SCRANTON — People living in the city of Scranton could soon see an almost 50% tax increase.
It is part of Mayor Chris Doherty’s proposed 2014 budget, which he unveiled Friday afternoon.
That means the average property owner in the city will pay $260 more a year.
“I don’t know how the senior citizens or half the people in this city will be able to afford to keep their houses. You look at the property taxes, the county is always going up, the city is always going up,” said Winfield Cullen of Scranton.
Under the proposal, other fees will go up too.
Folks will pay $122 more a year in garbage fees, if the proposal is approved, for a total of $300 a year.
The mayor said his proposed budget would give the city a more solid financial foundation by closing a $20 million gap in the budget for next year and restoring the city’s credit, but some people said they just cannot afford it.
“From people that I know and how they struggle now, no, I don’t believe so,” said Tyler Mirabelli of Scranton.
John French works at rental properties throughout the city of Scranton.
His friend owns them.
French said he is not sure how such a big hike will affect his friend or renters.
“Obviously it would hurt him a lot because he has about a dozen tenants, all of whom he’s paying for. Does he have to raise his rents and things like that?”
The mayor’s proposed budget must be approved by council. A hearing has been set for December 5.
Doherty said he is hopeful it will be, but others said they hope it is not given the green light.
“It’s getting to the point this city is going to have to go bankrupt, and they’re going to find out where they can get help because the taxpayers can’t take it anymore,” said Cullen.