Businesses Expect Problems from City Pay Cut

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SCRANTON -- Starting next week, all employees for the city of Scranton will receive only minimum wage.

That directly affects not only the nearly 500 people who work for the city, but, others fear the salary-slashing will trickle down to them.

All of the city employees are required to live in Scranton. So, they spend their money in Scranton. Many business owners believe they'll also feel the pain of this pay cut.

City hall was somber a day after employees learned their pay would be cut to minimum wage. Just down the block at Abe's Deli on North Washington Avenue, it was as hectic as ever at lunch time.

However, what's been going on up the street is still on the minds of employees here.

"I will try to listen and pay attention to it, but today is the first day of that news," said owner Jerry Mizirachi.

Mizirachi said about 15% of his customers come from city hall. Starting July 6, those city employees will take a severe pay cut.

As a cost-saving measure. Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty slashed workers' pay to minimum wage, $7.25 an hour. That pay rate will stand for all city employees until city council can secure a $16 million loan needed to fill a hole in the 2012 budget.

"I don't think we'll see it, the prices are reasonable. The people come here regardless. Plus, I think those people will get the money later on anyway," said Mizirachi.

Tom Sheakoski, owner of Pizza By Pappas in Scranton, isn't as optimistic. He thinks eating out will be the first thing city employees will cut back on, and expects a slower lunch crowd starting next week.

"I'm sure it will trickle down to everything, when people are used to getting above minimum wage and all of a sudden, you're going to have to pinch pennies somewhere, and it could trickle down to here, hopefully not, but I'm afraid it probably will," Sheakoski said.

Newswatch 16 also learned Thursday that the court hearing for the lawsuit Mayor Chris Doherty has filed against city council has been pushed back to August 3.

If city council decides to fight the lawsuit, that means employees could be receiving minimum wage until at least that day.