Hazleton mayor can't borrow from pension fund to pay employees


Hazleton City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday night not to pass a resolution that would have enabled Mayor Jeff Cusat to borrow money from the city’s pension fund account and transfer it to the general fund.

Cusat said the transfer would have prevented the city from missing the next payroll for employees.

According to our news gathering partners at the Times Leader, Council members Grace Cuozzo, David Sosar and Jean Mope questioned the mayor’s reasoning in putting the short-term loan before council because it was predicated on a long-term Act 47 loan the city would be eligible for if it’s deemed to be “distressed” by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

Although Cusat did apply to be deemed a “distressed city” under Act 47, that status has not yet been granted to the city, some on council pointed out.

Councilwoman Jean Mope argued: “But in the event that we don’t get Act 47, then how are we going to pay the money back? And at what cost?”

“We’ll find out at a hearing on Sept. 5,” said the mayor of a state determination on Act 47.

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