Scranton Council President: PEL Rejected Recovery Plan

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SCRANTON -- It had appeared the road to financial relief was looking brighter for the Electric City.

Scranton’s leaders -- Mayor Chris Doherty and city council -- were finally working together and had come up with a proposed recovery plan to get the city out of distressed status.

However, Thursday night came the startling news as that plan was turned down by the Pennsylvania Economy League.

Members of the public came out to Scranton City Council`s meeting to voice their thoughts and concerns of the city proposed recovery plan.

Scranton`s leaders, including Mayor Chris Doherty and city council, put aside their political differences to put together this recovery plan requested by the state Department of Community and Economic Development, or DCED, by August 1.

If that happened, DCED would loan the city $2 million to get Scranton back on better financial ground.

However, council president Janet Evans said just an hour before council`s meeting she received startling news.

"City council, the mayor, and the business administrator received a letter from the Pennsylvania Economy League rejecting the city`s proposed revised recovery plan. Now to me, that says that the Pennsylvania Economy League has now decided that the city will file for bankruptcy," said Evans.

The Pennsylvania Economy League, or PEL, was chosen by DCED to oversee the city`s financial recovery.

Evans said the city`s proposal was submitted to PEL for approval.

Despite the setback, Evans said council is sticking with this plan.

“I`m hopeful that city council will adopt it regardless because the Pennsylvania Economy League has done nothing for city of Scranton,” said Evans.

Still, even members of Evans' majority council question how the proposed recovery plan will work.

The city is banking on collecting millions of dollars in donations from non-profit organizations in Scranton since non-profits are exempt from taxes.

“I think everyone on council and the mayor hopes the non-profits pony up, the problem is they don`t have to legally,” said council member Pat Rogan.

Evans said the proposed recovery plan will be on council’s agenda during the meetings on August 9 and August 16.

Evans said she is hoping it will be adopted on the August 16.