Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The LuLac Edition #651, Nov. 26th, 2008



Luzerne County commissioners approved a new budget today which includes spending cuts of approximately $16 million. The new budget also calls for over 100 job cuts. Department heads and row officers will be working on the specifics and determining exactly how many employees will need be eliminated in order to comply with the new spending reduction. The job cuts will be determined by the row officers as well as the other county officials. The assumption is that commissioners will cut spending across the board, row offices and court branches included, and leave it up to each department head and row officer to sort out what purchases or staff must be eliminated. Taxpayers should not expect specifics about staff reductions to be managers and row officers would need time to iron out details in each office. There are some county officials who have made noises about lawsuits but Commissioners Petrilla and Urban told the press they can't worry about those threats when they are trying to put the county back on a firm financial footing. Budget hearings have been conducted over the last few weeks and the Commissioners along with Budget Director Tom Pribula have given the row officers and department heads every opportunity and time to study their bottom lines and make logical if not intelligent cuts.


Last night city taxpayer advocates made their presence known and in return the City Council and the Mayor gaveled them but not their concerns away. Bob Kadluboski, the owner of City-Wide Towing, had an exchange with Leighton and Chairwoman Kathy Kane, criticizing the city for counting council members’ years as full-time employment when calculating pension benefits.
The Bobster said that private business would not tolerate such a sweet pension deal and just as things were getting interesting with the Mayor, Council Chair Kathy Kane threw down the gavel. Sam Troy made a comment about how the Council could sleep at night and was shushed to a lul but he did manage to make the comment that the local colleges should participate more in city funding. Leighton said the local schools are already good partners and neighbors. Walter Griffith, a former candidate for Council city and district wide said the city should work to reduce its debt in the face of the country's financial crisis, and the city’s own budgetary issues. Mayor Leighton’s $40.85 million budget proposal is about $2.54 million, or 6.6 percent, greater than this year’s $38.31 million spending plan. The Mayor has blamed the increase on ballooning health care costs and a $1 million contract settlement with the firefighters union. In terms of health care costs, do part time Council members get health care, a health care buyout and do city workers families get free health care? If they do, that could be a place to cut and save.


At 10:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like a great deal of our problems come back to healthcare.
Times have changed. Familys can no longer be included in health plans without additional payment. Every-
one needs to contribute and cover co pays and that includes politicians, fireman, policemen and teachers. We need a national plan nad socialized medicine doesnt sound too bad to me. I currently pay $7,200 annually in addition to co pays and have no dental plan. Thats ridiculous.
Pensions for part time work and double and triple government dippers must be stopped now!
This whole thing has gotten out of control. Unnecessry wars dont help either. We must address the healthcare situation and governments, city, state and national can not continue spending money they dont have.
Pay raises for state and local govt workers must be frozen! The PA Legislators raises are an insult to taxpayers who are losing their jobs and homes.
Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties have been running fat for decades.
Elected and appointed officials who cheat in these times should be
prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and receive maximum punishment not leniency.
County Government will continue to function after these cuts. Sadly, in the end, the people these entities are designed to serve will suffer and the fat cats will continue to prosper unless we take down a few fat cats and make examples of them. Can that happen?
If we dont get things under control there will be a revolution
and this time the revolution will be televised!

Pete Cassidy

10:30 PM

At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read in the TL today that Bob Reilly was whining about the budget cuts and how it will be a bad Thanksgiving for county workers. Now I feel bad for anyone who has lost a job due to the economy but to hear Reilly talk, he feels the county workers are entitled to lifetime employment. Hey Bob, government has limited resources and people like you need to face that. 28 years in elected office should have taught you that much.

At 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some folks it seem have a sense of entitlement none worse than County employees. Generations of the same families have held a lock on jobs in both counties. Its tough and especially at this time of year, but some decent hard working people never knew what is was like to have a good job with top benefits. Times I fear are going to get tougher before they get better. Thank God the Bush era is over. Lets stop bailing out the rich and take care of the so called middle class and those truly in need.

At 10:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that Luzerne County can raise some cash by selling the county owned rail road to private industry. We bought it years ago from Mr. DeNaples for over 6 million dollars with the intention of reselling. As far as I know, we haven't tried to resell it yet. The current county redevelopment authority members like to keep this little nugget quiet as they get paid to also act as rail authority members. The longer we keep it under county ownership, the more they earn, and the more it costs taxpayers to operate. Lets sell it now as it can be a lucrative property. Anyway, all the rail authority is doing now is quietly selling the rails for scrap and mining the coal. They are ruining the future potential by making the books look good now. By chopping up the existing system, it won't be valueable for a private operator. Does this activity have the commissioners approval? Do the commissioners even know that we own rail lines? Do we have the right administration to properly run these lines? I know that the answers are NO. Who in the rail authority has the proper experience to determine that these lines be removed? Did they have Federal Rail Administration approval to remove tackage in Kingston, making that line a useless dead end track?


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