Scranton’s Financial Position
by kristen brooks
Well, there’s no denying it the city of Scranton is making some national BUZZ again, only this time it’s not because we have a TV comedy based here. Hmmm…I wonder if Dunder Mifflin would move its operations to Wilkes-Barre in order to dodge the 78% tax increase?!
So, what is it exactly that’s troubling Scranton? Many of the articles I’ve read today had a slew of opinions, and here’s the short list:
- A long-term structural decline (the mayor and the council haven’t acted like a family unit in a really long time…like no more Sunday dinners).
- The mayor and City Council are in a long-standing stalemate (they basically hate each other) and the city employees are stuck in the middle.
- An inability to borrow any money (because they’ve burned some bridges).
With news giants like the ABCnews, CBSnews, Huffington Post, NY Times, etc. reporting on this mind-blowing budget business; I want to start the conversation with YOU…the people that actually live here in NEPA!
In order to get the convo rolling…here’s the scoop:
The city is struggling to bridge an estimated $16.8 million budget gap for 2012.
The mayor wants an immediate tax hike of 29% and 78% over three years.
The City Council said “no way” to the tax hike.
The city has fallen behind on its bills, it has received warning letters from the company that sells it gasoline for its police cars and fire trucks; the landfill where it dumps its garbage; and even its water company, which threatened to cut off service.
Mayor Doherty and the public employee unions have spent the past decade in a legal dispute over pay that went all the way to the state supreme court.
Last Friday, Doherty defied the judge’s orders, and cut everyone’s pay — including his own — on Friday down to the state minimum of $7.25 per hour.
The civil service workers in Scranton have filed a class action lawsuit against the city and its mayor, due to the violation from the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Mayor Doherty has to revise his proposed recovery plan, and plans on submitting it to the Council (who has the final say) next week.
Although Scranton isn’t the only city in a dire financial position…it is one of the few that has nearly run out of moola and, so far, has no homies willing to lend it more.
I want to hear what your thoughts are about this whole situation. So, hit me up in the comment section below or on our FB page!