Scranton’s Financial Future Still in Limbo

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SCRANTON -- What a week it's been in the electric city.

As Scranton's financial situation worsens, Mayor Chris Doherty took the drastic step of slashing the pay of municipal employees.

City council and the mayor cannot come to terms on a recovery plan. That means no bank is stepping forward to lend Scranton the $16 million it needs to balance its budget.

City hall shut down for the weekend without any more answers as to how the city will get that loan, when worker's will get a full paycheck again, and if Scranton will stay afloat through the rest of the year.
Now, things appear to be at a standstill, With the administration and city council once again pointing fingers at each other.

Over the last month or so, we've heard a lot of the same from Scranton government. Mayor Chris Doherty has continually blamed city council for deepening Scranton's financial hole.

"Council passed a budget with $16 million of borrowing in it, they have been unwilling to fund their budget. The banking community has said that they need certain things to be done, but council has been unwilling to do it," said Mayor Doherty.

However, city council said Doherty has been the unwilling one, refusing to take council's plans seriously. That's why, council president Janet Evans said there's still no recovery plan.

"Actions speak louder than words. Actions were taken by the mayor this week to take city council to court, to cut salaries of employees. Now the mayor needs to take some actions and put council`s recommendations into his recovery plan," said Evans.

Exactly what those city council recommendations are, remains unclear.

Regardless of who is responsible for getting a recovery plan in place, the point is there still isn't one. That resulted in Mayor Doherty's drastic cost-saving measure to cut pay for all city employees to minimum wage.

City council and the mayor remain in the middle of a lawsuit over that elusive recovery plan.

Newswatch 16 made calls to lawyers for both sides, and members of city council, but, none of our calls were returned.

City employees, and residents, hope they are at least talking with each other.

Newswatch 16 learned that two local banks are helping out city employees who had their pay slashed. Both Tobyhanna Federal Credit Union and Fidelity Bank are granting loan holidays for their customers who work for the city. Plus, Fidelity is offering interest free loans to city employees.