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Gary St. Fleur Interview

Thu, 9 Feb 2017

31 minutes

Gary St. Fleur, of the group Save Scranton, speaks to WILK's L.A. Tarone about the group filing suit against the city, claiming its tripling of the Local Services Tax breaks the Act 511 cap and is illegal.

+ Show Transcript

Gary's saint Florian ZF founder of a group called saves granted. Isn't politically active group it looks and a lot of things that does city government does an occasionally challenges nom. It has filed a suit then at least a Scranton times if not the city itself has taken very seriously. There was a story about it in the paper the other day and it was an editorial. That explained what the story didn't just out assume that might as it was filed then and now all the rest enough. Jerry seems learn as well as right now Gary good evening I appreciate you being with us tonight. Think there are you go to practice that. Let's go through this pseudo little limit time it is so people can understand. What your claims are. G you'll claim that this city has broken what is called B five the act 511. Tap. Now for what the people who don't understand that. Every tax. That any municipality. Levees has to be created by the general assembly. Add a number of the taxes that cities imposing regularly in fact almost everything that the property tax. Was created under act 511 war right so far is that right after. OPEC so you're contention is. That by tripling. The local services taxes is what used to be the right to work taxi used to be ten dollars is now 52 dollars a year. That by tripling that beat the serious granted will be great. That cap meaning it will collect more money then it's allowed to collect on Iraq final lap and is that correct. Go even further than that alms we're contending that in addition to the tripling of the service tax act that it already gone beyond the cap that they beat gone beyond the cap for the past five years. You seem to have some support from B times Tribune owned because in his editorial I'm looking act. It quotes opponents and I assume that you. Stranded exceeded the gap or seven million dollars. I'm 511 taxes in 2015. Nine million in 2016. And projects ten point six million dollars over the cap in 2070. Director to direct so what we're saying that there are going to cap and they have typically it. It's really the magnitude of the situation in the most staggering understand implications. Are Obama. O'Brien. Words in the sponsored by the PLO is actually actually I'm. Just what I jump in here so Emery amoral so is the guys from New Jersey. Always dry hair his salary is being paid by B a chamber of commerce and he was supposed to put together a financial recovery plan that's what Gary's referring to. That's correct so he created a planet approved by the mayor at approved by City Council not a question did he know that there would just capped. And I think the city are that you're covering any calls fortunately the search activity increased so I can't let them tackle blue. I know that property tax load factor that talks between police. And don't even know that the cap when he actually Batman even legal to be staying at. Showed that blew the reigning Conn and individually very much Amoroso I'd love the mayor and City Council because they basically. Put forward a plan. To include failure come on I don't want it never exceed. You know what Gary I would bet you that camera also was not aware of that cap because he's not from Pennsylvania I believe he was born in New Jersey and he would be and in New Jersey residents and there are I would bet you. That if you polled elected officials. In northeastern Pennsylvania probably only about half a number. Know that there are caps on taxes or if you are an act eighteen taxes for example how much you can collect hot act 208 the women created the pensions are rules around them. And you can't just tax people to death to get rich and there are limits frankly I think they're a little bit too why but. Let me ask you that what is the act a good two questions number one. Are you who. Bob what is this city capped at what is that act 511 cap. I think the question so DNA tests per capita by the property value of the municipality multiplied by. Little old are one of 1000 rat so Scranton where we remodel approximately twenty million dollars or cap. Okay is that why they would figure out the death would be did take the. Total assessed value. Of every taxed property. In this city total that up and men are allowed twelve mills of bats under act final lap. And it didn't think because from what I know from Scranton Scranton mortars and I did not increase I look someone who I've. Downtown proper Jewish probably don't count Greg and pretty thirty years and he told me quote that you were solid right now. Illegal for a less than he bought it for thirty years ago yeah I don't doubt that. I don't doubt though the interest situation is an entire national I've always attitude debate that you haven't and I'm from New York City myself. Into. I won't help the government wouldn't technology but I would welcome to dump the budget comes out I'm in the budget. I gold. Client because I simply rolled whether it might have looked at a government but well but you know Iowa City comptroller told the Republican I have no money. I mean you're bullying leaking to death you need to talk ringtone should you have no money to look you got the money not about bankruptcy there's no way you're getting out of this. Attacking people and just leaving. Some pot church. And it'll tell. And I absolutely should be musical people so why is Israel but I can't I. Granted because they comedic action only to do it too and I will do it I would do it WW most of the judicial court not doing my initial. I mean it happened in the city actually kind of blow my mind and shown a little bit of people much the same way. We can social social law when you it'll probably actually a bomb on public. Yeah naming any more sold everything is sold parking garage and sold the this or authority doesn't manage England does sell. That is so so and then. Your date pre tax or after each actually worked great 80%. Either being raised all the parking meter do you rate actually agree that your base not a question I happened to that. So all these this taxation which is striving bidder without trying to reconcile what little we want to win and didn't look itself. Take a look at the play either big dial 211 or transit. The way and didn't work there's no way to cash itself into prosperity. And the cut will do so. Right now why I agree with everything you just said there I do know I had a couple of friends of the Pennsylvania economy league in the original recovery plan. That it put together may have worked over a course of five to eight years bred Scranton. A succession of mayors and City Council members refuse to stick to what they would not limit disbanding. And. Make cots that TEL had ordered them to may solve. Why can't work if you're not gonna stick to what a man Amaral also came in a mad the planned. That whole plan is completely different. About the tripling of the a local services tax anyway. During as a newspaper reporter I had covered a couple of municipalities who were act 47 so I am fairly familiar with that. I don't remember any of them looking to triple local services tax I had never heard of that before until Scranton did it. Well a I did this great 2000 employees to work and go to work sort of comes to an immediate. The local arson attacks and move the court action so why would you make it part of people to work accident wouldn't that make it. We're now warn them away when that drive them away. And that's the problem the taxation and indicated interest in DP report about Clinton. Situation trap. Underfunded pension. Colleen Barrett the content boring to an operation and he said that this idiot basically doomed. It does not follow their recommendation and restoration work to. Lure recommend a lower regulation. The bitter cold climate expansion very unfriendly to partnership. And to get recruits look at people who didn't. When I was circling the mercantile boycott the child that they basically. By that through that shirt for a little until it happened didn't think granted and it clicked the like. Mind boggling that it would do this not what you are mentioned about the PO plan. Another opponent tried to land and ordered renegotiation. Employee contract I'd love to try to limit what issue is the part of the government and the cost per employee of the government a government employees. Who are the population is urgent but from there we are a little bit beat conclude by Eldon. Just recently right. And me and the corporate government has not declined actually increased should be decreased the local population commissioner elect our children. Yeah. You crashed yeah I'm I'm Soledad since. That this should be left arm the government should not talking more. Rogue server to let people down the McCain sent. I I I agree you mentioned about dobbs. The the assessments of the city right now in the and you believe they have gone down and then in general I would agree with you. I know allowed people who eleven Scranton who try to sell homes for 6070000. Dollars an elective they got offers her 35 or forty. I have. And a proponent. And everybody jumps everybody from lack A wanna county jumps all over me every time I say just. But I have been a proponent. I'll tell you wide reassessment I know it'll cost many cost about. They're still lack a wanna caddick cost about six million dollars did you lose Aaron Downey ten years ago Sarah probably talking about seven or eight million dollars but I think you could float a bond to cover that and have one very small specific debt service payment. Over twenty years he has at least then you would have realistic property values what about that do you agree with that do you disagree with that. And does reassessment enter this picture at all. I don't I'm not really concerned about the assessment because. I'm concerned you get a situation where the 27 million dollars might be too high right. That's what I mean I that's why exactly that's why I said itself right it may be only. 21 million dollars or nineteen and a half million dollars. Yeah with a which would basically put the government aiming their further. Machine they would have between salt and and they aren't solvent Bridgestone admitted they refused to admit it and the matters. We work to do this assessment and that comes out a property values are in the doldrums are you know. I think they can they would do when their biggest income revenue shrink the government is. I'm eleven doctors did probably back to the IR lemon back. Well probably exactly the reason that account and lower and I are the Lebanon based on the property value you have the entity that. Functionally bankrupt but this is why they should just go to chapter nine. Get the proper leverage that would give them our freedom on the bond obligation and also didn't leverage to renegotiate contracts the rule. Our government employees should be Swiss toward defined contribution plan. All men go all the ones I maybe should get a small cup from their attention or. Open the books and an agreement cut chance you the government structure has addiction to be running the government. Unilaterally on the second position and not strict as some people cannot include commercial. People here not that anyone. Outweigh what you mentioned Gary has been done by the city of Harrisburg it did. Just almost everything the huge has said it declared bankruptcy a couple of years ago and Harrisburg is now reasonably solvent. And it seems David says and then what happened in now Scranton never would do that I agree with you about filing bankruptcy was talking about it. I hear on this program that was being hotly debated now is getting a lot of by an eye candy and yet it canned. Can I am really tightly summation though our schedule. Up now you can do you should. Think it's fundamentally. You're getting worse off so we get released all the public that. Later to actually be destroyed property value we're driving under the way do they get any worse than a police and troops. You mentioned that the remedy it on the metric risk and people it rally and hold government accountable to what the public hearing on February 13 Monday commentaries about public hearing. The mayor and the City Council people who don't have official Google to be contempt of court and this kind of activity and kind of action and people need to rally behind so that two goal which I'm older political. You know politicians are politicians. Trouble I don't question. And their. You can be MIA all the time. That's a little questions showed up echoing did everything to fight even despite all the reports are coming out looking Wells Fargo mistreat our base and probably not a bet. I'm not so much into that other mention my report coming out that you're not doing better or at least talking about. Yeah Adams Pollyanna but version of the secret session I would based. Everything is fine don't worry about it property in this Indians granted six you're not challenging the property tax it would seem to be good that's irrelevant yet. That bet that it road and fundamentally arm architecture of the government local got a whole government. And how committed very easy part the aren't certain that none of the late at Inglewood Clinton dot com. Clark the Derek the look they had to compare okay all the while the year but nobody can only pure numbers and exactly what. We know where we stand them and how rationale competition. So I am eclectic equivalent anywhere. Bird but look quite. You are on the situation I've eleven weekly the law or ordinance which could happen but it does it. They go below we have duke or reduce but I have eleven doctor solo act. After the dot. Daryn let me take a guy got a caller I Charlie in Charlie lives in Scranton he's directly affected by Allan is he's a regular pro Pollard and his program. Unease got a question for you Charlie Iran W I'm they would Garry saint floor. Violate our eyes are on your your words again how are your Gary. You down I Democrats do well I have a statement on the question the first thing and I believe if we just grand filed bankruptcy in a receiver come then. A receiver could come in and pushed our tack to up. About a 110%. Over the already. That was already brought out and had a few meetings in this city and a and a bunch of attorneys agreed on the same thing and that was. You're just asking the question before my question has got to be eight people. That's filed a lawsuit nominee all the property how many have an investment in this city is scrambling to pay a proper person myself who lived in this city in my whole life. I pay over 101000 dollars a year property taxes. Including 600 dollars worth the garbage fees because there's two properties and my wife also works in this hideous plan so we also paid at. That triple pack so I think there's a lot of people that are more concerned that. If this if these people do when this lawsuit in the city can. Charge that packs anymore more than people like myself who were buried in property taxes were only gonna guard our tax is raised. What about the sorry guides I bet that is a reasonable sear I think what about the that's very very calm here I'm very reasonable question. I'm a competitor number one that this shouldn't you mayoral election year reg to other seventeen you can vote in someone responsible for the industry. Now I just keep the other question about the bankruptcy are receivership. Morning. No matter what they call on them automatically receivership let you do that are actually little. Based on the city currently don't have to have an that this city open a book and transparent. And what I think already they're little Lotta things that can be cut on the government low level that it no need three packs and that's likely. Trying to capture deep and police department retirees on disability act it and the by the Palmer retired on disability. I would stay. I'm alone in the act arms aren't long act. Person or disability can not your usual morale nevertheless get cheated or people or disability. Our department and the police department or working and the president looking at a jobs receiving checks so deeply door open and clear. They're ignored their right mind will come true and determination and pushing pretax tactician and who were attacked so great I it's. Round who would you didn't do what the state or federal level. Gary it's if Bowden if the city does declare bankruptcy. I can't trustee also order that all labor contracts be renegotiated. Or is a city stock or wanted to ask. Don't know a labor contracts generally negotiate an actual point the whole point is to pick up in the position. Where we think there are usually aren't. I cannot be discussed put on the table. Because you're on the stress situation the situation calls for life and you needed right now that he's doing what COLT a try and during worship by hollering. To pay back the Bali that Murray had done. Don't like get your credit card that other credit card bill that we can live in the city do you have probably didn't you are in jeopardy didn't happen is that I can go lower debt level. And that certitude that he can get higher and higher and higher to a point where even interest. It is not a sort all or we bring it publicly then you don't think you Ricky and he went. So much shame that the original earth that you'll bankrupt in bankruptcy now compete and do what you had and try to challenge situation oh. Local bagel later when we know elaborate. What if things. My question anyway Greg and I remember that doing this. Good did you scramble for example of sprint filed bankruptcy. And we were bankrupt and we had a re how many people do you think. We're LA would you if I had a house for sale in Scranton no matter what can help the world or any ad would somebody want to buy my house in this city that bankrupt. Yeah he's got a plan certainly would dead drive down property values that we've been talking a united talking Gary I think they're lower than that than RSS anyway some. I'd love boot nobody gonna Wear your houses valued at that point. Question other thing is that it's how you deal with the bankruptcy. If you have a look at a company that go bankrupt a work in a company a couple of big run up. Can be a good or bad thing depending how they deal with the bankruptcy bankruptcy. Trinity how you can actually hear the term are being a bankruptcy yet proper diet can it go down it's an opportunity. To have a cup but I do what I'm thinking the right mr. So I sent to the mayoral election year so when an off this didn't do the right decision and are. We're not ticket salary and per cent and there was a real estate recovery plan to do right by this and people. The value increased outlook don't come in more job creation not tightly boondoggle or capital work project but. Actually slipping and extend an economic sat back economic wet. Lol re actors lord regulation but he ears or didn't he needed to create jobs. And that happened a guarantee. Turnaround story and let the terminals or the facial pity you go to Dubai thing yet the cost granting used to be we turn the page and abnormally short. And the future it will play. And that's what I probably by increasing. All right so we are just hope that it would turn out their way but I just like gum and I think under americorps right compared to mayor Doherty. Our bond rating has as well as increase is less well on the percentage to borrow money. And I think if we were bankrupt. When it comes to the beginning of the year when we have to borrow money on what they call it can with my tax anticipation note. And a four bankrupt I think will will be in the double digit figures again for borrow money. I I was getting mentioned mad as well Gary be tighter. The fact of the matter is it you know per may not be the most accessible mayor in history and he may not be around dark and media lot I know he's he's blown off us several borrows the air. On a W I okay including. But the bond rating in this city is actually better now than when tardy was an off was in office and no matter why every municipality. Asked to take the tax anticipation notes it's sometimes called the tax revenue anticipation nope you always have to take it at the beginning of the year because you don't have any money until the end of the fourth quarter. And that conceivably if the city were bankrupt conceivably that could. Raise your rate from maybe 21 half percent a four and a half for 5%. Share palm. I need to be clear. I try to even bond rating well doesn't necessarily mean anything. Because the bond worked fine during a late part of march crash crash and have a friend to look at Wall Street and blue were discussing before even happened. Still talk to get a speck of bond rating dirt oracle couldn't immediately Patricia the pretty computer the history assault at the minute she the city's potential all in good shape. In fact just recently tracked you look at our own analysis by debt specialist. All had little other urgent for the a lot of well. Actually we could be in the city itself and he explained to me that. Did that big a lot higher. And thank you are realizing how we think. Through what people think about how much rent 20 baby about the different but of course. That's calling what can the field he'll look at how people you want between. Oh so you actually think about what capital like each individual who had to pay to come to mind boggling country. It was trampled the words like coming to the endgame that pat and going to be how do you benefit I'm not a double dollar debt. Now the media income the granite creek. Wouldn't someone have action to keep thousand dollars to pay off the eighty. Counting and the school district. Now people feel that the matter 'cause that's pretty good cheap delaying. Into chant UK Elaine lately you ask me you can attack the paint creek this. Clearly the blog you can attraction there's no way to go to C can see here keep him barring expect. Can never came back at Baruch that would bar and pay back I'm not sure why people keep missing look at the Barley defined by. The payback these debt. On the treadmill but the question I took the match. The U. So what the total dead for this city is Scranton is an and I get Delhi for example loser Downey's total that. He's about 325. Million dollars that's weighed down from about 440 million dollars when I read newspaper reporter covering the loser Aaron Downey show you ads this. Fifteen years ago I mean I can give you a figure as to what. The county -- knee acted out here and I I don't know off the top I had my dad find out how much money wilkes-barre knows how much money hazel tunnels what is grand to install that the haven't figured women. OK I I don't have a bigger boost for the load figure I'm going to say why. Well Carlos starter had a research report about true two months ago and that it would dictator I couldn't figure it started in Alex. How much 500 million. Are duly noted you can go to my web site and spacecraft and dot com I have a go. Well report on the link to it to your so you've got to bring out now issue it again. A government accounting is not the famous public I think our country in the private sector. Contra broke a little more. Clear club a little sit up trot go to many counting what they like to do in national what's called a long term debt initially short term debt it would show what they curly tail. Year after year but of course at me when no 100 mortgage the principal premature interest in which the couple payment. Which of the mortgage you took out what Richard Reid paid off. Oh god armed interest you pay on it. What do I do get about a mortgage forget about the big number a meeting about interest payments. And battle group's total by Europe a year so different and I think the worst but yet and should. On the planet yet the Internet an opponent by eight architecture solution to a hundred million dollars their controlling how. I do it YouTube payback attention and the pensions accrued interest let me get the page content looked at. In the investments trying to catch up which it again I'd are deemed it already brought uncertainty. Making just wishing to restore I think you can actually make investment and I can somehow catch you look nearby right. So when all come together. I didn't mean no I generate. They get tired from looking it up we're probably. Not legal billion dollars by the I each grand total meddling child dot com Tampa payback. Didn't see how the situation and the question is how they don't. We possible. Who are portrait numbers to what the billion dollars that would be thirteen thousand dollars for. For every grain in them 1000 did you see your regular how old won't clean up to greet our people usually are on the and a woman and child random Google Greg. Already for a couple. I don't know that there dedicate. I'll go well wait payday. Bill they came mortgage they create interest PayPal guy that killed all they don't have to take this 40000 dollars now my question. Again I'm transparency. I want these numbers. By all means only rumored bride to Arnold bumps I am putting numbers I'm but it population registry numbers wouldn't get the information eligible that he couldn't clear on the WTO. They actually schedule. Well maybe the fact became public Clinton might force the city view that Todd Charlie I I will be answered your question I appreciate your call banks dated regularly updated Gary Gary I got a couple questions where MM gonna wrap an -- odds. Peter you have you filed this suit yet has just been filed and if so which court. Okay but your question or maybe a little while since January 2 street. We did what would call a subpoena because we just wanted the government to answer our question regarding our fashion like. Well correct and deliberate your commute after that much a mole. Worked on the merry know where you can count the actually looking at them we did all right we're fortunate I've been questioned. In court now the court date to begin a public hearing opened to the public. Can't fairway or seeing it Monday Monday 121. PM. At a lot wanna help solution building on the court. Black on Tony mission building. And history of the all this say about el Angel and yet okay. And I I do encourage you you should come everywhere should come we should come in all our group like that special. The question. To counsel. Counterfeit and illegal and that question actually count to edit or statues at the garden and taping. Don't question don't graduate being the only thing now they have. They're alone will record what rationale or the fact it's unbelievable work. What condition or what the conviction and he believe what you're doing to the Gujarat we believe that he actually become sort of wonder at what B is back. And after that it never that it inevitably Talbot who get worse. The situation was impossible the party leadership that the machine to be the case now are wrong. I mean I want to be used to two overall. Prime but now it is so you haven't actually filed a court action to force this city to lower taxes by aid for 2007 deed for example ten point six million dollars you haven't been filed that action right. Well that's deeply I have to admit I got an omniscient and yes. You know the correct it actually knows what you're saying that the capital Monday. That doesn't appreciate the next step which will be the guerrilla force reduction a local actually. I I did this Scranton times editorial. And it doesn't necessarily. Endorse your suitor anything. But it certainly does appear to take it very serious like genocide written as I thought. This was written. With City Hall in mind is say hey fellas this group's got a legitimate claims are you better be able to defend yourself police that's when I got out of this when I read. Well well well well. I'm glad about the situation that because they have com in about I've been tried recollection you're down people need to show why they're elected official. Why did elected Richard Turk is what your altercation torture competent. The law turn without the City Council one day and I'm I could and came to the council and so the question cheer act garbage can either originally. Based according to restore law should be dedicated spun. Very dedicated. Aren't they asked the day you have to be dedicated by making sure all mingled funds from that was something else others have tried that and bin flag you do and charged. 300 dollars a year for garbage. And it only costs 220 dollars for garbage junior put the other eighty dollars in the general fund you cannot do act. Exactly. And when that question when that they know. They I don't know lieutenant general unaudited unaudited. Did you bring on Coakley the kind of thing tropics and the possible. Match I didn't shoot great and he. Oh I petitions granted. And obviously quit. They had. I think if they had any moral Goshen I do or conviction people of honor would they know what I'll try to do that I'm a little unglued over my head I should mention that people can actually do your job. Now Gary I have a rapid here I really appreciate you being here I expect this or about ten minutes instead it's been over a half hours south. I really appreciate you being here and now let us so what happens Monday and an Aston Manny and try to get to that hearing Monday but. I doubt they're gonna make it because I'm supposed to start here at 1 o'clock in the afternoon zealots. Kinda tough to wind to make them about dying and try to get their self. I appreciate you being with us a lot thank you very much said say dairy leagues seeing a lot less same floor FL EUR. He is I don't called those are I just hung up on Gary desires can hang up anyway about. From a group save so granted its web site is saved Scranton dot com. You can look at the at court action he filed valid data before is that a lot of documentation Mair is in and there's a lot of stop there. I take a look at it that hearing again for a one of our tax Thursday hearing is this. Coming Monday. Monday. At 130. That the county administration building go.