By Lucas Wood
HAZLETON, Pa. -- Last night, City Council in Hazleton met to discuss the likely hood of Act 47 being passed by state officials.
Award-winning, former Standard Speaker journalist, Maria Jacketti was there and described it as a passionate meeting, and at times being somewhat chaotic.
Jacketti said it was very quiet at the beginning, but that it changed towards the end when everyone began to debate over Act 47, the very controversial proposal that Mayor Cusat made in August.
Act 47 is a state oversight program for “financially distressed” cities in Pennsylvania.
The state tries to help cities turn around their finances and operations, but by limiting powers of local government.
One man who's on a fixed income spoke on Wednesday and asked council if he could be expected to shoulder a 40 percent tax increase next year.
The impression was that council will vote against Act 47, and proceed with its own plan to climb out of local debt instead.
However an official vote isn't expected to take place for another month, until Harrisburg replies to the mayor's request.
"One thing is clear: Groups that appear to be at war with each other in city hall, need to find common, sustainable ground," Jacketti told the Hazleton Headlines.
Mayor Cusat was absent at last night's meeting, and his lack of attendance was the subject of much discussion.