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1 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING

2 PUBLIC HEARING

3 FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 123, 2007 -

4 AN ORDINANCE - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER

5 APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS OF THE CITY OF SCRANTON TO

6 TAKE ALL NECESSARY ACTIONS TO IMPLEMENT THE

7 CONSOLIDATED SUBMISSION FOR COMMUNITY PLANNING

8 AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS TO BE FUNDED UNDER THE

9 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG) PROGRAM,

10 HOME INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP (HOME) PROGRAM AND

11 EMERGENCY SHELTER GRANT (ESG) PROGRAM.

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14 HELD:

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16 Tuesday, September 25, 2007

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18 LOCATION:

19 Council Chambers

20 Scranton City Hall

21 340 North Washington Avenue

22 Scranton, Pennsylvania

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25 CATHENE S. NARDOZZI- COURT REPORTER
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2 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:

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MS. JUDY GATELLI, PRESIDENT
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5 MS. JANET E. EVANS

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MS. SHERRY FANUCCI
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8 MR. ROBERT MCGOFF

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MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT
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11 MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK

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MS. SUE MAGNOTTA, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
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14 MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR

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1 MS. GATELLI: I'd like to call the

2 public hearing to order. Roll call.

3 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Evans.

4 MRS. EVANS: Here.

5 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Fanucci.

6 MS. FANUCCI: Here.

7 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. McGoff.

8 MR. MCGOFF: Here.

9 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. Courtright.

10 MR. COURTRIGHT: Here.

11 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Gatelli.

12 MS. GATELLI: Here. The purpose of

13 the said public hearing is to hear testimony

14 and discuss the following, File of Council

15 No. 123, 2007 -- AN ORDINANCE - AUTHORIZING

16 THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS OF

17 THE CITY OF SCRANTON TO TAKE ALL NECESSARY

18 ACTIONS TO IMPLEMENT THE CONSOLIDATED

19 SUBMISSION FOR COMMUNITY PLANNING AND

20 DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS TO BE FUNDED UNDER THE

21 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG)

22 PROGRAM, HOME INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP (HOME)

23 PROGRAM AND EMERGENCY SHELTER GRANT (ESG)

24 PROGRAM. And the first speaker is Peg

25 Ruddy.
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1 MS. RUDDY: Good evening, city

2 council members, and thank you for this

3 opportunity. My name is Peg Ruddy and I'm

4 the executive director of the Women's

5 Resource Center. The Women's Resource

6 Center is a Scranton based private nonprofit

7 organization serving adults, teens and

8 children who are victims of domestic

9 violence and sexual abuse. This evening I'm

10 here to provide council with information

11 about two grant applications we have

12 submitted to OECD for our work.

13 First, the Women's Resource Center

14 is requesting $32,570 in 2008 emergency

15 shelter grant dollars to operate our shelter

16 for battered woman. The Women's Resource

17 Center and Domestic Violence Safe House

18 provides refuge for adult and child victims,

19 particularly woman and children, who are

20 being battered in their home. Our program

21 is a life-saving service for many victims of

22 domestic violation who are forced to flee

23 their own homes because of physical and

24 sexual abuse. The program enables women to

25 take the necessary time in a safe and
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1 supportive environment to make choices about

2 their future and to take the necessary steps

3 to carry them out. The safe house functions

4 both as an around the clock emergency

5 shelter, we take in women and children

6 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We

7 provide for arranging for medical care,

8 transportation, legal advocacy, civil

9 representation, economic advocacy and

10 justice. We transport women from Scranton

11 police stations and Scranton hospitals to

12 our facility and we provide regular

13 counseling, case management, food, and

14 clothing to anyone who is in need of our

15 services. Women's Resource Center is the

16 only emergency shelter of it's kind in the

17 greater Scranton area.

18 Second, the Women's Resource Center

19 has submitted an application for 2008

20 Community Block Grant Funds. As you know,

21 domestic violence is a crime of epidemic

22 proportions and, unfortunately, Scranton and

23 of Lackawanna County are not exempt nor are

24 their residents from the social problem. In

25 fact, during the past 25 years the Women's
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1 Resource Center has provided housing to over

2 3,000 of our residents in our emergency safe

3 house programming. Our program reduces the

4 risk of future violation and we help women

5 and children seek out the justice and safety

6 that they deserve. Unfortunately, over the

7 last couple of years we have witnessed two

8 disturbing trends, one is just a continuing

9 growth in the number of women and children

10 seeking emergency shelter services. Over

11 the past three years we have watched those

12 numbers go up 15 percent each year and as a

13 really disturbing trend, and I have been

14 with the organization for those 25 years, we

15 have had to turn away women and children

16 because we had no beds.

17 Second trend that we are witnessing

18 is the women and children that come and stay

19 with us have to stay longer. It used to be

20 that it took about 13 days in our shelter

21 before they could have a place what they

22 needed to move on, now we are up to 45 days.

23 So, you can see with those number of program

24 participants as well as the really high

25 demand for services it really puts a lot of
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1 wear and tear on our building and it also

2 forces us to look at having to expand our

3 project.

4 So, the Women's Resource Center has

5 submitted application to the Community

6 Development Block Grant Funds to achieve the

7 following goals:

8 Number one, we will preserve our

9 120-year old building. We will increase our

10 capacity to house low income to moderate

11 income victims of domestic violence. We are

12 going to modernize our current living

13 facility by renovating the living room, the

14 dining room, the kitchen. We have to

15 replace a very old roof. We are going to

16 enhance our security system. We are going

17 to permanently acquire an adjacent property

18 to our building so that we can expand our

19 project, and we will continue to provide

20 safe housing for homeless, low income and

21 moderate income adults and children from our

22 area who are victims of violence in their

23 home. I appreciate council's support of our

24 project as well as Mayor Doherty's and I

25 look forward to the successful
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1 implementation of this work. Thank you.

2 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Jean

3 Decker.

4 MS. DECKER: Hi. My name is Jean and

5 I'm a survivor of domestic violence. I

6 wanted to be here today to support the

7 funding for the Women's Resource Center Safe

8 House Preservation and Carriage House

9 Project. As a survivor, my children and I

10 have participated in and benefited from the

11 various programs and services at the Women's

12 Resource Center. Through the work that

13 continues there I have been empowered to

14 rise above circumstances which were both

15 devastating and life altering. With the

16 support of the Women's Resource Center, it's

17 advocates and attorneys I was able to change

18 my life and the lives of my children to be

19 free of violence. The support and care I

20 have received at the Women's Resource Center

21 has inspired me to want to be part of the

22 work at the center. I returned to college

23 and am now completing an internship at the

24 Women's Resource Center and will receive my

25 bachelor's of social work degree from
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1 Marywood University May of 2008. I want you

2 to know, though, I'm only one story of many,

3 of victims transitioning into survivorship

4 because of the work that goes on at the

5 Women's Resource Center. Being at the

6 center as an intern I have a different

7 perspective of the work that's being done

8 and I'm grateful for the opportunity to show

9 support for funding that will ensure upkeep

10 and expansion of the physical structures

11 that house much more than program and

12 services, the buildings I'm talking to you

13 about tonight house hope and vision for

14 women and children in the future. Thank you

15 for your time.

16 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Ozzie

17 Quinn.

18 MR. QUINN: Do you have a time limit

19 on this?

20 MS. GATELLI: Why, are you going to

21 go to 6:30?

22 MR. QUINN: No, I just wanted to

23 know.

24 MS. GATELLI: As long as you really

25 -- I think everybody keeps it under five
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1 minutes or so.

2 MR. QUINN: Ozzie Quinn, President

3 of The Scranton Lackawanna County Taxpayers'

4 and Citizens' Association. I see where the

5 CDBG program, the total is going to be

6 $4,587,000. Now, the housing in the City of

7 Scranton built before and prior to 1939 is

8 65.3 percent, that's an old housing stat.

9 It was previously higher than that, okay?

10 That goes to show you that we are knocking

11 down a lot of housing and we are not

12 rehabilitating enough of it.

13 Now, I'm looking down and there is

14 $200,000, not the CDBG Program for say even

15 though it's part of the entire program it's

16 in under the HOME Program. Now, if you look

17 at the administration $600,000 and below the

18 HOME is $64,000 that's a lot of money.

19 That's a lot of money. $200,000 of housing

20 rehabilitation money is going no where and

21 last year I understand they rehabbed seven

22 houses in the City of Scranton. Everyone

23 knows your neighborhoods and if you have

24 been into the lower and moderate income

25 parts of your neighborhoods and it's a
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1 shame, the housing needs rehabilitation, the

2 infrastructure is unbelievable. The roads

3 are gone to pot, and as a matter of fact,

4 there is less than $100,000 in the CDBG

5 Program for paving. Now, what is the Mayor

6 doing for the neighborhoods? I can't see

7 anything what he is doing for the

8 neighborhood. He is just going through the

9 motions. There has got to be more money put

10 into housing rehabilitation. Scranton

11 Neighborhood Housing Services, a great

12 organization, a great organization, but they

13 have a person of one, okay? The city has a

14 person of one, and there is one person who

15 does the write-ups. You cannot do a volume

16 housing rehabilitation with that amount of

17 money, okay? You have to bring in a few

18 more staff members, get rid of some of that

19 staff, the staff members that are

20 duplication in the CDBG program, there is

21 ten employees over there sharing $600,000 of

22 operating expenses. I know what their

23 salaries are, but we have to do something

24 about the rehab.

25 Now, one of the problems that is,
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1 because they are one write-up person, one

2 intake interviewer, okay, all right, then

3 they do not have the staff to hire

4 contractors and that's the problem, okay?

5 The more that you can look at contractors

6 and do them and compare them with the

7 writings that Mr. Kane, the former

8 rehabilitation director for OECD puts in

9 place, then they can do more rehabilitation.

10 People that are low to moderate income, they

11 cannot afford $10,000 homes. There has got

12 to be a program for elderly homeowners which

13 we have 18 percent in the community. We

14 have to have some kind of a grant or

15 deferred loan and we have to a low interest

16 program for those in the upper and the

17 middle income and maybe 1 percent. We've

18 got to do something, okay, and it's a shame

19 when you think that 5 percent of all of the

20 Community Development Block Grant, 5 percent

21 is going for housing rehabilitation. That

22 is tantamount to saying the mayor is

23 sticking his five fingers up to the nose to

24 the people in the neighborhoods. It's a

25 shame and I ask this council to please
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1 reconsider this amount of money and do

2 something for our neighbors. Thank you.

3 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.

4 Mr. Sbaraglia.

5 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia, City

6 of Scranton. Fellow Scrantonians, there is

7 two items on here to repay a Section 108

8 loans to HUD, one for $170,000 and the other

9 for $330,000. I thought we couldn't use

10 county funds to pay off debt. We will

11 reduce this amount of money before we got it

12 or have we received the money and then we

13 have to pay them back?

14 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Renda is here --

15 MR. RENDA: There is a reimbursement

16 agreement in place with the people that

17 essentially loaned to us and we owe them a

18 certain percentage.

19 MR. SBARAGLIA: Yeah, I understand

20 why we owe for the hotel, that is my

21 understanding.

22 MS. GATELLI: Is the mall still

23 there?

24 MR. RENDA: Yeah, the mall we pay

25 20 percent on Section 08 loan and they pay
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1 eight, that's 20 percent of this year's

2 payment.

3 MS. GATELLI: Do we still have

4 Allied?

5 MR. RENDA: No, that's gone.

6 MR. SBARAGLIA: For how many years?

7 MR. RENDA: I don't know what the

8 agreement says.

9 MR. SBARAGLIA: For the next 100?

10 MR. RENDA: No.

11 MS. GATELLI: It might be 20.

12 MR. SBARAGLIA: I'll have to check

13 into that. This HUD --

14 MS. GATELLI: Because that was done

15 under the previous administration.

16 MR. SBARAGLIA: Yeah, I noticed

17 that, some of it was done there, but not the

18 Hilton. The Hilton was definitely there.

19 MS. GATELLI: Well, somebody has to

20 do it at one point or another.

21 MR. SBARAGLIA: Okay, let's get onto

22 this street paving, only $100,000, that's

23 all we are going to spend on street paving

24 and that includes handicap curbs? That's a

25 very low figure, $100,000 considering the
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1 way the streets are in the city. Somewhere

2 along the way I think you should find a way

3 to improve that amount so we can get more

4 paving in. I mean, surely it's -- we get

5 federal funds coming in from the gases. We

6 get state reimbursement from the fuel tax.

7 Surely it must be more than $100,000. Where

8 is the rest going?

9 MS. GATELLI: Those are separate,

10 but, those are separate. The liquid fuels

11 and the K-Streets are separate from CDBG.

12 MR. SBARAGLIA: I understand they are

13 separate from block grants, but, I mean, are

14 we having a lot of money coming in from them

15 people so we got so little from the block

16 grants?

17 MS. GATELLI: I'm not sure about that

18 answer and I know that in the block grant

19 you can only pave in low to moderate income

20 areas.

21 MR. SBARAGLIA: Believe me, in this

22 whole city there is low to moderate area.

23 MS. GATELLI: No, believe it or

24 not --

25 MR. SBARAGLIA: Only the hill. Only
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1 the Hill, that's all.

2 MS. GATELLI: You have to qualify for

3 that.

4 MR. SBARAGLIA: I mean, if you went

5 through the city where the average wage in

6 the city is $26,000, I'm sure that's low to

7 moderate income, that has to be. One out of

8 six people in this city are in poverty and

9 you tell me that most of the city is not?

10 Only one section is of the city is I know of

11 has I think people with income and that's

12 the Hill, the upper Hill, not even the lower

13 Hill what you call Greenridge and lower

14 Greenridge. That definitely is not high

15 income, that is low to moderate, but

16 somewhere along the line maybe we should

17 look into this and see how much money we are

18 getting from liquid fuels and from other

19 reimbursements and then see if maybe we can

20 up this. If we can't up it we can't up it,

21 but it's more important that we take care of

22 the streets because I believe charity begins

23 at home. Most of these things you are

24 saying in these things a lot of was for

25 people coming into the area they will
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1 utilize these services that are available,

2 but they are not Scrantonian, and we are

3 using Scrantonian Block Grants to fund them,

4 so I wish when you look at these things, I'm

5 going to say again, I believe charity begins

6 at home. I believe all of this money that's

7 spent should be for the Scrantonians. The

8 Women's Shelter will take in anybody.

9 MS. FANUCCI: No, that's not true.

10 The Women's shelter is mostly filled with

11 people from Scranton, from our own area.

12 MR. SBARAGLIA: Mostly.

13 MS. FANUCCI: No, I am telling you --

14 MR. SBARAGLIA: Not from the area.

15 MS. FANUCCI: -- from Lackawanna

16 County and Scranton.

17 MR. SBARAGLIA: I mean, people that

18 actually are Scrantonians.

19 MS. FANUCCI: Yes. Yes. Very, very

20 full of people from Scranton. All of us are

21 here, and you know what, I don't agree with

22 you. West Side Little League, Connell Park,

23 you know, United Neighborhood Centers, these

24 are not neighborhood people, these are our

25 people.
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1 MR. SBARAGLIA: I'm not complaining

2 about them, I understand them.

3 MS. FANUCCI: You are say these are

4 out of town people, these are not out of

5 town people.

6 MR. SBARAGLIA: No, I'm saying --

7 MS. FANUCCI: Boys and Girls Club.

8 MR. SBARAGLIA: I have been at this

9 shelter, same game shell game, I have been

10 at there. The only reason you can say that

11 people are from Scranton is they lived here

12 so many months hence they become citizens of

13 Scranton, but they are not from Scranton in

14 the shelter, they come from all over and the

15 church would offer them help. I believe in

16 Scrantonians should help Scrantonians, I'm

17 sorry, I'm very, very specific on that

18 point. I believe all of the county money

19 should go to the Scrantonians as much the

20 possible, even if that's nearsighted so be

21 it, but I believe in Scranton first and

22 Scranton always. Thank you.

23 MS. GATELLI: Anyone else care to

24 speak at this public hearing? I know

25 declare the public hearing closed.
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1

2 C E R T I F I C A T E

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4 I hereby certify that the proceedings and

5 evidence are contained fully and accurately in the

6 notes of testimony taken by me at the hearing of the

7 above-captioned matter and that the foregoing is a true

8 and correct transcript of the same to the best of my

9 ability.

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CATHENE S. NARDOZZI
13 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

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