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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Feeling Your Pain

I've long believed "as Scranton goes, so goes the area."  It's the largest city around here.  To outsiders, it's just Scranton.  Dunmore, the mid valley, the Abingtons, down valley...  it's all lumped in to one.

The weekend replays of Thursday night Scranton city council meetings are must see tv.

To get you up to speed, the nearly broke Scranton is asking property owners to swallow a 19 per cent tax increase.  According to our friends at the Times~Tribune, Scranton taxes will have doubled over the past few years.

Speaker after speaker before council begs for cuts.  Okay, good idea.  Tell me where.  Maybe you can trim an administrative salary or two, drop a solicitor/lawyer here and there, possibly pink slip someone in public works.

It's a drop in the bucket.

I'm sure public safety could be more efficient.  Do you remember when Mayor Doherty tried to cut the fire department?  The cuts were quickly reversed after people started losing their homes.  We need more police, not less.

Ask the non profits to kick in?  They've already exhibited a reluctance to do that, and I understand.  Most of them are squeaking by, at best.  There are a lot of poor people out there.  Social services are stretched to the max.

Past councils went out of their way to alienate the University of Scranton.  You have to take the good with the bad at the U.  Can it kick in more?  Certainly.  On the other hand, it's one of the few entities bringing people to the area and improving the local economy.

That brings us to taxes.  There's no other solution.  I'm sorry.

A tax increase does set off an unfortunate spiral.  People sell houses.  People leave the city, and those who stay have to carry a larger share of the burden.

These problems weren't created overnight.  Some strong leadership and bold decisions could have averted this impending disaster.  It's time to look forward, not back.

If anyone has a good idea, now is the time to speak up.