MOUNT CARMEL - U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-11) will be touring Mount Carmel today with borough Mayor J. Kevin Jones and members of borough council.

Tim Murtaugh, Barletta's director of communications, said Tuesday the congressman will visit with local businesses and speak to owners and residents about their ideas and concerns.

Jones said borough officials will eat lunch at Mattucci's Willow Cafe on West Fourth Street at noon with Barletta. While the restaurant is not normally open for lunch on Wednesdays, Jones said the owner agreed to open for Barletta's visit.

Murtaugh said the tour will start at 1 p.m. at Matlow's Clothing, 141 S. Oak St. Jones and the borough leaders will take Barletta to other Oak Street businesses.

Borough President Tony Matulewicz said he wants Barletta to see a "small town that was once thriving" that's in need of assistance to fight blight.

"I want him to see the current state of a small town in Pennsylvania," he said.

The borough receives federal funding in the form of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), but Matulewicz would like to see more.

"We just don't have the resources to take care of everyone's junk," he said.

Jones said the idea of town tours is better than town meetings since few people attend those meetings.

"When they (congress members) come around to see the people in their place, it does a lot better," he said.

Borough Police Chief Todd Owens, who has been the liaison between Barletta and the borough, will also be providing security detail Wednesday.

Councilmen Gary Hixson, Clem Plisiewicz and Joseph Lapotsky are expected to join the tour as well, Owens said.

Barletta was originally scheduled to tour Mount Carmel Oct. 18, but had to reschedule for reasons not clear.

He was in Shamokin for several hours Oct. 25 for lunch and a walking tour with city Mayor George Rozinskie, Councilman William Milbrand and other community leaders. While in the city, he discussed blight, lack of jobs and other issues with them and listened to business owners' concerns.

He also visited Sunbury that same day.