1 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING
7 Tuesday, February 19, 2008
10 Council Chambers
11 Scranton City Hall
12 340 North Washington Avenue
13 Scranton, Pennsylvania
CATHENE S. NARDOZZI- COURT REPORTER
2 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:
MR. ROBERT MCGOFF, PRESIDENT
6 MS. JUDY GATELLI, VICE-PRESIDENT
MS. JANET E. EVANS
9 MS. SHERRY FANUCCI
MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT
12 MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK
MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
15 MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
23 MS. FRANUS: Yes, please.
24 MS. GATELLI: This is the seat of the
25 vice-president. Whoever is the
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
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,
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: I think so. I
24 think you are trying to do something
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
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
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
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
2 MS. FRANUS: But Mrs. Evans asked
3 that it be extended because you took up my
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
24 I get a call about an hour before
25 planning meeting, by the time I get here
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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,
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
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.
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
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
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
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
1 firefighters and Chief Davis should be fired
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
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
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?
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
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
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.
1 David Dobson. Daniel Hubbard. Mr. Dobson
2 is upstairs and says he doesn't wish to
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
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."
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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.
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
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
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,
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
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
1 don't you think we should try to lower their
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
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
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.
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: They are looking at
2 it. They are looking at it, Jim. Hang in
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
23 MR. STUCKER: Please.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay.
25 MR. STUCKER: Okay.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
24 I would also ask people who incurred
25 these unjust fines to remember who imposed
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
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
24 I am, as they said, delighted that
25 the mayor is going to finally provide the
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
23 Is this the mayor's recovery? His
24 recovery is a financial nightmare.
25 Remember, union workers had to changes, no
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
25 MS. EVANS: Well, you do realize, and
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
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
24 MR. MCGOFF: That wasn't what I had
25 in mind, but I thought that the most
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
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
8 MS. EVANS: And the membership.
9 MR. MCGOFF: Right, and all of that
10 other stuff. There wasn't a second to your
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
1 and filing of any praecipe, petition or
2 motion to continue a judicial or sheriff's
4 3-Q, four-hundred and no
5 one-hundredth dollars for attendance by
6 legal council at a judicial sheriff or tax
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
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
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,
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
1 taxpayer --
2 MS. EVANS: The city doesn't get that
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 --
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
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
1 face value of what they owe I think you
2 would see that money coming in.
3 MR. MCGOFF: They were offered that
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,
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
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
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
24 MS. EVANS: Well, this doesn't remove
25 all the penalties though, Mr. McGoff, I'm
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
1 an attorney to go and challenge this if they
2 don't even have the money to pay for their
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
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
24 MS. GATELLI: I agree with that.
25 MR. MCGOFF: I would support that
2 MS. FANUCCI: I agree with that
3 100 percent.
4 MS. EVANS: There is an awful lot out
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
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
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.
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,
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
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,
1 Mrs. Novembrino and Attorney Patterson
2 requesting responses to the aforementioned
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
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
24 MS. EVANS: On --
25 MR. MCGOFF: I would just going to
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
8 MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me.
9 MS. KNIGHT: Mr. McGoff, can I
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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,
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.
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
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
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
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
1 DEVELOPMENT LIMITED PARTNERSHIP TO ASSIST AN
2 ELIGIBLE PROJECT.
3 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I will