Boscov: Mall At Steamtown Changes Must Get My Approval

Repurposing the troubled Mall at Steamtown as a Reading Terminal-style market, a casino or a skating rink will remain a dream.

That is because the mall’s lease agreement with Boscov’s Department Store allows the anchor tenant to veto significant changes like that, said department store chairman Al Boscov in an interview at The Times-Tribune, a Times-Shamrock newspaper, on Monday.

Boscov’s Department Store will likely be among bidders in the June 1 – 3 auction of the Mall at Steamtown and the goal will be to buy the mall and keep the mall all — or predominantly — retail, he said.

Boscov wants to keep people with ideas of re-purposing the mall, some of whom he called “cranks,” away from the auction scheduled by LNR Partners, the mall’s caretaker since it was taken over by lenders following foreclosure.

Read more:

http://citizensvoice.com/news/boscov-mall-at-steamtown-changes-must-get-my-approval-1.1883885

Pennsylvania House Votes In Favor Of Selling Off State Liquor System

HARRISBURG — The effort to change Pennsylvania’s state liquor monopoly is on a familiar path filled with many obstacles.

The state House voted Thursday to approve turning the wine and liquor retail and wholesale business over to the private sector, but the proposal faces a rough road in the Senate, which failed to take action on a similar proposal in the last session. And Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf favors improving the service in the existing stores to generate more money for the state rather than licensing them to the private sector.

Thursday’s House vote was 114-87 for the proposal, with every Democrat and a few Republicans opposed.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/state/2015/02/26/House-to-vote-on-Pennsylvania-liquor-privatization-bill/stories/201502260159

Hazleton Council Overrides Mayor’s Veto, Passes 2015 Budget

During a special meeting Friday, Hazleton City Council voted to override Mayor Joseph Yannuzzi’s veto of the council’s proposed budget and then adopted that spending plan for 2015.

It means there will be no property tax increase for city residents and it also means that council voted to allocate money for the city to hire part-time police officers.

All this happened — but not without confusion, hand wringing and much discussion.

The confusion started when council had to call Councilman Jeff Cusat in order for him to vote on agenda items. Cusat had a prior engagement and did not attend the meeting in person but did cast his votes via telephone.

Read more: http://standardspeaker.com/news/hazleton-council-overrides-mayor-s-veto-passes-2015-budget-1.1815211

Veto Sets Up Hazleton Budget Showdown

Hazleton Mayor Joseph Yannuzzi vetoed a nearly $9.3 million budget for 2015 that was ratified by city council about a week ago.

Yannuzzi announced the development in memorandums to city council on Monday and will for a second consecutive year set up a budget showdown with the governing body. A dispute over competing versions of the 2014 budget went before a judge and has not yet been resolved.

The mayor said he vetoed an ordinance that sets the tax rate and related legislation because they do not conform with the version of the budget that he presented.

Yannuzzi listed 12 reasons in a second memorandum for vetoing a fourth budget-related ordinance and argues that amendments made by council leave the city with an unbalanced budget.

Read more: http://standardspeaker.com/news/veto-sets-up-hazleton-budget-showdown-1.1812842

Scranton Mayor Vetoes Council’s Revisions To His Budget

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

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

Mayor Chris Doherty on Friday vetoed city council’s revisions to his proposed $130.2 million budget.

Council will hold a special meeting Monday at 5:30 p.m. to vote on whether to override or sustain the veto, council President Janet Evans said.

A split council on Thursday raised and lowered some salaries and added two positions in the mayor’s budget. The amendments did not change the budget total or the 57 percent tax increase and 69 percent trash collection fee hike.

Council voted 3-2 on many of the amendments in a split that had Councilmen Bob McGoff, Pat Rogan and Jack Loscombe, who are all returning to council in 2014, forming a bloc to pass the amendments, and Council President Janet Evans and Councilman Frank Joyce, who are departing council, dissenting.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-mayor-vetoes-council-s-revisions-to-his-budget-1.1601207

What Can Pottstown Learn From Scranton?

This is certainly news we do not read about often!  Scranton City Council unanimously adopted a $74.9 million dollar budget that features a 10.55% property tax decrease AND a 25% decrease in mercantile and business privilege taxes.  The budget restores 44 of 69 positions which had previously been recommended to be cut. 

Mayor Chris Doherty submitted a $75.5 million dollar budget to council in November which included 69 jobs being eliminated.  Mayor Doherty has until December 24th to act of council’s $74.9 million dollar budget.  Council has a veto-proof majority so any attempt to veto the budget by Mayor Doherty would be symbolic.

Scranton, PA                                        Pottstown, PA

Population – 71,944   2009 estimate                Population – 21,421   2009 estimate

Land area – 25.2 square miles                          Land area – 4.83 square miles

2011 Budget – $74.9 million dollars                2011 Budget – $39.3 million dollars

Police – 150 officers                                         Police – 47 officers

Est. 2008 median income – $32,794                Est. 2008 median income – $45,941

Est. 2008 per capita income – $19,034            Est. 2008 per capita income – $24,044

City-data crime index 2009 – 306.7                City-data crime index 2009 – 454.7

After carefully reflecting on the above figures some questions may develop.

How does a city 3 1/2 times our size (population) and 5 times our size in land area have a lower crime rate with less police per 1000 people?

How does a city 3 1/2 times our size have a budget less than twice as big?

How does a less affluent city in terms of median and per capita income reduce property taxes 10.55% and reduce business taxes 25%?

Any thoughts?????

Demographic information from City-data.com

York Mayor To Veto Removal Of Residency Requirement

On July 20th, the York City Council repealed the residency requirement for certain city employees.  There are pros and cons for residency requirements depending on how you look at the big picture.  At the July 20th meeting, City Council eliminated the residency requirement by a vote of 3-2. 

Mayor Karen Bracey had requested that the motion be tabled for further study and a survey of city residents be taken.  Her request was denied and the vote proceeded.

Now it appears Mayor Bracey will use her power of veto to stop the elimination of the residency requirement until a survey of city residents can be conducted.