PITTSTON — In the city of Pittston, residents won’t see only candidates on their ballots this year, they’ll also vote on a new form of government.
Lee Herman owns a house on William Street in Pittston where he’s seen his property taxes skyrocket in the past few years.
“I know that when the casino was implemented that Luzerne County was supposed to get tax breaks for elderly and homeowners so the property taxes wouldn’t be through the roof, and my taxes have already doubled,” said Herman.
That’s why he plans to vote “yes” for Pittston’s home rule charter.
City officials said under home rule, property taxes would be eliminated and replaced with an earned income tax.
Former Pittston mayor and home rule study commission member, Michael Lombardo, said if voters don’t vote for home rule…
“Then we’re not going to grow home-ownership. We’re not going to grow our tax base in terms of making our property worth more and having people invest once again in their homes,” said Lombardo.
“It would alleviate some of the tax burden from the people who actually own homes in Pittston,” said Herman.
Renters in the city of Pittston are concerned that if the home rule charter passes, the tax shift will hurt them, and they won’t be able to afford the hike.
One woman we spoke with didn’t want to show her face on camera, but she rents her home just down the street from Lee Herman.
She wants to know where her money is going before her taxes increase.
“They spend thousands of dollars on lights on the bridge, or a tomato at the end of town and things like that, so I really don’t see that this home rule is really going to do anything for the citizens of Pittston,” she said.
City officials said changes to Pittston’s government structure would be very minor if passed.
The home rule charter will be on the ballot in Pittston this election night.