SCRANTON — The mayor of Scranton announced Thursday he is taking city council to court.
Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty wants a judge to force city council to come up with a plan to help secure a $16 million loan that will help keep the city afloat.
Mayor Doherty said time is running out, and the city is running out of money to pay its bills and its employees.
The mayor said in order for any bank to lend the city money, city council must come up with a plan fast.
It’s coming down to the wire and Scranton is running out of money, said the mayor.
Now all that’s left to do is go to court.
“Council’s had six months and it’s time to act. This is their budget and they have an obligation to fund their budget,” said Mayor Doherty.
Mayor Doherty announced he’s filed a complaint against city council in Lackawanna County Court.
He hopes this will put more pressure on city council members to make them come up with a recovery plan to the city’s budget problems.
Doherty said city council’s budget is not working. The $71 million for the year is almost gone. The city has already spent more than 30 million, and the expenses only keep on coming.
“Our payroll is over a million every two weeks, our Blue Cross bill is about $1.3 million a month, we spend on gas and diesel, about $40,000 a week,” said Doherty.
The mayor said the city is facing a $16 million shortfall .
The city must now borrow that money, but no bank will lend it without a recovery plan set in place.
Something he said city council needs to come up with fast.
“The banks said they want a plan. Council to this point has not done a plan. We are literally running out of money and I have to protect the citizens of Scranton,” said Doherty.
“Actually I can’t comment at this time, our solicitor has advised us not to comment until he’s had the ability to review the legal documents and of course no one on council has had time to review them at this point,” said Council President Janet Evans at a council meeting Thursday night
Some people who live in the city and who attended the council meeting voiced their opinions.
“Tell Mr. Doherty to sit down with council and try to get this together. This shouldn’t be a court issue,” said Les Spindler of Scranton.
“The mayor did file a lawsuit in Lackawanna County court seeking that the judge demand that council pass his recovery plan, yet another plot to get his way,” said Doug Miller of Scranton.
The case could go before a judge sometime next week.