City Council Pleads the 5th (sort of)

I attended a city council meeting on January 19, 2017; my first meeting of the year. The reason I attended this council meeting was to see if I would be able to get two questions answered-questions I believe the taxpayers deserve answers to.  My first question for council was “Do you think the City of Scranton’s finances are in good order”?  That seems like a relatively straight forward question that warrants a simple “yes or no” answer, right?  However, I did not get a “yes” or a “no”.

In fact, what I got from council was blank stares from all members. There was so much silence from city council I was wondering if my microphone was turned on, like I said, not one comment.  My second question for the council members was not quite so simple, but still a question that any member of city council should have the answer to “ Can council tell the taxpayers how much Scranton’s actual debt is (including: city debt, pension liabilities, OPEB, share of county debt, share of school debt, interest on debt…total debt)”?  Once again I was offered the same blank expressions from council until one member actually spoke up and told me “I’m not sure right now, but I did have access to that information about two weeks ago”.  Let me assure you, had he looked over the terrifying numbers he would not soon forget them. So, either he knows and is unwilling to go on record or he has no idea, which is worse?

As someone who has the “trifecta” of investment in a city (I own a house, raising kids and own a business) I was upset but not surprised by the silence that was offered up by city council. They are being dishonest to me, to you and to our friends and families. I have too much skin in this game to allow our local government to continue to do business the way they have been for decades, unchecked and unchallenged. To whomever may be reading this, I ask you to start getting involved, ask questions and demand answers or simply contact us at Save Scranton and join the fight. This is our city, it’s our home and it’s our children’s future at stake.

Damian Biancarelli

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