Scranton, Lackawanna County -- Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty took stock of the city's state of financial affairs on Thursday one day after judges struck down a proposed 1% commuter tax to fund the 2013 budget. "It's a $2.5 million gap. We have all our bills paid for this year. We have all of our funding in for next year." That includes funding to fully cover emergency services like police and fire and avoid layoffs that were imposed in 2012. "We got the grant from Sen. Casey that brought back 30 firemen and we're all at full steam. Remember, if you look at public safety we're the safest city in northeastern and probably the safest city in the state," said Mayor Doherty.
There is still the glaring $2.5 million dollar deficit. One option Mayor Doherty is considering is borrowing the funds needed to complete the final piece of the budget plan. Besides borrowing to cover the budget shortfall, the Doherty administration is considering selling a city asset. Either way the mayor says it's not a big deal. "We feel confident that we will be able to address it," he said.
Some people have strong opinions on how to make up the budget shortfall. "Well, borrowing more money will put you deeper in debt," said Barbara Carson of
Mayor Doherty says city lawyers are reviewing the judge's commuter tax decision and deciding if it's worth a legal appeal. As for potentially selling city owned property, Mayor Doherty would not lay out any particulars -- only to say it would be an unspecified asset.