Scranton Taxpayers Sound Off On Budget Proposal

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SCRANTON -- At Scranton City Council’s chambers Monday night, it was a chance for the city’s taxpayers to let their feelings be known on the proposed budget for 2013.

However, only a handful actually showed up, something noted by those who came.

“The public has an opportunity to come here this evening and voice their opinion, objections, or any support they have for the 2013 budget and they’re not here and yet they consistently complain. It just baffles me,” said Doug Miller.

But for those who did bother to show up, they had plenty to say about the projected spending plan for the Electric City.

The proposed budget for 2013 is little more than $109 million.

It calls for a 12 percent property tax increase that will increase at that rate for three years.

There is a one percent commuter tax for non-residents who work in the city.

While there are no layoffs of city workers, there is a pay raise for six city employees.

“Raises to two attorneys, one business administrator, a fire chief who has a 93 percent no-confidence vote from his subordinates - the Scranton firefighters- and two administrative appointed employees,” said Bill Jackowitz.

And some speakers pointed out the commuter tax can only be applied by the city after it is given a judge’s approval.

A hearing for that has yet to take place.

“If the commuter tax is turned down by the court, even without the $2.5 million commuter tax, including the other local tax being raised, I would argue that the budget is still overly optimistic,” said another resident.

Council plans to make amendments to the proposed budget.

Those amendments should be announced at council’s next meeting on Thursday, December 6.