Sunday, November 09, 2008

The LuLac Edition #633, Nov. 9th, 2008



News out of the city of Wilkes Barre has a possible controversy brewing in District A over Councilman Cronauer’s plan to work with the Luzerne Foundation in getting grant money to improve services in his district. The question looming is whether the grant is within the agenda of the Foundation and the fact that not many taxpayers are aware that the city of Wilkes Barre will be administering the money. Apparently Walter Griffith, taxpayer advocate in District A is saying that residents are not being informed of the city’s involvement. Another question is one of “double dipping” on taxpayers. Should District A residents pay taxes to the city twice under this plan, first with their own tax bills and then by having the city administer the District A money collected from the Luzerne Foundation? We are printing Walter Griffith’s communication to us and encourage any response from city leaders or Councilman Cronauer. It should be noted that Walter Griffith and Rick Cronauer faced off in the 2007 race for the District A council seat. Here’s Griffith’s letter:
Dear Gents:
I did some intense research regarding the District "A" Fund that Wilkes Barre City Councilman Rick Cronauer is so proud of setting up in District A of Wilkes Barre.I spoke at length about 1 hour yesterday with CEO Charles Barber of the Luzerne Foundation regarding the administration for this so called FUND..Charles tells me that the District A Fund Committee gets together to designate the project that they want to invest the Taxpayers, TAX EXEMPT Contribution to the Luzerne Foundation, to be used for in the City District "A".The District A Committee then goes to the City Administration, I.E. Tom Leighton, and tells him what they want to do and then the Mayor and his administration go out and get bids from vendors to do the work, because it is City Owned Property, and then the Foundation sends the City a check to pay for the project...The people of District "A" as well as the committee itself are not aware of this procedure but are being mislead to think that the District A Committee are responsible to distribute the funds, not the City that has left our neighborhoods go in the first place, so I feel this is a very misleading enterprise.I spoke to Rick Gazinski, who is on the District "A" Fund Committee, and was told he wasn't aware that the City of Wilkes Barre is going to be the Administrator of the contributed money from the residents of District "A:" and is also concerned that the residents are not being totally informed by Councilman Cronauer regarding the procedure.I feel the taxpayers are being Hornswagaled here...the same City Administration that has neglected this District is now going to get money from the residents to do what the same City Administration is receiving our taxes to do for us...they can’t handle the tax money we send them every year but we are going to send them more of our money to try to fix it ???? I think the Luzerne Foundation is being used by the City Administration to get taxpayers money for something they are getting our taxes to perform..The Luzerne Foundation is exactly that, a foundation, and in my opinion can’t be used this way..The foundation MUST BY THE NATURE OF ITS CHARTER, be required to get a request for the funding that the District A wants to perform and therefore any City Council member can vote against the resolution to even ask the foundation for the funding to handle the project that the money was placed in the foundation for us to use in District "A" and in fact the other City Council Members can pass a resolution to use that same money to fix items in their Districts...the Foundation cannot just send the City a Check for the project without the City first requesting the funds, or it is called Laundering Money, in my opinion, and using the Foundation for the City Administration benefit under the disguise of a tax exempt contributions not a fair way to get donations for the City Administration to clean up our neighborhoods...I think Councilman Rick Cronauer should be open and transparent with the residents of District "A" and vote to have the City Administration take care of our neighborhoods with the funds they have received and I also feel the CBGD Money that was recently voted on by City Council "UNANIMOSLY" without discussion, should have not been voted in favor of by Councilman Cronauer because it did not allocate any money for the cleanup of the same items the Councilman says we need to have the City Administration responsible to keep clean.


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