Relief for Small Businesses in Lackawanna County

Lackawanna County Commissioners approved $4.725 million in CARES Act funding to provide grants to more than 200 Lackawanna County businesses that applied for assistance through the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance program.  

“Small businesses are the backbone of both our local and national economy.  The pandemic has severely impacted the operations of our area’s small business community.  We funded the Small Business Assistance Program to invest in our companies and to help strengthen their future.  We want to assist them in keeping their doors open to provide all types of services to residents up and down the valley,” explained the Lackawanna County Board of Commissioners.    

MetroAction, the small business affiliate of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, will provide technical assistance to those chosen for grant awards on behalf of Lackawanna County.

Lackawanna County Takes Action Against the Coronavirus

lackawanna commissioners

The Lackawanna County Commissioners announced tighter measures to safeguard both the general public and County staff in their attempt to stop the exposure, transmission and spread of the Coronavirus.  

The Lackawanna County Government Center is closed to the general public as of March 23.  

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an order on March 18, announcing that all Pennsylvania courts are generally closed to the public, beginning at the close of business March 19 and lasting through at least April 3, subject to the general and specific directives and exceptions listed on Page 6 of the Order, which is posted on the Government Center’s window and County website.    

To that end, the court rooms in the main courthouse and government center will be closed.  

Several of the row offices in the Government Center will be affected by the closure, but services will continue to be provided, but in a significantly different manner.  

lacka coDrop boxes will be placed in the Government Center’s vestibule for various payments and other transactions.  Residents can pay their 2020 Lackawanna County taxes and the City of Scranton and Scranton School District taxes by using the Single Tax Office box in the vestibule.  Payments are to be by checks only. The office will be open to process payments.  

Residents can pay for their 2019 and prior years delinquent real estate taxes through the Tax Claim Bureau’s page on the County’s website  People can go to the “Government Directory” in the upper right hand corner of the page, click on “Business & Community” and then look for the Tax Claim Bureau section.  Tax lien certificates can also be purchased on the County’s website.    

A help desk has been constructed and is located at left side of the vestibule to handle a variety of transactions pertaining to the Clerk of Judicial Records and Register of Wills offices, Family Court Administration, and multiple other departments.  Department representatives will be on hand to provide assistance.  

Only necessary documents will be accepted, time-stamped and filed.  

New Protection from Abuse orders, Emergency Special Relief and emergency custodies will also be processed.  

Guardianships for Orphans Court will be processed.  Marriage license applicants should call 570-963-6702 for further information and instruction.  

Wills will be probated by appointment only.  All inheritance tax matters must be placed in an envelope marked “Register of Wills”/Department of Revenue INH and include the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue Inheritance Tax forms and a check.  These are to be placed in the Department of Revenue/Register of Wills drop box.  

For any other court filings, residents and attorneys are directed to utilize the mail or special courier.

The Recorder of Deeds office will have a drop box for special documents and Notary Public Commissions.  All fees must be paid by check. Special business will be done by appointment only.  

There will also be a drop box for the Treasurer’s Office for dog licenses and delinquent tax payments.  These transactions are to be done by check only. Receipts will be sent by mail.  

Voter registrations and requests for an absentee ballot can be placed in the Voter Registration drop box also located in the vestibule. 

The Assessment office will also have a drop box at the front entrance.  All documents must be placed in the box, and the items will be processed as soon as possible.

Senior citizens are of vital importance.  The Area Agency on Aging’s protective services will continue to function 24/7.  Face-to-face contact will continue in cases of neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse.  Outreach services will also continue to be offered. For assistance, contact the Aging at 570-963-6740.   

The department is also collaborating with other agencies on a volunteer door-to-door food distribution to older adults.  Anyone interested in volunteering to deliver food or to fill bags should call 570-866-2998 or email Meals on Wheels is including more shelf stable meals with its routine deliveries.  

The prison has also taken several measures to fight the Coronavirus.  The administration has: suspended contact and regular visits; implemented an aggressive sanitation program; posted educational flyers; authorized staff to carry alcohol based hand sanitizer; and suspended visitation from all volunteers.  

It is important for the general public to note that all County departments are still operating and can be reached by telephone:

Assessors’ Office
John Foley, Deputy Director Assessments

Clerk of Judicial Records
Mauri Kelly, Clerk of Judicial Records

Family Court/Court Administration
Claire Czaykowski, Deputy Court Administrator for Family Courts
570-963-6773, ext. 7123

Recorder of Deeds
Evie Rafalko-McNulty, Recorder of Deeds

Register of Wills/Clerk of Orphans Court
Fran Kovaleski, Register of Wills

Single Tax Office
Bill Fox, Tax Collector

Tax Claim Bureau
Atty. Joe Joyce, Deputy Director Tax Claim Bureau

Treasurer’s Office
Ed Karpovich, Treasurer

Voter Registration
Marion Medalis, Director of Elections

Grant Money to Support the Arts in Lackawanna County

The Lackawanna County Commissioners Jerry Notarianni, Debi Domenick, Esq., and Chris Chermak recently announced the 2020 arts & culture organizations and individuals who have received grant support for their various community projects, events and activities at a ceremony at the Scranton Cultural Center. Financial assistance was awarded in two forms: program stream grants and community project grants.

The program stream grants are larger awards to arts and cultural non-profits who receive a yearly allocation from the Lackawanna County Arts and Culture Department.  Their operations are reviewed every other year to gauge need, their projects and general growth. 

Community project grants are one-time disbursements for a specific activity administered by an organization or individual.  Applicants may reapply every October for this form of funding. 

The applications for both revenue streams are reviewed and scored by a panel to help determine if the programs, projects or activities should be funded. Both grant programs are modeled after the process that The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts utilizes. 

The financial resources for the grants come from the Arts, Education & Culture tax, which is assessed annually at a rate of approximately 1.0 mill.  

Also at the awards ceremony, the County’s Arts and Culture Department and the Pocono Arts Council recognized the Pennsylvania Arts Council’s “Partners in the Arts” Project Stream Award recipients from our region.  

The amount awarded for 33 program grants this year was $216,000.  The total for 33 project grants was $53,830.   

Local anchor institutions – The Everhart Museum and The Scranton Cultural Center – received their annual education/arts & culture allocation of $240,000 each. The Lackawanna County Library System received $65,000 to operate the County Law Library.  

The 2020 program stream grant recipients are: Actors Circle – $7,000; All County Band – $1,000; Anthracite Heritage Museum and Iron Furnaces Associates – $7,000; Arcadia Chorale – $3,000; Artists for Art Gallery – $6,000; Ballet Theatre of Scranton – $7,000; Boys and Girls Club of NEPA Art Program – $5,000; Broadway Theatre League of NEPA – $15,000; Choral Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania – $3,500; Catholic Choral Society – $3,000; and City of Carbondale Pioneer Nights Festival – $4,000. 

Also, Clarks Summit Ice Festival – $4,000; First Friday Scranton – $5,000; La Festa – $7,000; Lackawanna Heritage Valley Explorer and Santa Train – $1,000; Lackawanna County Heritage Fair – $20,000; Lackawanna Historical Society – $20,000; Lackawanna River Conservation Association River Fest – $3,000; Lyric Consort – $3,000; Mostly Opera – $1,500; N.E.I.U Poetry Out Loud Program – $1,000; North Pocono Cultural Society – $3,500; and Scranton Civic Ballet – $7,000. 

Also, Scranton Fringe Festival – $5,000; Scranton Jazz Festival – $6,000; Scranton Music Association – $5,000; Scranton Public Theatre – $3,500; Scranton Shakespeare Festival – $6,000; Scranton Tomorrow Electric City Criterium – $6,000; St. Patrick’s Day Parade – $6,000; St. Ubaldo Festival – $6,000; The Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic – $12,000; and United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA – $23,000.   

The individuals and organizations receiving 2020 community projects are: Abington Area Joint Recreation Board for a summer concert series at Hillside Park in South Abington Township – $1,500; Arts at First Presbyterian for concert series starting April at First Presbyterian in Clarks Summit – $2,500; Marnie Azzarelli for a production in September at the Diva Theatre in Scranton of her play Dawn of Lackawanna, telling the story of how Lackawanna became a county – $1,800; Leela Baikadi for a photo exhibit that will travel to Lackawanna County libraries March to September, highlighting Chinese Culture based on her travels – $750; Jeff Boam for his original crime drama Behind the Six, to be performed at the Diva Theatre in December- $2,000; Sandra Burgette-Miller for her original multi-disciplinary performance of Tell Em’ at the Scranton Cultural Center – $1,500; Lisa Casella for Snow Forge, a holiday event in Old Forge on Dec.r 6 – $1,800; Mary Lou Chibrika for Good Grief, an eight-week painting class focusing on helping people heal from a loss – $2,000; and Covenant Public Concerts for four concerts from January through March at the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Scranton – $2,000.  

Also, The Diva Theater for a one act play festival by local playwrights to be performed in January at the Old Brick Theater in Scranton – $1,000; Julie Etsy for the annual Dunmore Cemetery Tour on Oct. 4 and 11 – $1,800; First Presbyterian Church of Carbondale for a concert series at First Presbyterian in Carbondale from March through December – $1,250; Friends of the Art Auxiliary for June’s Arc Angels on Stage 5 Superhereos Take the Stage  theater arts program for adults with disabilities – $2,000; Rosemary Hay for an intergenerational theater project at United Neighborhood Centers for a performance of an original production – Scranton – the 1950 workshop – and performances at United Neighborhood Centers in the Summer – $1,800; Indraloka Animal Sanctuary to host four quarterly painting classes using with the animals program at their Dalton Campus from February through October – $1,000; Glynis Johns for a Black History Month art and historical exhibition in February at the Afa Gallery – $1,500; and Lackawanna County 4-H for a  reading, decorating and cooking program for youth, ages 5-8, to be held at Valley Community Library and another location to be announced – $1,000. 

Also, Lexington Entertainment for Living History of American Music program at various locations in Lackawanna County – $2,000; Michael Melcher for the production of Last Séance of Harry Houdini by Jennifer Berman to be performed at the Creative and Performing Arts Academy in the Ritz Theater in Scranton in February – $1,500; Michaela Moore for Camp Create, a theater camp for youth with special needs at the Waverly community House in August –  $2,500; Sujata Nair-Mulloth for Unity in Diversity, a performance that combines classical ballet with Indian classical dance at the Scranton Cultural Center in the Fall – $1,800; The Pennsylvania Prison Society for art classes highlighting the creations of inmates followed by public exhibits throughout the Spring and Fall at the Recovery Bank and The County Courthouse – $2,000; Amy Pindar for an Inclusion Festival, a sensory friendly music and wellness festival designed to accommodate individuals with autism and other special needs at Mountain Sky Festival Grounds in Jermyn in August –  $1,800; Ihor Shablovsky for Imaginary Musical Trip Through Europe, a series of concerts at senior and health care centers – $2,000; and Travis Prince for an interactive art installation in partnership with the Black Scranton Project Black History Month exhibit – $1,500. 

Also, Saint Joseph’s Center for a musicians in resident program from February through July – $1,530; Summer Music Festival for a series of concerts at the Scranton Cooperative Farmers Market in Scranton on Wednesdays during July and August – $1,500; The Gathering Place in Clarks Summit for a public art project featuring sculptures of bears – $1,200; The Greenhouse Project for a series of 16 painting classes to be held in October at the Greenhouse Project in Nay August – $1,000; Wally Gordon Singers for the performance of two choral concerts in Clarks Summit – $1,400; Waverly Community House for funding for the Northeastern Film Festival in March and The Manhattan Shorts, a global film festival, in September – $2,500; and Women to Women Thrive an arts collective in Carbondale for the Arts THRIVE festival in Carbondale in June – $2, 400.