Blight Poses Challenges For Distressed Cities

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scranton is a city of 76,000 people with a housing stock largely built before 1940 for a population almost twice that number.

It has the blight to prove it.

As the financially strapped city struggles to combat blight and the host of ills it fosters, Scranton finds itself in a position common among many Rust Belt communities: many old buildings, too few people willing or able to keep them up and limited resources to press aggressively for a comprehensive solution.

The region’s other two major cities, Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton, are dealing with similar issues, though their circumstances don’t precisely mirror Scranton’s.

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Easton Police Dominate 2013 List Of Highest-Paid City Employees

English: Skyline of Easton, PA from Lafayette ...

English: Skyline of Easton, PA from Lafayette College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eight of the 10 highest-paid Easton city employees last year work for the police department.

Much of their pay came through overtime, although the mayor said the city is doing much better with overtime budgeting.

Sgt. Sal Cucciuffo topped the list for the second year in a row, making $117,524 and topping his 2012 earnings by a little more than $6,800.

The city’s overtime fund has dropped significantly from $460,000 in 2008, down to $260,000 in 2013, Mayor Sal Panto Jr. said. Panto said the city came in under budget on overtime costs in 2013.

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Sensor Gear Helps Lancaster City Rate Streets

Picture 569Researchers spent about 10 days last summer cruising Lancaster city’s streets looking for the good, the bad and the ugly.

And, they did so looking straight down.

The specially equipped van carried laser-guided sensors that recorded details of every inch of the 110 miles of city streets, 10 miles of city-owned alleyways and the 20 miles of state roads that cut through the city.

The result of the collected data is the city’s first pavement management plan.

The plan lists the city streets and ranks them by which ones most need repair and repaving.

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