SCRANTON — Scranton City Council gave the green light to a pay raise for the next mayor of Scranton during its meeting Thursday.
The raise is less than what the outgoing mayor wanted for his successor, but it’s still more than at least one council member wanted.
With a vote of four to one, Scranton City Council gave the next mayor of Scranton a raise with a beginning salary of $60,000 a year starting in January 2014.
Council also included a $5,000 raise each of the next three years, capping the mayor`s pay at $75,000 a year by 2017.
Both council and many taxpayers at the meeting said the next mayor will have a tough task of getting the city out of its financial mess and deserved to be paid more.
“The next mayor will have much work to do,” said council member Frank Joyce.
This pay increase will eventually put the mayor’s salary closer to the average mayor’s pay in comparable cities across Pennsylvania.
“When you take a look at a lot of other municipalities throughout the commonwealth, our salary doesn`t even come close to salaries of mayor`s,” said resident Doug Miller.
However, others felt shelling out more money to elected officials is the wrong choice.
“I think what we`re creating is a professional class of politicians who lack the vision, the insight, or any leadership ability whatsoever,” said resident Lee Morgan.
The big hot topic issue was the city`s controversial parking meter legislation.
The city is still weighing whether to increase the rates and hours of operation of the meters and if to allow a private company to manage them for thousands of dollars of taxpayer money.
Many speakers said approving this would cripple the downtown.
“Just imagine having to feed the meter in the middle of dinner or run out of a clothing store to add quarters to the meter,” said resident Gary Lewis. “Why would patrons deal with such issues when they can head to the Shoppes at Montage?”
Others felt that city needs to find revenue anywhere it can.
“You don`t only represent the business people, you represent the 70,000 people in this city who do not want their taxes to go up,” said one resident.
Council confirmed it is looking into the potential sale of the Scranton Sewer Authority to a private company in the hopes of generating money.