No Plan, No Money, More Problems

Newswatch 16 has learned that the City of Scranton may start running out of money to pay its bills, as early as the end of this month.

The clock is ticking while city council and the mayor are still feuding over who will come up with a recovery plan needed to pull the city out of a $16 million hole.

A typical Friday on Scranton’s south side means garbage pickup.

Something that many folks living here could find themselves doing themselves next month.

“You’re going to have to take time and money to pay for more gas than we already have to and gas prices are horrible, you’ll have to take all the garbage from your house and drive it up to the landfill,” said Chester Godfrey of Scranton.

“Well I wouldn’t like it, but I’m more concerned with police and fire. I think they better start working on it pretty soon and get it straightened out because it’s not a good situation,” said James Grier of Scranton.

Garbage and fuel for trucks are just the beginning.

City officials said, if the city does not come up with a recovery plan immediately that’s needed to cover its $16 million hole, more and more services will feel the heat, including the city’s licensing, inspections, and permits department.

That is responsible for building inspections, controlling blight, and keeping the city’s grass cut.

“The inspectors on the road, we do pay them mileage to be out on the road, so there’d be a visible effect in the neighborhoods, high grass, things like that, more blight,” said Mark Seitzinger, city Inspector.

The city’s business administrator said a plan needs to be worked out immediately otherwise these services will likely be strained, and city workers will not get paychecks.

If they do, they’ll only get what’s left in the bank. And that could mean minimum wage or less.

“At some point there may come a chance that the required revenue is not in the bank accounts to meet expenditures, whether it’s payroll or healthcare, we’re still going to receive funds, but it’s are we going to have enough funds to continue to meet our obligations set forth in this year’s budget,” said Ryan McGowan, city’s Business Administrator.

If the city does not come up with a plan, the state could step in. However, the state has already said it will not give Scranton money and council and the mayor need to figure it out themselves.

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