on the
19 gutters and the lot between the barber shop
20 and Murphy's Bar they are not cutting that
22 MS. GATELLI: We'll take care of it,
23 Jim. Thank you. Mr. McClough.
24 MR. MCCLOUGH: Good evening. My name
25 is Brett McClough, homeowner, Scranton
1 taxpayer. Mrs. Fanucci is not here, but she
2 had said something about a voter who had
3 told her something about the recovery plan.
4 Most of the people I talk to who are in
5 favor of this recovery plan have this
6 mentality, sort of a reckless borrowing
7 mentality. They live out -- a lot of these
8 people live outside of their means and
9 remortgage their lives over and over again
10 because they know and plan on being in debt
11 before they plan on paying off anything that
12 they remortgage their lives for. It's
13 borrow, borrow, borrow and they are not
14 worried about paying it off because they
15 plan on being dead before that happens, you
16 know, and that's a major, major problem
17 borrowing when you cannot pay it back in the
18 foreseeable future.
19 It's sort of like a mental disease,
20 it's as if you had somebody drop off
21 a $140,000 Mercedes Benz right off in front
22 of your house and now you have to pay for
23 it. I mean, I don't know, people just keep
24 on doing this to themselves. It's time for
25 the administration to set a higher benchmark
1 for it's citizens and teach it's citizens
2 how to be more financially viable, but
3 that's not the case here.
4 You know, I had a well-prepared
5 thing, but that thing just struck me so much
6 and it seems to be the major problem with
7 creative class cities and service oriented
8 cities and it makes them chronic
9 underperformers when it comes to providing
10 the basics, pipes, pavement, fire
11 protection, and to take care of it's own
12 people. Token gestures should sit uneasy in
13 the conjust of an administration that has
14 refused to viably strengthen the economic
15 situation of those who did the real work it
16 takes to run the city. This should come as
17 no surprise how they treat -- because of how
18 they treat the rest of Scranton's work
20 The problem is vision. When
21 Mr. McGoff and others says the days of
22 manufacturing are a thing of the past it
23 shows a lack of confidence in the people of
24 this city and our ability to adapt to
25 changing technology. It also highlights
1 that their lack of ability to mobilize
2 Scranton's work force and modify the tax
3 structures to keep up with the needs of
4 companies like Intel, who is just opening up
5 a 2 billion dollar plant in Chandler,
6 Arizona, where is ours? We are not smart
7 enough to do those things? The list goes on
8 and on, just one more second, give those
9 companies the huge tax breaks and give us to
10 two to 5,000 $18 to $25 an hour jobs, that's
11 a recovery plan. That is a recovery plan.
12 Not new sidewalks and stop signs from a
13 multi-dollar business masquerading as an
14 NGO. Thank you.
15 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Jackowitz.
16 MR. JACKOWITZ: Bill Jackowitz, South
17 Scranton resident. The first time that I
18 spoke at Scranton City Council I stated that
19 successful cities that I have lived in were
20 nice places to live because people worked
21 together and politics were basically
22 nonexistent. I asked Mayor Doherty and Mr.
23 DiBileo and the Lynett family to work
24 together to make Scranton work after the
25 election of 2005. I stated several times,
1 two new council persons taking office in
2 2006, a chance to change and work together.
3 Mr. McTiernan's resignation and the
4 appointment of Mr. McGoff, political all the
5 way. No changes, only personal agendas
6 fulfilled. Citizens and the taxpayers
7 suffer. The election of 2007, no change,
8 although, I believe there will be a major
9 change in the near future. Again, the
10 voters will be let down and the elected
11 officials will benefit resulting in no
12 change in Scranton's city government.
13 Business as usual.
14 The articles that I have been
15 reading in a Doherty Times Tribune and the
16 quotes from our elected and appointed
17 officials are laughable and amusing at best.
18 This way of thinking, management and
19 leadership have resulted in 15 years of
20 distressed city and no recovery plan.
21 Results, the City of Scranton and Scranton
22 government is a total failure. One day my
23 hope, my dream and my vision is that the
24 residents and, more importantly, the voters
25 of Scranton wake up, smell the coffee and
1 breath in the fresh air and realize that
2 they have been shafted, lied to, and
3 misrepresented by their elected officials
4 for generations. That is why we are still
5 distressed and the leaders and their
6 families and friends are not. Scranton is
7 no longer treading water, Scranton has
8 drowned. May they rest in peace.
9 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Hubbard.
10 MR. HUBBARD: Good even, Council,
11 Daniel Hubbard. Last night at the flood
12 meeting Mr. O'Hora stated that the Army Corp
13 now has a right to access -- the rights to
14 access every piece of property required for
15 this project, and Mr. O'Hora also stated
16 that the properties have all been acquired
17 by the state and/or the city and that right
18 now they are just working out the easement
19 paperwork for the properties that they are
20 not using, but they need to use to access
21 the projects, so my question is if the flood
22 project coordinator himself stated that all
23 of the land has been acquired, why do we
24 need to continue to pay three flood
25 relocation specialists $30,000 a year to
1 relocate no one?
2 Also, last night at the meeting, the
3 Army Corp director of the project and the
4 Army Corp project engineer also stated that
5 the City of Scranton does not have a flood
6 engineer, but yet we still are paying
7 someone $15,000 a year who is supposed to be
8 a flood engineer? So, the Army Corp does
9 not set -- there is no flood engineer in
10 Scranton, so who is getting the $15,000 a
11 year that's being paid annually out of the
12 capital bond projects for 2001 in regard to
13 the flood project, and these flood
14 relocation -- I mean, it's $105,000. I
15 mean, obviously, out of an 84 million dollar
16 budget it's a drop in the bucket, but it's
17 $105,000 that could be put to better use in
18 this city to help the residents of Scranton
19 in one way or another.
20 Now, Mrs. Fanucci, you were
21 discussing your health care before, your
22 position at your job is administrative;
24 MS. FANUCCI: Um-hum.
25 MR. HUBBARD: So you have no union as
1 an administrative position in the state,
2 there is no union?
3 MS. FANUCCI: Oh, you are wrong.
4 MR. HUBBARD: And your health care
5 went from a half a percent up to 1 percent,
6 then because you are in the get healthy
7 program it went back down to half a percent.
8 Now, you can say --
9 MS. FANUCCI: You are wrong.
10 MR. HUBBARD: I'm wrong?
11 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
12 MR. HUBBARD: Because I had three
13 state employees call me as soon you were
14 done speaking to tell me you were wrong.
15 MS. FANUCCI: Well, you are really
16 good because --
17 MR. HUBBARD: And they are actually
18 state employees that are in the union that
19 aren't administrative, so when the
20 administration changes --
21 MS. FANUCCI: I pay $300 twice a
22 month for my health care.
23 MR. HUBBARD: And that's not 1
24 percent of your salary?
25 MS. FANUCCI: That is not 1 percent
1 of my salary.
2 MR. HUBBARD: But your position is
4 MS. FANUCCI: It certainly is.
5 MR. HUBBARD: So you actually don't
6 belong to a union.
7 MS. FANUCCI: Actually we --
8 MR. HUBBARD: Because administrative
9 unions don't have unions.
10 MS. FANUCCI: You can join a union
11 at any -- being in the state anyone can join
12 the union, yes.
13 MR. HUBBARD: That's not what I was
14 told by the state union employees.
15 MS. FANUCCI: Well, they must know
16 better than me then.
17 MR. HUBBARD: And good luck with the
18 letter to Daron because what you are going
19 to send them I already did and I got sued
20 for it. So, what Mrs. Evans discussed about
21 the trucks and the buffer zones was in
22 everything I gave you guys in July. If you
23 had taken the time to read it, it was
24 already in there, so what you are sending is
25 redundant, I hope the city doesn't get sued.
1 MS. GATELLI: Mrs. Suetta.
2 MS. FANUCCI: Jean, I want to ask
3 you, why people would fight about my health
4 care when the whole city is suffering with
5 health care crises right now?
6 MR. HUBBARD: It's just not only the
7 health care --
8 MS. FANUCCI: It seems to be a
9 problem, and I'm just going to ask you once,
10 I mean, I think it's funny that you switch
11 all of the problems that go on here to
12 external problems. It's almost like a game,
13 but let's stay focused on what we need to
14 focus on which is the budget and the people
15 of the city who deserve to get it.
16 MR. HUBBARD: I am more focused on
17 the flood and Daron. Thank you.
18 MS. FANUCCI: That's all I'm saying.
19 MS. SUETTA: Ain't you glad I ain't
20 here to badger you? Has anybody been over
21 the Albright Bridge lately? What does the
22 Lace Works look like, Bill? A jungle.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: It's a mess over
25 MS. SUETTA: A mess. Now, SCE
1 Environmental is going to 100 million
2 dollars into the Lace Works according to the
3 flood meeting yesterday, you mean to tell me
4 they can't take a couple of thousand dollars
5 like Jimmy Stucker, like Jimmy, and clean it
6 up for them, let them get a dumpster, clean
7 it up for them.
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: He has got to pay
9 the 100 first.
10 MS. GATELLI: No, 50. We have it
11 down to 50.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: We got it down to
13 50, okay.
14 MS. SUETTA: But it is a mess down
15 there, and I grew up down there. I think
16 I'm the oldest one down there, that
17 baseball-- we used to have a baseball field
18 there, now it's weeds. Nothing but weeds.
19 If that was my yard, they would be there
20 ticket, ticket, warning, ticket.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: You are right.
22 MS. SUETTA: Well, how come we are
23 not going after these people? Give me a
24 good reason?
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: I don't have an
1 answer for you.
2 MS. SUETTA: Well, I want somebody to
3 send a letter to these people and I want
4 that place cleaned up because I'm sick of
5 looking at the thing. Now they are parking
6 tractor trailers in there. The fence is
7 seven-foot high and the weeds is as high as
8 the fence. You come to a stop sign you
9 can't see. You got to go out in the middle
10 of the road. Cops behind me, what did you
11 get, a ticket? Now, who is at fault?
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: I don't know who
13 owns it right now, I got to be honest with
14 you. Do you know who it is?
15 MS. SUETTA: SEC Environmental and
16 Jody Cordaro is the one you got to contact,
17 but it's a mess down there.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: You are right. You
19 are right.
20 MS. SUETTA: And let them do
21 something with the field.
22 MS. GATELLI: Kay, would you call
23 Mark Setizinger tomorrow and ask him to look
24 into it.
25 MS. SUETTA: We got that pile of
1 slate sitting over there.
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: And the dirt.
3 MS. SUETTA: The dirt and everything
4 DPW brings over and throws blah, blah, blah.
5 The field is a mess, they used to park the
6 school buses, but they are gone. The fence
7 is left and it's nothing but weeds.
8 MS. GATELLI: We'll send somebody
10 MS. SUETTA: When I was a kid it was
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: I specifically go
13 by there once a week just to check that to
14 be honest with you.
15 MS. SUETTA: And it is mess.
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah, it is. You
17 are 100 percent right.
18 MS. SUETTA: And if they are going to
19 put $100 million into the building, Jesus
20 Christ, do something with the outside.
21 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Dobson.
22 MR. DOBSON: Good evening, Council.
23 We've had a lot of fun tonight over the
24 budget, hopefully, you can take a better
25 look at it and try and straighten out the
1 city a little better in two or three years,
2 it's important, and this admin situation,
3 now, I have been told I'm wrong but
4 somewhere along the line you people are
5 getting blamed for a lot of conditions like
6 medical insurance that keeps going up and
7 from municipal to federal nothing is ever
8 getting done about it and it's time to start
9 at the grass roots level, I would certainly
10 if I were on council prefer to pass the buck
11 up the ladder than to try and pass it down
12 the ladder on this type of issue. Nothing
13 is being done a federal level, our medical
14 infrastructure is falling apart, providing
15 worse services than ever and they are going
16 broke due to the lack of uninsured people
17 and so forth and there is a lot of issues
18 here like with my sewer issue where
19 $150 million somewhere down the line is
20 going to have to be spent to upgrade the
21 sewer system, no money to do it, and we keep
22 falling down further into a deficit, going
23 in a hole and, unfortunately, all of this
24 is -- a hole there is no dough there. So,
25 anything you can do to straighten out the
1 budget and start looking things over and
2 encourage more transparency is certainly
3 appreciated and you are the people that are
4 elected to do and I want to thank you and
5 have a good night.
6 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Anyone
8 MS. SCHUMACHER: Marie Schumacher.
9 I'm here tonight because of a tail of two
10 cities. Mrs. Gatelli, at your boarded
11 summer budget hearings you did bring up the
12 fact that Bethlehem seemed to have a lot in
13 common with Scranton, yet they seem to be
14 doing better and so I went back and I got
15 their budgets and, as a matter of fact, I
16 shared one Mr. Renda tonight and he said he
17 will get it and I hope that we will see
18 improvements in the presentation of the 2009
19 budget for the city because their budget
20 comes in two volumes, operating and capital
21 budgets, and it has the expenditures,
22 actuals for the prior years, the budget for
23 the last two years, then it has a section on
24 goals and objectives. It has the
25 achievements for the year that's closing out
1 and then budget changes and almost every
2 question that was asked tonight if the
3 budget was prepared in the fine fashion such
4 as Bethlehem's is would be done.
5 I would also like to point out that
6 Bethlehem does have about the exact same
7 population because, well, Scranton has
8 declined from the 2000 census to 2006 by one
9 point -- or, excuse me, by 4.7 percent,
10 Bethlehem has increased by 1.9 percent. And
11 we are now in about the exact same
12 population yet they seem able to get by with
13 a budget $20 million less than the City of
14 Scranton for 2008. That's the exact
15 difference between the two budgets.
16 And then I went back and I did some
17 more work and I found that back in 2003 the
18 city got a state grant of $25,000 and funded
19 a project for a multi-year budget projection
20 and the city people from the budget, from
21 the administration actually worked on this,
22 and then I guess somebody put it on a shelf
23 until I asked for it under the Freedom of
24 Information Act or Right to Know Act in
25 Pennsylvania and got a copy of it. There
1 are wonderful suggestions in here. There
2 was a budget forecasting exercise it goes by
3 year for three different scenarios for up
4 through 2008. It has one-day opportunity
5 reviews, a high level review of five areas
6 that potentially could provide Scranton with
7 service level improvements, revenue
8 enhancements and or expenditure containment
9 and reductions and then a series of
10 initiative tracking matrix update. All
11 kinds of good suggestions and I have gone
12 through this and it's dog-eared and I can't
13 find one suggestion. We spent $25,000 of
14 taxpayers' money on this document and
15 excluding the time that it cost our people
16 and yet nothing was implemented and I think
17 that's a shame and I think a lot yet remains
18 to be done. Thank you.
19 MR. GONZALEZ: Good evening, Council.
20 City council, Junior Council, excuse me, and
21 all in attendance. My name is Pedro
22 Gonzalez, taxpayer, South Side resident.
23 I'm here today to ask just a couple of
24 questions. I called a couple of times, the
25 phone line was busy, so here I am. I was
1 really wanting to find out about the KOZ's,
2 some of the money that is out there for the
3 nonprofits that are out there in the city.
4 I know every year or every so often there is
5 funding for certain organizations,
6 nonprofits, and we were just wondering how
7 can we get some of that for the kids?
8 Here I have a proposal that I have
9 been taking around to different city
10 organizations, the OECD, Sara Hailstone, we
11 have not received any help. No one seems to
12 know who we are until we put on an event and
13 we bring residents to come here from other
14 places to spend their money. We have
15 provided this city with a lot of resources
16 as far as people coming in from different
17 municipalities spending their money and
18 helping the City of Scranton in some shape
19 or form with businesses, stores, buying
20 supermarkets, so forth and so on. We were
21 just hoping to get a little help in return
22 in the form of a building. We do not want
23 it for free, but we were just wondering how
24 can we apply for the certain grants or how
25 can we apply for those KOZ grants out there,
1 how can we step forward in some shape or
2 form to start something for these kids in
3 some developmental form. We have a brochure
4 with all of the programs and all of the
5 events that we host here in the City of
6 Scranton, and every single one of you up
7 there knows it's a vast amount of events
8 that we put on here.
9 As one of Latino leaders of this
10 city we are responsible for a lot that goes
11 on throughout the entire year and the
12 development of the Latino people and along
13 with that brings the development of all
14 people. Along with the Martin Luther King
15 event, the Valentine's event, the Cinco De
16 Mayo event, summer parades and festivals,
17 the Hispanic Heritage month celebrations,
18 all of the classes that we offer so forth
19 and so on, can someone up there maybe help
20 us and direct us in the right direction and
21 how to maybe get some help in some shape or
22 form, if maybe someone is out there that can
23 hear the sound of my voice, has an empty
24 building, this city is full of empty
25 buildings, am I right or am I wrong? Am I
1 right or am I wrong?
2 MR. JACKOWITZ: Mrs. Fanucci says
3 they are not.
4 MR. GONAZALEZ: This city is full of
5 empty buildings and I know that there is
6 many organizations out there that qualify
7 and with the proper grants or the proper
8 paperwork they can receive a building for a
9 dollar, am I right or am I wrong, for a
10 dollar and then the organization it is up to
11 them to build it up and refurbish it and so
12 forth and so on, I would like to know how
13 can we qualify for that as a valid nonprofit
14 organization, one that contributes to the
15 City of Scranton every single day. Thank
16 you so much and I'm going to leave this
17 here --
18 MS. GATELLI: Leave that up here.
19 MR. GONZALEZ: -- for you guys and,
20 once again, my name is Pedro Gonzalez and
21 thank you for letting me express myself.
22 MS. GATELLI: Thank you, Pedro.
23 Anyone else? Mr. Moran.
24 MR. MORGAN: Good evening, Council.
25 I think the first thing I would like to
1 start with, as you know I recently went to
2 the Court of Judicial Records to look up a
3 case file, it was my own file, but it was
4 gone. I'm really troubled by that because
5 the judge who had the file never heard the
6 case and I would love for that judge to
7 return my file so that I can prepare some
8 documents for myself and I just hope that
9 Judge Minora would put my file back.
10 The other thing I have is, you know,
11 we have spent a lot of time kicking the
12 budget around, but to be truthfully honest
13 with this council, Mrs. Gatelli, you started
14 a group here, we met here, myself,
15 Mr. Quinn, Marie, Andy and three other
16 people on the opposite side of the table, we
17 had a meeting. In my own opinion what
18 happened in that meeting is that the three
19 people appointed I guess by council or by
20 you, Mrs. Gatelli, were beginning to agree
21 with the four of us from the tax group on
22 what had to be done to bring the budget back
23 in line and what had to done to sustain this
24 city and to bring about change and growth.
25 And the next thing we know they are
1 cancelled, and to be bluntly honest with
2 everybody, you know, it's not a cheap shot
3 at anybody on this council, the truth of the
4 matter is that there is so many people who
5 love and care for this city and, you know,
6 we have got council after council that's
7 come here and they all have ideas, but when
8 somebody else has an idea and it has merit
9 they don't want to accept it, they only want
10 their own idea, they want to be very limited
11 in what they are going to accept, and now we
12 have come to budget time. The budget is a
13 mess again.
14 I didn't come here to speak on the
15 budget because to be bluntly honest with
16 you, and this isn't a dig to Mrs. Fanucci,
17 the recovery plan was never a recovery plan,
18 everybody is entitled to their opinion, and
19 that's an absolutely fact, but when you read
20 the recovery plan there was no recovery in
21 it, and order for this city it has to start
22 growing, the population has to come back.
23 We have got too many abandoned building, our
24 tax rates are out of control, no we are
25 starting to talk about reverse mortgages,
1 I'm not a believer in reverse mortgages,
2 maybe some people are and I guess if you are
3 desperate that may be the way to go, but
4 spending has to be cut and people have to
5 come up with ideas. An amusement tax, to be
6 honest, I don't think that's the way to go,
7 I think that Marie had some of it, okay? I
8 mean, Bethlehem's budget is $20 million
9 less, we've got to do something, we've go to
10 cut the budget. Where? I don't know. Mrs.
11 Fanucci talked about 86 percent, okay, being
12 a lot, okay? Well, we've got to come up
13 with solutions. Nobody here has all of the
14 answers, but, gee, I'm just curious and I'm
15 out loud can we all work together and bring
16 this city back because really that's what we
17 want to do. Thank you.
18 MS. GATELLI: Next?
19 MS. HUMPHREY: Hi, city council, I
20 hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. Hi to all
21 my priests, my bishops, welcome to the -- I
22 want to welcome where President Bush is
23 right now in Maryland, the Saudi Arabians
24 and the Palestines that are going to be
25 working in negotiations of peace. I am sure
1 you are familiar with this by reading the
2 paper, no matter how much they get me down
3 I'm going to get up, I'm going to dust
4 myself off and I'm going to go on for peace.
5 The people that try to attack me and pull me
6 down, many will be facing not only Court
7 orders, but military orders for what they
8 have done.
9 On September 7, 2001, prior to that
10 Memorial Day weekend which I told you I gave
11 documents to Mr. West, 2001, I want to thank
12 many of my policemen. There is lot of good
13 policemen here and I believe they do need
14 raises and I love my fire department. They
15 do an excellent job here. They are
16 expertise in their work, unbelievable the
17 fire department. The problem with the
18 police department is they come and they
19 investigate, but afterwards they don't go
20 through with the prosecution, this is the
21 problem that I have.
22 On September 7th of 2001 I was
23 standing in front of Bishop Hannon High
24 School and a man that was always standing
25 outside at Abe's Delicatessen was waiving me
1 down and asking me where I was going. I
2 told him I was going to read a letter to the
3 Blessed Virgin Mother and St. Thomas Aquinas
4 church. He says, "Come on, I'll give you a
5 ride," so I was really bogged down with a
6 lot of stuff. On the way up he started to
7 molest me from Scranton all the way up --
8 MS. GATELLI: Phyllis, Phyllis,
10 MS. HUMPHREY: This is about a crime.
11 MS. GATELLI: I know, but --
12 MS. HUMPHREY: This is about a crime
13 and it's got to be exposed to the City of
15 MS. GATELLI: You need to go to the
16 District Attorney's Office.
17 MS. HUMPHREY: The District Attorney
18 never calls me, I've been blocked by the
19 sheriff's office, what I found out is many
20 of the people are involved from the
21 sheriff's office into the Attorney General's
22 office blocking everything which is a
23 coverup, which is a wrong.
24 Now, I'm going to drop right there
25 and then when I have to say is this, my
1 mother died of cancer, and everybody in
2 Eynon has died of cancer. After I got
3 myself together between 9/11 and then my
4 mother's death was a couple of months later,
5 I called the cancer society to do an
6 investigation to find out why everybody in
7 the Eynon area and many in the Scranton area
8 are dying of cancer. What they told me is
9 from the Louisiana border all the way to New
10 Jersey there was a high count of people
11 dying of cancer. At our Lady Village Church
12 there was a fungus that they had to close
14 What I have is this book right here
15 on Nuclear War -- Nuclear Power. All of the
16 power plants are other towards Northeastern
17 Pennsylvania and the northern states which
18 not very much in Washington, D.C, so I'm
19 concerned would they do an investigation on
20 that and the water at Valley View Terrace,
21 junk and dirty stuff is coming out of the
22 water, and I wrote to the water company, I
23 never got a return after they took the
24 things we got to test the water in the City
25 of Scranton.
1 MS. GATELLI: Okay. Thank you.
2 MS. HUMPHREY: That's all I have to
3 say and you are ladies, I didn't exclude all
4 of being ladies, I want you to know that.
5 Thank you and God bless you.
6 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. God bless
7 you, too. Anyone else?
8 MR. TALIMINI: Joe Talimini,
9 Scranton. A couple of things I'd just like
10 to bring out, Mr. Courtright, you are I
11 believe in charge of the public safety
12 committee? If I'm not mistaken I think they
13 were over 60,000 again this year on the
14 police calls and the fire department has
15 been very, very active and that's of late.
16 I think you people would like to take this
17 into consideration again with the budgetary
18 things. These people definitely deserve
19 raises and they deserve a contract.
20 Mr. McGoff, I believe you are in charge
21 of DPW?
22 MR. MCGOFF: Yes.
23 MR. TALIMINI: I would hope that they
24 would be prepared this year, especially
25 since we have an anticipated storm coming in
1 over the weekend, and DPW has been lagging
2 in a lot of areas and I listened to my
3 scanner continuously, horses are not
4 available, and DPW is not available in a lot
5 of cases, I would hope that we don't have
6 the same type of situation we had last year.
7 I hope you would get on that and as far as
8 the rest of the council goes, I would hope
9 that we would have an opportunity to hear
10 the finance chair with any budgetary actions
11 you may be willing to offer in lieu of what
12 the mayor is proposing, and that's all I am
13 going to ask.
14 And one other thing, Mr. Courtright,
15 Chrissy is going to need a ride to
16 Coachville this week and I think that should
17 be your department.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: They have a seat on
19 the bus for him.
20 MR. TALIMINI: I don't know, but I'm
21 assuming, Mr. Courtright, that you will take
22 care of that.
23 MS. GATELLI: He will make sure he
24 gets there.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: I will.
1 MR. TALIMINI: Thank you.
2 MR. SLEDENZSKI: Right, Bill?
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: They can't play the
4 game without you, Chris.
5 MR. SLEDZENSKI: They can't.
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: Maybe we can use
7 Stucker's scooter.
8 MR. SLEDENZSKI: You are a crack up,
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: Right, Chrissy.
11 MR. SLEDENZSKI: Well, Judy, what do
12 you think now, Judy? What do you think now?
13 MS. GATELLI: I think we are going to
14 do it, Chrissy.
15 MR. SLEDENZSKI: I hope. I want to
16 say one thing, that kid threw 5,000 passes
17 in his career, Billy, that kid, he's a good
18 kid, he is a great quarterback, proud of
19 that kid. Let's win it for you, Judy. And
20 we will Saturday we will prove that on the
22 MS. GERVASI: Mrs. Gatelli, may I
23 approach city council, I have something for
25 MS. GATELLI: Absolutely.
1 MR. GERVASI: Good evening, City
2 Council, Dave Gervasi, Scranton firefighter.
3 What I just handed you is a handout I just
4 gave you because I would like to follow-up
5 on the conversation I had with Mrs. Fanucci
6 last week related to whose fault it is for
7 the increase debt, the increased budgets,
8 and the so-called reason we cannot shift
9 from distressed status, so I took it upon
10 myself this week to study two budgets, the
11 2002 budget, Chris Doherty's first budget,
12 and the 2008, his latest budget.
13 Since the paper and this
14 administration would like to blame the fire,
15 police and clerical unions for our
16 distressed status and inability to get out
17 of distressed status, I'm here tonight to
18 provide documented proof that we are not to
19 blame, but, in fact, Chris Doherty, the
20 majority of this current council and former
21 council are to blame. The cover page of my
22 handout is a spread sheet that I created and
23 was taken directly from the 2002 and 2008
24 budgets, and all of the following page taken
25 from those respective budgets are for use as
1 proof of backup for the spread sheet on the
2 cover page.
3 If you look at the cover page, you
4 will see the expenditures of the Scranton
5 Fire Department for 2002, 2008, and the
6 variance for each line item. If you notice,
7 it cost the city in six years an extra
8 $337,920 to pay for the entire operation of
9 the fire department, which is a 1 percent
10 increase, 1.02 to be exact. In the same
11 respect, if you look on page three and four,
12 of your handouts, those are the cover
13 sheets, I'm sorry, not the cover sheets, the
14 pages that show the total amount of the
15 budgets for 2002 and 2008.
16 Now, since the fire department cost
17 an extra 1 percent, which is about
18 13 percent of our budget, 1 percent increase
19 of only 13 percent of our budget, you need
20 to look at the variances of the 2002 and
21 2008 budget. In 2008 our budget was
22 $58,197,640. In 2008 our budget is
24 Mrs. Fanucci, I was in error last
25 week when I said the budget went up since
1 Chris Doherty took office $22 million, in
2 fact, it's $26,361,234 or a 45.3 percent
3 increase in total budget expenditures in the
4 short six years as opposed to the fire
5 department budget that increased only 1
6 percent. And, by the way, clerical now
7 costs $750,000 less for salary, unionized
8 clerical, and the police lost 21 positions
9 in the last six years.
10 So, that just proves in black and
11 white like everyone likes to see right from
12 the mayor's budgets, not my thoughts, the
13 mayor's budget is in black and white, so the
14 next question is where did the money go and
15 where did the increases come from? I'll
16 tell you where the money went, we spent it
17 on no bid contracts for park improvements.
18 We spent it on legal fees to defend himself
19 because he violated our contract. He spent
20 it on 40 plus new hires at hire wages,
21 patronage jobs, to replace lower salary
22 clerical employees that he showed to the
23 door. He spent it on huge raises for his
24 cabinet members and middle management. He
25 spent it on an army of lawyers that now work
1 for the city through payroll and
2 professional services. He spent it on
3 consultants who apparently he thought he
4 needed to help his so-called qualified
5 people do their jobs and he mismanaged and
6 wasted arbitration awards, wasted it on
7 breaking the Sewer Authority contract with
8 American Water, and he wasted it on the
9 shady leaseback agreements.
10 If you turn to page 6 and 7 of your
11 handout, it shows you the pie chart for 2002
12 and 2008 budgets. You will notice on page
13 six that the city when he took office used 6
14 percent of the total budget on long-term
15 debt payments. Calculating that debt based
16 on 6 percent of 58.2 million dollars of that
17 budget, the city paid $3.5 million a year in
18 debt service payments. Fast forward to 2008
19 and that debt payment as shown on page seven
20 pie chart ballooned to 19 percent of the
21 current 85.6 million dollar budget. That
22 translates into a $3.5 million payment in
23 2002 to a $16 million payment this upcoming
24 year. That means that every dollar the city
25 pays to the city 19 cents goes towards
1 paying the Doherty debt. The entire budget
2 of the controller's office added with the
3 budget of the HR Department, added with the
4 budget of the Treasury, added with the
5 budget of the IT Department and the entire
6 police department budget costs the taxpayers
7 less to fund than it does to pay the mayor's
8 debt that he created, not us.
9 Now, Mrs. Fanucci, using the city's
10 own documents and the proof that I just
11 explained --
12 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Gervasi --
13 MR. GERVASI: -- please explain to
14 the citizens -- I'm almost done, I promise
15 I'm almost done, please explain to the
16 people watching and the citizens here
17 tonight how the police, fire and clerical
18 workers could possibly be blamed for the
19 debt or the 25 percent tax increase and the
20 wasted millions incurred by Mayor Doherty?
21 Let's put this issue to rest once and for
22 all and, please, in front in of everyone,
23 admit with our proof that I just showed you,
24 how we had anything to do with it?
25 MS. FANUCCI: I did not say you were
1 the reason, I said the reason we have not
2 settled or got into recovery was until your
3 contracts were settled. I didn't say you
4 were the reason for the debt. Don't twist
5 what was said here last week. What I said
6 to you, Mr. Gervasi, was that until your
7 contracts are settled we can't start the
8 recovery process. They were my words. I
9 did not say you were to blame for the
10 debt --
11 MR. GERVASI: Did you hear a word I
12 just said?
13 MS. FANUCCI: What I'm saying is you
14 are accusing me of saying to you that I
15 claimed you are the reason. I didn't say
16 you were the reason. I said until your
17 negotiations were settled we cannot start
18 and I will say it again. Because as for the
19 recovery process --
20 MR. GERVASI: How are we going to
21 start a recovery process when I just showed
22 you that the mayor has increased our budget
23 by $26 million and we didn't get any of it?
24 How do we possibly start recovering by
25 knocking off --
1 MS. FANUCCI: Do they not pay for
2 health care?
3 MR. GERVASI: Excuse me?
4 MS. FANUCCI: Was your health care
5 paid this year?
6 MR. GERVASI: Was my health care
8 MS. FANUCCI: I believe your health
9 care was paid; right?
10 MR. GERVASI: Yes.
11 MS. FANUCCI: Okay. I believe your
12 compensation for your -- you got your
13 longevity pay; right?
14 MR. GERVASI: Oh, by the way, if you
15 look at line three longevity stopped
16 $124,000 not anywhere near -- -
17 MS. FANUCCI: But did you get your
18 longevity pay this year?
19 MR. GERVASI: Did I get longevity
21 MS. FANUCCI: Did anyone get it?
22 MR. GERVASI: Did I increase?
23 MS. FANUCCI: What I'm saying is were
24 the people taking care of? You were taken
25 care of by your old contract. You were
1 still covered from your old contract?
2 MR. GERVASI: Yes.
3 MS. FANUCCI: Exactly. So, what are
4 you saying?
5 MR. GERVASI: What I'm saying is that
6 you are saying we need to settle contracts
7 before we can recover, and I'm saying to you
8 that we didn't get anything other than
9 status quo for the last six years, and I
10 just proved to you for the mayor's own b
11 budget that he spent $26 million more than
12 he did in 2000.
13 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Gervasi, what you
14 got was what you are fighting for. You got
15 full coverage and paid $30 for your health
16 care, that's why you are fighting. We
17 understand that as a city. You want to keep
18 the health care costs where they are now for
20 MR. GERVASI: What does that have to
21 do with the city recovering?
22 MS. FANUCCI: We understand that.
23 What I'm saying is you are fighting for what
24 you already have.
25 MR. GERVASI: Sure.
1 MS. FANUCCI: Well, exactly. That
2 is what is trying to be --
3 MS. GERVASI: What have you done to
4 stop the mayor from increasing our budget
5 $26 million?
6 MS. FANUCCI: Is that what the
7 recovery plan is going after?
8 MR. GERVASI: No, the recovery plan
9 does nothing to stop his spending. All the
10 recovery plan does is knocked off 38 people,
11 that's what the recovery plan does.
12 MS. FANUCCI: The recovery plan
13 stops -- caps health care, which means $5
14 million, $6 million would be somewhere
15 floating out there and have to be taken care
16 of. The recovery plan stops the manning,
17 right, wouldn't that be one of your contract
18 problem is the manning, overtime?
19 MS. GERVASI: Mrs. Fanucci, Mrs.
20 Fanucci, it pales, it pales in comparison to
21 the borrowing and the debt that you helped
22 the mayor create. It pales in comparison.
23 MS. FANUCCI: I believe in investing
24 in our city and I'm not going to stop
25 investing in the city. I have been saying
1 that from day one.
2 MR. GERVASI: That was the exact
3 answer --
4 MS. FANUCCI: I agreed on that, I
5 will stay here and say it.
6 MR. GERVASI: That's the exact answer
7 I expected.
8 MS. FANUCCI: And the reason you are
9 fighting -- the reason you are fighting this
10 so hard is obvious, and it's okay, we
11 understand that, we know why you are
12 fighting it. You have been doing it for two
13 years, you have been doing it for
14 five years. We understand it, Dave, nobody
15 is saying don't fight it, but what I'm
16 saying is don't try to stop the whole city
17 in the process, don't.
18 MR. GERVASI: I'm trying to stop the
19 city from going bankrupt.
20 MS. FANUCCI: Dave, don't be a part
21 of the problem. Don't stop these
22 negotiations and maybe we don't have --
23 don't let the mayor stop you from sitting
24 down and doing what's right. Everyone needs
25 to sit down and these contracts need to be
2 MR. GERVASI: I sat down nine times
3 with the mayor, I think Dave Shriber sat
4 down on a Monday --
5 MS. FANUCCI: That's all I have to
7 MR. GERVASI: -- And Mrs. Gatelli was
8 there, he wants 38 firefighters knocked off
9 and in the mean time he wants to raise our
10 budget $7 million and gave raises to
11 administration. As soon as he tightens his
12 belt, we will happy to tighten ours.
13 MS. EVANS: Mr. Gervasi, can I ask
14 you a question though?
15 MR. GERVASI: I'd be happy to answer
16 any questions.
17 MS. EVANS: It's not related to the
18 discussion on the floor, but rather to the
19 statistics that you provided us.
20 MR. GERVASI: Right.
21 MS. EVANS: I understand that you are
22 drawing a comparison between the 2002 budget
23 and the proposed 2008 budget, but you have
24 listed on the bottom of the first sheet a
25 Councilman Doherty budget.
1 MR. GERVASI: Yes.
2 MS. EVANS: And what has that got to
3 do with the 2002 and 2008 budget?
4 MR. GERVASI: Well, if you were
5 paying attention in November of 2001 when
6 Mayor Connors put his budget out, his budget
7 was $56,597,000 and change and then
8 Councilman Doherty, who sat in your seat,
9 Mrs. Evans, and he was the finance chair, he
10 got council to reject the mayor's budget
11 because the mayor spends too much, Mayor
12 Connors spends too much money, he railed
13 against from that pulpit against Jimmy
14 Connors for three years, who I always fought
15 with Jimmy Connors myself, but he railed
16 against the mayor and then what does he do
17 when the council passes their budget? They
18 pass a budget of $58,197,000 which is
19 $1,600,000 more than Jimmy Connors' proposed
20 budget, but I can't blame him because a
21 month and half later Councilman Doherty was
22 taking office as mayor. I guess he needed a
23 little spending money and that should have
24 been an omen right from the start.
25 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Anyone
2 MS. EVANS: Yes. I just want ask him
3 one more thing, if according to what you are
4 telling me, the fire department, this
5 obviously doesn't include police, clerical--
6 MR. GERVASI: No.
7 MS. EVANS: Just the fire
8 department, you're 1 percent of the
9 increase, I don't know, let's just give
10 round figures here, but maybe the police
11 department is 1 percent, maybe the clerical
12 is .50 percent, I don't know.
13 MR. GERVASI: The unionized clerical
14 works are down drastically.
15 MS. EVANS: Oh, okay. Well, what
16 I'm asking you then is where did all of this
17 money go? Where does all of this money go?
18 Because in principal I'll set aside the
19 long-term debt, which I am waiting for the
20 audit to get an updated figure on, but just
21 look at the principal, it's at least
22 $100 million.
23 MR. GERVASI: It's much more than
24 that and --
25 MS. EVANS: And we are going to
1 borrow again to pay back what we borrowed
2 last year and the year before and we are
3 going to borrow again I'm sure the year
4 after, we are going to just, I guess the
5 philosophy is you can borrow your way out of
6 debt, my philosophy is you borrow your way
7 deeper into debt, but where did all of that
8 money go?
9 MR. GERVASI: I would suggest where I
10 just said is where all the money went, not
11 to us. Go to the source.
12 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Anyone
14 MR. SHRIBER: Good evening, Council.
15 My name is David Shriber, I'm the
16 firefighter union president. I'm here
17 tonight to speak on some statements that
18 were made in the press regarding the fire
19 department and fires. Basically, the
20 statement was made that somewhere in the
21 vicinity of 40 percent less fires in the
22 City of Scranton and it equates to what I
23 believe the article tended everybody and the
24 readers to come up with that there should be
25 an appropriate reduction thereby with the
1 fire department. I don't know where those
2 numbers came from, today I went through
3 numbers that I do know that are good numbers
4 from our department. '05 to '06, actually,
5 I'm sorry, '04 to '05 we are up slightly in
6 the overall fire calls. '05 to '06 we had a
7 10 percent increase, '06 pretty much
8 consistent with '06 -- or with '05 and right
9 now from '06 to '07 we are on par right now,
10 but we still have December, obviously, to go
11 and typically December and January are our
12 busiest cold weather season, causes a lot of
13 fires so we are busy.
14 This year at this point in time we
15 are up 40 percent in working structure
16 fires, up 40 percent. The reason I believe
17 that maybe some of the numbers that were
18 used that were down 40 percent they may have
19 been looking at some false-alarm type
20 responses from years ago, but throughout the
21 last several years our workload is
22 increasing, we are going to more structures
23 fires. I believe it was so far this year, I
24 think today they had a -- I'm not sure if it
25 was a first alarm fire or a second alarm
1 fire, but that would have been number 90 for
2 the year, and just from a laymen's
3 standpoint, you know, somebody may look at a
4 fact like that thrown out there that fires
5 are down 30 percent and in a sterile numbers
6 world you could look at it and say, well,
7 that's appropriate then that maybe budgeting
8 could be down 30 percent, but that is the
9 not the case with the emergency response.
10 It's not the case with the police or the
11 fire department and looking at it from the
12 fire department's standpoint it takes the
13 same amount of personnel, the same human
14 tasks have to be completed on a fire ground
15 whether you just came from a fire or it's
16 the first fire of that week, it doesn't
17 matter, it takes "X" amount of people to
18 intervene on that situation and it needs to
19 be done in a timely manner, otherwise, you
20 are in a position that fires are larger.
21 From time to time people say it doesn't
22 seem like you have as many large fires in
23 Scranton as some other areas maybe on the
24 news, Schuylkill County seems to have a lot
25 of large fires with multiple buildings
1 going, every fire obviously starts out very
2 small. It's when that point of intervention
3 comes to hand and that's something that
4 really need to be looked at it. If I may,
5 one conclusion and one analogy would be just
6 because you didn't use your fire insurance
7 at home and submit a claim to your insurer,
8 you would not pay the premium next year,
9 that would be crazy. So be careful what you
10 look for when certain people -- when people
11 are throwing numbers out there they are
12 absolutely is a way to look at this whole
13 situation and it's not purely from a numbers
14 standpoint. There is too much at risk, too
16 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. I hope it's
17 Mr. Ancherani's turn.
18 MR. ANCHERANI: No, not yet.
19 MS. KRAKE: First, my name is Nancy
20 Krake. The first thing I would like to say
21 is the first budget that this mayor did when
22 he was on council, which is the one that was
23 adopted, did eliminate -- not only was it
24 $2 million higher than the Connor's budget,
25 it also eliminated I believe 24 clerical
1 jobs. Where were the savings there? I
2 could see you are perusing the pie charts
3 there, Mrs. Fanucci, and you will see that
4 some parts of that pie are more in distress
5 than others. The administration part is not
6 distressed, in fact, the recovery plan has
7 no cap on health care administration and
8 obviously even if they did they would just
9 raise their salaries high enough to cover
10 it. That's what you are not understanding.
11 When people go to the bargaining table even
12 if they get a raise in their health care,
13 they typically negotiate a raise in their
15 As far as budgets, we used to get
16 two budgets, a budget and a capital budget,
17 we no longer get that. The $6 million hole
18 in the budget, do you think that's any
19 clearer to you now, Mrs. Fanucci, where that
20 might lie?
21 MS. FANUCCI: Yes, but when I look at
22 the 2002 operating budget I see employee
23 compensation was 44 percent opposed to now
24 where it's 32 percent, so I know with our
25 exorbitant raises and the amount of money
1 you say we are paying out --
2 MS. KRAKE: Oh, excuse me, you don't
3 think we deserve raises?
4 MS. FANUCCI: -- we actually are
5 paying less budgetwise --
6 MS. KRAKE: Excuse me, you don't
7 think there were any raises in the
8 administration salaries?
9 MS. FANUCCI: Of course there were, I
10 didn't say there weren't.
11 MS. KRAKE: Well, what were you
12 alluding to then?
13 MS. FANUCCI: I'm alluding to the
14 fact that we spent more on employees --
15 MS. KRAKE: On the overall budget.
16 Do you understand what percentages are?
17 MS. FANUCCI: I know exactly what
18 percentages mean. I'm talking as a whole.
19 MS. KRAKE: Okay.
20 MS. FANUCCI: I'm talking as a whole
21 from the money that comes in because as time
22 goes by and as we get more into --
23 MS. KRAKE: So do you see that the
24 scales have shifted? Now the administration
25 gets the lion's share, that's basically what
1 you are just telling me.
2 MS. FANUCCI: But isn't that what we
3 are in litigation for right now? Isn't that
4 what it's all about?
5 MS. KRAKE: No, I have the contract
6 and so does DPW, in fact, they got a cost of
7 living raise.
8 MS. FANUCCI: Right, but once those
9 are settled won't we find out what that is
10 then? I mean, we don't know what they are
11 going to get, we don't know what -- we can
12 talk about what they are going to get, what
13 raises they are going to get, what they are
14 going to negotiate, that's what it's about.
15 That's why there's litigation, I understand
16 that. We can't sit here and say, well, they
17 are not going to get a raise or they don't
18 deserve a raise, that's why they are in
19 litigation, but I don't understand the
20 fighting about it week after week after week
21 when there is nothing that council can do to
22 make this situation any better.
23 I know you say you a need a forum
24 and an outlet and I know you are trying to
25 do what you can, but as far as I'm concerned
1 everyone needs to go to the bargaining table
2 and settle this thing. I can't decide
3 whether Dave can get a $2,000 raise or not.
4 MS. KRAKE: Well, I didn't ask you
5 anything like that, and you answered my part
6 of the question a long time ago, I'd like
7 more time, Mrs. Gatelli, I only asked her
8 one thing and she rambled on, I'm sorry
9 about that.
10 MS. GATELLI: That is part of your
11 time, but --
12 MS. FANUCCI: Well, I answered your
14 MS. GATELLI: Go ahead.
15 MS. KRAKE: I won't be much longer.
16 MS. GATELLI: I'm just going to say
17 one comment before you start.
18 MS. KRAKE: Okay.
19 MS. GATELLI: Next week when your
20 time is up it's up, because a gentleman left
21 and was very angry that I let people ramble
22 on and council members go toe-to-toe and it
23 makes that person stay there for 20 minutes
24 and it's not fair to the other speakers, so
25 next week when your time is up I'm going to
1 ask council to, please, refrain from asking
2 any questions of this the speaker because it
3 makes the other people very angry. Thank
4 you very much. Go ahead, Mrs. Krake.
5 MS. KRAKE: I just wanted to
6 reiterate that 19 percent of this year's
7 budget is in debt payments which is very,
8 very large and that is because every year
9 since this mayor came in council has
10 approved a budget with borrowing and you are
11 about to do it again. You may or may not,
12 but that is where that came from. That's a
13 cause and effect which is the point I was
14 trying to make with Mrs. Fanucci. That's
15 the point where the money is spent or where
16 it comes from. We haven't had any revenue,
17 serious revenue since this mayor came in,
18 the only way to do is it through borrowing.
19 I would really hope, I know that you tabled
20 the budget, that you will work with -- or
21 work together on the budget I should say so
22 that that something can be done, the 6
23 million dollars that Mr. Renda said today
24 exists did not happen in one year, it's been
25 over the years it has not been through any
1 of us and that's a simple fact and I believe
2 you have all of the paperwork in front of
3 you now.
4 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
5 MS. KRAKE: Thank you.
6 MR. ANCHERANI: Nelson Ancherani,
7 resident and taxpayer, First Amendment
8 Rights. Mrs. Fanucci, reserve your
9 comments, how can we settle contracts when
10 the mayor won't sit down with us? We have
11 tried, so that's enough about that.
12 Reasons why the health care, you
13 said it's a cap, 7.2 million dollars.
14 That's right. I said before, 207 new people
15 are being paid for on health care. It's
16 gone up, yes, we didn't do the 207 people,
17 the unions or the previous employees, it's
18 207 more. Also, the health care committee
19 or consultant was fired by the mayor and he
20 saved millions of dollars, that $5 million
21 increase some of it -- there would be some
22 increase because of it going up, but not the
23 way it's gone up.
24 Okay, PEL, if the city wasn't
25 distressed -- they don't want the city to
1 get out of distressed label because if it
2 does they are out of a job. We have said
3 that. The recovery plan, 15 million
4 cumulatively in raises to new hires and to
5 his people, okay, 15 million. The unions
6 got nothing, yeah, we come up here, we talk
7 every week, we cry wolf, but we haven't
8 gotten anything. The increases in the
9 taxes, the increases in the budget, they
10 weren't our increases like the city would
11 like people to believe. The newspaper goes
12 right along with it.
13 The pie chart, if you go through the
14 2008 budget every one of those percentages
15 is inflated. Every one of them. And then
16 if you take the differences they total out
17 to the TAN, to the tax anticipation note.
18 Do the math, I did.
19 Also, Stu Renda, "While no cost of
20 living raises have been granted in six
21 years, union members do receive additional
22 pay annually for longevity, some even
23 receive as much as 10 percent of their base
24 salaries while many receive 5 and 3 percent,
25 Scranton business administrator Stu Renda
2 I believe he was hired a couple of
3 years ago and I believe it was $30,000. He
4 is going to get an $85,000 salary next year,
5 $55,000 raise, okay, 64 and 1/2 percent and
6 he says what he says.
7 The average police officer is making
8 about 57 a year. Yeah, where? I'd like to
9 show him my W-2 for 57 a year and I know
10 most of the other ones would show their's,
11 no $57,000 a year.
12 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Anyone
13 else? I make a motion to adjourn.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
15 MS. GATELLI: See you next Tuesday.
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 of testimony taken by me at the hearing of the
7 above-captioned matter and that the foregoing is a true
8 and correct transcript of the same to the best of my
CATHENE S. NARDOZZI
14 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER