WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) At 5:30 Tuesday night, county manager Dave Pedri will give the state of the county address prior to the county council meeting. Eyewitness News spoke with him Monday about what major topics will be addressed.
“We have now paid off over $200 million worth of debt,” said Pedri. “We’ve righted the financial ship and now it we’re at act two of our government.”
Pedri noted the economy is strong and the county now has a record high credit rating. He says there will be plenty for him to highlight in Tuesday night’s address including growing jobs and bustling recreation.
“We also purchased brand new voting machines and a brand new 9-1-1 digital system,” he added. “These two things will affect how Luzerne County votes and public safety for the next decade.”
While Pedri credits the county for successes over the past year, there have been some struggles — most notably, major blows for county residents in state-run facilities.
“With the closure of SCI Retreat, we’re looking at the loss of 800 jobs here in Luzerne County,” said Pedri. “How do we maintain the growth that we’ve had here?”
Eyewitness News has talked to the county manager at meetings surrounding the closure.
He is working with state legislators to limit the consequences and create opportunities.
Another hot button topic to look out for is the county’s five dollar vehicle registration fee which will be voted on after the address. It will affect more than 500,000 people in and out of the county as the funds go directly to infrastructure.
“I sat down with county council last week and we reviewed everything about that five dollar fee,” Pedri noted. “Whether or not we have the fee, we still have over 300 bridges to maintain.”
Add more than 128 miles of roads and it’s a tall order for residents of the county. Pedri invites them to attend the address and participate regularly in council meetings.