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            1              SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING

 

            2                       PUBLIC HEARING

 

            3

 

            4

 

            5

                     IN RE: FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 83, 2009 - AUTHORIZING

            6   THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS OF THE CITY

                OF SCRANTON TO TAKE ALL NECESSARY ACTIONS TO IMPLEMENT

            7   THE CONSOLIDATED SUBMISSION FOR COMMUNITY PLANNING AND

                DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS TO BE FUNDED UNDER THE COMMUNITY

            8   DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG) PROGRAM, HOME INVESTMENT

                PARTNERSHIP (HOME) PROGRAM AND EMERGENCY SHELTER GRANT

            9   (ESG) PROGRAM.

 

           10

 

           11                        HELD:

 

           12

 

           13                 Tuesday, September 15, 2009

 

           14

 

           15                        LOCATION:

 

           16                    Council Chambers

 

           17                 Scranton City Hall

 

           18              340 North Washington Avenue

 

           19                Scranton, Pennsylvania

 

           20

 

           21

 

           22

 

           23

 

           24              CATHENE S. NARDOZZI, RPR

 

           25                OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER


 

 

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            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   (Not present)

 

           14   MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK

 

           15

 

           16   MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK

 

           17

 

           18   MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR

 

           19

 

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

 

            2              public hearing to order.  Roll call, please.

 

            3                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            4                      MS. EVANS:  Here.

 

            5                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI:  Here.

 

            7                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

            8                      MS. FANUCCI:  Here.

 

            9                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.  Mr.

 

           10              McGoff.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF:  Here.  For the record,

 

           12              I'd like to say that Mr. Courtright did call

 

           13              and that he will be unable to attend

 

           14              tonight's public hearing and meeting due to

 

           15              a personal matter.  The purpose of said

 

           16              public hearing is to hear testimony and

 

           17              discuss the following:

 

           18                      FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 83, 2009 -

 

           19              AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE

 

           20              OFFICIALS OF THE CITY OF SCRANTON TO TAKE

 

           21              ALL NECESSARY ACTIONS TO IMPLEMENT THE

 

           22              CONSOLIDATED SUBMISSION FOR COMMUNITY

 

           23              PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS TO BE

 

           24              FUNDED UNDER THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK

 

           25              GRANT (CDBG) PROGRAM, HOME INVESTMENT


 

 

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            1              PARTNERSHIP (HOME) PROGRAM AND EMERGENCY

 

            2              SHELTER GRANT (ESG) PROGRAM.

 

            3                      The civic participation, we'll do

 

            4              three minutes for participation.  Andy

 

            5              Sbaraglia.

 

            6                      MR. SBARAGLIA:  Andy Sbaraglia,

 

            7              citizen of Scranton, fellow Scrantonian.

 

            8              I'd like to speak on the tax -- on the Kids

 

            9              Swim Free Program that we put in for a grant

 

           10              for.  Could I approach?

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: Please.  Mr. Sbaraglia,

 

           12              could I have one for Mr. Courtright?  I'll

 

           13              put it in his box.

 

           14                      MR. SBARAGLIA: Sure.  No problem.

 

           15              In the past two years the Scranton

 

           16              Lackawanna County Taxpayers' Association has

 

           17              offered nine free swimming events for the

 

           18              children 15 years old and younger at Nay Aug

 

           19              Park.  These swimming events remain to be

 

           20              free due to the exclusive donations from

 

           21              citizens, taxpayers or local business

 

           22              owners.  Due to their generosity on the day

 

           23              of the event, all children 15 and under have

 

           24              unlimited access to the pool and slide.  In

 

           25              this city all neighborhood pools are free


 

 

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            1              except Nay Aug Park that is located in the

 

            2              Hill Section, so for the children in the

 

            3              East Scranton section of the city that

 

            4              either need to pay $3.00 a day or by your

 

            5              pass or to provide information to receive a

 

            6              free past to use the pool which sometimes

 

            7              leads to embarrassing or unsafely swims in

 

            8              the gorge.  If you can help to keep this

 

            9              community program going, we would greatly

 

           10              appreciate it.

 

           11                      And we have really taken a lot, a

 

           12              lot of kids up there.  The totals here are

 

           13              1,114, but actually it's 1,500 kids have

 

           14              been able to swim at the park.  This year

 

           15              was a bad year because of the whether, but

 

           16              still 400 children were allowed to swim up

 

           17              there.  And we would like counsel to look at

 

           18              see if you can look favorable on our

 

           19              application for a grant for us.  We do not

 

           20              charge any administration fee.  Every penny

 

           21              we get in the grant will actually be given

 

           22              back to the city in the form of the fees we

 

           23              pay up at Nay Aug, so actually it's a

 

           24              win-win situation for the city and for the

 

           25              kids at the City of Scranton, so somewhere


 

 

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            1              along the line we hope you will look

 

            2              favorable on that application.  Thank you.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: Ozzie Quinn.

 

            4                      MR. QUINN:  Ozzie Quinn, Taxpayers'

 

            5              Association.  I'd like to ask a question,

 

            6              how much is set aside for housing

 

            7              rehabilitation throughout the City of

 

            8              Scranton?  If you go through our

 

            9              neighborhoods there is a lot of homes that

 

           10              need repairs and there is a lot people

 

           11              because of our low income and the elderly

 

           12              that need roofs, heating plans and whatnot.

 

           13              Can you answer that?

 

           14                      MS. AEBLI:  Mr. Quinn --  oh, I'm

 

           15              sorry.

 

           16                      MR. QUINN:  I'm sorry, go ahead.

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF: You should address it to

 

           18              council if you would like.

 

           19                      MR. QUINN:  I think that there is a

 

           20              dire need for housing rehabilitation, a

 

           21              comprehensive housing rehabilitation and

 

           22              what I see here is Lackawanna Housing is

 

           23              going to do five rehabs.  I mean, come on,

 

           24              five rehabs you can do that in half a block.

 

           25              You know, we got to do something about a


 

 

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            1              comprehensive -- these neighbors hoods are

 

            2              really going down.  People can't afford

 

            3              record it.  Thank you.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF: That you, Mr. Quinn.

 

            5              Marie Schumacher.

 

            6                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Marie Schumacher,

 

            7              city resident and member of the Taxpayers'

 

            8              Association.  I, too, would like to speak in

 

            9              favor of more housing rehabilitation.  There

 

           10              is no money in this year's budget for

 

           11              emergency utility assistance and I think

 

           12              with all of the utilities going up it's

 

           13              going to be needed this year more than ever

 

           14              before, and I would also like if you could

 

           15              rearrange the money so that the Kids Swim

 

           16              Free Program could be funded.  Thank you.

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF: Phyllis Humphries.

 

           18              Phyllis, this is the on -- this is a is

 

           19              public hearing.

 

           20                      MS. HUMPHRIES:  I know it's a public

 

           21              hearing.

 

           22                      MS. FANUCCI: On the block grants.

 

           23                      MR. MCGOFF: It's on the block grants

 

           24              only?

 

           25                      MS. HUMPHRIES:  On the what?


 

 

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            1                      MS. GATELLI: The block grants.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: Exactly.

 

            3                      MS. HUMPHRIES: And then could I

 

            4              speak?

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI: Yeah, later on.

 

            6                      MS. HUMPHRIES:  Okay, do your

 

            7              blocking and all and I'm going to do my

 

            8              blocking.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Lee Morgan.

 

           10                      MR. MORGAN: Good evening, Council.

 

           11              I'd just like to basically say about the

 

           12              same thing that Ozzie and the tax group has

 

           13              said.  We need a lot more money put into the

 

           14              neighborhoods for rehab and I would really

 

           15              like to see the Kids Swim Free Program be

 

           16              funded and if possible I would like to see

 

           17              some of the this money be spent for youth

 

           18              programs in the city and I'd like to see a

 

           19              council member try to draft something and

 

           20              try to move some money in a way to help

 

           21              fight vandalism and gang violence and all of

 

           22              the other problems we have in the city, but

 

           23              I really would like to see an awful lot of

 

           24              money from OECD go into the neighborhoods

 

           25              and as Ozzie said, now, there is a lot of


 

 

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            1              blocks with three or four or five condemned

 

            2              properties in them and I think that if we

 

            3              can move OECD money probably the bulk of it

 

            4              into programs like that we could really do a

 

            5              lot of good for the neighborhoods.  Thank

 

            6              you.

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF: Jean Suetta.

 

            8                      MS. SUETTA:  Jean Suetta.  I think

 

            9              you should have more money for the funding

 

           10              and I think all kids should swim free.  I

 

           11              know when I was a kid if we had to pay to go

 

           12              swimming we would be using the Lackawanna

 

           13              River, which wasn't too good, so get the

 

           14              kids to swim for nothing, all right?  Thank

 

           15              you.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: Ron Ellman.

 

           17                      MR. ELLMAN: I'M on the other sheet.

 

           18              I'm sorry.  Anyone else?

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Ungvarski.

 

           20                      MR. UNGVARSKI: Good evening, City

 

           21              Council.  I also would like to speak on

 

           22              behalf of the Kids Swim Free.  It seems like

 

           23              it's a win-win situation for the city.  All

 

           24              of this money that you grant to the Kids

 

           25              Swim Free Program will come back


 

 

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            1              100 percent, in other words, you will grant

 

            2              that to the Kids Swim Free Program and Kids

 

            3              Swim Free Program will give it right back to

 

            4              the Bureau of Recreation.  There is not a

 

            5              penny lost.  All of that money will come

 

            6              back to the city and the kids will be able

 

            7              to swim free.

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?

 

            9                      MR. MCCLOE: Good evening.  My name

 

           10              is Brett McCloe.  One of the things that I

 

           11              think that is missing, if it's about

 

           12              economic development I think that we

 

           13              hopefully if there are any grants out there

 

           14              that can help adults further their education

 

           15              to actually develop an economy by upgrading

 

           16              their existing -- their existing -- what

 

           17              they know how to do, to try to develop more

 

           18              managers out of the mini-marts or whatever.

 

           19              Whatever it takes to bring incomes across up

 

           20              that will develop an economy.

 

           21                      I don't know if there are any grants

 

           22              out there like that, but I know that there

 

           23              are grants to help people go to school, but

 

           24              I think there should be something more

 

           25              citywide based because the city actually


 

 

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            1              needs adults to upgrade on their whatever

 

            2              specialty they have.  Instead of always

 

            3              looking for outside sources, maybe the city

 

            4              can do something or the OECD can do

 

            5              something to help develop an economy from

 

            6              the bottom up instead of just constantly

 

            7              depending on entrepreneurs.  Let's get the

 

            8              workers to raise up to a certain level to

 

            9              get us moving forward, actually not trying

 

           10              to create well through millionaires or

 

           11              hundred-thousandaires out of people, but

 

           12              adding an extra dollar an hour to their pay.

 

           13              It is creation of wealth.  Thank you.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: Linda, I have a

 

           16              question for you.  All of the evidence that

 

           17              we received, would they all meet the

 

           18              approval of being able to get this funding.

 

           19              I want to make sure that, you know, this is

 

           20              not something -- you know, people said in

 

           21              the audience today, which is a great idea,

 

           22              we need more housing programs, we need this,

 

           23              we need that, but without applicants

 

           24              actually asking for the funding it's not

 

           25              something we can just create out of thin


 

 

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            1              air.

 

            2                      MS. AEBLI: Right.

 

            3                      MS. FANUCCI:  So what the applicants

 

            4              we have and our choices, are all in

 

            5              compliance and would we be able to, you

 

            6              know, if we choose from this list is

 

            7              everyone able to receive the funding?

 

            8                      MS. AEBLI: We receive over 100

 

            9              applicants a year.  Anyone can put

 

           10              application in, but that does not mean they

 

           11              are eligible for federal dollars.  The one

 

           12              big thing you have to -- and I guess it's

 

           13              more in the public service, and you have to

 

           14              remember if we get $3 million a year in CDBG

 

           15              funding only 15 percent of that funding

 

           16              could be used on public services, so you

 

           17              times that, that's 450,000, the majority of

 

           18              our public service goes to our neighborhood

 

           19              police patrol.  That is a public service.

 

           20                      And if you are going to fund anyone

 

           21              new that we have never funded before in this

 

           22              day and age you have to -- especially with

 

           23              the public services, you have to be careful,

 

           24              they have to document everyone's income, so

 

           25              the organization has to have security in


 

 

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            1              place.  You are dealing with people's social

 

            2              security numbers, their income tax returns,

 

            3              their paystubs, so be very careful when you

 

            4              select anyone that there is security in

 

            5              place and who is going to see -- oversee the

 

            6              security of these incomes.

 

            7                      MS. FANUCCI: So we are looking at

 

            8              $450,000 out of service regardless -- -

 

            9                      MS. AEBLI: Correct.

 

           10                      MS. FANUCCI: So that's going to be

 

           11              split up, so if you are deciding on anything

 

           12              that is not --

 

           13                      MS. AEBLI: And I believe we have 300

 

           14              in for neighborhood?

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: Right.  We have 300 for

 

           16              neighborhood; right.

 

           17                      MS. AEBLI:  Correct, and if we have

 

           18              ten police, I believe we have maybe six or

 

           19              seven at the moment, but when we have ten

 

           20              police it goes close to the 400, but we have

 

           21              additional money from other years, so we

 

           22              never run out of money.

 

           23                      MS. FANUCCI: Okay.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: Prior to the meeting I

 

           25              asked Mr. Mitchell if he would provide me


 

 

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            1              with a list of applicants who were not

 

            2              eligible for funding.  That may help us in

 

            3              our determination if we know that they are

 

            4              not eligible then we won't --

 

            5                      MS. FANUCCI:  We won't -- if won't

 

            6              be included in our decision.

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF: They won't be included.

 

            8              Rather than going back and forth constantly

 

            9              with things that are eligible or not

 

           10              eligible.  That would help greatly.

 

           11                      MS. AEBLI:  No problem.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?  I now

 

           13              declare this public hearing closed.

 

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

 

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            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.

 

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                                    CATHENE S. NARDOZZI, RPR

           12                       OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

 

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