Scranton Hoping for Charity from Nonprofits

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SCRANTON -- The city of Scranton is looking for its nonprofit groups, including colleges and churches, to make some sort of contribution to the city's budget. It's part of the plan to help the city get out of its financial mess.

Right now, many of these nonprofits donate nothing.

City leaders are hoping that will change since donations from nonprofits are a big part of the city's proposed recovery plan.

Lutherwood Apartments has been in operation near Lake Scranton for 25 years. Ever since, they've written a check to the city of Scranton, even though the facility is tax-exempt. Managers at Lutherwood said it's their way to contribute to the city they call home.

The Scranton Housing Authority, also a nonprofit organization, sends a check to the city each year. The Housing Authority is on a short list of nonprofits in Scranton which contribute to the city's budget.

The city of Scranton is missing out on millions because nonprofit properties, and many of the biggest properties don't give the city anything at all.

City leaders said they've targeted seven nonprofits that should be paying up. The University of Scranton does make an annual payment. Last year the University gave $175,000. The other colleges in the city, though, gave nothing.

Other big nonprofits include The Commonwealth Medical College and Community Medical Center, now owned by Geisinger, which paid nothing last year.

"The mayor will follow through with what he's said prior, which is to visit the non-profits and talk to them about what we're looking for with this plan," said Scranton's Business Administrator Ryan McGowan.

McGowan said a personal appeal is the city's only plan to get nonprofits to pay more, but Scranton's recovery plan counts on quite a bit more from those organizations.

Payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTS, earned the city only $200,000 last year. While in the proposed recovery plan, Scranton budgeted for more that $2 million by 2015.

"I think that it's a good solid number that the administration and council have worked with and will continue to work with and address moving forward, and we're hopeful that we will get this help," added McGowan.

Newswatch 16 reached out to officials with each of those seven nonprofits Scranton has targeted for money, few returned our calls. However, officials with Lackawanna College said paying anything to the city would be a challenge and would likely cause tuition to go up.