Waiting Game Between Scranton and City Council

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If you live in the city of Scranton, the possibility is out there that you could wake up Saturday without normal police and fire protection and with no one to pick up your trash.

The city still does not have a resolution in place to pay its bills, and it may appear city leaders aren't in a rush to solve the financial crisis.

It has now become a waiting game, waiting to see whether the mayor or city council will make the next move. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking. City services could be affected, but the question is when?

It has now become a waiting game between the City of Scranton and city council. Who will make the next move to get the city out of a $16 million hole? Council said the mayor needs to secure a loan. The mayor said city council needs to come up with a recovery plan to ensure the loan.

Meanwhile residents are sick of it.

"I think they should get it over with, yeah, so they can move on to something else, because this is really keeping them from getting to the hard-core stuff that is happening in the city," said Laurie O'Brien of Scranton.

"It's not a good image, you don't want to see that. It kind of hurts the image. You want to see a strong image where you live, and you look at that and it just weakens Scranton as a whole," said Bill Basile of Scranton.

In the latest on the feud, city council members did somewhat of an about-face Thursday night and said they would consider paying a $1 million debt for the Scranton Parking Authority, but council is not expected to pay other parking authority debts unless the authority meets several demands within 30 days.

It is a financial plan Council Solicitor Boyd Hughes called a train wreck waiting to happen.

"These are requirements that are required under the trust agreement that the parking authority has hardly ever complied with," said Hughes.  

The mayor said the parking authority budget is a secondary problem. The main focus should be taking care of the $16 million hole. If not, the city's services could be at stake. That means no tires for police cars, fuel for fire trucks, or salt for roads, essentially shutting down the city.

"These things are controlled by vendors who are business people, who want to make a living, and they have a right to protect their interests and we have an obligation to pay them for the services, and we're getting very close to council's inactions is affecting the health and welfare of the people of our city," said Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty.

As far as when the city would see any of these effects, and possible cutbacks in city services, it is unclear, but both the mayor and city council said it is sooner rather than later.