Wilkes-Barre In Better Financial Shape Than Last Year

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — More than halfway through the fiscal year the city is in better financial shape compared to the same period in 2012, officials said Friday.

Revenues are up by more than $7 million, largely because of a 25-mill property tax increase and the payment of 2012 wage taxes that had been delayed by problems at CENTAX, the former collection company.  As a result, there are no plans to furlough workers to make up for a revenue shortfall.

“There is no manufactured financial crisis by a collection mishap by a third-party vendor,” said Drew McLaughlin, the city’s municipal affairs manager.  “Revenue projections are holding steady so far, so we are very, very cautiously optimistic in terms of our financial position this year.”

Still, he cautioned things could change should the weather bring on an unpredictable expense caused by flooding from a tropical storm or snow in the winter.  “We’re at the mercy of Mother Nature there and we proceed cautiously,” he said.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/759265/Wilkes-Barre-in-better-financial-shape-than-last-year

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Latest Phase Of Downtown Streetscape Project More Than Halfway Done

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE — The sun beat down on the newly poured concrete sidewalks outside Mimmo’s Pizza, and inside Mark Bronsburg thought about the winter.

Construction workers have been toiling in the heat and humidity to dig up the old walkways as part of the latest phase of the downtown Streetscape project and replace them to smooth the way for people going around Public Square.

Bronsburg looked forward to an easier job shoveling snow without jamming a shovel against an upraised sidewalk paver.

He’s among the business owners around the Square who’ve been waiting for improvements to be made to match those on the opposite side.  He’s also willing to put up with short-term inconveniences.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/669883/Latest-phase-of-downtown-Streetscape-project-more-than-halfway-done

Joshua Carlos Ovalles, Already A Suspect In January Shooting, Charged In Death Of Vaughn Kemp

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE — A 19-year-old man police identified Wednesday as the suspect in the deadly shooting Sunday morning was free on bail when he attempted to kill another man earlier this year.

Police obtained an arrest warrant for Joshua Carlos Ovalles, of Kent Lane, Wilkes-Barre, charging him in the slaying of Vaughn Kemp, 24, outside 174 S. Grant St. Ovalles was still at large Wednesday night.

Witnesses told police Ovalles and Kemp were arguing in front of the house when Ovalles fired several rounds, according to the criminal complaint.

An autopsy revealed Kemp died from multiple gunshot wounds.  He became the sixth homicide victim within the city limits this year.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/666625/Suspect-named-in-Grant-St.-homicide

Wilkes-Barre Mayor Announces Changes In City Hall Aimed At Doing More With Less

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  A foreign concept in Pottstown!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WILKES-BARRE — Mayor Tom Leighton unveiled Tuesday “several significant personnel and administrative changes” that he feels will improve government efficiency and service to city taxpayers.

Leighton said he and his administrative staff have been working on the plan since September and he mentioned the consolidation and restructuring in his budget address in October.

“Basically, we have less people and we are asking them to do more,” he said, noting there are a third fewer employees at City Hall than when he took office in 2004.  Overall, then there were 300 employees in the city and now there are 265, he said.

“We’re assigning more responsibilities to less people,” he said.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/457404/Mayor-announces-changes-in-City-Hall-aimed-at-doing-more-with-less

Daylight Wilkes-Barre Shooting Shocks

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE – One man was hospitalized in serious condition after he was shot in the stomach Thursday afternoon on Coal Street.

The unidentified victim was involved in an argument shortly after noon and dared the shooter, a witness said.

The shooting happened hours after police on an early-morning patrol heard gunshots and found one man dead and another seriously injured with a head wound about a mile away near a bar on Scott Street.

Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said she could neither confirm nor deny that the shootings were connected.  But she added, “We do not believe these are random acts of violence.”

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/stories/Daylight-city-shooting-shocks,253030