Mayor Brown proposes rescue plan to help Wilkes-Barre businesses

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE 28/WYOU 22 EYEWITNESS NEWS) — What would you do with 37 million dollars? Wilkes-Barre’s Mayor laid out his wish list. The difference is Mayor George Brown actually has the money.

It’s part of the American rescue plan to help local businesses recover from the pandemic.

Tuesday, Mayor Brown said he wants to cut the cost of city garbage bags, help people afford down payments to buy a home in the city, and provide stimulus payments for qualifying households

At the first in-person council meeting since the start of the pandemic, Brown talked about plans for the city to move forward.

“As Mayor, my administration will initiate the following first steps to address these important issues for the residents and the city to help solidify our financial well-being for both the short term and the long term,” said Mayor Brown.

Brown asked the council to reduce city garbage bag fees by three dollars to take some of the financial burdens off residents.

The price of 5 large garbage bags would go from $13 to $10 and 5 small garbage bags would go from $9.25 to $6.25

“I’m happy about that because I think it needs to be cost effective and especially in a lot of areas in Wilkes Barre, people don’t have the money and then they put out bags, they put out black bags and other bags– not the blue bags so they sit there for weeks and its not picked up,” stated Frank Monda.

The American rescue plan allocated 37.1 million dollars to the city of Wilkes-Barre. Mayor Brown laid out how his administration will use those funds.

The city will provide stimulus payments to households that were adversely affected by the pandemic. The administration will appoint a social services agency to determine the amount and the criteria.

The city will start a fund to help city homeowners improve affordable housing. The city will also provide up to $5,000 for down payments to help people buy homes within the city homes they will live in, not rent out.

“That property will be owned by that person and they’re able to take pride in owning their home,” said Mayor Brown.

Long time Wilkes-Barre resident, Frank Monda says he hopes that will be a good incentive for people to invest in the area.

“It makes it much more attractable for people who don’t have the money for a down payment and it also builds up the area, brings a lot of new people in and hopefully makes positive changes,” stated Monda.

Monda says he thinks the city is on the right track. Funds will also be used for establishing new businesses in the city, as well as storm water and infrastructure projects.

Funds will also be used for establishing new businesses in the city, as well as storm water and infrastructure projects over the next three years.

Council will vote on the garbage bag fees at the meeting Thursday night. They’ll also vote to reduce the price of parking.

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