Disclaimer: Letters to the Editor express the opinion of the writer and are not necessarily the opinion of WBIG ownership, management or staff.
As president of Wilkes-Barre City Taxpayers Association, I would like to respond to a letter written by Ms. Stephanie Harris, dated August 16, concerning the 540 acres of land the City of Wilkes-Barre owns in Bear Creek Township.
The 540 acres includes the nearly 200-acre Wilkes-Barre Municipal Golf Course, and roughly 340 acres of wooded, unused land.
Ms. Harris claimed that the “General municipal authority owns the land not the City and neither council nor the mayor could tell them what to do with their land.” This is incorrect. According to the city charter, “The mayor may remove all members of boards and commissions,” therefore, he has the power to dissolve boards, authorities, and commissions as he sees fit. The land would then return to the city’s control.
Ms. Harris also claimed this land was bought with Act 70 funds, which means “it has to stay recreational.” This is also incorrect. Councilman Tony George has looked into this matter and has found that the city merely needs approval by the Luzerne County Orphans Court if the city could show little benefit to our residents. He also found there is a bill pending in the state legislature which would make it easier to sell Act 70 land.
Considering the fact that the city receives NO revenue from either the Wilkes-Barre Municipal Golf Course or the surrounding land, the city should not have too much difficulty liquidating this property. At a time when the city needs infrastructure repairs, police officers, etc. we cannot afford to ignore the proceeds from this land.
Frank Sorick, President
Wilkes-Barre City Taxpayers Association