WILKES-BARRE – People who work for Luzerne County said that morale is down, and many employees are worried about layoffs if the proposed 2014 budget is passed without changes.
County Manager Robert Lawton said the budget calls for an eight-percent property tax hike, and that 55 non-union employees could be laid off.
Lawton met with union leaders during closed-door meetings in the Luzerne County Courthouse on Thursday morning, but he said they were briefed about financial issues, there were no negotiations about possible concessions to help with a $2.7 million budget shortfall.
Jeff Yatsko of Trucksville said he waited for nearly an hour to apply for a gun permit, and he believes the wait for county services will get worse if more people are laid off.
“It sounds like bad news, more money out of me and less service,” said Yatsko. “If you need to get something done, yeah, you’re going to be waiting for it.”
Brenda Dalzell of West Hazleton said its discouraging to live in Luzerne County, and see that neighboring counties like Lackawanna, are not expecting tax hikes or possible layoffs.
“We’re worried about the property tax increase. How are we going to manage that? You just barely get by,” said Dalzell. “Laying these people off, you know, how are they going to manage?
A public meeting on the proposed 2014 Luzerne County budget is scheduled for October 29 at 6pm in the county council chambers in the Luzerne County courthouse.