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            2              SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING

 

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            4

 

            5

 

            6                          HELD:

 

            7

 

            8              Tuesday, February 10, 2009

 

            9

 

           10                        LOCATION:

 

           11                    Council Chambers

 

           12                 Scranton City Hall

 

           13              340 North Washington Avenue

 

           14                Scranton, Pennsylvania

 

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                    CATHENE S. NARDOZZI, RPR - OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

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            2   CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:

 

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            4

                MR. ROBERT MCGOFF, PRESIDENT

            5

 

            6   MS. JUDY GATELLI, VICE-PRESIDENT

 

            7

                MS. JANET E. EVANS

            8

 

            9   MS. SHERRY FANUCCI

 

           10

                MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT

           11

 

           12   MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK

 

           13

                MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK

           14

 

           15   MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR

 

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            1   (Pledge of Allegiance recited and moment of reflection

 

            2   observed.)

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF:  Roll call, please?

 

            4                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS:  Here.

 

            6                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI:  Here.

 

            8                      MR. COOLICAN: Ms. Fanucci.

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI:  Here.

 

           10                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Here.

 

           12                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF:  Here.  Dispense with

 

           14              the reading of the minutes.  Prior to

 

           15              getting to the agenda -- excuse me.  Prior

 

           16              to the agenda it was requested that some

 

           17              people come to speak on one of the issues or

 

           18              one the items on the agenda, and with us

 

           19              tonight is Mr. Al Boscov, Mr. Larry Siegle,

 

           20              and Mr. Kevin Mitchell from OECD who would

 

           21              like to speak, and so we are affording them

 

           22              the opportunity at this time to present and

 

           23              also to answer questions that council may

 

           24              have.

 

           25                      MR. BOSCOV: It think I'm first.


 

 

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            1                      MR. MCGOFF: What's that?

 

            2                      MR. BOSCOV: They're scared.  I think

 

            3              I'm first.  Well, I want to thank you for

 

            4              being here tonight at a special meeting and

 

            5              I appreciate it.  What happened, a little

 

            6              history is that Boscov's has always been

 

            7              profitable, and I had the pleasure of

 

            8              running it for many, many years, and I

 

            9              retired about four years ago and the new

 

           10              management that took over, they were not

 

           11              incapable, they were capable people, but

 

           12              there was not an opportunity, Macy's bought

 

           13              the May Company and suddenly throughout the

 

           14              entire area there were malls that had a

 

           15              Macy's at one end and a May company at the

 

           16              other, so suddenly all of these stores

 

           17              became available.

 

           18                      The management at that time, and I

 

           19              had sold my stock, and I know better than to

 

           20              keep stock in something I'm not involved in

 

           21              because they resent when you have no

 

           22              ownership and you start pushing things

 

           23              around the store, so I got out of there and

 

           24              opened a new business, but when they saw

 

           25              these malls had these stores available they


 

 

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            1              stuck their neck out and bought ten.  They

 

            2              thought it was an opportunity of a lifetime,

 

            3              they will never find an opportunity with so

 

            4              many mall stores were available in fairly

 

            5              decent malls.

 

            6                      The problem is they went to

 

            7              Baltimore where they thought Boscov's was

 

            8              either coffee or a chocolateery, they never

 

            9              heard of us.  They went to Pittsburgh, and

 

           10              if you buy one store you can have the

 

           11              staying power so people get to know you and

 

           12              things like that.  When you by ten they just

 

           13              didn't have the capital.  It's not the story

 

           14              -- you buy the store and remodel them, they

 

           15              were all old, so you spent 5, $7 million.

 

           16              They had to put all furnishing and

 

           17              registers, about 3 3 1/2 million and you

 

           18              need another five to seven million dollars

 

           19              of inventory so they weren't making a go of

 

           20              it and they went in Chapter 11 to get rid of

 

           21              the stores.

 

           22                      The other stores were doing well,

 

           23              but they wanted to get rid of those

 

           24              particular ten stores, and one other that

 

           25              was a mistake, too, they opened one right


 

 

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            1              outside of New York City and didn't have any

 

            2              way of advertising it or promoting it at

 

            3              all.  So they had went out and got rid of

 

            4              them and they thought that what would happen

 

            5              is that they would find financing to go

 

            6              again, and unfortunately, the market fell

 

            7              apart, there are no banks, there were no

 

            8              banks and it was going to liquidation.

 

            9                      A hedge fund by the name of Versa

 

           10              had put in a bid, actually, had come to us

 

           11              for money to put in a bid, I had been given

 

           12              the money, and another company which is

 

           13              really liquidators were going to put in a

 

           14              bid also, and when I saw how little Versa

 

           15              put up, they put up $11 million to try and

 

           16              by Boscov's, and when they put in the bid

 

           17              they didn't have the $11 million so it

 

           18              didn't count.

 

           19                      We were able to put in a bid, too.

 

           20              We didn't have the money available at the

 

           21              time so we didn't have it, but it avoided

 

           22              what they called a stalking horse where you

 

           23              have to pay $4 million above the low bid,

 

           24              you know, so we got rid of that and little

 

           25              by little we were able to get the family


 

 

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            1              involved.  The family had to put up 50

 

            2              million, 53 million and a 10 million dollar

 

            3              letter of credit in order to get the banks

 

            4              sort of interested.  This is a unique time.

 

            5              Banking is not easily available and then we

 

            6              asked Viola, New Jersey, because we had

 

            7              taken over really a very bad mall in Viola,

 

            8              New Jersey, and by putting up a new store

 

            9              revitalized it and made it work and they

 

           10              gave us $2,720,000 in 108's loans, these are

 

           11              all loans.  Valent Kelly is providing

 

           12              $3 million in 108's as a loan and that's

 

           13              because if you have been to Egg Harbor north

 

           14              of Atlantic City we have a mall store that

 

           15              is our number one store, it does 40 some

 

           16              million dollars, it does very well, they

 

           17              didn't want to see it close because the mall

 

           18              would close and they put up $3 million.

 

           19              Wilkes-Barre, because we have are downtown,

 

           20              is putting up $3 million of the 108's and we

 

           21              have asked Scranton to do the same.  These

 

           22              are loans, and we will pay them back.  In

 

           23              Binghamton, New York we borrowed money on

 

           24              108's in order to get the downtown store we

 

           25              paid back every penny of it, it's paid off.


 

 

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            1                      In Scranton we have been paying back

 

            2              our 180's on a yearly basis and we will

 

            3              continue doing it, but if we got all of that

 

            4              money that took us to just about a little

 

            5              less than 12 million more, so it took us

 

            6              from 60 to almost 72 and then the Governor

 

            7              of Pennsylvania was very enforcive in using

 

            8              108's in downtown Philadelphia when he was

 

            9              mayor.  He used for over $400 million in

 

           10              108's to recreate the downtown of

 

           11              Philadelphia, which is doing well, and

 

           12              again, very successfully, and he told me

 

           13              that he had -- he gets $40 million a year to

 

           14              distribute to smaller communities.  Cities

 

           15              like Scranton get their own money, Reading

 

           16              gets their own money, these cities get their

 

           17              own.  When you take maybe one of the small

 

           18              coal mining cities outside of here, they

 

           19              probably are not getting it, they are

 

           20              probably on the list that the governor gets

 

           21              and they may get a couple of thousand

 

           22              dollars not by him, but by the statistics

 

           23              put together as to need and qualifications,

 

           24              but when he gets that $40 million he was

 

           25              allowed to borrow five times, let's say the


 

 

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            1              same what the city is allowed to do, so we

 

            2              had the ability to borrow $200 million.

 

            3              Because the money was so rarely used, this

 

            4              year he only borrowed $90 million, and that

 

            5              $5 million was used, so he was still sitting

 

            6              with $85.  So we had a gap to fill of about

 

            7              $35 million and what he did is he asked HUD

 

            8              to pick six areas that would qualify, and

 

            9              these were all small counties like Snyder

 

           10              County, like Butler County, most of them

 

           11              were picked because they are economics were

 

           12              lower than -- lower Marion or on of the

 

           13              areas that have high economics and asked

 

           14              each of them to make an application.  They

 

           15              only had to make the application.  The state

 

           16              had the money, and as of I guess Friday of

 

           17              this week -- today I'm getting mixed up,

 

           18              Monday of this week, it was just yesterday,

 

           19              is today Tuesday?  Then it's yesterday.

 

           20              Yesterday the last of the six counties voted

 

           21              to allow the Governor to borrow this money

 

           22              and we now have the $100 million that we are

 

           23              required to.  It's so unique, a $100,000 is

 

           24              required in order to get -- take the company

 

           25              over and have the money to run.  110 million


 

 

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            1              from us and $200 million from four banks,

 

            2              Bank of America, the Wells Fargo Bank, I had

 

            3              to learn the song in order to get that

 

            4              money, The Wells Fargo, da, da, da, duh,

 

            5              duh.  But they came through.  As soon as

 

            6              they heard me sing they wanted me to shut up

 

            7              and they gave us some money.  And then we've

 

            8              got CIT, a small bank, and the fourth bank

 

            9              was not a bank it's the Key financial

 

           10              Corporation between them they came up with

 

           11              $200 million and there is a Boscov's at this

 

           12              point.

 

           13                      You are one of the last anchors and

 

           14              we are hoping you will support us.  We will

 

           15              pay you back.  The advantage of 108's is

 

           16              it's secondary financing.  The banks want

 

           17              the first rights on everything.  Boscov has

 

           18              pledged collateral to satisfy the state and

 

           19              we will certainly make sure that we pay you

 

           20              back 100 percent, also.  The loan is usually

 

           21              a 20-year loan.  The advantage, as I told

 

           22              you, is a secondary and the second thing is

 

           23              that are rates are very high today even

 

           24              though the government has put an awful lot

 

           25              of money, the national government has put a


 

 

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            1              lot of money in the banks it seems that most

 

            2              of the money is used for banks to buy other

 

            3              banks and we are not seeing much money

 

            4              around.

 

            5                      We will be able to operate.  We will

 

            6              have enough money to operate.  The 39 stores

 

            7              I have left are all -- have positive cash

 

            8              flow.  We have no bad stores.  This is a

 

            9              very good store.  If we close here then the

 

           10              mall would close and we didn't want to see

 

           11              that happen either.  But, this is a good

 

           12              store.  It's always been good and it will

 

           13              remain good.

 

           14                      I think that we are in a tough

 

           15              economic climate.  I have got a lot of

 

           16              expenses that I thought I could live

 

           17              without, I'm trying to not to cut the floors

 

           18              because without people on the floor you

 

           19              can't do any business, and hopefully we will

 

           20              do a little better and adding more people

 

           21              and we will do more people.  The

 

           22              requirements for HUD is that we hire people

 

           23              that are income eligible, that's 80 percent

 

           24              of the median income.  I think up here

 

           25              80 percent of the median income is about 41


 

 

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            1              or 42,000 for a family of four.  When you

 

            2              review the people that work at Boscov's

 

            3              that's most of them anyway.  Most of them

 

            4              fall into that category.

 

            5                      I don't think there is a chance I

 

            6              can fail.  I'm young, I'm only 79.  But, you

 

            7              know, age doesn't mean a darn thing as long

 

            8              as you feel healthy and I'm feel healthy.

 

            9              And when I retired I didn't retire, I got

 

           10              involved this turning Reading around and I

 

           11              started a new business called Direct Link

 

           12              Technology which is a 300,000 square foot

 

           13              building towards technology and hosting

 

           14              co-locations, but that business I'm turning

 

           15              over to one of my people that are very good

 

           16              and that business you only see your customer

 

           17              once a year.  In retail, if you see them

 

           18              once a year you are dead.

 

           19                      So I am asking for your help and

 

           20              your cooperation.  I promise we will pay it

 

           21              back.  I'm going to stay as chairman and

 

           22              chief executive officer until it's all

 

           23              stabilized and doing well and then we will

 

           24              find someone to run the stores, and I have

 

           25              two people in mind now, but I will stay on


 

 

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            1              at chairman of the board.  My wife is not

 

            2              happy with my hours right now, but some day

 

            3              it will get better, she has been waiting a

 

            4              long time, but so I'm going to ask Larry

 

            5              Siegle to come up and tell you a little bit

 

            6              more about how the state works and what they

 

            7              do with the money and things like that.

 

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

 

            9                      MR. SIEGLE: Good evening, Mr.

 

           10              President, members of council.  Obviously a

 

           11              tough act to follow.  Mr. Boscov and I have

 

           12              been on the road, this is sort of a road

 

           13              show.  As he mentioned, we had six, seven

 

           14              counties that we had to go to as part of the

 

           15              state process and in doing that to counties

 

           16              where Boscov's isn't it's hometown like it

 

           17              is in Scranton, in places like Butler out in

 

           18              the western part of the state or Snyder

 

           19              County or Blair County, which is Altoona,

 

           20              it's a store in a mall and a big store and a

 

           21              significant presence, but not as well-known

 

           22              a commodity as in the eastern part of the

 

           23              state and certainly as it is in places like

 

           24              Scranton or Wilkes-Barre or in the City of

 

           25              Reading.  But we went through this


 

 

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            1              presentation and I know you all may have

 

            2              some questions.  I think you probably found

 

            3              that Mr. Boscov anticipated some of those

 

            4              questions because, again, we have been

 

            5              through this process.

 

            6                      I want to just add a little bit of

 

            7              perspective just to recap the financing

 

            8              package of this and to reiterate that really

 

            9              the need for 108 really stems from the fact

 

           10              that the credit markets are shut down.  More

 

           11              and more companies are faced with this exact

 

           12              problem.  In the Pittsburgh Tribune today 84

 

           13              Lumber is in the same position now looking

 

           14              for additional funding because lenders,

 

           15              creditors don't have much forbearance as

 

           16              they used to.  The economy is so bad, hey,

 

           17              we can't let you extend us 90 days out, we

 

           18              want the money or we are shutting you down,

 

           19              and that really is the magic of the 108

 

           20              program whether it's locally like you or

 

           21              through the state program.

 

           22                      So we finally, last night closed the

 

           23              state deal, didn't close it, but got the

 

           24              necessary votes from these different

 

           25              counties and I can tell you it wasn't easy.


 

 

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            1              We went to some very interesting places

 

            2              where, again, Boscov was not home where

 

            3              there was a lot of discussion, we shouldn't

 

            4              be doing bailouts.  Very conservative areas,

 

            5              we don't think that that's the role of

 

            6              government.  We really made the case, and

 

            7              the case that we really made here was this

 

            8              is the Boscov's department store.  In

 

            9              Pennsylvania 25 stores, 5,500 employees, if

 

           10              you look at places like Scranton and

 

           11              Wilkes-Barre and Reading in particular, not

 

           12              to mention Lackawanna County, Lebanon County

 

           13              or Skuylkill County and the presence there,

 

           14              the effect of Boscov's closing, and I want

 

           15              to make it very clear, that if we don't put

 

           16              this money together Boscov's will close.

 

           17                      The creditors are -- we have bridge

 

           18              financing in place at this point, a very

 

           19              nervous group of bridge financiers who the

 

           20              entire thing is contingent on the 108

 

           21              closing.  If not, we will be thrown back

 

           22              into Chapter 11 immediately with no shot to

 

           23              work out, so I really want to make that

 

           24              point clear.

 

           25                      But, in addition to the 5,500 jobs


 

 

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            1              that will be lost the stores that would be

 

            2              shut please consider it's great to be in

 

            3              Scranton to address this issue.  Consider

 

            4              probably close to a billion dollar of real

 

            5              estate values that would be effected by

 

            6              this.

 

            7                      I love Scranton, as Councilwoman

 

            8              Fanucci will tell you, I have been up here a

 

            9              zillion times, used to work for Governor

 

           10              Rendell, worked when I returned to the

 

           11              private sector for the city for a bit, now I

 

           12              work for Mr. Boscov, so I know the city.  I

 

           13              have been involved in projects from the

 

           14              city's parking garage and the Molly

 

           15              Branigan's --  Molly Branigan's?  Yeah, so

 

           16              many Irish clubs, I got the Molly's right,

 

           17              Molly Branigan to the Connell building to

 

           18              the 5,000 block, to the train station, to

 

           19              the Southern Union building, to the new

 

           20              medical school, to the Lace Works to the

 

           21              middle school redevelopment.  I mean, it's

 

           22              unbelievable when you think about.

 

           23                      This is not a Boscov's that an

 

           24              anchor to a suburban mall.  This is a

 

           25              Boscov's that is an anchor to a downtown,


 

 

                                                                      17

 

 

            1              and I know I don't have to tell you that,

 

            2              but it's not just the mall.  It's not just

 

            3              the 172 employees that are at that Boscov's

 

            4              store, it's just not the -- just shy of

 

            5              $1 million in real estate that that mall

 

            6              pays where the $200,000 it's contributed to

 

            7              the city on that, it's what happens look,

 

            8              for example, just as the 5,000 block.  At

 

            9              that point what's the point of the

 

           10              5,000 block if Boscov's goes dark?

 

           11                      So this is a request.  Again, it's

 

           12              for a loan.  It is for a loan that is

 

           13              secured by both the real estate and by

 

           14              Boscov's inventory, so the risk is

 

           15              substantially minimized, and again, this is

 

           16              just a creative way to get financing to

 

           17              Boscov's to keep Boscov's in business.  I

 

           18              wanted to make those points as it related

 

           19              especially to Scranton.  It's great to be

 

           20              able to talk to you because I know you

 

           21              understand the importance of Boscov's as

 

           22              opposed to some of these other places where

 

           23              we have to go and say, "Boscov, Boscov, he's

 

           24              our man," and I know here we don't have to

 

           25              do that.


 

 

                                                                      18

 

 

            1                      So I know we are both here for any

 

            2              questions that you have and I'm sure you

 

            3              have some.

 

            4                      MS. EVANS: I have a few questions,

 

            5              you indicated just a moment ago that

 

            6              Boscov's paid $200,000 in city taxes; is

 

            7              that correct?

 

            8                      MR. SIEGLE: Plus or minus, yes.

 

            9                      MS. EVANS: And is that over a

 

           10              certain period of years or just per year?

 

           11                      MR. SIEGLE: In preparation for

 

           12              tonight I talked to the CFO of Boscov's and

 

           13              asked if he could pull up the taxes that

 

           14              were paid, and he pulled up based on current

 

           15              tax bills, I guess, that just have been

 

           16              received then he pulled up past records.  He

 

           17              first read out the total taxes which was

 

           18              just shy of $1,990,000 or something.

 

           19                      MR. BOSCOV: Is that Boscov's or the

 

           20              Steamtown Mall?

 

           21                      MR. SIEGLE:  That's the mall,

 

           22              related to the mall.

 

           23                      MR. BOSCOV: The mall.  Not Boscov's

 

           24              itself separately.

 

           25                      MR. SIEGLE: Correct.  But then when


 

 

                                                                      19

 

 

            1              I asked specifically as to the city he

 

            2              pulled that up and came up with the number

 

            3              of 200,000 and that's on an annual basis.

 

            4                      MS. EVANS: And, excuse me, I didn't

 

            5              hear you?

 

            6                      MR. SIEGLE: And that's on an annual

 

            7              basis.

 

            8                      MS. EVANS: On an annual basis.

 

            9              Okay.  And, Mr. Boscov, do you own any other

 

           10              properties in the city, for example, I know

 

           11              speakers in the past --

 

           12                      MR. BOSCOV: I think I own this

 

           13              building.  It's a lovely building, I want to

 

           14              hang onto it.  We have a -- I have a

 

           15              majority, my family and I have majority

 

           16              interest and control of ownership of the

 

           17              Steamtown, a share of it with the

 

           18              Mr. Lincoln.  We have basically even or

 

           19              majority slightly majority owner on the

 

           20              Sampter's building and on the what used to

 

           21              be Scranton Lace, it changed.  Is what they

 

           22              called it, Scranton Lace and then it became

 

           23              something else, but those are the three

 

           24              properties that we have in Scranton.

 

           25                      We are a major landlord and we have


 

 

                                                                      20

 

 

            1              been trying to do our best to, you know,

 

            2              doing a downtown mall was unique, we made it

 

            3              work.  People thought we were nuts, but it

 

            4              is working and it's a decent mall.

 

            5                      We are seeing a fairly tough

 

            6              economic situation, but I think other than

 

            7              Steve and Barry, which we will replace with

 

            8              someone we think will be better, there

 

            9              really hasn't been much loss on the mall.

 

           10              We have a few temps that will move in and

 

           11              out, but otherwise it's been pretty stable.

 

           12              I'm sorry, I didn't mean to broadcast it, I

 

           13              just want to answer your question.

 

           14                      MS. EVANS: I also wanted to know

 

           15              because speakers at council meeting have

 

           16              questioned the I believe it's the Marquee

 

           17              Cinema is that tied to your holdings?

 

           18                      MR. BOSCOV: The Marquee Cinema is

 

           19              part of the Mall at Steamtown.  It's

 

           20              actually part of the Mall at Steamtown, and

 

           21              that is -- I don't know if it's on the same

 

           22              tax role or not, it might be, the $7 million

 

           23              I'm not sure.

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: Also, I learned from our

 

           25              Office Economic and Community Development


 

 

                                                                      21

 

 

            1              that the city pays annually 20 percent of

 

            2              the current loan's interest.  I believe

 

            3              there is, again, according to OECD a

 

            4              remaining amount for Boscov's from the

 

            5              original Section 108 loan, $5,102,000 and of

 

            6              that, as I said, the city picks up

 

            7              20 percent of that current loan's interest,

 

            8              and I'm wondering if that same --

 

            9                      MR. BOSCOV: I don't know anything

 

           10              about that.

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: Well, the city through

 

           12              OECD and it's CDBG programs allocates I

 

           13              would say approximately is it $250,000

 

           14              annually for repayment of Section 108 loans.

 

           15                      MR. MITCHELL:  For the mall, yes.

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: For the mall and for the

 

           17              Hilton Hotel.

 

           18                      MR. MITCHELL:  Yeah.

 

           19                      MS. EVANS: And you indicated then

 

           20              that your explanation for our payment was

 

           21              that the city was picking up 20 percent of

 

           22              the current loan's interest?

 

           23                      MR. MITCHELL: Um-hum.

 

           24                      MR. BOSCOV: Of the mall or the

 

           25              Hilton Hotel?


 

 

                                                                      22

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS: Both.

 

            2                      MR. MITCHELL:  Both.

 

            3                      MR. BOSCOV: We don't own the Hilton

 

            4              Hotel, by the way.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS: I understand.

 

            6                      MR. BOSCOV: I'm surprised.  I didn't

 

            7              know you were picking up any.  I know there

 

            8              was some money that the city came up with

 

            9              when the movie theatre was talking about

 

           10              closing, is that part of it?

 

           11                      MR. MITCHELL:  No.  That was just

 

           12              another economic development loan.

 

           13                      MR. BOSCOV:  On the mall.  I'm

 

           14              sorry, I didn't know about it.  I really

 

           15              should, but I want to thank you, but I

 

           16              didn't know about it.

 

           17                      MS. EVANS: Well, I'm just wondering

 

           18              if in this second Section 108 loan if the

 

           19              city is going to incur such financial

 

           20              involvement again?

 

           21                      MR. BOSCOV:  This is -- go ahead,

 

           22              you should answer that if you want.  I want

 

           23              to mention these loans have collateral.

 

           24              This loan that we are asking for now, and I

 

           25              don't know that was ever asked for when we


 

 

                                                                      23

 

 

            1              were developing the mall, it was just

 

            2              amazing to get it open really, but the two

 

            3              collateral positions are that there has

 

            4              always been assets than liabilities in

 

            5              Boscov's even when they are in bankruptcy.

 

            6              December 29, which is probably the lowest

 

            7              time for use of money because all your funds

 

            8              are coming in from Christmas and your spring

 

            9              hasn't, through January the five we paid off

 

           10              all of the loans to the banks and still had

 

           11              over $150 million in inventory and costs

 

           12              that is being pledged as part of the

 

           13              collateral.

 

           14                      We also have about $100 million of

 

           15              real estate that is under mortgage or has no

 

           16              mortgage.  For example, the store in

 

           17              Wilkes-Barre has no mortgage and some either

 

           18              have no mortgage or Summit River which is

 

           19              appraised for $18 million and has a mortgage

 

           20              for about five or six that -- anything of

 

           21              that is also collateral.

 

           22                      This mall, unfortunately, has enough

 

           23              debt that it doesn't have any real value,

 

           24              but the Lebanon Valley Mall which we own is

 

           25              pledged also as collateral and has a


 

 

                                                                      24

 

 

            1              positive cash flow, so we are trying to put

 

            2              up enough security that the city shouldn't

 

            3              worry about it.

 

            4                      I don't know where the 20 percent

 

            5              you are paying came from.  I don't think it

 

            6              was ever brought to my attention, and as I

 

            7              say in the last four or five years when I

 

            8              haven't been involved.

 

            9                      MR. SIEGLE: No, but what I do want

 

           10              to make clear is that's certainly not the

 

           11              way this particular loan is structured.

 

           12              This was done when we approached Scranton

 

           13              and Wilkes-Barre really with the

 

           14              anticipation that we would ask you to bear

 

           15              no expense, that the 108 loan will be fully

 

           16              served as principle and interest by

 

           17              Boscov's.

 

           18                      Additionally, I think we have

 

           19              provided the consultants for preparation of

 

           20              the application with Mr. Mitchell's review

 

           21              so the cost of Mr. Mitchell's time is a city

 

           22              investment, the time obviously of solicitor

 

           23              review is the city investment, but beyond

 

           24              that the loan itself is entirely serviced by

 

           25              Boscov's, so this really is a guaranteed


 

 

                                                                      25

 

 

            1              loan 100 percent.

 

            2                      MS. EVANS: Thank you.  And I might

 

            3              ask Mr. Mitchell could you explain to us why

 

            4              that 20 percent was written into the

 

            5              original Section 108 agreement?

 

            6                      MR. MITCHELL:  I don't have an

 

            7              answer for you right now.  It must just be

 

            8              the way it was structured back then.

 

            9                      MS. EVANS: Can you investigate that

 

           10              and send council a written response?

 

           11                      MR. MITCHELL:  Absolutely.

 

           12                      MR. BOSCOV:  What happened is the

 

           13              Mall at Steamtown, we had been running and

 

           14              paying full taxes to my knowledge.  There

 

           15              was an area when we first started where I

 

           16              think taxes were lowered and went up every

 

           17              year for a number of years until we reached

 

           18              a final tax rate.  The 108's to my

 

           19              knowledge, unless something happened, I'm

 

           20              not sure when we got a credit for 20 percent

 

           21              of the 108's. The only hiccup I can remember

 

           22              was when the movie theatre was pulling out,

 

           23              the city felt very strongly that they didn't

 

           24              want to lose the movie theatre and they may

 

           25              be involved in that, I'm not sure.


 

 

                                                                      26

 

 

            1              Otherwise, I can't tell you that the mall at

 

            2              Steamtown has been financial successful, but

 

            3              we have been picking up whatever it's been

 

            4              losing every year.  The reason for it is we

 

            5              spent too much money not -- because we spent

 

            6              about $110 million at the time and the

 

            7              amount that you can charge for rental in

 

            8              Scranton is relatively low comparison to the

 

            9              cost, so Ed and I have been making the

 

           10              payments every year on the mortgage of the

 

           11              mall.

 

           12                      We have paid it down, it was almost

 

           13              $110 million, I think it's somewhere around

 

           14              50 million or 60 million, but if it has

 

           15              negative cash flow right now we pick it up

 

           16              every year.

 

           17                      MS. EVANS: Thank you.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Gatelli?

 

           19                      MS. GATELLI: Mr. Boscov, how many

 

           20              people are employed at the mall?

 

           21                      MR. BOSCOV:  In the mall?  My

 

           22              goodness, there has to be probably about 400

 

           23              I suspect.  I don't have any actual count,

 

           24              but I'm just looking at the amount of stores

 

           25              there, the amount of shifts, the Bon-Ton at


 

 

                                                                      27

 

 

            1              the other end, that's not counting our

 

            2              people, I'm just saying the mall would have

 

            3              been 400 maybe a little bit more.  There is

 

            4              probably more, there' about roughly 100

 

            5              shops, the average shop would probably have

 

            6              three shifts on Saturday and Sunday,

 

            7              probably five or six or probably 500 or 600

 

            8              people in the mall and Bon-Ton probably has

 

            9              about 80 or 90, also, so it would be

 

           10              certainly about 600 plus whatever we have.

 

           11                      The mall is an important part of

 

           12              downtown and I think that it's done it's job

 

           13              in trying to keep the downtown alive, and I

 

           14              think we are proud of it and I think that

 

           15              most of the community is proud of it.  When

 

           16              we first built the underground garage we

 

           17              didn't think anyone would ever come because

 

           18              they wouldn't want an underground garage and

 

           19              luckily it snowed so we get a lot of people

 

           20              in the underground garage.  But we are here,

 

           21              we are going to stay here.  The store is

 

           22              profitable.  The mall is not as profitable,

 

           23              but not because of the mall itself, it has

 

           24              plenty of people, it's just the amount of

 

           25              money we spent building it.  We built


 

 

                                                                      28

 

 

            1              something that we can be proud of and I

 

            2              think it still looks pretty darn good.

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI:  Also, I would just

 

            4              like to comment that I was aware of the fact

 

            5              that always made your 108 loan payments to

 

            6              the city.

 

            7                      MR. BOSCOV:  Well, we always paid on

 

            8              time.  I need to find out where the

 

            9              20 percent came from.  I really don't know

 

           10              where it came from.  We'll find out, but --

 

           11              you will find out sooner.  If they don't I

 

           12              will find out.

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: Mr. Boscov, I had been

 

           14              reading about various businesses throughout

 

           15              the country who are in financial difficulty

 

           16              at this time, and at some juncture I had

 

           17              read that Bon-Ton may be experiencing

 

           18              difficulty, do you foresee their remaining

 

           19              in the Steamtown Mall?

 

           20                      MR. BOSCOV:  Well, I think Steamtown

 

           21              is a good store for them, but I don't know

 

           22              if they are having financial difficulty.

 

           23              They are a public company, we are a private

 

           24              company, so they have other means of

 

           25              financing.  From my knowledge they had


 

 

                                                                      29

 

 

            1              adequate funds.

 

            2                      What we are seeing though is that

 

            3              even if a company goes into Chapter 11 it's

 

            4              been very, very difficult to come out.  In

 

            5              the past, Chapter 11 was a way of

 

            6              reorganizing and coming out as a fresh and

 

            7              exciting business.  Under the present case

 

            8              if you go into Chapter 11 it's very, very

 

            9              difficult unless you can race an awful lot

 

           10              of money to find the banks.  In.

 

           11                      Our case, we had a bank called

 

           12              National City putting up $50 million when we

 

           13              were first trying to find money.  Well, PNC

 

           14              bought it, they just got $6 billion from the

 

           15              government and spent 5.7 billion to buy

 

           16              National City.  Wachovia was in for 60

 

           17              million.  Wachovia was one of our major

 

           18              banks, suddenly they were bought by Wells

 

           19              Fargo, and Wells Fargo did come into it at

 

           20              the very end, but it's very, very difficult

 

           21              to see survival.

 

           22                      Circuit City should never have been

 

           23              liquidated.  It should have had the chance

 

           24              to reorganize and it was a viable format

 

           25              that was doing fine.  I don't know where


 

 

                                                                      30

 

 

            1              they got in trouble, but part of the thing

 

            2              in electronics is moving with the time.

 

            3              Music doesn't mean anything anymore.  The

 

            4              kids don't have to really buy tapes so they

 

            5              had to find a replacement for that part of

 

            6              the business and they had to find different

 

            7              things, but they were a major competitor and

 

            8              fairly successful in their business.

 

            9                      They had made a decision some time

 

           10              ago to go out of Whitehurst, it probably was

 

           11              a mistake because they had to support that

 

           12              same building along with video, there isn't

 

           13              much stereo business, stereo became the type

 

           14              of speakers you have in your television

 

           15              today.

 

           16                      But we have 39 stores now, not one

 

           17              of them doesn't have positive cash flow, not

 

           18              one of them.  One of our weaker stores is

 

           19              Binghamton, New York, it had a $1,600,000 of

 

           20              cash flow last year, and Binghamton, New

 

           21              York, has not had the success of your

 

           22              downtown.  Your downtown is coming along

 

           23              pretty fine.  It doesn't happen in a day.

 

           24              It takes a long time to recreate a downtown,

 

           25              but we are seeing the next block becoming


 

 

                                                                      31

 

 

            1              attractive now, and I think people are proud

 

            2              about coming downtown now so I am not

 

            3              worried about Boscov's.  I think it will

 

            4              take me, and you will see changes.  Our

 

            5              accoutrements are usable for everything

 

            6              right now.  If you have the Hubble telescope

 

            7              you could read the fine print that tells you

 

            8              that not good for you, but it's going to

 

            9              superior and it going to be god.  We are

 

           10              going to go back, Boscov's was fun and a

 

           11              good value and we are going back to that.

 

           12              It's taking some time to get the merchandise

 

           13              in and get ready, but you will have an

 

           14              exciting Boscov's.  We see very little drop

 

           15              in volume this year, not because of the

 

           16              economy, but because when you are in Chapter

 

           17              11 you don't have the stock.  If you would

 

           18              go to our store in August they are telling

 

           19              me that we didn't have anything for back to

 

           20              school, and the drops -- and those drops

 

           21              were 30 percent, 35 percent.  With those

 

           22              types of drops this year we think we can

 

           23              have a -- break even or show an increase, so

 

           24              a lot of the stores may be taking a drop

 

           25              this year, and it is sad, but unemployment


 

 

                                                                      32

 

 

            1              has scared everybody.  I don't see us going

 

            2              through that problem.  I think that we ended

 

            3              up with a very successful December, partly

 

            4              out of customer loyalty not because we were

 

            5              so wonderful.  We still didn't have full

 

            6              stock, but a lot of people were worried

 

            7              about us and supported us, and I think

 

            8              January, it's hard to tell about January,

 

            9              you get a lot of steady -- if you don't do

 

           10              business you don't get a lot of steady

 

           11              business either, but never mind in January,

 

           12              but we are coming into spring.  We think we

 

           13              will be okay.  I think we will back to what

 

           14              we meant to people.  We aren't trying to be

 

           15              a snob store, we are trying to be a fun

 

           16              store.  Lo and behold I recognize that

 

           17              retailing is just recreational.  I'm

 

           18              guaranteeing that your closet is full, and

 

           19              your closet is full and even the men's

 

           20              closets are full and there isn't a woman in

 

           21              America whose closet isn't full, but it's

 

           22              fun to get something new and the men are

 

           23              just as guilty today as woman, so we will be

 

           24              back to recreational shopping, and it will

 

           25              be a little tougher, but I think because we


 

 

                                                                      33

 

 

            1              had such a problem last year it won't be so

 

            2              difficult for us this year.

 

            3                      Any other questions you have?  You

 

            4              weren't wanting to get a speech every time

 

            5              you asked a question.  It's very dangerous.

 

            6              Very dangerous.

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF: Ms. Fanucci?

 

            8              Mr. Courtright?

 

            9                      MR. COURTRIGHT: That's fine, thank

 

           10              you.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: We would like to thank

 

           12              you for your coming before us and speaking

 

           13              and hopefully the continued success of your

 

           14              enterprise.

 

           15                      MR. BOSCOV:  Thank you.  Thank you

 

           16              very much.

 

           17                      MR. MCCOFF: At this time Third

 

           18              Order.

 

           19                      MS. GARVEY: THIRD ORDER.  NO

 

           20              BUSINESS AT THIS TIME.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.

 

           22              Mrs. Gatelli, any announcements?

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI: Yeah.  I just have a

 

           24              few.  There is going to be a benefit for Jim

 

           25              Chapman, he is a cancer victim, father of


 

 

                                                                      34

 

 

            1              eight children and grandfather of 16.  The

 

            2              dinner will be held at the 20th Ward Club,

 

            3              2028 Pittston Avenue in South Scranton on

 

            4              Saturday, March 7 from 1 to 5.  The cost is

 

            5              $8 and I do have tickets available.

 

            6                      Also, just to reiterate the other

 

            7              two dinners that are happening, one for Chad

 

            8              Lewis on the 21st from 6 to 10 at Holy

 

            9              Rosary, and one for Joseph Nunez on the 28th

 

           10              at the Clarion at 8:00 and that's $12, and

 

           11              they are all cancer victims.  That's all I

 

           12              have.  Thank you.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?  Mrs.

 

           14              Evans, anything?

 

           15                      MS. EVANS: No thanks.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF:  Ms. Fanucci,

 

           17              Mr. Courtright?  Thank you.  Fourth order.

 

           18              Citizens participation.  Jim Stucker.

 

           19                      MR. STUCKER: How you doing,

 

           20              Courtright?

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Hi, Jim.

 

           22                      MR. STUCKER: This week -- today is

 

           23              February, my birthday is this month,

 

           24              February 21.

 

           25                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Happy birthday, Jim.


 

 

                                                                      35

 

 

            1                      MR. STUCKER: I was talking to my

 

            2              payee today because I get my rent being paid

 

            3              to buy -- I can buy a scooter.

 

            4                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay, Jim.

 

            5                      MR. STUCKER:  We have these kids out

 

            6              there with the skateboards and they are

 

            7              ruining everything on Adam's Avenue, they

 

            8              are over by that doctor's office.

 

            9                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I told the police

 

           10              about it, Jim, they are watching for them,

 

           11              okay?

 

           12                      MR. STUCKER:  There is lot of them

 

           13              out there --

 

           14                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I know.  I know.

 

           15                      MR. STUCKER: -- during the night,

 

           16              and a lot of holes out there.  My buddy,

 

           17              Pat, my buddy, Tom -- oh, my buddy Pat told

 

           18              me to tell you hello.

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay.

 

           20                      MR. STUCKER: On Parrot Avenue, you

 

           21              know him.

 

           22                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I know him.  Hello

 

           23              to Pat.

 

           24                      MR. STUCKER: We have a guy named Tom

 

           25              topple, he has a red pickup, and he had


 

 

                                                                      36

 

 

            1              brand new tires on it and what happened the

 

            2              holes are bad out there and he hit a hole a

 

            3              couple of times, Tom did with it and he was

 

            4              afraid to blow a tire.  Everywhere you go.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah, they are bad,

 

            6              Jim.

 

            7                      MR. STUCKER: It had to be your

 

            8              brother that called me.  Your brother --

 

            9                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Jim, Jim, no.

 

           10                      MR. STUCKER: He called me up.  Your

 

           11              brother called me.  He called me last night

 

           12              and says, "Do you know a guy named

 

           13              Courtright?"

 

           14                      And I said, "Yes, I do.  Yeah."

 

           15                      He said Courtright.  That's you.

 

           16                      MR. COURTRIGHT: That's me, Jim, but

 

           17              you know what I really appreciate the

 

           18              birthday card, but somebody was teasing you.

 

           19              Jimmy gave me a nice birthday card because

 

           20              somebody had told him it was my birthday and

 

           21              he gave me money which I returned to him,

 

           22              and so I appreciate you bringing it me, Jim.

 

           23              Thank you very much, but somebody was just

 

           24              playing a joke on you.

 

           25                      MR. STUCKER:  Yeah, a lot of people


 

 

                                                                      37

 

 

            1              do that.  And the Jeannie she just told me

 

            2              tonight not to get a scooter and I'd like to

 

            3              know, she is not paying for it.

 

            4                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Who?

 

            5                      MR. STUCKER: Jeannie.

 

            6                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Jeannie.  Don't

 

            7              listen to Jeannie.

 

            8                      MR. STUCKER: She said I don't need a

 

            9              scooter.  I said I had a couple of them and

 

           10              I was happy.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Don't ride it on the

 

           12              street though.

 

           13                      MR. STUCKER: I can ride it on the

 

           14              street.

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  You got in trouble

 

           16              last time.

 

           17                      MR. STUCKER: Everything is good.  My

 

           18              building is good.

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Very good.  Thank

 

           20              you, Jim.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: Thanks, Jim.  Mike

 

           22              Dudek.

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI:  Excuse me, before you

 

           24              start, I don't know your name, is there a

 

           25              way you can turn these down?  They are like


 

 

                                                                      38

 

 

            1              echoing?  Please, because you are getting

 

            2              like a back -- thank you.

 

            3                      MR. DUDEK:  My name is Mike Dudek,

 

            4              608 Depot Street, I live in the Plot and the

 

            5              purpose of a city council is really to do

 

            6              two things, one is obviously to carry out

 

            7              the business of the city, the streets, fire,

 

            8              the police and all of this, but there is a

 

            9              second purpose to a city council and it's

 

           10              staggered throughout the 50 states.

 

           11              Sometimes an issue comes up that demands

 

           12              that a city council speak to it and to speak

 

           13              to it with one voice, and we have a

 

           14              situation like this here in the city.

 

           15                      So what I have done with in

 

           16              situation to take some time to write a

 

           17              little model letter on the issue and I'll

 

           18              read it to you, and then I'd like to discuss

 

           19              it with you:  On the closing of the Scranton

 

           20              State School for the Deaf, it is with the

 

           21              strongest sense of outrage that we, the

 

           22              members of Scranton City Council, as both

 

           23              individuals and as members of this council

 

           24              unanimously announce publically our

 

           25              opposition to the plans of Governor Rendell


 

 

                                                                      39

 

 

            1              to close the Scranton State School for the

 

            2              Deaf.  The marker placed in front of the

 

            3              school by the Pennsylvania Museum and

 

            4              Historic Commission hardly does justice to

 

            5              the school.  Aside from being the first

 

            6              school of it's kind both in Pennsylvania and

 

            7              the United States.  This school could

 

            8              perhaps lay claim to being the first of

 

            9              school of any kind of special education

 

           10              anywhere in the world.  Today it is an

 

           11              experimental laboratory school in the area

 

           12              of defining and refining newer and more

 

           13              advanced methods of carrying out deaf child

 

           14              education.  Many new methods in deaf

 

           15              education have provided similar applications

 

           16              of teaching methods in many other areas of

 

           17              special education, and there is simply no

 

           18              way to calculate a cost benefit analysis on

 

           19              this.

 

           20                      The school takes deaf children and

 

           21              prepares them either for a successful

 

           22              vocational career or for further academic

 

           23              advancement leading to an academic degree in

 

           24              professional placement.

 

           25                      At one time, both the United States


 

 

                                                                      40

 

 

            1              -- in one time in both the United States and

 

            2              in Europe persons with any kind of learning

 

            3              disability from the blind and deaf to those

 

            4              with epilepsy or other barriers to learning

 

            5              were lumped together with persons with

 

            6              psychological problems in places called

 

            7              sanitariums.

 

            8                      What the governor proposes most

 

            9              certainly will condemn too many of these

 

           10              students to the welfare rolls or worse.  In

 

           11              the 1930's the very heart of the great

 

           12              depression with a national unemployment rate

 

           13              of 25 percent or more, no one ever moved to

 

           14              close this school.  So, to close it now with

 

           15              our economy as it is now simply diminished

 

           16              us as a very selfish people.  Governor

 

           17              Rendell wants to close the school that pulse

 

           18              it's financial wait by helping deaf persons

 

           19              into taxpayers because of short-sided

 

           20              bookkeeping.  Scranton City Council opposes

 

           21              the closing of the school.  We ask all

 

           22              Scrantonians to send a letter to the

 

           23              Governor's Office to tell him you also

 

           24              oppose the closing of the school.

 

           25                      I just wrote this as a model letter


 

 

                                                                      41

 

 

            1              for you that you can draw upon.  I also

 

            2              forgot to put in there that you could make a

 

            3              case, a very strong case, that to close this

 

            4              school would be a total violation of the

 

            5              Pennsylvania Constitution.  The Pennsylvania

 

            6              Constitution mandates a free public

 

            7              education.  These are students who are in

 

            8              desparate need of it and who have desperate

 

            9              needs.  These needs have being met for

 

           10              110 years.  Why close it?  There are many

 

           11              other waste I think the governor could, you

 

           12              know, tweak a budget.

 

           13                      I mean, the first thing that hit me

 

           14              when I saw this and that the governor was

 

           15              recommending it is, you know, the governor

 

           16              is being so outrageous in the use of his

 

           17              power that he almost reminds me that he must

 

           18              think he is the Bishop of Scranton.  You

 

           19              know, he can't do things like this.  You

 

           20              just can't.  A governor does not have that

 

           21              kind of power.

 

           22                      Now, Mrs. Fanucci, thank you for the

 

           23              information.  She tipped me off to the point

 

           24              that Senator Mellow is opposed to this.

 

           25              Now, I'm thinking of those wonderful Version


 

 

                                                                      42

 

 

            1              commercials where you have the Verizon

 

            2              owner, like Senator Mellow, and you put city

 

            3              council and us and everybody else behind

 

            4              them, like 500 people behind him, so that

 

            5              the governor know that we oppose the closing

 

            6              of this school.  We need this school.  It

 

            7              diminishes as people to condemn these

 

            8              children to a life of nothing.  We can't

 

            9              allow that to happen.

 

           10                      Next week I'm going to talk again on

 

           11              this subject, and I'm going to give you some

 

           12              ideas as to what we can do as a people, as a

 

           13              council and as people, to keep this school

 

           14              open.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Dudek.

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: Mr. Dudek, I'm going to

 

           17              address that later in my motions tonight.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Les Spindler.

 

           19                      MS. GATELLI:  I just want to say one

 

           20              thing, Mr. McGoff.  Mr. Dudek, on the

 

           21              Internet I have gotten at least four or five

 

           22              e-mails already signing a petition on-line

 

           23              to keep the school open so you might want to

 

           24              tell people about that, too.

 

           25                      MR. DUDEK:  I didn't know.


 

 

                                                                      43

 

 

            1                      MR. SPINDLER:  Good evening,

 

            2              Council.  Les Spindler, city resident and

 

            3              home owner and taxpayer.  I was wondering if

 

            4              anyone looked into the problem I brought up

 

            5              with Scranton Ford last week with them

 

            6              blocking the sidewalks and having to walk

 

            7              out in the street?  No one looked into it?

 

            8              Somebody?  Anybody going to look into it?  I

 

            9              think that's a public safety issue.

 

           10                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I'll check into it,

 

           11              Les.

 

           12                      MR. SPINDLER: Thank you,

 

           13              Mr. Courtright.

 

           14                      MR. COURTRIGHT: You are welcome.

 

           15                      MR. SPINDLER: The next thing, is

 

           16              there any progress on the cell phone ban

 

           17              with cars in the city? Mrs. Gatelli, do you

 

           18              know anything about that?

 

           19                      MS. GATELLI:  We made a motion to

 

           20              send a letter to Kenny Smith because they

 

           21              have a bill, I forget the number of the

 

           22              bill, but we sent it about two weeks ago for

 

           23              them to enact the cell ban and he is a

 

           24              cosponser of it so you might want to give

 

           25              him a call or you can give him over at the


 

 

                                                                      44

 

 

            1              restaurant and maybe we can get a petition

 

            2              or something to encourage him to get the

 

            3              other legislators to go along with his bill.

 

            4                      MR. SPINDLER: Okay.  Thank you.  I

 

            5              see where there is a "For Sale" sign on the

 

            6              church at 933 Prescott that how houses CDTV.

 

            7              I guess they are going to have to move.  Are

 

            8              they going to want another $100,000 to

 

            9              relocate to another building like they got

 

           10              for renovating the church?  I think it's

 

           11              ridiculous.  I think this is station is

 

           12              going to told.  I think it's a farce.  They

 

           13              are -- the shows on there are ridiculous.

 

           14              The sound is terrible.  I think council

 

           15              should look into getting Scranton Tomorrow

 

           16              back because I think Mayor Doherty is going

 

           17              to get what he wants with this station

 

           18              holding these council meetings will no

 

           19              longer be broadcast.

 

           20                      Next thing I wanted to ask Mrs.

 

           21              Evans something, but she is gone.  I guess

 

           22              I'll read some comments I have.  I have to

 

           23              make some comments about what a speaker said

 

           24              last week.  Last week's speaker claimed they

 

           25              received a threatening letter and went so


 

 

                                                                      45

 

 

            1              far as to blame regular speakers at this

 

            2              meeting for the letter.  As a regular at

 

            3              these meetings for over seven years, I take

 

            4              great offense to that and I take it

 

            5              personally.  I can speak for myself and the

 

            6              other regular that we wouldn't stoop to

 

            7              those depths.

 

            8                      The speaker went onto say how much

 

            9              she loves this city and that all the

 

           10              regulars are negative.  First of all, if the

 

           11              speaker loves the city so much why is she

 

           12              only shows up in Doherty election years and

 

           13              all the regular speakers are every week

 

           14              trying to make this city a better place?

 

           15                      And as far as being negative, the

 

           16              only thing we do is point out all the

 

           17              negative things that Chris Doherty has done

 

           18              for this city in the last seven years such

 

           19              as taking a $3 million surplus from the

 

           20              Connors' administration and turning it into

 

           21              a record long-term debt.  The city has lost

 

           22              hundreds of jobs under Chris Doherty, our

 

           23              population has reached an all-time low, and

 

           24              also our police and firefighters haven't had

 

           25              a raise in over seven years.  While he has


 

 

                                                                      46

 

 

            1              hired cronies and given huge raies which is

 

            2              a violation of his own Recovery Plan.  If

 

            3              any of this is untrue, I defy anyone to

 

            4              prove me wrong.

 

            5                      Oh, and one more thing, in the very

 

            6              beginning when he was elected he said he

 

            7              would be the sixth council person that was

 

            8              going to lower the wage tax.  We all know

 

            9              those two lies right there.

 

           10                      I guess I have a little more time.

 

           11              Last week at Channel 16 they reported that

 

           12              they are going to have ice skating at Nay

 

           13              Aug. That's great.  It's going to 60 degrees

 

           14              tomorrow and now we are going to have ice

 

           15              skating at Nay Aug, and I heard where the

 

           16              mayor is going to offer free swimming at Nay

 

           17              Aug this summer, could you say election year

 

           18              or maybe he is afraid that the feds are

 

           19              going to come after him, he was collecting

 

           20              those fees illegally for seven years because

 

           21              I have a deed that states it should be free

 

           22              swimming -- or free in a public park

 

           23              forever.  Well, maybe we will finally get

 

           24              our justice now.  Thank you.

 

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


 

 

                                                                      47

 

 

            1              Lee Morgan.

 

            2                      MR. MORGAN:  Good evening, Council.

 

            3              We are off to a really good start today

 

            4              considering that Les and Sherry didn't have

 

            5              words tonight so we are doing pretty good.

 

            6              The first thing I have here is I agree with

 

            7              Mr. Dudek in regards to the Scranton School

 

            8              for the Deaf.  Now, the tax group is trying

 

            9              to get the Scranton School for the Deaf to

 

           10              bring students into one of our meetings and

 

           11              let these young adults explain what is so

 

           12              important about the Scranton School for the

 

           13              Deaf to them and how it's enriched their

 

           14              lives and this community.  And I just hope

 

           15              that all of the members of council and all

 

           16              of the residents of this city would call the

 

           17              State Bureau of Information, I got a number

 

           18              out of the phone book, 1-800-932-0784.  I

 

           19              don't know what the governor's hotline

 

           20              number is, but, you know, now is the time to

 

           21              call all elected officials and let them know

 

           22              just how important this school is not just

 

           23              to the City of Scranton, not just to

 

           24              Lackawanna County, but quite possibly to the

 

           25              state or the nation as a whole.  When you


 

 

                                                                      48

 

 

            1              read a lot of history, as Mr. Dudek tried to

 

            2              say, at one time having impairments really

 

            3              was a detriment to even having a life, and I

 

            4              find that to be an important issue here in

 

            5              the city.

 

            6                      Another thing is Mr. Boscov was here

 

            7              tonight looking for funding.  It's probably

 

            8              a tough thing to get financing the way the

 

            9              world markets are, but -- and it may go

 

           10              against what other people believe, but I

 

           11              think it might behoove the city to try to

 

           12              make that possible for Mr. Boscov and give

 

           13              the loan to Mr. Boscov.  The mall itself, in

 

           14              my opinion, is struggling.  I have talked to

 

           15              merchants who have shops there.  The economy

 

           16              is absolutely a mess.  The banks are frozen.

 

           17              He did build this mall in the city and he

 

           18              did make a lot of money when he built the

 

           19              mall, but at least he came here and built

 

           20              the mall.  He is a 79-year-old guy and he

 

           21              could have just walked away from the whole

 

           22              mess and left it collapse and evidently it

 

           23              was important for him to come out of

 

           24              semi-retirement and try to salvage this

 

           25              store.


 

 

                                                                      49

 

 

            1                      I think that the mall without

 

            2              Mr. Boscov would just dry up and blow away,

 

            3              I have to be really honest with you, because

 

            4              he is one of the anchors there, and as long

 

            5              as he always paid his other loans I think

 

            6              his credit is good and, I mean, we have to

 

            7              move to a position in this city where we are

 

            8              going to do programs in the neighborhoods

 

            9              and I think that the city council and the

 

           10              mayor has to realize that after this it's

 

           11              time to pump a lot of money into the city

 

           12              itself, the neighborhoods, but at this one

 

           13              time I think that it would be a smart move

 

           14              to try and help Mr. Boscov at this point.

 

           15                      And maybe next week I'll get back to

 

           16              blight because I'd like to follow that

 

           17              through since, you know, I think it's

 

           18              important.  Thank you.

 

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

 

           20              Mr. Quinn.

 

           21                      MR. QUINN:  Ozzie Quinn, Taxpayers'

 

           22              Association and the Hill Neighborhood

 

           23              Association Blight.  Regarding Mr. Boscov, I

 

           24              attended the public hearing at OECD and the

 

           25              Lackawanna County and I asked him and I'm


 

 

                                                                      50

 

 

            1              asking you, did Mr. Boscov present a

 

            2              business plan to you?  He didn't I know to

 

            3              OECD or to the county.  You know, when there

 

            4              is a loan by a public -- from a public agent

 

            5              you should, you should present a business

 

            6              plan.  Anybody know if you have a business

 

            7              plan?  Have it in your files here?

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: As far as I know, we

 

            9              have not received that.

 

           10                      MR. QUINN:  Well, you should look a

 

           11              business plan before you do anything.  I

 

           12              mean, you just don't make loans even in OECD

 

           13              and you should have a business plan.  The

 

           14              other thing, too, I know Mr. Boscov since

 

           15              they started in 80's, okay, but the fact is

 

           16              I can't really go along with the fact that

 

           17              he has helped elect financially Mr. Doherty

 

           18              and the Governor Rendell by donating money

 

           19              to their election, and for Mr. Doherty and

 

           20              Mr. Rendell to give him this money it taints

 

           21              things, you know, and I have a list of the

 

           22              contributions he made to Mr. Doherty and

 

           23              Mr. Rendell.

 

           24                      And actually, you know, Boscov's is

 

           25              a good place for downtown, it's great for


 

 

                                                                      51

 

 

            1              the mall.  But, you know, there is an

 

            2              ethical part to everything and there is also

 

            3              a part where he should actually do those two

 

            4              things, he should show how much he gave to

 

            5              Rendell and Doherty and also present a

 

            6              business plan.

 

            7                      The other thing I want to address is

 

            8              the fact that when Mayor Connors left we

 

            9              were $36 million in long-term debt, now we

 

           10              are like 150- $170 million of long-term

 

           11              debt.  When Mr. Connors left there was 13

 

           12              neighborhood associations and now there is a

 

           13              scattered couple, okay?  And what's

 

           14              happening now, South Side, City Council is

 

           15              actually an extension of South Side.  Every

 

           16              program that comes down the pike, Elm

 

           17              Street, this neighborhood stabilization

 

           18              program, the inspectors that were just

 

           19              appointed, they are all gone to South Side.

 

           20              How about North Scranton?  What about West

 

           21              Scranton?  Bill, you were promised sidewalks

 

           22              over in West Scranton, you know, even when

 

           23              he made his speech last year over in the

 

           24              chamber, his state of the city, he said West

 

           25              Side, you know?


 

 

                                                                      52

 

 

            1                      So, we are in touch shape here, you

 

            2              know, when this debt and, you know, at one

 

            3              time the neighborhood associations were so

 

            4              strong during the 90's that they used to

 

            5              have 50 to 100 people at their meetings when

 

            6              they met, and what happened was Mr. Doherty

 

            7              was able to divide and conquer.  He hired

 

            8              some of these presidents and other members

 

            9              and put them on the payroll or on

 

           10              commissions or authorities and so with the

 

           11              neighborhood associations and various parts

 

           12              of the city, so you know why?  You don't get

 

           13              no grief from the neighborhood.  So what's

 

           14              happened, as Lee Morgan pointed out we've

 

           15              got blight.  Look around.  The curbs are

 

           16              gone, the sidewalks are gone, the streets

 

           17              are in disrepair, people need housing

 

           18              rehabilitation, and yet, you know, you don't

 

           19              hear anybody squawking.  Mr. Doherty put an

 

           20              end to that.

 

           21                      So it's ashame and I think you got

 

           22              to start facing reality here of what he is

 

           23              doing to this city, and I agree on that and

 

           24              I urge you to get a business plan for

 

           25              Mr. Boscov.  Thank you.


 

 

                                                                      53

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you Mr. Quinn.

 

            2              David Bergerhoff.

 

            3                      MR. BERGERHOFF: David Bergerhoff,

 

            4              North Scranton.  I want to start right there

 

            5              with North Scranton, and Janet Evans isn't

 

            6              here right now, but she mentioned some rehab

 

            7              work or something that's going to be done

 

            8              with the North Scranton Middle School

 

            9              regarding an auditorium, 500 seat

 

           10              auditorium, anybody aware of that which I'm

 

           11              speaking of?

 

           12                      MS. GATELLI: Yes, that's Goodwill

 

           13              Industries that's developing that.

 

           14                      MR. BERGERHOFF: Right, but they are

 

           15              looking for state funding and state money, I

 

           16              thought she said they were looking for some

 

           17              sort of grant in order to do some more work

 

           18              on that school.

 

           19                      MS. GATELLI:  I think they have the

 

           20              grants already.

 

           21                      MR. BERGERHOFF:  Because I just want

 

           22              to know what's been done with the money as

 

           23              of so far concerning when you look at the

 

           24              school the front of it looks great, then you

 

           25              look at the sides and the back and every


 

 

                                                                      54

 

 

            1              window is still the original window in the

 

            2              place, they are broken.  There is a lot of

 

            3              work that hasn't been done, and I have done

 

            4              construction and destruction in my life, and

 

            5              I have seen the amount of dumpsters it takes

 

            6              to clear a house, let alone a building of

 

            7              that size, so I know there is a lot more

 

            8              that needs to be done there.

 

            9                      I also saw where back in like '05 it

 

           10              looked like it was an agenda item for

 

           11              $350,000 from this council who was voting on

 

           12              it, I'm not sure how the vote went, but I'm

 

           13              under the impression that they did get the

 

           14              money, and I'm wondering what happened to

 

           15              that $350,000.  I'm wondering when maybe we

 

           16              will get an opportunity to see inside the

 

           17              school and really verify some of this work

 

           18              is being done and that it's being spent

 

           19              properly.

 

           20                      I also saw that the school was

 

           21              approved for a program where it was supposed

 

           22              to be turned into affordable housing and

 

           23              that was accepted back in like '92.  That

 

           24              work was never done.  I saw in 2007 they

 

           25              tried to turn the school into offices and


 

 

                                                                      55

 

 

            1              that plan was shot down by the Department of

 

            2              Interior, and I'm curious, have we given any

 

            3              business plans or any ideas to the

 

            4              Department of Interior or anyone else in

 

            5              regard to who is in charge of making these

 

            6              decisions to make sure that this is

 

            7              acceptable work that we are proposing right

 

            8              now?  That we are getting the money for it,

 

            9              and I'm not sure it's even approved.  You

 

           10              can't do too much to change the interior of

 

           11              that building based on what I read here.

 

           12              And I just want to know where this money is

 

           13              going and why is it being spent when I can't

 

           14              see any difference.  I live half a block

 

           15              from the school, so I will tell you, it

 

           16              needs a lot more work than a theatre being

 

           17              done in the middle, so we are a long way

 

           18              away from the theatre project, and that's

 

           19              just a point I wanted to make.

 

           20                      I just wanted to address a few

 

           21              statements from last week, Councilwoman

 

           22              Evans, I really wanted to thank her for her

 

           23              responses in regard to legitimate questions

 

           24              I had and I do applaud for her commitment to

 

           25              her family and her mother in particular in


 

 

                                                                      56

 

 

            1              our city, and I'm under the impression that

 

            2              if she ever felt her family would interfere

 

            3              with her work here that she would step down,

 

            4              so I'm fine with her making those

 

            5              statements.

 

            6                      Mrs. Gatelli, you spoke to me after

 

            7              the meeting, I asked you to address me

 

            8              publically regarding your statements, but

 

            9              I'll just basically rehash what had been

 

           10              said outside.  You still defend Zach

 

           11              Connors' hire based on his biography, so I'm

 

           12              really not going to go into that, but you

 

           13              also stated that there was no college degree

 

           14              required for the job, and I'm not going to

 

           15              debate the merits of education, however,

 

           16              there is a lot of people that were involved

 

           17              that did have college degrees, and so that

 

           18              fact alone I think other people should have

 

           19              been given a chance.  And then I thought it

 

           20              was funny when I said to you that did you

 

           21              think it was anything other than political

 

           22              and you stated, "How do I think most of the

 

           23              people in the city got their job?"

 

           24                      I just think that goes to my point

 

           25              that all of us citizens --


 

 

                                                                      57

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI:  It is your point.  You

 

            2              are right.  You are correct.

 

            3                      MR. BERGERHOFF:  We need to be more

 

            4              diligent and we need to definitely check on

 

            5              all public hires and we definitely need to

 

            6              consider answers like that when we consider

 

            7              voting because it's like business as usual

 

            8              is basically what you said, and I don't

 

            9              agree with business as usual anymore.

 

           10                      Mr. McGoff, I believe if you are

 

           11              going to enforce the rules it needs to go

 

           12              both ways, and I think it was very

 

           13              unprofessional you did not what you had said

 

           14              to me and tell me to watch it on television.

 

           15              I have Direct TV, I don't get this channel.

 

           16              I went over to my buddy's house and I

 

           17              watched it and I understood what you said.

 

           18              You know, it actually, limited freedoms

 

           19              which I think you referred to as it's up for

 

           20              debate like most First Amendment Rights, so

 

           21              it's not necessarily black and white and

 

           22              it's never came to Court, we always the

 

           23              opportunity, yes, we do have the opportunity

 

           24              to debate it in Court, sir, not here right

 

           25              now, thank you.


 

 

                                                                      58

 

 

            1                      Mr. Courtright, I believe your job

 

            2              should allow you some influence with

 

            3              managers, and I implore you to expand your

 

            4              role even if it's not in your job

 

            5              description.  And I thought it was ironic

 

            6              last week that this council talked how you

 

            7              state sidewalks cleared.  I'd like to know

 

            8              who got that done if it wasn't any of you

 

            9              and you have no influence perhaps we need to

 

           10              phone number of that individual because they

 

           11              did a good job because apparently none of

 

           12              you did that, so maybe that's the person we

 

           13              need to be calling anymore instead of coming

 

           14              here and wasting council's time.

 

           15                       And, Ms. Fanucci, there is not much

 

           16              I can really say to you because like they

 

           17              always say, if you have nothing nice to say

 

           18              don't say anything at all, but I know you

 

           19              like quotes so I have for you:  Liberty is

 

           20              not given, freedom is not assumed.

 

           21              Vigilance is not an option or rights will be

 

           22              consumed.  We stand on our promises that are

 

           23              ancestors have ensured.  We look to the

 

           24              futures and the past we have endured.  So, I

 

           25              will speak and you will listen, you will


 

 

                                                                      59

 

 

            1              speak and we will see, that what I promote

 

            2              is fairness in regard to honesty.  But what

 

            3              you spew is hatred and the ugliness of the

 

            4              politics in your heart and when we vote you

 

            5              our of office that is just a start.

 

            6                      I would just like to implore, please

 

            7              don't misstate my actions --

 

            8                      MS. FANUCCI: That was good.

 

            9                      MR. BERGERHOFF:  Please --

 

           10                      MS. FANUCCI: I'm complimenting you.

 

           11                      MR. BERGERHOFF: Excuse me.

 

           12                      MS. FANUCCI: You worked hard on it.

 

           13                      MR. BERGERHOFF: Excuse me.  I didn't

 

           14              work hard on it, it took me 30 second to

 

           15              write that.  I wrote this in 30 seconds when

 

           16              I got home, believe me, I'm much more

 

           17              intelligent than you.  Please don't mistake

 

           18              my passion for anger and getting in these

 

           19              tit for tats with her, you know, I wasn't

 

           20              going to make this quote that I also thought

 

           21              of the other night when I went home, but,

 

           22              you know, perhaps if Jesus was a pastor --

 

           23                      MS. FANUCCI: See ya.

 

           24                      MR. BERGERHOFF: -- was a preacher

 

           25              then the devil presents himself as a


 

 

                                                                      60

 

 

            1              politician or herself.  Thank you.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  Jean Suetta.

 

            3                      MS. SUETTA:  Hi, Billy.  Jeannie

 

            4              Suetta, Scranton, Pennsylvania.  Bill, who

 

            5              got the sidewalks cleaned?

 

            6                      MS. FANUCCI:  Bill did it.

 

            7                      MS. SUETTA:  No, he didn't.

 

            8                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes, he did.  I saw

 

            9              him.  I am just saying.

 

           10                      MR. COURTRIGHT: You must have

 

           11              Jeannie.

 

           12                      MS. SUETTA: A little bit.  I made a

 

           13              couple of calls.  Has this city gone crazy

 

           14              altogether?

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: Yes.

 

           16                      MS. SUETTA: We have had a bitter

 

           17              cold winter and the first week in February

 

           18              we put up an ice rink.  We are having 90 --

 

           19              60 degree weather tomorrow, tell -- I almost

 

           20              slipped.  What are they, crazy?

 

           21                      MS. FANUCCI: Yeah.

 

           22                      MS. SUETTA: I mean, you know, we had

 

           23              a bitter cold and they had to wait for the

 

           24              right elements.  You make ice so it can melt

 

           25              in three days?


 

 

                                                                      61

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: Actually, the ice rink

 

            2              had been up for about a month.

 

            3                      MS. SUETTA:  Why wouldn't they let

 

            4              anybody skate?

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: People were tere

 

            6              skating.

 

            7                      MS. SUETTA: Don't tell me it wasn't

 

            8              cold enough.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: People were there using

 

           10              it.

 

           11                      MS. SUETTA: Well, how come they just

 

           12              announced it?

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: I don't know why they

 

           14              just announced it.  All I know it had been

 

           15              up for about a month.

 

           16                      MS. SUETTA:  Yeah.  Sherry, he did

 

           17              not plow Jilly's.  He took my warning.

 

           18                      MS. FANUCCI: Good.

 

           19                      MS. SUETTA:  Because I would have

 

           20              gave you his name.

 

           21                      MS. FANUCCI: I'm glad, Jeannie,

 

           22              because I was worried.

 

           23                      MS. SUETTA: Bill, is it your

 

           24              birthday today?

 

           25                      MR. COURTRIGHT: No.


 

 

                                                                      62

 

 

            1                      MS. SUETTA: What do you mean, you

 

            2              denounce me on television.  Jesus, Mary and

 

            3              Joseph.  I mean we have none of that here.

 

            4              No, but outside?  You know, Bill?  Don't

 

            5              denounce me on television.

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI: What are you doing

 

            7              outside, Bill?

 

            8                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  I'm not going to

 

            9              say.

 

           10                      MS. SUETTA:  He had the rest, he is

 

           11              trying to get the best.

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I'm not saying

 

           13              anything, Jean, go ahead.

 

           14                      MS. SUETTA: Have a good night.

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT: You, too.

 

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

 

           17              Mr. Jackowitz.

 

           18                      MR. JACKOWITZ: Bill Jackowitz, South

 

           19              Scranton resident and member of the

 

           20              Taxpayers' Association.  Looks like tonight

 

           21              is quote tonight, so I have a couple of

 

           22              quotes tonight myself.

 

           23                      MS. FANUCCI: I know they are going

 

           24              to be better though, Bill.

 

           25                      MR. JACKOWITZ: "The democracy will


 

 

                                                                      63

 

 

            1              cease to exist when you take away from those

 

            2              are willing to work and give to those who

 

            3              would not."  Thomas Jefferson.

 

            4                      Okay.  I, too, would also like to

 

            5              comment on Ms. Joanne Williams' comments

 

            6              last week.  This is the first for me

 

            7              commenting on other speakers.  Mrs. Williams

 

            8              lumped every single regular speaker into one

 

            9              when she said that we are cowards.  I'm

 

           10              telling you right now I am not a coward, I

 

           11              have never been a coward, and I never will

 

           12              be a coward.

 

           13                      Furthermore, if I have something to

 

           14              say I'm going to say it to your face or I'm

 

           15              going to say it in print to a letter to the

 

           16              editor or I'm not going to say you out in

 

           17              the hallway, whether you agree with me or

 

           18              even disagree with me I'm going to tell you

 

           19              the way I feel, it's as simple as that.  So,

 

           20              Mrs. Williams if you are listening, Bill

 

           21              Jackowitz is not a coward and I never will

 

           22              be a coward, and I don't think it's right

 

           23              for you to lump all of the doomers and all

 

           24              of the ankle biters into one because we are

 

           25              all individuals with individual rights.


 

 

                                                                      64

 

 

            1                      Okay, as far as Al Boscov.  Oh,

 

            2              furthermore, I have received threatening

 

            3              letters and my letters are signed by the

 

            4              Southsiders.  Ms. Gatelli and Mr. McGoff,

 

            5              you guys live in South Side, are you part of

 

            6              the Southsiders?

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI:  No.

 

            8                      MR. JACKOWITZ: No?  Is that a no,

 

            9              Bob?

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF: I shall remain

 

           11              anonymous.

 

           12                      MR. JACKOWITZ: How about you

 

           13              Mr. Fanucci, are you an auxiliary member?

 

           14                      MS. FANUCCI: No, but if I know where

 

           15              to sign up, maybe.  I don't know.

 

           16                      MR. JACKOWITZ: You probably would.

 

           17              You probably would.  I was just curious

 

           18              because mine are all signed by Southsiders

 

           19              from Chebby Street, C-H-E-B-B-Y.  One of the

 

           20              cross streets in my neighborhood is Cherry

 

           21              Street, so they don't now how to spell

 

           22              Cherry, obviously, but anyway, if they ever

 

           23              want me or maybe if you guys know any

 

           24              Southsiders and they want to meet for a

 

           25              beer, hey, tell me.  Give me a call I'll be


 

 

                                                                      65

 

 

            1              more than happy.  I'll even buy.

 

            2                      But, as far as the Boscov's go,

 

            3              Mr. Boscov admitted that he had a bad

 

            4              business plan, he basically said that, that

 

            5              the reason why they are in the position they

 

            6              are in now is because they made a lot of bad

 

            7              business decisions and, you know, he wasn't

 

            8              involved in it, but he appointed the people

 

            9              who were involved in it.  Am I against

 

           10              giving him the $3 million?  Not really.

 

           11              But, I am in favor of him providing a

 

           12              business plan, so we now that this doesn't

 

           13              happen again.  And so I strongly suggest

 

           14              that city council and the mayor or whomever

 

           15              is involved in this, OECD, get a business

 

           16              plan from Mr. Boscov so we know we are going

 

           17              to get our $3 million back.

 

           18                      And political correctness, here is

 

           19              another quote, I'm not smart enough to

 

           20              remember them, so I have to actually read

 

           21              them, "Political correctness is a doctrine

 

           22              fostered by a delusion, illogical minority

 

           23              and rapidly promoted by an unscrupulous

 

           24              mainstream media which holds forth the

 

           25              proposition that it is entirely possible to


 

 

                                                                      66

 

 

            1              pick up a turd by a clean end," and that's

 

            2              by RJ Wintleman, Lieutenant Colonel, United

 

            3              States Marine Corp, Retired.  Thank you.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr.

 

            5              Jackowitz.  Marie Schumacher.

 

            6                      MS. SCHUMACHER: I'm Marie

 

            7              Schumacher, resident and member of the

 

            8              Taxpayers' Association.  Mrs. Gatelli, two

 

            9              weeks ago on January 27 you responded to a

 

           10              question regarding the exact amount of the

 

           11              city would be receiving upon completion of

 

           12              the Single Tax Office forensic audit that we

 

           13              will known within the next two weeks, so I'm

 

           14              hopeful you will share that figure during

 

           15              motions this evening.

 

           16                      Also, this one-time windfall helped

 

           17              to plug the hole in the city structural

 

           18              deficit for 2009, but what will plug the

 

           19              whole in 2010?  How much will taxes have to

 

           20              be raised next year?

 

           21                      Also, what is the status of the home

 

           22              Rule Charter Review?

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI:  Attorney Minora is

 

           24              still investigating that.

 

           25                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Okay, it definitely


 

 

                                                                      67

 

 

            1              needs modification.

 

            2                      MR. MINORA: That can be initiated by

 

            3              citizens in an initiative and referendum.

 

            4                      MS. SCHUMACHER:  But Mrs. Gatelli

 

            5              brought it up and Council can also do that

 

            6              and she is the one that brought it up last

 

            7              year, I believe.

 

            8                      MS. GATELLI: Yes, I would like to

 

            9              see some of it changed and I was told we can

 

           10              change it.

 

           11                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Motions.  I got a

 

           12              lot.

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI:  We can change it.

 

           14                      MS. SCHUMACHER: In motion.  Yes, I

 

           15              know.  The mayor has been made it clear that

 

           16              his new South Side library is on his

 

           17              stimulus project list, but where, oh, where

 

           18              does the new Wildlife Center stand and the

 

           19              city's priority list?  I used to enjoy going

 

           20              to the Wildlife Center before the largest of

 

           21              the outdoor pens was split in half.

 

           22              However, seeing those poor four large cats

 

           23              in such a confined area breaks my heart.

 

           24              When will this facility be upgraded and

 

           25              where does it stand in the mayor's priority


 

 

                                                                      68

 

 

            1              list?

 

            2                      Considering that the annual audit

 

            3              set a new tardiness record this year and

 

            4              since Mr. McGoff is retired, and like me has

 

            5              a lot of free time on his hands I'm sure, I

 

            6              would like to request -- I would like to

 

            7              request that Mr. McGoff attend the next

 

            8              meetings of each of the authorities to

 

            9              request their cooperation in meeting the

 

           10              auditor's time schedule in beginning a

 

           11              dialogue on synchronizing fiscal years and

 

           12              audit reports.

 

           13                      As council debates the KOZ and

 

           14              KOEZ's extensions, I would like to make them

 

           15              aware that last August during the

 

           16              groundbreaking ceremony for the new

 

           17              $200 million hockey arena Mario Lemieux

 

           18              admitted he never thought of moving the

 

           19              Pittsburgh Penguins out of Pittsburgh yet

 

           20              his threats to move the team got us

 

           21              taxpayers to pick up the taxes for most of

 

           22              this new arena.  So a word to the wise,

 

           23              don't believe every threat that you hear, it

 

           24              may very well be an act.

 

           25                      Now, with respect to Boscov's, I


 

 

                                                                      69

 

 

            1              certainly hope Boscov's succeeds.  I'd like

 

            2              it keep them here, but the most troubling

 

            3              element to me is that the 108 loans transfer

 

            4              the risk to the lowest and -- to the low and

 

            5              middle income people because all of those

 

            6              loans have to use as collateral future CDBG

 

            7              funds, and if that loan should be defaulted

 

            8              the CDBG money is reduced and there is no

 

            9              money left for our low and middle income

 

           10              people, so I would like to know how much is

 

           11              left in our 108 fund?  Does anybody know?  I

 

           12              mean, we know that it's five times the

 

           13              annual allotment so it's roughly

 

           14              $150 million, but I'd like -- we have been

 

           15              giving a lot of loans and I like to know

 

           16              where that stands.

 

           17                      Also, I'm not really too thrilled by

 

           18              the article that Mr. Haggerty wrote in the

 

           19              Times-Tribune because to quote it, it says,

 

           20              "A New York City retail consultant and

 

           21              investment banker said, I don't put much

 

           22              faith in the profit number.  That always

 

           23              happens when you go through a bankruptcy.

 

           24              You have written down the value of your

 

           25              entire inventory so you are a new company


 

 

                                                                      70

 

 

            1              and your margin goes through the roof.  At

 

            2              the end of the day it's a deteriorating

 

            3              business.  The consumer is in the biggest

 

            4              trade down effect in history, he said.  The

 

            5              relevant number is Boscov's continued loss

 

            6              of market share and customers."

 

            7                      So I think that also has to be

 

            8              factored into the equation.  And the ice

 

            9              rink, the city bought three of those ice

 

           10              rinks, one was to have been in Harmond

 

           11              Field, when will the one at Harmond Field be

 

           12              placed and where is the third?

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: I can ask.  I have no

 

           14              idea.

 

           15                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Maybe somebody could

 

           16              call Parks and Rec and get an answer?

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF: I will.

 

           18                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Thank you.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: Any other speakers?

 

           20              Mr. Dobson.

 

           21                      MR. DOBSON: Good evening, Council,

 

           22              Dave Dobson, resident of Scranton, associate

 

           23              of the Taxpayers'.  Last week we discussed

 

           24              and had a caucus on Channel 61, absolutely I

 

           25              tried when I got home to get -- I have a set


 

 

                                                                      71

 

 

            1              top box and I have a straight cable line

 

            2              into another television, that comes with the

 

            3              minimum.  You have to pay extra for the set

 

            4              top box, it's $17 a month or something like

 

            5              that, and absolutely Channel 61 is not

 

            6              available through regular cable, so as you

 

            7              are going along here you want to possibly

 

            8              include that in your negotiations to get

 

            9              Channel 61 out to everybody that is willing

 

           10              to pay for basic cable service because it's

 

           11              not available unless you have the set top

 

           12              box and that puts you out about $35 or $40 a

 

           13              month depending on how much they raise their

 

           14              rates.  I think it's going to be go up 5 or

 

           15              6 bucks.

 

           16                      Moving on, I'd also like to speak

 

           17              about the School for the Deaf and the

 

           18              medical school.  It seems I read an article

 

           19              last week that $5 million is being withdrawn

 

           20              by the state from the medical school, for

 

           21              the medical school appropriations or grants,

 

           22              and I really wish you people would get in

 

           23              touch with the governor and anybody else

 

           24              ought there.  A man had a great idea, get

 

           25              1,000 people standing behind you because for


 

 

                                                                      72

 

 

            1              one thing irregardless of whether you agree

 

            2              or disagreed, per se, with the medical

 

            3              school, we were told one thing and now it's

 

            4              another and who picks up the tab?  Somewhere

 

            5              along the line is Scranton going to be asked

 

            6              to come up with another $5 million because

 

            7              the state pulled the carpet, and I really

 

            8              don't think that's right.  It's a real shame

 

            9              that somebody should start a program and

 

           10              then pull the carpet in the middle of it.

 

           11              You really shouldn't do that.  They should

 

           12              find cuts somewhere else.  Once they promise

 

           13              something and gotten somebody involved and

 

           14              go out on a limb for the money then the

 

           15              money they should stand behind their

 

           16              promises.

 

           17                      And one other thing tonight been

 

           18              name calling and so forth, I try not to call

 

           19              people any names and I don't get any mean

 

           20              letters, you know.  I wish somebody sent me

 

           21              a mean letter so I would have something to

 

           22              grip about this week, but they should really

 

           23              view that tape and listen to what they were

 

           24              calling people and maybe they deserve a mean

 

           25              letter, I don't know.  Thank you and have a


 

 

                                                                      73

 

 

            1              good night.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: Maybe Mr. Dobson is one

 

            3              of the Southsiders.  Anyone else?  Mr.

 

            4              Ellman?  Welcome.

 

            5                      MR. ELLMAN: Ronnie Ellman, homeowner

 

            6              and member of the Taxpayers' Association.  I

 

            7              just got here just that second.  Let me tell

 

            8              you, I went out to my garage today to hook

 

            9              up my battery charger to my old car and

 

           10              there was water dripping from the snow, so I

 

           11              went up on the roof to see what it was, I

 

           12              fell through the roof, so I'm rather

 

           13              irritable.  I guess I take my wrath out on

 

           14              my usually victims, you know.

 

           15                      You know, I was coming down here and

 

           16              I'm thinking what do I have to look forward

 

           17              to around here?  I got this conman trying to

 

           18              get $3 million off of us and bragging about

 

           19              all of the money he made and Christmas, I

 

           20              don't understand you're thinking of eve

 

           21              considering giving him anything.

 

           22                      Then last week I listened to

 

           23              Reverend Simmons say how great the man

 

           24              downstairs is I guess because he takes his

 

           25              tie off and has a hot doing with Joe


 

 

                                                                      74

 

 

            1              Snedeker Memorial Day that makes him one of

 

            2              us, but if he loves the poor so much why did

 

            3              he take the park away from the kids?  I have

 

            4              talked to little kids and asking me what

 

            5              they are going to do, you know, one or two

 

            6              at the grocery store.  I don't know.  I

 

            7              didn't take it away from them, you know,

 

            8              it's -- the mayor wants to evict 700 people

 

            9              like he did across the street from the

 

           10              college, and she is worried, you know, about

 

           11              Obama and things.  She ought to take care of

 

           12              her flock here in town if you ask me.

 

           13                      Then I got this old dinosaur that I

 

           14              don't like to start with, Burke, you know,

 

           15              saying we need more KOZ's, well, what we

 

           16              need is some taxpayers, some people to pay

 

           17              taxes.  We got three or 400 KOZ's and if you

 

           18              ask the Single Tax Office what they are done

 

           19              they don't have much good to report.  We do

 

           20              not need any more KOZ's, you know.  The

 

           21              governor has just turned --  given the

 

           22              utilities a cart blanche to charge whatever

 

           23              they want and every time I go someplace I

 

           24              talk to someone that says they don't know

 

           25              how they are going to make it that's like I


 

 

                                                                      75

 

 

            1              am retired and so on.

 

            2                      Then we got the exalted one

 

            3              downstairs, he says we need to spend more

 

            4              money on Nay Aug.  We don't need to spend it

 

            5              on the police and the firemen or buy garbage

 

            6              trucks, you know, but we'll spend it on the

 

            7              park.  You know, it's like I said a couple

 

            8              of weeks ago, the city is just going to

 

            9              circles and nothing is being -- there is no

 

           10              progress.

 

           11                      You know, my good friends, you

 

           12              people out there I guess, everybody else is

 

           13              mad at me, we have spent what, a couple of

 

           14              hundred million dollars in this city and

 

           15              what did we buy?  Did we buy toilet paper?

 

           16              Light bulbs?  Where did the money go?

 

           17              People keep asking where in the world the

 

           18              money went?  There is just, you know, it's

 

           19              just -- that's a monumental waste of money

 

           20              goes out every day.  It's just padded

 

           21              payrolls and friend on payrolls and giving

 

           22              money to Boscov, then we borrow $240,000

 

           23              from Friendship House that is having a

 

           24              fundraiser.  It doesn't make sense what goes

 

           25              on, you know, it's just -- I'll tell you,


 

 

                                                                      76

 

 

            1              I'm glad my time is almost up because this

 

            2              will just drive me to drink, you know, and I

 

            3              got an excuse to go over to the club right

 

            4              now I think.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: And have that

 

            6              conversation in the men's room you always

 

            7              have.

 

            8                      MR. ELLMAN:  Somebody always talks

 

            9              to me in there.  It's like an office for me.

 

           10              Thank you very much, Council.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Thank you, Mr.

 

           12              Ellman.  Anyone else?  Chris.

 

           13                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: Hello, Bill.

 

           14                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Hi, Chris.

 

           15                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: I'll pull it down a

 

           16              little bit.  Hey, Bill, what about that fire

 

           17              last week in West side.  It was dangerous

 

           18              one, wasn't it?

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes, it was.

 

           20                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: You guys did a good

 

           21              job.  Dave.  Hey, Dave.  Good job, did a

 

           22              good one.  Dave, hey, Dave.  Good job, I'm

 

           23              proud of you.  Keep it up downstairs, will

 

           24              you?  All of you guys down there.

 

           25                      MR. GERVASI: Thanks, Chris.


 

 

                                                                      77

 

 

            1                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: You are welcome.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Chris.

 

            3                      MS. KRAKE:  Good evening, Council.

 

            4              My name is Nancy Krake.  I'd like to

 

            5              continue with my explanation of the remarks

 

            6              that were made when Mrs. Evans tried to

 

            7              amend the resolution that gives very

 

            8              prohibitive costs to delinquent real estate

 

            9              taxes.  I was up to the part where Mrs.

 

           10              Gatelli was making the remark about

 

           11              sheriff's sales.  The county does not have a

 

           12              sheriff's sale and neither does the City of

 

           13              Scranton.  We never have.  The city has a

 

           14              sale, city treasurer's sale, and that's for

 

           15              quiet title.  The county has a quick claim

 

           16              or judicial sale.  They are not sheriff's

 

           17              sale.  You do not get clear title when you

 

           18              go through either one of those sales.  So,

 

           19              therefore, they are not used to take homes

 

           20              which is the whole point.  With the city and

 

           21              city treasurer's sale that goes hand-in-hand

 

           22              with the Pittsburgh Plan.

 

           23                      If you buy a property at the City

 

           24              Treasurer's sale it's just for that one year

 

           25              of delinquent taxes and then the property


 

 

                                                                      78

 

 

            1              owners have a year to redeem.  So, once

 

            2              again I do believe Mrs. Evans and

 

            3              Mr. Courtright in agreeing with her were

 

            4              very right in trying to amend that

 

            5              ordinance.

 

            6                      Also, Mrs. Gatelli made remarks how

 

            7              the county always got their money.  Well,

 

            8              they got their money sooner than the city,

 

            9              not that they always got it, they just got

 

           10              it sooner because they had a tax sale after

 

           11              one year.  In our sale we would lien in two

 

           12              years and then have the sale the following

 

           13              June.  We got our money the same as the

 

           14              county, we just got it a little bit later.

 

           15                      These are all things that I had

 

           16              brought up before the last two times when

 

           17              Mrs. Evans or this resolution came before

 

           18              council.  I tried to explain them to

 

           19              everyone, I know they are true, but still I

 

           20              got -- I just seem to hit a brick wall with

 

           21              three members of council.  You were given

 

           22              misinformation.

 

           23                      I'd also like to know, last week I

 

           24              asked if council would find out how much

 

           25              wage tax had been collected for the past two


 

 

                                                                      79

 

 

            1              years and/or disbursed to the city.  Did

 

            2              anyone ask that question?

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: I did not, I'm sorry.

 

            4                      MS. EVANS: I believe letters or a

 

            5              letter would have been sent because I made

 

            6              that request after last week's meeting, but

 

            7              I don't have any response tonight.

 

            8                      MS. KRAKE: Okay.  I hope you will

 

            9              for next week.  I'm sure it's going to be

 

           10              very close to the amount of money Mrs. Evans

 

           11              had allotted in her past budgets.  Like I

 

           12              said, those monies came in because the FBI

 

           13              was at the Single Tax Office.

 

           14                      Now, all that being said, council is

 

           15              very adamant per the mayor in enforcing the

 

           16              real estate tax.  We have nothing to enforce

 

           17              the collection of wage tax.  It doesn't seem

 

           18              to bother any of the people who are adamant

 

           19              in collecting the real estate tax though.

 

           20              This is very, very unfair.  In fact, if you

 

           21              had been diligent in collecting the wage tax

 

           22              you would not have needed to raise taxes in

 

           23              the budget at all.

 

           24                      I would also like to know if

 

           25              Boscov's is current in their mercantile tax


 

 

                                                                      80

 

 

            1              payments.  I don't think they should be

 

            2              afforded any more monies unless they are

 

            3              current in everything they owe.  Once again,

 

            4              if you are considering giving Mr. Boscov the

 

            5              money and considering continuing not to

 

            6              enforce the collection of wage tax since we

 

            7              haven't collected it diligently in the past

 

            8              eight years, then you should be just as

 

            9              generous to the citizens of this city who

 

           10              cannot afford to pay their homeowners' tax

 

           11              and that you are allowing a sheriff's sale

 

           12              to sit on the books even though you are

 

           13              saying you are not going to use it, it's

 

           14              still there, that would actually take their

 

           15              home away.

 

           16                      And I have one more unrelated item,

 

           17              we still do not have an HVAC inspector and

 

           18              it's been a year in the City of Scranton.  I

 

           19              don't know if anyone on council is aware of

 

           20              this, I did mention it several times, we are

 

           21              using an outside company, Building

 

           22              Inspection Underwriters I believe is the

 

           23              name I'm seeing.  They are also doing our

 

           24              plan reviews and in the past the head of

 

           25              that department, license and inspections,


 

 

                                                                      81

 

 

            1              would do the plan reviews in that regard and

 

            2              that brought in an significant amount of

 

            3              money since that person is unable to do with

 

            4              the new head of that department we are

 

            5              losing that revenue.  Thank you.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Krake.

 

            7              Anyone else?  Thank you.  Mrs. Evans?

 

            8                      MS. EVANS: Good evening.  Like so

 

            9              many others, I was outraged to learn that

 

           10              state funding for the Scranton State School

 

           11              for the Deaf has been cut by the governor's

 

           12              proposed budget.  Education of the deaf

 

           13              should always be supported and is a greater

 

           14              priority in my opinion than corporate

 

           15              bailouts in Pennsylvania.  If state funding

 

           16              is, indeed, cut, then in order to remain

 

           17              open of the cost may transfer to individual

 

           18              school districts which in turn will cause

 

           19              school taxes to rise.

 

           20                      Therefore, with the agreement of my

 

           21              council colleagues, I would like letters

 

           22              sent to Governor Rendell, Senator Mellow and

 

           23              State Representatives Murphy and Smith

 

           24              stating Scranton City Council's opposition

 

           25              to state funding cuts for the Scranton State


 

 

                                                                      82

 

 

            1              School for the Deaf and asking them to

 

            2              oppose this item of the proposed budget and

 

            3              to support continued state funding of this

 

            4              educational institution.  Is that agreeable?

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF:  Any opposition to that?

 

            6                      MS. FANUCCI: I'm not sure if I

 

            7              should obtain from the governor's letter

 

            8              just because it's my day job, so I will

 

            9              abstain from voting on this if that's all

 

           10              right.  Mr. Courtright?

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT: That's fine.

 

           12                      MS. EVANS: We are not really voting

 

           13              on it.

 

           14                      MS. FANUCCI: Well, the problem is if

 

           15              my name is on the letter that would be a

 

           16              conflict of interest, so just if I can

 

           17              abstain from my name being and the letter.

 

           18                      MS. EVANS: For the governor?

 

           19                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

           20                      MS. EVANS: Or for all of the four

 

           21              letters?

 

           22                      MS. FANUCCI: For all four letters,

 

           23              let's do.

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: Thank you.  Over the last

 

           25              few weeks I have reported the long-term debt


 

 

                                                                      83

 

 

            1              of our city, it is a very serious and

 

            2              troubling problem about which we all need to

 

            3              know more.  Consequently, I reviewed the

 

            4              2001 independent audit of the final year of

 

            5              the Connors' administration in order to

 

            6              better track the finances of Scranton.

 

            7              These are the results:

 

            8                      In December 31, 2001, the long-term

 

            9              debt of the city and it's authorities was

 

           10              $75,667,987.  In December 2007, only six

 

           11              years into the Doherty administration, the

 

           12              long-term debt of the city and it's

 

           13              authorities stands at $273,340,228.

 

           14              Seventy-five million in 2001 and 273 million

 

           15              in 2007.  This is an increase of nearly

 

           16              $200 million or four times the amount in

 

           17              long-term debt in six years.

 

           18                      Also, the principle debt of the city

 

           19              and it's authorities in 2001 was

 

           20              $35,925,000.  The principle debt in 2007 is

 

           21              $159,162,385.  This is an increase of over

 

           22              123 million or over four times the amount of

 

           23              the principle at the time.

 

           24                      Further, the 2001 audit includes a

 

           25              $2.9 million surplus passed onto


 

 

                                                                      84

 

 

            1              Mr. Doherty.  Now, supporters of the Doherty

 

            2              debt will tell you we have a new police

 

            3              headquarters, four renovated parks, a new

 

            4              DPW, which incidentally the city doesn't

 

            5              own, three parking garages of which two are

 

            6              largely for use by private business, the

 

            7              Hilton Hotel and the Connell building.  Do

 

            8              these projects amount to nearly $200 million

 

            9              of increased debt?  I don't believe so.  And

 

           10              please note that projects such as Lackawanna

 

           11              Avenue, the Southern Union Building, the

 

           12              East Market Street bridge, and Lackawanna

 

           13              Avenue Bridge, etcetera, are largely funded

 

           14              through the federal and state governments.

 

           15              Even the new medical school is funded

 

           16              through federal, state and private sources,

 

           17              thus, these projects don't put a dent in the

 

           18              Doherty debt.

 

           19                      Further, the police and firefighters

 

           20              have received no wage increases in seven

 

           21              years.  How did one mayor and his council

 

           22              members amass nearly $200 million in debt in

 

           23              six years?  And remember, that $200 million

 

           24              doesn't include 2008 and 2009 debt.  It

 

           25              appears that 100 forced retirements, double


 

 

                                                                      85

 

 

            1              pensions, pay to play professional service

 

            2              contracts, cabinet and, management raises,

 

            3              job creations, legal fees to fight the

 

            4              unions, consultants and incessant training,

 

            5              four by eight signs, ad campaigns, a PR firm

 

            6              to highlight the mayor and spin the news,

 

            7              are equally part of the Doherty debt, and

 

            8              despite the 25.6 tax -- 25.6 percent tax

 

            9              increase in 2007, the Doherty debt continued

 

           10              to grow through unbridled BS, borrowing and

 

           11              spending.  The average person needs to

 

           12              remember that the long-term Connors' debt

 

           13              was $75 million, and the long-term Doherty

 

           14              debt is $273 million and still growing and

 

           15              we are all responsible to pay the Doherty

 

           16              debt until 2039.

 

           17                      On a related topic, the independent

 

           18              audit of the Scranton Tax Office is due this

 

           19              month, however, to date council has not

 

           20              received a copy of the audit and has not

 

           21              been notified of a dispersement date for

 

           22              taxes owed to the city from the

 

           23              $12.5 million account.

 

           24                      The last few days have seen the

 

           25              Court ruling regarding the Scranton police


 

 

                                                                      86

 

 

            1              union way was no surprise in light of a

 

            2              similar ruling concerning the firefighters'

 

            3              union.  The statements made by the mayor

 

            4              mirror his lack of expertise and the absence

 

            5              of an independent public safety study.  Ask

 

            6              Coatsville, Reading, and Wilkes-Barre

 

            7              residents about the crime and arsons that

 

            8              have occurred because politicians with no

 

            9              experience in public safety handle police

 

           10              and fire staffing unwisely.

 

           11                      The mayor seems to believe that

 

           12              Scranton does not need additional police

 

           13              officers and doesn't need some of it's fire

 

           14              stations.  Well, I'm very anxious to see

 

           15              which neighborhoods are willing to give up

 

           16              police protection and their fire stations

 

           17              while it's residents pay increased taxes for

 

           18              the Doherty debt.  In effect, we will pay

 

           19              more taxes for less public safety and

 

           20              service thanks to this administration.

 

           21                      Next, item 5-B of the $3 million

 

           22              loan to Boscov's is a controversial issue

 

           23              which I will address during the voting

 

           24              portion of tonight's meeting.

 

           25                      And, finally, I have some citizens'


 

 

                                                                      87

 

 

            1              request for the week.  City residents

 

            2              request that debris blocking catch basins

 

            3              and causing water to pond and freeze be

 

            4              cleared throughout the city.

 

            5                      Residents of West Scranton request

 

            6              the installation of new "no turn on red"

 

            7              signs at all four corners of the

 

            8              intersection Luzerne Street and South Main

 

            9              Avenue.

 

           10                      Did the city hire a part-time animal

 

           11              control officer?  Residents of Woodlawn

 

           12              Street are experiencing skunk problems and

 

           13              need some help as soon as possible.  The

 

           14              mayor agreed to allocate $10,000 to skunk

 

           15              removal in the city according to Mrs.

 

           16              Gatelli and more problems will only be

 

           17              forthcoming as warmer weather approaches.

 

           18                      City residents request that a

 

           19              garbage pickup schedule would be posted on

 

           20              Channel 61 through ECTV.  Holidays often

 

           21              confuse the schedule, particularly since

 

           22              city hall is not closed on all holidays.  I

 

           23              know that Dunmore mails an annual schedule

 

           24              for trash and recycling pickup to all

 

           25              Dunmore residents.  This can be an expensive


 

 

                                                                      88

 

 

            1              undertaking for a city of Scranton's size,

 

            2              therefore, council would ask that Mr. Brazil

 

            3              provide a schedule to ECTV for broadcast.

 

            4                      And I did speak with one of the

 

            5              audience members tonight about the proposed

 

            6              projects for the stimulus package and

 

            7              council discussed that earlier this evening

 

            8              in caucus and at next week's meeting I would

 

            9              be very happy to publically read the list of

 

           10              projects proposed by city council to the

 

           11              mayor for inclusion in the stimulus package.

 

           12              And that's it.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Evans.

 

           14              Mrs. Gatelli.

 

           15                      MS. GATELLI: The first thing I have

 

           16              is I had Mrs. Garvey call some other police

 

           17              departments to see if they used AED's in

 

           18              their police cars.  Bethlehem, all of the

 

           19              police cars have AED's.  In Allentown only

 

           20              the paddy wagon does.  In Reading, they

 

           21              don't have any in the police cars but they

 

           22              have an ambulance that's run by the fire

 

           23              department.  Easton, some do and some don't,

 

           24              and Wilkes-Barre doesn't have any.  So,

 

           25              Mr. Courtright, you might want to check into


 

 

                                                                      89

 

 

            1              it.

 

            2                      MR. COURTRIGHT: We sent a letter to

 

            3              Mr. Hayes.  We got no response though, so --

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI: I noticed that some of

 

            5              the letters went out later in the week, so

 

            6              maybe we'll have an answer by next week.

 

            7              Did you talk about the School for the Deaf?

 

            8                      MS. EVANS: Yes.

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI:  You did a motion?

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: Uh-huh.

 

           11                      MS. GATELLI:  Put my name on that

 

           12              motion, please.

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: Well, we didn't do a

 

           14              motion, I just asked that letters be sent.

 

           15                      MS. GATELLI:  All right.  Okay,

 

           16              good.  Well, I echo my colleagues on that

 

           17              one.  Also, I wanted to send a letter on the

 

           18              forensic audit, did you do that?

 

           19                      MS. EVANS: No.

 

           20                      MS. GATELLI:  I'd like to send a

 

           21              letter on behalf of council to

 

           22              Mrs. Vitali-Flynn asking her when are we

 

           23              getting a copy of the audit and when do they

 

           24              expect to disperse the funds.  Then if you

 

           25              can please carry that down the street so we


 

 

                                                                      90

 

 

            1              can get an answer quickly.  Please, Kay, if

 

            2              you could send that out right away.

 

            3                      Also, a letter to the governor about

 

            4              removing the money for the medical school,

 

            5              did you do that?

 

            6                      MS. EVANS: No.

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI:  No.  I'm sorry, I was

 

            8              gone to the bathroom and I didn't hear what

 

            9              you said.  I'd also like with my colleagues'

 

           10              approval to send a letter to the governor

 

           11              that no money be removed from the medical

 

           12              school.

 

           13                      I reported there is a small mine

 

           14              subsidence in the 2600 block of Pittston

 

           15              Avenue and I notified Mr. Brazil about that.

 

           16              There had been one there years ago and it

 

           17              appears to be coming back.  I'd also like to

 

           18              thank them for fixing the pave cut that was

 

           19              disturbed on the 1100 block of Dartmouth

 

           20              Street.  The sidewalks were cleaned on the

 

           21              Sanderson Avenue bridge.  Of course, the

 

           22              warm weather is going to help with that.

 

           23                      I talked to Mr. Brazil about paving

 

           24              in the Plot section when the flood project

 

           25              is complete, he said that is on the 2009


 

 

                                                                      91

 

 

            1              paving list.  And also I believe that they

 

            2              are going to be requesting some paving money

 

            3              out of the stimulus funds from President

 

            4              Obama.

 

            5                      The Parker Street bridge, Mr. Brazil

 

            6              is meeting with the engineer on that

 

            7              tomorrow.  As you know, there is only one

 

            8              lane open so it's creating quite a problem

 

            9              down in the Plot section.

 

           10                      On the corner of Sanderson and Glenn

 

           11              there is a catch basin that needs cleaning

 

           12              so we will send that, also.

 

           13                      I would just like to address a few

 

           14              of the comments.  First of all, I'd like to

 

           15              make some comments about Mrs. Williams and

 

           16              about Reverend Simmons and what they had to

 

           17              say last week.  I know that when Mrs.

 

           18              Williams came to the room quite a few people

 

           19              snickered at her and made some comments,

 

           20              although I couldn't hear what they were

 

           21              saying, they were making some gestures to

 

           22              her.  I know that a lot of times people

 

           23              don't agree with each other, and that's

 

           24              okay, that's what the world is made of, we

 

           25              are not all going to agree on everything,


 

 

                                                                      92

 

 

            1              but I do see her point in what she said

 

            2              about, you know, people mistreating people

 

            3              that don't happen to agree with your ideals

 

            4              or what you believe in.

 

            5                      Reverend Simmons also stated that

 

            6              she got a phone call from someone that she

 

            7              wasn't allowed to say anything kind, and I

 

            8              just want to say that I don't think that's

 

            9              right.  Everyone that comes here is

 

           10              respected hopefully and it's always better

 

           11              if you talk it out.  If you talk nice, the

 

           12              other people will talk nice.  I know it's

 

           13              hard to do sometimes especially when you up

 

           14              here and people will calling you names and

 

           15              it's very difficult, I'll be the first one

 

           16              to admit that.  I don't like to be called

 

           17              names I don't like my family to be called

 

           18              names, but if we don't all try to work

 

           19              together we are certainly not going to make

 

           20              the city any better for it.

 

           21                      I think that's part of what the new

 

           22              president is trying to stress.  I watched

 

           23              him last night on television and he tries to

 

           24              tell everybody what it's all about and to

 

           25              include everybody, and I think he is doing


 

 

                                                                      93

 

 

            1              the right thing.  I think if people are

 

            2              included and people are part of the solution

 

            3              then it helps and you have to be open to

 

            4              other people's opinions.  I mean, if you

 

            5              don't agree with them, if you don't agree

 

            6              with Mrs. Williams or Reverend Simmons

 

            7              that's okay, but I think they have as much

 

            8              right as anyone else in here to come to that

 

            9              podium and say what they think, and I don't

 

           10              think that they should be ridiculed or

 

           11              hissed at or some of the shenanigans that

 

           12              were going on back there.  I just don't

 

           13              think that's nice and it might prevent other

 

           14              people from coming here that would like to

 

           15              come and speak to council.

 

           16                      So I think everyone should be

 

           17              welcome here whether they agree with me,

 

           18              you, Janet, Bob or whatever.  I mean, most

 

           19              of the time we see you out in the hall

 

           20              afterwards, nobody has any hard feelings.

 

           21              We try to get along with everybody.

 

           22                      And the other thing about the South

 

           23              Side neighborhood, there are many

 

           24              neighborhoods that still meet, I don't

 

           25              really know what Mr. Quinn is talking about.


 

 

                                                                      94

 

 

            1              Minooka is starting a new group, Keyser

 

            2              Valley meets, Weston Field meets, North

 

            3              Scranton meets, South Side meets all of the

 

            4              time, the Hill still meets, so if you are

 

            5              saying that the neighborhoods are dead, you

 

            6              know, he is misinformed.  We have not had a

 

            7              Council of Neighborhoods meeting in quite

 

            8              sometime.  I don't know why they are not

 

            9              having them, they probably should, we have

 

           10              always had them, but I don't know why there

 

           11              isn't.  Mary Alice Burke is the president of

 

           12              that particular group and I know she still

 

           13              does her neighborhood meetings, but I know

 

           14              her mom is very ill, too, so maybe that's

 

           15              why she hadn't called a meeting in a long

 

           16              time.

 

           17                      As far as the project that's

 

           18              happening in the South Scranton, I'm very

 

           19              proud of that project and, yes, I'm going to

 

           20              support that project right until the very

 

           21              end.  If you think that it happened

 

           22              overnight, it didn't.  We have been meeting

 

           23              five years to do the Elm Street project.

 

           24              Five years.  You don't just ask and say, "I

 

           25              want this and I want that," you have to


 

 

                                                                      95

 

 

            1              participate and you have to have people

 

            2              willing to give up their time.  We have

 

            3              United States Neighborhood Centers that put

 

            4              a lot into that project.  Lackawanna

 

            5              Neighbors with Jody Badden, they took on old

 

            6              homes over there and are rehabilitating them

 

            7              into single family homes, so to say that

 

            8              this is just a fluke, this was started long

 

            9              before I sat on council.  And, as you know,

 

           10              South Side is in a state of flux, that's no

 

           11              surprise.  They have been talking about

 

           12              South Side for years in the newspaper with

 

           13              the high crime rates and the bars that are

 

           14              selling drugs and that we had to close down.

 

           15                      As a matter of fact, the United

 

           16              Neighborhood Centers is an old bar, Chick's

 

           17              Western Bar that was really a problem in

 

           18              South Scranton, and now it's United

 

           19              Neighborhood Centers and it's helping all of

 

           20              that people in that particular neighborhood

 

           21              and the Senior Center for South Scranton is

 

           22              located in there.

 

           23                      So, yes, I'm very proud of the

 

           24              project in South Scranton, but if you think

 

           25              it happened because I'm sitting here, you


 

 

                                                                      96

 

 

            1              are very wrong.  It's the work of many

 

            2              people, Wayne Evans, Mike Hanley from United

 

            3              Neighborhood Centers, Scranton Tomorrow,

 

            4              Charlie Spano, Susan Andres.  I mean, I

 

            5              could give you a list of 100 people that

 

            6              have been working on that for the last

 

            7              five years, six years, seven years we have

 

            8              been trying to get a program over there.

 

            9                      Two inspectors, the two new

 

           10              inspectors they are not in South Side, there

 

           11              is one in the plot and there is one in South

 

           12              Side, so I would just like to correct those

 

           13              misconceptions that people try to throw out

 

           14              there.

 

           15                      Also, I know when we originally sent

 

           16              a letter supporting the program over to OECD

 

           17              I was not aware that it was going to be

 

           18              strictly for South Scranton, and when I

 

           19              spoke to Mrs. Aebli about it she said it

 

           20              really isn't strictly for South Scranton.

 

           21              However, when you fill out the application

 

           22              it's on a point system.  We are going to get

 

           23              this money according to points, and if you

 

           24              use a redevelopment project that's already

 

           25              in place as one of your criteria you will


 

 

                                                                      97

 

 

            1              get 20 extra points, so that is why they are

 

            2              putting it over there because you get 20

 

            3              extra points if it's in the Elm Street

 

            4              project, not necessarily that all of the

 

            5              money has to be used in South Scranton.  So

 

            6              I just wanted to explain that.

 

            7                      Anyone is eligible to apply for he

 

            8              Elm Street funds, you just have to have the

 

            9              wherewithal and the people in that

 

           10              neighborhood that are going to get together

 

           11              and sit down and work on it.  It is a long

 

           12              procedure and it takes many years before it

 

           13              comes to fruition.  So, once again, if

 

           14              anyone is interested you can come to the

 

           15              South Side neighborhood meeting and United

 

           16              Neighborhood Centers and we can certainly

 

           17              put you on the track to filling out the

 

           18              application to start the process.

 

           19                      And it's ironic because when I

 

           20              worked for Jimmy Connors upstairs in COM-D I

 

           21              spent all of my time in the Hill Section,

 

           22              all of the money went to the Hill, all of

 

           23              the condemnations were in the Hill because

 

           24              the Hill was having bad time back then, and

 

           25              the problem just moved and moved around the


 

 

                                                                      98

 

 

            1              corner to South Scranton, to my

 

            2              neighborhood, so that's sometimes what

 

            3              happens, you just move the problem.

 

            4                      So other neighborhoods should be

 

            5              very vigilant about what's happening in

 

            6              their neighborhood because it might be

 

            7              happening to your neighborhood next and if

 

            8              you don't stay on top of it, it becomes

 

            9              overwhelming like it did in South Scranton

 

           10              and it's very hard to come out of that once

 

           11              you get that label, you know.  Now there is

 

           12              a label there that it's distressed and, you

 

           13              know, high crime and drugs and it's very

 

           14              hard to get rid of that image.  Hopefully,

 

           15              with the Elm Street program coming in, we

 

           16              are praying that we can get it, and this

 

           17              grant to help we will help to change the

 

           18              image of our wonderful community of South

 

           19              Scranton, and I'm asking my colleagues to

 

           20              please consider all of these things when you

 

           21              were voting on this tonight.

 

           22                      It is a neighborhood that is at a

 

           23              crossroads and if we don't get these funds

 

           24              and get the Elm Street project our

 

           25              neighborhood is not going to survive, so I'm


 

 

                                                                      99

 

 

            1              begging my colleagues to please give this

 

            2              their utmost consideration and I certainly

 

            3              would approve it if it were their

 

            4              neighborhood.  Thank you.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Gatelli.

 

            6              Mrs. Fanucci?

 

            7                      MS. FANUCCI: I am going to speak on

 

            8              one subject, which is the Boscov's loan, and

 

            9              as everybody was here tonight we weren't

 

           10              planning on having him come to the meeting

 

           11              which worked out I think really wonderful

 

           12              that we got to have them present in front of

 

           13              everyone.  There is no doubt that I am going

 

           14              to support this.  Never was.  He has been a

 

           15              leader in our community for years.

 

           16                      Mr. Quinn got up and stated about

 

           17              campaigns that he has contributed to which I

 

           18              wish he talked about all of the other

 

           19              contributions Mr. Boscov's has made to our

 

           20              area, all of the wonderful money he has

 

           21              given to programs all over the city and all

 

           22              over the state actually, so it actually is

 

           23              disheartening to hear that, of course, one

 

           24              side to every story, that's always the one,

 

           25              not the fact that the man has given


 

 

                                                                     100

 

 

            1              countless amounts of dollars to charity and

 

            2              to children and to elderly, and so that

 

            3              actually made me a little sad.

 

            4                      It's prudent to me that we keep

 

            5              downtown going.  We need to keep the jobs in

 

            6              our city at this time and in the way the

 

            7              economy is right now it is just not even a

 

            8              thought.  We have to do everything we can to

 

            9              keep what we have and to keep creating more.

 

           10              It's the only the way that we are going

 

           11              forward.  It's wonderful to put curbs in and

 

           12              sidewalks and pave the streets, which is a

 

           13              great idea, except if you are not having

 

           14              people here who are working, paying taxes

 

           15              and actually living life in the city it

 

           16              certainly doesn't matter that your curbs are

 

           17              nice and next time around we are not going

 

           18              to have the money to repave.  So, that's

 

           19              what you want to do, you want to keep it

 

           20              going.

 

           21                      And that is all I have, and I'm so

 

           22              glad I can entertain Mr. Gervasi for the

 

           23              evening.  Thank you.

 

           24                      MR. GERVASI:  Excuse me?

 

           25                      MS. FANUCCI:  Oh, David.  That's so


 

 

                                                                     101

 

 

            1              ignorant.

 

            2                      MR. GERVASI:  I'm having a

 

            3              conversation.

 

            4                      MS. FANUCCI: Oh, I saw.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Okay.  Please.

 

            6                      MS. FANUCCI:  I saw.

 

            7                      MR. GERVASI:  There is something

 

            8              seriously wrong with you.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Please.

 

           10                      MR. COURTRIGHT: All right.  Last

 

           11              week there was discussion about KOZ's and t

 

           12              promptly I got two phone calls from citizens

 

           13              and both of them had something similar to

 

           14              say.  They were discussed with the KOZ's and

 

           15              they were saying, you know, how come if --

 

           16              how come we don't get a break?  How come the

 

           17              people don't get a break, you know, if we

 

           18              put new curbs in or sidewalks in front of

 

           19              our house, so I think a lot of people out

 

           20              there are a little bit frustrated with the

 

           21              KOZ's and we will be discussing the project

 

           22              coming up next week and see where we go from

 

           23              there.  I think we all have our own opinion

 

           24              on it.

 

           25                      I forget which speaker asked last


 

 

                                                                     102

 

 

            1              week, but some speaker asked about if

 

            2              Channel -- well, ECTV, I'll just call it

 

            3              Channel 61, if ECTV would play the council

 

            4              meetings more often in the prime time and

 

            5              the answer that I received is absolutely

 

            6              not.  I didn't speak to him directly, Kay,

 

            7              you spoke to them on my behalf and he said

 

            8              absolutely not.  So, there is your answer.

 

            9                      Mr. Quinn brought up about a project

 

           10              that I had talked about on Main Avenue in

 

           11              West Scranton, I think it's going on four

 

           12              years now I have asked about it, and it

 

           13              hasn't come to be, but I do want to thank

 

           14              Congressman Kanjorski because I believe it

 

           15              was about two years ago he took the time

 

           16              out, he came out to West Scranton and we

 

           17              walked up and down the avenue, he saw the

 

           18              large volume of vehicles that traveled that

 

           19              street and he was more than willing to help

 

           20              us, but I think the project has died for

 

           21              whatever reason.  I have asked several times

 

           22              about it and basically got no response.

 

           23                      I have asked the mayor maybe two or

 

           24              three times on National Night Out because I

 

           25              happened to see him there and, you know, he


 

 

                                                                     103

 

 

            1              keeps telling me some day.  Well, I don't

 

            2              know when that some day is going to be, but

 

            3              I will ask my colleagues to consider that

 

            4              when we get this money.  That's a worthwhile

 

            5              project.

 

            6                      I think North Scranton had a nice

 

            7              project done up there, now South Side is

 

            8              getting a lot of things done, so I think

 

            9              it's hopefully our turn in West Scranton to

 

           10              have something done.  I haven't seen much

 

           11              happen there in the last several years.

 

           12                      And Mrs. Gatelli spoke about the

 

           13              AED's, Mr. Gervasi did bring it up last week

 

           14              that they were on both trucks and Car 21 and

 

           15              rescue, and he just let me know that they

 

           16              are not dispatched, you know, they don't

 

           17              call out "Car 21" or they don't call out,

 

           18              you know, that trucks when somebody needs an

 

           19              AED.

 

           20                      We tried, you know, a program where

 

           21              we were hoping it was going to happen, I

 

           22              don't know, it was two or three years ago,

 

           23              and I thought at that time Mr. Hayes was in

 

           24              favor of it.  We had a meeting right here

 

           25              and I thought everybody was in favor of it,


 

 

                                                                     104

 

 

            1              and I believe Mr. Hayes when I asked him if

 

            2              he thought the mayor was going to go for it,

 

            3              I can't remember his exact words, but it was

 

            4              something to the effect that he doesn't pay

 

            5              me, you know, to do this job and not listen

 

            6              to me, but the mayor wasn't in favor of it,

 

            7              so that program never took place.

 

            8                      But the vehicles, the police

 

            9              vehicles had the AED's on them and many

 

           10              times they were dispatched.  It wasn't --

 

           11              they weren't having them in the vehicles

 

           12              just if a call -- they happened to be on a

 

           13              call and there is an AED if there is a

 

           14              problem and they knew there was an AED on

 

           15              each side of the river, at least one on each

 

           16              side of the river, I think there were more

 

           17              at the time, that they would actually go to

 

           18              the call, and that's why I think it's -- I

 

           19              thank you for looking it up I think, it's

 

           20              very important.

 

           21                      We sent a letter out, we haven't

 

           22              gotten it back yet, maybe it won't be out a

 

           23              little bit late, I'll wait and see if we get

 

           24              a response, but I will stay on top of it.

 

           25                      Also, Les Spindler brought up about


 

 

                                                                     105

 

 

            1              the Ford dealership, I didn't get an

 

            2              opportunity to do that this week, I'll try

 

            3              tomorrow just to see because that is

 

            4              problem, the cars are parked all the way out

 

            5              in the street so you do have to walk out on

 

            6              the road.  I would imagine it would be

 

            7              possibly licensing and inspections that

 

            8              would have to take a look at that, but I'll

 

            9              make a call tomorrow on that, and that's all

 

           10              I have.  Thank you.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,

 

           12              Mr. Courtright.  Two things very quickly,

 

           13              Mr. Ungvarsky asked a number of times about,

 

           14              I don't know if it's pronounced Seccus or

 

           15              Seacus, LLC, and the information that I

 

           16              received is Seacus, LLC, received or funds

 

           17              were dispersed with $70,000 on November 2,

 

           18              2007, and as part of the agreement they were

 

           19              to provide ten positions, ten jobs which

 

           20              will be, as they said, will be created for

 

           21              technical programming and administrative

 

           22              posts.  They I am told currently have an

 

           23              office in the Diversified building and are

 

           24              operational.  That's the information -- that

 

           25              is the information that I have.


 

 

                                                                     106

 

 

            1                      And the second thing, I want to

 

            2              thank Mrs. Schumacher for volunteering my

 

            3              time, but I did want to remind you that we

 

            4              only get paid for attending Tuesday night

 

            5              meetings, so I don't think that -- thank

 

            6              you.  Mrs. Garvey.

 

            7                      MS. GARVEY: FIFTH ORDER.  5-B. FOR

 

            8              INTRODUCTION - AN ORDINANCE - AUTHORIZING

 

            9              THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS

 

           10              FOR THE CITY OF SCRANTON TO MAKE APPLICATION

 

           11              TO THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING

 

           12              AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT ("HUD") FOR A SECTION

 

           13              108 FEDERAL LOAN GUARANTEE IN THE AMOUNT OF

 

           14              THREE MILLION DOLLARS ($3,000,000.00) AND IF

 

           15              SUCH APPLICATION IS SUCCESSFUL, TO ACCEPT

 

           16              THE LOAN PROCEEDS AND DISTRIBUTE THEM TO

 

           17              BOSCOV'S, INC. FOR AN ELIGIBLE PROJECT, AND

 

           18              FURTHER TO AMEND THE CITY OF SCRANTON'S

 

           19              CONSOLIDATED PLAN FILED IN 2004 AND THE

 

           20              FISCAL YEAR 2009 ANNUAL ACTION PLAN FOR THE

 

           21              COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT ("CDBG")

 

           22              PROGRAM TO INCLUDE AND PERMIT SUCH SECTION

 

           23              108 APPLICATION AND LOAN ACTIVITIES.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll

 

           25              entertain a motion that Item 5-B be


 

 

                                                                     107

 

 

            1              introduced into it's proper committee.

 

            2                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  So moved.

 

            3                      MS. FANUCCI: Second.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?

 

            5                      MS. EVANS: Yes.  This is a very

 

            6              weighty issue.  I do understand that

 

            7              Boscov's is the anchor of the Steamtown Mall

 

            8              and that the Steamtown Mall employs several

 

            9              hundred individuals.  At the same time, as I

 

           10              look around the city, including the downtown

 

           11              over the last three or four years, I know

 

           12              that there are many businesses who are no

 

           13              longer there.  Leonard's Hardware, Hoban's.

 

           14              If you go down to Greenridge in the

 

           15              Greenridge Shopping Plaza Hill's Department

 

           16              Store went out of business.  It was replaced

 

           17              by another department chain and, of course,

 

           18              they didn't succeed and I believe now it's

 

           19              become Planet Fitness.  So, so many

 

           20              businesses, Quint's Army and Navy, and

 

           21              Barbara Moss and Helen Schwartz and that

 

           22              beautiful train store that used to be on

 

           23              Lackawanna Avenue, where have they all gone

 

           24              and who helped them?  The city never tried

 

           25              to help them.


 

 

                                                                     108

 

 

            1                      And I think, you know, if you

 

            2              calculate all of the employees of all of

 

            3              those closed businesses that we have lost

 

            4              I'm sure we are looking at just as many, if

 

            5              not more, and I was concerned about Boscov's

 

            6              ability to pay this loan.  As I said

 

            7              earlier, I learned some information about

 

            8              the questions that I posed concerning the

 

            9              two Section 108 loans that the city pays

 

           10              annually through CDBG monies, and as I said

 

           11              earlier, the remaining amount for Boscov's

 

           12              is $5,102,000, that's not the loan we are

 

           13              discussing this evening.  The principle is

 

           14              paid with a yearly payment in August, 2.5

 

           15              million will be paid off by August of 2011,

 

           16              and the remainder will be paid off by August

 

           17              of 2024.

 

           18                      Mr. Boscov tonight very graciously

 

           19              indicated that he will be finding out why

 

           20              the city is paying on that original loan and

 

           21              he is going to contact me and provide that

 

           22              answer.  He also indicated that not only

 

           23              inventory, but property would be used as

 

           24              collateral for this loan and that he

 

           25              guarantees this loan will be repaid, and as


 

 

                                                                     109

 

 

            1              we were discussing privately inventory and

 

            2              buildings owned by Mr. Boscov throughout the

 

            3              State of Pennsylvania, Mr. Boscov offered to

 

            4              include the Mall at Steamtown as part of the

 

            5              collateral for this loan.

 

            6                      And so I'd like to investigate that

 

            7              further and see if he is a man of his word

 

            8              and if, indeed, it is worth having.  At this

 

            9              point I know that, you know, quite an amount

 

           10              is owed until, as I said, the Year 2024 and

 

           11              if, indeed, you know, the city in the event

 

           12              of any type of foreclosure would become the

 

           13              owner of that property these are all

 

           14              questions that I would like answered by next

 

           15              week.

 

           16                      A speaker tonight also asked if

 

           17              Boscov's is current on it's mercantile tax

 

           18              and, Kay, I would like to the answer to that

 

           19              prior to next week's meeting as well, and to

 

           20              be fair Mr. Boscov and his representatives

 

           21              stated than Boscov's pays approximately

 

           22              $200,000 annually in city taxes, and so I'm

 

           23              going to vote, yes, to introduce this

 

           24              tonight.  And in the mean time, I'm going to

 

           25              be looking for the answers to the questions


 

 

                                                                     110

 

 

            1              and situations that I enumerated for you,

 

            2              and if the answers are not satisfactory then

 

            3              I don't believe I can support this, but if

 

            4              Mr. Boscov is a man of his word and if these

 

            5              answers are positive answers, then I'll

 

            6              continue affirmatively.

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else on the

 

            8              question?  All those in favor of

 

            9              introduction 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-C.  FOR INTRODUCTION -

 

           17              A RESOLUTION - RE-APPOINTMENT OF WILLIAM

 

           18              LAZOR, 677 MARY STREET, SCRANTON,

 

           19              PENNSYLVANIA, 18508, AS A MEMBER OF THE

 

           20              BOARD OF THE SCRANTON REDEVELOPMENT

 

           21              AUTHORITY FOR A TERM OF FIVE (5) YEARS. MR.

 

           22              LAZOR'S CURRENT TERM EXPIRES ON MARCH 19,

 

           23              2009 AND HIS NEW TERM WILL EXPIRE ON MARCH

 

           24              19, 2014.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF:  At this time I'll


 

 

                                                                     111

 

 

            1              entertain a motion that Item 5-C be

 

            2              introduced into it's proper committee.

 

            3                      MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.

 

            4                      MS. FANUCCI:  Second.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  All

 

            6              in favor signify by saying aye.

 

            7                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

            8                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

           10                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?  The

 

           12              ayes have it and so moved.

 

           13                      MS. GARVEY: 5-D. FOR INTRODUCTION -

 

           14              A RESOLUTION - RE-APPOINTMENT OF PETER

 

           15              RIEBE, 1315 SANDERSON AVENUE, SCRANTON,

 

           16              PENNSYLVANIA, 18509, AS A MEMBER OF THE

 

           17              BOARD OF THE SCRANTON REDEVELOPMENT

 

           18              AUTHORITY FOR A TERM OF FIVE (5) YEARS. MR.

 

           19              RIEBE'S CURRENT TERM EXPIRED ON FEBRUARY 4,

 

           20              2009 AND HIS NEW TERM WILL EXPIRE ON

 

           21              FEBRUARY 4, 2014.

 

           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.


 

 

                                                                     112

 

 

            1                      MS. FANUCCI:  Second.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  All

 

            3              those in favor of introduction signify by

 

            4              saying aye.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

            6                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

            8                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?  The

 

           10              ayes have it and so moved.

 

           11                      MS. GARVEY: 5-E. FOR INTRODUCTION -

 

           12              A RESOLUTION - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND

 

           13              OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE

 

           14              AND ENTER INTO A MUNICIPAL-MAIN STREET

 

           15              ORGANIZATION COOPERATION AGREEMENT BETWEEN

 

           16              THE CITY OF SCRANTON ("MUNICIPALITY") AND

 

           17              SCRANTON TOMORROW ("ORGANIZATION") IN ORDER

 

           18              TO RECEIVE FUNDS FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF

 

           19              PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC AND

 

           20              COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ("DCED") TO ASSIST

 

           21              WITH DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF:  At this time I'll

 

           23              entertain a motion that Item 5-E be

 

           24              introduced into it's proper committee.

 

           25                      MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.


 

 

                                                                     113

 

 

            1                      MS. FANUCCI:  Second.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?

 

            3                      MS. EVANS: Does anyone know

 

            4              specifically what downtown revitalization is

 

            5              being referred to?

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: Specific -- there is a

 

            7              map describing it I believe.

 

            8                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Last page of the

 

            9              backup, the map is anyway.  There is nothing

 

           10              specific that's just a map of the area in

 

           11              the backup.

 

           12                      MS. EVANS: Right.  It's a map of the

 

           13              area currently, but what is the downtown

 

           14              revitalization that is proposed, does anyone

 

           15              know?

 

           16                      MS. GATELLI:  Well, it's a program

 

           17              through the state, it's like the Elm Street

 

           18              that we are doing, only it's for downtowns,

 

           19              and they offer such things as facade grants

 

           20              and things of that nature to revitalize

 

           21              parts of the downtown that need help, to

 

           22              small business owners.

 

           23                      MS. EVANS: I'd like to have that.  I

 

           24              would like to know what they are going to do

 

           25              with it.  That's all.


 

 

                                                                     114

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI: That's what they do.

 

            2                      MS. FANUCCI: There is a certain --

 

            3              yeah, there are certain criteria that you

 

            4              have -- it has to be an old building or

 

            5              something that is rehabbed or --

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI:  To revitalize the

 

            7              central business district.

 

            8                      MS. FANUCCI: Right.

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI: Once you are named that

 

           10              then you can appoint a manager.  You know,

 

           11              like we used to have the downtown business

 

           12              association and they took care of a lot of

 

           13              the downtown, well, this would name a main

 

           14              street manager at some point and that person

 

           15              would be responsible for this area and

 

           16              soliciting from people if they were

 

           17              interested in facade grants or cleanups or

 

           18              there is one I believe it was in Allentown I

 

           19              went to years ago and they even had their

 

           20              own cleanup crew, like they do on Broadway

 

           21              now.  There is a Broadway Business District,

 

           22              a neighborhood improvement district on

 

           23              Broadway, I'm sure you see them cleaning up,

 

           24              you know, they have their own logo and

 

           25              everything.  It would be similar to that


 

 

                                                                     115

 

 

            1              where you could get grants to help

 

            2              revitalize the downtown of the small

 

            3              businesses, things of that nature.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF:  Anyone else on the

 

            5              question?  All those in favor of

 

            6              introduction signify by saying aye.

 

            7                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

            8                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

           10                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?  The

 

           12              ayes have it and so moved.

 

           13                      MS. GARVEY: We need a motion for a

 

           14              public hearing.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: I'm sorry.  I'd like to

 

           16              make a motion to authorize the city clerk to

 

           17              make arrangements to schedule a public

 

           18              hearing for next Tuesday, February 17, 2009,

 

           19              at 5:45 and to place the necessary

 

           20              advertisement.

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  All

 

           23              in favor signify by saying aye.

 

           24                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

           25                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.


 

 

                                                                     116

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

            2                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?  The

 

            4              ayes have it and so moved.

 

            5                      MS. GARVEY: 5-F. FOR INTRODUCTION -

 

            6              A RESOLUTION - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND

 

            7              OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OF SCRANTON OFFICIALS

 

            8              TO APPLY FOR AND EXECUTE A NEIGHBORHOOD

 

            9              STABILIZATION PROGRAM (NSP) GRANT IN THE

 

           10              AMOUNT OF THREE $3,000,000.00 MILLION

 

           11              DOLLARS THROUGH A PROGRAM OF THE

 

           12              COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF

 

           13              COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (DCED),

 

           14              AUTHORIZED AS PART OF H.R. 3221-THE HOUSING

 

           15              AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY ACT, AND IF THE GRANT

 

           16              APPLICATION IS SUCCESSFUL, ACCEPTING AND

 

           17              DISBURSING THE GRANT FUNDS FOR THE "PROJECT"

 

           18              TO BE NAMED "THE NEIGHBORHOOD STABILIZATION

 

           19              PROGRAM" (NSP).

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll

 

           21              entertain a motion that Item 5-F be

 

           22              introduced into it's proper committee.

 

           23                      MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.

 

           24                      MS. FANUCCI:  Second.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  All


 

 

                                                                     117

 

 

            1              those in favor signify by saying aye.

 

            2                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

            3                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?  The

 

            7              ayes have it and so moved.

 

            8                      MS. GARVEY: SIXTH ORDER.  NO

 

            9              BUSINESS AT THIS TIME.  SEVENTH ORDER.  7-A.

 

           10              FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON RULES

 

           11              -  FOR ADOPTION -  FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 60,

 

           12              2009 - AUTHORIZING THE SALE AND TRANSFER OF

 

           13              A PARCEL OF LAND ACQUIRED BY THE CITY

 

           14              THROUGH THE FLOOD CONTROL PROJECT BY SEALED

 

           15              BIDS TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER, PROPERTY MORE

 

           16              COMMONLY KNOWN AS 620 RACE STREET, SCRANTON,

 

           17              AND MORE FULLY DESCRIBED IN DEED DATED JULY

 

           18              21, 2004, DULY RECORDED IN THE LACKAWANNA

 

           19              COUNTY RECORDER OF DEEDS OFFICE IN RECORDS

 

           20              BOOK 1278, PAGE 0002.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF:  As Chairperson for the

 

           22              Committee on Rules, I recommend final

 

           23              passage of Item 7-A.

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  Roll


 

 

                                                                     118

 

 

            1              call, please?

 

            2                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            3                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

            4                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI.  Yes.

 

            6                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

            7                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

            8                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

            9                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

           10                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

           12              Item 7-A legally and lawfully adopted.

 

           13                      At this time I'll entertain a motion

 

           14              to adjourn.

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you for your

 

           17              participation.

 

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            1                     C E R T I F I C A T E

 

            2

 

            3        I hereby certify that the proceedings and

 

            4   evidence are contained fully and accurately in the

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

            8   ability.

 

            9

 

           10

 

           11

                                    CATHENE S. NARDOZZI, RPR

           12                       OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

 

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