1 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING
7 Tuesday, September 23, 2008
10 Council Chambers
11 Scranton City Hall
12 340 North Washington Avenue
13 Scranton, Pennsylvania
CATHENE S. NARDOZZI, RPR - 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
MS. SUE MAGNOTTA, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
15 MR. JOHN 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: Here.
10 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. Courtright.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: Here.
12 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. McGoff.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Here. Dispense with
14 the reading of the minutes.
15 MS. GARVEY: THIRD ORDER. 3-A.
16 AGENDA FOR THE CITY PLANNING COMMISSION
17 MEETING HELD ON SEPTEMBER 17, 2008.
18 MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?
19 If not, received and filed.
20 MS. GARVEY: 3-B. AGENDA FOR THE
21 NON-UNIFORM MUNICIPAL PENSION BOARD MEETING
22 TO BE HELD ON SEPTEMBER 24, 2008.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?
24 If not, received and filed.
25 MS. GARVEY: 3-C. PETITION FOR A
1 STREET LIGHT IN THE 900 BLOCK OF GREENRIDGE
3 MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?
4 If not, received and filed.
5 MS. GARVEY: 3-D. CONTROLLER'S REPORT
6 FOR THE MONTH ENDING AUGUST 31, 2008.
7 MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?
8 If not, received and filed.
9 MS. GARVEY: 3-E. MINUTES OF THE
10 COMPOSITE PENSION BOARD MEETING HELD ON
11 AUGUST 27, 2008.
12 MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?
13 If not, received and filed.
14 MS. GARVEY: 3-F. MINUTES OF THE
15 NON-UNIFORM MUNICIPAL PENSION BOARD MEETING
16 HELD ON AUGUST 27, 2008.
17 MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?
18 If not, received and filed.
19 MS. GARVEY: That's it for Third
21 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. Any
22 announcements from council? Mrs. Evans?
23 MS. EVANS: I also ask for your
24 prayers this week or all of those who died
25 particularly, Michael F. Cummings, Sr., a
1 constant at St. Ann's Novena, Mary Guston
2 Duprey who opened her home to me when I
3 first sought political office, and George
4 Guston, a retired Scranton firefighter.
5 Please remember the family and friends they
6 leave behind as well.
7 Also, the Upper Hill Ecumenical
8 Committee comprised of Myrtle Street
9 Methodist Church, Immaculate Conception
10 Church, and St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran
11 Church, will be conducting events during the
12 remainder of 2008 to benefit the St. Francis
13 of Assisi kitchen. A monthly friendly
14 family fun night will be held at the Dunmore
15 Friendly's restaurant during the hours of 5
16 to 8 p.m., tomorrow, September 24. You can
17 make a difference in the lives of the poor.
18 Please try to dine out once each month and
19 encourage others to do so as well. Thank
21 MS. GATELLI: On Saturday evening,
22 September 27, there will be a benefit for
23 Nancy McCaan Ruether, a victim of multiple
24 sclerosis. It will be held at the 606 Club
25 in South Scranton from 2 to 7. The tickets
1 are $12 at the door and you may call
2 342-6909 or 677-8672 for any further
4 On October 1st at 6:00 there will an
5 evening of jazz at the Scranton Cultural
6 Center. You can get tickets by calling the
7 box office 693-4100. Also, on October 3, at
8 the Cultural Center is the play "Altar Boys"
9 and the number, again, is 69-4100. This was
10 an off-Broadway play that was very
11 successful and we are fortunate to have
12 these plays come to our cultural center.
13 Also, on October 4, they are starting
14 the children's series again at the cultural
15 center on the fourth floor and the first one
16 is at 11:00 on Saturday, October 4, and the
17 tickets are $11, and it's Charlotte's Web.
18 Thank all I have. Thank you.
19 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else? Fourth
20 Order. Citizens' participation. Andy
22 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,
23 citizen of Scranton. Fellow Scrantonians,
24 I'm of course to speak on 6-B, I got the
25 amortization sheets for this loan and this
1 is printed officially, whether it's right or
2 wrong I have no way of knowing, but I'm
3 going to read off the figures off the
4 amortization chart. Okay, they plan to
5 borrow $6,100,000. '09 the interest will be
6 $1,118, 333.33. Ten, 1,220,000. Eleven,
7 1.219,000. Twelve, 1,218,000. Thirteen,
8 1,217,000. Fourteen, 1,216,000. Fifteen,
9 1,215,000. Sixteen, 1,214,000. Seventeen,
10 1,213,000. Eighteen, 1,212,000. Nineteen,
11 1,210,000. Twenty, 1,208,00. Twenty-one,
12 1,206,000. Twenty-two, 1,203,000.
13 Twenty-three, 1,200,000. Twenty-four,
14 1,196,00. Twenty-five, 988,000.
15 Twenty-six, 481,000 for a grand total in
16 interest on their $6,100,000 to be
17 $20,830,000.55, and that's stated here.
18 Now, we also got a letter of credit
19 that went along with this piece of fiasco.
20 Common sense would tell you the city should
21 borrow the money, buy back the lease and be
22 done with it instead of playing a shell
23 game, taking money from one place and
24 putting it in another back. There was also
25 some in your legislation also a sinking fund
1 that was tied in with this. It doesn't make
2 sense and, granted, moneywise it does not
3 make sense. It'd make more sense for the
4 city to take out a loan, buy back whatever
5 we have to do with the Sewer Authority and
6 forget about all of these transfers here,
7 there and everywhere because the money is
8 being lost. I read one of our letters of
9 credit and that runs up to 8 1/2 percent in
10 some of lines that letter of credit, because
11 they gave a letter of credit for one time
12 when they built the parking garage and they
13 had a letter of credit and I read it, so
14 what's here may not be true, which I know it
15 isn't, but I just read it because it's
17 But the letter of credit is what you
18 want to read. You want them to give you a
19 cop eve that letter of credit before you do
20 anything up there because that's where the
21 quirks is because they get that letter of
22 credit that's, i don't know what it would
23 mean because I don't know, it might be up to
24 10,000 like the last time, I don't know. It
25 might be 8,000, it might be 61, there is no
1 way for me to know it. All I know is there
2 is a letter of credit attached. That's all
3 I got to say on that.
4 I mean, this is a joke what they
5 gave you. I wish they were more realistic
6 on the figures. You know darn well you are
7 not going to borrow $6,100,000 and have to
8 pay $20,839,000 in interest plus the
9 principle, that's ridiculous. Why they want
10 it, they explained it one time before. The
11 reason why they did it is they don't want to
12 come back to you, you are a nuisance. You
13 pass this off, they can take 10 percent if
14 they want, they can go 3 percent if they
15 want, there is no way of knowing what they
16 are going to get, especially with our credit
17 rating, and I don't think the SRA has a
18 better one that that, and the question is we
19 have to pay it anyway. I assume we are
20 going to have to pay the SRA for rental on
21 this garage, that would make sense. So, I
22 don't know if the rental payments is
23 anything in line with these amortization
24 numbers or not. All I know is it makes more
25 sense to borrow the money, pay off it and be
1 done with it.
2 I also read into the financial
3 statement from the controller's office,
4 okay? The controller had come out and
5 actually their audit complete. I don't know
6 where our audit is, so I'm not even going to
7 worry about it, but I do know this, this is
8 the '06, they had -- in a line number
9 38,000, other revenues 18,187,308.00 not
10 classified, so he that's a good thing for
11 you to look at exactly where that money was
12 and where it came from. Thank you.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,
14 Mr. Sbaraglia. Bob Bolus.
15 MR. BOLUS: Good evening, Council,
16 Bob Bolus, Scranton. Just on 6-B, I'm not
17 going to add anything more than Andy did, I
18 think you have to pay serious attention to
19 what's going on in this city and putting us
20 further in debt.
21 I have a couple of questions, and if
22 you can answer it I would appreciate it.
23 First of all, John McCain was in town, did
24 anyone here attend his town meeting from
25 council or were any members of council there
1 that attended it?
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: No.
3 MR. BOLUS: I didn't see the mayor
4 there, but let me tell you my opinion and my
5 feelings on this. This isn't political,
6 when everybody ran for an office, I ran for
7 offices in the past and so have other
8 people, when we ran for an office we ran
9 representing all of the people, not their
10 party affiliations or who they were voting
11 for or who they thought they should vote
12 for. We always ran as this council did, as
13 the mayor did, as representatives of all of
14 the people. I think it's disgraceful that
15 none of our elected officials met Mr. McCain
16 in this city to greet him. We are in the
17 national limelight and we look like a bunch
18 of hillbillies, and that's wrong. Your
19 actions, that of the mayor and other elected
20 officials represents us and you make us look
22 When you ran you are supposed to
23 represent us, put your politics to the side,
24 I don't know care what party you belong to,
25 if you are Democrat or Republican,
1 Independent or you are not even there to
2 vote, you represent taxpayers, you represent
3 the senior citizens of this city that can't
4 go there. A cordial introduction and
5 greeting someone to our city is more
6 important than ignorance of not doing so,
7 and on that part there I think it's just
8 wrong and you all have to take a hard look
9 internally to yourselves. What you vote for
10 or who you vote for that's not important.
11 Chris Doherty is the mayor of this
12 city and he is a disgrace. He sat up the
13 street with Governor Rendell doing other
14 projects in the city yet somebody who has
15 the potential of becoming the president of
16 the United States is ignored. I think
17 that's shameful on this council and on the
19 You know, I don't like to criticize
20 people, I always like to see something done,
21 but I'm a mission to Iwo Jima to return a
22 Marine who fell on that flag being raised on
23 Mt. Suribachi that gave each and every one
24 us in this room, in this country, the
25 freedom we have to stand here and speak
1 today and you haven't honored that flag.
2 John McCain did his job. He gave us
3 our freedom. You owe him respect. You owe
4 Sara Palin. You owe Obama. You owe Joe
5 Biden, and Joe Biden is a very good friend
6 of mine. During the La Fiesta Joe Biden and
7 I embraced each other. It's not about party
8 with me, it's about the individuals. It's
9 been about the respect of the people that
10 put you where you sit. Put that mayor where
11 he sits and he is a disgrace because he
12 humiliated each and every one of us in this
14 I want to see what you do when the
15 next candidate shows up here. What respect
16 you are giving us, because your actions
17 represents who we are voting for, who we
18 were supporting, that's not right. You
19 can't do that to us. I saw it and I'm going
20 to get off that because I think I have said
21 enough about it and I hope you pay attention
22 to it because if not I will be back here.
23 I didn't appreciate Judy trying to
24 shut me up a couple of weeks ago. I fought
25 for freedom of speech at this podium and I
1 won't tolerate it. I listen to what you
2 people have to say. When you make a comment
3 in the newspaper, I have every right as a
4 citizen to come in here and tell you about
5 it and question you on it and if you can't
6 do it, you shouldn't sit in those seats.
7 I listened about Junior Council, I
8 supported it, Judy supported it, but a lot
9 of you failed miserably and I saw that in
10 the past to these kids. They came as
11 interns and not one of you took them under
12 your wings. Judy tried to help as much as
13 she could, but they didn't want to be
14 nurses. They wanted to learn about city
15 business. You should in conscience
16 reinstate that Junior Council and give kids
17 of the future a chance today by being mature
18 adults. You were educators, please do that.
19 Give these kids a chance, that's your job
20 and give the people of the City of Scranton
21 their just due by respecting them and not
22 playing party. Thank you.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Bolus.
24 Ozzie Quinn.
25 MR. QUINN: Thank you. Ozzie Quinn,
1 Taxpayers' Association. It's near budget
2 time and I guess you all realize that the
3 Scranton School District the teachers'
4 contract was awarded and they did pass a
5 resolution which they can increase the taxes
6 up to 6.4 percent and we know that the
7 county is $207,000,000 in long-term and
8 principal debt and the city, according to a
9 2006 independent audit is $108,000,000, so I
10 ask you to consider make sure that you try
11 to cut the fat out of this budget. We don't
12 need these people that are working within
13 this administration. There is too much
14 money involved here and there is too many
15 people suffering.
16 Now, I want to speak about 6-C on
17 Community Development Block Grant Program.
18 Under the CDBG the city is entitled
19 $3,375,429.00. The Emergency Shelter Grant,
20 which is separate, will receive
21 $151,287,000.00 and HOME will receive
22 $628,183.00 for a total of $4,154,899.00.
23 Now, we all know the economic
24 conditions that exist and we all know the
25 foreclosures and we all know the homeless,
1 how a lot of these people will be going into
2 the homeless. We also know that the
3 homeless, the mentally ill, those that are
4 not working, and so on and so on, it's
5 increasing. I'm not saying that the agency
6 has their say in that. The food pantries
7 are empty. Now, we have nine agencies and
8 you are receiving $151,287,000 to divide
9 among nine agencies. It comes out to about
10 $15,000. Now, that's ridiculous.
11 We had about a 700 billion bailout
12 and we will are looking at a municipality
13 getting $151,000.00 for homeless and I know
14 that it's going to increase. Now, I don't
15 want to talk about libraries, please, put
16 that on the back burner, let's talk about
17 what's going to happen this winter. We all
18 know it's going to be hard on the people
19 finding shelter, and I feel sorry for these
20 agencies, the fact none of them finding
21 shelter the fact is the food, I don't even
22 see St. Francis of Assisi kitchen on here
23 and I know every homeless person -- I bet
24 every homeless person eats their meal down
25 there and plus others, okay?
1 So, I'm asking you back two years
2 ago you give will mayor unequivocally over
3 half a million dollars of UDAG funds, Urban
4 Development Action Grant loan to be paid, he
5 asked that you keep that money for his only
6 little nest egg, his own little
7 discretionary funds and not you, Council,
8 some of the council before approved it,
9 $577,000.00. He can do whatever he wants
10 with that as proven.
11 Now, I'm asking you to please ask
12 him be a little compassionate this year and
13 break loose some of that money for this
14 Emergency Shelter Program so we can start
15 stocking our pantries and giving St. Francis
16 a little shot in the arm and hopefully we
17 can get help with the homeless problem
18 that's going to be resulting this winter.
19 We have some difficult times ahead of
20 us with the taxes, the debt and with the
21 economy how it is and hopefully that the
22 mayor will look at this and I hope that
23 council will look at this and give it a
24 priority when they look at the funding for
25 Community Development Block Grant funding
1 that somehow you can get some money into the
2 Emergency Shelter Grant program. Thank you.
3 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Quinn.
4 Jim Stucker.
5 MR. STUCKER: We need a light on
6 Mulberry there. I just noticed today, a
7 blinking light. We need a light there in
8 the corner, right on the corner of Mulberry.
9 The light is out coming across. There is
10 lines there, no lines that come across to
11 make it across the road on Mulberry and on
12 Adams, too. What we need are lines
13 everywhere I can think of. When need one on
14 Mulberry and on Adams and Quincy. We need
15 lines all over. We need lines, a lot of
17 MS. EVANS: Where is the light, Jim,
18 Mulberry and what?
19 MR. STUCKER: Adams. Quincy and
21 MS. EVANS: The light now that you
22 are talking that's out.
23 MR. STUCKER: Yeah, the light is
24 out, yes.
25 MS. EVANS: And Mulberry and Adams?
1 MR. STUCKER: Yeah, where they have
2 the light right across the street from the
3 -- where they have VA Hospital across the
4 street from that, right on Capouse, the
5 corner of Capouse and Mulberry.
6 MS. EVANS: Right, a streetlight, but
7 I was wondering if you would be able to on
8 your travels get the number --
9 MR. STUCKER: I have been riding on
10 that --
11 MS. EVANS: -- off that pole of the
13 MR. STUCKER: There is nothing on the
14 pole. Nothing. There is nothing on the
15 pole, it's right by the -- right there by
16 the -- they have it right by the soup
17 kitchen, on the same block the soup kitchen
18 is on, right on the corner of Mulberry. I
19 was over there today, there is no light
20 there. No light to turn yellow or red.
21 MS. EVANS: You are talking about a
22 traffic light -
23 MR. STUCKER: The traffic light.
24 MS. EVANS: I thought you meant the
1 MR. STUCKER: No, the traffic light.
2 There is no traffic light on the corner of
3 Mulberry across from the -- across the
4 street from the, what did you call it, for
5 Army guys?
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: The Veteran's
8 MR. STUCKER: Yeah. Yeah. Across
9 the street from there by the corner of
10 Mulberry, right there at the building, and
11 we have a lot of people parking again over
12 town right on Adams Avenue there, right by
13 the bank there, there is no way that buses
14 can park.
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay, Jim.
16 MR. STUCKER: And there not enough
17 cops out. We need cops over by McGinty's, I
18 heard a shooting over there again last week.
19 They have been shootings all over the place,
20 South Side, everywhere you go there is
21 somebody getting shot. About two weeks ago
22 somebody got shot inside of the building,
23 inside of the house, so we got to get
24 something done.
25 MR. MCGOFF: We are trying and I'm
1 sure that Scranton police are trying as
3 MR. STUCKER: We need more people.
4 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Jim. Yes, we
6 MR. STUCKER: We need more out there.
7 MR. MCGOFF: Yes, we do.
8 MR. STUCKER: And I talked to Andy,
9 Andy just ignored me. Andy, the guy across
10 the street from Cole Muffler, he has that
11 bar up there and he owns it, his name is
12 Andy, I usually ignore him and he went to
13 the power building and he just ignored me
14 and he wouldn't turn around and say, here's
15 the 20 bucks for me. He owes me money for
16 doing the grass in the back.
17 MR. MCGOFF: Oh, okay.
18 MR. STUCKER: So maybe you can send
19 him a letter.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: I told you last
21 week, Jim, you got to get the money before
22 you do the job because they are sticking you
23 all the time, right? Tell them you want to
24 be paid up-front, got it?
25 MR. STUCKER: Yeah.
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: This way they don't
2 stick you.
3 MR. STUCKER: He gets me the money,
4 I don't care, 20 bucks I wouldn't care.
5 MR. MCGOFF: Okay.
6 MR. STUCKER: All right? The
7 garbage has been picked up a lot, so --
8 MR. MCGOFF: Good. All right.
9 Thank you, Jim.
10 MR. STUCKER: And Mr. Courtright just
11 told me to ask you about the 75 from the
12 mayor? Yeah, he asked me if I would ask
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Jim, I think the 25
15 that we got you, I think that's it. I don't
16 think you are going to see the other 75.
17 MR. STUCKER: All right. All right.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right.
19 MR. STUCKER: I live in a good
20 building now, I don't live up Providence
21 Square no more, I live on Adams Avenue, it's
22 a better building.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Jim. We'll
24 look into it. Mike Dudek.
25 MR. DUDEK: Mike Dudek, 608 Depot
1 Street, Scranton, PA, I live down there in
2 the plot. Two things I want to bring up,
3 about three years ago I came to the same
4 podium to ask the city to take a look at the
5 situation at the intersection of Nay Aug
6 Avenue and Albright Street. Now, since I
7 came here that was part of a large project
8 that's being finished up now, but when I
9 came here I complained that there was at
10 that time a big blue garbage can that was
11 disappearing into the street and I thought
12 that the street itself looked unsafe. Well,
13 as it turns out, the people, the men doing
14 the actual work, told me that the hole
15 underneath the street at this time was big
16 enough to put a fire truck into and that I
17 was right, it was a sink hole, and the only
18 reason why we didn't hear anything about it
19 was because the men that were on the job
20 that tore up the street they repaired it,
21 they took care of it, but, they were able to
22 do is quickly because they didn't have to
23 excavate it. They didn't have any
24 excavation. The water took care of that.
25 Now, with that thought in mind, I'm
1 going to put you onto another situation that
2 in my eye I think is worse than that
3 situation I had seen three years ago. It is
4 on Olyphant Avenue, the very last property
5 on Olyphant Avenue leading out of the city
6 towards Throop is 3440 Olyphant Avenue. I
7 came here and asked city council to see
8 about putting a storm drain in. About
9 100 feet north of that property that storm
10 drain was installed, installed properly and
11 is still there.
12 My concern is about another 40 or
13 50 feet north of the storm drain the street
14 is beginning to cave in. There is a red
15 sawhorse, a DPW wooden sawhorse that's over
16 the hole, but if you are driving a car, I
17 defy you to try to find the sawhorse. You
18 are not going to see it. It is sinking into
19 the ground. I think you have a situation
20 there that's far worse than the situation
21 that existed underneath Albright and Nay
22 Aug. I think somebody out to go up there
23 with one of those mini-cams that's at the
24 end of a snake and stick it down there with
25 a light and see exactly what it is happening
1 to the street underneath that location. It
2 looks very bad. There aren't many streets
3 in the City of Scranton that are growing
4 grass, but this one is. Grass is actually
5 growing out of the sink hole through the
6 pavement obscuring this. If a bus ever hits
7 it or a vehicle ever hits it, we are going
8 to have some serious injuries and maybe even
9 fatalities. I'm describing a serious
10 situation to you and I would like you to
11 please send somebody up there to take a look
12 at it and then please see if you can repair
13 it. That's the first thing I wanted to
15 The second thing, I had a similar
16 take to the McCain visit that the previous
17 speaker had, but with one exception, I don't
18 think that as city council that you had an
19 obligation as a councilors to be there, but
20 I did wonder where the mayor was. Whenever
21 a presidential candidate comes into the city
22 the size of the City of Scranton the first
23 contact is normally made by secret service
24 with the local police and the local fire
25 department to make sure all safety issues
1 that the secret service want to address are
2 taken care of, that's normal procedure, but
3 when this contact is made then normally the
4 next person to be notified that a person is
5 coming to town of the stature of Senator
6 McCain or Senator Obama, the next person to
7 be notified is the mayor and when I saw that
8 the mayor himself wasn't there, you know,
9 I'm beginning to think that Mayor Doherty
10 might be the third most famous groundhog in
11 the State of Pennsylvania. Where is he? He
12 is the chief executive of the city. He had
13 an obligation to be there to welcome
14 Mr. McCain, and the same thing if Sara Palin
15 comes to town or Joe Biden or Barack Obama,
16 any of those four people, they are bringing
17 the potential of the presidency or the
18 vice-presidency to this city and I think we
19 as people of the City of Scranton ought to
20 extend to them the warmest welcome that we
21 can and I think we missed an opportunity
22 there. I think that was a good point to be
24 I could not blame any of you as
25 council people for doing that because you
1 are legislative more than anything and
2 that's really an executive privilege to
3 attend meetings like that. I really was
4 kind of upset that the mayor had not decided
5 to attend or to find out because he had to
6 have been notified. He is the chief
7 executive of the city so for safety's sake
8 he had to have been notified that the visit
9 was coming. Thank you.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Dudek.
11 Fay Franus.
12 MS. FRANUS: Fay Franus, Scranton.
13 When I came in earlier I was talking to Mark
14 from ECTV and I asked him why they didn't
15 film the caucus last week with Stu Renda,
16 Mr. Renda, I'm sorry, and he said that
17 nobody asked him to. So, I'm asking
18 somebody on council, I don't know who would
19 be in charge, if there is going to be a
20 caucus again in this room or a public
21 hearing that's important to everybody to
22 please make sure that ECTV is asked since
23 they stood right there and they said didn't
24 do it because they weren't asked. It makes
25 no sense to me.
1 And I also would like to know why we
2 as taxpayers are supposedly going to foot
3 the bill for them when it's a private
4 business. If I were to open a business
5 tomorrow I wouldn't expect the taxpayers to
6 pay for my business. Why do they deserve
7 that right? Could somebody answer that
8 question? Judy, you are finance chair? Why
9 should the taxpayers be paying for ECTV if
10 it's a private business?
11 MS. GATELLI: I don't know, but
12 that's not the finance chair's
14 MS. FRANUS: Well, whoever, the
15 president, anybody? Does anybody know?
16 MR. MCGOFF: We chose to --
17 MS. FRANUS: You chose to, but you
18 are representing the people. So basically,
19 Mr. McGoff, you are saying you chose to?
20 MR. MCGOFF: You didn't give me a
21 chance to --
22 MS. FRANUS: Go ahead, I'm sorry.
23 MR. MCGOFF: The choice was made to
24 fund it so that public access television
25 would continue.
1 MS. FRANUS: Well, they are doing a
2 very poor job. Scranton Today had -- it's
3 filmed, we saw nothing else when it's open,
4 it's cut this half, they don't have money
5 for film, they said they're not going paid.
6 Well, if they're not getting paid quit, let
7 Scranton Today take over again. You see the
8 crappy job they are doing, but that's the
9 purpose. Mayor Doherty doesn't want this on
10 television and some members of council don't
11 want this on television because it exposes
12 you for what you are.
13 Now, last week, Mrs. Gatelli, you
14 said they are going to refinance, they are
15 not going to borrow, that's not true. You
16 are going to borrow after you said you
17 weren't going to borrow again, then you
18 asked Mr. Minora to explain that, well, you
19 know he wouldn't because that was such a
20 stupid, stupid comment.
21 You are going to borrow again, are
22 you not? Are you still claiming you are
23 going to refinance, you are not asking for
24 anymore money, is that what you're claiming?
25 MS. GATELLI: I'll answer that in
2 MS. FRANUS: Pardon me?
3 MS. GATELLI: I'll answer it in
5 MS. FRANUS: No, I'm asking you now.
6 MS. GATELLI: Well, I'm saving that
7 for motions.
8 MS. FRANUS: In other words, you are
9 not going to answer me whether you are going
10 to borrow after you swore you never would.
11 You are going to wait until everybody
12 goes --
13 MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Gatelli gave you an
15 MS. FRANUS: No, she didn't.
16 MR. MCGOFF: Yes, she did. She said
17 that she would answer and mention it during
19 MS. FRANUS: Mr. McGoff, can't she
20 speak for herself or do you have to answer
21 her questions for her.
22 MR. MCGOFF: And she did. I'm trying
23 to expedite this.
24 MS. FRANUS: Why? I have five
25 minutes, why should you expedite it.
1 MS. FANUCCI: Quite frankly, the
2 rules are you that speak to the president
3 and the president would then address the
4 council members.
5 MS. FRANUS: Every time somebody
6 speaks and they ask council member a
7 question, tell me, Mr. McGoff, may I speak
8 to Judy Gatelli?
9 MS. FANUCCI: That's actually -- by
10 our rules that would be correct.
11 MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Franus, she gave
12 you an answer.
13 MS. FRANUS: I know that. The
14 answer is she doesn't want to answer the
15 people, only when it's convenient, she is
16 going to borrow again.
17 MR. MCGOFF: No, the answer was that
18 she would address it later on.
19 MS. FRANUS: Well, if she votes for
20 this refinancing, as she calls it, that is
21 borrowing and that means Judy Gatelli will
22 be borrowing again, unless she doesn't vote
23 for that, that's a different story, then I
24 will owe her an apology if she votes against
25 it. If she does, but if she does vote for
1 this she is borrowing again and she lied to
2 the people, and I don't want anybody to
3 forget that.
4 MS. GATELLI: We know that.
5 MS. FRANUS: Well, we'll see when
6 motions comes. Now, I understand, Mrs.
7 Gatelli, you were at the zoning board and
8 you were talking about the Latin Club that
9 you weren't going to sacrifice your
10 neighborhood, but as a council person you
11 were willing to find -- put it someplace
12 else in the City of Scranton? Not in my
13 backyard, huh, maybe mine?
14 MS. GATELLI: It's to be in a
15 commercial zone, Mrs. Franus.
16 MS. FRANUS: Yeah, but you don't
17 want it in your neighborhood.
18 MS. GATELLI: My neighbors don't want
19 it. It's an residential district.
20 MS. FRANUS: My neighbors don't want
21 it either. Neither does anybody else --
22 MS. GATELLI: Well, you have every
23 right to go to the zoning board when there
24 is a hearing in your neighborhood.
25 MS. FRANUS: But you were willing to
1 put it someplace else.
2 MS. GATELLI: In a commercial zone,
3 not in another neighborhood.
4 MS. FRANUS: Susan Orman was on
5 television today and she was talking about
6 the crises in the country today, she said
7 it's a financial earthquake, you know it
8 starts here. It starts with council people
9 going to the mayors, going to Congressmen,
10 going to the representatives, she said that
11 the people in charge are more interested in
12 money themselves than they are for the
13 people they are supposed to represent and
14 I'm thinking, boy, does that sound familiar.
15 Sounds just like you. The three votes up
16 there, Mrs. Gatelli, Mr. McGoff and Mrs.
17 Fanucci, not representing the people.
18 MS. FANUCCI: And my $12,000 is
19 making the world goes around, because it
20 definitely is worth it.
21 MS. FRANUS: What are you trying to
22 -- point of order, Mrs. Fanucci.
23 MS. FANUCCI: Oh, for the love of
25 MS. FRANUS: I'm trying to say that
1 your votes don't reflect what the people
2 want in this city.
3 MS. FANUCCI: That's not what you
4 said. What you said was that we were taking
5 money, you were talking about money.
6 MS. FRANUS: I said Suzy Orman said
7 that the people at the top are more
8 interested in money and greed than the
9 people they represent.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Franus.
11 David Dobson.
12 MR. DOBSON: Good evening, Council.
13 Dave Dobson, member of the Taxpayers'
14 Association, Scranton resident, of course.
15 On 5-F for a change, I would highly
16 recommend approval at all haste for this
17 grant. I would also recommend that council
18 consults with Bernie McGurrel on mine
19 reclamation funds for advice. It is my
20 understanding that there are coal taxes
21 collected on every ton of coal in this
22 country and Pennsylvania is receiving just
23 about nothing of it, and it's basically to
24 improve and reclaim brownfields and culm
25 banks and so forth and as far as the whole
1 Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley I think we
2 have our share of -- we have more than
3 enough to go around and if anybody wants
4 them they can adopt them. How about that?
5 Under the Emergency Shelter Grant, 6-C,
6 please try to find money to help these
7 people. It's sad I do a lot of walking
8 along rail lines and so forth and I don't
9 know why I'm attracted to them, but I see a
10 lot of things, a lot of people camping out,
11 there is no reason for that in this country.
12 It's not anybody's fault in this town, but
13 it's happening and it should be dealt with
14 as best as we can do it.
15 On 7-A I would like to point out
16 that once again I'm not against it, but
17 public money is being used for swimming pool
18 improvements and that all citizens should
19 have an equal opportunity within the
20 vicinity of their home for affordable -- for
21 free swimming and $3.00 isn't necessarily,
22 we have to find a way to classify somebody
23 that's from the Hill Section or whatever and
24 somebody wants to come up and use the
25 sliding board maybe let them pay extra or
1 whatever, but it's really bad for the people
2 in the Hill Section. They don't have any
3 free swimming within their reasonable
4 distance of their house.
5 And then finally on 6-B enough has
6 been said probably, but from what I heard
7 from Andy the general estimate of 16 2/3
8 percent isn't something that I would feel at
9 ease on voting on, pubically you don't
10 neither. Is it going to be 2 percent,
11 6 percent, 10 percent, 12 percent, 16 2/3
12 percent and at some point we might be better
13 off tightening our belts and just packing it
14 in as far as that type of a loan because
15 it's not worth it. It's definitely not
16 worth it. We are just enriching a lot of
17 people that already have a lot of money and
18 it's ashame that we have to go that route.
19 So at this point have a good night, but
20 please your conscience and don't obligate
21 the citizens of Scranton into anymore
22 excessive borrowing or excessive unnecessary
23 borrowing. Thank you.
24 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Dobson.
25 Mr. Gervasi.
1 MR. GERVASI: Good evening, City
2 Council. My name is Dave Gervasi, I'm a
3 city resident and a firefighter in the city.
4 I'm sorry I couldn't get here last week, it
5 was busy week for everyone, but we had a
6 hearing, as I guess you probably all know,
7 it was in the press. We had our hearing for
8 our contract went to Commonwealth Court and
9 we were all in Harrisburg, and I would just
10 like to make a comment on what a cabinet
11 member said in Harrisburg. Our president
12 and president of the FOP made some comments
13 to Channel 16, public safety director Ray
14 Hayes made this comment, and I quote: "At
15 the end of the day this is not about the
16 Doherty administration, this is not about
17 the police department or the fire
18 department, this is about the fiscal
19 responsibility of the government and about
20 the taxpayers of the City of Scranton."
21 I find it hard to believe that
22 Director Hayes could possibly utter those
23 words without busting out into laughter.
24 Maybe I should just remind Director Hayes,
25 since you read over and over what the city
1 says about the fire and police departments
2 and other departments in the city, maybe
3 Director Hayes should have been doing some
4 oversight on his fiscal responsibility when
5 the $6 million dollar sewer deal debacle I
6 call it happened which caused a 56 percent
7 rate increase in our sewer rates, that was
8 directly tied to the Doherty administration
9 or maybe the $3.4 million and counting
10 raises, middle management hires, or maybe
11 the $800,000 the city has to spent over the
12 years to the parking authority since
13 obviously they don't seem to be making it on
14 their own, or maybe the $1 million they gave
15 to the Southern Union building when they
16 didn't show up, or maybe the $1 million in
17 the artificial bond rating that was given or
18 nearly, and correct me if I'm wrong, Mrs.
19 Evans, the nearly $100 million in borrowing
20 in the last seven years, I believe it's
21 approaching $100 million at this point. I
22 know a lot of it was refinancing just to be
24 The approximate, what we are being
25 told at this point, is approximately
1 $2 million in legal fees which is more money
2 going to the lawyers than it would be to
3 give the police and fire department a cost
4 of living raise over the years. But there
5 is a reason for that in my opinion because
6 when you give the lawyers money they give it
7 back to you in your campaign donations. The
8 cops and firemen really didn't give Mayor
9 Doherty anything, so we can understand. Or
10 the grossly overpriced rebuilding of Nay Aug
11 Park with no big contracts or the selling of
12 our assets, the golf course, the South Side
13 Complex, or maybe the banners telling
14 Scrantonians to visit Scranton during the
15 summer, ten's of thousands spent on that
16 with the mayor's big picture on it which is
17 a thinly veiled pre-election campaign
18 literature in my opinion.
19 And now we have police leaving in
20 droves, moving onto greener pastures, we are
21 hiring more police to come in, we are
22 actually paying for their training now
23 before they get hired and we are basically
24 becoming a training grounds for police
25 officers and we are losing our best and
1 finest, or maybe doubling the pensions,
2 maybe Director Hayes might have thought of
3 that when he doubled the pensions of
4 clerical retirees to make room for more
5 middle managers or maybe the director is
6 just mad because of the $13,000 raises for
7 the police and the fire chief last year when
8 much of the director's time was spent
9 correcting the incompetency of these
10 department heads.
11 One thing you need to know, this is
12 all being blamed, we have to knock off 37
13 firefighters because of city has a deficit,
14 it's a lie. It's a complete boldface lie.
15 We don't have a deficit. We have tons,
16 mountains of debt that was created under the
17 Doherty administration. Just last year from
18 the 2007 to 2008 budget the police force,
19 those bad guys on the police force, cost the
20 city $18,000 less than it did the year
21 before. Last year the bad firemen that are
22 costing millions of deficits cost the city
23 $851,048 less than it did the year before.
24 Listen very carefully, when Mayor
25 Doherty took office the budget was
1 $56 million. This year's budget is
2 $84 million. It cost less for the police
3 and firefighters than it did in 2002. Where
4 did the $26 million go? I know where it
5 went. I just read off a portion of it right
6 here. The mayor did it, and, Director
7 Hayes, if you are watching the Doherty
8 administration is solely responsible for the
9 deficits and the mountain of debt that we
10 have and not your police and firefighters
11 and, frankly, we don't want to pay for it,
12 for his mistakes. Thank you.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Gervasi.
14 Any other speakers?
15 MS. HUMPHRIES: My mission is for all
16 reconciliation and repair. You are all
17 going to enjoy this. Father Gownley gave me
18 a lot of religious articles, so he gave me a
19 statue and finger was broken on it and I
20 repaired it, so I'm going to leave it right
21 here for everybody to see what transpired.
22 The right hand is the papal blessing. The
23 right hand five popes appeared for the
24 blessings of the City of Scranton.
25 MR. MCGOFF: No.
1 MS. HUMPHRIES: I want to put that
2 there for a minute until I hold what I have.
3 MR. MCGOFF: Phyllis. Please keep
5 MS. HUMPHRIES: I'm taking them.
6 This represents terrorism. There is
7 terrorism in the United States, outside of
8 the United States. What is terrorism? Look
9 at me and I'll tell you what happened to me
10 through terrorism, that's number one, that's
11 all -- denying their people religious rights
12 to speak and denying the truth of
13 constitution in the United States.
14 This is for the military, for the
15 Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard all the way
16 down. I need someone to help me with this.
17 I'm a spiritual artist, and this is, the
18 Bishop hasn't seen it yet, but it's end
19 terrorism inside and outside of the womb and
20 the blessed mother and Jesus that people are
21 all inside --
22 MR. MCGOFF: Phyllis --
23 MS. HUMPHRIES: -- to tell people to
24 love, to forgive and to keep on going on no
25 matter what. This is for September 11.
1 This is for my military and this is for the
2 United States of America and freedom of
3 faith, love and religion and freedom of
4 speech. The Bishop hasn't seen it yet, but
5 I hope you get it see it later.
6 Now, I want to talk about Doherty.
7 I tried CNN to bring the messages forward of
8 my beliefs and my -- what has transpired
9 with me, which everybody knows what happened
10 to me, I'm not going to go into it. To find
11 out the local newspaper, which I don't buy,
12 although, people did give it me, Mayor
13 Doherty's relative works at CNN. When I
14 tried to call first English speaking and
15 then call the Muslim for the middle eastern
16 people they wouldn't contact, couldn't get
17 through, as soon as they heard my name they
18 hung up. Numerous people were involved
19 which they fraudulently signed names from
20 the Attorney's General's Office and it's
21 being investigated all the way up to
22 Washington, D.C. It's time to cleanup, to
23 shape up, and get some of these people out
24 of their chairs that have done the evilness
25 what they have done to me and done to other
1 people. There is it innocent people in jail
2 and the guilty are walking the streets and
3 sitting in a lot of chairs.
4 All I want to say it our firemen, I
5 love them very much and the police
6 department, the test I went through I think
7 we need more police department, more fire
8 department, and it's kind of crazy, we need
9 security. We need security in Scranton
10 especially with Scranton's fire with me.
11 You got to get security here, get the
12 firemen on, get the police on and enough is
13 enough. Doherty, loosen up the tight
14 strings, the pocketbook, it's time to
15 straighten up the City of Scranton. God
16 bless you.
17 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. Mr. Morgan.
18 MR. MORGAN: Good evening, Council.
19 You know, I sat up there on the second floor
20 there and just watched council and I just
21 would like to say that, you know, I think
22 council had a general interest in what Andy
23 Sbaraglia had to say, and I think his facts
24 are right. You know, I asked my sister to
25 look at the city's books, she's a -- she
1 worked on Wall Street, she goes back and
2 forth, and the city is a mess. The city is
3 absolutely a mess and this council has to
4 decide not to borrow. There has to be other
5 solutions that, you know, the Post, the new
6 newspaper we have in the City of Scranton,
7 they wrote an article where they totally
8 agree that residents are leaving the city
9 and putting their houses up for sale and
10 this isn't just things that the residents
11 say, this is, you know, the paper is
12 reporting the widespread poverty in the
14 This weekend and last weekend, I had
15 an opportunity to talk to Monsignor
16 Siconolfi I think is his name, the gentleman
17 from the soup kitchen. The need in the city
18 for that soup kitchen is unbelievable, it is
19 really. The need to -- I had an opportunity
20 to talk to the Monsignor about the amount of
21 homeless in the city, all right, Mr. Quinn
22 spoke about the homeless in the city and the
23 grant money that's available. You know,
24 that money really needs to go there and it
25 needs to really be increased. There is a
1 lot of good work that can be done by
2 government, but you as the council people
3 have to that work and if you don't do that
4 work then we are going to all fail.
5 And I know a local of people come
6 here and complain, including myself, because
7 we want action and we see inaction or the
8 wrong action is being taken. One of the
9 wrong actions, in my opinion that's happened
10 recently, is the loss of Junior Council, and
11 I agree with some of the things Mr. Bolus
12 said that this council should have took a
13 certain percentage of these young people
14 under their wing and taught them something
15 more than spineless politics and that's what
16 these children were experiencing here. They
17 were experiencing council people saying one
18 thing and doing something else or doing
19 nothing, and this city didn't get to where
20 it is now by action. It got here by
21 inaction or looking the other way or
22 allowing somebody to do things that weren't
23 right because they knew somebody and these
24 things have to change and the only people
25 that can change them are the people that are
1 sitting in front of me and the mayor.
2 And going to Court isn't an option
3 because then there we deal with politics
4 also, only there we have people in judicial
5 roles that play politics, so we've got a
6 real serious situation here, and I hope the
7 council would take it seriously.
8 And as far as ECTV, it's just a
9 terrible thing what's happened there, and
10 this council needs to put Scranton Tomorrow
11 back. They ran this with no money basically
12 and they did a much better job, and that's
13 not taking a shot at ECTV, it's just a
14 reality. They lost our tape from the
15 citizens' group last week because evidently,
16 in my opinion, they don't like what we saw
17 say and we are one of the few groups that
18 still has access. Look at all of the great
19 programming we loss with Scranton Tomorrow.
20 Just absolutely wonderful program, Homespun,
21 definitely an asset to this community.
22 Definitely. Not just the council meetings,
23 the council meetings were one of the
24 smallest things we lost, but I would say
25 that the council meetings were a major
1 avenue for information for the residents and
2 they see the lack of preparation this
3 council takes and the things that they spin
4 through the agenda, not all council members
5 and not all the time, but too often and
6 where is it change come? It comes from you
7 and the mayor, but we can't expect change
8 from the mayor. He is a political animal
9 and he likes politics, so the choice comes
10 down to what do you like? Okay? We've got
11 enough poverty here, we've got grinding
12 poverty here. Can we change it, yes, but we
13 have to change the way we see things and the
14 only question is can you change the way you
15 see things? Thank you.
16 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Morgan.
17 Anyone else?
18 MS. HUBBARD: Good evening, council,
19 Liz Hubbard, Scranton resident, taxpayer. I
20 have a question, did you get an answer on
21 the skunks?
22 MS. EVANS: No.
23 MS. GATELLI: I did. I'm working on
24 it with Kenny Smith. I just talked to him
25 before I came to the meeting. I'll tell you
2 MS. HUBBARD: Could you add
3 groundhogs to the list because they are a
4 problem, too.
5 MS. GATELLI: Okay.
6 MS. HUBBARD: And a couple of people
7 mentioned that to me that they are
8 specifically having problem with woodchucks,
9 groundhogs, those little fat furry critters.
10 Okay, I have a question and this all
11 happened I believe before I moved back into
12 the city, so I'm not quite clear, but I
13 understand that PEL had told the city that
14 they did not need a public safety director,
15 okay, I need to know what has changed that
16 they told that to Mayor Connors and then
17 when Doherty got in he decided that he
18 needed one plus a deputy, plus a couple of
19 secretaries, why didn't PEL question that?
20 Sherry, you do the --
21 MS. FANUCCI: I can tell you that.
22 It's not that they didn't question it, they
23 did okay it. When PEL sat down after what
24 happened with Mayor Connors that was in the
25 midst of contract negotiations, if I recall,
1 and I'm going to go back to what I remember,
2 am I right, because it was in the midst of
3 contract negotiations. After the contracts
4 were signed I believe that's what they told
5 him, and I don't know, I'm looking at
6 Ancherani for some help here, but I believe
7 that's when they told him to not -- to get
8 rid of the deputy director; am I correct in
10 MS. HUBBARD: I think it was the
11 whole --
12 MS. FANUCCI: So after that they did
13 approve it later on for him to reinstate,
14 yes, it was not that PEL said, no, and they
15 didn't go back and revisit --
16 MS. HUBBARD: Well, what you pay him
17 plus his deputy and his staff you could
18 probably hire three police officers.
19 MS. FANUCCI: Right. Yeah, no doubt.
20 MS. HUBBARD: And I think we need
21 police more than we need a director of
22 public safety since we have already have a
23 police chief and a fire chief. So, I mean,
24 I don't know. I was a little unclear on how
25 that happened.
1 And a comment to Judy, I heard that
2 zoning and where you said you weren't going
3 to sacrifice your neighborhood but you would
4 help them find another spot, you didn't say
5 commercial, you just said another spot.
6 MS. GATELLI: Well, it's obvious
7 they go in a commercial zone, they were
8 going for a variance to be in an R-1-A zone.
9 MS. HUBBARD: Right.
10 MS. GATELLI: They can't go in an
11 R-1-A zone anywhere in the city. They need
12 to go to a commercial zone.
13 MS. HUBBARD: Well, there's a block,
14 for instance, that one side of the street is
15 commercial and the other side is
16 residential. My street --
17 MS. GATELLI: They are allowed in a
18 commercial zone. They wouldn't even have to
19 go to the zoning board.
20 MS. HUBBARD: Exactly, but they would
21 say be in my neighborhood or West Side.
22 MS. GATELLI: Well, if they are in a
23 commercial zone there is nothing you can do
24 about it. There aren't too many zones left
25 that a commercial abuts a R-1-A.
1 MS. HUBBARD: I think my street
2 there is a couple of designations.
3 MS. GATELLI: There aren't many.
4 And you wouldn't be able to do a thing about
5 it. If it was in a commercial zone --
6 MS. HUBBARD: I'm sure, and I don't
7 know that --
8 MS. GATELLI: You can't say anything
9 about the zone.
10 MS. HUBBARD: I don't know that I
11 would want to, I just wanted to --
12 MS. GATELLI: That's why it went to
13 the zoning board because they were breaking
14 the law. That's what the zoning board is.
15 MS. HUBBARD: But it came across --
16 MS. GATELLI: You go there because
17 you are breaking the law and you are asking
18 them to approve it.
19 MS. HUBBARD: It came across to
20 people that watched the meeting that you
21 didn't want them in your neighborhood, you
22 didn't specify you would find them a spot in
23 the commercial zone. You just said another
25 MS. GATELLI: Well, let me clarify
1 for the public right now, they may not be in
2 any residential zone and every citizen has a
3 right to go to the zoning board, everyone
4 has that right to speak when someone is
5 going to go in your neighborhood. When it
6 is you will be notified because they must
7 notify the neighbors within 250 feet of a
8 zoning issue, and you can all go there and
9 speak and if anyone would like me to come
10 with them I certainly would come. I would
11 contact your neighborhood association
12 president and you all have the right to do
13 that. It belongs in a commercial zone I
14 hope everyone is watching that watched that.
15 MS. HUBBARD: Okay.
16 MS. GATELLI: I'm sorry if I offended
17 anybody. I didn't realize I caused such a
19 MS. HUBBARD: I'm just telling you --
20 MS. GATELLI: --fighting for my
22 MS. HUBBARD: -- a couple of people
23 commented, and another thing that was
24 commented on from people that have been,
25 what's the word, hollered at because they
1 talked from the back of the room, you were
2 on that tape, Judy, you were yelling way in
3 the back.
4 MS. GATELLI: I was representing in
5 the neighbors. We didn't have an attorney.
6 MS. HUBBARD: I don't care if you
7 were representing --
8 MS. GATELLI: And you're allowed to
9 object. You are allowed to object at a
10 zoning hearing.
11 MS. HUBBARD: Well, then why can't I
12 sit just sit back there and object.
13 MS. GATELLI: Because you can't do
14 that here because there is Robert's Rules
15 here, but you can object at a zoning
17 MS. HUBBARD: Well, they should have
18 Robert's Rules at zoning.
19 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Hubbard.
20 MS. GATELLI: I hope my neighbors
21 are all watching seeing me chastised for
22 representing them. I have never been
23 chastised for representing a neighborhood.
24 MS. HUBBARD: I wasn't doing that.
25 MS. GATELLI: Well, it certainly
1 sounds like you are all. The election must
2 be starting now.
3 MS. HUBBARD: I'm not running for
5 MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Schumacher.
6 MS. SCHUMACHER: Marie Schumacher,
7 resident, member of the Taxpayers'
8 Association. First the loan, Item-6B, this
9 is a loan that is a scheduled for repayment
10 this calendar year. If you borrow more
11 money with a 18-year loan the additional
12 interest payments will only add to the
13 city's problems. With a principal amount
14 the city and it's agencies non-electoral
15 debt estimated to be over 90 percent of it's
16 limit, you may soon find any borrowing will
17 have to be approved by the voters. The
18 sheer size of the long-term debt will drive
19 the bond rating down which will in turn
20 drive the interest rates up.
21 More importantly, I fail to see why
22 a loan is necessary. Two weeks ago the
23 agenda noted that you received the 2006
24 financial report. That report, if anyone
25 bothered to read it, showed an operating
1 surplus of $6.7 million. The controller's
2 report for August shows a year-to-date
3 operating surplus of $7,679, 765.00, so why
4 on earth do we need to borrow more money?
5 Now to 6-C. I'm assuming this item is
6 the approval of the proposed fifth year
7 action plan which wasn't made public until
8 last Friday. The ad last Friday noted that
9 there would be a public hearing. If this
10 item is moved to Seventh Order for next week
11 the vote could occur prior to the public
12 hearing which is definitely not right. This
13 reminds me, two weeks ago I requested Mrs.
14 Fanucci explain how the responses to the
15 August public notice would be disposed.
16 This notice dealt with the budget transfers
17 that had already been passed by council
18 which per OECD's written policy puts the
19 cart before the horse. Mrs. Fanucci ignored
20 my request to two weeks ago, so I will again
21 ask how these public comments will be
23 Moving onto 7-A. Was this capital
24 item added to the mayor's budget before you
25 approved the capital budget? Whether the
1 funds are from the city's budget or the
2 grant you will be voting on as 7-A tonight,
3 this capital item belongs in the capital
5 Now, to 5-B and "C". This is a very
6 personal item with me and a perfect example
7 of why people do not want to live in the
8 city where who you know or who you are is
9 the governing ordinance. I would now like
10 to read you a letter dated 4, April, 2001,
11 seven years ago, it was written to Mary
12 Alice Burke, who was then head of the
13 Department of Community Development.
14 "Dear Mrs. Burke, the purpose of
15 this letter is to ask when the traffic
16 signal will be installed at River Street and
17 Meadow Avenue. Almost four years ago now
18 the zoning board approved construction of
19 the mini-mart/gas station at this
20 intersection with the provision they install
21 a traffic signal within two years.
22 When two years passed and there was
23 no evidence of intent to install the traffic
24 signal required, and may I add, anticipated
25 by East Mountain residents and those who
1 care about them, I began to make inquiries.
2 Conversations with representatives of the
3 planning office and the city engineer
4 revealed enforcement of the zoning provision
5 was put on hold until the new traffic study
6 was completed.
7 Subsequent to these conversations,
8 the intersection of Meadow Avenue and Moosic
9 Street has been completely redone including
10 new traffic signals. From this I can
11 conclude the aforementioned of the traffic
12 study was completed. However, there is
13 still no sign of a traffic signal at Meadow
14 and River and this concerns me. If the
15 original now almost four years old zoning
16 board provision was merely window dressing
17 to appease public concerns with no intent of
18 enforcing the provision then I believe this
19 was deceitful.
20 Accordingly, I look forward to
21 hearing from you on the status of the
22 previously required but uninstalled traffic
23 signal at Meadow and River. Thank you in
24 advance for your prompt response."
25 It's now been 11 years. That
1 traffic signal isn't there. That road has
2 been repaved, every possible thing that
3 could be done -- that would have to be
4 redone because of that traffic signal study,
5 which again I might add, the city managed to
6 screw up. They got a contractor in
7 Allentown to do a study and they let it go
8 on and go on without a response, by the time
9 they got the response the federal laws had
10 changed -- if I may finish this thought, the
11 federal laws had changed, and the pave cuts
12 have to be different than they were before
13 so it's added more. The traffic timing sill
14 isn't done, yet along come the Pisano
15 Brothers who have received much money, much
16 free services from this city and now even
17 though they are on that same route where the
18 traffic signaling is going to be impacted,
19 we are going to drop everything and give
20 them the traffic signal they want for their
21 commercial venture. Well, I'm sorry, but
22 now you know why people don't want to be in
23 this town.
24 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs.
1 MR. JACKOWITZ: Bill Jackowitz, South
2 Scranton resident, member of the
3 Scranton/Lackawanna County Taxpayers'
4 Association. 5-B about the traffic signal
5 at Front Street and Moosic Street and the
6 Pisano commercial project, I'm going to try
7 again, normally, my questions are not
8 answered, I have about 40 of them that have
9 not been answered, so I'm going to try
10 again, I hope I get answers tonight during
11 motions. I would like to know how much
12 money was given to the Pisano brothers for
13 this contract about three years ago.
14 Secondly, I would like to know what are
15 they building there. I know there is a
16 parking lot being built there, and I know
17 that there is two buildings that have been
18 gutted and are being remodeled, I do not
19 know what is going into those two buildings.
20 I have been told one is a laundry mat and I
21 have been told one is apartments. I would
22 like to know specifically and beyond a doubt
23 what am I paying for as a taxpayer? It's
24 all public money that the Pisano brothers
25 have gotten. I would like to see the
1 Pisanos come into city council, invite them
2 into city council and let them explain why
3 it's taking two years or three years,
4 however long it has been, for them to build
5 whatever they are building there and what
6 are they building there. Please, I hope
7 somebody answers that. Normally you don't,
8 but I hope tonight you do.
9 Okay. Now, on 5-D, authorizing the
10 mayor and other appropriate city officials
11 to execute and enter into a professional
12 service agreement with Clough Harbor
13 Associates, LLP, for additional professional
14 engineering services for the Lackawanna
15 Avenue Streetscape Project. What is the
16 Lackawanna Avenue Streetscrape Project, can
17 someone tell me, please?
18 MS. FANUCCI: It's part of the
19 500-block, first phase project.
20 MR. JACKOWITZ: Okay, and that's what
21 I thought it was. Now, do we not have
22 $29 million of taxpayers' money, public
23 money, already tied up in to that? Is that
24 $29 million going to be used to pay for this
25 project or are we asking for more of public
1 taxpayers' money? Can someone answer that,
3 MS. FANUCCI: It's a long answer.
4 MR. JACKOWITZ: Pardon me?
5 MS. FANUCCI: It's a long answer, I
6 can answer you in motions. I mean, do you
7 want me to answer you right now.
8 MR. JACKOWITZ: Okay, well, go ahead
9 and answer me in motions then, that's fine,
10 as long as you don't forget. Okay, on 5-E,
11 authorizing the mayor and other appropriate
12 city officials, again, we back on the 500
13 block of Lackawanna Avenue, for consulting
14 engineers and surveyors.
15 Again, $29 million of taxpayers'
16 money has been put into the 500 block of
17 Lackawanna Avenue. Is this additional money
18 that they are asking for to pay for this
19 consultant or would this come out of the
20 $29 million that the taxpayers' -- see, I
21 own the 500 block of Lackawanna Avenue.
22 Every taxpayer in this city, in this state,
23 owns the 500 block of Lackawanna
24 avenue, so I think we need to have the
25 answers to these questions and if this is
1 more additional money I would like to know
2 why and on what grounds each and every
3 individual who votes for will vote for it,
4 because they already have $29 million.
5 Okay, now, as far as 6-B, whether it's
6 refinancing or whether it's borrowing the
7 way I understand it, and again, if I'm wrong
8 correct me during motions. The way I
9 understand it we are going of borrow
10 $6.1 million for 18 years. We are going to
11 pay back $4.7 million more after the
12 18 years. There is no guarantee that it
13 will be paid back for 18 years because we
14 may have to borrow more money between now
15 and the 18-year period of time.
16 To me, that's a no-brainer, that is
17 borrowing. That is not refinancing because
18 you are borrowing more money and you are
19 paying back more money. That is borrowing.
20 It's a simple, simple question and a more
21 simple answer. It's borrowing. So, again,
22 if are you not going to borrow anymore
23 money, fine, don't borrow it, vote "no."
24 If you see nothing wrong with
25 borrowing more money vote "yes", borrow more
1 money because that's what you are doing, you
2 are going to pay back 4.7 million over
3 18 years, we are already hundreds of
4 millions dollars in debt and by the way,
5 trillion, does anybody knows how many zeros
6 are in a trillion? There is 12 zeroes in a
7 trillion. Right now the federal government
8 is getting ready to go into one trillion
9 dollar debt and there is not going to be
10 anymore money for city projects and state
11 projects, sooner or later it's going to come
12 to an end and I really hope that city
13 council will take that into consideration
14 when they start making the votes, because
15 the federal government is not going to be
16 able to bail you out, we are bailing out
17 people from Ike's hurricane, we are bailing
18 out everybody. So, please, just think about
19 it, it's borrowing, it's not refinancing.
20 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr.
22 MR. ANCHERANI: Good evening.
23 Nelson Ancherani, resident and taxpayer. I
24 didn't have anything prepared, so I just
25 wanted to remind you all that in less two
1 months, that's six more meetings, the budget
2 for 2009 has to be introduced to council. I
3 again, predict a record budget which will
4 mean over 85,600,000. You, Council, have a
5 chance and a duty which you owe to the
6 taxpayers to produce a budget that is fair
7 to the city and to the taxpayers.
8 Miss Evans spent a lot of time last
9 year formulating a budget and it was ignored
10 over personalities. Frankly, I wouldn't
11 blame her if she doesn't bother coming up
12 with a budget for this coming year. All
13 that has to be done is resurrect Ms. Evans'
14 budget and put it into place as is for 2009.
15 Simple. Save the taxpayers anymore of an
16 increase in the long-term debt. Just as an
17 example of saving money, stop the BS,
18 spending and borrowing.
19 Over 50 plus new hires were hired
20 since 2002. Why? Do we need three flood
21 relocation specialists? And 803,000 for
22 Scranton Parking Authority citation issuers?
23 These 50 plus hires in raises increased the
24 budget over $15 million since 2002.
25 Mrs. Evans' budget pared the budget by
1 the 50 plus new hires. If these 50 plus
2 hires in raises were eliminated, that's 15
3 million saved. The city is a service
4 provider, not a business. Eliminating 38
5 firemen is not an option. The fire
6 department is a service that all taxpayers
7 fund and it has not cost the city any
8 increase since 2002.
9 And I know what Ms. Fanucci will
10 say, health care increased. Why? They
11 fired Sara Pickard who saved millions when
12 she was hired. One-hundred city employees
13 forced out with full benefits only to hire
14 another 100 with full benefits, and don't
15 forget the 50 plus new hires who also got
16 full benefits.
17 I want to remind council that since
18 2002 the total increases of the budgets is
19 approximately the size of this year's
20 budget, 85 million. That's not
21 cumulatively. We have to figure that and
22 see how much it is. Come on, think of us
23 taxpayers, the budget for next year should
24 cumulatively be at least 20 million for
25 raises and new hires, and just for the
1 record, none of those 50 plus new hires will
2 be eliminated in my opinion, but just a
3 thought on that borrowing, if the five
4 million was paid back on that loan by
5 December 17 of this year 5.8 million would
6 be saved and, Mrs. Fanucci, with the SIT
7 clerks I missed that part, so if you could
8 address that again?
9 MS. FANUCCI: Yeah.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. Anyone
11 else? Mrs. Evans.
12 MS. EVANS: Before I begin tonight,
13 just a few items that I want to respond to
14 before I forget. With regard to Moosic
15 Street and the construction of the Pisano
16 family, I have spoken with Christopher
17 Pisano, I posed the question what will the
18 space be used for, his response was, a
19 restaurant and office space. I believe that
20 council granted the Pisano a loan through
21 OECD, however, that was a no interest loan,
22 so I hope that answers your questions at
23 least to the best of my ability at this
25 In addition, to respond to
1 statements made a bit earlier during
2 citizens' participation regarding the visit
3 of Senator McCain to the City of Scranton,
4 when I am working I do not leave to attend
5 political functions, not for presidential
6 candidates or a governor or a federal
7 senator or a state senator. I have an
8 obligation to provide a continuum of
9 education in my classroom and I will
10 continue to do so. I think one the speakers
11 also noted that it is more appropriately the
12 position of the mayor to welcome visiting
13 dignitaries to the city. He is the CEO and
14 the executive officer of the city and I do
15 agree he should be present when all
16 individuals are visiting this city.
17 Also, because zoning became such an
18 issue earlier tonight, I have a very serious
19 concerning about the zoning on Dickson
20 Avenue with regard to Daron Northeast. DEP
21 I believe in their reports concerning that
22 facility made a strong recommendation that
23 at such time as Daron Northeast would vacate
24 the premises, the municipality should change
25 the zoning laws to prevent any business of
1 that nature from locating into that area,
2 and so I'd like to see council work toward
3 having that zoning law changed. I know that
4 Daron is scheduled to vacate by the end of
5 2008, and my concern is that we may if we
6 hesitate find another business locating
7 there that's going to cause a similar
8 problem to the residents who reside less
9 than 50 feet from that property, so if we
10 can determine the proper process to follow
11 I'd like to see this go before the zoning
12 board for a change in the zoning for that
14 MS. GATELLI: I believe that it's
15 council that legislates zoning amendments,
16 so we can do that.
17 MS. EVANS: Then, I would like then,
18 please, Mr. Minora, if you can notify your
19 brother that council would like to draft
20 legislation to that end.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: I think, Mrs. Evans,
22 I don't know what the zoning was before they
23 moved in there, I don't know if it was
24 rezoned --
25 MS. GATELLI: I think it's light
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: It was rezoned and I
3 think if they vacate it for a certain period
4 of time it would have to come before them
6 MS. GATELLI: It would go back to the
7 zone it was.
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: Well, originally it
9 was -- I don't know what it was though
10 original, was it light industrial?
11 MS. FANUCCI: It was light
12 industrial, I think it's light industrial
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: So, it would have to
15 be rezoned for something more suitable for
16 the neighborhood.
17 MS. EVANS: Yes.
18 MS. GATELLI: And then you would
19 just have to have a public hearing I think.
20 MS. EVANS: We can schedule a public
22 MS. GATELLI: You will have to see
23 what you want to change it to.
24 MS. EVANS: I think we will request
25 the input of the neighbors of that area of
1 lower Greenridge before proposing the
3 Well, tonight I am seeking my
4 colleague's support for House Bill 1768, a
5 cancer presumption bill, for statewide paid
6 and volunteer firefighters. One of the many
7 inherent dangers of firefighting is the
8 exposure to toxic environments. Exposure to
9 these toxins is not limited to battling
10 structures fires, rather, they are exposed
11 to toxins from rubbish fires, vehicle fires,
12 hazardous materials incidents and vehicle
14 While firefighters routinely and
15 willingly put themselves in harm's way in
16 performance of their duties, their
17 well-being should not be a matter of
18 political interpretation on the local level.
19 Cancer is a very real concern for
20 firefighters and their families, not only in
21 terms of the debilitating medical condition
22 and it's treatment, but also the financial
23 hardships such a disease can case. The
24 duties of a firefighter have changed
25 dramatically over the last century and so
1 have advancements in synthetic materials and
2 chemicals, thus, the danger to firefighters
3 has increased.
4 I am asking for my colleagues'
5 consideration of this very important issue
6 to firefighters statewide, therefore, I move
7 that Scranton City Council draft a
8 resolution supporting the House Bill 1768
9 and that such resolution following legal and
10 lawful adoption be forwarded to Senator
11 Robert Mellow.
12 MS. GATELLI: Second.
13 MR. MCGOFF: On the question?
14 MS. EVANS: I also have a copy of a
15 resolution that was drafted by Hazelton in
16 support of this same House Bill, so if
17 everyone would like to take a look at it and
18 if it meets your approval then perhaps
19 Attorney Minora could use this resolution as
20 his template.
21 MR. MCGOFF: I was just going to ask
22 if you could -- oh, I see, okay. So while
23 we are waiting, in essence what it does is
24 it simply adds cancer to a list of other --
25 MS. FANUCCI: Diseases and problems
1 that occur during firefighting.
2 MR. MCGOFF: Other problems that may
3 be --
4 MS. EVANS: Yes, and I understand
5 that it passed through the house.
6 MR. MCGOFF: Occupational --
7 MS. EVANS: With only two negative
8 votes and it's currently sitting in
9 committee waiting to be introduced into the
10 senate and there is a time line on this, I
11 believe it needs to reach Senator Mellow
12 probably within the next three to four weeks
13 in order to be pertinent.
14 MR. MCGOFF: I have to wait for
15 Mr. Courtright, but all in favor signify by
16 saying aye.
17 MS. EVANS: Aye.
18 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
19 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
20 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
21 ayes have it and so moved.
22 MS. EVANS: Thank you. This past
23 week I heard that the financial caucus
24 conducted prior to last week's council
25 meeting was never broadcast. I learned
1 earlier this evening the reason was that
2 ECTV was never requested to provide coverage
3 of that meeting, but I do recall this
4 talented young man, our cameraman, and his
5 camera were present and available during
6 this caucus and I think it is really ashame,
7 a disgrace in fact, that the ball was
8 dropped and that meeting was not broadcast
9 because it concerned the mayor's most recent
10 borrowing and the public certainly had a
11 right to view it and know all of the facts,
12 and I believe if ECTV cannot provide proper
13 coverage of caucuses and meetings then
14 Scranton Today should be authorized by the
15 mayor to step in.
16 Although, many area residents have
17 registered their dissatisfaction with ECTV
18 over the last three months, I have advised
19 patience and a fair window of opportunity
20 for ECTV and I had withheld my comments
21 during this transition period, however, one
22 gentleman I spoke with last week summed it
23 up best by saying: I'm not the smartest guy
24 in town, but in situation is easy to figure
25 out. We had Channel 61 and Scranton Today
1 and had live coverage of every meeting.
2 They never got money. Now we have ECTV and
3 lousy coverage and they're supposed to get
4 $100,000, and I haven't seen a meeting since
5 July. Somebody just doesn't want people to
6 see these meetings.
7 Well, we also agree that neither of
8 us were able to see the most recent school
9 board meeting and that never used to occur.
10 Therefore, I move to send a letter to the
11 mayor requesting that Scranton Today resume
12 operation of Channel 61 until such time as
13 ECTV provides live coverage of all local
14 government meetings and we ask this in order
15 to provide the citizens of Scranton with an
16 equal level of public access viewing of
17 their government meetings which they had
18 enjoyed for the previous nine years.
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: I will second that
20 then I will have a comment that I will ask
21 you to change your motion as soon as it's on
22 the question.
23 MR. MCGOFF: On the question?
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question, I
25 did a whole lot of homework this last week
1 on ECTV and I have some information that
2 I'll share with everybody when it's my turn
3 to speak and I don't know, and I'll ask
4 Mr. Minora if we could do this, I'm going to
5 ask Mrs. Evans if she withdraw her motion
6 until what time I speak and give this
7 information to the rest of council, I just
8 got it today, it might alter the way they
9 vote, all right? I'm guessing it might
10 alter them to vote in favor of your motion.
11 Would Mrs. Evans after I give my information
12 be able to speak out of turn and make a
13 motion again, Mr. Minora, is this allowed?
14 MR. MINORA: I believe so or if not
15 you could make the motion yourself.
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay.
17 MS. EVANS: If not you can make the
18 motion, but I will withdraw the motion.
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: And I think
20 everybody will understand once I give the
21 information that I have. I just got it
22 today so I didn't have an opportunity to put
23 it down in writing or anything like that.
24 MS. EVANS: And I know last week,
25 Mr. Courtright, I promised to ascertain some
1 information for you regarding ECTV, and this
2 information comes to me from the president
3 of Scranton Today who was one of the
4 original founders of Channel 61 and 62 and
5 has volunteered tirelessly with those two
6 stations for the years. The startup funding
7 for equipment came from the Scranton Area
8 Foundation. I was reminded that the RFP for
9 Scranton Today and their website clearly
10 states that. They received zero startup
11 dollars from the city and, in fact, only ev
12 er received $13,000 from the city in their
13 nine years. So I hope that clarifies the
14 issue from last week.
15 Now, because the public was deprived
16 of the right to see the financial caucus
17 last week I will provide the information.
18 Present at the caucus were Ray Lowry and
19 Mary Ellen Cawler, representing PNC Bank.
20 Brian Kozlanski and Dave Crane, bound
21 counsel. Stu Renda, business administrator,
22 and all city council members.
23 There are actually three financial
24 arrangements or borrowing episodes by the
25 city involving the DPW, first, the series of
1 2004 for $4 million at 5.99 percent fixed
2 interest rate, a maturity date,
3 December 2016. And according to Mr. Renda,
4 the city to date has paid 1.2 million on the
5 series of 2004.
6 The second is the series of 2005,
7 5.5 million at a 6.99 fixed interest rate
8 with the maturity date of December 2008.
9 According to Mr. Renda, the city paid
10 $1 million in interest and $10,000 in
11 principal to date.
12 The series of 2006 for $10 million,
13 6.10 percent fixed interest rate, maturity
14 date November 2024, and according to Mr.
15 Renda, the city has paid $530,000 on series
16 of 2006. And that is an interest only to
17 date. The principal for the series of 2006,
18 is payable beginning November 1, 2008, that
19 is in approximately five weeks.
20 As of today, the mayor hopes to pay
21 off the series of 2005 by borrowing
22 6.1 million, and as I said, over one million
23 in interest and principal payments were
24 already paid.
25 The interest rate for the new
1 borrowing is approximately 2.67 percent
2 variable rate, that was the rate as of last
3 week with a ceiling of 20 percent interest.
4 Maturity date is 2026. The city cannot
5 obtain bond insurance, so the bonds are
6 secured by a PNC Bank letter of credit.
7 In 2003, the mayor boasted of a
8 double or AAA bond rating which was secured,
9 we later learned in 2004, by $1 million in
10 bond insurance. I would suggest that
11 Mr. Renda research the archives of the
12 newspaper and perhaps find those statements.
13 Today our bond rating stands at BBB since
14 Standard and Poor's lowered it nearly one
15 year ago for failure to cut costs and
16 extensive borrowing.
17 Further, this financial arrangement
18 occurs without benefit of the 2007 audit. I
19 question the financial panel about the
20 wisdom of this action. Mr. Lowry said, "The
21 bank feels a comfort level with this
23 I asked why 5.5 million would be
24 loaned to the city in 2005 for only a
25 three-year period knowing that the city ran
1 a structural deficit and was in dire
2 financial straights with no opportunity for
3 a payoff in three years. Mr. Lowry offered
4 that he has a vision of the future for
6 Ladies and gentlemen, in banking, an
7 idealistic future vision and a comfy, cozy
8 comfort level have no place. That is a sin
9 against the taxpayers who are suffering from
10 unemployment, fixed incomes and poverty.
11 The DPW was built at a cost of
12 $3.5 million and has never been appraised,
13 although, now it has been used four times by
14 the city to borrow money, twice through the
15 Sewer Authority and twice through the
16 Redevelopment Authority. It is difficult to
17 ascertain if the Sewer Authority or the
18 Redevelopment Authority owns the DPW until
19 payments in full are made some day. Why the
20 city cannot borrow directly I don't know.
21 In total, the combination of the 2004/2006
22 and let us just say we'll set aside the 2005
23 and consider the new 2008 borrowing against
24 the DPW, equals $20.1 million which will be
25 paid back over the next 18 years. Yet, this
1 is not the grand total of our city's debt.
2 I haven't included the $74 million borrowed
3 in 2003 which we will pay until the Year
4 2033 or the tens of millions amassed by the
5 city authority. Equally important, the
6 mayor has guaranteed all of this debt
7 through his ability to tax you.
8 The bottom line is this, the new
9 borrowing carries a variable interest rate
10 of 2.67 percent as of last week with an
11 interest rate ceiling of 20 percent. The
12 original interest rate was 6.99 percent
13 fixed. The city has already paid over a
14 million in interest and principal. The
15 original dollar amount was 5.5 million and
16 the new borrowing is at a maximum 6.1
17 million. The payment went from three years
18 to 18 years. The mayor is borrowing to pay
19 off his borrowing once again. The total
20 cost for the $3.5 million DPW will now be
21 $20.1 million that the taxpayers will owe.
22 More important, the mayor has made no
23 attempt to tighten his belt. He has
24 expanded management, awarded hefty
25 management raises, forced early retirement
1 for which we pay out double pensions, shut
2 down the Healthcare Cost Containment
3 Committee, hired unnecessary consultants and
4 escalated legal costs by fighting lost
5 arbitration cases and municipal unions for
6 seven years.
7 Both he and the business
8 administrator has the responsibility
9 throughout Home Rule Charter and the
10 Administrative Code not to spend more than
11 what a budget states, yet, each year the
12 mayor either budgets incorrectly or engages
13 in deficit spending. I have warned him not
14 to borrow in 2005 and each year I was seated
15 on council. Like a teenager who runs up
16 credit card debt, no reasonable parent would
17 give the teen another credit card year after
18 year, and no responsible parent would bail
19 out a spoiled child unless he cancelled the
20 card and did everything possible to pay down
21 his debt. With no good faith movement on
22 the mayor's part to curb his spending and
23 pay down his debt, I can't approve his
24 latest bond issue.
25 The city is receiving increases in
1 collected wage taxes and 12.2 million sits
2 in Fidelity Bank. Coincidentally, the mayor
3 believes about $5 million of that sum
4 belongs to the city, yet, once again, he is
5 borrowing to pay off his borrowing. Banks
6 enable such actions. Mr. Lowry, that is the
7 original sin.
8 And, finally, I have some requests
9 for the past two weeks, and I do apologize
10 for not having responded to e-mails. I am
11 having computer problems again, I can
12 receive e-mails, but I am unable to send
13 them and I'm hoping that within the next
14 week I'll send the computer out once again
15 and have that rectified. The requests are,
16 and this first one reflects a speaker
17 tonight, approximately 100 feet north of
18 3040 Olyphant Avenue, please examine and
19 repair area marked by red sawhorse.
20 Number two, council requests a copy
21 of the letter of credit between PNC Bank and
22 the City of Scranton.
23 Next, a letter to Leo D'Angello,
24 what is the location of the old and
25 dangerous sidewalks and lighting in downtown
1 Scranton for which $300,000 in 2009 CDBG
2 funds has been applied. Please provide a
3 written response on or before September 30,
5 217-219 and 221 North Garfield
6 Avenue, houses are cluttered with furniture,
7 bags, clothing on railings, toys, and
8 garbage cans are on sidewalk. The neighbors
9 complain that these properties are an
10 eyesore and a safety hazard.
11 A letter to the city engineer and
12 Army Corp or Engineers, the Parker Street
13 bridge has been closed to one lane since
14 April 2008 yet no work appears to occur.
15 Residents of Scranton wish to know a
16 timeline for this bridge. They report that
17 fights have occurred on the stretch of road
18 since drivers run the red light. This is my
19 second request, I believe the first request
20 went to Mr. Brazil with no response.
21 895 Providence Road, old Atlas Glass
22 property, that was never cleared since last
23 summer and I think Mr. Liptai handled this
24 and perhaps we could just ask him for an
25 update on the owner.
1 And I am also going to ask that our
2 office would resubmit three citizens'
3 request that were made at previous meetings
4 and written responses were requested by
5 yesterday, September 22, and, of course, no
6 responses were received, so I am going to
7 ask for those one again with council's
8 agreement, and that's it.
9 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Evans.
10 Mrs. Gatelli.
11 MS. GATELLI: The first thing I have
12 is I did speak with Representative Smith as
13 late as about 4:30 this afternoon. He is
14 looking into a situation for us, I forgot to
15 discuss it with my colleagues, to put some
16 money into OECD for that issue, probably at
17 least 10,000, Bob, if you could add it to
18 the block grants for next year because it is
19 going to cost us money. They do it up in
20 Dunmore and they had to hire someone
21 strictly to trap the skunks, so I will be
22 speaking with Mr. Smith further on that and
23 hoping that he can help us with our problems
25 Someone asked a question about down
1 on the 500 block of Lackawanna Avenue and
2 the only thing I could find, and maybe
3 Sherry will know more, but it says, "The
4 project is being funded through the United
5 States Department of Transportation and the
6 Federal Highway Administration through the
7 Transportation Enhancements Program," so I
8 don't think that we are spending anymore
9 money. Most of the state money and the
10 federal money that is given for this project
11 must flow the municipality, that's the
12 procedure and I believe that is what part of
13 this agreement is for.
14 Another question was about the
15 Pisano light, I don't know if Mrs.
16 Schumacher was here last time, but we did
17 table and it and I did try to get some
18 information, although, it wasn't very
19 successful. On the loan documents say that
20 eight jobs are to be created, but I was
21 under the impression that it was a
22 restaurant. It doesn't really say that in
23 the documents that I have been looking at,
24 and I would imagine as long as he creates
25 eight jobs for low to moderate income people
1 then he satisfies his obligation.
2 My only problem with it is that
3 there had been a study done in the downtown
4 and it included Moosic Street and Meadow
5 Avenue, and I had inquired about it several
6 years ago before I was seated on council as
7 a neighborhood president because most of it
8 effected the South Side area and we had
9 fought that light on Meadow Avenue for the
10 last 11 years that it hasn't been there.
11 I'm concerned that those aren't done, the
12 light on Moosic and Harrison has not been
13 corrected, you cannot make a left-hand turn
14 going up Moosic, a left on Harrison Avenue,
15 without taking your life in your hands. One
16 of my former fellow teachers at Northeastern
17 Intermediate School was run over by a car
18 there last Christmas and it is a very, very
19 dangerous intersection, much more dangerous
20 than the one on Front and Moosic.
21 I have never seen any problems on
22 Front and Moosic. There is a donut shop, a
23 Chinese restaurant, La'Trattoria, you know,
24 there was so much commercial business there
25 I don't understand what's changed. You
1 know, Granitos was there, there was
2 apartments in there, so I don't understand
3 why this is being done and the rest of it is
4 being ignored and it says in the legislation
5 that they are going to install a traffic
6 signal. Well, there is one there already.
7 So, you know, my question questions
8 weren't answered and, you know, I'm sorry
9 that it's back on the agenda, but all of my
10 questions weren't answered and I will be
11 voting "no" on that this evening for the
12 reasons I have stated, unless you want to
13 table it again.
14 As far as the of what everyone is
15 calling the borrowing, I guess it's being
16 called that so that we can start the
17 election campaigns for next year. I spoke
18 to several accountants, I spoke to other
19 bond counsels in Philadelphia, and they all
20 assured me that it is a refinancing. They
21 said that to default on a loan is a very
22 critical and dangerous thing for a
23 municipality to do. I believe that we have
24 one more week before this is final. I will
25 seek some more information, I don't like
1 that we have to pay more. I'll agree with
2 you I don't like that. I want the five
3 million from the tax office that's owed us
4 that we still haven't gotten that we
5 probably won't get for the rest of the year
6 because the audit wasn't started in a timely
7 fashion in my opinion.
8 We can praise them for all the money
9 they are taking in, but that's money because
10 people are scared now. They are scared that
11 they are going to get caught not paying
12 their taxes, that's what that's all about.
13 They are not doing anymore work than the
14 workers up there have done in the last
15 several years. The people in that office
16 always worked and they did a fine job, but
17 the people are scared now, the ones that
18 didn't pay before, and that's why it looks
19 like they are bringing in a lot more money.
20 In fact, they are bringing in a lot more
21 money, but the audit should have been done
22 more expeditiously. This is putting the
23 City of Scranton at risk.
24 And as far as calling it borrowing,
25 there are people seated up here that
1 borrowed money twice, two years, I believe
2 2003 and 2005 and I don't see anybody
3 questioning those people. There is a person
4 that used to sit up here and he voted for
5 borrowing, too, and I'm sure a lot of you,
6 including me, supported him in an election.
7 Nothing is said about that person, so I
8 always wonder why, why they always pick on
9 Judy. Why Judy borrows. Everyone else
10 borrows and nothing is said. Bless
11 yourself, Bill, you should bless yourself.
12 MR. JACKOWITZ: I just did.
13 MS. GATELLI: You really should. You
14 should bless yourself.
15 MR. JACKOWITZ: I just did.
16 MS. GATELLI: Because a lot of people
17 come here and they have one motive in mind
18 and it's the election of next year. I have
19 already started to receive the nasty letters
20 in the mail criticizing everything from my
21 hairdo to the way I eat my mints up here and
22 drink my coffee. Other people drink coffee
23 up here, everybody has a cup up here, but
24 Judy Gatelli got a letter in the mail
25 anonymous. Somebody must be awfully scared
1 that they have to threaten another council
2 person up here.
3 So, you know, I find it interesting,
4 too, that I was criticized for attending a
5 zoning board meeting. I have attended
6 zoning board meetings for the last 25 years,
7 and just because I sit up here doesn't
8 preclude me from speaking for my
9 neighborhood. I will continue to fight for
10 my neighborhood, and I'll continue to fight
11 for yours if you need me, just ask. I would
12 wouldn't want anything going in your
13 neighborhood that didn't belong there
14 either, and I will support Mrs. Evans on
15 that. We will spot zone that area. We can
16 spot zone, we have that authority and I will
17 do that.
18 But to be chastised for defending my
19 neighbors, that is just absurd. I have
20 fought for my neighborhood longer than some
21 of the people up here have lived in
22 Scranton. I have lived here for 57 years.
23 I went from Prospect Avenue up to two blocks
24 to Connell Street. I'm in the same
25 neighborhood I was born in. So, I do love my
1 city and I do love everything that goes on
2 here and I'm happy with what's going on and
3 I will continue to fight for everyone else.
4 West Side is seeing some of the demolition
5 coming now in their neighborhood and that's
6 the way it should be, neighborhood by
8 So, if you want to criticize me
9 that's fine, but my record speaks for
10 itself. You ask the people in South
11 Scranton what I have done for 27 years.
12 They were very happy that I came here to
13 defend them and you can laugh and criticize
14 me all you want. I will continue to fight
15 for my neighborhood and even if I don't sit
16 up here anymore I'll be down there and I'll
17 be in the South Side residence until the day
18 of my last breath. Maybe some of you should
19 join and participate in cleanups and
20 plantings at parks, it's very rewarding.
21 I will find out some more about the
22 refinancing, but please be aware that there
23 are other people sitting up here that voted
24 for borrowing in the past and they have not
25 been axed in the throat for what they did.
1 So, please, be patient and I will try to do
2 what's best for all of you. Thank you.
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mrs. Gatelli, can I
4 interrupt you for one second? I have a
5 little bit of information about the Pisano
6 project and if it's not enough information
7 or if you would like to confirm it then I
8 ask that maybe we table it rather than just
9 voting down because we don't have enough
10 information, Chris Pisano called me about a
11 week ago and I returned his call and here is
12 the information that he has given me, and
13 maybe we could verify it before we do
14 anything, but he is saying that they were
15 mandated by PennDOT to do this study and
16 that all of the costs incurred is on him,
17 that none of the costs for any of this is on
18 the city. I'm not 100 percent sure about
19 putting in a new traffic signal in there, I
20 thought the last one, the legislation read
21 that we were going to change the timing, the
22 existing timing.
23 MS. EVANS: Yes.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: The existing signal.
25 MS. GATELLI: It says right in here
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: You're right. I
3 noticed that this week, but was that the way
4 it was the previous week?
5 MS. GATELLI: Another one it says
6 erect. Erect, operate and maintain.
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: So he assured me
8 that all the costs were going to be, you
9 know, his responsibility, so maybe we can
10 confirm that through the law department or
11 whatever and maybe we need to table it
12 because I had asked him, I said, you know,
13 there is other projects that have been in
14 the pipeline long before yours and people
15 are concerned that your project is getting
16 jumped ahead, and he said, "Absolutely not."
17 Now, I don't know Chris Pisano, I know
18 the dad a lot better than I know the son,
19 but that's who I spoke to, so maybe we could
20 table it and I'll see what the law
21 department found out exactly, what it is,
22 and if, in fact, they are paying for
23 everything I don't know how we stop them.
24 If they were being jumped ahead and the city
25 was paying then, obviously, I wouldn't go
1 for that.
2 MS. GATELLI: Because it does say,
3 Bill, that the City of Scranton will install
4 and operate.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: Right. Right.
6 MS. GATELLI: It doesn't say that
7 someone else is going to pay for it.
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: I'll clarify that
9 with the with law department if everybody is
10 willing to go along with --
11 MS. GATELLI: Is this the last week
12 for that?
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: We're in seventh
14 order; correct?
15 MS. GARVEY: It's in Fifth Order.
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: Unless everybody
17 would be willing to move it forward and then
18 I'll get that information for next week.
19 MS. GATELLI: I'll do that.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: Is that all right
21 with everybody? Thank you.
22 MS. EVANS: I think, also, it was due
23 to -- the changes were necessary due to a
24 traffic back up on Moosic Street. They
25 wanted to change the timing of the light in
1 order -- for one lane only, not on both
2 sides of the lane in order to facilitate
4 MS. GATELLI: Does anybody know
5 what's going to be there?
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: I think a
7 restaurant. I am being told it was a
9 MS. EVANS: I said earlier it's a
10 restaurant, according to Chris Pisano, a
11 restaurant and office space.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: What I was hearing
13 also was going to go in there and now I
14 think it's not a go, I think also Magistrate
15 Russell was supposed to move there and now I
16 don't believe he is for whatever reasons,
17 because at one point in time when they were
18 giving up footage there I think the parking
19 was an issue and they were doing that so
20 that the state police or local police were
21 going to bring prisoners in you wouldn't
22 bring them in right on Moosic Street, but
23 for whatever reason I don't believe that's
24 happening. I could be wrong, so now my
25 understanding is offices and a restaurant.
1 I don't know what kind of restaurant, but
2 I'll clarify it with the law department
3 after this.
4 MS. GATELLI: Whose turn is it, I
5 don't want to interrupt.
6 MS. FANUCCI: It's yours.
7 MS. GATELLI: If, in fact, we do
8 push this forward I think that we need to do
9 something with the city engineer and PennDOT
10 and ask why the signalization in downtown
11 and the signalization on Moosic Street isn't
12 being correct. I know that study was done a
13 few years ago, even for the downtown. You
14 could wait at least a minute half coming up
15 Washington to try and make a left on
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: I think it's our
18 responsibility, when I say "our", the city
19 to maintain that timing. They are supposed
20 to have things underground that I don't
21 think they have worked for years and I think
22 that's the problem.
23 MS. GATELLI: Well, they had told me
24 years ago that they were waiting for this
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: Oh, okay.
2 MS. GATELLI: But we need to find
3 that out, Mrs. Garvey, if you can, because
4 maybe that would answer the rest of the
5 questions of the questions. Thank you.
6 Thank you, Bill.
7 MR. MCGOFF: Ms. Fanucci.
8 MS. FANUCCI: I wanted to answer some
9 questions about the OECD. PennDOT is paying
10 for that funding, the reason that it's being
11 done is that PennDOT cannot evaluate, they
12 are not qualified to evaluate, so they had
13 to hire someone to come in and do it, they
14 will be, but they are paying all the funding
15 so that's one thing on 5-E so that we know.
16 Same thing with the streetscape
17 project, that's also part of it, it's been
18 done since the first phase and we just have
19 to pass the legislation to keep the money
20 flowing, it's not new financial thing or
21 financial spending it's just part of the
22 project from what I have been told.
23 I want to talk to you about,
24 everyone, my colleagues, talking about it
25 with Amil when he comes back, his stunt
1 double is here, maybe you can help, that I'm
2 thinking about the city going green,
3 businesses in the city and recycling and
4 doing something to help in that department.
5 Whether we can write legislation, see what
6 other cities have done, impose fines for
7 people who are not willing to do so. It's
8 time that we actually participate in this
9 and it's not something that we should take
10 lightly. It's time. Our impact on the
11 environment is huge and if we do not jump on
12 this now it's going to be too late. We knew
13 to do the right thing and it's time tore us
14 to be responsible. And so I would like to
15 do some research on that.
16 Also, I'd like to speak about the
17 bond rating. The bond rating seems to come
18 up quite often here and, Ancherani, I
19 already feel you looking, but let me tell
20 you right now, the bond rating was only
21 raised when we were under the last
22 administration. The bond rating was low and
23 it was raised. It was raised for one reason
24 the Recovery Plan and the promises of having
25 a plan on paper. Unfortunately, the plan
1 has not been implemented, not due to anyone
2 up here, I'll can tell you that, but it has
3 not been implemented and until that happens
4 our bond rating was lowered, so that is the
5 only reason. The bond rating was not higher
6 because we are doing any better or
7 financially more solvent then, it was not
8 lowered because we were not financial
9 solvent. It was because of a plan that was
10 in effect and we went to Standard and Poors
11 and the city went and said, "Here is our
12 plan," and they said, "Okay, we'll give you
13 a shot."
14 It didn't happen because it's years
15 later as we all know, unfortunately, with
16 contract negotiations and our bond rating
17 has been put back to where we were. Sad,
18 but true. So, unfortunately, the bond
19 rating does not effect where we are in the
20 city or who we are in the city. It is where
21 we were.
22 I also want to talk about something
23 very important, very important in our city.
24 All of the people who showed up at the
25 school board meeting worried about all of
1 the money that they are spending, amazing to
2 me week after week people come here worried
3 about the taxes that we impose, being the
4 lowest taxing body on your tax bill, by the
5 way, you come here week after week screaming
6 and yelling about taxes being raised once in
7 how many years, was it? Mrs. Gatelli, do
8 you recall how many years it was since the
9 last raise? Seven or --
10 MS. GATELLI: Eleven or 12.
11 MS. FANUCCI: Oh, 12 years, but yet
12 not one person cared enough to even go and
13 find out. You don't even now how much you
14 are going to be paying when you open your
15 bill you will find out, but it seems to me
16 amazing that the same people who come here,
17 tax groups that claim to be Scranton/
18 Lackawanna County Taxpayers who are worried
19 about here and not worried about where most
20 of their money is going just amazes me. It
21 also shows me exactly what the intent here
22 is at this meetings. I have said it from
23 day one and I love when I'm right, it
24 actually makes me feel really good at the
25 end of the day, but it is very telling and
1 unbelievable to me because you would think
2 that you would at least try to cover your
3 tracks and go and speak your mind at other
4 meetings where you are spending a lot more
5 money. A lot more money.
6 So, I just wanted to point that out.
7 I would think that, you know, most of our
8 taxpayers here, and especially our regulars,
9 would have cared enough to have voiced their
10 opinion on other financial institutions that
11 they are paying a lot of money to, but they
12 didn't. So I move on and I move on with a
13 better understanding and being proved right
15 Also, I'd like to speak on one more
16 thing, which is the TV. I know that we are
17 going to talk about this later, I'm an
18 actual of where with this, so I'm glad you
19 got more information. People say that we
20 are afraid to be on TV, actually, I love
21 being on TV. I live to be on TV. It's a
22 joke, but I don't care if we're live, I
23 don't care if we're not live, it doesn't
24 matter. You know, I don't try to hide what
25 happens here, in fact, I love it. I think
1 it's great that every part of these meetings
2 are shown and people can see exactly what
3 goes on here because I know how smart the
4 taxpayers are out there and I know that they
5 get it, so I'm okay with the meetings being
6 on. So, people who claim that I don't, you
7 know, that there are certain people who
8 don't want them on, it's certainly not I
9 because I think it's great. I love it.
10 So I do want to clarify that and we
11 will see what Bill has to say and try to
12 proceed from there. None of us want to stop
13 your coverage out there, I mean it's I think
14 important that you think what happens at
15 every meeting, certainly not just city
16 council, but other meetings that are very
17 scarcely attended, and that is all that I
18 have for tonight and just remember that we
19 are here, we are doing our job whether you
20 like the hard decisions we make.
21 Oh, I do want to speak on the
22 refinancing. Funny, when you refinance your
23 house at home now you found out you are
24 borrowing and you didn't know that so that's
25 a good thing to know. Refinancing is the
1 responsible thing to do right now. None of
2 us want to be in this situation, none of us
3 enjoy being in this situation, we don't like
4 to have to spend money under any
5 circumstances. We don't like to have to
6 borrow, we don't like to have to refinance,
7 we don't like to be where we are right now.
8 It is a very difficult situation, but to
9 make decisions based on what you have to do
10 is not an easy thing.
11 We don't take it lightly. I
12 certainly don't take it lightly and I know
13 none of us do where you are and how you
14 stand on the situations. We know everyday
15 that there is a struggle and there is a
16 deficit and it is not easy functioning with
17 all of that, even with the Recovery Plan and
18 who doesn't like it and who does like it and
19 the negotiations that go on and the
20 arbitrations, it is not easy, but to default
21 on a loan is the worst thing we can do. The
22 absolutely worst thing to do and, as I said
23 before, and I will stand by this, a judge
24 will not let us declare bankruptcy in this
25 city. We will go back to a new group, not
1 PEL, somebody else that they decide to hire
2 and we will start from square one, so if we
3 think we are in a bad situation after all of
4 this time see how bad it can be when we have
5 to start from the first page all over again.
6 That's not the responsible thing to do. The
7 responsible thing to do is it keep our head
8 up, hopefully help our city and,
9 unfortunately, refinance. And that is all I
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay, I just want to
12 make one thing clear, I have only spoke to
13 one employee from ECTV and that would be
14 Mark Migliori and he has been nothing but a
15 gentleman to me and has given me whatever
16 information that I have asked him for, so I
17 don't want any of this to be misconstrued
18 that, you know, I don't like him or his
19 employees that I have never met any of the
20 employees other than the gentleman that is
21 filming us right now, but while we were on
22 the break and then especially once we came
23 back I had a lot of people said, you know,
24 aren't -- how come the meetings aren't on TV
25 anymore and I explained to them they are and
1 I explained to them what times they are and
2 I said, you'll see it scrolling on the TV
3 they will give you the times, and I asked
4 last week and I'll ask again this week that
5 ECTV play this a couple of more times
6 because a lot of people are just telling me
7 it's not a good time or they are not seeing
9 But, anyway, I started digging into
10 it and I spoke to Comcast today and I asked
11 them, you know, what is the problem with
12 this live feed, why can't we get this live
13 feed here. My understanding was that it's
14 just going to be a mile and a half run of
15 cable from Prescott Avenue to here and the
16 one question was are you sure Prescott
17 Avenue is going to be the permanent
18 location? I said, no, I'm not sure of that,
19 I don't know.
20 The other thing was, it's not a
21 matter of running the cable from Prescott
22 Avenue here, it's matter of running the
23 cable from Duryea to Prescott Avenue to here
24 which would run a cost of approximately 22
25 to $25,000, all right? Which really -- I
1 didn't know that that was the situation, I
2 didn't know that at all. Now, they have got
3 or they will be getting $90,000 ECTV at some
4 point in time. If they have to take $25,000
5 of that 90, I don't know, I guess you are
6 going to have to pay the employees sooner or
7 later if you are not paying them now and
8 then even if we get the live feed after they
9 pay the $25,000 or whatever, Mark himself
10 has said there was an issue of having enough
11 money to buy the equipment such as they need
12 three cameras and a switcher, I'm not quite
13 sure what a switcher is, I'm ignorant when
14 it comes to that part.
15 This is why I ask Mrs. Evans if she
16 would hold up on her motion because at this
17 point in time it might be the thing we need
18 to do. I also asked the gentleman from
19 Comcast I said, what would happen if we
20 decided to run it out of the library again,
21 would that be possible? And he said it
22 would -- we would be able to go live almost
23 immediately. And I said, well, why is that?
24 He said, you know, it's only up the road and
25 we are right here, the cable is already run,
1 there is only one little piece of equipment
2 I guess they had taken out that could be put
3 back at very little cost and very fast.
4 So again, nothing against ECTV, but
5 I don't know if, I'm guessing that Scranton
6 Today would be willing to take back over
7 until what time ECTV can get up and running
8 again, but I think it's going to be quite
9 awhile before we see not only live and not
10 only Scranton City Council, but any of the
11 programming going back to as good as it was
12 if not better because of these things the
13 gentleman told me today.
14 And then one thing he said to me,
15 and I didn't think of and I don't think
16 anyone of us thought of, why some people
17 want it live, and I didn't think about this,
18 he said to me that as a county, he said, we
19 need to talk to our county and see if the
20 county would be interested in putting in
21 money, and I said they are, they are
22 piece-mealing it out to ECTV, he said in the
23 event that we had a disaster here or a flood
24 or anything like that a live feed for the
25 city would be very beneficial to the people
1 in the surrounding area.
2 He also let me know that their
3 contract will be coming up soon and maybe
4 this $25,000 could be negotiated into the
5 contract and I said, well, I'm not at
6 liberty to negotiate the contract with you.
7 But, anyway, in my opinion I don't
8 think we are going to see the programming
9 get any better than what it is right now for
10 awhile, and if I'm wrong I think
11 Mr. Balton's vision, and I never met the guy
12 before, well, I think he might have filmed
13 we me one time, I think his vision just
14 didn't work out. It just didn't work out,
15 and my understanding is that I guess it's
16 Mr. Darcy that is in charge of the situation
17 now, so maybe we ask him to come in and see
18 if what I'm saying, if he agrees, if he
19 thinks it's going to take a long time, and
20 if he thinks it's going to be this
21 exorbitant amount of money before they get
22 up and running and just have him come in and
23 tell us because I've got to be honest with
24 you, most of the people aren't happy with
25 the programming. They are just not happy
1 with seeing the weather going across and
2 whatever else is on there. You know, they
3 were hoping for all municipality meetings
4 that they had before and they were hoping
5 for live and they were hoping for the new
6 promised shows that were going to take
8 So again, nothing against this
9 gentleman filming us or Mark or anybody
10 involved, but it just hasn't worked out the
11 way I think that everybody had hoped it was
12 going to work out, so I think it's time to
13 you have got to do something.
14 MS. GATELLI: You want to call him
15 and see if he'll come in.
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: I'd be more than
17 willing to call Mr. Darcy and ask him if he
18 can come in and speak with us and if I'm
19 correct what's the solution and if I'm
20 incorrect, correct me, but I'm pretty sure
21 I'm correct. This guy from Comcast knew
22 what he was talking about.
23 MS. FANUCCI: Bill, I think with the
24 address situation there was a lawsuit filed
25 and I believe there was something with
1 zoning, so that might be why they were under
2 the impression they weren't sure where at
3 that point until they were all cleared with
4 that because I know that they were, at least
5 I don't know if they were sued, but
6 something is going on.
7 MS. EVANS: I think there was a
8 zoning appeal hearing that occurred and the
9 appeal was dismissed.
10 MS. FANUCCI: And there was a zoning
11 appeal, right.
12 MS. GATELLI: There appeal was
14 MS. FANUCCI: They are fine.
15 MS. GATELLI: I didn't know that. I
16 didn't know there was a decision on the
18 MS. FANUCCI: Yeah, I think they are
19 okay and they are going to stay there, but
20 that was just recently, that was in the past
21 two weeks.
22 MS. EVANS: Honestly, I don't
24 MS. FANUCCI: So that would maybe
25 address the situation now.
1 MS. GATELLI: Kay, you might want to
2 ask John Wallace by next week to let us know
3 if the hearing was dismissed.
4 MS. FANUCCI: And I think it would be
5 great if he comes in and gives us some
6 insight into what's going on instead of us
7 sitting here spinning our wheels every week.
8 We don't know. I mean, we really don't
9 know. It's not, to be honest with you, we
10 aren't anymore informed than you are. We
11 know what you do.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: I know hindsight is
13 20/20, but I think when they made their plan
14 to take over they should have known about
15 this cost and difficulty in running this
16 live feed.
17 MS. GATELLI: I think it was Balton.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: And Mr. Balton
19 evidently missed the mark here, I'm sorry,
20 Mr. Balton, where you are at, but I don't
21 think you did enough homework when it came
22 to that.
23 MS. FANUCCI: Let's find out, too,
24 because at the end of the day we can write
25 every letter we want to write, but it's
1 something that is not our decision again and
2 I don't want to end up --
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: I would say this,
4 if Mr. Darcy comes in here and says I'm
5 correct in what I'm saying, and if five
6 members of this council thinks it's
7 something that needs to be done, I don't
8 think the mayor would have much choice than
9 to agree to this, and maybe he would agree
10 to temporarily let Scranton Today take back
11 over or whatever, somehow resolve what's
12 going on because I don't think most of the
13 people aren't happy with the way things are
14 being run right now and so let's try to
15 correct that.
16 MS. EVANS: Mr. Courtright, that's
17 all I was asking for a temporary fix until
18 ECTV would be up and running and providing
19 an equal level of services to what's been
20 enjoyed in the past, that's all. It wasn't
21 to replace them, it was simply to --
22 MS. GATELLI: No, but I think we
23 need the answer of where they are at.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: So, maybe,
25 Mrs. Garvey, if you could --
1 MS. FANUCCI: Call and ask them.
2 MS. GATELLI: We need to make a
3 decision after that, we need to get him in
4 here to answer questions.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: If you can maybe ask
6 for 6:00 next week and --
7 MR. MCGOFF: We have to have a public
9 MR. COURTRIGHT: Oh, we have to have
10 a public hearing.
11 MS. GATELLI: Quarter to six maybe.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Whatever time we can
13 get him I'll take from my business to get
14 here for that, if I have to close up for
15 that night I will, but I would just like to
16 get this resolved one way or the other
17 because people aren't happy with the way
18 it's being done and including myself.
19 MS. FANUCCI: Because you love being
20 on TV.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: I love being on TV,
22 and that's all I have on that and now I'll
23 continue to look into this and hopefully we
24 see him here next week. He is in charge
25 now, right, Mr. Darcy?
1 MS. EVANS: Well, from what we know.
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: Is he running your
3 -- cameraman there, were --
4 THE CAMERA MAN: Is he like the
5 executive director?
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: That's wrong.
7 THE CAMERA MAN: Is Mr. Darcy above
9 MS. EVANS: Isn't he the president of
10 the board or the chairman of the board.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: I'm unfairly asking
12 the camera guy.
13 MS. GATELLI: Why don't we have the
14 two of them here, get the two of them here.
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: And in speaking
16 with Mark I don't think he would have any
17 problem with coming in. I've never spoke to
18 Mr. Darcy in my life. .
19 MS. GATELLI: Have the two of them
20 here and let's get it settled.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: Whatever time, if
22 it's quarter to six then I'll make it my
23 business to be here, if you could let me
24 know as soon as possible so I can make
25 arrangements? Okay.
1 Oh, you know, there was the article
2 in the paper about the roads getting paved
3 and some people obviously aren't happy that
4 their roads aren't the ones getting paved,
5 all right, but a lot of the people were
6 complaining that their roads were being done
7 up by the gas company, but you should be
8 happy if your road is being dug up by the
9 gas company because there is many, many
10 roads that will get paved this year by the
11 gas company because if they dig up a certain
12 portion of that road they have to pave it,
13 so --
14 MS. GATELLI: Those were those ones,
15 Bill, that Aker and Archbald all in this
16 section of --
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: Right, all the way
18 down there on Cloverfield and that all the
19 way Washburn Street, the whole length of
20 Washburn Street and Garfield and Filmore,
21 all those off of Washburn they are all being
22 dug by the gas company so your roads will be
23 paved, you know, compliments of the gas
24 company, so have a little patience there.
25 Why are some alleys, they are asking
1 why are some alleys being paved and other
2 ones aren't, I don't know. I don't know the
3 answer to that. According to what I saw in
4 the paper they took input from city workers
5 and that's how they decided what roads to
6 get paved.
7 I am going to comment on what
8 Mr. Gervasi said because, you know, I don't
9 always agree and I don't always disagree,
10 but one thing I agree with is, I think all
11 of us agree with us, he is saying we spent
12 $2 million on lawyers fighting the police
13 and fire and I have to agree with him. If
14 we had settled the contracts and they were
15 get being the raises and getting paid it
16 probably wouldn't have cost $2 million
17 up-to-date, so I just urger whoever has the
18 powers to settle the contract with these
19 guys and let's move on. I think it's one of
20 the things that is really holding this city
21 back is that these two unions don't have a
22 contract and I think it's costing us more
23 money fighting them than it is if we settled
24 with them.
25 Are we losing police officers,
1 absolutely, and we are losing some of the
2 police officers that have been here for a
3 lot of years that have the experience and
4 the other impact it's having is a lot of
5 them once they got the job they move out of
6 Scranton so we lose their tax dollars, and I
7 hate to see that happen and I think the only
8 way it's going to stop is if we get these
9 contracts settled.
10 And I know Mrs. Gatelli tried to get
11 involved and I know we would all like to get
12 involved, but we have very little to say
13 when it comes to that. I don't think our
14 input is taken too much, some less than
15 others, but anyway, I urge the
16 administration to please as expeditiously as
17 possible try to do something with these
18 contracts because the only one that is
19 benefiting the way we are going right now is
20 the lawyers.
21 MS. GATELLI: And you know, Bill,
22 just to add in there, when these cases are
23 decided somebody is going to lose. The city
24 is going to lose or the municipal fire and
25 police unions are going to lose and no
1 matter which one wins we are all going to
2 lose. You know, that's how I feel about it
3 and, I mean, I wish there was something else
4 that we could do and at the time when I met
5 with Mr. Jennings and some of the unions we
6 felt as though if we had enough votes on
7 council that we could settle the contract.
8 I don't know that that's ever been done in
9 the history of the city, but I think if you
10 have four votes you override the mayor in my
11 book, I don't know, but that was where we
12 were going from, Nelson, at the time, you
13 know, that's what we were thinking when I
14 met with Tom Jennings and some of the union
15 people and, you know, it just stopped
16 because I think that the animosity is there
17 and the hostility and it's hard for them to
18 get together now. If you can think of
19 anything for council to get that meeting
20 setup or whatever, every one of us up here
21 I'm sure is willing to do that. I mean, you
22 know, Janet and I were in the same
23 predicament, we hadn't had a raise for six
24 years. It's tough. It's tough. We know
25 because the morale in our building wasn't
1 good either and you get hostile and you have
2 animosity and sometimes the bridges are
3 burned that can't be repaired anymore
4 because everybody is so angry and I think
5 that's why a lot of it comes here. It's the
6 anger and we understand that and it
7 interferes with everything else because you
8 are judged by everything else because of
10 And, you know, sometimes it's not
11 fair to everybody because I like you guys.
12 I have worked with you guys for years and
13 years in the neighborhoods and the
14 firefighters and we all feel the same. I
15 mean, there is not one of us sitting up here
16 that doesn't feel the same way, so if you
17 can figure out a way, I'm offering the olive
18 branch again to try and help and my
19 colleagues I'm sure will nod in agreement if
20 they agree, that we need to settle this,
21 because you know what, we are all going to
22 lose if this is settled in Court. I don't
23 think that's the way to go and I think we
24 need to all sit down as human beings and
25 forget what happened and settle this because
1 it's not going to a pretty day in Scranton
2 when that happens.
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay. And that's
4 all I have. Thank you.
5 MS. GATELLI: I'm sorry, Bill.
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: That's okay.
7 MS. FANUCCI: Can I just say one
8 thing before we move on, I really do want to
9 say one thing, I do want to speak about the
10 speakers that got up today and spoke about
11 candidates coming into town and who was here
12 and who wasn't here. To be honest with you,
13 I don't think you have any right to get up
14 and speak about candidates in this forum and
15 I know that it keeps continually happening,
16 but from now on as of today I'm going to
17 make sure that I call to rules and it
18 doesn't happen anymore. I don't care who
19 you like or who you don't like, this isn't
20 the forum, and it's not fair to anyone to
21 get up and speak about certain candidates
22 and I really -- I find it almost ironic that
23 it happens every other week and from now on
24 because we know what's going to happen,
25 elections are coming, it's going to get
1 ridiculous and this is how we turn into our
2 fun circus events that we, you know, have in
3 the past, so I'm going to make sure from now
4 on if we can all stick to the fact we will
5 stand by each and not let people get up and
6 speak about candidates from now on that we
7 will stick together on that, please, and
8 that's all I have. Thank you. Sorry. I
10 MR. MCGOFF: Are you finished, Bill?
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: I'm done.
12 MS. GATELLI: No time left, Bob.
13 MR. MCGOFF: I, too, would like to
14 comment on what Mr. Bolus had to say. I
15 think all of us have personal decisions to
16 make concerning how we spend our time, both
17 as public officials and as private
18 individuals, and to criticize us for not
19 attending a particular event I think is
20 unnecessary. Perhaps people had other
21 priorities as Mrs. Evans said, she was
22 working, other people were probably working,
23 perhaps there were things that prevented us
24 from attending that particular event. We
25 have decisions to make based on our lives
1 and our priorities.
2 Also, I don't ever remember getting
3 an invitation to attend, you know, the rally
4 or whatever you want to call it and I know
5 during the primary elections that various
6 times when candidates were in the city
7 invitations were extended and we were, you
8 know, again chose to --
9 MS. EVANS: If the Governor is in
11 MR. MCGOFF: Right, and I don't
12 remember us personally getting an invitation
13 to the McCain visit, but again, I don't
14 think it's -- I don't think we should be
15 criticized for our lack of attendance at a
16 particular event.
17 Also, Mr. Quinn spoke about the CDBG
18 grants and particularly mentioned St.
19 Francis, I would just for the record there
20 was no application from St. Francis for a
21 grant which is why there was no money
22 granted in the proposals to them. There was
23 just simply no application for a grant
24 through that program.
25 Also, I find it surprising that
1 people are now coming in and requesting that
2 Junior Council be reinstituted or
3 rejuvenated, and some of the people that are
4 asking for that have been the -- were the
5 biggest critics of Junior Council and
6 members of Junior Council and part of the
7 reason why some of the members of council
8 didn't return and did leave was because of
9 the criticism that they did receive and now
10 we want to, perhaps we are looking for, you
11 know, scapegoats again, somebody to
12 criticize, but I think if Junior Council is
13 going to be rejuvenated it is going to have
14 to be under some different guidelines and a
15 different type of program than we had in the
17 And the thing with the traffic
18 signals, I agree with Mr. Schumacher, I
19 think before we do anything as far as these
20 traffic signals are concerned the one that
21 has been lingering the longest and the one
22 that I think is more important than any of
23 the others is Meadow Avenue and River
24 Street, that's an accident waiting to happen
25 every time a car comes to that intersection,
1 and I just don't see any movement and
2 obviously you have been involved in it
3 longer than I have, but, you know, I think
4 until something is resolved there we just
5 put a hold on any other type of movement on
6 the traffic signals.
7 I know that there are other places
8 in the city where that's important to be
9 done and the synchronization and the whole
10 thing, but I think we need to have some idea
11 of a plan, you know, what is the plan for
12 dealing with traffic signals in the City of
13 Scranton? You know, is there one, or what
14 are the priorities, at least see something
15 before we start to vote piecemeal on traffic
16 signals throughout the city.
17 MS. EVANS: Mr. McGoff, if I might
18 inject though, my only concern, because I do
19 agree we need answers, we have waited years
20 and years and years, but I believe that in
21 the case of the Pisano development and the
22 Jay's Commons they must obtain a permit from
23 the State of Pennsylvania and without that
24 permit they don't intend to proceed with
25 their projects because should they not
1 receive that permit because city council
2 would deny their ordinances or resolutions,
3 their project is done, so I think you will
4 see a lack of progress at those locations
5 until the decision is made.
6 MR. MCGOFF: Maybe we can force
7 somebody's hand on the Meadow and River
8 Streets, but I understand what you are
9 saying. I would just like to see something.
10 MS. EVANS: Oh, I agree, it's like
11 two different departments. It's like
12 comparing the business administration office
13 to the DPW, they all fall under city
14 government, but they are two entirely
15 different purposes.
16 MR. MCGOFF: Right. Thank you. A
17 few other things. As far as the skunk
18 issue, I was very hurried here tonight, my
19 sister sent me an e-mail, and she may have
20 sent it to all of us on council, it had
21 potions for keeping skunks away from your
22 house, and the one that she sent to me was
23 one of Jalapeno peppers, onions and cayenne
24 pepper in water, boil it, strain it, spray
25 around the garbage cans. Now, I guess it
1 keeps the skunks away, but you smell like a
2 Mexican restaurant, so I don't know what's
3 the -- but, I know there are on-line kind of
4 the homemade remedies for dealing with
5 skunks. I know that doesn't get rid of them
6 but, I just --
7 MS. HUBBARD: Fox urine, but that
8 doesn't work.
9 MS. FANUCCI: I don't want to have to
10 get that.
11 MR. MCGOFF: But, the skunk thing,
12 perhaps we can look at funding for that
13 through the blight program. I don't know if
14 that would come under any of the blight or
15 back in that.
16 Two last things, as far as last
17 week's caucus not being filmed or not being
18 recorded, I would just like to defend ECTV
19 on that, I don't remember us ever having our
20 caucus filmed unless it was specifically
21 requested, and there was no specific request
22 made to me or obviously to ECTV to do that
23 last week, so I don't think it's on them
24 that it was not recorded or that the camera
25 was not here for it just as, you know, many
1 other pre-meeting events that take place are
2 not filmed, that one was not requested and,
3 therefore, they didn't.
4 And in keeping with that, and we
5 talked I know a little bit about ECTV
6 tonight, maybe too much, I would like to see
7 ECTV given a fair chance to operate. I
8 don't think that that's happened. I think
9 litigation and appeals and everything else
10 has prevented them from actually getting to
11 a point where they can operate as the public
12 access server for Channel 61. I would like
13 to -- I would like to see them get a fair
14 chance to do what they have initially
15 proposed to do and I think that in the
16 coming months now that some of the
17 litigation and the zoning appeals have been
18 dealt with perhaps they can get to a point
19 where they can function and can fulfill the
20 promises that were made in the proposal and
21 that is I think the last thing I have to
22 say. Moving on.
23 MS. GARVEY: FIFTH ORDER. 5-B. FOR
24 INTRODUCTION - A RESOLUTION - AUTHORIZING
25 THE CITY OF SCRANTON TO MAKE APPLICATION FOR
1 PERMIT TO THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
2 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO INSTALL AND
3 OPERATE TRAFFIC SIGNAL AND TIMING CHANGES AT
4 THE INTERSECTION OF MOOSIC STREET AND FRONT
5 STREET TO IMPROVE THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC FOR
6 THE PISANO COMMERCIAL PROJECT ON MOOSIC
8 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll
9 entertain a motion that Item 5-B be
10 introduced into it's proper committee.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
12 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
13 MR. MCGOFF: On the question?
14 Anyone? All in favor signify by saying aye.
15 MS. EVANS: Aye.
16 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
17 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
19 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
20 ayes have it and so moved.
21 MS. GARVEY: 5-C. FOR INTRODUCTION -
22 A RESOLUTION - DESIGNATING BRIAN SWANSON,
23 CITY ENGINEER, AS THE CITY'S DESIGNATED
24 OFFICIAL TO APPROVE AND SIGN THE TRAFFIC
25 SIGNAL PLAN FOR THE INTERSECTION OF MOOSIC
1 STREET AND FRONT STREET FOR THE PISANO
2 COMMERCIAL PROJECT ON MOOSIC STREET.
3 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll
4 entertain a motion that Item 5-C be
5 introduced into it's proper committee.
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
7 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
8 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
9 in favor signify by saying aye.
10 MS. EVANS: Aye.
11 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
12 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
14 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
15 ayes have it and so moved.
16 MS. GARVEY: 5-D. FOR INTRODUCTION -
17 A RESOLUTION - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND
18 OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE
19 AND HARBOUR & ASSOCIATES LLP FOR ADDITIONAL
20 PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERING SERVICES FOR THE
21 LACKAWANNA AVENUE STREETSCAPE PROJECT.
22 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll
23 entertain a motion that Item 5-D be
24 introduced into it's proper committee.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
1 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
2 MS. EVANS: I think one thing
3 everyone has forgotten is that the fact to
4 my knowledge Coney Island and Buono Pizza
5 are still not part of this streetscape
6 project, and I made a promise a long time
7 ago that until they were I wasn't going to
8 agree to any of the action on that block
9 because it's ludicrous to delete the two
10 bookends, two city anchor businesses.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: I have to -- I
12 mean, not that I'm not going to vote for it,
13 I had hoped that they could come to some
14 kind of amicable resolution as Mrs. Evans
15 said, there are two anchor bookends there,
16 and I don't know if there any talks being
17 between them and the two businesses in the
18 city or has it just died?
19 MS. EVANS: I don't believe there has
20 been any movement or we would have heard.
21 I'm sure, that it would be good news to
22 announce that everyone is satisfied and
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: You know, I just
25 feel sad that businesses that have paid
1 their taxes for all of these years through
2 all of the bad times and now it's ended up
3 like this. It wasn't my intent when we
4 first came out onto council to, and we all,
5 Mrs. Evans and I were the only ones here at
6 the time, we voted for this project to go
7 forward and I just had thought, maybe névé,
8 I don't know, that everyone would have been
9 included in on it and it would have been
10 good for everybody, it just hasn't turned
11 out that way, but I'm going to vote in favor
12 of this because I'm not going to stop the
13 whole project here, but I still wish that
14 something could happen.
15 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else on the
16 question? All those in favor signify by
17 saying aye.
18 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
19 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
21 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed?
22 MS. EVANS: No.
23 MR. MCGOFF: The ayes have it and so
25 MS. GARVEY: 5-E. FOR INTRODUCTION -
1 A RESOLUTION - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND
2 OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE
3 AND ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH MICHAEL J.
4 PASONICK, JR., INC., CONSULTING ENGINEERS &
5 SURVEYORS, 165 NORTH WILKES BARRE BOULEVARD,
6 WILKES BARRE, PENNSYLVANIA, 18702 TO INSPECT
7 THE ENGINEERING AND CONSTRUCTION WORK FOR
8 THE 500 BLOCK OF LACKAWANNA AVENUE PROJECT
9 ENTITLED PARK PLAZA AND PEDESTRIAN COURT.
10 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll
11 entertain a motion that Item 5-E be
12 introduced into it's proper committee.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
14 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
15 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
16 in favor signify by saying aye.
17 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
18 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
20 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed?
21 MS. EVANS: No.
22 MR. MCGOFF: The ayes have it and so
24 MS. GARVEY: 5-F. FOR INTRODUCTION -
25 A RESOLUTION - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND
1 OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS TO ACCEPT,
2 EXECUTE AND ENTER INTO A BROWNFIELD
3 ASSESSMENT AND CLEANUP COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT
4 WITH THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL
5 PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) IN THE AMOUNT OF
6 $200,000.00. THE "PROJECT" WILL BE CALLED
7 THE BROWNFIELDS COMMUNITY-WIDE HAZARDOUS
8 ASSESSMENT GRANT FOR THE CITY OF SCRANTON,
10 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll
11 entertain a motion that Item 5-F be
12 introduced into it's proper committee.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
14 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
15 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
16 in favor signify by saying aye.
17 MS. EVANS: Aye.
18 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
19 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
21 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
22 ayes have it and so moved.
23 MS. GARVEY: SIXTH ORDER. 6-A.
24 READING BY TITLE - FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 39,
25 2008 - AN ORDINANCE -AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR
1 AND OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS TO
2 EXECUTE AND ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN
3 THE CITY OF SCRANTON AND OCWEN LOAN
4 SERVICING, LLC FOR THE TRANSFER TO TITLE TO
5 A PARCEL OF LAND COMMONLY KNOWN AS 810 HERTZ
6 COURT TO THE CITY OF SCRANTON AND FOR
7 ACCEPTANCE OF PAYMENT IN FULL FOR THE
8 DEMOLITION LIEN ON SAID PROPERTY AND
9 SATISFACTION OF THE DEMOLITION LIEN.
10 MR. MCGOFF: You have heard reading
11 by title of Item 6-A, what is your pleasure?
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: I move that Item 6-A
13 pass reading by title.
14 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
15 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
16 those in favor signify by saying aye.
17 MS. EVANS: Aye.
18 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
19 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
21 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
22 ayes have it and so moved.
23 MS. GARVEY: 6-B. READING BY TITLE -
24 FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 40, 2008 - AN ORDINANCE
25 - AUTHORIZING THE LEASE OF CERTAIN REAL
1 PROPERTY TO THE REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF
2 THE CITY OF SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA (THE
3 "AUTHORITY') PURSUANT TO A LEASE AGREEMENT;
4 AUTHORIZING AND DIRECTING THE INCURRENCE OF
5 LEASE RENTAL DEBT IN THE MAXIMUM PRINCIPAL
6 AMOUNT OF SIX MILLION ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND
7 DOLLARS ($6,100,000), PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF
8 THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF
9 PENNSYLVANIA, 53 PA.C.S, CHAPTERS 80-82, AS
10 AMENDED, KNOWN AS THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNIT
11 DEBT ACT; DETERMINING THAT SUCH DEBT SHALL
12 BE INCURRED UNDER THE DEBT ACT AS LEASE
13 RENTAL DEBT TO BE EVIDENCED BY A CERTAIN
14 SUBLEASE AND GUARANTY AGREEMENT OF THE CITY
15 SECURING A GUARANTEED LEASE REVENUE BOND TO
16 BE EXECUTED BY THE AUTHORITY TO FINANCE A
17 PROJECT FOR THE AUTHORITY CONSISTING OF ALL
18 OR ANY OF THE FOLLOWS: (1) ACQUIRING THE
19 AUTHORITY'S LEASEHOLD INTEREST IN SUCH REAL
20 PROPERTY SUBJECT TO THE LEASE AGREEMENT FROM
21 THE CITY AND IN CONNECTION THEREWITH
22 CURRENTLY REFUNDING THE SEWER GUARANTEED
23 LEASE REVENUE NOTES, SERIES OF 2005; AND (2)
24 PAYING THE COSTS AND EXPENSES OF FINANCING
25 SUCH PROJECT; BRIEFLY DESCRIBING SUCH
1 PROJECT FOR WHICH SUCH DEBT IS TO BE
2 INCURRED; DECLARING THE GUARANTY OF SAID
3 AUTHORITY'S GUARANTEED LEASE REVENUE BONDS
4 TO BE A PROJECT OF THE CITY FOR WHICH LEASE
5 RENTAL DEBT IS TO BE INCURRED; AUTHORIZING
6 CERTAIN CITY OFFICERS TO PREPARE, CERTIFY
7 AND FILE WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY
8 AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT THE DEBT STATEMENT
9 REQUIRED BY SECTION 8110 OF THE LOCAL
10 GOVERNMENT UNIT DEBT ACT AND AUTHORIZING THE
11 PREPARATION OF A DEBT STATEMENT AND
12 BORROWING BASE CERTIFICATE; APPROVING THE
13 FORM OF AND AUTHORIZING, SUBJECT CERTAIN
14 CONDITIONS, EXECUTION AND DELIVERY OF THE
15 AFORESAID LEASE AGREEMENT AND SUBLEASE AND
16 GUARANTY AGREEMENT; SPECIFYING THE AMOUNT OF
17 THE GUARANTY OBLIGATION OF THE CITY PURSUANT
18 TO SUCH SUBLEASE AND GUARANTY AGREEMENT AND
19 THE SOURCES OF PAYMENT OF SUCH GUARANTY
20 OBLIGATION; REPEALING INCONSISTENT PRIOR
21 ORDINANCES; SETTING FORTH CERTAIN CONDITIONS
22 TO THE EXECUTION AND DELIVERY OF THE
23 AFORESAID LEASE AGREEMENT AND SUBLEASE AND
24 GUARANTY AGREEMENT; AUTHORIZING THE PROPER
25 OFFICERS OF THE CITY TO TAKE ALL REQUIRED,
1 NECESSARY OR DESIRABLE RELATED ACTION IN
2 CONNECTION WITH SUCH PROJECT AND THE
3 EXECUTION AND DELIVERY OF THE LEASE
4 AGREEMENT AND SUBLEASE AND GUARANTY
5 AGREEMENT; APPROVING THE FORM AND
6 DISTRIBUTION OF A PRELIMINARY OFFICIAL
7 STATEMENT AND AN OFFICIAL STATEMENT WITH
8 REGARD TO THE GUARANTEED LEASE REVENUE
9 BONDS; APPOINTING VARIOUS PROFESSIONALS;
10 PROVIDING FOR THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THIS
11 ORDINANCE; AND DECLARING SAID PROJECT
12 DESIRABLE FOR THE HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE
13 OF THE RESIDENTS OF THE CITY.
14 MR. MCGOFF: You have heard reading
15 by title of Item 6-B, what is your pleasure?
16 MS. FANUCCI: Mr. Chairman, I move
17 that Item 6-B pass reading by title.
18 MS. GATELLI: Second.
19 MR. MCGOFF: On the question?
20 MS. EVANS: Yes. I would like to
21 respond to some of the statements that were
22 made earlier. First of all, with regard to
23 or regarding the taxes of the city, yes, the
24 property taxes are lower, significantly
25 lower than those of the school district, and
1 that is designed by state law. They do not
2 provide adequate funding for the mandates
3 that they issue, hence, they place the
4 burden on the homeowner, the taxpayer, and
5 the responsibility or the financial end of
6 it is split between the city and the school
7 district, the city receiving the lesser
8 amount of taxes.
9 On the other hand, however, we are
10 famous for having the second large eggs wage
11 tax in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at
12 3.4 percent. The city keeps 2.4, the school
13 district I believe receives one. We had the
14 opportunity to lower that wage tax last year
15 through my budget, but that did not occur.
16 The mayor, in fact, ran on a platform of
17 lowering the wage tax when he first sought
18 the office of mayor in the city and that has
19 not happened. The only thing that's we have
20 seen happen has been an increase in taxes.
21 With regard to the bond rating that was
22 obtained, it wasn't just a matter of the
23 Recovery Plan back in 2003, I recall having
24 watched those council meetings, in fact, I
25 watched them so closely they served as the
1 incentive for my seeking this office and
2 replacing some of those individuals. I
3 remember them specifically saying they used
4 the 2001 audit of the city because for the
5 first time there was a very healthy audit
6 and a $2.9 million surplus and that went a
7 long way to helping obtain that $74 million
8 bond issue. The high level rating, as I
9 indicated before, was purchased through
10 $1 million in bond insurance which, of
11 course, was added to the sum total of the
12 borrowing at the time.
13 Now, as for refinancing you are
14 right, you can refinance your house, I have
15 done that, but I'll tell you what, I don't
16 think I can refinance it four times, and I
17 don't know that I can ask my neighbors if I
18 can run my financial agreement through them.
19 I would have to go and do that myself and
20 the city is not doing that. The city has
21 been taking the back door here for years
22 using city authorities and city assets in
23 order to obtain their borrowing.
24 I think what's most important here
25 though is no one mentions cuts. Nobody.
1 Just me. And, you know, we have many
2 apologists, but we don't have anybody who is
3 really willing to do the hard thing and
4 that's make those cuts, and it is hard after
5 all of these years, you know, an
6 administration getting used to certain level
7 of operation, shall we say, but not the
8 mayor, not anybody on council says make him
9 cut the fat first.
10 As far as the tax office, those
11 workers have always worked diligently, but
12 they had to follow orders and some of those
13 orders included not collecting delinquent
14 wage and business taxes. Today they are
15 still working hard and they are following
16 orders the difference is somebody else is
17 giving the orders, and I would say the proof
18 of that is we had employees from the tax
19 office who were very willing to come and
20 speak to city council last December, but
21 Mr. McDowell stepped in and stopped that, so
22 was he instrumental in the operations of
23 that office? Oh, most surely he was or we
24 wouldn't have 12.2 million dollars in
25 collected taxes sitting in a bank waiting to
1 be dispersed long after he left that office.
2 It's money in, money out, in that
3 office and that hasn't occurred now in the
4 proper way until lately, and when a job is
5 done well I think you commend the people who
6 do it. Just like the fact that there is
7 going to be 17 streets paved in the City of
9 MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Evans, we are on
11 MS. EVANS: I know, but I just -- can
12 you tell me who keeps turning my microphone
13 on and off? I'll have it on on and then it
14 goes off and then it comes back on, but
15 other people --
16 MS. GATELLI: It must be me. I get
17 the blame for everything.
18 MS. EVANS: No, no, you don't have
19 the switch. You had the switch installed
20 when you were the president. Actually, I
21 think it was used a few times.
22 Anyway, what I would say in
23 conclusion is that when people do a good
24 job, like I said, it should be mentioned,
25 and paving the streets, finally, that's a
1 great job, I'm thrilled over that, I want to
2 more of them paved. I'm not going to say
3 that's not a wonderful thing because it may
4 be politically incorrect. When it's good
5 it's good, when it's bad, it's rotten at
6 least in this city. That's it.
7 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else on the
8 question 6 -B? All those in favor signify
9 by saying aye.
10 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
11 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
12 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed?
13 MS. EVANS: No.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: No.
15 MR. MCGOFF: The ayes have it and so
17 MS. GARVEY: 6-C. READING BY TITLE -
18 FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 41, 2008 - - AN
19 ORDINANCE - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER
20 APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS OF THE CITY OF
21 SCRANTON TO TAKE ALL NECESSARY ACTIONS TO
22 IMPLEMENT THE CONSOLIDATED SUBMISSION FOR
23 COMMUNITY PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
24 TO BE FUNDED UNDER THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
25 BLOCK GRANT (CDBG) PROGRAM, HOME INVESTMENT
1 PARTNERSHIP (HOME) PROGRAM AND EMERGENCY
2 SHELTER GRANT (ESG) PROGRAM.
3 MR. MCGOFF: You have heard reading
4 by title of Item 6-A, what is your pleasure.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: I move that Item 6-A
6 pass reading by title.
7 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
8 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
9 those in favor signify by saying aye.
10 MS. EVANS: Aye.
11 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
12 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
14 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
15 ayes have it and so moved.
16 MS. GARVEY: SEVENTH ORDER. 7-A. FOR
17 CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON FINANCE -
18 FOR ADOPTION - FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 36, 2008
19 - CREATING AND ESTABLISHING SPECIAL CITY
20 ACCOUNT NO. 02.229589 ENTITLED "DCNR
21 GRANT-SWIMMING POOL IMPROVEMENTS" FOR THE
22 RECEIPT AND DISBURSEMENT OF GRANT FUNDS FROM
23 THE PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION
24 AND NATURAL RESOURCES (DCNR) FOR SWIMMING
25 POOL IMPROVEMENTS IN THE CITY OF SCRANTON.
1 MR. MCGOFF: What is the
2 recommendation of the Chairperson for the
3 Committee on Finance?
4 MS. GATELLI: As Chair for the
5 Committee on Finance, I recommend final
6 passage of 7-A.
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
8 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? Roll
10 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Evans.
11 MS. EVANS: Yes.
12 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Gatelli.
13 MS. GATELLI. Yes.
14 MS. MAGNOTTA: Ms. Fanucci.
15 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
16 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. Courtright.
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
18 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. McGoff.
19 MR. MCGOFF: Yes. I hereby declare
20 Item 7-A legally and lawfully adopted.
21 MS. GARVEY: 7-B. FOR CONSIDERATION
22 BY THE COMMITTEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION -
23 FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 28,2008 - AUTHORIZING
24 THE CONVEYANCE BY SEALED BID OR AUCTION OF
25 THREE PARCELS OF LAND ACQUIRED PURSUANT TO
1 THE LACKAWANNA RIVER FLOOD CONTROL PROJECT,
2 AS MOR PARTICULARLY DESCRIBED ON THE
3 ATTACHED MAPS.
4 MR. MCGOFF: As the Chairperson for
5 the Committee on Rules, I recommend final
6 passage of Item 7-B.
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
8 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? Roll
9 call, please.
10 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Evans.
11 MS. EVANS: Yes.
12 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Gatelli.
13 MS. GATELLI. Yes.
14 MS. MAGNOTTA: Ms. Fanucci.
15 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
16 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. Courtright.
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
18 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. McGoff.
19 MR. MCGOFF: I hereby declare Item
20 7-B legally and lawfully adopted.
21 MS. GARVEY: 7-C. FOR CONSIDERATION
22 BY THE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY - FOR
23 ADOPTION - FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 58, 2008
24 -APPROVING REVISION OF THE EXISTING TRAFFIC
25 SIGNAL AT THE INTERSECTION OF MAIN AVENUE
1 AND SWETLAND STREET AS A RESULT OF THE
2 TRAFFIC IMPACT STUDY PREPARED FOR THE JAY'S
3 COMMONS PROJECT.
4 MR. MCGOFF: What is the
5 recommendation of the Chairperson for the
6 Chairperson for the Committee on Public
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: As Chairperson for
9 the Committee on Public Safety, I recommend
10 final passage of Item 7-C.
11 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
12 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? Roll
13 call, please.
14 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Evans.
15 MS. EVANS: Yes.
16 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Gatelli.
17 MS. GATELLI. Yes.
18 MS. MAGNOTTA: Ms. Fanucci.
19 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
20 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. Courtright.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
22 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. McGoff.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Yes. I hereby declare
24 Item 7-C legally and lawfully adopted.
25 MS. GARVEY: 7-D. FOR CONSIDERATION
1 BY THE COMMITTEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION
2 -RESOLUTION NO. 59, 2008 - REAPPOINTMENT OF
3 NANCY D. BISIGNANI, 1200 PINE STREET,
4 SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA, 18510, AS A MEMBER
5 OF THE HISTORICAL ARCHITECTURE REVIEW BOARD.
6 MS. BISIGNANI'S TERM EXPIRED ON OCTOBER 11,
7 2007 AND HER NEW TERM WILL EXPIRE ON OCTOBER
8 11, 2012.
9 MR. MCGOFF: As Chairperson for the
10 Committee on Rules, I recommend final
11 passage of Item 7-D.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
13 MR. MCGOFF: On the question. Roll
14 call, please.
15 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Evans.
16 MS. EVANS: Yes.
17 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Gatelli.
18 MS. GATELLI. Yes.
19 MS. MAGNOTTA: Ms. Fanucci.
20 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
21 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. Courtright.
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
23 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. McGoff.
24 MR. MCGOFF: Yes. I hereby declare
25 Item 7-D legally and lawfully adopted.
1 MS. GARVEY: 7-E. FOR CONSIDERATION
2 BY THE COMMITTEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION -
3 RESOLUTION NO. 60, 2008 - REAPPOINTMENT OF
4 JOHN MOORE, 315 THIRTEENTH AVENUE, SCRANTON,
5 PENNSYLVANIA, 18504, AS CHAIRMAN OF THE
6 HISTORICAL ARCHITECTURE REVIEW BOARD. MR.
7 MOORE'S TERM EXPIRED ON OCTOBER 11, 2007 AND
8 HIS NEW TERM WILL EXPIRE ON OCTOBER 11,
10 MR. MCGOFF: As Chairperson for the
11 Committee on Rules, I recommend final
12 passage of Item 7-E.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
14 MR. MCGOFF: On the question. Roll
15 call, please.
16 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Evans.
17 MS. EVANS: Yes.
18 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Gatelli.
19 MS. GATELLI. Yes.
20 MS. MAGNOTTA: Ms. Fanucci.
21 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
22 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. Courtright.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
24 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. McGoff.
25 MR. MCGOFF: Yes. I hereby declare
1 7-E legally and lawfully adopted.
2 MS. GARVEY: 7-F. FOR CONSIDERATION
3 BY THE COMMITTEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION -
4 RESOLUTION NO. 61, 2008 - REAPPOINTMENT OF
5 ELLA RAYBURN, 934 NORTH WEBSITE AVENUE,
6 SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA, 18510, AS A MEMBER
7 OF THE HISTORICAL ARCHITECTURE REVIEW BOARD.
8 MS. RAYBURN'S TERM EXPIRED ON OCTOBER 11,
9 2006 AND HER TERM WILL EXPIRE ON OCTOBER 11,
11 MR. MCGOFF: As Chairperson for the
12 Committee on Rules, I recommend final
13 passage of Item 7-F.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
15 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? Roll
16 call, please.
17 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Evans.
18 MS. EVANS: Yes.
19 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Gatelli.
20 MS. GATELLI. Yes.
21 MS. MAGNOTTA: Ms. Fanucci.
22 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
23 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. Courtright.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
25 MS. MAGNOTTA: Mr. McGoff.
1 MR. MCGOFF: Yes. I hereby declare
2 Item 7-F legally and lawfully adopted. We
3 do have someone small item before we leave,
4 I make a motion to forward the petition in
5 Third Order, which would be 3-C, to the
6 Director of DPW and engineer for their
8 MS. GATELLI: Second.
9 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
10 in favor 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 ayes
16 have it and so moved. Motion to adjourn?
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
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, RPR
13 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER