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            1              SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING

 

            2                       PUBLIC HEARING

 

            3

 

            4        IN RE: RESOLUTION NO. 105, 2009 - AUTHORIZING THE

 

            5   MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE

 

            6   AND ENTER INTO A MUNICIPAL-MAIN STREET ORGANIZATION

 

            7   COOPERATION AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF SCRANTON

 

            8   ("MUNICIPALITY") AND SCRANTON TOMORROW

 

            9   ("ORGANIZATIONS") IN ORDER TO RECEIVE FUNDS FROM THE

 

           10   COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC

 

           11   AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ("OCED") TO ASSIST WITH

 

           12   DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION.

 

           13

 

           14

 

           15                            HELD:

 

           16

 

           17                 Tuesday, February 17, 2009

 

           18

 

           19                        LOCATION:

 

           20                    Council Chambers

 

           21                 Scranton City Hall

 

           22              340 North Washington Avenue

 

           23                Scranton, Pennsylvania

 

           24

 

           25              CATHENE S. NARDOZZI- COURT REPORTER


 

 

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            1

 

            2   CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:

 

            3

 

            4   MR. ROBERT MCGOFF, PRESIDENT

 

            5

 

            6   MS. JUDY GATELLI, VICE-PRESIDENT

 

            7

 

            8   MS. JANET E. EVANS

 

            9

 

           10   MS. SHERRY FANUCCI

 

           11

 

           12   MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT

 

           13

 

           14   MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK

 

           15

 

           16   MS. SUE MAGNOTTA, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK

 

           17

 

           18   MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR

 

           19

 

           20

 

           21

 

           22

 

           23

 

           24

 

           25


 

 

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            1                      MR. MCGOFF: I'd like to call this

 

            2              public hearing to order.  Roll call, please?

 

            3                      MS. MAGNOTTA: Mrs. Evans.  Mrs.

 

            4              Gatelli.

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI:  Here.

 

            6                      MS. MAGNOTTA: Ms. Fanucci.

 

            7                      MS. FANUCCI:  Here.

 

            8                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.  Mr.

 

            9              McGoff.

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF:  Here.  The purpose of

 

           11              said public hearing is to hear testimony and

 

           12              discuss the following: RESOLUTION NO. 105,

 

           13              2009 - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER

 

           14              APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE AND

 

           15              ENTER INTO A MUNICIPAL-MAIN STREET

 

           16              ORGANIZATION COOPERATION AGREEMENT BETWEEN

 

           17              THE CITY OF SCRANTON ("MUNICIPALITY") AND

 

           18              SCRANTON TOMORROW ("ORGANIZATIONS") IN ORDER

 

           19              TO RECEIVE FUNDS FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF

 

           20              PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC AND

 

           21              COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ("OCED") TO ASSIST

 

           22              WITH DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION.

 

           23                      I would like for the public record

 

           24              Mr. Leslie Collins, Director or Scranton

 

           25              Tomorrow is present to answer any questions


 

 

                                                                       4

 

 

            1              that council may have during the public

 

            2              hearing.  First speaker, Andy Sbaraglia.

 

            3                      MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia.

 

            4              Citizen of Scranton.  Fellow Scrantonians,

 

            5              the grants they are seeking from what I've

 

            6              read there was $250,000; am I correct?  Is

 

            7              that the grant -- the amount of the grant we

 

            8              are seeking and talking about $250,000?

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Yes.

 

           10                      MR. SBARAGLIA: The scope of the work

 

           11              covers the city from one end to the other

 

           12              including picking up gum off the sidewalk.

 

           13              How could they possibly -- all they are

 

           14              going to do with this money is to organize

 

           15              for -- actually for more grants.  There is

 

           16              no way in heck they can do that scope.  If

 

           17              you look at the scope in there, I don't know

 

           18              if you got it in front of you, there is

 

           19              about 30 items on that scope.  There is no

 

           20              way you can do that with $250,000.

 

           21                      They got parking garages and parking

 

           22              meters, everything that you could think of.

 

           23              There is no way in heck this has anything to

 

           24              do with this revitalization other than

 

           25              seeking grants later on or doing other


 

 

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            1              things.  They with looking for more money,

 

            2              $250,000 is nothing.  You know it and I know

 

            3              it.  So this is only a tip of an iceberg.

 

            4              God knows what they are going to ask for

 

            5              next, but that $250,000 doesn't cover

 

            6              anything.

 

            7                      So, now you can ask her what their

 

            8              further plans on are, this 250, like I said,

 

            9              is only a drop in the bucket, no where even

 

           10              cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce is

 

           11              in there, there is a huge amount of things

 

           12              that you are going to do with this $250,000

 

           13              and you know it and I know it and they are

 

           14              not going to do it.  They are going to do

 

           15              something else, maybe planning this, that or

 

           16              whatever, but at least she should tell the

 

           17              people.

 

           18                      That's why I don't like really about

 

           19              you council members.  You always keep the

 

           20              people in the dark.  Why are you afraid to

 

           21              read off that legislation.  I know maybe the

 

           22              meeting will go longer, but at least people

 

           23              will know.  I read it, but a lot of people

 

           24              do not read it, and that's the sad part.  I

 

           25              wish they could all come down there and read


 

 

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            1              every piece of legislation you put out or

 

            2              every piece that you are going to put out

 

            3              can be drawn from the computer.  It should

 

            4              be on there where you can read the back up.

 

            5              That is the most important thing they could

 

            6              do to find out what's happening in the city.

 

            7                      But, like I said before, $250,000,

 

            8              forget it.  I mean, you can give it to them,

 

            9              it's something nice to have around the

 

           10              house, but as far as I don't think they can

 

           11              even pick up the gum off the sidewalks with

 

           12              that amount of money.  Thank you.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Ozzie Quinn.

 

           14                      MR. QUINN:  Ozzie Quinn, Taxpayers'

 

           15              Association.  Yeah, I'm not clear what's

 

           16              that $250,000 for?  I thought we were

 

           17              talking about one million?

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI: Maybe we should have

 

           19              let Ms. Collins speak first.  Would you like

 

           20              to do that, Mr. Quinn?

 

           21                      MR. QUINN:  Yeah.  I'm not clear on

 

           22              how much this is all about.

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI:  Well, there are main

 

           24              street programs --

 

           25                      MR. QUINN:  I know there is doom,


 

 

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            1              but there is nothing in there --

 

            2                      MS. GATELLI:  I didn't know if you

 

            3              were familiar with them.

 

            4                      MR. QUINN:  You have to have a

 

            5              little inside room to know what's going on.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Collins, would you

 

            7              care to briefly explain what the legislation

 

            8              is asking?

 

            9                      MS. COLLINS:  Sure.  Absolutely.

 

           10              Good evening.  My name is Leslie Collins,

 

           11              I'm the executive director of Scranton

 

           12              Tomorrow.  Scranton Tomorrow has applied for

 

           13              the Main Street manager designation through

 

           14              the State of Pennsylvania's Department of

 

           15              Community and Economic Development.  The

 

           16              Main Street Program is -- the legislation is

 

           17              for operating funds for a period of five

 

           18              years.  It's a sliding scale.  It's 50, 45,

 

           19              40, 35, 30 over a five-year period.

 

           20                      The Main Street Program really is a

 

           21              comprehensive community-based initiative for

 

           22              downtown revitalization.  It has been

 

           23              successful through not only the State of

 

           24              Pennsylvania, but it has been a very

 

           25              successful program throughout the United


 

 

                                                                       8

 

 

            1              States for many, many years.

 

            2                      The success of the Main Street

 

            3              Program really is based on a five-point

 

            4              approach system, that approach system being

 

            5              that you look at five different focal points

 

            6              throughout your downtown, one of those being

 

            7              organization, which is looking at bringing

 

            8              the downtown businesses together for

 

            9              partnership and cooperative type of

 

           10              enhancements to your downtown.

 

           11                      It looks at the promotion of your

 

           12              downtown and it looks at promoting your

 

           13              assets of your downtown.  Marketing your

 

           14              downtown businesses whether it be a retail

 

           15              business, a service type of business, a

 

           16              medical facility, it looks at marketing your

 

           17              downtown collectively and in a comprehensive

 

           18              type of manner.

 

           19                      It looks at economic restructuring,

 

           20              which is one of the wonderful points of Main

 

           21              Street, which it does open the door for

 

           22              additional state funding, not for Scranton

 

           23              Tomorrow, but for the community, for the

 

           24              downtown as a whole, so the economic

 

           25              restructuring piece would open up potential


 

 

                                                                       9

 

 

            1              grants for facades, looking at potentially

 

            2              enhancing $30,000 worth of facades per year

 

            3              over a four-year period.  It's not

 

            4              throughout the entire life of the Main

 

            5              Street Management Project, but four years of

 

            6              that.

 

            7                      It also will open the door to

 

            8              additional anchor building grants.  It could

 

            9              fund reinvestment type of loans which would

 

           10              be gap financing which would put buildings

 

           11              back on the tax rolls which would create

 

           12              jobs which would prevent deterioration and

 

           13              blight as well.

 

           14                      It also looks at the design element

 

           15              of your downtown, so it looks at your facade

 

           16              and improvements, it looks at your

 

           17              infrastructure, your lighting, your

 

           18              sidewalks, your beautification type of --

 

           19                      MS. GATELLI: Can you speak a little

 

           20              louder because --

 

           21                      MS. COLLINS: Sure.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: Is the microphone on?

 

           23                      MS. COLLINS: It is.  Beautification-

 

           24              type projects where you would look at your

 

           25              lighting, your sidewalks, your plantings in


 

 

                                                                      10

 

 

            1              the downtown, your facades, and it also

 

            2              looks at a fifth component which is a safe

 

            3              clean and green component, and that pretty

 

            4              much is self-explanatory for that.

 

            5                      But, as I said, the Main Street

 

            6              Program has been very successful not only

 

            7              through the State of Pennsylvania, but

 

            8              throughout the United States and it has been

 

            9              successful based on this comprehensive

 

           10              community-based planning initiative of the

 

           11              five points, the five approach system.

 

           12                      (During Ms. Collins presentation

 

           13              Mrs. Evans entered council chambers and took

 

           14              the dais.)

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  Mr. Quinn?

 

           16                      MR. QUINN:  Thank you.  Under the

 

           17              Main Street Program is there a match?  My

 

           18              understanding there is a match?

 

           19                      MS. FANUCCI: There is.

 

           20                      MR. QUINN:  Where will that match

 

           21              come from?

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: We'll take the questions

 

           23              and answer them --

 

           24                      MS. FANUCCI: We'll take the

 

           25              questions because there is going to be a


 

 

                                                                      11

 

 

            1              lot.

 

            2                      MR. QUINN: I want to know under the

 

            3              Main Street Program this is actually to hire

 

            4              a coordinator, a manager.  It doesn't say

 

            5              that in this description.  You are hiring

 

            6              staff?  I mean, we are hiring staff.

 

            7                      MS. FANUCCI: Right.

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: Correct.

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI:  That's one of the

 

           10              elements.

 

           11                      MR. QUINN:  Well, who would know

 

           12              that.  If I didn't have a Main Street

 

           13              description I wouldn't know that.

 

           14                      MS. FANUCCI:  But that doesn't have

 

           15              to come before us, Ozzie.  That's the

 

           16              state's requirement so we don't have to pass

 

           17              that legislation here, so we only deal with

 

           18              what we have to do as far as legality in the

 

           19              city.  That's something that has to do with

 

           20              the state.  That's their requirements.  It's

 

           21              not our city requirements.  So that's why we

 

           22              don't have it in our legislation.

 

           23                      MR. QUINN: Kind of crazy if you are

 

           24              having a public hearing on something that

 

           25              you don't know what's going on.


 

 

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            1                      MS. FANUCCI: I absolutely know

 

            2              what's going on.  The problem is that I

 

            3              think you are misunderstanding what our

 

            4              purpose here as a council.  It has nothing

 

            5              to do with the state part, it has to do with

 

            6              the city part.  So you are asking why there

 

            7              is something missing on the legislation,

 

            8              it's because it does not have to come before

 

            9              us to be passed.

 

           10                      MR. QUINN:  Yes, but it's going to

 

           11              at some time going through the city to go to

 

           12              the state and not hop them over to the city.

 

           13                      MS. FANUCCI: Well, they would deal

 

           14              with them directly.  They would deal with us

 

           15              then.  After the legislation passes us then

 

           16              they have to meet the qualifications for the

 

           17              state.  It doesn't have to do with us and

 

           18              the legislation.

 

           19                      (Mr. Courtright enter the council

 

           20              chambers and takes the dais.)

 

           21                      MR. QUINN: The money is going to go

 

           22              for the staff.

 

           23                      MS. FANUCCI: Some of it.  Some of

 

           24              the money will go towards financing the

 

           25              staff.


 

 

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            1                      MR. QUINN:  So then what will be --

 

            2              then what will the staff do, try to get

 

            3              money on other grants?

 

            4                      MS. FANUCCI: That would be part of

 

            5              their job, yes.

 

            6                      MR. QUINN: Okay.  I'm just a little

 

            7              confused about it because of the fact that

 

            8              all of that information wasn't there and you

 

            9              are having a public, you know?  Usually

 

           10              there is something at a public hearing that

 

           11              can explain everything.

 

           12                      MS. FANUCCI: Actually Mrs. Collins

 

           13              can explain it for us if you would like her

 

           14              to do, but she can explain it, I can explain

 

           15              it, but the thing is that you are asking why

 

           16              it wasn't in the backup, so I was explaining

 

           17              to you why it was not in the backup, but we

 

           18              could definitely go on to explain that if

 

           19              there is a need to.

 

           20                      MR. QUINN: Thank you.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: Bill Jackowitz.  Joe

 

           22              Talimini.

 

           23                      MR. TALIMINI: No.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: Marie Schumacher.

 

           25                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Marie Schumacher,


 

 

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            1              city resident and member of the Taxpayers'

 

            2              Association.  I am a member of the National

 

            3              Historical Trust that came up with the

 

            4              62-page workbook, and they have a series of

 

            5              I believe it's eight questions here that

 

            6              deal with should we use the Main Street

 

            7              approach and using the Main Street approach

 

            8              may not be for your community if, and I

 

            9              would like answers to these questions:

 

           10                      One, you seek a quick fix for a

 

           11              problem; two, a single individual is driving

 

           12              the process; three, a single organization is

 

           13              driving the process, which seem to be the

 

           14              case here.  Next one, a single issue is

 

           15              driving the process.

 

           16                      Next, downtown state holders are not

 

           17              willing to commit time, talent and money to

 

           18              the process.  I'd like to hear some evidence

 

           19              that the state holders are lining up to

 

           20              participate in this program.

 

           21                      Next, everyone is sure they know

 

           22              what the problem is, and no one is not open

 

           23              to new ideas; and the final question there

 

           24              is, there is no support from the

 

           25              municipality for downtown revitalization, so


 

 

                                                                      15

 

 

            1              you will be expected to fund part of this

 

            2              program as part of the downtown

 

            3              revitalization.  I think the ratios overall

 

            4              for last year in the State of Pennsylvania

 

            5              they were $3.47 of private investment for

 

            6              each dollar of state money, so I'd like to

 

            7              know where those -- where all of those other

 

            8              contributors are.

 

            9                      And it also notes:  The organizer's

 

           10              first job to produce is a list of good

 

           11              reasons to start a downtown revitalization

 

           12              effort to go forward at this time and then

 

           13              to share these reasons with others, and I

 

           14              would like those reasons shared with us

 

           15              others tonight.  Thank you.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  Anyone else?

 

           17              Anyone else on council?  I now declare this

 

           18              public -- you got to be quick.

 

           19                      MR. MORGAN: I walked all the way

 

           20              across this thing.  Did anybody else see me?

 

           21              Okay, here is where I stand on this issue,

 

           22              Mr. McGoff.  I really think there is no real

 

           23              information here.  I really think this thing

 

           24              is just being rammed through here.  I have

 

           25              listened to all of the things that Ozzie


 

 

                                                                      16

 

 

            1              Quinn said, listened to all of the other

 

            2              things that everybody else has said, and my

 

            3              opinion is we have spent so much money in

 

            4              the downtown that it's just in my own

 

            5              opinion it's ridiculous.  I think this thing

 

            6              needs to be just refused, just turned --

 

            7              completely turned down.

 

            8                      Why doesn't Scranton Tomorrow and

 

            9              the city and the state come in with some way

 

           10              to help the neighborhoods?  We dump so much

 

           11              money in that downtown that it's ridiculous.

 

           12              The whole town is blowing away and we are

 

           13              wondering if we can hire somebody here to do

 

           14              some more revitalization.  And to be honest

 

           15              with you, packets -- in my on opinion

 

           16              packets should have been prepared here so

 

           17              that the residents of this city who cared to

 

           18              be here and know what was happening could

 

           19              have had really a much greater knowledge of

 

           20              what's happening here, because I'll be the

 

           21              first person to say that all I really know

 

           22              is what I'm heard here tonight.  Marie was

 

           23              probably the most articulate on the subject

 

           24              at all for that matter, but I question the

 

           25              whole process.


 

 

                                                                      17

 

 

            1                      And, Mrs. Fanucci, you are talking

 

            2              about what you know.  Well, if you represent

 

            3              me and you haven't educated me to what's

 

            4              going on here then I don't think you are

 

            5              doing your job.  I mean, I'm not be critical

 

            6              of you only, and I think that what we have

 

            7              done in this city for a long time is you

 

            8              have put up something in front of us council

 

            9              hasn't said, well, it's great for us all,

 

           10              and the truth of the matter is that we are

 

           11              spending all of this money in the downtown

 

           12              and what to the neighborhoods?

 

           13                      I just think it's time to

 

           14              reconsider, hold this meeting again, prepare

 

           15              some packets, let us know what's going on

 

           16              and why it's happening and where the money

 

           17              is coming from.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF:  Anyone else?  Anyone?

 

           19              I now declare this public hearing closed.

 

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            4                     C E R T I F I C A T E

 

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            6        I hereby certify that the proceedings and

 

            7   evidence are contained fully and accurately in the

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

           11   ability.

 

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                                    CATHENE S. NARDOZZI, RPR

           15                       OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

 

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