1 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING
6 Thursday, January 25, 2007
10 6:30 p.m.
14 Council Chambers
15 Scranton City Hall
16 340 North Washington Avenue
17 Scranton, Pennsylvania
23 Lisa M. Graff, RMR
24 Court Reporter
1 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:
3 MS. JUDY GATELLI, COUNCIL PRESIDENT
5 MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT, VICE-PRESIDENT
7 MS. JANET EVANS
9 MR. ROBERT MCGOFF
11 MR. AMIL MINORA, ESQUIRE, SOLICITOR
13 MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK
15 MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
1 MS. GATELLI: Okay. Please stand
2 for the Pledge Of Allegiance. Please remain
3 standing for a moment of reflection. Roll
5 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
6 MS. EVANS: Here.
7 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Fanucci. Mr.
9 MR. MCGOFF: Here.
10 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: Here.
12 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
13 MS. GATELLI: Here. Before we start
14 the meeting, we have two proclamations this
15 evening. One of the persons was unable to
16 be with us, but the other person is here
17 with us, so if Council would please come
18 down with me.
19 MS. GATELLI: Sara, would you come
20 up, please? These are two students that
21 were lifeguards at Novembrino Pool last
22 summer who rescued a girl that had drown.
23 The one person, the boy, Patrick
24 McAliney, make was not able to be with us
25 tonight, but Sara Seymour is with us.
1 Whereas, the Council of the City of
2 Scranton is desirous of honoring Sara
3 Seymour and Patrick McAliney, the two City
4 of Scranton lifeguards who were responsible
5 for saving the life of Basara Amat, a
6 nine-year-old member of the Boys and Girls
8 The lifeguards on duty at Novembrino
9 Pool on Thursday, July 13, 2006 were all
10 tending to their everyday responsibilities
11 when lifeguard Sara Seymour caught sight of
12 a child at the bottom of the pool.
13 This alarming sight caused Sara to
14 dive into the pool to attempt to rescue the
15 child. Upon successfully retrieving Basara
16 from the bottom of the pool and bringing her
17 to the surface, Sara summoned another
18 lifeguard for assistance to get Basara out
19 of the pool.
20 Patrick McAliney came to Sara's aide
21 and was responsible for lifting Basara from
22 Sara, where assessment of this terrible
23 situation could took place.
24 Sara and Patrick made a quick
25 assessment of the victim and found her to
1 have a pulse, but not breathing.
2 Patrick's quick thinking, brushing
3 fear and anxiety aside, proceeded to
4 administer rescue breaths to Basara.
5 It was necessary to perform rescue
6 breaths twice before putting Basara in the
7 recovery position waiting for emergency
8 personnel to arrive.
9 With such little time to think in
10 such a desire situation, these lifeguards
11 are to be commended for their bravery,
12 heroics and fortitude in their response to a
13 life-threatening situation.
14 Whereas, Scranton City Council, the
15 administration, their parents and families
16 and all of the citizens of the City of
17 Scranton are very proud of these lifeguards
18 and are very grateful to them for all of
19 their efforts, not only for their actions on
20 this particular day, but on each and every
21 day throughout the summer months.
22 Now, therefore, be it resolved that
23 on Thursday, January 25, 2007, Scranton City
24 Council wishes to honor Sara Seymour and
25 Patrick McAliney for their bravery and
1 heroic actions during this lifesaving event.
2 Be it further resolved that this
3 proclamation be made a permanent part of the
4 minutes of this Council as lasting tribute
5 to Sara Seymour and Patrick McAliney. Thank
6 you very much. And her parents are her, Mr.
7 And Mrs. Seymour. Just a little add on,
8 Sara is a student at West Scranton High
10 Sara, maybe you should think about
11 being a nurse. You did such a wonderful
13 MS. EVANS: Or bet yet, a doctor.
14 MS. GATELLI: Yeah, you got that
15 right. Okay. Dispense with the reading of
16 the minutes.
17 MS. GARVEY: Third order. 3-A,
18 CONTROLLER'S REPORT FOR THE MONTH ENDING
19 DECEMBER 31, 2006.
20 MS. GATELLI: Are there any
21 comments? If not, received and filed.
22 MS. GARVEY: 3-B, MEETING OF THE
23 COMPOSITE PENSION BOARD TO BE HELD ON
24 DECEMBER 20, 2006 WAS CANCELLED DUE TO LACK
25 OF QUORUM.
1 MS. GATELLI: Are there any
2 comments? If not, received and filed.
3 MS. GARVEY: 3-C, MINUTES OF THE
4 SCRANTON/LACKAWANNA HEALTH AND WELFARE
5 AUTHORITY MEETING HELD ON DECEMBER 21, 2006.
6 MS. GATELLI: Are there any
7 comments? If not, received and filed.
8 MS. GARVEY: 3-D, MINUTES OF THE
9 NON-UNIFORM MUNICIPAL PENSION BOARD MEETING
10 HELD ON DECEMBER 20, 2006.
11 MS. GATELLI: Are there any
12 comments? If not, received and filed.
13 MS. GARVEY: 3-E, AGENDA FOR THE
14 NON-UNIFORM MUNICIPAL PENSION BOARD MEETING
15 HELD ON JANUARY 24, 2007.
16 MS. GATELLI: Are there any
17 comments? If not, received and filed.
18 MS. GARVEY: 3-F, MINUTES OF THE
19 FIREMEN'S PENSION COMMISSION MEETING HELD ON
20 DECEMBER 20, 2006.
21 MS. GATELLI: Are there any
22 comments? If not, received and filed.
23 MS. GARVEY: 3-G, MINUTES OF THE
24 SCRANTON POLICE PENSION COMMISSION MEETING
25 HELD ON DECEMBER 29, 2006.
1 MS. GATELLI: Are there any
2 comments? If not, received and filed.
3 MS. GARVEY: I just have one thing
4 for clerk's notes tonight. 5-C on tonight's
5 agenda, there's a loan for 408 Cedar, LLC.
6 I found out some information on this from
7 Sherry Fanucci and from OECD.
8 Formerly was Noonan's Sacramental
9 Wines. It's still at the same address. Now
10 the business entity is called 408 Cedar
11 Avenue, LLC.
12 The loan is for $250,000 at five
13 percent interest for 25 years for
14 acquisition of the building and business for
15 equipment, inventory and working capital to
16 expand their business.
17 The business has been around for
18 70 years. They distribute sacramental wines
19 to churches and synagogues. They currently
20 have 100 customers in the northeast portion
21 of the state and are now looking to include
22 the southeast portion of the state. They
23 will create at least eight jobs, maybe more,
24 and the owner's name is Tim Lavelle. The
25 business and building will be collateral.
1 That's all I have.
2 MS. GATELLI: Thank you, Mrs.
3 Garvey. Before we start, I'd just like to
4 give a little update. Last week Ken Smith,
5 the new state representative, and I met with
6 the Meadow Avenue residents concerning the
7 sound barriers.
8 And I spoke with Ken yesterday, and
9 he said he has taken it back to Harrisburg,
10 and he's very confident that hopefully
11 something will be done sooner than the year
13 Nick Trunzo, I noticed in the paper,
14 was named the man of the year for the UNICO.
15 I'd like to send him a congratulatory
16 letter. Nick was the SRA chairman under
17 Mayor Connors and worked with Mike Washo and
18 myself on the Steamtown Mall.
19 Nick was the chairman for a good
20 number of years and was a wonderful,
21 wonderful person and very deserving of that
23 The house at 2417-2419 Hermans
24 Avenue was demolished today. They did that
25 ahead of the other ones that were on the
1 list, because the other ones were not ready
2 with the utilities that were terminated, so
3 that was taken down today.
4 MS. EVANS: And, Mrs. Gatelli, about
5 that particular structure, that was the
6 location where the fire had occurred, so
7 this really was just a burned out shell of a
8 structure and it had been on the list for
9 quite a while, so I'm sure the neighbors are
10 going to be thrilled.
11 MS. GATELLI: Thank you, Mrs. Evans.
12 The DPW report, potholes were filled on 9th
13 Avenue, Brigg Street, 2100-2200 of South
14 Webster, the 800 and 900 of McKenna, the 700
15 of Hitchcock, the 12 and 16 of Washburn.
16 Five trees were cut down at Nay Aug. They
17 started to trip the Christmas trees.
18 Snow operations on Friday,
19 January 19. They repaired inlets at Hill
20 Street and Wayne Avenue and inlets at 1505
21 Luzerne Street.
22 This week we have the Broadway
23 Theater League is presenting the play Aida.
24 That will be tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday.
25 And if anyone is interested, tickets can be
1 obtained by calling the Broadway Theater
2 League or the Scranton Cultural Center.
3 I don't like to talk about
4 birthdays, but Mrs. Evans brought one up
5 last week, so she opened the door for the
6 rest of us.
7 I'd like to wish my son-in-law a
8 happy birthday. His birthday is today, and
9 my light granddaughter, Amelia Rose, is two
10 years old. So, I'd like to wish them a
11 happy birthday.
12 And I'd also before we get on, the
13 last thing I have is to congratulate Mrs.
14 Evans, because she's a new grandmother, and
15 she now has a little granddaughter named
17 MS. EVANS: Thank you, Mrs. Gatelli.
18 MS. GATELLI: And that's all I have.
19 Does anyone else have anything? Okay. We
20 will proceed to the public speaking on
21 agenda, and the first speaker is Andy
23 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,
24 citizen of Scranton. Fellow Scrantonians, I
25 want to speak about 7-B. That's our little
1 Lackawanna Avenue Bridge and really our
2 little escalation and cost notice.
3 Paragraph eight is amended to revise
4 maximum reimbursement of federal funds so
5 that the total reimbursement for The
6 Commonwealth to the municipality in
7 accordance with paragraph eight be as
8 revised from, this is the important thing,
9 $1,054,500 to $7,025,250. That's almost a
10 seven times increase from the original to
11 now. Could anybody tell me how much land
12 we're going to acquire for this bridge? And
13 is the bridge going to be completely
14 demolished and a new one built? Why is the
15 cost so high? Are we repairing the bridge
16 or replacing the bridge totally?
17 MS. GATELLI: I think that we're
18 repairing the bridge, and it's going to be
19 longer and wider than originally
20 anticipated, and I know that the city is
21 only paying --
22 MR. SBARAGLIA: Five percent. I
23 understand that, five percent of the total
24 cost, but the cost is the taxpayers are
25 still paying the difference, which means all
1 of us, either in federal taxes or state
2 taxes or whatever.
3 And for costs to jump like that --
4 now, this land acquisition, whose land are
5 we buying?
6 MS. GATELLI: I'm not sure. I'd
7 have to call PennDOT and ask them.
8 MR. SBARAGLIA: Never mind. I
9 wanted the people of the city to know that
10 the costs of this bridge has went up seven
11 times more than the original estimate,
12 because now, whoever they're doing, or
13 whoever is getting a cut or whatever, it's
15 Okay. Let's get on to 7-A. Ipanema
16 Restaurant. You know, of course, this
17 restaurant has been in operation for the
18 last few months. This is not a new one,
19 it's one that's has been there for a little
20 while anyway.
21 But the question isn't the loan.
22 The amount of the loan is not quite -- we do
23 $250,000. We don't even worry about that.
24 This is only $40,000. But is it a secondary
1 MS. GATELLI: Most of the city loans
2 are secondary.
3 MR. SBARAGLIA: Yeah, I realize
4 that. That's the bad part about the loans.
5 The bank is protected, the citizens are not.
6 That's the sad part about these loans.
7 Somewhere along the line somebody
8 would say, what is the first loan? What are
9 we secondary to?
10 So, our chances of getting some of
11 this money back is sort of assured, but not
12 in this city. This city is a giveaway.
13 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Sbaraglia, I did
14 speak to Sara Hailstone recently about the
15 loans, and there's only in the last six or
16 seven years since they've been here, only
17 two people have defaulted.
18 MR. SBARAGLIA: Well, I know
19 Whistles was in the paper, and I also heard
20 somewhere The Giant Market defaulted, so I
21 don't know. I really wouldn't know.
22 But there's a good way to look into
23 it. I guess we should ask for all default
24 loans in writing from Sara Hailstone. I
25 don't like voice. Things seem to get
1 carried out.
2 MS. GATELLI: I have it all with me.
3 MR. SBARAGLIA: In writing?
4 MS. GATELLI: Yes.
5 MR. SBARAGLIA: Your writing or
7 MS. GATELLI: No, I wrote it down.
8 I wrote it down.
9 MR. SBARAGLIA: No, her writing so
10 that we know it's hers and she has to stand
11 behind what she wrote. She can always say,
12 Well, you didn't hear quite right, which is
13 normal in this city. Okay. I thank you.
14 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
15 MS. EVANS: Mrs. Gatelli, on that
16 specific topic, that was the information
17 that I had been requesting from OECD since
18 the summer, and I had asked when the mayor
19 joined us at Council, if I could please have
20 that information, and he agreed, but yet I
21 never received it.
22 I wanted an accounting of all of the
23 loans and the delinquencies, and I had a
24 question as to whether if a business is
25 sold, but the business owner does not own
1 the building, they were rather just leasing,
2 but they had a business located within
3 there, and they are going out of business,
4 who is responsible, for example, for paying
5 down that loan that they received? And, you
6 know, to date, we never got the information.
7 MS. GATELLI: All right. Mrs.
8 Garvey, would you send that letter to Mrs.
10 MS. GARVEY: Yes.
11 MS. GATELLI: Or Miss Hailstone. I
12 did have all of the information. I think I
13 have it. We'll get it in writing from her.
14 MS. GARVEY: Okay.
15 MS. GATELLI: And Attorney Minora, I
16 don't think we had too many default when we
17 were there.
18 MR. MINORA: No. In that case,
19 there's a pretty good guarantee, regardless
20 of your position because you've got the
21 person's personal assets.
22 As a matter of fact, we had a loan a
23 couple of weeks ago that I looked in the
24 backup on that, and there were personal
25 guarantees with it. And I was looking for
1 that. So, I don't know if that's become a
2 standard, and perhaps sometimes there would
3 be reasons not to have it.
4 But in the last few loans that I've
5 noticed through here, I looked for that and
6 found personal guarantees which are pretty
7 good guarantee of payment.
8 MS. GATELLI: And the last two that
9 we've had were in neighborhoods. They
10 weren't in the downtown. Next, Mr. Quinn.
11 MR. QUINN: Robert Ozzie Quinn,
12 President of the Scranton Lackawanna County
13 Taxpayers and Citizens Association,
14 Incorporated. I want to address two things
15 on the agenda tonight, C under motions and
17 I sent Mrs. Fanucci, since she's the
18 chairperson of the OECD committee, CDBG; am
19 I correct? I sent her an E-mail last year
20 back in April requesting for the HUD and the
21 OECD annual monitoring reports, and she
22 never responded.
23 And what I wanted to know is in
24 relationship to these loans, like tonight,
25 and especially referring to that, is you're
1 supposed to have so much for the creation of
2 a job, okay?
3 Now, I want to know who's monitoring
4 those jobs, who's going out actually in body
5 from the OECD who's going out and seeing
6 that these jobs are there and are they
7 full-time jobs.
8 There seems to be a way now that
9 businesses are going 35 hours, okay, so the
10 person don't get the 40 hours.
11 And also a lot of these loans were
12 for restaurants, and I want to know if their
13 waitresses or the waiters or the dishwashers
14 or whatever are getting the minimum wage and
15 are they working the 40 hours.
16 Now, there's no way -- there's no
17 reports -- we're giving out this taxpayer
18 money through all these loans and we had the
19 unions here fighting here in the fall about
20 these loans to keep them, and I want to know
21 is there actual jobs created, and is there
22 someone that has a report that John Doe's
23 business actually has employed two persons?
24 And can we do a little better and try to get
25 some industrial jobs?
1 I mean, we're getting loaded with
2 coffee shops and restaurants and whatnot,
3 and that's not economic development. It's
4 economic development maybe for the owner,
5 but it's not really the amount of money that
6 the person is getting from wages, like the
7 minimum wage, is not really economic
8 development. These people are suffering.
9 There's no doubt about it.
10 And especially, and I can't even
11 talk about taxes, but the fact is that I
12 want to know, as I requested last year and
13 never got a response, okay, and I wrote a
14 letter to Sara Hailstone, the executive
15 director over there and never got a
16 response, that I wanted to know the jobs,
17 who got the loans the jobs, are there any
18 default, and are we getting the 40 hours and
19 the minimum wage?
20 Now, you know some waitresses get
21 three dollars an hour and they have to
22 depend on tips. Hey, somebody's getting a
23 big loan like that, you know, I think they
24 should get the minimum wage. And that's all
25 I wanted to talk about in regards to this
2 And I'd appreciate somebody getting
3 back to me, because I got all kinds of
4 letters that nobody ever gets back to me.
5 MS. EVANS: Maybe we could piggyback
6 your request onto the letter that Mrs.
7 Gatelli is requesting from Ms. Hailstone,
8 and -- because I, too, would like to know
9 who is responsible for monitoring the
10 conditions that you enumerated, and I think
11 perhaps we can kill two birds with one stone
12 and get all of the information hopefully at
13 one time.
14 MR. QUINN: Yeah, I hope that the
15 monitoring goes in depth in regards to the
16 income taxes and so on --
17 MR. MINORA: That's past three
19 MR. QUINN: -- okay, and just don't
20 get a hearsay report by the business owner.
21 When did you start, when I --
22 MS. GATELLI: Ozzie.
23 MR. MINORA: When you opened your
25 MS. GATELLI: When you started
2 MR. MINORA: When you said your name
3 was Robert Quinn.
4 MR. QUINN: Well, I just remember
5 last meeting you started -- you said when we
6 come up.
7 MS. GATELLI: No, we're not going to
8 do that again. He's going to do it when
9 people start speaking.
10 MR. QUINN: Okay. Thank you.
11 MS. GATELLI: You're welcome. Joe
13 MR. TALAMINI: Good evening,
14 Council. My name is Joe Talamini, and I am
15 a citizen and taxpayer in this city. I see
16 we have financial matters on the agenda, and
17 that's why I'm going to address the Council
18 on the matter of finance.
19 I'm going to make a request, as I
20 turn to the Home Rule Charter regarding
21 numerous occasions when citizens have asked
22 the Council for clarification on financial
23 matters, they have not been adequately
24 addressed, either because the Council was
25 not well enough informed or was unable to
1 provide such information.
2 There have been occasions when
3 Council itself chose to vote on financial
4 items which were passed by resolution,
5 though Council did not have sufficient or
6 timely information.
7 The matter of auditing due to some
8 apparent discrepancies has also been brought
9 up by Council and by the taxpayers. I,
10 therefore, am requesting that Council act by
11 motion under authority of The Home Rule
12 Charter Sections 312, which gives you
13 subpoena powers and 313, which gives you the
14 power to request an outside independent
16 I respectfully request that Council
17 issue subpoenas for every department under
18 the jurisdiction of the City of Scranton,
19 including but not limited to all
20 authorities, including the Sewer Authority,
21 Scranton Housing Authority, the
22 Redevelopment Authority, the Parking
23 Authority and the controller's office for
24 all financial records dating back to 2000.
25 I make this request on behalf of
1 myself and all the taxpayers of the City of
2 Scranton. I thank you very much, and I ask
3 that this motion be acted on at this
4 evening's meeting. Thank you very much.
5 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Ron Elman.
6 MR. ELMAN: First off, I'd like to
7 thank Mr. McGoff on cutting our time in
8 half. I think it's great. It's a stroke of
10 MS. GATELLI: Excuse me. Could you
11 please give your name?
12 MR. ELMAN: Pardon?
13 MS. GATELLI: Just give your name
14 for the record.
15 MR. ELMAN: Oh, Ronny Elman. That's
16 why the mayor appointed you and I'm out here
17 and you're sitting up there evidently.
18 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Elman, please
19 stick to the agenda items.
20 MR. ELMAN: Okay. I'll go to the
21 agenda. I want to know what the agenda is
22 for next week. What can be more on the
23 agenda then telling me what the agenda is?
24 I'd like to make some kind of feeble attempt
25 of saying something intelligent up here, and
1 I don't know what the agenda is until I get
2 it out there.
3 If I give you a self-addressed
4 envelope, maybe you can mail it to me or
5 something during the week. One of you --
6 MS. GATELLI: The agenda is prepared
7 by Mrs. Garvey on Wednesday.
8 MR. ELMAN: What day?
9 MS. GATELLI: On Wednesday?
10 MS. GARVEY: Wednesday at four
11 o'clock it's posted.
12 MR. ELMAN: Where is it? Where do I
13 find it if I want to come in on Wednesday at
14 four o'clock.
15 MS. GARVEY: In the front of the
16 building. The first entrance that you would
17 come in, there's a board to your left and
18 it's posted right there.
19 MR. ELMAN: Nobody knows what the
20 agenda is until Wednesday at four o'clock.
21 That's very poor planning, if you ask me.
22 I'm just giving you my opinion. I'm just a
23 little lowly taxpayer, you know. I'll be
24 hear at four o'clock and then I guess I can
25 just leave my car and go eat at Able's or
1 something. Thank you.
2 MS. GATELLI: Lee Morgan.
3 MR. MORGAN: Good evening, Council.
4 I also would like to speak on the agenda,
5 but I have a question.
6 Last week I requested in writing all
7 the information on every issue that's on the
8 agenda this week. Where is that
10 MS. GATELLI: What did you request?
11 MR. MORGAN: I requested the
12 information on every single agenda item here
13 tonight. Last week I gave you in writing a
14 request that everything that's going to be
15 on the agenda, all the information that's
16 pertinent to that legislation that this
17 Council is going to consider, that it be
18 available to all the speakers here so that
19 we can be informed and come here
20 intelligently and speak about agenda issues,
21 and it just doesn't seem to be here. And my
22 question is --
23 MS. GATELLI: I believe Mrs. Garvey
24 has it out there with all the backup.
25 MS. GARVEY: Right. It's in
1 Council's office in the back -- the same
2 thing that Council gets in the entire agenda
3 with all backup is in Council's office
4 Thursday mornings. It's usual put together.
5 MR. MORGAN: Well, you know, I'd
6 like it to be moved somewhere where the
7 people can have access before it before they
8 come to this podium, and I just, to be
9 honest with you, feel that no one can come
10 here and speak about any issue at all.
11 I mean, we've gone through this for
12 so many years. Even today you were asked
13 questions by Mr. Sbaraglia, and you didn't
14 have answers, but yet and still it's still
15 on the agenda, it's still going to be voted
17 And to be directly honest to
18 Council, it's quite possible that nobody on
19 Council is completely versed on all the
20 information on any of the ordinances. And
21 today there really aren't very many.
22 But, I mean, how are we going to
23 speak on anything intelligently when you
24 say, Well, Look it, the agenda is going to
25 be ready on Wednesday at four o'clock.
1 Well, today's meeting is at seven
2 o'clock on Thursday.
3 And if more than one person comes to
4 Council to get this information, are we all
5 going to fight over documents? I mean, it's
6 a very troubling thing.
7 MS. GATELLI: It's always been done
8 that way, Mr. Morgan, the agenda is always
9 in there.
10 MR. MORGAN: No, it hasn't always
11 been done that way, because Council changed
12 the rules of Council a few weeks ago to
13 change the way public participation is held
15 MS. GATELLI: You still have two
16 more weeks to talk about any agenda items.
17 MR. MORGAN: Absolutely. But the
18 whole deal is that all week that information
19 should be somewhere, whether it's here, The
20 Scranton Public Library, it should be
21 somewhere that every single resident of this
22 city can readily reach out and have access
23 to it, whether it's on the internet and all
24 the documents, not just some documents.
25 Like Mrs. Evans has said, she's
1 asked for information for a very long time.
2 I just don't see any open government here.
3 We're having votes on things on the agenda
4 without information --
5 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
6 MR. MORGAN: -- for myself and other
7 residents, and I think that it makes it look
8 as if there's a rubber Council here and
9 we're running anybody's things through
10 Council without the citizens being informed.
11 MS. GATELLI: Okay. Thank you.
12 MR. MORGAN: Thank you.
13 MS. GARVEY: Mrs. Gatelli, if I
14 could just clear something up. I'm not
15 disagreeing with what Lee Morgan is saying,
16 but just so people understand how things
17 come to our office and when they come to our
18 office, it happens on Tuesdays, all the
19 legislation comes from the law department to
20 our office. They are supposed to have it
21 down by ten, sometimes it's runs past that.
22 It might be noon by the time we have it.
23 After that happens, when it is all
24 together, I call the President of Council,
25 inform her of what has come before us, and
1 then it's discussed and decided what's on
2 the agenda, what's not on the agenda. Then
3 the agenda starts to be put together at that
5 So, until Wednesday afternoon, that
6 is when it is finalized and that is when
7 it's posted, that's when it becomes public
8 knowledge to the people.
9 MS. GATELLI: Mrs. Garvey, why don't
10 we send a letter to Rob Farrell and tell him
11 that we would like to start receiving it on
13 MS. GATELLI: You want legislation?
14 MS. GARVEY: Whatever he wants on
15 the next agenda, if we receive it by Friday,
16 then you can work on it by Monday and
17 possibly have it ready Monday afternoon or
18 Tuesday and then they would have at least a
19 few days.
20 MS. GARVEY: Okay. And then do you
21 still post it only 24 hours prior to our
23 MS. GATELLI: Well, if it's ready,
24 we can post it sooner.
25 MS. GARVEY: Okay. As long as
1 everyone is aware that it cannot be changed
2 once it's posted.
3 MS. GATELLI: Write a letter to Rob
4 and the mayor and tell them that we are
5 requesting that anything on the agenda for
6 the following Thursday be submitted by the
7 Friday before. We will just change the day.
8 MS. GARVEY: Okay.
9 MS. GATELLI: And then that should
10 help with some of the problems.
11 MS. EVANS: Mrs. Gatelli, I think
12 that is quite possible, because if I'm not
13 mistaken during my first year on Council, we
14 changed the day from Tuesday to Wednesday.
15 I think it had been a Wednesday that they
16 were submitting information possibly in the
18 MS. GATELLI: Yes, I don't see why
19 it would be a problem.
20 MS. EVANS: But I think it's also
21 beneficial for us as Council members,
22 because whether the audience members are
23 aware or not, we on Council don't receive
24 the full agenda until the Thursday of the
1 I'm at work during the day and
2 unable to come over here until after work or
3 shortly before the meeting, so to be
4 perfectly frank, I don't have a firm
5 knowledge of any of the legislation that
6 would be introduced on that very evening.
7 It's afterwards that I'm able to
8 read the backup and inform myself so that I
9 can make an appropriate decision during a
10 sixth and seventh order vote.
11 MS. GATELLI: Anyone else have
12 anything? You're agreeable? Okay. We'll
13 send that letter.
14 MS. GARVEY: Okay.
15 MS. GATELLI: Now, it may take -- it
16 may take one week to kick in, because
17 tomorrow is Friday. So, it might not go for
18 next week, but we'll attempt for the week
19 after, okay?
20 MS. GARVEY: Okay.
21 MS. GATELLI: Okay? Mrs. Garvey.
22 Oh, I'm sorry. Mr. Gervasi. I'm sorry. I
23 didn't know you were going to speak.
24 MR. GERVASI: Thank you. Thank you,
25 Mrs. Gatelli. Just to clarify that issue,
1 there's a few things that everyone should
3 I'm not going to sit here. I
4 understand the frustration of a lot of the
5 speakers, but I'm not going to sit here and
6 defend Council 100 percent, because
7 obviously some members of Council don't take
8 the time, even if they had the time, to read
9 a lot of the backup on what they're voting
11 But I will defend that staff at City
12 Council, because correct me if I'm wrong,
13 before Mayor Doherty took office or, I'm
14 sorry, since Mayor Doherty took office, I
15 believe there was two staffers positions
16 removed from City Council's office. I
17 believe City Council's solicitor pay was cut
18 in half by Mayor Doherty, and I also know as
19 a fact that the pattern for the last five
20 years has been that any legislation that
21 does come up that may be controversial, the
22 administration always sends it to Council at
23 the 11th hour so no one has time to digest.
24 And how would any Council speaker --
25 and, again, I'm not knocking any -- you're
1 absolutely right on what you're saying, the
2 way it really should be, but how can a
3 Council staff supply and have the manpower
4 to supply all this information to any
5 citizen who wants to see it, when the
6 finance chairman of Council doesn't even get
7 the information on finance from the
9 So, I think I understand where
10 everyone is coming from. You have to
11 understand that the nuts and bolts operation
12 of this Council staff has been cut
14 And when Council members themselves
15 cannot get information from this
16 administration so that they can chew it
17 around before they vote on it, how does
18 anyone expect Kay Garvey and two staffers in
19 that office to make all these things
20 available in a timely manner, when they
21 don't even receive it in a timely manner
22 from the administration.
23 So, just a point I wanted to make,
24 and I just want to take a little bit of heat
25 off of the staff in Council, because that's
1 a fact and that's the way it is, and it's
2 very unfortunate, and it's not their fault,
3 it's the mayor's fault. Thank you.
4 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
5 MS. SHUMAKER: Marie Shumaker. I
6 would like to suggest you further amend your
7 letter to the solicitor and ask that the
8 material be supplied electronically, and in
9 that case -- manner it could be posted to
10 the website or just copies made right off
11 the bat.
12 I mean, I'm sure everybody has
13 computers, we've got a rather large IT
14 department, maybe they can help the
15 solicitor, if he needs help, but I think you
16 should require that these things be provided
18 And I would also like to know with
19 respect to the commercial industrial loans,
20 if you get the entire package that OECD has,
21 because I, for instance, would like to have
22 seen the data on the electric store that you
23 voted in favor of several weeks ago where
24 there were several competing businesses,
25 because I know HUD requires a business
1 impact statement, and I certainly would like
2 to read that, if that's available as backup.
3 Is that? Do you get the entire OECD package
5 MS. EVANS: No.
6 MS. SHUMAKER: -- on commercial
7 industrial loans? So, then it begs the
8 question, how do you know what you're voting
9 for? What do you get on a commercial
10 industrial loan?
11 MS. GATELLI: We get how much it is,
12 what it's for, job creation.
13 MS. SHUMAKER: And that's it? I
14 would suggest you look into expanding more
15 data from the application so that --
16 MS. GATELLI: Well, OECD has that
18 MS. SHUMAKER: But --
19 MS. GATELLI: And they are audited
20 by HUD. And if you want any of that
21 information, you can always request it from
23 MS. SHUMAKER: Not from OECD?
24 MS. GATELLI: You can request it
25 there, too, but if you want to go a step
1 further, you can request it from HUD in
3 MS. SHUMAKER: Okay. I'll do that.
4 Thank you. Thank you.
5 MS. GATELLI: You're welcome.
6 MS. EVANS: Mrs. Shumaker, if you
7 stay after the meeting, I can show you as an
8 example of the backup provided tonight for a
9 loan that's on the agenda for introduction.
10 And I'm sure what's been provided
11 tonight is quite similar to any information
12 we receive on any of these loans, so I'd be
13 happy to share that with you.
14 MS. SHUMAKER: Thank you.
15 MR. JACKOWITZ: Bill Jackowitz,
16 South Scranton. I just, I don't know, I was
17 standing back there listening and I just
18 came up with an idea.
19 How about we delay everything for
20 one week? You get it on Wednesday, you have
21 a full week to review it, to look at it and
22 you don't put it on the agenda until the
23 following week? That gives you one whole
24 week for the Council members to review it
25 look at what they're voting on and why
1 they're voting and it also gives the
2 citizens a week to have the information
3 available to them for one week. All it's
4 going to do is delay the votes only one
6 MS. GATELLI: That's a possibility.
7 MR. JACKOWITZ: So, I hope --
8 MS. GATELLI: But remember, when
9 it's introduced, that doesn't mean you're
10 going to vote for it.
11 MR. JACKOWITZ: I understand, but it
13 MS. GATELLI: It's to introduce it
14 into its proper committee, and then that
15 committee person is supposed to study their
16 particular item.
17 MR. JACKOWITZ: The keyword,
18 supposed to.
19 MS. GATELLI: Well, Bill, it's very
20 difficult, because no one up here is a
21 full-time Councilperson.
22 MR. JACKOWITZ: I understand that,
23 but we're also -- you're voting on full-time
24 citizens, and it's costing the full-time
25 citizens money --
1 MS. GATELLI: I understand that.
2 MR. JACKOWITZ: -- time and
3 everything else, so it needs to be taken
5 MS. GATELLI: We do have that week
6 from the time it's introduced until it's
7 voted on, you have that week to get yourself
8 up to snuff on a particular topic.
9 We also have a solicitor that we
10 ask, I know I do, I ask his opinion very
12 MR. JACKOWITZ: I understand --
13 yeah, I know, but, and there's nothing wrong
14 with that. But I'm just saying let's just
15 cool our heels and maybe give ourselves an
16 extra week, and that possibly can satisfy
17 everybody's needs, the Council needs, the
18 citizens' needs and everybody else's. All
19 I'm asking, you know, all I'm asking is for
20 you to think about it.
21 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Anyone
23 MS. KRAKE: Good evening, Council.
24 My name is Nancy Krake. And it's curious
25 that Mrs. Gatelli said no one is a full-time
1 Councilperson. We have two Councilpeople
2 about to receive a pension as if they were
3 full-time Council or full-time anything with
4 the city, and there were many in the past
5 who received a pension illegally, but
6 they're getting them.
7 I have a question on 5-C. I would
8 like this to be investigated, since it's
9 just up for introduction.
10 This company has any ties with the
11 James A. Doherty Company, since the
12 explanation revealed that they deal with
13 religious articles, I would like to know if
14 there's any connection whatsoever.
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: It doesn't say --
16 MS. GATELLI: I don't have it in my
18 MS. KRAKE: I'm sorry. Well, Kay,
19 just read it, so that's what I'm going by.
20 And --
21 MS. GATELLI: We'll have Attorney
22 Minora investigate that.
23 MS. KRAKE: Also, I was approached
24 by Mr. McGoff in the hall, and I just wanted
25 to add, he said he didn't mind if I
1 criticized him, and that was very nice, but
2 he did feel that when I made a remark that
3 he remind me of -- or actually his actions
4 reminded me of the actions Hitler would take
5 and he felt that was over the top, and I
6 told him I was defending the 80 people in my
7 union, and that I went further to say all
8 the municipal employees, and I would like to
9 add all of the citizens of Scranton, because
10 I believe you offended us, and that's what
11 drove me to make that remark.
12 And I'm sorry it hurt your feelings,
13 but I believe we are all entitled to speak
14 for five minutes, and that what motions you
15 made, and also you're voting for the mayor's
16 budget, which was a 25 percent tax increase,
17 yourself, Mrs. Gatelli, Mrs. Fanucci, were
18 very insulting to all of us. Thank you.
19 MS. GATELLI: Anyone else? 5-A,
20 motions. Mrs. Garvey.
21 MS. GARVEY: 5-B, FOR INTRODUCTION,
22 AN ORDINANCE AMENDING FILE OF COUNCIL NO.
23 38, 2001 --
24 MS. GATELLI: Mrs. Garvey, I believe
25 we have motions first.
1 MS. GARVEY: Oh, I'm sorry. You're
2 right. 5-A, Motions. I'm kind of rushing
3 along here.
4 MS. GATELLI: On an agenda item?
5 You'll have to wait. Yeah. No, there's
6 another segment. I have your name here.
7 Mrs. Evans. Sorry.
8 MS. EVANS: That's okay. Good
9 evening, and some good news. I'm very
10 pleased by the formation of a graffiti task
11 force and by the daily strides taken toward
12 eradicating graffiti.
13 I wish to thank Mr. McKeon, city
14 inspector, for his persistence and diligence
15 and vigilance and for bringing this citywide
16 problem to the attention of City Council.
17 The administration should be
18 commended for acting so quickly on my
20 In fact, Scranton High School's
21 resource officer, Mike Brenzia, informed me
22 just this afternoon that he had participated
23 in a very lengthy meeting earlier today
24 which focus on graffiti and related issues.
25 Kay, have you been able to schedule
1 a public caucus with Mr. Shane and the
2 members of the Scranton Redevelopment
4 MS. GATELLI: I'm calling Mr. Shane
5 to set up the day.
6 MS. EVANS: Good, because I --
7 MS. GATELLI: It will be within the
8 next few weeks.
9 MS. EVANS: Yes, I remember first
10 requesting it in December, and then again in
11 early January, and I was aiming for a
12 February date, any available Thursday in
13 February maybe at 5:45, if that were
15 MS. GATELLI: He was going to come
16 next week, but there was a conflict, so
17 maybe the week after.
18 MS. EVANS: And also, when will the
19 public caucus with Mr. Parker regarding the
20 flooding problems citywide be conducted?
21 MS. GATELLI: I was waiting for
22 that, because on Monday there's a meeting
23 with the county. Did you get that in your
25 MS. EVANS: Yes, I did.
1 MS. GATELLI: And I plan on
2 attending that, and I don't know if Mr.
3 Parker is going, but I hope he is, to see if
4 any of the things are addressed there first
5 and then we will have a meeting.
6 MS. EVANS: So, we can expect him in
8 MS. GATELLI: Yeah.
9 MS. EVANS: Good.
10 MS. GATELLI: Definitely.
11 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
12 MS. GATELLI: You're welcome. I
13 wish to recognize the residents of lower
14 Green Ridge for their formation of a
15 neighborhood association and to congratulate
16 Mr. Dan Hubbard, their first president.
17 I look forward to working closely
18 with all of you, particularly to obtain a
19 flood siren in your neighborhood.
20 It's also commendable that Mr.
21 Wallace is addressing the longstanding
22 problems at a property owned by North
23 American Manufacturing Company near the
24 farmer's market.
25 In 2005, I believe, Mr. Fiorini
1 worked on these problems at my request, so I
2 thought the situation had been rectified,
3 but evidently, these problems persist today,
4 and I do hope that Mr. Wallace will insure a
5 permanent solution.
6 This afternoon I decided to take
7 Mr. Doherty's kind offer to work with
8 Council members and I visited his office
9 again, but unfortunately again he was not in
10 his office.
11 The last time I dropped by, I think
12 he was on business in Las Vegas, and today
13 he is attending a conference of mayors in
15 The purpose of both of my visits was
16 to obtain financial information for you, the
18 In November 2006, I requested this
19 information by letter, and again in
20 December 2006, I posed the people's
21 questions through written correspondence, as
22 well as a personal visit. Two months had
23 past, $10 million in borrowing and a tax
24 increase had past, but we still don't have
25 financial answers.
1 Therefore, in response to countless
2 citizens requests and on behalf of the
3 taxpayers of Scranton, I move that Scranton
4 City Council subpoena the financial records
5 of all city departments, Scranton
6 authorities and the Office of Economic and
7 Community Development.
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
9 MS. GATELLI: On the question? All
10 in favor.
11 MS. EVANS: Aye.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
13 MS. GATELLI: Aye. Opposed?
14 MR. MCGOFF: No.
15 MS. GATELLI: The ayes have it and
16 so moved.
17 MS. EVANS: Thank you. And Attorney
18 Minora, we'll be asking you to prepare those
19 subpoenas as soon as possible.
20 MR. MINORA: Okay.
21 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
22 MS. GATELLI: Before we do that, I
23 would just ask Attorney Minora if you could
24 call and get the information without the
25 subpoenas, because I don't want to have
1 boxes full of information like they did once
3 MS. EVANS: Well, actually -- no, I
4 know what you're saying. When information
5 was subpoenaed over a year ago, much
6 information, extraneous information,
7 unnecessary information was mixed in with
8 the items that were actually requested, and
9 copies were made, I believe, at -- well, it
10 was not done in-house, and so a cost was
11 incurred, but I did learn afterwards that
12 much of the copying that OECD performs is
13 farmed out, so that was not an unusual case.
14 However, I believe that the
15 financial documents -- I think the only
16 amendment we may need to make would be that
17 we are looking for, and maybe I'll make this
18 in the form of a motion, that I would like
19 to amend the subpoena to contain the
20 language all financial information from the
21 previously stated entities from the year
22 2002 to the current date.
23 MS. GATELLI: And would that be --
24 if we requested their audits, would that be
25 sufficient to see, Attorney Minora?
1 MS. EVANS: No.
2 MS. GATELLI: No?
3 MR. MINORA: I'm -- we're going to
4 have to sit down and talk, because I'm not
5 sure what you're asking me to do.
6 Subpoenaing what particular documents?
7 MS. EVANS: All the financial
8 records from 2002 forward.
9 MR. MINORA: From every department?
10 MS. EVANS: From every department.
11 MS. GATELLI: See, in my opinion,
12 that would be audits, no, because then you'd
13 know -- if you request every single piece of
14 financial information, Oh, Lord, we could
15 fill this building.
16 MS. EVANS: I don't know that the
17 departments are audited. It's the Office of
18 City Council that requests the annual
19 independent audit of the City of Scranton.
20 MS. GATELLI: No, but I mean the
21 Sewer Authority, the Parking Authority, the
22 Housing Authority, they all have audits, I'm
24 MS. EVANS: They do, but there are
25 many questions that remain unanswered. For
1 example, Mr. Courtright raised an issue to
2 me prior to this evening's regular meeting
3 regarding the Scranton Parking Authority,
4 and I have quite a number of questions
6 I, for example, have questions of
7 the Scranton Redevelopment Authority. We
8 never formally, this is just one example,
9 but we never formally received an answer as
10 to precisely what property was involved in
11 the lease back agreement that was instituted
12 with them in December 2006.
13 MS. GATELLI: How about --
14 MR. MINORA: Excuse me. There's a
15 motion to amend that hasn't been seconded
17 MS. EVANS: Yes. Let's return to
19 MR. MINORA: Before we get too far
20 afield, and I don't want this to be too
21 convoluted. I want to do it right, and
22 there's an amendment, and I'd like to --
23 maybe if you could restate the amendment.
24 MS. EVANS: Yes, let's address the
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: Could you restate
2 the amendment?
3 MS. EVANS: I move to amend the
4 previous motion to include the language, all
5 financial records from 2002 to the current
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
8 MS. EVANS: January 2002 to the
9 current date.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
11 MS. GATELLI: On the question?
12 MR. MCGOFF: I voted no for the
13 prior one simply because, as Mrs. Gatelli is
14 saying, if all you're asking for -- or if
15 you're asking for all financial records, you
16 are liable to get boxes full of boxes full
17 of boxes of records.
18 It's my belief that if we need to
19 subpoena something, if it's information
20 about a particular issue, question, that the
21 subpoena should be more specific to the
22 records that we need, rather than a general
23 subpoena that would inundate everyone with
25 MS. EVANS: Well, it seems, though,
1 if I could respond to that, because I do
2 agree with what you're saying, it will be
3 inundated with paperwork, but I am willing
4 to pursue this, and I'm sure there are
5 numerous interested parties who will join me
6 in this discovery, but -- oh, my gosh, I
7 think I've lost my train of thought about --
8 could you just repeat what you said briefly?
9 MS. GATELLI: That we get too much
11 MS. EVANS: I understand now, yes.
12 But see, one account intersects another.
13 There are constant transfers of money within
14 departments, between departments, and so --
15 MS. GATELLI: But we get all that.
16 MS. EVANS: It's in a constant state
17 of change. And as you compare budgets,
18 there are many, many unanswered questions.
19 And though the budgets, as you know,
20 are, I believe, approximately 59 pages in
21 length and very specific in terms of line
22 items, there are still many questions
23 regarding those line items.
24 For example, professional services,
25 no one knows exactly what those professional
1 services are, the names of the companies,
2 the jobs that they perform, their duties and
3 responsibilities, the amounts of their
4 contract, the length of the contract.
5 We can look at, for example, the
6 jump in interest earned. There's no
7 explanation for that, other than there is a
9 We can look at, oh, Worker's
10 Compensation reimbursement which plummeted
11 from $400,000 to zero dollars, and there's
12 no explanation for that.
13 And, so, in order for me, and I
14 believe in order for the taxpayers of
15 Scranton to be able to get to the truth and
16 fully understand this, you have to have the
17 whole picture. You can't have pieces of the
18 puzzle, because that's not going to solve
19 the puzzle.
20 It's, as I said, it's all
21 intricately intertwined. And if, you know,
22 if we have to involve a CPA in this, we may
23 well have to do that.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mrs. Evans, if I
25 may, Mrs. Gatelli, the last time we did
1 this, we did get hammered with information
2 that we didn't need probably given to us
3 purposely to annoy us, because we annoyed
4 them by asking for it, so maybe you could
5 direct Mr. Minora later on as to certain
6 items that we wouldn't need.
7 I just know that they put stuff in
8 there to make it cumbersome for us to go
9 through it.
10 MS. EVANS: Absolutely.
11 MS. GATELLI: My suggestion is that
12 Council meet separately from this forum, we
13 can come compile some of our own questions
14 of what we'd like to see and go from there,
15 because I think it's too open.
16 Every financial record, well,
17 there's probably a bill every minute that we
18 wouldn't need to see.
19 So, I think it -- I suggest that we
20 have a meeting and discuss what exactly we'd
21 want Amil to --
22 MS. EVANS: Well, the bills, I
23 think, are handled in payments by the
24 controller's office.
25 So, I'm looking to track where the
1 money is going within each department and
2 where the money is going in each one of the
3 authorities of the City of Scranton, because
4 we are very significantly intertwined with
5 those authorities, specifically through
6 these lease back agreements.
7 We incurred a lease back with the
8 Sewer Authority and now another with the
9 Redevelopment Authority, and the people are
10 ultimately responsible for the payment of
11 all of these bonds and loans that are taken
12 out to benefit the Scranton Redevelopment
13 Authority, the Scranton Parking Authority,
14 because these agreements state that the city
15 pledges its full faith and credit.
16 Translated that means, the city
17 guarantees its taxing power, you, an
18 increase of taxes, to pay those bond and
19 loan payments should the city default.
20 MS. GATELLI: I agree with that, but
21 no one has ever defaulted, you know, to this
22 point. I just think we don't have enough
23 information to subpoena, you know, you're
24 going to --
25 MS. EVANS: But we've already passed
1 motion to motion to subpoena. That was a
2 3-1 vote. That had passed, so I just --
3 MS. GATELLI: Yes, I went along with
5 MS. EVANS: Right. I'm trying to
6 amend it to attach a timeline to it so that
7 I'm not going into it years of prior
8 administrations. I'm beginning with this
9 administration forward.
10 MS. GATELLI: Okay. Anyone else?
11 MR. MINORA: You need to vote on the
12 amendment. The amendment has been made,
13 seconded and we need a vote on the
15 MS. GATELLI: And what was the
17 MS. EVANS: To include language in
18 the original amendment.
19 MS. GATELLI: The original motion.
20 MS. EVANS: Right, the original
21 motion that will provide language stating
22 financial records from 2002 to the current
24 MS. GATELLI: All in favor.
25 MS. EVANS: Aye.
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
2 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
3 MR. MCGOFF: No.
4 MS. GATELLI: 3-1. What else now?
5 MS. EVANS: No. We're still on
6 motions. I must say, though, that I was
7 flabbergasted today to hear that the city is
8 moving forward with eminent domain on Buona
9 Pizza, an anchor of our downtown business
11 This mayor brings in tax free
12 businesses by the bushel and kicks out the
13 ones who pay the taxes? Mr. Doherty, that's
14 not poor mouthing the city, that's a fact.
15 Now, I have some citizens' requests
16 for the week. A letter to Chief Elliot and
17 Mr. Parker, several citizens have complained
18 again about the Boulevard Avenue section of
19 road from Parker Street to the Throop line.
20 They report that a violent accident
21 occurred in late December 2006 near the
22 recycling center and that speeding, drunk
23 driving and deplorable road conditions
24 persist. They request police patrols or a
25 speed trap in this stretch of road or a
1 sobriety checkpoint on a weekend.
2 Also, the road near Mike's Scrap
3 Yard is covered by dirt and mud. Can the
4 DPW clean that road area when the weather
6 A letter to Mr. Parker, please place
7 Rockwell Avenue, Greenbush Street and Reece
8 Street on the 2007 paving list, all of which
9 provide travel routes for the Career
10 Technology Center.
11 A letter to Mr. Brazil and Mr.
12 Parker, citizens have reported numerous
13 disturbing problems at Nay Aug Park.
14 Include the list of complaints and photos
15 for Mr. Brazil and only complaints to Mr.
16 Parker. Please provide a written response
17 when the problems are addressed and/or a
18 timeline for the work.
19 A letter to Mr. Seitzinger, please
20 provide a list of the 30-plus houses that
21 were recently demolished. I understand that
22 these properties were bid out by LIPS.
23 Also, residents complain that
24 demolition does not appear to occur in any
25 particular order, in that, many condemned
1 houses have remained on a list for multiple
2 years, five to ten years, and recently
3 reported structures move along rapidly in a
4 matter of weeks. Please explain.
5 A letter to Mr. Brazil, Mrs.
6 Rosemary Robertson, an art teacher at
7 McNicholl's Plaza, would like to paint a
8 mural over the graffiti at Connell Park.
9 In the past she had supervised the
10 mural which was painted several years ago on
11 the building near the Connell Park pool.
12 She and her students would design and paint
13 this mural, of course, when the weather is
14 more cooperative.
15 She also intends to make a contest
16 of the design process opened to the students
17 of McNicholl's Plaza. It is a win/win
18 situation for the city and the school
19 district, and certainly our South Side
20 neighbors would prefer a lovely colorful
21 mural to tagging and graffiti.
22 Residents who are concerned about
23 recycling report that occasionally the DPW
24 tosses items, such as bottles and cans, into
25 garbage trucks. Conscientious citizens
1 worry about our environment and our finances
2 when we fail to proper recycle. We hope
3 that all city residents, in cooperation with
4 the DPW, will make every effort to properly
6 A letter to Mr. Vitras, was the name
7 Jerome Lasessi added to the plaque honoring
8 deceased employees?
9 And a letter to Mr. Fiorini and Mr.
10 Wallace, the owner of D & P Automotive
11 located at 2726 North Main Avenue made
12 $5,000 in improvements to the property as
13 directed by Mr. Wallace in order to obtain a
14 certificate of use.
15 Once improvements were completed,
16 Mr. Wallace changed his mind apparently and
17 failed to provide any justification.
18 Although he has contacted Mr.
19 Wallace numerous times, Mr. Wallace does not
20 return his calls.
21 Mr. Curry requests a response from
22 Mr. Wallace in it writing stating the
23 reasons and quoting the applicable
24 ordinances or codes as to why he cannot
25 receive a certificate of use. And I would
1 like a copy of that written response, as
3 Finally, I ask you to remember in
4 your prayers, as Mrs. Gatelli did earlier,
5 Mr. James Williams and the family he leaves
7 And, again, Mrs. Gatelli
8 congratulated me earlier, but I do want to
9 announce the birth of my first granddaughter
10 last week, Drew Emily Warner, and my
11 daughter Kelly and her husband reside in
12 Carlisle. They've given me two beautiful
13 grandchildren, Sam and Drew, and that was
14 the reason for my absence from last week's
15 Council meeting. That's it.
16 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Mr.
18 MR. MCGOFF: Just a brief follow-up
19 to the motion to subpoena. I voted no
20 simply because I feel that it is too
21 pervasive, and that in asking for all the
22 information, that it's going to obfuscate
23 the existing issues that we have.
24 And I would be more than willing to
25 -- I would have been more than willing to
1 support specific subpoenas for specific
2 problems. I think that that is within our
3 power and something that we should do.
4 Thank you. That's all.
5 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Courtright.
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes. I got a call
7 from Mary Alice Burke again today, and she's
8 very optimistic, and so am I. DEP got in
9 touch with her, and so did the NRCS, so
10 we've got the state and the federal
11 government being very supportive, and
12 they're going to be coming up here to speak
13 with Mary Alice, and hopefully some
14 officials from the city, and it looks like
15 we're going to get some help.
16 The only issues that are outstanding
17 are the issues that are strictly the city's,
18 which would be some of the pipes that are
19 crushed and blocked, some catch basin
20 problems, so hopefully, as I spoke with Mary
21 Alice, we said that maybe when the people
22 from the state and the federal government
23 come here, at that time maybe we can speak
24 with Mr. Parker and ask him if he can
25 address the city issues.
1 She's gotten help from Mr. Mellow's
2 office. Mr. Connors was there representing
3 the governor, and the governor's office had
4 contacted her, and I believe help also from
5 Congressman Kanjorski's office. So, we're
6 getting help from the state and the federal
7 government, so we hope we can get a little
8 help from the city here. So, once again, I
9 thank her. She's really been on top of
11 Kay, I guess we need to send this to
12 Mr. Parker. I was speaking with Chris
13 Phillips and some other people back in
14 Minooka the other day, and where St. Joe's
15 Church is they have a parking lot across the
16 street, and there's a crosswalk there, but
17 because that section is really been built
18 up, to get across the street to go to church
19 is a difficult task.
20 And it was asked of me, and I've
21 seen it when I've traveled throughout the
22 state in other places, they have a little
23 sign that says yield to pedestrians, and I
24 believe in the state you're supposed to
25 yield to a pedestrian anyway.
1 So, I've seen them in other counties
2 and other cities, so if the people were
3 coming up Davis street, they would have to
4 stop if they see people crossing in this
6 I don't want to go into detail to
7 describe what the little sign looks like on
8 the air, but if Mr. Parker doesn't
9 understand what it, he can call me and I
10 will certainly explain it to him, just to
11 see if it's possible for us to get it in
12 that location.
13 I'm sure if it is possible, other
14 people are going to want it in other
15 locations. But it's gotten a little bit
16 dangerous up there.
17 I'm going to be the traffic police
18 don't. Mulberry, Kay, Mulberry Avenue where
19 it meets with Wyoming Avenue where Bishop
20 Hannon High School is; if you're heading
21 east on Mulberry Avenue and you want to take
22 a left onto Wyoming, which would be heading
23 north maybe towards Burne Honda in that
24 direction, it's almost impossible to take a
25 left-hand turn.
1 Sometimes maybe one car can make a
2 left, if that even. I don't know if it
3 would be the state or the city could get
4 involved. If Mr. Parker could answer that
5 for me, if it's possible to get an arrow so
6 that we can make a left-hand turn moving
7 from Mulberry heading north on Wyoming.
8 And I probably have more letters
9 than Mr. Evans tonight, huh? One other
10 letter, if we can send it to Frank Andrews,
11 State Rep., back when Gaynor was still in
12 the office, we were back in Minooka several
13 times, many of us here, for meetings to try
14 to see what's going to happen back there on
15 Birney Avenue as far as making it one lane.
16 If he could just check into that and
17 see is that still in the works or where we
18 stand. The people from Minooka, I'm sure,
19 would like to know.
20 MS. EVANS: And maybe if you could
21 have a letter sent, as well, or a copy of
22 that letter to PennDOT. You recall we met
23 up at PennDOT with Representative Cawley
24 about that issue, and we were supposed to
25 have met with them yet again prior to the
1 end of his term, and that didn't happen. So
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: It might be in the
4 office, Kay, who we did meet with. Mr.
5 Saunders was sitting in your seat at the
6 time. I'm sure it's in there somewhere, the
7 PennDOT official that we met with.
8 MS. GARVEY: Okay.
9 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right. I guess
10 this must go hand and hand somewhat to what
11 Mrs. Evans was talking about, getting
13 I asked her earlier, because she is
14 the finance chair, I don't recall in the
15 past getting this many -- this amount of
16 money -- transfers of money.
17 And these are only two, but I know
18 we've gotten more recently. And I'm just
19 going to read a portion. It says, This
20 budget transfer within the Department of
21 Business Administration Bureau of
22 Administration and Information Technology
23 was needed for Parking Authority bills.
24 And that's to the tune of $52,800
25 and some dollars. Then I got another one
1 that reads the exact same way, and that's
2 for $50,211. And I don't recall seeing that
3 in the past as often as we're seeing for
4 that dollar amount, and I could be wrong.
5 So, I would say could we ask Mr.
6 Kresefski? Is the Parking Authority broke?
7 It seems like we're transferring an awful
8 lot of money over there.
9 MS. EVANS: There was a huge
10 increase in the 2007 operating budget, I
11 believe, for citation issuers.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah, well, that's
13 what it's for. That's to cover, I guess, to
14 cover the employees?
15 MS. EVANS: I honestly can't answer
16 that question, because I don't have the
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: It says in here
19 professional services, stationery,
20 materials, professional services again for
21 SPA citation issues. Is it just for their
22 salaries? I don't know.
23 MS. EVANS: That took about, I could
24 be wrong because I do not have the budget in
25 my possession tonight, but I'm going to
1 guess it took about a three or $400,000
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah. And I can't
4 help but think of Mr. Sbaraglia bringing up
5 on many occasions that the parking authority
6 isn't going to be able to sustain itself.
7 If, in fact, this is common and I
8 just missed it in the last couple of years,
9 I apologize, but if we can just ask Glen if
10 he could give me a little bit better
11 explanation. This is only two of them. I
12 know there was more.
13 And lastly, oh, he's back. I
14 thought you left, Mr. Piccolino, but I'll
15 say what I was going to say anyway.
16 I can't understand for the life of
17 me why this project on Lackawanna Avenue, we
18 can't work something out with Buona Pizza.
19 I mean, they've been there forever, they've
20 been paying taxes forever, they've been
21 through all the bad times with this city.
22 I understand that we're going to
23 make Lackawanna Avenue beautiful. I voted
24 for it. Mrs. Evans is here, she voted for
25 it with the past Council. I'm all for the
1 project, but he wants to stay there, and I
2 can't understand why we can't let him stay
3 there and accommodate him somehow.
4 Amil I would ask if you can find
5 this answer out for me. I would imagine we
6 have no say in it at this point, City
7 Council; is that true?
8 MR. MINORA: During the eminent
9 domain proceeding?
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah.
11 MR. MINORA: At this stage, I'm not
12 sure exactly where it is procedurally, but I
13 believe he's been notified of an eminent
14 domain taking, and I think there's been an
15 objection filed by the owners, so it's --
16 that poses it for litigation. But where it
17 is in that proceeding, I don't know. You
18 know, obviously we can write a letter to the
19 mayor asking him to do something else.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: That's not going to
22 MS. EVANS: Well, you might as a
23 possibility, though, no, Mr. Courtright, I
24 have an idea, in that, certainly these
25 issues eventually will come before City
1 Council for its approval, and we can inform
2 the mayor that nothing will receive City
3 Council's approval if it does not include
4 Buona Pizza.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah, and I --
6 MS. GATELLI: Excuse me. But that
7 sounds like a good idea, but I think it's
8 already been determined to be blighted.
9 MS. EVANS: Blighted?
10 MS. GATELLI: Yes, that's how it
11 starts, you determine that it's blighted.
12 That's what happened with the mall. Those
13 three blocks were determined slum and
14 blight, and so was the five of Lackawanna by
15 a previous Council. I don't think we can
16 turn that around.
17 MS. EVANS: Well, you know, if you
18 go back to the orgins, of this, however, it
19 was a very different story.
20 It appeared to me that it was
21 voluntary participation by the building
22 owners. No one was going to be forced out.
23 And as far as, you know, that structure and
24 that business is concerned, they've been in
25 operation for 40 years. If they are
1 blighted, then where have our city
2 inspectors been?
3 MS. GATELLI: No, it's --
4 MS. EVANS: Why would it not have
5 been closed?
6 MS. GATELLI: It's a different kind
7 of blight. It's a different kind of blight.
8 MS. EVANS: It's a different kind of
9 blight, but --
10 MS. GATELLI: An area is determined
11 blight. I'm not saying I'm not in favor of
12 Mr. Piccolino, I'm just saying that that's
13 not the whole picture.
14 MS. EVANS: No, it's not.
15 MS. GATELLI: Am I right, Attorney
16 Minora? That was determined blighted ten
17 years ago.
18 MR. MINORA: Yeah. What you're
19 referring to, I understand, is of blight
20 internally, but when there's a determination
21 that redevelopment is going to occur, the
22 neighborhood is determined to be blighted,
23 even though a particular building in that
24 blighted area might be fine, the area itself
25 being blighted gives the city through the
1 Redevelopment Authority the ability to
2 exercise eminent domain to remove the
4 MS. EVANS: I understand what you're
5 saying, but it would appear that the city is
6 operating in bad faith. The city made a
7 statement originally that the city has now
8 withdrawn and is pursuing actively the
9 termination of a business that has supported
10 this city for 40 years.
11 And I know from countless
12 conversations with not only city residents
13 but those who reside outside of the City of
14 Scranton, this is a very, very popular
15 pizzeria. And people would be very
16 disturbed to lose that business. There are
17 people who travel from outside Scranton
18 specifically to Buona Pizza, because that's
19 the pizza they enjoy and they grew up on.
20 And I don't see why the
21 redevelopment of the 500-block of Lackawanna
22 Avenue can't continue and include Buona
23 Pizza as one of its anchors.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mr. Minora, I guess
25 what I'm asking is this is, just as Mrs.
1 Evans just said, I can't understand for the
2 life of me, you know, they want businesses
3 to come in there, they want to fix the
4 facade and --
5 MS. EVANS: You have a viable
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: New businesses,
8 even though we're taking a chance, these
9 people have been here for 40 years.
10 But my question to you is this, do
11 we as a Council, if all five of us were to
12 agree, do we have any kind of power, I don't
13 want to say the force, but to influence the
14 developer and the mayor to try to work with
15 this gentleman and his family to allow them
16 to keep their business there? I don't know.
17 Are we powerless in this?
18 MS. EVANS: No. I'm saying, you
19 can't suggest that whatever pieces of
20 legislation come before City Council in the
21 future involving the development of the 500
22 block of Lackawanna Avenue, Council will --
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: Right, will vote
25 MS. EVANS: -- cordially consider in
1 the event that --
2 MS. GATELLI: I don't think there
3 will be any more. I think it's already been
5 MS. EVANS: Oh, I think there will
6 be. I think there will be much coming,
7 because it seems every business that comes
8 to this town, whether they're, you know, I
9 don't care from where they originate, they
10 have their hand out, and many of them are
11 very, very wealthy entities, but they still
12 have their hand out to the city, I want a
13 KOZ, I want a loan from OECD, either low
14 interest or no interest.
15 There are very few businesses you
16 can point to that have been coming in here
17 who came in here on their own and stood on
18 their two feet and are paying taxes.
19 And I'm not saying I don't welcome
20 business, but what I am saying is, I intend
21 to protect the businesses that we have. We
22 owe them, and I think we owe them more than
23 we owe the newcomers that we're giving a
24 free ride to.
25 MS. GATELLI: Anyone else?
1 MS. EVANS: Oh, Mrs. Gatelli, could
2 you take this and maybe ask for something to
3 be done? I forgot.
4 MS. GATELLI: The 200 block of Ash
5 Street at the rear of Matthew Avenue for
6 George Parker. The road is in deplorable
8 And also, I'd like to make a motion
9 to appoint Mrs. Evans the temporary chair
10 for community development tonight in Mrs.
11 Fanucci's absent.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
13 MS. GATELLI: All in favor.
14 MS. EVANS: Aye.
15 MR. MCGOFF: Aye.
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
17 MS. GATELLI: Aye. Opposed? It's
18 so moved. Mrs. Garvey.
19 MS. GARVEY: 5-B, FOR INTRODUCTION -
20 AN ORDINANCE - AMENDING FILE OF COUNCIL NO.
21 38, 2001, PROVIDING FOR AN INCREASE IN THE
22 VARIOUS PENSION BOARD SECRETARIES SALARIES
23 AS FOLLOWS: SECRETARY TO THE NON-UNIFORM
24 PENSION BOARD, FROM THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS
25 ($3,000.00) PER YEAR TO FOUR THOUSAND
1 DOLLARS ($4,000.00) PER YEAR; SECRETARY TO
2 COMPOSITE PENSION BOARD FROM THREE THOUSAND
3 DOLLARS ($3,000.000) PER YEAR TO FOUR
4 THOUSAND DOLLARS ($4,000.00) PER YEAR; THE
5 SECRETARY TO THE FIRE PENSION BOARD, FROM
6 THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($3,000.00) PER YEAR
7 TO FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS ($4,000.00) PER
8 YEAR; AND SECRETARY TO THE POLICE PENSION
9 BOARD, FROM THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS
10 ($3,000.00) PER YEAR TO FOUR THOUSAND
11 DOLLARS ($4,000.00) PER YEAR, SAID RAISES TO
12 BE EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2007.
13 MS. GATELLI: At this time I'll
14 entertain a motion that Item 5-B be
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
17 MR. MCGOFF: Second.
18 MS. GATELLI: On the question? All
19 those in favor.
20 MS. EVANS: Aye.
21 MR. MCGOFF: Aye.
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
23 MS. GATELLI: Aye. Opposed? The
24 ayes have it and so moved.
25 MS. GARVEY: 5-C, FOR INTRODUCTION -
1 A RESOLUTION - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND
2 OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE
3 AND ENTER INTO A LOAN AGREEMENT, AND TO
4 EXECUTE A PROMISSORY NOTE, IN THE AMOUNT OF
5 $250,000 BY AND BETWEEN THE CITY OF SCRANTON
6 AND 408 CEDAR AVE, LLC FOR ENTERPRISE ZONE
7 COMPETITIVE GRANT FUNDS.
8 MS. GATELLI: At this time I'll
9 entertain a motion that Item 5-C be
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
12 MR. MCGOFF: Second.
13 MS. GATELLI: On the question? All
14 those in favor.
15 MS. EVANS: Aye.
16 MR. MCGOFF: Aye.
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
18 MS. GATELLI: Aye. Opposed? The
19 ayes have it and so moved.
20 MS. GARVEY: Sixth order. No
21 business at this time. Seventh order. 7-A,
22 FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON
23 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT - FOR ADOPTION -
24 RESOLUTION NO. 127, 2007 - AUTHORIZING THE
25 MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS
1 FOR THE CITY OF SCRANTON TO ENTER INTO A
2 LOAN AGREEMENT AND MAKE A LOAN FROM THE
3 COMMERCIAL INDUSTRIAL LOAN PROGRAM, PROJECT
4 NO. 150.7 IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED
5 $40,000.00 TO IPANEMA GRILL INC. TO ASSIST
6 AN ELIGIBLE PROJECT.
7 MS. GATELLI: What's the
8 recommendation of the chair on community
10 MS. EVANS: As chair for the
11 committee on community development, I
12 recommend final passage of Item 7-A.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
14 MS. GATELLI: On the question? Roll
16 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
17 MS. EVANS: Yes.
18 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Fanucci. Mr.
20 MR. MCGOFF: Yes.
21 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
23 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
24 MS. GATELLI: Yes. I hereby declare
25 Item 7-A legally and lawfully adopted.
1 MS. GARVEY: 7-B, FOR CONSIDERATION
2 BY THE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS - FOR
3 ADOPTION - RESOLUTION NO. 128, 2007 -
4 AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE
5 CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE AND ENTER INTO A
6 SUPPLEMENTAL REIMBURSEMENT AGREEMENT NO.
7 040809-D WITH THE COMMONWEALTH OF
8 PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
9 REGARDING THE LACKAWANNA AVENUE BRIDGE
10 PROJECT TO ALLOW FOR AN INCREASE IN DESIGN,
11 UTILITY, RIGHT OF WAY AND CONSTRUCTION
13 MS. GATELLI: What is the
14 recommendation of the chair on public works?
15 MR. MCGOFF: As chairperson for the
16 committee on public works, I recommend final
17 passage of Item 7-B.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
19 MS. GATELLI: On the question?
20 MS. EVANS: Yes, I think we're all
21 in favor of this project, but I think the
22 questions raised earlier this evening by Mr.
23 Sbaraglia deserve a response, so, Kay, if we
24 could please send a letter to the
25 appropriate party posing those questions and
1 requesting a written response that we can
2 then pass along to Mr. Sbaraglia and all of
3 the citizens.
4 MS. GATELLI: Anyone else on the
5 question? Roll call.
6 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
7 MS. EVANS: Yes.
8 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Fanucci. Mr.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Yes.
11 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
13 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
14 MS. GATELLI: Yes. I hereby declare
15 7-B legally and lawfully adopted. Citizens
16 participation. Douglas Miller.
17 MR. MILLER: Good evening, Council.
18 Doug Miller, President of Scranton Junior
19 City Council. Mr. Minora, it is my
20 understanding that any one of us who comes
21 before this Council has a right to debate an
22 issue, and people don't think what the
23 president is doing is right, they debate.
24 Well, last week, Mr. Minora, my
25 intentions were not to be disrespectful. I
1 was simply expressing my right of free
2 speech and debate an issue of where we stand
3 as a Junior Council regarding the difference
4 between Junior Council members, who I
5 believe are a part of the government body
6 and not part of citizens participation.
7 It always was in the past, and I did
8 not mean to disrespect anyone on Council or
9 Attorney Minora. I was just simply trying
10 to get a clear understanding of our status
11 here as a Junior Council. So, I apologize
12 if I did offend anyone.
13 However, I still would ask this
14 Council to make the motion to put us on the
16 Regarding Chris Barnes, a local
17 radio disk jockey, who for the past week has
18 been making negative public comments on his
19 radio show against myself because of my
20 position as Junior Council president,
21 claiming that I disrespected Council and
22 Attorney Minora.
23 I don't feel I was disrespectful. I
24 was asking this Council a question, as if I
25 would ask my teacher a question.
1 So, I would suggest to Mr. Barnes
2 that if he does have an issue with me, to be
3 a man and act like an adult and address this
4 issue here with me, not hide behind your
5 microphone slandering people like you do
6 every day, or you can afford me the
7 opportunity to come on your show and let me
8 defend myself against your accusations.
9 Regarding my association with
10 influential people, like he stated, I do
11 associate with people in this city. I
12 associate with this Council, and I stood
13 shoulder to shoulder with Mayor Doherty
14 collecting money at the Nay Aug light show.
15 Where were you, Mr. Barnes? To think a man
16 like this wanted to serve on this Council.
17 He also stated that people write my
18 speeches and do my research. Well, Mr.
19 Barnes, I do all of my work myself. I don't
20 sit in front of a computer every day making
21 sound clips of residents in this city who
22 speak here with real problems making fun of
23 them. So, I think it's totally wrong, and I
24 suggest that he put an end to it. Thank
1 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Piccolino.
2 MR. PICCOLINO: Good evening,
3 Council. Giovanni Piccolino, partner in
4 Buona Pizza. I just want to clear up some
5 issues on this article that was in today's
6 paper for the numerous amount of phone calls
7 that we had.
8 Just some of the things in here
9 before I get to my point that I did not say
10 and that they haven't offered us anything
11 substantial, there is nothing substantial.
12 We don't want any offers, we don't want to
14 We are more than willing to work
15 with the city on any kind of remodeling of
16 our building or anything like that.
17 In reference to Coney Island, I was
18 allowed to say this by my friend Mr. and
19 Mrs. Thomas Moran, who are the owners of
20 Coney Island, that the city settled with
21 them. They have not talked to the city,
22 they have not settled anything with them.
23 That is a totally false statement. The
24 statement of we made that much money in a
25 couple months, I wish.
1 Now onto my business. We have here
2 Mr. Doherty saying he's reached out to us.
3 The only thing that he's reached out is his
4 arm to open the door so we can leave so it
5 doesn't hit us in our behind as we're
7 I challenge Mayor Doherty to come
8 here and to tell me about the offers that
9 they have on the table for us that we have
10 no idea about.
11 If he wants to come here and sit
12 with us next week and discuss anything to
13 improve the city and to help us out and
14 we'll help the city out, we're more for it.
15 Me and my cousins, Mario and Tony Piccolino
16 are all for that in developing that whole
18 So, I'm here telling him to come
19 here and you tell me about this deal, that
20 so-called 25 percent that we have no idea.
21 The only thing on the table is an
22 offer for our real estate and to leave, and
23 that's it. And we don't want to leave. We
24 love our customers, we love the city, and we
25 want to serve them for another 40 years.
1 That's it and thank you very much.
2 MS. GATELLI: Bill Jackowitz.
3 MR. JACKOWITZ: Bill Jackowitz,
4 South Scranton resident, taxpayer, retired
5 United States Air Force.
6 I would like to thank the three
7 members of City Council for voting for the
8 subpoena. I wish it was four to nothing,
9 but it wasn't.
10 The last few weeks I have been
11 thinking what to talk about at City Council.
12 I could talk about the smoking ordinance,
13 the tax increase, the excessive borrowing,
14 the distressed city status 15 years, the
15 failure to negotiate, city contracts, the
16 nepotism and favoritisms, the appointment of
17 Mr. McGoff, the lack of professionalism at
18 City Council meetings, the attempts to limit
19 citizens participation, the laughing and
20 giggling, the failure to answer questions,
21 the lack of knowledge by some City Council
22 members to answer questions, the removal of
23 citizens from meetings, police presence at
24 the meetings, the inability to get answers
25 from the mayor's office, the increase in
1 crime, no homicides, thank God, gangs,
2 although the mayor says no, nonprofits and
3 tax exempt businesses helping out the city,
4 helping the flooding victims throughout the
5 city, but then I realized all of these
6 subjects have already been talked about and
7 basically no answers have been given.
8 So, I have decided I will only speak
9 about the economy. That really is the most
10 important issue.
11 If the economy in Scranton,
12 Pennsylvania improves, that will go a long
13 way in making Scranton, Pennsylvania a
14 better city.
15 Also, I will speak about the First
16 Amendment, freedom of speech. Thank you,
17 founding fathers, and all on honorably
18 discharged Veterans, but more importantly
19 all the Veterans and their families who gave
20 their lives for all of us to meet every
21 Thursday night at City Council meetings and
22 speak for one minute, three minutes, or
23 30 seconds.
24 It is my right as an American
25 citizen. If you disagree with me, do not
1 pay attention, just sit there laugh and
2 giggle. Thank you.
3 MS. GATELLI: Andy Sbaraglia.
4 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,
5 citizen of Scranton. Fellow Scrantonians,
6 I, too, want to speak a little about the 500
7 block of Lackawanna Avenue project. As you
8 know, I spoke on it many times before.
9 We're paying for the sidewalks,
10 which we are, we're paying for the park,
11 we're paying the eight million to fix up the
12 fronts, we're going to pay to fix up the
13 inside of the building, because they're
14 looking for loans for that, and I'll tell
15 you, the reason they want Buona gone, they
16 got an office building going right over the
17 place. You got the designs. You saw them
19 This man that come up with this
20 project really didn't own the real estate,
21 only a few buildings in that project, and
22 that's where the problem came.
23 When you asked him -- remember you
24 were going to request him to come before us
25 and speak? I have never saw him. You keep
1 saying this, that, whatever, making excuses
2 for him.
3 But you gave the authority to the --
4 I guess Redevelopment Authority -- to
5 confiscate that building. You gave him the
6 loan. You already voted on that. That's
7 already done. So, that ain't going to come
8 before you again.
9 The only thing that's going to come
10 before you again may be some more people
11 that want money to borrow from you to fix
12 them buildings up further; in other words,
13 we're going to fix all these buildings.
14 I told you before, they should have
15 ripped them down. It would have been a heck
16 of a lot better for the city and we could
17 have started new.
18 Them buildings are 100 years old.
19 We live in 100-year-old houses, but nobody
20 is going to come around knocking on our door
21 saying we're going to fix them up for you
22 because they're 100-years old. That's
24 That project should never have been
25 done. Obviously you tore down better
1 buildings when you built the mall. Much
2 better buildings were torn down and much
4 All you got here is a bunch of old
5 buildings that should have been ripped down
6 20 years ago, but we didn't do it then, now
7 we're going to spend all that money to fix
8 them out of public money.
9 This man don't want to spend a dime
10 of his money. What he's going to do, I can
11 tell you what he's going to do, after all
12 this is going to do, you are going to go to
13 the bank and borrow the rest; hence,
14 whatever money we put into these projects,
15 is gone. We're never going to see it.
16 And even the money we're going TO
17 get back on the real estate, they're
18 historical. They come under a different tax
19 rules. Buona, on the other hand, was paying
20 full taxes.
21 I've been going there for many
22 years, and Buona Pizza has been really an
23 establishment that's really a corner to that
24 whole project.
25 Where you said it was all blighted,
1 well, there wasn't all blighted. There was
2 a few buildings that were blighted. There
3 was a club there, that was not blighted,
4 Buona was not Blighted. There used to be
5 some stores in there.
6 Now, the upstairs, of course, maybe
7 they weren't doing nothing because them old
8 buildings, they really didn't want to do
9 much with. They were all apartments, I
10 guess, in the old days.
11 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
12 MR. SBARAGLIA: Okay. Thank you.
13 MS. GATELLI: Okay. Thank you.
14 Ozzie Quinn.
15 MR. QUINN: Robert Ozzie Quinn,
16 President of the Taxpayers Association.
17 Last week I raised a question about the
18 misappropriation of funds from the Scranton
19 Municipal Golf Course sale to the real
20 estate line item, and I wanted to know -- I
21 sent you an E-mail, Mrs. Gatelli, about it,
22 and I wanted to know did the solicitor give
23 an opinion in regards to where those funds
24 that were, I alleged, misappropriated, are
25 misappropriated because of the fact they
1 were supposed to go for parks and
2 recreation. That was the intent of the
3 ordinance, and the ordinance is a law. I
4 don't have to tell you or the attorney.
5 The fact is, you're taking away from
6 the taxpayers by using this money to raise
7 the revenue from 2006 to 2007 for this
8 recording of deeds.
9 And I feel sorry for the real estate
10 people, I really do, but the fact is that
11 that other revenue, I don't know what it is,
12 it's probably tax money that you're using,
13 maybe you should use that to offset the
14 taxpayers, the recording of deeds, and take
15 that parks and recreation money, as the
16 intent was supposed to be in the ordinance,
17 and plug it into parks and recreation so
18 that the taxpayers can enjoy that as we're
19 supposed to do. We lost one big asset, and
20 we should receive some benefit for that.
21 Thank you very much.
22 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Mr. Quinn,
23 the only thing I could find on that is I
24 wasn't able to find anywhere in there where
25 we were locked into that.
1 Now, maybe Mrs. Evans knows, because
2 she was going to use the $3 million in her
3 budget. Did you find anything that we
4 couldn't use it?
5 MS. EVANS: I never did, no. And,
6 in fact, we were to use that, although I
7 wasn't in agreement with it at the time
8 because I was still holding out hope --
9 MS. GATELLI: Right.
10 MS. EVANS: -- that it would be
11 placed in a trust for the preservation and
12 maintenance of all city parks, but that
13 never occurred.
14 But to get back to the original
15 point here, it was to be used back in 2004
16 in its entirety, the $3 million.
17 MR. QUINN: And it's been hanging
18 around ever since. But that doesn't give
19 the Council the right to misappropriate it,
21 MS. GATELLI: No, but what we're
22 saying is it wasn't misappropriated.
23 MR. QUINN: Kay has it. Kay has the
24 minutes where I got that information from
25 and it explains every Council meeting and
1 the articles after the Council meeting.
2 MS. GATELLI: I'll have Mr. Minora
3 answer that, also, but I didn't see it and
4 Mrs. Evans didn't see it, or obviously she
5 wouldn't have used it in her budget.
6 MR. QUINN: Well, maybe not, because
7 I did the research when Kay was thankfully
8 helping me.
9 MS. GATELLI: Attorney Minora, did
10 you review that?
11 MR. MINORA: I have the documents
12 and I will take a look at them.
13 MR. QUINN: Thank you.
14 MS. GATELLI: You're welcome. Mike
16 MR. DUDEK: Mike Dudek, 608 Depot
17 Street, Scranton, PA. I'm going to try to
18 do this as fast as I can, because this man
19 here who owns Buona Pizza took me through a
20 nightmare. My nightmare was my master's
21 thesis, The History of the Scranton
22 Redevelopment Authority 1955-1959.
23 The biggest single issue it my
24 thesis was blight and how the City of
25 Scranton misused it to steal property from
1 hundreds of property owners in this city,
2 how The Scranton Times was part and parcel
3 of it.
4 In my paper, my paper was held up by
5 The University for four years because the
6 in-house counsel of The University, the
7 Houlighan Law Firm, had to check out every
8 charge I made in my paper.
9 And when they finally got done, the
10 entire American history department of that
11 school at the time, Frank Brown, Tim Skully
12 and Dr. Joseph Doherty signed off on the
13 charges that I made. And I have the only
14 thesis in that University signed off on by
15 three professors.
16 So, what's happening to this man is
17 the nightmare all over again. It's a ball
18 steal of his property using the law, because
19 and the law is there.
20 I would like to help this man with
21 his situation. I'm going to give you my
22 name and address and I'm going to do the
23 best I can to help you with it, because I've
24 walked through mine field before.
25 Okay. I had to start with that,
1 because it just occurred here. This is a
2 good reason why I also have to bring up
3 splitting this speech thing the way the
4 Council has. It's so totally
5 unconstitutional. It has to be changed.
6 I mean, just the tape of this
7 Council meeting which we'll give to the
8 American Civil Liberties Union will prove
9 why. It is -- it can't exist the way it is.
10 The reason why I came up here was
11 really I have a question for Mr. McGoff, I
12 hope you can help me with this.
13 I've been trying to place you, and I
14 was trying to think where have I seen, where
15 have I, and then it hit me. I see you every
16 summer. I think you're the official scorer
17 -- you were the official scorer for the Red
18 Baron ball games?
19 MR. MCGOFF: For the past 16 years.
20 MR. DUDEK: That's it. That's
21 where. The question I have to ask you,
22 roughly between the first Sunday after April
23 Fool's Day and the first Sunday after Labor
24 Day, that's the minor league baseball
25 season. There are at least eight or nine
1 games that are going to be played exactly at
2 the same time Scranton City Council meets,
3 so you can't be in two places at the same
5 My question to you is, where will
6 you be when Council meets at the same time
7 the games are going to be played?
8 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
9 MR. DUDEK: Will you be here or are
10 you going to be scoring the ball games?
11 MR. MCGOFF: I plan to be here.
12 MR. DUDEK: Thank you. I just want
13 to make sure that you will honor your
14 commitment to the voters. Thank you.
15 MS. GATELLI: Les Spindler.
16 MR. MCGOFF: There is someone that
17 is an assistant scorer that will take my
19 MR. SPINDLER: Good evening,
20 Council, Les Spindler. I also want to speak
21 about Buona Pizza. They've been an
22 established business in this city for
23 40 years, and the mayor wants to boot them
24 out. All he wants to do is bring in
25 businesses not to pay taxes, but just
1 Poochie and New Laundry on Spruce Street,
2 which I go by every day and I have yet to
3 see a customer in those buildings.
4 Buona has been there for 40 years.
5 Those companies will be lucky to be here for
6 four years. They'll probably be out of
7 business before this year is over.
8 This is nothing more than a
9 political move on Mayor Doherty's part
10 because Buona Pizza had the wrong sign on
11 their building during the election.
12 Next, Mrs. Gatelli I was going to
13 ask Mrs. Fanucci this question, but she's
14 not here. I've asked it before, and I know
15 you would know about this.
16 Could we possibly send a letter to
17 PEL asking why they would not allow Mayor
18 Connors to have a public safety director and
19 now they have an assistant public safety
20 director which I don't think we need?
21 MS. GATELLI: Yeah, we'll send that
23 MR. SPINDLER: I don't think I'm
24 wrong on this, and you might be able to back
25 me up, Mrs. Gatelli, but instead of a public
1 -- an assistant public safety director, like
2 this Mark Seitzinger, back under the Connors
3 Administration, the police department used
4 to go around taking numbers of blighted
5 areas down and giving them to Mr. Fiorini;
6 is that correct?
7 MS. GATELLI: I don't know that
9 MR. SPINDLER: I have good
10 information that that's true.
11 MS. GATELLI: Yeah. The only thing
12 I remember is when I was -- when I had Mr.
13 Fiorini's position, I did have a police
14 officer once a week that came with me and
15 did litter, because they can write a litter
16 citation on the spot, but I don't know about
17 Mr. Fiorini.
18 MR. SPINDLER: Okay. Now we're
19 paying a man approximately $48,000 a year, I
20 think, to say, Oh, there's a blighted house,
21 let's tear it down. We never had one
22 before. Could you just send that letter,
24 MS. GATELLI: Uh-huh.
25 MR. SPINDLER: The next thing, I
1 read in the paper last week where Carbondale
2 is introducing a cell phone ban while
3 driving in a car, and I think this Council
4 should follow their lead and do the same
5 thing, and I think it's a dangerous
6 situation. I always see people driving
7 around n this city not paying attention, and
8 I think it's a great idea.
9 Lastly, is there any news about the
10 dangerous dog legislation which I brought
11 up, like, last summer? Is there any news on
12 that? Nothing?
13 MS. GATELLI: Not that I'm aware of.
14 The ordinance that I read that we have,
15 there seemed to be provisions in there to
16 cite the owners.
17 MR. SPINDLER: Okay.
18 MS. GATELLI: I don't know if
19 they're citing them or not, but the
20 provision is there.
21 MR. SPINDLER: I just have a comment
22 for Mr. McGoff. Mr. McGoff, you said you
23 were offended by something Mrs. Krake said,
24 well, there's an old saying, if you can't
25 take the heat, get out of the kitchen.
1 Thank you.
2 MS. GATELLI: Just in defense of
3 that, I know that the ruling that we got
4 from Attorney Mazzoni and our own rules
5 state that there should be no name calling,
6 so I would ask that you refrain from calling
7 people a name. It is in the rules.
8 You can disagree with us. You know,
9 granted everybody is not going to do what
10 people in this audience want, and please
11 refrain from calling anyone any names. Tom
13 MR. UNGVARSKY: Good evening, City
14 Council. I'm Tom Ungvarsky. I am a member
15 of The Scranton-Lackawanna County Taxpayers.
16 At our meeting on Tuesday night, I
17 wanted to bring up how people could go about
18 collecting the EMS Tax, but I found out that
19 I had more questions than I had answers for.
20 And since you people passed the ordinance,
21 perhaps you can be answer them for me.
22 If a retired person collecting
23 Social Security earns $7,000, and his Social
24 Security check puts him over the $12,000, is
25 he eligible?
1 MS. EVANS: Uh-huh.
2 MS. GATELLI: To be taxed?
3 MS. EVANS: Yes.
4 MR. UNGVARSKY: To get his refund.
5 MS. GATELLI: Restate that again.
6 MR. UNGVARSKY: If a person on
7 Social Security --
8 MS. GATELLI: Right. And how much
9 Social Security does he make?
10 MR. UNGVARSKY: Well, let's say he
11 makes $7,000 in Social Security and $70000
12 in labor, is he eligible?
13 MS. GATELLI: Yes, now he has to pay
14 if you make over $12,000; however --
15 MR. UNGVARSKY: Because he collects
16 Social Security?
17 MS. GATELLI: They do count the
18 Social Security.
19 MR. UNGVARSKY: That doesn't seem
20 reasonable to me.
21 MS. GATELLI: No, it doesn't.
22 MR. UNGVARSKY: Okay. Suppose
23 someone makes $9,000 and they collect $1,000
24 or $2,000 in dividends and interest, are
25 they eligible for a refund?
1 MS. GATELLI: Well, they wouldn't
2 even pay it, because nine and --
3 MR. UNGVARSKY: They're over $12,00.
4 MS. GATELLI: Oh, you said nine and
5 two, so that would only be eleven and they
6 wouldn't have to pay.
7 MR. UNGVARSKY: Nine and four,
8 that's thirteen.
9 MS. GATELLI: I think they'd have to
11 MR. UNGVARSKY: Because they collect
12 dividends and interest on --
13 MS. GATELLI: I'm not sure. I'd
14 have to ask Kenny McDowell. I don't know
15 about dividends. I'm not sure about that
17 MR. UNGVARSKY: How about someone
18 who's on Workman's Compensation and goes
19 over the $12,000?
20 MS. GATELLI: Well, I don't believe
21 that counted. I --
22 MR. UNGVARSKY: I think it is.
23 According to the pamphlet I got from them,
24 it is.
25 MS. GATELLI: The state legislators
1 are supposed to this year increase it to
3 MR. UNGVARSKY: Well, I don't think
4 this rule, this was too well thought over,
5 and I think all of those should be
6 eliminated and just what they earn in
8 There are many people, many older
9 people, who have to have a job to supplement
10 their Social Security, and now they're
11 getting penalized because they are
12 collecting this Social Security.
13 MS. GATELLI: However, with this
14 tax, we are also getting the money from the
15 people that don't live in Scranton.
16 MR. UNGVARSKY: We're not even
17 talking about people who don't live in
18 Scranton, we're talking about people --
19 MS. GATELLI: Well, there's a large
20 number of commuters that are now paying that
21 tax that were paying $10.
22 MR. UNGVARSKY: That's fine, however
24 MS. GATELLI: So, there are some
25 assets to it, also.
1 MR. UNGVARSKY: That's fine. That's
2 fine. I'm glad we're collecting, but that's
3 not helping even the people from out of town
5 MR. MINORA: That's three minutes.
6 MR. UNGVARSKY: -- who are making
7 $7,000 wages and $7,000 Social Security.
8 MS. GATELLI: I understand that.
9 MR. UNGVARSKY: I thank you.
10 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Kay, could
11 you send just a reminder to Kenny Smith and
12 Shimkus and Mellow to please expedite that,
13 increasing that to $20,000? I know the
14 governor wanted to do it late in November,
15 but he thought it was too late for the
16 municipalities to be able to change it.
17 So, please encourage them to do
18 that, and I think they were also going to do
19 it so they would collect a dollar a week,
20 which would be much more palatable for
21 people to it pay a dollar a week. So, send
22 that on behalf of all of Council. I think
23 everyone would be in agreement here.
24 MS. EVANS: Oh, yes.
25 MS. GATELLI: Okay. Ron Elman.
1 MR. ELMAN: Before I start, I want
2 to tell Mr. Miller that Chris Barnes seems
3 to have attacked everybody, and he's just a
4 complete failure working for a last-rate
5 radio station with no future whatsoever.
6 I doubt if they have 200 listeners,
7 because I have a Cadillac, and I can't pick
8 it up in town, you know.
9 Well, I'm back and I brought a
10 hammer to get your attention this time. I
11 stated last week that those seats are no
12 place for friendship and loyalty, and that
13 seems like what it's been turned into.
14 The three of you just keep looking
15 away at the problems instead of looking at
16 them. The city is not in good shape, it's
18 I've talked to people that there's
19 like a thousand foreclosures in the paper.
20 Evidently nobody looks at the paper around
22 Ozzie Quinn said a couple of weeks
23 ago, over 200 people in the city this year
24 filed for bankruptcy that own homes. You
25 know, this is heartbreaking.
1 I had a little lady phone me from
2 one of the high-rises last Friday morning,
3 and she said exactly what I was talking
4 about happened to her. She got three
5 children and all of them moved out of town,
6 I don't know if they were married or what,
7 she said none of them live here, and she
8 couldn't ask them no longer to support her
9 house and she sold her house for less than
10 half of what she had to pay the insurance,
11 you know. She didn't tell me facts.
12 But she planned to die in the house,
13 just like I do, but it's just getting
14 impossible with utilities and all.
15 And you three just are out of touch
16 with the people. You keep voting -- letting
17 the mayor have his way.
18 Why doesn't the mayor come down here
19 and the commissioners or somebody and tell
20 us how we're going to pay this $600 million
22 You know, these people will be
23 voting, they're still be KOZ properties.
24 They're parasites on us. We don't need the
25 money in 15 years, we need it right now, and
1 they're not doing any good.
2 Then you're forcing businesses out
3 of town. My son was forced out of town by
4 the taxes on the property at 711 Wyoming
5 between his note every month and the taxes
6 and the insurance, he couldn't afford it.
7 And when we started years ago, it wasn't any
9 You know, people are just sick and
10 tired of listening about KOZ bars. Every
11 bar is in a KOZ place.
12 They're tired of hearing about Nay
13 Aug. I've been going to Nay Aug for 20 or
14 30 years, and it doesn't look no different
15 to me. With all the money spent on it, it
16 ought to rival the San Diego Zoo.
17 I got one question that I would like
18 to ask somebody on Council. When a house
19 burns down that's insured --
20 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
21 MR. ELMAN: Maybe I ought to ask
22 you. If a house that's insured burns down,
23 no, I don't know who to -- why isn't the
24 insurance company responsible for raising
1 MR. MINORA: I would have to read
2 the policy, to be honest with you, maybe
3 they are.
4 MS. GATELLI: We will find that out
5 for you, Mr. Elman.
6 MR. ELMAN: Pardon?
7 MS. GATELLI: We'll find that out of
9 MR. ELMAN: No, I was just
10 wondering. The house on Parker Street just
11 a block away that burned a couple of years
12 ago, I was there that night, and the man was
13 saying, Boy, I'm glad I got good insurance,
14 you know, and all this and nobody was hurt,
15 just in conversation, and the house never
16 been worked on. There's crap all over the
17 yard and stuff.
18 MS. GATELLI: We'll check that out
19 for you. Thank you, Lee Morgan.
20 MR. MORGAN: Good evening, Council.
21 There's been some discussion here about the
22 golf course sale proceeds, and I'd just like
23 to say that that issue went to court, I
24 think Judge Corbett heard that case. That
25 money was supposed to be placed in trust,
1 and only the interest was supposed to be
2 used from that, and the principal was never
3 to be touched.
4 Now, my question is, and I think Mr.
5 Minora is an Assistant District Attorney, a
6 prosecutor, what happens when somebody
7 misuses a trust? That's my question. Maybe
8 your solicitor can answer that question for
9 you, because I think that's what's been done
10 here and it's a violation of the law.
11 And since this gentleman is a
12 prosecutor, he must know what happens when
13 you do something of that nature.
14 The other thing I have here is, and
15 you can answer if you care to after I leave
16 the podium, you may not want to answer at
17 this point, but my other thing is this, you
18 know, Council is beating this thing about
19 Buona Pizza, and I'd like to say, why
20 doesn't Council join Buona Pizza in their
21 suit on behalf of the owner of the business
22 against the city? So, in other words, what
23 Council does is it backs the property owner.
24 The other thing is, why doesn't
25 Council refuse to transfer money for the
1 mayor until he answers some questions?
2 The other thing is, why don't we
3 just subpoena the mayor and bring him in
4 here and ask him some questions in regards
5 to the Buona property?
6 Because evidently we're standing
7 here talking about a lot of things, and I
8 think it's time -- you know, I really have
9 to say that, you know, the tax group is very
10 happy that the power of subpoena is finally
11 being used, we've discussed it for a very
12 long time at the tax group, even when you
13 were a member, Mrs. Gatelli, and, you know,
14 we'd like you to come in and join us. We
15 have no animosity towards you. All Council
16 is welcome.
17 And we would just like to say that,
18 you know, we really appreciate that the
19 power of subpoena has been finally used.
20 It's been a tool that's been left unused for
21 too long, and we really do appreciate it,
22 and we hope that you are -- that you
23 continue forward because you can turn the
24 city around.
25 But I would like you to think about
1 that and join Mr. Buona or the gentleman
2 you're talking about who owns Buona Pizza,
3 join him in his suit. Council can do that,
4 Council can subpoena the mayor, Council can
5 do a lot of things.
6 You can also use your positions as
7 Council people to come forward and protect
8 that business, because that's why you're
9 seated here. You're leaders of the
11 The mayor may be the mayor, but
12 you're Council people and you're also
13 important, and we look to you to answer some
14 of the questions we have.
15 We don't want to come up here and
16 browbeat Council. Like I said now, we
17 appreciate the power of subpoena. We
18 approve of a lot of things you do, and we
19 expect an awful lot of every one of you.
20 And some people may feel they're
21 being picked on, but we disagree with some
22 of the things you do. And that's American
23 to come forward and speak about what you
24 believe. Thank you.
25 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Would
1 anyone else care to address Council?
2 MR. DAVIS: I wasn't sure I would be
3 able to speak this evening, and the main
4 reason why I came was to let people know
5 that James Williams' funeral will be at ten
6 o'clock tomorrow morning at the Bethel AME
7 Church. That's at 708 North Washington
8 Avenue at 10 a.m. Thank you for bringing up
9 his name, thank you for using his memory.
10 He was a leader in our community, he
11 really was, I mean, in the overall community
12 of Scranton in a lot of different ways.
13 There's a lot of things that he did that
14 nobody ever knew about.
15 He protected a lot of people from
16 being stupid that we don't know about, and
17 I'm going to miss him as a buddy, I'm going
18 to miss him as a brother, because he was one
19 of the brothers in the community. But you
20 had already brought up his name before I
21 even got here, and I thank you for that.
22 This system that we have now of
23 coming before you twice as adversed to one,
24 I think it -- it's like the lines on the
25 street out here that never get painted.
1 I keep saying the kids and the
2 senior citizens need the lines, but you keep
3 saying, It's going to be done, and it
4 doesn't get done.
5 I saw an old lady the other day, I'm
6 old, too, but she was older than I was, she
7 was trying to get across Washington Avenue
8 and the light changed on her and the car
9 started to come around. She didn't know if
10 the car was going to stop or not. But I'm
11 just saying, if she had the line to be
12 within, she would have felt more secure.
13 We should do something about that
14 before -- the last time you told me after
15 March 17th it was, St. Patrick's Day, that's
16 the last time we were going at this, right?
17 And they gave us all kinds of reasons why
18 they were not going to paint the lines.
19 MS. GATELLI: They'll paint them
20 that day, Jim.
21 MR. DAVIS: Excuse me. I need them
22 before then.
23 MS. GATELLI: I know. I was making
24 a joke.
25 MR. DAVIS: This is not funny to me.
1 It really isn't. It's not a joking matter.
2 MS. GATELLI: No, I know that.
3 MR. DAVIS: Buona Pizza might be a
4 joking matter to you or to some people, but
5 it's not a joking matter to us who have lost
6 our homes. Seriously, this is not a joking
8 When you see a person put 40 years
9 into a business then have it snatched away
10 from then because they want it for something
11 else. Who are they? The University of
12 Scranton was one, Keystone Junior College
13 was another. I don't understand this. I
14 don't understand why we keep letting --
15 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
16 MR. DAVIS: -- the powers that be
17 keep taking away from the smaller man and
18 destroying them. Because he doesn't want to
19 come back to Scranton.
20 MS. GATELLI: Okay. Thank you, Mr.
22 MR. DAVIS: Thank you.
23 MS. WILLIAMS: Good evening, City
24 Council. Joanne Williams, homeowner and
1 I haven't been here in a while, but
2 I do watch the Council meetings weekly, and
3 I've become appalled at statements made by
4 some of the weekly speakers that all the
5 taxpayers agree with them. And that's not
7 I think Mayor Doherty has done an
8 outstanding job with the city, as you all
9 know I think that.
10 Also, looking at this young Junior
11 Council here, I'd just like to say a few
12 things to you people.
13 I love this city. My grandparents
14 sacrificed to pay higher taxes at one time,
15 my parents sacrificed to do it, too, and I
16 will sacrifice to do it for you. And if you
17 love this city and you see the growth that
18 has taken place here in Mayor Doherty's
19 administration, that's all you have to look
21 They talk about Nay Aug Park,
22 nothing has changed up there. Let's think
23 back to before Mayor Doherty was mayor, what
24 did that park look like? Now take a look at
25 it now.
1 We live in a great city in a great
2 time, and you have to back your city. The
3 mayor was elected by the people, and so was
4 the Council elected by the people.
5 And I just don't want you guys as
6 young students and children to get the wrong
7 idea of the negativity. You need to look at
8 the whole picture.
9 That's all I wanted to get across.
10 And just to say once more, I think you're
11 doing a great job, Mrs. Gatelli, I really
13 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
14 MS. WILLIAMS: And I know you're
15 your own person. I know you think on your
16 own and you do what's best for the city, as
17 well as the rest of the Council.
18 And one more time, I'm very proud
19 that we're proceeding ahead in the city with
20 Mayor Doherty and this administration.
21 Thank you.
22 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
23 MS. SHUMAKER: Marie Shumaker. I
24 have a number of hodgepodge of items
25 tonight, but first I would like to
1 congratulate Janet and Dave Evans on their
2 new arrival, and then I would like to thank
3 you all for voting to subpoena the financial
4 records. Maybe I'll finally get some
5 answers as to what has been in the capital
6 budget. And I personally volunteer to help
7 sort through any papers at any time on their
9 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
10 MS. SHUMAKER: Now, first a couple
11 of budget questions. The revenue in the
12 budget for this year for sign permits has
13 not increased from last year, yet I keep
14 hearing about all this development and how
15 all these businesses are coming into the
16 city. Those two things don't compute.
17 So which is it? Are we not getting
18 new businesses or are we not collecting the
19 sign permit monies?
20 The advance in the budget from the
21 Scranton Housing Authority of $1.2 million,
22 what is an advance? Is it really a loan
23 from the Scranton Housing Authority made to
24 the city or is it a payment in lieu of
1 And if that authority makes payments
2 in lieu of taxes, why doesn't the parking
3 authority, which -- and other authorities
4 make similar payments in lieu of taxes?
5 In the budget, again, I see nothing
6 in the budget for the repayment of the
7 amount owed to American Water, which I
8 believe is, like, $5.5 million.
9 From that, I implied that the city
10 plans to allow the interest of some $700 a
11 day to accrue for another entire year. I
12 think that's unacceptable.
13 And then next I would ask again that
14 you ask the state to replace the
15 Pennsylvania Economy League. I think
16 they've been a dismal failure and certainly
17 somebody else should be given an opportunity
18 to do better.
19 A couple of old items, the mini-mart
20 at Meadow Avenue and River Street is about
21 to reopen, and I don't believe that sign
22 that was talked about about no left turn has
23 been put up. So, that still needs action.
24 And then on River Street just before
25 you get onto the 81 South, a while back a
1 car went over that cliff, and when they
2 dragged it out, there's a big hole, and
3 every time it rains or something, that hole
4 is getting bigger and it's getting
6 And I know kids do walk by there,
7 and I think somebody, I don't know if that's
8 state or if it's city, but somebody needs to
9 put up some horses or a permanent fix,
10 because it's getting more and more
11 treacherous by the day.
12 MS. GATELLI: Is it on the Meadow
13 Avenue side?
14 MS. SHUMAKER: Negative. It's on
15 River Street just before you -- just before
16 you get onto --
17 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
18 MS. GATELLI: Just before you get
19 onto 81. Okay.
20 MS. SHUMAKER: See you next week.
21 MS. GATELLI: Mr. McGoff, you're
22 familiar with that. You can see what you
23 can do about it, okay?
24 MR. MCGOFF: Was there at one time a
25 proposal to put a light?
1 MS. GATELLI: Oh, yeah. It's
3 MR. MCGOFF: That's been going
5 MS. GATELLI: It's coming.
6 MR. MCGOFF: I go through that
7 intersection every day, so I'm --
8 MS. GATELLI: That study is
9 complete, so I don't know what the holdup
11 MR. GERVASI: Good evening, City
12 Council. My name is Dave Gervasi, taxpayer,
13 resident. Just a couple of observations
15 Mr. McGoff, I'm sorry, I hope I
16 don't hurt your feelings, but I cannot
17 understand for the life of me why you would
18 not want the finance chair, your colleague,
19 to have access to all information of the
20 City of Scranton. I understand what you
21 said, but I don't know.
22 I want to make one clarification. A
23 few weeks ago, I wasn't here last week, but
24 a few weeks ago I made a statement about 38
25 firefighters being possibly laid off, the
1 mayor's own words, and I think some people
2 in the audience may have misconstrued what I
3 said, and I want to, with all due respect
4 and fairness to the mayor, the mayor did not
5 cut 38 firefighter positions from the
6 budget. That's his intent if he wins the
7 Court case, which I wouldn't bank my house
8 on it if I was him.
9 But that's his intention to do it,
10 but he did not cut 38 firefighters from the
11 budget. I just want to make that clear and
12 be fair to him.
13 Mrs. Evans has been forever trying
14 to get these financial answers, and maybe I
15 will remind you of why the taxes may have
16 been increased. Just a few things I jotted
17 down, because I was thinking -- I was
18 contemplating them myself.
19 Like, when the mayor paid $1.5
20 million for the hole in the ground where the
21 Casey Garage is now, if he waited a few
22 months, the city could have gotten it back
23 for nothing, or maybe the $1 million in
24 legal fees for all the arbitration losses
25 that he spent on his lawyers, or maybe the
1 $5 million that he lost in the American
2 Water Company arbitration, or maybe the $3.2
3 million in new hires and raises for his
4 middle management and department heads,
5 maybe the increases in health care costs,
6 because the city was so uncooperative with
7 the health care costs containment committee
8 over the years, maybe the $1 million we
9 spent on the bond rating last year to get a
10 better rate so we can borrow more money at a
11 better rate, and then I guess we lost that
12 million, because we lost the bond rating
13 because we borrowed too much money,
14 according to Wall Street, you can't make
15 this stuff up, or maybe the millions of
16 dollars in no-bid contracts or taking high
17 bidders at Nay Aug Park for park
18 improvements, or maybe the $1 million in
19 relocation fees for Southern Union, who
20 didn't relocate.
21 But one thing I want to assure you
22 is the one thing that didn't not raise your
23 taxes was raises for city workers, because
24 we didn't receive any. So, you can't blame
1 And in closing, I just want to say
2 that it's really nice to see Ms. O'Malley
3 and that gentleman, I'm sorry, I don't know
4 your name from Channel 61 here. It seems
5 like they've been getting kicked around
6 again lately. And I want to thank Mr.
7 Courtright for taking point on that entire
8 issue, because finally for saving them and
9 keeping them here. I want to thank you for
10 allowing them to be here.
11 MS. EVANS: And, Mr. Gervasi, that
12 young man is Jackson Lockheed, and we owe
13 him a lot of gratitude, too. He's
14 volunteering. He came in as a Junior
15 Council member, and look at what he's done.
16 I think he's joined Channel 61 on us.
17 MR. GERVASI: Well, it's a little
18 crowded over there --
19 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
20 MR. GERVASI: -- and I want to thank
21 all the fine people from Channel 61 for
22 persevering when they get kicked around this
23 building, and I want to thank them for being
24 here, because this is the only -- only media
25 that actually gets truth out. Thank you.
1 MS. GATELLI: You're welcome.
2 MS. KRAKE: Good evening again, City
3 Council. My name is Nancy Krake. And if
4 all those facts that Mr. Gervasi brought to
5 your attention aren't enough to scare you
6 into finding out exactly what this mayor has
7 been doing for the past five years, how
8 about his 25 percent tax increase and his
9 promise to double your taxes within the next
10 three years?
11 Add that to the fact that he's
12 already mortgaged us well into the future
13 and now wants us to pay on a daily basis an
14 increased real estate tax, which is the tax
15 we pay on our homes every year.
16 And that affects everyone, people
17 that have no way of getting an increased
18 salary every year.
19 I at least possibly have a chance,
20 maybe with a new mayor of getting a cost of
21 living raise, but there are many retirees
22 who are forced to pay this increased tax,
23 when this Council could have voted for Mrs.
24 Evans' budget, as did Mr. Courtright, that
25 did not increase their real estate tax.
1 And I would also like to say that
2 this Council can try and stop us from
3 speaking the truth, but when someone is in a
4 position of power or authority and they
5 abuse that power, people can draw the
6 parallels between that person here and the
7 corresponding behavior of historical figures
8 they represent. Thank you.
9 MR. ANCHERANI: Nelson Ancherani,
10 citizen, resident, taxpayer, city employee,
11 and financial secretary of the FOP, First
12 Amendment Rights.
13 I want to thank Mr. Courtright for
14 his interest in keeping Channel 61 live in
15 the Council chambers and thanking him for
16 fighting to keep it going.
17 I wish to thank the three
18 Councilpersons, Ms. Fanucci, Ms. Gatelli and
19 Mr. McGoff for passing a $10 million loan
20 last year, two TAN notes totalling
21 $14,500,000, and for helping to bring our
22 long-term debt over the next 28 years to
23 approximately $300 million.
24 This debt is going to be around for
25 28 years and will affect a lot of people's
2 This brings me to my thanks to the
3 same three Councilpersons for the 25 percent
4 increase in my city taxes, along with all
5 the taxpayers.
6 This may not seem like much to those
7 Councilpersons, but to a senior citizen on a
8 fixed income, it will be disastrous,
9 especially given the fact that for the next
10 two years, there will be 25 percent city tax
11 increases. It's unknown after that,
12 probably the same 25 percent year after
14 At any rate, at that rate taking the
15 high end of the average residential bill, it
16 will be $128 this year added to an average
17 $512 city real estate bill.
18 At the end of the third year of the
19 25 percent increase, cumulatively it will be
20 just shy of 100 percent, 100 percent
21 increase. We will be paying double the 512.
22 It's going to cripple our senior
23 citizens or anyone on a fixed income.
24 People will be losing their homes faster
25 than the Coor's Train passing through a
1 football stadium. Again, thank you for your
2 concern for those people.
3 I want to say that this city is
4 still not paying our retired -- or our
5 returned soldiers that served in Iraq the
6 money to bring their pay to city base pay.
7 It would be a matter of approximately
8 $20,000 to make them whole, but yet it
9 appears that that our soldiers aren't worth
11 We can build a $700,000 green fish
12 pond, pay thousands for flower pots,
13 hundreds of thousands for Christmas lights
14 and millions for improvements to Nay Aug,
15 and even $50,000 a year to the zoo so
16 monkeys can watch TV, and I almost forgot
17 about the $50,000 to the Everhart Museum,
18 and we can't give approximately $20,000 to
19 those soldiers. That's shameful.
20 I'm again going to ask about the
21 TANS included in the revenue and expenditure
22 sides of the budget. When you look at the
23 pie chart graphs for revenue and
24 expenditures in that budget, it says
25 excluding TANS, yet they're in that budget.
1 And this may sound stupid, but, Mr.
2 Courtright --
3 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
4 MR. ANCHERANI: -- the juvenile unit
5 still needs a copying machine, since
6 February of last year. Maybe you can help
7 us out. Thank you.
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: I'll try.
9 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Just for
10 the record, you're talking about tax
11 increases for next year and the year after,
12 and I don't recall voting on the budget for
13 next year yet, so I don't know where you're
14 getting those figures from, but -- well,
15 I'll tell you, and I don't want to talk to
16 the audience, but that has to go through
17 City Council again next year if they want
18 another tax increase. That's just not
20 So, you can say it, but that doesn't
21 mean it's going to be true. Anyone else?
22 Motion to adjourn.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
24 MS. EVANS: Second.
25 MS. GATELLI: All in favor.
1 MS. EVANS: Aye.
2 MR. MCGOFF: Aye.
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
4 MS. GATELLI: Aye. Thank you.
1 C E R T I F I C A T E
3 I hereby certify that the proceedings and
4 evidence are contained fully and accurately in the
5 notes taken by me on the hearing of the above cause and
6 that this copy is a correct transcript of the same
7 to the best of my ability.
LISA M. GRAFF, RMR
11 Official Court Reporter