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            1              SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING

 

            2

 

            3

 

            4

 

            5                          HELD:

 

            6

 

            7                Tuesday, February 19, 2008

 

            8

 

            9                        LOCATION:

 

           10                    Council Chambers

 

           11                 Scranton City Hall

 

           12              340 North Washington Avenue

 

           13                Scranton, Pennsylvania

 

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           23

                            CATHENE S. NARDOZZI- COURT REPORTER

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            1

 

            2   CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:

 

            3

 

            4

                MR. ROBERT MCGOFF, PRESIDENT

            5

 

            6   MS. JUDY GATELLI, VICE-PRESIDENT

 

            7

                MS. JANET E. EVANS

            8

 

            9   MS. SHERRY FANUCCI

 

           10

                MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT

           11

 

           12   MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK

 

           13

                MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK

           14

 

           15   MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR

 

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           25


 

 

                                                                       3

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: I'd like to dispense

 

            2              with the reading of the minutes.

 

            3                      MS. GARVEY: Third order, 3-A,

 

            4              INDEPENDENT AUDITORS REPORT FOR THE YEAR

 

            5              ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2006.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

            7              If not, received and filed.

 

            8                      MS. GARVEY: 3-B.  APPLICATIONS AND

 

            9              DECISIONS RENDERED BY THE ZONING BOARD

 

           10              MEETING HELD ON FEBRUARY 13, 2008.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

           12              If not, received and filed.

 

           13                      MS. GARVEY: That's it for third

 

           14              order.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: Before citizens'

 

           16              participation is there any council members

 

           17              that have any announcements?

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI: I just have a few.  I

 

           19              just have an announcement that this weekend

 

           20              is a very big one for the cultural center.

 

           21              They are going to have the Broadway

 

           22              production "Rent" at the Temple this weekend

 

           23              on Friday, Saturday and Sunday if anyone is

 

           24              interested in going and, also, I would like

 

           25              to congratulate a student of West Scranton


 

 

                                                                       4

 

 

            1              High School, I don't know if you saw her

 

            2              this morning, but she won the "Teen Fight

 

            3              Fat Challenge," and she going to be on

 

            4              Montel Williams tomorrow.  Her name is

 

            5              Kaitlyn Watkins and she is a sophomore and

 

            6              we'd like to congratulate Kaitlyn for such a

 

            7              great accomplishment.

 

            8                      And the only other thing I have is I

 

            9              have been talking to PennDOT about things

 

           10              that Bill had asked me about to put in the

 

           11              roadway.  It's like a cone and it has a

 

           12              picture of a person walking and I'm in the

 

           13              process of trying to get them for Davis

 

           14              Street.  I spoke to the girl today and the

 

           15              only problem with it is that we have to find

 

           16              someone that is willing to put the cones out

 

           17              and take them back in.  They are not allowed

 

           18              to stay out at night, and I think that they

 

           19              just want them back there for mass, so I'm

 

           20              going to call the pastor tomorrow and, Bill,

 

           21              if you know anybody that is interested in,

 

           22              you know, doing that they would have to take

 

           23              responsibility for putting them out say

 

           24              before mass and then taking them in.

 

           25                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  I'll ask, I think


 

 

                                                                       5

 

 

            1              it was the people from the church that had

 

            2              the concern, so I'll ask the people from the

 

            3              church if someone would be able to do that.

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI: And then you can call

 

            5              me and we'll arrange to get them for you.

 

            6                      MR. COURTRIGHT: All right.

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI: And anyone else that is

 

            8              interested in them, you know, they are to

 

            9              help pedestrians cross in a crosswalk area

 

           10              that's very busy, so anyone that's

 

           11              interested just tell Mrs. Garvey and you can

 

           12              call council office and we can see if we

 

           13              can't get them for your particular

 

           14              neighborhood, and that's all I have,

 

           15              Mr. McGoff.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: Let me add one thing I

 

           17              wanted to mention last week, but we

 

           18              cancelled, the Black History Month dinner

 

           19              will be held at Lackawanna College on

 

           20              February 28.  I'm not sure if they're still

 

           21              accepting reservations for that, but it will

 

           22              be held and the keynote speaker is Mr. Stacy

 

           23              Brown, who is with us tonight.

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: Mr. President, if I

 

           25              might?  I would like to commend Marie and


 

 

                                                                       6

 

 

            1              Dick Lasky for organizing, once again, the

 

            2              annual Lithuanian flag raising which was

 

            3              conducted this past Saturday here at city

 

            4              hall.  They did an outstanding job and I

 

            5              wish them many, many more years of such an

 

            6              event and great success.

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF: If that's all, the first

 

            8              speaker, Fay Franus.

 

            9                      MS. FRANUS:  Fay Franus, Scranton.

 

           10              First I'd like to ask Mr. McGoff, why wasn't

 

           11              there a meeting last Friday after it was

 

           12              cancelled on Tuesday?

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: The first reason it was

 

           14              that I could not attend the meeting.

 

           15                      MS. FRANUS:  Pardon me?

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: I could not attend a

 

           17              meeting on Friday night, I had prior

 

           18              commitments; and the second reason was that

 

           19              there was nothing on the agenda that seemed

 

           20              to have any time sensitive -- there was

 

           21              nothing that was time sensitive on the

 

           22              agenda, so I didn't think that it was

 

           23              necessary to reschedule.

 

           24                      MS. FRANUS:  All right.  Those trees

 

           25              in South Side, let me ask you, do you know


 

 

                                                                       7

 

 

            1              who is going to get the contract for that by

 

            2              any chance?

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: Offhand I don't know.

 

            4                      MS. FRANUS:  Anybody if they know.

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI:  I don't know if they

 

            6              bid it out, but if you want you can call the

 

            7              forester, Anthony Santolli, he might be able

 

            8              to answer.

 

            9                      MS. FRANUS: I know Anthony.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI: He is on Prescott

 

           11              Avenue.

 

           12                      MS. FRANUS:  Okay, and he is a nice

 

           13              man.  I also want to say that I contacted

 

           14              Jeff Brazil about the -- him picking up

 

           15              those paintings on Mulberry -- on Linden

 

           16              Street at that fire.  He told me he was

 

           17              there all the time and that he is a public

 

           18              servant and that's his job.  He said if

 

           19              anybody needs help that's what he is there

 

           20              for, so I suggest this, anybody in the city

 

           21              if you need any help moving anything, like

 

           22              he said, she had paintings out in the street

 

           23              and she needed help and he said he would do

 

           24              this any day of the week he said that's why

 

           25              he is there, that's the kind of person he


 

 

                                                                       8

 

 

            1              is, if someone needs help he will help them,

 

            2              which is fine.  But then I say to everybody

 

            3              in the City of Scranton, call Jeff Brazil,

 

            4              348-4180 and say, "I need help.  Come over

 

            5              with your trucks and help me move some

 

            6              stuff. "

 

            7                      What's good for one is good for all.

 

            8              Now, Mr. McGoff, with your rules about

 

            9              answering questions in motions, that little

 

           10              thing failed.  Your rules, your new rules

 

           11              about council members answering people in

 

           12              motions, maybe you should start taking

 

           13              account of all the questions that people ask

 

           14              here that don't get answered in motions

 

           15              after they ask for them to be answered in

 

           16              motions.  I asked Mr. McGoff two weeks ago

 

           17              to answer me, he refused, he didn't answer

 

           18              me, whether he forgot or whatever, but I'm

 

           19              asking you, why was Mr. Courtright's seat

 

           20              changed, Mr. McGoff?

 

           21                      MS. GATELLI:  Can I answer that

 

           22              question?

 

           23                      MS. FRANUS: Yes, please.

 

           24                      MS. GATELLI: This is the seat of the

 

           25              vice-president.  Whoever is the


 

 

                                                                       9

 

 

            1              vice-president of the zoning board, the

 

            2              planning commission, whatever board there

 

            3              is, the vice-president always sits to the

 

            4              left of the president, so that's why this

 

            5              chair was moved.  No other reason.

 

            6                      MS. FRANUS:  Okay.

 

            7                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I disagree.  I sat

 

            8              there are two years and I wasn't the

 

            9              vice-president and I specifically asked

 

           10              Mr. McGoff why he moved my seat and

 

           11              Mr. McGoff said because you asked him to

 

           12              move my seat.

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI:  Because the

 

           14              vice-president as far as I knew always sat

 

           15              to the left of the president.  The zoning,

 

           16              the planning --

 

           17                      MR. COURTRIGHT: My opinion is that

 

           18              that you are lying.

 

           19                      MS. GATELLI: Pardon me?

 

           20                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I truly believe you

 

           21              are lying.  I have my own reasons why I

 

           22              think you are sitting there, but --

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI: It is the privilege of

 

           24              the vice-president to vote second to the

 

           25              president.


 

 

                                                                      10

 

 

            1                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Who said anything

 

            2              about voting?

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI:  I just said it about

 

            4              voting.  That is why the vice-president sits

 

            5              next to the president.

 

            6                      MS. EVANS: If I can maybe interject.

 

            7              Well, I just wanted to --

 

            8                      MS. FRANUS:  It's my time.

 

            9                      MS. EVANS: Please don't use her

 

           10              time.  I served in the Office of the

 

           11              vice-president under Mr. DiBileo, I was

 

           12              seated where Mr. Courtright now sits, I

 

           13              voted second, not second to last.

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI: Well, good for you.

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Are you trying to

 

           16              hide your vote?

 

           17                      MS. GATELLI: Well, the zoning --

 

           18                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Are you trying to

 

           19              hide your vote?

 

           20                      MS. EVANS: We are not zoning.

 

           21                      MS. GATELLI: I'm hiding my vote,

 

           22              Bill.

 

           23                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  I think so.  I

 

           24              think you are trying to do something

 

           25              underhanded.


 

 

                                                                      11

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI: Yeah, I am.

 

            2                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  That's my opinion

 

            3              and I think everybody here agrees.

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI: Yeah, they agree, Bill.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Here --

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI: The tax collector is

 

            7              getting to you, isn't it?

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: Again -- okay,

 

            9              that's out of order.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI:  Really.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: It's out of order.  I'm

 

           12              sorry, Mrs. Franus.

 

           13                      MS. FRANUS:  Pardon me?

 

           14                      (Whereupon the audience makes

 

           15              several comments.)

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me.

 

           17                      MS. FRANUS:  Let's get back to

 

           18              everyday life here.  Another thing,

 

           19              Mr. McGoff, you stated two weeks ago that

 

           20              you didn't think there was anything wrong

 

           21              with text messaging, well, I beg to differ.

 

           22              I'm a taxpayer as everybody else in this

 

           23              city and we are paying all of you up there

 

           24              not to text message, it's a public meeting,

 

           25              you are paid to be at council.  If you are


 

 

                                                                      12

 

 

            1              not prepared enough, Mrs. Fanucci, to come

 

            2              to council without text messaging someone

 

            3              with possibly the answers or -- well, I

 

            4              don't know why you are laughing, I'm very

 

            5              serious.

 

            6                      MS. FANUCCI: Then don't say silly

 

            7              things, but I was text messaging my daughter

 

            8              goodnight, I will continue to do that for

 

            9              every meeting until I am finished on my

 

           10              term.

 

           11                      MS. FRANUS: Wait, just because you

 

           12              say it that doesn't mean you should.

 

           13                      MS. FANUCCI: I will do that.  It

 

           14              doesn't mean I shouldn't do it, but I don't

 

           15              think my 11-year-old gave me what to vote

 

           16              on, but I'll ask her next time.

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  Thank you,

 

           18              Mrs. Franus.

 

           19                      MS. FRANUS: Is that my time or is

 

           20              that extended time or was that -- -

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.

 

           22                      MS. FRANUS:  Which is what?

 

           23                      MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me?

 

           24                      MS. FRANUS:  Which is what?

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: That was the five-minute


 

 

                                                                      13

 

 

            1              time.

 

            2                      MS. FRANUS:  But Mrs. Evans asked

 

            3              that it be extended because you took up my

 

            4              time.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Our rules say that we

 

            6              are not going to do that.

 

            7                      MS. FRANUS:  Mrs. Evans asked for

 

            8              if, are you trying to say what she is saying

 

            9              doesn't matter?  You people up there spoke--

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF: I'm saying we are

 

           11              following the Rules of Council.  Thank you.

 

           12                      MS. FRANUS:  I was speaking and you

 

           13              all up there continued to speak and I even

 

           14              said my time and Mrs. Evans asked for it to

 

           15              be stopped, so you are breaking your own

 

           16              rules.  You are breaking your own rules.  I

 

           17              could have said point of order, but I chose

 

           18              not to because I gave you the respect that

 

           19              I'm asking for, but I'm not getting it.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Franus.

 

           21                      MS. FRANUS:  Wait one second, I want

 

           22              to see what's here.  Oh, if you are going to

 

           23              vote on the taxes --

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me.

 

           25                      MS. FRANUS:  Excuse you.


 

 

                                                                      14

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: You asked questions and

 

            2              you got answers and that used your time.

 

            3              I'm sorry that you didn't want those

 

            4              responses.

 

            5                      MS. FRANUS:  I also asked, wait a

 

            6              minute, I want to talk and that's when

 

            7              Mrs. Evans said --

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF:  The next speaker is

 

            9              Jack Powell.

 

           10                      MS. FRANUS:  Please follow your own

 

           11              rules from now on, please, and thank you,

 

           12              Mr. Courtright and Mrs. Evans, for answering

 

           13              me.

 

           14                      MR. POWELL: Hello.  My name is a

 

           15              Jack Powell, I live on Luzerne Street next

 

           16              to Mr. Skantos' development.  Over the last

 

           17              period of weeks I have heard about

 

           18              Mr. Skantos and his development and we have

 

           19              some issues with Mr. Skantos ourselves.

 

           20              When Mr. Skantos first came to us and bought

 

           21              the property there was -- it was an R-1

 

           22              property.  He came to us and he asked that

 

           23              it can be changed for his benefit which

 

           24              monetarily it was, so he asked if it could

 

           25              be changed from R-1 to different


 

 

                                                                      15

 

 

            1              stipulations and variances and zoning

 

            2              change.  He had several meetings with us and

 

            3              doing the course of the meetings we were

 

            4              concerned about different areas such as

 

            5              buffer zones, tree lines, which we

 

            6              stipulated to we weren't going forward,

 

            7              myself, the Keyser Valley Neighborhood

 

            8              Association, Mary Alice Burke, all of the

 

            9              officers.

 

           10                      So we went to Mr. Skantos and said

 

           11              if he went by these rules that we wouldn't

 

           12              contest his variances.  We did it at the

 

           13              Keyser Valley Community Center, which was

 

           14              full.  We did it at the different meetings

 

           15              down here planning, zoning, and he agreed to

 

           16              them along with the person that was doing

 

           17              the plans for the arrangement.

 

           18                      Well, in turn, a period of years had

 

           19              gone by and I see Mr. Skantos is up here and

 

           20              he wants you to take his word for this and

 

           21              that, well, we saw it during the course of

 

           22              the summer a man out of there with a set of

 

           23              plans where at Keyser and Luzerne was always

 

           24              to be kept when he moved his trailer out as

 

           25              a green or buffer zone.  Well, lo and behold


 

 

                                                                      16

 

 

            1              there is set of plans with three buildings,

 

            2              six units on this little property.  I called

 

            3              Mr. Wallace up at zoning, spoke with him, I

 

            4              didn't hear anything further.  I went down

 

            5              to see for myself and I met the two young

 

            6              ladies upstairs, Miss Nole, and there was a

 

            7              Pat Jennings there and they went to look for

 

            8              the items I was looking for like pertaining

 

            9              to Mr. Skantos' properties.  He in turn,

 

           10              they opened up the folder, there was nothing

 

           11              there but a scrap of paper.  Mr. King came

 

           12              out of the back and asked what I was looking

 

           13              for, he came out with a set of plans, on

 

           14              that corner there was no buildings, nothing.

 

           15              I explained what we are concerned about that

 

           16              this was a buffer zone, he told me, told me

 

           17              that he could not build there.  The only

 

           18              thing that could be built it was to remain

 

           19              and he had to go by the original plans, that

 

           20              was fine.  I went back and told all of the

 

           21              neighbors.  I was sort of their

 

           22              spokesperson.  Everybody was satisfied with

 

           23              that.

 

           24                      I get a call about an hour before

 

           25              planning meeting, by the time I get here


 

 

                                                                      17

 

 

            1              there a presentation going on and Mr. King

 

            2              is there and Mr. King informed the planning

 

            3              commission of these buildings.  I was

 

            4              assuming it was the last legal building to

 

            5              be built, which is the brown building of the

 

            6              picture that you see, and I was more

 

            7              concerned at that time that they were going

 

            8              to make it rentals.  Mr. King had told me,

 

            9              if he gets the buildings there and he wants

 

           10              to rent them we can't stop him from renting

 

           11              them, you are stuck with what you have, I

 

           12              said that's fine.

 

           13                      So, I went down and in the mean time

 

           14              they passed this motion.  Well, they gave me

 

           15              a set of plans after the meeting, it had

 

           16              three buildings, six units and was not the

 

           17              plan that I was given up in zoning.  It was

 

           18              totally different.  I went up and met with

 

           19              Mr. King afterwards and I asked him about

 

           20              being told this and I said to him, I said,

 

           21              what about Mr. Skantos agreeing with him.

 

           22              He said, well, he had to do it at a

 

           23              stipulated meeting not your meeting because

 

           24              he could tell you anything he wants.  Well,

 

           25              with that I'm a little upset, so we left.


 

 

                                                                      18

 

 

            1              But I went to talk to Mary Alice and I told

 

            2              her about the meeting we were at she said we

 

            3              got to have a regular meeting.  Well, since

 

            4              that meeting that I had here with the

 

            5              planning commission I have been trying to

 

            6              get minutes, two months, none.

 

            7                      So, I filed that paper that I sent

 

            8              to you which was a Right to Know which the

 

            9              law office I went to talk to Mr. Farrell he

 

           10              was in the process of leaving, I have spoken

 

           11              to the new attorney upstairs, and she is

 

           12              looking into it at this time.  She was very

 

           13              forthwith and whatever, but as it stands the

 

           14              day that the letter came Mr. Skantos moved

 

           15              the backhoe to start dig, so I -- because

 

           16              there is no building there now, there is

 

           17              nothing there, so we are trying to stop it

 

           18              before he does it because it was green zone.

 

           19              We can get the whole neighborhood here I,

 

           20              could pack this place with people that were

 

           21              at these meetings, but he is changing it as

 

           22              he wants, and I said when he was here I

 

           23              asked him, what's going on, and he was

 

           24              referring to me yous people.  I mean, yous

 

           25              people?  We are neighbors there.  I mean, he


 

 

                                                                      19

 

 

            1              lives in Clarks Summit, treat us decent, you

 

            2              know?  When he wanted something he was

 

            3              around every day.  I tried to stop him once,

 

            4              he went by, I went down to meet him at his

 

            5              office they said I now had to get an

 

            6              appointment.  When we have concerns like

 

            7              this and if you will notice in the other

 

            8              picture there is arborvitaes planted all

 

            9              along the back, that was another condition

 

           10              of the agreement along with keeping it the

 

           11              buffer was those arborvitaes were planted

 

           12              and as you can see he started.  Thank you.

 

           13                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Mr. Powell, I have a

 

           14              list of complaints for lack of a better of

 

           15              word that I met with the people back in your

 

           16              development about a week and a half ago, we

 

           17              were there for a couple of hours and when

 

           18              it's my turn to speak we are going to try to

 

           19              setup a meeting both for their concerns and

 

           20              also your concerns and we are going to try

 

           21              to have a representative of the city that

 

           22              would be much more versed in those type of

 

           23              things than we are, so I'll speak on it when

 

           24              it's my turn to speak if you don't mind.

 

           25                      MR. POWELL:  Very good.  Thank you.


 

 

                                                                      20

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS: And we'll oversee it,

 

            2              Mr. Powell.

 

            3                      MR. POWELL:  Thank you.

 

            4                      MS. EVANS: We will keep our eye on

 

            5              it as well.

 

            6                      MR. POWELL: Mary Alice said any time

 

            7              you need her or any of the officers that

 

            8              were there and if we need Keyser Valley

 

            9              Community Center --

 

           10                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yeah, I spoke to

 

           11              Mary Alice already.

 

           12                      MR. POWELL: Okay.  Thank you.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Bill Jackowitz.

 

           14                      MR. JACKOWITZ: Good evening, city

 

           15              council, Mr. President.  Bill Jackowitz,

 

           16              South Scranton.  Pennsylvania taxpayers have

 

           17              a right to know how the Commonwealth spends

 

           18              their hard-earned tax dollars.  Do Scranton

 

           19              taxpayers have that same right?  Community.

 

           20              The first part of community means

 

           21              communication.  The second part of community

 

           22              is unity.  We have none in Scranton thanks

 

           23              to our politicians.

 

           24                      19th February 2008 could be the

 

           25              night that Scranton City Council steps up to


 

 

                                                                      21

 

 

            1              the plate and hits a home run for the

 

            2              residents of Scranton, Pennsylvania.  The

 

            3              latest economic developments again proves

 

            4              that the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area is in

 

            5              financial ruins.  The residents are

 

            6              suffering through no fault of their own.

 

            7              Proof:  The unemployment went up again

 

            8              7/10ths of a percent in the month of

 

            9              December 2007.  It's up to 5.3 percent,

 

           10              higher than the state and national average.

 

           11              I provided each one of you with this

 

           12              information, I hope you review it and look

 

           13              at it.

 

           14                      The nest egg index, I also provided

 

           15              with you a nest egg index, ranks

 

           16              metropolitan areas on their resident's

 

           17              saving and investment habits.

 

           18              Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is ranked 455 out of

 

           19              500.  That is 45 away from the bottom.  This

 

           20              should be an embarrassment to all of the

 

           21              elected officials in the area and especially

 

           22              the Chamber of Commerce.  The reason it fell

 

           23              72 positions in ranking from 2006 to 2007

 

           24              Scranton went from 383 to 455 in one year,

 

           25              but yet we are told on a weekly basis by our


 

 

                                                                      22

 

 

            1              economic development chairperson in the

 

            2              mayor that the area is improving.  We have

 

            3              no empty store fronts, we have a beautiful

 

            4              park system, the business will come or have

 

            5              already come.  If that is not misleading

 

            6              then I will never know what misleading is.

 

            7              You do not have to be a rocket scientist to

 

            8              know that low wages means no savings.  If

 

            9              you make no money, you can't save any money

 

           10              and it's proven by that report.  I hope all

 

           11              five of you look at it and take it to heart

 

           12              because it's true and real.

 

           13                      The reason cited for the miserable

 

           14              conditions are relatively low wages,

 

           15              above-average unemployment, and a cultural

 

           16              resistance to thrift.  This reinforces a

 

           17              negative image that the community already

 

           18              has of itself.  It is not the community's

 

           19              fault, I believe that is the elected

 

           20              officials and appointed political officials

 

           21              and the Chamber of Commerce who are

 

           22              responsible for this.  They lack the

 

           23              leadership abilities to lead and I provided

 

           24              you with that proof tonight.

 

           25                      Salaries here trail pay levels in


 

 

                                                                      23

 

 

            1              other northeastern and national markets

 

            2              which reduce savings potential.  Out per

 

            3              capita income is lower in the region, the

 

            4              area jobless rate typically runs higher than

 

            5              the state and national averages.  People are

 

            6              going from paycheck to paycheck and they may

 

            7              be two or three paychecks away from

 

            8              financial ruin.  Many citizens in the region

 

            9              are tapping their savings for living

 

           10              expenses.  Senior citizens are withdrawing

 

           11              money to live on.  I ask city council to

 

           12              step up and rescind the ordinance that

 

           13              attaches high fees and penalties on the

 

           14              residents who fall behind on their taxes.

 

           15              If you want to punish the slum landlords

 

           16              then come up with a plan to do just that,

 

           17              but do not punish the hardworking or the

 

           18              retired residents of Scranton.  Enough is

 

           19              enough.  Put this up for vote tonight and

 

           20              show the residents that you really are on

 

           21              their side.  Actions speak louder than

 

           22              words.

 

           23                      You may not like or respect some of

 

           24              the speakers, but this time the speakers are

 

           25              100 percent correct and three council


 

 

                                                                      24

 

 

            1              members are 100 percent incorrect.  Do the

 

            2              right thing.  Get rid of this ordinance

 

            3              tonight.  Mr. President, I would never ask

 

            4              you to fetch and retrieve anything for me.

 

            5              I do my own research.  My questions,

 

            6              Mr. President, when all avenues fail and

 

            7              before the taxpayer must reach in their

 

            8              pockets should you as an elected official

 

            9              step in and assist.  You are one record as

 

           10              saying that you can speak to the mayor and

 

           11              get answers.  Councilwoman Fanucci is on

 

           12              record saying that she meets with the

 

           13              Chamber of Commerce.  She is also on record

 

           14              stating that Mr. Burke would attend a

 

           15              council meeting during the month of

 

           16              September 2006, where is he?  Doe he know

 

           17              where city hall is located at?

 

           18                      I always provided provide council

 

           19              members with copies of my research.  My

 

           20              intent is to help council and keep the

 

           21              residents truly informed, not to mislead

 

           22              you.  Take the vote tonight, invite

 

           23              Mr. Austin Burke and the mayor and Chamber

 

           24              of Commerce to address the council in the

 

           25              city residents at a public meeting and let


 

 

                                                                      25

 

 

            1              them know how terrible the economy really is

 

            2              here.  Everything revolves around the

 

            3              economy and if you don't believe that then

 

            4              you need to go back to school because that's

 

            5              the way it is.  The economy runs the

 

            6              government and it runs the city and it runs

 

            7              the community and, like I said, we have no

 

            8              communication, there is no unity whatsoever

 

            9              in this community.  You all were elected to

 

           10              work for the residents, not yourself, family

 

           11              and friends, get your family members and

 

           12              friends jobs is not what you are here for.

 

           13              Do the right thing, get rid of the silly

 

           14              ordinance tonight.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,

 

           16              Mr. Jackowitz.  Andy Sbaraglia.

 

           17                      MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,

 

           18              citizen of Scranton.  Fellow Scrantonians, I

 

           19              don't really care where you sit up there.

 

           20              To me it doesn't matter, but what's in these

 

           21              things that's the things that matter.

 

           22                      And let us go.  We see that we are--

 

           23              you are 5-B we are looking to get -- we

 

           24              pulled from housing emergency shelter and so

 

           25              forth and so on over a half a million


 

 

                                                                      26

 

 

            1              dollars for Skyview and we go and we go to

 

            2              "E", well, this may be a loan because it

 

            3              says loan agreement, but I don't know, I

 

            4              didn't read the thing in-depth to see if

 

            5              there was a forgiveness clause in it, too,

 

            6              which there could be.

 

            7                      5-F, another $150,000 for Skyview.

 

            8              How much taxes does Skyview give us?  Does

 

            9              anyone know how much money we get from taxes

 

           10              there?  Probably not a penny.  Probably a

 

           11              nonprofit, but yet we are taking money from

 

           12              people who want to build homes.  There may

 

           13              be other people that need a roof over their

 

           14              head and according to Skyview, well, true

 

           15              you are giving them a roof over their head,

 

           16              but it's a man who if you looked at the

 

           17              original deal once we sold Skyview that's, I

 

           18              didn't recognize, I saw myself fall for

 

           19              that, I didn't realize we owned Skyview.  I

 

           20              always thought the Scranton Housing owned

 

           21              it, but apparently Scranton owns it

 

           22              themselves, just like some of the other

 

           23              things and they sold it, but when they sold

 

           24              it they put in for grants for this man and

 

           25              it comes through, I think he got $6 million


 

 

                                                                      27

 

 

            1              or so, big headlines in the paper, big city

 

            2              developer, biggest in the world.  I mean, it

 

            3              was really laid out in the times, how much

 

            4              money they got and so forth and so on, but

 

            5              it comes down to the point we are taking

 

            6              money, pour it into other places, I don't

 

            7              know how rundown Skyview was, I really

 

            8              don't, but for the amount of money we are

 

            9              taking from other projects I don't know if

 

           10              could be better spent.

 

           11                      I believe that people should build

 

           12              homes in Scranton.  I do, even all of them

 

           13              KOZ homes, I didn't fight them.  I didn't

 

           14              come up and run before the whole council and

 

           15              say, "Don't do this, don't do that," because

 

           16              them homes are going to stay and eventually

 

           17              we are going to get some money out of it.

 

           18              They may bleed us for awhile, but eventually

 

           19              we are going to bleed them and we are going

 

           20              to bleed them good because they are all new

 

           21              homes.

 

           22                      Now, whether they can afford to keep

 

           23              them I don't know, but eventually we are

 

           24              going to sock it to them, but Skyview we are

 

           25              taking almost $1 million from Skyview out of


 

 

                                                                      28

 

 

            1              these pieces of legislation, either in loans

 

            2              or grants.  Loans I don't mind, I don't

 

            3              favor grants especially when they are partly

 

            4              owned.

 

            5                      Okay, let's look for our old friend

 

            6              parking authority is looking for a million

 

            7              bucks, I guess you turned down the garage.

 

            8              I don't know why they borrowed 32 million or

 

            9              up to 35 million, I thought that was all

 

           10              incorporated into it, but now apparently it

 

           11              isn't incorporated into it and they need

 

           12              more money, but when it comes to the parking

 

           13              authority the truth is I don't think they

 

           14              are sound.  I really don't believe they are

 

           15              sound, and if you read the legislation when

 

           16              they borrowed the 30 million, they set up

 

           17              the slush fund to cover the money apparently

 

           18              so they say until this generates money, but

 

           19              believe me it's not going to generate money.

 

           20              It's going to collapse and it's going to

 

           21              collapse on the people of Scranton.  You

 

           22              can't just build parking garages after

 

           23              parking garages and not figure somewhere

 

           24              along the line these things got to be

 

           25              repaired.  We got more people that we have


 

 

                                                                      29

 

 

            1              to hire to man them.  We got more expense

 

            2              for medical and for pensions all added on to

 

            3              the costs.  How long do you think this is

 

            4              going to last before it collapses entirely

 

            5              or until they have to charge $1,000 a month

 

            6              to rent a parking space there.  I think they

 

            7              are up to 85 up there already and climbing

 

            8              and the reason they have to do that is

 

            9              because they are not solvent and, believe

 

           10              me, that was space you give to the Hilton,

 

           11              it's hurting.  Hurting very, very bad.  If

 

           12              you ever figured out how much 120 spaces are

 

           13              worth at $85 a month and how much money they

 

           14              are losing in income for the Hilton we'll

 

           15              never get it back.  I don't care even when

 

           16              that things goes on the tax rolls we are not

 

           17              going to get it back, it's going to be a

 

           18              white elephant to us and it's going to sink

 

           19              us more and more until the police and

 

           20              parking authority into the hole.  I mean,

 

           21              the building is there.  It's there.  I mean,

 

           22              unless we have to fix it up again or

 

           23              something in 20 years it's just a building

 

           24              that's going to be there.

 

           25                      Now, we get to the Connell building.


 

 

                                                                      30

 

 

            1              I was told that he wanted to take -- okay.

 

            2              I won't talk anymore on that.  Thank you.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,

 

            4              Mr. Sbaraglia.  Ozzie Quinn.

 

            5                      MR. QUINN:  Ozzie Quinn, Taxpayers'

 

            6              Association.  5-D, Growing Greener.  That is

 

            7              a transfer of one million out of the five

 

            8              million or that is an additional grant we

 

            9              are looking for one million?  Do you know,

 

           10              Ms. Fanucci?  It's under your -- pardon?

 

           11                      MS. FANUCCI: Would you like me to

 

           12              answer that now?

 

           13                      MR. QUINN:  Yeah, right now, five

 

           14              words.  One word.  Is it a grant or is not a

 

           15              grant?  Is it a grant from the Connell or

 

           16              not?

 

           17                      MS. FANUCCI: It is transfer of the

 

           18              Growing Greener money that we have received.

 

           19                      MR. QUINN:  Okay.  You answered me.

 

           20              Now, do you know you don't have to have a

 

           21              match, but there is a -- you have to

 

           22              demonstrate a match for that $1 million and

 

           23              that's why I'm getting at.  I still haven't

 

           24              gotten that information I asked off

 

           25              Mr. McGoff last week.  I sent a letter the


 

 

                                                                      31

 

 

            1              day after, it's 13 days from Mrs. Aebli,

 

            2              under the Right to Know Act I sent it, she

 

            3              has five working days to answer, she never

 

            4              answered.  So, this is going on three months

 

            5              and that's why I want know this information

 

            6              what's going on with this UDAG money and

 

            7              with these community development block grant

 

            8              monies because the mayor has a little nest

 

            9              egg someplace, all right, and he is using it

 

           10              because this Growing Greener you have to

 

           11              have demonstrate a matching grant and that's

 

           12              coming out of the people's money.  I want to

 

           13              know this money can go back into the

 

           14              neighborhood and help these people who are

 

           15              suffering with taxes.  Never mind what Mrs.

 

           16              Fanucci says about that you can't go back

 

           17              for seven years, that is nothing but a lie.

 

           18              That is -- the federal regulations say you

 

           19              can go back year after year after year.

 

           20              That might be a local policy, but it's not a

 

           21              federal and she inferred to me that I'm

 

           22              going back to the 1980's, no, this is 2008,

 

           23              and also do you know in 2008, Mrs. Fanucci,

 

           24              that you can help low income people from not

 

           25              being foreclosed upon with CDBG funds?  Are


 

 

                                                                      32

 

 

            1              you aware of that?

 

            2                      Well, I want to tell you something,

 

            3              okay, I have the last HUD monitoring report,

 

            4              the last HUD monitoring report.  Now, look

 

            5              at here, in CDBG you see $4,876,758, okay.

 

            6              Of that, we spent $1,627,457 and change,

 

            7              which is 37 percent rounded out to

 

            8              37 percent of our total CDBG, 37 percent,

 

            9              okay?  Do you know how many jobs we created?

 

           10              Four.  What does that even come out?  Divide

 

           11              it.  What's the math?  One million, what

 

           12              does it amount to, $400,000 for one job?  We

 

           13              don't even know if that job is still there,

 

           14              we don't know how much that job was paying,

 

           15              we don't know anything about that job.  Four

 

           16              jobs and over a million dollars spent, come

 

           17              on, we got to start looking into this stuff.

 

           18                   Do you know how much we spent on

 

           19              housing?  We spent -- the lowest

 

           20              1.7 percent, the lowest, and I know that you

 

           21              can use CDBG funds and irregardless of what

 

           22              Mrs Fanucci says all funds can be coupled

 

           23              which they are throughout the nation.  Sixty

 

           24              percent of your retirement funds throughout

 

           25              he nation falls from CDBG for housing


 

 

                                                                      33

 

 

            1              rehabilitation.  Don't listen to these false

 

            2              things that she is throwing at you.  She

 

            3              doesn't know what's going on, I'm telling

 

            4              you.

 

            5                      And the problem is, the third

 

            6              highest thing coming out of the OECD is for

 

            7              administration for paying all of these

 

            8              people that the mayor is hiring.  That's

 

            9              where our tax money is he going.  If this

 

           10              money can be used, as Mrs. Evans said, out

 

           11              into these neighborhoods to prepare we

 

           12              wouldn't have to go borrowing again for this

 

           13              matching fund.  Don't laugh at me, Mrs.

 

           14              Fanucci.

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: I certainly didn't.

 

           16                      MR. QUINN: She is out of order, and

 

           17              I'll tell you something, if we could use

 

           18              this money instead of going ahead --

 

           19                      MS. KNIGHT: Mr. McGoff, she is out

 

           20              of order.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me.

 

           22                      MS.  KNIGHT:  Correct her.

 

           23                      MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me.  Be quiet.

 

           24              I'm sorry, Mr. Quinn.

 

           25                      MR. QUINN:  Stop the clock, okay,


 

 

                                                                      34

 

 

            1              please.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: And I will.  Please

 

            3              refrain from doing that.

 

            4                      MR. QUINN:  Unequivocally I want to

 

            5              say right now I'm not angry, I'm passionate

 

            6              about this city and I'm passionate of what's

 

            7              going on in here with this CDBG program and

 

            8              with this here setting up a resolution

 

            9              transfer of one million, it doesn't say

 

           10              transferring.  One million dollars and it

 

           11              doesn't say that we should have to show a

 

           12              demonstration match.  And where is that

 

           13              coming from, this money that you couldn't

 

           14              get Mrs. Gatelli and you couldn't get

 

           15              Mrs. McGoff and you didn't -- you couldn't

 

           16              pinch hit for me and you wouldn't know

 

           17              sitting over there and sent me up a blind

 

           18              alley and now all us taxpayers are the ones

 

           19              that area a suffering.  It's too late.

 

           20              Well, all us taxpayers cannot go spending

 

           21              this money, and this money for these silly

 

           22              things when it can be going onto fix

 

           23              people's homes through the city and fix some

 

           24              of these streets, you go through these

 

           25              neighborhoods there is no more curbs.  No


 

 

                                                                      35

 

 

            1              more curbs.  It's a shame.  It's terrible.

 

            2              Forget about the downtown, our people are

 

            3              living in a neighborhoods.  They are the

 

            4              people who paying the taxes, let's go.  Now,

 

            5              when you are paying $400,000 for one job

 

            6              that's ridiculous and you don't even know

 

            7              how much that job is paying or if it's still

 

            8              here.  What are you doing?  You are the ones

 

            9              that passed this and now you passed 2008.

 

           10              Come on, look out for the taxpayers once in

 

           11              awhile.  Thank you.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Quinn.

 

           13              Les Spindler.

 

           14                      MR. SPINDLER: Good evening, Council,

 

           15              Les Spindler, city resident.  First off,

 

           16              Mr. McGoff, you cannot pick and choose who

 

           17              you let talk five minutes or longer than

 

           18              five minutes.  At the last meeting two weeks

 

           19              ago you let Mr. Skantos stay there for well

 

           20              over five minutes, it was probably closer to

 

           21              ten minutes and you didn't tell him to step

 

           22              down, you gave him all that time.  You can't

 

           23              pick and choose, that's discrimination.  If

 

           24              you let one person do it you will have to

 

           25              let every person do it.


 

 

                                                                      36

 

 

            1                      Now, Mrs. Fanucci, the last meeting

 

            2              you said when you laughed there is something

 

            3              blatantly obvious.  Well, at that meeting

 

            4              Mr. Ungarvsky said an 85-year-old woman lost

 

            5              her house and you laughed.  Do you think

 

            6              that's funny about an 85-year-old woman

 

            7              losing her house?  I don't care if the city

 

            8              took it, the state took it, the county took

 

            9              it, it's not funny that an 85-year-old woman

 

           10              lost her house.

 

           11                      MS. FANUCCI: You are darn right it's

 

           12              not.

 

           13                      MR. SPINDLER:  If you think that --

 

           14              I'm talking, keep quiet.  Keep her under

 

           15              control, will you, Mr. McGoff?  Keep her

 

           16              under control, I have the podium.

 

           17                      MR. JACKOWITZ: She did laugh.

 

           18                      MS. KNIGHT: She's laughing all the

 

           19              way --

 

           20                      MR. SPINDLER: She laughed and if

 

           21              that's her sense of humor she has a sick

 

           22              sense of humor thinking an 85-year-old woman

 

           23              is funny when she losses her house.  She

 

           24              acts like a five year old.  That's blatantly

 

           25              obvious.


 

 

                                                                      37

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF:  Excuse me, if you are

 

            2              going to make accusations then you are going

 

            3              to have to expect a response.

 

            4                      MR. SPINDLER:  It's on the tape.

 

            5              The laughing is on the tape.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: I said, if you are going

 

            7              to make accusations you are going to have to

 

            8              expect a response.

 

            9                      MR. SPINDLER: It's not an

 

           10              accusation, it's a fact.  Don't waste my

 

           11              time, please.  Now, Mr. McGoff, as a

 

           12              representative of the taxpayers of this city

 

           13              you obligated to ask for an investigation of

 

           14              city workers using city vehicles at

 

           15              taxpayers' expense doing private work and

 

           16              that's what Mr. Brazil did at that fire and

 

           17              you also said Mr. Brazil acted in good faith

 

           18              in an attempt to help a business that was in

 

           19              jeopardy.  You were told by the assistant

 

           20              chief, Mr. McGoff, that that building was

 

           21              not in jeopardy.  You and Mr. Courtright

 

           22              with there and I was standing right by you.

 

           23              There is no denying that, so I think there

 

           24              should be an investigation into that, that

 

           25              that is similar to a warden having prisoners


 

 

                                                                      38

 

 

            1              do work at his house and we know what

 

            2              happened there.

 

            3                      Another thing, Mr. McGoff, you took

 

            4              offense to Mr. Morgan's condemnation of

 

            5              basketball coaches.  Well, I think you

 

            6              should pay attention these meetings more.

 

            7              All Mr. Morgan said that he was a basketball

 

            8              coach.  Mr. Seitzinger, is a basketball

 

            9              coach.  He never said anything condemning

 

           10              about it, all he -- the point that he was

 

           11              trying to make was that he wasn't qualified

 

           12              to be the head of licenses, inspections and

 

           13              permits.  He never condemned basketball

 

           14              coaches, so please pay attention.

 

           15                      Next, everyone knows 93 percent of

 

           16              the firefighters took a vote, 91 percent of

 

           17              them voted to have the chief fired, but the

 

           18              mayor said it was politically motivated.

 

           19              These people are looking out for their own

 

           20              safety.  They were ordered to do things that

 

           21              they were fearful of their safety and the

 

           22              mayor says this man will be chief as long as

 

           23              he is the mayor.  Well, all this mayor cares

 

           24              about is Chief Davis bringing in votes.  He

 

           25              doesn't care about the safety of these


 

 

                                                                      39

 

 

            1              firefighters and Chief Davis should be fired

 

            2              immediately.

 

            3                      The headline in Saturday's Doherty

 

            4              newsletter, "City Draws Corporate

 

            5              Headquarters."  Well, tHe company that's

 

            6              going into that building, we lost a business

 

            7              from that building that was here for

 

            8              16 years, so we are not gaining a business,

 

            9              we are just replacing a business and the

 

           10              Scranton Times doesn't talk about the 20

 

           11              businesses that left the city this past

 

           12              year.

 

           13                      I'm going to read a quote from the

 

           14              paper what Mr. Gryzbowski had to say.  "I

 

           15              owned in Scranton," Mr. Gryzbowski said

 

           16              Friday, "We wanted room to grow.  I just

 

           17              didn't see eye to eye with a lot of city

 

           18              decisions," and I think that's what a lot of

 

           19              businesses in this city are feeling.

 

           20                   Mrs. Evans, at a meeting three or

 

           21              four weeks ago you brought about some line

 

           22              painting and the one meeting you weren't

 

           23              here I brought about, you brought it up in

 

           24              front of the Steamtown Mall, I brought that

 

           25              up a long time ago and I have been asking


 

 

                                                                      40

 

 

            1              for years about lines be painted.

 

            2                      MS. EVANS: Yes.

 

            3                      MR. SPINDLER: You can be darn sure

 

            4              that green line will be painted for the St.

 

            5              Patrick's Day parade.

 

            6                      MS. EVANS: Yes.

 

            7                      MR. SPINDLER:  But lines for safety

 

            8              reasons, for some reason they aren't getting

 

            9              painted.  Lastly, I see where a shoe store

 

           10              moved into where Poochie was, but we didn't

 

           11              gain a business, the business just moved

 

           12              from the other end of the block.  They moved

 

           13              from a business where they were paying taxes

 

           14              to a business where they are not paying

 

           15              taxes.  Do they get the KOZ status on that

 

           16              building?  Does anyone know?  Well, if they

 

           17              do they are going from a taxpaying business

 

           18              to a non taxpaying business.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Spindler.

 

           20                      MR. SPINDLER: That's all I have to

 

           21              say.  If I wanted to say more I would not

 

           22              step down.  Thank you.

 

           23                      MR. MCGOFF: Jean Suetta.

 

           24                      MS. SUETTA: Good evening.  How are

 

           25              we tonight?


 

 

                                                                      41

 

 

            1                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Fine.

 

            2                      MS. SUETTA: First of all, I want to

 

            3              commend our firefighters for stopping that

 

            4              fire from jumping over to the other side of

 

            5              the alley or half of Providence Square would

 

            6              have been gone.  They did a marvelous job.

 

            7              Thank you.

 

            8                      Now, Bill, Lace Works.  You know

 

            9              when I left here two weeks ago it was foggy,

 

           10              I was going home over the Albright Avenue

 

           11              bridge, right on Nay Aug Avenue, this

 

           12              critter comes out, I thought it was a

 

           13              raccoon, it was a big rat, a big rat.  What

 

           14              are you going to do about it down there?  I

 

           15              mean, it's a feeding ground for them.  We

 

           16              have kids in the neighborhood.  What happens

 

           17              if one of the kids get bit by the rat?  I

 

           18              mean, this was grandpa.

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: You know what, Jean,

 

           20              I promise you tomorrow I will call

 

           21              Mr. Seitzinger and ask him if he can go down

 

           22              there with me and if we can --

 

           23                      MS. SUETTA: I'll meet you.

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT: He probably doesn't

 

           25              meet with you, no, I'm only kidding.  If we


 

 

                                                                      42

 

 

            1              can take a look at, I don't know, we're not

 

            2              100 percent sure who owns it, but obviously

 

            3              they are not taking care of it and it needs

 

            4              to be taken care of so I will ask

 

            5              Mr. Seitzinger, he has always been receptive

 

            6              to me and I'll ask him tomorrow --

 

            7                      MS. SUETTA:  Because they are

 

            8              parking tractor trailers there.

 

            9                      MR. COURTRIGHT: It's a mess.

 

           10                      MS. SUETTA:  I'm sorry.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I'm sorry I didn't

 

           12              do it this week, it slipped my behind.

 

           13                      MS. SUETTA: And I think the roads

 

           14              over in Iraq are better than Nay Aug Avenue,

 

           15              I mean it.  They are deplorable.

 

           16                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I promise you

 

           17              tomorrow I will call and ask.

 

           18                      MS. SUETTA: And DPW, Mr. McGoff,

 

           19              when I was working on DPW we had a

 

           20              supervisor that was doing reconstruction of

 

           21              his house and having us remove his trash.

 

           22              He got fired.  You are not allowed to do it.

 

           23              If that was the case when we got flooded

 

           24              where were they to help us with ourselves to

 

           25              salvage what we could?  I mean, you do for


 

 

                                                                      43

 

 

            1              one you do for all.  Mrs. Fanucci, have they

 

            2              started restoration on the Radisson yet?

 

            3                      MS. FANUCCI: They have not.

 

            4                      MS. SUETTA: No bids?

 

            5                      MS. FANUCCI: They have put it out to

 

            6              bid, but there was nothing.  They did not

 

            7              make any type of progress on the money at

 

            8              all, no.

 

            9                      MS. SUETTA: And aren't you putting

 

           10              the money in the bank to get interest?

 

           11                      MS. FANUCCI: They don't get the

 

           12              money.  They don't receive the money until

 

           13              the project is ready to go, no, so they

 

           14              don't have the money.

 

           15                      MS. SUETTA: But, Bill, you will find

 

           16              out for me?

 

           17                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I promise you

 

           18              tomorrow I will call him.

 

           19                      MS. SUETTA:  And put a

 

           20              recommendation in for our firemen, they did

 

           21              a fabulous job out there.

 

           22                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes, they did.

 

           23                      MS. SUETTA: They saved the block.

 

           24              Okay, thanks.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF:  Thank you, Ms. Suetta.


 

 

                                                                      44

 

 

            1              David Dobson.  Daniel Hubbard.  Mr. Dobson

 

            2              is upstairs and says he doesn't wish to

 

            3              speak.

 

            4                      MR. HUBBARD: Good evening, Council,

 

            5              Daniel Hubbard.  I'm just going to start

 

            6              with a little history.  This is July 20,

 

            7              2007, Scranton Times, "City Council approved

 

            8              $35 million bond issue for the Scranton

 

            9              Parking Authority.  Plans call for the

 

           10              demolition of the Oppenheim parking garage

 

           11              and building a new $9 million multi-level

 

           12              structure on it's North Washington Avenue

 

           13              site.  Construction is supposed to begin

 

           14              this year."

 

           15                      August 12, 2007, "The Connell

 

           16              building also received a $5 million state

 

           17              grant called for developing apartments,

 

           18              creating office and retail space on the

 

           19              first floor and second floor and developing

 

           20              underground parking for it's residents."

 

           21                      Okay.  Same article, Mayor Doherty

 

           22              quoted, "As far as the Connell building,

 

           23              that should be underway soon now that is

 

           24              city council has passed legislation

 

           25              approving a $35 million bond for the


 

 

                                                                      45

 

 

            1              project."

 

            2                      So, real quick question before I go

 

            3              to the next article, was the $35 million

 

            4              bond for the parking authority or was that

 

            5              conveniently given to the parking authority

 

            6              so that it could be put into the Connell

 

            7              building project.  The mayor is quoted as

 

            8              saying that the $35 million bond was for the

 

            9              Connell building project in August.

 

           10                      Now, if nine million of that 35

 

           11              million was put aside to demolish and build

 

           12              a new facility in place of the Oppenheim

 

           13              garage why do they need a million dollars

 

           14              now out of the fund, the Grow Greener fund

 

           15              when they already have nine million that you

 

           16              guys gave them that was part of the

 

           17              35 million?  So as far as I'm concerned the

 

           18              Oppenheim building garage is a done deal.

 

           19              The nine million is in place for it, that's

 

           20              what they needed to tear it down and build a

 

           21              new structure.

 

           22                      Today's paper the mayor is quoted as

 

           23              saying, "There will be parking for the

 

           24              renovated Connell building and in an area

 

           25              where we need it."


 

 

                                                                      46

 

 

            1                      Well, is the Connell building

 

            2              underground parking for their building like

 

            3              they are quoted as saying in July or is the

 

            4              city building a parking garage for the

 

            5              Connell building?  Because it's stated right

 

            6              here in the development plan that they are

 

            7              going to put an underground parking garage

 

            8              under the Connell building for the residents

 

            9              of the building.

 

           10                      Now, Mayor Doherty is quoted as

 

           11              saying today that the parking -- that the

 

           12              reason you guys have to give this million

 

           13              dollars to the parking authority is so that

 

           14              we can use -- we have to use the money now

 

           15              so we are going to use it for the Oppenheim

 

           16              building.  Who is we?  Who applied for the

 

           17              grant.  That Grow Greener grant, five

 

           18              million grant, did the owner of the Connell

 

           19              building apply for the grant for his project

 

           20              or the did the city apply for a grant to

 

           21              give him the money.

 

           22                      Now, I mean, seriously there is a

 

           23              lot of disruption in what's going on here.

 

           24              You guys passed a $35 million bond issue for

 

           25              the parking authority.  Of that $35 million


 

 

                                                                      47

 

 

            1              bond issue they are supposed to use -- they

 

            2              are supposed to use it to renovate three of

 

            3              their existing garages and rebuild the

 

            4              fourth, which is the Oppenheim garage, so if

 

            5              nine million was earmarked to rebuild this

 

            6              facility last year why do we have to give

 

            7              them a million dollars out of the Grow

 

            8              Greener, I mean, let's face it, Growing

 

            9              Greener grant and parking it just doesn't

 

           10              seem like it kind of flows, you know.  I

 

           11              would think Growing Greener we could use it

 

           12              to develop green space.  Five million

 

           13              dollars, obviously, then we could probably

 

           14              get some of that $60,000 from the trees for

 

           15              the flood siren.

 

           16                      But, seriously, I mean, who is

 

           17              building the garage for the Connell

 

           18              building?  Is the City of Scranton building

 

           19              a garage for a private developer who has

 

           20              already stated that he was building his own

 

           21              garage underground and if we are building

 

           22              the garage for him with the nine million out

 

           23              of the 35 million why do we need another

 

           24              million to go on top of it now?  He is going

 

           25              to use the other 40 million of the grants to


 

 

                                                                      48

 

 

            1              go to the Connell building project.  Well,

 

            2              why just not use the $5 million.  Where has

 

            3              the $35 million gone?  Is it gone already?

 

            4              Is it spent?  Have they refurbished any of

 

            5              the other three?

 

            6                      I mean, seriously it's a lot of

 

            7              money here.  With $35 million you should be

 

            8              able to refurbish three garages and rebuild

 

            9              one for nine million.  I mean, that's

 

           10              $26 million later just to refurbish three

 

           11              garages, but now we have to give them

 

           12              another million for the Oppenheim garage

 

           13              which is in my mind already paid for from

 

           14              the nine million.

 

           15                      Now quick, real quick on this one,

 

           16              I'm not going to get into a long drawn out

 

           17              argument over this, but as far as Mr. Brazil

 

           18              goes and the art gallery, Mr. McGoff, you

 

           19              saw me at that fire that day and the reason

 

           20              I know that Mr. Brazil wasn't there all day

 

           21              was because I helped Laura Craig and her

 

           22              friend unload the entire gallery and carry

 

           23              the paintings across the street to the

 

           24              Plotkin shoe department.  When the paintings

 

           25              were placed up against the building across


 

 

                                                                      49

 

 

            1              the street safe away from the scene of the

 

            2              fire and away from any problems the mayor's

 

            3              wife showed up with Jeff Brazil in toe.

 

            4              Then Mr. McAndrew showed up in a pick-up

 

            5              truck.  Mr. McAndrew and Mr. Brazil and a

 

            6              DPW worker that I heard Mr. Brazil call on

 

            7              his phone and tell him to come down there

 

            8              and help him proceeded to take these

 

            9              paintings to the Everhart Museum long after

 

           10              the paintings were safe and away from water

 

           11              or smoke because I was the one who helped

 

           12              them carry all the pictures out, and you can

 

           13              ask Laura Craig that because she asked me

 

           14              who I was and I told her and I spent two

 

           15              hours helping them clean that gallery out

 

           16              and Mr. Brazil was no where to be seen.

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  Liz Hubbard.

 

           18                      MS. HUBBARD: Good evening, Council,

 

           19              Liz Hubbard, Scranton resident, taxpayer.  I

 

           20              had a couple of things one of which the

 

           21              question why was, Mr. McGoff, the seat was

 

           22              changed, but that was covered earlier.

 

           23                   Judy, did you hear anything about the

 

           24              skunk removal?  Am I going to get a check or

 

           25              what is the story?


 

 

                                                                      50

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI: No.  As a matter fact,

 

            2              I didn't even see a letter in the box, Kay.

 

            3                      MS. GARVEY: I'm sorry, I was writing

 

            4              something else, what was the question?

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI: The letter that I asked

 

            6              to be sent about the skunks?

 

            7                      MS. GARVEY: Yeah.  There was

 

            8              something sent about the skunks and did you

 

            9              get a response about that?

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI:  No, I didn't even see

 

           11              my letter.

 

           12                      MS. HUBBARD: I mean, now it seems

 

           13              like we have giant rats plus skunks.

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI: I let you know when I

 

           15              hear something.  I'll talk about it later, I

 

           16              don't want to take your time.

 

           17                      MR. HUBBARD: There is a lot of money

 

           18              floating around this city for all kinds of

 

           19              projects.  I think that the city should

 

           20              really try to contract with someone and it

 

           21              doesn't necessarily have to be the same

 

           22              person that did Cottage Avenue and my

 

           23              skunks, but I think there is a lot of

 

           24              people, people stop me in the grocery store

 

           25              and mention that they have skunks where they


 

 

                                                                      51

 

 

            1              live and possums and I, mean, it's

 

            2              disgusting.  We shouldn't have -- I lived in

 

            3              the country for 25 years and never saw a

 

            4              skunk, I come to Scranton and they are

 

            5              everywhere.  And I do mean the four-legged

 

            6              ones.  I mean, I know the two-legged ones

 

            7              have been here for awhile, but it's the

 

            8              truth.  I used to see a bear a week, deer

 

            9              everyday, never saw a skunk, and now all of

 

           10              a sudden they are everywhere.  So, let's get

 

           11              the city to do something with some of these

 

           12              community development block grant funds that

 

           13              seem to go over other places.

 

           14                      Now, the next question is on 5-E and

 

           15              F, the $400,000 that's a loan, is that the

 

           16              same people that are in 5-F?  Is all going

 

           17              to that Skyview?

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI: Um-hum.

 

           19                      MS. HUBBARD: Now, that Skyview is a

 

           20              private -- that's not a public housing

 

           21              development and, I mean, as far as I know

 

           22              that was built by private developers like

 

           23              back in the 80's, maybe even the late 70's.

 

           24              Where did the city acquire it?  Does anybody

 

           25              know?


 

 

                                                                      52

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: I'm sorry?

 

            2                      MS. HUBBARD: How did the city

 

            3              acquire it because didn't the newspaper say

 

            4              that they sold it to these people?  This

 

            5              sounds to me like these guys are tax shelter

 

            6              groups because when the tax laws change that

 

            7              tax shelters you couldn't get them anymore,

 

            8              the government cut back on them, you could

 

            9              still get involved in a tax shelter if you

 

           10              are in that income range where it would be

 

           11              public housing, low income or elderly and

 

           12              you just get a great return on your money

 

           13              until the shelter runs out and by the time

 

           14              is runs out you are already ready to retire

 

           15              and don't need the tax shelter, but I don't

 

           16              understand why the city is giving them the

 

           17              money to renovate.  I mean, I could take

 

           18              $100,000 and renovate my property, but I

 

           19              can't even get a flood siren.  So, I mean, I

 

           20              think you people should really think twice

 

           21              about giving them this money.  If they -- I

 

           22              mean, it's not a really nice area to begin

 

           23              with and it isn't a city-owned project and I

 

           24              don't think the city should give them the

 

           25              money.  Anyway, that's it.


 

 

                                                                      53

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Hubbard.

 

            2              Lee Morgan.

 

            3                      MR. MORGAN: Good evening, council,

 

            4              Lee Morgan, and a member of the Lackawanna

 

            5              County Taxpayers; and Citizens' Association

 

            6              and the reason I'm saying that is it I'm

 

            7              also on the board of the Northeast Public

 

            8              Access project and I'd just like to say

 

            9              that, you know, I'm not a spokesman for this

 

           10              group, but I would just like to say that we

 

           11              are of the opinion that the transfer of the

 

           12              operation of Channel 61 and 62 was done for

 

           13              political reasons and I really find it

 

           14              troubling what's happened here to be quite

 

           15              blunt.

 

           16                      But I would like to move on and say

 

           17              that I really appreciate what the Scranton

 

           18              firemen did in regards to Chief Davis.  I

 

           19              really do honestly believe it's time for

 

           20              that gentleman to resign and I really find

 

           21              is a troubling thing when a mayor hires

 

           22              somebody who is not capable of doing a job

 

           23              and states to the people that he is going to

 

           24              keep them there as long as he is the mayor

 

           25              and, like I have said from this podium many


 

 

                                                                      54

 

 

            1              times before, I really don't know, you know,

 

            2              I really can't tell you how many firemen

 

            3              this city needs, but I can tell you we don't

 

            4              need to cut any and we are looking to cut

 

            5              expenses in the wrong places.

 

            6                      I mean, you know.  We have -- I have

 

            7              been coming here probably, wow, I don't

 

            8              know, maybe almost two decades and I just

 

            9              find it just so troubling that regardless of

 

           10              who gets elected we just seem to have a

 

           11              total lack of representation.  The

 

           12              neighborhoods have been in the shape they

 

           13              have now for a very long time.  We keep

 

           14              bringing up on the agenda about how money is

 

           15              being transferred and misspent and nobody

 

           16              has a clue why, nobody has any information

 

           17              about what's going on, and people are going

 

           18              to find out later, but, you know, the worst

 

           19              thing is it that, you know, we even have

 

           20              people that aren't unqualified and you took

 

           21              offense to me saying that Mark Seitzinger

 

           22              was a basketball coach.  There is nothing

 

           23              wrong with a being a basketball coach.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: It was a joke.

 

           25                      MR. MORGAN: Well, you know what,


 

 

                                                                      55

 

 

            1              it's really not a joke.  The real joke here,

 

            2              and with all due respect to everybody on

 

            3              council is, the things that this council

 

            4              itself votes for and propels forward there

 

            5              is things that are introduced by council

 

            6              that never should have been introduced and

 

            7              then later on we are trying to find out how

 

            8              it got out of the bag and we have so many

 

            9              questions and absolutely no answers and, you

 

           10              know, nothing is hypothetical when it comes

 

           11              to what this council votes to do and we have

 

           12              so many people here that homes are being

 

           13              leveraged by this city daily by it's out of

 

           14              control borrowing and spending and no idea

 

           15              what this money is being spent for.

 

           16                      You know, Mr. Hubbard has a nice

 

           17              paper back there, I was reading about people

 

           18              making dog parks in Hawaii for $90,000 that

 

           19              dwarfs the one we have and then other ones

 

           20              for 55 grand and you just see that there is

 

           21              no parameters around how much money we are

 

           22              willing to waste here as if like the people

 

           23              in this city just have a ton of money and

 

           24              that's not the case and we are not even

 

           25              looking to save money here.  I mean, it's


 

 

                                                                      56

 

 

            1              just wrong what this council is doing and

 

            2              nothing is funny here.

 

            3                      I mean, the divide I see at council

 

            4              is, Mr. McGoff with all due respect, three

 

            5              on this side for the mayor and two on that

 

            6              side against the mayor, and you know what,

 

            7              that's no way to run a city and for you to

 

            8              say that you are not going to get

 

            9              information for people because it's not your

 

           10              job to fetch it is just terrible and I hope

 

           11              you retract that statement and that you

 

           12              would move as the president of this council

 

           13              to inform all of the people in this city,

 

           14              including yourself, on what's actually

 

           15              happening here on, you know, everybody came

 

           16              up here and asked about where this money is

 

           17              going, where that money is going, we asked

 

           18              questions, we are going to answer them later

 

           19              or we'll find out next week and the answers

 

           20              have never really come.  Never.  Never.

 

           21                      And don't you think it's time for

 

           22              this council to finally for once let the

 

           23              people know where their money is going.  I

 

           24              mean, if we are going to sell somebody's

 

           25              house because they can't pay their taxes


 

 

                                                                      57

 

 

            1              don't you think we should try to lower their

 

            2              taxes?

 

            3                      Don't you think for once we should

 

            4              try to do something about the sidewalks and

 

            5              the curbs.  As I have spoken long -- for a

 

            6              long time it's time to invest in the

 

            7              neighborhoods.  But, you know, we are not

 

            8              creating jobs here even with all of the

 

            9              stimulation that council want to pretend

 

           10              it's providing to the local economy it's

 

           11              really not.  It's destroying in city.

 

           12                      I have people I grew up with and

 

           13              their children won't even live here and

 

           14              it's -- there is nothing to wonder about.

 

           15              We have got a wage tax which is regressive,

 

           16              our property tax is the same way.  We have a

 

           17              garbage fee, we have all of these fees tied

 

           18              to our government and then you look at the

 

           19              people.  Sit here and watch the zoning board

 

           20              or the planning board.  If you are going to

 

           21              watch the zoning board watch them.  You

 

           22              know, we have so many political hats in all

 

           23              of those boards it's just a shame.  It

 

           24              really is.  You know what we need to do, and

 

           25              I'm not trying to slay anybody, we got to


 

 

                                                                      58

 

 

            1              bring ordinary people in.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Morgan.

 

            3              Jim Stucker.

 

            4                      MR. STUCKER: Mr. Courtright.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Hi, Jim.

 

            6                      MR. STUCKER: I went a couple of

 

            7              times we had to clean our gutters, our

 

            8              drains, the leaves are still there on Oak

 

            9              Street and they are blocking the water that

 

           10              comes down.  Remember that water we had,

 

           11              that heavy stuff, well, there is no drain at

 

           12              all on Oak Street or on Mark Street.  They

 

           13              put Mrs. Stirna, in front of Mrs. Stirnas

 

           14              the water is coming down like a river.  On

 

           15              Oak Street that drain that's by the gas

 

           16              station both sides was blocked.  I used to

 

           17              open them.  I don't get no money for it and

 

           18              I'm not doing it no more.  If they paid me I

 

           19              would do it.  I would take a shovel and a

 

           20              rake and go and do it, but, no.

 

           21                      I went to -- I went to these public

 

           22              works, right, I went to see -- I went to

 

           23              the, what do you call it, I can't say the

 

           24              name of it, they are supposed to put signs

 

           25              up on Market Street, I had to go to the fire


 

 

                                                                      59

 

 

            1              station the other day and have them call the

 

            2              cops come up on Market Street and tell them

 

            3              there is no signs on Market Street for no

 

            4              parking on the hill.  There is two cars

 

            5              there on Market Street right on the top,

 

            6              right by the laundry mat there all the way

 

            7              down to the bottom on both sides.  The

 

            8              cops -- the cops both called up the DP -- I

 

            9              can't say the name of it, supposed to call

 

           10              them and tell them to have signs up and they

 

           11              said they're not doing it, the city is

 

           12              supposed to do it, the city is supposed to

 

           13              put signs up for people not to park on both

 

           14              sides of the road.  There is a lot -- there

 

           15              is going to be a wreck there on Market

 

           16              Street I know that, really, really bad.

 

           17              They told me bring it up to city council to

 

           18              Courtright about it.

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Well, we are going

 

           20              to look into, Jim.  Jim, it's tough parking

 

           21              up there, Buddy, and the businesses need all

 

           22              the parking they can get so that --

 

           23                      MR. STUCKER: There's Stirna's, the

 

           24              laundry mat, John Mattes' building, all the

 

           25              way down to the bottom.


 

 

                                                                      60

 

 

            1                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  They are looking at

 

            2              it.  They are looking at it, Jim.  Hang in

 

            3              there.

 

            4                      MR. STUCKER: So, what about on

 

            5              Lackawanna Avenue the holes over there are

 

            6              so bad the buses, I'm afraid a car or a bus

 

            7              is going to go flat on the tires.  And on

 

            8              Market -- by the Oppenheim and the Globe

 

            9              Store, the old Globe Store, they are still

 

           10              parking cars there, they are still parking

 

           11              the buses.  A couple of times the buses

 

           12              couldn't get to the curb.  I'm afraid

 

           13              somebody is going to fall and hurt

 

           14              theirselves and the buses are going to be

 

           15              sued.  They got to do something.  You got to

 

           16              have a ticket girl up there.

 

           17                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Okay, Jim.

 

           18                      MR. STUCKER: So, I hope you keep

 

           19              putting signs up that says "No Parking" I'd

 

           20              be happy.

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT: We are checking on

 

           22              it.

 

           23                      MR. STUCKER:  Please.

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay.

 

           25                      MR. STUCKER: Okay.


 

 

                                                                      61

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Stucker.

 

            2                      MR. STUCKER: And I got to get ahold

 

            3              of Pat somehow.  He's going to give me a

 

            4              ride home I got to see if I can get a cell

 

            5              phone and call him.

 

            6                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Maybe one of the

 

            7              people out there will let you use their cell

 

            8              phone, Jim.

 

            9                      MR. STUCKER: All right.

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.

 

           11                      MR. STUCKER: My birthday is next

 

           12              Thursday -- or this Thursday.

 

           13                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Happy birthday.

 

           14              This Thursday?  Happy Birthday.

 

           15                      MR. STUCKER: Sixty-three.

 

           16                      MR. COURTRIGHT: You look good.

 

           17                      MS. EVANS: And many more.

 

           18                      MR. COURTRIGHT: So long, Jim.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Stucker was the last

 

           20              speaker to sign in, and anyone else?

 

           21                      MR. UNGARVSKY:  Good evening, city

 

           22              council.  I'm Tom Ungvarsky and I'm a member

 

           23              of the Scranton/Lackawanna County Taxpayers.

 

           24              Part of what we do is by try to inform the

 

           25              people of what's going on.  Last meeting I


 

 

                                                                      62

 

 

            1              came to city council and told you about a

 

            2              woman who was in jeopardy of losing her

 

            3              home.  I was quite disappointed when I

 

            4              walked away from this podium because the

 

            5              only thing I heard from city council about

 

            6              it was that it's not the city that did it,

 

            7              Scranton doesn't do it, there was no

 

            8              compassion and you had nothing to offer

 

            9              about it.  I think it's time that you remove

 

           10              that immoral act and rescind the statute.

 

           11              Does anyone have anything to say about

 

           12              removing it?

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: You are referring to the

 

           14              ordinance that increased the costs,

 

           15              penalties, fines and fees, etcetera?

 

           16                      MR. UNGVARSKY: That is correct.

 

           17                      MS. EVANS: Yes.  Well, I hope to

 

           18              present that motion again tonight.

 

           19                      MR. UNGVARSKY:  Fine, because I

 

           20              asked for it at the last meeting and, like I

 

           21              say, no one had anything to say about it and

 

           22              I thank you, city council.

 

           23                      MS. KNIGHT: Good evening, Mrs. Evans

 

           24              and, good evening, McGoff and

 

           25              Mr. Courtright.  Mr. McGoff, I'm here


 

 

                                                                      63

 

 

            1              tonight to speak with you.  I'd like to you

 

            2              to look at me, please.  You took this

 

            3              position and that seat that you are sitting

 

            4              in, you are supposed to be highly educated.

 

            5              Hum.  I wouldn't want my kids having you as

 

            6              a teacher.

 

            7                      Your council, the two on your left

 

            8              are on the wrong side of the road.  They egg

 

            9              on the people up there with their smiles,

 

           10              eating, laughing, talking about people that

 

           11              are out here on this side of the road and

 

           12              make comments about them while you sit there

 

           13              and do absolutely nothing.  I would like to

 

           14              know if you all know the word respect.  I

 

           15              know Mrs. Evans does and I know

 

           16              Mr. Courtright does.  I wonder if you three

 

           17              do.  If you don't, I'd like Mrs. Evans, and

 

           18              she is a teacher, to teach you that word

 

           19              because all three of you need it.  You have

 

           20              become -- I thought when Mr. Courtright got

 

           21              in as president that he would make a five

 

           22              team group and he has divided.

 

           23              Mr. Courtright, you were right and Mrs.

 

           24              Evans was right.

 

           25                      I have known this all the time and I


 

 

                                                                      64

 

 

            1              have been watching you for TV, I haven't

 

            2              been down to council.  That's what made me

 

            3              come down here and tonight even started it

 

            4              off. The lady is not here now, but why is

 

            5              Judy sitting where she is.  It's because of

 

            6              you, Sherry, you couldn't get Mrs. Evans'

 

            7              attention when you were trying to make jokes

 

            8              about these people out there, so when the

 

            9              change -- don't smile at me.  Don't.  Don't.

 

           10              And you, too, Mr. Courtright.  Not you,

 

           11              Courtright, Mr. McGoff, I'm sorry, I got

 

           12              your name confused, but you three are the

 

           13              lowest things that can walk this earth.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me, that's --

 

           15                      MS. KNIGHT:  Oh, that's

 

           16              unprohibited.  Oh, oh.

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF: Please.

 

           18                      MS. KNIGHT: I guess we can't use

 

           19              words like that, but you all cannot give

 

           20              answers.  Mr. McGoff, do you realize that a

 

           21              president of your position is to make sure

 

           22              that you have a meeting every week with five

 

           23              of your council people and all of the

 

           24              questions that these people ask is up to you

 

           25              to make the decision to have every one of


 

 

                                                                      65

 

 

            1              these have an answer to their question.

 

            2              That's your job.  That's what we pay you

 

            3              for.  And I think it's stinks that you get

 

            4              $500 a month.  And, Judy, you don't have to

 

            5              worry about your insurance because you are

 

            6              getting paid $500 a month, but the other

 

            7              poor people out here have nothing.  Some of

 

            8              them are walking around this street with no

 

            9              insurance.

 

           10                      And you are right, Mr. Courtright

 

           11              and Mrs. Evans, you are left out of

 

           12              everything that these three others, I can't

 

           13              even call them people, I can't even call

 

           14              them council because I have no other words

 

           15              that I can use for them.  And, yes, you will

 

           16              grin at me the whole time, Sherry, and I

 

           17              will grin back, but I think it's about time,

 

           18              Mr. Courtright you took your job and your --

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: It's Mr. McGoff.

 

           20              Mr. Courtright is to my right.

 

           21                      MS. KNIGHT: Mr. McGoff.  When you

 

           22              took your oath the first day you lied

 

           23              through your teeth to not only to God but to

 

           24              the father that stood next to you and your

 

           25              family and the rest of this council out here


 

 

                                                                      66

 

 

            1              because you have done nothing since you took

 

            2              over and it is a shame.  Don't you have a

 

            3              backbone, a brain of your own?  Be a man,

 

            4              stand up to Mr. Doherty and these two and

 

            5              his crew?  I don't think so.  I don't think

 

            6              you have anything and I don't even know how

 

            7              the heck you got past teaching and you don't

 

            8              have to say thank you because I know it's

 

            9              not coming from your heart.

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Knight.

 

           11                      MR. GERVASI: Good evening, City

 

           12              Council.  Mr. McGoff, may I approach,

 

           13              Council with some handouts?

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: Sure.

 

           15                      MR. GERVASI: City council, my name

 

           16              is Dave Gervasi, I am a city resident and a

 

           17              very proud firefighter.  What I just handed

 

           18              you was the press release.  We gave it to

 

           19              the press last week which was the result of

 

           20              no confidence vote we had on our fire chief,

 

           21              and listed on here are some of the concerns,

 

           22              safety concerns, politics, procedures and

 

           23              management practices of our chief at fire

 

           24              scenes and/or lack thereof of management

 

           25              procedures.


 

 

                                                                      67

 

 

            1                      What we are here for tonight is I

 

            2              have been directed from my membership with

 

            3              the Scranton Firefighters to be here tonight

 

            4              and, frankly, I didn't need any motivation.

 

            5              I just want everyone to know what transpired

 

            6              this week, the truth.  On the day we had the

 

            7              no confidence vote they got a response from

 

            8              Mayor Doherty and he said, and I read it on

 

            9              the Times website under their breaking news,

 

           10              that we had the press conference and he

 

           11              said, and I'm just paraphrasing, basically

 

           12              he didn't know much about this and he was

 

           13              going to keep the chief as long as he was in

 

           14              there.

 

           15                      So, to give the mayor the benefit of

 

           16              the doubt I picked up the phone and I called

 

           17              his office and I left a message, about five

 

           18              minutes later he personally called me back

 

           19              and I told him what I had read and I found

 

           20              it hard to believe that he didn't know what

 

           21              was going on with the incidents with the

 

           22              chief over the years and I asked him if we

 

           23              could have a meeting, and he agreed and last

 

           24              Thursday at I believe 10:30 in the morning

 

           25              we met with four members of our union, the


 

 

                                                                      68

 

 

            1              deputy chief, the mayor, I'm sorry, not the

 

            2              deputy chief, the public safety director,

 

            3              the chief and the mayor met.

 

            4                      The mayor asks us what our concerns

 

            5              were, we highlighted these that we put out

 

            6              this press conference, told them of other

 

            7              incidents that were maybe nonsafety such as

 

            8              insensitive, inappropriate and plain old

 

            9              nasty remarks and abuse, verbal abuse of our

 

           10              members throughout the years and, frankly, I

 

           11              have three witnesses that will say this, the

 

           12              chief did not utter a word in his defense,

 

           13              the public safety director did not utter a

 

           14              word in his defense, even though we did have

 

           15              some discussion on different issues, and the

 

           16              mayor did not defend him.  The mayor simply

 

           17              said that, "I will take care of all of

 

           18              this."

 

           19                      And we are -- I emphasize this, our

 

           20              membership is delighted that the mayor is

 

           21              willing to step up to the plate, they are

 

           22              going to start meeting on Thursday to

 

           23              discuss our safety concerns and the

 

           24              difficulties we have been having under

 

           25              safety, but one thing he did mention that he


 

 

                                                                      69

 

 

            1              was steadfast, he is not removing the chief

 

            2              from office.

 

            3                      With that said, we asked him frankly

 

            4              what are you going to do with the chief?  He

 

            5              is not going to be interfering with the

 

            6              incident commander at fire scenes any

 

            7              longer.  He is not going to be abusing us

 

            8              any longer.  He is not going to embarrassing

 

            9              us in the press any longer.  What exactly is

 

           10              he going to do?  How are you going to

 

           11              justify paying this man that basically is

 

           12              not going to have -- to perform the duties

 

           13              of chief?  And he basically said I'm going

 

           14              to worry about that, but I'm going -- he

 

           15              just kept referring to he is going to fix

 

           16              our situation.

 

           17                      And, again, we emphasize we are

 

           18              delighted that he is taking these concerns

 

           19              seriously, but, again, I have been directed

 

           20              to come here tonight, I would like you to

 

           21              review these things and I don't want you to

 

           22              take our word for it of these incidents that

 

           23              happened over the years.

 

           24                      We want you to investigate it

 

           25              because since the mayor is steadfast in not


 

 

                                                                      70

 

 

            1              removing the chief we all feel that we have

 

            2              no leadership in this position, that he

 

            3              cannot handle that position and somebody

 

            4              competent needs to put in that position.  So

 

            5              I'm asking this council since the mayor will

 

            6              not do that part of it, that we are

 

            7              requesting and I'm asking this council to

 

            8              get involved, I'm asking this council to

 

            9              maybe have a caucus on TV, in chambers,

 

           10              privately, whichever your preference is and

 

           11              we will prove to you everything in our press

 

           12              release is the truth and it's factual, and I

 

           13              would ask this council that if unless you

 

           14              condone any of these safety concerns we have

 

           15              I would ask this council to please have a

 

           16              meeting with us and if you find that these

 

           17              awful, awful incidents took place and we

 

           18              convince you that they are true, we are

 

           19              asking this council to support us and be an

 

           20              advocate for us for the removal of the fire

 

           21              chief and have him replaced with somebody

 

           22              who is competent and can do the job and can

 

           23              lead this department.

 

           24                      It's not fair to the mayor to have

 

           25              to play fire chief.  It's not fair for the


 

 

                                                                      71

 

 

            1              public safety director to have to direct our

 

            2              department and it's not fair to the Scranton

 

            3              Firefighters to have someone who cannot

 

            4              handle the job, and I'm asking you this

 

            5              would you please let us know at this point

 

            6              if it's okay, and I know my time is up, but

 

            7              I don't want to push it.

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Gervasi.

 

            9                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Mr. McGoff, could I

 

           10              say something or would you prefer I wait?

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: We can address it during

 

           12              motions, I believe.

 

           13                      MR. GERVASI:  Thank you.

 

           14                      MR. PATILLA: Good evening, Mrs.

 

           15              Evans, Mr. Courtright.  Sam Patilla, member

 

           16              of the Scranton/Lackawanna County Taxpayers'

 

           17              Association.  First I'd like to commend

 

           18              Operation Democracy in their quest to seek

 

           19              that the elections have a paper trail that

 

           20              can be verified and both can be verified.

 

           21                   Secondly, I would like to commend

 

           22              Scranton Today for keeping us informed of

 

           23              city business and what's going on.  And,

 

           24              thirdly, I would like to commend the

 

           25              Scranton Fire Department, especially in


 

 

                                                                      72

 

 

            1              light of all of the harsh treatment and pain

 

            2              that they have had to suffer at the hands of

 

            3              this administration over the years.  And as

 

            4              I was viewing that fire in the Providence

 

            5              area, the Providence Square area the first

 

            6              thing that came to mind was arson and it

 

            7              didn't take me by surprise when the news

 

            8              report came back and said that the fire

 

            9              department was investigating for arson.

 

           10                      Thirdly, I mean, fourthly, I would

 

           11              like to, you know, from the laymen's point

 

           12              of view, the naked eye, all of this money

 

           13              transferring from the parking authority, to

 

           14              the city, to the housing authority, yada,

 

           15              yada, yada, to the average person this looks

 

           16              like money laundering point blank, you know,

 

           17              Peter robbing to pay Paul to pay Mary to pay

 

           18              Sue.  That's all that it looks like.  On

 

           19              week you are giving money, the next you are

 

           20              taking money back or are you sitting in

 

           21              another one.  It's looks straight up like

 

           22              money laundering.

 

           23                      Now, I have been speaking to quite a

 

           24              few of the seniors in the area in reference

 

           25              to this spend less programs that is going on


 

 

                                                                      73

 

 

            1              throughout the state and throughout the

 

            2              nation.  Me myself, I throw it back in their

 

            3              face, because we don't need money to keep us

 

            4              quiet, you know, that money can be used to

 

            5              pay off that debt we have in China, the

 

            6              money could be used that the Commonwealth

 

            7              has to pay off the outstanding debts that we

 

            8              have here the same thing around Scranton.

 

            9                   When I see the stimulus the first

 

           10              things that comes to mind is Ed Rendell,

 

           11              George W. Bush, enough said, all right?

 

           12              They put the Commonwealth and this country

 

           13              in the predicament that they are, they we

 

           14              are already in, it's the same thing with

 

           15              Doherty all right?  You cannot continue to

 

           16              borrow, borrow, borrow.  Sooner or later the

 

           17              banks are going to say no.  The people are

 

           18              going to say, no, and that institution is

 

           19              going to collapse and it's going to call

 

           20              around your ears and that's exactly what's

 

           21              happening here, okay?

 

           22                      All these specialities of the

 

           23              economic business world all stated the same

 

           24              thing that I stated here, okay, you can't

 

           25              spend, you can't solve this problem by


 

 

                                                                      74

 

 

            1              spending money.  You have to solve this

 

            2              problem by reducing, wise reduction, not

 

            3              lower employee midmanagement, unnecessary

 

            4              deadweight at the top, that's where you

 

            5              reduce, that's what you get rid of, that's

 

            6              what you cut back at.

 

            7                      We, as a city, have to take our

 

            8              finances by the throat, not by the reigns,

 

            9              by the throat and give them a good shake

 

           10              because it's out of control, you know, you

 

           11              cannot allow Chris Doherty or anybody else

 

           12              to continue to borrow or to loan out our

 

           13              money and our debts aren't getting paid.

 

           14              The interest doesn't go away.  It grows by

 

           15              the day and until we had a majority on the

 

           16              council who are actually for the people we

 

           17              are going to have these problems.

 

           18                      You know, I hear residents

 

           19              complaining about skunks.  Well, when your

 

           20              head is a skunk quite naturally they are

 

           21              going to attract the rest of them.

 

           22                      Okay, you want to plant trees, you

 

           23              are going to attract critters because while

 

           24              you are planting that tree you are not

 

           25              taking care of that lot, you are just making


 

 

                                                                      75

 

 

            1              another blight, you are just making a home

 

            2              for them, all right?

 

            3                      And the city administration as a

 

            4              whole, you know, we have good individuals on

 

            5              council and the school board and other areas

 

            6              within this city, but as a whole we have a

 

            7              bunch of pole cats that need to be

 

            8              eradicated because they are driving this

 

            9              city to bankruptcy and that's exactly what's

 

           10              going to happen.  The state is not going to

 

           11              be able to bail us out because sooner or

 

           12              later people are going to wake up and

 

           13              realize what Rendell is doing.  The federal

 

           14              government is not going to able to bail us

 

           15              out because they have already mortgaged us

 

           16              to China.  If they took some of this money

 

           17              that want and give it to these people, and I

 

           18              know a lot of people need that money, we

 

           19              could really use that money, what we could

 

           20              really use is paying off our debt.

 

           21              Getting our property back from China,

 

           22              getting our state back from corporate

 

           23              America, the health industry, that's how we

 

           24              get back.  Thank you.  Good night, Mrs.

 

           25              Evans and Mr. Courtright.


 

 

                                                                      76

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: Good evening, Council.

 

            2              My name is Matt MacDonald, I'm a Scranton

 

            3              firefighter, I'm also a member of the

 

            4              executive board for Local 60.  I want to

 

            5              come here tonight, obviously, you have never

 

            6              seen me before, this is my first time in

 

            7              speaking.  I just want to touch on the no

 

            8              conflict vote that we had.  I just want to

 

            9              say that the vote that we took was not taken

 

           10              lightly by any of our members.  It was not

 

           11              political in nature, I want to stress that.

 

           12              It was not meant humiliate or embarrass

 

           13              anybody.  What our -- the vote was for was

 

           14              our safety and the safety of the citizens of

 

           15              Scranton.

 

           16                      On the last page of the press

 

           17              release the numbers of the vote are on the

 

           18              back, it's 93 percent of our firefighters

 

           19              cast a vote on February 6.  Out of the

 

           20              93 percent that voted 91 percent have

 

           21              absolutely no confidence in fire chief Tom

 

           22              Davis.  I find these statistics very

 

           23              troubling as a young firefighter.  I have

 

           24              approximately six years on the job, I have

 

           25              witnessed Chief Davis give very dangerous


 

 

                                                                      77

 

 

            1              orders at fire scenes.  One, if the

 

            2              gentleman who was ordered who has less time

 

            3              on than I did, and this was approximately

 

            4              two years ago, if he did not take Chief

 

            5              Davis' order he probably would not be with

 

            6              us today.  He was ordered on a roof that two

 

            7              minutes after he refused to go on collapsed

 

            8              which is absolutely ridiculous that a young

 

            9              firefighter had to counterman his fire chief

 

           10              in that nature on the scene of the fire.

 

           11                   Pretty much I'm here for the younger

 

           12              members of our department, like I said, I

 

           13              have six years on it.  There is

 

           14              approximately 40 firefighters underneath me

 

           15              who are afraid of Tom Davis as the fire

 

           16              chief because of some of his actions on and

 

           17              off the fire scene.  He gives dangerous

 

           18              orders that young firefighters have to

 

           19              counterman.  It's equivalent to a private

 

           20              countermanning a general in the military

 

           21              sense.  This is unacceptable for us at the

 

           22              Scranton Fire Department.

 

           23                      Like I said, the younger members are

 

           24              fed up and they are scared and we beg the

 

           25              council to have Fire Chief Tom Davis and


 

 

                                                                      78

 

 

            1              representation from the union to sit down

 

            2              and discuss these issues that we have

 

            3              because these are only a few of the issues

 

            4              that we have with Chief Davis.

 

            5                      I know, I was at the meeting with

 

            6              Mr. Gervasi, we had the mayor stating that

 

            7              he would take care of it, that's fine, but

 

            8              we still need leadership in the Scranton

 

            9              Fire Department, leadership that has lacked

 

           10              over the past six years.  We have had none.

 

           11              We have had no leadership.

 

           12                      In this post 9/11 world the fire

 

           13              service has been asked to take on tasks that

 

           14              it's never had to before.  More dangerous

 

           15              tasks than we had to before and, frankly, we

 

           16              need a fire chief who can take on those

 

           17              responsibilities and I believe along with

 

           18              nearly 90 percent of our entire department

 

           19              that Chief Davis is not the man to do that.

 

           20              Thank you, Council.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,

 

           22              Mr. MacDonald.

 

           23                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Marie Schumacher,

 

           24              citizen and member of the Taxpayers'

 

           25              Association.  Originally I didn't plan on


 

 

                                                                      79

 

 

            1              speaking on 5-D until I heard other speakers

 

            2              and then I got my notes out because I

 

            3              attended the Scranton Parking Authority

 

            4              meeting on 16th of January and their Growing

 

            5              Greener project was discussed as a solar

 

            6              canopy which has photo-rotated cells for

 

            7              producing electricity and also it would

 

            8              remove the run-off problem.  The stated

 

            9              amount needed was $22,000 for the design and

 

           10              obtaining a grant and now instead of that

 

           11              grant we are apparently going to supply the

 

           12              grant money ourselves from another project.

 

           13              So, I would suggest that you table this

 

           14              until Mr. Scopelliti could come down here

 

           15              for a caucus and explain why this $1 million

 

           16              transfer is actually required.

 

           17                      Last week Mrs. Fanucci gave a rough

 

           18              definition -- or two weeks ago, excuse me,

 

           19              of Ben Franklin's famous quote on insanity

 

           20              which is doing the same thing over and over

 

           21              and expecting different results.  Less

 

           22              important than whether our mayor, therefore,

 

           23              is insane for continuing to pursue the 27

 

           24              pay period issue for the firefighters after

 

           25              losing the exact same issue for the police


 

 

                                                                      80

 

 

            1              is his lack of stewardship of our taxes by

 

            2              lining the pockets of attorneys to fight a

 

            3              lost battle.

 

            4                      On February 13 the monopoly

 

            5              newspaper article reported the state police

 

            6              had cited a downtown restaurant for

 

            7              operating without a valid permit or license,

 

            8              a valid health permit or license.  The

 

            9              permit for the restaurant had expired on

 

           10              October 31 of the prior year.  I asked

 

           11              myself how many other eating establishments

 

           12              in the city are in the same boat?  Could it

 

           13              be the overseeing department is not properly

 

           14              performing this function?  Who knows, but I

 

           15              would think you people would certainly be

 

           16              interested.

 

           17                      Now to move to Nay Aug park and the

 

           18              $305,000 amphitheater which cost taxpayers

 

           19              what, $150,000 a year?  I think it was

 

           20              usable for two years, maybe three, I could

 

           21              be off, but what's the difference whether

 

           22              it's $100,000 a year or $150,000 a year?

 

           23              Why was that amphitheater not insured?  Why

 

           24              does the general contractor refuse to answer

 

           25              questions relative to the maintenance of the


 

 

                                                                      81

 

 

            1              tent?  Could it be that the $305,000 of our

 

            2              taxes are being flushed down the toilet

 

            3              because of poor maintenance?  I am strongly

 

            4              suspicious that that may be the case because

 

            5              the -- otherwise, I see no reason why the

 

            6              general contractor wouldn't say that what

 

            7              the requirements for the maintenance were.

 

            8              That's a lot of money to tear down and flush

 

            9              away.

 

           10                      Now to the treehouse.  I can't help

 

           11              but wonder why the construction was split

 

           12              into two pieces?  The city contracted for

 

           13              the foundation, concrete and steelwork to

 

           14              the tune of $229,000.  Who contracted for

 

           15              the wood and timber construction, grading at

 

           16              the roadside for ramp access, permanent

 

           17              electrical roofing and appurtenances,

 

           18              specifically excluded from the contract the

 

           19              city had with that general contractor.  Who,

 

           20              other than the city, is authorized to

 

           21              protract for fixed assets in a public park?

 

           22              There will be more on this coming weeks as I

 

           23              hopefully will get answers to Right to Know.

 

           24              So far I have been stiffed when I asked to

 

           25              see a copy of the contract because it


 

 

                                                                      82

 

 

            1              appears that the Scranton Redevelopment

 

            2              Authority which may have funded this project

 

            3              or contracted for the balance of that effort

 

            4              tells me that a legal review is necessary to

 

            5              determine whether the record is a public

 

            6              record subject to access under the Act.

 

            7              Well, my goodness, a copy of the contract is

 

            8              pretty explicit in the Right to Know what is

 

            9              available to the public and I question why

 

           10              I'm having such a difficult time.

 

           11                      Then, now to Mr. McGoff and his

 

           12              direction that citizens should pursue

 

           13              answers via Right to Know since it's not

 

           14              council's job to fetch information for

 

           15              citizens.  My success rate on Right to Know

 

           16              responses is less than stellar.  I brought a

 

           17              few of them with me tonight and I'll bring

 

           18              them back next week.  Thank you very much.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF:  Thank you, Ms.

 

           20              Schumacher.

 

           21                      MR. SLEDZENSKI: Hello, Bill.

 

           22                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Hi, Chris.

 

           23                      MR. SLEDZENSKI:  Mrs. Fanucci, I got

 

           24              a question for you tonight, only you, Mrs.

 

           25              Fanucci, only you.


 

 

                                                                      83

 

 

            1                      MS. FANUCCI: All right.

 

            2                      MR. SLEDZENSKI: The other day I was

 

            3              walking at the Steamtown Mall the other day,

 

            4              you know, that big store at the mall

 

            5              upstairs, it's out of business up there now.

 

            6              There is two businesses out of the mall up

 

            7              there, they are gone.  The old shoe store on

 

            8              top, two businesses are gone.

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI: The mall, I know.

 

           10                      MS. SLEDZENSKI: They are gone.

 

           11              Okay.  Thank you.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Chris.

 

           13                      MS. KRAKE: Good evening, Council, my

 

           14              name is Nancy Krake.  I would like to

 

           15              explain what a sheriff's sale is to

 

           16              Mr. McGoff, Mrs. Gatelli, and Mrs. Fanucci.

 

           17              This is an example of the poster that we

 

           18              have this month in the City Treasurer's

 

           19              Office, it comes from the sheriff's office.

 

           20              These are all of the properties that are

 

           21              being sold in Lackawanna County.  This is

 

           22              usually between a mortgage company or a bank

 

           23              and a property owner who are not paying

 

           24              their mortgage.

 

           25                      What Mr. McGoff, Mrs. Gatelli and


 

 

                                                                      84

 

 

            1              Mrs. Fanucci have done is to expose the

 

            2              property and homeowners of the City of

 

            3              Scranton to this action.  Every week Mrs.

 

            4              Gatelli says the county has a sheriff's sale

 

            5              for delinquent taxes, they do not.  They

 

            6              file a petition for confirmation nisi.

 

            7              After 30 days they file a petition for

 

            8              confirmation absolute, the tax claim upset

 

            9              sale.  Mr. McGoff, Mrs. Gatelli and

 

           10              Mrs. Fanucci voted for and, therefore,

 

           11              agreed with Mayor Doherty that if you can't

 

           12              pay your house taxes the city should take

 

           13              you to sheriff's sale and put your property

 

           14              and homes up for the highest bidder.  If

 

           15              Mr. McGoff, Mrs. Gatelli and Mrs. Fanucci

 

           16              tried to explain these facts away again this

 

           17              evening, just remember their disclaimers in

 

           18              past weeks when they said the fines and the

 

           19              ordinances and that particular ordinance

 

           20              would hardly apply to everyone.  We have

 

           21              already seen and heard of many examples and

 

           22              I am sure your constituents are contacting

 

           23              you.

 

           24                      I would also ask people who incurred

 

           25              these unjust fines to remember who imposed


 

 

                                                                      85

 

 

            1              them, Mr. Doherty, Mr. McGoff, Mrs. Gatelli

 

            2              and Mrs. Fanucci.  Unfortunately, this is

 

            3              the first time a sheriff's sale has ever had

 

            4              what you allowed the City of Scranton to do.

 

            5                   There are five examples on here of the

 

            6              Portonoff law firm going after people's

 

            7              property for Mid-Valley School District

 

            8              taxes, North Pocono School District taxes

 

            9              and Abington Heights School District taxes.

 

           10              This is obscene.  And you know that the law

 

           11              firm of Abrahamsen, Moran and Conaboy and

 

           12              Northeast Credit and Collection who are now

 

           13              doing it for the city are the persons

 

           14              benefiting from this ordinance.  The money

 

           15              flowing into their coffers from our pockets

 

           16              will not benefit any city services.

 

           17                   Finally, I would like to ask everyone

 

           18              to remember that no matter what monies these

 

           19              agencies claim to bring in the same amounts

 

           20              and most likely more would have been

 

           21              collected if the City of Scranton had a city

 

           22              treasurer's sale and/or an amnesty for

 

           23              delinquent property taxes.  I would hope you

 

           24              could find it in your hearts to amend this

 

           25              ordinance.


 

 

                                                                      86

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?  Fifth

 

            2              Order.  Mrs. Evans.

 

            3                      MS. EVANS: Yes.  Before I begin with

 

            4              what I have prepared for this evening, I did

 

            5              want to address the pleas that came before

 

            6              us this evening from members of the Scranton

 

            7              Fire Department.  I must admit as they spoke

 

            8              several questions entered my mind, some of

 

            9              with which were voiced by the speakers, but

 

           10              again, I, too, am wondering then what are we

 

           11              paying the fire chief for, the fire chief

 

           12              who just recently was granted what, a

 

           13              $13,000 raise in the new 2008 budget?  Is

 

           14              there not a chain of command within the fire

 

           15              department where complaints, discrepancies,

 

           16              any matter of concern to firefighters would

 

           17              be registered, a hierarchy of sorts.  It

 

           18              would make absolutely no sense to me that

 

           19              the fire chief, that the public safety

 

           20              director who is above the fire chief, they

 

           21              would know nothing of what's been going on

 

           22              for six years.  I find that very hard to

 

           23              believe.

 

           24                      I am, as they said, delighted that

 

           25              the mayor is going to finally provide the


 

 

                                                                      87

 

 

            1              equipment necessary for these men and women

 

            2              to do their job appropriately and safely,

 

            3              not only for their sakes, but for the

 

            4              citizens of Scranton, but I have to wonder

 

            5              why was this equipment withheld for six

 

            6              years?  The mayor himself said, you've got

 

            7              to come to me, I make the call on the

 

            8              equipment, who gets and who doesn't get,

 

            9              that's a very telling statement and I guess

 

           10              I'd like to ask him then why did the fire

 

           11              department get nothing for six years?  Why

 

           12              did you withhold?

 

           13                      But, again, I guess what our primary

 

           14              concern this evening would be the fact that

 

           15              both of these gentlemen have requested

 

           16              council to conduct a caucus between members

 

           17              of the fire department, the fire chief,

 

           18              perhaps the public safety director and

 

           19              members of council and I, for one, would

 

           20              very much like to see that caucus occur.  I

 

           21              am in favor of such an idea.  I don't know

 

           22              that the entire council would be, I can't

 

           23              speak for anyone but myself, but again, I

 

           24              would say I will sit down with them and I

 

           25              don't have a problem doing that at any place


 

 

                                                                      88

 

 

            1              at any time.  Perhaps as other council

 

            2              members speak this evening they would like

 

            3              to address the issues, too, or maybe they

 

            4              would now.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Mr. McGoff, if I

 

            6              may?  Mrs. Evans, would you mind?  She

 

            7              interrupts me all the time, so I'm sure I

 

            8              can get one time.  I would just like to say

 

            9              this, you know, I heard these accusations on

 

           10              the radio, some of them anyway and now I

 

           11              have read them through briefly, and they are

 

           12              strong accusations, some of them are very

 

           13              strong, and I believe in being fair to all

 

           14              concerned.  I don't know whether these

 

           15              accusations are true or false, I have no

 

           16              idea, but I certainly think that Chief Davis

 

           17              deserves the right to defend himself.

 

           18                      I would recommend this, and this is

 

           19              my committee public safety, and if every

 

           20              council member would like to be there, fine.

 

           21              If just myself and another, Mr. McGoff or

 

           22              maybe another representative, fine, but I

 

           23              would like to see us do this first if maybe,

 

           24              I'm sure Mr. Davis has these list of

 

           25              accusations, you know, I'd like to see if


 

 

                                                                      89

 

 

            1              maybe we can't ask him to come and meet with

 

            2              some us or all of us, ask our stenographer

 

            3              to be present and if he can just answer to

 

            4              each and every one of these to defend

 

            5              himself.

 

            6                      I think everybody has a right to

 

            7              defend themselves and at that point after we

 

            8              get his answers maybe then we meet

 

            9              altogether because there is two sides to

 

           10              every story, because I got to be honest with

 

           11              you, if even one, if even one of these

 

           12              things is true then that's dangerous and I'm

 

           13              praying that none of these are true, but I

 

           14              would like to offer him the opportunity, you

 

           15              know, at a controlled meeting where it would

 

           16              just be, and I don't know if the

 

           17              firefighters would be opposed to this or

 

           18              not, where it would just be Chief Davis and

 

           19              either all of council or some of council to

 

           20              ask him to answer the questions, and the

 

           21              only reason I say that to do it that way

 

           22              first, just first, so that we don't have --

 

           23              we wouldn't have a back and forth and

 

           24              arguing session.

 

           25                      And then after we got his answers


 

 

                                                                      90

 

 

            1              then we can see about having a meeting I

 

            2              would think with all of us, but some of them

 

            3              are, man, are very serious and if I was

 

            4              Chief Davis I would want to defend myself,

 

            5              and I'm sure he does.

 

            6                      That would be my suggestion, and I

 

            7              don't know if the rest of council would be

 

            8              willing to go along with that, I just felt

 

            9              that being that it's my committee I needed

 

           10              to say something on it, so I would ask the

 

           11              rest of council if you would consider that

 

           12              suggestion.  Thank you.

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: I would be very willing

 

           14              to consider that and since it is a personnel

 

           15              issue I would imagine that would be

 

           16              protected under the Sunshine Law to be a

 

           17              closed meeting, would it not?

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI: Attorney Minora?

 

           19                      MR. MINORA: I think that's correct.

 

           20              I think that's correct, because it would

 

           21              deal with hiring and firing and matters of

 

           22              personnel, so I think it ought to be a

 

           23              confidential meeting.

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Excuse me one more

 

           25              moment, I'm sorry.  The only reason I ask


 

 

                                                                      91

 

 

            1              that it be appropriate to maybe have a

 

            2              stenographer there so that there would be no

 

            3              misinterpretation on what was said because,

 

            4              again, God, these are some serious, serious

 

            5              accusations and I certainly think the

 

            6              gentleman has the right to defend himself.

 

            7                      MS. EVANS: Well, I would agree with

 

            8              that and then council could discuss it

 

            9              afterwards.  So perhaps we could try between

 

           10              now and next week to set a time and a date

 

           11              for that session to occur.

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Maybe, Mr. McGoff,

 

           13              seeing as you are the president, you would

 

           14              like to poll council outside of here, I

 

           15              mean, I don't know that we want to -- I

 

           16              don't think you want to discuss it here, but

 

           17              maybe you can poll us outside and see if

 

           18              they're willing to do it and if everybody is

 

           19              if we have three that are willing who you

 

           20              would you think needs to be there or not be

 

           21              there.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: If we can wait five

 

           23              minutes after the meeting.

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Sure, and I'm so

 

           25              sorry, I keep taking your time, I'm not even


 

 

                                                                      92

 

 

            1              saying today if you feel comfortable calling

 

            2              us tomorrow.

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI: I said let

 

            4              Mr. Courtright and Mr. McGoff, it's your

 

            5              committee.

 

            6                       MR. COURTRIGHT: That's fine by me

 

            7              if that's fine by the rest of you.

 

            8                      MS. FANUCCI: That's fine.

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI:  I don't think we all

 

           10              need to be there.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I hate to prolong

 

           12              this, but it's a serious issues.  If and

 

           13              when, you know, we would have that meeting,

 

           14              Mr. McGoff, and we had our answers then at

 

           15              that point in time maybe we could all meet.

 

           16              I just don't think these questions could go

 

           17              unanswered because in all fairness to

 

           18              everybody some people are going to believe

 

           19              that these are all true, some people are

 

           20              going to believe that none of these are true

 

           21              and when something like this happens,

 

           22              unfortunately, I think you have to answer

 

           23              them.  So, if that's all right with the rest

 

           24              of the members.

 

           25                      MS. GATELLI: How about if I make a


 

 

                                                                      93

 

 

            1              motion that Mr. Courtright and Mr. McGoff

 

            2              set up a meeting to discuss these

 

            3              allegations and then come back to council.

 

            4                      MR. COURTRIGHT: That would be great.

 

            5                      MS. FANUCCI: I'll second that.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: There is a motion to set

 

            7              up a meeting between Chief Davis and members

 

            8              of council, selected members of council, to

 

            9              discuss the allegations made by the

 

           10              firefighters.

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: On the question?

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question.

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: I would be willing to

 

           14              forego being present at this meeting if

 

           15              there is a stenographer because I would like

 

           16              the meetings of that meeting -- the minutes

 

           17              of that meeting, excuse me, made available

 

           18              to everyone on council.

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I would feel

 

           20              comfortable having it without that because I

 

           21              certainly wouldn't to be held accountable

 

           22              for what Chief Davis said, you know, let it

 

           23              be on the record and then every member of

 

           24              council could have it and if there is

 

           25              something council needs to do, fine.  If


 

 

                                                                      94

 

 

            1              we're out of our league on this then, you

 

            2              know, but I'm recommending a stenographer.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: The only thing that I --

 

            4              if we, in fact, ask for this meeting it

 

            5              being a management issue I'm sure the

 

            6              meeting would be at the discretion of the

 

            7              mayor.  I don't think that we can compel

 

            8              Chief Davis himself so the request would

 

            9              have to go through the mayor and the

 

           10              Director of Public Safety and whatever

 

           11              other --

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  I'm sure that's the

 

           13              proper way to do it.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: I would be more than

 

           15              happy to maybe that contact and make

 

           16              whatever arrangement is necessary.

 

           17                      MR. MINORA:  You need to vote on it.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: All those in favor

 

           19              signify by saying eye?

 

           20                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

           21                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

           22                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

           23                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?  The

 

           25              ayes have it and so moved.


 

 

                                                                      95

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS: I have several other

 

            2              matters to address this evening,

 

            3              particularly in light of my absence due to

 

            4              an illness on February 5, and I do apologize

 

            5              to the people for missing a meeting, I was

 

            6              ill and I ask for your understanding.

 

            7                   First, the Scranton Times reported the

 

            8              city's principle long-term debt is

 

            9              $94 million.  Following the release of the

 

           10              2006 audit on February 7, 2008, I obtained

 

           11              my copy to determine an accurate financial

 

           12              status.  As of December 31, 2006, the

 

           13              Doherty long-term debt is $226,925,015.00.

 

           14              This figure includes principle and interest

 

           15              as well as the debts amassed by the Scranton

 

           16              Redevelopment Authority, Parking Authority

 

           17              and Sewer Authority, and the debt service

 

           18              for capitalized leases.  $227,000,000 in

 

           19              debt through the year 2033.  Please keep in

 

           20              mind this figure, 227 million does not, does

 

           21              not include the 35 million plus interest

 

           22              borrowed in 2007 by the parking authority

 

           23              nor does it include the proposed $11 million

 

           24              plus interest the mayor will borrow this

 

           25              year.  By year's end, we will reach


 

 

                                                                      96

 

 

            1              approximately 300 million in long-term debt.

 

            2              Don't allow the apologists from the Scranton

 

            3              Times and this administration to spin this

 

            4              figure any other way.  If the truth be told,

 

            5              they know and I know that principal applies

 

            6              to your pay off today and we all know that

 

            7              is an utter impossibility for Scranton.

 

            8                   Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, do

 

            9              you worry about your mortgage pay off today

 

           10              or do you think of your mortgage payments

 

           11              over 25 years?  Do you pay $25,000 for our

 

           12              knew car today, and if you do you are a

 

           13              lucky individual, but if you are like most

 

           14              of us you take a four or five-year loan for

 

           15              maybe 35 to $40,000 in principal and

 

           16              interest, so think critically.  Think for

 

           17              yourselves.  Is your life better, safer

 

           18              today for 300 million in long-term Doherty

 

           19              debt?  227 million in five years, 300

 

           20              million in seven years, so plan for your

 

           21              future in our city at least through the Year

 

           22              2033.

 

           23                      Is this the mayor's recovery?  His

 

           24              recovery is a financial nightmare.

 

           25              Remember, union workers had to changes, no


 

 

                                                                      97

 

 

            1              changes whatsoever in six years, so you

 

            2              can't blame them.  Health care?  It appears

 

            3              that through at least October of 2007 health

 

            4              care costs were under budget according to

 

            5              PEL, the Pennsylvania Economy League, so the

 

            6              excuses are weak.  Does our city need

 

            7              recovery?  Absolutely, yes.  Now more, much

 

            8              more, than we did in 2002, but we need smart

 

            9              recovery.  The former Recovery Plan actually

 

           10              terminated in 2005 and PEL stated that it

 

           11              was working on a revised plan in 2007 and I

 

           12              hope it is.

 

           13                      I hope for smart recovery.  Halt

 

           14              wasteful spending, stop the borrowing, sell

 

           15              union contracts and pay down the debt.  And,

 

           16              as a side note, initial stages of the 2007

 

           17              independent audit began in January of 2008.

 

           18                      Now, in response to Mr. DeSarno's

 

           19              question posed three weeks ago regarding

 

           20              frivolous spending, I do not approve of

 

           21              frivolous spending and my record as a

 

           22              councilwoman reflects that.  I have created

 

           23              three balanced budgets to avoid tax

 

           24              increases and to halt the borrowing.  I did

 

           25              not vote for any unnecessary borrowing,


 

 

                                                                      98

 

 

            1              inflated mayoral budgets or questionable tax

 

            2              increases, and I won't.  Further, I will

 

            3              never agree to contract violations and

 

            4              wasteful litigations.  I will never engage

 

            5              in bad faith policies or procedures and this

 

            6              is not a matter of perception.  You can take

 

            7              it to the bank.

 

            8                      Next, I wish to commend Cathy

 

            9              Carrera, city grant's writer, and five

 

           10              firefighters for obtaining a $318,000 FEMA

 

           11              grant for the fire department communications

 

           12              equipment.  Too often credit is misplaced by

 

           13              the newspaper and the boss receives the

 

           14              acclaim when the employees have the idea,

 

           15              they do the work and they bring it to

 

           16              fruition.  So, thank you to Miss Carerra and

 

           17              to those five very smart firefighters.

 

           18                      Now, I was not surprised to learn

 

           19              that the mayor's committee selected Electric

 

           20              City TV to run Channel 61 and 62, and as

 

           21              soon as the announcement to seek proposals

 

           22              occurred the red flag flew.  There are a

 

           23              number of matters that I'd like to bring to

 

           24              the attention of the public.  Electric City

 

           25              TV who received the committee and hence the


 

 

                                                                      99

 

 

            1              mayor's nod of approval had requested four

 

            2              phases of funding.  Phase 1, $300,000.

 

            3              Phase two, $200,000.  Phase three, $200,000.

 

            4              Phase four, approximately $160,000.  I

 

            5              remember when I think the editorial list

 

            6              called Scranton Today a ward of the state

 

            7              when they requested $25,000 and then got

 

            8              $13,000 from city council, so, I'd have to

 

            9              ask what does this make Electric City TV, a

 

           10              mistress?  The free studio that Scranton

 

           11              Today was accused of turning down appears in

 

           12              the Electric City's budget and they would

 

           13              like $28,000 to renovate the studio and

 

           14              $36,000 in annual maintenance costs.

 

           15                      Now, in addition to that, I believe

 

           16              that Marywood University and the University

 

           17              of Scranton operated Channel 62 with the

 

           18              assistance of Scranton Today and no where in

 

           19              the Electric City proposal do I see any

 

           20              mention of either Marywood or the university

 

           21              continued involvement with that station, so

 

           22              that raises a question as well.  As far as

 

           23              I'm aware we seem to be giving almost a

 

           24              million dollars to an unknown entity on a

 

           25              promise to deliver without any type of


 

 

                                                                     100

 

 

            1              accountability or oversight.  I'm not

 

            2              opposed to giving them this money, in fact,

 

            3              I suggested long ago that the franchise fee

 

            4              be used to help fund Scranton Today, hence,

 

            5              Channel 61 each year of their operation, so

 

            6              this idea comes as no great surprise to me,

 

            7              but I think when we are talking become a

 

            8              million dollars worth of ratepayer's money

 

            9              there should be oversight and

 

           10              accountability.

 

           11                      Therefore, I move that city council

 

           12              create an appoint an oversight committee to

 

           13              ensure that Electric City TV follow through

 

           14              on all of the promises enumerated in their

 

           15              proposal.

 

           16                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I'll second that.

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?  Who

 

           18              would comprise this committee?

 

           19                      MS. EVANS: I believe the committee

 

           20              should be appointed by city council.  I was

 

           21              thinking, for example, there might be five

 

           22              members of the committee, and each member of

 

           23              council could appoint one member of the

 

           24              oversight committee.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: And the responsibilities


 

 

                                                                     101

 

 

            1              of the committee would be?

 

            2                      MS. EVANS: To report to city

 

            3              council.  They will be overseeing what money

 

            4              is given to Electric City TV, how that money

 

            5              has been utilized and having in hand their

 

            6              proposals they will check to see that what

 

            7              has been guaranteed in return for this money

 

            8              will indeed occur on Channel 61 on 62.

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI: Would they just be like

 

           10              an advisory committee?

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: They are an oversight

 

           12              committee and then they would report their

 

           13              findings whether annually or semi-annually

 

           14              to council.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: Again, I don't mean to

 

           16              belabor it I'm just trying to go through the

 

           17              process of how it would work and exactly how

 

           18              the committee -- what we do with the

 

           19              information received from the committee as

 

           20              well.

 

           21                      MS. EVANS: Well, I think we have the

 

           22              responsibility then to make sure that,

 

           23              indeed, they are according to -- what is

 

           24              reported to us, they are abiding by the

 

           25              terms of the agreement and if they are not


 

 

                                                                     102

 

 

            1              then the cable franchise fee should be

 

            2              withheld at least for a period of time in

 

            3              which they would be able to perhaps remedy

 

            4              the situation, but it's a great deal of

 

            5              money that has never been given to that

 

            6              television station since it's inception.

 

            7              Never.  This is a first and because it is a

 

            8              first and because it is such a significant

 

            9              amount of money there must be oversight and

 

           10              as it stands there is none.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  You know, on the

 

           12              question, I just think that they going to

 

           13              get such a large amount of money and we

 

           14              wouldn't give Scranton Today anything, we

 

           15              gave them $13,000, I would really like to

 

           16              see what they are going to do with all of

 

           17              that money and if, in fact, if we don't have

 

           18              any type of control over what they are

 

           19              doing, I mean, who is to say that they will

 

           20              even come to close to saying what they are

 

           21              going to do.

 

           22                      MS. GATELLI: What would be the

 

           23              ramifications if they didn't?

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Withhold the money

 

           25              from them.


 

 

                                                                     103

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI: Do we have the power to

 

            2              withhold the money from them?

 

            3                      MS. FANUCCI: We don't have the power

 

            4              to do that.

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI:  Does council have the

 

            6              power to do that?

 

            7                      MS. EVANS: I think council does

 

            8              have, for example, investigative powers and

 

            9              when things within any department let's say

 

           10              or with this agreement are amiss I believe

 

           11              we have the duty and the responsibility to

 

           12              step in and hold people accountable.

 

           13                      MS. FANUCCI: I have no problem

 

           14              holding them accountable, my problem is at

 

           15              the end of it all what do we do then?  We

 

           16              have the information, if we don't have the

 

           17              power to say where the money is going and

 

           18              where the money is not going then what

 

           19              happens?  What can we do at the end of it.

 

           20              I have no problem on the idea, I think it's

 

           21              a good idea, but we have to sit down and I

 

           22              think we have to create something that we

 

           23              would have as a guideline for us that we

 

           24              know that if this happens this is what would

 

           25              happen then, maybe create it in the


 

 

                                                                     104

 

 

            1              legislation or create in some way that we

 

            2              have our power and know what our power is,

 

            3              so I would vote that maybe we table it and

 

            4              discuss what it is that we would want after

 

            5              maybe that withhold money or in the next

 

            6              budget time that we do something, whatever

 

            7              the ramifications would be, that we would

 

            8              sit and discuss what we would want those to

 

            9              be.  So, I would like to make a motion to

 

           10              table it and try to figure out what it is we

 

           11              want to do if we do get information that we

 

           12              have the legislation.

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: Well, I think basically

 

           14              you can determine that when you decided or

 

           15              rather agreed to create the committee,

 

           16              because we are not, for example, tonight

 

           17              naming committee members or anything of that

 

           18              nature, so we are merely agreeing tonight to

 

           19              create an oversight committee that would be

 

           20              appointed by city council.

 

           21                      MS. FANUCCI: Well, I have a motion

 

           22              to table and that's on the floor, so if

 

           23              anyone would like to second.  That's all I

 

           24              have.

 

           25                      MS. EVANS: Well, you do realize, and


 

 

                                                                     105

 

 

            1              I have one on the floor though before that,

 

            2              but you do realize that those monies are

 

            3              part of the city's operating budget.

 

            4                      MS. FANUCCI: I realize that quite

 

            5              frankly, yes, that's why I said we could do

 

            6              something in the next budget year, that's

 

            7              what I'm trying to say.  What is that we

 

            8              could do to withhold money from the next

 

            9              budget because if the money has already been

 

           10              provided with the first budget and they get

 

           11              the money in the beginning we have no power

 

           12              to go take the money back from them, so it

 

           13              would be the next budget year is where our

 

           14              legislation would lie.

 

           15                      MS. EVANS: Well, it's coming in four

 

           16              phases, so let us say they proceed with

 

           17              phase one --

 

           18                      MS. FANUCCI: Well, right, but then

 

           19              they can't --

 

           20                      MS. EVANS: And if they are not in

 

           21              compliance they don't go into phase two.

 

           22                      MS. FANUCCI: I've got a motion on

 

           23              the floor.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: Well, I think the idea

 

           25              of an oversight committee is fine and I also


 

 

                                                                     106

 

 

            1              think that perhaps we could implement the

 

            2              idea tonight with the possibility of having

 

            3              it included in the contractual language of,

 

            4              you know, the operation of Channel 61,

 

            5              present the idea, you know, to the mayor and

 

            6              have it included in the actual contract so

 

            7              that that committee would exist, you know,

 

            8              we would have already voted to create the

 

            9              committee and then if, in fact, we can

 

           10              include it the agreement.

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: I don't know that you

 

           12              need to include it in the contract though,

 

           13              this is coming from the city's side of it

 

           14              and we do have the power to create, draft

 

           15              legislation and pass it, so what I would

 

           16              ask, for example, with regard to the

 

           17              suggestion you made is this, and if the

 

           18              mayor refuses an oversight committee does

 

           19              that mean then none will ever exist and this

 

           20              company walks away with a million dollars

 

           21              without being held responsible in any way,

 

           22              shape or form for the five years of their

 

           23              contract?

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: That wasn't what I had

 

           25              in mind, but I thought that the most


 

 

                                                                     107

 

 

            1              effective way of implementing the idea would

 

            2              be to have it within the contract with ECTV,

 

            3              is it ECTV?

 

            4                      MS. EVANS: Yes.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: That that would be the

 

            6              most effective way.

 

            7                      MS. EVANS: I agree.

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: And if, in fact, that

 

            9              there is a disagreement then I think that we

 

           10              can further discuss it to, you know,

 

           11              implement it in another way, but I think the

 

           12              first step would be to see if we can't make

 

           13              it the most effective way and then, you

 

           14              know, continue from there if min fact mit's

 

           15              not pertinent.

 

           16                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Mrs. Evans' motion

 

           17              is just to form the committee.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Right.

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: So if we form the

 

           20              committee we can hash this stuff out.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: That's what I said, and

 

           22              that's what I thought was most reasonable.

 

           23                      MR. COURTRIGHT: And I would leave to

 

           24              see it in the contract, that would be great

 

           25              if you could get it in contract then that


 

 

                                                                     108

 

 

            1              would appease any --

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: I don't think there is

 

            3              anything to stop us from creating a

 

            4              committee and then we can determine at a

 

            5              later date what the specifics duties of that

 

            6              committee would be and how it would go

 

            7              about.

 

            8                      MS. EVANS: And the membership.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Right, and all of that

 

           10              other stuff.  There wasn't a second to your

 

           11              motion.

 

           12                      MS. FANUCCI: No.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: To table it.  Then we

 

           14              are on the motion, the motion was made and

 

           15              seconded to create an oversight committee

 

           16              for the operation of Channel 61.

 

           17                      MS. EVANS: But I had also added, I

 

           18              believe, that the membership would be

 

           19              appointed by city council.

 

           20                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  One member for each

 

           21              council member.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: Okay.  Did we add that?

 

           23              I just want to make sure we have the wording

 

           24              properly so that we are not --

 

           25                      MR. MINORA:  So the motion


 

 

                                                                     109

 

 

            1              includes--

 

            2                      MS. EVANS: To create an oversight

 

            3              committee for ECTV.

 

            4                      MR. MINORA: Of five individuals

 

            5              appointed by council?

 

            6                      MS. EVANS: Yes.

 

            7                      MR. MINORA: And who on council would

 

            8              appoint them?

 

            9                      MS. EVANS: Each council member.

 

           10                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Each member would

 

           11              pick one person.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: With one member by each

 

           13              council member.

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI:  I think we can stagger

 

           15              the terms on that.

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: But that everyone has a

 

           17              part in this.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Garvey, are you --

 

           19                      MS. GARVEY: I'm trying.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF: I just want to make sure

 

           21              that we have the wording right and that

 

           22              it's, you know, it's what we want.  And so

 

           23              basically the motion is, just so we are

 

           24              clear, to create an oversight committee for

 

           25              Channel 61 with membership to be appointed


 

 

                                                                     110

 

 

            1              by the five members with -- appointed by the

 

            2              individual members of council.  All in favor

 

            3              signify by saying aye.

 

            4                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

            5                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

            7                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?  The

 

            9              ayes have it and so moved.

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: Thank you.  As of today,

 

           11              February 19, I received no response from

 

           12              Mr. Hayes and Mr. Brazil for the written

 

           13              snow removal policy.  I hope I'm not to

 

           14              assume that there is no policy or that maybe

 

           15              they withheld the information because they

 

           16              don't like me, but I believe I'm in good

 

           17              company since hundreds of city residents

 

           18              over the years have told me that they never

 

           19              received responses as well or are scolded

 

           20              for their persistence.  So, maybe, you know,

 

           21              some of these bosses earning the big bucks

 

           22              need a big broom to sweep them out when they

 

           23              don't answer questions and they won't help

 

           24              citizens with their problems.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Evans, I'm sorry to


 

 

                                                                     111

 

 

            1              interrupt, but I did receive this to be

 

            2              passed on and with you missing the meeting

 

            3              that you were ill and I neglected to get

 

            4              this to you in time, but it was received

 

            5              from them.

 

            6                      MS. EVANS: Oh, thank you.  So there

 

            7              is one after all, a draft copy, okay, and

 

            8              I'm going to go over there and I can let you

 

            9              know what that contains next week.  Thank

 

           10              you, Mr. McGoff.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: And I'm sorry for the

 

           12              delay in that.

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: No problem.  Also, I

 

           14              received numerous e-mails and letters and a

 

           15              few calls regarding the tree planting in

 

           16              South Side and some residents noted that the

 

           17              2,600 block of Cedar area and the 26 and

 

           18              2,700 blocks of Birney where trees had

 

           19              damaged sidewalks and I was also asked to

 

           20              read the following note:  "We do not need

 

           21              any trees on the 500 block of Maple Street,

 

           22              South Scranton, 520, 524, 526 and 530 Maple

 

           23              Street where senior citizens unable to clean

 

           24              leaves and dirt from the trees.  We had

 

           25              trees planting and they uprooted the


 

 

                                                                     112

 

 

            1              sidewalks which we had to have repaired and

 

            2              the leaf truck never showed up, so all of

 

            3              the leaves blew back on our properties.  We

 

            4              have need better streetlights, better roads

 

            5              and new lines painted on the streets."

 

            6                      Well, I'm not going to go on with

 

            7              the note, but I was hoping that perhaps

 

            8              council on behalf of the residents of just

 

            9              those specific addresses could send a letter

 

           10              to the Shade Tree Commission and the DPW

 

           11              notifying them that these specific

 

           12              residences would chose not to receive a

 

           13              tree.

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI: Can I interrupt?  No

 

           15              one is going to be a getting a tree that

 

           16              doesn't want one.  They are doing a survey

 

           17              of who wants trees, we have done this before

 

           18              in South Scranton and the people that didn't

 

           19              want them we took care of them, so no one

 

           20              will be getting a tree that doesn't want

 

           21              one.

 

           22                      MS. EVANS: Well, I understood from

 

           23              the newspaper that there is going to be

 

           24              sending letters to South Side residents and

 

           25              these trees can only be planted in low to


 

 

                                                                     113

 

 

            1              moderate income areas.

 

            2                      MS. GATELLI: Actually, in the

 

            3              Renaissance area, the redevelopment project.

 

            4                      MS. EVANS: So, I had wished that

 

            5              these people who had contacted me would be

 

            6              aware that they do not have to accept the

 

            7              tree if they don't want the tree.  The trees

 

            8              are free.  If you don't want the tree, you

 

            9              need not accept it and I'm sure that there

 

           10              is a way that you will be able to make that

 

           11              clear in writing or, you know, if there is a

 

           12              visit to your home and if you have any other

 

           13              questions or problems about it you contact

 

           14              me.

 

           15                      Has council had ample time over the

 

           16              last three weeks to consider the amendment

 

           17              to File of Council 82, 2007?  I know in that

 

           18              period of time I have received a number of

 

           19              letters and e-mails regarding the amendment

 

           20              that I proposed three weeks ago?

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yeah, I'm fine.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: Yes.  To answer I looked

 

           23              them over as well.

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: Then, I would like to

 

           25              move the amendment tonight.  I move to amend


 

 

                                                                     114

 

 

            1              File of Council No. 82, 2007, to approve

 

            2              penalty, interest and fee schedule for

 

            3              collection of delinquent real estate taxes

 

            4              by striking 3-J, eight-hundred and no

 

            5              one-hundredth dollars or the preparation of

 

            6              and filing of a writ of execution for

 

            7              sheriff's sale.

 

            8                      3-K, the actual filing service

 

            9              execution and poundage fees, if any, for

 

           10              service and execution by the Office of the

 

           11              Sheriff of the County which are in effect at

 

           12              the time of such filing service and

 

           13              execution as established by the Office of

 

           14              the Sheriff of the county or such other

 

           15              instrumentality of government and shall be

 

           16              charged with the establishment of such fee.

 

           17                   3-L, one-hundred seventy-five and no

 

           18              one-hundredth dollars for the preparation,

 

           19              filing and conduct of the proceedings to

 

           20              effect service of process.

 

           21                      3-M, thirty and no one-hundredth

 

           22              dollars for costs incurred in connection

 

           23              with the reissuance of writs.

 

           24                      3-P, twenty-five and no

 

           25              one-hundredth dollars for the preparation


 

 

                                                                     115

 

 

            1              and filing of any praecipe, petition or

 

            2              motion to continue a judicial or sheriff's

 

            3              sale.

 

            4                      3-Q, four-hundred and no

 

            5              one-hundredth dollars for attendance by

 

            6              legal council at a judicial sheriff or tax

 

            7              sale.

 

            8                      And by striking the following dollar

 

            9              amounts:  3-A, twenty-five and no

 

           10              one-hundredth dollar per lien.  3-B,

 

           11              one-hundred sixty and no one-hundredth

 

           12              dollars.  3-C, thirty-five and no

 

           13              one-hundredth dollars.  3-U, and no more

 

           14              than $225 per hour commensurate with the

 

           15              attorney's normal hourly rate and inserting

 

           16              3-A, ten and no one-hundredth dollars.  3-B,

 

           17              40 and no one-hundredth dollars.  3-C, 30

 

           18              and no one-hundredth dollars.

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question,

 

           22              before Mrs. Evans had made that motion a few

 

           23              weeks back Mr. Hazzouri spoke and

 

           24              Mr. Hazzouri, I don't know if you are

 

           25              watching, but I've had an avalanche of phone


 

 

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            1              calls since you presented yourself here,

 

            2              evidently you hit home with other people

 

            3              that have the same problems, so I thank you

 

            4              for coming and I think it's time we change

 

            5              this ordinance.

 

            6                      MS. EVANS: And in the interim, I did

 

            7              stop into the Single Tax Office and had a

 

            8              very lengthy discussion with Mr. Chuck Cox

 

            9              who was the internal collector of taxes

 

           10              prior to the appointment of Mrs. Vitale, and

 

           11              I also spoke with a representative of the

 

           12              Single Tax Claims Office of the County of

 

           13              Lackawanna and they were very helpful and,

 

           14              you know, neither indicated that sheriff's

 

           15              sales had been conducted, that tax sales had

 

           16              occurred, for example, in the city only as

 

           17              recently as 1998 and houses were never taken

 

           18              by sheriff's sale and the county provides a

 

           19              payment plan, the county collects only the

 

           20              school district library and county taxes,

 

           21              but they will provide a payment plan to any

 

           22              individuals who demonstrates need or

 

           23              extenuating circumstances.  Their statement

 

           24              was it has never been their intention to

 

           25              take a citizen's home through sheriff's


 

 

                                                                     117

 

 

            1              sale, so --

 

            2                      MS. FANUCCI: Well, I met with three

 

            3              parties on this and the city also has that

 

            4              option, in fact, there were four documents

 

            5              that went out on this legislation all

 

            6              stating, "Please call us and setup a plan,"

 

            7              and I believe and, you know, I don't have

 

            8              the exact number, but there was something

 

            9              like 35 percent of the letters that went out

 

           10              called into the beginning to setup a payment

 

           11              plan and once the payment plan had started

 

           12              their process stopped right there.  I did

 

           13              look into Mr. Hazzouri's, exactly

 

           14              Mr. Hazzouri's after him being here and the

 

           15              reason his did not was because he never

 

           16              contacted to say, you know, I'll make a

 

           17              plan, I'll send you two dollars a week, you

 

           18              know, nothing.  He never made a contact in

 

           19              years, so that was the problem with

 

           20              Mr. Hazzouri's.  We have also had other

 

           21              people that we sat down and looked at, I had

 

           22              gotten tons of e-mails myself and when I

 

           23              went to and spoke to them on behalf of the

 

           24              taxpayers, they actually --NCC fixed, you

 

           25              know, the problem.  One was a bad address,


 

 

                                                                     118

 

 

            1              they were sending actually their taxes to

 

            2              the wrong address and they were getting

 

            3              billed for that, they took care of that.

 

            4              And what they said was that they have no

 

            5              problem setting up a payment plan and that's

 

            6              what the letter stated for the past four

 

            7              letters, so that was something I was happy

 

            8              to see, you know, they are not looking to

 

            9              take the house either.  In fact, they have

 

           10              not implemented the sheriff's sales or taken

 

           11              over of the house and when the speaker got

 

           12              up a few weeks ago and stated that the city

 

           13              was taking this woman's home I knew that not

 

           14              to be a fact because that had not happened

 

           15              to anyone in the city.  So, that might have

 

           16              been a little bit of my reaction when

 

           17              sometimes people get up and misinform the

 

           18              public of what is going on.  So, you know,

 

           19              we do provide that, too.  Nobody in the city

 

           20              was looking to take the money.

 

           21                      Also, after looking at legislation,

 

           22              if you take out all of the fees that are you

 

           23              looking to take out the city and the

 

           24              taxpayers are still going to be responsible

 

           25              for that money.  Yeah.  Right.  So the


 

 

                                                                     119

 

 

            1              taxpayer --

 

            2                      MS. EVANS: The city doesn't get that

 

            3              money.

 

            4                      MS. FANUCCI:  Wait, wait, wait, if

 

            5              we take the legislation out the city will be

 

            6              responsible for the fees, meaning that the

 

            7              taxpayers who do pay their taxes right now

 

            8              will have to pay those fees because the

 

            9              motion -- we already got the money, we

 

           10              received the money.  We received the tax

 

           11              money from the delinquent taxes, we have

 

           12              already received that and, Mr. McGoff, if

 

           13              you want it talk about the meeting with NCC

 

           14              that might be something that you want to go

 

           15              into so that they can understand a little

 

           16              bit more about what was said at that

 

           17              meeting.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF:  Well, just that --

 

           19              sorry.  Perhaps just to back up a little

 

           20              bit, this legislation was originally passed

 

           21              to deal with delinquent taxes for the years

 

           22              2004, 2005 and 2006.  When it was passed NCC

 

           23              sent letters to all of the names that they

 

           24              received even before they had, I'm going to

 

           25              say before there was the authority to do


 

 

                                                                     120

 

 

            1              that, just a letter sent letting people know

 

            2              that these fees and penalties were going to

 

            3              be enacted and imposed.  That was in July of

 

            4              2007 and within the month of July they

 

            5              received back, I forget the dollar amount,

 

            6              but it was a significant amount of people

 

            7              responded and paid their taxes for those

 

            8              delinquent years.  I should also note that

 

            9              the claim that many of these letters that

 

           10              were sent and, again, I don't have the

 

           11              percentage, but a number of them were to --

 

           12              were out of the area that a significant

 

           13              number were out of the area.  Then in

 

           14              November 2007 a formal letter was sent to

 

           15              those people who had not -- let me backup.

 

           16                   If people even made an attempt, if

 

           17              people contacted NCC at that time after that

 

           18              July letter, there were no fees or penalties

 

           19              imposed from this legislation, it was

 

           20              stopped and any payment plan did not include

 

           21              fees.  In November a formal letter was sent

 

           22              notifying people that they had 30 days to

 

           23              respond and at the end of that 30 days that

 

           24              these penalties would, in fact, take place.

 

           25                      MS. EVANS: No, the people were


 

 

                                                                     121

 

 

            1              charged those penalties.

 

            2                      MS. FANUCCI: No.

 

            3                      MS. EVANS: Yes, they were.  I

 

            4              have -- I have the evidence at home right

 

            5              from NCC.  They were charged extra.  The

 

            6              bill went from 100 and some dollars up to

 

            7              several hundred dollars within the 30 days

 

            8              time limit.

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI: Well, I have the report

 

           10              from Patricia Cobb and she states that --

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: She is the attorney for

 

           12              NCC.

 

           13                      MS. FANUCCI: Right.  Right, that the

 

           14              they collected in three months prior to NCC

 

           15              they started in April 1 and they put out the

 

           16              first letter, nothing was changed in the

 

           17              fees, nothing, until they notified the

 

           18              people that they had 30 days and if -- and

 

           19              the fee was not implemented, so that's what

 

           20              she is saying, and for the 2005-2006 tax

 

           21              years then they said you have 30 days to

 

           22              call and make up a payment plan, every

 

           23              opportunity has been afforded to the

 

           24              delinquent taxpayer to get advance notice

 

           25              prior to implementation of any fee and the


 

 

                                                                     122

 

 

            1              current SRA project was no exception.  They

 

            2              said that they always do that, that that's

 

            3              not a new procedure, they have done that

 

            4              from day one.  In June they alerted the

 

            5              delinquent taxpayer of the pending sale of

 

            6              the taxes due to SRA.

 

            7                       Now, this is a problem.  We

 

            8              received the money, we sold our delinquent

 

            9              taxes to a company, they gave us the money.

 

           10              We did this why?  Because we didn't want to

 

           11              have to raise taxes.  We wanted to try to

 

           12              get some money from people who owed us money

 

           13              already, this was the delinquent taxpayer

 

           14              from 2005 to 2007 is included, also.  They

 

           15              did not put the fees on them, but they were

 

           16              notified.  So, you had time to make up a

 

           17              payment schedule, you had time to say,

 

           18              "Listen, I have a problem, I'm not going to

 

           19              be able to do that."

 

           20                      They have not put more taxes on or

 

           21              more money on anyone who has made a payment

 

           22              schedule, so to me that's what this is about

 

           23              and we also, you know, since then 25 percent

 

           24              more money has come into the city in 2007

 

           25              since we did put these fees on an implement


 

 

                                                                     123

 

 

            1              them because people knew now that we have a

 

            2              recourse.  Before, the county did have a

 

            3              reason and a good reason to be able to take

 

            4              your houses because they have legislation,

 

            5              we did not have legislation, we had nothing

 

            6              to be able to say we can collect the fees.

 

            7              That's why they are paying their county

 

            8              taxes and they were paying state taxes and

 

            9              they were leaving the city dry, so I don't

 

           10              believe that any of these fees, you know,

 

           11              are put out there for people not to be at a

 

           12              stop.

 

           13                      I mean, it's not like we are just

 

           14              saying, okay, this is going, this ball is in

 

           15              motion, it's going to keep going and keep

 

           16              going and we are going to get all of this

 

           17              money and have you no say if you can't

 

           18              afford it, if the seniors cannot afford

 

           19              this.  That's not how it works.  They still

 

           20              have the right to just like anything else

 

           21              when your credit card comes in the mail you

 

           22              have to call and makeup a schedule, a

 

           23              payment schedule, and as long as you do that

 

           24              these fees will never happen.

 

           25                      MS. EVANS: Well, this gentleman who


 

 

                                                                     124

 

 

            1              was 88-years old was not given the option of

 

            2              a payment plan.  He was given 30 days in

 

            3              which to pay the initial amount plus the

 

            4              extra let's say $300 plus by that 30th day

 

            5              and if not beyond that it jumped up to

 

            6              $2000, so there was no payment plan within

 

            7              that 30-day time period.

 

            8                      But, again, I anticipated this three

 

            9              weeks ago when I introduced it the first

 

           10              time.  I anticipated that, you know, of

 

           11              course, you are going to seek other

 

           12              opinions, but I have to say it is a

 

           13              questionable reference when it's coming from

 

           14              the very company that's reaping the rich

 

           15              financial benefits of that piece of

 

           16              legislation.  Of course they are going to

 

           17              defend it.  They are getting very rich off

 

           18              it.

 

           19                      And, you know, senior citizens,

 

           20              people will talk about get a reverse

 

           21              mortgage.  Well, you know what, there is an

 

           22              awful lot of working families that are in

 

           23              these circumstances, they are not old enough

 

           24              to apply for a reverse mortgage.  And senior

 

           25              citizens, yes, I know very well how


 

 

                                                                     125

 

 

            1              meticulous they are about paying their

 

            2              bills, but you can't get blood from a stone.

 

            3              If the money isn't there the money isn't

 

            4              there.  They are not hiding it under their

 

            5              mattress because they intend to take them

 

            6              with them over a cathedral cemetery.  They

 

            7              haven't got it.  So now we are going to

 

            8              proceed along with a sheriff's sale which is

 

            9              something that, you know, to my knowledge

 

           10              has only been a regular occurrence with, for

 

           11              example, banks and mortgages and mortgagees,

 

           12              and we are stepping right into that

 

           13              territory not to make the city rich, but to

 

           14              make an outside agency rich.

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: We received

 

           16              90 percent--

 

           17                      MS. EVANS:  We received -- no.

 

           18                      MS. FANUCCI: -- of our back taxes

 

           19              for selling those.

 

           20                      MS. EVANS: We received taxes and we

 

           21              placed a 10 percent annum on top of that.

 

           22              NCC places a 25 percent on top of that plus

 

           23              everything in that that legislation.

 

           24                      MS. FANUCCI: If a phone call is not

 

           25              made to makeup a payment plan.  So, yes, I


 

 

                                                                     126

 

 

            1              do feel --

 

            2                      MS. EVANS: Why were people not

 

            3              offered payment plans?

 

            4                      MS. FANUCCI: They were are all

 

            5              offered payment plans.

 

            6                      MS. EVANS: No, they were not.

 

            7                      MS. FANUCCI:  Did you make a phone

 

            8              call to NCC on behalf of that 80-year-old

 

            9              man?

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: No, I didn't, but I've

 

           11              actually been to -- -

 

           12                      MS. FANUCCI: You should have.

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: -- NCC since I have been

 

           14              on counsel.

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: Yes, once at 4:00, they

 

           16              told us that you were, but what I want to

 

           17              ask you --

 

           18                      MS. EVANS: Oh, did they?  What else

 

           19              did they say?

 

           20                      MS. FANUCCI:  I said -- they said --

 

           21              "Was she here," I asked.  I said, "Was she

 

           22              here," because I wanted to know where the

 

           23              information you were provided from and they

 

           24              said you were there.

 

           25                      MS. EVANS: Was it John Petulla you


 

 

                                                                     127

 

 

            1              spoke with?

 

            2                      MS. FANUCCI: I spoke to everyone.  I

 

            3              spoke to --

 

            4                      MS. EVANS: Oh, John Petulla, yes,

 

            5              and the attorney.

 

            6                      MS. FANUCCI: I said, "Did you speak

 

            7              to Mrs. Evans on behalf of this

 

            8              legislation?"

 

            9                      Of course I did.

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: Well, I am very glad that

 

           11              they told you about my visit.  Did they also

 

           12              tell you that they threatened me --

 

           13                      MS. FANUCCI: No.

 

           14                      MS. EVANS: -- with pulling their

 

           15              business out of Scranton for coming to

 

           16              complain, question and defend the taxpayers

 

           17              in the city --

 

           18                      MS. FANUCCI: No.

 

           19                      MS. EVANS: -- who had been

 

           20              improperly filed against by them?  That

 

           21              company has been sued several times.

 

           22                      MS. FANUCCI: You didn't go on behalf

 

           23              the taxpayer and that's what I'm saying, if

 

           24              you spoke on that 80-year-old man, like I

 

           25              went on three different occasions about


 

 

                                                                     128

 

 

            1              people since we started this discussion and

 

            2              they did correct problems, problems that

 

            3              were wrong address, problems that --

 

            4                      MS. EVANS: But the meeting was down

 

            5              at NCC with his nephew, who is middle-aged,

 

            6              they understand the situation very well.

 

            7              They went to NCC.

 

            8                      MS. FANUCCI: And they would not

 

            9              makeup a payment plan for him?

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: No, they would not.  No,

 

           11              they would not.  And that was the story I

 

           12              brought to you on council in December.

 

           13                      MS. FANUCCI: Will you provide his

 

           14              name after the meeting?

 

           15                      MS. EVANS: I don't have the

 

           16              information with me and I would have to ask

 

           17              the parties involved.

 

           18                      MS. FANUCCI:  Right.  See, if they

 

           19              will do that.

 

           20                      MS. EVANS: And if they want their

 

           21              name --

 

           22                      MS. FANUCCI: Because they really

 

           23              have been very helpful with people that I

 

           24              have provided for them to try to get to them

 

           25              to see if they can come to a --


 

 

                                                                     129

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS: Well, that would mean

 

            2              though that for everyone who has a problem I

 

            3              think you would have to be going down there

 

            4              and interceding for them.

 

            5                      MS. FANUCCI: No, I think that a

 

            6              phone call to stop your taxes from -- your

 

            7              delinquent taxes from going into fees is not

 

            8              something that's unreasonable for the normal

 

            9              taxpayer.  I think that the people should

 

           10              want to do that.  I know myself if I get

 

           11              behind you call.  You call and find out if

 

           12              there is way you can make payments and the

 

           13              bottom line is that if you can call and stop

 

           14              the process and it would take a phone call

 

           15              from what they are saying then these fees

 

           16              are not going to be tacked on and that's the

 

           17              bottom line, but I also am happy for the

 

           18              money we received.  I am happy for the fact

 

           19              that we increased 25 percent of our tax

 

           20              base.

 

           21                      MS. EVANS: You know what, I bet if

 

           22              we ever had the audacity to pass an amnesty

 

           23              program for a period of months, I bet the

 

           24              city would see triple what it does right now

 

           25              because if people were able to pay just the


 

 

                                                                     130

 

 

            1              face value of what they owe I think you

 

            2              would see that money coming in.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: They were offered that

 

            4              opportunity.

 

            5                      MS. FANUCCI: From day one.

 

            6                      MS. EVANS: When were they offered

 

            7              that opportunity?

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: When the letter was sent

 

            9              from NCC.

 

           10                      MS. FANUCCI:  For 2005, 2006 --

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: The face value.

 

           12                      MS. FANUCCI: Face value.  2005,

 

           13              2006--

 

           14                      MS. EVANS: So, NCC was not going to

 

           15              collect their 25 percent fee on top of that?

 

           16              I doubt that very much.

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF: I'll stand corrected on

 

           18              that.

 

           19                      MS. EVANS: And the city's additional

 

           20              10 percent.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: To date, just to back up

 

           22              and -- to date, since December, in December

 

           23              after the 30-day period was over fees were

 

           24              attached.  The only fees that were attached

 

           25              were the ones that are on here from A


 

 

                                                                     131

 

 

            1              through E.  At this point in time no

 

            2              additional fees have been attached at all.

 

            3              The attempt was that the initial fees were

 

            4              sufficient enough to -- should have been

 

            5              sufficient enough to encourage people to pay

 

            6              the delinquent taxes.  If not, then, yes,

 

            7              additional fees would be added, but all of

 

            8              these have not been attached at this point

 

            9              in time, only the first five, and with that

 

           10              as a February $192,000 -- over $192,000 has

 

           11              been collected in delinquent taxes.

 

           12                      I think there is a need, and I said

 

           13              this before when the initial legislation

 

           14              came along, I think there is a need for

 

           15              penalty for people who refuse to pay taxes.

 

           16              I think there are -- are there circumstances

 

           17              in which there are people that are hurt by

 

           18              it, probably, and I think that those can be

 

           19              dealt with as they are have been in some

 

           20              cases, but I think that removing the penalty

 

           21              penalties from the delinquent taxes severs

 

           22              no purpose, that people will continue to not

 

           23              pay.

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: Well, this doesn't remove

 

           25              all the penalties though, Mr. McGoff, I'm


 

 

                                                                     132

 

 

            1              not rescinding the ordinance.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: I understand that.

 

            3                      MS. EVANS: I'm amending it to make

 

            4              it more reasonable.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: I understand that.

 

            6                      MS. EVANS: There are still, indeed,

 

            7              many penalties, costs and fees attached to

 

            8              it because I, too, favor collecting

 

            9              delinquent taxes.  I just don't favor

 

           10              putting my throat on some -- or putting my

 

           11              foot on someone's throat and crushing them.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: I don't think that

 

           13              that's happening.

 

           14                      MS. EVANS: Well, of course, that

 

           15              will never happen, that's why it's included

 

           16              here in writing.

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF: I might also mention

 

           18              that taxpayers do have the ability to

 

           19              challenge the reasonableness and validity of

 

           20              fees and penalties from third party

 

           21              collectors, the Municipal Claim and Tax Lien

 

           22              law allows that opportunity, so there are

 

           23              avenues for people that --

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: I'm well aware of that,

 

           25              but are they going to have the money to hire


 

 

                                                                     133

 

 

            1              an attorney to go and challenge this if they

 

            2              don't even have the money to pay for their

 

            3              delinquency.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF: I'm just saying that

 

            5              there are opportunities for people to pay

 

            6              their delinquent taxes without onerous

 

            7              penalties being attached.  When people

 

            8              refuse to do that and make no effort to do

 

            9              that then, in fact, there needs to be

 

           10              something in place that will compel them in

 

           11              some way to pay those taxes.  I don't think

 

           12              that that is unreasonable and I think that

 

           13              the legislation that was passed is a

 

           14              reasonable attempt to collect the delinquent

 

           15              taxes.

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: Well, then I just hope we

 

           17              are going to be this meticulous across the

 

           18              board with all taxes.  Wage taxes, those who

 

           19              have never paid it, those who live here,

 

           20              work out of town and don't pay it, people

 

           21              whose files have been pulled, let's be just

 

           22              as meticulous to the rich as we are to the

 

           23              poor.

 

           24                      MS. GATELLI: I agree with that.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF:  I would support that


 

 

                                                                     134

 

 

            1              wholeheartedly.

 

            2                      MS. FANUCCI:  I agree with that

 

            3              100 percent.

 

            4                      MS. EVANS: There is an awful lot out

 

            5              there.

 

            6                      MS. FANUCCI: How do you -- Mrs.

 

            7              Evans, do you really know that for a fact?

 

            8              Because you bring it up a lot.  Is that

 

            9              factual information because I believe if

 

           10              that is factual information that that's

 

           11              something that should be brought forward,

 

           12              right?  I mean, if you know that, that these

 

           13              are certain individuals out there who are

 

           14              not paying and that they are being protected

 

           15              I think you should bring that out.

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: And what -- honestly

 

           17              would what would be done with them?  I think

 

           18              we all know, I mean, it sounds very nice to

 

           19              do that, sounds like the right thing, like

 

           20              I'm trying to do the right thing here, you

 

           21              see the right thing, you see a wrong thing,

 

           22              you try to do the right thing for people,

 

           23              but it doesn't happen, so I have very little

 

           24              faith in a system that's going to go after

 

           25              those people when it's been ongoing for a


 

 

                                                                     135

 

 

            1              long time, and, you know, just like I said

 

            2              that night, and I don't want to belabor this

 

            3              anymore, when Mr. McDowell would not even

 

            4              allow these tax auditors to come to a

 

            5              meeting just to discuss the process, what

 

            6              does that tell you?

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else on the

 

            8              question?  The motion is to Amendment to

 

            9              File of Council No. 82, 2007.  All those in

 

           10              favor?

 

           11                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF:  All those opposed?

 

           14                      MS. FANUCCI:  No.

 

           15                      MS. GATELLI:  No.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF:  No.

 

           17                      MS. EVANS: Sorry, folks.  But

 

           18              tomorrow is another day.  Next, I have a few

 

           19              more issues.  If this would be agreeable to

 

           20              my honorable colleagues council requests a

 

           21              letter to the University of Scranton and the

 

           22              Public Safety Department on behalf of Hill

 

           23              Section residents requesting a proactive

 

           24              plan an increased surveillance of off campus

 

           25              students dwellings on March 15, 2008, St.


 

 

                                                                     136

 

 

            1              Patrick's parade day and I think all of us

 

            2              did receive a letter from a concerned

 

            3              resident, I'm just going to give this

 

            4              briefly, not the entire letter, last year's

 

            5              parade day celebrated by the off-campus

 

            6              students that lived in these run-down

 

            7              dwellings involved almost 24 hours of

 

            8              drinking, harassment, fights and vandalism.

 

            9              Hundreds of partygoers, mostly underage,

 

           10              descended on our neighborhood throughout the

 

           11              morning hours.  These student tenant

 

           12              buildings were full of partiers inside and

 

           13              on porches throughout the day.  Late in the

 

           14              afternoon, these drunken parties turned

 

           15              destructive as students, including many

 

           16              friends from out-of-town spilled out onto

 

           17              the streets harassing residents in their

 

           18              homes and assaulting young people walking

 

           19              home from the parade.  And it goes on and

 

           20              that paragraph ends.

 

           21                      Our police officers did their

 

           22              absolute best to cover dozens of city blocks

 

           23              around this school that day.  The next

 

           24              morning these students took off for spring

 

           25              break and you know what happened thereafter,


 

 

                                                                     137

 

 

            1              I don't want to go into that and incident.

 

            2                      But, if council agrees I would like

 

            3              that letter sent to the University and to

 

            4              the Public Safety Director.  Yes?  Thank

 

            5              you.

 

            6                      The mayor recently stated that he

 

            7              intends to tear down the remaining theatre

 

            8              structure at Nay Aug park because a

 

            9              replacement is impractical and before the

 

           10              door closes on this project I have several

 

           11              questions which require responses from the

 

           12              administration.  I'd like to know the name

 

           13              of the insurance company and agent that

 

           14              insured the tent theatre at Nay Aug Park.

 

           15              Why didn't the city file an insurance claim

 

           16              to repair the theatre?

 

           17                      Also, was the structure insured with

 

           18              inadequate coverage and if so, why.

 

           19              Further, why was the tent not dismantled

 

           20              from the frame during the winter months and

 

           21              why was a decision made to tear down the

 

           22              theater one year after the actual damages

 

           23              occurred?  And if my colleagues agree with

 

           24              my concerns I would like letters sent on

 

           25              behalf of council to the mayor, Mr. Brazil,


 

 

                                                                     138

 

 

            1              Mrs. Novembrino and Attorney Patterson

 

            2              requesting responses to the aforementioned

 

            3              questions.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF: Any objection?

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI: I just would like to

 

            6              add one thing, I don't know if you will

 

            7              agree, but I think the tent should stay

 

            8              there.

 

            9                      MS. EVANS: I do, too.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI: And I have talked to

 

           11              Bob Slessinger from the Scranton Theatre and

 

           12              it was very successful.

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: Yes.

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI:  So, I would like to

 

           15              add that in there that the mayor can do

 

           16              whatever he can to --

 

           17                      MS. EVANS: Certainly.

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI: Reinstate that tent.

 

           19                      MS. EVANS:  Um-hum, I agree.

 

           20                      MS. GATELLI: And then I agree with

 

           21              the whole thing.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: Any objections to the

 

           23              letter?

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: On --

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: I would just going to


 

 

                                                                     139

 

 

            1              ask Mrs. Garvey to do that.

 

            2                      MS. EVANS: Thank you.  On a related

 

            3              topic, I would like to know if the treehouse

 

            4              is insured and by what insurance company and

 

            5              agent and also I wish to know how it can be

 

            6              insured with only one entrance/exit.

 

            7                      I also have, this was built-up now

 

            8              over three weeks, some citizens' requests.

 

            9              The 2100 block of Brick Avenue residents

 

           10              report that in front of and across from 2158

 

           11              Brick Avenue both sewers are blocked.  And,

 

           12              in fact, I got a call today from the

 

           13              residents stating that they are working in

 

           14              the area not on these specific problems that

 

           15              I'm reporting, but they are working close by

 

           16              on the same types of problems, so I'm hoping

 

           17              while they are out there they would get to

 

           18              this address, 2158 Brick.  The street is

 

           19              beginning to erode causing a dangerous drop

 

           20              into a column dump and into like Leggett's

 

           21              Creek, the depression needs to be filled as

 

           22              soon as possible and residents also request

 

           23              the installation of a guardrail, if

 

           24              possible, in this area to prevent vehicular

 

           25              accidents.


 

 

                                                                     140

 

 

            1                      The 200 block of Hollister Avenue

 

            2              neighbors report junk cars in the block and

 

            3              they report that previously junk cars were

 

            4              removed, but they were later replaced by

 

            5              others.

 

            6                      The 900 block of Myrtle Street

 

            7              between Quincy Avenue and Hitchcock Court,

 

            8              there would be trash, mattresses, weeds,

 

            9              twigs which were thrown on the sidewalks and

 

           10              curbs seven months ago and part of debris

 

           11              was even dragged up the hill where it also

 

           12              remains and as a result students have to

 

           13              walk in the street because they can't

 

           14              navigate on the sidewalk through the debris,

 

           15              so the area of residents voice their concern

 

           16              for school students during the winter months

 

           17              who were forced to walk into the streets so

 

           18              if the DPW could please pick up that trash

 

           19              in both locations as soon as possible.

 

           20                      The rear of 730 North Irving Avenue.

 

           21              Residents of the 700 block of North Irving

 

           22              Avenue wish to know why repeated calls,

 

           23              requests, and promises by Mr. Seitzinger

 

           24              have gone unanswered over the last one and

 

           25              one half years.  The garage at that address


 

 

                                                                     141

 

 

            1              remains in deplorable condition and poses a

 

            2              safety hazard.  When can they expect action

 

            3              will occur?

 

            4                      The residents of the 1400 block of

 

            5              Dickson Avenue complain of dust and dirt in

 

            6              their road from Keystone Block located at

 

            7              the corner of Glen Street and Dickson

 

            8              Avenue.

 

            9                      And, finally, I have received

 

           10              reports that the university is demolishing

 

           11              the old student center, and I'm told that

 

           12              it's been done without permits.  I don't

 

           13              know if that is true or false because I am

 

           14              not an employee of licensing, inspections

 

           15              and permits, so I'm hoping that

 

           16              Mr. Seitzinger can either verify this and

 

           17              correct it or deny it because it's an

 

           18              absolutely falsehood, and that's it.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Courtright?

 

           20                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.  I'll go first

 

           21              with, we discussed in caucus about Keyser --

 

           22              the people's concern in Keyser Terrace and

 

           23              Mr. Powell was here earlier speaking on the

 

           24              development of up there, and I was there

 

           25              last week, not this past Saturday but the


 

 

                                                                     142

 

 

            1              Saturday before with many of the residents,

 

            2              and they would like to see that we would

 

            3              have a meeting at the Keyser Valley

 

            4              Community Center.  Thursday evenings seem to

 

            5              be the night they would be hoping for.  They

 

            6              said anytime 7:00, 7:30 would be acceptable

 

            7              to them.  The question arose, you know,

 

            8              would all of council be able to be there, I

 

            9              think all of council with be able to be

 

           10              there as long as we were in observance and

 

           11              weren't taking any action.  Kay?  Kay, I'm

 

           12              sorry.

 

           13                      MS. GARVEY: I'm sorry, I was

 

           14              conferring with Mr. Minora.

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I guess we are at a

 

           16              little bit at a loss for who is doing

 

           17              Mr. Parker's job right now, but if we can

 

           18              ask Mr. Brazil if he knows and ask them if

 

           19              they would be willing to meet with the

 

           20              residents of Keyser Terrace on some Thursday

 

           21              evening in the very near future, number one,

 

           22              as soon as possible so that the thing

 

           23              Mr. Powell has spoken about doesn't go

 

           24              forward and is already built by the time we

 

           25              have the meeting; and number two, I have a


 

 

                                                                     143

 

 

            1              list and if anybody from council doesn't

 

            2              have it, I have a list of the concerns that

 

            3              I received when I was back there and I asked

 

            4              them to put it in writing for me, and there

 

            5              are several, and a layman's opinion, my

 

            6              opinion, there is a lot of problems there,

 

            7              so if we can try to get that setup as soon

 

            8              as possible some Thursday evening I would

 

            9              appreciate that.

 

           10                      One other thing, Kay, I know awhile

 

           11              back we asked to give proclamations to the

 

           12              West Scranton football team and I believe we

 

           13              are awaiting for some other seasons to get

 

           14              over, maybe basketball.

 

           15                      MS. GATELLI:  I think will be next

 

           16              week.

 

           17                      MR. COURTRIGHT: So if we can get

 

           18              that going I'm sure everybody would like to

 

           19              see that.

 

           20                      MS. GATELLI: I think it's going to

 

           21              be next week, I'll let you know tomorrow.

 

           22                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I got this letter

 

           23              awhile back and it's three pages front and

 

           24              back and I apologize, but I can't make out

 

           25              your writing, most of your letter and I


 

 

                                                                     144

 

 

            1              believe it's about, I know it's about Park

 

            2              Gardens, and some kind of parking problem up

 

            3              there and it's a very lengthy letter, but

 

            4              you left me no phone number or address or

 

            5              anything for me to get in touch with you,

 

            6              and I apologize, but I can't read your

 

            7              writing and I have tried to ask a couple of

 

            8              over people to read it and they had

 

            9              difficulty, too, so if you wrote this letter

 

           10              if you could call me or if you want to

 

           11              e-mail it to me you can do that and then I

 

           12              would be able to read it and I'll try to

 

           13              help you out.

 

           14                      We have the legislation on Skyview

 

           15              this evening.  I had asked this in the past

 

           16              and it kind of fell on deaf ears now that we

 

           17              got a new director over there and maybe she

 

           18              whould be willing to do this, when we have

 

           19              legislation coming down of this magnitude I

 

           20              think it's fair to say that the

 

           21              administration knows months and months,

 

           22              maybe years at a time sometimes, and so--

 

           23              which would be Mrs. Aebli now, but before

 

           24              Mrs. Hailstone, and I think it's kind of

 

           25              unfair to us to give us the legislation, you


 

 

                                                                     145

 

 

            1              know, three or four days before we have a

 

            2              meeting or whatever the case maybe.

 

            3                      And even I believe Mrs. Aebli, is it

 

            4              Mrs. Aebli or is it Miss?  Miss, okay.  I'm

 

            5              old here, I guess, but she even said this

 

            6              was a very complex piece of legislation and

 

            7              I would ask that they do this, if they are

 

            8              going to send legislation such as this

 

            9              before to try and give us, you know, a

 

           10              couple of weeks notice, hey, this is going

 

           11              to be coming down if you have any questions

 

           12              so that we can intelligently vote on this.

 

           13                   I'm voting, no, on all of tonight only

 

           14              because I got the letter from her today, I

 

           15              did call there the other day she wasn't in

 

           16              and neither was Lori Reed and Jim, I forget

 

           17              his last name, but he was very helpful to

 

           18              me, he tried to answer every question I had

 

           19              for him, and I then I got an e-mail from Ms.

 

           20              Aebli just the other day and I hadn't had an

 

           21              opportunity to get back to her.  So I'm just

 

           22              voting, no, because I don't feel that I'm up

 

           23              to speed on it, and I'm always leery when we

 

           24              are giving grants.

 

           25                      I just got a letter today, and I


 

 

                                                                     146

 

 

            1              actually got it here late and I didn't

 

            2              really read it, I didn't have an opportunity

 

            3              to, but especially when we are giving money

 

            4              away in a grant that really makes me think,

 

            5              but $400,000 and then another $150,000 is a

 

            6              lot of money.  It's my understanding it is a

 

            7              private company.

 

            8                      One of the questions that I asked

 

            9              is, you know, who are the people behind it

 

           10              because that question is always asked to me,

 

           11              you know, is it this corporation or that

 

           12              corporation and I don't think it's any

 

           13              secret one of the first things they asked me

 

           14              is do they donate to the mayor?  You know, I

 

           15              don't know if they did or not, you know, I

 

           16              don't know even know their names, but

 

           17              whatever information they could give me I

 

           18              would appreciate it.  I am going to vote,

 

           19              no, this evening.  If it moves forward I

 

           20              will certainly talk to Ms. Aebli either this

 

           21              week and try to get more abreast of what's

 

           22              going on here.

 

           23                      Kay, another thing, I guess my stuff

 

           24              has built up here as well as Mrs. Evans has,

 

           25              I asked a long time ago there was a study


 

 

                                                                     147

 

 

            1              done back on Kane Street and Pittston Avenue

 

            2              in Minooka and I asked back when Mr. Parker

 

            3              was here and I didn't get any response to

 

            4              the study, and when Mr. Brazil first came on

 

            5              it was only fair to give him some time.  I

 

            6              would like to see the study that was done

 

            7              back there on Kane and Pittston Avenue as

 

            8              they continue to get flooded.  I know there

 

            9              is no easy fix, but I would just like to see

 

           10              the study.

 

           11                      I promised the people back there

 

           12              that I would try to look into it for them

 

           13              and I'm probably forgetting some of the

 

           14              things, but one last thing, I believe the

 

           15              mayor said he doesn't answer, he doesn't

 

           16              like getting my letters on this or he is not

 

           17              going to answer anymore or whatever the case

 

           18              may be, but I'm going to ask to send a

 

           19              letter on this again.  For years now I have

 

           20              been asking about this project that we try

 

           21              to do on Main Avenue in West Scranton and

 

           22              Congressman Kanjorski is more than gracious

 

           23              enough to come in, he walked the avenue with

 

           24              us, he asked a lot of questions, not only

 

           25              was he in favor of the project he had some


 

 

                                                                     148

 

 

            1              suggestions.  One of his suggestions was he

 

            2              wanted to see underground utilities, and as

 

            3              that moved on I had asked many times were we

 

            4              still good with that, they said the project

 

            5              wasn't dead but I got no answers.

 

            6                      I stopped the mayor at the National

 

            7              Night Out this year and I asked him, is this

 

            8              project dead, I said, I'm not going to just

 

            9              keep busting you week after week, if it's

 

           10              dead, tell me it's dead.  He said, no, it's

 

           11              not dead, we weren't going the route of

 

           12              Mr. Kanjorski, the money was going to be

 

           13              coming from the state and we would see it in

 

           14              the state budget, so if you would please

 

           15              update me so I can update the people on Main

 

           16              Avenue.

 

           17                      And the urgency is this, many of

 

           18              them were interested in repairing their

 

           19              sidewalks themselves but they don't want to

 

           20              come in and do whatever they need to do with

 

           21              them and the project does go through, so,

 

           22              you know, we kind of got them on hold here.

 

           23              So, if he does not like me sending him a

 

           24              letter and he tells you that I will call

 

           25              him, whatever he wants me to do to make him


 

 

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            1              happy I will do it, I would just like an

 

            2              answer, and I believe that's all I have.

 

            3              Thank you.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Fanucci.

 

            5                      MS. FANUCCI: I actually wanted to

 

            6              speak on two things tonight.  I would like

 

            7              to make a motion in light of the NCC and try

 

            8              to take a gauge on who is having problems

 

            9              and who is not having problems, I want to

 

           10              send a letter to the mayor to implement the

 

           11              procedure for the Treasurer's Office to log

 

           12              all calls with the person's name and number

 

           13              and the problem so that we can get a copy of

 

           14              that weekly and maybe try to keep, you know,

 

           15              on top of the situation to see what exactly

 

           16              is going on.  You know what, maybe that way

 

           17              we would know if -- I did make that in a

 

           18              motion awhile ago that every department

 

           19              actually started keeping logs and from what

 

           20              I was told the procedure has to come through

 

           21              the mayor's office, so I'm going -- he is in

 

           22              charge of that department, so I am going to

 

           23              ask that the mayor does implement this and

 

           24              maybe make sure that he we can receive a

 

           25              copy of the log weekly, that way we can


 

 

                                                                     150

 

 

            1              contact, you know, know exactly what kind of

 

            2              problems are going on and I'm doing that in

 

            3              the form of a motion.

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI: I'll second that.

 

            5                      MS. FANUCCI:  Thank you.

 

            6                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  On the question,

 

            7              I'm for your motion, but I'm just asking

 

            8              this question, is this where they are

 

            9              instructed to call is the Treasurer's

 

           10              Office?  Is that the first place they call?

 

           11                      MS. FANUCCI: That would be the first

 

           12              phone call if you are having problems you

 

           13              would call there first before, you know, to

 

           14              before you would be directed to NCC and I

 

           15              know that a lot of problems have come in

 

           16              through that office because we have been

 

           17              told that, so I would like to know and just

 

           18              try to find out what citizens are having

 

           19              problems and I think that if we can stay on

 

           20              top of that that might be helpful.

 

           21                      MS. EVANS: I think, yeah, they get

 

           22              some calls, but actually the delinquent

 

           23              taxpayer is directed to call NCC.

 

           24                      MS. FANUCCI: Right.  Right, after

 

           25              that.


 

 

                                                                     151

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS: And, you know, it was a

 

            2              number of years ago, Mr. Courtright you

 

            3              might recall, I had asked that NCC take or

 

            4              keep logs of their phone calls because at

 

            5              that time we had so many citizens who came

 

            6              to city council just that once or twice to

 

            7              talk about NCC and the fact that they had

 

            8              been abused over the phone, do you recall

 

            9              that?

 

           10                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yeah.

 

           11                      MS. GATELLI:  I remember that.

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I got to say this,

 

           13              we changed the letter which I think solved a

 

           14              lot of problems, the letter was a little on

 

           15              the harsh side back then and it was scaring,

 

           16              it was certainly scary to some older people.

 

           17              I got to say one thing, ever since that

 

           18              letter has been changed most of my calls

 

           19              have been limited.  Most of them.  Now, with

 

           20              this new legislation, I got to be honest,

 

           21              they have started to escalate again.

 

           22                      MS. FANUCCI: Well, there is a reason

 

           23              I'm doing this, I had a few constituents

 

           24              when I was talking to about the address

 

           25              being a problem, the address change, the


 

 

                                                                     152

 

 

            1              first phone call that was made was made

 

            2              there and, you know, I just think that that

 

            3              would be a starting ground for us at least

 

            4              to try and to get it and I would love to see

 

            5              that in all departments, but just to start

 

            6              there because that's what we are discussing

 

            7              tonight and no different than me saying when

 

            8              I went over to NCC, did you speak to Mrs.

 

            9              Evans on this, this is our problems.  I

 

           10              mean, you have you to try and stay ahead of

 

           11              it, so that's what I wanted to do.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: We have a motion to ask

 

           13              the mayor to institute a call log for the

 

           14              Treasurer's Office, all calls dealing with

 

           15              delinquent taxes and listing a name, a

 

           16              contact number and the specific nature of

 

           17              the problem.  All in favor?

 

           18                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

           19                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

           20                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  All Opposed?  The

 

           23              ayes have it and so moved.

 

           24                      MS. FANUCCI: I wanted to speak on a

 

           25              few of the OECD issues we had tonight.  The


 

 

                                                                     153

 

 

            1              money -- the Growing Greener money, that is

 

            2              not a new issue of money.  It is a transfer

 

            3              from the Connell building project to the

 

            4              garage, the reason being, and I know I have

 

            5              said this 100 times, and when I say it for

 

            6              some reason that people ask for information

 

            7              and when I give it seems like it's not true,

 

            8              but it's a use it or lose it deal.  If it's

 

            9              not used soon we will lose that money from

 

           10              the state.  That is why it was transferred

 

           11              to the garage because that's going to be the

 

           12              first phase of the project, that seems to be

 

           13              progressing faster than the Connell

 

           14              building, that's what I have been told.  A

 

           15              lot of times they have timeframes on the

 

           16              money, you know, and this money was

 

           17              earmarked for the Connell building in the

 

           18              beginning so it's not new money that's being

 

           19              issued.

 

           20                      I also want to on behalf of Mrs.

 

           21              Schumacher, I would like to send a letter to

 

           22              licensing and permit maybe to Mark asking

 

           23              him how a restaurant can fall through the

 

           24              crack with our health department and health

 

           25              inspector, what has happened there, maybe


 

 

                                                                     154

 

 

            1              for a little bit of a report so with can

 

            2              find out exactly how this happened so maybe

 

            3              we can prevent that from happening again in

 

            4              the city.  And maybe he can give us some

 

            5              insight on, you know, we have all said that

 

            6              we would like to see some more people in

 

            7              that department, so maybe will help us get

 

            8              some insight on that.

 

            9                      And I do want to say one thing you

 

           10              one thing, you know, in light of the last

 

           11              few weeks and all of the terrible violent

 

           12              situations that have occurred I'm going to

 

           13              ask, Mrs. Knight, when you come up to speak

 

           14              I do smile and I'm going to smile at you

 

           15              because I do feel that you are trying to

 

           16              engage a situation that maybe is not exactly

 

           17              something that you are intending to do.  I

 

           18              do feel that your tone gets a little bit,

 

           19              you know, you get excited and you get a

 

           20              little bit out of control, so when I do that

 

           21              it's to try and deflect the way you are

 

           22              going about your actions and speaking.  I'm

 

           23              certainly never going to stop smiling, but I

 

           24              do want to say that I'm going to ask that

 

           25              maybe we can tone it down.  I understand you


 

 

                                                                     155

 

 

            1              have your views and I understand your views

 

            2              perfectly, but maybe if we cannot engage in

 

            3              such a combative behavior that might be

 

            4              something that we can think about.  And that

 

            5              is all I have.  Thank you.

 

            6                      MS. KNIGHT: And can I answer on

 

            7              that?

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF:  Excuse me.

 

            9                      MS. KNIGHT:  Mr. McGoff, can I

 

           10              answer?

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me, no.

 

           12                      MS. KNIGHT: Oh, I can't?

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: No.

 

           14                      MS. KNIGHT: Well, I will see you

 

           15              next week, Ms. Fanucci.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  Mrs.

 

           17              Gatelli.

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI: The first thing I'd

 

           19              like to remind Kay about the letter

 

           20              concerning the skunks, but more importantly,

 

           21              if you see any of your neighbors that don't

 

           22              have garbage cans that is the number one

 

           23              reason why there are skunks.  If there is

 

           24              nothing for the skunks to eat you will not

 

           25              have skunks in your neighborhood and mostly


 

 

                                                                     156

 

 

            1              the people that I talk to that do have the

 

            2              skunks it usually is a neighbor that doesn't

 

            3              have a can and the garbage is laying all

 

            4              over their yard, so, you know, we might want

 

            5              to have the department of community

 

            6              development be a little more alert when

 

            7              there is a garbage complaint because it does

 

            8              cause the skunk problem.

 

            9                      Another item concerning the St.

 

           10              Patrick's Day parade, it is a problem, it's

 

           11              a problem every year, and I worked one year

 

           12              with the Lackawanna County Drug and Alcohol

 

           13              Commission and we tried to encourage the

 

           14              taverns not to open quiet so early in the

 

           15              morning.  We were not successful, but I

 

           16              think it would be behoove this council to

 

           17              send a letter to the Drug and Alcohol

 

           18              Commission of Lackawanna County and

 

           19              encourage them to try to make another effort

 

           20              at encouraging the taverns, I know that we

 

           21              cannot make them do that, but it certainly

 

           22              would add to the family atmosphere that

 

           23              should be at the St. Patrick's Day parade

 

           24              rather than some of the things we do see, so

 

           25              I'm going to ask that if everyone would


 

 

                                                                     157

 

 

            1              agree that we send a letter to the

 

            2              Lackawanna County Drug and Alcohol

 

            3              Commission and ask them to contact the

 

            4              Tavern Association and just encourage them

 

            5              to possibly not open quite as earlier on the

 

            6              St. Patrick's Day parade.

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF:  Any opposition?  Mrs.

 

            8              Garvey, please make that happen.

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI:  And the last thing I

 

           10              want to do is we have a new tax collector

 

           11              and I think that it is time now for us to

 

           12              investigate the wage tax.  I do know of

 

           13              people that don't pay the wage tax because

 

           14              they say they don't live in Scranton and

 

           15              they have a home somewhere else and they

 

           16              claim that as their primary domicile which

 

           17              in my own mind I know that it really isn't,

 

           18              but I don't know legally the ramifications

 

           19              if you have several homes what that entails,

 

           20              but I would like to send a letter to the tax

 

           21              collector and ask her to do an investigation

 

           22              at her earliest convenience to look to her

 

           23              auditors for some information and see if,

 

           24              indeed, there is any evidence that wage

 

           25              taxes are not being paid and, you know, I


 

 

                                                                     158

 

 

            1              don't know how far back we can go, but I

 

            2              would ask for at least the last several

 

            3              years to start with and if she could respond

 

            4              to us in, you know, within a month or so and

 

            5              maybe give us a copy of her audit if

 

            6              everyone is agreeable with that?  Anybody

 

            7              like to add anything else to that?

 

            8                      MS. EVANS: Yes, perhaps the auditors

 

            9              could explain to her the process that the

 

           10              city used to follow-up and what their jobs

 

           11              had once consisted of in terms of the

 

           12              collection.

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI: Of the wage tax.

 

           14                      MS. EVANS: And delinquent wage taxes

 

           15              and why it was discontinued and in what ways

 

           16              it could be revitalized.

 

           17                      MS. GATELLI:  Okay.  I think we need

 

           18              to get some answers.  And that's all I have.

 

           19              Thank you.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF: I'll try to be quick,

 

           21              just two times.  First that it was brought

 

           22              up by a couple of speakers, again, the issue

 

           23              of Mr. Brazil helping move paintings from

 

           24              the gallery or from the street outside of

 

           25              the gallery, I know that someone did bring


 

 

                                                                     159

 

 

            1              that issue to the District Attorney's

 

            2              Office, the District Attorney's Office did

 

            3              respond that there was -- that they did not

 

            4              feel that there was a reason to investigate

 

            5              and there was no violation of any law in

 

            6              what he did.  And again, I don't know the

 

            7              exact circumstances of why Mr. Brazil was

 

            8              there or did that, but I agree that acting

 

            9              in good faith to help people in an emergency

 

           10              is part of what Department of Public Works

 

           11              should do and for those who said that

 

           12              perhaps the Department of Public Works

 

           13              should be available at other emergencies I

 

           14              wholeheartedly agree, and I would have faith

 

           15              in Mr. Brazil to be there when his help is

 

           16              needed.

 

           17                      Also, much has been said and we

 

           18              discussed before the issue of the fire

 

           19              chief, Mr. Tom Davis, and the issues brought

 

           20              by the firefighters by the union and the

 

           21              members of the fire department, I would just

 

           22              like to clarify a little bit, I think some

 

           23              of the things that have been said, not

 

           24              necessarily in the letter that we were given

 

           25              from Mr. Gervasi, but I think some of the


 

 

                                                                     160

 

 

            1              things that have been said in the public

 

            2              about Mr. Davis have been absolutely unfair.

 

            3              I think it's been a case of character

 

            4              assassination by those people who have some

 

            5              personal animosity.  Mr. Davis is a veteran

 

            6              of the Armed Forces.  He is a 25 or over

 

            7              25 years serving in the fire department in

 

            8              the City of Scranton and I think a total of

 

            9              somewhere around 33 years with the

 

           10              department in total.  He's a man who was

 

           11              highly decorated as a firefighter, a member

 

           12              of the union and had rose through the ranks

 

           13              of the position of assistant chief during

 

           14              the time he was with the fire department and

 

           15              I believe he deserves, I'm going to say a

 

           16              little bit the benefit of the doubt for the

 

           17              service that he has given to the City of

 

           18              Scranton over the course of time, and I will

 

           19              admit to the fact that he is a friend and a

 

           20              supporter and I do feel that perhaps a sit

 

           21              down with member of the council and some

 

           22              others would be helpful, but I do want to at

 

           23              least balance the record a little bit and at

 

           24              least let people know that Mr. Davis is a

 

           25              man who has dedicated his life to the


 

 

                                                                     161

 

 

            1              service of others and citizens of the City

 

            2              of Scranton.  The rest can wait and that is

 

            3              all I have.  Thank you.

 

            4                      MS. GARVEY: 5-B. FOR INTRODUCTION -

 

            5              AN ORDINANCE - AMENDING FILE OF COUNCIL NO.

 

            6              49, 2006 (AS AMENDED) ENTITLED, "AN

 

            7              ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER

 

            8              APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS OF THE CITY OF

 

            9              SCRANTON TO TAKE ALL NECESSARY ACTIONS TO

 

           10              IMPLEMENT THE CONSOLIDATED SUBMISSION SO FAR

 

           11              COMMUNITY PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS

 

           12              (AS AMENDED) TO BE FUNDED UNDER THE

 

           13              COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG)

 

           14              PROGRAM, HOME INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP (HOME)

 

           15              PROGRAM AND EMERGENCY SHELTER GRANT (ESG)

 

           16              PROGRAM", BY DELETING CERTAIN PROJECTS AND

 

           17              ADDING A NEW PROJECT.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: At this time, I will

 

           19              entertain a motion that Item 5-B be

 

           20              introduced into it's property committee.

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.

 

           22                      MS. FANUCCI: Second.

 

           23                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: Yes.  We seem to have

 

           25              significant amounts of money that go unused


 

 

                                                                     162

 

 

            1              in OECD.  You know, time and time again

 

            2              there is almost a pattern here of use it or

 

            3              lose it.  We didn't use it for this or we

 

            4              didn't use it for that.  Why?  I mean, this

 

            5              just -- does anyone have any questions

 

            6              besides me why such money seems to linger in

 

            7              so many instances and very coincidentally

 

            8              can be taken from that mission and applied,

 

            9              you know, in a very timely fashion to

 

           10              another project.

 

           11                      So, you know, I have to find it a

 

           12              bit astonishing that $550,000 worth of HOME

 

           13              monies that would never have been needed in

 

           14              the City of Scranton?  That seems like a

 

           15              stretch, but I think what also concerns me

 

           16              about all of these pieces of legislation

 

           17              tonight, in addition to those in the past,

 

           18              like Mr. Courtright said we are very often

 

           19              asked to make critical decisions in a very

 

           20              brief time frame, but more than that, though

 

           21              we are given back up we are not given the

 

           22              complete picture, we are often, in fact,

 

           23              always taking the word that this business or

 

           24              this company is credit worthy.  Yes, we have

 

           25              run a credit report.  No, there is no liens


 

 

                                                                     163

 

 

            1              again them, etcetera, etcetera, and then we

 

            2              come to find out that either they are or the

 

            3              business folded and now some other business

 

            4              is there, you know, and so on and so forth,

 

            5              and I think in order to feel comfortable

 

            6              giving out the people's money as freely as

 

            7              we are asked to do, and it is your money,

 

            8              you know, to say, well, that's not coming

 

            9              out of the city budget, that's still your

 

           10              money, those are your state taxes, those are

 

           11              your federal taxes that you pay, you are

 

           12              still paying and you know you pay a lot to

 

           13              those governmental entities, too, and that

 

           14              money should be used very wisely and I would

 

           15              just feel much more comfortable to have

 

           16              information on all of these companies.

 

           17                      Like you said, you would like to

 

           18              know who the owners are or partners or

 

           19              whatever, well, I would like to see the

 

           20              credit history.  I would like to see in

 

           21              black and white a credit history, if they

 

           22              have ever defaulted on loans, if they have

 

           23              picked up one business, closed it and moved

 

           24              elsewhere, if they have liens against them,

 

           25              I don't want the word of OECD anymore, I


 

 

                                                                     164

 

 

            1              want paperwork.

 

            2                      And then I never see any follow-up

 

            3              once these loans have been awarded and I'm

 

            4              guilty of awarding plenty of them, believe

 

            5              me, because I do want to see re development

 

            6              business in Scranton, but now in my fifth

 

            7              year on council I want some accountability.

 

            8              I want some follow-up, I want some proof,

 

            9              you know, the numbers are there, the jobs

 

           10              were created, what they are paying, if you

 

           11              have lived up to the conditions of loans and

 

           12              grants, you know, we saw no one else was

 

           13              here, but you were what happened when we

 

           14              questioned KOZ's and KOEZ's cease with the

 

           15              state over the Southern Union building.  We

 

           16              still don't have answers to this day about

 

           17              the Southern Union building.  The state

 

           18              wouldn't even step in and take a look at

 

           19              that one, so I'm just asking here I want

 

           20              some written accountable, I want some

 

           21              follow-up and I want to see something more

 

           22              than, you know, the people's name.  I mean,

 

           23              I even have to go through Kay here to find

 

           24              out that this loan in 5-E is for 40 years at

 

           25              a zero percent rate of interest.


 

 

                                                                     165

 

 

            1                      So, I mean, there is an awful lot of

 

            2              information that I need before I can cast

 

            3              intelligent votes on these and I think until

 

            4              all of us start to get that I can't vote to

 

            5              approve anymore of these things.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else on the

 

            7              question?  All those in favor of

 

            8              introduction signify by saying aye?

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI: Aye.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI: Aye.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: Aye.  Opposed?

 

           12                      MS. EVANS: No.

 

           13                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  No.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF:  The ayes have it and so

 

           15              moved.

 

           16                      MS. GARVEY: 5-C. FOR INTRODUCTION -

 

           17              A RESOLUTION - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND

 

           18              OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE

 

           19              AND ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT WITH THE

 

           20              COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF

 

           21              ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ("DEP") TO ACCEPT

 

           22              THE ACT 101, SECTION 902 RECYCLING

 

           23              DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION GRANT IN THE

 

           24              AMOUNT OF $69,250.00.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll


 

 

                                                                     166

 

 

            1              entertain a motion that Item 5-C be

 

            2              introduced into it's proper committee.

 

            3                      MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.

 

            4                      MS. FANUCCI: Second.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?

 

            6                      MS. EVANS: This money would be used

 

            7              for the purchase of additional recycling

 

            8              bins for the citizens of the Scranton.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: All those in favor

 

           10              signify by saying aye.

 

           11                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

           12                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

           14                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?  The

 

           16              ayes have it and so moved.

 

           17                      MS. GARVEY: 5-D. FOR INTRODUCTION -

 

           18              A RESOLUTION - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND

 

           19              OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE

 

           20              AND APPLY FOR A GRANT THROUGH THE

 

           21              COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF

 

           22              COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (DCED)

 

           23              FOR A GROWING GREENER II MAIN STREET AND

 

           24              DOWNTOWN REDEVELOPMENT GRANT IN THE AMOUNT

 

           25              OF $1,000,000.00.  IF SUCCESSFUL,


 

 

                                                                     167

 

 

            1              COORDINATING THE USE OF THE GRANT FUNDS WILL

 

            2              BE WITH THE SCRANTON PARKING AUTHORITY FOR

 

            3              THE PROJECT TO BE NAMES AS "WASHINGTON

 

            4              SPRUCE PARKING FACILITY."

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: At this time I will

 

            6              entertain a motion that Item 5-D be

 

            7              introduced into it's proper committee.

 

            8                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  So moved.

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI: Second.

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  On the question,

 

           12              a million dollars, I would like to see a

 

           13              million dollars go into West Scranton into

 

           14              that project I keep talking about.  I can't

 

           15              seem to get anything over there, but I'm

 

           16              sick of since I have been on council as

 

           17              Mrs. Evans five years it seems like they put

 

           18              stuff before us and say if you don't use it

 

           19              in a month, two months, three months you are

 

           20              going to lose it, so they paint you into a

 

           21              corner.  They wait until they are almost

 

           22              ready to lost the money and then they put

 

           23              the legislation before us and I think, you

 

           24              know, in my opinion that's done purposefully

 

           25              sometimes and I'm sick of it.


 

 

                                                                     168

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS: The other thing I wanted

 

            2              to make sure was, because speakers were

 

            3              addressing this earlier, I did not vote in

 

            4              favor of the $35 million bond issuance for

 

            5              the Scranton Parking Authority.  However, at

 

            6              the time we had a caucus with

 

            7              Mr. Wintermantle and other individuals who

 

            8              explained the proposed uses of the

 

            9              $35 million and they were exactly what was

 

           10              stated tonight, so, I too would question

 

           11              what's the additional million dollars for

 

           12              because the demolition of the Oppenheim

 

           13              garage, the construction of the new garage

 

           14              and repairs to existing garages were all

 

           15              covered in that $35 million bond issue, so,

 

           16              you know, as Mr. Courtright said, I think we

 

           17              can find other perhaps better uses for this,

 

           18              and again, I just -- I have got to see -- I

 

           19              need more information than what I'm given

 

           20              and I don't want lip service, I want black

 

           21              and white.

 

           22                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  One more thing if

 

           23              you don't mind, Mr. McGoff, I voted for the

 

           24              $35 million and I was going into the caucus

 

           25              voting, no, until Mr. Saleski came and I


 

 

                                                                     169

 

 

            1              asked him a lot of questions and to me he

 

            2              had all the right answers.  I know

 

            3              Mr. Sbaraglia came in and asked him a lot of

 

            4              questions, so Mr. Saleski actually changed

 

            5              my mind and I was very comfortable at the

 

            6              time that everything was going to be taken

 

            7              care of and I never thought we would be

 

            8              coming for another million dollars.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?  All those

 

           10              in favor of introduction signify by saying

 

           11              aye.

 

           12                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: Opposed?

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  No.

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: No.

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF:  The ayes have it and so

 

           18              moved.

 

           19                      MS. GARVEY: 5-E. FOR INTRODUCTION -

 

           20              A RESOLUTION - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND

 

           21              OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS FOR THE

 

           22              CITY OF SCRANTON TO ENTER INTO A LOAN

 

           23              AGREEMENT AND MAKE A LOAN FROM THE HOME

 

           24              INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM IN AND AMOUNT

 

           25              NOT TO EXCEED $400,000.00 TO GREATVIEW


 

 

                                                                     170

 

 

            1              DEVELOPMENT LIMITED PARTNERSHIP TO ASSIST AN

 

            2              ELIGIBLE PROJECT.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: At this time I will