WILKES-BARRE -- Luzerne County property owners will have a four percent tax increase next year.
But another budget proposal that would have added a $5 vehicle registration fee was withdrawn.
The money was to go to fix roads and bridges in Luzerne County. So how will they now be maintained?
“The county was able to cut, cut, cut the budget, and we were able to come up with enough savings where we do not have to impose the $5 fee,” said Luzerne County Manager David Pedri.
Even though there's a slight property tax hike, some people are glad to see Luzerne County Council working to save them something.
“I think it's terrific because we pay enough money now,” said one woman.
But one of the cuts included nearly $60,000 from the proposed budget of the district attorney's office. The D.A. wanted to use that money for a new, full-time position that would prosecute drug dealers.
“I felt this was a very critical position,” District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said, adding that funding the position would save the county money in the long run. “We're trying to prevent the sale of drugs and maybe prevent future people sitting in prison, trying to help with the drug addiction,” she said.
She also pointed out that county council moved some money into her budget to go after drug dealers. But she hopes to create a new, full-time position if her office gets more funding next year.
If Luzerne County imposed a vehicle registration fee, it'd be the first county in our area to do so. However, Pedri said the 150 miles of county-owned roads and bridges will have enough funding to be well maintained, thanks to the cuts and slight property tax increase.