2 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING
8 Tuesday, May 20, 2008
11 Council Chambers
12 Scranton City Hall
13 340 North Washington Avenue
14 Scranton, Pennsylvania
CATHENE S. NARDOZZI- COURT REPORTER
3 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:
MR. ROBERT MCGOFF, PRESIDENT
7 MS. JUDY GATELLI, VICE-PRESIDENT
MS. JANET E. EVANS
10 MS. SHERRY FANUCCI (Not Present.)
MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT
13 MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK
MS. SUE MAGNOTTA, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
16 MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR
1 (Pledge of Allegiance recited and
2 moment of reflection observed.)
3 MR. MCGOFF: Roll call, please.
4 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Evans.
5 MS. EVANS: Here.
6 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Gatelli.
7 MS. GATELLI. Here.
8 MS. MAGNOTTA: Ms. Fanucci.
9 (Ms. Fanucci not present.)
10 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. Courtright.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
12 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. McGoff.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Yes. Let the record
14 reflect that Mrs. Fanucci has informed
15 council that she will not be able to attend
16 this evening's meeting. Dispense with the
17 reading of the minutes.
18 MS. GARVEY: THIRD ORDER. 3-A.
19 APPLICATIONS AND DECISIONS RENDERED BY THE
20 ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING HELD ON MAY 14,
22 MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?
23 If not, received and filed.
24 MS. GARVEY: That's it for Third
1 MR. MCGOFF: Any announcements that
2 you may have?
3 MS. GATELLI: I just have two
4 announcements. The first one is I'd like to
5 congratulate Attorney Minora, he became a
6 grandfather again tonight for the fourth
7 time and Maureen, his wife, her daughter,
8 Megan, had a baby girl. And I also -- where
9 is Chrissy?
10 MR. SLEDENZSKI: Right here, Jude.
11 MS. GATELLI: I have a surprise for
12 you, Chrissy. I have a surprise for you?
13 MR. SLEDENZSKI: Uh-oh.
14 MS. GATELLI: As you know, the West
15 Scranton Varsity Baseball Team won the
16 Lackawanna League Division I baseball
17 championship and it's the first time they
18 have won since 1992. The coach is Paul
19 McGoin, and the assistant coach is George
20 Roscus, and they gave me this to show you,
21 Chrissy, if I could get the sweater off, and
22 I got it from Burt-Burt.
23 MR. SLEDENZSKI: Did you?
24 MS. GATELLI: So if you want one --
25 MR. SLEDENZSKI: Yeah, I want one.
1 MS. GATELLI: You are going to have
2 to see him tomorrow, the West Scranton
3 Invaders. That's all I have. Have some fun
4 with Chrissy. Right, Buddy?
5 MR. SLEDENZSKI: Yep.
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: I would just like to
7 announce again Johnny Mattern and the people
8 from Legend's Bar are having this Saturday
9 will be the First Annual Ride for Robeson,
10 that's the 24 Poker Run, registration from 9
11 to 11 at Electric City Harley Davidson. If
12 you not going to ride, the ride is going to
13 end up at Legend's Bar at about 2:00 p.m.,
14 that's in West Scranton an the number you
15 can call is 483-0883 and, once again, all
16 the proceeds from this are going to go to
17 benefit the Robeson family so anyone that
18 can make it it would certainly be
19 appreciated, that's all I have. Thank you.
20 MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Evans.
21 MS. EVANS: Please remember in your
22 prayers all those who have recently passed
23 away and in particular Gerald T. Labarski
24 and Alfonso Chara, both victims of tragic
25 accidents and their dear families and
1 friends they leave behind. Also, if you
2 would remember Mrs. Lyman in your prayers
3 who is hospitalized this week.
4 I also wish to congratulate Lillian
5 and Pat Manley, owners of the Corner Store
6 in West Scranton who each year for the last
7 several years have sponsored a veteran's
8 dinner for approximately 50 people at
9 Cooper's Restaurant. West Scranton
10 veteran's are treated to a three-piece band
11 and open bar and a delicious dinner as well
12 as beautiful commemorative gifts and last
13 Saturday's dinner, for example, the
14 gentleman were given hats and medals
15 inscribed with the words "The Greatest
16 Generation" and the ladies received medals
17 as well and journey pendants. The Manleys
18 are more than good neighbors, they are an
19 inspiration to all of us who want to believe
20 and who need to believe that kindness and
21 goodness continue to exist in Scranton.
22 Finally, I'd like to wish Tommy Barrett
23 good health and great happiness in his
24 retirement from the city controller's
25 office. After all of his years of service I
1 really don't know how Mrs. Novembrino will
2 ever do without him, so best wishes, Tommy.
3 That's all.
4 MR. MCGOFF: And I was informed, and
5 I hope not misinformed, that former mayor
6 Gene Peters celebrated his 80th birthday
7 this past weekend and I would just like to
8 on behalf of council and myself and council
9 congratulate him and I think it's really a
10 unique situation that we in Scranton have
11 with us so many of the men whose pictures,
12 you know, grace these walls still providing
13 leadership and direction to our city. And
14 so once again, happy birthday to Mayor
16 MS. EVANS: He was a wonderful mayor.
17 MR. MCGOFF: And with that Fourth
18 Order, citizens participation. Reverend
20 MS. SIMMONS: Good evening, Council.
21 My name is Reverend Cathryn Simmons,
22 Florence Midtown Crime Watch. I come
23 wearing two hats this evening, and let me
24 begin with the most important one. Next
25 Wednesday, May the 28th at 6:00 in the
1 evening at Bethel A & E Church there will be
2 an interfaith service to honor the
3 firefighters across this fair city. This is
4 not political in any way, shape or form,
5 this is a night of prayer and music for
6 their safety and protection during a very
7 perilous upcoming summer, so the door is
8 open, everyone is invited to come and pray
9 with them and celebrate that evening with
10 them. Now, onto the next --
11 MR. MCGOFF: Reverend Simmons, what
12 was the time on that again.
13 MS. SIMMONS: 6:00.
14 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.
15 MS. SIMMONS: The week before last I
16 came before council to talk about parking on
17 Adams Avenue between Vine Street and North
18 Washington Avenue, and Councilwoman Gatelli
19 you had spoken that night about getting an
20 ordinance prepared to ban parking. When I
21 pushed last week about -- because I didn't
22 come because I thought ordinance was going
23 to be presented and it was going to roll
24 along and I found out that, no, the
25 ordinance, indeed, was not presented, I know
1 what's going to happen along that street,
2 okay? Come August when the college opens
3 again we are again going to have problems
4 with parking along that section of Adams
5 Avenue and we are again going to be told
6 that the reason that certain things can't be
7 done, cars can't be towed, other things is
8 because there is no ordinance on the books.
9 Well, there is an ordinance, there was an
10 ordinance put there 14 1/2 years ago,
11 whatever happened to it I don't know and I'm
12 not going to stand here and argue about
13 something that --
14 MS. GATELLI: Excuse me, but that's
15 what we are doing investigating if there was
16 an ordinance.
17 MS. SIMMONS: Okay.
18 MS. GATELLI: And Bill has an answer,
19 would you like him to answer?
20 MS. SIMMONS: Oh, yes.
21 MS. GATELLI: He was meeting with
22 the chief about it.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: I spoke to Director
24 Hayes maybe right after when you came to the
25 meeting and there is -- I didn't think there
1 were any signs there, but there is a sign
2 there --
3 MS. GATELLI: There is signs there,
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: He attempted
6 because there is a sign there must have been
7 an ordinance, we just don't -- we are not
8 supposed to be able to just pop up signs
9 anywhere. Director Hayes and his staff they
10 are looking to find the ordinance, all
11 right, because if there is one there is no
12 need for us to do another one, so he told me
13 he will be handling it and he will rectify
14 the problem.
15 MS. SIMMONS: Do you know how long
16 this is going to take because we want an
17 ordinance in place before school reconvenes.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: Right. I would
19 imagine he is look for the ordinance that we
20 believe exists and if he finds it then they
21 can enforce it immediately. They just don't
22 want to go out and ticket and there is no
24 MS. SIMMONS: Well, they have been
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: Have they put
2 warnings on or are they putting actual
4 MS. SIMMONS: Well, there was
5 warnings given out and then there was
6 tickets given out, but there was a car
7 parked over there, it was parked there on
8 April the 28th, it was left there, there was
9 five tickets placed on that car. We asked
10 over and over again that that car be towed.
11 We were told because the license plate was
12 legal and the inspection sticker was legal
13 they couldn't tow it, but it was parked
14 between two "No Parking" signs. Well, I'm
15 sorry, but I would have to disagree. If you
16 are parked between two "No Parking" signs
17 and you have five tickets on your car, you
18 haven't even come back to check your car in
19 seven days, something tells me that there is
20 something wrong there and that car should
21 have been towed out of there.
22 That's one of the problems we were
23 having over there because people were come
24 through the light, they were seeing his car
25 parked there and they thought they could
1 park. You know, some of the people that we
2 stopped and said to them, "You can't park
3 there, you have to move," and their answer
4 to us was, "Well, that car is parked there."
5 "You know, I'm not going to stand
6 here and argue with all day, we are telling
7 you there is two "No Parking" signs and you
8 cannot park here, but if he is looking into
9 it I'm going to leave it in his hands, but
10 you know I will be back.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: And I'm sure he
12 knows that.
13 MS. SIMMONS: Oh, I'm sure he does.
14 MS. GATELLI: And if there isn't we
15 all agree up here that he will produce an
17 MS. SIMMONS: Okay. I thank you
18 very much.
19 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Reverend
21 MS. SIMMONS: Don't forget Wednesday
23 MR. MCGOFF: Andy Sbaraglia.
24 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,
25 citizen of Scranton, fellow Scrantonians. I
1 want to talk on 7-A, we are putting in for a
2 grant for this 500 Lackawanna Avenue
3 redevelopment of Park Plaza and pedestrian
4 court yet in the paper you are already
5 advertising for bids on it even before you
6 voted on this. It's already in the paper
7 looking for bids, soliciting bids, so this
8 is just a joke I guess. It's already --
9 whatever you are going to do you are going
10 to do or it's already been done because you
11 are soliciting bids you can ask your
12 secretary if you want, but it's in the paper
13 that you are soliciting bids before you even
14 vote on this grant.
15 Okay. This project, this 500 of
16 Lackawanna Avenue project, this is from the
17 Times, I hope I can believe what I'm
18 reading, the Governor said 28 million in
19 local, state and federal funds have been
20 submitted to this project, $28 million to
21 these broken down old buildings. Do you
22 know how much taxes we collect, real estate
23 tax we collect for all of the city?
24 $14,300,794. $14 million. You are going to
25 spend 28 million on project it will take 100
1 --no, probably a thousand years before we
2 ever get that money back. This is pork.
3 You can call it what you will. I mean,
4 they've got a fancy name for everything
5 here. They got renaissance, it's just
6 another name for pork, that's all it is.
7 Just another semantics. Pork is pork.
8 $28 million now they are talking about an
9 elevator to get up into the parks up on the
10 top and even growing, growing, growing. I
11 told you before when this came out years ago
12 don't invest that. I mean, this man says he
13 did this, he said that, we paid for the
14 sidewalks. We paid for the engineering. He
15 didn't even pay for the engineering of this
16 project, the city paid for it and various
17 other things with this project and you
18 committed so much money to it, people are
19 losing their homes, they can't afford their
20 taxes, but you care little or nothing you
21 just keep going with these real estate
22 deals. I mean, I told you a long time ago
23 you have been ripping them down and building
24 a brand new building that would have been
25 there for the next 100 years. We don't need
1 another historical site, we got enough
2 throughout the city. In fact, everywhere
3 you go is becoming historical and run down.
4 What are you going to revitalize the whole
5 city? But, I mean, how could you justify
6 $28 million when the taxes for every other
7 people in the city is only $14,300,000?
8 Does that make sense? No, it doesn't make
9 sentence. Who benefits? Rinaldi, that's
10 who benefits, the person that organized this
11 deal. No where could that much money flow
12 into a project like that if this man didn't
13 have political clout. It just wouldn't be
14 done. There is too much areas in it, we
15 can't even fix our bridges, they are falling
16 apart, our roads are falling apart, but yet
17 we have all of this money to fix maybe seven
18 or eight broken down buildings and I don't
19 even know if the other two at the end of it
20 actually signed in on this project. I know
21 Buona didn't and if it he didn't sign into
22 it it goes all to the Supreme Court it may
23 be another ten years before this project is
24 done and it's just --it's a matter of
25 semantics, you just can't do what you are
1 doing with the money. People just can't do
2 it. They don't have the money even though
3 the federal, it comes from your pocket
4 anyway. I mean, true, we have been printing
5 money like crazy, it's worthless money, but
6 we are doing it, but still I can't
7 understand how you can commit that much
8 money and you don't even know if the 28
9 million is it. It may be even more because
10 I don't know what you are going to have do
11 with the national park service up there,
12 then he wants to build the elevator to go up
13 to and I still don't know why you want to do
15 And that alley behind there and a
16 park who is going to benefit from all of
17 that? We sold parks. We gave away the
18 South Side Complex, we thought nothing of it
19 but now we are going to build new parks and
20 alleyways. You just can't -- you got to
21 stop this mayor. You just got to stop him.
22 You got to put the money where it gives you
23 the most return to the people. You got to
24 find a way to lower taxes, definitely got a
25 way of doing that and by throwing money into
1 the pockets it won't do a darn thing. I
2 mean, loft apartments. Is that -- how much
3 is that going to bring in? I thank you.
4 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,
5 Mr. Sbaraglia. Fay Franus.
6 MS. FRANUS: Fay Franus, Scranton.
7 Mr. McGoff, are going to have a meeting next
9 MR. MCGOFF: I'm sorry?
10 MS. FRANUS: Are you having a
11 meeting next Tuesday?
12 MR. MCGOFF: I believe so.
13 MS. FRANUS: It's the day after
14 Memorial Day.
15 MR. MCGOFF: It's scheduled.
16 MS. FRANUS: I wanted to ask Mrs.
17 Gatelli, since you are head of the finance,
18 how hard is it to open up the budget,
19 Mrs. Fanucci said it's not worth opening up
20 the budget, is that a long process or is it
21 very simple?
22 MS. GATELLI: I don't know, I never
23 did it before.
24 MS. FRANUS: Mrs. Evans, is that
25 hard to open the budget to take the $20,000
1 for Channel 61?
2 MS. EVANS: Well, I have never opened
3 the budget before either. However, I think
4 is only requires an extraordinary majority
5 vote of council and then the funds to be
6 transferred from the designated operating
7 budget account to, you know, whatever the
8 issue would be, the $20,000, yes.
9 MS. FRANUS: Okay. Well, let me ask
10 you this, you voted, council voted to give
11 Channel 61 $20,000 and the next week you
12 voted against it, how is that possible?
13 Mrs. Gatelli, Mr. McGoff, Mrs. Fanucci is
14 not here, do you want to see Channel 61 go
15 black because there is no way in the world
16 that June 1 they are going to have this
17 other station up and running? Is this your
18 purpose to see this channel go black?
19 MS. GATELLI: No.
20 MS. FRANUS: No? Mr. McGoff?
21 MR. MCGOFF: No.
22 MS. FRANUS: Okay, well, if that's
23 the case, if this other channel isn't up on
24 June 1 and they run out of money, Channel 61
25 what's going to happen then? If they said
1 they would give the money back what's your
2 problem with letting them have the money,
3 anything they don't use they are going to
4 give back, so what's you're problem giving
5 them this money other than that excuse you
6 gave last week you believe that they are
7 going to be up and running June 1. The
8 contract says they will not be up and
9 running until they get $300,000 from the
10 city before they come up and running, that's
11 the deal. They are not going to be getting
12 $300,000 by June 1, there is no way, so they
13 are not going to get up and running June 1
14 so then what are you going to do? I mean, I
15 don't understand this, that was an excuse
16 you gave last week just so Channel 61 will
17 go black. You can say no, but then why
18 aren't you voting to give them the money
19 especially since they are going to give it
20 back? How can you sit there and do this.
21 It's an excuse, it's blatant. It's so
22 obvious it's unbelievable, so you are going
23 to still say that you will not give them the
24 money, right, because you think the other
25 channel is going to be up June 1st. Okay,
1 what happens June 1 if they are not up and
2 running what are you going to do then and
3 Channel 61 goes black, what did you do?
4 That was a question? What will you do if
5 Channel 61 goes black before June 1 if the
6 other TV channel doesn't get up and running
7 by then, what will you do?
8 MR. MCGOFF: Are you asking me?
9 MS. FRANUS: Yes.
10 MR. MCGOFF: I don't know that I'll
11 do anything.
12 MS. FRANUS: That's exactly what my
13 point is. You don't want to do anything so
14 why wouldn't you want to give them the money
15 so it won't happen? How could you possibly
16 sit there and say you won't give them the
17 money. I know why, because you don't want
18 the people to see what's going on in this
19 city. That's exactly why. Look at you
20 making faces. Well, then why don't you give
21 them the money so it will stay running. I
22 have a lot of other things to say but this
23 is too important. I can't even comprehend
25 And last week, Mrs. Gatelli, you
1 voted for a $60,000 loan, you said you would
2 never -- no more borrowing for me, but yet
3 you voted for it and, Billy, what you have
4 ever did is beyond me. You are going with
5 these three, unbelievable. $60,000 loan and
6 Judy Gatelli says, "No more borrowing for
7 me, I'm not voting for anymore borrowing,
8 well --
9 MS. GATELLI: That wasn't borrowing,
10 it was still a loan.
11 MS. FRANUS: It's still money that's
12 not going to be --
13 MS. GATELLI: Well, I'm going to stop
14 giving to businesses in our community so you
15 must have misinterpreted what I said.
16 MS. FRANUS: You shouldn't have --
17 MS. GATELLI: I will not stop giving
18 money to start small businesses --
19 MS. FRANUS: How about the people in
20 the city.
21 MS. GATELLI: -- in the City of
23 MS. FRANUS: How about the
24 taxpayers, the people in their homes?
25 MS. GATELLI: The money is for
2 MS. FRANUS: It's always for
3 businesses, what about the regular people?
4 MS. GATELLI: The federal government
5 gives us the money to start small
7 MS. FRANUS: Oh, by the way, the
8 policeman, Lieutenant Thomas, I got three
9 signs on Luzerne Street. Billy, he did for
10 me in two years what you didn't do in four
11 years. Two weeks he got those signs. Two
12 weeks. Two weeks.
13 Now, just a couple of things that
14 you have never voted for the people. You
15 voted no to squashing the excess NCC fees.
16 You voted no to squashing the MRS fees. You
17 voted no to keeping delinquent properties
18 out of the hands of the SRA. You noted no
19 to reducing the budget. You voted no to
20 hiring qualified employees. You voted no to
21 investigating why the fire department is
22 unhappy with Chief Davis. Billy Courtright,
23 you never did an investigation when you
24 could have, but you chose not to, you didn't
25 even address it in motions two weeks in a
1 row and you are still not. No subpoenas for
2 any type of documents from OECD, SRA or any
3 other department and no pilot contributions,
4 you never went after them after you said you
5 would. No to rezoning Midtown apartments.
6 No to any OECD loans that has come before
7 you. Never voted for anything for the
8 people. That's Mrs. Fanucci, Mrs. Gatelli
9 and Mr. McGoff, those three.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Franus.
11 Bob Bolus.
12 MR. BOLUS: Council, Bob Bolus,
13 Scranton. On the school board and all this
14 nonsense going on with the Single Tax Office
15 and all of the money being disbursed and
16 Gilbride not being held accountable, I think
17 it's a folly that the district attorney once
18 more decides to use selective enforcement,
19 it seems to be a tactic of his. I believe a
20 civil suit should be filed and everybody
21 held accountable. The fact that he had
22 knowledge puts them in the same pot. I
23 don't think we need to keep pushing the peas
24 around the pot, let's get to the answers.
25 Twelve million bucks sitting out there, I
1 think we should take the 1.5 million back,
2 put it back in the golf course fund plus the
3 interest that was taken out to give the
4 mayor that he could squander and, Bill, I
5 had asked you a long time ago, I sent a
6 letter, you stood there one day and said
7 that you would put a motion on the table to
8 put the $1.5 million back in if it was
9 available, but you would take the 1.5 that's
10 still in escrow and put it in a trust. I
11 sent you letter, you told me you were going
12 to do it that night and you have not done
13 that and I would like you to do it tonight.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Where -- I will make
15 a motion to do the remaining 1.5, but where
16 would I get the other 1.5?
17 MR. BOLUS: If it's available out of
18 anywhere else in this city and it can become
19 available out of $12.5 million and the city
20 could find a way to get that money back that
21 you would put it back into the trust for the
22 people in this city. Countries Doherty had
23 his party up at Nay Aug Park and he
24 immediately said the money that he made
25 would go into trust for the park. We don't
1 need a party in the park, the money that was
2 squandered on this $3 million that this
3 council gave the mayor originally wanted to
4 give him and then he gave him 1.5 it was
5 squandered. You actually took away from the
6 people in this city and I want to see it
7 back and that's where it belongs, and I
8 would like to make that motion tonight. You
9 told me you would do it and I came here
10 tonight to request it again in person.
11 MR COURTRIGHT: I said I will do the
12 remaining 1.5, I don't have the other 1.5.
13 MR. BOLUS: That's right, but if it's
14 available then the second part of your
15 motion, if it becomes available --
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: No, I won't do
17 that. If it becomes available then I would
18 do it. I won't make it part of the motion.
19 MR. BOLUS: All right, then preserve
20 the 1.5 we have.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: That I will do.
22 MR. BOLUS: Plus the interest.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: I don't know if
24 they can do that.
25 MR. BOLUS: The University of
1 Scranton gets a 10 percent increase, making
2 money hand over fist here and what do we do,
3 no one has gone after a fee in all of the
4 years I have been coming here, all you want
5 to do is tax and burden the people in this
6 city until they can't even breathe anymore
7 yet you let this University and these KOZ's
8 and nonprofits run rampant and destroy our
9 economy. They are destroying Scranton, they
10 are destroying people can't even by gas
11 today and we just ignore it because it's
12 politics as usual and it's got to just come
13 to a stop. You know, this council has got
14 to start acting on behalf of the people, not
15 the KOZ's, the nonprofits, the politicians,
16 the Rinaldis and the million of dollars
17 being squandered in this city, it's your
18 job. They should have never got that golf
19 course money unless you people gave it to
20 Chris Doherty, remember that.
21 MS. GATELLI: May I interrupt you
22 for a minute without wasting his time. I
23 agree with you on those fees and if you
24 could give something to Attorney Minora
25 where we could impose fees on the nonprofits
1 I'm sure everyone up here would vote for it
2 if it's legal, so if you have any
3 information would you give it to Attorney
5 MR. BOLUS: Judy, I did that for this
6 council, the council before that, we did our
7 own research and nothing was ever even
8 looked into and when question were asked
9 everybody had a blank stare on their face.
10 MS. GATELLI: Well, we'll give it to
11 Attorney Minora.
12 MR. BOLUS: Because fees have to be
13 passed, so you understand, the fee that's
14 pasted has to be created and if a fee is
15 passed it's got to be over everybody in this
16 the city, it can't just be specific to a KOZ
17 or nonprofit, I did all of that research. I
18 have our own inhouse attorneys do it and it
19 was thrown away, it was ignored because
20 nobody wants to step on the university's
21 toes. We should change Scranton to name it
22 the University --
23 MS. GATELLI: Well, I think that we
24 would look at it.
25 MR. BOLUS: Well, I think we need to
1 act on it.
2 MS. GATELLI: If you would give it
3 to Attorney Minora.
4 MR. BOLUS: I will try to find that
5 information and give it to him.
6 MR. MINORA: I have never seen it. I
7 would be very interested in seeing it.
8 MR. BOLUS: I will see if you get
9 information and let's see if we can become
10 creative and move the city forward.
11 MR. MINORA: Who is the counsel?
12 MS. EVANS: The information was given
13 to Attorney Walsh when he was the council
14 solicitor and he did review all of the
15 information and let us say the summary he
16 gave to us was what Mr. Bolus said, if we
17 wanted to enact such an impact fee it would
18 have to be across the board. It couldn't
19 simply address nonprofits, so that meant
20 that --
21 MR. MINORA: Well, I would just like
22 to take a look at it. I understand what it
23 is he is referring to.
24 MR. BOLUS: I'll give you that,
25 because it can't be called an impact fee,
1 impact fees are for road or something else
2 creates an issue, that has to be a fee
3 that's created simply like you have the
4 garbage fee in the City of Scranton. Our
5 taxes are to pay taxes, and pick up garbage.
6 We pay a fee to go to the landfill, that's
7 the creativity that has to be done and it's
8 possible and it can be done because there is
9 a bottom line here in the city, increase the
10 tax base you will decrease the tax rate and
11 right now everybody in America is hurting
12 and we have our hands, millions of dollars.
13 You are going to blow a million dollars
14 bucks on a TV station coming in here that
15 can't even get up and running. You wasted
16 all this money on the Rinaldi development,
17 and it's a private development, nobody is
18 looking out for the kids, the future of this
19 city and the people of the city, the elderly
20 that have been made Scranton what it is
21 today by worrying about what Chris Doherty
22 does. He is the worst mayor we have ever
23 had in this city and I'm not the only one
24 saying this is the worst council we have
25 had. And, Bill, if you could do that
1 tonight I would greatly appreciate it and I
2 would like to council to stand behind it.
3 It's time to move Scranton forward. Thank
5 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Bolus.
6 Sam Patilla.
7 MR. PATILLA: Good evening, Ms.
8 Evans and Mr. Courtright. There are two
9 items that I want to address tonight, the
10 first is in regards to the Single Taxpayer
11 Office. In an article dated October 4,
12 2006, written by Stacy Brown, staff writer
13 for the Times-Tribune, it's in regards to
14 the auditor at that time, I don't know if he
15 still is, Mr. Robert Rossi, bringing to
16 light that the interest income had jumped
17 more than $130,000 in less than a year. It
18 also stated that the delinquent real estate
19 taxes changed from $10,377.53 to $82,268.50
20 since the year 2005.
21 Now, he also went onto show that
22 there was disparity in the figures of
23 $135,015.66 from $3,742.19 in interest
24 income. Now, later on in the article
25 Mr. McDowell was quoted as stating that he
1 didn't know if Mr. Rossi's figures were
2 accurate. Now, my point, my problem with
3 this is that, you know, this tells me that
4 somebody in this administration knew that
5 there were problems in that tax office back
6 in 2006, and the first action taken was to
7 reduce the budget of the controller's office
8 so that they could perform those audits, so
9 I think that council should do some serious
10 consideration into looking at who within
11 this administration is guilty of collusion
12 because there is no way in the world
13 $12,000,000 could pop out of the clear blue
14 and nobody else knew about it but Mr.
15 McDowell. Somebody had to know what was
16 going on in this office besides
17 Mr. McDowell.
18 The second thing I would like to
19 address is ECTV. Now, it really bothers me
20 that council has so many problems with
21 giving Scranton Today $20,000, it really
22 does. I have glanced over the budget that
23 proposal that ECTV submitted and in part of
24 that budget it tells $13,200 for a health
25 plan for two of ECTV's employees,
1 specifically, Melissa Marks and I believe
2 it's Mark McGore in addition to the $42,000
3 that Melissa will receive and the $36,000
4 annual salary that Mark would receive.
5 I also go onto see that they have
6 $3,600 for utility payment of gas, $4,800
7 for electric, $3,000 for telephone, $2,400
8 for gasoline, $1,200 for parking, $3,000 to
9 lease vehicles and here we are, we want to
10 give $11 million in taxpayer money to an
11 organization that has just about as much
12 electronic equipment to broadcast these
13 events and the other events throughout the
14 city in this town that I have, you know, and
15 it's not right that we give a million
16 dollars of our money to somebody that's not
17 prepared to do the job that we require or we
18 request and the organization that has been
19 doing it for years can't even get $20,000
20 out of this council, you know, that
21 backtracking, it's got to stop, you know.
22 I'm for one -- I don't want to give ECTV a
23 dime of my money, a dime of taxpayers'
24 money, because I'm used to submitting the
25 budget. You come to the door, you come to
1 the table with something to offer. They are
2 not bringing anything but an open hand. You
3 know, everybody talks about $300,000, that
4 contract is for a million dollars of our
5 money. It's not for $300,000, it's for a
6 million dollars of our money and Scranton
7 Today goes through hell and high water for a
8 measly $20,000 and that's what it is, it's a
9 measly $20,000 when you consider or take
10 into consideration all of the money that
11 this council has allowed that mayor to
12 squander over the course of his tender here,
13 you know, and it's not right. It's not fair
14 to the taxpayers, it's not fair to Scranton
15 TV, it's not fair to anyone but those
16 receiving or reaping the benefits of these
17 outlandish grants given to these
18 organizations. Thank you.
19 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Patilla.
20 Lee Morgan.
21 MR. MORGAN: Good evening, Council.
22 The first thing I have here today is off of
23 page one in the Scranton Times newspaper on
24 the bottom half and it speaks about the
25 League of Women Voters who have gone into
1 Federal Court because from what I take from
2 this article was shady dealings by the Chief
3 Justice, okay, of the Pennsylvania Courts,
4 which is Ralph Crapy or Cappy who made a
5 deal for a legislative judicial pay raises
6 in order to legalize gambling, so when I
7 come here and I talk about two local judges
8 like Harhut and Corbett --
9 MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Morgan --
10 MR. MORGAN: Now, wait a minute --
11 MR. MCGOFF: -- once again, this is
12 not city business.
13 MR. MORGAN: It most certainly is
14 city business.
15 MR. MCGOFF: No, it isn't.
16 MR. MORGAN: Can I say this, I'm not
17 going to stand here and argue with you.
18 MR. MCGOFF: You're taking out a
19 personal vendetta and --
20 MR. MORGAN: I'm not going to stand
21 here and argue with you.
22 MR. MCGOFF: You are using this venue
23 as a --
24 MR. MORGAN: I am not going to stand
25 here and argue with you, I can talk about
1 the issues of my concern at this podium. I
2 am not going to argue with you from this
4 MS. GATELLI: It's supposed to be
5 city business, Mr. Morgan.
6 MR. MORGAN: Not necessarily.
7 MS. GATELLI: Yes, it is.
8 MR. MINORA: Yes, it is.
9 MR. MORGAN: That may be your
11 MS. GATELLI: Attorney Minora, is it
12 supposed to be city business?
13 MR. MINORA: Yes.
14 MR. MORGAN: Can I say this, Mr.
15 Minora may be a lawyer, but he is not a
16 judge, okay? He is a lawyer, not a judge
17 and the only one who can make that
18 determination is a judge. We listened to
19 what he said about the smoking ban.
20 MR. MINORA: The president of city
21 council --
22 MR. MORGAN: Now what I'd like to do
23 is I'd like to carry on. Now, so that just
24 highlights where the judicial system in
25 America is.
1 Now, going to ECTV, ECTV is a very
2 big issue in this community, very big, okay?
3 Now, there is $25,000 the Lackawanna County
4 Commissioners have it in their budget for
5 Channel 61 run by Scranton Today. I talked
6 to Mr. Munchak today, there is $25,000
7 there, Karen Bazzarri has to come before the
8 county commissioners and request those funds
9 and I talked to Mr. Munchak today.
10 Now, the reason Channel 61 is so
11 vital to destroy is because in my opinion
12 this mayor has squandered all of this city's
13 assets for decades to come. We have made
14 back room shady deals with everybody, the
15 PEL has looked the other way, they have met
16 with individual council people for years in
17 numbers so they can skirt the Sunshine Laws,
18 they have acknowledged it, councilmen who
19 sat here acknowledged that. The residents
20 of this city has very little to look forward
21 to, drive through the city, there is a lot
22 of homes with high grass. Why? Because
23 there is a lot of people not living in those
24 homes. Go down a block and see two or three
25 houses on a block for sale, and nothing
1 personal, Mrs. Gatelli, but you are talking
2 about granting money for business
3 development, well, it really hasn't worked
4 very well and to be honest with you we have
5 been doing that for a very long time, but
6 too many people haven't been worried about
7 the average taxpayer in this city, I'm not
8 singling this comment out just to you.
9 Everybody is worried about the quick fix.
10 There is no quick fix. Bankruptcy is the
12 Now, when 61 fades and is no more
13 and ECTV TV takes over, what are we going to
14 have? Well, we are going to have them
15 replay the meetings once and then we are
16 going to listen to what's going on in other
17 communities. You know something, I do have
18 some interest in other communities, but you
19 know I would like to see our community fixed
20 and it's not happening, okay? The mayor
21 used to get on and do a spiel, his
22 propaganda show he had and talk about all of
23 the great things going on. We ripped down a
24 $300,000 county paid for building up at Nay
25 Aug Park for the arts I would assume, gone,
1 $300,000 like this, no big deal, it's only
2 our money, it's only the taxpayers' money.
3 All of the money from American Anglican with
4 the Sewer Authority, gone. Rates increase.
5 Council standing here as if they have no
6 right to even try to defend the people in
7 this city and saying you can't raise the
8 rates without us.
9 Now, 61, it's my contention that the
10 mayor couldn't do this contract with ECTV
11 without council being involved, but when
12 council doesn't use it's powers under the
13 Home Rule Charter the same thing happens
14 that happened at the Scranton Sewer
15 Authority and all of the other places where
16 you haven't done your job and that's where
17 this city's problem is. This city is right
18 here in the council in front of us.
19 Now, Mr. McGoff, you were asked,
20 well, what happens if 61 goes dark? You
21 know what, you should be very concerned
22 because your job and this whole council's
23 job in my opinion is to have an informed
24 electorate and we don't have that. You want
25 everybody to know nothing and when it came
1 time to go get subpoenas off of all of the
2 authorities it wasn't important, we don't
3 want to know, we don't want to sent out
4 subpoenas in groups and find out anything,
5 we just want to be ignorant.
6 When you bring legislation to the
7 table and don't have the answers to the
8 questions like Mr. Courtright who says after
9 the vote, Well, maybe we should look into
10 that, after the vote is too late. You look
11 in there before. Thank you.
12 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Morgan.
13 Ron Ellman.
14 MR. ELLMAN: Ronnie Ellman, homeowner
15 and -- used to be a homeowner, nothing has
16 been done with it yet and member of the
17 Taxpayers' Association. I see Mr. McGoff
18 looking at me, he is wondering what kind of
19 misinformation this bubbling fool will give
20 you tonight, a big bag of hot air up here
21 and said I have to listen to him for five
22 minutes, I just have a little bit.
23 Miss Rosie took me over to St. Lucy's
24 this week for a little flea market and I
25 parked the car and as I got out this
1 beautiful tree, there is a big red mark
2 that's going to cut it down. This is so
3 senseless. This man is running around town
4 marking hundreds and hundreds of trees which
5 is hundreds of thousands of dollars for
6 three or 400 trees, but when I went by my
7 house to get mail down Washington all of
8 those big trees there is not a one being cut
9 down, not a one. It's the same thing. I
10 had six or eight people tell me healthy
11 trees have been cut down just to keep this
12 Triad Tree Company going I imagine.
13 Well, you know, my car is not good
14 on gas, it's at the gas station twice this
15 week because it's so expensive it seems like
16 if you just spend $25 instead of 50 or 75 it
17 doesn't hurt as much, and another fellow was
18 talking to me about while we were pumping
19 gas, people got the opinion that they can't
20 make it no more, you know, they are choosing
21 -- we all hear how they are choosing between
22 heat and food and in my case I got to choose
23 mean between hair day and a gallon of
24 gasoline, you know, it just don't stop, but
25 it's terrible. You know, I told you last
1 week $25 takes me about 75 miles, you know.
2 Well, I thought about getting -- I bought
3 two motor scooters, I just hope people don't
4 make a target out of me, some of
5 Mr. Doherty's supporters. I got a little
6 red one for me and a blue one for Miss
7 Rosie, but she said she won't ride it.
8 MS. GATELLI: How about Miss Judy,
9 I'll ride it with you, Ronnie.
10 MR. ELLMAN: I got two little --
11 MS. GATELLI: That's a great idea,
12 they have them all over Europe because the
13 gas is $8 a gallon over there.
14 MR. ELLMAN: And somebody said if I
15 bought her a pink one, but if I ever had to
16 borrow it, you know, it wouldn't look good.
17 They would say, "Look at fat Ronnie on a
18 pink motor scooter."
19 You know, I was listening to
20 Mr. Bolus, I was glad to see him, he is an
21 intelligent man. He has so many good things
22 to contribute to the city, his ideas. I
23 don't need mean to keep beating on
24 Mr. Doherty because he does a lot of things
25 I have agreed with, but he just seems like a
1 king. He is the closest thing this country
2 has ever had to a king if you ask me. His
3 aloofness and the way he just keeps away
4 from his constituents, in fact, he is like a
5 dictator. You know, we tell -- he just gets
6 a message not to do something from the
7 people and it's done anyway, just like the
8 South Side complex, the golf course, of
9 course, people are working two jobs they
10 don't need to play golf they can't afford it
11 anymore. Wherever you turn he has just done
12 what he has wanted with the money in the
13 city, and Mr. Bolus is right, it's
14 squandered, just millions and millions of
15 dollars have been just squandered away
16 needlessly, it's ashame. You know, the
17 streets are just deplorable everywhere you
18 go except Washington Avenue on the 1700
19 block and a couple of houses down there.
20 The city is not doing well.
21 I told you if I ran for mayor I
22 would go into the bars and drag these people
23 out to make them vote. Every place I go
24 people are just crying about how bad things
25 are and he has this state of the city
1 meeting with pink glasses, you know, he
2 doesn't see things. Like I said last week,
3 he is not a realist. He is a dreamer and
4 this town cannot be a utopia, it's just too
5 far gone to be a utopia that he wishes it to
6 be. This just isn't the Scranton it used to
7 be, you know, it will never be the same like
8 when I got here 30 years ago this was such a
9 nice town. I remember when he was mayor you
10 could walk into the office and he had an
11 open door and Jim Klee had an open door and
12 Mr. Murphy. Now, you know, you can't see
13 people. You can't even see them if you make
14 an appointment. Thank you, all.
15 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Ellman.
16 Marie Schumacher.
17 MS. SCHUMACHER: Good evening, Marie
18 Schumacher, resident and member of the
19 Taxpayers' Association. I would like to
20 start again this week -- well, first I would
21 like to say since we are sandwiched between
22 Armed Services Day and Memorial Day I would
23 like it thank all of our veteran's and
24 families of those who gave their all so that
25 we could be free and come here and speak at
1 this podium and even free to argue with us.
2 Again, the preamble of the Home Rule
3 Charter, "We, the people, of the City of
4 Scranton, in adopting this Home Rule Charter
5 recognize that government is competent only
6 when those who compose it work as trustees
7 of the people. As a servant of the people,
8 good government must be responsive to their
9 basic human needs."
10 I think I may start reading that
11 weekly maybe at some point it will sink in.
12 The last week I ran out of time and I wanted
13 to comment again, the chamber is talking
14 about taking land from which condemned
15 properties have been demolished and building
16 new homes for low and moderate income
17 residents. According to their plan as I
18 understand it the land would be leased to
19 the residents and taxes, of course, would be
20 paid, but wouldn't it be infinitely better
21 to invest in fixing up existing properties
22 before they reach the point where they have
23 to be demolished? Is demolishing the only
24 option? I can't help but wonder if the goal
25 of this whole program is to reduce the
1 housing to match the shrinking Scranton
2 population. There are currently over 600
3 homes on the multiple listings that are
4 available for sale and believe me, they are
5 not moving very fast.
6 Next, for Mr. Courtright, I still
7 it's been over six weeks and I still do not
8 have a response on why the Home Rule Charter
9 Section 312 does not mean what it says. If
10 it's so easy to understand I don't think I'm
11 -- I could submit my IQ to you, if you would
12 like, I think I'm capable of understanding.
13 I don't know why it's so difficult for
14 this to be explained to me.
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mr. Minora has to
16 answer that for you.
17 MS. SCHUMACHER: I know, but that's
18 been the answer for over six weeks now. On
19 the 15th of April Mrs. Evans asked if, I
20 think it was Mrs. Garvey, to obtain the
21 policy on advising homeowners when citations
22 are made on what their rights are and what
23 recourse is available to them. I would like
24 to know if that's been received and if I
25 could get a copy.
1 MS. EVANS: I'd certainly be happy to
2 provide you with a copy, but I don't believe
3 we received any answer.
4 MS. SCHUMACHER: Thank you. What
5 about the list of pavings?
6 MS. GATELLI: We have not.
7 MS. EVANS: We have not received a
8 paving list.
9 MS. SCHUMACHER: Status of the 2007
10 audit? I guess that's Mrs. Gatelli since
11 you are the finance chair, does that come
12 under your auspices? Was that not due on
13 the middle --
14 MS. GATELLI: I'm only the finance
15 chair by default, not by choice.
16 MS. SCHUMACHER: Well, but you are,
17 but you are in it and I think it was due the
18 middle of April.
19 MS. GATELLI: No, we haven't received
21 MS. SCHUMACHER: When do you expect
22 to receive it?
23 MS. GATELLI: I don't know. We can
24 send a letter and ask.
25 MS. SCHUMACHER: Thank you.
1 MS. GATELLI: Can you do that for me,
3 MS. EVANS: Mrs. Schumacher, normally
4 I believe, according to the Home Rule
5 Charter it would be due by May 31, but in
6 the nearly five years in which I have sat on
7 city council it has never arrived at that
8 time. At the earliest, the very earliest
9 one year it arrived I believe in August and
10 then most often in September.
11 MS. SCHUMACHER: I hope, as I recall
12 the last time the excuse was there was no
13 contract and the contract was late, but
14 since you plead a multiple year contract the
15 last time not to assume so they could manage
16 to be on time this year and I hope that's
17 the case.
18 MS. EVANS: And it was begun on time.
19 MS. SCHUMACHER: Now I would like to
20 move to ECTV because I am really upset about
21 Electronic City TV and their integrity. The
22 article in the paper this morning really got
23 me steamed and I don't know if it's
24 Mr. Brown's inaccuracy or if things are
25 changing, but we have a hard copy of ECTV's
1 proposal and so many things don't add up.
2 First of all, I spoke with the
3 solicitor today, there is no contract
4 between the city and Electric City TV. This
5 article says that ECTV has asked for 25
6 cents per subscriber or about $66,000
7 annually. Their proposal says they want
8 25 percent of the franchise fee each year.
9 Big difference. It says, "We never asked
10 for $300,000 and the city hasn't promised us
11 anything," Mr. Balken said. Well, I guess
12 that's technically true because what they
13 asked for was $313,000 some odd dollars, I
14 have it here, but I won't bother, but I
15 guess I'll be back with the rest next week.
16 Thank you.
17 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs.
18 Schumacher. Mr. Dobson.
19 MR. DOBSON: Dave Dobson, resident of
20 Scranton, Taxpayers' Association associate.
21 Once again I'm confused, in this packet
22 there is a proposal submitted to the city
23 that stands in sharp contrast to the
24 Scranton Times statements made in the
25 Scranton Times on page A-4. Within the
1 original proposal of ECTV, phase one,
2 $313,276, phase two, $222,559.81, phase 3,
3 $211,058.90, that's phase 3, 25 percent of
4 annual cable fees and on page six states
5 that start up is to resume three months
6 after a contract is signed.
7 Now, either ECTV has changed the
8 proposal or only the convenient facts are
9 being mentioned in this article.
10 Furthermore, a $90,000 grant from OECD
11 is not chicken feed and it disturbs my sense
12 of reasoning that nothing has been asked for
13 and please, please consider this when
14 reporting such issues in the future. Of
15 course, it was reported so I won't bother to
16 pick on Mr. Brown he actually told us what
17 was being asked and my fear is strictly that
18 this is an expensive approach to reporting
19 thought and convenient news. I find in many
20 cases news agencies are guilty of this.
21 There is a simple example, it involves our
22 city somewhat because it's the same practice
23 in our state. In Florida, Fox News team
24 reported on Bovine growth hormone being used
25 to boost milk productions to make cheaper
1 dairy products and the suspicion off
2 scientists that it can cause development
3 problems in younger children and cancer.
4 Now, Monsanto did a really extensive
5 test on 300 rats for 30 days or 90 days or
6 something like that to test the safety of
7 this product and when they found that this
8 was being aired on Fox News they threatened
9 to sue. Well, the reporters were asked to,
10 I think it was 67 revisions, and when they
11 finally decided no more they were fired.
12 Supreme Court decision: News agencies are
13 not responsible to report the truth, and the
14 managers, the bottom line is the reporters
15 were told by managers of Fox News the news
16 is what we say it is. Good one.
17 I have not always agreed with all of
18 the radical opinions at this podium. I feel
19 that in many instances local government is
20 more accessible and so, therefore, you
21 people get stuck tolerating more, have more
22 contact with the public and sometimes I
23 disagree with less radical opinions and in
24 many occasions Channel 61 actually has been
25 a help to you whether you realize it or not
1 because if people see that someone is
2 excessively radical they usually form an
3 opinion on it and if it's censored they are
4 not going to do that. However, news in
5 editorial reporting must be accurate and
6 considerate of all parties or it may be
7 become a waste of time to read or view it.
8 I feel that our entire government needs an
9 epiphany, the constitutional rights need
10 reassertion, Supreme Court judges should be
11 retired after a ten-year term, voting
12 patterns should be accessible to all voters
13 of all public officials, whistle blowers
14 need protection and taxes and programs
15 should address the needy and sustainable
16 growth and education and not just enter the
17 hands of our wealthy.
18 One little second just consider if
19 the CIA reports on weapons of mass
20 destruction, no significant weapons of mass
21 destruction were prevalent in let's say like
22 2002. A few of our troops might be better
23 off and we would be a trillion dollars
24 richer, so please consider this when you are
25 authorizing money for ECTV. Thank you.
1 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Dobson.
2 Any other speakers.
3 MR. ANCHERANI: Good evening. Nelson
4 Ancherani, First Amendment rights. Just to
5 respond to Mrs. Gatelli's concerning over
6 the beat, COM beat police patrol, police
7 officers or the lack of those officers, I'm
8 sure Mrs. Gatelli knows that it's been seven
9 years now since the police have gotten a
10 raise in pay. In those seven years most
11 departments have passed the city police
12 department in wages. Scranton police
13 officers are now one of the lowest paid
14 police departments in the area. City police
15 officers are leaving Scranton for better
16 paying jobs and also for better working
18 I have been with the police
19 department for 33 years and I can only
20 remember two police officers leaving
21 voluntarily for better jobs and that was
22 before this administration took over, so
23 that's a good 25 years and there is more
24 Scranton police officers getting ready to
25 leave, and why would new applicants come to
1 Scranton to test when they can go to other
2 departments for better treatment?
3 Mrs. Gatelli, it's going to get worse. I
4 said so before we voted in 2002 against the
5 -- and I voted for the Recovery Plan, I'm
6 sorry, against the Recovery Plan.
7 MS. GATELLI: So did I.
8 MR. ANCHERANI: And it's now coming
9 back to haunt us. We went from
10 approximately 170 police officers to
11 approximately 145, and I'm going to clarify
12 that again, I voted against the Recovery
14 Now, back to the Jerry Springer show
15 where the MC is the giggler. Folks, Channel
16 61 is going to be replaced by ECTV and if
17 they aren't ready in time June 1 there will
18 be no broadcasting of the council meeting
19 and even if they are there will only be one
20 rebroadcast. This will be an effective way
21 to shut the council speakers up, especially
22 in light of next year's city elections.
23 Folks, if you are dissatisfied that council
24 broadcasts will be curtailed please feel
25 free to attend council meetings. I also
1 believe like Mrs. Franus does that you
2 three, well, Mrs. Fanucci isn't here, don't
3 want the people to know what is going on.
4 Now, why is that? But everyone can make up
5 their own minds and don't forget the city
6 elections are next year and record budgets
7 are coming in November and I echo
8 Mrs. Franus' question, Mr. McGoff, what are
9 you going to do if the cameras go dark?
10 Now, we going back to the issues,
11 $27,123 spent on Nay Aug water bills due to
12 the leak. Spent 1.7 million more on DPW
13 complex when three million was allocated,
14 that totaled $4.7 million. The police
15 department parking lot paving is not
16 finished. Raw sewage flowing from the zoo
17 onto the Davis trail. Glass used as cinders
18 on city streets during snow storms. Hand
19 scanners in city hall damaged, perps never
20 found. Consultants. The golf course was
21 sold against, when Connors was mayor they
22 were against the sale. Permitted the zoo to
23 open even though there was raw sewage
24 emptying and flowing over the Davis trail
25 where people walk and no one was told.
1 Demolished buildings in the city but no lien
2 placed on the properties. Over $600 million
3 in revenue and three billion surplus was
4 blown and that three million surplus was
5 from the Connors' administration.
6 $15 million in new raises and new hires.
7 Thirty clerical positions lost, 59 new hires
8 put on. Potholes. 5.5 million American
9 Anglican arbitration loss paid by the Sewer
10 Authority and that caused a 56 percent raise
11 in our sewer bills. 12.2 million found in
12 the tax office account. Index cards with
13 employees, that's the city employees, and
14 retired employees information. Social
15 security numbers were thrown in a dumpster
16 behind city hall blowing around the court.
17 The person who retrieved them was threatened
18 with arrest instead of trying to find out
19 the reason and who threw them out. There is
20 an undersized bathhouse at Nay Aug.
21 25 percent real estate tax levied on city
22 taxpayers while 12.2 million dollars is
23 hidden and that's in my opinion. Channel 61
24 being forced off the air. Seven years of
25 laborer strive. Numerous arbitration losses
1 by the city after the mayor vowed not to
2 have any arbitrations in light of the amount
3 of losses by the Connors' administration.
4 To be continued. Thank you.
5 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,
6 Mr. Ancherani. Chris?
7 MR. SLEDENZSKI: Robert. Well, Judy,
8 we did it again. I'm proud of the kids,
9 Jude, I'm proud of them all.
10 MS. GATELLI: I am, too, Chrissy.
11 MR. SLEDENZSKI: So I am. Billy, you
12 are the best. It is only you, remember
13 that, Billy.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you, Chris.
15 MR. MCGOFF: Is there anyone else?
16 If not, Fifth Order. Mrs. Evans.
17 MS. EVANS: Good evening. I have
18 three topics I wish to examine briefly.
19 First, ECTV's operation of Channel 61 and
20 62. ECTV's proposal included over $313,207
21 in salaries and operational costs and over
22 $155,152 for phase one alone. When I spoke
23 to the executive director at the open house
24 at 933 Prescott Avenue, the former church
25 owned by Paul Mansure, he stated that
1 Mr. Mansure would pay for all renovations to
2 the studio and offices of ECTV, but I do
3 notice in his proposal that he is requesting
4 $28,000 for the renovations of the studio to
5 include painting, electrical, walls, carpet,
6 soundproofing, security, alarm installation,
7 work station furniture, etcetera. So, of
8 course, that just doesn't seem to balance
10 It was also stated that equipment
11 moneys would be forthcoming from OECD and I
12 am very pleased to learn that private
13 sponsors will underwrite certain programs,
14 but our city through OECD appears to intend
15 to contribute $90,000 to ECTV. I fully
16 expect that this legislation will arrive
17 before council very soon as it requires more
18 than one reading and June 1 is only 11 days
20 Also, to my knowledge there is no,
21 as was stated before, there is no five-year
22 contract with ECTV, rather it is a letter of
23 agreement. If this information has also
24 changed, I suggest that the mayor update all
25 of city council. A $90,000 grant or gift
1 from the taxpayers seems like startup cash
2 to me particularly since no such monies were
3 ever granted to Scranton Today. I suppose
4 some may see OECD monies as Monopoly money,
5 but in truth it is taxpayer money that
6 should be allocated to projects which
7 directly benefit city residents, not only
8 wealthy developers and private individuals,
9 and so I would like to know from what
10 sources OECD can find $90,000 so quickly.
11 Apparently, money grows on trees in Scranton
12 since some are always too happy to select
13 the most expensive course of action.
14 Second, I had questions regarding the
15 500 block of Lackawanna Avenue legislation
16 at last week's meeting. I wish to know the
17 dollar amount invested by the developer,
18 particularly in light of the $28 million
19 committed through local state and federal
20 funds. I did not receive that answer
22 I also requested the dollar amount
23 of UDAG and CDBG funds awarded by the city
24 for this project and I did not receive that
1 In addition, I wish to know what
2 projects, if any, these allocations have
3 been transferred from or is this another
4 type of use it or lose it money or does the
5 money sit in an accounts for years awaiting
6 downtown projects for disbursement.
7 Third, discussion of KOZ and KOEZ
8 extensions have been proposed in the state
9 legislature. I would strongly suggest that
10 the legislature pass House Bill 2018 to fund
11 municipalities whose tax basis have been
12 eroded by tax exempt properties before they
13 consider new legislation which allows our
14 tax base to further shrink.
15 And I also have citizens' requests
16 for the week, 895 Providence Road, it's the
17 old Atlas Glass building, neighbors report
18 that the property is overgrown with brush
19 and high grass. Please ask an inspector to
20 contact the property owner to address these
21 problems. Each spring and summer these same
22 problems occur and it seems the owner only
23 responds to a city inspector.
24 812-814-816 Archbald Street, repair
25 curbs that were broken during the
1 installation of high pressure gas lines on
2 Archbald Street. One curb fortunately has
3 been repaired for which the homeowner is
4 quite pleased, however, the aforementioned
5 residents do not understand why their curbs
6 were not repaired at the same time. Please
7 address as soon as possible and that will go
8 to Mr. Hazzouri.
9 A letter to Mr. Brazil, 1956 Myrtle
10 Street, the homeowner spoke to Mr. Mathews
11 approximately one month ago regarding a city
12 created easement and piping that caused a
13 sink hole and constant water flow. As a
14 result, his driveway is ruined. Please ask
15 Mr. Mathews to provide a written report to
16 council on or before June 2, 2008, detailing
17 what measures will be taken to solve this
18 problem for the homeowner.
19 A letter to Chief Elliott. I
20 received complaints regarding loitering in
21 front of the Labor Ready in the 500 block of
22 Wyoming Avenue. Their clientele intimidates
23 pedestrians as well as clients of the
24 Community Intervention Center. I have
25 personally witnessed groups of 10 to 15
1 individuals standing outside Labor Ready and
2 I have spoken to citizens who are afraid to
3 travel in that block over the last few
4 weeks. I am aware that the director of CIC
5 has discussed this problem with Mr. Hayes
6 and his contacted the police department for
7 assistance on several occasions. Please
8 address this very visible, continuous
9 situation as soon as possible.
10 Also, a vacant property at 1347
11 Wyoming Avenue, it's an empty lot which is
12 overgrown and overridden with rodents,
13 snakes, etcetera. Residents report it's a
14 hazard and an eyesore. 1723 Brick Avenue,
15 this house was condemned a few months ago,
16 meanwhile, the property is overgrown with
17 grass, brush, etcetera. The owner is listed
18 as residing in the homes strangely, but
19 obviously does not because of condemnation.
20 Track down the owner to clean up the
22 1751 Perry Avenue in front of this
23 home a storm drain has collapsed, in fact,
24 the lid has collapsed into the hole.
25 Residents of the area made repeated calls to
1 the DPW which remain unanswered. Wooden
2 horses were placed around the hole, but the
3 real problem needs to be solved immediately.
4 A letter to Mr. Renda: Into what
5 accounts has the revenue from insurance
6 carriers been listed in the operating
7 budgets for 2007 and 2008? Where exactly
8 has the cash been deposited? It doesn't
9 appear to be included in the 2008 operating
10 budget yet insurance carriers are liable for
11 worker's compensation after a certain number
12 of years. Please provide a written response
13 only on or before June 2, 2008.
14 Residents of Dickson Avenue report
15 that noise levels from Daron Northeast
16 continue to keep them awake each night at
17 hourly intervals. Although they have called
18 the police, some officers have said that a
19 business is allowed to make noise and that
20 KOZ businesses are not held to city
21 ordinances. Now, I think we all know that
22 that is certainly not the case. The city
23 does, indeed, have a noise ordinance and KOZ
24 businesses don't pay their taxes, but they
25 are expected to abide by the law. Please
1 address the noise problems at Daron
2 Northeast on behalf of the neighbors who
3 have suffered for years at the hands of this
4 concrete business.
5 And an update on the rear of 730
6 North Irving Avenue for the residents very
7 concerned about that situation, a
8 condemnation notice will once again be
9 posted on this delipidated garage and a
10 certified letter will be sent tomorrow to
11 the owner indicating that he has 30 days in
12 which to repair or raise the garage or legal
13 action will be pursued by the city.
14 And please provide the 2008 paving
15 list to city council, that's the second
16 request. I'd like to wish everyone a very
17 save and happy Memorial Day. Please try to
18 attend Memorial Day ceremonies at 11 a.m. at
19 either Keyser Valley Community Center or Nay
20 Aug Park on the law of the Everhart Museum,
21 and that's it.
22 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Evans.
23 Mrs. Gatelli.
24 MS. GATELLI: Yes. Les Spindler is
25 not here tonight but I do have a copy of the
1 ordinance from Town Preamble from the
2 planning commission on the dangerous dog
3 ordinance. I perused it briefly and there
4 is reference to the Allentown ordinance and
5 I know talking to a friend of mine, Beth
6 Thursby, who used to be a Scranton police
7 officer and had one of the police dogs at
8 the time, she now trains dogs and she had
9 informed me that that case went to Court and
10 it was overturned, the dog ordinance in
11 Allentown, so I'm going to get this proposed
12 ordinance to Beth and ask if she will help
13 us, she is very knowledgeable about dog
14 ordinances across the country and maybe she
15 and Tom can work together on it and see if
16 we can't come up with a little stronger
17 ordinance for the City of Scranton.
18 AS far as ECTV is concerned, I do
19 believe that ECTV was selected by the
20 committee, I believe that it is the mayor's
21 prerogative to chose who he wants, I think
22 that's what Mayor Connors did when he
23 appointed Scranton Today to that position in
24 a letter and I believe it was a five-year
25 letter. I noticed that it's always city
1 council that takes the brunt of everything
2 including Scranton Today not getting funded.
3 I don't understand why they don't go to the
4 county if they say there is $25,000 in the
5 county well then go get it if it's there.
6 The school district should contribute and
7 the city should contribute and the state
8 representatives should contribute and
9 Senator Mellow because they are on there,
10 too. I think they all should contribute and
11 not just always city council.
12 Scranton Today was originally funded
13 by Scranton Tomorrow, I'm not sure of the
14 exact amounts they got, but they got several
15 grants from Scranton Tomorrow to buy their
16 equipment and to start up. They did not
17 start up for nothing and what will become of
18 their equipment once they are not
19 functioning any longer. It seems as though
20 they never became self-sufficient and I'm
21 hoping that ECTV will. They are going to be
22 getting their programs under written by
23 organizations and I think that's what sold
24 me on their proposal.
25 The Scranton Today repeats a lot of
1 the shows. You know, when you watch it the
2 zoning meeting is on eight times, the
3 council meeting is on eight times,
4 everything is on for a lengthy amount of
5 time and in my opinion that's a lack of
6 programming. There should be other
7 programming in there. When I go out of town
8 and I watch the government channel there is
9 always something different on there, there
10 is school projects, there is university
11 projects, and the time is taken up with
12 other activities rather than repeating the
13 same meetings over and over.
14 Let's see what else I have here.
15 Last week after the meeting the camera was
16 on and it remained on for quite sometime
17 after the meeting and a member of Scranton
18 Today was heard saying that she wished she
19 could have pushed a council member down the
20 steps and people had seen this on television
21 and I don't think that was very professional
22 at all. I think that Scranton Today has
23 become very political. They are involved
24 in, you know, selecting certain people of
25 who they want to be elected and some of the
1 people come up and promote those people and
2 they degrade the others. It is not just a
3 place for your concerns. The TV camera has
4 become a place of politics and if you talk
5 to anybody in any other communities you will
6 find that it's their source of entertainment
7 and amusement. There is more viewers than
8 the "Office" I'm sure and maybe if they sold
9 tickets they could get enough money to run
10 the channel because it really is the
11 laughing stock of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
12 No matter where you go you hear people
13 talking about council meetings in the city
14 of Scranton. It certainly is not doing
15 anything to promote our community. We are
16 supposed to be working together to make
17 Scranton a better place to live, not to
18 degrade it all of the time and to degrade
19 the members of up here. The public knows
20 what we do. If they don't like it, you
21 won't get elected again. You don't have to
22 be degraded at the podium by people, and I
23 think that that's being promoted and it's
25 Last week there was a zoning
1 meeting, the zoning meeting wasn't taped.
2 That is an official, municipal authority and
3 the meeting was not broadcast, however, the
4 next evening the Taxpayers' meeting was
5 broadcast. Now, I have nothing against the
6 Taxpayers' Association I was a member, but a
7 municipal authority should definitely take
8 precedence over a Taxpayers' Association for
9 being taped for the public to see and I hope
10 it's not because they voted for ECTV because
11 that would really be disheartening, so I
12 have mixed feelings about the television at
13 all. Not to hide anything, I have nothing
14 to hide. I'll say right out what I voted
15 for and what I vote against, but I think
16 that the TV in this chambers has
17 disintegrated and it is not good for our
18 community, and that's all I have.
19 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Gatelli.
20 Mr. Courtright.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes. I went to the
22 parade this Saturday for the Veteran's as I
23 usually do every year, I don't know, it just
24 seems each year we have less and less people
25 attending, which I think is sad. I think
1 the city needs to somehow publicize it more
2 and maybe the paper could publicize it more.
3 One woman asked me when we she was walking
4 down the street what' going on here today?
5 I mean, she had no idea and she worked
6 downtown, so I think we need to do a better
7 job at publicizing it so we can get some
8 people down there for the veteran's. I
9 think it's a little embarrassing that we
10 don't have more people than what we have.
11 I met with Director Hayes today and
12 Dave Elliott and Director Hayes asked Stu
13 Renda to come down about the police officers
14 and the beat officers. They are in
15 agreement with putting the officers back on
16 the street, paying the overtime to the
17 regular officers in the 140 to work the
18 shifts. There is little bit of a glitch.
19 Right now it appears that OECD could pay the
20 straight time, but not the time and a half,
21 but we don't know that for sure, I'm hoping
22 Linda Aebli is going to expedite herself in
23 getting that answer for us as soon as
24 possible. If they can't it's not an
25 exorbitant amount of money for the city to
1 pick up the other part it, the half of the
2 time and a half, approximately $17,000. I
3 said to Stu Renda you could find $17,000 no
4 problem, and he had answer that I'm not
5 going to say, but anyway, one thing I didn't
6 realize I said can't we take -- you know, we
7 transfer money constantly in this council
8 from one place to the other, and maybe I
9 should have known but I didn't know, that if
10 we are going to take money for salaries it
11 has to come out of other department from
12 salaries. We couldn't take, for instance,
13 money that was allocated for a DPW truck and
14 take that $17,000 off of them and put that
15 in the overtime of the police officers, so I
16 asked if we can expedite this, they are in
17 favor of the officers going back on the
18 street. It's not, as I said, an exorbitant
19 amount of money. We do know we can pay for
20 the straight time, but the time and a half
21 we don't know. We have to pay or we believe
22 we have to pay the time and a half, first of
23 all, I don't think you are going to get the
24 officers to come in and work for straight
25 time their six-hour shifts, but even if they
1 are willing to work it, I believe there was
2 an arbitration award that says that they
3 have to be paid time and a half if they are
4 willing to come in over their eight-hour
5 shift. There is an issue or if they are in
6 a vehicle also, so there is a couple of
7 issues there. Everybody seemed to be in
8 favor of the idea. I told them how strongly
9 council felt about it, I told them it was
10 one of the few times that all five of us
11 agreed on something and hopefully we will
12 have the answer, I hope to have an answer
13 from Linda Aebli before next week and get
14 these guys out there asap. We don't want
15 this to help them in the middle of the
16 summer or the end of the summer, we want it
17 to happen yesterday.
18 MS. GATELLI: We need them now.
19 They had a stabbing in South Side as you
20 have seen.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah.
22 MS. GATELLI: Last night or the
23 night before.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: You know, some
25 people argue do they make a difference as
1 far as crime goes --
2 MS. GATELLI: Yes, they do.
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: -- I believe they
4 do, but one thing I think they certainly do
5 is they make people feel more safe, just the
6 site of a police officer, and I think it's a
7 deterrent when you see a police offer you
8 are going to commit a crime I think you
9 think twice that you see them, but, anyway,
10 I'm hoping by next week at this time or even
11 before actually, we have an answer for Linda
12 Aebli, and if not I think we need to go to
13 the mayor and ask him to come up with that
14 17 grand for us, I don't think it's an
15 exorbitant amount of money.
16 MS. EVANS: No. Mr. Courtright, I
17 was just thinking, the money saved from the
18 energy conservation what was renovated in
19 city hall I believe that was quite a large
20 sum of money and I know that some of that
21 has been used by the mayor for different
22 ventures possibly even partial payment for
23 those video cameras that are situated
24 throughout the city, but as far as I know at
25 least as of December 2007 there were funds
1 remaining --
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes, there was.
3 MS. EVANS: -- in that account and
4 could that not be used?
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: Kay, maybe we can
6 ask Mr. Renda that tomorrow morning if the
7 money in that account could be used. As I
8 said, $17,000 pennies compared to what we go
10 MS. GATELLI: Let's just take it out
11 of the contingency if we can't take it out
12 of there. Like I say we should have it all
13 ready to rock and roll.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah, I agree, so -
15 MS. GATELLI: Transfer the money.
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: If we could ask
17 Mr. Renda.
18 MS. GATELLI: I'll tell you, it made
19 a difference in South Side.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: Absolutely.
21 MS. GATELLI: You know, the beat cops
22 were in the neighborhoods, they talked to
23 the neighbors, they know the neighbors by
24 their first names. They walk, they ride
25 their bike, it is definitely a deterrent.
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: And all three,
2 Mr. Renda, Director Hayes and they are all
3 in agreement, there was no one in
4 disagreement, so if we can ask him that
5 first thing tomorrow morning about that
6 moneys, and I said at the very least if we
7 can't find it anywhere else I think we ask
8 the mayor to find it for us. He is good at
9 that. All right.
10 MS. GATELLI: Thanks for doing that.
11 MS. EVANS: As we said, council can
12 unanimously amend the budget, open the
13 budget to remove $17,000.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: And I'm thinking
15 this is such a good thing we are not going
16 to have to do that at this time at that
17 time. I'm going to be optimist.
18 MS. GATELLI: They will transfer it.
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: And then Mr. Bolus
20 spoke about, you know, I've got to be honest
21 with you, Bob, I don't recall when I told
22 you I'd make that motion, but if you say I
23 said it I won't say that you are wrong, I
24 think the reason that I haven't made it
25 before is because I was under the impression
1 that you wanted me to make the motion for
2 $3 million and I don't know how we would
3 come up with the other million and a half,
4 so the million and a half that is there I
5 have no problem making the motion, so I will
6 make a motion that the million and a half
7 dollars that remains be put in a trust for
8 the parks.
9 MS. GATELLI: Second.
10 MR. MCGOFF: On the question?
11 MS. EVANS: I just wanted to add
12 about the other $1.5 million that Mr. Bolus
13 referenced this evening, I believe that
14 those monies were used to lower the realty
15 transfer tax increase, so obviously, you
16 know, those monies are gone and I just
17 wanted to add to that, however, that like I
18 had not voted for borrowing at that time, I
19 had not voted for the budget that obviously
20 leads us to the conclusion that I didn't
21 vote either to take the $1.5 million and
22 decrease realty transfer taxes with it.
23 MR. MCGOFF: My only question on this
24 is do we know where that or what has
25 happened to that $1.5 million that was left?
1 Is it --
2 MS. EVANS: Purportedly it's in a
3 bank in the First National Community Bank in
4 CD's, and I believe they roll over, at least
5 some of them did, in July each year.
6 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else on the
7 question? All those in favor signify by
8 saying aye.
9 MS. EVANS: Aye.
10 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
12 MR. MCGOFF: Opposed? No. The ayes
13 have it and so moved.
14 MS. EVANS: The other thing I wanted
15 to add before, Mr. Courtright, you were
16 here, but before Mrs. Gatelli's and
17 Mr. McGoff's service on council, I had made
18 such a motion very likely our first year on
19 council to place all $3 million into a trust
20 as the mayor had promised to do originally
21 following the sale of the golf course, but I
22 was never successful with that. The mayor
23 did not wish for those monies to be placed
24 in trust and there was not a four member
25 extraordinary vote of council at the time to
1 make that a reality.
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: And one last thing,
3 ECTV, I have always been in favor of
4 Scranton Today, I think they did a good job.
5 I take a look at this budget I have here and
6 I see $121,200 for salaries, I don't think
7 Scranton Today ever came anywhere near that.
8 Do I think that, you know, we could have had
9 some additional programming? Absolutely.
10 I'm in favor of them replaying the meetings
11 a certain amount of times because I actually
12 watch, believe it or not, I watch the
13 meeting because when you sit up here you
14 miss some things, believe me, and so I
15 always try to watch it one time in case I
16 missed something, but I don't know how much
17 times, but I would think at least two times
18 for the people who work different shifts or
19 whatever the case may be would be able to
20 see it, but that's an awful lot of money
21 $121,200 in salary and that bothers me a
22 little bit and programming, could Scranton
23 Today have done some more programming, yes,
24 they didn't have any money to do it with.
25 I'm sure they would have been happy to put
1 additional programming if we were willing to
2 give them the money and we weren't or some
3 us weren't anyway, so I think in all
4 fairness to them that's probably why they
5 didn't have additional programming.
6 I don't know that there is anything
7 we can do about it right now, ECTV is the
8 chosen one and they are going to run the
9 station and I don't know if we can change
10 that, but I am a little concerned about them
11 going black. I don't know, can we get an
12 update possibly, Kay, I hate to put all of
13 this stuff on you, can we get an update from
14 ECTV and are they still saying they are
15 going to take over the operational, when was
16 it supposed to be?
17 MS. EVANS: In June.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: June 1?
19 MS. EVANS: Well, I don't know if
20 it's June 1 I'm just referring to what I saw
21 in the paper, I think that June was stated.
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: And are they
23 coordinating with the people of Scranton
24 Today for a smooth transition, you know, are
25 we going to have a week or two with no
1 programing or are they going to run parallel
2 both stations in case there is start up
3 problems. I hate to refer to this like the
4 tax office, but when they went from computer
5 to paper, you know, you know, I don't think
6 they were on and we see what happens so
7 maybe we can or they, not we, could both be
8 operational for an overlapped period of time
9 so we don't have any blackouts, and that's
10 all I have. Thank you.
11 MS. EVANS: If I could just though,
12 Mr. Courtright, I'm sorry, I just wanted to
13 add something about that, I think
14 particularly of late we have seen so many
15 replays of government meetings because of
16 the lack of funding, because they are
17 working with a skeleton force of volunteers,
18 their employees went over to ECTV where they
19 are going to be well financially remunerated
20 for what they are doing and in terms of
21 government meetings I would also say I don't
22 think one live broadcast and one rebroadcast
23 12 hours later is sufficient. Most
24 government meetings like city council, the
25 zoning board, the planning commission, the
1 school district meetings occur at 6:30 or
2 6:00 at night which means you will be
3 looking at a rebroadcast at 6 or 6:30 a.m. I
4 really don't think that's reaching out to
5 the public.
6 I also believe the primary mission
7 of these types of peg stations because we
8 after all do have a Channel 44 WVIA which
9 does an excellent job of presenting quite a
10 broad variety of programming 24 hours a day.
11 I believe the primary responsibility of the
12 peg station should be to educate the public
13 via government meetings, uncensored
14 government meetings, and we can't find that
15 only on WVIA, but those who have who cable
16 or satellite dishes, and I think most of us
17 do, will find that we can turn to numerous
18 stations for cooking shows and foreign
19 language shows and lessons, for cultural and
20 travel shows and I, too, have watched these
21 types of stations when I have vacationed
22 over the last several years and
23 coincidentally, every time I turn it on
24 happen to be watching the same city council
25 meetings over and over and over and again.
1 I have that same even other government
2 meetings on those stations in Maryland and
3 elsewhere, but I'm not going to compare us
4 to anyone else because I don't think right
5 now with the straights we are in we are so
6 concerned with what's happening in maybe
7 Pittsburgh or Albuquerque as much as we are
8 with what is happening right here in the
9 City of Scranton and the County of
10 Lackawanna, particularly, in light of all of
11 the highly unusual events that have come to
12 light that deserve answers. So, now more
13 than ever is the time to keep the station
14 operational not to shut it down and not to
15 say, we would rather learn how to make an
16 omelet than we would like to know where is
17 our 12.2 million dollars for the Single Tax
18 Office. That's it.
19 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. A couple of
20 things that were mentioned, and one many
21 wasn't -- very often people come in with
22 statistics dealing with the status of things
23 in Northeastern Pennsylvania and in the
24 Scranton area. I would like to refer anyone
25 who is interested to I think it's the recent
1 issue of Money magazine where Scranton was
2 listed as the seventh best real estate
3 market in the United States. There were a
4 number of factors that were -- that
5 contributed to that criteria that were used,
6 I don't have them available with me, but for
7 those people who are interested it might be
8 worthwhile to go to Money magazine and take
9 a look and see what's being used to evaluate
10 and how Scranton does arrive in being the
11 seventh best.
12 Also, again, on Channel 61, I do
13 have to say that it's one area where I have
14 disagreed with Mrs. Gatelli, I do believe
15 that Channel 61 serves a purpose and a very
16 useful purpose and I did vote at one time to
17 return cameras to council chambers because
18 of that, however, recent occurrences have
19 moved the operation of or have at least said
20 that the operation of Channel 61 will move
21 from Scranton Today to ECTV, and at this
22 point in time I believe that what we are
23 dealing with is an illusion or a delusion
24 that somehow Scranton Today will continue to
25 operate that channel. I would say that if I
1 were going to vote to give money to anyone
2 it would be to ECTV so that they could take
3 over the operation at this time and move
4 forward. They are the ones who will be the
5 operators of or the providers for the public
6 access channel. I have no desire to see
7 that go away.
8 As I said, I believe that public
9 access TV and the broadcasts of government
10 meetings are an important part of what we do
11 as a community. It is some people's only
12 access to their government and they deserve
13 to have the opportunity to see that. What I
14 do disagree with is, you know, the manner in
15 which it will happen and I would -- I am in
16 favor of pushing ECTV to start the
17 transition period and to be here to continue
18 the telecast of council meetings, of zoning
19 meetings, of whatever other meetings take
20 place. I think that is an important thing
21 that they do that is done for our community
22 and it should continue.
23 And the last thing that I would like
24 to comment on is the project in the 500 Of
25 Lackawanna Avenue, the legislation that's
1 before us is legislation for a grant
2 through, and I went back to, through the
3 Department of Conservation and Natural
4 Resources. It is not asking to move funding
5 from anywhere else in OECD or any other
6 sources of revenue or sources of funds. It
7 is for a specific grant from a specific
8 source. It is only authorizing the city and
9 the developer to apply for a grant. As far
10 as I'm concerned, it's a no lose situation.
11 If a million dollars or any amount could be
12 obtained through some source, I don't see
13 what negative that can have for the
14 development of Lackawanna Avenue. That
15 money is designated for certain purposes,
16 the restoration or the improvement of that
17 park area through the park service is an
18 eligible project and I think than it is in
19 our best interest to apply for the grant. I
20 don't see how there can be any objection to
21 asking someone to give the city a million
22 dollars. I don't know how that in any way
23 translates as negative. And I was also told
24 that if granted, it's not necessarily a
25 million dollars the Department of
1 Conservation and Natural Resources could,
2 you know, change that amount, it's up to,
3 you know, they are applying for a grant of
4 up to $1 million the department could change
5 that amount and provide any amount that they
6 saw fit less than that and that that money
7 would then go not to the developer, but to
8 OECD and that all of the funding that -- or
9 that money would then be given out to
10 through OECD and not through the developer
11 and not through whatever that development
12 company, I think it's 500 Lackawanna Avenue
13 Development or whatever, so I see it as a
14 very positive thing for us to do without any
15 real negatives.
16 And again, as Mrs. Evan said, an
17 enjoyable memorial day for all and, again,
18 take some time to Honor those who have given
19 their lives for the betterment of all of us,
20 and that is all I have. Thank you.
21 MS. GARVEY: FIFTH ORDER. 5-B. FOR
22 INTRODUCTION - A RESOLUTION - APPROVING
23 REVISION OF THE EXISTING TRAFFIC SIGNAL AT
24 THE INTERSECTION OF MAIN AVENUE AND
25 LACKAWANNA AVENUE DUE TO THE ADDITION OF THE
1 NEW DRIVEWAY APPROACH TO MAIN AVENUE IN
2 CONJUNCTION WITH THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT OF
3 JAY'S COMMONS.
4 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll
5 entertain a motion that Item 5-B be
6 introduced into it's proper committee.
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
8 MS. GATELLI: Second.
9 MR. MCGOFF: On the question?
10 MS. EVANS: I just wanted to inquire
11 why you are suggesting that?
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Some of the
13 questions that I have, really one or two
14 questions that I had asked the answers
15 haven't been answered and I'm also waiting
16 to see the answer to some of the questions
17 that you have asked.
18 MS. EVANS: Yes. I, too, I can't say
19 if this goes ahead tonight, I cannot approve
20 of a project, although, it appears to be a
21 very worthy project, a win-win project, but
22 it certainly does raise red flags when a
23 letter is sent out on May 14, it's now May
24 20, and I have not received responses to
25 very important questions and another concern
1 I have involves both Coney Island and Buona
2 Pizza. I know that this grant involves that
3 park area in the back, but, you know, I
4 think this is going to be an attraction that
5 will benefit the entire block and to date I
6 still don't know where those two businesses
7 stand in terms of eminent domain, in terms
8 of the streetscape project, who is included,
9 who has been discluded, but more than that
10 or probably I should better say equally as
11 important, I would like my questions
12 answered before you ask me to vote on
13 something, and it was noted earlier by one
14 of the speakers I think Mr. Sbaraglia
15 perhaps that he saw an advertisement
16 connected to this project and, indeed, he is
17 right because although I couldn't receive
18 the responses to my questions, I did receive
19 a letter from OECD dated ironically May 20
20 letting us know that the amended mandatory
21 prebid conference for this project will be
22 held at the office of OECD on Friday,
23 June 6. So, it appears that certainly this
24 has already been decided before I have
25 voted. No wonder I don't need answers to my
1 questions. So, you know, I have great
2 concerns with that office and, as I said, I
3 am not moving ahead on any of these things
4 until I get information on which I can make
5 an educated judgment on behalf of the
7 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else? A motion
8 to table Item 7-A? All those in favor
9 signify by saying aye.
10 MS. EVANS: Aye.
11 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
14 ayes have it and so moved.
15 MS. GARVEY: SIXTH ORDER. NO
16 BUSINESS AT THIS TIME. Seventh Order has
17 been tabled.
18 MR. MCGOFF: Any motion to adjourn?
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
20 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you for your
2 C E R T I F I C A T E
4 I hereby certify that the proceedings and
5 evidence are contained fully and accurately in the
6 notes of testimony taken by me at the hearing of the
7 above-captioned matter and that the foregoing is a true
8 and correct transcript of the same to the best of my
CATHENE S. NARDOZZI
13 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER